mystery fish death question for a friend...
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:10 AM   #1
driftwoodhunter
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mystery fish death question for a friend...


Hi there,
I'm posting this for my friend - she has a 20g tank, and in it she had 10 or so neons, three albino corys, and three golden wonder killies. She just called me because she had a sudden die off, and wanted me to ask here about it. All the fish suddenly died between last night and today, except she was able to save the killie fish by moving them to a different tank.
The story; she admits she hasn't done a water change in 5 weeks, just top-offs. (personally I think that's a big part of the problem)
She says the fish were acting fine right up until they suddenly died. She uses aquarium salt every time she does a water change because the lfs told her to. I may be wrong, but I suggested she didn't need the salt, and that I thought tetras were sensitive to salt. (no live plants in her tanks). She didn't add salt when doing the top-offs. She tested the water tonight with a test strip - all she could tell me was that the colors were light pink = safe zone, and not bright fuchsia = unsafe zone. (this is after doing an 8 gallon water change. I still suspect the water quality was way off even though she thinks it's ok)
This is what she thinks killed the fish - we are hoping people here might know; she is a stained glass artist, and these last few days she has been working in the kitchen where the fish tank is to solder her pieces, this is 100% lead solder. The tank is covered with the kind of plastic cover/strip light combo that comes as a set-up. She has an HOB filter and also a air pump for a bubble wand. Could the lead fumes have gotten into the tank via the air pump or the hob and killed the fish?
Thanks for any opinions, I'll be sure to pass them on.
PS - If it was the lead solder, I'm worried for her two conures - they're in the kitchen too (gross, I know!) I'm REALLY worried for her and her husband though, they are breathing this in nearly every day...

I should add that though she doesn't use a respirator, she does leave the sliding door open with a fan drawing the air out. I was just reading on stained glass lead and solder fumes, and it seems the flux fumes are more dangerous than the lead - anyhow, she's hoping people here can give her some insight as to what may have happened to her fish. Thanks!
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:17 AM   #2
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We really dont have much to work with but there could be lots of possibilities. But you do know how people use lead strips with plants in aquariums so i would look for an alternative method
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:20 AM   #3
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Yes, I apologize for the lack of info, this was all that she told me. I really wonder about the quality of the tank's water...all that feeding & no water changes at all for 5 weeks...even if it seemed sudden to her, I wonder if the fish weren't showing signs of illness before they died.
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:22 AM   #4
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Could be water quality, after doing no WC for a while a WC might have whacked out the params. Or temp. or a lot of other things lol
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:27 AM   #5
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I asked her about water temps too - I have to run my window units to keep the temps in a normal range. She didn't know what the water temp was, but I'd assume they have their central air on. She did the water change after the neons all died (they died first, last night) then the corys died after the change. The killies were going fast, and she just tossed them into a 55 tank she's still setting up. She figured they were going to die anyhow. So far they seem to be doing better. Is it odd to have so many fish die in a batch like that?
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:11 AM   #6
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The lead smoke from the stain glass could cause an issue . The smoke will dissolve in the water where lead strips will not. If I had to guess the lead smoke and lack of wc's probably killed the fish. Lead will not leak into the water when it is solid but when it is intoduced as vapor in the air it will contaminate the water
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cardoc View Post
The lead smoke from the stain glass could cause an issue . The smoke will dissolve in the water where lead strips will not. If I had to guess the lead smoke and lack of wc's probably killed the fish. Lead will not leak into the water when it is solid but when it is intoduced as vapor in the air it will contaminate the water
Good to know lol.
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:34 AM   #8
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yes, thank you - I will pass all this info on...
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:41 AM   #9
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Interesting about the lead. When water foul hunting in the US, we are not allowed to use lead shoot because of the impact on the water. I do not mean to derail the topic
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:51 AM   #10
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Not a derail at all, and I don't mind derails anyhow - there's always something to learn. Your info on lead shot is a perfect example!
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