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Old 09-20-2010, 04:14 PM   #1
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6 dead fish, 2 dead plecos- Need help!

I am new to having fish so I went back and forth about where to post this but I definitely need help and this is the place!

My hubby and I inherited a 16 gal freshwater tank about 10 wks ago. It was really dirty and had 4 fish in it. My husband changed out about 80% of the water and refilled with plain tap water (and then found out you're not supposed to do that!) We bought a test kit, new filters,and surprisingly the water was pretty good. We bought water conditioner and drops and it tests great. We purchased 4 new fish for a total of 8 and 1 pleco. We did not quarantine as no one told us to do that. I don't know what the fish are. I think some are Cichlids or gourami's, maybe a Rasbora, mollie and tetras. I don't know but they all seemed to get along fine.

We were getting a lot of algae on the glass so over Labor Day, I put all the fish in a huge bucket with 50% of the water and then cleaned the rest of the tank totally. I did not use any detergent; just elbow grease and water. I rinsed the gravel with water (our tap water has little or no chlorine in it based on the test kit). I did not scrub any of the furniture (fake plants, arches, fake (I assume) corral...). I just rinsed off the real plants. I have been putting tap water in huge glass bottles (3gal) and putting in water conditioner and the nitrate/nitrite/chlorine drops to save for future water changes. They test perfect (per Petco). So when I got everything back in the tank it was clean, the water tested great (other than a little hard which Petco said was no issue) and everything was fine. Oscar the pleco was not very busy so we decided to purchase another and added him to the tank over Labor Day weekend.

I tested the water and it was still perfect so I just rinsed out the filter and did not do a water change last week. Everything was fine until this weekend!

Saturday morning I woke up to 5 dead fish. I ran to Petco with a water sample. They said the only thing that was slightly out of whack was the nitrates or nitrites (the end square on the test strip) and even then it was only 2 squares over from totally fine and he said it wasn't enough that it would have killed them. No amonia levels. Thought it might be overfeeding, but I only feed them once a day and they always seem to want more than I give them. He told me to do a 20% water change (which I did) and leave it for a week to see what happened. And only feed every other day.

Over the course of Saturday another fish died and Sunday morning the pleco that we got Labor Day died. Sunday night the original pleco died. That's a total of 8! I only have the two larger orange guys (I don't think they are goldfish but don't know what they are) and figure the odds of them surviving is rather slim.

But I don't know what happened and what killed the fish? I did notice, after reading several of the threads here, that the pleco did look like he might have white spots on him. I didn't notice that they were raised but I flushed him and can't take him to Petco to check for ich.

Could the pleco we got over Labor Day have been sick and passed it to the others? Wouldn't Petco know if they had a sick pleco? How could something go so wrong so fast as to kill 8 in basically the course of a day?

Need suggestions! Should I take the last two out and get them into different water? Take them to Petco to check for ich and get them on meds? Don't know what to do. Obviously we won't be adding any additional fish until we figure this out.

Thanks for any help for this new fish girl. (sorry about the novel)
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Old 09-20-2010, 05:05 PM   #2
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have you heard of the nitrogen cycle aka fishless cycle? if not, i suggest reading up on it, the best way to explain a tank that has not been cycled is living in a dump

heres the link

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...es-103339.html

dont buy any fish until you have completed it

buy a API freshwater master test kit

Walmart.com: Freshwater Master Test Kit: Fish

walmart has the cheapest one you can buy anywhere, it costs a total of 20$, in any LFS you would be paying 30$+

look for a pure ammonia bottle that has no surfactants and additives, the one i bought is from ACE hardware store and its called Janitorial Strength Ammo

http://image62.webshots.com/662/7/51...7XLDSIc_ph.jpg

for your water conditioner, you would want SeaChem Prime, but i dont know about using that as you are cycling, i suggest getting it after you have completed

doing this is a good start to this hobby, so please read read and keep reading, it takes 3weeks + to finish a full cycle, so you have tons of time to choose on what kind of fish you would like to have in whatever size your tank is, there is no need to boil water before adding it to the tank

so i hope this helps =]
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Old 09-20-2010, 05:31 PM   #3
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Like Max said, read up on the nitrogen cycle. Also, do not use the ammonia if you still have fish, which I think you have 2 left right? If you choose to keep those fish, you might have to do water changes every day to keep them alive.

I also think you should get the liquid test kit, like Max said. It will give you spot on results that the paper strips can't give you.

I would also get the Prime and use it while you have fish in there. But keep in mind that you will get false positive readings for the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Make sure you use dechlorinator EVERY time you put new water in. Chlorine, in any amount, can harm your fish and kill your good bacteria.

When you cleaned everything in the tank, you killed the good bacteria you had, and the fish probably went into shock. They probably got a shock when your husband changed 80% of the water, if it hadn't been done in a while. Leaving water for a long time, and then changing a huge amount can cause giant swings in pH which is not good for the fish.

You don't need to change out your filter media unless it's falling apart. The boxes say to change it once a month, but they just want you to buy more product from them.

If you think the remaining fish you have might have ich, you can turn your temp up to 86*F and leave it at that temp for 10 days. There is probably ich in the tank, but it could be in the cyst stage right now, and you wouldn't be able to see it. If you do use meds, they will kill your good bacteria also, so the heat method would be my suggestion. Bringing the heat up will also help your good bacteria to grow.
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Old 09-20-2010, 05:34 PM   #4
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Also, don't get any more fish until you know what the two remaining fish are. If you could post pics of them, we can most likely help you in identifying them.
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Old 09-20-2010, 05:42 PM   #5
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hey dkpate, so when doing the cycle, dont use prime right? use some other kind of conditioner?
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Old 09-20-2010, 05:55 PM   #6
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You can use Prime when you're cycling a tank. It won't harm the cycle.

Also, having 2 plecos in that small of a tank is a big no no, for future reference. The common pleco (the ones you mostly see at the stores) gets too big for a small tank and they also produce a heavy bio-load (lots and lots of poo) . Come to think of it, I don't know of any pleco that would be small enough fully grown for that tank. If you feel you must have an algae clean up crew (after the cycle is over) go with otos.
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Old 09-20-2010, 06:17 PM   #7
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thanks

Thanks for the suggestions. It could very well be that I did the bad thing when I cleaned out the tank. I didn't wash the scum off the decorations in the tank thinking there would be enough bad crap on that stuff so as not to shock the fish too much and remove the good bacteria but I didn't know the good stuff was in the filter; not the decorations. Probably between the cleaning and totally switching out the filter did the deed. I was so shocked when they all died at the same time. Dang it!

I'll do a daily water change and see if I can keep the last two alive and if I lose them too I'll do the nitrogen cycle and start over. Sounds like that could take anywhere from 3 - 8 weeks but we have the tank all set up so I'll start over and hopefully have better luck next time.

Thanks!
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Old 09-20-2010, 06:25 PM   #8
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DragonFish,
The big one (Oscar) was only, maybe, 3 inches and the newest (Felix) was smaller. The Petco guy didn't tell us they would be too much for the 16gal tank. He did say we could bring Oscar in and trade him out for one that would work better but when we said we wanted to keep him and just get another he said fine. I thought he knew fish. Obviously not! I'll ask here in the future!
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Old 09-20-2010, 06:33 PM   #9
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its okay, its a newbie mistake, nothing to be embarrassed about, we all make mistakes... since now you know, your only options are for that oscar is to either get a bigger tank, around 55-75g or trade him in for a fish that you can accommodate ^_^ gl with everything
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Old 09-20-2010, 08:40 PM   #10
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Max~ Prime is fine for cycling, I used it, and I am convinced that it was the only reason my fish lived. Also, I believe the pleco's name was Oscar, and she didn't actually have an oscar LOL.
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Old 09-20-2010, 09:29 PM   #11
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oh was that the name lol =]
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Old 09-21-2010, 01:57 PM   #12
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water changes after the dead

Darby is correct, Oscar wasn't an oscar. He was a pleco. LOL And, unfortunately he's one of the 8 that died so he isn't an issue anymore. I only have the two orange fish left (and will post a picture soon so you in the know can tell me what they are).

Now a question regarding the suggestions of daily water changes since two of the 10 have, so far, survived. If I unknowingly got rid of the good bacteria when I overcleaned the tank won't doing daily water changes get rid of even more bacteria in the tank? Maybe that's a dumb question... I'll get the Prime and see if I can save the last two.

Thanks for the well wishes. The fish need them with me at the helm.
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Old 09-21-2010, 03:17 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the help. Here's a pretty bad photo of one the last two. They refuse to hold still for their photo-op!

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If you can tell what they are that would be great!

Thanks!
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Old 09-21-2010, 03:26 PM   #14
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Hard to tell with his face obscured by the curvature of the tank - but he looks like a type of rainbowfish.
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Old 09-21-2010, 03:41 PM   #15
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actually that fish looks like a rosy barb, the black dot near the tail fin makes it seem like one

Rosy Barb, Male
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Old 09-21-2010, 05:16 PM   #16
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+1 on the rosy barb
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Old 09-23-2010, 12:39 PM   #17
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Another round of what are these...

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Maybe this one is a little better.

Does Rosy Barb still win the votes? His fins seem quite a lot darker but I suppose every fish is slightly different.

Thanks.
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Old 10-03-2010, 03:08 AM   #18
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if it is a rosy babr they get to about 5.5 inches
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Old 10-05-2010, 07:36 PM   #19
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Okay, the Rosy Barbs finished their Maracyn treatment 4 days ago for a bacterial infection (a little bit of white velvet coating on their sides. Did not look like salt grains on them). The water is still testing in the safe zones on the test strip for all chemicals. It's been 16 days since the 6 fish and 2 plecos died leaving the 2 Rosy Barbs left.

Is it safe to start adding fish now or should I wait longer? And, when I do add fish, how do I quarantine them if I only have one tank and for how long are you supposed to quarantine them before adding to the tank? If I need to buy another small tank for quarantine can I use some of the water in the 16gal tank for water or do I need to start over and cycle new water first? Thanks!
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Old 10-09-2010, 04:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IdahoSue View Post
Attachment 25351

Maybe this one is a little better.

Does Rosy Barb still win the votes? His fins seem quite a lot darker but I suppose every fish is slightly different.

Thanks.
Rosy barb. I have 2. Pretty.
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