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Old 02-24-2014, 03:05 AM   #1 
MI3
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Whiptail catfish

I was just wondering if anyone could shed any light on to why my whiptail (The General) died today? :(

We have had him for 12 days and he was a happy little chap until yesterday he was looking pale.

He shared a tank with two electric yellow tangs and neon tetras. We fed them tropical flakes and once or twice a week, micro worms.
All water testing are at correct levels and the temp is at 26.C.
I know he eats algae but we had quite a large algae content in the tank and we were given an algae block to help prevent a larger build up.

I am new to fish keeping and this is probably a really stupid question but did this poison him?? I figured it would be safe to use seeing as it was recommended to us by our LFS.
Apart from our bettas, The General was my pride and joy
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Last edited by MI3; 02-24-2014 at 03:17 AM.
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Old 02-24-2014, 05:17 AM   #2 
eatmice2010
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Hello, I am sorry for your loss. I too currently have a whiptail cat fish.

It is common to here this happening, before i bought my little guy, read that mystery deaths are common. There are people that said they've had theres for a couple of months and they die.

From what I've read they need wood and a mature NPT.
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:38 AM   #3 
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Wait, I think I might be confused? Yellow Tangs are saltwater or unless there is some unknown type of fish that I haven't heard about that is freshwater? Neons are definitely freshwater....what kind of tank is this? lol I'm probably reading something wrong or...yeah, no sure.

But what size tank, what temp, did you acclimate him and if so how long? I know sometimes fish have very difficult times adjusting to new water depending on how different it is. What is your pH level and do you know what the store's pH level is? I know for me specifically, my store's pH is 7.0 comfortably but my tap comes out at 6.2 and some of my tanks are down at 5.5 because of driftwood so I have to take extra time in acclimating some other sensitive fish :)
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:57 AM   #4 
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It's a fresh water tank

MI3 can you post a pic of this tang.

Last edited by eatmice2010; 02-24-2014 at 09:03 AM.
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Old 02-25-2014, 01:37 AM   #5 
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Oh really? I could be wrong but someone at home kept calling them tangs. On second hand, I believe they are cichlids. ha! you probably think Im nuts!!

The tank is a 60ltr (15gal). The temp is at 26.C (83.F?). I did acclimatise him. When I did this, I checked the ph of his water and the tank when I placed his bag in. Over an hour period I emptied a small amount of his water into the tank and added just less than 1/4C of tank water to his bag, every 15min. I checked Ph of his water again (I was very aware of it being at 7.0) before I released him into the tank. Our tap water comes out above 7.6 so before I do a water swap I treat the water. I am quite anal about my tanks lol
Lilnaugrim, isn't 5.5 too low??

He was really happy and healthy until 24hours before he died.
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Old 02-25-2014, 05:39 AM   #6 
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Ya lol they are cichlids. There electric yellow cichlids, if you wanted to know.
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Old 02-25-2014, 06:57 AM   #7 
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Oh lol! Yeah, yellow cichlids ^_^ I was worried for a little while there and wondering how the heck saltwater Tangs were faring in a freshwater tank! haha.

It sounds like it was just a fluke really, sometimes fish just become too stressed when moving to a new home, this stress can kill them at any point. Some species of fish are more sensitive than other fish, I'm not familiar with how sensitive the catfish is but it's just one option. Another is simply sometimes they just die and there is no reason no matter how hard we search for it.

As far as 5.5 pH level, it depends on the species you are keeping! Cichlids prefer more alkaline water up at 8.0+ where Betta's like anything under 7.0 however most wild species dwell in 5.5-6.0 pH. So it all just depends on the species you are keeping for ^_^ I only have Bettas in those particular tanks so it is not harming any other fish.
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Old 02-25-2014, 07:11 PM   #8 
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Oh I feel so stupid now! haha now that I look at them I can see they are cichlids - in my defence, they are not mine. My flat mate felt she had to join in the fish frenzy and got them for the community tank. They are cool though, they spin around and around each other for ages, as if playing tag in and out of the ornaments.

I will go with, i was just unlucky and in a few weeks I will get another one. I fell in love with him because he looked like a grumpy old man. Apart from more acidic water and driftwood, would you suggest anything else I could do before I get another? Any advice is truly appreciated!! :)
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:31 PM   #9 
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If you have those cichlids in the tank, I would not try and drop the pH down. I believe they are from Lake Malawi and therefore inhabit high pH/alkaline water. It would most likely be detrimental to their health to force them to live in soft water. Honestly, neon tetras and those cichlids prefer almost complete opposite water conditions.

Also, I am not a cichlid expert but I do know that they can be aggressive fish. Is it possible that they could have stressed out the whiptail or attacked it? It sounds like they chase each other around, is it possible this is aggressive behaviour and you are just reading it wrong?
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Old 02-26-2014, 07:48 AM   #10 
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+1 to LittleBettaFish.

Yes, most cichlids are quite aggressive, not always towards each other depending on the species but also towards other fish. The chasing around is a sparring behavior, they are basically duking it out to see who is boss more or less. If you truly want another Whiptail, I would suggest moving the cichlids to their own tank. However, let it be known that Whiptails can get up to six inches and prefer larger tanks around 50 gallons and up ideally. Make sure you research your fish before you buy them, I know that can be tedious and sometimes you just end up with fish but for the health and safety of your fish, it's best to at least look to see what parameters they prefer or need first.

Neons will be okay in higher pH levels, it is not ideal and they will eventually suffer from it but they won't immediately die. But would you want a tank where your fish aren't happy? So there are a few things you can do that I see at least; keep the cichlids there and get a larger tank to put the Neons and the Catfish in, bump up the numbers of the Neons as well to make them happier. OR you can give your catfish a very small area tank and rehome the Cichlids or put them in a different tank. Personally, the first option is better for all the fish around but I know it can be money consuming as well as time consuming.
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