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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 140 gallon tank with about 25 cichlids/haps ranging from 4"-7", running with an Fx5 filter. *** had the filter running for about a year and have never changed the foam inserts, I've only cleaned them every 2 months, and that seemed to be working just fine. So finally I decided seeing as it was well overdue to change all the inserts to new ones.

The fish arent handling it well, one bit. Its been 5 days now and they are still struggling, I dont know what to do. None of them are really eating at all, theyre barely swimming and each are taking turns at going into 'rapid shaking' spells. I think i really screwed up the bacteria levels, or shocked them badly with the full filter change.

What on Earth can I do to remedy this? All i can think of is to do a water change, but Im worried that might do more harm than good. Any ideas? thanks
 

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Post results on Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, temperature.
Depending on the results, you might want to do a 50% water change (if high ammonia/nitrite) with a good quality de-chlorinator.
 

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Did you do anything else to the tank or the water when you changed out the media? Did the fish show an immediate reaction--like withing an hour after changing the media or did it take a few days?
And by anything else I mean did you also do a large water change or any kind of water change at the same time? Did you siphon the gravel and/or move any large rocks or decorations in the tank? What kind of dechlorinator did you use? Did you add anything to the water besides dechlorinator? Prior to this media change how long had it been since you did a partial water change and how much water did you change out?

It would normally take a little time in an un-cycled tank for ammonia levels to rise and fish start to show symptoms.

If you've got a good quality dechlorinator on hand, I would do a 30% partial water change and then watch and see how the fish react. It's not going to make anything worse unless there is something wrong with your source water and if the problem is with the tank water then the partial water change will help the fish, temporarily probably, but then we can go from there.

Robin
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks. I didnt do anything different than i normally wouldve. I figured a filter change was enough at once so i passed on the water change at that time. The fish started acting strange very shortly after the filter change. The only thing i can think of is perhaps i didnt thoroughly pre-rinse the new filters as well as i shouldve?? im not really sure.

3 fish have died today so far, 2 large Acei and my Empress. I noticed on a couple of them, they had almost a 'frosted' or 'sanded' appearance all over theyre bodies, they also had a blood spot on theyre bellies and fin's. Does that indicate a specific ailment?

I just performed a 30-40% water change, with a very good dechlorinator, and ill keep a close eye for now i guess.
 

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Any change in the other fish's behavior/symptoms directly after the water change?

The fish started acting strange very shortly after the filter change.
By shortly after I assume you mean a within a few hours?

There may have been something toxic on the new filter media--and it's also possible that during the change that some toxin entered the tank some other way.
Is there a good strong flow coming out of the filter return?

As long as you're using a good quality dechlorinator I would continue with doing frequent partial water changes. Daily, twice daily even. (And by good quality I mean one that removes ammonia and detoxifies nitrite--not all of them do and if your water has chloramines added to it then you want to make sure your declorinator can properly deal with them, again, not all of them do and if you don't use the right dechlorinator and you do have chloramines water changes will seriously stress your already stressed fish and depending on much chlormaine is in your water it could kill them)

Robin
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey 'GTZ' i will, but i dont have any test strips, cuz *** never had a problem before. Ill pick some up on my way home from work and post the results.

Sorry 'Robin' Im a little confsed if youre refering to the water change or the filter change but.....The water change I recently performed last night seemed to have a slight positive effect, but nothing substantial. As for the initial filter change about 6 days ago, i noticed about an hour afterwards that something wasnt right.

I dont believe its the water source being the issue because its the exact same source being used for 3 years now. *** been using "Genesis" brand de-chlorinator as always.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sorry, another symptom thats been displayed along with the 'rapid shaking' is trying scratch theyre bodies on the rocks and substrate. I know this is kinda common here and again but, this is to a level *** never seen.
 

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That's good that you saw a slight improvement with the water change. I would continue to do the water changes, 1 or 2 a day and see if the fish continue to improve. If there's a toxin in the water, from the new filter media or whatever, or if you've got ammonia, then the water changes will fix it.

Robin

I dont believe its the water source being the issue because its the exact same source being used for 3 years now. I've been using "Genesis" brand de-chlorinator as always
okay--doesn't sound like the problem is with the source water. You can always check with your water company tho, make sure they didnt make any changes--sometimes they up the levels of chlorine or chloramine and that means you need to use more or even a different dechlorinator. (not all dechlorinators work on chloramine)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks, i just used a test strip, the results are:

temp- 78deg
general hardiness- 180
carbonate hardiness- 120
ph- 7
nitrite- 0-0.5
nitrate- 120-160

no amonia test though
 

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bartho14 said:
nitrate- 120-160
no amonia test though
That's pretty high, I'd do a 50% water change as soon as you can.
API strips? That's ppm right?
Get yourself a liquid test kit when u get a chance, or ammonia strips, there could be high levels of ammonia as well if you wiped out your bacteria.
 

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Nitrite should be 0.
Test strips might be off but just in case I would continue with partial water changes AND I would keep 1-2 teaspoon per 10 gallon aquarium salt in the water. Dissolve it first and add it gradually and replace what salt you remove with any water changes.
That'll help detoxify any nitrite.
Feed the fish sparingly until the tank is stable again.

Oh wait! just saw your nitrate reading :eek:
Maybe it's off, (the test strip type of kit is not as accurate as the test tube) but your nitrate shouldn't go any higher than 20ppm between water changes.
The best way to get nitrate down that is THAT high, (and that's VERY high) is with large daily partial water changes and gravel siphonings.Be sure you're using an adequate dechlorinator when doing large, >40% water changes as any untreated chlorine or chlramine will be harder for your fish to take.
If you've got deep substrate, (deeper than 3 inches) consider removing some of it. It'll help get the nitrate down.

Robin
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks again, ill do another 30-40% water change tonight and see what happens.

Yes i used API test strips and those numbers were ppm.

Its odd in a way, this 'bug' is affecting each variety of fish differently. The 10 small labs i have seems quite alright along with my 3 large hap moori's, but the ice bergs, copidachromis and protomelas varieties are all struggling, and my last acei is about dead along with my lithobates now.
 

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No matter what caused your issue the one thing we can all gain from this is how a plain old water change can get things better.
Often our first course of action is to hunt up a chemical remedy.
Read what symptoms the meds treat and start dosing.
Must just be our concern over doing "right" by our fish.
It took me a long time to stay calm with the first signs of a problem and do an immediate WC.
No testing, no meds, just a WC.
Then observing, testing, researching and all the rest.
Best advice usually starts with doing a WC.
Good luck with your tank.
 

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No matter what caused your issue the one thing we can all gain from this is how a plain old water change can get things better.
AMEN!
And even if the problem isn't in the water the water change is almost always going to make your fish feel a little better which will help them fight off whatever the ailment is. Plus the water change is in itself a good test of what might be wrong with the fish. If they improve, even a little and perhaps only temporarily, directly after the water change then you definitely need to explore the possibility that there's something wrong with the tank water.

The only time your first course of action shouldn't be a water change is if you suspect there's something wrong with the source water itself.
Also: if you've gone for more than a few weeks without a water change, or you just haven't been doing them on a regular basis then you should always start out with a small partial water change, (20%), wait a few hours and then another small partial water change.

How are the fish today, bartho14?

Robin
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hey, well it appears that whatever the initial issue was has now somewhat stabilized. I've kept up the water changes and there finally seems to be a normal calmness back to the tank. Many thanks for all your help, im pleased the majority of my fish are alright.
 

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Great news, bartho14.

It really does sound like a water quality issue. Keep testing your water and I would continue to do daily or every other day partial water changes until your water tests read: 0 Ammonia, 0 nitrite and below 20ppm nitrate and then you can just do weekly partial water changes.

Thanks for reporting back with the good news :)

Robin
 
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