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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hope someone can help. I have a 65 gallon African cichlid tank that is established. My fish are dying and I cannot figure out why. At this point I considered an autopsy and there is nowhere to have that done. all of my numbers are fine. I strip tested my water, I liquid tested my water and I have taken it to two other places as well and they all say the water is fine. The fish are whole with no signs of anything different. I have done three water changes. The fish appeared fine on Sunday morning and Sunday afternoon when I got home there were tow dead in the tank and it has not stopped yet for a total loss of eight and one on the way out now. I change my water and clean my tank faithfully every Thursday. The fish seem to isolate at the top, stop eating and then die this happens within days. Please help.
 

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You say the fish are gathering at the top Do you have a couple of good air stones or sponge filters going in the tank? If not put some air in your water, sounds like they are air starved IMO.
 

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Do you have any kind of metal in the tank? Copper, brass? Or rocks that may contain metal?
 

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A couple questions.

1) How long has the tank been established?

2) Any new fish or change in feeding?

3) How is water clarity?

4) Where are you located ... there has been a slight seasonal change in water chemistry in MetroVancouver if you are on municipal water or are you on well water?

I am available at (604) 240-096two if you want to discuss options.
 

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I had something similar happen way back. I had a similar size tank and when the fish grew up a bit a few became jerks and killed a bunch. do the dead ones look normal also?
 

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Any damage to the fins/body? If you notice they are hiding at the top one at a time it may be due to aggression. Sometimes dominant males will single out an individual and proceed to rip them to shreds if there is not enough space or hiding places. Have you tried rearranging the rocks?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes I have tried everything, I have rearranged, I have plenty of hiding places. I have even treated for illnesses that I actually saw no signs of in case I was wrong. I treated with general cure and I treated for white spot. No, the dead fish do not look as if anything is wrong with them, their bodies are still intact as long as don't leave them in there long enough to be fed on and water clarity is fine. I am located in Wilmington NC and I have had the tank for about 6 to 8 months. I am so hurt over this two more dead fish today.
 

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When you change water, are you dechorinating the water appropriately?

Depending how much water is changed, the effect of chlorine can be significant. Chlorine will burn fish's gills, effectively suffocating them due to no longer being able to absorb sufficient oxygen (that may be why they go to the surface where there is more oxygen). At best they gasp, breathing heavily and recovering after a few days. At worst, they die.

I look forward to your comments
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes I dechlorinate with water conditioner at 5ml per 10 gals as the instructions state prior to adding water to tank. I also have approximately 8 inches worth of air stones in the tank and no metal fixtures.
 

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I don't know what kind of water supply you have over there, are you using water from the municipality or well water? Sometimes countys add extra chloramines to purge and clean their waste systems. Maybe check with your water supply if they did this recently. Did your power go out recently? Maybe gas supersaturation?
 

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Sorry I should have checked your location when I first responded ... I have been to Wilmington NC - stayed by the river prominade. I think your issues are related to:

1) some chemical leaching from your natural gravels over time ... even with the water changes you do given that your tank has only been established for 6 - 8 months, that's still pretty young and really not fully established. If you really want to rule this out an environmental testing lab can do a full analysis much more than any aquarium test kit I have seen. You might have a local college or university or Aquarium that does this kind of analysis as part of their research and would be willing to do the test at a nominal cost.

2) change in water chemistry from your water source. If it is county water source it may be extra chemicals put in the water over the winter i.e. chloramine that we don"t use in the Vancouver water source. If you are on a well then there can be natural chemical or potentially new leachate that has made it into water, even in trace amounts.

3) some pathogen that has recently been introduced into your tank, through your water system or addition of new fish ... this would point to something more like a virus, rather bacterial or parasite as this can move quickly

4) lastly you are doing a lot of water changes and cleaning filters, way more than I do in established tanks. Are you making sure that when you clean these filters they are being rinsed and cleaned in tank water not tap water? This can be a source of chemicals not great for the fish

This won't help your dead fish but your college or university may have a fish pathology lab that could autopsy the fish and give you a more definitive conclusion. NC has a system of great regional Aquariums, specialists there could help you too. You have one pretty close, the Aquarium @ Fort Fisher that I have visited - hope this helps.
 
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Good points raised

Sorry I should have checked your location when I first responded ... I have been to Wilmington NC - stayed by the river prominade. I think your issues are related to:

1) some chemical leaching from your natural gravels over time ... even with the water changes you do given that your tank has only been established for 6 - 8 months, that's still pretty young and really not fully established. If you really want to rule this out an environmental testing lab can do a full analysis much more than any aquarium test kit I have seen. You might have a local college or university or Aquarium that does this kind of analysis as part of their research and would be willing to do the test at a nominal cost.

2) change in water chemistry from your water source. If it is county water source it may be extra chemicals put in the water over the winter i.e. chloramine that we don"t use in the Vancouver water source. If you are on a well then there can be natural chemical or potentially new leachate that has made it into water, even in trace amounts.

3) some pathogen that has recently been introduced into your tank, through your water system or addition of new fish ... this would point to something more like a virus, rather bacterial or parasite as this can move quickly

4) lastly you are doing a lot of water changes and cleaning filters, way more than I do in established tanks. Are you making sure that when you clean these filters they are being rinsed and cleaned in tank water not tap water? This can be a source of chemicals not great for the fish

This won't help your dead fish but your college or university may have a fish pathology lab that could autopsy the fish and give you a more definitive conclusion. NC has a system of great regional Aquariums, specialists there could help you too. You have one pretty close, the Aquarium @ Fort Fisher that I have visited - hope this helps.
 
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