Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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LittleTants 04-14-2008 06:13 AM

Am I doing this right? I've lost 4 fishy friends!
Greetings fellow fish people! 8)

Iím another newbie to this aquarium business and was hoping I could get some advice to see if I am doing things correctly, as Iíve had 4 fish die so far. :(

We have a 273 Litre (72 US Gallons or 60 Imperial Gallons) freshwater tropical tank that weíve had fish in for about 6 weeks now. We currently have:

6 Red eye Tetras
3 Gouramis (dwarf?)
2 Zebra Loaches
2 Large algae eaters
4 Mollys & Plattys (I canít tell them apart!)
None of the fish are yet over 2 inches long.

I do a water test every few days which only tests for pH. The pH level is always high so I have now 3 times added pH down to the tank. Every week or so I bring a sample into the pet shop to test for nitrates and so far these have been completely normal. I am doing one 30Litre water change each week and vacuuming the gravel with a suction pump vacuum thing. I am also scraping algae off the sides once a week as the aquarium is in daylight for long periods of time. I feed the fish twice a day and am not sure if Iím feeding them enough but a lot of the food drops to the bottom before they eat it.

Basically, Iím just wondering why I have had a few deaths so far. We lost one loach and one algae eater within hours of bringing them home from the pet store but I assume this is due to stress and they were both replaced. I acclimate them the recommended way (leave them floating in bag at top for 20 minutes and then start slowly adding aquarium water).

Last week I found a skeleton of one of my Mollyís or Plattyís (I still donít know which ones are which!) that the other fish had eaten, which freaked me out. It did have a blind eye though so I just assumed they attacked it because it was weak. Is this normal?

I just introduced the algae eaters to the tank 2 days ago and they are quite hyper and active fish that zoom all over the tank so Iím not sure if they are stressing out my other fish, who are fairly chilled out. Then today my very first fish, who was my favourite and a Molly, was floating on the tank bottom dead. I donít know why he has died and Iím worried that more fish will die. Is there anything I should be looking out for?

Or is it normal to lose a few here and there? Sorry for such a long post but Iím trying to get out all the information! Iím very sad to see my little buddies dying!

Thanks for your help :D

willow 04-14-2008 09:49 AM

hello and welcome aboard.
you are possibly facing problems because the tank was not ready
in the begining for fish.
You really need to buy yourself a test kit asap,and test for..........
Amonia,nitrAte,nitrIte. API master kit is one that we here tend to
recomend,as it is better than test strips,and we need to know your results
so we can help you better,the local fish store(LFS) may indeed tell you
that your water is "Fine" however this is not alwasys trustworthy
i'm sorry to say,so at least with your own kit,you will be able to see
much better what is going on in the tank.
there is a "Sticky" at the top of this page telling about the cycle,that a tank needs to go through,before it is safe for fish,if you can grab a look
through that can shed some light on your current problem,keep up with water changes,however do not wash out the filter or change any sponges,add de-chlorinator to the new water before it goes into the tank.
i hope to have helped a bit,please ask as many questions as you need to,and hopefuly we will be able to help further.

stephenmontero 04-14-2008 11:35 AM

the alge eaters probably dont want u to scrape off the alge leave it there to eat

thespiff 04-14-2008 03:23 PM

A few things...

It sounds like your tank gets a lot of direct sunlight? If so, there could be significant temperature fluctuations in the tank between day and night. This would be stressful to the fish. It could be especially bad for them if they don't have a lot of hiding places to get out of the direct sun when they want to.

You say you dose chemicals to lower pH. Around here we frown upon adding lots of chemicals to your tank. It results in lots of fluctuation in the water composition which again stresses fish, and testing and dosing all the time really isn't a sustainable strategy for fishkeeping. If you want to lower pH, it might be as simple as adding some decorative driftwood to your tank to bring down the pH permanently.

With that API master kit recommended above, and a bit of knowledge about the nitrogen cycle, you should be able to get a much better handle on what's going on in your tank. If you do get the kit, please take readings for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate and post them here. We might then be able to help you further.

Also, if there are any unusual decorations in the tank, it would be useful to know that.

Finally, a 30L water change each week is probably not enough in the long run. Right now you have a small number of small fish, so your bioload is light and you're probably OK with a very small change. Most folks around here will change in the range of 25% - 30% of their tank water each week. You are only changing about 10%.

Flashygrrl 04-14-2008 04:15 PM

What kind of algae eaters specifically did you get?

LittleTants 04-15-2008 04:45 AM

Thanks everyone for your awesome comments and advice... :D

I obviously need to get more extensive testing kits than just the pH. I live in Australia so am not sure if we have the same brands as you but I will be sure not to get any strip tests!

Our aquarium isn't in direct sunlight but it is on a half-wall in the centre of a very large room (separates our games and dining area). The room is always well-lit as the windows do not have shades however the sunlight never directly hits the tank. The temperature seems to be consistently about 25 degrees C.

I've posted a pic of our aquarium in the Photo area here:

We do have a large shipwreck we've placed in one end of the tank which we bought at a fish store and the fish love it in there. Perhaps we need more plants as well?

I'm not sure what the algae eaters are called - but since we've gotten them I haven't been scraping the algae (thanks for your concern!) and I feed them algae pellets as well. They are long skinny things and a brownish colour and they swim really fast all over the place and suck onto the sides of the tank. They were just called 'Large Algae Eaters'.

Well thanks again - I'm going to get on top of this testing, do more water changes (would you recommend 2 30Litre changes per week or 1 60Litre change?) and see how things go.

Oh, and can fish overeat? The one thing I noticed about the one that randomly

Looking forward to having all happy little fish friends so I can add more to their happy little home!!

Awesome having this here to help along the way - not sure where I would end up without your help!

Thanking you! :D

willow 04-15-2008 05:20 AM

love the tank. ! :)
personally i would have it filled up further than you have it.
yes fish will over eat,if you were to feed them all day long they would
eat it.If when feeding any food is falling to the bottom of the tank
then i would say to feed little bits at a time,and only for a minute.
if you have guppys you can feed them a little bit later as they only have small stomaches and can not take on lots of food.
the other thing is ye3s you can add as many plants as you like :)
either live,fake,or combination of both,the only thing with live plants
would be the amount of light,some plants need more,
that would be a question for the plantie section.

LittleTants 04-17-2008 10:08 PM

Ok, so it's been a few days and I haven't had a chance to get to the pet store and get the testing kit. During which time most of my fish have stopped eating and aren't swimming around as much.

Did a 60L water change this morning and most seem to be happier already, but one of mine is struggling. I'm not sure what she is but when my husband bought her he said she is a Platinum - like a skinnier white Gourami with pretty white spots. She is just hanging out near the surface, completely listless. A couple of times she's sank to the bottom, laid there a few minutes and then swam in slow spirals back up to the top. I know she is dying but I don't want to take her out and ensure her death - is there any hope for her? Could the new water I've just put in nurse her back to health?

Going to the shop this afternoon and will get the Nitrate/Ammonia testing kits and will report numbers when I get back. Is it ok to test even though I've only just done a water change?

Thanks again everyone - I know as soon as I start taking action I can get this back on track.

Does anyone else become as emotionally attached to their fish as I do?? :(

LittleTants 04-18-2008 03:09 AM

HELP! Ammonia and Nitrite Levels High!
Ok, so now that I've tested I see that I have major problems... HELP! :(

The test results are as follows:

Temp = 26 degrees C
pH = 6.5

Ammonia (NH3) = 2.5

GH = 60 or 120
KH = 120

Nitrite (NO2) = 3
Nitrate (NO3) = 40

I've done a 60L (or 22%) water change this morning and had one fish die afterwards. I know that I need to get my Ammonia and Nitrite down immediately but would like some advice - should I do another massive water change?

It indicates to do many partial water changes. How much and how often does that mean? Should I do another one tonight or wait until tomorrow.

Scared for my fishies!! :cry:

herefishy 04-18-2008 09:49 AM

Water tests will dictate the frequency of water changes.

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