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Community tank crisis :(


kirty
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I got home from work last night to find that almost half the fish in my 4ft community tank were dead. :( I am devastated, especially because I lost my beautiful white/gold angel. :( The fish were fine the day before and I only cleaned the tank two weeks ago (I normally do it every 3-4 weeks). I immediately did a 30% water change but I'm wondering if there is anything else I can do? I am at work today and I don't have a test kit, so I can't test the water until tomorrow. Should I do another water change tonight?

A bit of background, my tank is an extra tall 4ft planted tank. I keep it understocked (2 angels, 2 small BNs and approx 10 platies) and the same fish have been living happily in there for over a year. I've never had any issues with the tank at all in that time, but I suspect the filter may be to blame. Its an older overhang filter and I think it may have stopped working properly because when I did the water change last night, the gravel seemed dirtier than usual and the water smelt 'off'. I have ordered a test kit and am going to buy a new filter tomorrow. Does anyone have any recommendations? I was thinking of an Eheim cannister filter? I'm so sad. :(

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Until you have water results it's hard to speculate - I'd take a cup of old water out - do a major change and serious gravel vac.... you can test both waters to see if there's any ammonia/nitrite build up in the old water.

External canister Eheim is gold, one of the few filters that are built without an in-built life-span.

Probably look at a 2215 or 2217.

Sorry to hear about the crash, it's always devastating when the equipment lets you down.

-Ness

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Ehiem and Fluval are the top 2 canister brands. I have an ehiem 2080 that does a great job on my 6ft tank. It is bet to have a filter that can filter the whole tank 3 times in an hour and it is always best to have a test kit handy other wise you are flying blind and guessing what the problem is. Have you been cleaning the filter regularly as well as doing the water changes?

Also I know angel fish can be notoriously fussy with water quality, ive had my own drama's with them. 3 of my 4 died but I never did find the cause, the one that survived is thriving now. He would be 3-4 times the size I bought him at.

As Ness said, sorry to hear it. We never like to hear these stories from other fish keepers but we have all been through it at some stage ourselves so stay positive. Reminds me that I wanted to post some pics of my yoyo loaches giving me heart attacks by pretending to have thier heads stuck in the drift wood and lying on their sides for fun!

Anyways good luck with it and let us know how you go.

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Thanks for the advice. My angels have always been really healthy and they have grown a fair bit since I got them too, so it was really awful to find one dead. :(/>/> The platies were a few years old too, had them for ages.

When I clean the tank, I always rinse the filter with some water from the tank. I have already ordered the test kit and I will make sure I use it regularly. I used to just get the water tested at the LFS every few months and its always been perfect. I am so scared to go home and check the tank. The remaining fish seemed much happier after the water change but who knows what 24hrs will do. :(/>/>

ETA: I will definitely get the Eheim 2215 I think. From memory my tank is about 170L so that should be fine for it, especially if I keep the tank understocked, right?

Edited by kirty
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It was an ammonia spike. :( I didn't think to take a water sample before I changed the water that first night, but he said there was still ammonia. Weird thing is though, he said the general hardness was really high (he said normal is 7-8 drops and mine was 17) which is so odd because normally when I get my water tested I get told my water is very soft. So he said to do a 20% water change every 2-3 days for now, without adding any crystals, and to do the three-day regime with Cycle.

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Personally I would be doing water changes every day. You dont want your fish to be exposed to ammonia for any longer than needs be and if you do the changes daily you should reduce the ammonia and stress on the fish quicker. Did he tell you how many ppm (parts per million) of ammonia the reading had?

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