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 Some losses, just old age?

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ddavis1979
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PostSubject: Some losses, just old age?   Fri May 16, 2014 1:57 pm

So I have been very proud coming up on my two year anniversary of my 55 gallon tank. I have not had any fish death for almost 18 months.

Then two weeks ago, my bamboo shrimp bit the dust, closely followed by a neon tetra and a red eye tetra. Last week it looked like one of my black neon tetras has swim bladder disease. It is constantly swimming nose up and looks like its struggling not to sink to the bottom, however it is still eating, still has healthy coloration and has lasted for 5-6 days now. I have checked water parameters, and all is well, and did a 60% water change.

I assume that with tetras, 2-3 year life span, that they are just following the natural death progression, but figured I would post here and get feedback anyway.

I have been joking told that I have citation tetras in my tank, but I have also noticed quite a bit of spine curvature in the larger fish.

Discuss....

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Fward
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PostSubject: Re: Some losses, just old age?   Fri May 16, 2014 2:44 pm

Noticed a few of my tetras have crooked spines the older they get. Also feed your bloated fish a peeled pee and some Epson salt may help.
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JohnnyAMH
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PostSubject: Re: Some losses, just old age?   Fri May 16, 2014 10:50 pm

I suggest looking a little deeper. The large water change was a good place start. How often do you perform water changes? What water parameters did you check and what were the results? Neutral

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     ~~~ My Aquariums ~~~
55 gal. Planted Community Show Tank
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30 gal. Bare Bottom Adult Angelfish Tank
20 gal. Bare Bottom Angelfish Breeder Tank
10 gal. Bare Bottom  Angelfish Fry Tank
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gerald
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PostSubject: Re: Some losses, just old age?   Sat May 17, 2014 10:01 pm

I would expect 3-4 years for the smallest tetras (neons) and 5-8 yrs for med-size species (serpae, lemon, emperor, etc). I have black neons, cardinals and emperors that are about 5-ish an still look good. Might be some type of infection causing bent spines and buoyancy loss, if not old age. I dont know about bamboo shrimp longevity.
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ddavis1979
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PostSubject: Re: Some losses, just old age?   Mon May 19, 2014 10:10 am

I perform water changes every 14 days at around 50%.

Parameters - 0ppm Ammonia, 0ppm Nitrite, 80ppm Nitrate, PH 7.2

I realize Nitrates are high, but that was before water change. I have always struggled with the tap water being high in chloramines. The Prime does a good job seperating the ammonia and chrlorine, and turning ammonia into ammonium while bacteria transform it into Nitrates and the chlorine is removed. The issue is that there is acclerated accumlation of nitrates from the very start. However, I would make the assumption that 18 months of seemingly healthy fish with a pretty strict regimine of water changes and consistant perameters, means that I am maintaining a healthy environment.

As far as tetra life span goes, I have been told 1-2 years for the neons. But I dont know how old the fish are when I get them from the fish store. I typically buy older larger fish because they survive tank transfers better. I have also noticed a large disparity in size between fish purchases at the same time. The bigger fish tend to be more aggressive feeders, but they also tend to be the ones with spine issues, and look less healthy. The fish that are the same age but significantly smaller tend to look and act more healthy. Its a mystery to me.

I am going to continue my pattern of care but I fully expect to lose a significant number of fish in the tank during the next 10-12 months due to age. At which point I will try out some new species.

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ddavis1979
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PostSubject: Re: Some losses, just old age?   Mon May 19, 2014 10:19 am

Expanding on what I am saying about nitrates.

If the water I am changing the tank with, post nitrogen cycle and beneficial bacteria is yielding 10 to 20 ppm nitrates, and the water in the tank pre-change is 80 ppm nitrates and I am doing a 50% change......(love 5th grade word problems right!)

Average ppm nitrate right after water change is 50ppm nitrates. Some people find this level unaccaptable. I have had some frank conversations with fish keepers who have kept fish in levels as high as 120-150 ppm with little ill effect. However I recognize that long term exposure to elevated levels of nitrates probably has effects on health and life span. I am sure there are more extreme measures I can take to reduce these levels, it takes time and money that I am not willing to expend.

I can keep fish in this environment know that I could be effecting life span, or I could give up and sell my tank. I am chosing to pursue the hobby at this level, but if the consensus is that I am doing the fish a disservice and should bow out, I would strongly consider your inputs.

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55 Gallon Freshwater Community Tank (semi-planted) 48"x21"x13"
20 Gallon Long Freshwater Community Tank (semi-planted) 30"x12"x13"


Watch my updated aquarium video!
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JohnnyAMH
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PostSubject: Re: Some losses, just old age?   Mon May 19, 2014 1:46 pm

ddavis1979 wrote:
Expanding on what I am saying about nitrates.

If the water I am changing the tank with, post nitrogen cycle and beneficial bacteria is yielding 10 to 20 ppm nitrates, and the water in the tank pre-change is 80 ppm nitrates and I am doing a 50% change......(love 5th grade word problems right!)  

Average ppm nitrate right after water change is 50ppm nitrates.  Some people find this level unaccaptable.  I have had some frank conversations with fish keepers who have kept fish in levels as high as 120-150 ppm with little ill effect.  However I recognize that long term exposure to elevated levels of nitrates probably has effects on health and life span.  I am sure there are more extreme measures I can take to reduce these levels, it takes time and money that I am not willing to expend.  

I can keep fish in this environment know that I could be effecting life span, or I could give up and sell my tank.  I am chosing to pursue the hobby at this level, but if the consensus is that I am doing the fish a disservice and should bow out, I would strongly consider your inputs.

I want to encourage your participation in the hobby, not discourage. But to be frank, it's my opinion that 80ppm Nitrates is extremely high. In fact 50ppm is unacceptable in my tanks. It's my opinion that your tank my be suffering what has been termed, "Old Tank Syndrome". That's when there is a build up of Total Dissolved Solids and Nitrates. Fish that have grown accustom to high Nitrates and TSD may survive for awhile. New fish added to that tank may be doomed. Over a long term, high Nitrate levels stress fish and open the door to opportunistic diseases.

Many people are in and out of this hobby. Everyone has to weight their enjoyment and sense of accomplishment with the husbandry of keeping any pet. Scheduled water changes don't work over the long term. There are ways to reduce the amount of husbandry needed. Examples include reducing stocking rates and feeding amounts. It may take some time and water to reduce those levels but water is relatively cheap and for most people, not cost prohibitive...  Neutral

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     ~~~ My Aquariums ~~~
55 gal. Planted Community Show Tank
(Swordtails, Neons, Kuhlii Loaches and Bristled Nose Plecos)
30 gal. Bare Bottom Adult Angelfish Tank
20 gal. Bare Bottom Angelfish Breeder Tank
10 gal. Bare Bottom  Angelfish Fry Tank
10 gal. Planted Show Tank
(Guppies and Bristled Nose Plecos)
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ddavis1979
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PostSubject: Re: Some losses, just old age?   Mon May 19, 2014 8:08 pm

Yeah, I knew that my stocking of a 55 gal. was overly optimistic. As the fish have grown, their nitrogen foot print (vice carbon foot print for humans LOL) has also grown and I think its taking its toll.

I did have another fish loss, I will post in other thread to get feed back.

Maybe this is a poor assumption, but please educate me....

If the water quality of the tank was bad, how come all the fish don't succumb or show stress signs? Why do one or two fish die out, but the remainder of the tank last for many weeks and months to come with little signs of stress?

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55 Gallon Freshwater Community Tank (semi-planted) 48"x21"x13"
20 Gallon Long Freshwater Community Tank (semi-planted) 30"x12"x13"


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gerald
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PostSubject: Re: Some losses, just old age?   Mon May 19, 2014 10:00 pm

Because it's a gradual stress, not an acute toxin, it weakens different fish at different rates, even those of the same species. It's often some infection (such as Mycobacterium and others) or gradual organ failure (often the kidney)that actually kills them. As fish get older their tissue regeneration ability slows down. I have a tank of emperor tetras thats been going for 15+ years without any new added fish. At around 5-6+ yrs old (i think; i cant actually track the ages of individual fish) they start losing color and often get bloated a couple weeks before they die. There's plenty of fry and juveniles of all different ages in there that look fine. This tank has dense plants but rarely gets water changes, maybe every few months.

ddavis1979 wrote:
please educate me.... If the water quality of the tank was bad, how come all the fish don't succumb or show stress signs?  Why do one or two fish die out, but the remainder of the tank last for many weeks and months to come with little signs of stress?
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