Substate killing fish? Possible disease? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
Newbie
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 4
Substate killing fish? Possible disease?

I have a 20 gallong long tank. The inhabitants are as follows:
2 scralet badis
2 danio margaritus
3 leapard danio
1 zebra danio
2 kyathit danio
5 khuli loaches
4 otocinclus
3 hillstream loaches
6 amano shrimp

I understand its a little over stocked, but i have multiple aquaclear 20 filters with extra ceramic rings added and the carbon filters removed. I have a power head rated for 30-50 gallons for extra current and surface agitation. I keep the water at 74 degrees.

I also have a lot of plants including: multiple types of anubias and java ferns, riccia, s. repens, java moss, water sprite, bacopa, a mossball, dwarf baby tears, alternanthera reineckii, banana plant, and some cryptocoryne.

Now, to get to the problem. I had the whole tank set up with some soil under some sand as substrate for about 6 months and all of the fish were in good health as far as i could tell. I got tired of the loaches digging up dirt, so i decided to pull everything out of my tank and add some caribsea eco complete substrate instead of the soil and sand about 3 weeks ago.

I removed all the fish, then plants, and hardscape. I cleaned the tank, and added the eco complete as directed. I put 2x 20lb bags in my aquarium. I chose eco complete because it is advertised as ready to use and doesn't need to be rinsed. I didn't want to waste time rinsing soil while my fish were in a bucket with no circulation.

I added the hardscape and replanted my tank, filled it with water, and added my fish. The water was a little bit milky/ cloudy white, but i figured that was normal.

Over the next few days all 3 of my hillstream loaches and 2 of my amano shrimp passed away. They were very pale and at the bottom of the tank. I did an amonia test and it read 0. I also did an API 5 in 1 test fo ph, kh, gh, nitrite, and nitrate. The ph was 7.0, gh was 30ppm and kh 40ppm, nitrite was 0, and nitrate was barely detectable. I have also been doing flourish comprehensive fertilizer after every water change and flourish excel daily. I have used flourish iron a few times sparingly as well. All in all, the same fertilizer regiment as before swapping the substrate.

Surprised by this, I put carbon back into one of my filters. After a week or two of no fish deaths, i added 2 more hillstream loaches. One of them died a few days later. Again I did water tests that all came out normal. Today, i found my Zebra danio floating at the top of the tank. He was pale in color and with rigid fins.

The only idea I can come up with is that there is something wrong with my eco complete that doesn't show up with my test kit, or i have some sort of disease. I have been doing 50% water changes every 5 days.

Can somebody please help me?
Korrix is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 11:11 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 831
Maybe your tank recycled after swapping substrate?
madcrafted is offline  
post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 11:14 PM
OVT
Carpe Diem
 
OVT's Avatar
 
PTrader: (144/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: NorCal
Posts: 7,546
From your description I think that you have done everything right. I really doubt that the deaths had anything to do with eco complete.

My best, far reaching guess is chemical contamination. Any chance of that during the cleaning / bucket process?
Are you using co2?
OVT is offline  
 
post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
Newbie
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by OVT View Post
From your description I think that you have done everything right. I really doubt that the deaths had anything to do with eco complete.

My best, far reaching guess is chemical contamination. Any chance of that during the cleaning / bucket process?
Are you using co2?
I dont run co2, thats why I use flourish excel.
Im not aware of any chemical contamination. I put the fish in the same bucket that I use to siphon water out durng water changes. I also cleaned the tank with tap water and a clean rag only. Thats why i was thinking its possibe there was something harmful in the eco complete. Maybe one of the bags had a small hole that I never saw and went bad?

I have considered that my tank started a new cycle, but i never detect any ammonia.

I havent ruled out disease, but I imagine there would be more clear signs if it was disease related.
Korrix is offline  
post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 11:58 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 831
I have my doubts about eco complete contamination being the cause. It's just inert media soaked with some liquid that claims to be beneficial bacteria... which most likely has died off, hence the cloudy water. The cloudiness could also be from a calcium carbonate source. I have used this substrate and saw a temporary rise in both KH and GH but that's about it.

Are you using recommended daily dose of Excel? That's the only thing you listed that could potentially kill fish, that and ammonia spiking.
madcrafted is offline  
post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-05-2018, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
Newbie
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 4
I have not been measuring the excel as accurately as I could. I put under half a cap in when I add excel. It says a cap is 5 ml and I need to use 2 ml. I could start measuring it with a spoon, but I have been dosing it this way for months.

Good to know Excel can be deadly though. Ill try reducing the dose and see if it helps.
Korrix is offline  
post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-05-2018, 12:20 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (6/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 1,745
I assume you treated the water for chlorine, but it doesn't say in your post. I get milky/cloudy water from one of the taps in my house. It's actually micro bubbles in the water. I understand they can be harmful to fish and cause death. It actually takes quite a while for them to disperse and the water to clear. Any chance that that might be the problem?
Kubla is online now  
post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-05-2018, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
Newbie
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubla View Post
I assume you treated the water for chlorine, but it doesn't say in your post. I get milky/cloudy water from one of the taps in my house. It's actually micro bubbles in the water. I understand they can be harmful to fish and cause death. It actually takes quite a while for them to disperse and the water to clear. Any chance that that might be the problem?
I always use dechlorinator when refilling the tank. The only time the water is bubbly / milky from the tap is when the apartment complex is working on the plumbing, which they havent done in some time.
Korrix is offline  
post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-05-2018, 12:50 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Tampa FL
Posts: 2,229
I would say your tests are suspect. When you disturb a substrate especially soil all kind of stuff is peaches into the water which will quickly.. or slowly kill fish. Additionally you removed probably 80% of your biofilter by swapping substrates. Sulfur... methane... just a couple off the top of my head. There are more thqn just nitrospora and nitrobacter especially in soil substrates. High concentrations of methanogens are gaurantied to the availability of C02 from respiration and of course H20. CH4 will stay trapped under the substrate until enough builds up or it is disturbed. Hillstream loaches need pristine water. Even very slight levels of contaminants will wipe them out... ESPECIALLY new stock which are likely stressed. I doubt your fish somehow contracted something. That normally happens upon acquisition or poor water quality. Seems you likely kept water quality good. Give the tank 6 weeks to build up new bacterial colonies and monitor fish for disease (which is possible now due to diminished water quality). Changing substrates is a roll of the dice even for the very experienced.
Sorry dude.... I've been there

Twin high tech 75's -
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
The Dude1 is offline  
post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-05-2018, 03:11 PM
OVT
Carpe Diem
 
OVT's Avatar
 
PTrader: (144/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: NorCal
Posts: 7,546
The fish were not in the tank during the substrate swap

Courtesy * Integrity * Perseverance * Indominable Spirit * and Self Control
Tenets of TKD
OVT is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome