Please help! Lost two fish and losing plants!!!
I have a 60cm x 30cm x 30 cm tank. Its stocked with 5 snails, 5 shrimp, 6 minus 2 now neon tetra, two bala sharks, and 6 guppies. I have been feeding them regularly in the morning and evening and have noticed since I added the guppies the bala sharks have been hiding and not eating. I have also notice that my plants are being snipped at the roots. Today I returned and found two of my neon tetras are not just dead but eaten... I quickly looked around the net and read that sometimes ballas will eat smaller fish so i have pulled them from the tank and am keeping them in a small container for the time. Should I get rid of them completely or could the guppies in fact be the problem? Before they were added the Ballas seemed to get along just fine with the tetras.
Welcome to the forum, Akiba!
Sorry you're having a rough time. . .
Your little Bala Sharks are very likely a large part of your problem, they certainly aren't well suited to a tank of this size. I've never kept them, but my understanding is that they will eat plants, they also need a muuuch larger tank!
It looks like you have a 10g? These babies need six feet + to do well long-term. O.O Good that you removed them, but it sounds as if they're in a smaller, and presumably un-cycled, container now? This won't work well for them for very long. Unless you have plans on setting up a 125g tank, I'd recommend that you find these beauties a new home, or perhaps return them to the shop.
Your tank sounds as if it was quite overstocked, which will lead to issues with water quality - my suspicion is that your recent troubles may stem directly from this. . .
Were it my tank, I would do an immediate water change (if you haven't just finished one!), and reduce feedings - feed very lightly every other day until you get things sorted out, the fish will be fine with this - promise! Food creates waste, which leads to fouled water - and in a newly setup and overstocked tank, this can become deadly quite quickly. :(
I'm wondering if you'd be willing to provide additional information for us?
How long has this tank been setup?
Did you cycle the tank prior to bringing the animals home?
What kind of snails do you have?
How often are you doing water changes?
What type of lighting do you have for your plants?
Hopefully we can get you sorted out and on your way to a healthy tank! ^__^
Here is my timeline. I know some of this is quite rushed but I am not the most patient person espcially when starting a new hobby. I filled my tank on the 4th of march let the filter, heater and lamp run, added 6 neon tetras and the two bala on the 8th (added the shrip and snails as well), and added six guppies 3 male 3 female on the 9th. came home on the 10th and found the plants being pulled appart, and two dead tetras. I tried to take the balas back to the store but they will not take them so i bought a barrier for them and put them back in the main tank for now. I also bought 4 more tetras because i read they should be in a school of at least 6 so now im sitting at 6 guppies, 8 tetras, and 2 balas in the barrier. Should the shrimp and snails count towards my stock? I read that I can hold 20-25 fish in my tank. I really hate to lose the balas as I find them to be quite beautiful but im worried that if i let them loose again they will terrorize the other fish. Could i let the bioload calm down and get two more balas to make them less stressed? Also should i replace my plants or will they grow back the lost chutes? I should also note that I am stationed in Japan so when I ask for advice at the store there is a huge language barrier. Last time I asked about a water quality test kit but they told me that I should not worry about studying my water quality this early in my tanks life. Also if I do have to get rid of the balas after my tank stabalizes could I replace them with some tiger loaches?
UPDATE* I returned today to find another tetra missing, and a hollowed out shrimp. How can I stop losing my stock? And what could have eaten the shrimp? The Balas are still in the barrier. Upon further inspection of my tank I also noticed 5 or 6 new fish. I can tell as they are tiny but they look like new tetras. Should I get a barrier to protect them from other fish?
The babies are more than likely from the guppies. Your fish may just be dying then getting eaten.
Thanks for the extra information, Akiba - this definitely helps to paint a clearer picture of what's going on in there. It sounds like I was on the right track in my first post - you seem to be in the middle of a fish-in cycle with an overstocked tank. Not a good situation, but one that you can correct if you're willing to put some work in. Start with daily water changes to keep the toxins as low as possible and re-home those Balas ASAP.
Fish-keeping is definitely a hobby in which patience is a critical component for success, as many of us who also started on the wrong foot have learned the hard way. :/
Each will contribute it's own share of waste into the water column, as well as require enough room to move about freely in the limited space provided.
My understanding is that shrimp are at the lower end of the bioload spectrum, but larger snails, such as the commonly named 'Apple,' or 'Mystery' snail, can contribute quite a bit of waste to a tank.
The fish you have now are juveniles, I'm sure. Balas grow to over 35 cm (14 inches) and of course will require much more space than the 60cm tank you currently have. Here is a link to our profile on these fish. I suggest you take some time to read up on them, and their needs - as well as the needs of the other fish you have. I honestly can't imagine 2 in a tank that size, much less 4 at full growth. . . they would be like sardines in a glass can. . .
I'm not sure what you mean when you say 'wait for the bioload to calm down,' but the bioload is what we use to refer to the amount of wast that any given fish will add to the tank. Some fish create more waste than others. This can depend on their size, diet, and how their digestive tract works, among other things, I'm sure. The Nitrogen cycle is a process in which colonies of beneficial bacteria form on the surface areas within your aquarium. These help to process fish waste, and combined with water changes, help to keep a system healthy. This bacteria is not yet present in your tank, so the levels of toxins are building up - at an alarming rate, considering your current stocking. This is bringing harm to your fish. If a tank is very overstocked, there may not be enough surface area for an adequate amount of bacteria to handle such a large bioload to colonize - that apart from the bottom line that Bala sharks can not thrive in a 10g tank. You need much, much larger. . . what you need is fewer fish, more water changes, and a bit of patience while this natural process takes place, and then to keep your stocking at proper levels for the size tank you have, so that the bacteria can do its job.
Clean water is required to keep healthy fish - that's just a given. In a newly set-up, freshly stocked tank, the water parameters are subject to extreme fluctuation. As the fish excrete waste with every breath, toxins build up - and until the nitrogen cycle is established, these animals are running the high risk of losing their lives.
I have no idea what type of testing kits they have available over in Japan, hopefully one of our other members may be able to help you there. Here, the majority of us use the
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but it sounds as if you may not be terribly familiar with the nitrogen cycle, beneficial bacteria, and how this process works to ensure the safety of those who live in our tanks. Here's a link that may help clarify things for you. Give it a read, and post any questions you have. We're all happy to help!
They're so cute and small when we see them in the fish shop, but these fish will grow to be lager than a foot in length! I have found it to be in the best interests of any fishkeeper to do their research before they walk into a shop, and never take the word of the salespeople there - too often their information is incorrect, and it ends up costing many little lives. . .
Your shrimp likely died from the toxins in the tank, and was picked at by the guppies - who *may* have been picking at it even before it's demise. I've never kept shrimp, but many fish view them as a food source.
I hope this helps you out somewhat. . . you really just need to find a new home for your Bala, increase your water changes, and do a lot of reading up! I wouldn't purchase any other fish for this tank, and were it my tank, I would rehome the Neons, as well. This is the only way that you will stop losing stock.
Chesh is right. You should really rehome the balas or find a store that will take them, they grow to be 12 inches and need large shoals, and it is simply impossible to do that in your size tank.
Your tank is also mid cycle so unless you return/rehome some fish and do some large water changes, your fish are most likely going to become incredibly sick with a high risk for death.
When I first started keeping fish I loved them so much that I just kept buying more. My 10 gallon tank looked pretty big to me and I got up to about 12-15 fish... before they started dying.
Its a very common mistake to overstock and its totaly understandable that most people don't know about the nitrogen cycle and how it applies to fishtanks.
I would recommend changing 25% of the water everyday until your tank stabilizes. Fish probaly dying from ammonia or nitrite poisoning.
PRIME...Using Seachem Prime water conditioner (or an equivalent which detoxifies ammonia) is the second most important thing you can do right now; right after more water changes. I would recommend dosing Prime @ 4-drops/gal tank size with every water change and 2-drops/gal daily until you tank is cycled.
That's in addition to the valuable advice Chesh and others have given above.
Having a water test kit will show you how important this all is.
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