Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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girl920 09-21-2006 07:07 PM

Please help... fish dying
I set up a new 46-gallon freshwater aquarium last week. It has been running for a week and the water seemed to check out. I used dechlorinator and a bacteria "starter." The water still seems a bit hazy and has tiny particles floating around in it. I've had aquariums in the past at another location. My boyfriend had to remind me that we are now using well water, and not tap water as I used to do at my parents' house. Could this make a difference?

I noticed the bubbles from the bubble wall (18" long, so it is only about half as long as the tank) are mostly not popping at the surface. As a result, I have a very bubbly/foamy surface. I've never experienced this before. I'm using a 30-gallon pump, as the clerk at the pet store said it was better to go under than over.

I bought 4 mollies today and put them in. It's been around 3 hours, and 3 of them seem to be doing fine. They are swimming around exploring. The 4th, however, is actively dying. About 30 min into putting him from bag to tank, he started swimming funny. Now he has just been lying on the bottom gravel gasping and obviously dying. I'm heartbroken; I hate the thought that I've killed him! Will the other fish sucumb to the same fate?

Any thoughts/ideas? Obviously something is amiss here.


Nick 09-21-2006 07:13 PM

Welcome to fishforum.

I dont know anything about the bubbles, somebody with more experience on that will help you out.
So you have a 45 gallon tank with a 30 gallon filter? And the LFS guy told you better under than over? WRONG he told you wrong. I have a 55 gallon tank with a 60 gallon filter on it to be safe. You should get a 45 gallon filter or whatever is closest. filtering is very important.

Have you cycled the tank? What are the water stats? mainly AMMONIA, NITRITE, AND NITRATE. If your cycling the tank right now with the fish you've put in then they will struggle through this cycle.

You said the water has particles in it? Do you have a pump that circulates the water? I have that and little particles appear sometimes but its from the circulation of my pump.
Just curious, what are the dimensions of the tank? Could you possibly get a picture?


Lupin 09-21-2006 07:15 PM

Hi Mary,
Sorry to hear about your fish.:blueworry:

The bacteria starter you mentioned actually will not work and it doesn't seem to contain any "bacteria" after all which you'll need to cycle the tank. Pls buy test kits to monitor the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. The first two are actually dangerous if not kept at zero level.

Keep doing water changes if you see the ammonia and nitrites rising as water changes will pull down the ammonia and nitrites(unless your well water contains ammonia and nitrites too). If you have plants, they will help consume ammonia and nitrites thus your mollies will be safe from harm done by those two substances.

Try to test your well water for ammonia and nitrites.

Good luck and hope your tank will go well.:)

Lupin 09-21-2006 07:16 PM

The bubbles seem to be an indication of too much calcium and other minerals or so it seems as I have experienced that before with white gravel which turns out to contain too much calcium.:blink:
It will benefit your mollies but not fish that thrive well in soft, acidic water like the tetras.

girl920 09-21-2006 07:38 PM

Sorry, I meant the air pump is for 30 gallons. That's what the clerk told me. The actual filter is actually for 50 gallons, so I don't think that's the problem. I just don't see how all the bubbles on the surface could be a result of simply my air not popping, since I shouldn't have too much air being produced, and as I said, I've never seen this happen before. The gal at Petsmart also told me that water test kits are a waste of money. However, I will go out tonight and pick one up at Walmart. In the past, when I owned pet rats, I knew quite a bit about them and found the Petsmart clerks often gave the wrong information about owning/caring for them.


girl920 09-21-2006 09:18 PM

I had always been told (and read) that the way to set up a new aquarium was to let it run for a few days and then add a few hardy fish to help cycle the tank. In fact, before buying my fish, I read several books and internet articles that recommended putting in fish after 72 hours. However, now I've been doing more research online, and I found one poster who stated that including any fish during the first 2 weeks cycling period is inhumane and will usually result in fish death (although in the past, when I added fish earlier, they survived). I will purchase a test kit tomorrow. Thanks for all the advice! I'm looking fwd to having a beautiful aquarium again like I have before, but I forgot how much time and trouble-shooting it takes to get it functioning properly!!

PS: I also added a live java fern. I hope this will be okay.

Nick 09-21-2006 09:43 PM

Hmmm...I cant believe the clerk at petsmart told you that the test kits are a waist of money!! Those people....I am so mad right now you have no idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They dont know what there talking about and they need people like us working in those stores! :evil: :evil:

I hope your tank works out though....I still dont know about those bubbles though. I'm glad you read a lot up on fishkeeping before you got the tank. It most likely helped answer questions!


joeshmoe 09-21-2006 09:54 PM

alot of them dont evean have tanks i seen this take a fish out with the net and couldnt figure out what to do. i would never work there because they dont no what there doing

Lupin 09-21-2006 10:22 PM


Originally Posted by joeshmoe
alot of them dont evean have tanks i seen this take a fish out with the net and couldnt figure out what to do. i would never work there because they dont no what there doing

Joe, you struck me an idea that another thing beginners should watch out for is how do pet store employees catch the fish.:thumbsup:
Observe how they catch the fish. They shouldn't catch the fish in a way that it stresses them or pin them to the glass. It is often advisable to use two nets to make catching easier.

girl920 09-21-2006 10:39 PM

Blue, doesn't catching fish always stress them, from the nature of the thing? How does one avoid stressing a fish when catching it? Overdoing it is obvious, esp. when you have a young clerk moving rocks and chasing a fish all over the tank LOL. But got any tips on how to more carefully catch a fish?

Update: so far the 3 mollies are still doing fine. The poor little dear did die in the back of the tank, a slow painful death. I don't know whether to attribute this to him being weaker than the others, or if he was doomed to this fate anyway. The others are showing no sign of distress or illness at the time.

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