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My fish are dying...

638 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  apachepony8
Copied this from another forum since this board seems more active.

My tank has been perfectly fine until I went to PetCo and bought 9 more neon tetras on Friday. They appeared healthy in the store and for about a day at home. That brought me up to 13 neon tetras. Now I am down to 8 (about to be 7) over a two day period. Crying or Very sad Now one of my blue rams has the same problem.

1.) Please describe the symptoms in as much detail as possible, because we cannot see your fish or your tank.
I had a piece of fake driftwood in the tank. On Friday, after not seeing my clown loaches much, I decided to take it out, worried one could die inside it and I not know it. Upon removing it from the tank, two loaches came out and the third was no where to be found. Presumably dead. As I was working on the tank, I found a neon tetra body floating. I just chalked it up to sick pet store fish and didn't think much more about it. Since then I've been having them sick/dead right and left. They start swimming irregularly first. Then they turn head up and twirl in circles. Their bodies become very pale. I've looked at all the disease information I can find and nothing is looking similar. I came home from work this morning and found another tetra and one of my blue rams twirling, and promptly quarantined them in another tank. They seem to die quickly. Crying or Very sad

2.) Tank size (including dimensions like length, width) and how long it's been set up. Filtration type, gravel depth and type, decor. Do you have live plants?
Tank is a standard size 55 gallon. It has been set up for 2+ months, it's fully cycled. Filtration is a new Rena Xp3, and a Top Fin 60 from an already cycled tank. Substrate is aquarium plants, about 3 inches deep. Decor is medium dense plant cover. Two huge swords and an assortment of other stuff. One Loach Motel (ie: hiding rock).

3.) Temperature and all other water parameters you can measure.
Temp is kept at 79. Ammonia has had a spike at 1ppm, nitrite 0, nitrate 10 ppm.

4.) Water Change schedule and volume. Water conditioners/additives. Water source (RO? DI? Tap?)
Water changes of 10-20% weekly. Did a 20% water change after first noticing dead fish, another yesterday, and another this morning. I use prime for conditioning water from my tap.

5.) Tank Mates (full population list).
1 female betta
3 oto cats
2 cory cats
4 cherry shrimp
now 2 clown loaches
3 soon to be 2 blue rams
~ 7 neon tetras left

6.) Anything noteworthy or changed within the past month.
Had to go and buy more stupid neon tetras. That's been the only change.

7.) Food type, amount, frequency.
Hikari sinking wafers for the cories and loaches
Hikari bio gold betta food
Hikari Micro Pellets for the tetras
New Life Spectrum Ciclid formula for the rams
They are fed once a day in very small amounts.

Just had a thought. My girlfriend was reading something earlier about doing a rock background. They were talking about not stacking the rocks because stagnant water behind the rocks could become 'poisonous'.

She brought up that maybe the water in the fake driftwood could have become stagnant and when we dumped it out trying to find the loaches, it released all the toxic water into the tank, killing the other fish.

Could that be a possibility? That doesn't really explain why some fish look fine and others are dropping like flies.

Now the quarantined tetra and ram are in the big fish bowl in the sky.
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Ugh! I feel for you. Everyone has been where you are, and it's a terrible place to be.

First, test your water again. An ammonia buildup could be the culprit. 1ppm NH3 is quite toxic. What I don't know is if the NH3 is the cause (killing fish) or effect (from fish killed by a disease). I hope it is the cause, because if the NH3 isn't the primary issue, it would seem that your fish have symptoms of a very nasty disease:

Get with the water changes, immediately. Regardless of whether you have a disease, that NH3 will kill off your tank if you don't get rid of it.
3.) Temperature and all other water parameters you can measure.
Temp is kept at 79. Ammonia has had a spike at 1ppm, nitrate 0, nitrite 10 ppm.
Ammonia is up, but that could be from the dead fish I pulled out.
Neons are not a very hardy species. This is my 3rd time to go around with them, and luckily(knock on wood) I havent lost any yet. I have a school of 17 that was added about 2 weeks ago. (6 was bought the first day, then 11 3 days later). Previously, neons for me had dropped like flies, much like you have described. Have you noticed any white marks on your neons? Like someone took an eraser to their blue streak and erased it? If so this is Neon Tetra Disease and will decimate an entire population rather quickly. However it doesnt explain the ram dying, unless it was killed by the ammonia.

Your driftwood is not the issue unless it had chemicals within the driftwood. Did you soak it and boil it before putting it in the tank?
The fish that lost color lost it all over, not just the blue streak, so that makes me think it wasn't Neon Tetra Disease. This is my first tank though, so I could just be mistaking the signs. The ram lost color all over as well.

The fake driftwood was quite large, so I couldn't find anything to boil it in. We do have startlingly hot water, which I washed it in. I guess it's a possibility that it had something in it that I didn't get out.
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