Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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cka411 04-08-2010 09:52 AM

Neon Tetras Dying
So I am new to the forum and new to aquariums with the help of a friend getting me set up.

My situation is as follows and I think I know the problem, but I wanted to check with others that know what they're doing!

I had 8 neons in a 4 gallon Biorb mini
Got a new 10 gallon tank and moved the neons over
Gave it time to set up and well, neons are small wanted to expand out once it was established
Added 3 red wag platys and 3 sunburst platys
(The problem I think was that when I added them I also added the water from Petsmart)
For about 24 hours they were alright, then the next day they started to die one by one. (Yesterday)
The platys are ok.
I moved them to another fish tank, a 2 gallon, the 4 surviving neons and this morning, 2 had died.
I did a total water change on my 10 gallon with distilled water and the platys are just fine and loving it. I have 1 neon about ready to die and 1 left.

My question is, was it the petsmart water that killed them, obviously the platys had been living in it and are fine still, the neons would be a new experience and well, I only have 1 left and maybe a second one.....

I would like to add neons to the tank again, but I'm going to guess I shouldn't mix the store water this time.....

redchigh 04-08-2010 11:18 AM

store water usually has all kinds of bad chemicals that they use to keep the tank "appealing"
from broad spectrum antibiotics and sterilisers to excess salt... Not to mention they normally have a good amount of ammonia, no3 and nh4 from the ride in the bag...

however, the only thing that will actually do major harm to an established tank is the antibiotics- if they kill the biological filter- the resulting ammonia spike could cause conditions similiar to what you're describing.

I would NOT put swordtails in distilled water- distilled water has a relatively low PH and if soft. Sword tails like basic somewhat hard water. Luckily, they're also very hardy and can do well in adverse conditions for a while.
neons, by comparison, are very sensitive fish- fishkeepers that have extremely rare and expensive fish will sometimes put neons, dwarf frogs, or other super sensitive and relatively cheap fish in their prize tank as an early warning system of sorts.

you also sound like you didn't cycle the 10G, which would definitely kill the neons very quickly.
How long were the neons in the biorb?

cka411 04-08-2010 11:40 AM

Yeah, the neons were in the tank for about 5 months and that had been cycled properly with a mixture of the water.

With my new tank being established now slowly, what should I have to worry about, is there a chance adding neons to it again will die?

I still don't know what could have killed them, but like you said, and others I know with some fish experience want to say the pet store water probably did it.

karjean 04-08-2010 09:29 PM

Well one thing, you should not mix the water.
When you did start the 10 gallons, did you used a filter from the 4 gallons to start the bacteria culture? Also i would probably not advise to do a total water change, probably 25 - 50% maximum. Did you transfer the fish quickly or did you do it 2 - 3 at the time and let them calm down before adding the others? Probably you should have kept the neons and let the platy's cycle the tank before the transfer.

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