Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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owenlogan 12-20-2010 05:17 AM

New Tank, dead fish help!
Hi All

I bought a new fish tank and set it up 9 days ago, I introduced neon tetras a week after it was set up as instructed by the pet shop. Followed all the instruction with regard to introducing the fish to the tank, however, today after checking them I have found them dead. No signs of disease, water temp fine, only fed them once,ighting fine and filter working.

Anyone have any ideas what I am doing wrong?

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

iamgray 12-20-2010 07:05 AM

Have you tested the water? How many neons did you add? I know big box pet stores often say to have your tank set up and running for a few days to a week before adding fish, but from my (limited) experience with having set up two fish tanks, it really can take about a month or so for a tank to be fully cycled.

Anyways, with that being said... it's hard to know what killed the fish without knowing more details. If you post the levels of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, hardness, temperature, what type of filtration, etc. then it'll be easier for people to pinpoint what was wrong.

SinCrisis 12-20-2010 09:13 AM

its death by cycle. Neons are very sensitive fish and the cycle is most likely the culprit. Tanks often take more than 1 week to cycle unless jump-started with old filter media. Like iamgray said, the tank will need at least a month of being empty and just running to get cycled.

Things u can do to speed it up: put a small pinch of fish food into the tank and let it rot, a small amount should create a lot of ammonia for nitrifying bacteria.

You can also try add live plants, simple plants like java fern, java moss and various floating plants will help absorb the ammonia and then add a couple of hardy fish like zebra danios to help get the tank started. Never cycle with sensitive fish like neons.

luspin 12-29-2010 12:46 AM

Re: New Tank, dead fish help!
Hi everyone, I have a new 10 gallon tank for my 7 yr old son. Cleaned the gravel like I was supposed to, put in the special "new tank" chemical...let it sit. Got 4 neons...all dead in 2 hrs.

SinCrisis 12-29-2010 11:27 AM

what a "new tank" chemical? dechlorinator? or cycling agent? Dechlorinator is required for all tanks, cycling agents are usually more harmful than helpful unless its pure bacteria culture. Then those are only mildly effective and still require you to give the tank at least 1-2weeks before adding fish. The only time fish can be added right away to a tank is if a good amount of live plants are present. Otherwise its a deathtrap.

redchigh 12-29-2010 11:33 AM

It as probably a cycling chemical... 2 hours is fast for ammonia poisoning unless it was way too much fish...

What I would do, is set up the tank, and don't get any fish. Pretend there are fish in it, and feed your imaginary fish daily.

After 2 weeks, you can do a 90% water change, and add 1 fish. Add 1 fish every 2 weeks, and you should be fine.

Plants will definately help- I use so many plants, I don't have to worry about the cycle at all. Of course, if you go that route you have to buy proper lighting, and possibly a liquid fertiliser. (Technically, liquid ferts are required, but I had several plants in a tank without ferts for quite a while... No issues at all.)

SinCrisis 12-29-2010 11:37 AM

also you need to acclimate the fish.. if you just pour them in they will die of shock from temp differences or parameter differences. neons are not cycling fish, they are super sensitive and have short life expectancies.

Ellador 12-29-2010 06:53 PM

The first time I ever set up a fish tank, about 6 years ago, I used the chemicals (Prime is the brand I use, every time I do a water change or add water), waited 2 weeks, and brought a water sample to the fish store. I told them it was a new tank, and they said my water was fine to start adding fish. I brought home 5 Glass Tetras and 1 Chinese Algae Eater, and they were all dead within 2 days. I brought another water sample to a different fish store, explaining to them what had happened. The guy there told me the fish I bought were too delicate to be added to a new tank (the Chinese Algae Eater wasn't, but he died because of the other fish deaths), and I needed to get some "starter fish" that are hardy enough for water conditions in a new tank, and would likewise build up the beneficial bacteria needed to keep more delicate fish. He recommended Gouramis and Zebra Danios, and I went home with 2 Blue Gouramis and 7 Zebra Danios that day, with instructions to not be upset if I lost a few over the next month or so, but to come back weekly for water tests, to assure my tank was being well established. I did lose a couple of the danios that month, but by the end of the month my tank was established enough to start adding more delicate fish. I had both of those blue gouramis for a very long time-- 1 died two years later, after a move across town, and the other died early last year... January of 2009-ish... I had him a little over 5 years.

I type a lot, I know-- I talk a lot, too-- my friends tease me about it, because they know my stories are always going somewhere, sometimes it just takes a while to get there. ; ) Here is where I'm going: Keeping fish is not easy, and we all make mistakes, even after years and years of learning. That's why we keep at it, though-- sometimes the mistakes are painful, but at the end of the day it's worth it. My parents had fish my whole life, and I had never heard the phrase "starter fish" before-- when I told my dad this, he said, "Oh yeah-- I forgot about that-- it was so long ago when I set up my first tank..."

So, yeah-- others have already given you this advice in this thread, so I'm really just reiterating it-- start with hardy fish, like gouramis and danios-- and don't feel bad-- from my experience, learning to keep fish involves having fish die, then having to figure out why it happened. Again, in the end, it's worth it.

aunt kymmie 12-29-2010 08:13 PM

The one thing not mentioned here that makes a fishless cycle so much better than "using" hardy fish is that when it's all cycled you're not stuck with fish you never wanted to keep to begin with. Tell that to the lone zebra danio that now swims in my 100gl Discus display, lol.
Fishless cycling makes so much more sense, to me anyway.

Here's a great link on cycling:

SinCrisis 12-29-2010 08:30 PM

personally, plants are the way to go imo.. plants are a lot easier than most people think and they allow u to get fish right away as well as allow for more leniency when you miss a water change, etc.

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