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My Fish are Randomly Dying Off!
Ok, within the past week I have had 1 neon tetra die, 1 zebra danio die, 2 cory catfish die (i think they were a bad bunch at the pet store), and 1 dojo die.
Why is this happening? I got my water checked and they said it was fine.
No fungus on the fish, they all just die completely randomly.
Yesterday I found a albino cory had died..... great.
Today I come home and see 5 of my fish, DEAD!
Now these are the things I have done recently, please help me figure out why my fish are dying.
1. My friend gave me 5 black tetras for my tank (week and a half ago)
2. I cleaned my tank (including filter + heater, no chemicals used)
3. I put some small snails in my 29 from my 2 gallon (i thought the dojo would snack on them)
4. I I bought 4 new albino corys for the tank (they were on sale...hmm)
5. I bought 1 chinese algae eater for the tank
6. I put 4 medium sized guppies from my 2 gallon to my 29 gallon.
7. A cory dies, i get another
8. a cory dies, i get another
9. My dojo dies
10. a cory dies, a danio dies
11. a guppy dies, a cory dies
12. 2 corys die, 1 black tetra dies, 1 danio dies, 1 guppy dies.
HELP ME PLEASE
Who checked your water and what were the readings? To me it would seem a water problem if there are no visible signs of illness. Either that, or since you said some were new fish..maybe they had something and it just isn't showing. Also, how long has this tank been set up?
My water was checked by 2 different Petco employees on two different days.
this first told me that it was a bit acidic and to add a teaspoon of basking soda, which i did by mixing with a cup of the tank water until it was almost all dissolved and then poured it in slowly
the next day a petco employee checked it and told me it was fine
the tank has been set up for over a year now
Hmmm, petco just makes it sound a little suspicious. I personally wouldn't trust them, but the petco near me is a fish graveyard. It could be different for you though.
I've never heard of baking soda in a fish tank, I wouldn't try it myself, but I could be wrong. I would go and get a test kit if you have the money, like an api master kit which are about 20 bucks or some test strips like jungle labs pH and 5 in one and then report the results here.
Did all of this start when you added in the new fish?
By my count, you added 14 new fish into a 29 gallon aquarium, all inside of 1 week. This enough of an addition to the bioload to cause a temporary spike in ammonia, and a strain on your buffer system.
The testing of carbonate hardness or general hardness would be an excellent idea, but this would be very rare for an LFS to take this step. My guess is that the employee tested for pH, and found your pH to be low.
Lets put all this information together. Ammonia exists in 2 stages in your water, NH4 and NH3. NH4 is a non-toxic form of ammonia which does not register on most test kits. The ratio of NH4 to NH3 in the water is directly linked to the pH scale. The higher the pH, the higher the ratio of NH3 to NH4. In other words, if your total ammonia (NH4 + NH3) has spiked due to a livestock addition, and you raise your pH, you will cause a spike in the NH3 toxic ammonia.
For the record, adding baking soda is an excellent way to increase the number of bicaronates in the aquarium, which are part of the general harndess that makes up your buffer system. The downside of using sodium bicarbonate as a buffer is that it causes a temporary spike in the pH. The pH spike is normally not a problem, but if we are diagnosising your situation correctly, in this case it resulted in a NH3 ammonia spike as well.
All of this occurred after your LFS water test, and the bacteria which consume ammonia multiple very rapidly in a system set up with the proper biological filter, so the ammonia will likely be back to zero by the time you test the water again. (You dont' offer setup information, so I can't help here without more details.)
All in all, this is a good example of why owning test kits at home is not an option, but a requirement of fishkeeping.
There are a few things that I would submit for you to consider. You say the tank has been set up for a year. The acidification (low pH) is natural process as aquariums age. Routine,, weekly water changes help keep pH from drifting by supplying minerals like calcium that help buffer the water.Without regular weekly water changes the ph over time will become lower possibly than what fish store water or your tapwater produces. It is for this reason that acclimation of new fish becomes important . Could be the sudden change in ph is resulting in osmotic shock to fishes. Were it me,(and it ain't) I might try acclimating the fish slowly, by floating the bag with fish in the tank for twenty minutes. Then I would open the bag and try and add approx half cup, to a cup of aquarium water to the bag of fish every four to five minutes until the bag became full. You could also place new fish in a bucket with the water from the bag and use airline tubing and suction to allow water to drip from your aquarium into bucket with fish for twenty to thirty minutes. With both methods, once bag became full, or bucket became half full ,you could then net the fish from the bag or bucket and gently release them into the aquarium. Throw the acclimation water out or down the drain. (don't put in aquarium).
Something else you mentioned,,, (cleaned the tank and filter) When cleaning the filter material.,, best to use tank water that you take out during weekly 20 to 25 percent water changes or dechlorinated water in a bucket. Tapwater contains possible chlorine or chloramines that damage or destroy beneficial bacteria that is needed.
As Pasfur mentioned,, fish should be added slowly and a few at a time over several weeks .
Get a test kit so that you don't have to rely on fish stores to test your water.
Ask fish store what ph in their tanks are and then measure the pH from your tank. If there is significant difference,, acclimate the new fish slowly to your tank as described.
Use a dechlorinator such as PRIME or AMQUEL+ to treat the new water you add to the tank during weekly water changes and try to make new water close to same temp as water in the aquarium.(note)..topping off tanks to replace water that eveporates ,does not = a water change.
I hope some of this helps you or others.;-)
P.S.Resist the urge to add any chemicals and or potions to your aquarium to alter the ph . Doing so can cause pH to fluctuate significantly and kills many fish in the process. Best to have stable pH values rather than those that are not. Many of the fish you mentioned can adapt to your ph if acclimated slowly.
The lower pH levels help keep the ammonia in the transport bag in the NH4 stage. Adding water from your aquarium with a higher pH level will cause ammonia to become NH3 and be toxic. You could accidentally cause ammonia burn during the acclimation process.
The drip method of acclimation is much more effective because it allows for water to be added from the display to the transport bag much more slowly. This prevents any rapid conversion of NH4 to NH3. The open bag also allows CO2 to escape easier, which is restricted by the floating process.
Depending on the pH at your LFS and at home, the method of acclimation could be critical to introducing new livestock.
Alright thanks guys. The tank seems to have stabilized a bit now, I will go and get a test kit asap.
I'm not planning on adding any new fish soon, and I'll keep an eye on the chinese algae eater.
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