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Help please

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Help please

Post  Lara on Mon 23 Jan 2017, 19:56

Hi, many thanks for this forum I have enjoyed reading the threads. I need some help, firstly I'm feeling incredibly guilty & secondly I need to know how to go forward. I'm not new to fishkeeping, I have three other tanks with minimal casualties but I hankered after a tank with angel fish & bottom feeders. I had tried a few months ago in a different tank which is now running successfully with tetras, rams & 2 baby angels. I bought at that time 6 angels which died after two weeks. My best explanation was that we got two puffer fish for another tank from that shop too, they perished fairly quickly & then two mature angel fish then began to perish, my partner put the remaining sick angel in my new angel tank to save it & it didn't but my angels began perishing slowly after. I was mortified at the time & said I'd never have angel fish again but a few months on I decided to give it another go. New tank, filter run for a week, 2 baby plecs & 4 baby Corys & 8 angels, 4 from the pet shop in town & 4 from the shop I used before, a shop that sells cold water, tropical & marine & at the same time I bought 8 other angels from the pet shop to out in 3 other established tanks. The next morning one angel from the aquarium shop had died, I rang them, froze the fish until I could take it in on Friday with a water sample but the water sample was from Friday not Monday. They sold me a bottle called stability for new tanks, I had tested my tank every day & removed my barnacles that they'd sold me for my angels straight away after advice on here and done partial water changes every second day. After adding the stability all the remaining fish in the angel tank have died but all the Corys and plecs are doing well, the Corys are having a ball but all angels are dead. The other tanks containing the fish from the pet shop are fine, fingers crossed.
I spoke to the aquarium shop this morning & they insist it's a new tank syndrome & I've to carry on using stability & waterchanging & starve the remaining fish, now gone. I'm not wet behind the ears,, I've read books, I check my equipment, I take advice from shops and other fish keepers. Now my angel tank has no angels but my bottom feeders are happy. I feel so guilty for buying these beautiful fish & have them perish one by one, I daren't transfer them to other tanks as that's what happened with angels that were in with the sick puffers. My baby angels in other tanks will eventually get too big & I would like to transfer some into this tank & then upgrade one day to a beautiful big angel tank. Will I be able to do this? If these angels had a disease how do I make this tank safe for future use & how long do I leave it? I don't want to shut it down because of the other fish in there.
Thank you in advance xx

Lara

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Re: Help please

Post  Lara on Mon 23 Jan 2017, 20:05

I forgot to add that when in another fish shop a customer was complaining about buying fish that had died from there & the man behind the counter said that that's the 4th complaint they'd had that day. He might say that but I do know the shop operates a quarantine system & you can't buy stock for two days after it's arrived in store.

Lara

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Re: Help please

Post  Lara on Tue 24 Jan 2017, 18:10

I'm thinking I should add that the fish just died suddenly, not slowly, they were swimming around & then I'd notice one was missing & have to search for them.
The filter on the tank is a internal, sponge filter & we added a biofilter on Sunday once most of them had died to try and get some oxygen in the water & save the other fish. The nitrates in the tank are still high but according to the fish shop man that's good, even though it's off the scale on the NO three levels and very high on the NO two.

Lara

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Re: Help please

Post  Pterophyllum on Wed 25 Jan 2017, 12:08

Hi Lara,
Sorry for the delay in the replying, but this isn't an easy one to answer quickly.

New tank, filter run for a week, 2 baby plecs & 4 baby Corys & 8 angels, 4 from the pet shop in town & 4 from the shop I used before

Fish excrete ammonia, filters work with bacteria, the bacteria usually take between 3 - 6 weeks to establish, in some cases up to a couple of months.
There are two types of bacteria the first break down Ammonia into Nitrite (N02), the second lot break Nitrite (N02) down into less harmful Nitrate (N03).
The second lot of bacteria are inhibited by the presence of ammonia, so what happens is this :-
The fish excrete ammonia, the ammonia level starts to rise, as the levels rise the first lot of bacteria start to multiply and start converting the ammonia to nitrite.
Ammonia and Nitrite are poisonous to fish, the more fish you have, the more food you feed them and the smaller the tank, the higher the levels will rise, and the more likely the fish are to die.
Not only that, but the higher the ammonia goes, the longer it takes to come down, and the longer it will be before the second lot of bacteria have a low enough ammonia level to start multiplying and converting the nitrite to nitrate. This means that the level of nitrite will also go higher and take longer to come down.
for this reason many people advocate "cycling" a tank before introducing any fish. Some recommend doing this by adding ammonia and getting the levels very high to establish a large colony of bacteria. But this process can take a long time, and because the second lot of bacteria are inhibited by ammonia can, in my opinion, be counter productive.
Personally I recommend the use of Tetra Safestart*, added after the water has been in the tank for about 48 hours, along with any live plants you want, and possibly a small pinch of flake food. Monitor ammonia and nitrite, and when both are down to zero, or after two weeks without any sign of ammonia or nitrite, which ever is longer, add your first fish. You don't say how big your tank is, but for a 200 litre tank I'd probably start with just 4 or 6 small angels.

*If you have access to a mature filter in another aquarium, and you're sure there are no disease issues in the tank, even better is to grab some of the filter material from it, to seed the new filter. If you can't remove the actual media, gently rinse it in aquarium water and then add the resulting brown sludge to the new aquarium.

In short then you've added too many fish to the aquarium too soon and they are probably dying from a combination of ammonia and/or nitrite poisoning. Unfortunately exposure to high levels of ammonia & nitrite seems to also weaken the immune system and makes the fish more susceptible to disease outbreaks too.

What you can do :-
1. Stop all feeding.
2. Carry out substantial, up to about 30%, daily water changes to reduce the ammonia & nitrite levels. Some might recommend higher percentages, but the bigger the change, the more likely it is to upset the filter bacteria, and you end up in a vicious circle of - big water change - no bacteria - high ammonia/nitrite - big water change.
3. You have a mature filter in your other tanks, so follow the instructions above to seed bacteria into your new filter.
4. Assuming some of the fish survive, once ammonia & nitrite are zero wait at least a couple of weeks, preferably a month, to check for signs of disease outbreak and give the existing fish chance to recover from their stress, before adding any new fish.

In my experience Cories & plecos can be very sensitive to fluctuations in water quality and are best only added once the tank has been running for at least a couple of months.



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Re: Help please

Post  Lara on Wed 25 Jan 2017, 23:07

Thank you, that makes sense from what I've been reading, I'm kind of mad at myself because I used the retailers knowledge about knowledge I could glean online & as I've read & learned more I've learned to distrust what I've been told by them & question some of the things I've seen & been told. I honestly believe if I went back in tomorrow ready to restock they wouldn't deter me and these are living creatures & that's what distressed me. But I know now where to find trusted sources. Thank you.

Lara

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Re: Help please

Post  Pterophyllum on Thu 26 Jan 2017, 00:36

Pity the poor retailer, Dammed if we do, dammed if we don't.

I honestly believe if I went back in tomorrow ready to restock they wouldn't deter me and these are living creatures & that's what distressed me.

True there are some that will say anything to get the sale, but certainly at my store we do our utmost to try to educate our customers, we will, as our pet licence requires, refuse to sell fish if we believe they will suffer in inappropriate conditions or through lack of care. But we've refused to sell fish, particularly goldfish, only to suffer a tirade of verbal abuse and have the customer storm out to go and buy them elsewhere, or worse, to win them at a passing fair.

This hobby is one of the few where retailers refuse to take customer's money. Can you imagine walking into a car show room and the salesman refusing to sell you the porsche, etc. because you lack the necessary driving experience?
or a clothes shop where they won't sell you a dress? - "Sorry madam, but that colour really doesn't suit you."

Sometimes it can be difficult to get useful information from the customer too. "Will these be OK with my fish?"
"What fish do you have?"
"I've got some red ones, a few blue stripey ones and a bluey, grey, black and red one with floppity wings*"
*This is a genuine description I was once faced with, I actually managed to guess this one first time.**

"How big is your tank?"
"Oh quite big" (this usually means about 40 litres)
"How long has it been running for?"
"Oh ages" (at least 3 days!)

So yes, if you've asked the right questions and been given the wrong answers, don't give them any more of your money. But if you find somewhere where they care, take care to make sure you give them all the information they need to give you the right advice.

And finally, please don't take this as a dig at you Lara, this is just a general plea for a bit thought for the good retailers out there. There are some of us who care for our fish, and do our best to help. Very Happy

**It was a calico oranda.

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Re: Help please

Post  Lara on Thu 26 Jan 2017, 10:09

I was only complaining about the one shop, retailers like you are what they all should be like. And I can believe the ignorance of some customers. The retailer I was speaking of was serving a customer one day and she had a few tetras here and a few there, he'd had his hands in a few tanks collecting & to top it off she asked for two puffer fish, big ones too. They did st least tell her & everything had to go back. In the pet store, I've been looking at the fish whilst young teenagers have been trying to get me to buy them one.
I do take the time out to explain & seek out the staff & I go at quiet times to do this. I expect specialised aquarium shops to be more concerned about their livestock than anything. Maybe some people may think it's just a fish, but no one on here I know that, but it's a living breathing creature of this earth that deserves the best care, especially if we are making a hobby out of them.
I really have no issue with retailers in general, I think you must require a great deal of patience & get very little gratitude for it. You're not in Lancashire by any chance are you?

Lara

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Re: Help please

Post  Pterophyllum on Thu 26 Jan 2017, 11:28

You're not in Lancashire by any chance are you?
Sadly not, rather further south than that, Gloucestershire.


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Re: Help please

Post  Lara on Thu 26 Jan 2017, 12:51

Ah, well, a girl can't have everything.

Just tested the tank again & the nitrates are coming down. So at least we're going in the right direction.

Lara

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Re: Help please

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