Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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mwalk90 06-26-2009 10:27 AM

Firemouths Dead...
Alright so about 2 days ago I noticed one of my firemouths swimming really fast around the tank and looked like it was choking on something and wouldn't close its mouth, I didn't see anything in its mouth though. The next day it died. That same night the first one died, the second died, and now this morning my last firemouth died. All my other fish are doing fine, water parameters are almost perfect and temperature is about 79F. I have no idea what may have caused it. Any Ideas?

DragonFish 06-26-2009 12:40 PM

Hmm.....a few questions...

How big is the tank? Other inhabitants? What do you feed and how often? How long as the tank been set up?

What are your water parameters(actual numbers)? And what kind of test kit are you using?

I'm not as knowledgeable in this particular area(diseases and such)but knowing more I can go and so some googling for you....and it would be easer for other, more experienced members to answer as well :-)

mwalk90 06-26-2009 06:13 PM

Its a 55 gallon, 2 oscars about 4 in, a 4 in midas, peacock eel, severum, and dempsy and pleco. Been doing water changes every 2 or so days I'm not sure on exact water parameters, took water to LFS and he said they were fine for cichlid tank. All other fish are still doing fine, no problems, changed water again this morning after i found the last firemouth dead. Tank has been set up for almost 2 months and the oscars are fed pellets or krill once at morning and once at night, and the other fish usually clean up after the oscars and eat flake once in the morning. All the food is Omega one.

mwalk90 06-26-2009 08:13 PM

So I think I might have figured out what the problem was...maybe. One of my plastic plants touched the heater when i was changing the water and it melted to the heater. Could this be it?

DragonFish 06-26-2009 09:21 PM

Always good to get actual numbers when getting it tested at an LFS. Just 'fine' could really mean a lot of things. Also, a suggestion. Purchase an API master liquid test kit, it'll be one of the best fish supply purchases you'll ever make. ;-)

Goodness.....I can see how that might effect the fish and the water, remembering what happened when a plastic cup fell down into the bottom part of our dishwasher....but I'd imagine that it wold effect all the who knows?
If you haven't already, take out both melted plant and heater, throw away the plant, scrape as much off the heater as you can, then do a 50% or so water change. Then either tank your water back a day or two after and have it tested again, but be sure to ask for numbers and what kind of test kit they use(the strips are horribly inaccurate), or get yourself an API kit. Though I recommend getting the kit regardless.

mwalk90 06-26-2009 09:57 PM

Well he gave me the actual numbers but I just don't remember lol. Yeah I took the part of the plant that was melted out of the tank and also scrubbed the heater. My Midas started acting like it was having trouble breathing like the firemouths did and as soon as I got the plant and heater out and did a water change he was acting fine again. I also purchased the emperor 400 today so that should help with the messy oscars. I also almost bought the api master kit today but decided to wait until monday when i get paid lol. Water is looking much better already though (started getting cloudy pretty much when the first firemouth died, probably the plant. Thank you for the info, Ill post exact numbers probably monday.

mwalk90 06-27-2009 08:54 AM

pH 7.2
Nitrate 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Ammonia .25 ppm

DragonFish 06-27-2009 03:02 PM

xD Your very welcome, I'm glad to help.

Totally understandable, I'd probably wait until I got paid too ;-) They may be a little more pricy, but'll save ya lots in the long run.
Hmm....those numbers worry me. An established tank should read both NitrIte and Ammonia at 0 and NitrAte at 5-10. This whole plant thing may have spurred your tank into a little mini cycle. As soon as you get the kit, start monitoring your levels daily and do water changes often, sometimes even more then once a day, to be sure your Ammonia doesn't rise too high. Fish gasping for breath can br a sign of Ammonia poisoning. Again, I'm guessing this was probably caused by the plant. When your levels read:

NitrAte 5-10
NitrIte 0
Ammonia 0

Then wait a couple days, watch your fish closely, test again, and if everything is still the same then go back to your weekly WC.
Also, you added the new filter in with the old one, correct?

mwalk90 06-27-2009 03:41 PM

Yeah I was thinking it was cycling too when i got those numbers, I've decided to blame everything on the plant for now. Changed about 50% water this morning already, and yes the old filter is still on there, Its maxed out for 55 gallons on the old filter and I'm thinking it just couldn't keep up with the oscars mess. I've already got a nice brown coat on the wheels this morning and also added in Carbon-Ammonia Nuetralizing blend to the extra cartridges in the new filter. I'll prob do a new test here in a few hours and see how it goes. Quick question too if you know, my midas keeps digging a hole in the gravel in the same spot, do you know why?

DragonFish 06-27-2009 04:53 PM

Sounds reasonable, I can definitely see how the chemicals in the melted plastic plant could mess with the water chemistry.
Good to hear about the filter, its just that the old one will have the needed necessary bacteria(what little you may have left)and removing it all together could make things worse.
Im not sure about Carbon-Ammonia Nuetralizing blend.....doesn't sound good to me, like a chemical that doesn't wok that the LFS'll talk ya into just to get some extra money off ya. You shouldn't add anything to the water save fore your standard water conditioner(I use this TetraAqua/AquaSafe stuff, comes in a yellow bottle. Dunno if its the best out there, but it definitely did wonders in my tanks)during water changes along with the new water(mix the correct dosage into the new water before putting it into the tank).
As for your Cichlids digging, totally normal. Cichlids dig around in the substrate to make caves to hide, for breeding, ext. No matter how many times I move the gravel around, my Firemouth always goes and digs herself new caves. I've given up moving it back by now :lol:
I also have a question for you plan on upgrading your tank sometime in the future? Everything you have on your list will get very large and are usually recommended one per tank in a minimum of 50 or so gallons. And Oscars aren't only messy, but they grow fairly quickly to my understanding....
Not sure if you were aware, but just a heads up if your not. ;-) If you wanted to keep them all together for the long term, you're gonna need a HUGE tank and even then I'd be wary about keeping them all in there together....

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