Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Cja313 11-06-2012 01:01 PM

what could be wrong..sudden death
background Info....Ive had a 55 Gal Aquarium with just a 11" Pleco and 2" corydora for the last 2 years.

Bought 3 Yellow Labs (Electric yellow Cichlids) and have had them in the tank about two weeks. REading up on the new cichlids, i saw they liked lots of rocks and caves, but since I didnt have time to buy and find rocks, I bought small 3 " terracotta pot holders from Home Depot. I boiled the pots for about 5 minutes, removed the price tag stickers and glue residue. about a week ago, I noticed the fish swimming somewhat more erratically, more darting then natural swimming, but they seemed fine, still feeding appearing hungry and still chasing each other here and there.

I tested my water readings to make sure the terracota wasnt knocking levels out of wack. these were the readings I had for 2 days in a row last week and pretty similiar two days ago as well

Water hardness:
GH ppm (mg/L)(General hardness) 170-180
Kh (Carbonate Hardness) 40-50 ( last tested it seemed lower than this though)
Ph 7.0-7.5 range
Nitrite was at 0
Nitrate was about 20 ppm mg/L

Water temp range 76-78 degrees.

I turned on my aquarium and the fish looked fine this morning, just kind of wakign up, as they appear sluggish when the light first comes on.

I just got a call from my girlfriend and said one of the Chiclids is dead and the small corydora is dead. The Pleco has been swimming around more frequently, and taking gulps of air (but he's done this the whole three years Ive had them, just thought it was something he did.

I can't for the life figure out whats wrong...why would fish die so suddenly? Please help!!!

Cja313 11-06-2012 01:02 PM

ive only had the fish for about two weeks, and everything seemed fine. this was sudden.

Byron 11-06-2012 08:09 PM

We are going to need more data. The pots, assuming they are made of natural clay, should not be a problem; many aquarists use these. Any artificial or plastic-like material might be trouble though.

First, maintenance. How often are partial water changes, and how much of the tank? Which conditioner? Do you vacuum the substrate at each? What type of filter?

Are any products other than conditioner going in the tank?

Are there any live plants?

Did you test for ammonia or nitrite after the new fish were added?

What species is the pleco?

Were the new fish added to this tank, or quarantined? Do they now have any signs of disease, fin damage, body wounds, anything?


Cja313 11-12-2012 11:39 AM

i was doing 50-60% water changes every month, there was a HOB topfin 60 filter Water readings were fine, with the exception that the water was Hard 180 ppm I beleive, I was using test strips and know these arent the most accurate. even took the water in after my fish died and they tested the water and said it looked fine

I think there was alot of waste/debris in the substrate, and even though I did a thourough vacumming of the gravel, I never got all of it up each water change. I moved a faux drift wood piece that seemed to accumulate lots of waste and debris during the last water change and I think this caused a bacteria outbreak. the Cichlids I had all died with in 48 hours, it wasnt till the following day I pinpointed fin rot on the plecom,but by the time I tried treating the tank, he subcomed the next day.

ive always done monthly water changes and had the pleco and a small cory for 4+ years...

Anyways tank has been thoughly scrubed, gravel removed and tank cleaned...going to be starting a cichlid tank .... soon.

Byron 11-12-2012 12:09 PM

You are starting over here, so I won't go into details, but there are a couple of issues mentioned that you should realize for future success.

First, when tests on water are done, always get numbers. What the fish store means by "looks fine" is anyone's guess, plus we don't know what exactly they were testing for. Always get numbers, be it ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, GH, KH or temp.

Second, water changes have to be more regular. Once a week is considered absolute minimum. Now with only 2 fish in a large tank, this is less critical. But once fish start going in, things change. Read more here:

Finrot. I would suggest this may more likely have been fin nipping. I didn't pick up on this previously, sorry; but rift lake cichlids cannot be combined with corydoras. As for the pleco, this may or may not work, but I wouldn't. Rift lake cichlids should be on their own, no other fish species except those from the rift lakes.

Something may have come in with the cichlids. Quarantining new fish is a very wise precaution these days. For some 15 years I never did, and aside from a couple minor bouts of ich, had no issues. No longer does this apply. I now quarantine, after twice losing about 1/3 of the fish in a tank due to some protozoan. The risk just isn't worth it.


Cja313 11-12-2012 04:00 PM

yea i realize that that i wasnt cleaning the water enough, tough and painful lesson to learn. But I'm pretty sue it was fin rot because the day before the chilids died, i noticed the very edges of the Pleco's fins had a growth on them (or so I thought, like seaweed, but looking back it was the actual skin, coming loose. within 48 hours the tail rot hd consumed 50% of its tail, leaving 4-5 spiineon its tail exposed, its like the flesh had been eten off by the bacteria (He was the only fish alive at the time, so it had to be bacteria).
needless to say, I am doing my research and will be better prepared to maintain and care for my next set of fish. i also plan on getting the testt ube test kits, not the paper strip testers since many say these are unreliable.

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