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Old 01-27-2011, 12:07 AM   #1
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Complete failure what am I doing wrong?

Hi everyone I got a new 29 gal on 1/17/11, got it up and running with 100w heater, HoB filter, gravel, airstone, and some plastic plants and a couple of caves for hiding. Conditioned the water and tested it to make sure it was chlorine free and it was let the temp get up to 76. On 1/18 put 4 small black tetras in. Seemed ok at first but were dead in several hours. The next day I got 3 small rasboras and 2 small opaline gouramis. They were all dead in the morning. I acclimated them by floating for 15 min then netting them into the tank by the way. The next day i found out about cycling and thought that was the problem so I got some Tetra Safestart and put that in. Got 2 Buenos aires tetras and another opaline gourami. Gourami died overnight again but the tetras lived for a couple days and were eating and acting normal then they suddenly started seeking out the corners of the tank and just hung out there. by morning they were gone too. Got some stress coat and stress zyme under recommendation of LFS and put that in then got 2 swordtails that looked very healthy and good for a day then started hanging around corners. They are still alive but i don't know how because they just sit on the bottom or hide in a cave all day. So couple more days got a red tailed shark that looked healthy . After a day he had small white what looked like mold on 2 spots on his head and he's not behaving quite normal either but still alive. I'm embarassed I've killed all these fish! Ive been using api freshwater master kit and get the lightest green next to the yellow (2nd lowest reading) not sure if its .02 or .20. Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 ph is 8.0. i also did a 50% water change in there too. At this point i'm thinking I should just take everything out and start over because nothing will stay alive in this tank!
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Old 01-27-2011, 12:13 AM   #2
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If I were you, I would start reading up on fishless cycling. Fishless cycling will take a much longer time, but I think you could do a lot of research while waiting for it to finish cycling.

I think you main problem is having ammonia spikes especially since you put a lot of fish at ones. I would certainly just start over and make sure everything is in good condition.

Also, dont use the stress syme or any of the quick start bacteria colony. You can use fish food as an ammonia source for the beneficial bacteria to feed on. You can also use pure ammonia, but I'm not exactly sure which are the recommended stuff are.

Good luck and research helps!
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Old 01-27-2011, 12:22 AM   #3
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Thanks Chrisinator! I'm definitely going to do the fishless cycling if the fish I have left don't make it which unfortunately I don't think they are going too. I have been doing a lot of research and learned a ton of stuff here already but I thought since ammonia has never been higher than .02(?) that wouldn't be enough to cause such quick deaths of the fish and thought something else might be the cause. I'm not gonna put anymore fish til the tank is fully cycled regardless of time though
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Old 01-27-2011, 12:38 AM   #4
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Sorry to hear your experience, I would also suggest to start again all over again with the fishless cycle.

But I agree with you that the fish died to fast, not even enough time for them to produce a spike in the ammonia. Unless there is some residue of soap, or vinegar or something? I don't know the possible reason.
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Old 01-27-2011, 12:53 AM   #5
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I just rinsed everything in warm water before putting it in so no soap or anything at all like that and thanks for your post! Everything helps at this point
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Old 01-27-2011, 03:43 AM   #6
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Have you tested your nitrAtes? Particularly those straight out of the tap.

You describe typical newbie errors, i.e. putting fish straight into an uncycled tank. However as others have said, on a 29 gallon with that amount of fish, even without a filter they wouldn't build ammonia up to toxic levels within a matter of hours, perhaps 2-3 days, so something else is going on here.

BTW, what you mean by "Black Tetra", that could refer to many different types of fish? Do you mean Black Skirt Tetra?
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Old 01-27-2011, 11:06 AM   #7
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The tetra that died after a few days may have been lost because of ammonia/nitrites in your tank. I agree however that the rest of the fish which died within hours most likely died from another cause. It's possible some of them may not have been healthy to begin with (common thing when buying fish from a LFS) but it's also possible that you didn't acclimate them well enough. 15 minutes floating in a bag does little more than adjust the water in their bag to the water temperature in your tank. You might want to read this article, I find it's a pretty good one-

Acclimating Tropical Fish to Your Fish Tank

I'm not saying you should go all out and do a drip acclimation method, but I would certainly recommend that you try the "The Floating Bag Method" mentioned in the article. When I bring new fish home, I float the bag just as you did for 15minutes but then I add a small amount of water from my tank to the bag and float it for 15 more minutes. I may repeat this several times over a period of 30-60minutes before netting the fish and putting them in my tank. This allows for the fish to become slowly accustomed to your water parameters, ph/alkalinity. (This is especially important if your LFS's water differs from your own.)

While fishless cycling is a great way to go next time around, you still have fish left that need taken care of. You need to be testing your water parameters and doing PWCs at minimum once every day. Any ammonia or nitrites over .25ppm can stress your fish and is harmful to them.
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Old 01-27-2011, 11:12 AM   #8
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Welcome from a nearby neighbor!

Sorry to hear you're off to a rough start. Hold off on getting any more fish until you've got your problems resolved.

If I read your post right, you've still got a couple fish living in the tank, so the fishless cycle is ruled out. You'll have to do a lot of PWCs to keep your ammonia levels below 0.25ppm.

Try to get some established filter media or substrate from an LFS. If you're willing to make the drive, I can give you a few pieces of biomedia from one of my tanks. It'll help seed your tank with beneficial bacteria and speed up your cycle some.

What brand and model of filter are you running? What water conditioner are you using?
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:11 PM   #9
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greetings everyone;

personally, when i first obtained an aquarium, the salesman recommended two things to me, one were a worthless sale gimmick, and the other one were bacterial starting pills.

with those pills, the necessary bacteria is initiating the required cycle over the curse of a night, or a day, depending on your current vampire state.

does no stores sell this where you live?

also, if i were you would complain to customer service authoroties that the store was that horrible at advising you, and allowed you to purchase that many fish that just met an untimely death.

sincerely;
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:23 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by nereksnad View Post
greetings everyone;

personally, when i first obtained an aquarium, the salesman recommended two things to me, one were a worthless sale gimmick, and the other one were bacterial starting pills.
nrk, have seen a lot of bacterial supplements before, and the consensus has been that they were to no benefit of completing a cycle. However, I have not heard of them in "pill" form. Do you know what brand they were, and where are you from/where did you get them? I would be interested in reading a little about them.
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:28 PM   #11
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Did you buy all your fish from the same place? I had this trouble when I was first starting out. Every time I bought fish from Pets at Home, most or all of them died within 24 hours.

I've now found a lovely family run LFS, and haven't had any deaths since. So it might be worth trying a different shop.

I was also told by pets at home that I could have my 10 gallon tank running for three days, and then put six fish in to start with. No mention of cycling the tank at all, and way too many fish in one go! How do they get away with it? Thank goodness I found my lovely LFS!
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:46 PM   #12
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greetings fort;

please do not believe that it's a magic trick that makes bacteria thrive out of nowhere, but i've used it and i it has worked. it's a discoverable pill and it has to be put inside the filter housing. aswell has to be supplemented with gravel, and live plants in other to help initiate the bacterial cycle of a healthy aquarium. to demonstrate this, i'll tell you how it happened when i purchased my first aquarium.

day 1: purchased aquairum, gravel, bacterial pills, 8 live plants (50 litres).
set it all up, plant plants, fill with water, start everything, put pill in the filter housing.

day 2: purchase 5 red platywagtail, 4 red brazhydanio rerio, aswell as some tiger barbs. everyone survives.

day 3: tiger barbs are harming the other fish, so i return them and instead purchase some tanichthys albonybes that i get discounted.
everyone survives.

to this day, 3 months after with a aquarium change occurring later on, 2 platys have died of "aging" whilst 3 newborns have appeared. though, one of those died. additionally, a catfish died due to hunger after the aquarium change, a mistake i won't do again.

the product is called Tetra aqua bactozym. follow the instructions for starting the aquarium, or with heavy water change. to this date, i've only used 3 of the 10 pills. although use of pills after each water change is recommended, it's not necessary if you have the required things that keep a aquarium bacterially sound, gravel, driftwood, life plants, fish.

sincerely;
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:18 PM   #13
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Thread hijack in progress... I apologize--but I think it is important we clear up any misconceptions about these magic cycling products.

After reading up on the Tetra Bactozym's claims and a lot of mixed reviews... I would say that there is not much it could do to help grow or introduce bacteria. It is possible that it helps lock ammonia so as to prevent it from being as toxic to fish... but if it is not a live culture of bacteria, it isn't going to kick start a cycle.

The fact that they advertise adding it to the water after a "heavy" water change is the linchpin to me... If your tank has an established nitrogen cycle, performing a 100% water change using only a good dechlorinator like prime would not even result in the necessity for any addition of other chemicals, products, etc.

I am of the opinion that the best way to cycle a tank is without fish... the only chemicals I would ever recommend is an ammonia source for a fishless cycle, and dechlorinator, like prime for PWCs.

Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but that is my 2 cents.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:24 PM   #14
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greetings fort;

if the product does not help with bacteria what-so-ever, how did i manage to start the bacterial cycle in the aquarium over night with dead fish?

sincerely,
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:27 PM   #15
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I assume you mean with no dead fish... my guess would be because the product may lock ammonia, preventing it from harming the fish, but still allowing it to provide a food source to grow a culture of nitrobacter. So... it may aid in a faster startup without immediate loss, but for example in your tank it could be a contributing factor to your 2 platys not making it... ammonia poisoning even when it doesn't kill can severely shorten the life of fish. They shouldn't die after 3 months of "old age".
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Old 01-27-2011, 10:38 PM   #16
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I agree with Fort
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Old 01-27-2011, 10:44 PM   #17
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greetings everyone;

so the conclusion we must draw from this is that companies that produce products are evil, as well as the stores that sell them and the fish.

sincerely;
nrk.
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Old 01-27-2011, 10:49 PM   #18
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so the conclusion we must draw from this is that companies that produce products are evil, as well as the stores that sell them and the fish.
Maybe not evil... But if they can sell you something, even if you don't need it, then they make money... And that is why they exist.
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Old 01-27-2011, 10:51 PM   #19
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It can be a pretty sleazy business, unfortunately.

While your tank is cycling, look around for a better LFS.

Good ones do exist, but even the healthiest of fish need a healthy environment.

Do test your tap water to make sure it doesn't contain ammonia or nitrates. If your tap water is unhealthy, there are other steps you will have to take to keep fish, but it can be done.

When you do buy fish again (after the tank is fully cycled) ask the sellers the water parameters of the water the fish are in. If the ph is very different from yours, you will do to acclimate them with a drip method.

It can be done, it just takes patience and know-how.

I called my first aquarium the Death Chamber because I killed so many fish.
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Old 01-28-2011, 12:12 AM   #20
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In agreement with Fort and Mudraker.
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