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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi Everyone,

I went this morning to look at my tank after cleaning the gravel/ water change yesterday, well I had 3 deaths being my 2 zipper loaches and my pictus catfish! I tested everything and the ph was 6.0 which I dont understand as I made a water change, the nitrite is at 5ppm maybe it happened as I had a lot of poop stirred up in the tank as I had not cleaned the tank since I had established it about 2+ months ago I think... I Immediately did a water change of an entire home depot water jug which I think is 5 gallons. I then tested the water again and the ph was at 6.8-7.2 but they keep swimming at the top of the tank! I have no idea what else to do as I am freaking out bc I have spent so much money and I am really not starting to see a benefit from this tank right now! mostly because of my g/f and family saying that I am spending too much money on the tank and I am already having some problems with money.

I'm sorry for the vent! thank you for listening and please help me as I will never again syphon the gravel of my planted/fish aquarium, I will only do water changes from now on. lol!


EDIT: I was able to solve this but now I am carefully planning on what fish to get for this tank...

I have a wide variety of plants and some fish already... just looking for other ideas (some fish with more color to them.)
 

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I then tested the water again and the ph was at 6.8-7.2 but they keep swimming at the top of the tank!
If there was an ammonia spike, it could have burned their gills which will make it difficult for them to pull oxygen out of the water. They may recover in a few days, they may not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If there was an ammonia spike, it could have burned their gills which will make it difficult for them to pull oxygen out of the water. They may recover in a few days, they may not.
I tested for ammonia and there was none 0ppm the only thing that was abnormal as I had never seen was that the nitrite was high and a tiny bit of nitrate but no ammonia.

I also remember seeing that all of the fish went to normal activity for a while when I did the water change but about 15-20 minutes later they went back to the top of the tank.
 

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Nitrite is as bad or worse for fish than ammonia. If you are getting nitrite spikes maybe you caused a cycle in the tank. I'd continue with the water changes and test for nitrites keeping them as low as possible. Again, you may want to remove the fish and allow the tank to recycle if that is indeed what is going on.
 

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If you have the time you can do multiple WC's in a day. Just be sure to use the right dosage of dechlorinator each time. Otherwise do a large (80%) WC once a day. I would also add an air-stone as suggested just to ensure there is enough dissolved oxygen in the water for the fish. How large is your plant load?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I just did about 50 percent wc, waited 15 minutes and then tested...

My results were........
Ammonia - .50
Nitrate - between 5 and 10, I would say 10.
PH - 7.2
Nitrite - between .25 - .50

I am leaning towards I began a new cycle! unfortuantely I do not have anywhere to put the fishes unless you think that it's ok that I have 18 fish in like a 5 gallon bucket.
 

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Seems like the food/waste/etc. stirred up caused your ammonia to spike - and probably still is.

I would go to a LFS or petsmart and pick up a 10G tank (they're about $10-$12 bucks) and move the fish into there. I would then continue with your water changes and leave that tank alone in an effort to let the bacteria build more numbers and consume the ammonia.

You could leave them in there, perform large (50%) water changes and dose a high amount of prime(or equivalent) to neutralize the ammonia- but this is not only horribly inefficient both in terms of using prime and constantly having to measure levels but also very risky.

From what I'm reading, it doesn't seem like you'll get out of this without losing some money - question is, do you lose it through your stock of fish, or perhaps $10-$12 to get another refuge set up for them.

Good luck though, hope everything works out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
But are the parameters that bad for them to die? I just went to her house and they are all back to swimming at the top of the tank!!! arghhhh! I am thinking that I am just going to leave them in the tank and see what happens because the cycle has to happen anyways and if their girls are done for they will die anyways, right?

P.s. the fish tank is in my girl friends house which she lives with her grandma. which space is really limited that is the reason for me probably leaving them in the tank that they are in now!
 

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the cycle has to happen but that does not mean u should leave them to suffer! do more wc till that lvl is down its simple there isnt a need to just ride it out that is just careless imo if you have the ability to fix it. what size tank is this in? do a big water change like 75% an you will have to do a few maybe every day to keep your levels at tollerable levels to the fish so they can survive while the tank stabalizes. if they are still alive they are worth tryin to save!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
it's a 55 gallon, I'm sorry I forgot to mention that I am going to help them along the ride and do wc and add some Nite-out 2 that I already have... I don't want them to die! Heck no! for the next 2-3 days I wont really be able to do much as I have to work and study for a test that I have on monday but I will try to make some time in which I can go to her house when her grandma is there.
 

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just try and see if she can just do a wc as that alone can save them until you have time to really look after them, even a 25-50 % a day can and probably will save there life if there close to toxic levels. i would say try an do it daily as it probably has a full stockin level which just compounds your issues just makes you have to do more work till its stable other than that not much else till everything is at 0 ammo and nitrite.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
why do you say that it is at full stocking? I only have 9 barbs, 2 corys, 5 brilliant rasboras, 2 plecos, 1 gold dojo, 1 bala shark, and 2 rainbows... miscounted first time I have 21. They are all really small though. maybe at the most 1-1 1/2 inches long (Maybe)
 

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This is happing in a 55G???...one that isn't even really stocked to capacity. Wow, that is quite unusual....

Let me be clear, especially since this tank isn't at your house - which means you can't keep a constant eye on it.

Your fish will all die if you do not remove them from that tank. This is a vicious cycle you're trying to keep going....every minute you keep those fish in there their gills and other body function are suffering. It's going to be very tough for you to make sure that ammonia and nitrite levels are very low otherwise you're causing more harm to all the fish. Eventually, they will die - and that eventually may not be as far off as you may think.

Your best bet is to get a tank or even a 5G bucket, put the fish in there..take em to your house, put an airstone in them and then address that tank. Even better, put them in a cooler. Put a little bit of tank water and the rest tap (treat it for chlorine) and put an airstone in it. If the cooler has a spout at the bottom, this will make it was for you to do water changes on that - at least this way the fish have more of your attention and you have easier access to them.

How long has this tank been operating at the current stock (fish) levels? A crash like this in a large tank with the fish you have is quite unusual. Perhaps it wasn't really cycled to begin with?

Edit: yes it says 2 months but was it stocked at this level from the get go?
 

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why do you say that it is at full stocking? I only have 9 barbs, 2 corys, 5 brilliant rasboras, 2 plecos, 1 gold dojo, 1 bala shark, and 2 rainbows... miscounted first time I have 21. They are all really small though. maybe at the most 1-1 1/2 inches long (Maybe)
i said that is probably was as we had no stocking list to use as a reference and was previously established so there had to be a cause of this, so with that it wouldnt be unreasonable to assume that was the problem as this doesnt just happen. now with that info out there how far apart where these introduced time wise? all at once? and how did you get the tank cycled beforehand?
now if you arent going to be home your two choices are pull the fauna out and re cycle your tank and then add your fish at a later time or do constant wc until it stabilizes itself out. if non of those options will work you might have to sell the fish back to the lfs or see if they can hold them for you till its ok to add fish. sorry you gotta deal with it but its part of it. on a side note if you have common plecos they will likely outgrow that tank same with the bala shark they get 1-2ft giving they arent stunted, is this a permanent home or just a grow out tank? hope all info helps
 
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