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View Full Version : Now what........fisk KEEP dying!



liveitup
12-17-2010, 02:19 AM
I've been trying to establish a fish tank for the last year, but no matter what I do the fish won't last more than 2 or 3 months, max. I get my water tested regularly at different pet stores. The water has tested fine every single time except for one occasion when the PH was slightly low.

When I first set up the tank I would feed the fish twice a day. I would feed them whatever they could eat in 2 to 3 minutes at each feeding. Eventually I changed feeding habits to once a day, whatever they could eat in 4 to 5 minutes.

I do a 30% water change weekly. I do treat the water with water conditioner at each changing according to the directions. I also add a bacterial supplement at each changing.

I let the tank cycle before adding the first fish.

I've tried what seems like every "hardy" fish at the pet store and they all keep dying.

I have a 29g tank. It has a filter and a heater. The water temp ranges b/w 72 and 75 degrees.

Let me know if I left out anything.

Can anybody tell me what I've been doing wrong? I'm very frustrated and don't know what else to do at this point.

mommy1
12-17-2010, 02:24 AM
how did you cycle your tank? the only thing i can think of is maybe the filter is not enough for the tank. what kind do you have and what size tank is it rated for? also how do you maintain the filter? how do you clean it and how often?

liveitup
12-17-2010, 02:35 AM
how did you cycle your tank? the only thing i can think of is maybe the filter is not enough for the tank. what kind do you have and what size tank is it rated for? also how do you maintain the filter? how do you clean it and how often?

Aside from changing the filter about once a month or month and a half, no filter maintenance. Over the course of the year I've actually had 2 tanks. I started with an old 10g that i bought a few years back. Also had the same prob back then--fish would only live for just a few months. I'm currently using a 29g than someone bought as a gift. It's about 4 months old.

I've had various types of fish including regular goldfish, guppies, cory catfish, tetras, and currently Platy's, Guppies and a Cory. The guppies have dwindled to just one. The platys have dwindled to one (3 died over the last week) and the cory is still alive. The largest number of fish that I've had in the tank at any given time is 7.

As far as cycling the new 29g tank, I mostly filled the tank with conditioned tap water. I also added some water from the already established 10g tank to help speed up the process. In addition, I added some of the bacterial supplement. I let the tank sit for close to two months. I'm pretty sure that I also did a few small water changes during that time as well.

liveitup
12-17-2010, 02:46 AM
how did you cycle your tank? the only thing i can think of is maybe the filter is not enough for the tank. what kind do you have and what size tank is it rated for? also how do you maintain the filter? how do you clean it and how often?

As far as cleaning, I use a syphon to remove about 30% of the water from the tank. I then add water that has already been conditioned in another container and is about the same temp as the aquarium water. I slowly pour the new water in so that it causes as little disturbance as possible. I then add the bacterial supplement, usually a little less than the directions specify. I do all that weekly.

And the filter is the filter that came with the tank.

mommy1
12-17-2010, 02:46 AM
i am assuming you still have fish in your tank so please read the sticky i have linked here about cycling with fish.

http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aquariumforum/showthread.php?t=36492

in case you no longer have fish in the tank here is a link for cycling without fish.

http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aquariumforum/showthread.php?t=5640

when we cycle our tanks, basically we are growing good bacteria, mostly in the filter, but also on all the hard surfaces in the tank. fish produce ammonia, which is toxic to fish, the bacteria converts the ammonia to the less harmful nitrates, which we remove with water changes.
since most of this bacteria lives in the filter, its beneficial to the health of the tank/fish to have a filter that doesn't need the filter media changed every month. since changing it out completely also gets rid of the beneficial bacteria needed to convert the ammonia. i suspect this is why you are losing fish every few weeks. your tank is in a constant state of trying to cycle. it's recommended to leave that media in the filter until it is literally falling apart, and then only change out some of it, you want to leave some in there to save the bacteria. if it gets really gunky, which can also be bad, rinse the media in old tank water during water changes or dechlorinated water to preserve the bacteria and put it back into the filter.

dbosman
12-17-2010, 03:55 AM
There were a couple of things missing.
What are your water parameters in the tank?
What are your water parameters from the tap?
What are you using for your substrate?
Some substrates are not good for some fish.
How thick is it? Do you vacuum it when you do a water change?

What, specifically, is this bacterial supplement you are adding at each water change?

For your larger tank you mentioned letting it sit for a couple of months. Cycling a tank requires the filter be running and that you feed the bacteria in the tank about every day. Fish less cycling uses pure ammonia. Fish food works in too, but takes longer.

Feeding all the fish will eat in 4 to 5 minutes is good, but premised on multiple feedings per day. One five minute feeding might not be enough food for all the fish. There is quite often a pecking order.
I'll suggest some sinking pellets that will offer food for a longer period of time. Drop them in the front of the tank so you can monitor them.

vinodjbhatia
12-17-2010, 06:12 AM
Mommy1 and dbosman have put in a lot of info on cycling. What is the aeration in your tank? Maybe there is insufficient aeration leading to lower levels of oxygen. This can kill some of the useful bacteria as well as the fish. One way of knowing this is if your fish keep staying close to the surface or keep coming up very often for air.

Oxygen available also depends upon water conditions as well as surrounding conditions such as atmospheric temperature, your geographical location, etc. Most aquariums are fitted with standard equipment which work fine in most cases but may be found lacking in others. If you think the fish are gasping for breath, I would suggest you increase the aeration.

Also, are you buying all your fish from the same place. Then maybe the lfs has an issue and the fish you are getting are not healthy in the first place. I would suggest you also try a different store if needed. Always observe the fish in your lfs. Are they kept in good condition, is the tank over stocked, are they having normal activity. I also ask my lfs a couple of questions - how long have the fish been staying there's - I normally avoid fish which are just added to the store as they may already be under stress due to transportation. I also ask them what medicines have been given to fish in the last week or so. Avoid fish that have been given parasitic (Ich or other) or fungal infection medicines in the last week or so. Medicines stress them out.

Hope you are able to sort out things and start enjoying the hobby with healthy fish.

Lady Hobbs
12-17-2010, 01:16 PM
You mentioned changing your filter media every couple of months. If you are adding new, you are removing the bacteria that gives you a cycle. Simply rinse the old stuff out in tank water then discard it. When you want new filter media, you need to add the new with the old for awhile until the new media has grown bacteria, too. You never want to clean all the gravel and clean the filter media all at once or you are throwing out all the good stuff that keeps your tank cycled.

You also need to buy your own test kit instead of relying on the store to do this for you. Some simply use test strips. A good liquid test kit is more accurate and API is about the cheapest and the best.

Most tropicals need heat of 76-80. I would turn your heat up a bit, as well.

Have you checked your fish to make sure you are not introducing ICK to the tank?

PS.........Bacteria Boosters do not cycle the tank for you. They are simply an aid to better help your fish to survive while the ammonia they produce cycles the tank.

liveitup
12-19-2010, 03:26 AM
There were a couple of things missing.
What are your water parameters in the tank?
What are your water parameters from the tap?
What are you using for your substrate?
Some substrates are not good for some fish.
How thick is it? Do you vacuum it when you do a water change?

What, specifically, is this bacterial supplement you are adding at each water change?


As far as exact perameters, I'm not sure sure as I have never actually recorded them when testing the water.

As far as substrate, I have no clue what kind it is. I did buy new substrate for this larger tank and got rid of the substrate for the old tank. The only thing that I know is that it was in the section at petsmart with the fish tanks. Of course I was still having the problem with fish dying even with the previous substrate.

In regards to the thickness of the substrate, It is probably a third of an inch. I intentionally reduced the thickness after reading a few articles online a while back. And yes, I do vacuum it during water changes. However, after doing some research this week and also watching some videos online, I may be vaccuming it a bit too much.

The supplement is "Top Fin Bacteria Supplement". See link below.

http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2752206&lmdn=Fish+Filtration+%26amp%3B+Circulation

liveitup
12-19-2010, 03:33 AM
Mommy1 and dbosman have put in a lot of info on cycling. What is the aeration in your tank? Maybe there is insufficient aeration leading to lower levels of oxygen. This can kill some of the useful bacteria as well as the fish. One way of knowing this is if your fish keep staying close to the surface or keep coming up very often for air.

I currently don't have an air pump in the tank. Aeration is something that I've been conscious of, as I do think that aeration was a problem at one point when I had the 10g tank. At one point the fish only stayed at the top fo the tank and then eventually died. Aside from that one period of time with the old tank, I haven't noticed the fish only swimming near the surface.

I've been considering buying an air pump, but I'm really not motivated to spend anymore money until it a least appears that I'm on my way to having fish that I can keep alive for more than 2 or 3 months. Double-edged sword I guess.

Lady Hobbs
12-19-2010, 01:28 PM
You mentioned you transferred water from one tank to another and also stated you cycled before adding the fish. A fish tank can only cycle with ammonia that is either produced from the fish themselves or from pure ammonia you have added before adding the fish.

You can dump bacteria boosters in a tank all day long and it still will not cycle your tank until you have added your fish. This is why you can only start with a few fish at once so ammonia levels do not kill them. Bacteria boosters HELP but do not do it for you.

Moving water from one tank to another also does nothing. Bacteria is only in the filter media and a little bit under the gravel. Not in the water. If your fish have continued to die for a year, then you have either too little filtration leaving not enough oxygen, you are killing the established bacteria by changing out the filters all the time or your fish are getting white spot disease that is going undetected.

After a year of dying fish, it's time to get that test kit and do your own testing for accuracy and having a filter that is large enough for that tank. You mentioned you are using the filter that come with the tank but didn't say if it's for the 10 gallon or the 29 gallon. If the filter come with the 29 gallon, it is probably sufficient. No air pump is needed if the filter is the proper size for the tank. If this is the filter that come with the 10 gallon, then it's much too small for this 29.

Dying fish is no fun for you or them. My tetra's are now 5 years old and still going strong. You need to nip this problem in the bud so you can enjoy your tank.

You also mentioned adding pre-treated water from pails. That along with low temps in your tank, your fish may not be warm enough. As already mentioned, I would turn your heater up to 78 and add water right from the tap so you can adjust the temp to what they need, add the dechlorinator and fill the tank.

AND STOCK SLOWLY.....

sheamurai
12-19-2010, 03:59 PM
+1 on what Lady H said.

It doesn't really sound like you truly cycled your tanks, and what cycle you did have you likely threw out when you cleaned your filters.

You have to get ammonia and nitrite readings, and watch them decline, before you have a cycled tank.

Without proper cycling, you'd have to replace nearly all the water every week for your fish to survive.

dbosman
12-19-2010, 09:08 PM
Save your self some money by not purchasing any more of the bacterial additive. It isn't doing anything useful for you.

Buy a test kit that will allow you to check Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, and may be pH. pH isn't all that important in the grand scheme of things.
Since you listed Petsmart, here are the two least expensive kits. Both are dip strip tests and are accurate enough for your needs at this time. You can spend more, if you wish, after you have more success.

Jungle
http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2753424&lmdn=Fish+Filtration+%26amp%3B+Circulation

API
http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3302109&lmdn=Fish+Filtration+%26amp%3B+Circulation

Many aquarium "rule of thumb" rules are based on past technology, past practices, and some absolute garbage.

One rule of thumb that you can live with is don't change your filter media and water within the same three day period. Bacteria, after they flourish, will live throughout your tank. The largest accumulation, where they do the most good, is on the media in your filter. When you change that, there are enough left in the tank to restart a cycle in the filter. A big water change on filter changing day, resets the tank to a one or maybe two instead of a six or seven on a scale of ten. Ammonia builds again and that stresses the fish.

Now, about the substrate. Is it possible that you bought a substrate for saltwater fish? That would usually be in a whitish color. Or a substrate for cichlids? At Petsmart, that would tend to be one of the black & white sandy mixes. Either could be buffering your water to an alkaline state. That is one thing a pH test would show.
It's also one of the reasons I asked what your tap water parameters are.

After you have the results of your tap water and tank water, post them and we can see if anything stands out. We've all been in your shoes at one time or another and we can all learn from each other.