HELP!!! need help ASAP life or death - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 03-21-2010, 11:25 PM Thread Starter
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HELP!!! need help ASAP life or death

OK, so heres the story. Me and my g/f decided to start a fresh water tank tonight with Dalmatian mollies, Mickey Fin fish, Platy's, some snails, and ghost shrimp.

They have been in there for about an hour and are not looking very good. All of the snails are closed. the Mollies are all acting really funny. The two Mickey fin fish basically stopped moving even when you touch them. the others are acting similar.

What could be wrong? we started the tank tonight and put some "waste control Organic waste eliminator. for rapid reduction of organic waste in aquariums" and also "some instant decholor" it is roughly a 20 gallon tank. We dont know what to do and really dont want to loose all these fish?

Is there any kind of chemical or anything to make this better or get them through the night?

Hoping to get an answer soon so we dont lose them all tonight...

we also tried this a week ago and put them all in and woke up the next morning and they were all dead. But we thought the cause was some other chemical that she put in the water so we decided to try it again.
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post #2 of 8 Old 03-21-2010, 11:32 PM
Did you cycle the tank first before adding the fish? That's very crucial to the health and well being of your fish. Do you know what the PH levels, ammonia levels, temp, nitrite and nitrate levels are?
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post #3 of 8 Old 03-21-2010, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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No we did not know about cycling until I got on here and started searching.... Dont know any of the levels.... the temp is 75... Is there anything we can do now or is it basically to late for these guys?
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post #4 of 8 Old 03-21-2010, 11:44 PM
I would go get a API 5 in 1 aquarium test strips. This will show the PH, KH, GH, Nitrite, and Nitrate levels. I also would test the ammonia levels. I would assume the Ph or ammonia is what's harming your fish. Hows the aeration in your tank? Do you have a air stone or bubble wand or anything?
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post #5 of 8 Old 03-22-2010, 03:24 AM
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Welcome to TFK!

Have a read over this:

Basically, if you add a whole bunch of fish at once (how many fish do you have, exactly?) to an uncycled tank, there's no process by which the toxic ammonia your fish excrete is removed from the water, so your tank can go very quickly from nice clean water to a toxic environment. Since the tank wasn't cycled before adding the fish, you're basically at the very start of the "fish-in" cycle as described by that article. You can cycle the tank with fish but I can't guarantee that you'll make it through the cycle without any fish loss, especially as some of your fish (and the snails) are highly sensitive to ammonia and nitrite. It might be safer just to return the fish, do a fishless cycle and then buy fish once the cycle is complete. If you want to try to hang on to the fish you've got, I recommend doing at least a 50% water change daily using a good water conditioner that detoxifies ammonia and nitrite (like Seachem's Prime) until you get the cycle going. In any case, you really need to get your hands on a liquid test kit as it's what will keep your fish alive during a fish-in cycle and is essential in monitoring the progress of any type of cycle, fish-in or fishless. Plus, it's just an incredibly useful tool in general. I can't really endorse the paper test strips that britnyjackson suggested as these aren't very accurate and for the cost (they usually don't have ammonia, nitrite and nitrate and instead only test for two of these, which leaves you in the dark so you have two buy two types of strips at least) you're better off getting the liquid kit anyway. I like the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. Goes for about $25-30 in stores but is about $20 online.

I know this all seems overwhelming but basically the aquarium cycle is the most stressful part of keeping a tank and it gets much easier once the tank is cycled.

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post #6 of 8 Old 03-22-2010, 03:47 PM
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I completely agree with and endorse iamntbatman's advice.

One other thing pops out at me from your first post, and that is the so-called organic waste eliminator. This will only add to the trouble, as this stuff causes an increase in ammonia by breaking down the waste. There are two brands I've seen, one by Tetra and the other I honestly can't remember. I know one of them does say it will cause an initial ammonia increase. Never use these, they are not necessary and they are detrimental to the biological stability in any aquarium.

Do regular 50% partial water changes daily as iamntbatman said, use no chemicals or "stuff" except a good water conditioner, preferably one that detoxifies ammonia and nitrite along with chlorine and chloramine--Prime by Seachem is one. And hope for the best.

Just to prepare you, the mollies may well die; they are highly susceptible to ammonia.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #7 of 8 Old 03-22-2010, 06:39 PM
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i agree on the above (as a newbie myself),water changes of 50% regularly is a short time must to keep the fish alive,then when you get your water testing kit (ASAP) you can adjust to match (this will be over a period of weeks as it goes down in %).
During this time,take a look through the forums.There is a lot that I have learnt from here (and more yet to learn).
When posting,its best to give facts such as tank size,fish stock (as you have said),water stats (which you can do when you have the testing kit,liquid one,not the crappy strip test one (ammonia,nitrAtes,nitrItes,ph etc).
Hello & welcome BTW,im a newbie myself (I bought my tank 3 months ago) and have found this forum & fantastic members a wonderful source of info.


Last edited by Tomsk; 03-22-2010 at 06:40 PM. Reason: my bad
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post #8 of 8 Old 03-22-2010, 06:44 PM
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just a reminder,use the " instant decholor" on the water you use on the water changes.
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