Go Back   Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community > Freshwater > Freshwater & Brackish - Getting Started
Click Here to Login

Join Aquarium Advice Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com
 
Old 08-30-2021, 11:53 AM   #1
Aquarium Advice Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Posts: 6
Hifin skirt tetras keep dying

I started a new 10 gallon freshwater tank about a week ago.

I was told by a Petco employee that I needed to get the parameters set and cycling for 2-7 days before adding fish to the tank. So I got a water conditioner that works on tap water (our water here is quite hard). The conditioner seems to address Nitrates, Nitrites and Ammonia.

My daughter excitedly picks out 2 hifin white skirt tetras, and 2 of the black ones, 4 24karat back tetras, 5 ember tetras and I toss in 4 ghost shrimp for good measure.

1 day later, all the skirt tetras and one of the ember tetras are dead in the morning. So I take them back to Petco and they replace them and we talk about why they might have died. I ended up getting a water testing kit (the one with 6 colored pads on it).

Turns out that my alkalinity is a bit high and the ph is high. So I get a ph conditioner that helps bring the ph down to 7.0.

Then I put the bag of fish in the water to acclimate them to the temperature, then after a few hours. I cut open the bag (while still having the bag water separated by the bag) and transfer small amounts of water to acclimate them to the conditions of the tank (I don't have the equipment to do drip acclimation).

Several hours later, I pour the fish into the tank and all seems good.

This morning, I woke up to 1 black and 1 white hifin tetra dead.

Does anyone have any idea on what to do?

as a note: the 4 ghost shrimp, 4 24k back tetras and the other 4 ember tetras have all been totally fine (seemingly).

__________________
delanopreston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2021, 12:36 PM   #2
Aquarium Advice Addict
Community Moderator
 
Aiken Drum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Derbyshire, UK
Posts: 3,705
You arent cycled.

Despite what the pet store might have said about cycling, nothing they have told you is relevant to how to cycle a tank.

Cycling a tank takes about 6 to 8 weeks, often longer. And there is a process more complicated than add some stuff, let the tank run for a few days and add a ton of fish.

First up, do a 50% water change. No more fish until you are cycled. If a fish dies, dont replace it. You already have too many fish, coupled with it not being cycled, what you are doing is producing a lot of waste (ammonia), with no way of your filter being able to process the ammonia into less harmful end products. Feed lightly. Only as much as they eat in 2 to 3 minutes every 2 days, or if daily as much as they eat in 1 minute.

And with the exception of water conditioner, stop putting chemicals in your tank. If your water conditioner is seachem prime, stick to that. You don't need to mess about with pH unless its way out there. Fish are very adaptable to pH levels. Maintaining steady pH is more important than trying to get what you might think is ideal.

First lesson learnt. Fish store employees often know no more than you do. Their job is to sell you stuff. Fish, medication and treatments, new fish if they die. They either don't know enough to advise you properly or dont care. There are obviously exceptions, but not whoever has advised you so far.

Order yourself a testing kit. Preferably a liquid test kit. API freshwater master test kit is a good one. Until that arrives, 50% daily water changes.

Question. What do you know about the nitrogen cycle?
__________________
Aiken Drum
Community Moderator
Aiken Drum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2021, 12:57 PM   #3
Aquarium Advice Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Posts: 6
Thats kind of scary, that some of the most accessible employee for pets are wrong...

Ok so I have the API Tap Water Conditioner, and the Seachem Neutral Regulator (helps with chlorine, chloramine and detoxifies amonia). Which one should I use?

I have the Tetra EasyStrips and when I tested, the results were
0-5 nitrate
0-.5 nitrite
~300 hardness
0-.5 chlorine
180 total alkalinity
~7.8 pH

I was told by the petco employee that you can have 3 inches of fish per gallon. I am assuming that is way too many fish (we only ended up doing about 20 inches of fish for the 10 gallon tank.

I don't know anything about nitrogen cycling.

I also forgot to mention, I have about 5 plants (all the same) that are a broad leaf plant that I thought the shrimp would like to hide in.
__________________
delanopreston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2021, 01:16 PM   #4
Aquarium Advice Addict
Community Moderator
 
Aiken Drum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Derbyshire, UK
Posts: 3,705
1st up. You are not alone. The vast majority of new traffic on here is people being led astray by pet store employees. Im not saying they do it intensionally, but they are working off what information they are given by their employers.

API tap water conditioner is fine. I had to look up Seachem Neutral Regulator. New one on me. It looks a version of Seachem Prime that also brings pH either up or down depending on what comes out of your tap. Cant comment on that other than to say messing about with pH usually does more harm than good. If your pH is 7.8 while its a little high, it shouldn't be an issue. Seachem Prime is a better water conditioner than the API one when dealing with an uncycled tank though.

You need something that tests for ammonia. Strips omit this test for some reason (probably technical). Given you are going to need an ammonia test anyway, i would still recommend getting the API freshwater master test kit. It covers what you need (pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate), is fairly easy to use, accurate enough for what you need, and as you get 100s of test from a kit, more cost effective than strips.

The 3" per gallon is nonsense. The rule of thumb is 1" per gallon, and that is only really a little less nonsense. For an uncycled tank (which is where you are) 1" per 10 gallon is considered a safe limit.

Do the water change, and ill put something together re: nitrogen cycle.
__________________
Aiken Drum
Community Moderator
Aiken Drum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2021, 01:49 PM   #5
Aquarium Advice Addict
Community Moderator
 
Aiken Drum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Derbyshire, UK
Posts: 3,705
The nitrogen cycle is the process where fish waste (ammonia) is converted into nitrate. Ammonia is toxic to fish, but certain types of bacteria eat ammonia and produce nitrite. Unfortunately, nitrite is also toxic to fish. Fortunately, different bacteria consume nitrite and produce nitrate. Nitrate is much, much less toxic and is normally removed through your water changes. Plants will remove some nitrate, there are types of bacteria that consume it as well, but they are hard to get in freshwater aquariums.

Cycling a tank is the process where you grow enough bacteria to consume all the ammonia and resultant nitrite your fish produce. This process typically takes 6 to 8 weeks. The bacteria lives on surfaces. Your aquarium glass, in the substrate, on plants, rocks and any other decorations. Mostly though it lives on your filter media.

Link to video explaining the nitrogen cycle in a bit more detail.

https://youtu.be/qMk_SfR0CuU

Next up. How to cycle an aquarium with fish.
__________________
Aiken Drum
Community Moderator
Aiken Drum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2021, 02:08 PM   #6
Aquarium Advice Addict
Community Moderator
 
Aiken Drum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Derbyshire, UK
Posts: 3,705
The 2 most common ways to cycle a tank are known as a "fish in" cycle and a "fishless" cycle.

A fishless cycle is where you dose ammonia into a tank to replicate fish waste and grow all the bacteria you need before adding fish.

A fish in cycle is where you control waste through water changes until your bacteria has grown enough to consume all the waste. This is you.

Ideally you would stock lightly to start. 1 small fish/10 gallons. This is to limit the amount of waste you are producing at the outset. What more normally happens is you start a tank with a lot of fish, without knowing anything about the nitrogen cycle until they start dying after a week or so.

Feed lightly. As much as is eaten in 2 to 3 minutes every 2 days, or if daily as much as is eaten in 1 minute. Again this is to limit waste produced by the fish.

Test daily for ammonia and nitrite. Your target is to keep these combined below 0.5ppm. 0.25ppm ammonia and 0.25ppm nitrite do a small water change. 0.75ppm ammonia and 0.25ppm nitrite, change 50% water. If your parameters are worse than that you may need multiple 50% water changes in a day. Keeping waste levels at this 0.5ppm combined target means you have enough waste to grow your bacteria, but not enough to harm your fish. Eventually you will consistently see 0ppm ammonia and nitrite and your nitrate should be steadily rising. You are then cycled for your current stock of fish and can add a little if thats your plan. Repeat the process until fully stocked. You can then do water changes to simply control nitrate, typically keeping this below 40ppm.

During your cycle using seachem prime as your water conditioner can detoxify small amounts of ammonia for a day or so. Its no substitute for a water change though. The only sure way to remove ammonia and nitrite while you arent cycled is swapping contaminated water for clean.

There are ways to speed up the process. The best way is to introduce some filter media from an established aquarium into your filter or squeeze out a sponge from an established filter into your water. Perhaps you have a friend who keeps fish who could let you have some? Another option is to use a bottled bacteria product like Seachem Stability or dr tims one and only. These products are hit and miss (mostly miss) as to whether they work or not but are worth a try.
__________________
Aiken Drum
Community Moderator
Aiken Drum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2021, 02:11 PM   #7
Aquarium Advice Addict
Community Moderator
 
Aiken Drum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Derbyshire, UK
Posts: 3,705
A quick note on your shrimp. And ill quailify this by saying ive never kept them so i may be talking utter rubbish.

My understanding is they feed off an established biofilm, which you dont have yet. From reading other posts from members who keep shrimp waiting a few months before adding shrimp is a good idea otherwise they might not have enough food.
__________________
Aiken Drum
Community Moderator
Aiken Drum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2021, 04:02 PM   #8
Aquarium Advice Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Posts: 6
Thank you so much for all of this information! I will look over it more fully after I get off work and get working on it right away. I'm really excited I found this community!

So for today. I am thinking I will do the 50% water change, possibly buy a mossball (I was told it can help more with getting oxygen into the water... idk) and get some of those algea tablets so the shrimp can have something to eat.

If the pet store has ammonia test strips, I will get those and possibly order more online for a better price and do the `fish in` water cycle process you outlined.
__________________
delanopreston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2021, 04:26 PM   #9
Aquarium Advice Addict
Community Moderator
 
Aiken Drum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Derbyshire, UK
Posts: 3,705
Just be aware you are talking 6 to 8 weeks to cycle. Daily testing, say 7 weeks x 7 daily tests. 49 test strips. x2 because the ammonia is on its own strip, everything else on another.

Going to be cheaper to just spring for the liquid test kit.
__________________
Aiken Drum
Community Moderator
Aiken Drum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2021, 05:42 PM   #10
Aquarium Advice Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Posts: 6
What is a good brand of an Ammonia test kit? I am finding the most mixed reviews on almost all brands that I have ever seen.
__________________
delanopreston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2021, 05:46 PM   #11
Aquarium Advice Addict
Community Moderator
 
Aiken Drum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Derbyshire, UK
Posts: 3,705
API freshwater master test kit. Accurate enough for what you need it to be. Covers what you need, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH.

Are there more accurate tests? Yes. Do they cost more than the earth. Yes. Do you need a more accurate test? No.
__________________
Aiken Drum
Community Moderator
Aiken Drum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2021, 11:05 AM   #12
Aquarium Advice Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Posts: 6
Alright, I got the ammonia test. The results for the tank were .25 ppm. That doesn't seem very high to have caused the death of the skirt tetras
__________________
delanopreston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2021, 01:43 PM   #13
Aquarium Advice Addict
Community Moderator
 
Aiken Drum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Derbyshire, UK
Posts: 3,705
No. But was this before or after the water change? And who says its the ammonia. Your nitrite is high. Could be that. Or a combination. Either way you arent cycled and that is the most likely cause of your issues and needs to be resolved as your priority.

And you don't know what the ammonia was before they died. It could be better now than it was before they died.
__________________
Aiken Drum
Community Moderator
Aiken Drum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2021, 02:20 PM   #14
Aquarium Advice Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Posts: 6
Oh, it was the ammonia that was not included on the 6 thing test strip I had gotten. I just tested again and the Nitrate is about 10 ppm and the Nitrite is about .5-1.0 ppm.

So for those values I should do a 50% water change again? right?
__________________
delanopreston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2021, 04:16 PM   #15
Aquarium Advice Addict
Community Moderator
 
Aiken Drum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Derbyshire, UK
Posts: 3,705
What im saying is that if you did the 50% water change and subsequently tested for ammonia then the ammonia will have been lowered by the water change. It was probably at somewhere around 0.5ppm before the water change, which is getting to toxic levels at your pH.

You should be keeping ammonia + nitrite combined around 0.5ppm. So if your ammonia is 0.25 and your nitrite is 0.75ppm then you need a 50% change.
__________________
Aiken Drum
Community Moderator
Aiken Drum is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
dyi, dying, fin, tetra, tetras

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Black Skirt and White Skirt Tetras? Randa Freshwater & Brackish - General Discussion 3 03-12-2015 07:57 PM
White skirt tetras and glo skirt tetras? kmny34 Freshwater & Brackish - General Discussion 10 03-29-2013 06:31 PM
Hifin Spotted Pleco beginnerfoshworld Freshwater & Brackish - General Discussion 4 05-25-2011 12:49 PM
Leopard HiFin swordtail fish Luna112 Freshwater & Brackish - General Discussion 9 03-08-2011 12:46 PM
Tetras black skirt compatible with Gold Skirt? Smudgeboss Freshwater & Brackish - General Discussion 3 08-17-2006 11:55 PM







» Photo Contest Winners







All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:51 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.