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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I woke up this morning to find my 2 tinfoil barbs dead floating at the top of the tank, and my piranha upside down breathing heavily at the bottom. I did a water test, the only thing that was off was the Nitrates level which was about 60ppm. Thing is the Oscar, Cigar shark and 2 plecos in the tank are all fine. I have since done a mass water change on the tank and have moved the piranha into a 66 temporarily but her condition hasn't changed. Is this a case of nitrate poisoning or what? If so, do you think she'll make it or should I just put her down?:(
 

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Sorry to hear that PatientZero3. I don't know much about those kinds of fish so I can't comment on fish compatibility and whether one of them attacked the others. But did you change your water yesterday? Could you have forgotten to add the dechlorinator? Maybe you accidentally added Excel instead of dechlorinator, or lots and lots of fertilizer thinking that it was Excel? (I don't know whether you use those things or not)

The other thing is, could somebody have been cleaning near the tanks and sprayed a chemical into it? Or perhaps if you use buckets to change your water, maybe somebody used your bucket for some housework? I know this is a long shot.

If you have a planted tank, could there have been too much CO2? A ph swing? Is the heat up very high because yesterday was hot? Maybe they don't have enough oxygen?

I don't know any of these answers and I'm not an expert anyway. But I thought I would give you some questions to think about as you try to figure out this mystery.

I don't think that nitrates would poison those fish at those levels, but what caused the nitrate spike? Maybe a fish died and they've been eating it?
 

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Hello PatientZero.

I would say this was probably due to an oxygen decrease due to a temperature increase. Characins and Barbs typically act as a marker when oxygen levels are low or ammonia or nitrites are present (heavy breathing/gasping at the surface). I would suggest doing a 50% WC and adding an airstone or a venturi adapter to a powerhead. You can also float ice packs in the aquarium to keep temperatures from rising. I'd say your temperature spiked and may well have risen to 85 or 90 F causing an oxygen deficiency for these fish.

Hopefully this helps.

Best Regards,

Stuart
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Its not fertilizer or excel as I dont use either of those products, no co2 either. I've added an AC 500 to the tank for the time being to go along with the XP3 I have on it(its an 80 gallon tank), but the good news is that the Piranha seems to have recovered in the other tank I currently have her in, the 80 seems to have gotten cloudy in the last few hours so Im hoping with the AC on there and the airstone I added, it will clear up and everything will be ok in the end.
 

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Some fish are far more sensitive to lack of oxygen than others. You have to watch some of the more sensitive fish when the weather heats up. Adding an airstone usually helps. I have lost a bunch of fish in a tank before when several other fish in the tank were okay. I have found that rainbows and Denisoni barbs are really affected by lower oxygen levels.

If the tank is cloudy it sounds like it might be going through a mini cycle. It should clear up in a day or two. I'm glad your Piranha is okay. The fish can recover very quickly when you act quickly and get them to a clean, well oxygenated environment.
 
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