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Old 08-27-2014, 05:46 PM   #1
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Why do my fish keep getting sick?

For the last 2 years I had really healthy fish - no problems. A few months ago (April I think) I went planted and since then my fish keep getting sick and I don't know what is different but it seems to coincide with going planted.

Aside from those with obvious sickness problems I am also seeing several of them gasping for air at the top from time to time. I've seen it after a water change and yesterday after ripping off some algae covered java moss. The moss had lots of detrius which was going into the water but I checked and it didn't cause an ammonia spike so not sure what the problem was. Lots of oxygen as the water level is low and the hob is creating tons of bubbles. With the water change, I was told glut and prime is a reducer so possibly lack of oxygen but last time I did a change I let the water splash a lot into the tank and the fish (mainly the mollies and guppies) were still gasping at the top for 10-15 mins after.

My water is good: 0 ammonia, 0 trites, 10ppm trates. ph 7.8-8. Water is very hard and alkaline (but always has been - no change there).

60g tank, dosing PPS PRO and 13.5ml metricide (have been increasing .5ml a day going for 15ml).

Water changes - 40% weekly and the tank is lightly stocked so that should be more than ample.

Any ideas why I keep having problems with my fish health?
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Old 08-27-2014, 09:25 PM   #2
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Sorry to hear that you're having problems with your tank. Plants are generally better for aquariums and the livestock. So that's strange it started happening after going planted. Where did you obtain your plants from? Did you quarantine the plants and/or sanitize them with a hydrogen peroxide dip? Sometimes undesirable pathogens or parasites can hitchhike.

Are you using any DIY root tabs by any chance?
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Old 08-28-2014, 01:00 AM   #3
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Sorry to hear that you're having problems with your tank. Plants are generally better for aquariums and the livestock. So that's strange it started happening after going planted. Where did you obtain your plants from? Did you quarantine the plants and/or sanitize them with a hydrogen peroxide dip? Sometimes undesirable pathogens or parasites can hitchhike.

Are you using any DIY root tabs by any chance?
Hi Brian. I got some plants from petco and some from a local fish keeper who gave me some cuttings. I did not dip any of them.

No on the DIY tabs (though I was going to make them!! Should i??)

How can I know if it's a pathogen/parasite causing the problem?
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Old 08-29-2014, 12:00 AM   #4
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Anyone got input for me? Pretty please
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:43 AM   #5
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It's good practice, in the future, to do a plant dip and rinse them real well prior to introduction to your tank. But it's hard to say what's the real culprit. It sounds like you're doing everything right in terms of maintenance and testing your parameters. I'd probably just continue with the partial water changes and hope for the best. Observe your fish for any physical symptomatic indications of any disease or parasites. Maybe after a while things will balance out.

Maybe add some activated carbon or purigen to the filter and see if they absorb any invisible stuff that's making the fish sick.
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Old 08-29-2014, 01:16 PM   #6
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It's good practice, in the future, to do a plant dip and rinse them real well prior to introduction to your tank. But it's hard to say what's the real culprit. It sounds like you're doing everything right in terms of maintenance and testing your parameters. I'd probably just continue with the partial water changes and hope for the best. Observe your fish for any physical symptomatic indications of any disease or parasites. Maybe after a while things will balance out.

Maybe add some activated carbon or purigen to the filter and see if they absorb any invisible stuff that's making the fish sick.
Oooh that's one thing that's different. I took out the carbon from my filter and just have 2 sponges. I will add the carbon back in again. It's ok to just put in the old one right? I don't need to buy a new one? It was a couple months old when I took it out.
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Old 08-29-2014, 04:35 PM   #7
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I believe activated carbon only stays viable for about a month or two after it gets in contact with water. After that, it just becomes another surface area that BB colonies adhere to. I'd add some new activated carbon. Also, aside from the extra sponge, you do have ceramic bio-media, right? What type of filter do you have?

Edit: some hobbyists (including myself) stop using activated carbon as part of the typical compliment of media that's in the filter. Usually, activated carbon would be kept on reserve for those instances where medications or chemicals need removing. Sometimes, activated carbon is replaced with extra biomedia or purigen (or both).
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Old 08-30-2014, 12:41 AM   #8
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I believe activated carbon only stays viable for about a month or two after it gets in contact with water. After that, it just becomes another surface area that BB colonies adhere to. I'd add some new activated carbon. Also, aside from the extra sponge, you do have ceramic bio-media, right? What type of filter do you have?

Edit: some hobbyists (including myself) stop using activated carbon as part of the typical compliment of media that's in the filter. Usually, activated carbon would be kept on reserve for those instances where medications or chemicals need removing. Sometimes, activated carbon is replaced with extra biomedia or purigen (or both).
Thanks - I went and bought a new one today. Yes I had heard that people no longer use it which is why I don't have it. I have an Aquaclear filter so I have 2 sponges instead of 1 sponge, 1 carbon - plus yes I have the ceramic bio-media. Sounds like from what you're saying that's not why my fish are getting sick though?
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Old 08-30-2014, 01:33 AM   #9
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Try maybe changing only 20% pwc at a time (2x per week if you need to change that much) and maybe there is something different with the pH.

Are you rinsing the media with Chlorinated tap water?
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Old 08-30-2014, 09:01 AM   #10
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Why do my fish keep getting sick?

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Originally Posted by sallyjano View Post
Thanks - I went and bought a new one today. Yes I had heard that people no longer use it which is why I don't have it. I have an Aquaclear filter so I have 2 sponges instead of 1 sponge, 1 carbon - plus yes I have the ceramic bio-media. Sounds like from what you're saying that's not why my fish are getting sick though?

A stab in the dark here, but I have two ACs running on my planted with one sponge and one ceramic in each and a carbon in one of the filters. The sponge quickly reduces water flow as decaying plant matter and gunk builds up in it, MUCH more quickly than my non-planted tank. I alternate filters each week, squeezing the sponge out thoroughly in old tank water at PWC time to keep the water flow good. I don't do it gently. With two sponges in yours, that's even more mechanical resistance to the water flow. Try taking all your media out, observe the water flow, then put it all back and observe again. Is there a noticeable difference? If so, you might consider going down to one sponge.


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Old 08-30-2014, 12:56 PM   #11
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Try maybe changing only 20% pwc at a time (2x per week if you need to change that much) and maybe there is something different with the pH.

Are you rinsing the media with Chlorinated tap water?
No I only rinse in water from the tank. I have to confess maybe I don't do it often enough though. How often do you rinse it out?

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A stab in the dark here, but I have two ACs running on my planted with one sponge and one ceramic in each and a carbon in one of the filters. The sponge quickly reduces water flow as decaying plant matter and gunk builds up in it, MUCH more quickly than my non-planted tank. I alternate filters each week, squeezing the sponge out thoroughly in old tank water at PWC time to keep the water flow good. I don't do it gently. With two sponges in yours, that's even more mechanical resistance to the water flow. Try taking all your media out, observe the water flow, then put it all back and observe again. Is there a noticeable difference? If so, you might consider going down to one sponge.


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It seems like there is plenty of flow right now - but thanks, I will try and see what happens. I'll get the carbon in there today and take out one sponge.
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Old 08-31-2014, 07:47 AM   #12
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What are the obvious sickness problems? Sometimes swimming on top has to do with lack of oxygen brought on by lack of water movement and or temperature too high? What is your temp?
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Old 08-31-2014, 04:19 PM   #13
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What are the obvious sickness problems? Sometimes swimming on top has to do with lack of oxygen brought on by lack of water movement and or temperature too high? What is your temp?
Temp is 78. I can't see why I'd have low oxygen as I have a HOB that bubbles into the tank all the time. BUT every time I do anything in the tank that means detrius gets kicked up they start gasping at the top. I get a cup and start pouring water into the tank creating lots of bubbles but it makes no difference. They gulp for a while then 20 mins later all normal again. Why would it be an oxygen issue if I have a hob that bubbles into the tank and especially if I create lots of bubbles with the cup when I see them gulping?

Other problems - one fish had dropsy, another had white patches on him (a neon tetra) and his tail hung low as he couldn't stay horizontal, the fish gulping, one fish died as he got stuck to the filter which I understand is because he was sick and too weak to get away.

Any help/suggestions really appreciated!
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Old 08-31-2014, 04:25 PM   #14
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What kind of substrate do you have?


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Old 08-31-2014, 04:27 PM   #15
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What kind of substrate do you have?


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Smallish gravel
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Old 08-31-2014, 04:40 PM   #16
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I just read through some of your previous threads. Do you still have 1.0 ppm ammonia in your water source, and are you still doing PWCs with a Python? Also, are you spot treating algae with peroxide on a regular basis?


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Old 08-31-2014, 04:41 PM   #17
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Smallish gravel

Do you vacuum the detritus from it at pwc? You mentioned a lot of detritus floating around.


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Old 08-31-2014, 05:21 PM   #18
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I just read through some of your previous threads. Do you still have 1.0 ppm ammonia in your water source, and are you still doing PWCs with a Python? Also, are you spot treating algae with peroxide on a regular basis?

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I assume so re the tap water (although I believe it's chloramines giving the reading not actually ammonia). I wondered if that was a problem but was told that prime works on contact so it shouldn't be that however glut and prime act as a reducer of o2 which was likely the problem so I just made sure I splashed the water in the tank when using the python. (Didn't stop the molly gasping though......).

No re the h202 though. I've not spot treated that for weeks now and only did it 3 or 4 times in very small doses - not even .5ml per gallon). That said today I removed a piece of wood with anubias/ferns and sprayed it with h202 but rinsed it before replacing in the tank.

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Do you vacuum the detritus from it at pwc? You mentioned a lot of detritus floating around.

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Yes where there are no plants I vacuum yes. But it's not that I see a lot of it all the time, only that the fish do the gasping thing when I cause it to get kicked up (e.g. trimming java moss, lifting a log and it's all underneath etc...).

Thanks for taking the time to read my other posts and try to help - really apprecaite it!
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Old 09-01-2014, 11:06 PM   #19
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I need to edit the title of my post to why do my fish keep dying. Lost another cory today. I am so bummed out. That's 3 fish in 3 weeks. Something is going on I just don't know what.

The fish getting sick does seem to have coincided with increasing glut. I took advice from others on here and increased it by .5ml a day (metricide 14). I am now at 15ml a day with a 60g tank.

Too much? Too fast?

Any help greatly appreciated!!
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Old 09-02-2014, 02:29 AM   #20
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I need to edit the title of my post to why do my fish keep dying. Lost another cory today. I am so bummed out. That's 3 fish in 3 weeks. Something is going on I just don't know what.

The fish getting sick does seem to have coincided with increasing glut. I took advice from others on here and increased it by .5ml a day (metricide 14). I am now at 15ml a day with a 60g tank.

Too much? Too fast?

Any help greatly appreciated!!
Did you throw away or use the activator that came with the Metricide?
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