Help Needed Please, new tank & new fish acting erratically then die. - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 3 Old 11-11-2018, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
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Help Needed Please, new tank & new fish acting erratically then die.


54 litres 60cm x 30cm x 30cm
HOB filter 450lph and sponge filter (20 gal rated) small power head for surface agitation
Co2 via bell type reactor
Heavily Planted: Anubis, Hydro Poly, Hair Grass, Crypts and various others
Eco Complete substrate
Air stone & pump
Dragon rock (from an existing tank)
RODI water with Equilibrium and Prime
Fluval Cycle and AQ salt

I recently decided to change to a RODI set up because of bad tap water in my area of the UK. Thanks to Seachem's techs for the advice and formula for the Equilibrium for the batch sizes.

Mid tank cycle I swapped out the substrate having decided the original substrate (in the tank for 7 weeks) was sub standard. It was, I believe causing all the live plants to die and rot really quickly, and cause really bad sulfurous smells. I put in Eco Complete to a depth of 1 1\2" (front) to 3" at the rear of the tank. I realised that this would break the cycle of the tank, but thought it was worth it. I reused most of the live plants, filter media etc, and dosed with Cycle to get the good bacteria going again. I have also added media and rock from a well matured tank.

After waiting 5 weeks (plus the 7 weeks previous) I took the plunge and added 4 Silver Tip Tetra and 2 Cory's and 2 Neritite snails. Within hours of adding them to the tank 1 had died. I then saw a further 2 of the Silver Tips swimming very erratically, mostly into the flow of my surface agitation pump. Both snails still alive as I write this. Did a 20% water change.

Within hours they both had died, and the Cory's were dead by morning.

I tested everything with my api kit, and the results were as follows:

Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrites less than .25 ppm
Nitrates 10 ppm
PH 6.83
Temp 79.1 f
GH 10 drops
Kh 10 drops
TDS 291

So, please could anyone give me so advice to where to go next. Do I add more fish? Do I try something different to Fluval Cycle? Give up on RODI Water? Or anything I have done wrong. This is the first new tank I have set up in many years, and have never had this issue before.

Sorry for the long message, but any advice/help will be gratefully received. Thanks.
Rushfreek is offline  
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post #2 of 3 Old 01-23-2019, 01:45 AM
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Don't know if you have this issue sorted out or not but here are some suggestions that may help you.

Unless you have very poor quality water you shouldn't need to use RODI water for the fish you listed. Regular tap with Prime may be sufficient. Also using Prime with RODI is overkill. There is no chlorine or chloramine for Prime to take out of the RODI water.

4 Silver Tips and 2 Cory cats is a lot to put into a 54 liter (14 US Gallon) newly cycled tank at one time. As for the snails, they should always be put into a well established tank and even then if there is little to no algae for them to graze on they need dedicated food for them to survive on like algae wafflers, or blanched veggies like zucchini, green beans, or cucumbers. Something that will sit around long enough for them to be able to get to it or the cory cats will eat it all.

Judging by the water perimeters you provided your tank either had not fully cycled (doesn't matter the time you gave it, it's all about the beneficial bacteria handling the ammonia and nitrites). The ammonia should be 0, and it is, that's good. The nitrites should be 0, and it's not. This shows the tank isn't fully cycled yet, close though. The nitrates should be below 40. Ideally below 20 but it's not normally considered dangerous until it goes above 40 for most fish. 10 ppm nitrates can be that low because of the plants or it could be because the tank isn't fully cycled or it could also be both.

The temperature of 79.1 F in the tank is a bit too high. Cory cats want a temp between 60 and 75 F. Silver Tips tend to like 75 to 78 unless they are spawning then it's about 82. Mine seemed to do best around the 75 / 76 range. Nerite snails prefer cooler temps too. They do best closer to 70 but can tolerate up to about 80 but don't do well that high for long periods of time. Actually Nerite snails don't need heat unless the temp gets VERY cold. These snails can take a wide range of temps below 80 but are very sensitive to sudden temperature shifts. Also they need a more alkaline pH of 7.5 or greater. Also avoid any sort of exposure to copper and other medications because this can be fatal to snails. Finally, be mindful that Nerite Snails may need Calcium supplements to maintain a healthy shell.

These are some of the things that come to mind and I hope it wasn't too much for you. I would be very interested to know if and how you got this issue sorted out.
Pappa Guppy is offline  
post #3 of 3 Old 01-23-2019, 02:12 PM
What was the old substrate? If it was killing plants it could potentially kill fish.
Genos is offline  

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