General African Cichlid Discussion • Major tank problem

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Major tank problem

Postby ocho » Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:55 pm

I have a 55 gal, established (ammonia= 0 ppm, nitrite= 0 ppm, nitrate= 10-15 ppm, temp 78 degrees) tank, that was stocked with 2 Demasoni, 2 Marmalades, 7 yellow labs and 2 ablinos (all 13 were juveniles). I currently have 2 Marineland 350 HOB and an air stone utilized. Last Sunday i conducted a 35-40% water change because ALL of the fish were pretty lethargic and not eating. During the water change I ensured the new water temp was the same as the tank and I used Prime in accordance with the instructions and filled the tank back up pretty slowly. Within 12 hours, fish tried jumping out of the tank by "darting" up to the surface and hitting the glass canopy, my albinos died and within 72 hours, all 7 of my yellow labs have died and my four remaining fish still won't eat. Last night I rechecked both my tank parameters and my tap water parameters
TANK (ammonia= 0 ppm, nitrite= 0 ppm, nitrate= 10 ppm)
TAP (ammonia= 2-3 ppm, nitrite= 0 ppm, nitrate= 0 ppm)
My only guess for the sudden deaths of 9 fish is an ammonia spike, but as I stated earlier, they were all lethargic prior to the water change and I used Prime during the change. I'm worried about losing the last four fish. I don't know what initially went wrong and I'm worried about inadvertently redoing whatever catastrophe happened. I am asking for any advice/insight and what I may have/not have done in order to prevent this. Thank you all.
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Re: Major tank problem

Postby judyok » Wed Dec 11, 2019 5:33 pm

Well it looks like you have Malawi cichlids which prefer a higher ph and hard water. What is the ph, gh, kh coming out of your faucet?
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Re: Major tank problem

Postby DJRansome » Wed Dec 11, 2019 7:16 pm

It is surprising that in the US your tap water has such a high ammonia reading. That said, with a smallish water change I would be surprised that could kill so many of the fish so quickly.

I would not trust Prime to neutralize such a high ammonia reading, but it should help.

Definitely provide the pH test results requested.

I would say a water problem, but can't see what it was. With only 15ppm nitrate I would not have blamed the lethargy on the need for a water change.

Wait until nitrates are at least 20ppm before the next change and do 20% instead of 40%. Maybe between now and then this can be figured out.
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75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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Re: Major tank problem

Postby ocho » Wed Dec 11, 2019 8:13 pm

judyok wrote:Well it looks like you have Malawi cichlids which prefer a higher ph and hard water. What is the ph, gh, kh coming out of your faucet?


Thank you for the response. My faucet water ph is 7.6. As far as the hardness, I don't have a test kit for that, however, the city water is noted at 47 ppm. I'll get a hardness test kit ASAP. Also, these fish have been doing well for the past two and a half months. Very active and a healthy appetite. This is a recent issue. Did something finally catch up?
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Re: Major tank problem

Postby ocho » Wed Dec 11, 2019 8:19 pm

DJRansome wrote:It is surprising that in the US your tap water has such a high ammonia reading. That said, with a smallish water change I would be surprised that could kill so many of the fish so quickly.

I would not trust Prime to neutralize such a high ammonia reading, but it should help.

Definitely provide the pH test results requested.

I would say a water problem, but can't see what it was. With only 15ppm nitrate I would not have blamed the lethargy on the need for a water change.

Wait until nitrates are at least 20ppm before the next change and do 20% instead of 40%. Maybe between now and then this can be figured out.


Thank you for the response. A co-worker was telling me that the mixture of chloramine and something else was the reason for the high ammonia reading and it might not really be that high. I can only go by what the test kit (Liquid API test) says. I will take your advice on the 20ppm before doing changes. The 40% change was out of fear and desperation. I will look to do a lower amount in the future.

On a side note, i lost another one today, so I'm down to three fish left.
ocho
 
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Re: Major tank problem

Postby ken31cay » Wed Dec 11, 2019 9:10 pm

ken31cay wrote:
A co-worker was telling me that the mixture of chloramine and something else was the reason for the high ammonia reading and it might not really be that high


I've heard this can give an ammonia reading. As the problem was recent, if no other changes you can think of, then it could be something as simple as your water company flushing the lines with more chlorine/chloramine as they do at times -ex/ after heavy rains or work on their pipes in your area.

Make sure you dose Prime for the entire tank each time you do a water change and not just for the amount of new water you're adding. In your case I would even double dose the Prime which will cause no issues, I've triple dosed Safe (Prime in powder form) many times and there's no danger to doing this.
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Re: Major tank problem

Postby ken31cay » Wed Dec 11, 2019 10:13 pm

Also, if you have a heater or anything else electrical in the water it may have a short or other malfunction and sending current into the water, and this could be the cause of your fishes' jumping behavior. I've heard of cases of this happening. I'd remove them (if possible) and replace as necessary.
450gal Frontosa (blue Zaire Moba) & haps
180gal school of Red Rainbowfish
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Re: Major tank problem

Postby DJRansome » Wed Dec 11, 2019 11:22 pm

Normally 50% would be the minimum. But 4ppm ammonia...never heard of chloramines causing a reading that high.
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Re: Major tank problem

Postby judyok » Thu Dec 12, 2019 5:48 pm

Yeah since they added chloramine to the city water my ammonia reading is 1ppm out of the tap. 2-3 ppm seems kinda high.
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Re: Major tank problem

Postby kcopper » Tue Dec 17, 2019 6:36 pm

Does your town publish the water treatment reports? It sounds like they are using a heavy dose of chloramine. You can also get spa/hot tub/pool test strips that should test for free and total chlorine. I believe that water treatment facilities increase the chlorination during certain heavy run off events like spring melt/heavy rains or floods.

Once you get a baseline for chlorine content, you can adjust your water conditioner amount as needed any time a test shows high levels of chlorine.
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