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Love my furry, feathered and finned family
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

Just wondering if anyone can shed any light on this situation or tell me where I'm going wrong?

I was so excited to be finally adding fish to my cycled tank on Tuesday. My water parameters were fine (ammonia 0ppm, nitrite 0ppm, nitrate between 10 and 20ppm, ph7.5) and I got the shop to double check (not the rubbish shop I used before, but a decent one) and they agreed with my readings, so I went ahead and added 4 guppies and 2 platys.

I gradually acclimatised them into the tank (with temp of 25C) and all seemed fine. However, after a couple of hours, one of the platys started acting lethargic and hiding away. She also developed a white patch on the edge of her tail, which definitely hadn't been there when I first put them in. On Wednesday morning when I checked the fish, she was dead. :cryin:

I immediately checked the water parameters - no sign of any ammonia or nitrite, and nitrate still at 10-20ppm, and temp still at 25C. All the other fish seemed absolutely fine.

I checked this morning and they all seemed active and happy, with no sign of any more white patches or anything else untoward. I went out at about 10am, and got back at 3pm to see one of the guppies lying dead on the gravel. :eek:hmy::crying:

Again, I checked the water parameters, and found a slight trace of ammonia (less than 0.25ppm). So I did a 30% water change (didn't want to do more as the pH in the tap is higher than that in the tank, and I didn't want to shock the fish).

Is there anything else I should/shouldn't be doing? I really don't want to lose any more fish!
 

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So sorry you're having problems.

Sometimes some fish just don't transfer across well, they may have been bred in poor conditions or inbred.

However there are a couple of other possible issues:

With guppies and platys it can be worth asking the sellers whether they are adding salt to their tank water - some shops keep all the livebears in mixed tanks that include Mollies and add salt as it helps the Mollies.

When you say you gradually aclimatised them to the tank, how exactly did you do this?

It would also probably be best to add just one group of fish at a time (just 2-3 fish at once) with a week or so inbetween each group to allow the bacteria to adjust and so avoid ammonia spikes.
 

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How long had you been cycling the tank and what method did you use to cycle?

A lot of people go through the process without actually checking that the tank is capable of handling the bioload when the fish are added. Whenever I set up a new tank I will wait until the tank is able to convert 1ppm of ammonia in 12 hours and its only at this point that I will add fish. If you haven't been feeding the tank with an ammonia source then it is quite possible that your nitrifying bacteria has died.

The white patches could be an indication of ammonia burns or you could have an issue with oxygen.

I would be tempted to take a sample of your water to your local fish store for testing just to make sure that there isn't something wrong with your test kit.

I noticed that the place local to me were selling test kits that were a couple of years out of date recently :(
 

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Love my furry, feathered and finned family
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The tank is 70 litres (2' x 1').

I did a fishless cycle using ammonia. The evening before getting the fish, I did a 75% water change using a nitrate removing device, as my tap water has over 40ppm nitrates. I then dosed up to 1ppm ammonia to check that the filter bacteria were still doing their thing, and it had all gone by the morning (so less than 12 hours).

I did take a water sample to the shop to double check before I got fish, and they confirmed my readings.

The fish were all in single-species tanks in the shop, but I will ask about salt when I next go there.

I acclimatised by floating the bags in the tank for about 20 minutes, then opening them and gradually letting a little tank water in every 10 minutes for half an hour, and then letting the fish swim out.

I was told on another forum that once a tank has been fishless cycled, it's better to add lots of fish at once, as the amount of ammonia produced by the fish will still be less than what I'd been dosing, so the filter should be 'used to' it.

How could I tell if I have an oxygen issue? The fish haven't been gasping or anything, the filter does agitate the surface quite a lot, and I have live plants, so I wouldn't have thought I'd have a problem...

The other fish all seem fine so far, so fingers crossed it was just the stress of the move and I've just been unlucky...
 

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It does seem as though you've done everything right.

I just wonder whether something in the shop's tank water was so different to yours that some of the fish, perhaps those that weren't too strong to begin with, just couldn't adapt quickly enough.

You could try acclimatising even slower - i usually do this over about an hour an a half - removing a little bag water as well as adding a little tank water every 10 minutes or so. This may help if it is a case of very different water conditions.

As for adding all the fish at once - i've found that you get all sorts of different theories from different people. The only time i had serious losses was when i followed a fairly popular theory that fish can just be added without any acclimatising - the idea being that the process of acclimatising is too stressful. I lost an entire batch of fish. If one theory doesn't work for you try another.

It does sound as though you may have just been unlucky though.

Hope all the others are OK and you don't have any further problems.
 

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Love my furry, feathered and finned family
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the advice :)

Ammonia was 0.25 this evening, so I'm halfway through another water change (25%, because any more than that the filter cuts out, and as the nitrate remover takes so long to run the water through, I didn't want my filter to be off for hours when it's already struggling to cope with the ammonia!)

Yes it seems the "add all the fish at once" advice didn't work out for me, so when all this is sorted, I'll be careful to add further fish nice and slowly, making sure the filter bacteria are coping well first.

No more deaths today, but one of the guppies seems kind of sluggish compared to the others and looks quite rounded in the belly (it's a male so not pregnant!) so I'll feed a couple of crushed peas tomorrow and hopefully he'll be OK...
 

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Love my furry, feathered and finned family
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I lost another one last night, the guppy that had been showing signs of bloat :( He gradually started to lose all the colour from his tail, as if the scales were just dropping off in clumps, and I found him belly-up this morning :crying:
 

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So sorry this is happening. You really don't deserve it after all the care you've taken.

Are the others looking Ok?

Has the ammonia level returned to zero?

Guppies are not generally the toughest of fish - they have been quite inbred to produce the range of colours. So it's not unusual to lose the odd one when they are transfered.

Just add new fish at a very slow rate and i would give them a much longer acclimatisation period to allow for possible significant changes to the water chemistry they are used to.
 

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Love my furry, feathered and finned family
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
No the ammonia is still stubbornly at 0.25ppm despite daily water changes, and one of the 2 remaining guppies doesn't seem to be coping too well with it, he's swimming around with a clamped fin and his colour is starting to fade :( The other guppy and the remaining platy look OK so far, but I'm starting to wonder for how long!
 

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I have had Guppies and no matter what I do they die one after another. Platies, Swordtails and Mollies all thrive in my tank. So do Bristlenose catfish. After having it running for a year I added some neons, Lemon Tetra and Black Neons. They thrived as well but are not too good in a new set up.

Sorry to hear about your fish.
 

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Love my furry, feathered and finned family
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Down to 1 guppy and 1 platy now :(

I don't know if I'll get guppies again. I love them because they're so colourful, but seems they have no tolerance to anything less than ideal water conditions.

I still don't know where the lingering 0.25ppm ammonia is coming from. The lady at the pet shop said my filter is re-cycling because I've done too many water changes, and I should leave it for a week before doing another one. I'm reluctant to trust this shop's advice, but then this lady was more knowledgeable than others I've spoken to there in the past, and I can't find any other reason for the ammonia to be there, so wondering if you guys think it's worth a shot? (I'd monitor carefully of course, and do a water change if the levels got much higher or if the remaining fish showed any signs of distress.)
 

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I would be carrying on with daily water changes. As your fish are dying with the ammonia level as it is, allowing it to go any higher is highly likely to lead to more deaths. By the time you found the higher levels or the fish showed signs of distress the damage would already have been done. It needs to be lowered if at all possible. The filter will continue to cycle regardless.

Are you still feeding the fish? It would be a good idea to stop feeding them for a few days and then just feed one mouthful every other day until the filter has completed its cycle again.

Adding live plants may also help.
 

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Love my furry, feathered and finned family
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I've been feeding very sparingly, 2 day on and 1 day off, but will switch to every other day. As far as plants go, I have java fern and anubias, and thinking of getting some frogbit as well.
 
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