Fish Constantly Dying

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What is your water hardness? You can find this on your water supplier site. Tetras like neutral to soft water.
 
Sorry I have not responded in so long and thank you for your responses. I have an Aqueon Quietflow filter on the tank and it uses the Aqueon carbon filters. I replace the filter cartridge every couple of months. The filter does run constantly, as does the bubbler. Right now there are a some different types of tetras in the tank.

I am using testing strips which I know are not completely accurate but the water has also been tested a few times at the store with a better testing kit and their results always have come back that things were within a good range.

When the new fish die I am usually only adding them 2 to 4 at a time. The last couple of times I have only added them two at a time since I am just expecting them to die. All of my 7 fish that have been in there for many months are still going strong and totally fine. Again, I have tried fish from two different stores at different times and have the same result... that is, except for the ones that are alive and well now.

I will attach a picture of the test strip that I used today. The pH reading looks a lit more red in the picture then it did in real life. It definitely looks in the neutral range.

Thanks everyone!
The gh and kh seem to be on the higher side for soft water/acidic fish, but it wouldn't explain the quick deaths of these. What types of fish are you adding? You said tetras and gouramis, which are softer water, but if you added something like guppies what happened to them? Additionally, for acclimating fish it may be better to also put them in a bucket after floating them and slowly adding tank water to the bucket through either putting a cup in every 15 mins or drip acclimating. I find that through doing the drip method the fish have a much better time.
Good luck with the fish though it's really unfortunate that this keeps happening and so far it doesn't seem to be your fault.
 
I replace the filter cartridge every couple of months.

This could be your problem. You should never change filter cartridges, because you’re throwing away your bacteria every time, which is probably causing an ammonia spike.
 
This could be your problem. You should never change filter cartridges, because you’re throwing away your bacteria every time, which is probably causing an ammonia spike.
This is true, but there should still be bacteria in the gravel, which seems like it still wouldn't instantly kill new fish. Agreed though best practice is to keep the cartridge there.
 
This is true, but there should still be bacteria in the gravel, which seems like it still wouldn't instantly kill new fish. Agreed though best practice is to keep the cartridge there.

The thing is you only ever have just enough bacteria. If you remove some, then you don’t have enough and you do get ammonia.
 
Sometimes the ones that die seem to be hanging around at the top trying to get some oxygen, but other times not. I know that hanging out at the top can be a sign of poor oxygen levels, only some of them have done that. Here is a picture of the tank as it appears right now. The picture makes it look like there is a lot more algae then there actually is I think. I also tested my ammonia levels and they were in the clear.

One thing about the filter cartridge... I notice that after a certain amount of time being in there that as it becomes more clogged up the water beings to go into an overflow area of the filter and gets returned back into the tank. I don't know how much of it overall is going into that overflow area but when it appears to be a good amount of it I have been changing the filter. That usually happens in about two months.
 

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I have tested the water multiple times and I have brought water samples to my local shop multiple times and no one has any idea why so many of the fish keep dying so fast.

your test kit only provides general water parameters. that are generally an interest in aquariums. It won't tel you if you have contaminated water or high metal levels. An ICP OES test can detect 40 elements in the water and it could provide Us with clearer picture of your water. This test is mail mail order lab test. you buy a sample kit and then mail in the water sample. The result are listed in parts per billion of each element. It is the only way I know hw t get accurate readings f plant micro nutrients and other trace nutrient animals need. It will also detect some toxic elements.

The test won't tell you is the water is good or bad or what the problem is. It is just data. I can help evaluating it. Some salt water Aquariust use this to help diagnose coral growth problems. however it is not commonly used in fresh water aquariums.
 
ne thing about the filter cartridge... I notice that after a certain amount of time being in there that as it becomes more clogged up the water beings to go into an overflow area of the filter and gets returned back into the tank. I don't know how much of it overall is going into that overflow area but when it appears to be a good amount of it I have been changing the filter. That usually happens in about two months.

Instead of changing the filter, rinse it in a bucket of old tank water. That way you preserve the full amount of beneficial bacteria that ichthys described. You could also add an intake sponge which is easier to clean frequently.

Your fish probably did have illness/es but optimum tank conditions will help them fight it off.
 
Sometimes the ones that die seem to be hanging around at the top trying to get some oxygen, but other times not. I know that hanging out at the top can be a sign of poor oxygen levels, only some of them have done that. Here is a picture of the tank as it appears right now. The picture makes it look like there is a lot more algae then there actually is I think. I also tested my ammonia levels and they were in the clear.

One thing about the filter cartridge... I notice that after a certain amount of time being in there that as it becomes more clogged up the water beings to go into an overflow area of the filter and gets returned back into the tank. I don't know how much of it overall is going into that overflow area but when it appears to be a good amount of it I have been changing the filter. That usually happens in about two months.
I keep mostly smaller fish like you.

When I started my first tanks I used a HOB device with carbon filters and was changing them out on a schedule as per the product instructions. I eventually moved to changing them as needed because of the cost and come to think of it probably had some deaths occur because of that. I discovered you don't really need to run replaceable carbon filters all the time though. You can go with a sponge filter inside the HOB and don't need to spend as much money on the carbon filters anymore. Only use the carbon filters when you need to. You can also put some other type of biomedia next to your regular filter in the HOB to hold some of the beneficial bacteria as well.

I stopped using HOB filter devices because I've had the flow eventually start to degrade on them, even when the filter is clean. Maybe that's just the brand I bought but it was enough to make me stop using them especially since you can use air pump sponge filters. HOB filters also can stress out fish that don't like a lot of flow.
The air pump sponge filters are better for the floating plants from my experience. You can also hide them in the back easier then a HOB. I'll put the HOB back on, with carbon if needed, to do a bit of cleanup of the water but it's rare that I need to do this.

Everytime I've made a change from one filter type to another I run both the old and the new filters alongside each other for a while then eventually remove the old filter.

As for fish deaths caused by stress or disease there's not much you can do other then try and treat them when you get them, or find a store that has good sourcing and takes care of their stock. I've had issues with a Petco and a LFS with fish dieing so I tend to shy away from those places now and only buy stock from another LFS that I've had more success with fish not dieing. Petco takes dead fish returns though so it's not a loss to me it's just disheartening getting fish, they die, you bring them back to the store for refund and replace them again just to have the new ones you get die.
 
Sometimes the ones that die seem to be hanging around at the top trying to get some oxygen, but other times not. I know that hanging out at the top can be a sign of poor oxygen levels, only some of them have done that. Here is a picture of the tank as it appears right now. The picture makes it look like there is a lot more algae then there actually is I think. I also tested my ammonia levels and they were in the clear.

One thing about the filter cartridge... I notice that after a certain amount of time being in there that as it becomes more clogged up the water beings to go into an overflow area of the filter and gets returned back into the tank. I don't know how much of it overall is going into that overflow area but when it appears to be a good amount of it I have been changing the filter. That usually happens in about two months.
You can take the cartridge out and rinse it gently in either aquarium water or dechlorinated water to get the gunk that is blocking flow off of it without all the bacteria going away. I do this with the sponge in the back of my all-in-one tank every couple of months. It gets clogged, so I squeeze it out in dechlorinated water and put it back.

I have a cheap HOB filter for my quarantine tank. When I set it up, I remove the cartridge that comes with it and put some biological filter media (K1 is really good) and some floss or 30 ppi sponge in the way of the flow to filter the water. I find that it works better than the cartridge. The cartridges I'm familiar with just have some light floss-like bags with a bit of carbon in them. The carbon is good for removing smells & a few chemicals, but the bulk of the work ends up being done on the bag that it's held in. If you use a separate clump of floss/sponge along with some bio-media, then you get the best of both worlds- removing detritus/debris and ensuring plenty of surface for beneficial bacteria.

That way you don't have to worry if you have to change the floss occasionally- you have the bacteria on the bio-media (although keeping the floss as long as possible is best method imho).
 
Thanks for the replies everyone. Last weekend I tried two platies. I floated them in the bag in the tank and added small amounts of tank water to the bag every 10 minutes for about and hour and a half. Netted the fish out and put them in the tank. All looked good for the first day. They ate and acted fine. By the 48 hour mark, they were both dead.... again. The other 7 fish in the tank are still doing just fine. I am at my wits end!
 
If the bag water is toxic you just need to get them out of it. Acclimation to new water parameters does not happen in an hour, at best it will take weeks. At worst, where fish are forced to live in unsuitable parameters, acclimation never happens.

So check the water is of a similar temperature if you want (some people float the bag for a few minutes), then place a net above a bucket and pour the fish and water into it. You can then put the fish into the tank without any of the bag water.

Using a quarantine tank is highly recommended. As well as monitoring the new fish for disease, it allows the fish to recover from the journey and changing locations before they are exposed to new pathogens.

Lastly, make sure that you find a shop with high quality healthy fish. This alone can be a game changer.
 
I'm not really a QT anything, Most of the time I never add fishes to a running setup. And I always add all at once.

I take sample from the bag and test GH/KH/PH... If it's close enough and temp matches, I pop the fishes in the tank right away.

The only thing I acclimate thoroughly are invertebrates.
 
Lastly, make sure that you find a shop with high quality healthy fish.
Thanks for the replies everyone. Last weekend I tried two platies. I floated them in the bag in the tank and added small amounts of tank water to the bag every 10 minutes for about and hour and a half. Netted the fish out and put them in the tank. All looked good for the first day. They ate and acted fine. By the 48 hour mark, they were both dead.... again. The other 7 fish in the tank are still doing just fine. I am at my wits end!
From hearing what you said, it's starting to seem like it isn't your fault. Although there are some strategies that could be improved on, none of them would cause a batch of fish to simply die out so quickly. Where did you get these fish? perhaps it's just a sucky place.

I would also advise on perhaps purchasing some floating plants. They're usually cheap and easy to care for, and they'll do you a favour by removing some of the nitrate and ammonia from your tank as well without a water change. (Don't skip the water changes though they're still very important)
Some easy floaters would be duckweed (pain in the butt), salvinia (less annoying duckweed), water lettuce, and frog bit.
 
I have tried fish from two different stores and have had the same result from both stores.

When I was a kid my family had a tank comparable to what I'm running now. We never had this issue and the tank was not as well maintained as this one is. We never had a problem like this. As I have stated earlier, I could understand if they all just kept dying but the fact that the 7 in there have gone strong for quite a while now while any other fish that have been introduced during that time have died within 48 hours is just so perplexing.
 

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