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Lethargic Angelfish After 3 Days In Tank

Author Topic: Lethargic angelfish after 3 days in tank  (Read 1415 times)

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Offline Emmdee

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Lethargic angelfish after 3 days in tank
« on: February 28, 2018, 04:15:47 PM »
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Having tested my water after cycling for a month, my ammonia and nitrite were Zero.  I decided to put an angelfish in to start my new tank and he was fine for 3 days.  I've just found him stuck to the filter intake (on a Juwel tank) and unable to swim away.  I gently freed him with a spoon, whereupon he swam/sunk on his side to the bottom of the tank.  He's just lying on the bottom now and I'm very worried.  What might have caused the lethargy, and has being trapped against the filter housing done for him?  Is there anything I can do?

m.d.

Offline Sue

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Re: Lethargic angelfish after 3 days in tank
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2018, 04:38:06 PM »
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It's usually lethargy that causes a fish to be sucked against a filter rather than the other way round.

A few questions, if you don't mind.
How did you cycle the tank - by filling the tank with live plants or by adding ammonia and doing a fishless cycle?
What are the readings for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate now?
Did the other fish in the shop tank look OK?
Are there any other symptoms besides lying on the tank floor? Marks on the body, discolouration?

Offline Emmdee

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Re: Lethargic angelfish after 3 days in tank
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2018, 04:55:43 PM »
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Hi Sue

I was starting the tank from scratch after 7 years, so the water had been cycling without fish, but with plants, for a month.  The ammonia and nitrite were Zero, and the PH was fine.  There aren't any other fish, as I decided I would build it up round the angelfish.  Phosphate is between 1 and 2 ppm.

The other fish in the shop tank looked fine, but I picked the biggest and most active one, having watched them for about 15 minutes.  I've never bought fish from Pets at Home before, and maybe it's that - I did have second thoughts...

No discolouration, but he's lying on one side on the substrate barely moving a fin.  I don't know how long he'd been stuck to the filter intake as I was at work, but I've never had that happen with anything before.

I'll test for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate again just now and post the readings.

m.d.

Offline Emmdee

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Re: Lethargic angelfish after 3 days in tank
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2018, 05:10:50 PM »
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So it's as I was expecting.  Ammonia and Nitrite are Zero.  Nitrate is 5ppm, which is what it is coming out of the tap. 

m.d.

Offline Sue

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Re: Lethargic angelfish after 3 days in tank
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2018, 05:20:45 PM »
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We needed to check but those results are not the cause. Cichlids do tend to be nitrate sensitive, but that reading is well below 20 ppm.

In the absence of anything else, it could very well be the shop..... They are run on a franchise basis with some being excellent, some appalling, and most somewhere between. I haven't bought fish from there for years, mainly because they don't stock what I want. Maidenhead Aquatics is usually (though not always) more reliable if there's one near you.

Offline Emmdee

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Re: Lethargic angelfish after 3 days in tank
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2018, 05:34:06 PM »
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Thanks, Sue.  My 5 year old is VERY upset about it, bless him.  I used to buy fish from an independent place in Cupar and never had any disease problems - Ultimate Aquatics - but it's been closed for years.  There is a Fishkeeper Scotland about 12 miles from me, and a place in Dundee and two in Edinburgh.  Usually I wouldn't buy from PatH, and probably won't do again.   Nobody gets into fishkeeping to watch the little beggars die, but I guess it's just one of those things.

The fish has been immobile on the floor of the tank for 90 minutes now, so I'm not super-hopeful that he's going to make it.  Would food have had anything to do with it?  I only fed him 4 times - twice with flake and twice with some frozen daphnia.

m.d.

Offline Sue

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Re: Lethargic angelfish after 3 days in tank
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2018, 06:46:41 PM »
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No, that food wouldn't have done anything - unless it ate a whole cube of daphnia while it was still frozen.

Make sure it really has passed away before disposing of the body. The best way is to wrap it in some kitchen paper roll and put it in the bin. Or bury it if you can dig a hole in the garden at the moment.

Offline Emmdee

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Re: Lethargic angelfish after 3 days in tank
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2018, 07:41:19 PM »
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I'd need the help of some Eskimos to dig a hole in my garden right now... I've just checked him again, and I think he's gone.  Sad...

m.d.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Lethargic angelfish after 3 days in tank
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2018, 09:05:12 PM »
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Sorry to hear about your loss.

Offline Emmdee

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Re: Lethargic angelfish after 3 days in tank
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2018, 05:15:55 PM »
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UPDATE:
Something strange going on here.  I tested for Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Phosphate, and PH before introducing the fish.  Ammonia and Nitrite tested at Zero.  Fish died after 4 days.  Tested water the day the fish died, and Ammonia and Nitrite were again Zero. 

I took a sample of tank water to Pets at Home on Saturday and they tested it.  They told me Ammonia was at 3ppm and Nitrite was "about 5 ppm".  I tested again myself yesterday, now with no fish in the tank, and although Ammonia was still Zero the Nitrite was showing more than 2 but less than 5 PPM.

I don't understand this at all.  What would cause a spike in Nitrite in an empty tank?  I'm using an API test kit - albeit one I bought in 2006.  There's no 'use by' date on the test kit, and chemical reactions shouldn't be affected by the passage of time.  Pets at Home used an API multi-test strip, whereas I have separate testing kits.

Does anyone have any experience of problems with API test kits?  I have to say I never did before.  The thought that I put a fish into a tank that it couldn't actually survive in is also bothering me.

m.d.

Offline Matt

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Re: Lethargic angelfish after 3 days in tank
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2018, 06:57:31 PM »
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I suspect your 12 year old test kit may need replacing!!!

Offline fcmf

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Re: Lethargic angelfish after 3 days in tank
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2018, 07:29:50 PM »
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Sorry to read about your angelfish. It might "just be one of those unfortunate things" or the stress of the move which happens with new fish. However, a few thoughts/observations to try to establish/eliminate other reasons:
* You mention PAH used a multi-test strip; ammonia isn't one of the tests on the multi-test strip - but there is a separate test strip for ammonia. Was it definitely ammonia and nitrite rather than nitrite and nitrate which they tested? This isn't likely to have a bearing on whatever happened, but, if they didn't actually test ammonia and your own test kit is out-of-date, then it's possible that there is/has actually been some ammonia but which you're not aware of.
* How heavily planted is your tank? Do you have photos of it? Generally, a cycle is either fish-in or fish-less, although very heavily planted tanks can enable a "silent cycle" similar to a fish-less one. It's possible that, if it weren't heavily planted, then a fish-in cycle was inadvertently occurring which might account for the presence of nitrite (following some presence of ammonia - cf point above), even although I wouldn't have thought 1 fish would have had much of an impact.

A photo of your tank to give us an idea of whether you need to plant more heavily to ensure a silent cycle has actually taken place, and a new/in-date test kit (liquid-based API should be fine and has a good reputation) should help us to gauge better whether/when the tank might be ready for new fish.  :)

Offline Sue

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Re: Lethargic angelfish after 3 days in tank
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2018, 08:28:23 PM »
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Older API testers didn't have a use by date on them but they had a date of manufacture hidden in the lot number. I emailed them several years ago to ask about expiry dates and they said (my highlighting) -

Quote
....each reagent bottle has a Lot # printed on the bottle. The last four digits are the month and year of manufacture. Example: Lot # 28A0108. This is a pH reagent manufactured in January of 2008.

Wide Range pH, High Range pH, Ammonia, Nitrate, Phosphate, Copper, Calcium and GH all last for three years.

Nitrite and KH will last for four years.

Freshwater pH (low range) and Pond Care Salt Level will last for five years.

I would not use or trust these kits after they have expired.


And someone who worked for API and used to be a member on here also advised that the bottles should be discarded a year after opening regardless of the expiry date. I know that this is because once opened, air gets into the bottle and the oxygen in the air oxidises the reagents - the same happens with medication.

Offline Emmdee

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Re: Lethargic angelfish after 3 days in tank
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2018, 08:49:56 PM »
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Well, that's good news.  Then again, it's bad news.  I have to replace my testing kits - that's fine.  Possibly as a result of using old test kits, I've put in a fish which died - that's not fine.  Of course it might have died for any number of reasons, but it doesn't make me feel any better.

Onwards... new testing kits, more plants (which I was going to add after I get paid anyway), and more time.  I won't be making that mistake again.
m.d.

Offline Matt

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Re: Lethargic angelfish after 3 days in tank
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2018, 08:33:21 PM »
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Sorry about my quite sharp response below. Life in the Matt household is somewhat mental at the moment!! It also surprised me that 2006 was that long ago... I feel very old!!!

Let us know the results you get when you have your new test kit. It may help us to decipher what may have gone wrong... do remember that even the best fishkeepers still have unexplained losses. We are dealing with nature here, which has the luxury of deciding when and when it doesn't way to follow the rules!

It might be worth doing some precautionary large water changes in the meantime if you are having any doubts about your water quality...

Offline Emmdee

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Re: Lethargic angelfish after 3 days in tank
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2018, 05:34:58 PM »
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No problem, Matt.  It was actually a 2005 test kit when I checked the serial number as per Sue's instructions.  I've got new kits now.

m.d.

Offline Emmdee

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Re: Lethargic angelfish after 3 days in tank
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2018, 01:41:06 PM »
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Just to close this particular thread, I've since realised what happened.  A total schoolboy mistake on my part - when I read the ammonia and nitrite as Zero, it was because the tank hadn't cycled!  I should have known from the nitrate reading being the same as the tap water.  Having not had the tank set up for such a long time, I made a very basic mistake.  I feel very guilty about having put the fish in an un-cycled tank.

The old (2005) test kits work every bit as well as the new ones, FWIW.  I wouldn't have expected chemical reactions to change, no matter what the age of the agents.  Now I have a shed-load of test kits to hand!

Anyway, the tank has since cycled and settled and I have 6 checkered barbs in there.  They're interesting, feisty little fish I had never seen before!  Due to cost, I haven't put anything else in with them yet.

m.d.

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