ALL of of my fish are dead or dying!!!!
My boyfriend has a ten gallon tank. A while back, there was some problem we never discovered that caused many of his fish to die over about a two week time span. He finally figured it was city water and since then has been using store-bought purified water and his fish have been great. Slowly, he has been rebuilding his fish collection, having had lost so many.
He had two fish with red faces (I don't know their name), two neon glow fish, a kissing fish he has had longer than we have been together (We've been together seven years), an algae eater, a glass fish and a catfish. He had these a while, four or five months. Then, just recently we got two mollies, then three calico-looking fish, and an angel fish. One calico fish died right off; this was probably normal; it was from wal-mart and that happens. All of these fish were purchased far enough apart that it didn't seem that any of them were carrying a disease or parasite.
When he bought the angel fish (the newest addition), he also bought a live plant. Ever since he added the angel and plant, the fish acted dazed, for a week. Then they started floating sideways or round and round in strange patterns. His mollies started doing a dance akin to the Charleston.
He thought maybe it was the plant! So he took it out. Four fish floated to the top that had been dead inside this plant. His redfaced ones, one calico one, and his glass fish. Then we found one neon in another plant, dead.
After taking the plant out, his kissing fish, who had been hovering at the bottom, seemed to come out of his stupor and swimmed around. This was night before last. My b/f said they seemed to be doing better, but he was still scared for his catfish, who was still acting very strange. Early yesterday, the catfish died. Then, last night, the kissing fish went BERZERK!!! He splashed around and hit the glass until he began to bleed. Then my b/f noticed one of the mollies was bloody too. And the angelfish is dead.
His thirteen fish tank went down to a four fish tank in 48 hours. He cleaned the tank very well and added fresh water and he does this regularly.
PLEASE help us figure this out!!
Also, if you have made it through this very long post, I sincerely thank you! I wanted to be incredibly thorough in case it's a detail we didn't spot.
Also, I do not know what sort of plant it was, it is a real plant and floated. It had a long stem with short stems coming from it and was sort of spongy-like. :-?
Sounds like a normal case of overstocking and death by poison. Essentially, you had way too many fish and the bacteria were never allowed to fully colonize or keep up with the demands of the tank. Stress as well as the addition of fish from a dirty store such as Wal-Mart didn't help. There is no reason to spend money on water. All you need is a good water conditioner. It sounds like you should have done a lot more research and preparation for keeping fish.
I appreciate your response and insight, but I could do without that last snarky comment. It may be evident in this post that *I* do not know anything about fish. But it is my boyfriend's tank, and I assure you, he takes his tank very seriously and has done research. What you are telling me it might be could be the bit of information he missed in his research. Please do not assume he doesn't know what he's doing based on one mistake. He has kept fish for at least ten years and never had a problem like this before. He was incredibly upset over this.
That being said, how many fish should a person have in a ten gallon tank. Does size of the fish matter when deciding how many fish I should have in my tank? (ie, can I have five fish, or five small fish and two big fish, ect?)
Also, my boyfriend said he thought it could be that his heater overheated; is this a possible cause of this kind of death?
But all in all, size is the most important thing when dealing with stocking a tank and the only thing that comes close is water parameters in importance. Fish can adapt to varying water conditions, but size is something that is inevitable. A fish that might be 2 inches young should never be kept in a ten gallon tank if it'll reach ten inches in adulthood.
Overheating doesn't sound like the problem at hand, but yes, that can kill fish.
I had this long post typed out and netscape crashed. I'll try to retype what I remember.
I agree that the tank was drastically overstocked. It was at it's breaking point before the recent fish were added.
Also, if it was the heater, the water would have been noticably hot or cold, I think your bf would have noticed. (if he hasn't, have him dip a finger in.)
When a fish goes berserk like you describe, it's literally trying to get out of the tank, which means something is chronically wrong.
If I had to guess... Ammonia was the CoD, caused by overstocking.
Also, wanted to add something...
I've had fishtanks for my entire life.
Gouramis, plecos, cichlids, etc. and they lived long a long time.
That said, after about 10 minutes of reading some past forums, I realised how miserable their existance was. (they seemed happy to me..)
I'm not saying your bf doesn't have a lot of experiance, but it's kinda like comparing a well-regarded and experienced surgeon from the 19th century meeting a medical student from the present day. The surgeon from old time would say "Well, my old techniques worked for me. My patients said I was the best ever."
(sorry for the horrible analagy- basically, even the experts on this forum, have to keep up. If your boyfriend got the most up-to-date book on fishkeeping and read it over 7 years ago, he's behind on the times.)
Also, on your city water- call your water department and ask for information on your water's composition (minerals, etc)
Maybe it has a lot of copper, in which case a cheap water conditioner will not do. (or if your house has copper pipes)
You need to find out how much lead, copper, nitrates, mineral (hardness) and PH your tap water has. Also, if your bf buys super-filtered (reverse osmosis, or R/O) water, that's bad for fish as well.
Every fishkeeper needs:
a water test kit (strips are not preferred, but will do if you can't afford anything better- about $10)
a stick-on thermometer (about $1-$2)
The test kit and thermometer could have told you which problem it was (or narrowed the options down enough to figure it out)
Generally the rules are no fish over 3 inches, and LESS than 10 inches of body length.
Make sure he cleans the filter, and adding some activated charcoal and Ammo-carb to the filter might save the fish that are in there now, but be sure to read the directions.
+1 on EVERYTHING Kelso said. He wasn't being snarky, he was being honest and to the point. That tank is WAAAAY overstocked which makes it lethal to fish. Angelfish, even if only one, should be kept in nothing smaller than a 29g (40g if you ask me). Plus the fish in his stock list require different water parameters. If your boyfriend is so concerned that his heater overheated, tell him to go out and buy a $2 thermometer.
Thank you, redchigh, I completely agree with what you are saying and understand. Thank you for educating me without insulting me. Being honest and blunt does not require an elitist attitude, as you have shown.
Also, he does have a thermometer in the tank. I'm not sure why he thought his heater had overheated, because I am sure he did check the water. It was late when he told me, he was at his wit's end, so he probably just threw that out there as a last resort possibilty. As I stated, I, myself know nothing about keeping fish.
Thanks for the help.
I'm sorry to hear about the tank troubles. It does sound like it was very much overstocked. Your bf might have been given bad info. from wherever he purchased the fish. It's amazing what some places will tell you just to sell you something. And depending on the store, the employees are often clueless themselves.
I hope he gets to the bottom of this. I hate to say it but maybe this will is a good opportunity for him to understand what he can keep in a tank that small that will thrive and be healthy. Sadly, he paid the price of a good learning experience by losing fish he cared about/ :(
I'm sorry to hear about the problems that your boyfriend is having with his tank. I agree with everyone on here that this was a serious case of overstocking. It could have been the fishstore he was buying his fish at (most chain stores...people don't know anything about fish) it even could have been a misinformed website he read online. We've all been there and it hurts to lose fish we care about. But its important now to try and understand why this happened so it doesn't happen again. Below are some questions that answering would help everyone on here diagnose your tank issues...
1. What is the temperature of the water?
2. We need a water parameter reading of your tank water. You can take it to your fish store and they'll do it, or you can buy a API Liquid Test kit and do it yourself at home. Either way, the exact numbers would be perfect. Don't let the fish store tell you "eh, your ammonia is a little high", ask them for numbers.
3. What is your boyfriend's weekly maintenance invovle? How much water does he change on weekly basis?
If there are any still surviving fish, I would do a massive water change (at least 60%). Make sure you pick up some water conditioner...it's crucial to your fish...needs to be used each and every time you add new water to your tank...otherwise you're basically adding toxic water to your fish. A recommended product would be Prime or Aqumel +, even API makes a product called stress coat. I've lived inside the city limits of Philly and I've been successful keeping fish even with their horrible water.
Try and find the answer to those, and we'll all go from there.
PS - Welcome to the forum!!!
Oh dear, I just was told it is a 20 gallon tank, not a 10 gallon tank!! Please tell me if it was STILL overstocked. I don't know what I was thinking saying it was 10 gallons!
Romad, thank you! I was shocked about LisaC's comment that the fish were not compatible, because my boyfriend always asks about that when he buys a new fish!!! I agree; I think at times mistakes are good to make; learning experiences and all that. I cannot tell you how appreciative I am of your kindness and compassion and that you didn't make the assumption that he is just an idiot.
Johnny, thank you, as well! You have given me great things to go on. I do not know the answers to those questions, but I am going with my boyfriend to the pet store now to look into the API kit and water conditioner (though I am fairly sure he does have that). I wrote the questions down and will ask him. I would love to be able to prevent this happening to others.
I did a search on google to see if I could find out what was happening with his fish, but as there were so many variables, (some which I did not know), I came up short. So any prevention of this type of mistake, again, greatly appreciated!!
And thanks for the welcome to the forum. I was feeling very unwelcome before. ;-)
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