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NinaZ 07-15-2008 07:38 PM

My platy died, I'm afraid to lose more fish. Please help!
I have a 20 gal fish tank, and has been running for a month. I'm checking pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate every other day. pH is 6.4, ammonia is 0.25ppm and 0 Nitrite. In my tank I have a piece of wood, rock and live plants and I'm using Bio-wheel power filter.
In my fish tank right now I have 3 guppies, 1 platy, 2 mollies, 7 tetras and 2 alge eater. Last night I lost one red platy, she seems so sad a day before she died, and keep being on the surface and last night she went down and in the morning she was dead. I bought this platy 2 weeks ago and from beginning she was more quite than my other platy. I don't know what happened to her, my other fish doing fine but I'm so afraid to lose my black molly, he was on the surface yesterday too but this morning he was doing better and he was eating a bit too (but less than he used to).
My question is: did my low pH kill my platy? Shall I remove the wood as it could be the source of lowering the pH.
btw I have to say that too that I got my wood and stone from river side (portland, OR) and I heard that they could bring heavy metals to my tank and can kill my fish. Is it true?
So what should I do now? I dont want to lose any more fish.

Melora 07-16-2008 01:26 AM

Rivers are never as clean as I wish they could be :( Certain kinds of wood (like oak and cedar, etc...) contain natural defense crap that you probably don't want in your tank either- (*random rant* Pine and cedar shavings for rodents are such evil products :( ) I at least know that you don't want parrots, rodents, and the like, to chew on it because of all that kind of thing, so I would assume that it's bad for fish too. I'm from Bend; I don't know what tree's would grow in the cascades that would be safe for a tank- most of the ones I can think of would be pretty bad for it I think :/ There is also tannic acid in many kinds of wood that will lower the ph some- I don't know if it's found in the wood around here though. Some rocks can also affect the ph... although I've found a lot in this range of the country to be pretty neutral. There's documentation online about what is what and how to test the rocks if you're not sure as to what kind they are. You should also boil rocks before you put them in to remove any hitchhikers and other types of bad crud. Whether you did or didn't; I'm just saying.

I would get that ammonia down; it can burn their gills, making it hard for them to breathe. I've noticed that guppies are really prone to dying from even a little bit of ammonia; platties are probably about like them (but I don't have much experience with platties or mollies.) Do a little water change and get some AmQuel+ to add & ASAP- then hopefully someone who knows more about this stuff, than me, will come along. Good luck! I know how you feel

Edit: You know, they could just also be stressed from all the stuff they have to go through to get to the pet store. It can be rough on them, and it's usually a lot of PH changes and stuff.

Little-Fizz 07-16-2008 11:05 AM

This definitely sounds like ammonia poisoning rather than a pH problem (although this could become an issue too). When your fish are hanging around the surface of the water you can pretty much bet theres ammonia in your water, and since you clearly have a reading of ammonia then you should do an immediate water change. Did they have clouded eyes too?

Now, I'm interested to see what your nitrate reading is? Did you look into cycling before you set your tank up? You have a fairly young tank so I'm thinking maybe its still cycling?

I would get the wood and rocks out asap, and clean them out real good if you didn't already, let the wood soak for a few days to remove heavy metals or hitch hikers. Theres a post on this forum about rocks in the aquarium and how to choose the right rock then clean them. It doesn't recommend boiling the rocks, because rocks have exploded being boiled.

The pH could be a problem assuming that your fish store doesn't have the same pH as you. Is this the pH that comes straight from your tap? You can try upping it a little by adding crushed coral to the gravel or even in the filter. All of your fish would prefer a pH of 7.0 or higher. But I would not play around with the pH unless you think its stressing your fish out.

NinaZ 07-16-2008 06:58 PM

Hey guys thanks a lot for your rec.
My Nitrate level is still zero, I had a high level of Nitrite 2 weeks ago which it passed out and none of my fishes died, but now nirite level is zero but not so much sign of nitrate. I have a live plants and I was thinking all the nitrate been produced might have used already by my plants. Is that true?
Yesterday I was so worried about my fish but when I backed home they seems to be okay, I have a feeling maybe my fish died becasue of too much heat. its been few days that their temp goes up to 80F which I guess is too high for them but I can not help it as I'm mostly out of house during the day. I'm going to do a 20% water chang today and remove the wood. I hope that would help.

Little-Fizz 07-16-2008 07:50 PM

Uh yeah... Plants eat nitrates... I have many live plants in my tank and I get nitrate readings of like 40ppm. The only reason you wouldn't have nitrates is if your test kit is broken or your tank isn't cycled. What sort of test kit are you using? strips? Use API liquid water testing kit.

Your fish probably died because you had a reading of .25ppm ammonia? And if your having ammonia readings and no nitrates. Your tank definitely sounds like its cycling. You need to check the water everyday and more then likely do daily water changes to save your fish because the ammonia will only come back with no nitrates.

JumpingMolly 07-17-2008 12:52 AM


Originally Posted by Melora
There's documentation online about what is what and how to test the rocks if you're not sure as to what kind they are. You should also boil rocks before you put them in to remove any hitchhikers and other types of bad crud. Whether you did or didn't; I'm just saying.


NinaZ 07-17-2008 04:09 PM

I'm using a master Kit (liquid type).
You could be right about cycling of my fish tank. I will do water change and update you about my reading.

Thanks a lot!

Melora 07-19-2008 12:58 AM


Originally Posted by JumpingMolly

Guess my info is old/crappy :? I've never used stuff out of a stream unless I'm making a tank for stuff from that stream, so I've never boiled them myself. I've just heard other people recommend it. Is there anything else besides certain kinds exploding that makes it bad?

Also, I don't think that a temp of 80 would be too high for them, but it is kind of scary when it fluctuates a lot.

It does sound like that it didn't cycle. If you're getting ammonia and nitrite, even on and off, but no nitrate, that would usually be what that means. Nitrate kind of comes after ammonia, and then nitrites get turned into nitrate. With or without plants

Little-Fizz 07-19-2008 01:03 AM


To answer your question, no other then the fact that the rock would explode and possibly kill you there are no other negative side effects :wink:

Next time when you want to clean the rocks, boil the kettle and pour boiling water over the rock rather then let them sit in boiling water.

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