My fish keep dying or disappearing? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 10-18-2018, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
Angry My fish keep dying or disappearing?

So I am pretty knew to fish keeping. I only started a month or so ago and I have been reading these forums to get information on setting up my tank. I have lost a lot of fish so this is me begging for help. Also, I am so sorry if this is a lot to read, I just didn't know how to summarise it as I am not sure what info is worth giving so I am giving it all...anyway

Tank Stats:
70 litre
Ammonia, Nitrite = 0

Nitrate = low (cant remember value, but basically just detectable)
Note: tank is heavily planted

No Co2

ph = 8.4 - 8.8(MAX READING) <--- this is what I think is my problem
Note: I added some peat moss to my filter
My water is hard (you can see the limestone in a glass of water)(UK > WestMidlands if that means anything to anyone)

Water changes once/twice a week
if done once: change = 40%
if done twice: change = 20-25%
Usually done twice.

Adding - TNC <-- cheap fert on amazon (not adding anymore until I know what's going on)

Tank Mates:
guppies 1/5
kuhli loaches (3-4) / 6
pleco 1
(Elon)Musk Turtle 1
guppy fry 10 - 15 (3 are 3/4 weeks old)

The problem:

I have had 2 guppies die in the tank. One just turned up dead a while back, the other was sinking to the bottom last night and turned up dead this morning next to the filter intake (He always had strings of poo hanging off him and would always eat prawns with turtle as well as his own food). I had 1 kuhli loach leap out the tank + what I believe to be another 2 guppies leap out the tank (no evidence, but they were not in the tank and my dog has suddenly gained an interest in the floor around the tank (my dog eats anything including: dust, soil, egg shells...). The pleco and turtle seem happy as in they show, what I understand to be, normal behaviour. The last remaining guppy scratches herself on object in the tank occasionally, which supposedly could be parasites.

Initially, I blamed the turtle, assuming that he was eating or stressing them. however, he is not big (barley an 3cm long) and has shown no signs of aggression towards the fish. Actually, quite the opposite. I have seen on more than one occasion kuhi loaches rapped up on top of his shell, the guppies (only the one now + the fry) hang around next to his underwater perch (guppies love sinkable turtle pellets!!! more than flakes/dapnia/bloodworm/granules ). I have ruled out that the turtle is causing stress as they don't seem to even notice him or act differently when he is near them.

Every now and then the two big (dead now) kuhli loaches would go nuts swimming lengths in the tank (apparently normal for them) and sometimes smacking into the guppies...oh...and the other kuhli died to let me know that they swim in the filter if you don't block it up...

Might be contradicting what I said early, but I noticed the other day the turtle scratching/rubbing its face with it front arm (only the once). <--- ph causing this???

Attempted solutions:

Not much to say here. I have added peat most the drop the ph as the drift wood in there has done nothing. I have added a lid as the one I got with the tank was broken. I may also start feeding the turtle outside of the tank to stop the guppies stealing his food (I was told this would be the other way around). I actually add snails for the turtle to eat (bladders snails <-- could they bring flukes?) as the guppies wont eat them.

If you got this far, thanks for reading. Sorry if it is a bit rambly. Probably will have forgot some stuff I should say.
ben199131837575 is offline  
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post #2 of 5 Old 10-20-2018, 02:41 PM
Hi, I am sorry to hear of your troubles. You actually have a lot more going on in your aquarium than I do, but I'll do my very best to help you with what I know.

I am in the United States, and a long time ago here in the US pet turtles were outlawed. And the reason for that is because they carry some sort of disease that can be transferred to human beings.

My personal opinion is that you should go ahead and separate the turtle from the fish. But that's just what I feel.

The next thing I would do, would be careful not to Overstock the tank. As we know, overstocking leads to a lot of waste, and there may not be enough bacteria to take care of the waste. So this of course would raise ammonia levels making the environment very unhealthy, toxic even.

In my opinion too much plant matter in the tank can also be disastrous. The reason for that is because plant matter rots and, again, if there's not enough bacteria to take care of it there's an issue.

I'm just a novice myself, but from what I know I would suggest taking the turtle out and giving him his own habitat and having fish in their own habitat, scale back on the amount of plants you have, make sure you're not overstocking your tank, be careful not to over feed them, and do what you're doing as far as the ammonia and nitrate levels are. Clearly you know what to do with that

Those are just my thoughts, I hope I was able to help you! When I first read your message I thought it would be so nice if we could talk on the phone! But of course that's something we can't do!&#x1f60a; Best of luck and I hope to hear good news from you later!
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post #3 of 5 Old 10-22-2018, 10:35 AM Thread Starter
tbh honest I think the kuhli loaches jumped, because they are kuhli loaches, but the fish were fine for about a month and suddenly died/vanished. Around this time I added some new plants and snails, and I am inclined to think this and/or the ph has been my problem.

Its been a week or so and the last remaining guppy seems happy. 3 of the oldest fry are looking strong with colours forming with the very young fry still swimming around. The pleco is a pleco and sticks to the drift/wood glass waiting for the lights to go out to do stuff.

And on rotting plants, all of them are health and green, and on the rare occasion a leaf goes brown, or starts to look old (holes/see through) I cut it off to get the new growth.

I also did not mention, but a lot of the newer plants I added (and snails) I ordered online (ebay) instead of from the LFS, and I just chucked them right in. I think I am going to start being careful from now on, and quarantine stuff. I read about washing plants and such to make sure to kill any potential disease or parasites that could come from others tanks.

So, all in all, i actually have more fish than I began with counting the fry. I was kind of expecting to make some mistakes.

On the PH situation, after putting peat moss in my filter; I plan on lowering the ph by a small amount (like 7.5 - 8) so that when I do small water changes it does not cause big swings in the PH. Maybe at some point I will have a setup to do this properly i.e. pre-treating water and such, but for now I am going to keep it simple. Last time I checked my PH was 8.2 and has dropped steadily over the last few days, hopefully, if I do it in small step, I can keep it steady. Supposedly hard water does not change in PH rapidly, so maybe that might make my life easier...I mean probably would not need to do this...nvm.
ben199131837575 is offline  
post #4 of 5 Old 10-23-2018, 10:59 AM
IME Planted tanks will have a high pH even with peat moss.
the plants consume co2 which raised ph. FWIW I don't know of any livestock the doesn't thrive when pH is high due to low co2.

Plants will have snails then a year later there will only be a few left. So I do nothing for snails. The fish will eat the eggs to limit the number of snails.

I suspect the turtle but than I don't have any experience with turtles.

Best tank ever.

my .02

maintain Fw and marine system with a strong emphasis on balanced, stabilized system that as much as possible are self substaning.

have maintained FW systems for up to 9 years with descendants from original fish and marine aquariums for up to 8 years.

With no water changes, untreated tap water, inexpensive lighting by first starting the tank with live plants (FW) or macro algae( marine)

beaslbob is offline  
post #5 of 5 Old 10-24-2018, 06:28 AM Thread Starter
Originally Posted by beaslbob View Post
IME Planted tanks will have a high pH even with peat moss.
the plants consume co2 which raised ph. FWIW I don't know of any livestock the doesn't thrive when pH is high due to low co2.

Plants will have snails then a year later there will only be a few left. So I do nothing for snails. The fish will eat the eggs to limit the number of snails.

I suspect the turtle but than I don't have any experience with turtles.

Best tank ever.

my .02

I put 25 ramshorn snails in there. They were for the turtle to eat, but he cleaned out the lot in a day. So I don't think I ever need to worry about snail population in my tank XD.
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