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Problems with White Cloud Mountain minnows

12285 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Progen
My current 50 gallon is more of a Lego style where almost all of the plants are on driftwood so I can do a rearranging every now and then.

That means there's lots of driftwood and Java fern (the Windelov type) as well as some anubias. Currently trying to grow some crypts, dwarf hairgrass and baby tears in trays because I still don't intend to take the plunge to do some actual planting YET. Main substrate is black sand although there's about 2lbs of ADA Amazonia distributed into little cups.

It's been about more than 2 months now but it seems like the only fish which are happy and can live in this tank are neon tetras although there have been some deaths as well but overall, there are quite a number of them around.

Cherry red shrimps - ALL died in less than 12 hours
Ghost shrimps - ALL died in less than 12 hours although there's one which I put in yesterday using the drip method (dripped for about 4 hours) that's still alive
Amano shrimps - ALL died in less than 12 hours too
Otocinclus - Had 7 initially but can see only 2 or 3 now. They seemed fine when the water was acidic but died one by one after a period of a week after the water was raised close to neutral.

White Cloud Mountain minnows - ALL died within 72 hours, usually start looking stressed after 36 hours. I introduced another 10 yesterday, dripped for 4+ hours. Saw 1 dead on the floor this afternoon! Then another inside the filter. Noticed that the remaining minnows looked stressed so shifted them to another tank with gravel and some rocks but no running filter. Didn't test anything other than pH in that tank since it was initially filled with water only to test for leaks. pH is neutral. They seem happy in that tank.

By the way, about my water quality.

I've done changes every now and then. Initial dechlorinator used was some cheapo made locally (Malaysia) which I didn't like because it didn't give specific figures but gave dosing as capfuls per feet. Anyway, I've shifted to using API Stress Coat+ for the last 3 water changes now. Ammonia is slightly above 0. Nitrite is 0. pH was pretty acidic as is expected with all that driftwood (they'd been in the tank with just plants and no fishes for a good many weeks before the first fishes came in) but I've raised it slowly to around 6 - 6.5 with baking soda and it stays there. There's a bag of broken corals inside the tank. Couldn't test for nitrates because the shop didn't have that test kit in stock. Will be getting a GH and KH test kit from another shop soon.

Now they may be cheap but I'm not in the habit of killing living things so I was wondering what is it that could be making my tank unsuitable for them?

Bump: And here's the tank in its current incarnation.

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From what you've posted,I think four hour drip acclimation is possibly letting ammonia produced by fishes in bag/bucket (through respiration), increase to toxic level which don't take much.
Would want dechlorinator like PRIME or Amquel + that clearly say's on bottle,that it will detoxify ammonia.
Even though with pH mentioned, that most of the ammonia would be less harmful ammonium, I would still want either dechlorinator.
Ammonia affect's some fishes immediately and for other's the exposure wear's on them over day's.
Airstone in the acclimation bucket with a few drop's of PRIME or AMQUEL and one hour drip would be less stressful in my opinion.
I am curious as to why water changes are irregular and if source water used for water changes is same or close to water in the tank on daily/weekly basis.
Would wonder if water in tank is being altered chemically.
sudden changes in water chemistry will have negative effect on most fishes/shrimps
Would wonder what temperature average is being kept .?
Temp's around 76 degree's would be my aim.
Would wonder what fertilzer's are being used and what amount's, how often.
Any medication's used ?
Any new fishes added recently?
How often is filter cleaned?
How often are fish fed?
What food's?
CO2 injection or supplement's?
Just tryin to eliminate or identify possible variables that may be contributing to issues.
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My money is on initial dechlorinator not working against chloramines and that this is what is in their water.
I've done some extreme fish rehousing and the only thing I have ever seen die same day was small corys.
Chloramine will mess everything right up if it isn't attended to.
Could very well be.
Chloramine is..combo of chlorine and ammonia.
Many conditioner's only detoxify chlorine portion of chloramine's and assume mature bacterial colony will process the ammonia portion.
4-hour drip acclimation? Don't need to do that.
4-hour drip acclimation? Don't need to do that.
Got desperate.

Bump: Would some trace metals be the cause? The water from the tap is acidic. After dechlorinating And left for a few days with a little powerhead running in the pail, it's still acidic. My little animal drinking pool which formerly had nothing except for a hang on filter is also acidic.
I'm sorry you are having trouble with fish and shrimp, but your aquascape is lovely!

Get Seachem Prime-bottle gives dosing directions, dechlorinates water AND helps with ammonia and nitrite.

You say you water is acidic, have you done pH test on tap and tank? Do you use API liquid freshwater test kit? If you use test strips throw those away, they're not accurate, get a liquid test kit.
A pH of 6.5 isn't going to kill most fish and is almost a requirement for good results spawning many tetras.
Sure you wouldn't want it any lower, and an acidic recirculating system is always going to be more tricky.

Ottos are quite sensitive. I'd only put them in a well run in, healthy system, or buy twice as many as you plan to end up with.
When did you add most of the fish/shrimps
The tank had already been filled with water but without anything else for about 1 month before I started adding in some driftwood with Java fern and a few mollies to eat up the mosquito larvae.

After that, I only started adding in the fish a few weeks after the plants. Would add Java fern and some other plants tied to driftwood every few days. Got them cheap at USD1ish each so got quite a lot. That's why the tank's a mess.

And yes, I'm testing for pH with the API kit. Was dark orange on the first test and so's the water from the tap (before and after dechlorinating and even if left for weeks with powerheads on). Tested the water coming from the filter outside the house, acidic too.

As for ammonia, test kit results say that there's a bit. Not completely 0. Just a tinge off yellow. Nitrite is 0.
Decided to rearrange and start from scratch so I shifted the neons and remaining otos to a small tank. Found the ghost shrimp still doing well so I guess that's a good sign. Now I've been keeping all kinds of fishes and animals for more than 30 years so it's kind of demoralising to see things die in my tank but I'm starting to suspect the big chunk of driftwood had something to do with the water pH and other factors. It's a beautiful piece though which can be made to look like a dead tree's roots or mountain or hill, depending on its orientation.

I did soak it in a heavily diluted bleach solution as well as rinse it a lot with hot water before placing it into the then empty tank for a week or two but I guess that wasn't enough.
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