Crap, did I just kill my fish?! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2010, 02:27 AM Thread Starter
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Crap, did I just kill my fish?!

I recently setup a planted 6g Fluval Edge and added 6 neons, a few ghost shrimp, and 6 tetras. They've been doing GREAT for several days but I noticed my Java Moss was looking crappy so I did some research and picked up some Seachem Flourish Iron and Potassium.

I dosed the tank and now, 4hrs later all my fish are scattered about acting lethargic and a few of the neons are actually laying/twitching in the java moss or swimming sideways.

I did a 50% water change as soon as I noticed but before that I checked my levels and:

Nitrate 5ppm
Nitrite 2ppm
PH 7.4
Ammonia 0

I attributed the Nitrite levels to it being a new tank but isn't that really high?! I used some Prime with the water change so hopefully that helps but I think at least a few of my fish are doomed

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2010, 02:35 AM
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Nitrite at 2 ppm is double the 'safe' level, keep on doing water changes.
Nitrite crosses the gills and enters the blood, causing Brown Blood Disease (google it). Makes the blood not carry oxygen very well.
Add table salt @ 1 teaspoon per 20 gallons (so a rounded 1/4 teaspoon for a 6 gallon tank) (This dose is completely safe for even the most delicate of fish and plants)

Your tank is too small for that many fish. Can you return some, or move more than half to a larger tank?

Keep on doing enough water changes, size and frequency, to keep the NO2 under 1 ppm.
Add salt to dose the new water @ 1 teaspoon per 20 gallons. (so a 5 gallon water change = 1/4 teaspoon)
Continue to use Prime, and read the label to see if 1.5-2x the regular dose may be helpful in this situation.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2010, 02:37 AM Thread Starter
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Yikes! Guess I'll get back to it asap, thanks for the advice! The guy at the fish store told me I wouldn't have any issues with this many fish since they were so tiny, guess he was wrong!

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2010, 02:42 AM
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Guy at fish store just wants more wallet liners.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2010, 02:44 AM
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Nitrite --> weaker immune system due to stress-->won't cope well with chemistry changes and susceptible to illness/disease etc.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2010, 02:50 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Guy at fish store just wants more wallet liners.
Well I only bought my ferts from him

Just did one 50% change and added 1/8th tsp of salt to the tank. I think I have at least 1 fish thats too far gone.

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2010, 03:03 AM Thread Starter
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WOW.

I was doing another water change watching the neon that isn't going to make it tumble in the flow of water when a Ghost Shrimp swam up and snagged the fish and ran off! I didn't know those things were aggressive?! Should I get rid of them? They've been doing such a nice job keeping the tank clean.

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2010, 07:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaQue View Post
I was doing another water change watching the neon that isn't going to make it tumble in the flow of water when a Ghost Shrimp swam up and snagged the fish and ran off! I didn't know those things were aggressive?! Should I get rid of them? They've been doing such a nice job keeping the tank clean.
A dying neon tetra is fair game to them. They almost never bother healthy ones.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2010, 07:32 AM
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over stocked at my work we only keep 3 1in fish max in taht tank 5 neons would have been plenty

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2010, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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Did one more water change this morning and just checked my Nitrates and they're down to zero.

Death toll: 1 neon, 1 shrimp (my biggest one too ). 1 of the other fish is on its way out as well.

Live and learn I suppose.

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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2010, 09:02 PM
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Did you let the tank cycle 1st?
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2010, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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Did you let the tank cycle 1st?
Well.............I've had plants in it for a couple of weeks now doing water changes here and there because I was constantly rescaping. I figured after 2+ wks itd be ok to add some fish. Is it too soon?

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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2010, 10:17 PM
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I think adding a bunch of fish all at once is too much. It's a "bunch" for your tank size. Adding a few at a time is safer in this regard.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 12:29 AM
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Well.............I've had plants in it for a couple of weeks now doing water changes here and there because I was constantly rescaping. I figured after 2+ wks itd be ok to add some fish. Is it too soon?
The tank does not start cycling until you add fish. The fish excrete ammonia-ammonia is broken down by bacteria into nitrite-nitrite is reduced to nitrate. It takes time for each bacteria colony to grow large enough to handle the load in the tank. Ammonia and nitrite are toxic to fish and probably shrimp too. It's been a few years since I cycled a new tank so I'm guessing the process will take maybe a couple of weeks.


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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 01:48 AM
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Plants will also remove ammonia, but that is too many fish. Too much ammonia. And, as has happened here, the plants cannot take care of it all.

The bacteria that remove ammonia turn it into nitrite. They grow pretty well but they do need some ammonia. Obviously enough were alive in this tank to turn a lot of the ammonia into nitrite.

The bacteria that remove nitrite, and turn it into nitrate are very slow growing. In this tank there may be a few, but nowhere near enough to remove all the nitrite being produced by the first group of bacteria.

If you were starting an empty tank (no plants, no fish, but all equipment running, substrate and decor in place) and doing a fishless cycle using ammonia from a bottle it would take about 3 weeks to grow a big enough population of both sorts of bacteria to support a reasonable fish load.

To make the bacteria grow faster start with some bacteria. Most plants will have some of these bacteria on their leaves and stems, so you did introduce some of these bacteria this way.

The population of nitrifying bacteria will be proportional to the amount of their food (ammonia and nitrite) in the tank. There are a few plant leaves dying and releasing ammonia, but not very much, so the population of these bacteria is very small.

What I would do now:
Keep up the water changes to keep the ammonia under .25 ppm and the nitrite under 1 ppm. Keep a dash of salt in the tank until the cycle has finished and the nitrite consistently reads 0 ppm.
If you can find some Tetra Safe Start or Dr. Tim's One and Only these are the actual species of bacteria you are trying to grow in this tank. All other 'bacteria in a bottle' products do not have the proper species of bacteria, so do not waste your money on them.
A larger tank would be better for that many fish.
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