View Full Version : Help, Fish Dying

05-21-2006, 04:53 PM
Hey Guys , I was wondering if you can help me diagnose my problem. I have had a 58 gallon setup for 4 months now. I started with 10 2.5in discus, 20 cardinals and 5 corys. Eveything has gone very smooth considering this is my first tank. I lost only 2 cards and one cory due to crushing on a tank transfer. I fed the fish 5 small meals a day consisting of CBW,FBW,TB's and NLS. Except for the first 2 weeks the water has been very clear. I have a 20 gallon wet/dry with 3 gallons of bio balls and 1 liter of bio rings. I have kept my water parameters at 0 ammo, 0 nitri
10 nitra with water changes of 50% every other day. 5 days ago my water started to get cloudy (milky). My fish stopped eating and they got antisocial. yesterday one of the discus started slashing around the tank and swam sideway , that night he died . Right now I have another fish doing the same thing. I noticed today very small white disc's on the tank floor.
any advise would be appreciated . Thanks Josh

05-21-2006, 04:55 PM

05-21-2006, 05:29 PM
I'll take a stab at this hope I am wright. You should have 1 Discus per 10 gallons or get ready to bigger water changes. (I started with 10 2.5in discus, 20 cardinals and 5 corys) This is too much fish for your system. Or like I said more water changes and cleaning the filters more often.

Did you qt the other fish to make sure they were not sick?
When you water got cloudy did you retest the tank if so what were the results?
What other syptoms are you see?

05-21-2006, 06:14 PM
Have you checked your ammonia levels recently. I know you indicate they are zero, but the fastest way to get cloudy water and dead fish is with ammonia rising. I've done it myself (the cloudy water part, no dead fish recently, thank goodness) recently simply by leaving my filter unplugged after a water change. Cloudy water overnight every time I do it. Ammonia readings every time, as well.

05-21-2006, 06:43 PM
Hey, My fish have been all together for 3 months, the corys and cardinals were QT'ed separately for 1 month before added the the main tank . The Discus were all bought at the same time from the same breeder. No fish has shown signs of anything before now , the were all very happy social fish.
I know it is a lot of fish for the tank but the water param's were fine and I was going to transfer some when they grow up. I wanted a large school so they would get along better as the grew. They were happy fish till now.
also , my ammonia was 0 the last two times I checked which was yesterday.

05-21-2006, 07:11 PM
I noticed today very small white disc's on the tank floor.
any advise would be appreciated . Thanks Josh

.. Can you elaborate? Does it look like scales?


05-21-2006, 07:18 PM
Cloudy water is a biological problem. How do you do a water change? Do you add a conditioner? WHen was the last time you cleaned the filters? The tank looks good in that pic. But cloudy water is usually a biological filter problem. I would start asking quesitons regarding anything new, different about your WC routine.
Have you recently had a power outage? Opened a new bottle of chemicals? Changes your bio media??

05-21-2006, 07:41 PM
The white disc's are about the diameter of a toothpick and are slightly opaque. they get sucked up during water changes. The only appeared the last two days . There is alot less now. I have been doing massive water changes.

My water change system is a rubbermaid brute with a pump that pushes the water through a hose to the top where it goes around about 5 times then the hose goes back into the can and splashes back in. I use prime and let run for 24 hours.

A week ago I cleaned my tank. Wiped the walls, cleaned the overflow , and cleaned the sump. I cleaned all the mechanical sponges (3) in the sump but didn't touch the balls or rings. They stayed wet .
I also added a little anti-algae liquid to the tank after. I followed instructions on how much to add and probably went a little light.

05-21-2006, 07:51 PM
Ahhh, anti algae liquid! Discus HATE that stuff. I used it once a few months ago and had some problems. I may even have had cloudy water. I used the jungle product. My discus got extra slime and had some breathing problems. I would do a few small WC's. Then see if that helps.

Did you add it to a glass of tank water, then dose?? Or just add it straight to the tank? Maybe the one that died swam into a stream of it. Just guessing.

These white discs... are they poop? worms? food? Can you put up a pic???

05-21-2006, 08:06 PM
Marilyn, I don't have the foggiest idea what they are ,I guess they could be scales. When my first fish went into his death spiral he whacked everything in the tank pretty good.
My algae stuff was "algaefix' from AP.
I just did a 90% water change a while ago and my water so far is still clear, plus the fish look a little livelier. hopefully the losses stop here.

05-21-2006, 08:22 PM
What testing the tank for ammonia and nitrite for the next week or two?

If there something wrong with the good bacteria in the tank it will show up on one or the other test. Just an idea.

05-21-2006, 08:25 PM
I had one die, and he did a number on everything in the tank as he darted back and forth just before he went.
Lets hope it was the algae fix and things are gonna be ok. I wouldnt use it again. I would find a better way to get rid of algae.

Good Luck and let us know if things stay better! AMazing what a good water change will do!!!

05-21-2006, 08:48 PM
I should have left well enough alone. The algae wasn't that bad and should have been scraped off only. I will continue to due large water changes and test the water.Some of my fish ate some FBW I just gave them which is good. Some still ate then spit out though. I hope they go back to there old piggy selfs. water still looks OK.

05-21-2006, 10:04 PM
I have seen those little white circles you are talking about too. I saw them when I got some wilds from an lfs. After netting.. I actually saw them falling off the discus. Those two ended up with a bacterial infection. Keep a close eye on the sides of your fish.. just to be sure. It may be just from the one that died tho.


05-21-2006, 10:19 PM
What do you mean by you cleaned the sump? I have goofed and cleaned my HOB filters too well and experienced similar conditions to what you describe. I did lots of WC's, raised temp a little and added salt. Everything was fine in a couple days.


05-21-2006, 10:25 PM
Josh, Welcome to Simply!

When you clean your sump you can rinse the bio balls in tank water, they to need to be rinse every now and then. I use AlgaeFix in my BB tanks without any problems at all, so I strongly believe that is not what is causing the cloudiness in your tank. Where do you have the tank? Are there any windows around the tank? The reason why I ask is, my tanks are not by windows that get sunlight, but they do get reflections. There is a house on the side of me that the sunlight reflects off one of it's windows right onto my tank for about an hour everyday in the spring/summer/fall but not winter LOL. That was giving me cloudy water or it can be cause by unclean media. The white "disc" you see are actually worms, daily water changes of 50% will get rid of them for you. Here's what Carol posted about it:
Symptoms: White dots on the glass walls of the tank and inside the filter. Planaria love smooth surfaces.
Treat by cleaning your tank, rinsing the filter, wiping down the inside of your tank and increasing water changes. Decrease amount fed and use a prefilter if food and feces are being sucked into the filter. You can also dose with formalin at 1 cc per 10 gallons, but would need to watch for ammonia spike if heavy die off.

05-21-2006, 11:37 PM
Kieth, by cleaning my sump I mean vacuming out any crud that gets by the first mechanical sponge and then clean that sponge along with the water polishing sponge . I also cleaned my return pump prefilter sponge(3 in total).
I left my bioballs and biorings alone.

Hexed, I have cleaned my bioballs before using tank water and had no problems.
Is there anything else that works besides formulin. I have melafix,pimafix.prozipro,metro,and meth blue. I can get anything else tommorow.
Thanks Josh

White Worm
05-22-2006, 01:19 AM
its the algae rid liquid. I had one swim through the stuff as I was adding it directly to the tank once. Next day he was sick, swimming sideways, thrashing and I thought i was gonna lose him. He recovered after clean water changes but i think he has some residual permanent damage. He still eats and swims great but he has a weird way about him, kinda hard to explain. Dont use that crap. Clean water, less light and frequent wipeing will keep down the algae. Discus do hate that stuff!

05-22-2006, 03:09 AM
add salt..if its your bio struggling..it will help the fish not get their gills fried.
maybe that stuff didnt help your bio either.
sorry to hear about your fish.
do a large water change daily for a bit. might take awhile for your filter to recover.

Peter Choo
05-22-2006, 03:36 AM
Try removing the anti-algae stuff from the water. Discus do not take kindly to some of them.

05-22-2006, 03:34 PM
Well, the remaining 8 (out of 10) look better Today. A few of them greeted me at the glass when I got home from work a gave me the "feed me stare" and went to the feeding cone. About half ate pretty well while some just stayed back and half heartedly pecked at food floating by.
I am going to do another big water change today and take it from there. Question is should I medicate them now or wait and see.

05-22-2006, 04:19 PM
Well, I cannot believe people are blaming algaefix as the cause of everything LMAO! I use it on a regular basis and it does not cloud my water or make my fish sick. Reminds me of another thread where Flourish Excel was killing fish too! I am not going to recommend meds cause then it will be them that's doing it. If the product on the market kills discus why not call the company and let them know? There is no warning on the label saying it does, but then I cannot see how a discus can swim through a drop of it and get sick? I wonder if you went back to your regular routine if your tank is going to get cloudy again? Check your media and see if there is debris stuck on it. If you want I can post pictures of all my tanks here and you can see how crystal clear they are and how healthy my discus are using the product? The product did not even harm my plants either.

05-22-2006, 04:40 PM
I dont use algae remover. To me a little algae never hurt anything and its a consant reminder that I need to clean the tank. lol

05-22-2006, 05:41 PM

My fish didnt die, they just had breathing problems and were skittish. I blame the algae stuff because it happened almost immediately after dosing. I must confess, I did overdose as I read the label wrong. And I measured and dosed directly into the tank. That is why I siggested that the algae stuff may have caused the problem. It was something he had done differently.

In any event, I choose to never use the stuff again as I rather treat the problem, and not the effect of it. Just my opinion. But I was a newbie then, and as a newbie, (even now), if it can be done wrong, I will find the way!!

05-22-2006, 09:18 PM
Sometimes doing a too good of a job on cleaning a tank can cause a mini cycle so as stated earlier test for everything to rule that out of the possibilities. I would also consider this behavior is common with fish experiencing bacterial infections of some sort. Obviously something is wrong so take your time and do your homework before you medicate if you medicate at all. Keep a close eye on things since they are swimming so crazy darting around and everything may have to administer some kind of antibacterial to prevent further infections from starting such as fungal. Read a book in your spare time by the name of Dicus Health. It is really good.

05-22-2006, 11:05 PM
Thanks Guys, the fish are doing better but still aren't back to normal . I figure I'll just keep doing big water changes and keep a close eye on them. I took my two BD's out of the main tank for now because they seemed the most stressed. I put them in my QT tank with a little salt and heat to chill them out. If they look better tommorow I will put them back.


White Worm
05-23-2006, 12:27 AM
Well, I cannot believe people are blaming algaefix as the cause of everything LMAO! I use it on a regular basis and it does not cloud my water or make my fish sick. There is no warning on the label saying it does, but then I cannot see how a discus can swim through a drop of it and get sick?
I cant say in his case this is the only problem. I can only say that I too saw an immediate problem after using algaefix with the one who swam through the dose. The bottle says 1 teaspoon per 50g. I added enough for my 80g directly to the tank so we are not talking drops. Immediately that discus had serious effects (swirling, darting, sideways swimming and breathing problems). After water changes, he recovered but I think not fully. I just choose not to chance it again. The warnings do say not to use for some freshwater animals. It doesnt say it isnt harmful to discus either but it must be somewhat dangerous if it comes with some precautions when using in fresh water. I never had cloudy water and none of the other discus ever had any problems. I think with any chemical, it is a problem if it is concentrated. That discus just had bad timing. From then till now I always premix anything I add to the tank.