Fish have stopped eating - chlorinated water to blame? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-05-2015, 02:20 AM Thread Starter
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Fish have stopped eating - chlorinated water to blame?

One of my tetras died about a week ago after refusing to eat for a few days. He was always the runt of the three but swam and behaved like a normal tetra except for spitting out his food. Still, I knew if any were to die first then it would be him. The other two tetras are robust and seemingly healthy, but I've noticed recently that they aren't feeding as ravenously as usual, either. It used to be that food never reached the bottom of the tank, now I count on the loaches to clean it up. Of course, this is troublesome because I don't want to lose anymore fish if I can help it.

About a month ago, I came across some resources mentioning how dechlorinator tends to go to work immediately, as long as it's poured in first, followed by the water. Since I have such a small tank (10 gallons) and only perform a 25% change once a week, I figured it couldn't hurt to try this method, as opposed to adding the dechlorinator to the change water and letting it sit at least overnight. This is the only thing I have been doing differently in the past few weeks. Could this have adversely affected my fish?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-05-2015, 02:44 AM
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I'm not sure about dechlorinator, but here are my thoughts:

What are your water parameters?

What species of tetra?

Honestly speaking, I feel that a minimum of 8 fish is required to allow schooling fish to group properly. I say this, because it could be that the tetras are too skittish to feed without enough companions.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-05-2015, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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My parameters always read 0 nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia, though even my tap water tests negative for all of these. Once upon a time I had 5 tetras in my tank, but now I'm down to two white skirts. The rest have passed away over the years of natural causes, I would assume. You may have a point about their skittishness. I suppose I could add more fish and see how that goes, but I want to monitor the current occupants for a little while longer before buying more.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-05-2015, 10:39 PM
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What are you feeding them? Is it possible the food has lost its nutritional value? From personal experience, one time I had the frozen cubes of Brine Shrimp that got freezer burn and the fish wouldn't touch them.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-05-2015, 10:40 PM
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Usually when adding "de chlorinator" to tank instead of just the replacement water you need to dose for whole tank volume.
Not thinking 25% is that much though eitherway .
Just saying.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-06-2015, 01:31 AM
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If you dechlorinate in the bucket you do not need to let it sit overnight for the dechlor to work. When I do this I just dump in the dose as the bucket is filling, then carry it over to the tank and pour it in. Total time is probably a minute.
There may be other reasons for letting the water sit out overnight, though. For example:
If the tap water has too much or too little CO2 or other gases then letting it sit overnight (especially stirring it) will allow it to reach equilibrium with the air. I have this problem in winter. There is too much air dissolved in the water and it can kill the fish if I add it directly to the tank right out of the tap. The CO2 can alter the pH of the water. If this is the only change, and it is not much then it is OK to directly fill. I do not think either of these are reasons why fish would stop eating.

I have also added dechlor to the tank as I am adding the water. I usually add a dose for the whole tank, in small amounts as the water enters the tank.

I have also topped off tanks (max 10% of their volume) with no dechlor.

My tap water generally tests 1ppm ammonia and 1 ppm chlorine from chloramine.

Fish that are having problems because of chloramines do not last long enough to stop eating. They stop swimming, swim on their sides, or die pretty fast.

In short, I do not think the fish not eating has anything to do with dechlor.

Some ideas:
Could the fish have been growing juveniles when they were eating really fast, and are now adults?
Ditto the social situation suggested above.
You could try a different kind of food. Avoid grains and fish meal. Get foods with whole fish and shellfish, kelp and other good things. See if they are interested in freeze dried foods, and frozen foods. Most fish will really enjoy brine shrimp and blood worms in either form.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-06-2015, 01:46 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FishnFins View Post
What are you feeding them? Is it possible the food has lost its nutritional value? From personal experience, one time I had the frozen cubes of Brine Shrimp that got freezer burn and the fish wouldn't touch them.
Omega-One freshwater flakes. The bottle isn't even three months old, and I only feed every other day or so, so I think the food is most likely fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana
Fish that are having problems because of chloramines do not last long enough to stop eating. They stop swimming, swim on their sides, or die pretty fast.
This is good to know. Thank you for the rest of the tips, re: dechlorinator, as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana
In short, I do not think the fish not eating has anything to do with dechlor.

Some ideas:
Could the fish have been growing juveniles when they were eating really fast, and are now adults?
Ditto the social situation suggested above.
You could try a different kind of food. Avoid grains and fish meal. Get foods with whole fish and shellfish, kelp and other good things. See if they are interested in freeze dried foods, and frozen foods. Most fish will really enjoy brine shrimp and blood worms in either form.
Good point, they could have been juveniles when I bought them. Usually, they take to the flake food pretty well. They used to snatch the pellets from the loaches, too. I haven't noticed them doing so, lately, or maybe the loaches have just gotten faster. I had taken to throwing some bits of cooked pea in as a treat for my gobies; all of the fish seemed to appreciate it, so maybe I will try that again, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coralbandit
Usually when adding "de chlorinator" to tank instead of just the replacement water you need to dose for whole tank volume.
Didn't even think to do this. Thanks for the tip!
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-06-2015, 01:53 AM
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Omega One is a good product line.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-06-2015, 02:10 AM
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If you can, try feeding a little bit of live food. If they don't respond to live brine shrimp or live worms, then you have a problem.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-06-2015, 01:18 PM
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I would think if it was chlorine poisoning you would see rapid breathing instead of not eating.

Could it be stress of not having enough fish for them to school. Most tetras are schooling fish and like to be in groups.

Have you tried frozen foods? Every fish I have loves blood worms if they don't eat that he probably won't eat anything.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-06-2015, 01:28 PM
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Loaches, tetra's,and gobies all in ten gal tank?
No new fish added recently?
Nobody else maybe offering food besides you?
Maybe add a bit more dechlorinator such as PRIME when doing weekly water change to compensate for possibility that local water company has upped the chloramine content.
I normally add enough PRIME (good stuff) to treat the volume of water the tank holds rather than for how much water I may have removed/replaced.
Is also possible as mentioned above? that fish are getting old.
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