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Hey I have two parrot fish. Around 8 years old. I recently did a water change two days ago and added the conditioner and salt as usual. I have a whisper 20 and a aquaclear 116 filters and a filter fiber air filter in I think 60 gallon tank approx. Checking the water the pH was fine the ammonia level was at zero and the nitrates between 20 and 40 ppm. The female got sick right after and I thought that maybe it was her time since she was old until 2 days later when I found her on her side and the male now laying at the bottom of the tank. I set up a smaller tank put them in there because I have no idea what is wrong.



Could soap, chlorine, dirt, or ANYTHING have contaminated either the containers, tubes, filter, salt, or anything else you are using? Does the water out of the tap smell any different than usual?

Did you add any other fish lately?


Everything was completely cleaned. The tap water doesn't exactly smell any different than usual. I haven't added any new fish lately and I've been using the same salt and conditioner as every other water change I've made. I really have no idea. They are like my kids and I'm freaking out because I have no idea what's wrong. I'm thinking maybe when my nephew visited some time last week maybe he put something in the tank. Highly unlikely but at this point who knows

The other thing that occurs to me is temperature change, but it would have to be pretty sudden and drastic to cause this. I'm sorry, something similar happened to me also, but it was after I added a new fish to the tank - could possibly have been a virus or something. I've been told by a fish expert that there are plenty of virus-borne diseases of fish. However I never really knew what happened. They were about 10 years old.

The standard things to look at are ammonia, nitrites, pH, temperature, chemicals, oxygen in the water, disease. You've looked at most of them. The filter is definitely working, right? Did they respond any differently when you put them in a different tank? I assume the new tank had a fresh water change in it?


I appreciate your help. It's just sad when things like this happens. I think I've lost the female she doesn't seem to be breathing anymore.

The filters are all working. I have two different heaters both are working and have a set temperature. I also have two thermometers one at the top of the tank and another at the bottom. The temperatures have been pretty steady. When I placed them in the tank with fresh treated water the male quickly made a turn around and seems to be fine now. The female however is still struggling and I think I have lost her which is heart breaking. I have been pretty good at taking care of them. twice weekly water changes no excess food. So when something like this happens I am baffled. And scared to put the male back in the regular tank

I know exactly how you must feel. I would probably clean the other tank super thoroughly, maybe dose it with postassium nitrate or something, then let it dry, then fill it again fresh. Possibly assume your tubes or buckets may have been contaminated somehow and clean them carefully as well.  

The male now isn't doing too well. The tank I had him in was pretty small and I thought he was being stressed so I placed him back in the big tank after anotger water change. Let it run a couple hours to make sure the levels were perfect. Placed him in and he was happy. 2 hours later he's at the bottom of the tank so I changed him again even though I know the process would stresshim. But it is oobvious something is wrong with my main tank. I just hope the stress of being in a tiny tank won't kill him too

There's definitely some contamination in that tank if it is so fast. I don't know what, but it needs to be completely scrubbed, dried, probably scrubbed again. It doesn't take much of some chemicals to knock them out. It is faintly possible that the filter isn't working right and oxygen is too low, I suppose, but you would probably have noticed that by now.

So I just scrubbed the main tank like you suggested. Is there something I can wash the tank down with to probably decontaminate it? I cleaned it with hot water. I'm not sure if that will help or make it worse

How long can he survive without getting fed? I haven't fed him for two days now, since I was unsure of what was wrong with the tank. But I also don't want to starve him

Depends on what the issue was but water should dilute or rinse off whatever it was.

just in case, maybe put in a bubbler - in case it is the filter not working right. 

 they can survive for a while without eating  - probably a week. 

Potassium permanganate is relatively safe for aquarium decontamination from organic contaminants:

He seems to be doing a lot better. He's not 100% more like 70%. But I've noticed that he still sinks to the bottom sometimes. Thanks for the help. I will keep you posted on his possible recovery

What a terrible expeierence to go through. Thank Goodness the male seems to be recovering. To answer, make some suggestions: Plain salt can be used to clean a tank, empty of all water, make a salt paste and 'scrub' interior, then rinse, repeat. I also wondered if maybe there was a mild short in any of the electrical, but that's unlikely now that male is better. Fish can go a long time without food, better to let them miss a few days or feed much less than usual than have them not eat and food foul tank. I've only had BP's a very short time but I do notice they go through some strange behaviors that I haven't seen in all my decades of fish keeping! My male can change colors like a chameleon from one minute to the next with no adverse effects. They never seem to do the same thing 2 days in a row, as far as activity. One last thing, I am a big believer in Tetra Blackwater Tonic, it has all kinds of vitamins and seems to perk fish up anytime they aren't just right.