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Old 11-21-2022, 12:30 PM   #1
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Pearl gouramis lost color and stay near the surface

I have an 80L (~20 gallon) tank that was set up almost two months ago. I had initially bought two dwarf gouramis however they died after about a month after they slowly started to lose color and just float near the top. So I bought a test kit to be able to check my water parameters and avoid similar situations in the future. However last week I bought two female pearl gouramis and the same thing started happening to them, despite all the parameters being fine (0 ammonia, 0 nitrate, 0 nitrite). The pH was a bit high having a value of 8 but I have read that such pH isn't bad for the fish. I couldn't figure out what was causing the fish to lose their color and energy, and I still can't, however I noticed that the base of a decorative plant has swollen and turned brown. Could this be releasing toxic substances in the water? I am attaching photos of the fish and the base of the plant.
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Old 11-21-2022, 12:59 PM   #2
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There could be an issue with your water quality, because your water parameters are practically impossible.

Are you aware of the nitrogen cycle?

The nitrogen cycle takes fish waste and turns the ammonia into nitrite and nitrite into nitrate. In a cycled tank you should be seeing nitrate. In an uncycled tank you should be seeing ammonia and/ or nitrite depending on how far progressed your cycle is. You are reporting zero ammonia, nitrite and nitrate which says there is something wrong with your testing and could be masking a water quality issue.

What test kit are you using? Are you sure you are doing the test correctly?

Is the plant in question an artificial plant?

Please take a read through the "unhealthy fish" and answer what you can where the info isnt given above.

https://www.aquariumadvice.com/forum...his-32451.html
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Old 11-21-2022, 01:02 PM   #3
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I’m sorry to hear you’re having problems with the gouramis. I have 5 silver ones. How did you cycle the tank? A month may not have been long enough unless you had a pre-cycled filter. Two months isn’t long enough either sometimes. How are you testing? I use the API drops. I’ve never been all zero on anything except nitrites. Always a little ammonia & the tap water contains 5ppm nitrate which is considered safe.

I can’t say the plant is the villain, but I would toss it. I don’t like unhealthy aquatic or terrestrial plants. How often and how much water do you change? I do 50% routinely each week. More when I had an algae problem. Took the tank down to 75% for a few consecutive days.

I would do a water change and recheck the params. I messed up doing them more times than I care to say. But, I retake them when something doesn’t look right.

It’s possible you had the misfortune to buy a group of sickly fish. This happens far too often. They are active & look ok at the pet shop & either quickly, as in days die, or sometimes in a few months.

I’m not all that experienced & am confident someone here more informed than me will offer better advice.
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Old 11-21-2022, 01:13 PM   #4
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The tank was without fish for about two weeks and the pearls have been in it for a week and they still haven't fully accepted flakes as a food so they haven't been producing much waste.

Since I got the API master test kit I have measured the parameters 3-4 times and they have all been zero. As for the water changes I did a 25-30% change this week and I plan to keep doing so every week unless the params get too high.

Funny things is since I disturbed the tank to dig up that faulty plant the fish have actually started being active. The one fish had been inactive and sitting in one side of the tank for 2.5 days now while the other one started behaving similarly since today, yet they seem kind of fine now. I will keep monitoring them just to be sure.
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Old 11-21-2022, 01:15 PM   #5
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It is an artificial decorative plant. As for the testing I have been using the API master test kit and I have followed the directions for testing the different params exactly as it is stated in the little book.
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Old 11-21-2022, 01:30 PM   #6
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I would definitely get a 2nd opinion on your water parameters. As said they are impossible. Take a sample of water before you do a water change, and either try a different water test kit or take the sample to a fish store and ask them to test for you. Make sure they use a liquid test kit similar to yours, and make sure they give you numbers.

Really make sure you shake the heck out of bottle #2 on the nitrate test. Like bang it on the counter.

From what you have said its unlikely your tank is cycled. Until you are able to get a second opinion on your parameters i would change some water daily. If in doubt, first test the water or take a sample to test later, then change water.
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Old 11-21-2022, 01:33 PM   #7
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Good for you in reading their chubby little book. I went to YouTube & found dozens of videos, watched 2 or 3. I've seen other helpful fish videos there as well. Keep an eye on the plant. I had some artificial ones in my GloFish tank that were literally turning into mush. The glowed under blue light & were sold by the GloFish company.

So glad to hear they’re doing better! Yay!


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Old 11-21-2022, 01:55 PM   #8
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I second Aiken’s suggestion to do daily water changes. When in doubt throw the water out is my practice. Do you use the API water conditioner to declorinate? I bought a big jug at Amazon coz I have many tanks. 1 ml takes care of 20 gallons. I bought a box of 1 ml syringes, also at Amazon.
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Old 11-21-2022, 04:53 PM   #9
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You are probably right I have been a bit stupid to think that all my parameters are 0 constantly. I already did a water change of 25% and I will probably keep that up daily. A daily 25% water change is safe right?

About the testing kit I am pretty sure I am using it correctly as I have watched youtube videos and they do the same things I do. Could it be possible that the kit is faulty? I will definitely check my water params and then have the same water checked by my local pet store to compare results.

About the water dechlorinator I am using the haquoss DM1 conditioner, which requires 1ml per 4L of water. This is the brand my local pet store gave me when I started setting up my tank, should I get the API one? The water conditioner I have says it stabilises the water pH to around 7 but when I check my water's pH it's always 8. However that might be a false reading since I am not so sure the kit is working correctly or if I am doing something wrong during the tests.
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Old 11-21-2022, 04:55 PM   #10
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Also would aquarium salt help my gouramis in this case?
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Old 11-21-2022, 05:12 PM   #11
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A water conditioner is a water conditioner. All you can expect from it is to remove chlorine/ chloramine, which it must be doing otherwise your fish would die in a day or so. Take any other claim the product makes with a pinch of salt.

Personally choose a water conditioner on the cost per water change. This tends to be Seachem Prime or API Tap Water Conditioner. But see how much each bottle of conditioner costs that your store carries, and what the dosage is for each. You can then calculate the cost/ water change. This might not be the cheapest bottle of conditioner as the more expensive products tend to require a lower dosage.

If you have a high carbonate hardness (KH) you can keep on adding these pH altering products until the cows come home and they wont do very much. A high pH would "normally" (not always) reflect in a high KH.

Ive just recently started a new API nitrate test kit and it was reading considerably lower than i knew i had in my tanks. What i ended up doing was squeezing and distorting the bottle #2 to ensure the reagents werent stuck to the side of the bottle, banged it on the counter, really gave a good shaking. After that it read how i expected it too. You should see a white powdery residue in the drops from bottle #2.
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Old 11-21-2022, 05:23 PM   #12
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I have done 75% water changes due to sudden algae growth. I kept the tank in front of a window & needed to black out some light. 25% daily, even 50%, would be ok.

Have you ever tested your tap water? I did & always have 5ppm nitrates. Think up to 15 or 20 ppm is considered safe by the city. Could be the store sold you the test kit Socrates used. lol. Ya never know, but like Aiken was saying, something is amiss & you need to try different tests.

My guess is one brand of water conditioner is as good as the next, but not positive. API is a big good company & Amazon sells their products, often in large containers. I have 12 tanks now, so like the discounted prices.

I have never added salt to a tank & wouldn’t unless I knew they had a condition that would be helped by salt. Perhaps a more experienced person could better advise you on that. I hope Colin T, checks in with his opinion on your issues. He is incredibly smart, knowledgeable & has decades of experience. So do Andy & Aiken, as well as others.
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Old 11-21-2022, 09:55 PM   #13
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The fish in the pictures do not appear to have any external diseases, which would suggest a possible water quality issue.

As others have said, if in doubt, water change it out. A 50-75% water change won't hurt the fish and can sometimes fix the problem if it's related to something bad in the water. As a general rule, when fish are unwell, the first thing I recommend is to do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate every day for a week or until the problem is identified. The water changes reduce any disease organisms in the water and help to fix any water quality issues by diluting ammonia, nitrite, nitrate or any other chemicals or foreign substance in the water.
Just make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

------------------

Are you using a dechlorinator (something to neutralise chlorine/ chloramine) in the tap water?

Contact your water supply company (by telephone or website) and ask them if they add chlorine or chloramine to the drinking water.

------------------

What sort of filter is on the aquarium?
How often and how do you clean the filter?
Does the filter have any pads/ cartridges in it?

Some filter pads/ cartridges have Ammogon/ Zeolite in and this removes ammonia from the water. If there is no ammonia in the water, the filter bacteria won't develop and you can have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate when you test the water. Normally however, if you have ammonia in the water, it is turned into nitrite and then nitrate by good bacteria, and you get rid of nitrates by doing water changes.

Ammogon/ Zeolite is a white granulated substance. If your filter contains a filter pad with white granules in, and the filter manufacturer recommends you replace the filter pads once a month, then you probably have Ammogon in the filter pad. If this is the case, you should throw the filter pad away and replace it with a piece of sponge. Then keep the feeding down for the next month and do water changes any day the ammonia or nitrite reading go above 0ppm, or the nitrate goes above 20ppm.

------------------

Don't try to adjust the pH of the water. It is a losing battle that will cost you money and drive you nuts in the process. A stable pH is much better for the fish than one that fluctuates. And if your water has a high KH (carbonate hardness), you can add all the buffers you want to drop the pH, and it won't change.

You can normally find out the GH (general hardness), KH (carbonate hardness) and pH from your water supply company via their website or phoning them. Find out what the test results are measured in too because they can be measured in different ways and each has different meanings/ results.

------------------

Do you have any creams, perfume, hand sanitiser grease or anything else on your hands when you work in the aquarium or feed the fish?
These can sometimes wash off into the aquarium and even in low doses can poison fish.

Do you have buckets specifically for the fish tank?
If not, buy a couple of new buckets and use a permanent marker to write "FISH ONLY" on the side of the buckets. Use those buckets for the fish tank and nothing else.

Make sure any hoses or nets for the fish tank are kept away from chemicals and don't let people use them for anything but the aquarium.

Don't use bug spray, smoke, paint, or do anything in the room that creates fumes because these can get into the water and poison fish.

Make sure the filter is run continuously 24/7.

Have some aeration/ surface turbulence in the water to help keep oxygen levels high.
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Old 11-22-2022, 02:56 PM   #14
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Alegnatos, how are they doing today?

Unless they are too young to show color, they all look like girls. Mine are all girls too. I wanted one boy. Love all the red coloration. I spent some time searching for a boy. Called the LFS once & she said they had three. Raced to the store just as some dude was exiting carrying a large bag that undoubtedly contained bagged fish. The shop owner said it was the boys. Sure wish I had paid in advance with a credit card or at least tripped this guy and ran off.


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Old 11-23-2022, 04:31 AM   #15
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They are doing better thanks for asking. Turns out you all were right it was my water params. After you told me that the testing I do probably doesn't return correct results I started doing consecutive water changes for 3 days of 20L, 20L and 30L respectively. After that I had my water tested at a pet store and I had 30 ppm of nitrite, so the water must have been much worse before the changes. I plant to keep up the consecutive water changes for a few more days and then start doing them every other day.

Next step now is to figure out why my testing is wrong. I hope I am doing something wrong and the kit is fine otherwise I will have spent 60 euros for nothing.
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Old 11-23-2022, 04:39 AM   #16
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Do you mean nitrite or nitrate?
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Old 11-23-2022, 05:30 AM   #17
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Nitrate my bad.
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Old 11-23-2022, 06:10 AM   #18
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The problem with your nitrate test is 99% likely bottle #2. You should be able to see a white powdery residue in the drops. If the test isnt used for a while this reagent can get stuck to the side and bottom of the bottle, this is why you need to shake the bottle to get it into the liquid. If it hasnt been used for a very long time (eg its been sat on the shelf at the store for months on end before you bought it) then it might need more than shaking the bottle. Bang on a worktop, twist the bottle, etc. If that still doesnt lead to a working test kit then the nitrate test kit can be bought separately, no need to replace the whole master test kit. I would try and get a replacement from the store if you cant get it working though as its faulty.

30ppm nitrate isnt that bad. Typically you want your nitrate no higher than 40ppm, 20ppm is better. Another 50% water change should get it below 20ppm and monitor from there when you are able.

I would also check your tap water for nitrate once you are able or better still get a report from your water supply company.

You have identified the reason i recommended taking a sample of water before the water changes. You now have no idea how bad the situation was that your fish where living in because you diluted the waste down. All you can really say is it was worse than it is now. Nitrate would have higher and you could have had ammonia and nitrite in there that is no longer detectable. Simple solution is to take a jar of water before your water changes to test later.
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Old 11-23-2022, 11:23 AM   #19
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Check the expiry date on the test kit.

Make sure the test kit is kept in a cool, dry, dark place. Heat, sunlight and moisture can cause the reagents to break down faster.

Keep test kits away from children and animals because they contain some poisonous substances.

Wash your hands with soapy water after using test kits.
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Old 11-23-2022, 06:14 PM   #20
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I saw a YouTube video on using the API kit. For nitrate bottle #2, this tattooed brute of a man pounded it on his palm for a good 30 seconds. He had spectacular tanks in the background.

I tried his technique & it hurt my paw, so I bang it on the kitchen counter.

Do they have Amazon where you live or something equivalent? I pay ~$25 for the test kit there. The pet shops want $50 unless they have an occasional sale. If you can get a second kit & prove the first was bad, the vendor should refund your money.

I do appreciate the Thank You’s you’ve sent. Thank you!

For some reason lately, I haven’t received email alerts of any messages like I did before. I am clueless as to why & would not want people to think I’m ignoring their replies. I do respond quickly, but none came in the last few days. I saw them only when I logged in here now.
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