fish being eaten or salt problem? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-06-2008, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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fish being eaten or salt problem?


I am new to the forum, so I will give you a portrait of my tank.

-55 gal
-set up in April this year.
-plastic plants
-one dried log bought at aquarium store
-tank finished cycling about 6 weeks ago
-Filter: marineland emperor 400, 2 extra slots used for activated carbon
-temp kept at about 80 degrees
-perform 10 gal water change weekly with gravel vaccum and replacing with tap water treated with TopFin water conditioner
-last measurements: NH3/4:0, NO2:0, NO3:10 on 6/30

At that time I had: 2 corys, 3 zebra danios, 3 sunset platys, 4 white clouds, 2 upside down catfish, 1 pleco, 1 silver lyre molly, 1 clown loach

On 6/30 I bought 2 dwarf gouramis, 7 neon tetras, 3 silver dollars. Before adding them, I did a 10 gal water change. I also added 4 tbsp of aquarium conditioning salt per recommendation of the aquarist I bought the fish from. Overnight, one of the gouramis died. I returned it and brought home a new one, two more mollys and three more neon tetras. Since then, my fish have been dying one by one. First one of the corys, then two of the silver dollars, then one platy, then the silver lyre molly and one by one 3 of the white clouds. I have since learned that the aquarium salt was a bad idea and did a 15 gal water change on 7/2 and another 10 gal water change today on 7/6.

I don't know if some of the new fish are eating others because the cory, platy, silver dollars and the white clouds I have all found with fins chewed off and pieces of their body chewed. I don't know if that occured before or after they died. I also don't know if the addition of the salt may have slowly killed them because the silver molly that I had from before took two days to die - I could see it get more stressed, exhausted, quicker breathing, slower swimming, being picked at by the two new mollys etc. The cory however I found alive one morning with his tailfin chewed off and then he died within hours.

My question thus, is the cause for my dying fish some of the new fish or the salt?

On another note, I was wondering what recommendations you have for filter maintenance for the emperor 400. I have washed one of the two netted cartridges every week but not exchanged either of them. I also change the carbon in the two extra slots once a month.

Thank you very much for your time and help.
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-07-2008, 01:03 AM
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In my view your fish are suffering from ammonia poisoning. The water conditioner you are using does not remove ammonia but rather reduces it. Product PRIME or AMQUEL are both good water conditioners that remove ammonia along with chloramines and chlorine. You also added a bunch of fish that = more fish poo that= more ammonia. You should only clean filters with old aquarium water and once every other water change . It will take some time for beneficial bacteria that breaks down harmful ammonia to adjust to the sudden addition of fish you have added. Keep a daily watch on ammonia through water tests and change out water whenever ammonia levels become lethal. Do NOT add any chemicals to your tank other than dechlorinator. Fish will do fine without salt. :(

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-07-2008, 01:05 PM
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I agree that adding all of those new fish at once might have contributed to ammonia problems, but I've never heard of ammonia poisoning resulting in shredded fins and the like.

Did any of those new fish you bought have shredded or torn fins when you bought them? I'm thinking that you might have introduced some sort of fin rot or other infection to your tank when you added the new fish. None of the fish you have are particularly aggressive (well, the gouramis can get aggressive towards one another but shouldn't bother your other fish) so I don't think aggression is the culprit. The use of salt is a highly debated issue but it certainly doesn't cause fins to rot off.

Do you have pictures of any of the diseased fish? Did you notice torn fins or "bite marks" on the fish before they died?

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post #4 of 6 Old 07-07-2008, 05:53 PM
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How are the clown loach and surviving cories doing? Those guys should be effected the most by salt so you should be seeing problems with them more than the others.

Also, just so you know, clown loaches grow to be 16 inches and really need a group of at least 6 others to be happy. A 55 gallon isn't going to be sufficient for very long :(
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post #5 of 6 Old 07-07-2008, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your replies.

To answer some of the questions:
I don't have pictures as the ones with the missing fins are dead and were flushed. The two silver dollars that died had partially nipped fins when I bought them, which made me think that perhaps the remaining silver dollar was the culprit picking at the other fish. The cory that died had his entire tail fin chewed off and the dead white clouds I found had their tail fins missing as well.

The remaining cory and clown loach are as happy and active as can be. They show no signs of stress which makes me think that the water changes have really averted any ill effects from adding the salt.

Sorry to hear about the clown loach and his potential size. I may have to donate him to a friend with a larger tank when the time comes.

I guess that overall I should just be more careful and add less fish at a time, allowing the bacterial flora to catch up. Would you know of any helpful websites that could direct me to which fish fit well together, i.e. which don't pick at each other, enjoy the same water quality/temp etc?

Thanks for all your help and input.
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post #6 of 6 Old 07-08-2008, 11:20 PM
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You can simply perform google search on particular fish or fishes you are interested in and the information will many times help you decide which fish are compatible and usually the info. will also suggest water parameters for different species. There is no one site that will list all the info. that's why they call it research. Also Fish that succumb or are weak will often times be picked on or even eaten by tankmates.

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