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Sudden Death, the Answer! Goldfish Care
Collector loses Five big beautiful Orandas within hours?
 What do you think caused these sudden deaths?
Again, I want to thank the Goldfish Collector who shared her loss with us so we could all learn from it. She would like to thank everyone for the nice e-mails we received from you telling her how sorry you were to hear about her loss.
We had a great response to our "Sudden Death" question. We received e-mails from all over the world, in fact, we received so many e-mails that I'm not going to be able to list them all in this message.

I can tell from the response that, you, the Goldfish Collector of today are well informed on how to keep your goldfish healthy compared to over ten years ago when our Goldfish Connection was the first website on the internet to cater to goldfish care. Goldfish Collectors have come a long way in keeping their goldfish happy and healthy.
Some of the responses we received weren't the cause of the sudden death, however, they were problems that could cause sudden death and very worth while reading.

Here are just 10% of the responses:
1 . Do you vacuum the gravel regularly and/or do you use an under gravel filter?  Or do you have
decor in which water may have become stagnant, such as artificial caves and rocks, which built up toxins that were then released during maintenance?

2 . Was work being done on your home in the vicinity of the tank (painting, sanding, spraying for insects or rodents, etc.)? Perhaps toxins were introduced during the work.

3 . Could a friendly visitor (child or pet) have  introduced something into the tank or perhaps there's a drip from a ceiling pipe or vent that could have entered your system.

4. Sad to say nothing can live in water that has been through a home water softener. It is not even good for people to drink.
5. I would say that perhaps these fish were electrocuted.
6. I think the 5 organdies died of Chlorine. I don't think the softener was working correctly.

7. Ammonia spike, or possible electrocution from failing equipment.


9. Based on the information given, my best guess would be that there was contamination of her water supply.

10.exhausted water softener did not remove chlorine it is best to use a dechlor or test for chlorine every time before using for water change. New Zealand
11. In response to the sudden oranda deaths, had she been painting, or using any chemicals around the tank which could have introduced toxic fumes into the water through the air lines?
12. could there have been a temperature crash? with the changes in the seasons a drastic temperature change could have opened the fish up to other causes of death?

13. My only assumption is that she did not monitor the temperature of the water and with a 33 percent water change, the fish may have reacted to a drastic change in temperature.

14. The Goldfish spawned causing an ammonia spike?
15. First of all my deepest sympathies to the owner.  The water change is what stands out.  It is possible that there was a contaminant in the tap water, such as pesticides that may have seeped into the water lines.  If there were rainstorms that messed with water supply around the time the water change was done, water contamination is highly probable.
16. The only reason I can think of is that she lives in a northerly country and the tap water temperature is much colder at this time of year,and the sudden change in tank temperature was the cause. From Scotland

17.could it be an environmental problem, i. e., paint fumes, windex, toxic fumes? My heartfelt sympathies to the owner for her loss.

18. Last year I lost all of my fish due to a power surge that somehow entered into my aquarium and electrocuted my fish. (There was no mention if the fish in question were injured or otherwise internally deformed)

19. I don't like the sound of what seems to be a commercial water softner "culligan man"...Could it be that the tank reached the state of "no minerals at all"...also, some softeners use some sort of salt in their process...could softener chemicals have done them in??

20. Can be an electrolyte imbalance. Water softners removes electrolytes which is essential for fish health?

21. Since a water softner "re-generates" to make the hard water soft with the use of salt. If the softner didn't rinse properly you could have very salty water,especially first thing in the morning.   

22. Obviously the Goldfish household is on city water (tap water). It's very possible there was a leak or a surge of corrupted water in the line. That happened to us and we lost 5 fish from 2 different tanks BEFORE the city came and told us they needed to shut off the water main and bleed out the lines (we had just done a water change and were baffled that we had lost fish soon afterwards).

23. If she did NOTHING DIFFERENT then she had something DIFFERENT  she was getting from a trusted source that had worked for two years, as a starter.  That could have been some chemical changes in the products she had been using, out dated/updated/changed in some way and/or the tap water source has been changed in some way.  Additionally, she may have had the air and or filtration off longer than she thought. 

24. Her water softener stopped removing chlorine (it needed a new filter for example) OR she switched softener pellets and they had some chemical in them which harmed the fish.

25. Too much SALT in tap water as a result of an imbalance in water softener unit or during the unit's recalibration cycle.  Unless she used a hydrometer, she would not know.  Water softener unit malfunctioned and did NOT remove the chlorine and because no additional  dechlor was used, fish were poisoned.
26. The city's water department mandated an increase in chlorine or switched to chloramines. Activated carbon, water pillows, etc. usually don't remove chloramines. Also, carbon reaches a saturation point quicker than most people think. She doesn't use a water conditioner....and worse yet, the city usually doesn't send out a notice about such a change. I can smell increases in chlorine sometimes at my house when drawing water from the tap.

27. it doesn't say what the temperature was, here in New Jersey our water is coming out of the tap VERY  VERY  COLD!  could temperature shock have done it to her orandas?  (and I'm sorry for her loss also).
28. Was her water softener working properly? Did it break down without her knowledge?  Are they on a well system? Did some kind of toxins or bacteria get into the water system?

29. I'm so sorry for this lady that lost her beautiful orandas.  It's very sad. I send my condolences.
As for why this could have happened, I immediately suspect the water softener.  I have never had a water softener but I know you have to add salt monthly so I would suspect something mechanical in the water softener either didn't effectively remove the chlorine or maybe something inside corroded and too much salt leeched into the water. 

30. I'm curious about the pH level. Wouldn't it be rather low because of the water softener? 

31. Her tank was in a room with an Eastern exposure, and as the sun travels back into the Northern Hemisphere the fish got caught in direct sunlight with no were to hide.
32. My guess is there is a contaminant in her source water that the water conditioner couldn't handle. A heavy metal in high enough concentration wouldn't be handled by most standard water conditioners. Heavy metal poisoning is especially possible if she's using softened water. Another possible contaminant is a pesticide that has contaminated her water. Or perhaps the municipality messed up and used too much chlorine/chloramines with the last treatment. Would be nice to know if she is on well or city water.

33. I think it's the use of the softened water that would cause the deaths. The fish need the minerals in the water, if she didn't replace any of those all the minerals and trace elements the fish got were from food which in the long run would not be adequate to cover their needs.
34. My guess is her municipality increased the usual dose of chlorine or chloramines in the water to treat or prevent a bacterial flareup and that is what killed the fish, even though the water change was the same amount as is always done.  Most cities do this especially in the spring or during the rainy season when there is an increased risk of bacteria entering the system.  The concentration of chlorine or chloramines was higher this time than normal and it was more than the fish could tolerate.

35. Perhaps your water company switched to chloramines-type disinfecting from the old chlorine type due to spring runoff,  and you are using a non-chloramines- compatible declor? Just a guess. (Note: this is not uncommon, Rick)


The biggest clue to the cause of the deaths was the fact the goldfish ALL died within hours of each other.
What are some of the causes of sudden death?

 1. pH crash  2. fish were electrocuted  3. toxic fumes into the water through the air lines or surface. 4. off the scale high ammonia. 5. very high nitrites. 6. chlorine and chloramine poisoning.

Before I knew she did a major water change, m
y first thought was a "pH crash", water softener/conditioners are notorious for sudden "pH crashes" because they remove all the carbonates from the tap water. Then, when she told me she did a 33% water change before their deaths, that's when I knew there was a problem with the water she added. Then I asked what type of dechlor she was using with every water change. She told me that in two years she never used a dechlor because she was told that her "water softener/conditioner" removed all the chlorine/chloramines from her tap water. Yes, you guessed it, the "water softener/conditioner" ran dry of the chlorine/chloramines remover and when she did her 33% water change her goldfish all died within hours of chlorine and chloramines poisoning. 

"Water Softener/Conditioner"? City Water?

If your home has a "water softener/conditioner" how can you prevent this problem from happening to you?

Plus, how do you keep your goldfish happy and healthy if you are using water treated by a "water softener/conditioner" or a city water department?

1- Always use a good dechlor with every water change regardless of what your "water softener/conditioner" people tell you.
Note:  Even if you don't have a "water softener/conditioner" and have "city water" its very  important that you use a good dechlor, you never know when your city water dept. will increase the chlorine and/or add chloramines to you tap water. Our De-Tox Plus is an excellent chlorine/ chloramines remover, it not only removes the chlorine, it also removes the ammonia in the chloramines. When you read that a dechlor "breaks the bond of chloramines" what that means is the dechlor just removes the chlorine from the chloramines it does not remove the ammonia in the chloramines,the ammonia is left in your aquarium water. Our De-Tox Plus removes the ammonia and reduces the nitrites and nitrates.

2- To prevent a deadly "pH crash", check you pH everyday and use a good pH buffer like our "Buff-it-Up" to replace the carbonates your "water softener/conditioner" has removed. Without the carbonates your pH will crash! 

3- With every water change you must  add the life supporting electrolytes, trace elements that are removed by your "water softener/conditioner". Even you city water dept removes these life saving elements. Our Trace Elements are the best on the market! 

Thank you for all your e-mails and because of the great response we had from our "Sudden Death" question we'll try another question soon.
Thank you for your time,

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Rick - 11/04/07 - Viewed 59420 times.

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