Pitbull Plecos Dying, Other Fish Fine
Hello all. First and foremost, thanks for any replies. I've recently made some additions to my tank, and am having issues with my pitbull plecos dying. I have a 30 gal tank, keeping the temp at 78 degrees, and all of my parameters, via a quik dip/ammonia test are normal (no ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate issues). My tank has been setup for about 7 or 8 months, and I have already gone through the growing pains of the nitrogen cycle. My water is hard, and the ph is high (7.8) by nature. I do not add any chemicals to my water to alter the ph, and do not intend to do so. I utilize an undergravel filter, as well as a mechanical filter (over the back). I do not keep an actual filter in the mechanical filter, as I am relying completely on biological filtration. I utilize the mechanical filter just to move water around. If this is bad, let me know. I didn't think it would hurt anything.
Prior to adding fish, I had a harloquin rasbora, and a silvertip tetra. I had some issues previously with cycling the tank, and lost some fish. I let things calm down for awhile after that, letting nature take its course. Nature took all but those two fish. They were in there for a few months by themselves, until the recent addition. I added three buckelkopfs, one blue ram, and three pitbull plecos after speaking with the aquarist at the pet store. I explained my tank to him, and took his suggestions based upon my parameters. I had some brown algae developing, and was thinking otos, but he said the pitbulls would be better, and I wouldn't need as many.
I added the fish this past saturday. I do the whole float the bag, add some tank water to the bag every 5 minutes for a half hour and then put the fish in the tank without dumping the bag water in the tank. I had three separate bags, as they gave me a different bag for each type of fish. Those plecos were going crazy on the algae the first day. I couldn't believe how ferociously they attacked that stuff, it was awesome. That only lasted about a day. I lost one by Monday morning, lost the second on Tuesday, and the 3rd looks like he is on his last leg. I actually thought he was dead today, but when I went to scoop him, he swam. Everybody else looks like they are doing fine. They eat fine, swim fine, and look fine.
Any ideas what could be going on with the plecos? If they are an indicator of an issue, I want to know before its too late because the Buckelkopfs were $15 a piece. I really don't want them dying anytiime soon. I really love having fish, but am getting discouraged. I'd like to do some more things, like add live plants, maybe breed some fish, but I'm not doing anything if I can't simply keep fish alive.
Thanks for reading!
While some fishes can adapt to slightly different conditions ,other's don't and last but a few days,weeks.
Also ,the biological filter in your tank has developed in proportion to the amount of waste generated by two fish for the last few month's. You then placed seven more fish in the tank and the bacteria contained in the filter will need time to adapt to the increase load that the new fishes represent.
Fishes produce ammonia daily all day both through respiration ,and waste (poop). A sudden increase in the form of waste,and ammonia on the filter,plus water unsuited for the species = stress = sick, or possibly dead fish.
A bit of research on these fish would /should have.. steered you towards fishes more suited for the hard water and pH you have ,and I fear that the fishes will continue to struggle.
I apologize for any perceived rudeness for it is not my intent but rather I am trying to help you have better success with the hobby by selecting fish that will do better with your water and in my view,,these fish aren't those fish.
I take no offense to what you have said. I appreciate the input. In fact, it is reassuring. I've known that i have hard water, and I specifically mentioned that at the pet store. I did some research before I went to the pet store, and had cichlids in mind, as I was under the impression cichlids from certain bodies of water are accustomed to hard water. The fish store I went to is huge, and it was extremely difficult to find what I was looking for, plus they had species that I had not researched. I told the guy what I have in my tank, and that I have hard water, and these were some of his suggestions.
After I lost the first pleco, I immediately went online to do some research on them. I noticed that they liked very soft water, which blew my mind. I was hoping they could adapt, but that does not appear to be the case. Unfortunately, the place I went to get the fish is like an hour away, and not worth the drive to, one, replace the fish, and two, let them know how disappointed I am with their "professional".
I just wanted to make sure that their wasn't possibly something else. Do you have any ideas on how to make the water softer naturally? Or a few species of fish that thrive in hard water?
Thanks again foro your help.
Filtering through peat ,or Reverse osmosis system would be the way to create softer water and requires some fiddling to get right.
Were it me,and I simply wished to keep fish (cichlids) in 30 gallon tank with water you have,,I would look at possibly shell dwelling cichlids (shellies), or Apistogramma Cacatuoides.
These two species would do fine in my view with paramater's you posted.
For larger cichlids,a larger tank would be needed but there are many species of cichlids that thrive in hard alkaline water.
Either of the two species I mentioned ,would be a good fit for 30 gallon tank.
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