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So here's the deal.  I started cycling my system about a month ago and added fish and plants a little over a week ago.  The fish lived for about a week and then all died in one night.  I had just added tap water to the system, which was probably a mistake.  After scooping the dead fish out, I added some more and they were all dead in a day too,   I've tested my water and ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH are all in a reasonable range.  

I want to add more fish but I'm worried they'll die too.  Any advice, or thoughts on what might be going on?  I also added "maxicrop + iron" to the system recently, but don't think that could be harming the fish.


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What kind of fish are they? It could be a number of other factors, like temperature or dissolved o2 levels. Or, if they were feeder goldfish... well with those, if you breathe on them wrong, they die.

They are called rosy red minnows.  I'd be fine to replace them with a different fish though , any suggestions? 

Ok. With minnows, I understand that they do best with low o2 levels. I kept minnows once with my koi, and they died by the next day. high o2 killed them. As the pet store explained anyway.

Does that help?

Hi Matthew,

" I had just added tap water to the system, which was probably a mistake."

You said it, tap water has chlorine/chloramines which destroy the nitrifying bacteria responsible for fish and plant growth.

"I've tested my water and ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH are all in a reasonable range."

And what are the readings? 

Please read this

Thanks for the responses guys!  Ammonia was about .25 ppm, nitrite was about 0 and nitrate was around 5 ppm.  pH was close to 7.0.  I don't have any pictures as of yet.  What struck me as odd was the fish survived for a week and then died all at once.  I think it must have been the tap water.  Is there any thing I can do to get my system up and running again?

Get a carbon water filter like this one It should remove the chlorine from your tap water and last a year or two.

Hi Matthew,

If you cycled with an ammonia source(urea etc.), add a small amount daily(1/2 teaspoon) and continue to do water test daily. You should test for nitrates/ammonia/nitrites daily for the next week, pay special attention to the values and post them here.

Depending on the readings, it could be the case where there are still bacteria in the system and you can add fish soon.

Tap water contains high amounts of Chlorine which could have been the problem.   Chlorine is actually a plant nutrient.  For every 10 pounds of plant produced you need one gram of Chlorine.  The problem is that city water has to much.  

How Much tap water did you add to system.  If you added more than 25% than it was probably the tap water that killed the fish.

There are many ways to get rid of some of the Chlorine from the tap water.  Probably the easiest way is to let the water gas off.  You will need to put the water in a bucket and let it set for a day or two and most the chlorine will dissipate out of the water.   

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