The Truth On Fish Death - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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The Truth On Fish Death

I've been running my planted tank about 3 months and I've lost 10 fish. 7 of them were neon tetras, 2 were skirted tetras, and 1 one of them was a dwarf gourami.

A majority of these fish died when I moved a piece of driftwood with a piece of rock tied to the bottom. It kicked up a large amount of my dirt causing a dirty water black out in my tank. I didn't have the gourami at the time and it killed 2 of my skirt tetras and 4 of my neons. Lesson learned for sure.

Since then I added a dwarf gourami that I got from petsmart and it died on me within 3 weeks time. Then I added more neons from petsmart and again-death within 3 weeks time.

The strange thing is that some of my skirt tetras and neons have survived. They all came from the same batch. I also have kuhli loaches and emerald cories that survived the dirty water incident.

Water params are running right. The fish that I currently have are as active and as happy as they could be. Right now the only thing I'm doing wrong is running only two neons, but to be honest, I'm a little turned off in buying more due to recent events. Everything else is schooled properly and I'm happy with it. I just get a little bummed to keep seeing my two neons hiding under my bush of Wisteria.

I bring this up because I feel like some people accept their fish death based on the honest truth that fish just...........die. No matter how perfect your tank is, s**t happens.

I'm not here to bash petsmart, but anything I've got from a local shop has served me better than coming from them. Especially in regards to the neon tetras. When I went to petsmart to get more tetras the girl was dipping the net in to catch them and one died right there on the spot. I should have taken that as a warning sign but I went with it.

As just stated, I realize that some of this death has occurred due to sloppy fish care but some of this I feel has been completely out of my control.

Does anyone else consider this? I think about upgrading to a bigger tank and spending bigger money on fancy fish but it turns me off when your fish simply just die.

Is this just one of those accepted "life of owning a fish tank" things?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 03:43 PM
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I try to match fish with water parameter's (ie) soft water fish in soft water,hard water fish in hard water.(some fish adapt to differing values,some won't/don't)
I then look at acclimating them properly.(drip acclimation work's well)
I then consider diet, (fresh food's).
I don't buy fish the day they arrive at fish store,and prefer to wait three or four day's to let weak fishes die in dealer tank's not mine.
I don't buy fish from store tank's holding dead fish,or obviously sick fish ever.
I look at fishes closely for fin damage,fin rot,ICH,before I buy.
Weekly water changes without fail.
The neon's nowday's are not the hardy fish they used to be ten year's ago, or longer back than that ,and Dwarf gourami are increasingly prone to Iridovirus,Mycobacterium.
Of the is said that the Honey gourami, and Pearl gourami, are the hardiest,and my own expieriences suggest this is true.
My 80 gallon planted tank 's fishes all came from Chain store with exception of a couple Pleco's I ordered.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 05:09 PM
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most of the time its due to issues with the fish adjusting to new parameters. You need to make sure that you spend at least a few hours trying to adjust the fish to its new home. Water parameters vary widely by fish stores or big box breeder stores. How old is your tank? The longer I have a tank running, the easier it is to introduce new fish and the better they seem to do in my experience.

It sounds a little weird to me that a "dirty water incident" would have killed off the fish. How long was the water like that and what sort of filtration do you have the tank? I can't even tell you how many times i have rearranged everything in my flourite sand tank which kicks up a bunch of sand into the water.

I would highly recommend following your gut though on where you are buying the fish.

-Just another day in paradise-
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 11:44 PM
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An important thing to do when buying new fish is to quarantine them for at least a month before adding them to your main tank. This can save you alot of money and frustration.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 11:55 PM
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i would recommend getting some bottom feeding like corys... this wll ensure u have good bacteria in your filter and keep it steady...

Also..make sure to introduce them slowly in ur tank...i use the drip method and most fish always surivive.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-27-2012, 12:09 AM
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I have 8 hatchetfish from petsmart, I have 6 angelfish from private breeders and 8 corys from private breeders.
I float the bag for 15 minutes and then dump them in the tank. I figure whats more harmful....
1. sitting in a few cups of non-aerated water that is being poisoned by their own feces
2. having to adjust to different water parameters

I say you only need to do slow drip acclimation if your water is out of whack, if your water is good then it might stress the fish but it isn't going to poison them like sitting in their own filth for n hour.

I use this method with 3.00 dime size angels and 85.00 discus. never lost one!
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-27-2012, 12:15 AM
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+ on quarantine!

I started w/ betta's. 1 at work in a TINY unheated tank. He got upgraded to a 3 gal after 1.5 yrs in that tiny unheated tank - not a tank - more like a large dish!

He lived 3.5 yrs w/ water changes every week & plain pellet food.

So I got a 6 gal for home - planted - heated - water changes every week & good food.

Thought it would be betta paradise!

First fish lasted 6 months & 2nd one 5 months

So yes - sometimes they just die.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-27-2012, 12:37 AM
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Depending on the depth of your substrate, it's entirely plausible that moving the driftwood and attached rock caused problems in your tank. If it was deep enough, you had low enough oxygen for anaerobic bacteria to proliferate in your tank's substrate... or the rock itself created an anaerobic area. The problem is that moving the rock and wood doesn't just kick up exposes the anaerobic bacteria to oxygen, which kills them off. That puts a dent in your bacteria population and can lead to an ammonia spike. Additional, that bacteria releases hydrogen sulfide as a biproduct of the denitrification process...which is poisonous to fish. If you released a pocket of gas at that time...that would definitely cause some quick fish deaths. All of these ill effects are even more dangerous in a smaller tank. How large is your system?

As for the continued bad luck...I'm sure some of it can be due to bad livestock. That being said though, how long did you wait after the fish died to begin adding more fish? And did you continue to test for ammonia and nitrites throughout that restocking process? After several fish deaths I usually wait at least a month for the tank to stabilize and the bacteria population to readjust.

My best advice would be to slowly restock the tank, add a fresh bag of carbon, and stay on top of water changes after adding a new fish. QT is also could have an intestinal parasite or some bacteria infecting new, stressed fish without even knowing it. Unless you QT there is no telling whether you are getting weak fish or there is something bad in your system. If you can keep a fish in QT for a couple weeks, then it dies in your display...then you can at least isolate the problem.

Everyone has their opinions on acclimation...but I always drip acclimate for 30 minutes. You can get around the argument that sitting in a bag of filth is worse than just dumping them in the tank fairly easily. Either pitch some water out of their bag every few minutes and run a somewhat faster drip...or setup a drip &, drain airline tube drips water into your bag from your tank, and another airline tube is adjusted to drip water out of the bag and into a waste bucket at a slightly lower rate. Been doing that for years and haven't lost a fish either.

Good luck
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-27-2012, 01:53 AM Thread Starter
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I should add that when the dirty water incident occurred I freaked out and did a massive water change. To be honest, that could have been more of a problem than anything. This drip acclimation is intense. Never read about it til now.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-27-2012, 06:30 AM
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No fish ever "just dies". There's always a reason--even if you can't figure out what it was. Solution is to continue to learn all you can about all aspects of the hobby and take reasonable steps to ensure you minimize the risks.

Understand the role of beneficial bacteria, mechanical vs biological filtration, basic water chemistry and how waste products are (or aren't) broken down in the tank, learn how to test your water parameters and adjust them if needed as well as what conditions are best for which species.

Study up on your species. My "need to know" checklist before purchasing a new fish/invertebrate usually runs to eight or nine pages of information and includes digging around in forums for real-life examples of folks who've been successful (or not!) with them.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-27-2012, 10:14 PM
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Most of its a matter of where you get the fish, in my opinion. I almost only buy my fish online because vendors online make an effort to get their fish from better sources that have better genetics to start with.(not inbred as much). Now I have some supposedly more sensitive species than an average community tank, yet I have had almost zero deaths. And i have only had fish tanks for 8 or 9 months, yet My fish are very healthy with only one water change a week and no randomly dying fish. There are very few local fish stores that keep their standards as high as the vendors online, and that why I think a lot of people should reassess where the fish are coming from, not as much as how you are taking care of them.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-28-2012, 01:25 AM
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I have killed alot of fish due to my own inexperience. i have learned from each error. for example when i medicated the fish were flashing i kept treating over and over and lost alot of fish when i finally gave up and just did alot of water changes the fish were fine. i think the meds caused the irritation and was the reason they were flashing. i dont buy fish anymore unless im starting a new tank. that then becomes my QT tank. whatever lives gets the tank. lol. Good thread though.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-28-2012, 03:50 AM
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Originally Posted by wendyjo View Post
An important thing to do when buying new fish is to quarantine them for at least a month before adding them to your main tank. This can save you alot of money and frustration.

Such a simple solution. It's too bad people have to learn the hard way.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-28-2012, 01:52 PM
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I've followed this and several other threads as time allowed between jobs at work.
This is about a 3 month old dirt tank. Lots of livestock added fairly quickly (imo) and without any quarantine. Little to no parameter information. Lots of changes in a short time frame. What type soil was used? How much? What's the maintenance schedule look like?

"Water params are running right." ,,, not much to go with for a suggestion.
Looked at the OP thread list to get a better understanding of the last 90 days.
Easier when it's all posted together.

Slow down on stocking is my suggestion.

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2012 update adding table top pleco pans & a 90g (Nutz)
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-28-2012, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by mitchfish9 View Post
Most of its a matter of where you get the fish, in my opinion. I almost only buy my fish online because vendors online make an effort to get their fish from better sources that have better genetics to start with.(not inbred as much).
Based on what, exactly?
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