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Old 03-31-2005, 05:45 PM   #1
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All my fish are dying


We started our 55 gal tank almost a month ago and had no problems until last week. When I checked the tank last week we had 2 dead plecostimis. I noticed a few white spots on several of the fish so I started treating for ich. A couple of days later we lost a catfish and then another plecost. I told my mother-in-law about the problem and she suggested I check for amonia in the water, we were off the chart. I started treating for the amonia immediately (yesterday) and have been changing water daily since the begining of the ich treatments. Yesterday after the amonia treatment we were still at a very high amonia level. All 5 of our tetras died yesterday, as did one of our swordtails and one of our bela sharks. We still have 4 swordtails, 4 mollys, 2 gouramis, 2 upside-down catfish, 1 bela, and one dragon fish. I have moved all but the 4 swordtails (and the three baby swordtails), and the catfish into our 5 gallon tank but now it is overcrowded and the dragon fish is very unhappy. I had removed the charchol filters for the ich treatment but just replaced them in hopes that they could help with the amonia. Please help!!!
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Old 03-31-2005, 05:49 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA.

What are the parameters now (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, ph)?
How did you acclimate your fish?
What type of filter are you using?
What % of water have you changed each time?
What temp is your tank at?
What treatment are you using?
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Old 03-31-2005, 05:53 PM   #3
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First off, Id try to find a place that would hold your fish for you. Some petsmarts do it, not all though. Try Lfs's in particular. I would keep doing regular water changes. Did you cycle the tank?
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Old 03-31-2005, 06:04 PM   #4
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My nitrate level is at below 0.1 mg tested with tetra test NO2, The first time I tested for anomia it tested between 3.0 and 6.0 ml. Now it is testing between .5 and 3.0 ml with the ammonia quick dip test strips. I treated the ammonia with ACE. I have used both ich away and maracide for the ich. I started with the maracide because it was available, then I bought my own and all that was available was the ich away. My filter is one of the whisper filters. We bought the complete 55 gal kit at walmart. My tank is at 75 deg. I have been changing at least 25% of the water but today I changed closer to 50%. When we started the tank we added gravel from our 5 gal and the sample packs of the easy balance that came with our tank. Other than that we just put the bags in the tank for an hour and then added the fish. The fish were added over the month, not all at once. Still it was obviously too many to soon.
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Old 03-31-2005, 06:12 PM   #5
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Welcome to AA lafullerton1 ! Sorry for your troubles.

Lots of variables here. A month old tank. Was it ever completely cycled in that month? Did you do tests in that month to monitor the cycle? How many fish and at what intervals of time did you add them?

Like JC asks, what did you treat the Ich with? What are your parameters?

Have you done anything to disturb the biologic filter or substrate that could have caused the tank never to cycle, or to cycle again? Such as add antibiotics or other meds that could kill nitrifying bacteria, or clean the entire filter all at once and not leave any biologic substrate behind for the nitrifying bacteria?

My number one diagnosis would be that the tank either never completed its cycle, or that something happened to wipe out the bio-filter to cause a massive cycle again.
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Old 03-31-2005, 06:20 PM   #6
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OK, you have a cycle going on with your fish caught in it. I would highly recommend that you invest in an FW liguid test kit, about $14 online. Your test results will be much more accurate and reliable. The high ammonia and nitrite would weaken your fish, and make them suseptible to Ich even if the ammonia and nitrite didn't kill them. The combo of all three is ominous.

Well, now you need to do water changes, and lots of them. Daily, 20 to 40 percent to save your fish from ammonia and nitrite poisoning. If you are treating with meds, this will dramatically increase the amount of meds you need to wipe out the Ich. A very tough situation to be in, unless you have a smaller tank to use as a hospital tank.

It could take several weeks to get the ammonia and nitrite under control, so you might want to invest in a Python vacuum for water changes, And as the newest water change king you deserve one!
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Old 03-31-2005, 07:07 PM   #7
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Also, it is recommended that you also raise the tank temp to at least 86d F. This will speed up the life cycle of the parasite. Further, when using meds, you must remove the charcoal/carbon media which is designed to remove it rendering the med ineffective.
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Old 03-31-2005, 09:35 PM   #8
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Personally, I would forget medicating and go with a straight heat treatment for Ich, because you desperately need to cycle your tank, and the medications will prevent that from happening by killing the good bacteria as well as bad. You will need a very good thermometer to make sure your temp. is at 86 to 88 degrees. If you go below 86, my understanding is that the parasites will just reproduce more quickly, but you won't kill them.

Are there any fish stores in your area that carry Bio-Spira? I'm wondering what others here think of the idea of starting fresh....getting rid of any water that has meds in it, and starting with new water and Bio-Spira, which would cycle your tank immediately. It is expensive but could save you a major headache. Raise the temp. to 87 and treat the ich that way. If you can't get Bio-Spira (I don't think there's any other instant cycling product that actually works), then I would lean toward a heat treatment without meds, while you cycle your tank from scratch. Do you know how to cycle?
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Old 03-31-2005, 09:53 PM   #9
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I don't know how to cycle the tank from this point. When I bought the tank I wasn't told anything about how to get it started.
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Old 03-31-2005, 10:05 PM   #10
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Then one step at a time:

1. Purchase a decent test kit. Aquarium Pharmaceuticals is great. You need ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.

2. Decide on how you want to treat the tank. Heat will work to get rid of the ich. Unlike the meds, it will not stall the cycle.

3. You will now have to treat both tanks since the ich will have no doubt carried over. The tank will cycle during this time if you're not using meds.

4. Perform PWC's and gravel vac's regularily. This will assist in removing cysts that are in the gravel and the free swimming parasites.

5. Test you water frequently, especially ammonia and nitrite as high levels of either is deadly to fish. Perform PWC to keep ammonia less than 2ppm.
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