Guppies, platies, and catfish gasping

Fancyfins12

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Hi everyone.

Yesterday I added a new piece of grape vine wood that was advertised as safe to add to the tank straight away. I noticed the water was a tad discolored this morning, but everyone was fine. Then I vacuumed, and did about a 30% water change with dechlorinated replacement.

About 6 hours later and the platty and guppies are gasping at the surface and the catfish looks gaspy too, though he's staying at the bottom. I am very concerned. Does anyone know what could be going on?
20210314_011314.jpg
 

Colin_T

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probably the tap water. increase aeration/ surface turbulence. maybe remove the plant that is growing out of the water in case that is doing something.
 
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Fancyfins12

Fancyfins12

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I have another 20 gal long that gets the same tap and everyone in that tank is fine. Do you still think it's still the water? Or the surface needs more aggitation?
 

Colin_T

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is there aeration in the other tank because it doesn't look like there's aeration in the picture
 

Circus

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I don't know if your experience will be the same, but this is what happened when to me.
I had a problem with grapevine, although over a longer period of time. It had started to rot very quickly. I couldn't keep up with the daily ammonia spikes the rotting wood was causing (it would start to spike every 8 or so hours) and I lost a lot of fish before I figured out the problem. The wood will peel and I ended up with a LOT of detritus in the tank and it clogged my filters pretty bad. It also didn't sink very well, even after a 2 week soak.
None of the snails would go near it, and the shrimp were the first to die off (after nibbling on the biofilm, I believe).

In this case, it sounds more like you need a bubbler.
 

Akeath

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Grapevine actually is not aquarium safe. It is often used for terrestrial reptiles, but should not be put under water. If put in water it will rot, causing spikes in nitrogenous wastes. I suspect the wood is decaying and releasing Nitrite or Ammonia. High levels of either can damage a fish's gills, and high levels of Nitrite can make it difficult for a fish's blood to properly transport oxygen. As a result, a fish suffering Ammonia or Nitrite poisoning may gasp at the surface in an effort to get more oxygen.

So remove that wood asap and do another partial water change, perhaps also add some fresh activated carbon to the filter to remove tannins or other chemicals the wood has leached. If you can use Prime as your dechlorinator it will help detoxify Ammonia and Nitrite. Then you should add some aquarium salt. 1 teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon would be good. You may have to do daily 30% water changes for a few days to get everything back under control.

Wood types that are actually safe for aquariums include African Mopani Wood, Malaysian Driftwood, and Cholla. Most will produce tannins, though, which will color the water like tea and make the water softer and more acidic. Since you have Platies and ornamental Snails more acidic water could be a problem, because those species require basic and alkaline water to thrive. So if you want to add a more aquarium safe wood, you should thoroughly boil it first until it is no longer producing tannins, allow the wood to cool, and only then add it to your aquarium.
 

OliveFish05

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That is a lovely piece of wood, but unfortunately, as others have said, not aquarium safe:(

some good aquarium safe woods are

Mopani,
Manzanita,
Malaysian driftwood, and
spiderwood

I am sure there are others, but those are the only ones that come to mind right now
 

Akeath

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That is a lovely piece of wood, but unfortunately, as others have said, not aquarium safe:(

some good aquarium safe woods are

Mopani,
Manzanita,
Malaysian driftwood, and
spiderwood

I am sure there are others, but those are the only ones that come to mind right now
To make it even more complex, there's an aquatic spiderwood and a non-aquatic terrestrial wood also called spiderwood. So if you get spiderwood, you have to make sure it's sold for aquariums.
 

OliveFish05

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To make it even more complex, there's an aquatic spiderwood and a non-aquatic terrestrial wood also called spiderwood. So if you get spiderwood, you have to make sure it's sold for aquariums.
Wow! Sorry, I didn't know that, thanks for pointing that out ?
 
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Fancyfins12

Fancyfins12

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Thank you everyone for your advice. I took the wood out a few hours ago and the little guys are swimming down around mid tank again. I'm a little worried about my catfish but from the sounds of it he needs a bubbler
 
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Fancyfins12

Fancyfins12

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Great news, I was able to rehome Sylvester the Catfish to a very experienced fish keepr with a 75gal and he was happier right away, swimming and exploring and latching on to everything. He has a buddy now too.
 

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