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Old 03-04-2017, 06:14 PM   #1
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Sad and Desperate for Any Answers..

Hi all! I'll try to keep this short..
It started off with a 10gl, some beginning mishaps but all was well after a while. It contained a Molly, two Cobra guppies, a Platty, two Zebra Danios and a Nerite Snail. I went on vacation, to find out all but the Danios and Snail had died over the course of two days. Water tests (all done at Petsmart) came back no issue. Nothing was abnormally reported. I moved all survivors and added a very active Comet goldfish to a cycled 25gl tank 2 months ago. When my water tests came back perfect, my brother decided to add a Pictus and small Pleco (much against my wishes). Within a week the Pictus died- To me it seemed like it was always moving frantically. The water tests came back fine. Petsmart associates couldn't visually see anything wrong with the Pictus itself either. Two days later my Comet turns from white to rusty and slow. I isolated him, but he also passed. Over the next two days, the Pleco- who never showed sign of distress or anything also goes. Every time, the water is fine, and the bodies display no obvious sign of disease or cause of death- which baffles the associates. The Danios, and Snail once again rule the tank and are behaving as norm. Every associate I ask has no idea what's offing my fish. My family has also donned me as the fish killer..
Essentially, I don't know if I am just beyond unlucky, or am doing something wrong with my fish but, it's come to the point where I am beyond hope and just.. defeated.

Here's my last test results, done on Tuesday- quality has decreased some compared to prior tests but, I don't know if it's enough to destroy my survivors- or anything else I dare add to the tank (Not for a while..);
Ammonia - 0
Nitrate - 0
Nitrite - 0
Chlorine - 0
Hardness/GH - 180 (I live in a very Hard water area- but I was told it's fine as long as they're introduced slowly)
Alkalinity/KH - 150
pH - 8.0
Temp is usually between 71 -73
- There's a working air stone, heater, and filter with them.
- I'm due for a water change today.
- I add 5ml of Fluval Concentrated Bio. Booster per change as suggested by an associate.
(Included some pictures of my pitiful and pretty much life-empty tank, just in case the layout is dangerous.)

I am a bit new to all the terminology and whathaveyous, so bare with me- I'll answer anything I can to the best of my knowledge.
For any insight anyone has to offer, I thank you. :(
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Old 03-04-2017, 07:15 PM   #2
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I gave up on petsmart water testing ..they do the strip water test which are always wrong that is why I bought the API Freshwater testing kit ..Hopefully someone knowledgeable can help you but I am having problems with ammonia in my newly established 20 gallon
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That how I test my water
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Old 03-04-2017, 10:35 PM   #3
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Don't sell yourself short! After getting it tested with liquid drops it turns out my pH is awful and my Nitrates are a bit higher than they should be.
While I don't know if it was the cause of my fish dropping like flies.. it's a start.
So, thank you. (:
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Old 03-05-2017, 01:38 AM   #4
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That very reason, "all is fine" and testing strips are why you need the Liquid testing kit. Good report nonexistant.

I have had same experience even with double verifying occasionally with the liquid test kit, lost almost a full tank of fish with lying test strips. So nope, can not trust them. Can not.

Lofi, I am so sorry you have had a rocky start.

Do you have any fish left now? Any snails, or anything living in there?

If you haven't had a chance read the link in my signature and you will get a huge amount of great useful info. It is an Aquarium Advice article, on getting started.
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Old 03-05-2017, 04:45 AM   #5
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The fact you have no live plants and given the species in the tank. Having 0 trates is rare. Tank is probably not cycled or its cycled and parameters are not good. The fact danios survive is largely due to thier toughness. They can withstand a cycle or bad params.
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Old 03-05-2017, 08:37 AM   #6
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+1 test strips are useless. The pets mart uses them because they take no time and can be used by anyone. The associate probably knows little since he/she told you water from a cycled aquarium without nitrates is "normal"and nothing is wrong.

I know you would like to have a tank with thriving fish as anyone would. You're not the only person to go through this, so don't be disheartened- but you do need to overcome a learning curve so that you know what's going on. The article in autumnsky's signature should accomplish this.

Next, visit aqadvisor.com and enter your original stock into the ten gallon, and the 25 gallon. Is not a perfect tool and it estimates on the conservative side, but it's a good starting place to look at what fish fit in your tank.
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Old 03-05-2017, 08:48 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by flchamp89 View Post
The fact you have no live plants and given the species in the tank. Having 0 trates is rare. Tank is probably not cycled or its cycled and parameters are not good. The fact danios survive is largely due to thier toughness. They can withstand a cycle or bad params.


I must agree
The tank is too clear
Looks like no bio activity at all
I suggest buying your fish from an aquarium store NOT PetSmart - never trusted them

What kind of filtration system and tank do you have?

You love your fish so don't give up
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:21 AM   #8
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Hi, do you have any filtration in the form of water bubbles somewhere? That could be the problem. I also suggest you go to a local fish store for further advise and water testing. I personally think that while the water strips are not as accurate as the liquid testing they shouldn't be that off.
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:31 AM   #9
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Lofi...

Most of the water in small tanks must be removed and replaced a couple of times a week. If not, the chemistry can change quickly and this isn't good for the fish, as you can see. Danios are hardy and don't mind some change in the water. Livebearing fish, like Guppies and Mollies need steady water condtions.

Water that constantly runs through a filter, loses minerals and oxygen the fish and bacteria need. You can't test for these, you just keep the water changed out. By changing the water frequently, you replace all this and the water is balanced.

You've experienced the problem a lot of first time tank keepers make. You started small and didn't change the water often enough. I would get a least a 20 gallon tank, a 30 G is better and begin again. This time, learn from this setback and pay closer attention to the tank water. Larger tanks, because they hold a lot of water, can go longer between water changes, but no more than a week or so, before they need a large water change.

This hobby is completely about keeping the water clear of dissolved waste and replenishing the minerals and oxygen. Routinely remove the old water and replace it with new. Just like nature does it.

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Old 03-05-2017, 01:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vjv82 View Post
Hi, do you have any filtration in the form of water bubbles somewhere? That could be the problem. I also suggest you go to a local fish store for further advise and water testing. I personally think that while the water strips are not as accurate as the liquid testing they shouldn't be that off.

Please explain about the bubbles and filtration issue. I don't understand.
Relying on the fish store for advice and testing is part of the problem for the OP.
Test strips are actually more expensive in the long run compared to liquid test kits. They need to be stored carefully as humidity and other contaminations can influence the test results. I won't comment on accuracy as I have not performed side by side testing with the liquid based test kits.
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Old 03-05-2017, 01:54 PM   #11
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Please explain about the bubbles and filtration issue. I don't understand.
Relying on the fish store for advice and testing is part of the problem for the OP.
Test strips are actually more expensive in the long run compared to liquid test kits. They need to be stored carefully as humidity and other contaminations can influence the test results. I won't comment on accuracy as I have not performed side by side testing with the liquid based test kits.


I meant oxygen, not filtration, my apologies. I'm thinking lack of oxygen could be a potential problem here. When I said a local fish store, I do not mean one of those big chain pet stores like Petco or Petsmart but a local fish store that specializes mainly in fish. I have one near by and it's wonderful.
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Old 03-05-2017, 02:48 PM   #12
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Sad and Desperate for Any Answers..

Perhaps vjv82 meant a sponge filter? Air bubbles by themselves have no filtration value. A sponge filter will provide some circulation and oxygen transfer in addition to some light mechanical and mostly as surface area for nitrifying bacteria.

@Lofi as others have noted it's possible you're not actually cycled. I actually think you're a little overstocked and under-filtered for pH of 8.0. The higher pH, the more deadly even tiny spikes of ammonia will be. Hearing how your stocking progression went, this sounds like the likely culprit. Each death will spike ammonia and kill something else which will spike and spiral downward. Whenever you add new fauna, the additional bioload may also cause a spike (this would be an indication you are under filtered).

If your tank is indeed cycled, I wonder if some toxicity via air (do you have a cover?) or fake decoration (maybe a plastic is leeching).
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Old 03-05-2017, 03:04 PM   #13
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To solve for this, I would suggest doing as many of the following in order of most easy/best bang for buck:
- switch to a sponge filter instead of air stone. Inexpensive and will get all the benefits of aeration and add more bio-filtration. I recommend the small or medium AquaTop CF sponge filters for 3-10$.
- reduce pH in a stable, natural way with tannin producing wood, leaves, like alder cones, Indian almond leaves. Or use distilled/RO water. The hardness is buffering to high pH, and as I said this hugely magnifies small mistakes
- add aquatic plants or floating plants
- finally decrease stocking. If you do all the above however I'm pretty confident you can keep them all
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Old 03-05-2017, 11:40 PM   #14
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I was able to get an API Master kit yesterday, have changed 25% of the water and used Prime- The readings as of today are;
pH - 8.0
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0.25ppm
Nitrate - 20ppm
Thankfully, I had driftwood soaking for a couple of weeks now, so I have boiled and added it in hopes it will maybe atleast lessen the pH. Though, in relative to the rest of the tank it is a tiny piece of driftwood so, I have no idea how much of an impact it'd make.
I do have a filter, however it is charcoal based. Unsure of what brand, or specific system it is- this has some years on it but has been thoroughly scrubbed and works like a charm. I do also have an airstone but, primarily for aesthetics.
As the tank stands it remains the two Danios and the one snail.
Thank you all again for your input, it means a whoooole lot. I like to think I'm now heading to a happy, healthier tank. (':
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Old 03-06-2017, 12:18 AM   #15
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If you create a new thread for the Healthy tank post a link here so people can follow along with your progress.
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Old 03-06-2017, 01:39 AM   #16
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Just saying, that tank would look cool with like 30 guppies in it.
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Old 03-07-2017, 12:10 AM   #17
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I know I'm behind, but your water *shouldn't* be fine after dead critters have been hanging out in it. It should be full of ammonia. If someone told you that water was okay, they are outright wrong.
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Old 03-07-2017, 10:21 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lofi View Post
I was able to get an API Master kit yesterday, have changed 25% of the water and used Prime- The readings as of today are;
pH - 8.0
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0.25ppm
Nitrate - 20ppm
Thankfully, I had driftwood soaking for a couple of weeks now, so I have boiled and added it in hopes it will maybe atleast lessen the pH. Though, in relative to the rest of the tank it is a tiny piece of driftwood so, I have no idea how much of an impact it'd make.
I do have a filter, however it is charcoal based. Unsure of what brand, or specific system it is- this has some years on it but has been thoroughly scrubbed and works like a charm. I do also have an airstone but, primarily for aesthetics.
As the tank stands it remains the two Danios and the one snail.
Thank you all again for your input, it means a whoooole lot. I like to think I'm now heading to a happy, healthier tank. (':


Glad you are happier
Do suggest a better filter that uses bio material and filtration , not just charcoal
I killed lots of fish until I realized I'd never be successful without the right "tools".
Good luck
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