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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

Over the last three days I've lost 3 Harlequin Rasbora (out of the six I had). The 3 that died seemed to be males. I had 4 males and 2 females. I thought at first that I had been over-feeding them, as two of them got really fat. Then I realized that those two must have been the females when I saw one of them trying to spawn (kept flipping over underneath one of my anubias leaves). My question is, when females are displaying this behavior, is it possible that the males would fight over them?

A couple of days ago, I noticed one of my Rasboras was completely missing his tail fin. This Rasbora died the next day (found him stuck to my filter). One the same day, I found one of my Rasboras dead and tangled in some Java Moss. The day after, I found another dead male floating around. I have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 20 nitrates. My pH is around 6.8. Temperature is 78f.

The tankmates I have are MTS, 3 Zebra Nerites, 4 Amano Shrimp, and a Bristlenose Pleco.

Did my males have a Battle Royale over the egg laden females? Or is something else happening? They all seem to be swimming around and schooling happily, and they all still scramble to the top during feeding time.
 

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Is it possible that you have something else going on in your water? What type of water conditioner are you using?

Now that your fish numbers are down, you might want to get more females. You could try 3 females for every male and see if the aggression stops.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I'm using Seachem Prime.

Now, one of the females is hanging out in the back near the filter, kind of at a 30 degree angle looking up. The other two are swimming and eating fine. The female in the back came out once or twice when the school (if you can even still call it that) swam by, but then went back into the corner. It came out and grabbed a piece of food, then seemed to spit it back out. I'm going to test the waters again and post my results, then probably do a water change.

Edit: Now the two females are hanging out near one of my anubias', basically not moving. The male is swimming around.

Edit 2: And now they're all moving around again...I don't know what's going on. o.o
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I tested the water again, all the same as above. I did a 25% water change. I then noticed something I had not seen before, a little white worm swimming around! Looking it up, it seemed to be a nematode. I couldn't snap a picture of it before it went back into hiding, but it was thin and white, and swam around like a snake. Could this be a contributing factor? How can I get rid of them?
 

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I've got four Harlequin Rasbora in my community tank. I've never had any problems and they seem to get along with everything else.
 

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I have never had aggressive issues with any rasbora, and I have maintained and had spawnings with all three common species in Trigonostigma. I think we need to look elsewhere for the cause.

I've no idea what the worm might be. Some are safe, some not. If it is nematodes, the only external sign on the fish would be the worm hanging from the anus. Have you observed this?

Are there live plants? The nitrate is on the high end of safe, but would be better lower. This in itself is not the issue, just something I spotted.

How long have you had the fish? I'm thinking there might be some internal protozoan or pathogen causing this.

BTW, rasbora are not characins, they are cyprinids, so I've moved this thread to that section.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Nothing coming out of their anus.

I have a bunch of plants in there.
Bunch of Valls (started with five, but their popping up everywhere!)
5 Java Ferns (Each having like 5-10 new ones coming off)
2 Anubias Nana
Bunch of clumps of java moss scattered throughout.

The nitrates of my water source are actually higher than my aquarium water. They test at ~20-40, so, I can only hope that the plants take in enough of the nitrates. I'm thinking about adding a floating plant, like frogbit, to help some more.

They seem to be a lot more active today. No odd behavior yet from the male or one of the females. The female that was acting odd yesterday is only swimming around in the valls, though. :/

I was thinking about it, and it dawned on me that it could have been a pH swing. I took a tufa rock out, and put a piece of Malaysian driftwood in for my Bristlenose. I'll check the pH again once I get out of bed.

Also, I think two of my snails died...I think. I was lead to believe that the smell would knock me out cold, but they just kind of smelled like snail. One smelled a little worse. Both of their trapdoors are slammed shut. Neither of them have moved at all in the past couple of days..so maybe they are dead, but have not decomposed enough yet. The third one is crawling around but is kind of lethargic.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Happy to report that all three of my remaining Rasboras devoured their food this morning.
 

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Diagnosing fish disease/problems is very difficult many times, except for an experienced and trained biologist. These fish may have had some issues from long ago. They seem to be improving, so that is good. You might want to increase the frequency of the water changes for a week or two, i.e., instead of once a week do two or three during that week. Believe me, nothing helps fish more than a partial water change. If you read the "advice" sections of TFK or PFK regularly, almost every recommendation includes a water change as the first "treatment."

Check the pH, this is a possible if it was a sudden and significant change. Regardless of that, lowering the pH will benefit rasbora no matter what; this is naturally a very soft and acidic water fish. And they will always be healthier in such water.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
My rasboras seem to be acting completely normal again. I am still having a little bit of a nitrate problem, though. My tap water naturally seems to have 20-40ppm nitrate, so water changes keep it around 20-40 (which is not good..). I'm going to get some floating plants this weekend to hopefully eat up some more nitrates. In the meantime, I'm doing a small water change ~(10%) every day to keep the nitrates from raising higher than my tap.

My pH has been dipping a little bit every day, but not much. It was at 7.4 before I took the tufa rock out, and now it is equalizing more towards my tap water's 6. I fear that the more frequent water changes I'm doing will make it dip too quickly, but I'll hope for the best. I am trying to get it back to my tap's pH, I learned my lesson trying to mess with my tank's pH. :/

I thought I lost two of my shrimp, but found out today that they actually shed their exoskeleton. They all went crazy when I did the water change (they like to catch all the floating food, I think), and I counted four! I feel bad for taking their exoskeletons away and stealing their extra calcium now, though. :(

One of my snails was definitely DEFINITELY dead. It smelled like foul foul death. Could this have caused some of the fish death? I think one of my other Nerite snails is dead. It hasn't moved in a while, and was one of the two I found upside down one day (the other one being the dead one). It doesn't smell, though.

I'm going to get more plants and hope they will start to devour my nitrates, then I'll get some more Rasboras to make them a happy school again. I'll keep you posted on whether they are improving or not. Thanks again for your help!

As an unrelated note, you are actually one of the reasons I joined this site Byron, :lol:. When I was researching what to do to start my fish tank, this site kept coming up in google searches. Every question I seemed to google was answered by you. You seem to be the most active member on any aquarium forum. :lol:
 

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My rasboras seem to be acting completely normal again. I am still having a little bit of a nitrate problem, though. My tap water naturally seems to have 20-40ppm nitrate, so water changes keep it around 20-40 (which is not good..). I'm going to get some floating plants this weekend to hopefully eat up some more nitrates. In the meantime, I'm doing a small water change ~(10%) every day to keep the nitrates from raising higher than my tap.

My pH has been dipping a little bit every day, but not much. It was at 7.4 before I took the tufa rock out, and now it is equalizing more towards my tap water's 6. I fear that the more frequent water changes I'm doing will make it dip too quickly, but I'll hope for the best. I am trying to get it back to my tap's pH, I learned my lesson trying to mess with my tank's pH. :/

I thought I lost two of my shrimp, but found out today that they actually shed their exoskeleton. They all went crazy when I did the water change (they like to catch all the floating food, I think), and I counted four! I feel bad for taking their exoskeletons away and stealing their extra calcium now, though. :(

One of my snails was definitely DEFINITELY dead. It smelled like foul foul death. Could this have caused some of the fish death? I think one of my other Nerite snails is dead. It hasn't moved in a while, and was one of the two I found upside down one day (the other one being the dead one). It doesn't smell, though.

I'm going to get more plants and hope they will start to devour my nitrates, then I'll get some more Rasboras to make them a happy school again. I'll keep you posted on whether they are improving or not. Thanks again for your help!

As an unrelated note, you are actually one of the reasons I joined this site Byron, :lol:. When I was researching what to do to start my fish tank, this site kept coming up in google searches. Every question I seemed to google was answered by you. You seem to be the most active member on any aquarium forum. :lol:
Thank you indeed for your kind words; I do sincerely appreciate them.

On the dead snail, this is not likely to cause any issue if we are talking the common small snails; one of those large Mystery type might, that is a more significant impact.

Let the pH lower, there will be no problems there.

The nitrates may require more intervention. Smaller-volume water changes is a first step, once the tank is lower to begin with, as this will prevent sudden significant increases. If this plus the plants don't handle things, there are some good methods we can discuss. Other members like AbbeysDad have this issue and have successfully dealt with it.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
First update!

My pH has lowered to 6.4.
Ammonia and Nitrite still at 0.
Nitrate hasn't changed from my tap at all. (~30) This is a good and a bad thing. It's good because my plants seem to keep it from raising. Bad because they aren't lowering it and it's still too high. :/

All of my Nerites are now dead. I think the damage was already done with those guys. :/

All three of my Rasboras are active and acting normal.

My catfish is still alive, but I have not had him long enough to know if he's acting normal. he mostly just comes out at night and runs away when he sees me haha.

As far as I know all of my Amano shrimp are still alive. I have not found any dead shrimp, and they are experts at hiding.

Who knows if my MTS are still alive. I didn't see any last night. I still only had about 10 though, so there is a good chance I just couldn't find them.

I wasn't able to add any plants. I went to work Friday and was stranded because of that storm until yesterday night around 6. I dosed my plants using this method Non CO2 methods - Page 2 - Aquarium Plants and Excel to try and boost their growth on Thursday. With the exception of the Potassium Nitrate (which I skipped for obvious reasons), I dosed about half of what that said to see what happened with my water and plants. I dosed .1ml per gallon of Excel. When I came home Sunday night my Java Ferns had EXPLODED, so I hope they will start eating some more Nitrates It's also possible that my nitrates were higher than my tap water (>30), and the Java Ferns have been using them up. They may have lowered them back to the level of my tap water, and I just happened to catch them here. I wasn't home to check the water every day thanks to Nemo, but I'll test it again in a couple of days to see if it's gone down at all. Also, I'll do the full dosage posted in that thread on Thursday again. Weather permitting, THIS weekend I'll go get some more plants. My gH test kit is coming in the mail right now, so I'll post my gH when that comes in.
 

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Nitrate hasn't changed from my tap at all. (~30) This is a good and a bad thing. It's good because my plants seem to keep it from raising. Bad because they aren't lowering it and it's still too high. :/

I wasn't able to add any plants. I went to work Friday and was stranded because of that storm until yesterday night around 6. I dosed my plants using this method Non CO2 methods - Page 2 - Aquarium Plants and Excel to try and boost their growth on Thursday. With the exception of the Potassium Nitrate (which I skipped for obvious reasons), I dosed about half of what that said to see what happened with my water and plants. I dosed .1ml per gallon of Excel. When I came home Sunday night my Java Ferns had EXPLODED, so I hope they will start eating some more Nitrates It's also possible that my nitrates were higher than my tap water (>30), and the Java Ferns have been using them up. They may have lowered them back to the level of my tap water, and I just happened to catch them here. I wasn't home to check the water every day thanks to Nemo, but I'll test it again in a couple of days to see if it's gone down at all. Also, I'll do the full dosage posted in that thread on Thursday again. Weather permitting, THIS weekend I'll go get some more plants. My gH test kit is coming in the mail right now, so I'll post my gH when that comes in.
Dealing just with the nitrate issue. Don't expect the plants to have much of an impact. Most will use ammonium first, and only when that is insufficient will they turn to nitrate. But 30ppm nitrate in the source water is not good to begin with, and this is not going to lower significantly anyway.

Nitrates should not be allowed to rise above 20ppm, and keeping them at 10ppm or lower is better for the fish. You are going to have to deal with the nitrate in the tap water. AbbeysDad has posted on how to achieve this, as he has the exact same issue.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I added a Giant Hygro and two clumps of Wisteria floating to my tank. I think I found the post you were referring to and am researching De*Nitrate, Matrix, and Purigen. I'll let you know if the new plants make any difference, and if not, if the Seachem products do.
My Rasboras seem to love the new floating Wisteria though! I think a piece broke off and one of them actually ate it. Although probably only because it fit in her mouth haha.
 

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Finally got my test in. My tank water and tap water have the same levels. The gH is 4 (71.6), and the kH is 1 (17.9).

At least I'm assuming the kH is 1...the test (I'm using API's liquid test) says to add drops until the liquid turns from blue to yellow. After the first drop it's yellowish..there never is any blue. I added more drops and it just made it darker yellow.

So...what's a good kH? I feel like 1 is NOT a good level.
 

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Finally got my test in. My tank water and tap water have the same levels. The gH is 4 (71.6), and the kH is 1 (17.9).

At least I'm assuming the kH is 1...the test (I'm using API's liquid test) says to add drops until the liquid turns from blue to yellow. After the first drop it's yellowish..there never is any blue. I added more drops and it just made it darker yellow.

So...what's a good kH? I feel like 1 is NOT a good level.
I never fuss over the KH. KH has no effect on fish. It does act as a buffer for pH, but if you have soft water fish they prefer it acidic so I don't worry about this. I let my tanks do what they want with respect to the pH, and with regular water changes they remain stable.

Byron.
 

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Yeah, as I was reading up on it more and more I became less and less worried about it, haha. Now I just have to get my nitrates down and I'm all set. :p Thanks again!
 

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My Purigen came in the mail. It didn't really fit in my stock Aqueon filter (I bought one of those deluxe kits), so I bought a bigger Aquaclear 50. I'm not using the carbon insert (replaced it with the Purigen.) I'd like to eventually not use the Purigen at all (maybe use it in buckets overnight or something) once my Nitrates in my tank go down considerably. Matrix has not come in yet.

Almost everything in my tank is dead. >< I put 4 more Rasboras in there because I felt my 3 were getting lonely. The last of the original 3 Rasboras I had went, but the other 6 are doing fine. My Amano Shrimp all went. One at first, then all but one went about 4 days later. The last one lasted for another week. I put 4 more Nerite snails in the tank. They died overnight. >< Even all of my MTS have died (I thought these things were supposed to be impossible to get rid of!) The one that hurt the most, my little baby BN Pleco passed away. :(

Not sure if my filter's current is too strong. It is rated at 200 gph, but it is adjustable. The Rasboras seem to LOVE it. Three of them played in the current for a good long while.

I also picked up some R/O water from Petco and mixed it in with the water change. Not economical at all ($4 a gallon ><), but hopefully it helps for now. I'm also going to test my water at work tomorrow. If it's not too far off in terms of hardness, I may just fill up some 5 gallon buckets and bring them home. I may get some weird looks, but I'm just stealing water, so that's okay, right? :lol:

My Giant Hygro is doing Okay. A few leaves have fallen off, but there seem to be 5 or 6 new ones growing. A bit of my Wisteria died. Some new Wisteria has grown at the same time. So, I think maybe it was the shock of a new tank maybe. Either way, they seem to be growing fine now.
 

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I read through this thread to refresh my memory. I have a couple observations.

The shrimp probably won't manage in such soft water, so forget them. Ths is not the time to start fiddling with water parameters. And for the fish, what you have is ideal. So be satisfied with that.

Same may be true for the snails. But Malaysian Livebearing will thrive in any water, even in my very soft zero-GH water they are in the hundreds. There may be some in the substrate.

The death of the original fish, but not of subsequent acquisitions, is actually encouraging. We don't know what may have affected the original fish.

Byron.
 

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Another update!

All of my remaining Rasboras seem to be doing great! The nitrates in my tank are still a little high (looks like between the 30-40 range). But, I got some Matrix and Purigen. I'm now using the Matrix in my tank. I also got some extra Purigen and Matrix. I set these up with my old HOB filter and a 5 gallon bucket. I let it run overnight and tested the water in the morning...0 nitrates! Hooray for clean water for water changes! So, hopefully my tank nitrates will go down considerably (since I'm no longer putting new ones in!)

It seems the nitrate level in my tap has gone down by itself as well. (10-20 nitrates). Probably due to it being Winter..I'll check it again in a few months. Anyways, thanks for all your help! I can't wait to restock my tank and put some pictures up!
 
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