Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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cdanforth 06-03-2008 09:40 PM

Dying Fish
Complaint: my fish are dying in batches. I am quick to remove the dead or weak fish but why so many at one time?

I hope that the information below that I have will help someone help me solve the problem.

1. Size of aquarium (# of gallons) 55
2. Is your aquarium setup freshwater or brackish water? FRESHWATER
3. How long the aquarium has been set up? this tank 8 YEARS, keeping fish for 20+
4. What fish and how many are in the aquarium (species are important to know) plec, hatches, mollies, used to keep mor exotic stuff but with the tank problem i am spending a fortune and started stocking with common fish this has been going on for about a year
5. Are there live plants in the aquarium? YES
6. What temperature is the tank water currently? 75ish
7. What make/model filter are you using?
8. Are you using a CO2 unit? NO
9. Does your aquarium receive natural sunlight at any given part of the day? YES, DURING THOSE HOURS THE LIGHT IS OUT ABOUT AN HOUR BEFORE AND AN HOUR AFTER NATURAl SUNLIGHT, 4-8 pm
10. When did you perform your last water exchange, and how much water was changed? Middle of May, 50% EVEN THOUGH TEST SAYS EVERYTHING IS OKAY
11. How often do you perform water changes? ONCE A MONTH 50%
12. How often and what foods do you feed your fish? 2-3 Days WARDLEY flake food, one in a great while bloodworms
13. What type of lighting are you using and how long is it kept on? Compact Actinic bulbs 2 at 55; 9am-11pm minus the 4-8 time because of natural light
14. What specific concerns bring you here at this time? my fish die in batches this time my hatchets(4) and mollies (2); this happen about every couple of months after I restock the tank, I have also noticed that when I get more that 10-12 fish15. What are your water parameters? Test your pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. GH 60 I use a water softner pillow because of our hard water; KH 80-90; PH 7.0; NO20-0.5; NO2 0-20 these are pretty standard number from week to week, i have given thought that the batch of strips are bad but when i take water sample in to be tested i get the same results. are there other elements or minerals that I can test for?
16. What test kit are you using and is it liquid or test strips? API 5 in 1 test strips
17. When was the last time you bought a fish and how did they behave while in the pet store tank? couple of months ago, acted fine and allert, the small shop we go to gets fish in on Tuesday and will hold them until Friday to sell. I buy on Friday. If I place a special order they put all of mine in one tank and hold them until Friday

If you have any other questions that might help ask, I will answer the best I can

Thanks for any help

1077 06-04-2008 03:08 AM

You may want to perform 20 to 25 percent water changes once per week which is the norm for most. What type of filtration are you using? I am confused by no2 reading which is nitrite. Ammonia and nitrite readings Must read zero for fish to survive. I would purchase a new test kit that uses liqid drops as opposed to test strips which can be less than accurate. What dechlorinator are you using when doing water changes? Is your tank planted too heavily to vaccum the bottom to remove decaying plant matter and or uneaten food? What chemicals or fertilizers if any are you using in your tank? These are some things for you to consider. Water changes weekly as mentioned using good dechlorinator are in my view a must.

cdanforth 06-04-2008 08:15 AM

With the dry temps and water loss I do add about 3 gallons per week to the tank. I have been using tap water conditioner to eliminate chlorine and minerals, think it is from Aquarium Pharasuticals.

NO2 = 0-0.5 on the test scale (missed the the spacebar in the first post, sorry). My test doesn't read ammonia. I figure that if nitrites are zero then so is ammonia since it would show up first then nitrites and on to nitrates.

Plants = not as much as i would like for my 55. Only have a couple at this time.

I don't use chems or fertilizer in my tank. On the rare occasion I have used ick meds but it has been a long time since I have had that problem. Snails I get a puffer. Easiest way to take care of the problem for me and the boys love to watch them eat snails.

I do vaccum the tank when I do a watter change. I have some corners that get pretty bad but not horrid.

What do you recommend for a liquid test? Should I get a test for each area or combined test for several? Never liked the tablet tests.

thanks for the help!

1077 06-04-2008 08:47 AM

I would change 10 to 12 gal. of water weekly with water that has been treated with dechlorinator that removes ammonia, chlorine, and chloramines. Products such as Prime, or amquel+ are both good products. I would also highly recommend API master freshwater test kit. I recommended 10 to 12 gal. water changes weekly because that is approx 20 percent in 55 gal. tank. Your fish will thank you! also need to vaccum the bottom at each water change. One area with each change ,a different area each week. If you clean filters do so in old aquarium water when doing water changes. And lastly, I would only feed fish as much as I SEE them eat in two minutes. Some folks say five minutes but If you were to put enough food in water for fish to eat for five minutes, you will quickly have water quality issues that will stress the fish and or kill them. :)

herefishy 06-04-2008 05:18 PM

Nix the actinics, they run too hot and of the wrong spectrum for freshwater fish.

Water top-off does not equal water changes. Weekly water changes of 25% are most recommended.

Filtration? It may need upgraded. Especially if the stocking scheme has changed.

Temperature at 75 degrees may be too low or too high, depending upon the fish you keep.

Any new stocking schemes? What type of fish are dying? What type of fish are you keeping in the tank?

As far as suggesting a good, economical, accurate liquid reagent test kit, I use the Master Test Kit from API.

Test your tap water too. The local water works may have recently changed their treatment.For water conditioner I use StartRight by API. It also adds electrolytes to the water.

okiemavis 06-04-2008 05:45 PM

What sort of puffer are you keeping? Just about every one of them is extremely aggressive, so it's probably stressing out your other fish. That, combined with a low temperature (assuming you're keeping tropical fish, which puffers are) and nitrites and possibly ammonia would lead to their immune systems being compromised.

Could you let us know your stocking? That would probably help work out exactly the best approach to improving the survival rate in your tank.

I forgot to mention, I'd also recommend feeding the fish more often, 1-2 times a day as much as they can eat in 2 minutes (not counting algae wafers and such for your pleco, which he should have). You can fast them one day a week if you'd like, but fish definitely prefer to be fed every day.

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