Fish keep dying...don't know why! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 01-02-2017, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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Fish keep dying...don't know why!

Hi All

I am fairly new to fish keeping but I have done as much research as possible when setting up the tank to ensure the best possible outcome for my fish. However I keep getting fish die on me and I have no idea why. Here's the history:

Bought second hand 180L Juwel tank in July last year (2016). The tank came with 2 Angel fish, gravel and some ornaments. They had had the Angel fish for some time with other fish (not sure what) but they had already sold the other fish. Both fish seemed healthy at the start, although I'm not an expert so I may well have missed something. After about 4 weeks, I added 3 golden bristlenose ancistrus and 6 balloon platys. 2 of the bristlenose died within 1 day. By this point one of the Angel Fish was not eating much either, possibly bullied by the other one (turns out they were both male!). By the start of October, this Angel Fish was extremely sick and died. Here is a video of him shortly before he died:

At the time I asked on an Angel fish forum and they reckoned it was Hexmita (bloat) and to treat with Octozin, which I did. He died on day 2 of the treatment but I finished the course in case other fish had it too.

The rest of the fish were fine for about 6-8 weeks when one of the balloon platys suddenly was rooted to the bottom of the tank, unable to swim properly. This was very similar to the Angel Fish but I guess as the platy is much smaller, it progressed very quickly and I decided to put him down with a clove oil bath. Here is a video of the platy shortly before I did this:

Since then I've been watching the fish like a hawk and after a month of healthy fish, and the addition and survival of a baby platy, I figured it was now OK to add new fish. 2 days ago I added 2 pictus catfish, 2 pink kissing gourami and 1 brown spot pleco.

This morning all fish were accounted for and swimming fine from what I could see. However this afternoon another one of the platys got sick very quickly. I noticed it was swimming funny and again kept sinking to the bottom. Within the hour it had died before I could even make a decision on whether it could recover or to get the clove oil bath ready. Here's a video of this platy shortly before it died:

I'm now very worried for the other fish. They are all fine from what I can see at the moment, including the baby platy but I don't know if one of them is going to suddenly get sick again.

What do I do from here? Here is the tank details as requested on the diagnosis form:

1. Size of tank - 180 litres

2. Water parameters
a. Ammonia - 0 (checked repeatedly, weekly mostly)
b. Nitrite - 0 (checked repeatedly, weekly mostly)
c. Nitrate - 2.5 on test chart, although I think this needs to be multiplied by 4.4 which makes 11. (checked repeatedly, weekly mostly)
d. pH, KH and GH - 8, unknown and unknown but the water is hard in this area. The fish store that I got the fish from said that wouldn't be a problem because they also keep the fish in hard water to acclimatise them for the area.
e. Test kit - NT Labs Aquarium lab kit (test tube with liquid drops)

3. Temperature - 28C/79F

4. FW (fresh water)

5. How long the aquarium has been set up - 6 months

6. What fish do you have? How many are in your tank? How big are they? How long have you had them?
1 x Angel fish (had 2 from July but one died in early October)
4 x Adult balloon platys - had 6 since August but one died end of Nov, the other died today
1 x gold bristlenose ancistrus (had 3 since August but 2 died within 1 day)
2 x pictus catfish, added 2 days ago
2 x pink kissing gourami added 2 days ago
1 x brown spot pleco added 2 days ago

7. Were the fish placed under quarantine period (minus the first batch from the point wherein the tank is ready to accommodate the inhabitants) - No

8. a. Any live plants - Yes I have some live plants, can't remember their types though.
b. Sand, gravel, barebottom - gravel
c. Rocks, woods, fancy decors? Any hollow decors? - yes some decors and an air pump. See pic to see what's in there

9. a. Filtration - originally a Fluval 306 but this kept leaking so changed it to an Eheim Pro 3. Kept most of the media from the fluval in the Eheim which reduced the impact. Had a few days of ammonia going up to 0.5 and nitrites going up to 0.5(on test scale, or 1.65 based on the multiple) but did a large water change and this came right down and has stayed down since.
b. Heater - yes

10. a. Lighting schedule? What lights are used - put lights on around midday until about 10pm (approx 10 hours). Have one blueish and one pinkish fluorescent light which came with the tank.
b. Any sunlight exposure? How long? No 100% direct sunlight although in a fairly light room.

11. a. Water change schedule? 20% every fortnight
b. Volume of water changed? 40 litres
c. Well water, tap water, RO water? tap water with dechlorinator
d. Water conditioner used? Interpet bioactive tapsafe plus
e. Frequency of gravel/sand (if any) vacuumed? every 2 weeks at the same time of water change

12. Foods? mixture of Aquarian tropical flake food, tetro pro colour flakes, love fish tropical and catfish pellets and occasionally frozen bloodworms.
How often are they fed? twice per day about as much as they can eat in a couple of minutes. Usually no food left over.

13. a. Any abnormal signs/symptoms? angel fish developed a darker face which seemed to be under the scales, a bit like bruising. Looked a bit bloated, spent a lot of time in the top corner of tank, didn't eat much at all and eventually lost ability to swim properly and kept sinking to the tank floor. First platy suddenly spent a lot of time at the bottom amongst the plants. Thought it might be pregnant at first. Then noticed it also kept sinking to floor. 2nd platy seemed to go from ok to dead very quickly. Also lost ability to stay off the floor and then died quickly.
b. Appearance of poop? not really qualified to comment well on this one
c. Appearance of gills? no idea

14. a. Have you treated your fish ahead of diagnosis? no, only Octozin in early October for the Angel Fish after the suggestion from an angel fish forum.
b. What meds were used? Octozin

15. Insert photos of fish in question and full tank shot if necessary. Below.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMAG1116.jpg (31.7 KB, 6 views)
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post #2 of 4 Old 01-02-2017, 06:20 PM
SantaMonica's Avatar
Water parameters seem ok, so a fish disease expert will hopefully give you a suggestion.
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post #3 of 4 Old 01-03-2017, 01:46 AM
aussieJJDude's Avatar
Its always during new additions right? If so, how exactly do you add new fish? Do you quarantine?

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post #4 of 4 Old 01-03-2017, 03:47 AM Thread Starter
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The Angel fish I think was either ill when we got him or shortly after. By the time we added the bristlenose and platys, he was already quite lethargic and not eating much. I was just way to much of a novice to know that this was a sign of something wrong rather than just his personality. The platys were added in August but the first one didn't die until November. The only thing with that I can think of is that it may have had something to do with the change of filter. There was a small spike in ammonia and nitrites shortly after the change but not to what the test kit calls "lethal" levels. I did catch it quickly and do a big water change which reduced it back down and the filter quickly started managing the levels well.
With the latest platy, yes it died very shortly after the addition of the new fish. Perhaps it was a stress related thing? although I didn't see any noticable interaction with the new fish and the platys. It is the angelfish that does most of the interaction with the new fish, especially the gourami's. I haven't quarantined any of the new fish before adding for 2 reasons. Firstly this is the first I have heard of needing to quarantine fish before adding them, secondly I don't have another tank available to do this. It is on my list to get as I would like one ready as a hospital/quarantine tank but as yet don't have one available.

Also the new brown spot pleco is spending virtually all it's time in one spot. It is still alive because I see it twitch and move every now and then, but for the last couple of days it has just stayed inside one of the ornaments. It's possible it comes out at night but I got him to help the bristlenose ancistrus clear up some of the algae. There doesn't seem to have been much change so far, so I can't see any evidence of him eating yet. The bristlenose never stops moving and eating, but he is too small to cope with the algae levels in the tank. Hopefully the pleco is just sleeping during the day and not ill.
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