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Thread: Any Fish people!? Help!!

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    Unhappy Any Fish people!? Help!!

    Okay, so I have no idea what happened. I upgraded my tank, because with the axolotls growing, it was getting a bit cramped in the 20, So I pulled out an old 40 gallon, and washed it out, scrubbed it with water, but I didnt use any chemicals or soap.

    I brought it inside, after soaking all afternoon in my backyard to make sure it still held water. I started filling the tank, transfered the rocks and plants, and then I put the axolotls in, and they were fine. I pulled the fish into a deli cup, and floated that in the tank so they could adjust to the water temperature.

    After about 20 minutes, making sure that the water inside the cup was the same outside [it was a bit of a temperature drop, but nothing abnormal] We then switched the filter over to the bigger cage [we are going to get a bigger one tomorrow] and put in a heater and turned it on.

    Its been about 3-4 hours, And I had some friends over, I came back to check on them, and, the fish started swimming all weird, crooked, like swimming, and then falling, being all upside down. The cory cats started going up to the surface like, to get air? and all the danios and platys started dying. Now the axolotls are going up to the surface for air, and being all weird, and I am FREAKING out. I have already had all of the danios and platys die. The corys are being stupid, and are probably mostly dead.

    In my desperation, I just pulled them out and put them back into the old tank, which I havent dumped yet, I dont know WHAT is going on. Or why this is happening. I used the same filtered water that i use every time I clean the tank, and I set it up in EXACTLY the same way I did when I set up the original cage. I didnt add anything weird or new. I even recycled an old cage and cleaned in the EXACT same way.

    I am really bummed about the fish that have died so far, And I am really scared that my axolotls are going to die next

    Any ideas or suggestions are GREATLY apreciated.


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    Quote Originally Posted by bleeding_sarcasm View Post
    Okay, so I have no idea what happened. I upgraded my tank, because with the axolotls growing, it was getting a bit cramped in the 20, So I pulled out an old 40 gallon, and washed it out, scrubbed it with water, but I didnt use any chemicals or soap.

    I brought it inside, after soaking all afternoon in my backyard to make sure it still held water. I started filling the tank, transfered the rocks and plants, and then I put the axolotls in, and they were fine. I pulled the fish into a deli cup, and floated that in the tank so they could adjust to the water temperature.

    After about 20 minutes, making sure that the water inside the cup was the same outside [it was a bit of a temperature drop, but nothing abnormal] We then switched the filter over to the bigger cage [we are going to get a bigger one tomorrow] and put in a heater and turned it on.

    Its been about 3-4 hours, And I had some friends over, I came back to check on them, and, the fish started swimming all weird, crooked, like swimming, and then falling, being all upside down. The cory cats started going up to the surface like, to get air? and all the danios and platys started dying. Now the axolotls are going up to the surface for air, and being all weird, and I am FREAKING out. I have already had all of the danios and platys die. The corys are being stupid, and are probably mostly dead.

    In my desperation, I just pulled them out and put them back into the old tank, which I havent dumped yet, I dont know WHAT is going on. Or why this is happening. I used the same filtered water that i use every time I clean the tank, and I set it up in EXACTLY the same way I did when I set up the original cage. I didnt add anything weird or new. I even recycled an old cage and cleaned in the EXACT same way.

    I am really bummed about the fish that have died so far, And I am really scared that my axolotls are going to die next

    Any ideas or suggestions are GREATLY apreciated.

    Hello,

    I hope I can help you out with this one,as I used to manage an aquarium department for a privately run store.

    I actually have a few questions for you. When you switched over from the twenty, did you start out with all new water, or use older water from the tank? If it was new water, the tank is biologically uncycled and would need some time to adjust before being able to successfully house fish. This normally takes anywhere from 3-6 weeks in a freshwater tank once bacteria is introduced. The axolotls should be fine if the tank isn't yet cycled, but the fish could die if there was anything acting up in the water. New tank setups will always initially go through an ammonia spike and then a nitrate and nitrite spike before leveling out and becoming a biologically established environment.

    Because it happened in only a few hours after restarting the tank, it shouldn't have allowed that big of an ammonia spike though to kill your fish....What was the tank used for before? Also how many fish are in the tank now exactly along with the axolotls? What types? Catfish are like the canaries in the mine shaft in aquariums. Their territory remains on the bottom of the tank where gasses build up first. If you notice bottom feeders randomly dropping off, always check the chemistry of the water first. That's usually the culprit.

    To help me know what happened, I'd need to know what your PH, Nitrite, Nitrate and Ammonia levels were reading at in both tanks, and what the temperature is now in the tank and what it was in the old tank. When you say there was a difference, how much of a difference was it? Fish are extremely sensative to PH and temperature fluctuations. If it goes more than 2 degrees in either direction, this alone is enough to kill a fish. When they were being acclimated to the fourty, was water added from the new tank to their floating container? If you add water slow enough over a course of time, this can adjust them to the PH of the water as well as the temperature.

    What type of water was added to the tank? If it was tap water, did you add any dechlorinators before adding back the fish? Most towns use chloramine, a combination of chlorine and ammonia to tap water to cleanse it from parasites. Even small amounts of it can burn the tissue in the fish's gills. I always use Prime or Aqua Plus just to be sure.

    Phew...flashback, lol. I hope this is useful. It's a real pain to ascertain what happens when an aquarium goes horribly wrong, but a little more information may help us figure it out.
    ~*~*Mandy*~*~

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    Thanks for your reply, that is really useful advice. I think that might be exactly what happened, because I didnt wait any amount of time to cycle it or anything. not knowing any better, since I am not used to having fish.

    I used all new water. The tank has seen alot of animals, Originally it was for baby turtles, but for the last years it was used for a dumerils boa. Its been empty for about 8 months now, and I washed it and scrubbed it really well. I had 5 zebra danios, 2 cory cats, and 3 platys. along with the 4 axolotls. Ironically, the cory cats are the only fish that HAVENT died yet, all the others are totally gone.

    I dont have any test kits to know what my water levels are. I am going to a fish store tomorrow [or i guess today as it would be] to get it checked, and to get kits. From what my boyfriend said from when he checked before, we have fairly neutral PH, and we have been adding the same water, that we started the original tank and this tank on. But it is true, that it was a week or two after we got the axolotls and they were established before we added any fish to the tank.

    I didnt add any water to the floating container, I didnt know that you should/were supposed to, I thought getting them aclamated to the temperature was enough, and there was definitely more then a 2 degree temperature change.

    I use a "small boy" brand filtration system, which is a small step down from Reverse osmosis. The small boy takes out chlorine, chloramine, ammonia, flouride, etc. It basically takes out all the bad stuff, and leaves all the good stuff, bennifical bacteria, etc.

    According to the things you said, sounds like I just did all sorts of things horribly wrong . Thanks for the response just the same. I think the axolotls and corys should be fine now that theyre back in the old tank, and hopefully I will know better next time

    Thanks again!


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    I hope you get things figured out. Good luck to you. Learning the science behind a fish tank is really hard when you first start out. I was stumped for a really long time before I finally got it, so much different then animals that live in an atmosphere, lol. I did the whole fish thing for awhile and now I prefer my reptiles, less things to worry about.

    With acclimating, usually you can just float the fish and have no real problems. If the water is a drastically different PH however, I will either set up a water drip to the container or add a little bit of new water slowly over a period of time. This eases them into the new PH with less risk of shock.

    If you have any other questions, I'd be glad to try my best to help.
    ~*~*Mandy*~*~

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    Default New fish tank

    Sounds like a combination of causes. The new water should be treated with a declorinator of some kind. You may have to help prime the bio-filter. See is any local fish stores have a product called Bio-spira. This is designed to "seed" the bio-filters which convert ammonia to nitrites and nitrites to nitrates. I have used Bio-spira in brand new aquariums, and while it won't elimate ammonia/nitrite spikes, it does help to diminish them to the point where it won't kill the fish.

    Put the old filter back in if it stayed wet, the benificial bacteria may still be ok and should help to keep everything alive.

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    I agree with everything that has been said Tamara but I have a question. Before you upgraded to the bigger aquarium, how frequently were you doing partial water changes and what percentage of water were you replacing with each partial change?
    ~Alan

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    tunachris~ If you read my posts above, my filter takes out ALL of the chlorine.

    Dr Alan~ I was doing probably about 1/3 like once a month?

    Today My axolotls seem perfect, They are still going to the surface for air, but they seem normal. I am really bummed that I killed all my fish... But I am also thankful that my axolotls are fine.


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    Hi Tamara,

    Sorry to hear about your fish. I have some thoughts on your tank and some questions, if you don't mind.

    Did you manage to get your hands on a test kit? The AP Master Test Kit is a very affordable and accurate kit.
    If so, will you please post your:

    pH
    kH
    ammonia
    nitrite
    nitrate

    Will you post the pH from the 20g and the source water please.

    I found this bit of info on your water filtration system.
    "Removes up to 99% of chlorine and 90% of sediment, rust, silt, etc. @ 1 GPM. Easily produces 60 gallons per hour of clear water filtered down to 5 microns. Filter capacity of 3,000 gallons. Removes 95%+ of chlorine hardness (calcium & magnesium), excessive minerals (iron), and all other contaminants. "

    I would still use something like Prime to make sure the water is perfectly safe for your fish. Are you adding any type of product to reconstitute the water?
    (RO water has no minerals and salts and fish need them for optimum health.)

    It's possible that the pH in your 20g was lower than your source water. RO water usually has a low kH and in some cases can crash, so the pH difference in the 20 and the 40 may have been too drastic for the fish.

    Your tank was overstocked as well. Ideally, you should be doing 25% water changes with a 25% substrate cleaning weekly, with same temp, same pH, treated water, but you may want to do them more frequently for a heavily stocked tank. I would wait and see what your levels are and go from there, but I would definitely start a schedule of weekly water changes.

    You may want to "nuke" your 40g tank, just in case.

    Nuking a tank..

    Glass: Use a 1:9 ratio of bleach to water, scrub, then rinse many, many times to get rid of all the bleach...then rinse some more, lol. After that, soak for about an hour with approx 10x the recommended amount of dechlorinator.

    If tank is acrylic, use a ratio of 1:19.

    What kind of filter do you have on the 20g? What kind of maintenance do you do on the filter?

    Are you still planning to move the fish over to the 40? If so, I'd be happy to help.

    Take care,
    Dee
    Dee

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    I agree with everything said, but have one additional bit of advise. Switching to a bigger tank with the same filter may have led to lack of oxygen in the water. I would suggest you getting an airation devise to pump some extra oxygen in the environment. Especially the way you described the fish frequently going to the surface, I think part of the problem may be lack of oxygen. You may not have good enough circulation...especially to the bottom of the tank, which could explain the cory cats acting the way they are.

    If any of the fish that are left are still acting strange you can opt to put them in a high oxygen environment...I've had this method save many a fish from near death. Just get an air pump and a stone (just the cheap kind, the expensive kind need a larger motor to pump sufficently), and put the fish in it's original water in a glad ware container or the like...no larger than 1/2 gallon of water. The water should be filled with bubbles.

    This is the same as giving a sick person oxygen...it aids the body in recooperation.

    Let me know if you have any questions...but I've actually been able to save fish that are upside down with this method...you just have to hold them upright over the bubbles if they are that far gone.

    Good luck!

    -Andrea
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    Established aquariums, especially if stocked to the level yours was, tend over time to become very acidic, and the fish become used to levels of acidity that would be dangerous for fish unaccustomed to them. This is especially true if water changes are minimal, and 30% once a month is minimal. I suspect that you encountered ph shock, depending on the alkalinity of your tap water.

    As an example I have a fairly large (70 gallon) aquarium stocked with about 25-26 Myleus rubripinnis rubripinnis (Red Hook Silver Dollars, a largish South American characin somewhat related to Piranhas, although the Red Hooks are substantially vegetarian). These fish are in nature blackwater animals accustomed to acidic conditions, and filtration is more then adequate, but I still find it necessary to change about 70% of the water every 7-10 days to keep them happy and keep the ph levels tolerable in their cramped quarters.

    Clients love these fish. One time my receptionist overheard one of my clients talking with another, who asked what the fish were. With an air of ultimate authority, he declared that they were deadly "Piguanas".
    ~Alan

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