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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 12:51 AM Thread Starter
 
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Help Fishing dying

My daughter is 16, researched and got a 20 gallon tank this past Sept. She got and cleaned gravel, a few little statue things and fake trees, which were also cleaned. She filled the tank. Had the water tested, made adjustments with chemicals and ran the filter with no fish for two weeks. Its an aqua air filter. We bought a supposedly better heater too. The filter has a sponge thing, carbon sack and bio something on top...looks like white rocks...sorry for being non technical.

She bought 2 mollies and 5 tetras and placed them in the tank after the two week wait period and having the water checked. She has test strips and tests the water once a week. By my estimate she changes 2 gallons of water a week with tap water she tries to get the water about the same temp and the tank...78 degrees or so.

All was well but two weeks a go a tetra died. Two days ago she did her first cleanup. She removed 25% of the water, changed the filter sponge and carbon but resused the bio mass thing.

Tonight I find her crying. One by one her fish are dying. The heater is cycling on and off. I do not have a second thermometer to insure the one in there is reading right. The waters test fine. The fish seem to be gasping for air darting up top and sinking down. The Mollies are gone. We have one tetra moving around, one not looking well and a baby Mollie in a separate container but in the aquarium not looking good. Its awful and there is nothing we can do. What could be causing this? Its happening so fast. What can we do to find out what went wrong and insure it never happens again.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 11:52 AM
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Re: Help Fishing dying

Sorry to hear all the troubles. Right now your tank is cycling with fish. They are probably dieing from ammonia poison. And needs water changes daily to keep them alive.To cycle a tank it takes an ammonia source and can take 2 to 8 weeks to do that. Get a liquid test kit, and test for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. The strips are notorious for being wrong.

The Fishless Cycle

In the forums under new to fish this link is available to learn how to cycle a tank.

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http://www.aquariumforum.com/f15/sta...late-3253.html
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrelaplume View Post
My daughter is 16, researched and got a 20 gallon tank this past Sept. She got and cleaned gravel, a few little statue things and fake trees, which were also cleaned. She filled the tank. Had the water tested, made adjustments with chemicals and ran the filter with no fish for two weeks. Its an aqua air filter. We bought a supposedly better heater too. The filter has a sponge thing, carbon sack and bio something on top...looks like white rocks...sorry for being non technical.

She bought 2 mollies and 5 tetras and placed them in the tank after the two week wait period and having the water checked. She has test strips and tests the water once a week. By my estimate she changes 2 gallons of water a week with tap water she tries to get the water about the same temp and the tank...78 degrees or so.

All was well but two weeks a go a tetra died. Two days ago she did her first cleanup. She removed 25% of the water, changed the filter sponge and carbon but resused the bio mass thing.

Tonight I find her crying. One by one her fish are dying. The heater is cycling on and off. I do not have a second thermometer to insure the one in there is reading right. The waters test fine. The fish seem to be gasping for air darting up top and sinking down. The Mollies are gone. We have one tetra moving around, one not looking well and a baby Mollie in a separate container but in the aquarium not looking good. Its awful and there is nothing we can do. What could be causing this? Its happening so fast. What can we do to find out what went wrong and insure it never happens again.
I see several things wrong here:

1) you used chemicals, never use chemicals while cycling a tank, whether with or without fish. Never use chemicals, period.

2) you waited 2 weeks before putting in fish, a tank takes 6-8 weeks to fully cycle, whether it is without or with fish.

3) I don't see that you used an ammonia source when you setup your tank, did you or did you just let it sit?

4) test strips don't get the level readings correct. I would get an API freshwaterautolinker.com autolinking image liquid test kit, it is worth the price and it is more accurate.

5) changing 2 gallons of water isn't going to even touch the water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate).

6) changing 25% water is better, but I would do no more than 50% water changes, this will bring down ammonia, nitrite, nitrate if those are up.

7) when you cleaned the gravel and decorations, how did you clean them?

8) did you add dechlorinator? Dechlorinator gets rid of chlorine in the tap water, chlorine is toxic to all fish.

I have a thread in the new to freshwater hobby subforum, called Correcting a cycle. I would advocate a fishless cycle if you have never had fish before. The link susankat gave is a good link to learn how to cycle a tank without fish.

There are hardy fish if you want to do a fish in cycle, some of them are danios, bettas, goldfishautolinker.com autolinking image. Bettas cannot be in a tank together, they will fight and kill each other.

I hope you will be able to correct your cycle.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 04:05 AM
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Re: Help Fishing dying

The only chemicals I regularly use is water dechlorinator. I use an appropriate amount of that based on how much water I am adding to a tank, and do that EVERY time. Other than that, the occasional chemical to combat something (I got hydras in my tank, and used fenbendazole, etc.) but not to correct water parameters. Also, sometimes will add Prime to help get a cycle kick started. At this point, since you have fish in the tank, I would recommend using Seachem Prime to add some of the beneficial bacteria (add it near your filter). The other thing I would recommend is finding a local fish store (Mom and Pop, not chain) and see if they have any cycled bio media. I know some of the ones near me will give you a sponge filter out of their tanks if you buy a new sponge filter and ask them for a gently used one. This will negate the need for the Prime, though I think Prime might also still help (if I'm wrong, someone correct me). If you are unfamiliar with sponge filters, they use an aerator (bubbler) to create water flow through a sponge, and all the beneficial bacteria live in the sponge, cleaning the water in a similar way that you would use a sponge and soap to clean dishes (poor analogy because you never add soap to a fish tank, but), so if you go this route and do not have a bubbler you will need to get one.

When cleaning things for putting in a fish tank, I recommend using vinegar: it cleans, is non-toxic in small doses (rinse thoroughly after using vinegar, but you don't have to use chemicals to negate it like you would with bleach), and if there is a chemical reaction you know to never put that stuff in your tank (if you get a piece of slate and it reacts, it has other things in it that will cause problems later, etc).

I agree with Susan and BabyGirl about test strips vs liquid tests. Test strips are known for their inaccuracy, and the liquid kits are well worth the investment.

Lastly, were the fake trees and other decorations designed for a fish tank? If not, you could have a perfectly cycled tank, and them leeching toxins into the water would kill the fish anyway.

Currently setup:
10x 5g fry tanks
12x 10g grow out tanks + 1 cherry shrimp tank
1x 20g CPO tank
1x 20g Endler tank
2x 20g long crayfish breeders
1x 29g breeder for Mosquito Fish
1x 40g Bait and Punkin
1x 45g tall wife's shrimp tank
1x 55g Super Reds
1x 60g Platys
1x 75g Super Reds
1x 75g + 20g long sump Cats, Pickerel, Sunfish

Waiting for room:
4x random <5 gallon
1x 5g
10x 10g
1x 17g
2x 29g
2x 55g
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 11:58 AM
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Re: Help Fishing dying

Prime is basically just a dechlorinater and doesn't really add any bacteria to the tank. It will bind the ammonia to make it less toxic but the ammonia will be used to feed your growing bacteria needed to keep the tank safe.

SUCCESS IS MEASURED BY YEARS, NOT MONTHS!!!
220 Tank build + 62 other tanks.
http://www.aquariumforum.com/f15/sta...late-3253.html
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 09:42 PM
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Re: Help Fishing dying

Quote:
Originally Posted by susankat View Post
Prime is basically just a dechlorinater and doesn't really add any bacteria to the tank. It will bind the ammonia to make it less toxic but the ammonia will be used to feed your growing bacteria needed to keep the tank safe.
Thank you, posted that at 3-4 am after a 16 hour work day, and mentally merged Prime and Stability. Seachem Stability is the Beneficial Bacteria. Prime, as Susan said, makes the ammonia less toxic, but again, adding chemicals slows the cycle from completing and I would avoid it unless absolutely necessary.

Also, I would add that once you get the liquid test, I would test your tap water (or whatever water you are adding). A lot of city water has ammonia and nitrates in it, so it will give you baseline of whether or not water changes will actually help.

Currently setup:
10x 5g fry tanks
12x 10g grow out tanks + 1 cherry shrimp tank
1x 20g CPO tank
1x 20g Endler tank
2x 20g long crayfish breeders
1x 29g breeder for Mosquito Fish
1x 40g Bait and Punkin
1x 45g tall wife's shrimp tank
1x 55g Super Reds
1x 60g Platys
1x 75g Super Reds
1x 75g + 20g long sump Cats, Pickerel, Sunfish

Waiting for room:
4x random <5 gallon
1x 5g
10x 10g
1x 17g
2x 29g
2x 55g
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