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Old 01-09-2003, 09:23 AM   #1
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New set up resulting in loss of three species

Hello,

I just found this site and joined. Unfortunately I looked for the site due to an unfortunate incident.

Just to start off, I've had this aquarium for the last nine years. Have had aquariums off and on all my life.

The issue: I had to tear down the my 55 gallon tank the week before Christmas for a cleaning. Algea had taken over the tank. The algea was a green stringy kind that I have never seen before. Grew on the sides and the plastic plants. Mostly my fault, since I keep the tank in the basement and had a bad habit of leaving one of the lights on at all times. I lost a lot of fish in November due to an illness and not being able to get to cleaning the tank. At the time that I tore down the tank, I had two red tetras and an angel fish. I sort of suspected the algea being the culprit, but that's just my thought.

After rebuilding the tank and adding a chlorine remover, I added the three fish that I had. After a couple days I restocked the tank with an additional: 10 neon tetras, 4 red tetras, 4 angel fish, 3 plecos, and 2 cory cats. I expected to lose a fish or two. All was well for about three weeks. One of the new angel fishes was sticking with itself in a corner I kept my eye on it but it seemed ok. A few days later, which would be last Saturday, the original angel fish died. The next day I noticed that a cory cat had died and the loner angel was also dead. I remove dead fish as soon as I see them. The next morning one of the cory cats was found dead. The next morning another angel and a red tetra. Tuesday morning, I found the last Cory cat dead. Yesterday and today, no loss of fish.

What I have done: I have never made it a habit of testing the water and other than the chlorine remover, don't add chemicals to my tank. However, with this large of a loss, I started testing the water. I found the PH to be 7.4 which is what the level is from the tap. Granted that's a little high, but I don't suspect it being a problem. Bought a thermometer and found the water temp to be 80 degrees. Tested for ammonia which turned out to be 0. Tested for nitrates which turned out to be 0. Can't find a phosphate test kit. I'm not finding anything wrong and am sort of stumped. Just for kicks I treated the tank and lowered the PH to 7.0.

Round about Sunday, I noticed that the green stringy algea was growing already on the side of the tank. My thoughts still blame this algea for the deaths of the fish. I have heard that green algeas are usually not toxic to fish, but I have never seen this algea before. The only other item that I can think of would be the chlorine remover that I added to the tank. I can't remember the brand, I think it was stress coat maybe, but I was not looking forward to counting drops so I just squirted a bunch of water in every 5 gallon bucket. I can't think of a reason why this would harm the balance of the tank though.

I did pick up a product called Phos-Zorb which a guy at the lfs said would take care of the algea. I haven't added it yet, but will tonight since I don't want the algea to rule the tank.

I'm thinking that an ammonia spike might be the cause of the problem, but would the ammonia level be so low so quickly after a spike, and I thought the nitrate level would be elevated after an ammonia spike? I ran the tests a few times to verify the results.

Does anyone have an idea what the problem might be?

A side question.... I noticed some sort of ammonia gage at the lfs which you stick on the side of the tank and the reading is safe, caution, elevated, and treatment required. Has anyone used one of these before and do they work?

Thanks
Thomas
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55 gal fresh - planted 2wpg ~ Eheim eco filter ~ south american theme
java moss - misc anubia - amazon sword - Red rubin sword - tennellus chain swords
4 ottos, 1 pleco, 3 high fin white tetras, 3 Black Phantom Tetras, 1 high fin black tetra, 1 black tetra, 2 diamond tetras, 3 yoyos


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Old 01-09-2003, 09:38 AM   #2
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Solutions

Those ammonia guages suck, avoid them

Check your nitrite levels

I usually try to go natural with algae removal, like pink kissing gouramis or chinese algae eaters or ottos, they are always a better option that
chemicals.

No more than 8 hours a day of light

lower your temp a bit, I keep mine around 75 degress

make sure your filtration is at a peak

Never add more than 2 or 3 fish at a time, your level will most certainly spike, not to mention the stress on the fish.

Try adding a few live plants to reduce the phosphates in your tank

Large apple snails and Ramshorn snails do a good job with the algae too.

frequent water changes

Hope this all helps
Chris
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Old 01-09-2003, 09:52 AM   #3
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I did check the nitrite level, that was the extra kit I bought not nitrates. My bad. The level was 0. I tried ottos last year about this same time. I bought three which all died in a matter of three weeks. Another board said that ottos were hard to get established but a great algea control. I haven't tried reintroducing them. When I rebuilt the tank, I put the lights on a timer and have reduced the lighting to six hours per day. I was a little shocked to still see the algea reappear that quickly.

I'll try lowering the temperature some. The knob broke off the heater so it's difficult to change the temperature in the tank.

I haven't heard of Gouramis before but I will look into them.

Thanks for the reply
Thomas
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55 gal fresh - planted 2wpg ~ Eheim eco filter ~ south american theme
java moss - misc anubia - amazon sword - Red rubin sword - tennellus chain swords
4 ottos, 1 pleco, 3 high fin white tetras, 3 Black Phantom Tetras, 1 high fin black tetra, 1 black tetra, 2 diamond tetras, 3 yoyos


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Old 01-13-2003, 08:31 AM   #4
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Update

After three days of nomalcy, I lost a pleco yesterday. I tested the water again and found nothing abnormal. I had the water tested at the lfs and they saw a moderate elevation in nitrites but nothing that would kill off fish. The lfs is clueless about the cause as well and suggested a virus being transferred from fish to fish.

One interesting thing though, my last angel is showing signs of distress. Nothing visible but the behaviors of the fish are abnormal. This fish is the first that actually showed any sign of distress.
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Tom

55 gal fresh - planted 2wpg ~ Eheim eco filter ~ south american theme
java moss - misc anubia - amazon sword - Red rubin sword - tennellus chain swords
4 ottos, 1 pleco, 3 high fin white tetras, 3 Black Phantom Tetras, 1 high fin black tetra, 1 black tetra, 2 diamond tetras, 3 yoyos


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Old 01-13-2003, 10:15 AM   #5
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i don't know what to tell you, but plecs are usually tough little buggers... and my mom has a 5 gallon guppy tank that is slam full ( as you can imagine with guppies) and i stuck 1 lonely otto in there for algae control and he's happy as a clam---and you know he's not in the best of situations! lol...how high is "moderate" for your nitrites? btw--do your own research and don't rely on the lfs, some are good, but most don't know any more than you do, but there job is to act like it.... 8O
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Old 01-13-2003, 10:47 AM   #6
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Quote:
plecs are usually tough little buggers
Exactly. I've never heard of a plec just dying. I'm tending to think a parasite or something like that.

Quote:
how high is "moderate" for your nitrites? btw--do your own research
My tests came out at 0 ppm, whereas the test at the lfs came out less than .25. The lfs used the strips where I was using the solution in a test tube. Would have liked the strips, but I didn't see them when I bought the solution kits. I agree about the research part. I've scanned the web for answers but can't find anything that might explain my situation.
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55 gal fresh - planted 2wpg ~ Eheim eco filter ~ south american theme
java moss - misc anubia - amazon sword - Red rubin sword - tennellus chain swords
4 ottos, 1 pleco, 3 high fin white tetras, 3 Black Phantom Tetras, 1 high fin black tetra, 1 black tetra, 2 diamond tetras, 3 yoyos


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