TIGER BARBS DYING--at my wit's end!!! Please help!!!

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B. Atrice

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Apr 18, 2021
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Hello all! I joined this forum in hopes I could find some help for my poor tank...

For the past several years, I have had a ten gallon tank with four tiger barbs and a striped raphael catfish. The tank's light recently quit, and since it was one of those all-in-one tank kits that don't allow you to replace the light, I got a new ten-gallon aquarium. Prior to the replacement, I had an algae bloom in my old tank, and I will admit it wasn't the cleanest of tanks...my gravel vacuum had quit and I was struggling to do a proper job with the siphon. Anyways, I set up my new tank day before yesterday. I got new gravel (rinsed it like crazy), but used my plants from my old tank (rinsed those off, too) and a log-like decor from Petco that my catfish was crazy about. I used tap water in my tank, but the water is perfectly safe for the tank--I had it checked recently and it's 100% fine. Slightly basic pH, but I've been using that water for years no issue.

I set up the new tank, and transferred the fish immediately since I discovered that the old one had started to leak...the fish seemed okay, but the catfish didn't hide like normal. The next morning everyone was alive, but a little later that day, the catfish died. My kitty cat, who loves to watch the fishtank and was so excited about me setting up the new tank, was devastated. She was literally staring at the dead catfish and meowing dismally. I checked the water, and it was fine, so I assumed that it was the combination of old age and the stress of the move that killed my catfish (he was probably around 7 years old). I wanted to make sure I had bottom feeders in my tank, so I went to Petco and got two albino corys. I also got three red-eyed tetras and a gold inca snail (there was still algae on my plants and decor). This may be overstocking a little, but I felt confident since my tank was well planted and I had good filtration.

The next morning (this morning) the tank was cloudy. I assumed this was a normal bacterial bloom due to the Seachem Prime and Stability I had dosed the tank with. But one of my barbs had died. Again, my barbs were older (4-6 years) and I chalked it up to stress and old age once again. But this afternoon, yet another barb died...again, old...but I'm not quite happy with the old age theory any more. I feel awful that my poor old fish are dying when all I wanted to do was to give them cleaner, safer conditions with proper lighting and no algae bloom. The new fish are absolutely fine, and the snail seems happy too. I tested my water...absolutely dead normal, with the slightest tinge of ammonia (not even 0.25 ppm).

Below is a rundown of my tank. An * indicates items/fish that were in the original tank.

Tank: 10 gallon
Fish: 4 barbs* (2 died); 1 raphael striped catfish* (died); 2 albino corys; 3 red-eyed tetras; 1 gold inca snail
Substrate: 5 lbs of white gravel mixed with 5 lbs of "snowy river stones" gravel, with glass accents on top (all well washed)
Plants: 4-5 small anubises*; 3-4 small Marimo moss balls*
Heater: set on 74 degrees
Filter: Tetra submerged filter, rated for 10 gallon, with charcoal filter and a biological filter sponge
Decor: large plastic log thing...* was in original tank no issue

Dosed tank with Seachem Prime, Stability, and pH buffer, as well as a dose of Flourish for the plants. Have used all those before with no issue.

Noticed bacterial bloom, really don't think that would hurt the fish...

All the new fish are fine. It's just my old guys that are dying. No clue what would harm my old guys and not the new ones.

(Testing with API Master)
pH: 7.4
ammonia: <0.25 (faintest twinge of green)
nitrite: 0
nitrate: 0

There is no chlorine or anything in the tap water, besides...treated the water...and why is it only affecting the old guys??? I'm installing a bubbler tonight and we'll see what happens.
 

B. Atrice

AC Members
Apr 18, 2021
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Thanks, I know how to operate a siphon now but the old tank was so far gone and had issues anyways so I had decided to switch tanks. My main point was that my old tank was not the cleanest of tanks, and the tiger barbs were doing fine in there.

Much appreciated, but if you have any clue as to what's causing the die-off, I'd be all ears. Just a smidge stressed. Hate to lose fish I've had for years.
 

Rbishop

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Old fish, from a tank you admit "wasn't the cleanest", suggests poor maintenance in the old tank with possible high nitrate water. Shifting them to a new, un-established tank could have caused a shock for them.
Saying you "had it checked" implies you don't have a good liquid test kit and rely on an LFS to do it...which isn't in your or the fishes best interest.

Frequent water changes will be necessary to transit this period, and there isn't any reason to be using a pH buffer without you providing more detail.
 
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B. Atrice

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Apr 18, 2021
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Old fish, from a tank you admit "wasn't the cleanest", suggests poor maintenance in the old tank with possible high nitrate water. Shifting them to a new, un-established tank could have caused a shock for them.
Saying you "had it checked" implies you don't have a good liquid test kit and rely on an LFS to do it...which isn't in your or the fishes best interest.

Frequent water changes will be necessary to transit this period, and there isn't any reason to be using a pH buffer without you providing more detail.
When I say I had it checked, I mean that my well water was checked by a certified laboratory for nearly everything under the sun. I run aquarium water tests with a high quality liquid test kit.

I used a buffer because my straight-from-the-tap water is a little too basic, but I'm not going to use a buffer anymore because it seems to do nothing.
 

B. Atrice

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Apr 18, 2021
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What test kit are you using? What buffer? What do you mean its 'basic'? Sorry for all the questions, just my curiosity. And welcome to the forum 😊
API Master Test kit, Seachem buffer, and "basic" means that the pH is above 7.0. 7.0 is neutral, greater than that is basic, and less than that is acidic.
 

Lalo J.

AC Members
Mar 8, 2020
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Hello all! I joined this forum in hopes I could find some help for my poor tank...

For the past several years, I have had a ten gallon tank with four tiger barbs and a striped raphael catfish. The tank's light recently quit, and since it was one of those all-in-one tank kits that don't allow you to replace the light, I got a new ten-gallon aquarium. Prior to the replacement, I had an algae bloom in my old tank, and I will admit it wasn't the cleanest of tanks...my gravel vacuum had quit and I was struggling to do a proper job with the siphon. Anyways, I set up my new tank day before yesterday. I got new gravel (rinsed it like crazy), but used my plants from my old tank (rinsed those off, too) and a log-like decor from Petco that my catfish was crazy about. I used tap water in my tank, but the water is perfectly safe for the tank--I had it checked recently and it's 100% fine. Slightly basic pH, but I've been using that water for years no issue.

I set up the new tank, and transferred the fish immediately since I discovered that the old one had started to leak...the fish seemed okay, but the catfish didn't hide like normal. The next morning everyone was alive, but a little later that day, the catfish died. My kitty cat, who loves to watch the fishtank and was so excited about me setting up the new tank, was devastated. She was literally staring at the dead catfish and meowing dismally. I checked the water, and it was fine, so I assumed that it was the combination of old age and the stress of the move that killed my catfish (he was probably around 7 years old). I wanted to make sure I had bottom feeders in my tank, so I went to Petco and got two albino corys. I also got three red-eyed tetras and a gold inca snail (there was still algae on my plants and decor). This may be overstocking a little, but I felt confident since my tank was well planted and I had good filtration.

The next morning (this morning) the tank was cloudy. I assumed this was a normal bacterial bloom due to the Seachem Prime and Stability I had dosed the tank with. But one of my barbs had died. Again, my barbs were older (4-6 years) and I chalked it up to stress and old age once again. But this afternoon, yet another barb died...again, old...but I'm not quite happy with the old age theory any more. I feel awful that my poor old fish are dying when all I wanted to do was to give them cleaner, safer conditions with proper lighting and no algae bloom. The new fish are absolutely fine, and the snail seems happy too. I tested my water...absolutely dead normal, with the slightest tinge of ammonia (not even 0.25 ppm).

Below is a rundown of my tank. An * indicates items/fish that were in the original tank.

Tank: 10 gallon
Fish: 4 barbs* (2 died); 1 raphael striped catfish* (died); 2 albino corys; 3 red-eyed tetras; 1 gold inca snail
Substrate: 5 lbs of white gravel mixed with 5 lbs of "snowy river stones" gravel, with glass accents on top (all well washed)
Plants: 4-5 small anubises*; 3-4 small Marimo moss balls*
Heater: set on 74 degrees
Filter: Tetra submerged filter, rated for 10 gallon, with charcoal filter and a biological filter sponge
Decor: large plastic log thing...* was in original tank no issue

Dosed tank with Seachem Prime, Stability, and pH buffer, as well as a dose of Flourish for the plants. Have used all those before with no issue.

Noticed bacterial bloom, really don't think that would hurt the fish...

All the new fish are fine. It's just my old guys that are dying. No clue what would harm my old guys and not the new ones.

(Testing with API Master)
pH: 7.4
ammonia: <0.25 (faintest twinge of green)
nitrite: 0
nitrate: 0

There is no chlorine or anything in the tap water, besides...treated the water...and why is it only affecting the old guys??? I'm installing a bubbler tonight and we'll see what happens.
Aren't you the one who posted on Aquarium Advice?
 

Lalo J.

AC Members
Mar 8, 2020
570
426
72
30
México
I suggested wrong when saying that you had an ammonia peak, although that usually happens frequently and I thought that was your case, now I would bet more on the fact that their adapted fish did not outgrow the new tank and suffered a shock, although in my opinion you should take care in managing your cattle well because 10 gallons is too little, and the levels can be treacherous in that liter.
 
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B. Atrice

AC Members
Apr 18, 2021
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Yes, I was on Aquarium Advice too. :D Basically Google searched and then joined and posted on multiple forums since I wasn't sure of the activity/knowledge base of any of the forums, and I was really desperate for help.

I'm learning...the hard way, sadly, but I'm learning.
 
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