Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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frrranklinn 04-28-2013 06:48 PM

90 Gallon Tank
Hello, I am new to this forum. Let me introduce myself. My name is Franklin and I live in Houston, TX. I have a 90 gallon tank with 8 angelfish, 1 Royal Pleco, 1 Green Phantom Pleco, 1 Orange Spotted Pleco, 4 Golden Balloon Electric Blue Rams, and 10 Buenos Aires Tetras. I recently did a major décor reconstruction on my tank. I had black sand but removed all of it (did this slowly within a month) and added gravel. Then I had put in a cured piece of driftwood. After all this I also added two Black Angel Longfins (juvenile) to the tank. I think the two newly added angelfish were sick because I did not find them ever again. A day later, my angelfish start acting weird. They started to stay near the top of the tank. I noticed without the aquarium light on, the fish had a red tint as if they were internally bleeding. I started to treat them with Melafix. 3 of my angels passed but I have 5 remaining. Funny thing is, none of the other fish in the tank seemed to be affected at all. I have recently finished a 7 day treatment cycle and put the carbon back into my filter. The Angelfish are still near the top. I think there is something wrong, but why not the other fish? My water parameters are as follows...

pH - 7.6
Ammonia - 0ppm-.25ppm
Nitrite - .25 ppm
Nitrate - 80 ppm

If anyone could help me out please, it would be greatly appreciated. I will post pictures soon

MoneyMitch 04-28-2013 07:24 PM

going by the readings you had a mini cycle, could of been what did them in

Boredomb 04-28-2013 08:51 PM

It looks like you tank is cycling being cause its new or you sent it into a "mini" cycle either way those readings are not good for fish. Nitrites at any level can be bad if not deadly if they are in it for a prolonged period. Nitrates are a little bit safer but at those numbers can cause problems over time. If it was me I would do more frequent water changes starting out at 25% and gradually moving up to 50%+ water changes. I would do some heavy gravel vacuuming also. Clean water is what you are after with numbers of Ammonia -0, Nitrites-0, and Nitrates-20 or less is best.

jaysee 04-28-2013 09:07 PM

It's really important to quarantine new fish.

AbbeysDad 04-29-2013 08:26 AM

+2 - API Melafix is an antibacterial so you just may be starting over with cycling. As mentioned you need sufficient water changes and testing to get the params down to safe limits. I'd also suggest using Seachem Prime conditioner as it can aid in cycling because it detoxifies ammonia, nitrite and nitrate for 24-48 hours helping to protect the fish and develop the BB.

Note: also, although possible, I think it's more rare that fish just disappear (e.g. get eaten over night...unless you have some real toothy stock). Decaying fish will cause problems with your water parameters. I'd look long and hard for dead bodies as sick fish often hunker down in the most unlikely places.

frrranklinn 04-29-2013 11:14 AM

I have Prime already. So I should just keep doing water changes daily and test the water everyday? How about feeding? I was reading the bottle I can give more dosage to eliminate the nitrates nitrites.
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Geomancer 04-29-2013 11:41 AM


Originally Posted by frrranklinn (Post 1913978)
I have Prime already. So I should just keep doing water changes daily and test the water everyday? How about feeding? I was reading the bottle I can give more dosage to eliminate the nitrates nitrites.
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It doesn't get rid of them, it just binds to them to make them temporarily non-toxic. That only lasts for a day or two when they once again become toxic. Even when bound though, they will still show up with test kits so you will not get a zero ppm reading.

As long as Ammonia and/or Nitrite are present I would do water changes every 48 hours if you are using Prime. Sooner (daily) if Ammonia/Nitrite levels rise.

80 ppm Nitrate is also quite high, you want that to be no more than 20 ppm but less is obviously best.

Byron 04-29-2013 01:21 PM

I concur with what's been suggested. As someone who has had this very same problem, I may be able to add a bit.

Tank-raised fish (which angelfish will be unless you deal with a direct importer of wild fish--but the Black Lace is a tank-bred variant so not wild anyway) seem to be carrying more and more pathogen, especially internal protozoan, these days. I now quarantine all new fish for 5-6 weeks, since I lost about 1/3 of my main tank a couple years ago. Melafix and similar products will not help if the issue is internal protozoan.

Adding two angelfish to an established tank should not in itself have caused any ammonia or nitrite issues. But there was the recent make-over with new substrate (even if done in stages). Are there live plants? Floating plants (which angelfish like on their own) will help a lot when it comes to nitrification, and issues with minor problems are easily handled.

Another issue that occurs to me is adding angelfish to an existing shoal. This is never a good idea. The existing group will have their hierarchy within the group, and any newcomers will almost always be seen as intruders. Some suggest moving the existing fish to a new environment when adding new fish can get around this, and sometimes it does, but sometimes not. Once a group of angels is in a tank, leave them. The additional stress of this aggression, on top of the considerable stress of moving the new angels to this different environment, plus any of the other issues...pretty soon it is a considerable stress load and this will cause some health issues that might perhaps have been fought off otherwise.

As trouble is still present (the behaviour of the angelfish) I second doing daily water changes of half the tank, using Prime but not more than needed. I assume the nitrates are not in the source (tap) water? Water changes should get these down, which is important. Vacuum the substrate too, as suggested earlier by someone.


frrranklinn 04-29-2013 02:45 PM

I will test the water from my faucet when I get home. I will do daily 50% water changes with vacuuming the gravel. The angelfish are the only fish near the top of the tank. The other fish appear to be normal and eating. If I am doing a 50% water change should I add enough prime for 90 gallons? Or just half.
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Boredomb 04-29-2013 02:51 PM

There is some debate on that but in this situation I personally would add enough for the tank. After you get the nitrites gone and the nitrates down I would just use enough for the amount of water you add back during a water change.

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