Freshwater Disaster

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Aquarium Advice Newbie
Sep 8, 2002
Hi everyone, I'm new to this group and I'm in need of some advice. On August 27th I bought a brand new fish tank. I believe it's called an Eclipse. I purchased it at Petsmart and its a 6 gallon tank. Well I went by the book put the tank together, got some bottled water and let it run without any fish for 36 hours. Then I headed to wal-mart to get some fish, picked walmart because it just opened a few weeks ago, the fish appeared healthy and all the local pet stores had tons of dead fish floating in their tanks, the manager of the pet department helped me pick out 2 Gold Gouramis, 5 tetras 2 african frogs and an algae eater. i brought them home floated them in the tank, which i had set to 78 degrees, and netted them out individually into the tank. I began to notice the gouramis were not getting along, the male was chasing the female and occasionally nipping at her. She ended up with a broken antenna. Then about 2 days after i got the fish I noticed the frogs werent eating, so i moved them to their own aquarium. Then about 5 days after I got the fish, the first tetra died, then the female gourami, now all the fish have passed but the male gourami, who isnt looking too healthy. Anyways I would appreciate any comments on why this could have happened or anything i forgot to do, I'm desperate, please help me!! Thanks!

Your problem sounds like the classic 'new tank syndrome'. The problem is when you have a new tank you have lots of items producing ammoinia but the tank does not yet have a well established bactera bed to process the ammonia.

If you have an ammonia kit test your water. Also perform a major water change. Keep performing these major water changes every other day until you finally have the problem under control.

You say you put atleast one of the fish into aa seperate tank. If you do have another place to put the tanks then you sohuld do put the fish into this other tank.
well, to me that sounds like too many fish for an established 6 gallon tank, much less a new one...i am a big supporter of water chemistry some google searches on 'aquarium water chemistry', once you have a fairly clear understanding of it and a test kit, you will see your mortalities drop considerably! good luck!
Hi Julie,

Consider this adventure as you would a science project; because as one begins, there is a whole lot to learn. Many of us began just as you have, having to deal with the not so positive lessons while doing the project. And do get on the net and read everything. Help is prolific.

Don't get discouraged, Julie. Soon you will be able to post of your successes and failures as you learned about this tremendous hobby of keeping fish. Soon you will be offering encouragement and help to others.

Keep on keeping on, it is very worth it. And go slowly.


Well the last fish, the gold gourami died last night, 8O so I suppose I'll start over completely, should i let the system run for more than 36 hours before i add any fish? I will also be purchasing a test kit, and maybe getting rid of some of the fake plants in the tank, I have 2 goldfish in a separate tank that i have had since april, maybe i shuld stick with goldfish, they havent died yet!!! Thanks for all your help.

A test kit is a great idea. Periodically you will use it down the road; so it is not a waste, purchasing it as you set out with a new tank. And be sure, water conditions are important in any aquarium.

I must defer to our freshwater friends in this community regarding your specific questions. There are differences in tank cycling, and I have only cycled saltwater.

You are one step closer to success by asking your questions and evaluating the answers you receive as they pertain to your experience.

Bigger tank!

If you can afford it, please try again with a bigger tank. The more water volume you have, the more forgiving the tank will be to new tank syndrome, or other problems that could arise. I'd get a 20 or 29 if I were you and try again. Back in my very beginning days, my first tank was a 10, I killed everything. Then I picked up a 29 at a yrd sale, everting worked out so much better.

Being a beginner in fiskeeping is very counter-intuitive. You think "I'll start small and maybe get a bigger on if this works out" . When in fact, its easier to be succesful as a beginner with a bigger tank. various toxins can't build to lethal levels near so quick, the sheer volume of water is more forgiving, lots more margin for error.
start over with clean dechlorinated water, don't need to age it if you treat it for chlorine/chloramine--introduce one hardy fish slowly--float him in the tank in a bowl or something and slowly add your new tank water to his container, let him float a bit and add some more--when he is in more your tank water than his original water, NET him and put him in your tank--don't pour in the store water ....then armed with your test kit, watch him closely...give him plenty of time, very small amts of a month or so, when all your level are good, you can add another fish and start the process again, although it should be shorter this time around--yes this is slow, but it will be the easiest and safest way to start for a beginner and you shouldn't lose any fishee friends--at least not through any fault of your own...once those come down again, add a couple more small, hardy fish and you are set! stay away from the more sensitive fishees for now, you will have plenty of time to mess with them cuz once you get started in this biz, you will be 'hooked' for life!

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