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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I have a 75 gallon aquarium with lake Malawi cichlids. I did an 80% water change today, and at I was refilling the tank with buckets, the fish started acting weird. Like they couldn't swim. They were just floating. They were perfectly fine prior to the water change.

I checked the ammonia, nitrite and nitrates and they all came back 0.

I lost 14 out of 22 fish and have no idea what happened. The 6 there are alive are on their last breath as well.

Can someone tell me what I did wrong? I feel so bad.
 

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Could there have been some chemical residues in the bucket ? From household products or other ? Is your bucket solely used for your fish tank and if not, maybe another member of your family used it to mop the floors or other ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've used the same bucket several times to refill the tank.

The fish that did survive seem to be thriving this morning. There's only five left. Maybe they got shock from water temp change, the ones that died? The inital temp was about 80, after the change it got down to 77. I got distracted while refilling the tank, with that heater off. I stopped midway, then started refilling 40 minutes later.

The cichilds were all small but it still hurts the same.

I don't want to get anymore until I know for certain what happened.
 

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No, that amount of difference in temperature wouldn't kill them. Did you use a water conditioner to take out chlorine/ chlorine? Is this a new tank? There should be nitrates present in an established tank.
 

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Also, is doing an 80% water change your normal routine? How often do you change the water? If the parameters in the tank are that much different from the new water going in you could definitely shock your fish. I do 80% water changes 1-2 times a week with no problems but the water going into the tank is the exact same pH and hardness level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I used API quick start and Prime conditioner after the water change.

This is the first time I vaccumed and changed the water since I added 16 fish 2 weeks ago. I had 6 prior fish already.

I cycled the tank close to 2 months. I plan on having once a week water change. It's a new tank pretty much, I started it in late November 2020.

It was weird, they were alive, but couldn't swim, they were just floating around like they had no functions. It was horryfing to see, they were huddled together at the bottom of the tank, dying side by side. There find, eyes had bubbles around them. Never seen it before.

This is actually the second time I changed the water, I changed it while cycling it once, and didn't have a problem then.
 

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Check the parameters again today. What kit are you using? If you are filling it using buckets you should put the Prime right into the bucket as it's filling, not after the tank has been filled. It's possible chlorine or chloramine poisoned the fish if you waited until after, especially since you stopped midway through. What size tank do you have? I gave up on buckets over 20 years ago. Save your back and water spills by getting a Phython No Spill n Fill or similar water change device that hooks right up to your sink.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm using the API master test kit. PH: 8, high range pH: 8, ammonia: 0, nitrate 0, nitrate: 5 ppm, general hardness: 120, carbonate: 80.

I have a 75 gallon and yea I put in the prime the morning after the change. I put the API dechlorinator after filling the water to the top, not in that buckets. I totally forgot to put the prime in right after the change. You think that's what caused the die off?

I ordered the phyton no spill water change today. The buckets were getting annoying, that's why I stopped midway and started doing something else.
 

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Were you using API quick start or API dechlorinator? API quick start is beneficial bacteria, not dechlorinator.

Sounds like Prime is your dechlorinator? Waiting 8 hours to add dechlorinator would definitely cause a die-off.

On the other hand, if you added both API dechlorinator AND Prime, that could be an overdose of dechlorinator.
 

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Yes, doing an 80% water change without adding any dechlorinator until afterwards could definitely do it. And yes stick to one dechlorinator from now on. I think Prime is one of the best available. When you fill straight from the tap to the tank you need to treat for the whole tank volume, not just the replacement water amount. I add some during and after the water change and usually dose a little extra to be on the safe side.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
DJRansome said:
Were you using API quick start or API dechlorinator? API quick start is beneficial bacteria, not dechlorinator.

Sounds like Prime is your dechlorinator? Waiting 8 hours to add dechlorinator would definitely cause a die-off.

On the other hand, if you added both API dechlorinator AND Prime, that could be an overdose of dechlorinator.
Yea I used API quick start, not the dechlorinator. I used the Prime dechlorinator only, but the morning after the change.

However, the fish started going bottoms up during the finishing of the top off. I mean they were dying right away. 10 died right away after the filling to the top of the water. 6 were dead when I woke up.

They were very active during the water change, then all of a sudden while I was throwing in buckets of water, they started changing demeanor and dying instantly. Maybe they were coming under the pressure of the buckets of water and got injured?

I also took out all the decorations to vacuum the bottom, then put them back in before filing with water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
fishboy75 said:
Yes, doing an 80% water change without adding any dechlorinator until afterwards could definitely do it. And yes stick to one dechlorinator from now on. I think Prime is one of the best available. When you fill straight from the tap to the tank you need to treat for the whole tank volume, not just the replacement water amount. I add some during and after the water change and usually dose a little extra to be on the safe side.
Would the lack of a dechlorinator have killed the fish instantly after the water change? Majority of them died while filling up and topping of water.
 

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Yes. Chlorine kills fish as soon as they start breathing it in.
 

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Sorry for your loss.
 
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