Massiv fish deaths

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Massiv fish deaths

Postby SunshineTeddy » Sat Jun 30, 2007 8:27 am

Hi, I´m new here and have a huge problem. Kekra told me about this forum.

My moms fish are dying fast, we have so far lost over 15 fish. I have to admit that her tank is very overstocked with bristle nose. We have/had a pair that was very produktive, the female of that pair also died today and she was 5-6 years old.
Mom has a 180 ltr. tank and she did a complete water change 4 weeks ago along with washing the gravel. I´m suspecting that is where the problem lays.
I tested the water today, no nitrits, Ph 7,5, but the nitrates are very very high, I could´nt figure out how high. I went to the LFS today and got some medication against parasites and bacteria and it seems to have gotten better, although we have since then lost another two. It seems to mainly kill the bristle nose, but we have also lost one sword fish (bought along with 2 others 4 weeks ago), to siamese loaches and one of the two clown loaches is giving up a good fight at the moment.
I did noticed that most of the dead and dying fish have a white film covering them.
We did a half water change yesterday and changed another 30 ltrs today. I put a teaspoon of salt in the tank today along with the medication (they told me to do that at the LSF). Anything else we can do now or do we just wait and see what happens?
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Postby Wolfgirl » Sat Jun 30, 2007 9:24 am

It sounds like a combination of things to me. Firstly, there is most likely a very high nitrate level in the tank because it is overstocked and she isn't doing water changes often enough. In a normally stocked tank, it's recommended to do water changes at least once every 2 weeks. In an overstocked tank, she should be doing them weekly at the very least, if not twice a week.

It sounds like there may be a case of velvet in the tank because of this.

I'm not an expert, but I would consider getting one of the medications listed there and treating immediately.
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Postby krekra » Sat Jun 30, 2007 10:34 am

Hi there and welcome. I agree that the tank is overstocked to a rather large degree. When this happens the fish become stressed both physically and behaviorally. This makes them much more suseptable to diseases and parasites. To keep an overstocked tank relativly healthy you have to do many frequent water changes.

The big water change and gravel clean could have reduced a good bit of the beneficial bacteria but I would have expected this to have been an issue within days of the event not 4 weeks later. You might have introduced a parasite of bacterial disease when you got the new fish as well.

We may never know the what and why but the best thing you can do is get any sick looking fish out of there and into a hospital tank to try to stop the disease from spreading to the others in hopes to save the rest of the fish. If you have another tank available you can use it without any substrate and a couple of fake plants for cover and 2 times a day water changes with like temp dechlorinated water to keep them for experiencing an ammonia spike.

If you dont have another tank available then do a water change daily to keep the nitrates low and continue treating as Wolfgirl recomended. No need to salt the tank. Your fish are fresh water and dont need added salt. The clown loaches will be an issue as they are scaless and sensative to many medications. You may need to start at half doses so these guys dont get toxic.

Once things start to stabilize let us know and we can help you sort out your stocking issues

By the way welcome to TTT :wink:

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Postby SunshineTeddy » Sat Jun 30, 2007 1:16 pm

Thank you both.
The medication I got from the LFS this morning is for parasites, so I´m hoping its the right one for Velvet. The way it looks at the moment we are going to lose them all. Even my two up side down catfish, that I have really been pulling for are getting very slow. I´ve had these guys since I started with aquariums in 1999. I gave them and a few other fish to mom when I sold my tank. All three of the new sword fish have died. The clown loach seems better, he was swimming on his side this afternoon and is back in an upright position.
We don´t have a hospital tank, but the way it looks at the moment all fish are fighting this.
I guess that once this is over, if any survive, the overstocking problem won´t be an issue anymore.
We will keep up with the water changes daily and I´ll keep testing the nitrates. I will test the ammoniac tomorrow also.

How much water should we change. My parents changed about 80 ltrs. last night when they first noticed fish dying and we changed another 30 ltrs. this morning.
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Postby SunshineTeddy » Sat Jun 30, 2007 1:25 pm

Forgot to add that the frogs and apple snails mom has in the tank are the only ones that seem fine at the moment.
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Postby krekra » Sat Jun 30, 2007 2:35 pm

I think you probobly introduced some sort of parasite or bacterial disease when you added the swords. Or possibly something toxic got into the tank like a cleaning or glass polishing compound??? Just overstocking I think would kill individual fish slowly but a mass die off like this has to be something that was added recently.

I am so sorry you have to watch your fish suffer but I think you are doing all you can. As for volume of water changes I think 20% of the total would be OK. Daily if you can till things settle out a bit. Keep a close eye on the water parameters in case you have killed off some of your filter bacteria with the treatments.

K :(
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Postby SunshineTeddy » Sun Jul 01, 2007 12:53 am

We lost them all over night except my two upside down catfish, one bristle nose, the frogs and the applesnails. :cry:
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Postby SunshineTeddy » Sun Jul 01, 2007 2:03 am

I found an extra tank (50 ltrs) in the basement and built up a hospital tank for the survivors. I put in half of the water from the old tank and the filter (just washed it out a little), no gravel. I spoke to a guy that owns a LSF and he said to bake the gravel from that sick tank at 200 °C to kill off any parasites. Should we put the gravel in that tank afterwards or wait for the time being? It looks like my two 8 year old up side down catfish could actualy make it.
Mom is giving up the large tank, she has had enough after losing so many fish in 24 hours. We will keep the "hospital tank" for the survivors.
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Postby SunshineTeddy » Sun Jul 01, 2007 2:40 am

I just tested the water in the hospital tank:

Ph 7,5
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 20 mg/l
Ammonia 0,009 mg/l (according to my chart, not toxic).

I´m thinking that if there is ammonia in this tank with 20 ltrs. of water from the sick tank, there probably was a lot more in the sick tank.

I don´t know what else to do to get rid of the nitrate.
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Postby moocowmoneybox » Sun Jul 01, 2007 9:41 am

Nitrate is OK up to about 50ppm (50 mg/L)

In a healthy planted tank the plants will use up the nitrates, in a non-planted tank weekly water changes keep them below 50 (although after a few weeks its worth checking that the water changes are enough to lower the nitrates to suitable levels :wink: )
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