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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Seasons Greetings to all!

Only read on if you have the time and interest in trying to help solve a dying fish problem. Sorry, this is a long post...

Have had freshwater tropical aquariums in the past and am trying to get my daughter going. But we're having serious problems. Short explanation: 10 gal freshwater with both an undergravel and an external filtration system going. Three healthy live plants going now for ~ 1 month. These get an aqueous plant food every other day. Most recently we've tried twice to get the tank going: twice tried 3 white clouds at a time and then 3 Zebra Danios. All died within 1-3 hours. Water dipstick detects no nitrate/nitrite/chlorine. It is locally hard alkaline water, but the fish store uses the same without modificaiton or problems. No ammonia.

A longer story: we had fish in this tank several years ago in the same location within our house and without problems. Then a crayfish was brought home from school one day so we started the tank up again just for the crayfish. It did fine for maybe a six months but died. Put the tank away until this past summer and tried to get my daughter started. Cleaned tank with 10% bleach and many many rinses. Bought new gravel and heater but used the old undergravel filtration system. Added a couple guppies, they lived so we added a few rasboras. (No live plants at this point.) Then a fish died, and another. Added some replacements but never had anything but 4-5 of these small bodied fishes. Deaths came more rapidly. Suspected an overfeeding problem. Took water sample to local aquarium shop but they could only detect trace amount of ammonia and nothing else. We took out plastic plants and some ornaments and instead bought live plants and an external filtration system, which brings this tale to the start of the "short" version above--bottom line: fish now die within this tank within hours of being added. Took out water heater in case of a voltage leakage problem and yes, we've always taken care to acclimatize fish before adding.

We just gave a 29 gal tank to my daughter with all new equipment and have this in a different part of the house. Plan is to get plants going first. I'm going to take over the smaller tank. But I'm fearful that the problem is not the tank but something that will remain a problem for both tanks unless I get this solved.

Ideas most welcomed!
DAS
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We've usually just used pet shop de-chlorinators. We currently have: Jungle's "Start Right with allantoin" and Aqueon's "Water Conditioner". For the new 29 gal tank we will try using Tetra's "SafeStart", too. Will see if we can get Prime locally. If not, it seems to do the same as these other products we've been using. I suppose we could try extra heavy doses in case the chloramines are especially high here. However, would those test positive on a dipstick? Our "chlorine" dipstick pad says zero.
 

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I dont trust dip strips at all I would get API liqiud test kits. I am not familar with the Aqueon Products most everybody I know around here uses Prime or NoAqua+. I dont know that you need any Startrite or similar product because the plants should take up the waste produced by the fish and give you a soft cycle as long as you dont over stock rite off the bat. I would do a 50% WC and then dose with just the Aqueons Water Condtioner unless you can find some prime then use that.and at that point you shouldnt have any problems. I cant think of anything else rite now, how is the temp, the plants oh and I dont usually feed my tanks till the following morning after adding fish. I hope someone else can chime in and try to help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for the advice and product suggestion. The 10 gal is currently unheated and running ~62 in the morning to ~66 in the mid-day. We'll be trying to run the 29 gal at ~76. We do the same-no food until the day after adding new fish. Our ammonia test is a liquid test kit. We'll see about getting better testing for some of the other key factors but we did have our local aquarist do this for us after the first new fish rapid deaths. He did not detect anything of significance. I think he only checked ammonia, nitrates and nitrites. Maybe there was a fourth thing but I can't recall it.

Again, thank you for trying to help us out. Much appreciated!
 

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Welcome to the site! I say you should definetely get some seachem prime. another thing like scott said should be the API master test kit. you should u have trace amounts of ammonia? doesn't matter-any ammomnia at all will posion the tank, but the plants should clear it up. it could be that the undergravel is clogging the system, as well.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
We did find some Prime and will use it just prior to adding new fish and in water changes.

Our ammonia testing has been with a liquid test kit. The nitrite/nitrate/pH/hardness/alkalinity/(others I'm forgetting) have been all on a combo dip strip. I appreciate the advice to buy the master API kit and will do so when we can afford it.

In the 29 gal: Plants are doing fine. Running it at 76F. Will test for ammonia tonight just to be sure but its been zero in this tank since starting it up a week ago. Will dose it with Prime tonight, add SafeStart tomorrow morning and then a couple guppies tomorrow afternoon. Here's hoping for success.

If this is successful will try the same in our 10 gal where all the trouble with rapid fish deaths have been.

Will continue to appreciate any more advice. It's been great so far. Thnx Scott and Tyler.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Success. I know this won't sound too impresive to most, but my daughter and I are thrilled that three female guppies are doing well in the new 29 gal, now 72 hours later. You'll recall our dismal failures in the 10 gal, with fish dying in 2 hours after addition. I'm sure there is more for us to learn and troubles to deal with. But at least for now we can exhale and deal with the more mundane problems. It's a good life experience for her. I'm proud of her determination. Will post a picture later on. Again, thanks to all who have posted well wishes and advice. Not sure what has made the difference: bigger new tank, Prime, SafeStart...but we're very glad.
 

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Wow i've never seen regular guppies that are so golden in color!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yes, one of them is surprisingly yellow in the body as well as her tail. The others more generic-perhaps the lighting is making them a bit richer than in reality. Thanks for the comment.
 

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That one i assume is the one in the center of the 2nd picture
 

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Just stoping by to say Hi.
 
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