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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I am brand new to the hobby, my main tank has been set up for a month now. Before I got a single fish, I watched a ton of youtube videos. I know what cycling is, why we do it etc. However... I have had some losses as of late. I don't understand what I am doing wrong. My most beautiful male just died today. He looked PERFECT. Amazing color, great shape, showed zero signs of stress or sickness. I check their temps before bed every night, feed them in the AM and evening, tonight when I go to check them out, he is belly up.

I live in Chicagoland area, I check my water once or twice a week. I do water changes about every week or so. (20% or less) I have rocks and Java fern in the tank. I am using a hang on back, led lights, and air stones to help move water around. I also got an extra sponge over the input of my HoB unit to add filtration.
Temps are 81, I use Seachem safe, Stability, and Cichlid salt.

The only thing I can think that I am doing wrong is overfeeding.

Not sure if this helps, but when my fish passed he lost all color. Last water change was 2 or 3 days ago.
 

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I'm no expert and fairly new as well but to save you time the people here are extremely helpful but they'll want to know what your levels are (pH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates) that way they can better help you. What size tank, how many fish, what breed of fish?
 

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Yes, please provide test results, and how did you cycle the tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sorry, I clearly didn't give enough information. My 1st tank (now I have more) was 55 gal kit. The way I cycled it was with provided cycled bio-wheels from the local store. I put them into my hang on the back unit, went back and got 4 Peacocks. Not sure what exactly the one that died was. But he was pretty big, established, and amazing color. I will have to test my water again tonight, I don't write down the results. I figured testing was something I would do every once in a great while, I am starting to get the impression its something that I am going to need to do a lot more frequently. The guy at the store that sold me the fish told me not to even bother testing the water after a water change because the chemicals would mess with the accuracy of the results. He thinks the reason I am having the problems I am is that I didn't allow the tank to establish long enough before water changes. When I watch youtube videos, I got the impression that cycling has little to do with the tank water, and had much more to do with the media. The message I keep getting is water change water change water change. Hence why I have done 4 within a month. Not to mention adding a gallon here and there as needed (water level, my house is dry because its winter here)

sorry about the lack of info. My next post will include test results. I can also provide pictures if that would help at all. Thank you again for any time and effort you give this post. Clearly, I am here because I want to do things right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
After testing these are the results.

Nitrate 0 ppm

PH 7.6

Ammonia 0 PPM

Nitrite 40 PPM

High Range PH is 8.0
 

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I wonder if OP reversed nitrite and nitrate when reporting the results? 40ppm sounds like a nitrate result. 0ppm makes sense for a nitrite result.

Once your tank is stable you test rarely. But the first thing you do when a fish is sick is test...to rule out toxins.

Cycling involves growing bacteria on the media, but the reason you do that is so the bacteria can process toxins in the water.

Not allowing the tank to establish (a.k.a. cycle) long enough before water changes is not a bad theory...but if your nitrites are zero and your nitrates are 40ppm then you have proof that is not true.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I did the test all at once, its possible I confused the 2. However, I can say the test turned reddish in color. Typically with these test red is danger area no? And I am aware that I lost cycle or never got it in the first place. What do I do now? The main goal at this point is to reduce my error and save the fish. Any advice is appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
DJRansome said:
Yes, please provide test results, and how did you cycle the tank?
I think I said it above if not, sorry. I cycled the tank by adding biowheels. The store that I got the fish at said adding their cycled media to my HoB filter would be enough to cycle it. It seemed hard to believe. Almost too easy. But clearly something didn't work.
 

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Nitrite is the important one, and it should be blue. I would retest to confirm.

Nitrate is less toxic and 40ppm is considered to be safe by some but it would be reddish.

After we figure out what caused the death...then yes you should do a water change to reduce nitrates.

Plan on gradually increasing the volume of your water changes...work up to 50% weekly as a minimum. But your current scenario if you can confirm nitrite = zero was not a cause of death.
 

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well the nitrite reading on my api test kit only goes up to 5ppm so if they got a reading for 40 ppm, i think we can safely assume that the reading of 40ppm was in fact nitrate and not nitrite. perhaps we shouldnt be focused on the water parameters as a cause of death. you said you were fairly new at this hobby. perhaps you thought your fish was fine but in fact you weren't seeing signs of bloat maybe? (just due to lack of experience), i know the first time i had a fish with bloat, i didnt notice any symptoms until the fish's behaviour changed dramatically. if youre feeding twice a day, its possible that you missed the signs of bloat or something like that? try reducing feeding to once a day and not too much food. the fish shouldn't get bored of the food at all. i would also agree with DJ and slowly up your weekly water change to 50% over a couple of weeks. it shouldnt be any more difficult then doing a 20% change and its better for the fish and your peace of mind!
 

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Please tell me that you edited your post to show the nitrite results after I had posted, just so that I know I'm not going senile :roll:

The biowheels should have been enough to cycle the tank, providing you didn't add more stock than they can support or wait to long before adding stock.
If the tank is not cycled, the best thing you can do short of re homing the fish while it cycles is daily water changes using Prime or Safe.
 

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You mentioned your "main tank". Do you have other tanks up and running well?

I have started new tanks by taking a sponge from an old established tank and added 85% new treated water and voila - no problems.

The media from the store - how much time between their tank to yours? Was It out of water very long? Unless the sponge transfer is less than one minute I keep the old sponge in a container of old tank water and do the transfer within 30 min. This for example when I have started a tank at work and my house is 20 min. away. I don't want to take chances on the good bacteria dying or you have defeated the purpose. I do not know what temperature swings the bacteria can tolerate during the transfer or how long they can go without water circulation so I go quick with this. I just feed sparingly for the first week afterwards. In the last 15 years I have never cycled a tank in the traditional sense - anytime I have done this "old sponge" method it has worked on tanks from 10-180 gallons.

I hope you have been treating your new tap water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I do have other tanks now. Mostly unstocked. Was thinking about Ammonia cycling them. I have 4 40 breeders, and 1 10 gal (planned on using this in case I get a female and she gets spawns)

I got the other tanks because there was a sale in my area, and the store I was shopping at for all my fish sold the same tank for 120.00 and these happened to be 50 on sale. I have no current plans for them (as far as stock) but leaning towards discus after getting my feet wet.

Thanks all for the help, I will retest soon, post updates and follow the water changes you suggested.

I will say, my fish (24 hours or so before) did appear to have a full belly. It was a slight bit lumpy by his anal fin. I figured he just ate a lot. I was feeding heavy for sure. Someone recommended while fish are growing to feed often, as in every few hours. Since this happened, I've backed off feeding. Now I feed in the AM at 7ish when the lights go on.
 

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OK so your tank is cycled. Do a 50% water change to get nitrates down to 20ppm today, and then another 50% change to get nitrates down to 10ppm. Again this is not a cause of death...but 10ppm will be a cause of health.

On to why your fish died. Probably not overfeeding, but feeding less is also a cause of health.

If your males have color, then they are not young enough to feed heavily...that would be for a one inch fish.

That leaves disease or aggression. You have no symptoms other than the death. I'd focus on aggression as most likely. Harassment is often not observed.

Was he or any other fish lurking under the surface or behind filter intakes? Any nipped fins or missing scales?

What is your stock list? What are the sizes and genders of each fish?

You had him one month.
 
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