mysterious deaths - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-01-2004, 02:25 AM Thread Starter
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mysterious deaths

I've been having a problem with my furcatus dying in my 20g. I could see no indication of illness, no weird behaviour, and my water parameters all tested perfectly. The remaining fish all seemed healthy. The otos are fine. The shrimp are not only healthy, but reproducing. Even the fish that died had good colouring -- other than the fact that they died, I couldn't see anything wrong.

I think I got it figured out.

Came home tonight to find my one remaining furcatus swimming erratically in circles.

Googled the behaviour, and came up with lead poisoning.

I have hagen plant weights on my nanas. I checked to ensure they were non-toxic and not lead before I used them. But I couldn't think where else the lead would be coming from, so I pulled all my nanas out to remove the weights anyway.

When I looked closer at my petite nanas, I saw that hidden deep behind the leaves were little weights that I didn't even realize were there. Judging by the colour and weight of them, I think they're the source of my lead.

Crap.

So I'm doing multiple water changes to dilute it. What else can I do? Would carbon help? And why hasn't it affected the shrimp? Maybe it's only a matter of time. The furcatus all seemed fine up until the day they died too.

At least my LFS can get some more furcatus in for me. But I feel awful.


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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-01-2004, 03:24 AM
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No need to blame yourself Amanda.

I think a good series of water changes is a good idea. A water change never hurts! I think I might go so far as to give the substrate a good vacuum as well. That should help draw some water through the substrate and pull out any residual toxin that may have built up in the substrate.

Please keep us up to date on what is happening!

Mike

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-01-2004, 03:33 AM
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You could also add some dechlorinator. Most brands will tie up any heavy metals when added to the tank. That would work almost instantly, but the best permanent cure is to remove the offending weights and change water frequently for a while. Your plants will absorb some of the lead and release it when dead leaves decay.

Del Goins

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-01-2004, 03:53 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys.

I can't really vacuum the substrate, because I've got that field of hairgrass going on. I did a 1/3 water change tonight, and will keep doing small water changes daily for the next several days.

Opie, I'm using Prime. It doesn't say anything about heavy metals on the label or on the website. Do you know if it'll tie up the heavy metals? Can you recommend one that will, at least until I've got this all straightened out?

Of course, at this point I'm just assuming that lead poisoning is the problem. I only found one website that described the behaviour, and I'm just guessing that those weights are lead.


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-01-2004, 04:07 AM
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I don't think Prime will although I may be wrong. The Tetra brand will that you can pick up in Walmart and Kent Ammonia Detox will too.

Is your water temp ok? I'm only asking because I can't think of another reason that they would just die off so quickly.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-01-2004, 12:31 PM
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Prime will bind heavy metals.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-01-2004, 03:57 PM
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Told you I might be wrong. I don't use prime myself.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-01-2004, 03:59 PM
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I don't think any of the plant weights still use lead, it's all some zinc/aluminimum/nickel alloy now.
Not saying its impossible...but I'm pretty sure ALL your fish would have the same lead toxicity symptoms if lead was the cause.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-01-2004, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
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The weights I pulled off the petite nana were much smaller than the other weights I have, and much heavier given their size. They were also a dark, dull colour (which is part of the reason I never noticed them before).

If not lead, I still have no idea what it was.

Like I said, the fish looked fine right up until the day they died. Their colouring was great, there were no visible signs of disease. The water parameters were all fine, including temperature.

I do 1/3 water changes every week, without fail. I use all the same tools, water conditioners and fertilizers in all my tanks.

It was only the last furcatus that died that I was able to observe any odd behaviour in. And this was *just* before it died. It would kind of hang in the water for awhile, and then it would swim erratically and frantically in a circle, like a dog chasing its tail. And then it would hang for awhile again. And then start circling again.

I've never seen anything like it.

Like I said, I googled the behaviour and came up with this. It was the only reference I could find to this behaviour. Anyone else have any suggestions?


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