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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-30-2012, 10:10 PM Thread Starter
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Where did I go wrong

Well this story has a sad ending, but I'm hoping I can learn from it. So I want to know where I went wrong.

I've had a 10 gallon planted for years.. it goes through various levels up good and bad upkeep depending on my schedule.. but it has generally been good over the years. It was aquascaped in it's current design about 8 years ago and I was kind of bored with it and wanted to start over.. the last 6 months I haven't spent much time on the tank and so it was a proper mess.. lots of algae everywhere, jungle like. Not good. So I found an inspiration and was all set to start except for the problem of the current residents. There is somewhere between 16-18 lemon tetras in there.(Too high for a 10G I know.. but I had 3 and a lot of java moss.. and next thing I know I had 18). They are a pretty mature group... mostly 2 plus years old.

So that is the background.. I knew doing a full cleaning and substrate change was risky with established fish and expected to maybe lose one or 2. I put the fish and an amano shrimp that I hadn't seen in months in a 2.5 gallon bucket with current water. Took everything outside hosed it all down and scraped all the algae clean. Put it all back together and put my new substrate in(Flora Max). Added the 3 plants I plan to keep and put about 4 cups of the old gravel in some pantyhose and dropped it in.. put 5 gallons of water in .. added the 2.5 from the old aquarium and topped it off. Now not even 45 minutes later every lemon tetra is dead. All laying on the bottom of the tank. The shrimp is fine.

So what could/should I have done different. I have a biowheel filter that I left the same filter in.. a big pantyhose full of old gravel and 2.5 gallons of water from the old tank. I really thought all that combined would have plenty of good bacteria in it and protect my poor lemons.

Pretty sad.. I've killed off one or two fish before like everyone else.. but never 16-18 in one shot.

So like I said.. where did I go wrong?

chris
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-30-2012, 10:20 PM
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Shock, thats the only thing I can think of.... So sorry for your loss

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-30-2012, 10:28 PM
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Hi cale42.

Two or three possibilities come to mind.

Dechlor - did you de-chlorinate the water? How about chloramines? What product did you use.

PH shock - whenever I am moving fish I always drip acclimate them to the water they will be moving into over a several hour period. If you tank had been set up a long time it is very probable that the water was very acidic. Water from utilities is typically alkaline to protect the pipes and valves in the system.

cleaning product residue - what did you clean your tank and accessories with? what had the bucket been used for in the past?

Temperature shock - not as likely, but if there was a substantial difference (10+ degrees) in temperature between the bucket and the tank it could cause problems

Sorry for you loss, Lemon Tetras are a pretty fish....especially in schools. Good for you for trying to learn for the experience!

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-30-2012, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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I did not de-chlorinate the water. Never really thought of it. I like in a major metro area(Denver) with good city water. I've done 50% water changes with no problems ever so I generally trust the tap water.

ph Shock is possible. The tank has been in "self-run" state for so long I haven't tested the pH in forever. We get about 7.5 out of the tap.. so it is a little alkaline..

Cleaned it the old fashioned way.. elbow grease, hose, and a credit card for algae scraping. I don't mess with chemicals much. The only thing I did that I might not have otherwise is put that magnetic cleaner substance that Coralsea includes to help water settle in.

Was very careful with them temp.. thermometer read the same as the old tank and they were only in the bucket for a couple hours.

I don't have a good LFS nearby but I ran a water sample to petsmart.. they just use the strips which are of course unreliable.. but at least they are probably a new pack. Only comment the guy had was my water was pretty hard. But tap water here isn't really all that hard. No ammonia or nitrites.. nitrates were high.. but my nitrates are always high my fish are used to that.

Really strange in general. I expected to lose one or two just due to the shock of moving to a bucket and then back to an aquarium.. but not all of them.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-30-2012, 11:47 PM
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Hi cale42,

My best guess as to the cause of your rapid fish deaths would be chlorine / chloramines. According to the Denver water report they currently use chloramies which are highly toxic to fish.
Quote:
Denver Water uses a very effective long-lasting disinfectant,
chloramine, this produces lower concentrations of disinfection
by-products, such as total trihalomethanes and haloacetic
acids, than would free chlorine. Disinfection by-products
above their regulatory limits are potentially harmful; therefore
To avoid this happening in the future I would strongly suggest you start using a de-chlorination product that removes both chlorine and chloramines - I like Seachem Prime which I dose at 2 drops per gallon.

Roy_________
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-01-2012, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
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Wow.. chloramines.. that sure sounds like a likely bet. I thought I had an ok grasp on water chemistry.. but I have to say I've never even heard of chloramines.

In retrospect the last 2 times I've done decent size water changes I lost one fish each time.. but since the rest were fine I always chalked it up to stress. This is the first tank I've redone from the ground up since I moved here.

Seattle_Aquarist thanks for all your help. I guess I'll pick up some seachem prime and let it do it's thing before I add any more fish. Still trying to figure out where I'm going to get my plants from so I have some time.

Glad that I actually learned something but sad it came at such a loss of life!

chris
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-01-2012, 01:10 AM
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Live and learn... it happens. Hope this doesn't deter you from continuing your renewed interest with your tank. It sucks the fish died but you can look at it as a chance to get a new breed in there.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-01-2012, 01:13 AM
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Hi cale42,

No problems glad to help; again sorry for your loss. Chloramines may not have been used in Denver 10 years ago; water treatment methods change and sometimes they catch us off guard.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-01-2012, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fusiongt View Post
Live and learn... it happens. Hope this doesn't deter you from continuing your renewed interest with your tank. It sucks the fish died but you can look at it as a chance to get a new breed in there.
Thanks fusion! The current fish didn't really go with the new tank, but still not how you want the change to go. Guess i'll have to start thinking about some new fish.

It won't deter me.. I've done this for a while.. just the harshest one I've had before. It's going in our new nursery.. so I'm expecting a lot of long nights of the tank being my primary form of relaxation so I gotta figure it out
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