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Old 09-17-2019, 07:59 PM   #1
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Fish randomly dying

Good evening everyone,

I've had a 20 gallon tank for about 10 months now. Over these 10 months I've had a couple fish die on me and I cannot figure out why. This is my first tank so any info will be great. The first fish to go was my Betta who I had for about two years. It only died once I put him in this 20 gal tank. Then I've had dalmatian mollies die, guppies, and lastly my bristlenose pleco. I keep the water at 77-78F, I use a 20 gal water filter (MF20 MULTI-Stage internal topfin filter). I was using Topfin Water conditoner to treat my tap water but have been doing 20% changes the last 5 days with preconditioned water by Topfin since I couldn't get ideal GH/KH levels with my tap. While using my conditioned tap water the parameters were GH-180 KH-0 pH-6.0-6.5 NO2-0 and NO3-0. I thought maybe pH spikes were killing my fish but the newest addition was the bristlenose and he was introduced with the new preconditioned water. He didnt last more than a couple days. The only fish I have had survive are two cory catfish. I never keep more than 5 small fish in the 20gal at a time so it isnt overcrowded, and none of them are aggressive/attack. I fed wardley tropical fish food, API bottom feeder food, and then a small amount of crab cuisine for my ghost shrimp. I only feed maybe three times a week and not a lot. The water is never dirty/cloudy etc. I vacuum the gravel about once every two weeks and 20 percent water change once a week. The only other thing I use is API Leaf Zone because I have some live plants inside, being bamboo and some sort of grass plant. If you guys need any more info I'll be happy to respond quickly. Any ideas or help is great. I'm sure I'm missing something cause I'm fairly new.
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Old 09-18-2019, 11:42 PM   #2
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Maybe a stupid question but did you cycle your tank?

How thorough is your gravel vacs and how much of the tank bottom at one time?

Your kh being 0 will swing your pH. The higher the kh the more stable the pH.
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Old 09-19-2019, 11:48 AM   #3
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Yessir, she's been cycled. I would say I vacuum about 90% of the bottom. Theres a treehouse decoration that I dont pull out often just because I feel like it would really freak out the fish while they're in there. I'm currently getting something to increase the KH so hopefully that solves my issue. Thank you for the reply
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Old 09-19-2019, 12:34 PM   #4
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90% is ok if you are doing a light gravel vac of the surface of the substrate. If you are going deep or to the bottom then do 1/3 of the substrate weekly until it's completed and only do a deep vac a few times a year.

Remove decorations when you clean if possible. Your fish will be fine.

I think raising the kh will definitely make your water more stable.

Let us know how it goes.
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Old 09-19-2019, 07:31 PM   #5
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Thank you! I got the Alkaline buffer today. I'll keep using preconditioned water for my 25% weekly changes. The water already has a higher KH. I'll let you know if I have anymore losses.
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