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soco1125 02-01-2007 12:28 PM

Tetras all died overnight
I got up this morning and turned on the light to my 55g... only to find that all but one of my glowlight tetras had suddenly died overnight! The one remaining didn't look too good though. He was very pale and listless. I managed to get a pic of him before he expired:

This is one that had already died:

All the other fish in the tank seem to be fine. The water tests out normal and there have been no major changes recently. Could the glowlights have succumbed to old age? They were all purchased from Wal-Mart over 3 years ago. Should I medicate the other fish just in case? If so, what should I use?


bettababy 02-02-2007 02:30 AM

Hi soco, I'll do what I can to help.
For starters, can you please post the stats of your tank?
How long has the tank been running?
What other fish are in the tank? How many?
How often do you do water changes?
How often and what do you feed?
Live plants? How much decoration?
Even though you say your water tests out at "normal", can you please post exact results for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH, and mention what kind of test kits you are using? (strip, dry tab, liquid)

Did you notice any symptoms before the fish died? How do the other fish look?
The more information you can provide, the faster and easier it will be for us to help you. With something like this, every detail you can think of counts.

Derek-M 02-02-2007 04:20 AM

Just one other thing I can add to bettababys list

Have you added any new stock to the tank lately?

soco1125 02-02-2007 12:42 PM

I can't believe I forgot to list all that stuff... I know better. Haha, what a dummy I am! Sorry about that. Anyways:

Size: 55g (~208L)
pH: 6.0
Test kit used: API liquid freshwater pH
Temperature: 80*
Filtration: very large sponge/ powerhead combo
Substrate: gravel/Fluorite mix
Plants: java fern, sagittaria, java moss (lightly planted)
Other decor: 2 pieces of Malaysian driftwood (1 large, 1 small), 2 glass bottles (cleaned & boiled before being put in the tank a month ago)
Last water change: 30% 4 days ago... at least 20% is done weekly
Other fish: 12 black neons, 1 angelfish, 1 rainbowfish
Feedings: 2-3 small feedings throughout the day; alternating of tropical flakes, freeze-dried brine shrimp, freeze-dried bloodworms, and an occasional treat of live feeder guppy fry

I'm afraid I can't give an ammonia/nitrate/nitrite level because I ran out of that tester and have not been able to get to the LFS 40 miles away because of the snow. I know I need to get it... I promise I will ASAP.

The tank had cycled for 2 months. The filter had been used in an already established tank (my other 55g which had been running for 3 years) to create bacteria growth on the sponge. It and some gravel from the older tank was also added to this new one. After it ran empty for 1 week, a few feeder guppies were added. After another 2 weeks, the rainbowfish was added. Once the new tank had cycled for 2 months, the tetras and angelfish were moved from the old 55g tank to this new one because I was changing the substrate. Temperature and pH are the same in both tanks. The little feeder guppies were short-lived once Angel found them. All the fish had been in there for 6 weeks and all appeared very healthy. They were active, in good colour, and eating well (although the glowlights' colouring had been fading a bit in their old age). All of these fish had been living together since the day I got them. The angelfish and glowlights is/were about 3-4 years old. The black neons are about 1 year old and the rainbow is 4-5 years old. There is no aggression shown to the tetras by the angel; she usually just ignores them. The others are still doing very well, which is why I suspected that the poor little WalMart glowlights had simply lived out their lifespan.

bettababy 02-02-2007 01:48 PM

Well, I can see a few possibilities, but I don't like to guess, especially without complete water params. What I can tell you is that the average life span for glolites is usually 5 - 9 yrs., they stress quite easily, but tend to have a stronger immune system than many of the other tetras. I have long used them for cycling, they're a great little fish!

If I had known about your planned move of the fish ahead of time, I would have suggested moving them in smaller groups than what you did. Adding all of the tetras and angels to a newly cycled system all at the same time was sure to cause a mini cycle. Even though your new tank was cycled, the bacteria culture growing in there would only have been large enough to sustain the current inhabitants. When the rest of the fish went in, that would have been a lot more new waste, and the bacteria would have needed time to handle it. Combined with the stress of moving and age, this could have been your culprit...

I'm still wanting to see the other water params to help eliminate a few other possibilities. How do the other fish look now?

Lupin 02-02-2007 05:05 PM

There is one thing to note. How old were the glowlights when they were bought? 3 years seems to be the time since you bought them so the glowlights are more than just 3 years in terms of age.

fish_4_all 02-02-2007 06:27 PM

One main things I see is the filter is not going to be enough to handle a 55 gallon tank. Maybe a 2nd very large sponge filter will be closer to hanmdling the bioload but an HOB or a canister is really going to be needed to handle that size of tank.

I also wonder if the glowlights were frequesnting the other side of the tank and were exposed to an ammonia concentration that the other fish didn't get.

Get the test results when you can but until then, try to keep up with water changes as they will help to keep the water a little more clean and also combat any mini cycle you might be having. Remember to add dechlor to make sure that the chlorine doesn't kill the bacteria you have in the tank.
I know that most know this but even I forget sometimes.

soco1125 02-03-2007 01:46 AM

I did think afterwards that of course the glowlights were older than 3 years... don't know why I'm so dense lately. I also don't know where I got the impression that they only live 3 or 4 years... probably misread it somewhere. So I guess their real age is a mystery.

I did a 40% water change after removing the dead fish (we're on a private well, so there isn't any chlorine or anything in the water). Everyone else seems to be just fine. The tetras are chasing each other around and Angel and the rainbow are begging for food as usual. I think I'll start slowly moving them back to the old tank now that it's thouroughly settled in with its new substrate and plants.

I'll be able to get to the LFS later today and pick up a new test kit. I will also see what I can do about adding another filter since apparently the [eBay] seller of this one was incorrect in stating that it was adequate for up to 90g.

Thanks for being so patient with me everyone :)

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