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Old 05-19-2013, 02:15 PM   #1
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First fish - problems

Hi guys

This is my first post and I hope you can help! I am completely new to the hobby. I knew nothing about keeping tropical fish when I got my aquarium, and knowing what I know now I would not have done what I have done so far.

Basically, I have had my aquarium for 10 days. I have:
* a Aquaone Ecostyle 47 tank (38 litres)
* Three silver sharks, 6 black widow tetras and 4 platys.
* Gravel, a flat rock, a skull and live plants

After some very poor advice from my LFS, I bought the tank, gravel/plants etc and put the fish in the first day. After a day or so, two of the platies were showing signs of fin rot and fungus. I removed the carbon from the filter (left the sponges in) and treated the aquarium with interpret anti fin rot medicine. When my partner called into the fish store I bought them from, the tank the platys were in was under quarantine so I don't know if that was related to the fungus mine have. The treatment is due to be finished tomorrow and for those two platys, they look worse rather than better. I am unsure if I should medicate the tank again - will it be very harmful to the fish that do not have it?

I now also know that my tank is overstocked - the fish shop said it would be OK as I stated I would buy a larger tank when I was able to afford it in a few months. Should I remove the two platys with the fungus or treat the entire tank again (I don't have the money for a hospital tank unfortunately)

All the fish are looking a bit 'gaspy' at the moment (for the last couple of days) - not at the surface of the tank, but in the water and are looking lethargic. They eat fine. I have been doing partial water changes every day for three days to see if that helps and add filter bacteria as well as declorinator. I have been vacuuming the gravel to remove any waste that may break down into ammonia but I don't know if that will prevent the beneficial bacteria from forming?

Im sorry for the essay - its just I want to give my fish the best chance and feel I have been given poor advice by my local fish store as to the amount I was able to put into my tank and when. With this many fish, how long can I expect the cycle to last?
Thanks

Kirsty
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Old 05-19-2013, 02:33 PM   #2
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A cycle usually takes from 4 to 6 weeks. You should have never added that many fish. You should have done a fishless cycle such as adding pure ammonia or a shrimp to decay and start the cycle that way. Your ammonia and nitrites are going to start to rise and possible kill the fish if you don't watch it carefully. Do you have someone that could hold the fish for you till the cycle is done.
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Old 05-19-2013, 02:38 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply.
No unfortunately not. Should I keep doing the gravel vacuuming? I just want to give the fish the best chance possible. Also should I do another course of meds for the fin rot?
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Old 05-19-2013, 02:44 PM   #4
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Have you checked your ammonia and nitrites, poor water quality such as those two can be causing the fin rot.
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Old 05-19-2013, 02:48 PM   #5
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Oh my goodness, Kirsty! Sounds like you got a heap of bad advice! Sorry you've had a difficult start, but welcome.

I want to just clarify that your tank is 38 litres, so 10 gallons, is that correct?

Cycles can take anywhere from a few weeks if you're really lucky, to a month or two, realistically. You either do a fish-in or fish-less cycle. Either way, the store should have at minimum advised you to let the tank sit for 24-48 hours before adding anything. But it is what it is for you and we'll try to help.
Here is a link to doing a fish-in cycle: Fish-in Cycling: Step over into the dark side - Aquarium Advice
There are a few others on this site who give excellent advice on cycling, and will hopefully chime in on their experiences.

If I was you, I would take the sick fish back to the store you got them from, especially now that you know that tank has been quarantined. I'd also, in fact, look at dealing with a different store altogether once the fish have been returned if you do decide to return them. You're in a hard situation---trying to treat a tank that has not yet built up its own beneficial bacteria. You really don't want to be over-vacuuming at this point, I would say, but I also understand your position. So, I think I'd definitely remove those ill fish if you can and try to give the tank a chance to cycle. For cycling, it's a great idea to get a test kit. Not the strips that many stores sell and use, but an actual proper kit to test your water parameters as you go. You'll be testing for levels of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrate. Ammonia shows up first, then nitrites, and both of those can be toxic for your fish. Once your ammonia and nitrite levels are at zero, you're nitrates will start to rise, telling you the cycle has pretty much completed. Nitrates should stabilize, and shouldn't get too much higher than 20, but we want to get you there first!!! Again, this can take several weeks minimum.

Back to tank size quickly for a moment. Yes, if this is a 38 litre (10 gallon) tank were speaking of, you are overstocked. And the fish they sold you, the silver sharks, which I assume are Bala sharks, actually need a 50 or 55 gallon tank minimum, so that's an over 200 litre tank.
I hope this helps. I'm not an expert on this but just wanted to give you some place to start. Hopefully we'll get others on here chiming in that have even more experience in cycling.
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Old 05-19-2013, 02:49 PM   #6
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I have some of those strips that I used today and the nitrates were fine. They don't test for ammonia so I will have to get an ammonia test tomorrow. If the test shows high for ammonia, what would be the best way to bring it down?
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Old 05-19-2013, 02:50 PM   #7
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The best thing u can do is get a testing kit and monitor the levels as well as your fish's behavior until the cycle is complete.
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Old 05-19-2013, 02:53 PM   #8
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Hi Jantaris
Thanks so much for the reply. Yes it is a 10 gallon tank, and yes I meant bala sharks (Im in the UK).
Would the store take back the sick ones - would they not just think I had done it to them?
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Old 05-19-2013, 02:55 PM   #9
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Test strips suck. Sorry it's best to get a liquid test kit. The best way to keep your levels as safe as possible is doing water changes. Also I'm bad at the whole litre thing so if its a 10 gallon you are in for an uphill battle. The fish u have don't belong in that small of tank. I would say platies are debatable. It certainly sounds like your fish store is not responsible in anyway if they sold you bala sharks with a 10 gallon!
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Old 05-19-2013, 03:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kirstos View Post
Hi Jantaris
Thanks so much for the reply. Yes it is a 10 gallon tank, and yes I meant bala sharks (Im in the UK).
Would the store take back the sick ones - would they not just think I had done it to them?
This is really upsetting to me that this is your first experience! I would be really angry if I was you and I am, again, sorry this has happened. Many stores have a 7 or 14 day guarantee on their stock. If you have the receipt, check to see about return policies. I would definitely be taking them back and letting them know what shoddy advice they provided.

I also want to tell you that I did a fish-in cycle. Had I known better, I would NOT have done that. But it was where I found myself. I lost one fish during the cycle. It is possible to come out of this on the other side, it really is! Look over the link I gave you re: fish-in cycle. And moving forward, add fish slowly. You're well stocked already so I wouldn't be thinking of adding anything. But if you get a bigger tank, etc, add slowly a few fish at a time, maybe only two or three times a month.
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Old 05-19-2013, 03:34 PM   #11
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The best way to remove excess ammonia during a fish in cycle is 33% water changes every other day. Slow down on the gravel vac because that can cause a spike in the ammonia. I have done a fish in cycle and lost three fish during the 4 week ordeal. A fast way to cycle that I have also done is find a friend that has a healthy cycled tank and convince them to share some of their used filter media with you. This will add the beneficial bacterial immediately and within 2 days it will double and can can quickly cycle your tank. One down side of this is the fish are getting used to the levels you have and a fast jump in nitrate from the bacteria can stress the fish. Keep doing water changes and adding clean fresh water during the cycling and you might get away with few deaths. The fin rot you already have is going to complicate things.... In general good luck.
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Old 05-19-2013, 03:37 PM   #12
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I'm no expert but sharks usually need 30+ gallons from what I know and they grow to be pretty large fish. I think you are way way way way over stocked ! Good luck get some water test kits!

Also I didn't read everything but if you haven't get some starter bacteria.
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Old 05-19-2013, 04:01 PM   #13
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I agree with the person who said test strips are no good- I used them for the past couple years because they were cheaper, and they always indicated that I had a neutral or slightly acidic pH. A week ago I got the API liquid test kit and it revealed the truth.. My water had a pH of almost 8 and came out of the tap at 9!
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Old 05-19-2013, 04:02 PM   #14
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Sorry to hear about your bad experiences. Here's what I would do to fix it:

- Keep doing your medication cycles, 'cause whatever fish had the disease to begin with have now spread it so all the fish will have traces of the disease.
- Get some water (just like 1 litre of water) from the local fish store preferably from one of their platy tanks (NOT the store you went to that gave you bad advice).
- Take 1 litre of water from your tank and replace it with this 1 litre of water. This will act as a quick start to a cycling process.
- Keep doing regular water changes.
- And then hope for the best.

I'd also get in touch with the manager of the store who sold you the ill platys and explain the situation and ask if they will compensate you if the platys/bala sharks die due to the condition. Also check your water conditions to make sure it is their fault and not the water quality that's causing the condition.

Good Luck!
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Old 05-19-2013, 04:03 PM   #15
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Thanks very much for the replies guys - I appreciate it. I will keep up with the water changes but without doing so much gravel vacuuming. I don't know anyone with a tank otherwise that would have been a great help.
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Old 05-19-2013, 04:04 PM   #16
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Hey again! Just wanted to make sure that you saw my post there... I posted it right before you posted that there lol!
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Old 05-19-2013, 04:09 PM   #17
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[QUOTE=deadmanwalking;2481438]Sorry to hear about your bad experiences. Here's what I would do to fix it:

- Keep doing your medication cycles, 'cause whatever fish had the disease to begin with have now spread it so all the fish will have traces of the disease/QUOTE]

Forgive my ignorance - if I repeat the medication can I still do the water changes or will I be removing the meds?
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Old 05-19-2013, 04:14 PM   #18
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You asked about seeing ammonia but no nitrates. Here's why. Because your tank isn't cycled yet, you will see ammonia first. After the ammonia spikes and then falls, you will then have nitrites. Nitrates come in last, so you won't be seeing them for a few more weeks, I'd suspect.
And yes definitely get the liquid test kit if possible.

Also, for future, you can keep a filter pad in pretty much until it falls apart. To keep the good bacteria in the tank, just rinse the pad off in tank water. Same for if you want to wash the filter. Rinse it in a bucket of your tank's water. All your good bacteria will live in the filter so try not to muck around with them too much. Again, this is a way off but good to remember, especially because it is going to take time to cycle your tank. You want to try to avoid little mini-cycles from happening later on by getting rid of good bacteria.
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Old 05-19-2013, 04:17 PM   #19
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Lol, you weren't ignorant at all! It was just a double-post hehe. And that's a good point actually, and deciding which is more important is going to be tough. I'd wait for someone else to answer this - I don't want to make a decision without all the facts and cause you to lose your fish.
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Old 05-19-2013, 06:53 PM   #20
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Thanks 4 that. I really don't know what 2 do bout the sick ones. Perhaps removing them would benefit the others as there will b less strain on the filter but i dont want 2 take any out uf they might get better.
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