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Old 10-06-2008, 10:56 AM   #1
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Location: North East Kansas
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Unhappy Having lots of trouble getting started

Hey guys, so this is my story:

I started with a 2.5 gallon for two goldfish and soon found out they needed bigger. I got a 35 gallon acrylic that used to be a saltwater tank. It had been dry for many years. I cleaned it with hot water. I added pea pebbles purchased from walmart, a few fake aquarium plants and a fake aquarium castle. I added cycle for 2 weeks like directed but did not have a water test kit to test anything yet. I added my goldfish and a pleco, along with a rescue ID Shark and two mollies.

2 Days later my pleco died. He showed no signs of disease. There was then an Ich break out and my goldfish started acting funny. I moved the mollies back to the 2.5 gallon which I still had running. They were becoming agressive towards the goldfish.

The goldfish then became sick. It appeared in this order : Ich, Constipation, fin rot, scales falling off, and then death. I was treating for ich with quick cure as directed. I also started treating the fin rot with melafix as directed. Once the goldfishes scales started falling off, they died within a day. They died 3 days apart. One of them went from heathy weight to aneraxic looking over night. My ID Shark died 4 days after the goldfish.

Now here is my question. Since I really dont know what killed them all what do I do with my tank? I hate the thought of emptying it out and refilling it. Could I just overdose the water with a parasite killer or somthing to kill everything and then restart the cycling process?

I was in the process of a cycle. It had been set up for 5 weeks total (2 weeks without fish) and just had a nitrate spike as the fish were getting sick. My ph is 8 ammonia is 0 gh is 8 kh is 8

Any advice would be great

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Old 10-06-2008, 11:04 AM   #2
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Hi Sarah, welcome to the site.

That sounds like a pretty horrible ordeal - sorry for your loss . I guess you have to weigh up all the effort of going through ditching your tank water, cleaning out the tank and all of your decorations/ gravel super-thoroughly, replacing everything, filling the tank with water and cycling - against suffering more fish losses in the same way if you try to get away with adding more chemicals to the water.

It's a pretty good idea to ensure that the tank is fully cycled before adding any fish if you want to keep all your fish in good health. Type "Fishless cycling" into google for a wealth of information regarding this...

Good luck!

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Old 10-06-2008, 11:04 AM   #3
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Welcome to AA!

It's likely that since the new tank wasn't cycled before adding the fish, and you weren't monitoring the water parameters, that the ammonia built up high enough to start the demise of your inhabitants. Read the articles in my signature about the nitrogen cycle and fishless cycling, those will explain what's going on during the early phase of setting up an aquarium.

What I would recommend is that you do completely empty out your tank(s) and start over. They're not large tanks, and this way you can ensure everything is clean and you won't have any issues. Remove all the water and wash everything really well, then just start over. Reset the tank, do a fishless cycle, then you'll be ready for fish again.

Another item is that mixing goldfish with tropical fish (pleco and mollies) isn't a good idea, as they each have different requirements. Goldfish prefer cooler water than tropical fish, and they don't typically mix well in the same tank.

Simply leaving a tank setup for 2 weeks isn't going to actually cycle the tank. That cycle stuff that you used has proven in the hobby to be nearly completely worthless and not worth the money you pay for it. Bio-Spira has had proven results, but even with that it's hit or miss as it's handling requirements are very strict, and if not followed completely by the warehouse, shipper and the LFS, it will be no good. It's also a bit pricey.
In the DC Metro Area? Check out GWAPA and WAMAS
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Old 10-06-2008, 11:58 AM   #4
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Hi Sarah and welcome to AA!

I agree with everything said but just want to clarify - when you "wash" the tank and decorations, don't use soap or any cleansers! The surfactants are harmful to fish. I wouldn't chance it even after repeated rinsing. You can use a dilute bleach solution to wipe out the tank. Rinse the gravel very well. You can also soak the decorations in a diluted bleach solution overnight, then soak in rinse water with a triple dose of your dechlorinator - this will help to remove the residual bleach. Rinse and rinse until you can't smell any more bleach. Setting the tank out in the sun, if you can, will also get rid of the residual bleach.

Bacteria are everywhere, but a lot of the bacteria and parasites can't live for long without a fish host, and by the time you're ready to start up again, everything should be fine. Don't be discouraged - I've torn down and bleached tanks and it isn't as bad as it sounds.

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Old 10-06-2008, 01:24 PM   #5
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Something else to keep in mind if you start replacing fish...

I didnt know what an ID shark was, and did a quick search and came up w/ Iridescant Shark/Catfish... if this is what you were talking about, take a look at this link:

Iridescent Shark Catfish, Pangasius Catfish

Apparently these things get up to 4' long... yeah... feet. That and they seem to like to be kept in schools of 5+... yeesh.. who has a tank that can handle that??!?!
20Gal - 6 Harlequin Rasboras, 2 Triple Red Cockatoo Apistos , 1 BN Pleco
10Gal - 1 Orange Flash Cockatoo Apisto, 2 Amano Shrimp
20Gal - 13 Juvie Cockatoo Apistos... mostly Triple Reds
55Gal - Dry-Docked... wetness coming soon... I hope...
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cycle, restart, sick, started, trouble

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