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200 fish from wholesaler dead!


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I apologize in advance for the long post. Purchased 200 Cardinal Tetras from a wholesaler through a LFS for my 180. So LFS picked them up from the airport, and I took them straight from them. Got them home, 2 bags which seemed like a lot for 200 fish and they were TIIINY. Opened the bag and tested the water. Ammonia was 0 the PH was 8.4 which was surprising. My PH is 7.4 so I was concerned that would be a shock for them. I put them all in a bucket and added 1 cup of water from my quarantine tanks ever 15 minutes, over about 45 minutes (I dont normally take that long but I was really worried about the ph difference) I tested the Ammonia every 5 minutes and it was always 0. Got them into my quarantine tank (with established filter and air, temp at 80 and 1 tbsp salt per 3 gallon as I can not get meds in Canada) they seemed to settle. Next morning 90% were dead. Checked the water parameters temp was 80 ph 7.4 ammonia nitrates nitrites all 0. What did I do wrong?? I did not feed them, was it PH shock? Im pretty choked. Ive been keeping fish for a long time, have a very established 180 (3 years old), heavily planted. Have never had any issues quarantining fish before. Bad batch maybe? 

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I watch a lot of YouTube videos on wild caught fish and fish farms (one just today titled "Lumbini Aquaria Sri Lanka") and it's always amazing to me that any fish survive everything they go through to get to us. It's not an easy life being a fish. In the Lumbini video I saw today the fish are bred at their main facility, then sorted and bagged and shipped to one of a hundred  farmers who then raise them from the fry to young adults. At that point they're netted up again and transported back to Lumbini. There they're sorted again (often by spoons) and flicked off into nearby containers. Then they go into a seven to fourteen day quarantine before being netted yet again and sorted again. Then bagged. They don't bag them in the water they've been raising them in though, they use water from a deep well to bag them. Then they're boxed and hauled to the airport for distribution around the world. Before those fish ever get sent to market they've been in at least four different waters. First, the water at Lumbini where they're born. Then in whatever water the farmer who raises them to young adults uses. Then back to Lumbini again for their quarantine period. Then into the water from the deep well that they use for bagging the fish. Along they way they've been caught and handled multiple times. They've been bagged and trucked there, there and everywhere. Then they take a long flight on a plane. It's pretty impressive that any fish survives all they go through to reach us.

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Couple questions.

How did the fish act before they died?

Are you sure test is accurate?

As the fish are shipped the PH should go down.   While the fish breath they produce CO2, in short this will cause the PH to decrease.  Once the bag is opened the CO2 is gassed off and this will cause the PH to increase maybe going right off the charts.  This will greatly increase the ammonia toxicity.

The other thing to remember- reduce stress and or the amount of time fish is stressed.    So unless my tank temperature and bag temperature are more than 5 or 6 degrees different I cut open the bag pour fish in a net and get them into their aquarium.  
Remember this fish just spent 2,3 maybe 4 days in the dark and then they get light.  Sometimes very bright.  They get startled and breathing increased.    Just get them into a stable environment ASAP.   

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Posted (edited)
On 4/11/2021 at 5:04 AM, Brian said:

Couple questions.

How did the fish act before they died?

Are you sure test is accurate?

As the fish are shipped the PH should go down.   While the fish breath they produce CO2, in short this will cause the PH to decrease.  Once the bag is opened the CO2 is gassed off and this will cause the PH to increase maybe going right off the charts.  This will greatly increase the ammonia toxicity.

The other thing to remember- reduce stress and or the amount of time fish is stressed.    So unless my tank temperature and bag temperature are more than 5 or 6 degrees different I cut open the bag pour fish in a net and get them into their aquarium.  
Remember this fish just spent 2,3 maybe 4 days in the dark and then they get light.  Sometimes very bright.  They get startled and breathing increased.    Just get them into a stable environment ASAP.   

Im not sure how they were acting before they died as it was during the night. When I went to bed they seemed fine. I am not sure if my strips are accurate? They are the Tetra brand. So what your saying is with fish that have been shipped, dont acclimate, just put them right in if the temp if fine? The only reason I did acclimate for so long is I was worried the PH was so drastic.

 

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Cellerbrok - I feel your pain though not on that scale.  Within 24 hours I had nearly half of my 15 new rummy nose tetras die.  Within 3 days, I had only 1 left.  I was seriously bummed!  Hoping it was just a fluke, I was able to source more fish at a different fish shop.  It’s been about 3 days now and no die off.

I second finding another source.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed (and the new rummies keep their their fins crossed for you, too).

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16 hours ago, Cellerbrok said:

Im not sure how they were acting before they died as it was during the night. When I went to bed they seemed fine. I am not sure if my strips are accurate? They are the Tetra brand. So what your saying is with fish that have been shipped, dont acclimate, just put them right in if the temp if fine? The only reason I did acclimate for so long is I was worried the PH was so drastic.

 

What I am saying is that is what I do....   I know Discus Hans had a video showing it.   What I’m saying works for me.  There should be a couple videos on the drop and plop acclimation.   Good Luck 

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I have gotten fish in direct import from the wild as well as from wholesalers, and lost quite a few before I learned what works for me. Even though I may get 100 or 200 small tetras in, I don't put them in their final display tank, always a smaller quarantine tank. I've done 200 cardinals in a 20 gallon tank before, no issues. The best thing I have found is to just use my tap water, which is around 7.2-7.4 pH, have an established sponge filter, I float the bag for 15 minutes or so, then open the bag and net the fish out and put in the tank. I put Ich-X in the tank right away, and observe the fish over the next few days before adding any other meds. 

I like to get the fish out of the bag water ASAP because they have probably been in there at least 24 hours if not more. I have had good luck doing the float and net fish out and directly into the tank, instead of the prolonged process of adding a cup of tank water at a time. 

You could also talk to the LFS you ordered them through and find out if they had any issues with the fish that they got in from that wholesaler. Maybe they did as well, never know.

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