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Discussion Starter #1
I'm hesitant to call myself any kind of "expert" but I'm not new to keeping fish...off and on for 25 years. Currently just have a Fluval Spec V nano tank and I'm losing fish. Purchased four Neon Tetras and two Fancy Guppies on Saturday. So far I've lost both guppies (male) and one Neon. I acclimated them slowly and carefully, water temp is 79 degrees and here are my water numbers, using an API test kit.

PH 6
Ammonia .25
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 35-40

I'm using Prime when I do water changes and did a small water change on Sunday of about 1.5 gal when I saw the guppy not doing well. Next day the Neon died and the other Guppy about an hour ago.

Any thoughts or suggestions? Frankly, I'm a little worried about the Spec V setup, wondering if there might be something inherently wrong with the way this is manufactured or if there might be something weird leaching into the tank? Our maybe I'm just reaching.....? Thanks!
 

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Sorry to hear you’re having trouble. It seems like there are several more plausible explanations for the deaths than design flaws in the tank, or the tank leaching chemicals, so I’m hoping you’re open to exploring what’s wrong with the things that are within your control.

One thing, beyond your control, to consider is whether these fish were healthy in the first place. Neon tetras are now known for dying if you look at them too hard. Back in the day they were hardy, but those days are gone. Guppies are hit or miss I think. That doesn’t mean you should stop looking at what you can control - just means that sometimes, even when you do everything right, the fish will still die.

How familiar are you with the nitrogen cycle? What are you doing on a daily basis to combat ammonia poisoning
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
jaysee,
Fairly familiar with Ammonia poisoning, which is why I'm pretty good as doing partial water changes each week. Generally about two gallons. Either two gallons at once or one gallon one day and then a second gallon two or three days later. My Ammonia doesn't really move from .25, but I can't get it to go any lower. I'm under the impression that .25 is good enough. No?

PS: I have plants and they are well established.
 

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Okay so the nitrogen cycle has yet to be established in your tank, so until it is, your fish are going to be vulnerable to ammonia and later nitrite poisoning. Any amount of ammonia or nitrite is bad for your fish. Yes, 0.25 isn’t nearly as bad as 2.5, but anything higher than 0.00 requires your attention.

Water changes and doses of prime between changes are needed to stay on top of that. Sounds like you’re doing that, but I would suggest being a little more aggressive about it. Since it’s a small tank, levels can change quickly so I suggest doing a 50% change every other day, with a dose of prime on the day in between water changes. Cycling with fish is tough, and neons are probably the worst choice for the job, to be honest.

How many fish are in the tank? And it’s 5 gallons?

I admittedly don’t know much about plants and how that impacts things for you. Others do so perhaps let us know what plants you have too.
 

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Are the neons just for cycling? Or will they be the long term inhabitants?
Neon's grow too big to be housed in a 5 gallon long term. They should be in a 10 (ideally a 15) as they do need numbers of 6 and upwards. They tend to get nippy when their shoal is too small and so those guppies are prime targets for aggression. Because there isn't enough space to swim away from the other fish, this can lead to stress. Stress on top of a cycling tank is likely what caused death.


The plants will absolutely help but they consume ammonia/nitrate slower than the bacteria would. However, if these plants came in from other tanks that are already established, this helps out because the bacteria eventually colonize on all surfaces including plants. So, you've brought in some good bacteria to help kick off. But, you've overloaded them by adding six fish all at once and so they can't keep up. That's why you have an ammonia spike currently.


There are numerous smaller, nano fish that can live in the five gallon. Neons are not one of them. You have to keep in mind their shoal size as well, some fish need more buddies than others. One Betta and a bunch of shrimp would be great in that tank. Or a school of Ember Tetras and a school of Corydoras Habrosus or Pygmeaus. Or a group of Celestial Pearl Danios or a Scarlet Badis (Dario dario), jelly bean tetra, espei rasbora, chili rasbora, mosquito rasbora, etc. If you need a list of nano fish, I can definitely help out with that! But, I just need to know your end stocking goals here so I can help direct towards a good path :)
 

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I would make sure to let your water u are adding to ur tank with the water change sit for a day for adding it to let the chlorine evaporate. Even adding prime may be weakening the bacteria before they can fully establish but that's just a thought.

Sent from my SM-J727V using Tapatalk
 

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Prime has no impact on the bacteria’s development. There’s no need to age the water when you use water conditioner, unless you want to take extra steps.
 

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Second what jaysee said,


Also, water doesn't just have chlorine any more. They use chloramine which takes much much longer to evaporate and even still, I don't believe it fully evaporates. This is one of the reasons why it's imperative to use some kind of water conditioner these days. Aging water may still be useful for those who's pH needs to balance out if it's too low and ends up crashing, but otherwise, there is no point to aging water any longer other than for temperature balance or pH balance.
 

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Except maybe those on well water?
 

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Of course. Apologies, didn't specify that the addition of chloramine is in city/municipal water.


Though, well water can still contain a lot of heavy metals and whatnot. I have well water myself and hardly ever use it without conditioning just to be on the safe side. It changes season to season and I'd rather not kill my fish. I already had a disaster recently when we cleared trees from around the well and disrupted the soil, it caused contaminants to enter the well and kill off a lot of my fish before I realized what happened. Had to switch to bottled water for a while before it passed >.<
 

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I remember a number of people used to claim they didn’t condition their well water, but for reasons you outlined, plus the low cost, I think I would still condition too.
 

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PH of 6?? Mine usually site around 7.4. Is 6 an ok level?
 

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PH of 6?? Mine usually site around 7.4. Is 6 an ok level?
Yes! Higher pH is typically more stable which is good for the fish!


My pH is down at 4.5 lol, it's very low with no GH or KH which means it can fluctuate a lot. I have to let it sit out in a 5 gallon bucket for a few days, not to let off gas but to let it rise up in pH and then lower back down again to settle so it doesn't hurt my fish. Though, sometimes I just throw it right into my tank if it's big enough. My 5.5's I like to use the aged water but the 45, doesn't matter as much since the ratio of new water to old water is smaller.


But most fish are pretty well adaptable and pH's from 5.5 up to 8.5 are usually okay! Of course, that super high pH 8-8.5, softwater fish don't do as well in but it's great for African Cichlids and livebearing fishes like Guppies, Platy's, Molly's, and Swordtails! I like to keep fish that suit my water; it's much easier in the end.
 

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I think mine comes out of the tap at like 7.4, I feel lucky! haha
 

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I presume you know what regular behavior is for guppies and neons- active, colorful, and so on. Are the fish active?
Are they sedentary? Eating regularly? Swimming near the surface more often than not?

It's great that you have plants, but i wouldn't call them well-established. Didn't you say this was a new tank?

Ammonia showing up on the test is worrying, especially with a high ph- ammonia is in it's more toxic form when the pH is over 7.


You seem to be discussing a store-brand substrate?

Someone mentioned guppies and neons- can be fragile now. This is absolutely true.

So far, it sounds like you should use a product like prime that binds ammonia, detoxes heavy metals and breaks down chlorine and chloramines.
 
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