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Old 11-18-2019, 10:59 AM   #1
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fish dying advice

Hello this is my first aquarium my brother dropped it off before the army transferred him. I drained the tank and cleaned the gravel really good. I cleaned the filter and put a new cartridge. I cleaned everything up to start fresh. I filled it with conditioned water, cranked temperature to 80 and let it cycle for 2 months before I even started to test the water. It looked cycled to me and I brought water to be tested for free to 2 petcos and 2 petsmarts in my area. All 4 said its good to go. I was doing water changes. Btw its a 20 gallon high. I eventually added fish a few at a time every 3 weeks. Was doing 20% water changes every 2 weeks but the ammonia and nitrites were 0 and nitrates were 4 so I didn't think that frequently was necessary. (is it?) I had 5 black skirt tetras and 4 pristella tetras for about 8 months. I wanted to ad one more black skirt to finish off the tank so I did. After 8 months of not adding anymore. Shortly after that last black skirt (about 1 week) I noticed some fish look bloated and are lethargic a week later I noticed most of them have white spots and are starting to die. (ich right?) now after 2 weeks of this there are 4 fish left with white spots, bloated, keeling over and losing balance, and fin rott.

Is it possible that one new black skirt caused all if this? Is the bloating and fin rott a part of ich or are these 3 different illnesses?

I always wanted a tiger barb tank so I might end the last 4s suffering since everything seems to be dying anyway.

Should I re clean and cycle the tank or will these illnesses die off after a few weeks of no fish. ( I will be putting new fish tiger barbs in around Christmas time) should I just remove the fish and let the tank sit fishless before Christmas or medicate the fishless water?

I'll be vacuuming the gravel super clean and possibly putting some Java fern and Anubis that are in rocks and drift wood. I have alot of questions. Thanks
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Old 11-25-2019, 04:32 AM   #2
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So sorry to hear that the tank was kind of blowing up on you. Not sure how we missed seeing this thread.

One fish can cause a bunch of trouble. It sounds like there was a couple things going on.

Where do you stand with the fish and illness now?


You would need to sanitize and start over again.
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Old 11-25-2019, 11:55 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I was wondering if my post was visible because I wasn't getting any responses. Well they died really fast besides the one that caused it and the youngest smallest black skirt. The one that caused it was loosing balance before everything else but it looked like after someone would attack it. Now he looks really healthy and is swimming all around now not sitting at top. But he and the other one just don't have tail's. The other survivor is starting to swim around to but is still flapping gills really fast. No white spots or lethargy or bloating anymore for either. Honestly I was expecting them to die to and wanted to clean the tank completely and start a new cycle.

When you mean sterilize it what do you mean? How do I do it?

I was going to drain the water, throw out the gravel, boil my 2 peices of wood. (I'm saving the wood to ad Anubis to) and get rid of the to ornaments I had. Rinse tank with cold and hot water while drying and scrubbing with paper towels. (hot water, dry, cold water dry ECT ECT) would that be sufficient? Also same to filter, thermometer and heater.

Would that be enough to clean it or how should I go about sterilization?

I plan on cleaning it, filling it and adding live plants and maybe some fake ones to ad more jungle look and some new root looking decorations oh and new gravel. Letting it fully cycle then adding 6 or 7 tiger barbs and never adding anything again to prevent another wipeout. They like for a while so I will enjoy the 6 or 7 for a long time.

Thanks for helping me
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Old 11-25-2019, 02:20 PM   #4
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Do you happen to know your pH and do water testing to see where you are at in water quality?

The link in my signature is for an article here which can help you get a solid foundation for fish keeping. If you check that out it will be very useful. The cycle of the tank - is the nitrification cycle and beneficial bacteria / BB grow in the filter pad / media to process ammonia and so on to keep the processes of breaking it down and not being toxic to fish.

If you throw it away to change it, wash it or rinse it, in chlorinated tap water - chlorine / chloramines are what kill the bacteria in our tap water to make it "safe" to drink but deadly for our BB and cycle since it's bacteria too.

Will try to address the fish stocking and cleaning this evening.

A partial water change /pwc 15-20% with dechlorinated water will help right away to keep the water fresh and healthier for the fish trying to recover / grow back the tail.

How often and how much water do you change at a time?

What size is the tank?

What type/ brand and size is the filter?
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Old 11-25-2019, 11:40 PM   #5
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With some fish surviving you might not need to tear apart the tank and ruin what cycle you have.

As for the fish stocking, the information for the size of tank would be crucial for a specific recommendation.

Should have probably said disinfect rather than sterilize...

Details of how much bleach for which jobs found at the link
https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/eme...anitizing.html

Also would recommend using bleach water to soak the items which were in contact after the fact maybe not critical. But nets, buckets and other items used and moved in and out of the tank.

Triple rinsing and then using Prime water conditioner to rinse /and soak again. I usually do 24 hours in the bleach bucket (using the disinfecting ratio) - rinse, rinse, rinse, then soak with Prime water another 24 hours. Then rinse and reuse as needed.
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Old 11-30-2019, 01:07 PM   #6
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Thank you! I knew bleach and other sterilizers were bad and that why I didn't know how to"disinfect" or "sterilize" but that makes sense to be able to use bleach then soak with prime to remove the bleach . Can this be done with gravel to? Thank so much
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:27 AM   #7
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I had been told in the past, and I just read it from a veterinarian website ( I am not a scientist, or Doc... ) that in the presence of water and light, the bleach will degrade and become not able to kill germs / disinfect surfaces in 24 hours, it will loose strength (but still be hazardous to animals). And still should be rinsed and cleaned off.

The process noted in the earlier post of cleaning was gleaned by listening to long time and successful fish keepers, and feel comfortable myself waiting the time when at all possible.

Alternately is was said for the disinfection item be allowed to dry then rinsed well and would be okay. (I like the Prime as an extra step)

Like leave the sanitized gravel in the sun to dry, then triple rinse. (and rinse with Prime).

It was mentioned that "cleaners" like Lysol leave a residue - so, not a good idea to use.
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