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Discussion Starter #1
Tested with API liquid test kits. The readings are a bit different (softer and more acidic) than what I've usually been seeing, but different people performed the tests.
pH: 6.8-7.0
Ammonia: 0.25-.5 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 5 ppm
KH: 3 degrees
GH: 8 degrees
Temperature: 76
Tank size: 30 gallons
Stock: 1 Pleco, 7 adult platys, 8-10 juvenile platys (ranging from a couple of weeks to several months), 4 ghost shrimp
Penguin 200 power filter
10 gallon weekly water changes pre-heated to approximately aquarium temperature and treated with 1 teaspoon of Amquel, and two teaspoons of Seachem Discus Buffer distributed across the two five gallon buckets I use. Treated biweekly with Seachem Flourish and AquaVitro Envy.

Two weeks ago, I got two new platys: a male and a female. I introduced them a day or so after a 33% water change. The next day, the new male and a female that had been in the tank for quite some time were dead. The female wasn't looking too hot for a while, I thought it was due to not being able to bounce back from a recent brood.

Last Wednesday, after a water change on Tuesday, a male platy died. This platy was larger than the other adult platy, but was definitely inferior male to the smaller adult. He was prone to hiding and aggression from the other male.

The next Thursday, my pleco died. He (actually, might have been a she) was thrashing around all night and into the morning and when he died, he went belly-up, immediately. There might have been abnormal white spots on the anterior ventral portion of the body.

So, what is happening?
I have a few ideas:
1. Disease from the new fish. I've had issues with this pet shop before
2. Overstocking.
3. Too much buffer
4. Shock. While I preheat the water I put back in, my apartment is far from warm during the winter and the tank's heater is not operating
5. My girlfriend. She was watching the tank between the first deaths and the last water change.
6. My bucket. I had been preparing some gravel and another tank and the gravel has been pretty dusty. Maybe there was some residue from the gravel or something.
7. My filter. I had changed both cartridges before the first fatal event.
 

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I'm sure someone with a great deal of experience will help you soon. In the meantime you should not replace your filter media...when required the media should be rinsed in old tank water. My guess is your cycling again and the ammonia needs to be reduced immediately. I would do a 50 - 75% water change right away and monitor your water parameters. Start with that (and replace your heater) and more help will arrive soon!
 

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hi
i don't think it has anything to do with the gravel,
perhaps the other chemicals you are adding is the culprit…
do a water change,and only add a conditioner which removes chlorine and
chloramine (sp) nothing else
i use nutrafin aqua plus
 
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Discussion Starter #4
(and replace your heater)
To clarify, I'm pretty sure my heaters work fine. I don't want to burn out my heater for the 30 gallon as the water level can get low during the water changes. As for the cold apartment, I'm cheap and I don't heat much (it's currently set to 60.)

So, can I assume the consensus is change the water and just use the conditioner? Should I come back and post the parameters?

I'm running low on Amquel, I'm going to see if my favorite pet shop has Seachem Prime, although the one by my place has Amquel Plus 50% off. Am I looking in the right direction or does it not matter that much?
 

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#1, #3 & #7. Always quar new fish, treat everything as suspicious. No need to add buffer, especially with adding the ferts. Changing media is probably what caused the ammonia reading, causing a minor cycling issue.

Spring for the small bottle of Prime, it's good to have on hand for there sort of things. Daily 50% water changes, double dose with Prime, 5 maybe 7 days. This should take care of the cycling issue, fresh water will help the remaining stock deal with what is probably a bacterial issue. A bit cooler helps with bacterial issues, you could drop it a few degrees & feed half as much as normal.
 

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hi
you should turn the heater off before you start the water change,then just
turn it back on when the tank is full.
 

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For the heater, is it submersible? If it is you can lay it horizontal <----------> across the bottom of the tank if you think you are going to forget to turn it back on. If not submersible then put that on your shopping list. #4... do you know what the tank temp really is? If you don't have one get a thermometer so that you can match your water change temps exactly. I still use the $2 floating glass ones.
And eventually as money allows get separate things for each tank. Each tank has it's own bucket, therm, etc so you don't cross contaminate if you do get something nasty in one of your tanks. Actually I use those big juice jugs and each tank has one of those plus multiple plastic containers. $1 store can be your friend for supplies.

Prime is awesome! It costs more but is used at smaller quantities. One cap is for 50 gallons I think. And it takes out more than some of the other de-chlors. It can be used 5x the strength in emergencies. I no longer use anything else.
 
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Whoa, easy there, I may have misspelled the title, but I'm not that bad.

Yes, it is a submersible heater sized for a 30 gallon (Marine Land Visi-Therm 150W, so 40 gallons, actually). Yes, I have a thermometer, it's a traditional alcohol thermometer that uses a magnet to stick to the side. I have two spare thermometers that can be stuck onto the tank. Yes, I unplug my heater before water changes when there is any potential for the water level to get anywhere below the top of heater (which is approximately 2-3 gallons.)

I did a 33% water change, reduced the heater to 72. The water was only treated with Amquel and pre-heated to 72 prior to the water change, so there was probably no significant time in which the filter was not running or the heater was not going.

I'll test my ammonia before work tomorrow to see how it is.

Honestly, I have a good batch of naja grass, hornwort. My wisteria is tempermental, but I think the naja grass is choking it out. The java fern is doing alright, but I need to figure out good ways to get my hairgrass going. My frogbit inexplicably melted while I was gone, though. What I'm getting at is I was not expecting an ammonia spike and for all of my nitrogen fixing bacteria to be up in the filter cartridges.

I took that cross-contamination issue to heart and I got a third 5 gallon bucket. So, I have one bucket dedicated to dirty water and two buckets dedicated for clean water to be heated and treated and ready for the water changes.
 

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Platies especially can come extremely weak, genetically. All those colors and patterns are created by line breeding, which is a LOT of inbreeding. Refering to livebearers as "Hardy fish" is a reputation they got 50 or 100 years ago. Today's platies might as well be classified discus for all it takes to kill them.


You said you have 4 ghost shrimp. Are they pink, cooked, and dead? If not, you do not have an ammonia issue.


If you are concerned over a store... stop going to it. They likely killed your pleco.


Try to find a local aquarium club. Other aquarium owners are a wonderful resource for acquiring fish... especially quality livebearers.
 

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I believe the penguin 200 requires 2 filters which is good. Try changing 1 at a time while just rinsing the other with aquarium water. The front filter should be doing most of the work so that is the one you toss moving the rinsed filter to the front and the new one behind it. Rotating like this on your normal filter change schedule will help keep some of the good bacteria always in your filter.
 

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Amquel uses the same active ingredient as Prime (sodium thiosulfate) to lock ammonia and then slowly release it for the bacteria and/or plants. Prime is just cheaper because it's concentrated. Aqueon, and others I can't remember right now, also lock ammonia. Nutrafin and Tetra do not.

These products do not effect your readings. That is, the readings remain the same with the product or without it.

If your tank was mature and "established" (cycled for several months), I'm not sure removing your filter media would have caused a severe enough ammonia spike to have killed all your fish.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Platies especially can come extremely weak, genetically. All those colors and patterns are created by line breeding, which is a LOT of inbreeding. Refering to livebearers as "Hardy fish" is a reputation they got 50 or 100 years ago. Today's platies might as well be classified discus for all it takes to kill them.


You said you have 4 ghost shrimp. Are they pink, cooked, and dead? If not, you do not have an ammonia issue.


If you are concerned over a store... stop going to it. They likely killed your pleco.


Try to find a local aquarium club. Other aquarium owners are a wonderful resource for acquiring fish... especially quality livebearers.
I will look into the club, thanks.

I have been looking at Aquabids.com to maybe shop around to inject some genetic diversity. I also want to unload some of my platies once they reach maturity.

The pet store is actually going out of the business, so I was stopping by for cheap supplies and I fell in love with a sunburst platy. They have the same supplier (I think) as my preferred pet store, but they seem to have fish health issues. I've been burnt more than once by them, but I was dumb.

The shrimp are in good spirits, but I don't think I'll get any shrimplings anytime soon.

Speaking of hardiness, should I be too concerned about hardness? It's one of those things I don't think I have too much control over, but I worry and monitor.

Amquel uses the same active ingredient as Prime (sodium thiosulfate) to lock ammonia and then slowly release it for the bacteria and/or plants.

If your tank was mature and "established" (cycled for several months), I'm not sure removing your filter media would have caused a severe enough ammonia spike to have killed all your fish.
I thought Prime was more like Amquel Plus than the plain jane Amquel.

This tank has been going since about March. Like I said, I have several broods of platies swimming around right now along with some limited plant success.

I believe the penguin 200 requires 2 filters which is good. Try changing 1 at a time while just rinsing the other with aquarium water. The front filter should be doing most of the work so that is the one you toss moving the rinsed filter to the front and the new one behind it. Rotating like this on your normal filter change schedule will help keep some of the good bacteria always in your filter.
You are correct, sir. Well, kind of. It has two carbon cartridges and a filter wheel (which never seems to spin.)

Normally, I do rotate. The two filters were pretty dirty and I was leaving, so, out of an abundance of caution, I replaced them.
 

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Platies especially can come extremely weak, genetically. All those colors and patterns are created by line breeding, which is a LOT of inbreeding. Refering to livebearers as "Hardy fish" is a reputation they got 50 or 100 years ago. Today's platies might as well be classified discus for all it takes to kill them.


You said you have 4 ghost shrimp. Are they pink, cooked, and dead? If not, you do not have an ammonia issue.


If you are concerned over a store... stop going to it. They likely killed your pleco.


Try to find a local aquarium club. Other aquarium owners are a wonderful resource for acquiring fish... especially quality livebearers.
Folks running breeding setups with clubs know what outcrossing is, few commercial breeders, who supply shops, bother with this. You'll get better stock at a better price from a private breeder.

Amquel uses the same active ingredient as Prime (sodium thiosulfate) to lock ammonia and then slowly release it for the bacteria and/or plants. Prime is just cheaper because it's concentrated. Aqueon, and others I can't remember right now, also lock ammonia. Nutrafin and Tetra do not.

These products do not effect your readings. That is, the readings remain the same with the product or without it.

If your tank was mature and "established" (cycled for several months), I'm not sure removing your filter media would have caused a severe enough ammonia spike to have killed all your fish.
Sodium thiosulfate removes chlorine, breaks the chlorine/ammonia bond in chloramine, leaving you with ammonia. Hydromethane sulfinate (sp?) is the component in Prime that converts ammonia to ammonium. Here's a good read, with, unfortunately, some outdated links; Product review of Water Conditioners / Dechlorinators for the aquarium
 
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I stand corrected. You beat me to my own correction by about ten minutes. <sigh> Sodium thiosulfate breaks the chlorine/ammonia bond which constitutes chloramine. But hydromethanesulfinate does not convert ammonia to ammonium. Rather, it locks up the ammonia in aminomethanesulfinate, a molecule that Seachem refers to as Prime/ammonia complex.

I used to think Prime converted NH3 to NH4, but I've since been better informed.

Good link, Tolak. It's been in my library for a year now. I should review it again.
 

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Might be nice if TFK did an updated version similar to that link, with links that actually work. Biggest problem I've encountered with that is getting an ingredients list from the manufacturer, as some are trade secret ingredients & pretty closely guarded.

I'm sure someone with the skills & access to the proper equipment could reverse engineer it, not so sure you'd find someone like that on a tropical fish site, nor the legalities behind doing that & making it public.
 
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