Hi, My tank crashed about a year ago. It all started when we suffered a family tradgedy and the tank got neglected. I was lucky if I managed to change the water once a month! it was not good. I didn't realise being a relatively inexperienced fish keeper the damage this would do to my fish.
87 litre tank current stock: 2 pencil fish, 6 rummy nose tetras, 4 neons 6 harlequins (bought 5 months ago, got bad advice and should not have bought them, don't go there anymore) 9 amano shrimp 4 snails
I have lost: 3 appistos (none left) 8 neons 4 pencil fish 2 snails 2 guramis
The tank amonia, nitrates and nitrites where surprisingly not the problem. MLFS expert tested my water and explained that my tank water had had a mineral crash. I think it was something to do with calcium and ph. Any way he sold me some inexpensive white gravel and some medication to save my tank.
The frequent water changes and gravel has calmed all my water parameters which is good but six months on but I am still losing fish. I have lost over half my stock already including my appistos, guramis and most of my neon tetras and pencil fish. My amano shrimp have been fine. I did 2 doses of omnipor as reconemded by MLFS.
The fish are still dying though and of different causes! My gurami swelled up and looked prickly but my pencil fish went thin and wasted away. All 6 rummy nose teras have cloudy eyes and one has a massive pop eye! My apistos seemed to have no sign of illness or distress when I found them. Some of my fish are still just disappearing. Some are sick, my pencil fish is a funny shape and colourless. I don't know how to treat the tank as it looks like multiple problems. Many of my neon tetras swelled up huge before they died. I wasn't able to always retreave the dead fish as the shrimp ate them before I saw them!
I have been sticking religiously to 20% weekly water changes for the last 8 months and have had no amonia, nitrate or nitrite spikes. Please help. I don't know what to do and MLFS is now closed. :(
In order to help us to help you better, can you tell us what your PH and water hardness is: * according to your water/utility supplier's website? [If you live in the UK, input your postcode and find out the PH, CaCO3 and German degrees hardness levels]; * what your PH, KH and GH levels are from your tank immediately pre- weekly water change and immediately post- weekly water change.
What is the brand/name of the gravel specifically?
What are your ammonia, nitrite and nitrates readings immediately pre- weekly water changes?
A few thoughts/musings: * PH seems on the low side, and lower pre- water change [2 issues/possibilities here: test strips inaccurate - my PH is the same as yours but test strips always give a similar reading to yours, whereas liquid tests give the same reading as water supplier; if KH and water hardness were much lower, that might account for PH dropping over the course of the week pre- water change; on balance, given your KH and water hardness, more likely that test strips are inaccurate]; * KH and GH, but more importantly your water supplier's water hardness result [2 issues/possibilities here: test strips inaccurate; no difference pre- and post- water change suggest that water-correction gravel not doing anything (*if* the test strips are accurate but unknown without more accurate liquid-based ones - my test strips don't give accurate readings for water hardness) BUT unsure why you were advised to use this as water hardness is not low, although possibly if KH had dropped vastly in the past when tank neglected];
Advice: * monitor ammonia, nitrite and nitrate during week - nitrite and nitrate should always be at 0, and nitrates no more than 20 above tap water nitrate levels (worth measuring that to find out), therefore do an extra water change as soon as levels start to rise above those; * either do more frequent or larger water changes - safe/better to do up to 50% 1-2x per week (or even more frequently if need be).
I haven't cross-checked all your fish against water hardness requirement range but, as your water doesn't seem to be *too* hard (cf previous comment though re KH/GH test strip results), wouldn't think this is the problem. Also haven't checked stocking levels but it's *possible* these were too high for size of tank. Will try to get back to you tomorrow on these aspects.
Can I just check if that's your tap water or your tank water that those liquid-based test kit results are for?
If it's for tap water, then great that your nitrates are at 0 - that ought to mean that you'll be able to keep tank water nitrates at 20 or less, but may need to adjust the volume and frequency of water changes to be able to achieve that and nitrites and ammonia at 0 each time.
I think if you can maintain tank water at 0 for ammonia and nitrite and <20 for nitrates, the tank and its inhabitants will take care of themselves. Don't consider buying any more fish until you've managed to keep these levels stable for several months.
As for the PH, is the liquid-based test kit showing the same results for tapwater and tankwater? Test now but also test the tapwater again after you've let a tube of tapwater stand for 24+ hours - sometimes water suppliers buffer the PH so a true reading will occur after 24+ hours.