All fish are slowly dieing. No idea what's wrong. - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 13 Old 07-17-2009, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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All fish are slowly dieing. No idea what's wrong.

Over the past two weeks half of my fish tank has died out. This includes 2 full grown mollies, 4 baby mollies, 1 dwarf gourami, 1 flower shrimp, 1 plecco. I've tested the water here and taken it to the local fish store to have it tested, and the levels are all at 0. The water is cloudy with a whitish haze. The fish seem normal, are eating fine, then very quickly become lethargic and die within a few hours. I have no idea what is killing off my fish and am desperately seeking help.

Tank Details:
26 Gallon Freshwater
Setup in February
Fish remaining mollies, dwarf gouramis, and red tailed shark
80-82 degree temperature
Aqueon 30 Gallon Power filter
Undergravel filter
No sunlight
Weekly 10-15% water changes.
Fish fed Tetramin tropical fish crisps
Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite levels all at 0
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post #2 of 13 Old 07-20-2009, 07:35 AM
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in a tank that has been set up since Febuary, you should have some type of Nitrate reading............I dont see how that its 0..........Is this tank planted very heavily?...........I would maekt he investment in an API master test kist and test your water yourself..........I have seen LFS test water with the test strips and i find them to be very unreliable.......The white cloudy water sounds like a bacterial bloom, but i would have thought if the tank has been set up since Febuary that this would have not been happening now........When was your last water change and how much did you change out?.........
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post #3 of 13 Old 07-20-2009, 07:59 AM Thread Starter
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I did a water change last night and took about about 15-20%.. I had checked the levels too and the Nitrate level was between 5 and 10ppm. Nitrites and Ammonia still at 0.
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post #4 of 13 Old 07-20-2009, 08:05 AM
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Hmmm, i dont know what to say?......Only thing i would change would be to drop your temp in the tank a few degrees to maybe 76 to 78 ( i dont think this is your issue, though)..........Did you add anything lately to the tank?.........New fish?.........change filter media recently?.......add new plants?........and new tank decor?.......Hopefully other members have some clue to what might be happening.........I'm at a loss for an explanation for your issues, sorry.......
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post #5 of 13 Old 07-20-2009, 08:22 AM
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Am wondering if filter or filter media has been replaced or cleaned lately and if so,how was it cleaned? I would also suggest using dechlorinator such as PRIME or AMQUEL+ (not regular Amquel) How many total fish are in the tank? Could be filter needs to be larger depending on numbers of fish.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #6 of 13 Old 07-20-2009, 08:23 AM Thread Starter
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Uhm, about a month and a half ago our water turned murky/green. No fish were dieing, but the tank looked awful. We went to the local aquarium and spoke with one of the fish experts and he told us the filter in the tank was underpowered and suggested we add an undergravel filter first and if that doesn't clear it up to upgrade the tank filter.

We put in the undergravel filter and in about a week and a half the tank cleared up beautifully. No more murky water problems. Then about about two weeks ago a couple fish had died then the tank started to cloud up but this time it was cloudy white instead of green.
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post #7 of 13 Old 07-20-2009, 11:17 AM
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Following along prevous advice, I would also suggest testing your tap water for ammonia. Some municipal water supplies have ammonia in the water. The ammonia detoxifying conditioners 1077 mentioned would handle this. I assume you are using a water conditioner at partial water changes?

The placement of the undergravel filter may have upset the bacteria nitrogen cycle a bit, but that was 6+ weeks ago. How many fish are in the tank (this hasn't been answerd yet)?

Another thought, what decor is in the tank? Any wood, rock or ornaments?


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #8 of 13 Old 07-20-2009, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
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We use a conditioner with every water change.
Right now, there are 4 mollies, 2 dwarf gouramis, about 10 molly fry and a red tailed shark.
As for decor, we have a few fake plants and three rocks. They've been there since the start of the tank. The only addition to the tank since the start has been the undergravel filter.
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post #9 of 13 Old 07-21-2009, 03:47 AM
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Do be aware that not all water conditioners are same. The two I mentioned are what I consider to be full function water conditioners. Many water conditioners do not address ammonia and leave the ammonia from fish poop,urine,and or excess food for the biological filter to break down. This is not always effective in new aquariums or aquariums where heavy fish loads are present. Can also be a problem in tanks where biological filter has been disturbed or beneficial bacteria has been depleted. Is why I asked about how filter material was being cleaned and how often. The beneficial bacteria that breaks down ammonia,and nitrites and ultimately renders nitrAtes grows on everything in the tank. The Glass, the decorations,plants, real or artificial. and on and in the substrate or gravel, But much of it is found in the filter where water flow and oxygen are plentiful. Once we disturb this bacteria or destroy it by cleaning it in tapwater (chlorine,chloramine),, It takes some time for it to replenish itself. Until then,, fish can be exposed to elevated levels of ammonia from fish food. poop,etc. Removing the gravel to place undergravel filter could have destroyed a significant amount of beneficial bacteria depending on whether old gravel was replaced or cleaned and how it was cleaned or with what. Same goes for the filter pads,sponges,cartridges etc. Best to clean this material in old aquarium water or dechlorinated water (not tapwater).. or with cleaning products or detergents . Should also try not too clean everything at one time so as not to disturb, destroy,too much bacteria(good kind)
The white cloudiness you describe ,could be a bacteria bloom and should not be cause for alarm assuming that water parameters = 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites. and nitrates twenty or below. most bacteria blooms will dissappear in matter of days ,maybe week or two.
In this instance,were it me,(and it ain't) I would add no more fish, I would use dechlorinator sich as the two mentioned for water changes. I would change approx 5gal from the 26 gal each week taking care to treat the new water with dechlorinator BEFORE I added new water to the tank. I would feed the fish sparingly once a day and I would designate ONE person to do the feeding. I would clean the filter material as stated in old tank water or dechlorinated water in a bucket ,and only when it became dirty to the extent that water flow through it was slowed or begin flowing around it. I would clean the gravel in sections each week during weekly water changes. Clean one third of the gravel and a different area each week. I would not add any chemicals or potions to the aquarium except for dechlorinator. And I would search for a vegetable based flake food for mollies who are largely herbivores in the wild and do appreciate spirulina flake and or algae wafers in addition to foods you are offering. I hope I have provided you with some things to consider and perhaps some help.
P.S. If any of the fish have been recent additions to the tank, it is possible that they were sick when purchased. In any event,, Clean enviornment is often best medicine.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.

Last edited by 1077; 07-21-2009 at 03:52 AM.
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post #10 of 13 Old 07-21-2009, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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More deaths today. One full grown molly and two babies.
I'm tired of flushing my fish and I cannot figure out what's wrong.
Water levels are still okay.

We haven't added any new fish for about a month. The two fish that were added appear to be healthy.
We treat the water with the AquaSafe dechlorinator before putting it into the tank. It doesn't say it handles ammonia, but wouldn't we get an ammonia reading after adding new water?
We've added a bottle of live bacteria last week just in case anything was disturbed lately. It's helped a little bit with clearing up the cloudiness, but the fish are still dieing.

Last edited by Insom; 07-21-2009 at 08:43 PM.
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