Hi there. I started my first (20 gallon long) tank in September and put in a gourami in November. Altogether, it comes out to 10 fish and some ghost shrimp. Some good grasses, moss, and ferns. No fatalities or major issues until...
My poor Gogo was dead at the bottom of the tank on Thursday morning.
I thought she was being her usual shy self in the preceding days, but apparently she was stressed out and sick! Wah! Got my water tested at the aquarium shop and the nitrites were at 0, ammonia .10, and apparently I have extremely hard water. But the clerk seemed kind of puzzled as to why my gourami died. She said maybe it was the ammonia. Some sites say .10 (with a pH of 7) is right there on the cusp of toxicity. I know that 0 is the goal for an ammonia reading, but basically I'm trying to get a frame of reference. I see other anecdotes where the ammonia reads 4+ and I'm like "WHAAAA?". Did stirring up the substrate do it? Trying one filter in my Penguin instead of my usual 2 (one older, one newer)? Cutting down on light usage to stop hair algae? Etc.
Did a 20% water change and, like an idiot, the test strips I just bought at the store don't do ammonia. So I'm sort of stuck not knowing for a while. But realistically, how much should I be freaking out over the ammonia in my tank?
Or is the hardness or something a more likely culprit? My tetras and corys look OK. Are gouramis really so fickle or am I running a fish death camp?
And for fun, here's a photo of my 20 gallon long. (I would always worry that my gourami didn't have enough cover. But looking at other tanks, I wonder if that's bunk.)