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Old 09-07-2003, 04:47 AM   #1
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Newbie here. . . need help ppplleeasssee

To make a long story short, I ended up with an aquarium that was already established. Haven't had one in years. The gravel wasn't maintained properly (when I vaccumed the poo never quit). I tried to keep the levels in check, but could never complete the cycle anyway. I bought a new bio wheel filter, ran it with the old filter for two days. The water (which had clouded) cleared up, and my two lil guys seemed happy. Earlier this evening, I noticed the larger goldie's left eye seemed swollen, and there was a little nick in his tail fin which earlier that day was beautiful, as was the other smaller goldie. They both also had this grayish cottony/filmy almost fleshy looking stuff about their heads and bodies. I rushed out and purchased some tetracyclin, the problem got worse, QUICKLY, my little fish passed a few hours later. Unfortunately the big one (my favorite, he had so much personality, I know it sounds goofy) died. Tearfully I dismantled the aquarium, and want to start it right.

My first question is, what killed my fish (dont' want to make the same mistake)

Second, should I just use bio-spira to cycle, or what other method will work best for the long run. I can't take this happening to me again. It was terrible helplessly watching them suffer while hoping the meds would take effect.
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Old 09-07-2003, 07:21 AM   #2
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Research as much as you can. Get a good book on aquariums (tropical or marine etc). There are a lot of excellent posts here about starting up a new tank....to cycle it then add fish and maintain a healthy environment for them. You need to read how to clean your tank to prevent any spread of disease etc. Post specific questions about what you want to achieve step by step. Research what type of fish you want based on your time to keep them healthy. There is a lot to learn but the main thing is to learn a lot before you buy your fish.

The cotton/film you described sounds like a fungus but I am no expert (just new at fish keeping myself). I can only advise that now that you have decided to start again, you have the opportunity to get it right by learning more about the hobby before diving in.

This forum is a great place to start and you will get a lot out of your time spent here even just reading other peoples posts for help.

Sorry to hear about your fish.
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Old 09-07-2003, 11:02 AM   #3
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Re: Newbie here. . . need help ppplleeasssee

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr502go
Second, should I just use bio-spira to cycle, or what other method will work best for the long run. I can't take this happening to me again. It was terrible helplessly watching them suffer while hoping the meds would take effect.
I certainly can relate Mr502go. I went through this twice last week. My little gold rams had a lot of personality too.

As a relative newbie myself, my advice would be to clean the tank and filter thoroughly before you start over. I'd toss the gravel and decorations if it were me, or at least boil them.

As for BioSpira, I used it to cycle my first tank without a single casualty. I find it to be pretty amazing stuff.

Good luck!
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Old 09-07-2003, 01:33 PM   #4
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Hiya Mr502go and welcome; sorry bout the fish

I'll just about guarantee what killed your fish is a fish disease called columnaris. Its one of the number one fish diseases, and is caused by a bacteria called flexibactor. There is a realy virulent form which kills in hours. My guess is, because the tank had such a hard time settling, the fish were stressed and susceptible. One of its hallmarks is grey/white cottony film (usually around the mouth but not always) and fin rot. If you want more info on it, check here: http://www.fish-disease.com/diseases.htm and click on Columnaris.

I would suggest cleaning out the tank and disninfecting everything with a 1-10 bleach-water combination (everything; walls, filter box, tubing, gravel, etc). Boiling is good too. Rinse it all VERY well, and when you think its rinse enough, rinse it again with water treated with a dechlorinator. Can the filter media and bio-wheel and buy new. If you go the Bio-Spira route to cycle the tank (the stuff works GREAT IMHO), you don't need to worry about having a mature filter/bio-wheel.
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Old 09-07-2003, 02:09 PM   #5
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Thank you all for the advice, I do appreciate it!! I will follow your advice, and post some results back when things settle down a bit.

Last night following their demise, I rinsed everything really well with hot chlorinated (tap) water, filled the tank with tap water, put in new filter media (same bio-wheel) and I've been letting the tank run since then.

My question is: Will the chlorinated water kill off this columnaris??
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Old 09-07-2003, 02:34 PM   #6
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Chance are it won't, although it may kill the nitrifying bacteria. I'd either boil or bleach everything.

Pull out the filter and bio-wheel and dump them. Add some bleach in a 1-10 ratio and let it run thru the tank (this way it wil get into the guts of the machinery). and the tank itself. And again, make your last rinse, after you think you've rinsed enough, with water with dechlorinator added to remove any remnants of bleach. Its a pain, but better safe then sorry.
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Old 09-07-2003, 05:20 PM   #7
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Thanks Alli, here's what I did

bought some bio-spira, put it in fridge, also got some bio safe

Bought a new bio-wheel and filter cartridge

mixed up a 10:1, water:bleach

cleaned inside and out of tank, completely disassembled my pump, cleaned all parts in bleached water

cleaned all tank ornaments/fake plants the same way.

bought a hose brush, and cleaned the inside of the inlet tube/impeller housing in bleach mix. Rinsed for approx 15min (inlet tube and housing) then I boiled pump stuff for approx 30 sec (didn't wanna warp plastic)

I rinsed out the inside of the pump until nothing felt "slippery" anymore as bases (bleach) will cause things to feel.

Everything now squeaky clean, I'm post-bleach boiling my last bag of gravel, about to pour it into tank.

The plan, put dechlorinator in tonite, let the tank sit 24 hrs

put in a little food in the morning, to allow minimal ammonia buildup

Add Bio-spira tomorrow evening

Check levels tuesday

Hopefull add fish wed or thurs.
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Old 09-07-2003, 05:23 PM   #8
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Read the biospira info carefully. You don't need to seed the tank with food first. I believe you add the biospira then within a short time add the total fish load for your tank. So make sure you know what fish you want to add.
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Old 09-07-2003, 05:52 PM   #9
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Thanks tkos, that is something I will do some contemplating over for the next day or two. I want to do more of a tropical tank, but then, the two little guys I lost were goldies, and I was kinda thinking of gettin one or two in their honor. Poor little guys, my bigger of the two put up a heck of a fight. Poor thing.
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Old 09-07-2003, 07:16 PM   #10
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don't know how big your tank is (or how big the goldfish were), but if you're going to get more, keep in mind that they tend to be far messier than most FW tropicals (i gravel vac 2x a week to keep up with the poo in my too small tank), and they like a slightly cooler temperature (although for ornamentals, 74 F is the suggested temp)

http://www.goldfishinfo.com has lots of good info...

(i hope you do get more goldfish...i'm a big fan!)
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Old 09-07-2003, 07:29 PM   #11
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thanks sweet, since you are a fan of goldies, what other fish can comfortably live with them. I'd like to be able to put a variety of fish in my tank though I am limited by tank size 10g!! I intend to add live plants, my filter is a penguin 125 w/biowheel, and I just put in a rena 100 airpump with a marineland bubblewand such that can keep plenty of O2 floating around the tank.

I'm hoping the exta aeration will give me the ability to support more critters
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Old 09-07-2003, 07:45 PM   #12
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Excellent job on the disinfection Mr502go! I may borrow your methods as instruction for others if its ok with you

As for goldies, tank mates and a 10g...hrmmm.

Biggest issue here is tank size, followed by suitable tank mates:

Goldies really need around 10g each. Its not so much an O2 issue as it is a waste issue. Goldies produce a LOT of ammonia waste, both digestive wise as well as respiration wise. Definitely check out the website sweets gave you; its awesome and goldfish specific to boot.

Goldies are also coldwater fish, where tropicals require a higher average temp. Whitewater minnows would do well in similar temps to goldies; I don't think a 10g would provide enough room for them (they're small, but needs lots of room to swim). Plecos seem to do well with goldies, but they also are major waste producers (think the kings of poo in the fishtank LOL) and most will get too large for a 10g.

You may want to consider getting another 10g *grin* Devote one to a goldie, the other to some small tropicals.
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Old 09-07-2003, 07:50 PM   #13
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with a 10 gallon, unfortunately you should probably steer clear of goldies, unless you want to just get one.

I'm trying to keep 2 in my 10gall (long story short...was misinformed when i bought the lil guys, and don't have the space for a larger tank now that i am informed)...and it requires 2-3 water changes a week, which has in turn made it incredibly difficult to keep the tank cycled....and my guys are still small! (although they are growing like weeds).

You're certainly still able to get a variety of fish for the 10gall...someone else should probably chime in, though, since I only know about the goldies LOL
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Old 09-07-2003, 07:53 PM   #14
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lol, alli beat me to the punchline...
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Old 09-07-2003, 09:36 PM   #15
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Wow, thanks for the kudos Alli!!! I forgot to add, I boiled the tank ornaments, and plastic plants.

I thought about what you said earlier about the pump, soo, after I last posted, I ran the pump (no cartridge or wheel) in the disinfected stainless sink for 10 minutes, I put 15ml of bio-safe in the water while running the pump. I quickly ran regular tap water through the pump so I wouldn't have too much dechlor in the water. I hope everything goes ok.

right now, my tank is running, though I'm noticing a few bubbles here and there coming up from the gravel, is this chlorine??

How do I test to make sure my chlorine is truly gone??

thanks again for the help and encouragement.

Sweets, thanks for the info. I've been hearing that about goldies, and I guess the water changes don't bother me so much (sometimes I tend to over do things )

I'd just hate to stress out any other little ones.

What kind of aquatic plants would work well in my scenario?? Which ones would help eat up some of the poo??

How should I go about planting?? Substrate?? My gravel is probably lima-bean sized.
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Old 09-08-2003, 11:17 AM   #16
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????

Alli, you forget me already
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Old 09-08-2003, 01:55 PM   #17
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I'll try to answer what I can...if nothing else, someone will hopefully jump in to correct me if i'm wrong!

The bubbles from your gravel is probably just air as it settles. The chlorine will evaporate on it's own if you just leave the tank for a day or two (some people acutally do this instead of using a dechlor...just have some water sitting out in advance of their next water change). If you used the dechlor, and you let it sit, you should be just fine.

If you really still want to get another goldfish, I wouldn't put anybody else in the tank. You'd probably just end up with your goldfish's fins being chomped on, and perpetual ammonia/nitrite problems. Additionally. fancy goldfish like a slightly cooler temp than most tropicals (74-78 is what's reccommended...a good bit cooler for the non-ornamentals)....so even if you split the different, your goldfish would always be hot, and the other guys would always be chilly!

http://www.goldfishinfo.com has some plant suggestions...but keep in mind your goldie will may eat whatever you put in there, and they may uproot what's left (I used silk plants...nomatter how hard they tug, they aren't able to take a chomp out of 'em....yet!).
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Old 09-08-2003, 02:40 PM   #18
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thanks Sweets, I appreciate all the help. You really think the goldie would preclude all other fish?? Dang, I dunno what to do now. I really wanted some others in there too. Is there nothing I can do to help my tank support a larger bioload??
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Old 09-08-2003, 02:55 PM   #19
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Well, it isn't just an issue of bioload, as species compatability.

Goldfish kinda just like to be with goldfish (or more correctly...other fish prefer it when the goldfish are with other goldfish...goldies dig in the gravel, bully around other fish, and generally put other species on the defensive). Pleco's do fine with them, but Plecos poop an insane amount, and also grow to be nearly 2 feet...sooo not such a good choice in a 10gallon (I know that one from experience as well, sadly!).

And the problem with having an overstocked tank, isn't so much that you just need to do more water changes...it's that when you're doing such frequent water changes, your bacterial colonies are never really as stable, so things are always kind of on the verge of going bad. There isn't really a way to change your max bioload, unfortunately...it's kind of tied into the rates at which the bacteria can handle the waste, and how big the fish are going to get (goldfish do get big...and fast! I'm already trying to figure out how I can get a 30 gall into my tiny apartment!)

http://www.liveaquaria.com has lots of info on breeds of fish, and their space requirements. Might be worth looking at!
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Old 09-08-2003, 04:23 PM   #20
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I C hmm, well, I don't know what kinda fish I'll get, I can't do any more goldies all I have is a 10gal, I'm also in a small apt. My tank is on the bar, sooo, not a whole lot of room. What should I get??
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