Finding dead animals in a heavily planted tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2006, 12:54 AM Thread Starter
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Finding dead animals in a heavily planted tank

Pretty straightforward question, really. Does anyone have any tips?

I have a fishy smell and the nasty film on top of my 50 Breeder, so I'm pretty sure something is rotting in there; actually found my first dead Amano shrimp (luckily) next to the glass in a corner last weekend and am pretty sure there are more since the film is back and the water is smelling foul less than 24 hours after a 70% change. Can't see the rear of the tank since it is against the wall, can't search while the tank lights are on due to the configuration of my DIY hood and have massive thickets of growth, R. rotifundolia, P. gayii, H. difformis and E. tenellus growing around a stump with plenty of (relatively) unaccessible open space underneath it. All my rummies and SAEs are accounted for, so the dead things would be Otos, Bushynose plecos or the aformentioned shrimp.

Help! Any and all suggestions are welcome!

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2006, 02:52 AM
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I have the same type of problem, and I find I have to get very close to the tank and carefully scan it from several vantage points, including the end and the open top. Then I still reach down to the bottom and flick my fingers to made a current that will move the corpses out to where I can find them. I know they inject microchips into dogs now to make them easy to identify, so maybe........

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2006, 12:58 PM
eds
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Fortunately I do not have A LOT of experience with this, but on occasion I have located a dead fish with my siphon/gravel vac - sweeping it above the substrate surface and through plants gets most detritus moving.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2006, 02:40 PM
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Do you have snails in your tank? I unfortunately lost a lot of fish because I thought I had enough plants to cut down the cycling time. I guess I was wrong because I lost 5 guppies over a a week. I was able to fish out the first two that died, but the rest were covered in snails by the time I realized they died.

I have ruby red ramshorns. They do a great job at keep that stuff in check. I left my tank over winter break and I guess a female died after getting too weak after birthing. She's gone without a trace. The snails probably ate her and any babies that don't make it.

If you need some snails we could arrange a trade, unless you go to UMich. If that's the case you are my sworn enemy being a Spartan and all.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2006, 03:19 PM Thread Starter
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I've got plenty of snails; mostly MTS, but a couple pond snails and ramshorns as well that I haven't got around to fishing out and dropping in my loach tank yet. Thanks for the offer, though!

Considering my cleanup crew (basically everything in the tank other than the rummies--forgot to mention in my original post that there are ~20 pygmy cories in there as well...doh!) and the fact that the tank is probably planted heavliy enough to absorb ammonia/nitrite from all but a massive die-off of most of the fauna, do I even have to worry? The stink has definitely diminished since I posted last night.

I have no particular allegiance to either of the big Michigan schools even though I am a lifelong Michigander; I root for both when they are playing against anyone else and hope for a good game (or for the team with the best chance to "do something" to win) when they are playing each other. I am actually an Eastern grad, so our colors match!

Microchips in the fish would be sweet!

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2006, 03:29 PM
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You know, I guess I'm weird but I bury my dead fish in the gravel.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2006, 03:58 PM
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If I find 'em I fish 'em out, otherwise I don't worry about it. Even when one "disappears" I've never noticed any kind of an odor or other issues from it though ?

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2006, 04:53 PM
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Can you swoosh water through the plants and poke around with a turkey baster? Like the python method sort of.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2006, 04:56 PM
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My experience is that if you have the tank long enough, you would soon find they usually just lying dead around just a few spots due to plant arrangement and water current. I just check those locations once in awhile.

Another method is when my shrimp count is visibly down, I know they're gathering somewhere for a fest, and then I shall start looking for corpse(s).

Never had any dead fish/shrimp made my tank smell or foamy. But then having said that, even a couple of dead neons probably won't affect a 180 gallon much.

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2006, 06:40 PM
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My tank has never been smelly or foamy. I never take the dead fish out, I have so many ramshorns that a dead fish will be gone in one night, and it's a treat for my catfish if they get there before my snails.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2006, 08:09 PM
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I remember when my big beautiful Golden Dwarf Acara died, still haven't recovered the carcass.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2006, 08:12 PM
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If you have a bristlenose pleco its likely that it would eat the corpes when the lights go down. And i'm sure there are lots more scavengers.

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2006, 09:19 PM
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When my female apisto croaked, I searched and searched. Never found her. I assume she was consumed by snails and cories. Sarah, why do you bury them in the gravel? Free root tabs?

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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2006, 09:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahbobarah
You know, I guess I'm weird but I bury my dead fish in the gravel.
..lol... quite a descent burial in confined paradise (and also a worthy fert for a tank with starving plants)

Usually it would be almost impossible for me to find the remains of (especially smaller) fish that didnt make it. It is a huge jungle out there inside my tank. In fact I didnt know that I have lost 5 guppies, 1 cory cat, 1 botia and something else in very small number.... that is before I tore up my tank and did the count. Those CAE must have been the cause, I can see them lightning fast and agressive

I never find them corpses, so I guess the cleaning crew (I believe they are the ghost shrimp) did their job too well... heck too well enough that one time I found one shrimp nabs a guppy when it glides too low.


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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-25-2006, 12:10 AM
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Believe it or not I lost a 9" pleco- and it created all sorts of problems. It was in a 180 gallon and it still caused an ammonia spike. I knew he was dead becasue he had a rock that he lived on- he was always on that rock! All of a sudden no pleco, then two days no pleco, then day three fish stress.. ammonia off the carts. It too me another four days to find it, and by then it was the grossest, foulest, most disgusting falling apart STINKING gooey thing.... I could never be a medical examiner- I gagged for days. Good think I didn't eat dinner- becasue it still makes me a little nausious to think of it. Half of it just disolved through the net when I tried to take it out. Makes me sick now to think back. Somehow the body got lodged at the base of the leaves on the back side of a really big sword plant. I looked and looked and could have sworn I had gotten into every nook and cranny in the place. lesson learned?- if something in there is dead, don't stop looking until you find it because eventually it will pra'ly show up- and longer it takes, the worse it will be.
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