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Help! All Goldfish Died After Tank And Algaea Cleaning


Guest luvbetta

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Guest luvbetta

Hi All,

Sadly, all my four goldfish died over the weekend and I am not sure why. 'wondering if people can chime in with their opinion, I don't quite know what has gone wrong and I am trying to avoid this in the future. All opinions are welcome and appreciated!

Here is the quick overview and timeline:

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Basic info:

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* Well established tank is 40 gallon with 4 small/medium goldfish (1 ryukin, 2 lionheads, and 1 panda, about 2 inches each, body-wise) with 8 bettas (5 males in separate compartments and 3 free swimming females)

* Fishes were fed twice a day, just enough so that there is no left over. Hikari pellets/frozen brine shrimp in the morning, frozen brine shrimp at night.

* Cycled tank with absolutely clear water (Not a newbie for sure)

* Undergravel filter, connected to a Penn Plax 700, Marineland Magnum Pro, and Powerhead. Plenty of filtration here.

* Bubble wand for end-to-end for air wall

* Regular water change maintenance (about 20%-33% every week, 50% every three/four weeks or so)

* No agression/behavioral issues between all fish

* Plenty of hiding places

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Event timeline:

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Tuesday - Usual water change (about 50%), but I scrubbed some algaea this time. Algaea investation is mild (thin coat on wall). Some algaea bloom, but minor. Did the usual bio support drop, Amquel, etc (but no algaea removal stuff, ever). Starting temperature was 74 degree, dropped to 71 degree after the water change. No behavior change, everybody was looking the usual. This maintenance was typical except the algea scrubbing.

Wednesday - had the heater turned on overnight to raise the temperature. Temperature raised to 78 degree and I turned it off. No sign of issues, all fishes moved vigorously and ate with healthy appetite.

Thursday - Temperature back to 74 degree. No sign of issues, all fishes moved vigorously and ate with healthy appetite.

Friday - No sign of issues, all fishes moved vigorously and ate with healthy appetite.

Saturday & Sunday - No feeding (usual stuff). Tank is in the office and fishes were well fed anyway during the week.

Monday - All four goldfish died (floating on surface), but all betta survived (and showing no issues whatsoever. Swimming vigorously and eating healthy). Looked like the goldfish died very recently. Some decay, but not much. Some fray tails (but very minor, probably decay related). Goldfish stomach seemed to look a little dark, probably from eating algea?

I took a water test on Monday, about 10 minutes after I picked up the goldfish. The readings are:

PH - 6.4 (stable since start of tank).

Ammonia - 2 ppm

Nitrite - 0 ppm

Nitrate - 0 ppm

Temperature - 73.5

Help, please. Have anybody experienced something like this before? I'd be happy to provide more info as requested.

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I'm sorry you lost your fish and I am glad you are trying to determine what went wrong to prevent it from happening again. There are quite a few factors that could result in the deaths of your fish.

First of all, a 40 gallon tank can hold 4 goldfish only (as per the 10 gallon/fancy goldfish rule). Having the bettas in with it would overstock the tank. Overstocking causes a lot of issues on it's own and it probably the main reason. The overstocking can cause ammonia spikes, affecting your cycle, depending on the set up there my also be oxygen competition as well. This is something that's not as worrisome with betta's because they have a labyrinth which lets them breathe air, goldfish do not have that organ and derive oxygen solely from the water.

I see the temperature has fluxuated quite a bit. Temperature changes stress goldfish. they can handle a temp change of 2 degrees (either way) every 4 hours. Depending on how the temperature was adjusted, that stress can also relate to the fish problem.

Another issue with temperature are the bb's in the filter media, they don't thrive as well below 75F and it's possible the fluctuating temperature also affected them. A well cycled tank will have a nitrate population of at least 10ppm. I see that your results have shown that there is zero nitrates, I fear the temp fluxes may have killed your cycle.

Thirdly I see your ammonia is at 2ppm. I don't know what it's been constantly in your tank and you could've taken the temperature after the dead goldfish had decayed therefore releasing more ammonia in it. Goldfish can't handle high ammonia levels for long periods of time, it results in them getting burned, visible by red streaks in their fins but also internally as they are passing the ammonia through their gills to breathe.

For me,these are the most prevalent factors I can think of. In the future to prevent further losses I suggest sticking to the 10 gallons per fancy goldfish, keep your temperature at a stable rate, also try to keep your ammonia lvls below 0.5 ppm (zero is the preferred amount)

I'm so sorry you lost your fish, it's hard on us all. If you need anymore help we're all here for ya! *hugs*

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Do you have a water testing kit or can you have your water checked at your LFS? A major concern is your tank pH of 6.4 which is acidic. Your goldfish need a pH of at least 7.2 or higher. Goldfish also should be kept by themselves as they are a coldwater fish. Something drastic happened to kill all four of your goldfish at once and ammonia levels should be at zero.

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I think the ammonia reading was hight do to the dead fish in the tank. I agree with the temperature flux. is it possible that there might have been a power fail over the week-end. Or not sure what your office situation is like if you have cleaners that come in at night and maybe somehow a chemical got in your tank...

I once lost some fish from my wife spraying air freshner and some got into the tank which killed my fish. Betas are tough and can live through some pretty nasty conditions.

Not sure what to say...sorry for your lost

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Guest luvbetta

I'm sorry you lost your fish and I am glad you are trying to determine what went wrong to prevent it from happening again. There are quite a few factors that could result in the deaths of your fish.

Thank you, I am certainly saddened by the lost. I figured the least I can do is to prevent it from happening.

First of all, a 40 gallon tank can hold 4 goldfish only (as per the 10 gallon/fancy goldfish rule). Having the bettas in with it would overstock the tank. Overstocking causes a lot of issues on it's own and it probably the main reason. The overstocking can cause ammonia spikes, affecting your cycle, depending on the set up there my also be oxygen competition as well. This is something that's not as worrisome with betta's because they have a labyrinth which lets them breathe air, goldfish do not have that organ and derive oxygen solely from the water.

Very good observation on the betta. As far as oxygen goes, the tank has a wall-to-wall bubble wand with bubble rising from the bottom. The water seemed to be well oxygenated throughout the tank (tiny bubbles on water column throughout the whole tank).

Overcrowding is also my concern, but I do scoop up the betta compartments almost everyday and they have some plants in them. I am almost convinced that my regular maintenance and filtration alleviate the overcrowding issues (the tank had run forever.... until this happened).

I see the temperature has fluxuated quite a bit. Temperature changes stress goldfish. they can handle a temp change of 2 degrees (either way) every 4 hours. Depending on how the temperature was adjusted, that stress can also relate to the fish problem.

Another issue with temperature are the bb's in the filter media, they don't thrive as well below 75F and it's possible the fluctuating temperature also affected them. A well cycled tank will have a nitrate population of at least 10ppm. I see that your results have shown that there is zero nitrates, I fear the temp fluxes may have killed your cycle.

The temperature change seemed to be gradual over 24-36 hours between Tuesday and Wednesday. But there is no doubt that the BB had died off. My guess was the BB died because of the temperature change, or maybe the new water condition (though I thought I treated the water accordingly).

Thirdly I see your ammonia is at 2ppm. I don't know what it's been constantly in your tank and you could've taken the temperature after the dead goldfish had decayed therefore releasing more ammonia in it. Goldfish can't handle high ammonia levels for long periods of time, it results in them getting burned, visible by red streaks in their fins but also internally as they are passing the ammonia through their gills to breathe.

For me,these are the most prevalent factors I can think of. In the future to prevent further losses I suggest sticking to the 10 gallons per fancy goldfish, keep your temperature at a stable rate, also try to keep your ammonia lvls below 0.5 ppm (zero is the preferred amount)

I'm so sorry you lost your fish, it's hard on us all. If you need anymore help we're all here for ya! *hugs*

Thank you for your comment, I think the ammonia is not the cause of death since water changes are done regularly and when I checked my log, ammonia was never more than 2ppm for any extended period of time.

Do you have a water testing kit or can you have your water checked at your LFS? A major concern is your tank pH of 6.4 which is acidic. Your goldfish need a pH of at least 7.2 or higher. Goldfish also should be kept by themselves as they are a coldwater fish. Something drastic happened to kill all four of your goldfish at once and ammonia levels should be at zero.

Yes, I use API's Freshwater Master Kit test. As far as PH goes, it's been constant at 6.4 since the goldfish were introduced to the tank. As far as temperature goes, 74 degree had been pretty constant as well. Both goldfish and bettas seemed to like the temperature balance.

I think the ammonia reading was hight do to the dead fish in the tank. I agree with the temperature flux. is it possible that there might have been a power fail over the week-end. Or not sure what your office situation is like if you have cleaners that come in at night and maybe somehow a chemical got in your tank...

I once lost some fish from my wife spraying air freshner and some got into the tank which killed my fish. Betas are tough and can live through some pretty nasty conditions.

Not sure what to say...sorry for your lost

Good point, I do lock my office, so the cleaner is out. However, I do have an air freshner (Glade's gel based, about 8 feet away), but that's been there awhile as well.

Thank you all for taking the time to comment. Everybody's comment are very thoughtful and I will certainly learn from them. I think what scared me the most is that all four goldfish were unquestionably healthy on Friday and all of them seemed to have died within the same time period (probably Sunday).

Goldfish and bettas are known for being tough, but this one is certainly a big puzzle in my mind.

Please keep the comment coming. Thanks again!

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Welcome :) With an over stocked tank, your water changes should be at least 50%, at least twice a week. You mentioned that your ammonia didn't stay above 2 ppm for any length of time, but if your tank was cycled, your ammonia and nitrite should both remain at 0ppm.

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Welcome :) With an over stocked tank, your water changes should be at least 50%, at least twice a week. You mentioned that your ammonia didn't stay above 2 ppm for any length of time, but if your tank was cycled, your ammonia and nitrite should both remain at 0ppm.

Hi BuggyBear,

I always take my numbers usually at the end of the day (meaning after morning and night feeding), so I expect some fluctuation. To compensate for any non-zero ammonia ppm, I fast the fish for two days (over the weekend). Ammonia is always 0 ppm whenever I took a reading first thing on Monday.

Also, my temperature is somewhat lower, so affect of ammonia should not be as effective compared to higher temperature. Please feel free to let me know if my assumptions are not correct. Thanks!

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:idont I re-read your first post and I don't see anything else; your routine and tank seem well established. Any possibility that any of your cleaning equipment came into contact with something it shouldn't have? So sorry this has happened, it really sucks to not have answers to losses :grouphug
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There could have also been nasties hiding within your undergravel filter. With the amount of wastes goldies produce lots of toxins and anaerobic bacteria could have built up in there and gasses could have been released in addition to all of the above.

:( I'm so sorry all this happened to you.

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.

Also, my temperature is somewhat lower, so affect of ammonia should not be as effective compared to higher temperature. Please feel free to let me know if my assumptions are not correct. Thanks!

I was thinking about this and I remember you saying you had plants in your tank? Cause goldies will eat that, that may be something to consider about the ammonia rise IF they had access to it.

If your temperature is lower that means it takes longer for your bbs to process ammonia because there won't be as many as there could be if the temperature was higher. Also remeber that you have a low pH which means the water is already acidic. Adding ammonia through waste is just adding to the acidity of the water making burns more likely to happen.

Have your nitrate levels always been zero?

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There could have also been nasties hiding within your undergravel filter. With the amount of wastes goldies produce lots of toxins and anaerobic bacteria could have built up in there and gasses could have been released in addition to all of the above.

:( I'm so sorry all this happened to you.

I was considering about getting rid of the undergravel, but everything was running so well.... everybody was happy and hungry all the time. No visible vein, no fin fray, nothing I can see ....

I was thinking about this and I remember you saying you had plants in your tank? Cause goldies will eat that, that may be something to consider about the ammonia rise IF they had access to it.

If your temperature is lower that means it takes longer for your bbs to process ammonia because there won't be as many as there could be if the temperature was higher. Also remeber that you have a low pH which means the water is already acidic. Adding ammonia through waste is just adding to the acidity of the water making burns more likely to happen.

Have your nitrate levels always been zero?

Plants were in the betta compartments and I go through those compartments to pick up poop and dead leaves/branches almost everyday. Also, I added Amquel to minimize ammonia from time-to-time (especially during water changes). That's the only non-bio chem that I add to the tank.

As far as nitrate goes, I went back to my log and found that there were occasions where nitrate had been listed as zero, usually not lasting more than one reading (I took a reading every week or 10 days or so).

I have a hunch you ask because you have something in mind? Let's assume ammonia burn was the cause of death, would that explain that all four goldfish would die all within the same short period (the bodies showed about the same decay) even though none of them were showing any lethargic signs within that two days? I wonder if parasites/virus/bacteria are cause of death ('wondering if it can cause death in two days period).

I realized that I might be chasing a ghost here, but perhaps this might help somebody else that might have similar issue. I saw some Internet posting about dead fish after cleaning, but none of them goes anywhere.

Thanks for all the comments, please keep them coming.

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I don't know how fast it would happen because ammonia and acidity tolerance varies throughout goldfish. I was just trying to establish if a cycle crash exasperated an underlying cause.

Honestly though, my gut says it's toxicity that caused the deaths. For some reason the bettas escaped that. Parasites/bacterial/viral issues seem to be able to move from fish species to fish species (anyone can get ich for example).

I think something toxic got in your tank but somehow didn't affect your bettas. Can't tell you why or how. It could be the air freshner but the bettas are used to it and the goldies weren't. All I know is that the bettas were used to your care and routine, anything out of the ordinary probably would've been fatal to them as well as the goldfish. The goldfish were the new factor here.

Going back for a moment to the parasite/bacterial/viral issue, did you quarantine your goldfish before their entering the tank? Anything that may have been dormant would've been noticeable then. If you didn't then all the tank parameter adjustments may have caused some fatal illness to crop up and kill them unexpectedly.

How did the betta survive then?

---Wait a minute, what did you use to scrub the algae? You said that the goldfish bellies looked dark and presumed it was from the algae. If they were trying to eat where you scrubbed, some residue may have instantly killed them.

Another thing goldfish do is root in the gravel. If the UGF was holding toxic sledge they could've tried to eat that and gotten sick....

I'm shooting blanks here, all I can do is provide conjecture, nothing is based on any fact.

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I don't know how fast it would happen because ammonia and acidity tolerance varies throughout goldfish. I was just trying to establish if a cycle crash exasperated an underlying cause.

Honestly though, my gut says it's toxicity that caused the deaths. For some reason the bettas escaped that. Parasites/bacterial/viral issues seem to be able to move from fish species to fish species (anyone can get ich for example).

I think something toxic got in your tank but somehow didn't affect your bettas. Can't tell you why or how. It could be the air freshner but the bettas are used to it and the goldies weren't. All I know is that the bettas were used to your care and routine, anything out of the ordinary probably would've been fatal to them as well as the goldfish. The goldfish were the new factor here.

Going back for a moment to the parasite/bacterial/viral issue, did you quarantine your goldfish before their entering the tank? Anything that may have been dormant would've been noticeable then. If you didn't then all the tank parameter adjustments may have caused some fatal illness to crop up and kill them unexpectedly.

How did the betta survive then?

---Wait a minute, what did you use to scrub the algae? You said that the goldfish bellies looked dark and presumed it was from the algae. If they were trying to eat where you scrubbed, some residue may have instantly killed them.

Another thing goldfish do is root in the gravel. If the UGF was holding toxic sledge they could've tried to eat that and gotten sick....

I'm shooting blanks here, all I can do is provide conjecture, nothing is based on any fact.

Both goldies and betta had been there both at the same time. Everybody's intro to the tank was within 5 days and it's been awhile ago. So, everybody had experienced the same environment all these times. The only thing that separate the goldies than the bettas are 5 of the male bettas are in compartments (drilled plexi cubies, about 6x6x8. no issue with water flows, i've checked). But the other 4 females are swimming free with the goldies.

I scrubbed the algae with aquarium sponge (which should be non-toxic...). My thinking is that the goldies picked on the gravel, which could mean they ate the scrubbed algae (but then again, they do that all the time). Maybe scrubbing the algae had something to do with adding toxicity or creating imbalance in the tank. The algae investation is minor (thin coats in wall), but maybe it's minor by my own definition. The goldies' stomach definitely looks darker inside, 'thinking they ate the scrubbed algae. I wonder if algae is toxic (though I don't think it is).

The goldies definitely picked on the gravels, but the bettas don't. No worry on shooting blanks, your feedback is very appreciated.

So weird, I had so much brine shrimp to give today, 'didn't think the bettas can eat that much, but they were little pigs. The goldies always finish the whole thing, I am so sad.

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I really think it was a poisoning of some sort. That or a PH drop is usually the only explanation for a total tank (looking at the goldfish only die out). And I'm leaning towards some type of poisoning because the bettas escaped it with their ability to top breath. Just a guess, but it seems the most plausable.

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I found this on the net - although some may not apply to you - there are a couple in there that may be the cause...

SUDDEN DEATH

Check in the mouth for a rock. Is the #1 problem.

2. pH shock - check pH of tank water vs water as it comes out of the tap

3. Temperature shock (new fish in pond syndrome) or recent water change

4. Ammonia or nitrite spike- check water parameters

5. Lack of oxygen - in general big fish die first

6. Bad food - all the fish fed will be affected

7. City spraying for mosquitoes or other pests, neighbor using spray of some kind that floated into pond. If your fish tank is at the office... is it possible that a pest control was scheduled for the building without your knowledge? Look for oil slick, fish at top gasping. All fish will be affected. Immediately start running water into the pond to dilute the spray.

8. Not frequent in young fish, but if there is simply no hint of anything else it could be a heart attack or a stroke. This can be confirmed by autopsy.

(source: http://www.marquette.edu/~buxtoni/puregold/disease/symptom/symptom.htm)

I am so sorry for the loss of your fish - to loose one fish is bad enough, but to loose them all at once... that's just aweful luvbetta - even worse when you dont know why :(

I would disinfect everything and restart the tank from scratch if you're planning to get new fish at some stage - whatever it was could still be hiding in your filter media and tank

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That is an excellent question--if someone did use your algae-cleaning sponge to clean, that would explain the sudden death. I also agree that it was likely either a PH drop or toxicity. Since your pH is low for them to begin with, a drop would be quite dangerous for the goldies. However, it sounds like your water is stable, if low, so I would also think that something toxic got into your tank--something on someone's hands, some sort of spray, chemicals on on the sponge.. . I am sorry you lost your fish..:(

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Guest luvbetta

.

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I found this on the net - although some may not apply to you - there are a couple in there that may be the cause...

SUDDEN DEATH

Check in the mouth for a rock. Is the #1 problem.

2. pH shock - check pH of tank water vs water as it comes out of the tap

3. Temperature shock (new fish in pond syndrome) or recent water change

4. Ammonia or nitrite spike- check water parameters

5. Lack of oxygen - in general big fish die first

6. Bad food - all the fish fed will be affected

7. City spraying for mosquitoes or other pests, neighbor using spray of some kind that floated into pond. If your fish tank is at the office... is it possible that a pest control was scheduled for the building without your knowledge? Look for oil slick, fish at top gasping. All fish will be affected. Immediately start running water into the pond to dilute the spray.

8. Not frequent in young fish, but if there is simply no hint of anything else it could be a heart attack or a stroke. This can be confirmed by autopsy.

(source: http://www.marquette.edu/~buxtoni/puregold/disease/symptom/symptom.htm)

I am so sorry for the loss of your fish - to loose one fish is bad enough, but to loose them all at once... that's just aweful luvbetta - even worse when you dont know why :(

I would disinfect everything and restart the tank from scratch if you're planning to get new fish at some stage - whatever it was could still be hiding in your filter media and tank

Migaloo,

Thanks for the observation. I read your suggestions, and I think we might've hit a possible cause. Changes in water paramaters, PH, and temperature were certainly prime suspects, but I don't think they were it since the routine had always been the same. My office is locked, accidental cleaning type incident was unlikely.

However, I did check out the link that you attached and I think algae-based toxin were the most probable cause of death. I mentioned earlier that the goldies' stomach looked dark/brown/green, probably from eating algae at the bottom of the tank. Not sure if lack of oxygen was the cause, the tank is well aerated and I can see plenty of bubbles in water column throughout the tank (but I have to admit, I wonder if I am wrong on this; see quote below in italic). Everybody was OK from Tuesday to Friday, so oxygen is probably not the cause (though I could certainly be wrong).

As an observation, the goldies went through the gravel (probably where algae sediment landed), but the bettas never do that. I can't quite confirm what type of algaea that is in the tank, but that's probably as close of a guess without any lab work. I did clean the tank on Tuesday and the fishes were OK until Friday. I suspect the goldies were hungry over the weekend and went through the gravel for food (they have plenty of food during the week).

Here is an excerpt from the article (original source at http://www.marquette.edu/~buxtoni/puregold/disease/symptom/symptom.htm):

http://www.marquette.edu/~buxtoni/puregold/disease/symptom/symptom.htm

Abundant algae can indirectly stress or kill fish by depleting the water of dissolved oxygen. This usually happens in the dark hours when photosynthesis stops and oxygen is consumed by respiration by the algae. Sudden die off of the algae can cause the same problem since decay also robs the water of oxygen. It is usually the biggest fish that are affected the worst.

Algae can also produce toxic compounds. Species that produce substances toxic to fish are: protogonyaulax tamarensis, protogonyaulax acetenella, protogonyaulax catanella, gonyaulax spinifera, gonyaulax plygramma, gessnerium monilatum, noctiluca miliarias, and so , chlorophyta (chaetomorpha minima).

The blue greens that cause problems: Microcystis aeruginosa, anabaena flos-aquae, ocsillatoria agardhii, oscillatoria rubescens, schizothrix calciola. Spelling is optional.

The cyanobacteria that form in tanks can kill fish. Most produce neurotoxins that are really painful for the fish. It is a very dark blue-green color. The normal light green and browns are not toxic.

I wonder if the algae produced some sort of toxin as a natural defense, because they were removed from their habitat?

Let me hear a little bit more thoughts from everybody and then I think I will make a summary recap shortly.

Since the only thing different about your routine was the algae scrubbing, do you think it's possible someone could have used your algae scrubber to clean something else? Maybe with soap or some kind of cleanser?

That is an excellent question--if someone did use your algae-cleaning sponge to clean, that would explain the sudden death. I also agree that it was likely either a PH drop or toxicity. Since your pH is low for them to begin with, a drop would be quite dangerous for the goldies. However, it sounds like your water is stable, if low, so I would also think that something toxic got into your tank--something on someone's hands, some sort of spray, chemicals on on the sponge.. . I am sorry you lost your fish..:(

Spillie & Flutterbudget,

I bought the aquarium sponge from a reputable LFS and it was brand new out of the plastic when I used it (I rinsed it with water first before use), so hopefully that's not it. If the sponge is toxic (i.e. meant for bathroom cleaning and/or contain cleaning agent), I would imagine my bettas would die too. So my guess is probably not, but the same exact thought did come to my mind. The PH has always been stable and I tried to be careful whenever I stick my hands in the tank. But certainly thank you both for your observations (and please keep them coming)!

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In that same article you quoted from I found this but of information.

"

Another cause of damage is toxins in the water. One of the most common is hydrogen sulfide produced by anaerobic bacteria that live in areas with low oxygen, like the gravel in tanks. GF are bottom feeders and will turn gravel over looking for food. I have seen a GF turn over a piece of gravel

and go into distress. Thought the GF had got the gravel caught in the mouth but gravel could not be seen. The fish displayed balance problems for quite a while. Chronic low levels of toxins with hydrogen sulfide can lead to persistent and finally permanent floating problems. This typically

occurs when the gravel is cleaned by siphoning and the crud gets mixed in the water. The gas is released during siphoning. H2S toxicity should be suspected when a fish shows balance problems during or right after cleaning gravel. Increasing oxygenation of the tank helps the low oxygen problem

somewhat.

So in a theoretical basis of your tank, you had algae which you scrubbed off. It gets sucked to the bottom by the UGF and continues to decay thereby also depleting the oxygen of an overstocked tank. The goldies root around hit the decaying algae and by this time to consume the decay the anaerobic bac and the HSO4 by product.

Are your tank lights on during the weekend? Are they on a timer?

2 days without could cause decay and regrowing algae to respire the oxygen in the tank instead of photosynthesizing. As stated before the labyrinth on the bettas would allow them to breath surface air and therefore a drop in O2sats wouldn't affect them. However, the HSO4 by product from consuming decayed algae combined with a low O2 sat lvl could definitely distressing goldfish to death.

How thick is the gravel?

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In that same article you quoted from I found this but of information.

"

Another cause of damage is toxins in the water. One of the most common is hydrogen sulfide produced by anaerobic bacteria that live in areas with low oxygen, like the gravel in tanks. GF are bottom feeders and will turn gravel over looking for food. I have seen a GF turn over a piece of gravel

and go into distress. Thought the GF had got the gravel caught in the mouth but gravel could not be seen. The fish displayed balance problems for quite a while. Chronic low levels of toxins with hydrogen sulfide can lead to persistent and finally permanent floating problems. This typically

occurs when the gravel is cleaned by siphoning and the crud gets mixed in the water. The gas is released during siphoning. H2S toxicity should be suspected when a fish shows balance problems during or right after cleaning gravel. Increasing oxygenation of the tank helps the low oxygen problem

somewhat.

So in a theoretical basis of your tank, you had algae which you scrubbed off. It gets sucked to the bottom by the UGF and continues to decay thereby also depleting the oxygen of an overstocked tank. The goldies root around hit the decaying algae and by this time to consume the decay the anaerobic bac and the HSO4 by product.

That seems to be the case or the algaea toxin theory. I do however have bubble wand, power filter w/ air input. I can see lots of tiny bubbles throughout the aquarium. Does that mean the aquarium is well oxygenated? I would think it is, but ....

Are your tank lights on during the weekend? Are they on a timer?

Yes, it's on a timer. Aquarium is not under direct sunlight and the light is not on more than 6 hour each day (used to be 8 hour per day, but I decreased that to 6 when I started to see algaea).

2 days without could cause decay and regrowing algae to respire the oxygen in the tank instead of photosynthesizing. As stated before the labyrinth on the bettas would allow them to breath surface air and therefore a drop in O2sats wouldn't affect them. However, the HSO4 by product from consuming decayed algae combined with a low O2 sat lvl could definitely distressing goldfish to death.

How thick is the gravel?

Yes, I think that seems to be the case. The gravel is not too thick, probably at most 1" from the surface of the UG filter.

But one question still haunts me, does the air pump does nothing to oxygenate the water? There is no doubt that the aquarium has more than enough air bubbles.

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Just going to chime in about the air bubble question, it's always been my understanding that it's the surface agitation that is most important when it comes to oxygenation, not the bubbles? So an air wand is really most effective when it's powerful enough to agitate the surface of the water quite a bit...because that is how oxygen really enters the water...and not so much by the amount of bubbles the air wand/stone gives out.

Anyone please correct me if I am wrong about this? :idont

Very sorry about your fish :(:heart

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I'm so sorry about your fish :(:rip:

Badfish, surface agitation is all surfaces of the water, not just the top of the water of the aquarium. Any area where air and water meet (such as the inside of a bubble) is a site where gases can be dissolved into the water.

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Guest luvbetta

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Recap with Conclusion

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All,

Thank you for all of your responses and sympathies, I appreciate everybody's time and effort, I could not thank everybody enough. At this point I think the conclusion is all the goldies died due to algae related poisoning and/or gas-related to algaea cleaning (inside stomach showed dark discoloration, possibly from feeding cleaned algae), while the bettas survived since they are not bottom feeder. Here is the lessons that I learned:

* Algae infestation is a serious issue. I originally thought my algae infestation is a minor one (thin coatings here and there), but nonetheless, it was enough to be fatal. I think the issue of algae/fatal gas poisoning was also compounded by the big water change, temperature swing, and non-feeding for two days (the goldies seemed to munchies out of the gravel throughout the non-feeding days).

* In the future, I would clean algaea a little at a time (instead of the whole tank at once). If I am to clean the algaea for the whole tank, I probably would relocate the fishes out of the tank with enough tank water reserved (about 75%), clean the tank throughly, take out the undergravel filter, and put the fishes back in after I clean the crap out of the tank.

* I had 4 goldies and 9 bettas in the tank. I thought I could balance the chemicals with more than enough filtration, amquel, water change, proper maintenance, etc. It worked for awhile until the goldies died, however, I would not do this again. I would go back to the golden rules, 10 gallon per fancy goldfish.

* I would not use undergravel filter in my future tank, too much risk of poisonous gas or sediment related issues. I used undergravel for landscaping (which is nice), but I would go without the next time. I've seen posts saying that there is no issues with dirts/poop on the aquarium floor provided ample filtration.

* Here is a couple of invaluable information to diagnose any diseases/symptomps. I am always amazed as to what I learned from these links everytime I study them again:

http://www.marquette.edu/~buxtoni/puregold/disease/disease.htm

http://www.marquette.edu/~buxtoni/puregold/disease/symptom/symptom.htm

Thanks again, I hope these posts will help somebody in the future.

.

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  • Regular Member

So sorry about your loss. :(

However,normal green or brown algae is not toxic to fish. Goldfish will eat the green, it's good for them(even pea green water is healthy...just hard to see the fish); and as long as the brown is not too thick or is kept wiped off surfaces it is not harmful. It is unlikely you had a toxic form of algae.

Edited by redfish
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  • Regular Member

Red is absolutely right. Algae is actually one of the best things you can have with goldfish? Many of us here want to have algae very badly, especially green algae. It's very beneficial for the goldfish and allows them to feed on it continuously.

I think the issue was toxic gas in the gravel due to the undergravel filter and bacteria build up as well as overstocking levels.

Here are some good points to rememeber incase you want to try again

1. When you do a water change you will want to keep the fish in the tank, it's actually less stressful. Make sure you do this weekly of 50-75% or more for goldfish.

2. 10 gallons per fancy goldfish and single tails should really be kept to ponds.

3. Keep goldfish with goldfish only.

4. Have 10x filtration per hour on your tank. For example if you have a 55 gallon tank, you'll want filters that turnover 550 gallons of water or more per hour. This is EXTREMELY important.

5. If you have green algae growing, leave it on the back wall for them to graze on, and if you do clean it make sure you are changing the water so that you are getting it out so it does not foul and rot the in the water later on.

6. Go barebottom if you can. If you must have gravel make sure it is less than 1 inch thick and you must vacuum it religiously weekly or even multiple times a week if you have a lot of fish.

7. No Hollow ornaments.

8. Enjoy your fish!

If you have more questions or want to try goldfish again please do come on over here. Once a member always a member and you are always welcome! I'm really sorry about your losses :(

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