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HELP!!! All of my Mbunas are dying after a water change!

Postby Spartanchess19 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:24 pm

Please help! All of my mbunas are dying in front of me hours after I did a 40% water change.

I have a 60 gallon tank with (before the massacre) 17 mbunas: 8 yellow labs, 5 yellow tops, 4 saulosis. Aquaclear HOB.

This was the first water change I have done since adding fish to the tank two weeks ago. It had been cycling for three weeks. Yesterday one fish died, not sure why, and decent amount of green slime algae on the surfaces of the tank. So I thought it was time for a water change. I first scrubbed off some of the algae, including disturbing the substrate to help remove some of the algae that was growing on the sand (I think this may have been a bad move). I then drained about 40% of the water and added new water from the tap, making sure that the temperature was consistent. Within an hour, the first fish died, and at least four more have died since. The fish that are still alive look like they are also on their way out.

I should also note that some of the fish were not behaving normally in the past few days, so this may have began before the water change.

In an act of desperation, I rushed to PetCo and bought some water conditioner and aquarium salt.

I don't know what I did wrong and I want to cry. Please help.
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Re: HELP!!! All of my Mbunas are dying after a water change!

Postby DJRansome » Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:43 pm

When you added new water from the tap, did you use a dechlorinator?

Do NOT add aquarium salt at this time.

What kind of water conditioner did you buy? Is it a dechlorinator? If yes you can go ahead and add it to the tank, if you did not use a dechlorinator with the water change.

When things are a little calmer, you can test the tank water and post the results for pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.

Keep your chin up!
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Re: HELP!!! All of my Mbunas are dying after a water change!

Postby Spartanchess19 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:51 pm

DJRansome wrote:When you added new water from the tap, did you use a dechlorinator?

Do NOT add aquarium salt at this time.

What kind of water conditioner did you buy? Is it a dechlorinator? If yes you can go ahead and add it to the tank, if you did not use a dechlorinator with the water change.

When things are a little calmer, you can test the tank water and post the results for pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.

Keep your chin up!

Thanks for the response. No, I didn't use a dechlorinator when I added the new water. I think that's part of the problem. The water conditioner I bought is a dechlorinator and I have added it to the tank.

After the first fish died yesterday I immediately tested the water, but pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate were all at safe and normal levels. Judging from how the few surviving fish are behaving, I suspect that there are low oxygen levels in the tank or some kind of toxin in the water. I fear that when I stirred up the substrate I released a toxin that is killing the fish.

Only the larger fish are still alive: a few yellow tops and one yellow lab and one saulosi. They are at mostly motionless at the bottom, some of them seem to be gasping for air.

I saw a few of them die in front of me. Their swimming got erratic for a second and then quickly slowed. Then they floated to the bottom, sometimes swimming on their sides. After a few minutes of what I assume is gasping for oxygen they died.
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Re: HELP!!! All of my Mbunas are dying after a water change!

Postby DJRansome » Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:23 pm

The toxin was the chlorine from your tap. With the dechlorinator in the tank you should be good. Maybe this bunch has been in the chlorine too long to recover.

But at least you know what to do from now on.

The gasping could be due to the chlorine, not a lack of oxygen.

To evaluate your oxygenation, tell us what kind of filter you have. If you have the documentation, look up the gallons per hour turnover, or GPH.
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