Hi. Me and my boyfriend decided to start a fishtank at the beginning of june. We bought at 30 gallon tank and set it up within the first week. After a week (and after getting the water tested) we added 3 real plants and three zebra danios. They seemed fine, so about two weeks we had the water tested again, and bought a red tail shark and an angel fish.
After about three days the red tail shark died. It had been acting funny for a while and wasn't eating so we figured it was stressed and had our water tested for a third time. Still nothing was wrong. At that time our angel fish started acting funny. Every fish store we went to said that it was probably just stressed out and to just let it be. We also added some aquarium salt to our tank.
After about two days of the angel fish acting funny, one of the zebra danios did too. It kept twisting its back fins and swimming kind of funny. After being worried about this, we took in our water to get tested again and saw that there was nothing wrong again. We were told to just add a bit more aquarium salt.
The zebra danio started acting fine again so we figured it was just the way it was swimming and just ignored that it had happened. Every employee of the fish stores that we were in said that it probably was fine.
We cleaned our tank about 4 days ago and noticed the angel fish still wasn't acting completely normal. We had our water tested again and finally bought the ammonia test strips so we can test for ourselves.
Yesterday we bought a huge castle and 5 neons, hoping that the castle would be good for the angel fish to hide in. Also we had noticed that one of the danios had been swimming very close to the angel fish and we were told that it might pick on it if it thought it was weak. So we were also hoping that the the zebra danios will now play with the neons instead of the angel fish...
When I woke up this morning the angel fish was floating on the top, still alive but not by much. The tank is now at 25 celsius/77 fahrenheit. Is there anything else I can do for my angel fish? I haven't seen it eat for at least 6 days.
Very likely, you added fish before a nitrogen cycle was established. It's also likely the pet shop did not mention the nitrogen cycle. In addition, those free water tests that say everything is OK have sort of low standards. For example, ammonia and nitrite should always be zero. An OK is not a substitute for actual numbers, especially when dealing with angelfish. Lots of aquarists buy their own test kits.
By way of introducing some aquarium basics, you may want to read these two, short blogs:
Corrective measures are available, so please read the blogs and post your questions.
Thank you! So since I probably didn't have a nitrogen cycle before I added fish, do you think I should add something that has deactivated bacteria in it? I'm not quite sure what to do still since I already have a whole aquarium set up. I bought an ammonia tester and I just tested it and it's between 0ppm and .25ppm. I bought the one with the test tube and drops because I have been told that is a lot more accurate then using the strips they use at the pet store. Should I do another water change? I just did one about a week ago.
The bacteria needed to seed the nitrogen cycle are already in the aquarium since it has fish. The formulations containing live bacteria may be able to speed the process. Formulations are also available to encourage bacteria growth. Some of those things claim to produce an instant nitrogen cycle, but I'm a bit skeptical about all the claims. In addition, it may be possible to create a monster problem by over using some of that stuff.
As an alternative, change 20 or 25 percent of the water every two or three days until ammonia and nitrite stay at zero and nitrate stays below 40 ppm. After that, a partial water change every week will help maintain the biological balance. Also avoid over crowding, and feed no more than the fish eat in a couple of minutes.
If you treat the replacement water with Stress Coat or a similar product, it will temporarily neutralise ammonia and help keep the fish safe. While doing the weekly partial water change, syphon any debris off the substrate surface, but deep clean only about 1/3 of it in any week. Change filter elements infrequently and only one at a time. These steps are necessary, because the beneficial bacteria associated with the nitrogen cycle live primarily in the substrate and filter elements.
The dip strips are thought by many to be inaccurate, and only one company (Tetra) makes a dip strip to test ammonia. Very likely, neither the dip strips nor the reagent based water tests would meet the accuracy needs of a professional chemist. However, they are reasonably priced and suitable for their intended purpose.