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Ahhhhhh! Can fish have heart attacks?!


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  • Helper

I'm so distressed! I was heading back upstairs after schooltime today to finish the D&D form for my other fish, my fantail who seems to always have something bugging his gills but no symptoms besides behavioral and a little redness.

And what do I find?!

My perfectly healthy, never been sick pearlscale is stuck to the prefilter sponge. Dead as a doornail.

No swelling.

No red fins.

No distress, this fish was swimming beautifully and behaving normally just an hour ago.

No eating issues.

No flashing.

I have a new filter as of a few weeks ago, a SunSun 304B I believe. So the current increased just slightly. But the water was changed several days ago and the parameters are bang on. This fish is still fairly young, maybe two to three years old.

What on earth happened?! Why is my fish dead? Hopefully it doesn't have anything to do with whatever has always been bugging the fantail and whatever killed Yoshi. But they seem unrelated - entirely different symptoms and timelines for each fish.

I'm so sad :(.

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  • Helper

Ugh, never mind. No randomness with the death - even though I was so careful with media transfer I ended up with a huge cycle bump with the new filter. I'm guessing the pearlie was just very sensitive to it. What a dumb move, I obviously should have let the two run in parallel longer than I did, or transferred more media, or *something*.

Off to do a complete water change and then every other day changes until the filter calms back down and the cycle bump is passed. And then I will work on whatever random parasite issue has been bugging my fantail on and off for the last eighteen months.

* Ammonia Level(Tank) - 1.0 (it was 0 on Monday at my water change :( )

* Nitrite Level(Tank) - .5

* Nitrate level(Tank) - 10 ppm

* Ammonia Level(Tap) - 0

* Nitrite Level(Tap) - 0

* Nitrate level(Tap) - 0

* Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) - 7.0

* Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) - 7.0

Other Required Info:

* Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API

* Water temperature? 72 degrees

* Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 20 gallons, 18 months or so as a longer term quarantine solution until new tank is built

* What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? SunSun 304b, ungraded from an undersized aqueon HOB (which apparently caused a cycle bump and killed my pearlscale)

* How often do you change the water and how much? 2x weekly, 95% changes

* How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? Monday night, 95%

* How many fish in the tank and their size? 2 small goldfish, about 2.5 inch bodies

* What kind of water additives or conditioners? Prime, wonder shells

* What do you feed your fish and how often? Paradigm fish food, Hikari, NLS Betta Pellets as a treat

* Any new fish added to the tank? Nope

* Any medications added to the tank? None

* List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment. Normal prazi and salt when they arrived, plus prazi every four months or so since then, as fantail always seems to be fighting some gill irritation on and off

* Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? Red gills, flashing, yawning, backwards swimming, head down swimming. This has happened every month or two since I owned him and seems unrelated to the filter swap disaster

* Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? Nope

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  • Helper

Learn from me, everyone - it doesnt matter how well established the tank is, or if you think you ran your filters in parallel long enough. Cycle bumps can and do happen when beginning new filters and need to be tested for rigorously and frequently for at least three months.

Poor Mango. The sole survivor of the last month of my goldfish keeping is Otto. Ugh.

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Learn from me, everyone - it doesnt matter how well established the tank is, or if you think you ran your filters in parallel long enough. Cycle bumps can and do happen when beginning new filters and need to be tested for rigorously and frequently for at least three months.

Poor Mango. The sole survivor of the last month of my goldfish keeping is Otto. Ugh.

I am very sorry for your loss. I had the same thing happen. I cleaned my old filter a bit too much after adding a new filter and had a pretty sizeable bump in my cycle. We all make these types of mistakes. :hug

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I'm really surprised I didn't see any apparent distress. The only slight clue would have been the fantail whose gills appeared irritated, but he has had this happening on and off since I owned him, hence the other thread I began. And I didn't have this filter even set up yet with Yoshi's death - the old one was still running as I was establishing this one. So it appears an unfortunate overlap of circumstances.

Maybe Otto the Fantail's gills *are* my warning, that if anything is even slightly off in parasites, bacterial volume, or water parameters, he starts flashing, clamping his top fin a bit, and generally acting like an itchy fish.

Hindsight. Le sigh.

The python is going right now, and I'm going to drain the tank, run it for a bit, and drain it again so that fresh dechlorinated water is running through the filter's volume as well. I'm even more irritated the cycle bumped so badly because I was a good fish keeper and even did maintenance on the canister last water change. Popped it part, carefully rinsed the filter media in old tank water, caaaaarefully and gently squeezed the prefilter and sponge media. And still, dead fish.

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I don't believe your cycle bump had anything to do with the "sudden goldfish death syndrome."   Short term exposure to that level of ammonia and nitrite is not nice, but is unlikely to be lethal, particularly in the absence of symptoms.  Fish poisoned by these toxins are miserable well before they die of them, and goldfish do let us know when they don't feel well.

 

I've had it happen a couple of times.  The fish was lively and had a great appetite the night before and was dead in the morning.  Furthermore, he had no lesions, bright eyes, and red gills, looking in perfect health except  for being dead.  Yes, fish can die suddenly with no sign of being sick.  

 

It's not your fault.

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I don't believe your cycle bump had anything to do with the "sudden goldfish death syndrome." Short term exposure to that level of ammonia and nitrite is not nice, but is unlikely to be lethal, particularly in the absence of symptoms. Fish poisoned by these toxins are miserable well before they die of them, and goldfish do let us know when they don't feel well.

I've had it happen a couple of times. The fish was lively and had a great appetite the night before and was dead in the morning. Furthermore, he had no lesions, bright eyes, and red gills, looking in perfect health except for being dead. Yes, fish can die suddenly with no sign of being sick.

It's not your fault.

That does make me feel better. This tank is by my bedside and I'm still nursing - I watch these fish multiple times per day for a good 10-15 minutes at a time. I was just shocked when I saw Mango on the sponge. And he had just passed, too. Body was still pliant, eyes were clear, organs just starting to show some reddening under his scales.

My little Rubbermaid looks so lonely. But that's probably for the best until we can get the permanent tank up and running. For the time be being, however, I'm doing full water changes every other day. I want NO appreciable ammonia in with Otto.

Edited by Arctic Mama
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  • Regular Member

Sorry to hear about your fish. I agree with the ladies above that the level of ammonia and nitrite are probably not what killied the fish.

I have no idea what it could have been though.

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