Early loss question...
I stocked my 46 gallon with 2 neon rainbows and 2 celebes rainbow and a raphael cat per my LFS (not Petsmart...one of the last real fish stores in business 25+ years). I put them in the tank at about 2pm on Wednesday. I am using Prime and Stability. They looked fine and healthy last night before bed and I had planned a partial water change at about noon today, Friday. This morning one of the neon rainbows was struggling at the top. The others were up and down, but did not appear to be distressed. I took about an hour to get the kids to school and when I returned the neon had passed. I am taking a water sample and the body to the LFS when they open. I did a 40% water change.
Could my ammonia have spiked so soon? Less than 48 hours
I am buying a Seachem Ammonia Gauge today (something already on my shopping list but the store was out of).
Yes, it can happen in that amount of time. It's best, if possible, to always cycle a new tank without fish (there is a sticky at the top of this forum showing how to do this).
It's also possible the fish just were not healthy...does the store have a return policy? Maybe see if they'll give you a credit for a new fish at a future time after your tank is done cycling.
Prime should detoxify the ammonia though, but it isn't permanent (think it lasts 2 or 3 days?).
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