What is going on with my fish :(

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by chickmomma03, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. chickmomma03

    chickmomma03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have had african cichlids before, but took a long break. I bought 11 african cichlids and a plecostomus on December 31. Everything was going fine. They're in a 29gl tank with a whisper filter, aerator, and heater, it has a hood with LED lights on it. All levels were good, except for last night the ph dropped from 8 down to 7.2. Tank temp has been good too.

    I noticed first that Physics wasn't looking great. Some of them didn't seem interested in dinner yesterday. Moonshadow started thrashing through the tank, crashing into rocks and decor, and within a short time Moonshadow died. A little bit later Physics started doing the same thing. A while later Physics died. All the other fish seemed to be fine. I stayed up for a while keeping an eye on the tank. While I was doing that I slowly worked on getting ph up as to try not to shock them. I had to lay down to try to get some sleep (just after 1:30am), and I woke up at 5:30am to 5 more dead. Snickers in the filter, Blue under a rock, powder under another rock, Fireball was on the bottom toward the back, and Abyss toward the front.

    I only have Plechy (plecostomus), Lennon, Starburst, Quantum, and Pina Colada left. A couple of them aren't looking the best either. I'm heartsick, and I feel so frustrated and helpless.

    I'm on well water, I treated the tank with the water treatment stuff, temp is good, all levels are good except for ph had a drop, they had places to hide. I did clean the tank yesterday, but only took out about 15% of the water. When I refill the tank I don't put in water that's too hot/cold so I keep the temp around the same. When I pour it in I use my hand as a "buffer" so it's not causing a huge current or scaring the fish. I try to be really quick in there too. I don't spray chemicals in the air that could fall into the tank. I have run through every possible thing I could, and I don't get it. They don't have any specks, no white poop, etc. The only thing I noticed was that some of them looked stressed. My blue ones with black stripes looked darker than normal.

    This literally happened within the day (really, just hours). Other than PH the only thing I can come up with is either bloat, or dropsy. But I'm not really sure. Unless it's because my son's father put a few (recently) dead crickets in the tank and they ate them and maybe something was wrong with the crickets? The crickets were bought for my son's Gecko Charlotte.

    I only have 4 of the 11 left, and I really want to try to save them if I can. It's not even just about the big financial hit for me, we are attached to these fish. [​IMG] I took a few videos shortly before Moonshadow died. I'm only uploading 1 right now because they take a long time to upload, but I do have a few more if you need to see them. It's pretty much all the same though, the only thing I see aside from the thrashing is going sort of floppy/belly up.

    Most were Malawi, and I have read it's pretty a pretty common issue for them to get bloat, but they didn't look bloated (though I read they don't have to look bloated to get bloat either). The tank never had fish in it before this. I bought it new, washed it out as directed, filled it, and treated with water treatment. I let it cycle for a little while before putting the fish into the tank. I've covered everything I can think of right now to cover. It really just came out of nowhere. There were no signs of sickness, sluggishness, or odd behavior before last night.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. chickmomma03

    chickmomma03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had 1 electric yellow lab, a peacock, 1 demasoni, 2 red zebra, 4 kenyi, 1 scolofi, an albino.
     
  3. chickmomma03

    chickmomma03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm pretty sure I figured it out and I'm so mad [​IMG] My son's father said they could eat crickets, and dropped one in the tank (and told me after the fact). They ate it and were fine, or so it seemed. Yesterday he dropped in several (3-4), and again they ate them. Son of a monkey, I told him not to do it because it didn't feel right. From everything I've read now they are NOT suppose to get meat like that. They are suppose to have primarily a vegetable based diet. So, right now I have 4 alive and fighting to live. It makes sense though since reading about it. They liked to go after the plecostomus food because it had cucumber. I really wish I would have put my foot down and said NO DO NOT DO IT and stood firm on it!

    I have had to put the net in a couple times to retrieve items, but I'm trying really hard NOT to disturb the fish right now.

    Anyways, aside from taking out the other parts of the cricket, is there anything I can do? How long should I let their intestines settle before offering them food? I'm reading at least a day or so, and then try a little?

    I'm completely heartbroken over this. I have a lot of time already invested in these babies, and I'm trying to keep the ones I still have alive. My son was so excited to have fish again, and we watch them together all the time. He's sad that we've lost over half of our fish.
     
  4. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

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    I'd highly suggest testing the levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, and promptly! This is a brand new tank, and is going through The Nitrogen Cycle. First ammonia spikes, until the bacteria colonize the filter and can turn it into nitrite. Then the nitrite will spike, until the next set of bacteria that can turn it into nitrate establish. Both ammonia and nitrite are toxic and harm fish, though some tough species can survive. Delicate species will always die if exposed to the Nitrogen Cycle.

    Once the bacteria that turn nitrite into nitrate are present, the cycle is complete. The tank will require weekly 10-25% water changes to remove prevent nitrate buildup (this can only be removed through water changes). Test nitrate levels every few weeks, increase the percentage of water changed out if the level starts building. It means you've overstocked the tank.

    Most of the nitrifying bacteria live in your filter where the greatest flow of oxygen is. Never discard all of your filter material at once! That will restart the cycle from scratch! Instead, rinse out the filter material gently in dechlorinated water and replace into the filter.

    In the future I highly recommend using the Fishless Cycle to complete The Nitrogen Cycle before fish are introduced.
     
  5. chickmomma03

    chickmomma03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm on well water, no chlorine. I tested all my levels and the only level that was off was the ph (it was 7.2 instead of 8), which I corrected. The tank looked unusually cloudy, and after losing several fish I removed the carbon filter and treated with an all cure medication. No more thrashing in the fish that are left. They seem to be slowly getting better. When I put water in the new tank I took water from the tank they were in, so they didn't have all fresh water in the tank when I added them in.
     
  6. ColoradoEngr

    ColoradoEngr Out Of The Brooder

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    I have been lurking on this site for a bit but decided to join just to see if I can be of some help.

    I have owned Tiger Oscars, a lot of African cichlids and some angel fish along with a Pleko and a variety of "boring fish". I love cichlids and have ran into a few issues in the past that I had to fix or just learn from.

    1. Make sure you watch your ammonia, nitrate, and chlorine levels (I know you said you already did but it's always the go to answer).

    2. African cichlids can eat meat and vegetables generally but you don't want to over do it on meat...1 or 2 crickets shouldn't have knocked them out like this I don't think I would blame him. I fed my African cichlids brine shrimp and crickets a couple times a month and they were fine. They love peas as well!

    3. If the crickets were from your house or around your house and you have sprayed for bugs that could be what killed them (Happened to a friends Oscar that he had for two years).

    4. Also I have gotten cichlids from pet stores before that just up and die a couple of weeks (2-6 in the past). This had nothing to do with my setup, what I fed them or from me watching them to much [​IMG]. If you set up recently be aware that most pet store will replace fish from 14-30 days depending on where you went. This is because some fish die of shock no matter what you do and sometimes these stores have huge waves of disease that will decimate a huge number of their fish.

    I hope you find out what the problem was but don't be afraid to feed them crickets and such in the future. They love meat but if you want to be more careful frozen brine shrimp from the store are nice and safe.
     
  7. ColoradoEngr

    ColoradoEngr Out Of The Brooder

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    BTW a PH of 7.2 is ok for a while I have had mine dip to 6.5 for a week and had no issues but that was a well established tank. Good luck!
     
  8. chickmomma03

    chickmomma03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Unfortunately, they only had a 14 day return policy which I was past by about a week. He fed them a couple the first time, and then probably 6-8 the next time he said. I'm not "blaming" him or anything, I haven't said a word to him other than "please don't feed them crickets like that again" which I don't think is mean or asking too much of him. I spent a while picking cricket parts out of the tank, so it wasn't fun. The crickets (from a breeder, I've never ordered from them before because I've not had a need) were ones I ordered online to feed to my son's gecko he just got for christmas from his brother. If I were to get from outside though there are no chemical treatments in this yard except for minor treatment around the garden to keep the horn caterpillars from killing the tomato and banana pepper plants (I have a dog, and I don't want her to be poisoned by anything).

    I've been checking my levels and they're all coming up where they need to be, ph is back up to where it needs to be too. Starburst is coming out of hiding and swimming around more now. Quantum is swimming around a little, and they aren't thrashing anymore. After I put the cure all in there they started perking up so I don't really know.

    Btw, I'm not trying to be a smarty pants or anything like that, I know stuff typed online can be misread, but I'm just trying to give more information. I tried to give a lot in my post too.
     
  9. chickmomma03

    chickmomma03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, also, I don't really have a problem with a cricket every now and then, I think he might have become too excited at them eating them and put too many in. He said "they won't eat too much and they won't eat anything that's not good for them" so I don't think he realizes it could cause problems. I've already been working out feeding schedule like who feeds when since he doesn't always want to handle feeding, and he has put too much in the tank a couple times and I had to take the net and retrieve excess food. I bought the fish primarily for him (my son's father), but we all enjoy them. He suffered a brain injury in a car accident though so I don't think he remembers it quite like when we had them in the past. I really don't want to keep having to mess in the tank by taking excess food, or cricket parts out of it all the time. I want to have a good feeding/maintenance routine and stick with it. I thought I was doing pretty good, until all this mess happened within the last 2 days.
     
  10. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    A few things come to mind in this case. Was this a cycled tank? (Stacykins posted a link to fish less tank cycling, I believe) if not, that could be why you are seeing losses now. Tank cycling allows time for bacteria to grow so that things like ammonia and nitrates don't build up too fast and to toxic levels which can harm the fish. When a tank is cycled, you will often have a cloudy period which will then cleared. When I cycled my tank, I let it run for 4-6 weeks before adding fish. During that time, my tank measurements were all over the place (I cycled using water/gravel/filter material from an existing tank). At around the 4 week mark, I saw things level off and then I added my fish...which brings me to another possibility.

    If you added all the fish at the same time, this can overload even a cycled tank and you will see cloudiness and changes in tank parameters. When I was setting up my tank (just a ten gallon with platys), it was recommend to only add two to three fish at weekly intervals or even every other week to avoid overloading the tank. Adding a large number of fish at one time can definitely cause large die offs.

    Last year my fish class kept goldfish tanks but the shipment of fish we got sent too many extras and our tanks were not cycled before hand. We did really, really frequent water changes but still had huge die offs and then the stress it caused the fish caused an ich infestation from heck.

    For now I would probably try partial water changes until all your levels normalize.
     

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