Endler's Livebearers not doing well and I don't know why :((

clafisher

New Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2020
Messages
2
Reaction score
1
Location
Indiana
Hello! I am in need of help with my 5.5 gallon planted freshwater tank. I tried to do lots of research before getting my tank and did my very best, but my endler's livebearers are not doing well. I originally started with three but about a week after getting them, they starting becoming less active and seemed like something was wrong. I thought it may have because my tap water has a very high alkalinity and high pH so whenever I have been doing water changes, I now use reverse osmosis water that I got from my local pet store. I also have put API pH down into the tank twice. I just tested the pH and it is now at about 8. Yesterday one of my fish died and the other two still tend to sit at the top or on the gravel. Today, one of them started spinning around as he was swimming and seems very disoriented. I feel terrible and don't know what I'm doing wrong. I feed them Hikari micro pellets for tropical fish and sometimes frozen brine shrimp. I set my tank up about a month ago and originally had just plants, but after two weeks I got my three endler's livebearers. I know the tank needs to cycle so I have been putting in Seachem prime every other day to ensure any ammonia or nitrites that build up were not harming the fish. I was advised by the person at the aquarium shop to use Flourish Excel for my plants so I have been putting that in every other day as well. I use a sponge filter and there is also a heater in the tank keeping it at 78 degrees. I used CaribSea Eco-complete planted aquarium substrate. Please help!!! :(((

Tank size: 5.5 gallons
pH: 8
ammonia: 0.25 ppm
nitrite: 0
nitrate: 0
kH: ?
gH: ?
tank temp: 78 degrees

Fish Symptoms (include full description including lesion, color, location, fish behavior): Inactive, sitting at top of the tank or on the gravel, one spins as he is swimming and seems very disoriented

Volume and Frequency of water changes: 1 gallon per week

Chemical Additives or Media in your tank: Seachem prime, Flourish Excel

Tank inhabitants: 3 endler's livebearers, plants

Recent additions to your tank (living or decoration): 3 endler's livebearers

Digital photo (include if possible):
IMG_3421.jpeg
IMG_3420.jpeg
IMG_3419.jpeg
 

essjay

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Global Moderator
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
8,831
Reaction score
5,063
Location
Teesside, UK
The first thing to say is stop using RO water and pH down. Endlers need hard alkaline water not soft acid water. Seriously Fish gives the ranges as 15 to 35 dH (268 to 600 ppm) for hardness and pH 7.0 to 8.5.

If the tank is still cycling - that is ammonia and/or nitrite are over zero - water changes should be done. Prime is a water conditioner which should be used only to treat new water. The detoxification effect wears off after around 24 hours so a water change should be done to reduce the levels of ammonia and/or nitrite, and Prime added to the new water to keep the fish safe till the next water change. Water changes should be as big as necessary to keep the levels as near to zero as possible.
Once the tank is cycled, water changes should be at least 50% a week.

I see you are using Flourish Excel. The main ingredient in this is a powerful disinfectant used to sterilise surgical equipment and in embalming fluid amongst other things. Even the tiniest overdose can kill fish and plants. I would stop using it. Amazon swords should have root tab fertiliser pushed into the substrate and replaced as necessary, that's all.


Although the tank is a bit on the small side for endlers, you can help the remaining two by using tap water to do water changes and stop using RO and pH down; by doing water changes whenever ammonia and/or nitrite are above zero; by using Prime only to treat new water at the dose rate for the volume of the new water; and by stopping using Flourish Excel.

See if those help the fish; if they don't we'll see if there's anything else we can suggest.
 

Retired Viking

Fish Connoisseur
Joined
Nov 22, 2019
Messages
5,439
Reaction score
5,873
Location
north woods
I agree with @essjay , I only use RO water for my soft water fish like tetras and cory. I have my hard water fish including guppies in hard water tanks using my treated tap water. Instead of Flourish Excel try Flourish Comprehensive it is much better for your fish. I use both the liquid and the root tabs for my plants. Do the water changes to keep the ammonia level down at 0 and good luck with your fish.
 
OP
C

clafisher

New Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2020
Messages
2
Reaction score
1
Location
Indiana
Thank you guys so much. I just did a 50% water change to try to dilute the Flourish Excel as much as I can and I will definitely be switching to root tabs. My two fish still aren't looking so good but we'll see if this helps.

@essjay you mentioned that my tank is a bit small for endler's. What fish would you recommend for a 5.5 gallon tank?
 

Retired Viking

Fish Connoisseur
Joined
Nov 22, 2019
Messages
5,439
Reaction score
5,873
Location
north woods
Thank you guys so much. I just did a 50% water change to try to dilute the Flourish Excel as much as I can and I will definitely be switching to root tabs. My two fish still aren't looking so good but we'll see if this helps.

@essjay you mentioned that my tank is a bit small for endler's. What fish would you recommend for a 5.5 gallon tank?
A betta would work, shrimp and snails most fish reallly need more room to swim. Maybe a nano fish.
 

essjay

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Global Moderator
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
8,831
Reaction score
5,063
Location
Teesside, UK
We should really look at the dimensions of the tank before volume as it's swimming length that's important to fish. Most tanks in the UK the volume of your are more like cubes so the footprint of the tank isn't very big (my 6 gallon tank actually is a cube at 12 inches per side, for example) and my reaction was based on tanks that I know.
I don't know what shape 5.5 gallon tanks are in the US but from your photo it looks rectangular. Ideally endlers need a tank 18 inches long. If it's only an inch or two shorter than that, the enders should be OK as long as you don't stock to the limit.
 
Top