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Old 12-29-2013, 04:51 AM   #1
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Fish just died.

Recently added a piece of Mopani Drift wood purchased fromt he LFS. Soaked it over night in a bucket of water treated with prime. He told me it was some of the original pieces of wood he purchased over 3 years ago and had just been sitting on the shelf with lots of other pieces. I have been doing daily 50% water changes for the last 4 days except for last night i wasnt able to. I have also been religious about doing daily water testing. The tank has not yet cycled but i have been adding Stability and Prime with every water change.

My setup for now is a 55 gal with 2 Fluval Aquaclear 110's on it. 1 has active carbon and the other has the ammonia remover. The ammonia has been staying around 1.0 ppm to 2.0 ppm, pH has been around 7.4-7.6, Nitrite is 0 ppm, Nitrate tonight was less than 5.0 but wasn't 0. The water temp is 84 and i have a marineland 1200 set up as a power head helping keep the top water circulating. I have 1 bubble wall and 2 airstones.

I rinsed the wood in aquarium temp water after pulling from the bucket it was soaking in and added it to the tank. At 5:15pm I added the wood and a 4in spotted high fin pleco from a 10 gal holding tank i had him in for a few days after i got him from the LFS. I removed about 5% of the water before adding the wood and pleco added some aquarium temp water dosed for the whole tank with prime and watched them for about 20min. Everything seemed fine fish look good healthy no issues. I turned the lights off on the tank and went and watched the UFC fights. Went to look at the tank after the fights at about 10:00 and the fish looked bad. I had 4 peacock bass 2 bala's and a pleco. All the bass had lost all of there color they were very very light colored. I had problems with one of the bass last week but he had bounced back fine. I observed them for about 20min and got out the test kit pH 7.6, already had dosed with prime for the full 55 gal at 5:15 ammonia was at 2.0 ppm possibly 3.0ppm, nitrite 0, nitrate not 0 but less than 5.0 ppm. Now i wasnt able to do a water change last night so I immediately did a 50% water changed doesd with prime for the full 55 gal again and added the stability. The bass i was having problems with last week died. The others looked not so good one was at the bottom of the tank gasping a lot. One of the Bala sharks decided to just stay swimming in the bubble wall. Now 2 of the bass seem to be fine one still slowly coming back the Bala sharks seem to be ok and the Pleco well its a pleco do they ever die.

Any guesses as to what might have caused this problem?? Fish stressed from the addition of the drift wood and Pleco maybe. How long does it take from the free ammonia to become Toxic again. I mean they went down hill really fast. I thought it might be a rapid pH change from the mopani driftwood but pH is fine. I'm lost. No signs of ich. My hands were clean, wood was clean pleco looked fine. Could it have just been an Ammonia spike the common signs did not appear to be there and the reading was only 2.0 possibly 3.0 but wasnt 4.0 on the API master test kit. My ammonia alert and pH alert in the tank look normal as well between safe and alert for ammonia.

Anyways any ideas would be great i'm stumped.
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Old 12-29-2013, 06:31 AM   #2
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The first thing you should do is get your ammonia level down a LOT more. I'd say that is your problem. If your ammonia level climbs past 0.25 for long it is toxic to fish. I'd say to do repeated water changes until your ammonia is at a more acceptable level. If possible you should also find someone with an established tank and ask for some of their filter media which you then add alongside what you have in your filter. Also be careful about overfeeding the fish while the tank is cycling. Uneaten food turns into ammonia.

As far as filters go i have no idea what capacity fluval aquaclear 110's are capable of filtering volume wise but until they have beneficial bacteria established you will have high levels of ammonia which can be deadly even when the water looks perfectly clean.
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Old 12-30-2013, 03:45 AM   #3
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I'm so sorry to say I think it's just far too heavy of a fish load for an uncycled tank (and too heavy for your tank in general, see further in my reply). The ammonia will be at an uncontrollable level with this load in a totally new tank.

I suggest you read over this article: I just learned about cycling but I already have fish. What now?! - Aquarium Advice

I am not familiar with a peacock bass but I also fear there are significant problems with your stocking. Here's the wikipedia writeup about peacock bass in aquaria:
"Peacock bass make for great aquarium fish if you were to have a large enough aquarium. The minimum tank size for an adult of one of the smaller species (e.g., C. kelberi, C. intermedia) would be 180 gallons, the minimum for a larger variety (C. orinocensis, C. ocellaris) would be 240 gallons, and nothing less than a 300 gallon tank should be reserved for 'C. temensis and C. pinima'. They are usually seen in pet stores at a size of 2 to 4 inches, labeled as just plain "bass". Most likely they are hybrids. More reputable dealers who specialize in peacock bass will have the fish identified, and have more rare varieties in stock, or at least pure bass. Tankmates should be other fish that are too large to swallow, such as arowanas, other large cichlids, and larger members of the Loricariidae family. The peacock bass produces more waste and uses more energy than a typical tropical fish, therefore significant biological filtration and aeration are necessary. Water changes of up to 25% weekly are required with such messy fish. Feeding should be 2 to 3 times a day for young peacock bass(under 4"), decreasing to once a day as they get older, then as an adult they should be fed every other day just enough to round off their stomachs. Peacock bass can be trained to take pellets, though occasionally this is a challenge. Avoid feeding them live goldfish, unless that is the only thing they eat. Even if they do not accept pellets, they will still eat other foods such as krill, bloodworms, and silversides. The temperature of the aquarium should range from 78 to 84įF. Temperature plays a big role on the looks, behavior, and feeding habits of the fish. Lower temperatures make peacock bass darker because of their slowed blood flow. Lower temperatures also cause the bass to eat less. It has been confirmed that higher temperatures also affect aggression, making bass more aggressive."
Peacock bass - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Apparently these are huge fish and even the smallest of these needs an aquarium of nearly 200 gallons. If I am referencing the wrong fish, I apologize.

4 of these plus bala sharks plus a pleco = a massively overstocked aquarium even with juveniles, and hence your high ammonia levels despite water changes.

My only suggested remedy - take back the peacock bass, as soon as possible. And more water changes while your tank cycles, as per the article I linked earlier.
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Old 12-30-2013, 04:19 AM   #4
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I agree with what was said above. The prime might detoxify ammonia but the ammonia is continuously being produced as well which is still toxic.

If you are doing daily 50% water changes (Kudos btw) and your ammonia level is hanging around 2ppm then you are getting daily swings of 2ppm ammonia in its toxic form.

imho the ammonia is what caused your fish to die and you are really going to need to get that under control along with your stocking situation.

Some other questions:
How much / often do you feed?
Do you change your filter media?
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