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Months later I still can't keep bottom feeders alive!!??

Discussion in 'Tropical Fish Emergencies' started by Aquatony, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. Aquatony

    Aquatony Mostly New Member

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    Hey everyone.
    Well months after my last die off I have rebuilt the tank and have now been running the following fish with zero losses:
    8 Cardinal Tetra
    8 Harlequin Raspbora
    5 GlowLight Tetra
    3 White Cloud Mtn Minnow
    2 EBR

    specs:
    55 gallon 3' tank.
    6.2-6.4 pH
    ~5ppm Nitrate read
    0 Nitrite read
    0 ammonia read
    20 GH (VERY soft-soft)
    40 KH
    Home Depot Playsand substrate (white) suggested by Byron and cleaned extremely thoroughly -- it's been in there for months

    The extant fish love the tank apparently. They frolic around, don't rapidly gill, don't exhibit any bizarre behaviors. it is a heavily planted, low-tech tank, with a bubbler on one side of the tank, and a BioWheel Pengiun 600 on the other side.

    I put 5 Cory Cat in the tank yesterday after fully acclimating them (drip style).

    Wake up this morning? All 5, dead. All other fish? Perfectly fine. Plants? Perfectly fine.

    I'm bewildered. I am anal retentive when I clean the tank weekly. Doing 20% water changes and getting underneath decor pieces, sifting the sand, etc.

    What gives??? This has happened to a couple sets of Corys. No matter what I do. Sterbai,Julii, Albino, Panda you name it I've tried... and they always, always die. Though everything else (in the water column) is A-OK.

    I'm lost. So was my LFS when I asked them.

     
  2. neoyyf

    neoyyf Member

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    What was the ph of the water the cories were in the LFS?
     
  3. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Cories do not like being moved, and do not travel well. However, thousands make it, so this is not the whole answer.

    I would ask the store for their water parameters. Just to have all the data at hand. What if anything they do to their water/tanks. Also, how long have they had these particular cories? Have they lost any?

    This is not directly related, though possibly indirectly...I would not be so "thorough" in cleaning the sand. The areas under rock or wood are best left alone. The open areas out front, maybe; I sometimes run the water changer over this, but rarely. My 70g has my wild caught cory species and I haven't touched the sand for months.

    I would also change more water weekly, at least half the tank volume. You don't have many fish, no where near the load my tanks have, but water changes are still the most beneficial maintenance no matter what, and with parameters between tap and tank water the same, the more you change the better.

    There is a thread started last week about the poisoning of cories during transport. I've never had this occur, and it may be species related. But none the less, when I buy cories I accept the first five (or whatever number I ask for) that are caught in the net (unless there are obvious issues), to avoid extra stress. And the bag goes into my "cooler" for the trip home, which not only keeps the temp the same but is completely dark and this is important.

    Byron.
     
  4. Jordan_Deus

    Jordan_Deus Fish Fanatic

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    Here's the thread discussing corydoras poisoning themselves: http://www.fishforums.net/index.php?threads/446773/

    I think the large take away from that thread is to transport corydoras the way Byron does and possibly ask the LFS to bag them separately or in groups of 2-3 (depends how many you buy, if you buy 20 at once LFS will most likely not bag them all separately).

    Sent from my MX4 using Tapatalk
     
  5. Aquatony

    Aquatony Mostly New Member

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    Thanks all.
    I can probably ask my LFS to do 2 or 3 per bag, they will accommodate that, I am sure.

    Byron, do you move decor at all to clean? I have also been "raking" the sand gently with my fingers to ensure that there aren't any of those bacteria pockets in the sand forming. I have read that those pockets can form and, if they burst, they can be extremely toxic.

    Right now, my water change strategy, is first I "rake" the sand gently with my fingers, The next thing is to take half of the decor out, clean the sand, then put the decor back. Then I do the other side. Making sure to gently glide along the sand with the water changer siphon nozzle, grabbing as little sand as possible. Then I do the other side of the tank.

    So ALL of my Cory deaths in recent weeks have been from this poisoning thing?

    I don't know the LFS parameters per se... but I DO know that I test the water in the bag when I float it, and it's usually 7.0. That's why I do drip acclimation. 15 minutes of float, to temperature match, then I place 10mL of my tank water every 10 minutes. I then check the pH again, and so forth, to check to make sure it isn't wildly different.

    I do have a question now also. Changing 50% of the water, OK.... when I'm replacing the water, can I wait to condition the water until the 25 gallons of new water's in the tank? I have been titrating the correct amount of AmQuel Plus over the course of the 15 or so gallons I change. I have been wondering, can it just all go in at the end, will the fish be ok?
     
  6. Byron

    Byron Member

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    I mentioned the "cory poisoning" for information, not suggesting this is or is not what happened here. It is one possibility, though to be honest not one I would immediately assume because the corys are usually dead in the bag before they get home. I've no idea how a cory may release this toxin, by which I mean minimally as opposed to the instant death. You say all the cory deaths in recent weeks...have there been others aside from these new cories?

    The fact that the other existing fish (non-cory) are all fine tells us this was less likely to be a water issue in the tank, though it is always possible that existing fish have become somewhat adapted ad new fish cannot manage. Cories are especially sensitive to any water differences. But I don't think that was the case here from what you've told us.

    We still need the questions about the store water/tank answered. A very significant difference in the water is not going to be managed by the fish whatever the acclimation, unless it occurs literally over weeks, and that none of us do. But I would want to know the store water parameters, substances they add, and if their fish are showing any signs of this. You mention the pH in the bag water being 7.0, and your tank is 6.2 to 6.4 pH. My first thought is, how do they keep it at 7? They may be adding some substance; they may increase the GH/KH too. Just to rule out you need to know this. The change from 7.0 down to 6.2 is not insignificant, but it is also not sufficient to kill the fish on its own.

    Ammonia is another possible; the bag water can be high in ammonia, and cories do not tolerate any ammonia well; this will weaken them, which should be temporary, but if there are other issues this could be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back. This is one reason I acclimate more substantially rather than the drip method. When I get home, I our out what water I can, then float the bag to even the temp, then add a cup of tank water to the bag. My goal here is getting them in the tank water faster rather than delaying. Some very knowledgeable aquarists do not even go this far; once temp is the same, they net out the fish. I doubt it makes much difference mixing or not mixing.

    I'll respond to your other questions now.

    I never touch the decor once the tank is set up, though I may do a bit of rearranging of wood or plants once in a while. But in answer to your intended question, no, I leave it alone. And I never "rake" the sand. I used to do something like this along the front during the water change, but now in most of my tanks I don't touch the substrate much at all. I do not overfeed (this makes a big difference), and Ihave live plants. I also have Malaysian Livebearing Snails, hundreds of them; both these and the plant roots deal with the substrate. You also should have some anaerobic zones for a healthy substrate which is the basis of a healthy aquarium.

    When I have torn down tanks that have been running for four to six years, it can be pretty foul under the wood and rock. But in 25 years I have never had fish issues from so-called dead spots. I don't have very deep substrates either, 3 inches in the largest tank to 1-2 inches in the others.

    Having said that, if you are regular there is probably no problem in raking the open substrate, but I would never go under decor unless I decide to move it, then I lift it gently straight up with the water changer beside the spot and do a good clean.

    No. You need to add the conditioner near the beginning of the refill. Once or twice I have forgotten, and as the tank was filling, I spotted the fish moving to the opposite end, ear the surface. I knew what it was, the chlorine. If you add new water via buckets, add the conditioner to each bucket, sufficient only for the volume in the bucket. I do this for my two smallest tanks as using the Python connected to the tap inevitably overflows them; the buckets hold 2.5 gallons so I add three drops (1 drop per gallon of the API Tap Water Conditioner).

    With the other tanks, I get the temp set at the faucet, turn the valve to begin refilling, then go in and add the conditioner. I use a dropper, and I only add sufficient for the volume of fresh water. I change 60%, sometimes more, of the tank. I have a good idea as to the volume, I've done it for so long. In the 70g and 90g for example, the water level drops down 10 inches from the top, that is 37 gallons, so I add conditioner for no more than 40 gallons. After years of doing this, and siphoning out with buckets to confirm the volume, it is second nature by sight.
     
  7. Aquatony

    Aquatony Mostly New Member

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    OK, thanks for all the advice, I really need to find a better way of changing the water than the buckets, but that isn't as wasteful as the Python system. My sink is pretty far from the fish tank and so the water pressure isn't very strong for the siphon. (and it's so wasteful).

    Next time I'm at my LFS I will ask what their water parameters are exactly and what they do for maintenance on the tanks. Thanks!

    Also, Byron while I have you, my Electric Blue Ram, who is seemingly doing well after the last week and a half, is appearing to prefer grazing at the bottom of the tank rather than fight the more nimble Harlequin and GloLight Tetras for the flakes/bloodworm/brine. Is that normal behavior? The EBR seems totally disinterested in column feeding. Obviously he IS eating since he ain't dead yet, and seems ok energy wise.
     
  8. essjay

    essjay Member

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    Rams like to feed from the bottom of the tank. They take mouthfuls of sand and sift it for food, then get rid of the sand through their gills. It may eventually learn to take food from the water column. I would give it sinking pellets rather than hope that some of the food that stays in the water column eventually reaches the tank floor. If you soak the pellets first they'll sink faster, and if you put them in at the same time as the other fish's food, that will distract them so the pellets have chance to get to the bottom without being eaten on the way down.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  9. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Essjay is spot on. There may be exceptions, but I believe all neo-tropic cichlid species are substrate feeding. They may obviously grab at food moving around them, such as brine shrimp (an excellent food for fry), but generally they are substrate feeding fish. The sinking foods that one can buy for cories, loaches, and similar will work. Frozen food like daphnia and bloodworms can be "squirted" using a pipette down to the cichlids.

    On the substrate feeding item, there are genera among the Cichlidae with names like Geophagus and Mikrogeophagus...in fact the two ram species are in the genus Mikrogeophagus...and "geophagus" is from the Greek for "earth eating," describing the substrate feeding habit that essjay mentioned. "Mikro" is from the Greek μικρός, meaning "small;" usually in English it is spelt with a "c" rather than the "k," as in "microchip" and "microwave." With Mikrogeophagus it distinguishes the smaller ram species from the larger previously-named Geophagus species. [The several name changes of this ram genus is interesting (to me, anyway), but I won't go into that unless asked.]

    I had a male Bolivian Ram in my former 5-foot tank for over nine years, and he never once went higher than mid-tank, and that was only to lay the law down to a group of Bleeding Hearts that were pestering him by trying to eat his tablets. Fish can be entertaining; there he was, with the Bleeding Hearts in a tight shoal just above him, not daring to venture out of their group (he went after any that tried it).
     
  10. essjay

    essjay Member

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    I had Bolivian rams several years ago which is how I know how they feed. But surprisingly, the male I had eventually discovered how to feed from the surface of the water. His mate always fed from the bottom though.
     

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