Why are my fish dying!? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-17-2014, 01:07 AM Thread Starter
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Why are my fish dying!?

So I've had a bustling healthy planted tank set up for almost a year now, and just in the past month I've been experiencing serious die offs which include two 4-year-old angelfish and four 2-year-old Bloodfin tetras. My first angel died about a month ago, then my bloodfins all went in the same night about a week ago, and I've just found my last angel dead a few hours ago.

Details
20 gallon tall tank
I have an API master test kit which ensures me that my water parameters are spectacular.
I do a 25% water change once a week with tap water treated with API water conditioner.
I fertilize my plants via PPS pro method with macros (Magnesium sulfate, Mono Potassium Phosphate, Potassium Nitrate & Potassium Sulfate) & micros (Plantex CSM+B).
DIY C02 with 2 2L yeast mixture bottles. I diffuse the C02 into my tank via Aquaclear 30 HOB filter.
Temperature is kept steady at 78 degrees F
flora - Heavily planted with anubias, bacopa, cabomba, amazon sword, wysteria, and some plant I cant identify.
fauna (still surviving) - a few nerite snails and two Oto cats

Is it possible that I've been killing my fish via C02 poisoning? I just switched from a Hagan C02 diffusion ladder to the HOB diffusion so maybe the increase in dissolved C02 is killing my fish? I have a HOB filter so I think that my water should be sufficiently oxygenated...

Strangest part is that I have an Oto cat that has so far survived everything, and I thought that they were supposed to be the most sensitive!

Does anyone have any ideas? At this point I think that maybe I have some sort of disease floating around in my aquarium (although all of the dead fish appear perfectly healthy, except for the being dead part...). I think that I'm going to treat with antibiotic from the LFS before I put any more fish in and see if that helps...

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-17-2014, 02:45 AM
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yeah your chems look good. i'd start watching very closely at behavior.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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hmm... as far as behavior is concerned, each fish became less active and refused to eat about a day before they died. Also, I remember seeing one of my Bloodfins laboring to swim the night before they all died.

So, a few things since initially posting this. The first is that I anchor my plants into the substrate with lead ties. I had to do this or my angels would rip all of my plants out. the packaging says that it's not toxic, but could the lead be poisoning my fish?

Also, one of my Oto cats has developed some seriously red gills. more red than usual, anyway. He's still hanging in there, but it seemed strange.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 09:03 PM
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Lead is a nono in a fish tank. Depending on how much and how long?? Could def. Be the culprit. Another thing may be the tap water, sometimes levels can be elevated due to construction or flushing..
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 11:53 PM
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yeah, the lead weights are only for display. once the plants come home from the lfs, i always have the leads off and save em for resale.

and as for the tap water, check the chems right out of the tap. it's a great starting point to work from.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2014, 12:23 AM
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Do you have means for testing chlorine? Perhaps you could give your water dept. A call tommorow?
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2014, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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OK, I'm going to remove the lead from my stem plants ASAP.

I already treat all of the water that goes into my tank with dechlorinator. The brand I use, API water conditioner (xtra strength), also claims to neutralize heavy metals. Could the levels in my tap water be so high that my dechlorinator is insufficient?
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2014, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brooksie321 View Post
Lead is a nono in a fish tank. Depending on how much and how long?? Could def. Be the culprit. Another thing may be the tap water, sometimes levels can be elevated due to construction or flushing..
The hazard or non-hazard status of lead plant weights is highly controversial.

I've never seen any reasonably scientific proof that using a few dozen lead anchors on plants will leach enough lead into the water to be anywhere near hazardous levels.

That said, we do know lead, if it does leech into the water, is quite toxic to fish, so leaving them out is a reasonable precaution if you want to be extra careful.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2014, 01:55 PM
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I thought they were not really lead any more?
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2014, 02:07 PM
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So you had these fish for long time. Did they stop eating or was there any sign that they were stresses? Did they waste away or did you just walk up and they were dead? Fish don't die over night unless there poison.

The only way it could be lead poisoning, would be if someone would rub it or scratch and put the lead partials in the water column.

Last edited by Clear Water; 12-19-2014 at 03:09 PM. Reason: 1
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2014, 02:08 PM
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I was assuming they knew proof-positive they were lead, but you're right, many are not really lead anymore.

Of course, there's weird things like these Penn-Plax ones that right on the package claim to be safe, non-toxic, and lead...

http://www.amazon.com/Penn-Plax%C2%A.../dp/B0002APYD6

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2014, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Yep, those are the ones that I use. Good ol' safe, non-toxic lead. Also, these do seem to degrade in my tank after they have been in there for a while, which is probably not a good sign. They get a whitish build up on them, become brittle and fall apart.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2014, 08:56 PM
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Interesting...I grew up in the days of using real lead fishing sinkers, and I've not experienced lead corroding white in fresh, salt or brackish water. It just darkens...

A bit of web searching suggests it corrodes white when exposed to organic acids like vinegar...

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-19-2014, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
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Carbonic acid (H2CO3), the product of dissolving C02 in water, is an organic acid. So I guess I would expect that my lead ties would corrode white...
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-20-2014, 09:37 AM
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Do you think your overnight oxygen levels are OK? I had overnight deaths previously, stopped when I added an airstone....
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