Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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darrenfauth 05-12-2007 12:20 PM

New tank woes
Hi everybody...first time here....great information.

I'm not a noob to aquariums, but having some issues that I'm not sure of the reasons...or solutions.

My tank is 90 gallons. It's been set up for 4 weeks with new water, substrate & filter media. I used pea gravel for the substrate with a little bit of sand left over from the previous set up. I tried one thing I've never done and that is driftwood. Being the tightwad I am, I went to the local lake and found a great piece that I scrubbed...but did not boil. It has not released much tannins to discolor the water. I've got just a slight tea color.

I'm running an AquaClear 300 with a sponge insert, activated carbon and BioMax.

After a week, I put some 'feeder' goldfish in to help cycle the water. At about 10 days I added in my 2 adult Sailfin Plecos, a Striped Rafael and an algae eater from my previous set up. They are doing great.

Over the next 2 weeks, 8 of the 10 goldfish died. They seemed to get a gill disease...puffy gills, heavy breathing and lethargic.

3 days ago I bought 10 tetras (similar to neon...but different breed) The next morning 3 were dead.

Still thinking that it is not my tank (water test results below) yesterday I bought 3 rummy-nosed tetras and a cory cat. This morning the cory is dead. :(

Water Test Results:
ph: 7.8
Ammonia: Just a shade above reading at 0ppm
Nitrite: .25ppm

I've been suspect of the driftwood, mainly because I'm inexperienced with it, and because I did not boil it. It looks great and stays clean looking. An odd thing about the dead fish is they look like they have been dead longer than they have. Their bodies are slightly fuzzy. Water temp is at 82 and I'm just now working to bring it down to 76.

I've done 5 gallon water changes about 4 times now. The water was very cloudy for the first 2 weeks, but is now very clear.

I know I want to get my PH down, beyond that..not sure what to do next.

frogman6 05-12-2007 12:37 PM

i wouldnt worry about ph my ph is around 7.9 and ive been able to keep quite a bit of stuff including tetras and corys so i wouldnt worry about the ph as much.

ya i would get the water temp definetly down mine is about 75.

for the driftwood you should prolly take it out and do a 20% percent water change then boil the driftwood for 45min to an hour so to kill all the germs and tannins.

good luck with ur tank

Lupin 05-12-2007 12:41 PM


How often do you monitor your water parameters? What are the previous results? Are you using liquid test kit? It is generally more preferred compared to test strips which give misleading results. Your tank still seems to be on cycling phase and in this stage, it is not advisable to place any fish in the tank. Ammonia and nitrites at detectable levels prove too fatal for all your fish. There is no gill disease in your goldfish. It is most likely gill burns from ammonia which seems to have been replaced by nitrites. You want zero ammonia and nitrites in the end along with nitrates maintained below 40 ppm.

The tetras you chose unfortunately are the ones that have zero tolerance for the presence of ammonia and nitrites. Tetras aren't good fish to start with anyway especially rummies and so are cories. The other tetra species you have I presume is a cardinal tetra. That species will not do well in tanks under cycling phase either.

Avoid pH adjusting chemicals. They will not help in your situation and you'll only be harming the fish than help them. Fish prefer stable pH than pH being changed constantly to get the desired pH level.

darrenfauth 05-13-2007 02:30 AM

Frogman...I should do a test on my tap water ph so I know what it averages...see if it's a losing battle.

I'm trying to avoid taking that log back out :D But you're right...I may need to.

Lupin...I've been testing the water for the last 3 weeks with a liquid test kit. The ph has been really is coming down even to the 7.8 I've been doing the Very High PH test and getting 8+. I thought my PH was down around mid 7, but higher today. I think I get slightly different reads between the PH and Very High PH tests.

Interesting on the ammonia and the goldfish gills. Didn't think about that. bummer for them. I also think your right that I'm still in the cycle. I'll let things be for a while and keep testing. No chemicals to lower PH...gotcha. The driftwood ought to help that..right?

I appreciate both y'alls advice.

Lupin 05-13-2007 04:28 AM

Don't bother with your pH. Driftwoods can release tannic acids thus lowering your pH. Keep us updated.:)

Rue 05-13-2007 10:59 AM

You can't kill tannins...

Many fish live in high-tannic water...or 'blackwater'...and eventually your wood will stop leaching tannins...

...however, I don't like the yellow water I'm also in the process of soaking some Malaysian driftwood I don't have to boil it...but it is faster...I've been soaking two pieces of wood for two weeks now...

Tannins are what make tea tea...ever notice how when you leave a tea bag in too long the tea is so bitter you can't drink it? LOL...concentrated tannins...

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