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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello Forum!

I recently had to move my tank so i had to remove 60% of the water and replaced with new. I have a 20 gallon tank that was in pristine healthy condition for over a year, until i moved it. I replaced the water and added the appropriate amounts of chemicals and aquarium salt just like i do with every other sucessful water change. More than half my fish died abruptly and unexpectedly.


My community consisted of:
2 sm Clown Loaches (now dead)
2 sm Bala Sharks (now dead)
1 md Dalmation Molly (now dead)
1 sm pictus cat (now dead)
2 md Chinese Algae Eaters (remained healthy)
1 sm Tiretrack eel (4"-5") (remained healthy)
1 md Gold Veil Angel (remained healthy)

I have always fed a combo of frozen blood worms, algae wafers, flakes and granules (not at the same time of course.) After i changed the water i purchased a pleco and about three days later it died. Two days after my bala's developed a milky/faded look and eventually their eyes clouded up. They lost thier appetites then started swimming like they were sick and they died. I couldn't really tell if they had spots or not. The loaches followed suit but they developed small white specs first. The Algae eaters and Angel were not affected at all, no spots, discoloration, or odd behavior at all. The eel is ok too, but it's a bit faded. This all happened over about three days.

on the second day, i treated the tank with API's super ich cure. I followed the directions EXACTLY and even removed tha carbon for the treatment then replacing with new after 25% water change. It's been two weeks now and i bought some new fish to test:

1 sm loach
2 sm balas
1 mystery snail
1 rubber pleco

It's 4 days since i put those fish in and the eel ate the two Bala's :( THe pleco and snail seem healthy, but the loach has the tiny white spots now and is acting like he's about to die.

My tank stays at about 82-84 due to the hot weather here in texas (which is supposed to be too warm for ich) and i did the treatment like i was supposed to. I take good care of my tank, it's clean and well maintained so i don't understand what's killing only some of my fish. Most of my readings are high since the 60% water change. Could I have poisoned the tank with tap water?

Nitrate 60 mg/L
Nitrite 0 - .25 mg/L
Hardness 200 ppm
Alkalinity 300 ppm
pH 8.2

PLEASE HELP!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well the test laoch just died, he was alive a few hours ago. I can see some discoloration on his black stripes and his gills look a little red and shiny but the white spots disappeared right after he died.
 

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Hello and welcome to the forum!
Thats a lot of fish for a 20 gal tank. Can you tell me how the water test for ammonia?

Yeah it's a lot but they were all really small, about an inch, except the eel and angel. They were doing great until i moved the tank. I have test strips that tests for what i listed but no ammonia test. I'll get one tomorrow morning at petsmart. Anything else i shoud pick up while i'm there, should i test for anything else?
 

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I am thinking ammonia poisoning could possibly be the problem. Let the store run the complete test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and PH. It will be nice to compare the results with your test strips.
Have them write down the exact levels of each and post the results as soon as possible. Once we have that info, we can go from there.
 

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i agree with Twistermom.....sounds like ammonia poisoning, also with nitrite at .25, that could be contributing to some of the issues you are having....It sounds like you might have put your tank into a mini cycle.....How long did you have the fish that died in the tank?........I know you stated you had the tank for a year, but the bala sharks could not have been in there for a year and still be small.....They grow realtively fast for the first year of their life.... ....Exactly what chemicals did you put in when you moved the tank?........What is the water conditioner you used?........For right now i would not add anything else till your tank stabilizes and you have water test readings for us to determine which route you need to go..........I hope you do realize your Ph is high for some of the species you would like to keep is rather high
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Test Results

They did the tests for me but they used strips too. Readings are similar.

Ammonia .3
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 60
pH 8.2
Alkalinity 170-200
Hardness 200
Chlorine 0
Current temp 82-84

I know the pH is high but is that caused by the high nitrate level? I wasn't exactly talking to an expert at the store.
 

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i agree with Twistermom.....sounds like ammonia poisoning, also with nitrite at .25, that could be contributing to some of the issues you are having....It sounds like you might have put your tank into a mini cycle.....How long did you have the fish that died in the tank?........I know you stated you had the tank for a year, but the bala sharks could not have been in there for a year and still be small.....They grow realtively fast for the first year of their life.... ....Exactly what chemicals did you put in when you moved the tank?........What is the water conditioner you used?........For right now i would not add anything else till your tank stabilizes and you have water test readings for us to determine which route you need to go..........I hope you do realize your Ph is high for some of the species you would like to keep is rather high

none of the fish were very old, only the eel and angel. I realize the tank was probably getting crowded but it hasn't been for three weeks and i still can't get the readings back down to healthy levels. I vacuum gravel and 25% of the water every week and replace with tap water treated with stress coat and stress zyme.
 

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with those results on your water test, i suggest you do an immediate water change to get your ammonia down.....please invest in a liquid test kit, this is the best investment a fishkeeper can purchase early on into the hobby........once the water change is done, i would then wait 12 hours and retest your water and see where your levels are at.........with ammonia at .3, your fish are sucumbing to ammonia poisoning and will continue to degrade till you can get that to "0"......Also test your water coming straight out of the tap........please keep us posted on your results
 

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Good advice from Fishin Pole, Just thought I would add to it. That ammonia level is enough to kill your fish.
Ammonia does not raise ph. The ph from your tap might just be that high. Do run a test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and ph on the tap water as well. Post the results.
You may need to do daily partial water changes to lower the ammonia. Your nitrates are also at an unsafe level. If you feed the fish less for a while, along with the water changes, it should help in getting ammonia and nitrate under control.
What fish are currently in the tank?
If tank remains heavily stocked, weekly water changes may never be enough to keep ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates under control.
Do go buy yourself the API liquid freshwater testing kit. Keeping a well stocked tank, it is so important to test your water frequently. The API test is a Little pricey, but it will last a long time.
 

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Ok I did anaother water change and I tested my tap water. You were right about the pH in the tap. Here's the results from my tap water:

ammonia 0
nitrate 0
nitrite. 0
hardness. 150
alkalinity. 250-300
pH. 7.8 - 8.0

1 small rubber pleco (1 1/2")
1 angel
1 snail
1 small eel (4")
2 medium algae eaters (1 1/2")
 

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Can't believe your 4" eel ate your bala sharks! That is pretty amazing!
I have peacock eels, they act like a small earth worm is to big for them, they cost me a small fortune to feed, because they will only eat small black worms. Spoiled eels!
Try the daily 25% water changes to lower ammonia and nitrate. If you are still having problems, please do keep us posted. Best of luck!
 

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My eel may be more like 5" but he's got the appetite of a starving dog. When I feed a frozen bloodworm cube the eel always smells it and heads straight for it, attacking it and shaking it like a dog does its prey. His mouth looks tiny cuz he normaly just slurps up bloodworms, but he can hyperextend his jaw like a snake and swallow things bigger than i thought he could! It's really neat because he's usually pretty docile. I can even hold the cube and he'll come right up and try to pull it out of my fingers.
 

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I did another water change last night and now (12 hrs later) The Ammonia level is down but nitrates are still high. New readings:

Ammonia 0
Nitrates 40 - 60
Nitrites 0
Hardness 150
Alkalinity 300
pH 8.0 - 8.2

Should I be concerned that nitrates aren't going down with the ammonia? I haven't fed them in three days hoping that would help the levels. I guess i'll just put a few flakes in, they're really hungry now. The inhabitants seem to be feeling better this morning. My angel is swimming around instead of floating near the bottom. The rest are looking better too, colors are returning.
 

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So glad to hear your fish are doing much better!

I would go ahead and start feeding them again. Just be careful not over do it. Till the nitrates drop some more, once a day feeding would be better.
The high nitrates, is not nearly as hard on your fish as any ammonia or nitrite readings, but I would continue with the daily 25% water changes till the nitrates are closer to 30 ppm.
 

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I did another water change today. Ammonia is zero and nitrates are down to 30. I'm gonna keep doing daily water changes and see if i can get them even lower. My tap water Has really high pH, alkalinity, and hardness. pH is about 8.0-8.2 out of the tap. Is there anything i can add to my tap water to soften it and maybe help lower th pH a bit? I read that peat works but it's risky and makes the water dirty. What do you suggest.

Today i pulled out my decorations in which my eel usually hides. I could not find him anywhere! he wasn't in the log or the driftwood and he wasn't flopping on the floor. For some reason i decided to look in the filter and sure enough there he was! Good thing i just cleaned it out thouroughly the other day. I scared him pretty good when i opened up the filter and put my flashlight on it! The water line is just below the spillway so he must have jumped in there. WEIRD!
 

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glad to hear you got things back to a working order.......I think you might want to invest in a tank cover.....if your eel got into your filter, i think its just a matter of time till you find him somewhere else that might not be so forgiving.....
 

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My aquarium with eels, has all holes covered, so no way out for them. Mine are to large to fit into the filter now, but when they where smaller, I wrapped nylon netting material (you can find it in a fabric store) around the out take area of the filter. I used a large rubber band to hold it in place.
Eels are very clever about finding ways out of the tank.
 
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