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keep losing my fish!

Discussion in 'Fish Keeping Chat' started by Judesfish, Jul 18, 2009.


  1. Judesfish

    Judesfish PetForums Newbie

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    Hi all, new to the site - been looking for some answers to why my fish keep popping off...

    I have had an AquaOne 850 (90ltr) tank for just over four years and have had problems keeing the fish alive for longer than a year. The last of my four goldfish has just died and I can't figure out why.

    I have done all the tests - ammonia, nitrite, nitrate are all within the correct levels. The only one that is out is the PH. Its showing up as 6-6.5 on the test, but I have tried ProperPH 7.5 and this hasn't made much difference.

    The fish have all shown similar symptoms - clamped fins and darting, off balance and sinking to the bottom and finaly they struggle to breath and die. I have treated for ick and swimbladder thinking it could possibly one of these, and have treated with a general tonic/broad spectrum anitbiotic. I have also done water changes - 50% carried out over two weeks using appropriate water conditioners, and cleaned the filter pads (on a rota basis so that I don't destroy all the good bacteria). Still, the fish don't thrive.

    The max number of goldfish at any one time has been 4, and I have always waited a couple of months before adding new fish - introducing them as instructed by the store. I also have two cold water weather loaches in the tank for about two years - Mr and Mrs Whiskers - and they are as happy as Larry without any signs of ill heath. Any suggestions as to what's going on?

    Judesfish
     
  2. Spaniel mad

    Spaniel mad PetForums VIP

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    Sounds like you are having a real tough time. Have you tried speaking to your local pet store or vets as they might be able to help

    I hope you get it all sorted soon x
     
  3. Judesfish

    Judesfish PetForums Newbie

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    Cheers, Spaniel Mad.

    Yes, I have asked at the garden centre where I usually buy the fish and they were just as flumixed as me... I talked for some time to one of the fellas there going through all the possibilities.

    I'm going to give it a couple of months, keeping up with the water changes, etc and then maybe introduce some Danios or Minnows - see if I have better luck with them. Unless anyone can suggest anything else? :idea:

    I can only think that the goldfish weren't compatible with the weather loaches, but not sure why as they are both coldwater and I couldn't see any interference or bullying between the two species.

    Totally, totally confused by this...

    Jude.
     
  4. nickmcmechan

    nickmcmechan PetForums Member

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    what are your maintenance routines?
     
  5. nickmcmechan

    nickmcmechan PetForums Member

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    fishyfins, i would agree the tank is overstocked for most coldwater fish varieties commonly available

    however, experience on fish forums tells me that people often stock this way innocently without realising what they are doing...many people think goldfish are easier to keep than danios for example.......

    i also asked the maintenance question for the purpose of making a short term recommendation that would benefit, i would guess that fish lasting only a year are subject to a maintenance regime that is not suitable

    so, i think we're all going down the same path here....increase maintenance and consider a larger tank or stocking with different fish

    quality of stock will always be a factor, but usually we find that the fish don't last as long as a year in this case

    in any case, i've always had success with large, frequent water changes with any fish, along with a good dechlorinator or HMA filter
    its often then the case to recommend a more suitable size of tank
     
  6. Judesfish

    Judesfish PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for your advice, and sorry its taken me a while to respond, however, I can't afford to purchase a bigger tank and don't have the room either - this one already takes up the breast wall of my living room! So it looks like I will have to try again with max of two fancy goldfish (I think that one goldfish on its own is a bit sad) and from a different source.

    Re maintenance: I had been doing 10% water changes each Sunday using dechlorinator and letting water stand overnight Saturday; cleaning the filter pads (two sponge/two felt) alternatively once a month in the syphoned off water - I never use tap water. Ornaments scrubbed of algae every other month in the old water - no chemicals/cleaners added.

    Testing - I use the water tests with the little test tubes and solutions - Dr Wellfish??? I can't recall at the time what the levels were but they were all within the correct colours. There was a discrepancy with the Nitrate (orange to deep red one I think) but I used Nitrazorb which brough this down to about 40 which I am led to believe is ok. The only other one which was out was the PH which was a yellow-green rather than blue (so 6-6.5, rather than 7-7.5). I tried properPH 7.5 but this hasn't worked. The water in my tap is blue (neutral) according to the test.

    Naively, I believed it when I was told (about 8 years ago when I started keeping fish) that I could have up to five goldfish in a tank - being advised that fish generate a 'chemical' that inhibits growth - and also that too frequent water changes dilute this chemical and that's why fish grow too big for their tanks. At that time the tank I had was about 1/3rd smaller (approx 60L) in size.

    I also spoke to a local aquarian owner who says it sounded like poisoning, eg with air freshener/furniture polish/handcream etc (but I tend not to use these, so unsure there). If this was the case, then he was amazed that the loaches had survived as they are more delicate than goldfish; another cause could be that the house was too warm therefore the water was losing oxygen??? Is this true?

    If the maintenace routine above needs adjusting eg larger than 10% volume weekly changes, or filters cleaning more regularly than once a month, then please let me know. I'd rather do this than lose more fish. :eek:

    PS Mr and Mrs Whiskers are very happy at the moment. Is it ok for loaches to come to the surface to feed? Mrs Whiskers comes up to the surface when I raise the tank lid and drop in the flakes/wafers and nibbles then on the way down. I think she thinks she is a goldfish.

    Ta, Jude.
     
  7. nickmcmechan

    nickmcmechan PetForums Member

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    Hi Jude,

    I think the reason is in the maintenance regime.

    We often measure Nitrates to see if our maintenance regimes are sufficient, however, I would argue its not the Nitrates themselves that are poisonous (unless above 100pmm). What happens while Nitrates are rising are DOCs (dissolved organic compounds) are rising too. The DOCs are often the cause of the issue, not the Nitrates. I keep Discus and do many large water changes to reduce the DOCs but I actually add Nitrates to feed the plants.

    In short, I would recommend at least 50% water changed at least once per week until such time you can afford a much larger tank. Because you have very messy coldwater fish, twice per week would be better.

    Also consider a good quality dechlorinator - IMO / IME Seachem Prime is best in Market - 5ml treats 200l, most of the other dechlorinators have 5ml treating 40 to 80 litres, so in the long run it is cheaper, it treats chlorines, chloramines, binds heavy metals, detoxifies nitrites and nitrates and adds slime coat, i.e. more effective than most dechlorinators

    HTH
     
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