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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay first of all let me give you some background information. I own a 50 gallon freshwater tank. I was given the tank from my grandmother-in-law. I brought it home about 3 weeks ago and we saved as much of the original water that we could in clean water jugs, (Around 10 gallons). We cleaned the tank for about 15-20 minutes using a syphon vacuum before we brought it home. Once it was home I cleaned all of the ornaments, and tubes using hot water only. We also changed the filter cartridges and rinsed the bio-fiber ones. (Keep in mind I'm not hip on all the names of everything. The only other tank I owned was like 10 gallons, so I have no idea what everything is called! lol)

The fish that she had were;
2 Silver Dollars (Older fish, she said almost 7 years old.)
1 Chinese Algae Eater
3 Tetras
1 Big Algae Eater

After these fish settled back into their tank, the next week we went and purchased an Oscar, an Iridescent Shark, and a smaller algae eater. They were doing very well also so the next week we went and bought 3 African Cichlids and 1 Electric Blue Lobster.

I know this sounds like alot but they are all very small and we assumed that the Silver Dollars would pass on in the near future and then they would all have plenty of space/ oxygen once they get bigger.

Then one morning I awoke to my shark swimming upside down. That was the only sign of illness that I could see. Then later that evening he died. Then suddenly the Oscar started hiding, and usually he is right up front. So it was then that we did a 50% water change and cleaned the tank. Everything seemed to be okay after that. The Oscar looked like he was getting better. But then only a day later he ended up dying. Although he was not swimming upside down. Then one of my bigger Tetras looked bad, he was still breathing when I first saw him, but was stuck in one of the fake plants, when I moved him with the net he floated to the top and died. Then came the Chinese Algae Eater. My husband had seen the Cichlids chasing him, and "biting" at his fins. My husband also said that he had witnessed the Cichlids chasing the Tetra as well. (All of these fish died within a matter of a four days!)

I tested the Ph and Alkalinity with some test strips that were given to us with the tank and they were both very high, the Bromine was non existent. I also tested the tap water and it also read high. I think it could be faulty test strips. The water looks very clear, and everything just looks great. But my fish keep dying. Well, let me correct that. All of the fish left have looked great for about 3 days now. I have noticed that the Cichlids are chasing the two little Tetras around, but they don't seem injured.

Please help! Could my levels be killing them, or are my Cichlids doing this?

What do I need to do proper testing? All I have are these old Ph strips. And what exactly do I need to test??
 

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get a master test kit from API, it has saved my arse a few times.

It either the ammonia is sky high or the nitrites.

in case of those, do a 10% water change every day, and lowering ther pH will help in turning the ammonia into the less poisonous kind. (one if ionized, the other is not, or something like that)

Use bottled spring water, it's not that expensive, like 70 cents a gallon.
hope this helps and i wish you the best of luck.
 

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the high pH might also be the killer. if its really high, the only fish that should make it are the african cichlids. but if its ammonia or nitrite, they will all die. o and DO NOT use tap water on anything. it could kill all the fish because of the harmful chemicals in it! u could use bottled spring water, but that will get quite expensive over time. just go into a pet store, look for the tap water conditioner isle, and look for Seachem Prime. every time u change the water, throw a few drops into the bucket and poof your own water is better than using bottled spring water.
 

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I think you over cleaned the tank killing all the good bugs & now your water is all messed up. You need to recycle the tank & until you do you will most likely have to do many small water changes a week for a month or two.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hello again everyone. So, I went to the pet store in town in search of a freshwater master test kit. They only had the saltwater test kit, so I decided to ask the guy at the counter if they tested aquarium water- and they do! So instead of wasting $12.00 a piece for like 5 different test strips (only had strips) I decided to get my water tested there.

The ammonia was non-existent. He said it didn't read on the test at all. But, the Ph was extremely high. He then told me the tank like half of the water, put some water conditioner in it and filter it through for two days and then bring a water sample back and he will test it again.

So now, we wait...

Also, fish still look great, no more have died.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
UPDATE! I've been testing the Ph regularly, it fluctuates alot but no more fish have died. I changed the filters last night, for no reason in particular- but I want to make sure the water is good for them. I never got an explanation for why the fish were dying; I am assuming high Ph caused it. Well, all is good- I just figured I would let you all know.
 

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UPDATE! I've been testing the Ph regularly, it fluctuates alot but no more fish have died. I changed the filters last night, for no reason in particular- but I want to make sure the water is good for them. I never got an explanation for why the fish were dying; I am assuming high Ph caused it. Well, all is good- I just figured I would let you all know.
Like i said. You over cleaned your tank and messed up the cycle. That is why your PH is all over the place. It is going through a mini cycle again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Okay, I understand that you think I overcleaned my tank; but I didn't. My grandmother-in-law had just got back from vacation and hadn't cleaned the tank for over 2 months. She had this fish tank for 7 years, and cleaned it the same way that she told me to and never had this issue. She also said that the Ph was always rather high when she owned the tank. But anyway, I am not trying to argue- I simply do not agree with your opinion.
 
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