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Pasqua 01-15-2013 06:05 AM

Pasqua's Journey Journal
 
5 Attachment(s)
Hi =) I am Pasqua. And this is my journey journal.

I will admit I am not a great fish keeper. In fact, you could probably say I am terrible! After 1 year I have still not quite gotten the hang of it. And I have had enough >.<. One of my resolutions this year is to 'fix' my tank (really it is fixing me, as I am the problem with the tank I am sure!).

This journal will record my journey to becoming hopefully a better fish keeper! I thought this would be a good idea, partly to record things for my own reference later. And also because you are all such great advice givers. This journal is also to help me figure things out for myself if I can, but feel free to throw in advice or suggestions or say hello anytime =) and when I get very stuck, I will let you know.

So. First things first. Here is my tank!

Attachment 73876

A note that I live in Australia. I know most of you do not which is fine. It just means that some brands I cannot acquire easily, also some plants or fish.

MY TANK:

It is a 75 litre tank (about 20 gal).

Filter: Aquaone Internal Filter 102f Maxi series (Internal Aquarium Filteration). 450L per hour.
Substrate: sand. purchased from the lfs
Decorations: Live plants. Wisteria, an amazon sword I believe and another one I do not know the name of that is growing on my driftwood. Second driftwood, both were purchased from local pet stores.
Lighting: Sylvania
Gro-Lux
F18W/GRO-T8
On for 6 hours a day.
Fish: 1 small female cherry barb, and 8 very happy kuhli loaches
ph: 6.6
ammonia: 0ppm
nitrite: 0ppm
nitrate: 5ppm
temperature: this is an interesting one... I bought a new thermometer today. It has been in the tank for two hours, opposite side to the filter. And it tells me the water is 30C. I know it is definately not this hot! but I can't give you an accurate temp right now I will check it tomorrow to see if it has settled and is more believable.

THE STORY:

I started this tank in August 2012. I cycled it for about 5 weeks. Most the way through that, I threw in my female guppy who was the last survivor of my 20L (5 gal) tank and she loved it.
Here are all the fish I had in the tank:
- 1 guppy
- 8 kuhli loaches
- 1 crown tail betta
- 6 cherry barbs
- 5 peppered corys
They were all added several at a time, two to three weeks apart after the tank was cycled.

I do weekly water changes of 25%. I use Seachem Prime and Stability.

The problem was basically that over a period of 4 or so months, all the fish except the kuhlis and one cherry barb died. They all died one at a time, often a couple weeks apart. Occasionally two would die within a couple days of each other.
Only two ever showed any sort of sickness symptoms (my betta and one cherry barb) which was progressive bloating and their scales fanning out a bit, and a couple days later they would be gone. I will include a pic of my sick cherry barb.
Attachment 73885
My betta died the same way =( =( I didn't know how to help him.
The rest.. I still do not know why they died? I thought at one point the betta was bullying them but he died about half way through.

My goal is to try and find out what killed them and either fix it so I can restock my tank or start over.

NEXT:
Is there something above that makes it seem really obvious as to why my fish were dying?? The remaining fish have been alone for a bit now and are very happy. I have read for hours and still can't figure out if I am missing something.

If anyone can suggest anything, please do.

My next step is to research the algea as this is something I am not very familiar with and it has started growing throughout my tank, as seen in the pics below:
Attachment 73882
Attachment 73883
Attachment 73884

That is all from me for now. Have a good night, see you round =)

JDM 01-15-2013 07:50 AM

Looks like a great restart.

You have 8 loaches in there?.... I only see two in the shot but I suppose they hide well enough.

30C for the non-celcius bunch is about 86F... yup, that's warm. 79F (26C) would be better.

While I can't help with the previous fish issue, no experience with diseases at all, that was a pretty heavy load for a 20 gallon tank (that's US demi-gallons BTW). With your 8 loaches now, even adding 6 cherry barb back in would be bumping the upper end of a bioload pretty hard. I might think that if you had no plants previously that could have easily contributed to your problem.

Other's might have a better idea on that though.

edit: "I do weekly water changes of 25%. I use Seachem Prime and Stability. " What does the Prime and Stability do for you? I don't treat my water with anything, which is why I ask... I dislike adding anything that isn't absolutely necessary.

Jeff.

AbbeysDad 01-15-2013 08:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDM (Post 1391434)
edit: "I do weekly water changes of 25%. I use Seachem Prime and Stability. " What does the Prime and Stability do for you? I don't treat my water with anything, which is why I ask... I dislike adding anything that isn't absolutely necessary.
Jeff.

Prime is a water conditioner that treats chlorine/chloromine. It also detoxifies ammonia, nitrites and nitrates (24-48 hrs.) as well as heavy metals.
Stability is Seachem's bacteria in a bottle product. Not necessary for an established tank but can be an advantage in any tank less than 6 months old.

AbbeysDad 01-15-2013 08:37 AM

Greetings Pasqua,

Off the cuff, I think you had too many fish for a 10g and Betas cannot be kept with other fish. For at least some of the fish, the bloating may have been intestinal blockage. Perhaps you were feeding too much or not enough vegetation in the prepared food(s).

The best advice I can offer for fish selection is to reference the 'Tropical Fish Profiles' on this site (upper left on forum) so you can select compatible fish in the appropriate numbers.

Prime and Stability are good products. When you do add fish, only add a few at a time and be wary of over crowding. You might also be best served adding more plants.

Keep posting in your journal.

AD

JDM 01-15-2013 08:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AbbeysDad (Post 1391455)
Prime is a water conditioner that treats chlorine/chloromine. It also detoxifies ammonia, nitrites and nitrates (24-48 hrs.) as well as heavy metals.
Stability is Seachem's bacteria in a bottle product. Not necessary for an established tank but can be an advantage in any tank less than 6 months old.

Sorry, I should have clarified my query. I knew, roughly, what the product does, Prime anyway, I wondered why Pasqua was using those specifically for the water/tank. Back to my idea of unnecessary chemical additions... why treat something that may not need treating or may not be present in the water in the first place?... not saying that is the case here.

Curious is all.

Jeff.

AbbeysDad 01-15-2013 09:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDM (Post 1391464)
Sorry, I should have clarified my query. I knew, roughly, what the product does, Prime anyway, I wondered why Pasqua was using those specifically for the water/tank. Back to my idea of unnecessary chemical additions... why treat something that may not need treating or may not be present in the water in the first place?... not saying that is the case here.

Curious is all.

Jeff.

I can't speak for Australia or Canada (btw, I think I went through Smith Falls on my way to Perth a few times back in the day), but here in the sates, with the exception of those of us on private wells, nearly all municipal water supplies are treated with chlorine or chloromine to disinfect the water. So a good conditioner is required for water changes (unless the water is aged to allow chlorine to dissipate (which doesn't work for chloromine). In a tank that is not yet established (6 months running with stock), Primes ability to detoxify ammonia, nitrites and nitrates for 24-48 hrs. can make a big difference in fish survival. (conditioners that treat chlorine most often result in increased ammonia so the detox gives beneficial bacteria time to process). Another advantage for those with lead sweat copper water pipes (and who knows what in the water), detoxifying heavy metals can have benefits. Note: Otherwise, always let your water run for about 5 minutes to clear standing water in pipes.
In the case of Stability (or other BB products), these products can dramatically accelerate the development of the BB colony to cycle and stabilize the tank much more quickly. Again, moot for an established (6 mths +) tank, but an advantage for startups.
There are others that use fertilizers (e.g. Flourish) for plants. When I was using filtered water, I added minerals (Replenish) and adjusted for pH (Neutral/Alkaline Regulator) and sometimes added 'Fresh Trace' to add trace elements.

So, although you are somewhat correct and I would agree that it may most often seem best to use just plain old fresh water when you can, there are many cases/reasons where additives may make all the difference.

AD

Sookielee 01-15-2013 03:50 PM

Pasqua, I wanted to say I love the background for your tank. Looks like someone has a budding artist in the family. Give this little one my compliments on a job well done.

Pasqua 01-15-2013 09:21 PM

Hello everyone =]

Yes, 8 loaches! They are in and out of the driftwood and I often only have five or six out at a time. Every few weeks I am lucky enough to count all 8 out in the open but it is not often =) Last they were all spotted was new years day. Probably out partying =P
Most of them do come out at feeding time but they all pile up so they are hard to count.
Based on the feel of the water i do not think it is truly 30C. I will check my thermometer again tonight to see what it has settled at.

Stocking - A couple of you have suggested that I had too many fish in there for a 20gal, prehaps that was my problem? I did research it and I thought they would be alright in there, especially as I had read that the loaches have a very small bioload for their size.
I did have several more plants in there initially though (that eventually died), and I have in the last couple weeks cut my wisteria back to about a third of its size previously. Stocking is one of the things I am still trying to understand, since there are no set rules on it. I did read through the forums and profiles on here and I thought that many would be about ideal for the tank and that they were all compatible for contitions and temperament, and spent much time checking what was available locally (some of the fish you can get in the US sound so great! I wish we had them here) and what I could put together. I will look into it more carefully for next time though. Prehaps next time just the 8 loaches, and 8 or so schooling fish for the top/mid level?
I will be adding more plants too once I figure out what killed my last fish and start building it up again =). And also want to look into some ground cover, which I have not yet been able to find locally. But again, that's something for later as I want to sort out the basics of keeping my fish alive first before I add more things to the tank =)

Chemicals - the Prime I use to dechlorinise the water. I don't think I would be comfortable not adding it based on the size of the tank and the amount of water changed weekly. I don't know how to test chlorine levels but I am almost certain there is some in the tap water. The Stability I started using on my 20L tank as reccomended by my lfs which after some problems I found seemed to help a lot. I don't know if it was big enough to ever cycle properly. When I moved to this bigger tank, I kept using it out of habbit and fear that I would kill more things =P I suppose it didn't help. I planned to wean my tank off it, but it hasn't happened yet. Prehaps after I fix it this time I will try to stop using it.

I did used to use a liquid plant fertiliser (also reccomended by the pet shop and a friend) but I stopped using this after a couple months as it didn't seem to make a difference. The plants that wanted to die would die. The ones that wanted to grow would grow regardless.

Food - Abbeysdad, I will definately look up intestinal blockage. I haven't heard of that before. I feed my fish tropical flake food for the upstairs swimmers (except for my betta who had betta food) and sinking wafers (Hikari info : Hikari Tropical SINKING WAFERS) for the bottom feeders. I also feed frozen brine shrimp about once each weekend, and occasionally (every few weeks) feed them frozen bloodworm in place of a meal.

Sookie - thank you! Yes she is a brilliant artist =) This one was painted for my little 20L tank, she has promised a bigger one for this tank but we haven't gotten round to sitting down for a painting afternoon yet.

Thank's everyone for your input. I will keep you posted.

Note for me - next steps:
- investigate intestinal blockage
- research algae growth
- check temperature again. Maybe get a second thermometer if it still reads 30C..? =S

avraptorhal 01-15-2013 10:05 PM

Hi Pasqua, Hang in there. I started a tank at about the same time, had similar problems. I was lucky enough to be able to figure out some and fix them. Like you I've read a lot but I'm not sure that was helpful. Good Luck 111.

Pasqua 01-17-2013 07:09 AM

Thank you avrap =) what problems did you encounter with your tank? I am glad to hear you were able to solve them.

I hacked thermometer again today and it is at 32C. I am 100% sure that cannot be right =S might have to get a second opinion as the water feels much cooler than that. And if that is the temp.. Well I will have to get my tank an aircon I suppose
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