Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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bschwally 02-25-2007 03:43 PM

Gourami Tank

I set up my 36 gallon freshwater tank on 1/20/07. I ran the tank with a Fluval cannister filter (using biomax and carbon as the media) for two days. Then I added 6 tetras as my starterfish to get the cycle going. Two weeks after I added the tetras (while monitoring water levels daily), I added 4 beautiful gouramis. My water levels before and after adding the gouramis were consistenyly: pH 6.5-6.8, no nitrate or nitrates spikes, temp at about 81. I treat the water with a conditioner and I add aquarium salt as well. I have beeen doing well with the water changes, I would say 15-20% every week.

After week 1 with the Gouramis the Nitrites did spike. I added an extra supply of the biomax filters to the bottom of my tank inside of a nylon bag.

Within 5 days the Nitrites converted and the Nitrates went up a bit. Now the levels are perfect.

My issue now is that yesterday I lost my Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami. It was horrible. I did not see any signs of illness or disease, only a change in his behavior. I noticed that he kept to himself in the corners of the tank and then as the day went on it was obvious he was struggling. He would work to get to the top of the tank and then fall to the bottom and wherever he landed he stayed for quite sometime. Then after a long day of struggling I lost him. :(

My other three fish that remain seem fine. The only thing I have noticed is that there is brown-red rusty coloted residue on some of my live plant leaves and some of the rock deco.

I guess what I am asking is, are there any preventive measures I can take to ensure I don't lose any of my other fish? Is the residue common? And about how long is it recommended to wait until I add additional fish?

Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated!

Lupin 02-25-2007 09:48 PM


Here are the points to be noted.
1. Stop buying fish when your tank is in cycling phase. You had a case of New Tank Syndrome. Buying more fish won't save your wallet. It becomes pointless when the fish die in a few days due to poisoning from ammonia and nitrites. None of the fish you have are quite resistant to ammonia and nitrites.

2. Stop adding salt. It is also pointless to add salt since it is not necessary at the moment. Your fish are not brackish water. Tetras will not tolerate it on long-term basis.

3. The rusty-colored residue is diatoms in my understanding. That is not harmful and has nothing to do with the death of your fish.

Conclusion: You bought the gouramis while your tank is still cycling. This is one thing I can clearly see as the suspect in the death of your gourami. When buying your fish, do not buy them if your water parameters show detectable ammonia and nitrites. The reason is written in no. 2.

musho3210 02-25-2007 09:52 PM

The problem is probably nitrite poisoning, it is similar to human carbon monoxide poisoning since it prevents the red blood cells from carrying oxygen. The gourami probably tried to stay at the top of the tank to get the water where the most oxygen is, but didnt have enough energy to stay up there hence the falling down.

bschwally 02-25-2007 10:47 PM

Thank you for the response.

As I mentioned in my original post, my nitrite/nitrate levels were fine when I added the four Gourami. I added the Gourami at what I thought was an acceptable time in the cycle. It was not until a week after I added the Gouramis that there was an increase in the Nitrites. This I assumed was due to an increase in ammonia... which I thought was to be expected. Within a few days the Nitrite levels went back to zero and showed a sllight increase in the Nitrates (between 0-20, never exceeding 20)

Also, I added the aquarium salt only as a precaution in case of disease.

Thanks again.

musho3210 02-25-2007 11:01 PM

What test kit are you using?

bschwally 02-25-2007 11:13 PM

I have been using a 5 in one strip "Quick Dip" testing. It tests for Nitrates, Nitrites, water hardness, alkalinity, and pH.

I am curious why you ask??? :)

Lupin 02-25-2007 11:14 PM


Originally Posted by bschwally
I have been using a 5 in one strip "Quick Dip" testing. It tests for Nitrates, Nitrites, water hardness, alkalinity, and pH.

I am curious why you ask??? :)

Because most of the test kits are quite inaccurate and test strips are included in this category. You don't have the ammonia test kit which you needed during the cycling phase.

bschwally 02-25-2007 11:19 PM

Is there a test kit that is recommended specifically for Nitrite levels while cycling?

Lupin 02-25-2007 11:28 PM


Originally Posted by bschwally
Is there a test kit that is recommended specifically for nitrite levels while cycling?

API Master Freshwater Test Kit.:)

Picklee 02-26-2007 12:13 AM

In your case, it sounds like nitrite poisoning, as musho said. The problem with this diagnosis however, is that nitrite poisoning would would affect all of the fish in the tank equally and not just the single gourami. It's obvious when a fish has any type of nitrogen poisoning because typically all the other fish in the tank of the same species will experience the same symptoms. You said that your other gouramis seem fine and you only lost the one. Perhaps it was that particular fish that you bought? Maybe he was just under a little too much stress.

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