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Mystery Deaths

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#1 anchar

  • Forum Member
  • Joined: 28-January 04
  • Location: Bullcreek

Posted 07 October 2006 - 05:45 AM

Mystery Deaths

by Brett aka Crabros

There is nothing more frustrating than a fish dieing in your fish tank with no explainable reasons. Even with the best filter system and by you doing everything right you can still lose the odd fish too mystery problems.

Why does it happen?

I am going to take a look into why there is sometimes a mystery death when you donít expect it. These are my experiences with mystery death.

Old Age
6-8 years is a pretty good innings for most fish that I have keep. Most catfish and cichlids can live for up to 20 years. E.g. lungfish
The more sedentary the lifestyle, the older the fish may become.
Good food and clean water by doing water changes is the key to getting the most out of your fish. Remember a lot of fish we do get are sometimes inbred and subsequently are not as hardy as they could be.

Heart attacks / Stroke
Humans are not the only ones that suffer from these conditions your fish can also. With no suspect marks on the fish you could expect one of these conditions. Flecks of blood maybe seen in the eyes. Fish could also have fits as well. In any of these cases sometimes there is no reason too think that there is a problem with your water.

Overstocking may lead to oxygen shortage killing fish usually the biggest are the first to die.
In heavily planted ponds with no overnight aeration plants sometimes absorbs oxygen and release carbon dioxide at night. (Somehow the plants can reverse there daytime process) The same could happen in your home aquarium.
Certain medications can also do damage to the gills, as can past infections of gill fluke, leading to lasting damage.
Remember if you are going too overstock your tanks add extra air or add a bigger filter. Water changes should also be done on a more regular basis.

Although a fish may show no outward signs of bullying, constant harassment can effectively kill the fish from exhaustion.
I add a lot of hiding places for my fish so at least they can get away from the problem fish that is causing the problems. I also float a lot of pipe at the top of my tank so fish that are being hassled can at least have a break.
If in doubt remove the problem fish into another tank. If you donít have the room place into an ice-cream fry saver. That will stop the harassment.

As most fish pick up a lot of thing from the top of your substrate they do from time to time swallow things. Bits of coral sand or gravel can become locked in there mouths. I use botany sand in all my tanks so I donít have this problem anymore. Before I changed substrate I had too rescue a few fish with fine coral sand stuck in the fishís mouth. The old tooth pick works a wonder just use it like when you milk your female fish to remove the obstruction.
There could be a chance that the fishes digestive system could also become blocked this could cause internal injuries and death. Only a small bump could be visible externally. I have never had this problem but have heard of it. Not much you can do Iím afraid.

Air-Bourne Pollution
Some air pumps now come with a small pre filter and there are larger devices to pre-filter air passing into the air pump. Your air pump could be sucking tobacco smoke, paint fumes or other pollution that could be killing your fish without you ever thinking about it. Remember have a look around and eliminate these potential problems.
Fly-spray is another thing you have too be careful with around your fish tank. Perfume like underarm deodorants should also be taken into consideration.

High Nitrates
This would have too be the biggest killer people overlook. When dealing with there fish or new fish. Most fish owners do water changes monthly and use the tap or hose like I do. They forget to add there water ager the efficient filtration in there system gradually raises the nitrates to a dangerous level.
Existing fish stocks show no signs of the problem as the change is very gradual. As the existing fish look fine the fish keeper thinks lets add a few more. In go the new fish and a few days later they are dead.
With high nitrate levels these levels must be lowered with a few smaller water changes before your new fish are added giving them a better chance of survival. I use a product called prime 5ml for 200 liters.
I do my water changes using 10 mil of prime to make shore of the tap water being added. Long gone are the days that you can just add tap water straight into the tank without problems. There are a lot of chemicals being added too our drinking water too make it safe for our consumption.
If you are unsure of the water quality in your area ask your local aquarium shop or talk too your water board to get a sound answer.

My final tip is keeping fish at higher than natural temperatures could accelerate their metabolism and shorten there lives. Keep your fish at the constant natural temperature and you will get the most from your fish.

I hope this has helped you guys in someway shape or form.

Happy fish keeping too you all.

All the Best


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