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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been having some problems lately with my fish dying off and cannot figure out what the reason is. The tank is a very mature 2 years old and heavily planted. I have co2 injection with a 2 week old Hagen Aquaclear filter.The deaths started a couple weeks before I changed the filter. I had some macro shrimp that were doing the killing. I got the shrimp out and replaced the neon tetra's after a few days of quarantine.

About week and a half later, I lost one of the neon tetras. the next night I lost another. I added the Aquaclear filter the third night with a mechanical sponge, the biomax media and some peat moss. I intentionally left out the carbon as I did not see a need for it. The next 4 days, I lost 4 neon tetra's. I also lost 2 panda cory's during that time.

I thought it may have been caused by the heat being turned off at night, so I purchased a second heater for the tank. I now have 150 watts heating a 15 gallon tank. That should be plenty I think. I will probably take out the 50 watt once I am confident in the new heater. I also got a glass/mercury thermometer so I could get an accurate temp reading.

The remaining occupants of the tank include 1 Betta, 1 neon tetra, 1 panda cory and 3 otto's and some ghost shrimp. They have all been fine for the last week until today.

When I got into work this morning, I noticed my Betta was not behaving normally. He is usually out first thing to greet me and beg for food. Today he was hiding under the driftwood and layign on his side at the bottom. Eventually, he did come out, but he was swimming eratically. He appeared to be disoriented, swimming up and down instead of back and forth. Occasionally he would go upside down or sideways. He was also very jumpy. normally, he is calm and does not respond skittishly when I walk by or set something on the desk near him. His breathing appeared normal and I did not see any visible problems with his fins or scales or anything else.

I tested my water conditions. my test set said my water was at the following.
PH 7.2
Ammonia 0
N02 0
Nitrates 10ppm
Kh 4
GH 10

The local fish store verified the results with the only discrepancy being they said my PH was 7.0. They said everything looked good.

They recommended a product called chemi-pure made by Dick Boyd. They said that if anything was in the water, it would help to take it out better than carbon would.

I do regular water changes every week, but only about 5-10% as that is usually all that is needed to keep the Nitrates below 10ppm. More than that actually raises the nitrate level.

Any ideas, comments about the chemi-pure, etc?

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
how often do you change the water?
I do regular water changes every week, but only about 5-10% as that is usually all that is needed to keep the Nitrates below 10ppm. More than that actually raises the nitrate level.
Why did you QT the neon tetras in the first place?
I always Qt new fish just to be on the safe side. I did not see anythign wrong with them when I first got them. They all seemed perfectly healthy and remained so for about a week and a half. Sorry, I should have been more clear. They were new Neon's to replace the ones that had been eaten by the macro shrimp.


Do any of the fish have bent spines?
No. I specifically looked for that on all of the fish before I bought them, before they went into the tank and frequently once they all started dying. I also checked today before I left work. After all the reading I have done, that is one of the things I always look for in new fish.
 

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Children Boogie
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I've never use chemi-pure because a good water change will do the same thing.

I had the same situation as you years ago where I couldn't figure what's going on. My betta behaved the same way as well and I had an over size heater as well. Bettas are sensitive to temperature swings.

So I went through and did everything I could. I bought the right size heater (5w per gallon). Made sure I dechlore/de-chloramine the water. And keep up with a weekly water change.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Chemi pure will pull the CO2 out of the water, so I wouldn't use it, personally.

Did the other fish deaths (leaving aside those killed by the shrimp) start after you added the CO2? There's a possibility of CO2 poisoning, especially at night. You might try running an airstone at night.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I will go ahead and pull out the small heater and just leave in the big one. I do keep up very well with the weekly water changes, so I do ont see any need to change that.

Did the other fish deaths (leaving aside those killed by the shrimp) start after you added the CO2?
No. I have been running the co2 for over a year. I have never had any problems with it. If anything, I believe it is to low. I have a drop checker on order, but it is coming from Hong Kong so it will take a couple weeks to get here.

I guess when I go in on Monday, I will do a large water change, maybe about 50% or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So, not surprisingly, when I got into work this morning, my Betta was dead. I am still going to proceed with the water change. My remaining occupants are:
1 Neon Tetra
1 Panda Cory
3 Otocinclus
2 ghost shrimp

I am sure the water parameters will be off for a day or two since I do not know when the betta died. The tank stinks pretty bad so I am guessing it may have been sometime late Saturday.

Something else strange, I had a very healthy growth of Cabomba last week. Sometime over the weekend, almost the entire population of it was destroyed by something. Out of the 6 or 7 I had in there, only 1 is left and it look sick. I can see Cabomba leaves all over the ground as well as stem pieces.

I am very hesitant to add anything else until the tank works itself out, but I am also worried about the tank becoming de-cycled.

Where should I go from here?

Thanks.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Did you check your water parameters again?

Any chance your CO2 mix is getting into the tank (you're doing DIY, right)? Or the mix is off somehow?

Maybe the office cleaning staff is using some sort of chemical that's getting in the tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have not checked the water yet. My test kit is at home today. I will bring it in tomorrow and check.

The co2 mix is the jello type. It does not really have any foam or anything. The mixture is a good 4" -6" from the top of the bottle and the intake tube. I do not see how it could be getting in there. I am not sure how it could be off, but I was somewhat concerned. It has a strong smell of strawberry wine coming from it. Is it possible that the fish are getting drunk from the fumes maybe? I don't know.

The cleaning crew does not come into my office. I have alot of expensive equipment in here so I have to keep my door locked when I am not around. We have video surveillance that I have checked to make sure. They are only allowed in here while I am here.

Thanks for the comments. They are always appreciated.
 

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Did you add an airstone for night time yet? or if you have an hang on the back filter removed some water from the tank so that when the water comes out of the filter it will adjatate the water surface it will increase O2 at least when you leave the office. About 3 months ago I had the same situation as you, my fishes started to die off by the day. I tried treating it with 5 days of tetracycline and everything work out just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Did you add an airstone for night time yet?
I turned up the flow rate on the filter at night to increase surface agitation.

the Strawberry wine scent must be from the DIY CO2
I am wondering if this batch of co2 is stronger than the last ones I have made and that is somehow affecting something? Since it is becoming more mature, that could be why it is just now starting to show. I may dillute the yeast mixture some to see if that has an effect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, It has been about a week since I lost any more fish. I have done a couple largish water changes and everything seems to be stable.

The remaining occupants are
2 Oto's
1 Panda Cory
1 ghost shrimp
I have also found 1 more of the killer shrimp. It must have been hiding somewhere in there, but it is not really big enough to do this kind of damage. It seemed to be more disease related.

Do I have any way of telling if it is safe besides just putting more fish in and see what happens? All of my water parameters are at normal levels.

PH: 7.2
Ammonia: 0
N02: 0
Nitrates: trace amounts only
Kh: 4
GH: 10
 
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