Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Yamaha90 01-10-2010 10:14 PM

My Angel Fish are having trouble, input?
Hey guys, i'm new to the forum and i've searched around but could not find anything on the topic of angel fish issues. My dad got two large "semi aggressive egg layers" angelfish just before the new year came around. one is all white and the other marbled black. the tank is a freshly rebuilt 55g tank. new gravel plants and decorations, i cleaned the gravel and everything put in the tank and we hooked up the filters and let the tank sit and run for a couple days before putting some fish in. the water tested about 7.4 so i used pH Down to lower it more. I used safe start to get the tank going safely. After nearly 2 weeks the angels were alright, slow movers and nothing really to watch and didn't eat much tetrafin. They started goign crazy the other day. the black one was laying on the bottm still breathing and the white one was at the top gasping for air. i hooked up the air tube for the penguin pump to put oxygen into the water because i didn't have it hooked up previously. the temperature has been over 75 degrees. When my dad checked the tank today the white one had died and the black one is still holding onto life gettin kicked around the tank. He brought him home to our 150g with a bunch of community fish in it (gouramis, tetra, pictus cat, snail, dalmation mollies, sunburst mickey + pleco) and all my fish are doing great. what could cause my fish to be so close to death and still not die. and i dont want it to effect my fish here at home. would the lack of oxygen do brain damage to the fish?:-?

jeaninel 01-10-2010 10:58 PM

Did you test your water for ammonia and nitrite? Sounds like this was a new set up and the tank has not cycled yet.

Yamaha90 01-10-2010 11:05 PM

i did not test those, but we did let the tank cycle for about 4-5 days. I figured with the safe start and the numerous days of cycling it should have been good to go for some fish, so my dad got two bigger angelfish to toss in there.

jeaninel 01-11-2010 11:06 AM

Cycling a tank typically takes anywhere from 4-6 weeks. There must be an ammonia source present to start the cycle. It is the food that feeds the beneficial bacteria that develop. If you left it running with no fish for 4-5 days that does nothing. Once fish are added they produce ammonia and that is what starts the cycle. Ammonia is lethal to fish and will kill them if levels get too high. Or, some people do a fishless cycle by adding pure ammonia or fish food as an ammonia source. This way spares the fish from suffering/dieing.

Basically, this is how the cycle works. Fish (or some source of ammonia) are added to the tank and ammonia levels start to rise. A bacteria called nitrosomas form to process the deadly ammonia into nitrite which is also deadly to fish. Ammonia levels start to drop but nitrite levels rise. But another bacteria called nitrobacter forms to process the nitrites into nitrates which is much less lethal to fish. Nitrite levels drop and nitrate levels rise. Nitrates are what we remove by weekly water changes. Once you get a reading for 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and some reading for nitrates (under 40ppm is ok) then your tank is considered cycled. Google "the aquarium cycle" and read up on it. There is tons of info on the web.

I think your fish may be suffering from ammonia and/or nitrite poisoning. Daily water changes may be needed to get the levels low enough for them to tolerate (usually under .25 ppm). A good test kit is an essential tool to see where you are in the cycle. I would advise getting a test kit (get the liquid drops kind, not the dip strips) and testing your water.

Can you get some filter floss from your 150 gallon to put in the 55? This will jump start your cycle and speed the process up. But again, you'll need an ammonia source in the tank as you do this or the beneficial bacteria will starve and die off. I would hate for you to have to put the angel back in since it's already weakened but hardier fish such as danios can be used. Or go the fishless route with pure ammonia or a pinch of fish food every other day. Be sure to read up on "fishless cycling" if you go this route.

Yamaha90 01-11-2010 02:33 PM

i see, that makes sense. I will have to add some food everyother day for a few weeks and let it cycle through. The black angel fish died last night and he was half in the bag as it was. These were older fish(larger) and the store we got them from had a bad batch of angel fish come in a few days before ours so maybe they had some problems before us, but thank you for the information. i'll wait a few weeks before adding any fish to the tank.

jeaninel 01-11-2010 03:53 PM

So sorry to hear your other angel didn't make it.

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