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rick smith
New Member
Username: smitty

Post Number: 1
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 08:38 pm:       

Hello. This my first time posting so be gentle with me! I've had a 29 gallon tank for 3 months now and in that time I've managed to lose 9 fish.
1 tri-color shark, 4 zebra danios, 3 tinfoil barbs, and 1 blue gourami. I lost the 3 barbs within 24 hours of each other. I didn't notice and disease on them. They would "freak out" and swim head on into the side of the tank so much that they would be stunned. So I'm down to 1 blue gourami and two catfish(not sure of species).
Anyway I think I've done everything required as far as tank maintenance is concerned. At 6 weeks I did my first water change and have been doing 20% changes every two weeks since. Water temp is 78. I tested the water this morning: PH 7.6, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10. I have a penguin bio-wheel filter that I change monthly. When I do the water changes I add water conditioner and PH neutral regulator to the new water. At this point I'm hesitant to purchase anymore fish for fear of losing them. Am I missing something?
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Joe C
Regular Member
Username: joe

Post Number: 312
Registered: 12-2005


Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 09:06 pm:       

Hi Rick, and welcome to Badman's. How long ago did you lose these fish? Your water conditions sound good, but your maintenance does not. The six weeks without a water change and 20% every other week since then has probably created some pretty foul conditions in your tank and resulted in tremendous stress on your fish, especially during the initial cycling of your tank.

So let's back up a bit here. Tell us when you put the fish in, and what the readings have been like over the course of the 3 months. What are you using for water conditioner, and why are you using a pH regulator? Also, are you changing your bio wheel itself every month?
Remember to recycle...scrap your warships!
(USS Nathan Hale, SSBN 623, scrapped on April 5, 1994)
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rick smith
New Member
Username: smitty

Post Number: 2
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Friday, March 31, 2006 - 09:20 pm:       

I was told by my LFS to do the first water change at 6 weeks. The shark I lost about 2 months ago.
The 3 barbs about 3 weeks ago and the danios 1 by 1 in the last two weeks. The gourami died yesterday. I started testing the water on Feb17
PH 7.2, AM 0, Nitrite 2, Nitrate 10. March 4 PH 7.2 AM 0, Nitrite 0 Nitrate 10. Mar 17 PH 7.4, AM 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5. The LFS told me to use the regulator so I could get the PH closer to 7.0. I only change the filter, not the bio-wheel.
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Someone Special
New Member
Username: someonespecial

Post Number: 2
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 01:58 am:       

Your tank was WAY overstocked! Tinfoil barbs get 14 inches long!

I'm not sure how big the "shark" gets, but most freshwater "sharks" get very large.

Also, did you add all those fish at once?
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Joe C
Regular Member
Username: joe

Post Number: 313
Registered: 12-2005


Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 02:17 am:       

Thanks, Rick. See if I've got this right--you had a shark, 4 danios, 3 tinfoils, 2 gouramis, and 2 catfish in your 29, which has been up since the beginning of the year (3 months). The shark died around the beginning of February. The other fish died in March.

Without having seen the fish, we are going to be guessing. But my guess is that your shark died of either ammonia or nitrite poisoning prior to your tank completing its biological cycle. The remainder survived the cycling process, but likely experienced extreme stress under the conditions which had to exist in a 29 as heavily loaded as yours was during that 6 week interval with no water changes. Such stress shortens the life of even a hardy fish like a danio.

It's entirely possible that there was some other factor, because poor water conditions contribute to disease. But the conditions alone could account for what you have seen happen.

The theory of doing no water changes during the cycling process does not have many advocates on this site, but I know it is encouraged by some fish folk. Generally, it's based upon having a small fish load (like a few danios) and the idea that increased sustained levels of ammonia will promote bacteria production.

But with the 12 fish you had in your tank (if they were all in from the get-go) would have created a brutal level of ammonia and then nitrite. It killed the shark outright. By the time of your first readings on Feb. 17, you were getting nitrate readings, but still showing a lethal level of nitrite. I can only imagine what the levels must have been at the beginning of February.

Rick, I'm not trying to be hard on you, so relax. What's done is done. You got some bad advice from the lfs, especially if they were aware of what fish you had in the tank. There may have been other factors, but my guess is that the ultimate cause of the death of your fish was ammonia and nitrite poisoning.

Now for the good news. Your tank is cycled. Do a 50% water change, and begin a program of weekly 30-50% water changes. I'd recommend waiting a week to see if the gourami survives, and then begin SLOWLY restocking your tank. Don't put another shark in there--a 29 is way too small for any of the shark varieties. It's also too small for tinfoils. If your gourami makes it, get him a buddy to start with. Do a little research on what type of fish go well together.

Don't let your tank get empty, or the bacteria in there will die and you'll have to start over again. If it looks like you're going to lose the last 3, pick up another 4 danios to keep things going.

Good answer on the bio wheel--that was a concern. What is the pH of your tap water? Unless it is particularly acidic or basic, there should be no need for any pH neutralizer. How about testing it for us. Take two samples: Test one immediately. Let the other stand uncovered for 24 hours, and then test it. Let us know what the results are.
Remember to recycle...scrap your warships!
(USS Nathan Hale, SSBN 623, scrapped on April 5, 1994)
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rick smith
New Member
Username: smitty

Post Number: 3
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 08:19 am:       

I didn't purchase all the fish at once. Started w/ 6 danios a week after the tank was set up. Then at various intervals added the others. The most I had in at once were the danios, barbs, gouramis and catfish. I was told by my lfs you can have 1 inch of fish for each gallon on water. Based on that rule I was slightly understocked. Am testing PH and will start water change.
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dan
Moderator
Username: dan

Post Number: 6768
Registered: 01-2003


Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 09:09 am:       

told by my lfs you can have 1 inch of fish for each gallon on water

it isn't a rule .. it's a myth. one of the most unfortunate myths in the hobby and probably kills more fish than all other diseases combined.

the number and size of the fish you keep in your tank should be based on several factors. it should not be based solely on the chemistry of your water nor on the magic of the inch per gallon myth. it's more than simply a matter of successfully keeping the ammonia and nitrites at zero or the fact that you may have "great filtration". certainly these are important issues, but one of the most important factors is almost always overlooked. the number and size of fish that one maintains in a tank should be predicated on the "biology" and behaviour of those fish.

this means that the interraction of a mixed community tank and/or the behaviour of a single species is the single most important factor to consider. you want the fish you're keeping to have the ability to exhibit "normal" and functional behaviour. normal behaviour is important. abnormal behaviour results in stress. stress leads to disease. disease can lead to death. for example:

1. if species (A) does not get along with species (B), then these fish don't belong in the same tank no matter how few fish you have or how large the tank. "getting along" is based on the visual and behavioural Q's that each fish species is genetically programmed with. this is why African cichlids don't belong in the same tank with Central American cichlids for example. Africans don't "understand" Central American fish speak and this leads to behavioural problems and stress.

2. if species (A) has specific food or water chemistry requirements which are completely different from species (B), then these fish don't belong in the same tank no matter how large it is.

3. if species (A) is aggressive and defends a territory of 2 square feet, then you cannot expect to successfully keep more than one of these fish in a tank which is smaller than 2 square feet. convict cichlids are an excellent example of this ... this little fish aggressively defends territories of about two square feet give or take. if you have a tank which allows only that much room and no more, the convict will defend the entire tank to the detriment of any other fish (no matter how large it is) in that tank.

fish need room to swim without having the rest of the tanks inhabitants "in their face" continuously. when crowded, fish exhibit stress syndromes that result in poor color, improper fin form, insufficient metabolic development, do not exhibit proper musculature, do not develop properly functioning organ systems and most importantly slowly lose their inherant resistance to disease. this results in a significantly shortened lifespan and along the way, lots of diseases for which the poorly conditioned fish is a good target..

think about your local lake or river --- the fish are free to inhabit whatever space suits them biologically. if it gets crowded by their standards, some will disperse and move to other areas where they again have the space they need to exhibit functional behaviour.

it's difficult to allow for that "space" in your tank -- the fish have no escape within the confines of your tank so it's up to you to insure that the fish have that space in the first place. if your tank "looks bare" .. it's probably just right.

another example .. have you seen a full grown oscar? big fish, eh? picture this mature 10 inch fish crammed into a ten gallon tank. it follows the 'inch per gallon myth' right? but it doesn't work because the fish has a tremendous 'mass' relative to it's ten inch length.

another example. goldfish. this fish species puts out a tremendous waste load for its size. so much in fact that a single goldfish needs ten gallons .. and that's for a small goldfish, in order to manage the water quality. a single larger goldfish needs twenty gallons.
you're never too old to have a happy childhood.
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cindy
Ancient Plus
Username: cindy

Post Number: 9826
Registered: 05-2003


Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 09:13 am:       

When I see "one inch per gallon" or the ludicrous word "understocked" I will save my breath and just post this l

"The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve." --- Albert Schweitzer

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rick smith
New Member
Username: smitty

Post Number: 4
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 10:20 am:       

Obviously the "1 inch of fish per gallon of water"
is a sore subject around here! : > ) I will do better research before I start re-stocking. This site has some good info on fish profiles.
I have done the 50% water change as recommended.
BTW I just set up a 10 gal. I had at home about 2 weeks ago. When should I make my first water change? Thanks for all your help.
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cindy
Ancient Plus
Username: cindy

Post Number: 9828
Registered: 05-2003


Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 11:31 am:       

As long as you are testing the water, you do the changes according to the results, not according to a preset schedule. When ammonia rises above 1 ppm, or you see the fish distressed in any way, you make a change. After a week to 10 days, it should drop to zero, while nitrites start rising, triggering more changes. That spike typiclally lasts longer, up to a month. When both are zero, you do changes anytime your nitrates go over 20 ppm, until you get a feel for how much and how often to keep them at 10 ppm or under.

Keep in mind that even if you don't add fish, as the ones you have grow, you will need to do larger changes more often to keep the nitrates down.

"The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve." --- Albert Schweitzer

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Joe C
Regular Member
Username: joe

Post Number: 315
Registered: 12-2005


Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 05:48 pm:       

Rick, the advice Cindy gave is based on actually having fish in the tank. There is no need to do anything with your new 10 until you actually put fish in there.
Remember to recycle...scrap your warships!
(USS Nathan Hale, SSBN 623, scrapped on April 5, 1994)
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cindy
Ancient Plus
Username: cindy

Post Number: 9834
Registered: 05-2003


Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 06:04 pm:       

Actually, the advice I gave works for empty tanks, too. As long as he tests first, neither the ammonia nor the nitrites are likely to be high enough to warrant a change yet, if it is empty...

"The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve." --- Albert Schweitzer

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Joe C
Regular Member
Username: joe

Post Number: 318
Registered: 12-2005


Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2006 - 10:35 pm:       

Ah...then does the tank actually have to have water in it?
Remember to recycle...scrap your warships!
(USS Nathan Hale, SSBN 623, scrapped on April 5, 1994)
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rick smith
New Member
Username: smitty

Post Number: 5
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Sunday, April 02, 2006 - 01:30 pm:       

Yes. There is water in the tank...and fish too.
Two zebra danios. I checked my tap water ph as you suggested. Once immediately and then after 24 hours. Both times 7.2. Also I purchased a piece of driftwood at pet smarts 2 weeks ago. I boiled it then let it dry for two days before placing in my tank. Now the water, even after the 50% change, is slightly cloudy. Will this eventually clear up? Still researching what fish I want to re-stock my tank with. When I come to a decision I will run it by you guys first.
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Joe C
Regular Member
Username: joe

Post Number: 320
Registered: 12-2005


Posted on Sunday, April 02, 2006 - 04:00 pm:       

With a pH of 7.2, your tap water does not require any pH regulation, so I would recommend you discontinue that. The cloudiness is normal in a new tank due to bacteria, and may not be due to the driftwood. It will clear up, and should not have any affect on the danios.

How are your other fish doing?
Remember to recycle...scrap your warships!
(USS Nathan Hale, SSBN 623, scrapped on April 5, 1994)
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rick smith
New Member
Username: smitty

Post Number: 6
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Sunday, April 02, 2006 - 04:31 pm:       

The blue gourami and the two catfish that are left in the 29 all seem healthy and happy. BTW.
The two catfish are about and inch and a half. They are tan with brwn markings and the dorsal fin has black in it. Any idea what kind?
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Joe C
Regular Member
Username: joe

Post Number: 322
Registered: 12-2005


Posted on Sunday, April 02, 2006 - 08:02 pm:       

Check out this site...it's a good place for catfish info.

http://www.planetcatfish.com/core/
Remember to recycle...scrap your warships!
(USS Nathan Hale, SSBN 623, scrapped on April 5, 1994)
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rick smith
New Member
Username: smitty

Post Number: 7
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Monday, April 03, 2006 - 07:05 pm:       

I've been looking at the fish profiles here to decide what to restock my 29 with. I've been leaning toward 6 harlequin rasboras to go with the one blue gourami and 2 cories. My concern is with the gourami. He thinks he is king of the tank right now and I'm afraid what he will do to the rasboras. In fact I think he is the reason my other blue gourami died. He chewed it up pretty badly. Can someone help?
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rick smith
New Member
Username: smitty

Post Number: 8
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Tuesday, April 04, 2006 - 10:08 pm:       

Anyone have any comments on my previuos post before I go buy the rasborsa? I'd hate for the gourami to eat them!
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Gopi
Advanced Member
Username: gopi

Post Number: 1817
Registered: 01-2004


Posted on Tuesday, April 04, 2006 - 10:24 pm:       

well, if a fish can fit into another fish's mouth, it is likely it will one day end up there ;)

having never owned either...I'm not sure, but I wouldn't think so...
There! You have a bigger tank! Will you stop plotting my death now??
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rick smith
New Member
Username: smitty

Post Number: 9
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Tuesday, April 04, 2006 - 10:57 pm:       

Actually I was hoping someone would give me some advice on what I could put in the tank w/ the gourami. After having lost nine fish I'm gun shy to add any more.
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Ellie
Junior Member
Username: ellie

Post Number: 14
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Tuesday, April 04, 2006 - 11:24 pm:       

Rick, I am not real familiar with the Gourami, but Harlequin Rasboras are very peaceful. I keep mine with corys, guppies, a clown pleco and a Golden Mystery snail. Even when the gups had fry, the razzies didn't eat them. They are really pretty fish, too.
"We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box"
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compensate
Regular Member
Username: compensate

Post Number: 152
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Wednesday, April 05, 2006 - 08:51 am:       

What about some black neon tetras? They get a little bigger than some (about 1 3/4 inches), but not too big, like some 2.5"+ tetras.

Your gourami will likely not be able to eat a harlequin rasbora (rasbora het) either - it would need a pretty big mouth to do that.

I really like the white cloud mountain minnow, but gouramis typically require higher temps than white clouds (typical max temp is 76-77-ish for white clouds).

There are lots of options, but the harlequin rasbora is a hardy, attractive fish that schools well, provided you get at least 5 or 6.
What is popular isn't always right, and what is right isn't always popular!
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rick smith
New Member
Username: smitty

Post Number: 10
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Wednesday, April 05, 2006 - 09:34 am:       

Thnk you both for your suggetions. I think I'll start out with 6 of the rasboras and see how they do.
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