09-20-2010, 10:38 AM
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Filter pad should be rinsed with aquarium water once every 2 weeks and not exchanged for a new one until it is literally falling apart to preserve bacteria. It sounds like your fish are fading due to stress from high ammonia or possibly high nitrite levels because the tank isnt cycled.
Tank size and water parameters would also help use figure out what could be causing the problem. Faded colors generally mean illness, stress, or a incomplete diet. If some have died, it is likely to be illness or stress.