Help/advice needed

kezzywoo

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Hiya. I’ve had my fish tank a couple of months but slowly my fish have died one by one I cycled it but my last one died last night. It’s a tropical tank. Do I need to change the whole tank with fresh water or just do a part water change to get new fish? Also can anyone help me with my strip results please? Any info and advice. Thank you x
 

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Essjay

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Are those eSHa test strips? Is the top one nitrate and the second nitrite? If it is:
Nitrate is below 20 = good
nitrite is zero = good
GH is around 4 dH = soft water
KH is is good
pH is 6.4 which is quite low, lower than usual


Strips don't test for ammonia so we don't know if that's zero or not.



A few questions to help us work out what the problem is.

You say that you've had the tank a couple of months and that you cycled it.
How did you cycle the tank? Did you add ammonia, or a bottled bacteria product?
Do you have any live plants?
How soon after getting the tank did you get fish?
What type of fish were they?
Did they show any signs of illness before dying? Marks on the skin, changed behaviour etc?
Has nitrite ever shown a reading above zero?
How big is the tank, both the volume and the dimenions?
What is in the tank - I assume there's a filter and heater, what's on the bottom of the tank and is all the decor aquarium safe?

Any information you can give will help us work out what's the problem. Don't get any more fish till we know. But you can keep on adding fish food for now to keep the good bacteria going.
 
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kezzywoo

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Are those eSHa test strips? Is the top one nitrate and the second nitrite? If it is:
Nitrate is below 20 = good
nitrite is zero = good
GH is around 4 dH = soft water
KH is is good
pH is 6.4 which is quite low, lower than usual


Strips don't test for ammonia so we don't know if that's zero or not.



A few questions to help us work out what the problem is.

You say that you've had the tank a couple of months and that you cycled it.
How did you cycle the tank? Did you add ammonia, or a bottled bacteria product?
Do you have any live plants?
How soon after getting the tank did you get fish?
What type of fish were they?
Did they show any signs of illness before dying? Marks on the skin, changed behaviour etc?
Has nitrite ever shown a reading above zero?
How big is the tank, both the volume and the dimenions?
What is in the tank - I assume there's a filter and heater, what's on the bottom of the tank and is all the decor aquarium safe?

Any information you can give will help us work out what's the problem. Don't get any more fish till we know. But you can keep on adding fish food for now to keep the good bacteria going.
Hiya yep that’s exactly right top is nitrate and so on like you said. So the only one which isn’t the best is the PH? How do I fix that problem?

to be honest I think I may have rushed and got too many fish.
I will get some neon tetras just five to start and start again. I have a good filter and heater and just ornaments/plants.
I don’t have any real plants... should I?
I have an air stone in there can too many bubbles cause problems too? Or not enough bubbles?
My tank is just under 50 litres / 12.9 gallons.... how many fish all together can I have if I have them neon tetra size?
Thank you
 

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the_lock_man

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I would suggest you don't get any more fish until you can be sure that you have no ammonia in your water.
The really, really important thing to answer now is how you cycled your tank. If you could advise exactly how you did this, we'll be abel to advise more fully.
 
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kezzywoo

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I would suggest you don't get any more fish until you can be sure that you have no ammonia in your water.
The really, really important thing to answer now is how you cycled your tank. If you could advise exactly how you did this, we'll be abel to advise more fully.
I just put all my gravel in, ornaments then water, with tap safe solution and left it to cycle for a few weeks nobody told me to put anything else in? Obviously my filter and heater were on too. My temp is 25 degrees is that ok?
How do I test for ammonia? Will they test that if I take a sample of water to them or do I need to buy it offline?
 

the_lock_man

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I just put all my gravel in, ornaments then water, with tap safe solution and left it to cycle for a few weeks nobody told me to put anything else in? Obviously my filter and heater were on too. My temp is 25 degrees is that ok?
How do I test for ammonia? Will they test that if I take a sample of water to them or do I need to buy it offline?
That will be the reason why all your fish died - ammonia poisoning. Yes, your LFS will test for you, make sure they tell you the actual number, not "yeah, that's fine" - anything other than 0ppm is NOT fine. You can also buy your own chemical test kits. I use Salifert, the individual tests for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate will set you back about £35 from Amazon. You can also buy the API master test kit for around the same, which gives you various other tests that you won't really need.

You need to properly cycle your tank. This means growing the beneficial bacteria in your tank and filter to process the ammonia the fish produce into nitrite and then to nitrate. To do this, the bacteria need a source of ammonia, either bottled ammonia or fish. All the experts on here recommend doing it with bottled ammonia, and since you have an empty tank right now, this is an option for you.

If you consult the Cycle My Tank subforum here, there are threads pinned at the top which go into detail.

There is a really good shortcut - if you know someone else with a mature filter, swap 10-20% of their mature media with your immature media. The bacteria will recolonise your immature media, so they won't notice a difference, and you will have a head start with some bacteria that will quickly grow in your filter.
 
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kezzywoo

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That will be the reason why all your fish died - ammonia poisoning. Yes, your LFS will test for you, make sure they tell you the actual number, not "yeah, that's fine" - anything other than 0ppm is NOT fine. You can also buy your own chemical test kits. I use Salifert, the individual tests for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate will set you back about £35 from Amazon. You can also buy the API master test kit for around the same, which gives you various other tests that you won't really need.

You need to properly cycle your tank. This means growing the beneficial bacteria in your tank and filter to process the ammonia the fish produce into nitrite and then to nitrate. To do this, the bacteria need a source of ammonia, either bottled ammonia or fish. All the experts on here recommend doing it with bottled ammonia, and since you have an empty tank right now, this is an option for you.

If you consult the Cycle My Tank subforum here, there are threads pinned at the top which go into detail.

There is a really good shortcut - if you know someone else with a mature filter, swap 10-20% of their mature media with your immature media. The bacteria will recolonise your immature media, so they won't notice a difference, and you will have a head start with some bacteria that will quickly grow in your filter.
Okay thank you. So all my levels are ok? What about the PH? Where can I get this bottled ammonia from please?
 

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For ammonia, look on Ebay or Amazon. It needs to be pure ammonia or ammonium hydroxide with no perfume, detergent, colouring etc. There's also Dr Tim's ammonium chloride. For ammonia, the bottle should give a % so you can use the calculator on here to work out how much to dose (the last item) https://www.fishforums.net/aquarium-calculator.htm If you get the ammonium chloride, the bottle will tell you how much to use as that's actually made for cycling a tank.
The fishless cycling method is here https://www.fishforums.net/threads/cycling-your-new-fresh-water-tank-read-this-first.421488/
You should have grown some of the bacteria by now, so the cycle may go quickly. You can speed it up a bit more by getting some Tetra Safe Start.


The pH isn't a problem with the fish you had. As long as you make sure you keep soft water fish, the pH is fine. This means to avoid fish like guppies or platies which need hard water. And if you get a liquid reagent test kit, that will give a more accurate reading for the pH.
You give location as Birmingham - is your water company Severn Trent? If it is, enter your postcode on this page (about half way down) https://www.stwater.co.uk/my-supply/water-quality/check-my-water-quality/ and that will give you a page with your hardness in several units. Can you tell us what the number is on the Hardness German line, please. The water company's number is more accurate than the strips!
 
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kezzywoo

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Ok I will get some ammonium chloride thank you. What fish shall I stick with? Neons and what other small ones? I like guppies and platties but won’t get them now on your advice so thank you for telling me that!
 

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How long is the tank? Some 50 litre tanks are 60 cm long, others are shorter.

But generally speaking, neons are are OK as a other small shoaling fish such as ember tetras. If the water is very soft, chili rasboras as well.
If you have sand on the bottom of the tank, one of the dwarf species of corydoras.

So for example, 10 neons and 10 ember tetras; or 10 neons and 10 pygmy cories over sand.

A tank with 60 cm or less swimming room means smallish fish which do not dash madly round the tank. Zebra danios, for example, as small but are mad dashers so they are best avoided. But many of the small tetras are suitable as they don't dash around madly.
These small fish also do better in larger groups, which is why I suggested groups of 10.
 
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kezzywoo

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How long is the tank? Some 50 litre tanks are 60 cm long, others are shorter.

But generally speaking, neons are are OK as a other small shoaling fish such as ember tetras. If the water is very soft, chili rasboras as well.
If you have sand on the bottom of the tank, one of the dwarf species of corydoras.

So for example, 10 neons and 10 ember tetras; or 10 neons and 10 pygmy cories over sand.

A tank with 60 cm or less swimming room means smallish fish which do not dash madly round the tank. Zebra danios, for example, as small but are mad dashers so they are best avoided. But many of the small tetras are suitable as they don't dash around madly.
These small fish also do better in larger groups, which is why I suggested groups of 10.
It’s 58cm in length.
 
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kezzywoo

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So 20 fish max as long as they are neon tetra/chilli rasbora or ember tetras....?
I deffo want neons so 10 neons
Then 10 of one of the others?
Do I buy 10 to start then add the other 10 week later? Thank you
 

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First you have to cycle the tank. You can use the time to investigate what your local shops sell - assuming lockdown allows. If you do manage to look, make a note of all the fish you like, but bear in mind that the fish in the shops won't have stopped growing yet so they'll get bigger.
Once the tank is cycled, make sure there are a good number of plants. Real plants are best but fake ones are OK. It sounds backwards, but the more hiding places there are the more you'll see the fish. If they know there's somewhere to run and hide if that predator comes along, they'll be more confident.
You can get the first shoal once the tank is ready for them, test for ammonia and nitrite every day to make sure they stay at zero. Once you are certain, you can get the next shoal. And again test every day afterwards. It is better to buy the fish as 10 neons, then 10 something else rather than 5 neons and 5 something else to make up the 10. Shoaling fish do better if the whole shoal is bought together.
If at any time either ammonia or nitrite is above zero, a water change is needed to get them down to zero.
 
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