Maintaining a healthy aquarium can be a challenge at times because there are so many different things that could go wrong. Your fish could become sick, your tank equipment could malfunction or you might fall behind on your routine maintenance tasks. All of these things could have serious consequences, but there may also come a time when your fish die for no apparent reason. When this happens, it can be an incredibly frustrating and disheartening experience. If you have had an experience like this, read more to find out what might have happened to your fish.
Poor water quality is the number one silent killer of aquarium fish. Even if the water in your tank is sparkling clean and your fish appear to acting normally, the conditions in your tank could actually be toxic without you knowing it. Over time, uneaten fish food and fish feces will build up on the substrate of your tank where it will be broken down by beneficial bacteria in a process called the nitrogen cycle. While the breakdown of this waste is good, the by-products of the process are not – ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are the by-products of the nitrogen cycle and all three of these substances are toxic to fish in high doses. Unfortunately, you cannot tell by looking at your tank when the levels of these substances get too high and your fish might not exhibit any signs of poisoning until it is too late.
Another possibility is that your fish were suffering from an internal infection that did not produce any external symptoms. Several internal bacterial, viral and parasite infections have the capacity to ravage a fish from the inside out and by the time the fish begins to exhibit outward symptoms, the disease could be in the final stages. If an internal disease is not a likely culprit for the death of your fish, you might want to check conditions in the tank. Is your heater still functioning? A sudden drop in tank temperature caused by a heater malfunction could be fatal for aquarium fish. Check to be sure your filter is working as well – if your filter is not working properly, heavy metals and other toxins could become highly concentrated in your tank, making it a toxic environment for your fish.
Treatment and Prevention
Because poor water quality has such an impact on the health of your fish, it is important for you to keep the water quality in your tank high. In addition to performing regular weekly water changes and rinsing off your filter media on a monthly basis (use water from the tank), you might also want to consider installing an EcoBio-Stone in your aquarium. EcoBio-Stones are made from volcanic stone and they are infused with beneficial bacteria that will rapidly multiply, dispersing regularly into the water. Not only will these beneficial bacteria help to maintain the nitrogen cycle in your tank, but they will also help keep ammonia and nitrite levels under control so your fish stay healthy. Keeping your tank clean is the key to preventing unexpected death and illness in your aquarium fish. In addition to maintaining high water quality you should also perform routine checks of your tank equipment to be sure everything in your tank is functioning as it should be.