help!!!! my fish keep dying - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-19-2020, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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help!!!! my fish keep dying

I have had a 70L tank for around 8 months now and I have struggled since day 1 to keep fish alive for a period of time.
I cycled the tank when I fist got it for 3 weeks it has a filter and heater and has a decent amount of live plants. I have a liquid test kit and the water has always tested fine-
0- ammonia
7.4-7.8 ph
50-80ppm -nitrate
water temp is 24-25c

I have had platys, guppies, dwarf gourami, neon tetra, cardinal tetras (not all at the same) and amano shrimp(longest survivors)

up until 2 days ago we averaged a fish dying every 2 weeks or so with no signs apart from laying at the bottom of the tank in the corner and barely moving until there eventual death. I have spoken to various aquatic shops with me able to answer every question they asked me and them then being unable to help. I have had them test the water to see if I had been testing it wrong the whole time, but it tested fine even hardness etc.

Things seamed to have stabilised over Christmas no fish deaths in over a month, so we added 4 cherry barbs and 2 guppy's meaning we then had

4 cherry barbs
1 male platys
2 male guppys
5 neon tetra
5 cardinal tetra
5 amano shrimp

everything was fine then 1 guppy died 2 weeks and everything seamed fine again then came down stairs 2 days ago and all the neon and cardinal tetras floating upside down at the top of the tank except 1. we went to the aquatic shop to retest the water and to speak to them and they advised us to try a Microbe-lift Artemiss to treat the tank. Then this morning the last tetra and guppy died and now 2 cherry barbs seam to have white spots or bubbles on them We are absolutely banging our head against the wall I hate killing the fish constantly please someone help!!!!!!
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post #2 of 6 Old 01-19-2020, 06:35 PM
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I came across your post so I decided to create an account and reply. Your nitrates level could be the reason why your fish are dying. Nitrates should always be under 50 ppm or 50 mg/l, and preferably around 20 ppm. If the nitrites are 0 ppm and nitrates are well over 50 ppm it means that you have a good filtration (that turns nitrites into nitrates), however, the way you get rid of excess nitrate levels is by adding more plants or doing more frequent water changes.

How often do you change your water and how much of it do you change?

It could also be that you're doing something at water change intervals that's potentially bad for the fish since you're constantly dealing with the loss of fish. For example, I recently discovered that using a garden hose to change the water (which made my water changes so much easier) is bad because the hose can release harmful chemicals, so I stopped using it for water changes. I would also put fresh water in the tank before treating it with a water conditioner which was deadly for the fish. The best way to do it is to use the conditioner only on the amount of water you're changing but before it's added to the tank.

Details like this and many others can be the reason why your fish are dying, and perhaps someone else can help you more because I'm fairly new to the hobby (it's been about 3 months since I started).

Last edited by Sailxy; 01-19-2020 at 06:41 PM.
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post #3 of 6 Old 01-20-2020, 03:39 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your reply
To start I was doing 20% water changes every 2 weeks then I was told that was too much and I should change the water every 3-4 weeks.
I was also told by a well respected shop that they do not even check for NO3 so for me noo no t to worry about 50ppm
I use a brand new never washed bucket and always add the water treatment to the bucket, and use tepid water from the tap not cold water
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post #4 of 6 Old 01-20-2020, 03:51 AM Thread Starter
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And I have always tested my water in the bucket before adding to the tank because I thought our tap water must be bad but it was ok
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post #5 of 6 Old 01-20-2020, 10:00 AM
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I'm afraid you were given some wrong advice by your lfs and it definitely doesn't sound good the fact that they blatantly tell you that they don't test their water. Even that alone could be the reason why your fish are dying because they were kept in poor conditions in the first place (if you purchased your fish there). I would personally look for another fish store in your area if you can.

It shocks me that they would tell you not to worry about NO3 levels because that's one of the most crucial things to worry about, especially when it's around 50 ppm. This is extremely deadly for the fish.

Recommended water change is 20-25% WEEKLY. Most articles if you just google will tell you that. Sometimes you can get away with longer intervals if your tank is lightly stocked but your tank was at about 70% stocked from what you listed.

Even if your parameters all look good you should still change the water every week to replenish all the minerals, which water tests won't show.

In your position, I would change 50% of the water immediately. After that keep changing about 20% water EVERY week. Your fish will be much happier and you will see that over time.
Keep an eye on NO2 and NO3. NO2 should always be almost 0. If it's any higher than that then it means you need to add more biological filtration and use bacteria starter. NO3 is fine if it's between 10-30 as long as you're doing weekly water changes.

Just doing the proper water changes is the best thing you can now do for your current remaining fish. I hope they recover, however, once the damage is done and fish are sick it's very hard to make them recover even with expensive medicine.

I would recommend not adding any new fish for the next 2-3 weeks while you're doing this proper water changes.
You should also clean your filter every few weeks and rinse the sponge/material in aquarium water, but not on the same day as changing the water.

And lastly, I would recommend using the site called "aqadvisor" when you're adding new fish to the tank just to see if the fish are compatible with each other.

It'll give you a lot of helpful suggestions like this:
For example, Cherry barbs are recommended to be kept at least 5-6 in a group.
If you want to keep more than 1 platy, the minimum recommended male to female ratio is 1:2 (M:F). You will be less likely to experience a problem if you get even more females or if you only keep females. This same goes for guppies too.

Last edited by Sailxy; 01-20-2020 at 10:19 AM.
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post #6 of 6 Old 01-23-2020, 08:01 AM
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Yikes... this sounds like a nightmare...

I would get a used sponge filter from an established tank and drop it in your tank! All cycling problems fixed! Itís called jump starting

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