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Old 03-07-2005, 07:44 AM   #1
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African Cichlid deaths, please HELP

I am having a problem with my 150 gal Cichlid tank. It has been set up for about a month. I am using a Cascade 1000 and 1200 Canister filtration unit. The tank parameters are Ammonia= .5, Nitrite=.25, Nitrate=5, Temp=79.9, Ph=7.7. The history behind the tank is: I used to have a 55 gal tank with my cichlids and upgraded about a month ago. There was no way to have the 55 and 150 setup at the same time. To try to preserve as much bacteria as possible we used the same filtration unit, all of the water from the 55, plants, and decor from the 55 in the 150. Since the tank is obviously not cycled, we are doing daily 20% water changes, not touching the filtration unit or gravel. It hasn't had a gravel vac yet. Nothing has been added to the tank since the problem has started, not even decor.

Yesterday afternoon I was doing the daily water change and as I was filling the tank, a dead fish floated to the top. It scared me half to death. I dropped the python on the floor, dechlor in the tank and ran and grabbed a net. I netted the little guy out and resumed filing the tank. As I am putting water in the tank, I pour dechlor in the python tube and then dump the water in the tank. It takes a while to do, but this way the water that enters the tank has the dechlor already added.

After each water change I always count the fish. As I was counting the fish I found a recently dead fish stuck under one of the caves. The entire body was intact. It couldn't have been dead more than 2 hours. I kept counting the fish, and 1 is MIA. So far, 1 Maylandia Estherae "Blue/Red", 1 Pseudotropheus Socolofi, 1 Nimbochromis Venustus, and 1 Female Melanochromis Auratus have died in the last 24 hours. I still have not found the body of the Maylandia Estherae but I know that he must have died. The Auratus died this morning, I found her when I woke up but she couldn't have been dead that long because her color had not started to fade and her fins and body were still intact.

I can't figure out what is killing these fish. I have examined all of the fish and none of them have ich. They all look perfectly healthy, swimming around like normal, eating like normal, digging holes in the sand. There is plenty of airation: 2 air stones (one in each of the back corners), and 2 maxi jets that pulls air into the tank. I am at my wits end with this. We have searched the tank but can't find the body of the MIA fish but tonight we are going to pull everything out until we find it. I took a water sample into the lfs because I thought maybe my readings were off but they weren't and they said that the water parameters shouldn't have killed the fish since they are so low and we are doing daily pwc. The fish have already gone through the worst of the cycle and it's starting to taper off. They aren't showing any kind of stress, the aggression has actually decreased lately.

Please, help. I don't know what to do. I don't want to lose anymore of my precious fish. I have become very attached to them. Most of them we have had for about a year. I would have thought that if it was poor water conditions, the baby yellow labs would have died, not the adults. The body of the fish haven't bloated. We're feeding flake as staple, blood worms, brine shrimp, zuc, peas, algae wafers (for pleco's), and tubiflex worms. I alternate between the foods to give a variety but always feed flake. I feed twice a day, once in the morning, once before bed. If anyone can shed some light onto what is going on, I'd greatly appreciate it.
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Old 03-07-2005, 08:24 AM   #2
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Fishy, you certainly have my sympathies but I see a pattern forming with the mysterious deaths of your fish and your snails.

Is there a chance that there is something common about what is going into both the 150 and the 10 gal tanks? Food for example? Is there anything from the 55 that went into the 10 and the 150?

Are you having any problems at all with the other tanks?

Since you used everything from the 55 to cycle the 150, were daily PWC's absolutely necessary?

Just grasping in the hope of solving the mystery.
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Old 03-07-2005, 10:35 AM   #3
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The only thing common between the 10 and 150 is the flake food and blood worms. We are also using that in the 29 gal but no fish deaths there. When we changed over from the 55 to the 150, everything that was in the 55 went into the 150. Nothing was put into the 10 gal. Actually, we took some plants from the 10 and put them in the 29. Daily water changes are being done because of the bio-load of the fish and because of the fact that a week after we changed the tanks over, there was present Ammonia (1.5) and no Nitrates. So I am assuming that the cycle needed to start over from scratch. I guess from the fact that the only thing that really held bacteria was the filtration unit. After the cycle is complete, we will return to weekly 15% water changes, monthly gravel vacing. I was trying to find a common denominator between the 10 and 150, but can't find anything that isn't also being used in the 29 and 5 gal tanks. Those tanks are perfectly fine. *crossing fingers* They share the same wall, but that doesn't mean anything. I am at a total loss here. If we don't have any more deaths in the 150 over the next week, I am just going to assume that it was the cycling process that killed them, but I would rather know for sure what it was.
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Old 03-07-2005, 03:48 PM   #4
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I agree. It's always better to have the facts rather than guess.

I can certainly understand your feeling when you saw the 1.5 NH3 reading. I saw a 2.0 when I began and tore down the tank! Had I known that I was going to start a re-cycle, I would have just continued the PWC's.

I have my fingers crossed also.

BTW - Try not to drop the python in the future...no sense ruining your floors
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Old 03-07-2005, 05:35 PM   #5
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It was just a complete shock. I have never seen a fish in our tank EVER float to the top without eyes. It scared the crap out of me. It's kind of like when you put your shoes on in the morning and feel something at the end of your toe and it ISN'T a sock. I would like to know why they are dieing, but I guess I'll just assume that it's from the cycling process. Hopefully we don't have any more fish deaths. I was quite upset when I saw the Auratus. She has always been such a peaceful fish and beautiful to look at. I finally got most of the water up. I had to rent a floor cleaner to do it though. AUGH. I guess it's like they say, You can't be a true aquarist until you soak the floors.
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Old 03-08-2005, 09:00 PM   #6
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All was fine until I came home tonight. The ice blue is acting funny. He's moving slowly and the other fish are picking on him. He is usually the aggressor. Should I take him out and QT him? If I do, our QT has never been set up. Wouldn't this cause a problem since the tank isn't cycled? I don't want to lose this big guy because he's my fiance's favorite fish. Could this be an internal parasite or something? It's definately not ich.

The cycling process is coming to an end. The ammonia is at zero, Nitrite = .5, and Nitrate = 10.
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Old 03-08-2005, 11:02 PM   #7
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Update: The ice blue died about an hour after I made that post. My fiance took him out of the tank and examined him and can not find anything wrong with him, physically. His body doesn't have nips or scratches. His gills are perfect. Scared of losing more fish I added some salt to the tank. I put in ten 1/2 tablespoons of salt. I can't find the teaspoon measurer so I just estimated. Is that enough or too much? The other fish look perfectly healthy, then agian, the Ice Blue looked great until tonight.
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Old 03-08-2005, 11:21 PM   #8
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i use doc wellfish salt and it says to use 1 rounded tablespoon per 5gal.i have never had a prob use that dose.gl
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Old 03-09-2005, 12:56 AM   #9
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Tomorrow I will add the rest of the salt. I don't want to add too much at once. I thought that I read on a thread that you should add one teaspoon per 10 gal. But the container said 1 rounded tablespoon per 5 gal. Maybe I should stick with what the container said, per 5 gal. Thanks sonoma2nv. I am also using Doc Wellfish Aquarium Salt. I read the box and it said per 5 gal but I didn't know if that would be too much. I'll add the remainder tomorrow. It just looked like a lot of salt to be adding, but I guess 150 gal is a big tank. It is now 11:00 PM and all fish are looking healthy. That's a plus. Then again, the ice blue looked perfect too.
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Old 03-09-2005, 04:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
As I am putting water in the tank, I pour dechlor in the python tube and then dump the water in the tank.
I use ro water in my tanks, there is no chlorine or chloramine, and it's been a while since I used it, but--

isn't the tap water and chlorine remover supposed to sit for a while before it is added to your tank?
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