What's Killing My Fish!
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What's Killing My Fish!

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What's Killing My Fish!
Old 05-31-2013, 01:20 PM   #1
 
What's Killing My Fish!

Help! Hopefully you more experienced fish keepers can steer me in the right direction. It's sad to see 1 fish die every couple of weeks and not know how to stop it. What happens is 1 fish will start to isolate themselves and breath rapidly, and eventually stop eating. They will ususally bloat up at bit or have scales sticking out. Once they get to this point they die within a few days. I also lose a shrimp about once a week.

I believe my fish issues could be due to parasites from an weak immune systems - possibly due to high nitrates (20-40ppm - see below for more info). They do not get spots (ICH). This could be due to lack of vacuuming my gravel (but see my routine/issues below).

Regarding the Plants, I also wish they would do better. The crypts are doing OK (sometimes a leaf melts), just very very slow growing. The swords are not doing too well. The plants eventually turn a lighter green and the leaves start to melt (break apart). They do grow a bit but the new growth also doesn't look too good and is fragile. The java moss and moss balls look good and grow ok.

Here's some info on my setup & maintenance:

Tank:
  • Marineland 27 Gallon Cube (Petsmart) - set up for about 6 months now
  • (2) Aquaclear 30 HOB Filters (both with Sponge, Purigen, & Biomax - as well as a Fluval Prefilter on the intake)
  • (2) Marineland Double Brite LED light strips
  • Eco Complete Gravel (got this because its supposed to be good for plants for it's been a pain to keep the plants down in it, and it's extremely hard to vacuum)

Fish/Inverts:
  • 30-40 Cherry Shrimp (I had 5-6 adults up until 1-2 months ago, they had a bunch of babies and the adults died off)
  • 3 Amano Shrimp (had for 4-5 months, no issues)
  • 2 Nerite Snails (had for 1 month, no issues)
  • 3 Kuhli Loaches (had for 6 months, no issues with them)
  • 2 Celestial Pearl Danio (had for 1 month. use to have 3 others but they lasted 3-4 months)
  • 9 Ember Tetras (had for 1 month, no issues....yet)
  • 3 Male Guppies (had 1 for 7-8 months, other 2 are new - replacing 2 others that died after 4-5 months)
  • 5 Threadfin Rainbows (had 12, lost 7 within 4-5 months)
  • 7 Gertrudae Spotted Blue Eye (had 12, lost 5 within 3-4 months)

Feeding:
  • I feed once a day - What they can consume in about 5 min. (i know they say use 2-3 min, but I need to ensure some of the shier fish get fed too).
  • I normally feed small pellets and/or crushed flake. But every 3rd day I feed frozen baby brine/frozen daphia instead.
  • I also feed an algae tablet (maybe 1.5 small tabs), broken up for the shrimp and loaches, although the fish eat off of them as well. But every 3rd day I feed a few blanched frozen peas/zuchinni pieces instead of the algae.

Plants:
  • 3 Swords
  • 6 Cryptocorne Plants
  • 3 Moss Balls
  • Clump of Java Moss
  • Couple other Misc Plants
  • Add Seachem Flourish 1/week (most weeks)

Water:
  • Tap Water (always use Prime) - out of tap 0 Nitrite/Amonia, but 5-7ish Nitrates
  • Nitrite - 0 (have never seen a reading other than 0)
  • Almonia - 0 (have never seen a reading other than 0)
  • Nitrates - 20-40 (after a week or two it starts getting to 40 or a bit higher before I do the water change)
  • KH - 6
  • GH - 16
  • Temp = 76-78
  • I use API Master Test Kit

Maintenance:
  • Water Changes - I typically do 1 50% water change every week, with Seachem Prime & Flourish
  • Filters - I clean the prefilters each week and the main filters every couple of months. I also clean the most balls every 2 weeks.
  • Vacuuming - I hardly do any becauses its soo hard to vacuum Eco Complete without sucking up the gravel and making a huge mess (if I dig down into it it stirs up tons of fine dust like particles). I don't see any debris on top of the gravel, except for the occasional dead fish/plant piece, which I remove right away. So the top of the gravel always looks good.
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Old 05-31-2013, 01:39 PM   #2
 
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You seem to be overstocked for a 27 gallon. I think that killed your fish. Too many fish can cause a spike in ammonia. Which is very deadly to fish.
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Old 05-31-2013, 01:49 PM   #3
 
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Originally Posted by FishyFishy89 View Post
You seem to be overstocked for a 27 gallon. I think that killed your fish. Too many fish can cause a spike in ammonia. Which is very deadly to fish.
I've had that thought as well. But whenever I have a fish death I test for ammonia/nitrites/nitrates. Ammonia/Nitrites are always 0. Nitrates probably around 30, getting close to 40. So since I've never had an ammonia reading other than 0, do you think the 20-40 nitrates are what's killing them? I've read that that's a bit high, but some tanks I've read about seem to be fine in that range.

Also, I'm hoping that if I am a bit overstocked that the 50% water change every week, and the use of 2 Aquaclear filters (with Purigem) would help compensate for that. Keep in mind that my fish are all pretty small (some are tiny micro fish).
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Old 05-31-2013, 01:56 PM   #4
 
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Do you see any other symptoms that might sugges parasites? In particular, long white stingy looking poop?

It your fish are bloating to the point of pineconing, they are getting dropsy. Dropsy is an end stage of an existing problem that could be caused by internal bacterial infections or perhaps parasites. The swelling is caused by organ failure and the fish can't release fluids so they swell up.

Were these fish added all at the same time? If not, did you quarantine any new fish before adding and for how long?
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Old 05-31-2013, 02:06 PM   #5
 
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Do you see any other symptoms that might sugges parasites? In particular, long white stingy looking poop?

It your fish are bloating to the point of pineconing, they are getting dropsy. Dropsy is an end stage of an existing problem that could be caused by internal bacterial infections or perhaps parasites. The swelling is caused by organ failure and the fish can't release fluids so they swell up.

Were these fish added all at the same time? If not, did you quarantine any new fish before adding and for how long?
Thanks for your help.

Regarding poop, I have noticed from time to time the long stringy white stuff, with gaps where it would appear like a hair. But this is not consistent amoung the fish and I don't notice it with any of my current fish. And not all the ones that died.

Some of the ones that died had the pineconing/dropsy, but some did not. Perhaps 1/2 of them. Do you think the high nitrates led to this?

I added the fish in stages. I don't have a second tank so don't quarantine. I don't lose any fish within the first month or two of getting them. When I do acclimate I put them in a large bowl (mixing) and add 20% tank water every 30 min or so, about 3-4 times. Then after 1-2 hours put them in.
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Old 05-31-2013, 03:12 PM   #6
 
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That stringy white description could very well be internal parasites :( My guess would be that you introduced them when adding new fish without knowing if they were sick or carrying something that could wipe out your tank.
Even the best local fish stores can carry fish that are sick so it's really advisable that you quarantine for about a month (some people say less is ok but i tend to be overly cautious) in a bare bottom tank so you can observe the fish before adding. You can grab a cheap 10 gallon tank off of Craigslist or at yard sales so you don't have to invest crazy money into a QT tank unless you're trying to isolate large fish.

If you can imbed a picture here that would be helpful. It will probably be tough to get a tank shot of the fish in question so you can also try to find images that resemble what your fish's symptoms are. If it does turn out to be parasites, you should treat the whole tank with something like Metronidazole. If you suspect internal bacterial infection, a gram negative med. like Maracyn II can be used if not advanced.

Here's a link from our disease section for your reference but see what your local fish store has on hand for treatment. Keep us posted and I hope you're able to get rid of the problem.

Medicines
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Old 05-31-2013, 04:06 PM   #7
 
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Nitrates can also be damaging to fish. I aim for max 5 Nitrates in my tanks.

I think this maybe a combination of the parasites and Nitrates.
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Old 05-31-2013, 06:17 PM   #8
 
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Originally Posted by FishyFishy89 View Post
Nitrates can also be damaging to fish. I aim for max 5 Nitrates in my tanks.

I think this maybe a combination of the parasites and Nitrates.

Any ideas how to lower the nitrates? Also regarding parasites, I'm trying to avoid medication since I don't want to harm the shirmp (and plants). Any suggestion there?
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Old 05-31-2013, 06:20 PM   #9
 
Picture of my tank

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BzXU...it?usp=sharing

Here's a pic of my setup.
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Old 05-31-2013, 07:44 PM   #10
 
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Nitrates can only be lowered by water changes. I'm sure there's medications that are invert/plant safe.
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