Poisoned?

kribensis12

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Welp, I never thought this would happen to me - but my preliminary analysis indicates that I may have poisoned my fish by adding a decoration to the tank.

Stats:
10g
Set up 1 week ago - cloned my filter from another tank - so plenty of biological material + minimal feeding as the tank gets more established)
Decor: A few Apistogramma caves, temp at 82, two Indian Almond Leaves (IAL) and a plant.
Fish: 1m/1f Apistogramma Cacatouides "Orange Flash"
Water: Per Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0.
pH: 7.4

The details:

Since these fish were split from my other apistos, they have been very shy and less colorful in their own tank. They have shown interest in eating, but not voraciously. Likewise, the other pair have been struggling to adjust --> in my experience, A. Cacatouides can be very sulky.

I added IAL three days ago for the tannins, look and additional breeding substrate etc. I observed the fish and they seemed to like the additional hiding spots - no funny behavior.

Last night (11pm), I did a 30% water change and added some ZooMed Mopani wood to the tank (and to my other Apistogramma tank). The water I replaced it with was straight R/O with Seachem's Neutral Regulator added.

This morning (about 7AM) I checked on the tanks. The other Apistogramma tank does not look much darker - and the fish were doing great. In the 10g I am posting about, the two apistos were sluggishly hanging towards the top; I did notice that the waters surface looked stagnant even though a filter was running. I'm not sure how to describe it - but the water looked off.

I added an air stone, thinking that possibly the fish (for some odd reason) were not getting enough oxygen. I wanted to do a WC but we planned to take our kids to two museums today and I did not have time - additionally, I couldn't think of a good reason for the water to be off.

Fast forward to this evening, I discovered the female dead and the male almost dead - breathy slowly and not moving. I got pictures of the female and male - the female was tossed in the garden and the male is floating in a net in the other Apistogramma tank -- hoping (not convinced) that the fresh water will revive him. I did notice that the males gills look off - so if someone has ideas about that let me know.

My suspicion is that there was a containment with one of the pieces of Mopani wood - but I've used ZooMed's many times without any issue at all.
 

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PheonixKingZ

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No clue what happened, but I've never heard of Mopani being dangerous to fish.

Perform an emergency 70% water change. Hopefully @Colin_T will be on soon.
 

Circus

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Did you boil the wood or soak it before putting it into the tank? It is possible it was contaminated with something at the store or during shipping.
 
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kribensis12

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They are the only fish in that 10g - it was a breeding tank. Since there are no fish in it at the moment, I am not performing a water change ---> but I will not be reintroducing anything into that tank until all of the water has been replaced.

The male has now died too - I did take pictures and can provide them if anything things it to be helpful.

I did not boil it - I wanted to keep the tannins that it comes with and Mopani wood naturally sinks. They were both ordered on Amazon and came in the same, loose bag. One tank is great - but this tank was not.
 

PheonixKingZ

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They are the only fish in that 10g - it was a breeding tank. Since there are no fish in it at the moment, I am not performing a water change ---> but I will not be reintroducing anything into that tank until all of the water has been replaced.

The male has now died too - I did take pictures and can provide them if anything things it to be helpful.

I did not boil it - I wanted to keep the tannins that it comes with and Mopani wood naturally sinks. They were both ordered on Amazon and came in the same, loose bag. One tank is great - but this tank was not.
I don't think it was the wood... Mopani would is 100% safe for fish. I'm also not seeing anything online that indicates it is dangerous.
 

Utar

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I guess mysterious deaths in fish can happen. But if I where to guess and reading where you say that the fish never really acted or looked good from day one in their new tank, there was some kind of contaminant in that tank that killed them. Whatever it is it was, the contaminant was there from the start and had nothing to do with the Mopani wood.

I have always said to people that I know personally that have an aquarium, to be very careful about what they spray in the room. Even air freshener sprayed carelessly in a room can get into an aquarium. I have even read on other forums where someone accidentally spilled beer in and aquarium. I have read people talking about hand sanitizer killing fish.
 

Naughts

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Did you retest for ammonia and nitrite?
 
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kribensis12

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I guess mysterious deaths in fish can happen. But if I where to guess and reading where you say that the fish never really acted or looked good from day one in their new tank, there was some kind of contaminant in that tank that killed them. Whatever it is it was, the contaminant was there from the start and had nothing to do with the Mopani wood.

I have always said to people that I know personally that have an aquarium, to be very careful about what they spray in the room. Even air freshener sprayed carelessly in a room can get into an aquarium. I have even read on other forums where someone accidentally spilled beer in and aquarium. I have read people talking about hand sanitizer killing fish.

Which I have some suspicion to - but unsure what it could have been.

The tank set empty for a long time and I cleaned it prior to use. They seemed "ok" for about a week, but I attributed their skittish behavior and color to being in a new tank and not having as many hiding places (plausible, they are sorta temperamental).

The rapid deceleration (especially after a water change - which theoretically should have made things better), is what has me confused.

@Naughts I have not retested yet, but hope to tonight before I drain the tank and start over.

Any other thoughts?
 

Utar

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Good luck with it and let us know how it turns out after restarting the entire process with the ten gallon.
 
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kribensis12

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Thanks.

If anyone reads through this and has suggestions on specifically what went wrong - I'd love to hear it. Anything to prevent this from happening again!
 
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kribensis12

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I retested - all are still showing 0. I've been dropping flakes in at normal feeding times to keep the bio bacteria alive.

I am going to start draining all of the water tonight and restarting.

Since I don't know what caused their deaths, does anyone else have any advice?

I had a molly have babies about a month ago - sounds cruel but I'm going to pop a few in there once the water has been changed and see how they do - I'd rather lose a baby molly to an unknown killer than one of my baby apistos.
 

Slaphppy7

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What is the reason for the R/O water?
 

Slaphppy7

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A. Cacatouides is a soft water, low pH fish. Our water, out of the tap is 8.4 and the total hardness is 600 - which is INSANE.

I am breeding them and need a softer water with low pH.
You mean a TDS reading of 600 out of the tap??
If so, it's similar to my well water (which I don't use in my tanks)...."liquid rock", they call it...
 

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