Fish in danger? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 12:45 AM Thread Starter
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Fish in danger?

I just added 3 rummynose tetras to my tetra tank (with 6 glowlights and 4 neons). The tank was also recently aquascaped (in a cycle, basically).

I noticed ONLY the glowlight, and ALL of them, are staying near the surface and sometimes seem to be gasping.

I did a 25% water change, but after the initial hiding, they went right back to it. Any idea what could be causing it? Is it normal because of the change? They've never done this until now, only change was the addition of the 3 rummynose tetras.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 12:53 AM
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Did you test your water parameters?
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 12:53 AM
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if youre running co2, you may have too much running and there is not enough oxygen in the water
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 01:26 AM
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If the tank is still cycling ammonia has either burned the gills to cause them to stay at the surface in an attempt to get more oxygen in their blood or nitrite poisoning has reduced their ability to carry oxygen in their blood and they are at the surface to try and get more oxygen.
Either way more and more water changes and treat with prime. 2 daily 50% water changes may save them. Test results for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate would help prove or disprove my possible explanation.
Also if you can't find the other fish, look better. If they are dead in the tank they will foul the water even worse then it already is.

If in doubt, add more plants!

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 06:26 AM Thread Starter
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I don't have a text kit (I know, I'm terrible), because I'm going to be meticulous about water changes and I have the Ammonia Alert for toxic levels, and hopefully once the tank actually matures, the water shouldn't need to be tested often, if at all. My impatience is probably what's doing this. Those are my excuses, but honestly water change is pretty much my go-to for anything going wrong with the fish.

Everyone else is accounted for and fine when I left home shortly after. I moved them over to a small holding tank since I had to leave for a long shift at work, and I can't keep an eye on them. When I get home I'll do another water change immediately for the other fish, and update with how the glowlights came out. I'm sure at least 2 are goners. They couldn't even stay upright, just floating kinda vertical/upside down near the surface, gasping. I'm sorry fishies!

I threw in a bunch of almond leaves in both tanks I n case they could provide any help. Call it Wishful thinking.

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If the tank is still cycling ammonia has either burned the gills to cause them to stay at the surface in an attempt to get more oxygen in their blood or nitrite poisoning has reduced their ability to carry oxygen in their blood and they are at the surface to try and get more oxygen.
Either way more and more water changes and treat with prime. 2 daily 50% water changes may save them. Test results for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate would help prove or disprove my possible explanation.
Also if you can't find the other fish, look better. If they are dead in the tank they will foul the water even worse then it already is.
I will do the 50% changes at least daily this week, probably. Thanks for the info. Hope I can save at least some of them.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Mitashade View Post
hopefully once the tank actually matures, the water shouldn't need to be tested often, if at all.
Yeah, so my advice is not to keep any fish if that's your goal.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 08:20 AM
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Yeah, so my advice is not to keep any fish if that's your goal.
I don't know about that. Here's my tank, and I have to admit I have tested the water parameters exactly zero times in the 18 months so it's been up.

During set-up I just waited a sufficiently long time before adding the fish (gradually, small ones first) that I knew it had to be cycled, and since then there has been no need to test the parameters. OK, twice in those 18 months I've brought the water in to my LFS to have them test it, and the guy there said it was fine (I have no idea what the numerical results were, nor do I care, despite taking AP chemistry in high school ).

Unless you're into chemistry, what is the purpose of testing? Seriously. I mean, I add CO2, but I'm not sure of my ppm. The answer to how much CO2 is in the water is, "Enough to grow the plants, but not enough to poison the fish."

I add ferts, and the the answer would be similar for all fert-related parameters.

Maybe I've just been dumb-lucky (if so, knock on wood!), but I just don't understand the fetish with testing.

Isn't that part of the beauty of a real planted tank? You add lots of light and CO2 and ferts for healthy abundant plants, and they help moderate the water for your fish, right? At least, that's been my experience.
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Last edited by zachawry; 01-09-2015 at 09:27 AM. Reason: Clarification
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 10:16 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah I've heard many stories like this, so I decided against monitoring the chemicals very closely. It's definitely my fault for not being patient and adding them too soon, but I'm still going to try and save them. I'll let the tank finish cycling before adding them back. If the neons still seem okay, I'll leave them for now. They've been troopers, since I've moved/changed their tank like 5 times in 2 weeks.


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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-09-2015, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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Glowlights were all dead.

Neons are doing okay (only slight panting occasionally), I'm continuing to do daily 50% water changes until the tank levels out.


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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 03:29 AM
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Originally Posted by zachawry View Post
Unless you're into chemistry, what is the purpose of testing? Seriously. I mean, I add CO2, but I'm not sure of my ppm. The answer to how much CO2 is in the water is, "Enough to grow the plants, but not enough to poison the fish."
Watching for problems mainly - it may be working well enough for you, but not everyone has tap water that they can just blindly dump into their tanks and hope for the best. It didn't work for me (my tap water not only has high nitrates, but high chloramines, which compounds the nitrate issue), and while obviously my plants and fish weren't doing great, if I hadn't been testing I wouldn't have known what to do to make things better. Not to mention the obvious complications of adding too many fish before adequate biological filtration is in place - testing lets you know where in the cycle process you are, and if your tank can handle the bioload, rather than making assumptions.

I've been using remineralized RODI water in my tanks for about two years now, with fantastic results... it's more work, but I feel that it also pays off to monitor my water, that way I don't get any bad surprises.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 04:32 AM
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If you can go to your lfs prime will help if you dose 12 hours after water change roughly. That way ammonia and nitrite are detoxified but still available for cycle.
Additionally there are some bacteria cultures, I believe people have stated tetra safe start is effective, or post on Craigslist for some mature filter media(possibility for disease contamination but if you can see the tank you can reduce(not eliminate) this possibility.
Just a side note I tried seachem ammonia alert and I trusted it, lost an angel and 4 Cardinal tetras to only find out at the lfs my ammonia was around 2! There are steps that need to be taken to prep the alert if I am correct, so I would never trust them again.

If in doubt, add more plants!

My not-enough-plants-but-not-enough-space-to-put-anymore-so-will-start-going-up-box-of-water.

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 07:44 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah I've heard of the issues with Ammonia Alert, thinking its probably useless. I've read that it's mainly supposed to read the free ammonia, but obviously SOMETHING is hurting the fish. I've narrowed it down to not only was the tank still cycling, but I just realized the ADA aqua soil I used in the scape is probably leeching ammonia like mad. I'm doing several large water changes a day this week until my Eheim gets here next week. I also threw all the biologicals from my other little tank into the Whisoer, but it kills the flow pretty bad, so I took enough water out of the tank that the water has to drop pretty far. Hoping that helps with aeration.


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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 03:39 PM
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Keeping fish is one of those things that we each have to learn as we go. For the first ten years or so, I would just suddenly have bad luck and lose a bunch of nice fish for no reason. Just bad luck, probably?
I did no testing for years but finally got the idea.
Keeping fish and not testing is like driving at night with the lights off. You can do it for quite a long time and only run over a few things now and then. Or you can turn the lights on and do much better?
Just a choice for each of us to make.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-11-2015, 04:10 AM Thread Starter
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I might ask for a master test kit for my bday next week. Feel bad for torturing my poor fish, now. But the rest of the tetras are still doing fine, they've even stopped panting completely and are their usual active selves again. I find it so weird that just one species of tetra was affected.


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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-11-2015, 04:20 AM
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Not testing water on a new tank is pretty sad. You KNOW there is going to be high toxins in the water because you KNOW the tank is not cycled. ADA leaches like crazy and plus the fish waste is going to be alot of ammonia. Kinda shocked you didn't lose all your fish.

If your not going to test then consider doing 50% wc a day every day.

Fish in cycle can be done safely but not the way your doing it. People like you give fish in cycle a bad name. Its because of poor decision making on your part that your fish are dying.

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