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Kat2021

Bristlenose keeps dying.

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Hi All I was wondering if someone could help me solve a problem we are having with our 40l Aquaone tank.

Every time we get a bristlenose regardless of where we buy it, it dies within 2 weeks. Our water parameters are fine. Checked them with a self testing kit and even payed one of our local stores to put it through one of their fancy machines. We have a sand substrate in the tank with a rock, plants and some wood. We have two gourami’s some tetras and some Harley Quinn’s. All the other fish have been fine. It’s only the bistlenose that keeps dying. The last one we feed zucchini and an algae wafer. The zucchini was washed cut and left in the tank for 12 hours.  We have also tested the water for copper and there has been no detectable levels. The fish do not appear to be bloated when found dead and there is no sign of disease that we can see. When we got up it was alive and an hour later dead. The week before is died it showed no signs of lethargy or problems. This is common with everyone we have had. I’m beginning to feel like the tank is cursed or something. I’ve never had trouble keeping bristle nose fish before my last tank they used to breed without any effort. We do weekly water changes between 25 and 50 per cent. We use prime and stability along with easy life water conditioner and ph proper.  
Would really like to get to the bottom of this problem as it’s really starting to get to me.

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Hi Kat, sounds tricky.

The tank is quite small, and certainly full with those fish you've mentioned.  But a (single) bristlenose should still be OK.  They do scrape wood and other surfaces in addition to any food you give them.  So my guess would be they are eating something toxic off a surface in the tank.

Where did you get the wood (in particular)?  Is there anything else in there that might not be 100% fish safe?  Did you clean anything with chemicals before putting it in the tank?

Cheers

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Tank we brought new. Gave it a wash out before we filled it and ran it for a few weeks to let it cycle before we put anything in there. The wood, plants, sand, and rocks all came from an aquarium shop. We washed or boiled everything before we put it in - except for the plants. We didn’t wash anything with any chemicals just water. We replaced the heater and thermometer recently just in case their was any issues.

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hi bristle nose can be triclky they do well with the water temp at 24 what exactly are your water prematers like ph . amonia . nitrite . and nitrate levels to get a better idea of whats going on cheers john saying they are fine dosnt help the more info u give the members the more help u will get cheers john

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Hi Kat,

Sounds like you've done all the right things, so I'm out of ideas then!

Sometimes fish can be tricky.  When I got my first tank, many years ago, I couldn't keep guppies alive even though everyone told me they were very hardy.  On the other hand, I had no trouble with cardinal tetras that people told me were very delicate and sensitive.   Go figure.

I agree with johnbetta also - the more info you post, the more likely you'll get a useful answer.

 

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jusr out of curiosity

what are the ammonia,nitrites and nitrate reading, ? and temp and ph

ammonia is more toxic at higher ph and temp as the unionised has a more toxic presence. unionised ammonia is the toxic form

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4 hours ago, billfish said:

jusr out of curiosity

what are the ammonia,nitrites and nitrate reading, ? and temp and ph

ammonia is more toxic at higher ph and temp as the unionised has a more toxic presence. unionised ammonia is the toxic form

i agree with billfish

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what type of wood have you used , bristle nose use wood  as a digestive supplement and aid they use the wood fiber as roughage just as birds use shell grit a lot of wood sold by aquarium shops is imported which means it is fumigated and treated with formaldehyde for fungus and pests  the trace remnants kill the digestive bacteria  and even though the fish is eating it cant extract nutrients due to no active digestive bacteria this can kill fish in 2 ways  1 the food decays  in the digestive tract and becomes toxic    or 2 the fish starves to death we have bred bristle nose cats for years and we get all our wood  of the ground in the bush when allowed , soak in water for a week with a weight to hold it down  and use it in your aquarium any bacteria it still has on it  is beneficial yours Laurie and Judy if you need more info email  lauriewalter.2570@gmail.com  been keeping fish since 1963

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Hey Laurie  

We got our wood from a place called the tech den in morayfield. It’s called Malaysian wood. I ran it through hot water for a while and soaked it for a several days emptying it out every two as it was leaching a brown substance. I was told this was normal something called tanner. I am beginning to think it’s the wood as when I have successfully had bristle in the past (not in this tank) I’ve used wood I found on the beach that I boiled and then soaked for a week. Had no problems then. Fish shop talked me out of doing it as they said I was probably lucky with the first bit of wood and certain wood could kill the bristlenoses.   
Our last bristle ate every bit of algae he could find in the tank and smashed a piece of zucchini I put in their for him. He didn’t appear bloated and died suddenly. Is this normal they get some sort of toxicity in their digestive track or would I also see bloating? 

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For years I've used suitable shaped gum tree pieces I found when chopping fire wood, usually pieces I found with holes in them. Never had a problem.

I feel for you KAT as when albino bristlenose were new I paid $30 each for half a dozen fry from a breeder, I lost every single one.

Your parameters you tested are perfect, my nitrates are always way higher yet I get good growth and breeding.

I would suggest buying a larger adult male and see how he goes compared to the smaller ones I assume you've had in the past.

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as John who owns Tech Den is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to plecos and has bred lots of different ones i seriously doubt he would sell wood that will kill your fish, and if it was leaching poison all of fish would be floating , i have bought gold vine, mopani, and other wood from there over the years and not had a problem, and as he is a sponsor on here , and has been active on other forums he would have been called out if others have had the same problem

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@QldMickgum tree wood is brilliant, never used green wood just aged stuff, its the leaves that leach eucalyptus oil that can cause turmoil, hence why ive never used anything that isnt aged/seasoned/dry..dont know if the oil would be in the timber of green wood

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Not blaming anyone billfish just trying to get the bottom of it. As the water parameters are fine and I’ve tested for copper, there are very few things left that it could be. From what I can gather the only two things I can eliminate now are the wood and the wafers we have used. Nothing else makes sense. The tech den has an excellent range of fish and are quite knowledgeable. Which is the reason why we have brought a lot of our products from them they are quite knowledgeable and very perplexed by our situation. One of the reasons I’m asking on here is because they don’t have a clue what it could be, as we have followed all their suggestions and it’s good to get a fresh perspective. 

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The wafers are hikari sinking wafers and the water we use is town water that we treat with the above mentioned products. (Easy life, prime, stability and ph proper) we have also added some bio medium to the filter that is from the matrix brand.  
I’ve now removed the wood from the tank and will find another piece to add. If this fixes the issue I will post and let everyone know. 

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can i ask how do u clean your filter sponge it is recommended to clean it with water that has been taken out of the aquarium  . its best not to clean it with water out of the tank as that will destroy all the good bacteria that is needed to keep the tank balanced   and i agree takeing the wood out is a good idea what type of gravel is in your tank 

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Hey John. We only use water that has been in the tank to clean the sponges. And we have sand that was recommended by the fish shop for our base. Which I washed quite a few times before we put in in the tank. 

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ahh ok now i think i know why your haveing the drama doing what your doing with the sponges thats exalent great work with the sand your useing i wouldnt recommend sand for the bristle nos as it can get into there gills and chock them to death i am sorry to say that your better of useing pea gravel for them that is highly likely to be whats happening i cant say that for a 100 % sertanty but i am 99.9 % sure its the sand chocking the bristle nose 

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@Kat2021 Just for some perspective on the previous post.....   @johnbetta  Sorry John could not disagree more.   Can I suggest a google search of "bristlenose on sand" and do some reading ;)

Bristlenose catfish were the first fish I ever bred when I got in the hobby..... 1979 :(   I've been keeping bristlenose on sand based tanks for (quick maths 2021-1979) 42 years!    I use them as clean up crew in my tanks for any uneaten food.   

To me a massive negative for any gravel based tank is that food can get down into the gravel out of the reach of any fish in the tank.   The problem gets worse as the gravel size diameter increases.   I'm lazy so can't see any point in wasting time gravel vacuuming tanks!

Cheers,
Jason 

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Thanks JB. I will keep trying to find what’s going on. Like most I need a good algae eater in the tank. So I will be replacing a few more basics like the wood and wafers and if that doesn’t work I don’t know what’s left apart from the sand. Our local fish shop has sand in their tanks as well. 

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