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Old 01-18-2005, 05:20 PM   #1
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Help - I'm killing my fish!

I have a 36g freshwater tank. I started the tank in late December and have slowly introduced fish over the last few weeks. Unfortunately, I have lost most of my fish trying to get the water content stabilised.

My current readings are: Nitrate 20 ppm, Nitrite 1.0 ppm, Total Hardness is 50 ppm, Total Alkalinity (Buffering), is 300ppm, pH is 7.2 and Ammonia us 0.25 ppm.

I have been adding Ph 7.0 as my pH reading was way too high. It has now stabilised (if the reading is correct since my buffering is way too high still). I have also added water conditioner and TLC and changed 25% of tank water.

I only have two zebra danios, three mollys, three neon tetras and one blue gourami left and three of these fish don't look real well. Gourami has brown spots on it, molly is swimming eratically in tank and tetra sits in corner all day.

The water color is cloudy (I'm guessing from the pH chemicals). Any suggestions on what I do next? Someone please HELP!

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Old 01-18-2005, 05:48 PM   #2
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Okey, first off, you shouldn't add any more fish. Ammonia as well as nitrItes have to be 0 before you add any fish. Start by doing a 50% water change immediatly. Keep doing 25% water changes daily(!!!) until your ammonia and nitrites are both 0.

Read this article: http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showqu...q=2&fldAuto=21
It explains the nitrogen cycle every tank has to go through before adding fish.

Hope your fish make it! And start getting those buckets out to change water!
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Old 01-18-2005, 09:37 PM   #3
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[center:2fc260a67a] Welcome to AA, newtohobby! [/center:2fc260a67a]

Read about the nitrogen cycle and do a 50% PWC to get the nitrites down. Nitrite poisoning is just as deadly as too much ammonia. Since there are nitrates present, the tank is cycled, but you need to physically remove the excess ammonia and nitrite since there is not enough bacteria to do the job yet. Do not clean the filter.

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I have been adding Ph 7.0 as my pH reading was way too high. It has now stabilised (if the reading is correct since my buffering is way too high still).
Stop adding the pH chemicals. Test the true pH of your tap water by allowing a glass of water to sit out overnight. Test in the morning, this will allow the gases to equilibrate. Many fish can survive quite nicely at higher pHs, especially if they were bred locally.

The fish may get better as the water quality gets better. They are very stressed right now. This is a good link about stress on fish: http://fish.mongabay.com/diseases.htm
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Old 01-19-2005, 06:31 PM   #4
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Thanks for the advice

Many thanks for the advice. I have done the first 50% water change with fingers crossed for the remaining fish and will continue each day until my ammonia and nitrite levels get to 0.
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Old 01-19-2005, 06:40 PM   #5
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Did you get the accurate pH reading?
Add some extra dechlor/water conditioner to help with the fish's stress. Also add a bit of aquarium salt to help with the nitrite poisoning.
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Old 01-19-2005, 06:55 PM   #6
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I have not done the Ph test yet, but will do so on a glass of water tonight.

I did put some water conditioner in, plus someTLC, but will also add some salt also.

I really appreciate your advice.
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Old 01-31-2005, 09:43 PM   #7
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Need your advice again please!

I am so frustrated with my fish tank.

I took your advice and did major partial water changes for a number of days and although I lost my last gourami two weeks ago, I figured it had been a casuality of my unstable water balance.

I did do a Ph test on my tap water and it was a little on the high side but not as bad as my tank is showing generally.

The tank seemed stable for a week, until my molly got ich. I treated the tank with medicine and took out the carbon for five days. I have now replaced the carbon and I added salt, TLC, plus I noticed my Ph was too high again, so added some Ph7 (on different days).

Both of my zebra danios turned very pale and one just died and I don't think the other is far behind. It seemed to be after adding the Ph7.

The ich is gone from the molly and it seems ok, but it usually hides until feeding time anyway.

My three neon tetras seem ok and the molly looks ok but that is all that is left from my original 25 fish.

Any advice. The ammonia is still a little high but the nitrite levels have come down and the nitrate level has gone up. The buffering level is still way too high and I don't know how to bring this down to get a true Ph reading.

I did a partial water change yesterday - 25%.

I get the feeling I will lose my remaining fish eventually given all the other died.

Help!
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Old 01-31-2005, 09:52 PM   #8
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Welcome to AA!

I'm gonna say stop using that pH 7 stuff. A steady pH is better than a perfect pH. I'm guessing that the pH additive you've been using is causeing pH swings and that in turn is stressing you fish which is why you had an outbreak of ich. If you insist on bringing your pH down, go buy some peat for your filter or south african drift wood that will SLOWLY and SAFELY lower your pH in the long run. OR invest in an RO/DI unit or another option would be to buy the water for your LFS.

Since you had an outbreak of ich, do not add any more fish for a minimum of two weeks after the last spot is seen. Really if fish are dieing, you shouldn't add any fish until you figure out what is going on. Adding fish will only cause more problems.

If you want, you can research types of fish that will do well in the water conditions you naturally have. It will make your life easier and the fish you choose will be healthier and happier. Good luck!
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Old 01-31-2005, 10:13 PM   #9
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Thanks for the advice

Thanks for the advice on the fish tank. I have a few more questions . . .

I think I'll ditch the Ph7.0.

How often do you add water conditioner? I have no idea how often to use it - is it when I make water changes?

I feel like I am adding way to many chemicals to try and balance this tank. I am following directions on the bottles for my size tank.

I added the salt as per instructions from my fish shop since the outbreak of ich.

Adding the Ph was my idea.

Adding the TLC was because it was my weekly dosage.

My fish shop says I should add chemicals to bring down the ammonia level to 0 - what do you think? My partial water changes didn't bring it down to 0 but did lower it.

The only thing I add weekly is talc for the nitrate and nitrite levels.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 01-31-2005, 10:31 PM   #10
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in my opinion, adding chemicals (minus any dechlorinator) is a bad idea and only leads to meltdowns in the future. So, for ammonia, you need to be changing out water and vacuming gravel. Live plants will also help, but don't expect them to do all the work

Vacuming your gravel once a week should be sufficiant, but to get that ammonia down asap, you should do it every other day (or everyday if you think it wont stress the fish out too much) for about a week to week and a half. This will give the good bacteria time to catch up with all the toxins in your tank. You'll add dechlorinator to the water when you add the new water. Oh, and the water changes should keep your nitrates/nitrites in check as well. HTH!
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Old 01-31-2005, 10:36 PM   #11
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Also make sure the temperature of the water you are adding to the tank is about the same as the temperature of the water in the tank (fiddle with the hot and cold knobs until you get it right), swings in temperature can really do a number on fish since they are cold blooded.
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Old 01-31-2005, 10:55 PM   #12
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good point Maillis!
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Old 01-31-2005, 11:17 PM   #13
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To make it perfectly clear, you add water conditioner to the new water you add to the tank. In other words, if you do a partial water change and take out, say, 5 gallons of water, then (obviously) you need to add 5 gallons to replace it. So you get 5 gallons of water from your faucet into a bucket, and then add enough conditioner to the bucket to treat 5 gallons. The main purpose of water conditioner is to remove the chlorine that is naturally present in our drinking water system. Chlorine can kill fish and it can also kill the "good" bacteria you want growing in your tank. So you want to be sure to condition your new water *before* you add it to the tank. (Perhaps that is obvious, but a friend of mine messed up his aquarium by not realizing this...he thought that it was good enough to put the new water in his tank, and *then* add the conditioner to the tank afterwards. Nope!)

The process is much the same with salt. If you are about to put in 5 gallons of new water, you only add a 5-gallon dose of salt. Be sure to add it to the water in your bucket before pouring that water into your tank; you don't want to dump salt grains into a tank with fish in it as a fish might mistake the salt for food and who knows what effect it would have for a fish to swallow a whole grain of salt.

Like others said, don't add any ammonia removing chemical, as that will merely prolong the problem, not solve it. You want to encourage the ammonia-eating bacteria in your tank to grow; if you remove all the ammonia with a chemical, all you will end up doing is to completely starve those bacteria--which hurts you in the long run.

Just keep doing those water changes everyday and before you know it all will be stabilized.
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Old 02-01-2005, 12:07 AM   #14
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I skimmed through the replies and just wanted to say--when you medicated the tank for ich, the good bacteria was killed off. The tank is cycling again. No chemicals are needed to bring down the ammonia--PWC are the best remedy! If you have high nitrites, add some aquarium salt, that will help the fish survive the nitrite poisoning.
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Old 02-01-2005, 10:37 AM   #15
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What was your pH reading that you were afraid was too high? You'd be surprised how well fish can adapt to a given pH so long as it's stable. I avoid any pH Up or Down (or Neutral in your case) drops because they only fix the problem for a short time and then the numbers just bounce back causing a fluctuation that is worse then having it stable but alkaline.

Also, remember that your adding acid to the water to bring the pH down. With a kh of 300ppm you would be adding quite a bit. I'm not a chemical engineer but I bet swimming in too much acid is a bad thing.

Basically, all you need is your water conditioners. Something that neutralizes chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals. Since your tank isn't yet cycled a conditioner that neutralizes ammonia and nitrite may not be a bad idea either. I recommend Kordon's AmQuel Plus & NovAqua if it's available to you. You should use this at every water change and at any time you add any tap water to your tank. I mix my water conditioners in a bucket with the new change water (5 gal painters bucket) and make sure that all the water is conditioned before a goes into the tank. It's a system that works for me.

Aquarium salt in freshwater tanks is a controversial subject. Some will tell you it's a must, others will say never add it. I generally belong to the latter but with some exceptions. It's up to you to decide if it's helpful or hurtful I guess.
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Old 02-01-2005, 10:54 AM   #16
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I think nippy has given some great advice as well, except I'm going to still disagree with this:

Quote:
conditioner that neutralizes ammonia and nitrite may not be a bad idea either.
in my opinion, water changes are the way to go. I do weekly water changes in my 55 gallon and my ammonia always reads as zero. I also did this while cycling with fish, and never lost a single one. I think staying away from as many additives as you can makes for better living conditions for your fish. Just keep up with water changes! No one wants to swim in their own waste.
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