Jun 18, 2013
Wagga Wagga
Hi guys and girls

After a very long break from the fish world I have jumped back in, full throttle

I have a 300L tank
1100L/PH Internal overflow with Carbon.
1400L/PH canister with cuprisorb.
Inert sand base with 1/3 inert gravel for planting
Led full spectrum lights on 8am - 7pm
Kh 3
Gh 2-3
300L/Ph airport with curtain wall
Biozorb and cuprisorb recently added - I'll explain more in a sec
Planted, both bunch and culture grown, anubias attached to large driftwood & subwassertang.

Up & cycled for 3 months.
WCs weekly - 30-50% treated with prime, quickstart & slimecoat.

Current residents:
Tetras- neon, black phantoms & rummy
Corys - sterbai & peppered
Angels - 8x 4-6cm
L144 sub male & potential female
Super red pair.

Fed flake and pellet for the top swimmers
Algae tabs, zuchinni, peas, mushroom and cucumber for the BNs and anyone else who wants a nibble.

Week 3 after cycle established, I lost 5x L144 fry - 3-4cm to bloat which developed and killed within hours. Every other fish had no problems, angels were 2.5-3cm at this time.

First sign was surfacing - yet still active & munching away at food, wood, surface algae. Added mela and pimafix to kill off any infection & subsequently crashed my tank.

Re-cycled, everything was fine, no more issues.

Added a pair of super reds & sub pair of L144, they were fine for 2 weeks.

Last weekend I popped in extra bunch plants & added aome Flourish fertiliser tabs.

DAY 1 of problem:
Within 24hrs, all BNs surfacing incl the 2 L144s. They were not passing water over their gills at all.

Moved them all into a floating hospital tank /5L Tupperware tub because that is all I have at the moment - 2L fresh treated tap water & 1.5L tank water with an airstone, media, wood & cave, they settled and stopped surfacing almost instantly.

Transferred into a breeder net after 3 hrs of rest in the tub & they start surfacing again - back into the tub & stopped - eating normally.

Racking my brain, checked everything we added, we worked out there was copper in the tablets. Now I have used these before and not had a problem at all!
Tank tested 2.0ppm in 24hrs.
Both hot and cold Tap water 0.0pm - ran both for 5 mins before testing.
Took the tabs out & did a 50% WC. Test came back at approx 1.0ppm.

Put the tabs in a mug of water & then left them there overnight. Tested the next day, 1.0-2.0ppm - tabs were excessively leaching. LFS was gobsmacked as they use the same in some of their tanks.

Day 2,
Another WC, 50% and added the biozorb hanging from the top infront of the filter flow, let it sit for 12 hrs & test back at 0.50, BNs back into the breeder net, ok for 1 hr & started surfacing. Back in their tub & left them in there for another 24hrs.

Day 3, tested again, 0.25ppm & did a 50%WC. Almost unreadable.
Wc in tub, Added 1L of fresh water, 2.5L of tank water, Let them stay for 24hrs.
No surfacing. No breathing issues.

Day 4
Cuprizorb into the filter to help draw out the copper. Back into the breeder net, monitored for 1.5hrs, no surfacing. Left them stay in there for 24hrs, no surfacing.

Day 5,
Let them all back out into the tank at 8am, 12 hours later, female red was surfacing again, erratic behaviour. No signs of illness, injury etc. No other BNs surfacing.
Back into the tub she goes and settles instantly.

DAY 6 - Today!
L144s start surfacing & red male has laboured breathing, all back in the tub.
Over the course of 4 hrs, the tub has gone from 50% fresh & tank water to 100% tank water & no breathing issues. Copper is almost undetectable.

She is frisky & once she has settled, is constantly trying to get into the males cave to lay.

All other parameters remained stable throughout this time.

1. The minute amount of copper in the tank is still having an effect on them although the corys are fine?!?!
2. They have never been in such a large tank, & it's stressful - the boy hates coming out from under the log & will dig out under it - hence the sand as the gravel was sharper and I was worried he would get hurt.
3. Something completely unrelated is going on - help!

Does anyone have any idea what is going on? I am at my wits end!

Image of tank attached, biozorb hanging at the front & tub tabk to the left


Global Moderators
Staff member
Oct 15, 2010
Weimar, Germany

If the catfish and the surface go, it speaks for a lack of oxygen.
Copper should work differently over a longer period of time.
Sufficient oxygen in the tank? Nitrite? Ammonia?



Jun 18, 2013
Wagga Wagga
Plenty of O2 exchange, the surface was bubbling away.

It appears they arrived with Flukes. Chewing on the gills & preventil oxygenation. By surfacing, they were able to suck in the O2 instead of absorbing!

A treatment of trisulfa and avitrol plus & they were right as rain!