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Old 04-22-2014, 08:29 AM   #1
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Help! Fish are dying

On Saturday I added 5 silvertip tetras to my newly cycled 40g tank. They haven't eaten since I brought them home and as of this morning 2 of them are dead.
I checked the water and ph and ammonia are both good (6.4 and 0 respectively). The water temperature has been around 76.
I don't know what I am doing wrong. Can anyone help?

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Old 04-22-2014, 09:28 AM   #2
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How long have you been cycled?? Whats the nitrIte and nitrAte readings??
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Old 04-22-2014, 09:31 AM   #3
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I cycled for about a month and completed the cycle last Thursday.
I will check the other levels tonight but nitrite was an 0 and nitrate was at 5ppm before adding the fish.

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Old 04-22-2014, 09:35 AM   #4
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A lot of fish deaths are caused by high ammonia/nitrIte levels.

If that isn't the case then look for aeration. Airstones are not necessary, but make sure theres surface agitation to oxygenate the water.

Watch out for pH swings. A fast pH swing will shock a fish into death.

How did you acclimate your fish?

Maybe they were just weak fish when you bought them
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Old 04-22-2014, 09:42 AM   #5
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I don't have an airstone but I am running an aquaclear 70 on high.
I acclimated by letting the bag sit in the aquarium water and slowly replacing the bag water with aquarium water with a 5ml dropper.
As for ph, I think it was around 6.8 when the cycle completed so it did go down a little bit but I wouldn't call that a big swing. Should I add a little sodium bicarbonate to bring it back up?
What about the not eating? I have tried flakes, brine shrimp, and bloodworms and nothing gets touched. I called the store to see what they fed them and they said flakes. ???

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Old 04-22-2014, 09:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
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I don't have an airstone but I am running an aquaclear 70 on high.
I acclimated by letting the bag sit in the aquarium water and slowly replacing the bag water with aquarium water with a 5ml dropper.
As for ph, I think it was around 6.8 when the cycle completed so it did go down a little bit but I wouldn't call that a big swing. Should I add a little sodium bicarbonate to bring it back up?
What about the not eating? I have tried flakes, brine shrimp, and bloodworms and nothing gets touched. I called the store to see what they fed them and they said flakes. ???

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All sounds fine to me. Fish can take a while to get used to their new environments, maybe it was just stress?? Im really out of ideas though. Maybe someone else can help.
Sorry
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Old 04-22-2014, 09:49 AM   #7
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I appreciate your help sk3lly. I may be new to the hobby but have had lots of time to read up on everything and I was at a loss too.
We'll see how the other 3 fare.

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Old 04-22-2014, 12:42 PM   #8
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Fish deaths within the first week in a cycled tank are usually due to either weak/sick/stressed stock or acclimation shock. Since it sounds like you did the acclimation properly, I'd guess the former. In that case there's nothing you did wrong, it just happens if you don't have the best stock source. Were these from a big box store, or a specialty fish store?
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Old 04-22-2014, 01:12 PM   #9
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Big box. I called my lfs before heading out and they didn't have the fish I was looking for.
Could the oxygen level have been low? I don't have an air stone and they have stayed at the surface since I put them in the tank.

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Old 04-22-2014, 01:21 PM   #10
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Oxygen shouldn't be the issue. Big box stores are notorious for poor quality stock. If big box is your only local option for your fish, make sure you look them over very closely before bringing them home. Look for sunken sides, lethargic activity, tattered fins, growths, or any other obvious signs of disease. If ANYONE in the tank looks off, there's a high chance that they're either carrying a disease or are in poor water, resulting in a higher mortality rate when you bring them home as well as a chance to spread it to the rest of your tank.

If at all possible, quarantine all fish you bring home from big box stores. If they have a survival guarantee, save the receipt and take back any fish that die. Otherwise you run the risk of nuking your tank and wasting money on fish that are doomed from the start.
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Old 04-22-2014, 01:43 PM   #11
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What is a big box store? Sorry to sound dumb?
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Old 04-22-2014, 01:48 PM   #12
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I didn't notice any warning signs in the store but it was also one of the higher tanks and I couldn't see the bottom of it to check for dead or dying fish.
Quarantining is unfortunately not an option. It was like pulling teeth to get my wife to let me have one tank. I think if I got a second one I might have to live in the basement. 😊
I do have the receipt so I am going to bring them back.
Live and learn.

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Old 04-22-2014, 01:57 PM   #13
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What is a big box store? Sorry to sound dumb?
PetSmart, Walmart, Petco, etc... Any chain store that isn't focused on fish alone. The more specialized the store, the more knowledgeable the employees are and the better care usually taken of their fish.

That's unfortunate that quarantine isn't an option... Most stores will not post warnings that their fish are sick. If they're in the middle of treating them they may post a dot or something to tell the employees not to sell fish from that tank, but not always.... If it's a big box store they almost always ignore the occasional sick or dead fish rather than seeing them for the "canary in the mine" that they usually are.
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Old 04-22-2014, 02:40 PM   #14
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Would you recommend a water change then? I think I might get the air stone just in case. It certainly can't hurt.
I am going to keep the lights on low for a couple days to try and minimize the stress to the remaining 3 fish.

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Old 04-22-2014, 03:49 PM   #15
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Only do a water change if the water parameters are out of whack. A water change so soon will only stress the remaining ones more, so the best thing to do is give them stable good parameters to let them perk up.
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Old 04-22-2014, 03:51 PM   #16
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Great. Thanks!

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Old 04-22-2014, 06:58 PM   #17
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Help! Fish are dying

When you add new fish this adds to the bioload, in a newly cycled tank, it may not have the BB to adjust, and a nitrite spike could be responsible. It can sometimes be missed as well. The BB will quickly adjust and a high nitrite reading could be gone before a test is done, but the damage is already done.
It could be an aeration problem, but in those instances the fish will be seen gasping for air at the top if the water line before they die.
Nitrite, strikes fast and hard. That's my suspect.
It is recommended that you only add no more than 3 fish in a 48 hour period, even small ones, especially in a newly cycled tank. It's best to add one fish at a time, to make sure the system can cope to the additional bio-load.

It could also be stress, if the water they are being moved from is very different from yours (PH, temperature, etc) it can stress them to death.
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Old 04-22-2014, 07:05 PM   #18
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Tested the ammonia last night...0ppm. Tested the nitrite and nitrate tonight...0ppm and 5ppm respectively. temperature is still at 76.
I look a minute to observe the fish that are left. All have pretty rapid hill movement and are still hanging out near the top and close to the filter flow.
I tried again to give them a bit of food, frozen brine shrimp, but they didn't eat it.
5 1-1.5" fish in a 40g tank really shouldn't overwhelm the filtration so I am thinking they may have been sick to start with.
I am going to put in an aeration device tonight as a last ditch effort.

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Old 04-22-2014, 07:10 PM   #19
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Help! Fish are dying

Quote:
Originally Posted by tedek View Post
Tested the ammonia last night...0ppm. Tested the nitrite and nitrate tonight...0ppm and 5ppm respectively. temperature is still at 76.
I look a minute to observe the fish that are left. All have pretty rapid hill movement and are still hanging out near the top and close to the filter flow.
I tried again to give them a bit of food, frozen brine shrimp, but they didn't eat it.
5 1-1.5" fish in a 40g tank really shouldn't overwhelm the filtration so I am thinking they may have been sick to start with.
I am going to put in an aeration device tonight as a last ditch effort.

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How do there gills look? Small fish like that are often bred in crappy circumstances , ammonia, and nitrite damage the gills. It is important when picking out new fish to check their gills. If they are red, swollen, or look hard, it is usually due to the breeder, the transportation, or the fish store. Another thing you may want to try is adding aquarium salt (unless you have snails, shrimps, or plecos) aquarium salt helps improve gill function.

The addition if fish does not cause the filter stress, but the beneficial bacteria. (Why we cycle) the majority of it lives in your substrate, (and in the filter) even adding one one-inch fish increases the bioload and the system needs to adjust. Generally the system does this just fine, but in some cases it does not.
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Old 04-22-2014, 07:14 PM   #20
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Help! Fish are dying

I have an Aquaclear 70, it is an amazing filter! I highly recommend getting the ammonia remover insert. This will help with Nitrates down the line. A bag of Purigen is another great media to throw in an Aquaclear.

From everything I have read, this doesn't seem like your fault at all. Just bad stock.

It happens a lot with small fish, tetras, danios, platys, etc.
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