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Old 04-21-2013, 12:11 PM   #1 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Alberta, Canada
Metal poisoning--learn from my mistake

so I've lost two fish this week, both my fault. I feel like the worst fish keeper ever, but hopefully others can learn from my mistakes.
Loss 1 was from an attack in my 20g divided. I posted about this else whee, but basically my big PK dug under the gravel and slid under the divider and attacked Starbuck. Starbuck passed a few days later despite all I tried to do to safe him. I've now added craft mesh to the bottom of all my dividers to prevent this from happening again, hopefully.
Loss 2 was my EE, Aurora. Aurora was in another 20g divided, filtered, cycled, heated (80). I was planning to add live plants but in the meantime I had put in a whole bunch of branches of a silk plant from a craft store. I cut the branches up so they were smaller. For some reason, I did not think about or check for any wire in the branches. When I was cutting the branches they cut easily and for some reason I just wasn't thinking about looking for any wire.the branches were in the tank for about two weeks.
A few days ago, Aurora was looking a little off. Resting on the bottom, not very active. No other signs of illness. I put him in a qt critter keeper, added an ail, and floated him in the heated tank. I used the same water in the qt tank as was in the main tank, with the silk plants. (btw, I had rinsed and soaked the plants before adding to the tank).
The next day, Aurora had passed. No signs of fungus or anything else external. I also noticed that Posiden, my blue CT, looked ever so slightly "off.". It was subtle, but he just didn't seem his normal self to me. I removed him and the other two (who seemed normal) that were in the tank, put them in qt tanks, and used different water this time. Thankfully, they are all doing fine.
I broke down the entire tank, threw out the filter and the gravel, and cleaned everything else like crazy. It was then I finally noticed that the silk plants had little bits of wire at the ends where I had snipped them. I think this is what killed Aurora. Argh! I knew wire was bad. I had pulled all the wire out of my betta hammocks and was always so so carefully to the point of complete paranoia about anything that went into my tanks. So how I missed this I don't know.
Anyway, sorry for the long post. To anyone who doesn't already know, be careful about silk plants from craft stores if you cut them!
I guess the other thing I would have done differently was put Aurora in new water and not use the same tank water. That might have saved him. But at the time the water tested perfectly and I wasn't thinking toxicity. I am pretty sure that is what the problem was.
I am grateful that the other three fish are ok. And I have just about finished cycling a new filter in a separate, fish less tank, so I should be able to add that to their tank in a couple days, since I threw out the filter media from the poisoned tank.
Thanks for reading, I will try to stop beating myself up now.

Last edited by percyfyshshelley; 04-21-2013 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 04-21-2013, 12:18 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Alberta, Canada
So sorry. Thanks for sharing, so that others can avoid losses.
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Old 04-21-2013, 12:45 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Central Arizona
Thank you for the warning! I am sorry you lost one. :(
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Old 04-21-2013, 11:53 PM   #4 
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Midwest
I am sorry for your loss. Thank you for the warning. I am using a razor knife to cut into the plants stems to get them out of aquarium plants like Penn Plax. I have not tried any craft store plants in the tank yet but have been considering it.
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Old 04-22-2013, 12:59 AM   #5 
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Alberta, Canada
So sorry for your loss... I bought one of those bendy wire-based plants and took it back because after about 5 minutes it started to rust. I was like "hells to the no."
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:19 AM   #6 
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Carrolltown Pa In good old cambria county
Sorry for your loss.

A warning to all since this is about metal poisoning....

I just not to long ago ( well before I joined this cite) told some one to get rid of all there live plant weights. They looked at me funny till I told them all it was was a thin peace of Lead... Ya thats right LIVE PLANT WEIGHTS ARE LEAD!

Not good for fishy either... So... just making sure everyone watches out for plant weights.

Not just silk plant wires.

Also, if you see the idiot person throwing chance in the koi pond slug him one for me?
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Old 04-22-2013, 12:13 PM   #7 
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Massachusetts
Thanks for posting and sorry for your loss. I'm sure many will learn from this.
I had a similar scare about a week ago when I changed the water in my divided 10 gallon. When I replaced the water I made the water level higher than it was previously and my CT jumped into the middle where my big PK was. Both fish are actually quite large-bodied, and my CT was definitely winning the fight because my PK was extremely tired out with a totally shredded ventral fin. Both fish lost some fins but they are doing fine now and their fins are growing back thankfully with no treatment needed. It had only been a few hours at most that they were together but my PK was so tired that I thought he would die of exhaustion.
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Old 04-22-2013, 12:37 PM   #8 
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
So very sorry for your loss...Hugs. Thanks for sharing this may help many to know what to look out for when adding new items to their tanks.

I just bought some new gravel the other day its the perfect blue color I have been looking for. I opened the packet and thought it smelled kinda weird so I put in some hot water to rinse it and let it set and it still has a faint smell to it almost like oil or something along that line. Its the precoated type I dont know whats going on with that smell but I am afraid to use it now. So if in doubt please dont use anything its just not worth it !
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