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Woke up to dead tetras

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
This morning my dad woke up, looked over at his 10 gallon fish tank and noticed all 6 of his cardinal tetras were dead! OVERNIGHT! The other fish in the tank are fine, and simming around, but we're worried that somethings terribly wrong. Here's the low-down on things that have recently happened to the tank (since he's had the tetras for about a year now and they've been happy).

a few days ago he replaced the carbon in his filter. He used some stuff that I had bought for an emergency goldfish tank about a year and a half ago. It was carbon with amonia reducers in it.
Last week I got tired of looking at a moldy tank with thick algae so I scrubed down the sides of the tank with a scrubber that has only been used for said purpose; changed the filter; rinced the canopy and filter holder out with plain water; took a small amount of gunge from the bottom with a syphon; replaced the 2L's of water that I took out with room-temperature water without chlorine; and bought him an algae eater.

They've been fine till this morning. I've suggested him buying a water testing kit and going from there, and I pulled the filter out in case it had something to do with this.

Anyone know fish?? Can anyone give some adivce?
Thanks!
Jess
post #2 of 20
I'm so sorry to hear of your Dad's fish!

I am pretty much a novice with fish, but I would have cleaned it exactly as you have described - except I use declorinated water to clean my filter.

When I lost a fish, it was suggested that I take a sample to the pet shop (or fish shop) to get it tested. They might be able to give you advice on what to do too!

I hope you find out why this happened!
post #3 of 20
I was told at the petshop that Cardinals especially are more fragile than most tetras (but since I also think they're prettier than most tetras, I bought them anyway )

I second Sar's suggestion of dechlorinated water to rinse the filter - never know when that small amt of chlorine can set them off. Also, the water added w/the algae eater might have upset the balance a bit too.

I'm sorry your dad lost all his beautiful fish - I hope he figures it out
post #4 of 20
I have the same problems with Tetras everything else will live in the tank but the Tetras go if there is any problems at all. I have given up on keeping Tetras due to this fact. Strangley enough I have no problem keeping other delicate fish I feel the feed too.

However right now, I'm keeping a gold fish which is a much hardier fish than what I'm used to. It's quite different from what I'm used to.

I would take my water into the pet store and have them test it.
post #5 of 20
take the water and get it tested .. I suspect all the scrubing and the filter change may have interupted the bio filter in the tank..
post #6 of 20
I have one black panthom tetras and the rest are red fin tetras, so far only one has died and i presume my algea eater has eaten it. (this was like half a year ago)
Not all algae eaters can go with tetras. Because algae eaters are really agressive too
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
I suppose it could be an imbalance, it just seems odd that it would take a whole week for them to react and then have them all die in just a matter of a few hours.
The other tetras that dad has in the tank (different kind) seem to be going downhill, and look like they have some ick...white specks sprinkled on the tops of their heads. I suspect they'll be dead by the end of the day. The Danios and algae eater are fine though.
I should have known better...I kill fish simply by looking at them. I shouldn't have tried to improve the tank, it was just asking for trouble.
I'll call him and mention that he should come and get a water sample instead of buying a testing kit. My friend suggested changing some of the water and getting some anti ick treatment, but if I can convince him to bring in the test water, it might be a good starting point instead.
I've gotta go back to things that walk...don't understand this whole swimming thing!
post #8 of 20
A couple of things could have happened.

1. The water you used to replace the tank water, though dechlorinated, could have contained chloramines and/or ammonia. For many water systems, removing chlorine is not sufficient, but most products on the market remove chloramines and ammonia as well. I use AmQuel.

2. When you vacuumed the bottom, you could have stirred up some anaerobic bacteria, which often live in compact layers of gravel that are not vacuumed frequently. Did you notice a sulphur smell while vacuuming? That's anaerobic bacteria. The cure for this is to vacuum on a regular basis, oxygenating the gravel, so that they don't have a chance to build up. NOTE: Most of the bacteria in a tank is good—necessary, in fact—for fish to live. Anaerobic bacteria, OTOH, can poison your fish with sulfur dioxide.
post #9 of 20
From what I've read, white specks usually mean a parasite of some kind. Something called itch?
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kumbulu
From what I've read, white specks usually mean a parasite of some kind. Something called itch?
Yeah, it's probably ick. The thing about ick is that it's almost always present in a tank; fish usually only succumb to it when they are under some other kind of stress. That's why new fish often get ick.

Getting the water tested at this point would be a good idea.
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by evnshawn
A couple of things could have happened.

1. The water you used to replace the tank water, though dechlorinated, could have contained chloramines and/or ammonia. For many water systems, removing chlorine is not sufficient, but most products on the market remove chloramines and ammonia as well. I use AmQuel.

2. When you vacuumed the bottom, you could have stirred up some anaerobic bacteria, which often live in compact layers of gravel that are not vacuumed frequently. Did you notice a sulphur smell while vacuuming? That's anaerobic bacteria. The cure for this is to vacuum on a regular basis, oxygenating the gravel, so that they don't have a chance to build up. NOTE: Most of the bacteria in a tank is good—necessary, in fact—for fish to live. Anaerobic bacteria, OTOH, can poison your fish with sulfur dioxide.
I didn't notice any smell when I vacumed the gravel, but I might have just missed it. Do you think it would have taken a whole week to hit them like that though? And all at once??
I'm still trying to get through to him at work, although I highly doubt that he'll be willing to come home, get some water, go back to the next town and back again.
The other two different tetras are gone now. It's so strange!
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylorna
I didn't notice any smell when I vacumed the gravel, but I might have just missed it. Do you think it would have taken a whole week to hit them like that though? And all at once??
I'm still trying to get through to him at work, although I highly doubt that he'll be willing to come home, get some water, go back to the next town and back again.
The other two different tetras are gone now. It's so strange!
I didn't realize a week passed. No, probably they would have been dead a lot sooner if it was the anaerobic bacteria. So, maybe something in the water that killed them slowly. Or, maybe, something unrelated. A water test is still the best bet at this point, I think. Sorry 'bout your fishies.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky
take the water and get it tested .. I suspect all the scrubing and the filter change may have interupted the bio filter in the tank..
That was my thought too.

You may have cleaned out the good bacterias in the filter which would have caused the amonia level to rise.
I would get a water testing kit to be sure. If you find that the amonia is high, and especially if it keeps rising, you may want to try to get a product like "Cycle" or something similar which will add bacterias to the water.

In the future, if you want to clean the filter (which shouldn't really be necessary unless it's plugged), only clean half of it at a time. That way there will be a good number of bacteria left.
post #14 of 20
Unfortunetly there are alot of dangers in a fishtank. I have had fish die from:

1. poor water quality
2. shock from cleaning out the fish tank with a gravel cleaner
3. cannibalism
4. getting stuck to the filter
5. getting sucked into the filter, and either shredded or having broken bones
5. disease
6. swordtails somehow jumping out of the tank and drying out on my floor (only happened at night?)
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
well, he had the water tested...aparently it's high in nitrates. I said something to the effect of "duh, you're supposed to change 20% once a week" and he said "but she only said half now, so it shouldn't be every week"...he's so lazy!

marie-p, I'm not sure what you mean by changing half of the filter. His filter looks like a mesh bag with charcoal inside which you slip into the filter-holder. The bag was green with goop and I've never heard of changing half of the charcoal because (and only as far as I've been told) once charcoal is used up, you have to replace it...it's no longer good.

We'll replace the water tomorrow...cuz he's too lazy to do it today. Thanks for all of your help and ideas! I really apprecaite it
post #16 of 20
I sort of skimmed the thread so not sure if this was mentioned. When you cleaned the filter out you said you used "plain water." If this was your tap and it had cholorine in it then you killed all of your bacteria which promotes the nitrogen cycle in your tank. So you were pushed into a new cycle. Cardinals are pretty sensitive to tank conditions, hence why they died and probably none of your others did.

Also products like Cycle are misleading and can actually stall a cycle. The only reputable product out their to aid a cycle is BioSpira or using gravel and gunk from another aquarium.

For some great advice, I highly recommend this fish forum:
http://www.aquariacentral.com/forums
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylorna
marie-p, I'm not sure what you mean by changing half of the filter. His filter looks like a mesh bag with charcoal inside which you slip into the filter-holder. The bag was green with goop and I've never heard of changing half of the charcoal because (and only as far as I've been told) once charcoal is used up, you have to replace it...it's no longer good.
I think this is more in reference to if you have some kind of biological filtration. Do you have a bio-wheel? In your situation you would have to replace what you have completely but if you have biological filtration you only replace a little at a time, if at all. Also this could refer to the fact that bacteria also live in filter gunk so cleaning out only some of the gunk at a time can be good.
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylorna
well, he had the water tested...aparently it's high in nitrates. I said something to the effect of "duh, you're supposed to change 20% once a week" and he said "but she only said half now, so it shouldn't be every week"...he's so lazy!
What exactly were teh readings? High nitrAtes are usually ok and can be changed out with your water changes. What exactly was the ammonia and nitrItes? Ammonia and NitrItes HAVE to be 0 and if they are not then that can lead to gill burn and death. Even a little above 0 can cause sensitive fish like cardinals to be overwhelmed. I still think you might have entered a cycle with your tank though. Water changes are definitely good at a greater frequency.
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure what the readings were, since dad doesn't know. He took the water to the petstore and came back with some "cycle" (good bacteria), an announcement that the nitrates were too high and that he had to change the water.
The water is now changed (as of last night). this weekend we're going to a larger city so I think he's planning on going to a big fish store and buying a home testing kit. Also, he's thinking of getting some platys, but I think the plan is to make sure the waters ok before that happens.

How often would you change the water? How much would you change at one time, considering it's a 10 gallon? I think he's thinking 4L's once a month or two, but I've read that it should be more like once a week.

Thanks again for your help!
Jess
post #20 of 20
I have a ten gallon and I take about a 1/4 of it every week and replace it. Of course, I have a gold fish and they are dirty creatures so that may be a bit much.
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