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Thread: A little help?

  1. #1

    Default A little help?

    0 Not allowed!
    Hello! First of all, I'm new here but I've been around for months stalking and learning. I never really had a reason to post anything til now. I'm at a loss and not too sure what to do from here.
    I have a 29g, it has been fully cycled for about 2 months with perfect water conditions. It has a small beginning group of neon tetras (3) a bushy nose pleco and 2 ghost shrimp. I had added them slowly, I had left the lights on the tank for 12-14 hours a day to get a very good variety of algae growth for the pleco and he loved it! Everything was going great and I was planning on adding the next batch this week. I got home from work and all three neons were stuck to the filter intake =/ as I started to get ready to get them out I noticed the water was kinda murky and then I noticed white slime coming from behind the filter and upon investigation I found my mostly decomposed pleco, I accidentally upset his body while trying to scoop it and it broke apart and went all over the tank into/on/around everything. I'm so upset and disgusted! I cant even bring myself to do a water sample. Do I have to start over, big water changes or will the tank work it out and be stronger for it? I haven't seen the shrimp at all but that's not too unusual. I honestly cant remember the last time specifically saw the pleco but he always looked healthy and active but he spent most of his time inside the centerpiece. I loved waking up, turning on the tank and seeing all the work he'd done. I feel horrible :(

  2. #2


    0 Not allowed!
    Thats really a shame, sorry to hear it.

    You need to do your water testing to at least have an idea why the fish died. How long had you had them for?
    Mass die off like that has to have a cause, and a water test is the only way. I know you said the tank is cycled, but the only thing that would kill all the fish all at once like that is poisoning - either ammonia from an upset cycle, or somehow poisoned by some unplanned additive.
    What was the last thing you did with the tank?
    How did you cycle it?

    If fish are dead, the shrimp are almost guaranteed to be dead as well...

    Do your tests, do just enough of a water change to vacuum out the dead material, and test again.

    What those results show will dictate what you need to do to continue.

    And no, you don't have to start from scratch, but your tank also will not be "stronger" for it. But something went wrong, and you have to track down how to fix it before adding fish again.
    Last edited by sheamurai; 08-10-2013 at 04:09 PM.

  3. #3

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    0 Not allowed!
    Sorry to read about your tank BubblesBunny.

    Sheamurai's input is what I too would check for.

    It's not uncommon for something to get into the tank that you didn't intend. I once had a friend who lost everything in his tank because his sister cleaned the tank with windex and the spray was used on the top of the tank and got into the water.
    Warning; Bulldog Pleco guarding my Sons tank now..

    Please remember; every keystroke has a consequence.

  4. #4


    0 Not allowed!
    Sorry to hear about your tank!

    Question for the more knowledgeable users out there: from BubblesBunny's description of the pleco's decomposed state it would appear the pleco had been dead for far longer than the tetras. Is it possible that the pleco died first from some cause, and that the effect of its decomposition was what killed the tetras?

  5. #5

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    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by wgoldfarb View Post
    Sorry to hear about your tank!

    Question for the more knowledgeable users out there: from BubblesBunny's description of the pleco's decomposed state it would appear the pleco had been dead for far longer than the tetras. Is it possible that the pleco died first from some cause, and that the effect of its decomposition was what killed the tetras?
    This is a possibility, yes. But we can't jump to conclusions without more data, and the tests suggested are essential.

    I would also ask further questions of BubblesBunny:

    How frequent were partial water changes? And what volume (percentage of the tank)?
    Any live plants?
    What water conditioner? Any other additives going in the tank?

    There may be more questions from any of us as we try to help you sort this out. And I too am deeply sorry, I know from experience many years ago what effect something like this can have. Many leave the hobby after such a tragedy. Please don't; there are many knowledgeable members here willing to help.

    Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
    Vancouver, BC, Canada

    Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

  6. #6


    0 Not allowed!
    Thank you so much for you help! I should also mention that I work long weekend nights so I'm just crawling out of bed now. I'll try to get a quick water change done before work. I was feeling really sick about the whole situation, I'd dealt with fish dying before but not quite like this!
    Lets see, to answer some questions: I cycled the tank with a bacteria additive, I tested the water daily and watched it cycle fairly quickly and just like textbook. The water changes I've been doing is about 5 gallons a week so 20-25% Tanks temp is at 78 which is a steady normal. The tetras had been in there about 2 months, my impression was that the tetras died from the water being fouled by the pleco. I'm no expert on fish decomp but he had been there at least a couple days. I got the pleco about 2 1/2 weeks ago and the last thing I did to the tank other than water changes is adding the pleco and his driftwood. I was especially bummed because I have a 10g that has caused me a lot of problems with an ammonia spike that wouldn't quit and this 29 is my perfect project. lol.. umm lets see, no the tank isn't planted and i believe the water conditioner I use is API.
    Thanks again you guys, I'm not a quitter but it sure was heart wrenching.. I didn't realize how attached I'd gotten to those little guys. Like I said, I gotta get ready to work! Didn't want to leave you all hanging. I'll update on my waterchange and test findings later (It may be 17 hours though =/)

  7. #7


    0 Not allowed!
    Hmm, my knee jerk response is that your tank isn't cycled. I don't have much faith in those bacteria additives when used as an aid in cycling, and I certainly wouldn't trust it as the sole method for cycling. However, you say you did tests and the cycle progressed properly, so I guess we can't point a finger at that.
    It will be interesting to see the results of your water testing.

  8. #8


    0 Not allowed!
    Well, got all of him out I could, changed about 3 gallons and the test results were ammonia: approx .10ppm, nitrites: 0, nitrates near 0, ph: 6.6. I guess ill wait it out. If the tank hadn't cycled, it would have in the last 2 months with the tetras. I have high hopes for this tank, I was being extremely patient with every step unlike with my 10g lol. Im guessing I should replace the filter? I know it sucked up lot of him.

  9. #9


    0 Not allowed!
    No need to replace the filter or the media. You can rinse everything in conditioned water and put it all back in there as far as I'm concerned. With no fish in there, you can start off with completely new water since future bacterial growth is done primarily in the filter, not the water.

    When you say you cycled the tank with bacterial additive, does this mean you cycled with some fish in there or without anything in there? If you had no fish in there, a tank won't cycle at all unless there's a source of ammonia being added (such as pure ammonia, following instructions for a fishless cycle).

    If you cycled with fish, it's important to check your water parameters pretty frequently to check the level of ammonia in order to keep it low. Cycling with fish means using the fish's ammonia to grow bacteria (unless you knew this already) and there are different instructions for doing that.

  10. #10


    0 Not allowed!
    My test results kinda suprised me, I'm going to test again when I get home and then I may take a sample to my LFS to confirm. Ive been using the api freshwater masterkit I think it's called.

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