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Old 01-06-2009, 03:57 AM   #1
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Dead fish! Can someone explain???

Okay so I originally had a 10gallon FW tank with a filter that sits inside. (Bottom half is sponge top half is carbon, air bubbles rise through and suck water though the filter...so I am told) I had 2 fake plants, a large log and a small treasure chest. My ph level was 7.6, I had added the tap water conditioner and the fish stress coat and the water clearer. The tank had been cycled for 7 days before adding the fish. I floated the fish for 30 minutes, then put a cup of my water into their bag for another 30 minutes, then netted them out into the tank. I had done partial water changes and siphoned out the gravel a couple times, I also had an air stone bubbling thing powered by an air pump. The goldfish died within an hour of each other in 8 days.

I cleaned out the tank very thoroughly. Washed the gravel through a sieve, scrubbed the ornaments and plants, tossed out the old water, got new filter cartridges, a heater, and a temp gauge. I cycled it, and let it heat for 4 days before adding the new fish. When I purchased the new fish I also purchased an under gravel filter. I removed everything out of the tank into clean buckets and installed the filter, then proceeded to put everything back into the tank, including the cycled water, which I had kept in a clean bucket. At the pet store I had also bought a ph lowering kit. I added the prescribed amount and waited an hour before testing. It read a happy 7.2. The fish had been floating in the bucket for 45 minutes, I then added one cup of my water to theirs, waited another 45 minutes, then dished them into my tank with my net. Everything was going smoothly the under gravel filter was working like a dream, the air stone was bubbling the other filter was working as well, about 6 hours later 3 fish were dead.

I have no idea why this is happening. ANY help would be appreciated.

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Old 01-06-2009, 05:20 AM   #2
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ok correction. im now down to 4 fish. I began today with 10 neon tetras. 6 are dead. HELP aghh
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Old 01-06-2009, 05:29 AM   #3
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Hi twoplankskier

Firstly, don't bother with pH altering products. They tend to do more harm than good. Goldfish will acclimate to your water's pH if it is in the 7s. You also shouldn't need a heater. Goldfish are cold water fish. Depending on the temperature you set it, it is possible it was too warm for them.

I may be getting the wrong idea here and I apologise if that is the case, but I think you are incorrectly assuming what a cycle is. Unless you added filter media from an established tank, then I doubt the tank was cycled after the 7 days on the first try and 4 days on the second.

In the most basic terms, cycling is a process in which the build up of nitrifying bacteria in your filter pads and on surfaces of the tank (they don't live in the water). Fish produce waste which turns into ammonia. Ammonia is toxic. Nitrifying bacteria then grows and they feed on that ammonia and produce NitrITE (also toxic). After a while another type of bacteria grow and feeds on the nitrITE and produces nitrATE. NitrATE is less toxic, but needs to be removed through water changes. Your tank is cycled when ammonia and nitrite levels are at 0ppm (becuase enough bacteria have grown to handle what waste the fish produce) and your Nitrate levels go up.

Do you have an ammonia, nitrIte and ntrAte testing kits? If so, can you post your results? If not, they're pretty important during the cycling process so I highly recommend getting them. Buy the liquid test kits. They're far more accurate than the strips which is what you need to monitor the cycle properly.
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Old 01-06-2009, 08:55 AM   #4
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There are many, many threads on this forum regarding fishless cycling. Just put that in the search bar at the top and read, read, read....it will be worth it in the long run, believe me. And, goldfish, especially, three of them, are too many for a 10g tank, as they are pretty "dirty" fish. I am not sure there is even one that could be kept in a 10g tank, unless it doesn't get very big.
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Old 01-06-2009, 09:32 AM   #5
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I also suggest that you read what cycling really is. A lot of times they do not give you correct info at the store. It will take more than a few days to fishless cycle a tank. A couple of other suggestions.

1. Throw away the pH altering chemicals.
2. Buy a liquid reagent test for nitrIte nitrAte and ammonia
3. Get rid of the undergravel filter. Get the hob one back. Do not change the filter often, only rinse in old tank water.
4. Do not put goldfish in a 10 gallon tank. Also neons are known to be sensitive so putting them in an uncycled tank is a disaster waiting to happen.

Please hold off on buying any more fish until your tank is cycled. If you have stocking questions (ie what would be suitable for a tank your size) please ask them here. There are quite a few very helpful folks around.
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Old 01-06-2009, 09:38 AM   #6
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Here is a great thread on fishless cycling.

HERE
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Old 01-06-2009, 11:01 AM   #7
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He already has fish...

Goldfish and neon tetras aren't a good mix as noted, since goldfish need cold water and tetras are very much tropical. That's not really the problem here though.

At this point I think everyone assumes you have a chemistry problem. It's quite unlikely you have any sort of parasite or disease at this point, since you didn't notice any problem with the fish prior to them dying. The usual solution at this point is to immediately change out a large amount of water. Do at least half the water in the tank, but more would be fine. When you change water, let it sit in the bucket with the water conditioner for a few minutes, and it might be a good idea to take the heater out of the tank and stick it in the bucket so the temperatures can be close to equal before you dump it in.

Next, go get those test kits (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate). You can get them all together in a "freshwater kit" but that will come with other things, and you already have pH at least, so it might be better to get them individually. Use these each day (yes this is a huge pain in the butt) until you're past the dangerous stage, then you can do it weekly or even less once nothing is changing.

"Past the dangerous stage" means, as noted above, that ammonia and nitrite are both zero and stay that way. Nitrate is normal and isn't bad up to at least 40 ppm (parts per million). What I expect you'll find at this moment is zero nitrite, but some measurable ammonia and some nitrate. If there is nitrate, it's just coming from your tap water at this point, and that's fine. At this time you need to be changing out water as needed to keep the ammonia below .25-.5 ppm (some people may say even lower, as neon tetras are fragile fish), meaning the tank needs to be below .25 when you walk away from it, and you should come back to test and change again before it's reached .5. Feeding a little less will help reduce the buildup of ammonia too, but won't eliminate it.

At some point - it may be a couple weeks - you'll see nitrite, and soon after the ammonia won't be such a problem. In fact soon it will be a steady zero, because you have a colony of beneficial bacteria breaking it down for you. The downside is that these bacteria excrete toxic nitrite, which you need to control by the same water change process until a second colony of bacteria develops which will process nitrite into nitrate. This second colony is much quicker to establish, usually days rather than weeks, and you'll soon see the nitrite go to zero. During this time you'll also see the first change in nitrate. Once nitrite is zero, you're done.

Generally speaking it's not a good idea to change out the filter pad... ever. Many many of the beneficial bacteria live there because by design it has a high surface area for them to colonize. If it starts to get dirty and clogged, change some water in the tank and rinse the filter pad in the bucket of old tank water. This way you can dislodge chunks of debris without killing all the microorganisms you need. The pad will last far longer than the box says it will. They are, after all, in the business of selling you new pads.

I'm also not familiar with the type of filter you're describing. More info, brand name, picture?
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Old 01-06-2009, 01:47 PM   #8
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Great advice so far. I'd try using as few chemicals as possible. Add a dechlorinator and call it good.

As several noted, your tank is in no way cycled in a week's time. A fishless cycle can easily take 6 weeks. (we could be misreading that... did you cycle it then wait an additional 7 days?)

When you wash the gravel and ornaments, do you let them dry out before submerging them to prevent chlorine from transferring over?

If it's a little 10 gallon, you could try buying reverse osmosis treated water at a grocery store or pet store. I do that for my 20.

Do you know where the log came from?
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Old 01-06-2009, 05:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
He already has fish...
That is true. But the fishless cycle article will explain the basics behind the nitrogen cycle. And hopefully next time the OP will know all of the basics of a fishless cycle before they set up their next tank. (If OP happens to catch a case of MTS).
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Old 01-06-2009, 06:02 PM   #10
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okay.

so i have just been out and bought a master freshwater test kit. here are my results:
PH - 7.6
Nitrate - 0ppm
Nitrite - 0ppm
Ammonia - 0ppm

hope this can get me more answers! cheers
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Old 01-06-2009, 06:35 PM   #11
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As we all suspected, the tank is NOT cycled. You are at the very beginning.

Personally, if it were me. I'd be taking all your fish back to the shop (get a credit note or something) and doing a fishless cycle.

In the time it takes to complete the cycle you can spend the time planning your tank a bit better. I echo the others in saying that goldfish and tetras or neons require totally different environments and shouldn't be put together. Goldfish require 10 gallons each and the aquarium industry is doing everyone a disservice by encouraging goldfigh in tiny setups. If I was Prime Mister, I'd ban this practise.

And most of all, do not get too discouraged! It's hard to know when you don't know and we were all new to this once. Read the post on fishless cycling above and there's also a good article in the articles section. If you follow those guidelines you'll be having a happy tank experience in good time.
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Old 01-06-2009, 06:43 PM   #12
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ok. all the fish were dead by thismorning so i went to the shop and got store credit.

when i start my cycle should i restart the tank? ie. new water or is the water thats 5 days old going to be ok?

also i had 2 goldies. they died, i swithed to tropical, THEN got 10 neon tetras. they were never together.

i understand i should go get ammonia to put in there aswell?
i read the article that verucaproduce linked to about fishless cycling.
should i start this now?
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Old 01-06-2009, 06:45 PM   #13
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Eh, I say leave the 4 neons in since you already have them, feed minimally and keep up with the water changes (more than normal) until things are cycled. They are so small and will provide a minimal amount load to the tank.

However, I'm suspicious that an uncycled tank is killing off fish that fast, especially goldfish, who will be the 2nd to last creatures to die off behind the cockroach.
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Old 01-06-2009, 07:21 PM   #14
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here, this is for gzeiger:
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Old 01-06-2009, 07:22 PM   #15
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i thought that, but now the 4 neons are also dead scott
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Old 01-06-2009, 07:58 PM   #16
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I would re cycle the tank. You can buy bacteria supplements from petco or Petsmart that helps speed this process along. Petco has a really cheap generic brand that I use and it works fine. This will help colonize your filter with good bacteria that will break down the ammonia and nitrites, and it should help keep your fish from dying.
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Old 01-06-2009, 08:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottS View Post
However, I'm suspicious that an uncycled tank is killing off fish that fast, especially goldfish, who will be the 2nd to last creatures to die off behind the cockroach.
multiple goldies in a 10G uncycled tank? I'm surprised they lasted that long. The ammonia levels would have been very high....

I'd empty the tank, and re-start. If you can get your hands on pure ammonia, great. If not (you can't in Oz, so it may be the same in NZ) you can put in a raw prawn. Within a week, the ammonia should spike. When that happens, you know you are on your way.

Test daily, and keep a log of the results.
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Old 01-07-2009, 01:20 AM   #18
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That is the weirdest filter I've ever seen...
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Old 01-07-2009, 03:06 AM   #19
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agreed. i was going to get an internal filter with a wand but the pet store guy said that this one was better. this is it:

SMALLWORLD PUMP & FILTER KIT
Tubing and adjustable air valve. Fits ALL small aquariums!
Contains 1 each:
  • Smallworld Filter (SWF1),
  • Filtration Unit (SWF1C),
  • Precision Air Pump,
  • Airline Tubing
Cat. #: SWK1
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Old 01-07-2009, 04:27 AM   #20
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They sell those in Oz too. I got one for a 1 gallon tank when I had a single rasbora who needed a temporary home for a few weeks. It did the trick for that one fish under those conditions, but I would never consider using it in a permanent setup. Keep the air pump though... it'll come in handy.

I'd replace it with some sort of Hang-On-Back filter. Something like this perhaps. You should be able to pick up something like this in NZ in any fish shop.

AquarWorld Aquarium Hang On Filter H250 - The Aquarium Shop Australia

PS. Be very wary of listening to any sales assistant regarding fish. I have found from experience its much better to ask here instead.
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