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NJDfan1711 04-09-2013 08:32 AM

Transferring fish...where did I go wrong?
 
So I decided to upgrade from my 10 gallon starter tank to a nice new 36 gallon bowfront. I set up the tank Saturday night, adding water with a 5 gallon bucket about 7 times, and not just once, but each of the 7 times I dumped water into the tank, I used the solution that came with the tank to kill the chlorine from the tap water (I have my own solution I use during water changes but decided to use the one that came with the tank for the heck of it).

I let the tank sit for about 24 hours and on Sunday night I tested the water levels with a strip that tests for 6 different levels -- Nitrates, Nitrites, pH, Alkalinity, Hardness, and Chlorine, and all of them came back looking great. Still, I decided to wait another day or so for the tank to continue to cycle a bit, and after a total of about 48 hours (Saturday night to Monday night), I decided to transfer my fish yesterday.

I started with 3 small convicts (I will get to this more in a minute), and I watched them swim around and adjust for about 30-45 minutes, and after they seemed OK, I decided to move my other fish -- just two larger cichlids that I have had for a year or so. The cichlids were pretty scared as they saw my getting my little convicts from the 10 gallon tank -- one of them was even hiding in a small cave I have. Once I moved them over to the new tank, the same cichlid went into a larger cave I have and I never saw him come out (he's just a wuss I think), and the other cichlid just kinda stayed on the bottom. I watched them for about 15 minutes or so and they seemed OK -- they did not appear to be gasping for air or having an issue with the water right away.

Needless to say, I woke up this morning about 8 hours later, and ALL of them have died :( I have no idea what went wrong if all of the levels appeared to test OK, and the water temperature was close to the original tank (roughly 77F or so).

What's even more puzzling, as I mentioned earlier I had 3 VERY small convicts in addition to my 2 cichlids...well...those 3 convicts were given to me about two months ago from a friend of mine. He has convicts who are ridiculously horny I guess because they seem to have babies every 2-3 months. We had our doubts, but we successfully completed a transfer from his tank to mine -- two COMPLETELY different environments.

So I am at a total loss as to why I wasn't able to complete a transfer to a new tank of mine. Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.

rexpepper651 04-09-2013 09:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NJDfan1711 (Post 1697265)
So I decided to upgrade from my 10 gallon starter tank to a nice new 36 gallon bowfront. I set up the tank Saturday night, adding water with a 5 gallon bucket about 7 times, and not just once, but each of the 7 times I dumped water into the tank, I used the solution that came with the tank to kill the chlorine from the tap water (I have my own solution I use during water changes but decided to use the one that came with the tank for the heck of it).

I let the tank sit for about 24 hours and on Sunday night I tested the water levels with a strip that tests for 6 different levels -- Nitrates, Nitrites, pH, Alkalinity, Hardness, and Chlorine, and all of them came back looking great. Still, I decided to wait another day or so for the tank to continue to cycle a bit, and after a total of about 48 hours (Saturday night to Monday night), I decided to transfer my fish yesterday.

I started with 3 small convicts (I will get to this more in a minute), and I watched them swim around and adjust for about 30-45 minutes, and after they seemed OK, I decided to move my other fish -- just two larger cichlids that I have had for a year or so. The cichlids were pretty scared as they saw my getting my little convicts from the 10 gallon tank -- one of them was even hiding in a small cave I have. Once I moved them over to the new tank, the same cichlid went into a larger cave I have and I never saw him come out (he's just a wuss I think), and the other cichlid just kinda stayed on the bottom. I watched them for about 15 minutes or so and they seemed OK -- they did not appear to be gasping for air or having an issue with the water right away.

Needless to say, I woke up this morning about 8 hours later, and ALL of them have died :( I have no idea what went wrong if all of the levels appeared to test OK, and the water temperature was close to the original tank (roughly 77F or so).

What's even more puzzling, as I mentioned earlier I had 3 VERY small convicts in addition to my 2 cichlids...well...those 3 convicts were given to me about two months ago from a friend of mine. He has convicts who are ridiculously horny I guess because they seem to have babies every 2-3 months. We had our doubts, but we successfully completed a transfer from his tank to mine -- two COMPLETELY different environments.

So I am at a total loss as to why I wasn't able to complete a transfer to a new tank of mine. Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.

you should of acclimated them slowly with the drip method. instead of just putting them straight in. is the tank cycled? what where your test readings?

NJDfan1711 04-09-2013 10:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rexpepper651 (Post 1697697)
you should of acclimated them slowly with the drip method. instead of just putting them straight in. is the tank cycled? what where your test readings?

What is the drip method? And what exactly is "slowly"? I have read things stating that it takes a week, or two weeks, to fully cycle, and then I've also read things that state there is no "magical" amount of time to wait and that nothing special happens on day 7 or day 14, so basically as long as the levels and readings appear ok, then you should be all set, which was the case. As I mentioned, my readings all appeared normal -- I don't have exact numbers, but I used those test strips (which I have also read can actually be inaccurate...is that true?), and the readings on those strips were all within the "safe" guidelines.

The only thing I did not test for was Ammonia, which a friend of mine has advised could very well have been the problem. Is it possible I put too many fish in all at once? I waited 30-45 minutes after putting in the 3 convicts which again are VERY small (not sure if size has anything to do with how they affect they water levels), and then put in my two cichlids.

JDM 04-09-2013 10:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NJDfan1711 (Post 1697265)
....Still, I decided to wait another day or so for the tank to continue to cycle a bit, and after a total of about 48 hours (Saturday night to Monday night), I decided to transfer my fish yesterday.....

Tanks take weeks to establish the nitrogen cycle, not days. Do you have any plants in there? I would be surprised that all the fish died in 8 hours even if the tank wasn't cycled with no plants so I would suggest that was not likely the the killer but I don't know how sensitive cichlids are. Have you tested the water again since?

I would not have used the new treatment, just because what you were using was working, at least not for a whole tank start... but that's just me, there may have been nothing wrong with the product... what was it anyway?

Jeff.

JDM 04-09-2013 10:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NJDfan1711 (Post 1697761)
....
The only thing I did not test for was Ammonia, which a friend of mine has advised could very well have been the problem. Is it possible I put too many fish in all at once? I waited 30-45 minutes after putting in the 3 convicts which again are VERY small (not sure if size has anything to do with how they affect they water levels), and then put in my two cichlids.

I missed that you didn't list ammonia in the testing. So you have absolutely no idea if it was high or not... what were you adding to the tank to cycle it?

Jeff.

NJDfan1711 04-09-2013 10:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDM (Post 1697881)
Tanks take weeks to establish the nitrogen cycle, not days. Do you have any plants in there? I would be surprised that all the fish died in 8 hours even if the tank wasn't cycled with no plants so I would suggest that was not likely the the killer but I don't know how sensitive cichlids are. Have you tested the water again since?

I would not have used the new treatment, just because what you were using was working, at least not for a whole tank start... but that's just me, there may have been nothing wrong with the product... what was it anyway?

Jeff.

I have plants, but they're not live plants...which I assume is what you meant. I have not tested the water since, but I will for sure when I get home tonight. I guess I probably should have continued to use the stuff I was using all along during water changes, but I just figured I got this new bottle and it came with the filter so I thought I was following recommended guidelines (as least from the tank/filter manufacturer...)

I normally use two products, both from Aquasafe. One I put in once a week (on Mondays) which is supposed to balance various levels of the tank (maybe it also does Ammonia and perhaps I should have put some drops of that in before adding the fish?), and the other as I mentioned I only use when doing water changes because it kills the chlorine.

Tetra AquaSafe Plus for Aquariums - Fish Care - Fish - PetSmart <-- once a week

PetSmart - Tetra AquaSafe Plus Water Conditioner customer reviews - product reviews - read top consumer ratings <-- during water changes

Aqueon Water Conditioner - Sale - Fish - PetSmart <-- this might not be exactly what was included with my tank and filter, but it is damn close, and this is what I used to treat the tap water for my new tank. I probably should just used both of my products above that I was normally using :(

JDM 04-09-2013 10:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NJDfan1711 (Post 1697945)
I have plants, but they're not live plants...which I assume is what you meant. I have not tested the water since, but I will for sure when I get home tonight. I guess I probably should have continued to use the stuff I was using all along during water changes, but I just figured I got this new bottle and it came with the filter so I thought I was following recommended guidelines (as least from the tank/filter manufacturer...)

I normally use two products, both from Aquasafe. One I put in once a week (on Mondays) which is supposed to balance various levels of the tank (maybe it also does Ammonia and perhaps I should have put some drops of that in before adding the fish?), and the other as I mentioned I only use when doing water changes because it kills the chlorine.

Tetra AquaSafe Plus for Aquariums - Fish Care - Fish - PetSmart <-- once a week

PetSmart - Tetra AquaSafe Plus Water Conditioner customer reviews - product reviews - read top consumer ratings <-- during water changes

Aqueon Water Conditioner - Sale - Fish - PetSmart <-- this might not be exactly what was included with my tank and filter, but it is damn close, and this is what I used to treat the tap water for my new tank. I probably should just used both of my products above that I was normally using :(

Those aren't going to be a problem BUT all they do is treat the chloramine. I would suggest to toss them and go with something like Prime which does the same AND neutralizes the ammonia and nitrites for a day or two as well. That way, if you do have high levels you can re-treat until the cycle looks after them naturally or you can change out the water to clear them manually.

I don't see where Aquasafe does anything other than treatment and some other superfluous stuff, from the description " It neutralizes chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals that are harmful to fish. Contains BioExtract with natural biopolymers which support the development of beneficial filter bacteria for healthy, clear water. Enhances fish's natural protective slime coating and helps heal abrasions with unique colloid ingredients."

Certainly no mention of ammonia. I have a bottle of prime for that purpose alone, which I have not had to open yet (well water).

If you keep your water changes up and observe good maintenance and substrate vacuuming you shouldn't need any other additive stuff... unless you were trying to raise the GH or something.

Oh, live plants are a HUGE advantage, enough so that they can eliminate the need for the whole process in the first place. Consider getting the tank well planted while it is cycling and it will help keep the water quality up.

At this point I assume that you are fishless.... take some time to read up on the cycle process and do that completely before adding any more fish, here's the cycle article link on this site. Read up and feel free to ask questions. Look at the planted tank method closely.

Jeff.

NJDfan1711 04-09-2013 10:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDM (Post 1698121)
Those aren't going to be a problem BUT all they do is treat the chloramine. I would suggest to toss them and go with something like Prime which does the same AND neutralizes the ammonia and nitrites for a day or two as well. That way, if you do have high levels you can re-treat until the cycle looks after them naturally or you can change out the water to clear them manually.

I don't see where Aquasafe does anything other than treatment and some other superfluous stuff, from the description " It neutralizes chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals that are harmful to fish. Contains BioExtract with natural biopolymers which support the development of beneficial filter bacteria for healthy, clear water. Enhances fish's natural protective slime coating and helps heal abrasions with unique colloid ingredients."

Certainly no mention of ammonia. I have a bottle of prime for that purpose alone, which I have not had to open yet (well water).

If you keep your water changes up and observe good maintenance and substrate vacuuming you shouldn't need any other additive stuff... unless you were trying to raise the GH or something.

Oh, live plants are a HUGE advantage, enough so that they can eliminate the need for the whole process in the first place. Consider getting the tank well planted while it is cycling and it will help keep the water quality up.

At this point I assume that you are fishless.... take some time to read up on the cycle process and do that completely before adding any more fish, here's the cycle article link on this site. Read up and feel free to ask questions. Look at the planted tank method closely.

Jeff.

Thanks Jeff. Funny enough, the same friend who talked to me about Ammonia also uses Prime I believe. The ironic part is, as you can see from my posts, I originally registered here two years ago and have actually gone through this process a few times (albeit never from an existing tank to a new one, always from nothing to new). I felt in the past year or two I've gotten pretty good at caring for my fish and these guys (my cichlids) have been going strong for about a year or longer. Oddly enough, I have never had to do anything in terms of treating for ammonia and my water has always been clear, always had good levels (in terms of the 6 tests I use on those strips), and always a good temperature. I thought I had a great system going as far as treating the water once a week for those chloramines and metals, and then of course treating the tap water during weekly or bi-weekly water changes.

I guess maybe I did not let the tank sit for long enough, or perhaps I added too many all at once. I have also been reading that adding them altogether can make the ammonia or nitrate levels spike, so perhaps I wouldn't have had a problem if I did them gradually.

JDM 04-09-2013 10:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NJDfan1711 (Post 1698169)
Thanks Jeff. Funny enough, the same friend who talked to me about Ammonia also uses Prime I believe. The ironic part is, as you can see from my posts, I originally registered here two years ago and have actually gone through this process a few times (albeit never from an existing tank to a new one, always from nothing to new). I felt in the past year or two I've gotten pretty good at caring for my fish and these guys (my cichlids) have been going strong for about a year or longer. Oddly enough, I have never had to do anything in terms of treating for ammonia and my water has always been clear, always had good levels (in terms of the 6 tests I use on those strips), and always a good temperature. I thought I had a great system going as far as treating the water once a week for those chloramines and metals, and then of course treating the tap water during weekly or bi-weekly water changes.

I guess maybe I did not let the tank sit for long enough, or perhaps I added too many all at once. I have also been reading that adding them altogether can make the ammonia or nitrate levels spike, so perhaps I wouldn't have had a problem if I did them gradually.

Gradual would have been good but still not ideal in a new tank. I know, even with my plethora of plants I added 12 fish at once and had a nitrite spike two weeks later... I assume that the ammonia was up as well but the plants do such a great job of absorbing it that the levels were not detrimental to the fish and were what I would call "non-zero"... only they don't handle nitrites so my cycle had to catch up.

Normally you don't need to treat for ammonia, the tank looks after it but not with a new setup.

Check out the cycle article link, even if you've had good luck before it's worth the read.

Jeff.

jentralala 04-09-2013 02:38 PM

You should look into getting API Liquid Master Test kit, so you can test for ammonia. The majority of us use this kit.


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