View Full Version : losing fish - help

02-09-2003, 12:31 PM
Hi, I was wondering if anyone knows why I'm losing fish? I have a 46g bow front with a Whisper 3 and a Penguin 170. I clean the gravel once a week while I do a 25% water change. ph is 8.4, ammonia is 0, Nitrite is 0, Nitrate is 80 ppm, kh is 125.3 ppm. Water temp is 80. :) I started 3 months ago with 16 assorted africans cichlids and two pictus cats. I have remove the cats to be with my Oscars. I'm now down to 11 cichlids. The first 2 I believe died of bloat ( there mid sections bloated up before they died). But the last three never bloated. :? They all seamed to be gasping for air, even though I have 3 air stones in the tank. They don't look like they have been attacked. Fins and body look find. They also hide all the time and stop eating. This all happen over 4 or 5 days. There color also looks fine the whole time. Also only one fish gets this condition at a time. With some time between fish deaths, 1 to 3 weeks apart. Others are all fine,swimming around and eating, chaceing each other around, than one will start hiding and 4 to 5 days later, dead :cry:
I'd be gratful for any help, Thanks :wink:

02-09-2003, 01:26 PM
Your nitrates sound pretty high, you might have them in your tap water since your nitrite is zero. There's ways to get around that, but I'm not familiar with them. Also, do you dechlorinate your water when you do water changes? That could cause deaths in the tank over time.

Another possibility is hexamita, an internal parasite commonly found in African cichlids. They'll stop eating and eventually die without treatment. Unfortunately, most of the anti parasite treatments only work if the fish will eat.

02-09-2003, 02:07 PM
I also have the same problem right now.

I have had 2 fish die with the same symptoms as you describe.

I have used Pipzine as a preventative for the fish who will eat. You mix it with their food. The only other thing you might do is isolate the sick fish and treat it with formalin. Just be REALLY CAREFUL to use the product EXACTLY as it states, and then do the appropriate water change. There are some products sold that specifically treat this parasite, however the lfs doesn't always carry it.

As far as your nitrates are concerned, there is a product called Nitra-Sorb, which will bring the nitrates down to acceptable levels.

I would first do as Jonah suggested and test my tap water to see if the nitrates are there. If they are then you might want to consider using a tap water, or reverse osmosis filter to remove them first.

Hope your fish (and mine) will soon be well again!

02-09-2003, 06:39 PM
Hi, Thanks all for the advise. I tested the tap water that I use and the nitrate level is 0 i'd say. I also treat the water before I use it, so it should be safe. I guess i'll try to get the Pipzine and see if that works. 8)

02-09-2003, 07:45 PM
Try raising the temp 4 degrees F. Also add more vegtables to their diet. Spirulina, blanched romaine lettuce or zucchini are good starts.

I have heard and I don't remember where or when, that the addition of epsom salts helps bloat, as in humans it has a laxative effect on the fish.

I had a Nitrate problem once and I could'nt pin down the cause, as my tap was zero. What had happened apparently was that some leleupi eggs hatched under my filter plate, grew a bit then mercifully died. After the bodies decomposed, the nitrate problem went with it. I change 50%-75% of my water weekly and have never experinced any reading above 10ppm.

You may want to check for bodies laying about, or a filter that needs changing.

All the best,


02-10-2003, 12:07 AM
Overfeeding will also cause a nitrate problem. As the food decays slowly the filter is overwhelmed and the nitrates rise.

Anything above 40ppm is stressful to fish, according to literature and test kits. I prefer to keep mine down around 10-20 if possible. The only way I can do this with the bio-load I carry in my tank, and even with two filters is to clean part of the gravel every water change.

03-07-2003, 12:35 AM
sound like you might have several problems: such as tank is too small for the original 16 cichlids, which causes stress of over crowding. I had the same problem with my 33 gal, most hobbiest say you need at least 50 - 55 gal tank, perfered a long one. I got a bigger one and fishes are doing awsome. I have 30 juvenals africans in my 113 gal and that's from what i hear is pushing it, because once they grow it might get to crowed.

As for the air grasping, try using a power head it will help with the circulation of the o2 and co2 which is releast from the fish, plus it will help to circulate the waiste from the substrate.

05-25-2003, 01:13 AM
Hello mg18:

I have exactly the same problem. I'm trying to figure it out now. I have called The Cichlid Exchange and with their help and people in this forum I have come up with a plan. I just hope that it works. I'm using Metronidazole and Kanamyacin. I was told to use it every other day for three treatments. Then, I'm following the advice of Armke's and I'm doing a 50% water change and then 40% water changes every other day for a week. Then, I'm following SGypseyMermaid's advice and I'm feeding anit-paraiste food for the recommeneded time followed by ant-bacterial food. If that doesn't work I'm going to follow the advice of someone else in this foruma and use Cloat. If all of this doesn't work, I'm going to take the fish out, take all the rocks and decor out, clorox them, get rid of the sand, sanatize my tank and filters, and start all over. Not exactly what you really want to do, but if things keep going the way they are I might not have any fish left.

Becareful with the Cloat, it will stain things. I've used it before and some of my rocks now have a blueish tint.

You can use Epsom salt. It is a natural laxative. I read an article at cichlid-forum.com/articles/malawi_bloat.php and it said to mix Epsom salt and table salt half-and-half and add a handful of this mixture for every ten gallons of water. I haven't heard of mixing Epsom salt with table salt, but The Cichlid Exchange told me I could use Epsom salt.

It has also been recommeneded to raise your water temp to around 85 degrees and keep the lights off while treating the tank.

You can get a lot of different medicine at bigalsonline.com a great place. However, it will take 7 working days, at least, to get the stuff. They have great prices and a neat VIP program. Aquatronics makes Hex-a-mit that is Metronidazole and SeaChem makes Metronidazole. Also I got something called I.N.Z. that is Metronidazole. Aquatronics also makes Kanacyn, which is Kanamyacin.

I've heard from some LFS's that the government is trying to crack down on these kinds of medincine being sold at pet stores. They want them to go through the pharmacy. Trouble is, vets won't look at a fish, so what are we supposed to do? I've thought of getting a supply of some medicine just in case, but that sounds kind of paranoid doesn't it?

Good luck,