Upgraded Tank, Fish dropping like flies
We upgraded our freshwater aquarium from a 10gal to a 56gal tank. The fish we had outgrew the old tank, we have a dwarf gourami (we did have 2, but one died about a month ago), Hypostomus plecostomus (the main reason for the tank upgrade). We had both of those fish for close to 3 years. 2 Dalmatian Mollies (fairly recent additions), and 2 longfin red minor tetras, new additions.
the levels in the tank (as of this morning are:
gave us .9% toxic amonia
The chemical measurement came to .1ppm for ammonia. so .1 x .009 = .0009, which shouldn't be an issue, right?
That said, the tank has a slight cloudiness to it, and the fish are either lethargic on the bottom surface, or lethargic at the very top of the water.
All other tests (nitrates, nitrites, hardness/softness etc) indicate the water is in pretty good condition.
Yesterday we did a chlorine/chloramine treatment which we expected would have caused an ammonia spike, but it seemingly hasn't (at least not yet).
We've already lost 3 ghost catfish, 1 longfin red minor tetra, and 1 otocinclus. The first 4 were new additions to the new tank, and have all died within 24hrs of having them. We had the otocinclus for almost 2.5 years, so we were pretty sad to have him die.
the 10 gal we upgraded from, is housing our Killer Blue Gourami (so called because he kills every fish we put in with him), and he's doing just fine, and we've had him for 3 years now.
I don't want to lose the other fish we have, is there anything else we can do?
Sorry about the fish that you have loss.
my husband did most of the swap on the tank... we used all of the gravel from the old tank, and put it in the new tank, and he used about 90% of the water from the old tank, and put that in the new tank as well, and then filled the rest of the tank with a mix of bottled and tap water... then used water treatments from the pet store to get the water perfect. As far as I know he also used the filter, but I can't say for certain on that...
We waited a few hours, and then put the fish in the tank, and they all seemed to be doing great! all were swimming happily, and the Pleco and the Gold Dragon seem to really enjoy the new rock cave we put in the tank...
We've been using the testing strips to check the levels of everything, and all the levels are in the normal range, and we have a different kit that solely does Ph and ammonia, and both of those are in the correct range... we're just not sure what else we should do.
I know the red longfin tetra was stuck to the filter wand, but I'm wondering if it wasn't weakened by the water, since the other 2 tetras have been just fine... and losing 3 ghost catfish (my son is devastated, he picked them out), are they just not hardy enough for a tank like this?
I would highly recommend that you get a liquid test kit like the API master test kit for testing your water. The test strips are usually not very reliable. You can get the master test kit at your LFS. With using the gravel from the other tank and if the filter was used also it will help in establishing the benificial bacteria. I would deinfitly be doing water changes of at least 30%. It will help in keeping the ammonia and if you have nitrites in check. As for the ghost catfish I am not sure, although I do know some of the catfish are more sensitive than others and do not do well in the cyclying of a new tank. At the top of the page the second tab over is a link to the tropical fish profiles. I did not see the ghost catfish listed, but if you look up the proper name you might be able to find the profile for the fish there. It has a lot of good information about different fish from water conditions that they require and also alot of other helpful information. Without knowing the numbers for your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels it is hard to tell if the tank has cycled yet. My guess is that it is going through the cycling process, if so keeping a good eye on the parameters and frequent water changes will help. Also welcome to the forum :-)
Welcome to TFK! I'm sorry your first post has to be about a unhealthy tank and fish dying :-(
BarbH has gotten you on the correct path with suggesting a liquid test kit. While the dip strips can be convienent, the liquid tests are much more accurate and reliable. They should provide more accurate results than the dip strips for sure. To help your get your tank healthy, we're going to need exact measurements.
Ammonia at any level can be toxic to your fish, thats the most important thing to keep at zero, along with nitrites. Nitrate readings up to 30-40ppm can be ok, as some tap water contrains nitrates.
Your husband did a smart thing by using alot of the gravel and the filter (if he did) from the previous tank. The water itself, doesn't hold that much beneficial bacteria. Ornaments and decorations are also a good source of bacteria you tank needs. While is can almost give you an instant cycle, "mini-cyles" are known to occur from time to time, which is what I'm guessing is going on here.
You said you used 'water treatments' from your LFS (local fish store), what exactly did you buy/use? Did you buy any sort of water conditioner? A product like Prime or anything to remove chlorine and metals from your tap water is crucial to use anytime you add water to your tank.
See if you can pick up the liquid test kit by API and get us an exact reading of your levels. I'd also get a reading on the tap water you are using also. If you can't get your hands on the kit tonight, your LFS should be able to give you reading, just be sure to ask for the specific numbers. Unitl then a 30-40% water change (being sure to use a product like Prime) will help things along.
Hope some of this helps!
I'd say there is no way the new tank can be sufficiently cycled as it's a lot bigger than the previous tank and has had no time to establish. It sounds like your fish have ammonia poisoning. Don't add any more new fish as this will add to the problem.
I'd recommend getting a liquid test kit as suggested and doing at least a 50% water change. You may have to keep up regular large water changes to save the other fish.
Some water conditioners, such as Seachem Prime, will detoxify ammonia if used in high doses. This might be something else to consider.
If you still have the filter in the old tank running, take some of the filter media out and squeeze some of the sludge from it (containing beneficial bacteria) into your new filter. This will help seed the new filter and kick start the cycle.
Sorry to hear about your fish. I do agree that it sounds like a cycling issue. Some of the new fish you put in, did they acclimate to the tank? Given that you say they died within the first 24 hours, I would wonder if it may have been shock. I don't know many different types of fish so I can't give any other considerations.
thank you all for your input and suggestions!
As of right now, our PH is 7.2 at both surface, and bottom of tank levels, the ammonia is at 0 according to the Red Sea liquid test that we used.
4 of the 'new' fish have survived, and the Dalmatian Mollies seem to be thriving, they've been very active, and the two remaining red longfin tetras have been doing just fine (they seem to stay away from the filter intake). The Dwarf Gourami just hangs out at the top of the tank right next to the filter. (I think he's depressed, if fish can actually get depressed, he used to be very active, with his twin, but that one died a few weeks ago, before the whole tank change)...
The Pleco and the Golden Dragon algae eater also seem to be fine. Pleco has been hiding in his rock cave all day, but he was very active last night.
We will be going to the LFS in a bit to pick up the liquid tests, and hopefully we won't come home to anymore floaters/sinkers...
Also, the Ghost Catfish technical name is Kryptopterus minor. all 3 that we bought died within 12 hours of being in the tank.
the Nitrite level is either 0 (it looks 0 to me), my husband says he thinks it's closer to 0.05... we'll still be getting the liquid tests though, to be sure....
eta: according to the profile on the ghost catfish, I wonder if they died because we didn't have enough of them... we weren't informed that we should have purchased more than 1 or 2 (according to the profile they should be grouped 5-6 or more in a tank)... That saddens me... If that's the case, I would have gladly bought the whole lot of them (there were about 8 of them)...
Sorry for your fish loss.
There is much talk here of cycling and test kits, but the detective in me thinks that the killer here is something being over looked. Lets consider a new 55g tank, with predominantly fresh water. We would not expect to see an ammonia spike overnight - it would take much longer. (When I setup my new 60g, using bio-seed from an established tank and a bacteria supplement, I did not see an ammonia spike until 3 weeks in. Of course this is relative to the ammonia output in respiration and waste decomp.)
The fact that some fish perished fairly quickly after the move suggests that the root cause of the problem was something else. Perhaps the chemicals used to condition the water were not effective at removing the chlorine or the temperature was not right or some other basic issue that otherwise stressed the fish.
On the other hand, the other shoe is due to drop so be on the lookout for an ammonia spike and be prepared to counter with a partial water change as required.
Is possible that by removing the gravel from the ten gallon tank that much decomposed material found therein was added to the new tank and this could contribute to temporary ammonia and or nitrite spike.
I would recommend a bottle of water conditioner/dechlorinator such as PRIME or AMQUEL+ that both work to detoxify chlorine,chloramines,and ammonia and should in my view be used with water changes that should take place anytime ammonia or nitrites read higher than .25 on test kit.
Is also possible that fishes died due to osmotic shock from acclimation procedure if care was not taken to float the bag of new fish(s) in the tank for twenty minutes and then add a half cup or a cup of aquarium water to the bag of new fish at five to ten minute intervals until the bag holding fish is near full.
Then net the fish from the bag and throw away the bag of water used for this procedure.
In any event,,I would NOT add any more fishes for ten to fourteen days to give the biological filter time to adjust to present stocking.
Would add fishes after ten days to fourteen days slowly,,two or three at a time taking care to acclimate them slowly and perhaps the mortality rate will be lessened.
For this tank, I would look for fishes that will thrive with the water you have from the tap with respect tp pH which will be easiest to reproduce.With the ph you posted.. I would not try to keep livebearer's such as mollies,platy's,guppies,or swordtails but would perhaps choose fishes that enjoy semi -_neutral water with respect to pH and or hardness GH . Fishes like livebearer's tend to enjoy/thrive in hard alkaline water with pH between 7.5 and 8.0 and GH (hardness)between 12 and 15 DGH.
I would try and find out what the GH is, and if less than 10 or thereabouts,,I would consider fishes that will thrive (not struggle) in neutral to soft water, which this tank will become over time as bacterial process and maturing takes place.
Water conditioner in newly established tanks is all important. You must have one that clearly says on the bottle that it adresses ammonia,and the two I mentioned would be my choice.
Is also important to keep feedings to a minimum during the maturing process or (cycling).
Were it me,, I would feed the fish once every other day for the next few weeks, and this will help keep toxins manageable through water changes and fishes will not suffer(starve).Fishes can go without food for a week or more and excess food that is not eaten will create problems in all aquariums .
After a three or four week period when things have become more stable, you can feed the fish more often but always a small amount and I would suggest that only one person be responsible for the feeding of the fish.
Hope some of this helps.
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