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All Neon Tetras are dead -- Help!

Badmans Tropical Fish Message Center: archive: All Neon Tetras are dead -- Help!


Tuesday, September 18, 2001 - 01:10 pm
I have a ten gallon tank with a ph 7.0 and low ammonia level. Last night I installed a heater that keeps the temperature at 76 degrees (fh) to 80 degrees (fh). When I got up this morning, all 7 of the 8 neon tetras where dead and I watched as the last one slipped away. I have a wide variety of other tetras in the tank (2 Red-eye, 2 black fin tetras, 2 orange like tetras -- just can't think of the name, 2 swordtails and 2 female bettas). These fish seem to be doing fine. Any suggesstions or comments???



Wednesday, September 19, 2001 - 07:25 am
Neon tetra are very hard to keep. If they showed a loss of color they had neon tetra disease which is fatal and only affects neons.Suggest you stick with the other types of tetra that are actually pretty hardy. It is very difficult to keep neon or cardinals. I recently read that neon are also very susceptible to stress and so only do well in a huge school of about 25. Obviously this is too many neons to keep in a small tank.



Wednesday, September 19, 2001 - 01:07 pm
Thanks Joyce, but now it is happening in my other tank. My 5 gallon tank had 2 bala sharks (small - about 1 1/4") and 3 cherry barbs. They got along with no problems so I really don't think it could be stress related. Now I only have 1 cherry barb left!!! I checked the ammonia level and PH level -- all in acceptable range. Again, this happened after I installed the heater. My lord, what is going on with my poor fishies?



Wednesday, September 19, 2001 - 05:03 pm
My guess would be that your 10 gallon was over stocked. Not including Neons, you already had 10 fish in there. I would guess that adding the eight neons to a tank that was near if not at its full capacity caused an ammonia spike. This would affect the neons more than anyone else, because they were new for one, and they are a lot more sensitive, especially for the first few weeks they're in the tank.
Also, if your water temperature was in the low 70s or lower, and the heater kicked it up several degrees in a relatively short amount of time, this would probably stress your fish out quite a bit, it might even kill them is the change was too great, which sounds like what problem might be. What was the water temperature in the tanks before adding the heater?
You also mentioned a low ammonia reading. In all actuality, your ammonia should be a 0 if your tank is established and healthy. If you do show ammonia in your tank, figure out why. Did you just feed? Did a fish just die? Do you use an ammonia "removing" product. Ammonia removing products are notorious for giving false ammonia readings, because they de-toxify the ammonia, but don't remove it from the water, so it still shows up on tests. If this is the case, do a series of small water changes to help remove the ammonia remover (if it was a liquid, if its a solid, try removing it and see what happens).
Also, regarding your water test results, what were they? Saying they were all acceptable doesn't help others, as all fish have different "acceptable" levels (for example, neons would prefer a pH of 7 or even a little lower, where as African cichlids would prefer a pH of 8 or above). Also, do you have a nitrite or nitrate test? These are also very important to test for.
One last point, please remember that a lot of fish lose their color when they are stressed. While loss of color could very well be neon tetra disease, there's also a good chance that its not neon tetra disease (the fish could simply be stressed, most fish I've seen that die do indeed lose some color, as that's generally what happens to a fish when it dies, afterall, dying can be stressful). If its neon tetra disease, the color loss is generally more patch-like. It seems to start in the middle of the fish (it almost looks as though they have a white saddle on). If you see neons with white patches that look like saddles, definitely neon tetra disease (as the disease spreads, most if not all of the color will be gone from the infected fish).
In most cases, you'll be able to tell that there is something wrong before neon tetra disease kills the fish.
Hope this is of some help.



Thursday, September 20, 2001 - 07:33 am
You don't say at what temps your tanks were before adding the heaters. If the temperature did indeed jump more than two degrees or so when you added it this could stress the fish.Your temps should not vary too much and next time you add the heater try to do it before you put fish in the tank. Sometimes it takes a day just to adjust the temperature correctly. Fish are very susceptible to temperature changes even more so than ph changes.Cherry barbs are very hardy fish(I have four).Your ten gallon is close to max now and when your swords reach adult length will be overstocked. Swordtails can get to be about 4 inches and since they are very active should not be kept in a ten gallon. When I had swords they were in a 29 gallon tank. I would return them to the LFS store or plan on getting a larger tank ditto with the sharks! Sharks don't belong in a 5 or 10 gallon tank as they also need room and get way too big! Better suggestion for the ten would be your 6 remaining tetra and maybe one betta. Bettas even females are really not good community fish, but you may be able to the keep one in your ten gallon. As far as the five gallon probably the other betta by herself! Take back the sword and sharks.



Thursday, September 20, 2001 - 07:41 am
Don't mean to scare you but do you realize Bala sharks get to be 14 inches! Now how could you possibly keep this fish in a five or ten gallon tank!!!! Suggested tank size for bala sharks is 70 gallons and I don't think you are really planning on that. The only small shark is a red tail and they get about six inches. Red tails are also aggressive and not good community fish. So forget the sharks.



Friday, September 21, 2001 - 12:49 pm
Gulp! Looks like a made a mistake with the Bala's. Of course, the guy at the LFS told me they would be fine in a 5 gallon tank -- he said when mature, they would only be 6" and I figured I could transfer to the 10 gallon down the road. Guess that shoots that idea down. I removed the heaters and both tanks seem to be doing fine -- no more dead fishies. I hate to do it because I have become attached to the bala's but I will return them to the LFS, I just don't think it would be right to miss treat them in a small tank. Thanks to all for your help!!!



Friday, September 21, 2001 - 02:48 pm
Good idea on the bala. I don't think removing the heater was a good idea unless you are sure the temp will not drop below 75 degrees. African redeye tetra need warm water and if the water gets too cold they will get stressed and may contract ich or some other disease. The betta should not have a problem as they can handle cooler water temps and really don't need the heater. Don't you have a stick on temperature guide on your tank? They only cost about two dollars. If you aren't using a heater you need a heated fish room!



Saturday, October 27, 2001 - 05:46 am
Neons should be tough fish, but they're highly variable now because of overbreeding. I have heard and read lots of stories about neons being really tough and being really sensitive, so I guess it just depends on the fish you end up buying. Some are good batches and some are bad. As Joyce said, the reason why your neons and barbs died is because of the sudden temperature rise. The fish that didn't die were probably stressed but were tough enough to withstand it. There is no need to ditch your heaters. The fish you have are tropicals and need a heated tank. Your tanks should be kept at around 25 degrees celcius (78 degrees farenheit). Find out the temp. of your tanks' water without heaters. Then install the heaters and using the thermostat you should increase the temp. buy about 1 C or 2-3 F per day until you reach the desired temp. This allows the fish to get used to it.

Your 5 and 10 gallon tanks are already overstocked. Even if you didn't add the heaters there was bound to be some deaths at some stage. THere definately wasn't enough room to add neons to your 10 G. tank. I can't beleive that fish guy said the Balas would fit in the 5 G. tank. Either he didn't know any better or he did know but didn't tell you so that you'd buy the fish and he could make money. But either way he shouldn't be allowed to sell fish. You should try getting yourself a 30 G or larger tank and put all your fish in there. They should be a lot happier. But unless you get a tank over 60 G. you should get rid of the the Balas Don't give up on ever owning them though. If you ever get a large enough tank then get some Balas, they are wonderful fish!


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