I'm so frustrated. Appreciate any help! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 25 Old 01-16-2017, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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I'm so frustrated. Appreciate any help!

Hello! I'm a newbie here. I hope this is the appropriate place for me to post my question.

I've kept tropical aquariums in the past, usually with guppies and a beta. I currently have a 15 gallon column tank with guppies and fruit tetra. I purchased a used 29 gallon hexagon tank about 5 months ago. I have had nothing but problems with it!

I put black aquarium sand in it and also a large rock from the aquarium store. It has a aqua clear 50 HOB filter that came with the tank. I filled it and did a fishless cycle which took about 6 weeks. I'm keeping the temp around 80. I started stocking with 3 congo tetras. About a week later I added 5 black phantom tetra. Another week or 2 later I added 2 dwarf gourami. I also added some driftwood from the LFS. About a week later I noticed small white dots on my black phantom tetras. It almost looked like they were sparkling. They began to die off. Then my gourami started seeming lethargic and both eventually died as well as 2 of my congo tetra. At this point I had 1 survivor who I named Charlie. I thought maybe it was ich so I turned the heat up gradually and kept the tank around 85 for a couple of weeks.

I gradually turned the heart back down and to 79. Charlie was still fine. I thought maybe the wood caused it because it kept growing slime on it so I took the wood out. I decided to try another congo tetra and another black phantom tetra. These were ok for about a week. After that, the BPTetra developed the spots that the previous ones did and the congo kind of wasted away and died. Charlie still remains.

I went to my LFS and spoke with the guy there and had him test my water. My ph is high (~8) but ammonia was at 0, nitrite is at 0 and nitrates were low. He thought maybe the pH is too high for tetras. He thought I may have better luck with live bearers. So he gave me 4 rainbow fish and told me to keep a close eye on them. He told me that the wood shouldn't be the issue so I put the wood back in. I had taken my big Rock out when my second batch of fish started dying because I thought maybe that was the issue but it didn't make a difference. As of now I have Charlie and 4 rainbow fish. I really don't want these guys to die! Charlie is so cute, he schools with them and seems really happy to have them around.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Specs: I have the API liquid test kit. I've been testing throughout the process with zero ammonia and nitrite and low nitrates. I do weekly 15 to 25% water changes using Prime water conditioner. I've changed the carbon and the sponge in the filter once (at different times). pH is usually around 8 which is high but I guess it's common for our hard water around here. My tank has a canopy which gets moist and grows mold/fungus. Could that be the issue? I also have 2 banana plants and 1 anubias nana. All plants are happy and healthy. I appreciate any help. I'm so frustrated/discouraged. I've tried to do everything right!
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post #2 of 25 Old 01-16-2017, 03:43 PM
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First welcome to the forums.

I wish I could give you more advice but it sounds like your on the right track and I don't see anything that would jump out as the issue.

Buying the tank used shouldn't be a issue I have lots of used tanks. Was the tank empty when you got it or did it have fish in it? If it was empty I'm guessing you cleaned it out? if so what did you use? I always scrub my tanks out with hot water and a handful of poly filler (stuff you get in filters) then allow them to air dry for a few days. If I'm cleaning because of illness I will do this 3 times and allow it to dry for 2 weeks before adding water.

The wood and rocks coming from the fish store should be fine. Ick looks like little cotton balls I have had it a few times and it will whip out a tank if you don't catch it early. But there are a few other things that will cause white spots, I have seen something close after a large water change some fish will get dots but they go away after 12 hours.


The PH at 8 is high but it all depends on where you live. My PH is 7.6 most of the year but last year the city changed the water some how and I had spikes of 8.2 (LFS had same issue) it cause a few deaths before I found out it was spiking up. Most fish you buy these days can handle any PH as long as they aren't shocked from the change, just adjust them slowly and they will do fine.

Again sorry don't have a lot of info but there are lots of others here that have a lot of experience and will help, maybe they will seen something I didn't.


You can follow Old Fort Exotics on You Tube and on my Fish room thread.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5l...KdIa-pb3K2zb7A
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/d...h-room-517930/

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post #3 of 25 Old 01-16-2017, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your response Warhawk! When I bought the tank it was empty and dry. I rinsed it with water then filled it up and let it sit for a few days to test for leaks. I dumped that water, rinsed again then filled it with new water, treated it etc. I didn't really scrub it because it looked clean and I knew not to use soaps or anything.

Thanks again!
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post #4 of 25 Old 01-16-2017, 07:01 PM
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It sounds like you may still have ick in your tank. Ick will look like the fish have been sprinkled with salt. Personally, I've never trusted the heat treatment alone to kill off the parasite. I've always used either Quick Cure, Rid Ick or salt. Also, continuing to treat long enough is important. Many people stop treatment too soon. All it takes is one cyst to survive and start the infestation all over again. Quarantining new fish is also an important step to keeping your main tank healthy. I qt all new fish for at least 3-4 weeks.

150 Gallon - Mostly American Cichlids
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post #5 of 25 Old 01-16-2017, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Will my congo tetra and rainbow fish tolerate salt? Should I treat the tank or wait to see if I see signs of illness? How much salt should I add? Will it hurt my plants?
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post #6 of 25 Old 01-16-2017, 11:57 PM
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What plants do you have? Some plants won't tolerate, others would.
As for the fish, they will IMO. I personally would treat it now, better safe rather than sorry.

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post #7 of 25 Old 01-17-2017, 07:40 AM Thread Starter
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AussieJJdude thank you for your help. I have 2 banana plants and 1anubias nana, all of which are very happy. Will the salt bother them? How much salt should I add?

I appreciate everyone's feedback!
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post #8 of 25 Old 01-17-2017, 07:40 AM
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It should be fine most water has a little chlorine and it would help clean any thing in the tank before the fish go put in.

Tetra should be fine with salt, not sure about rainbow don't know much about them. The only fish I know that don't do well with some of the ick treatmeant is catfish(Cory, plecos,....). If my memory is right it's the scales if they don't have scales you have to be careful, but read the bottle for to be sure.

Out of the treatments I have used Rid Ick one time and I didn't read the bottle so lost a few fish. I have used salt on Goldfish, cichlids and guppies no issues. I like the heat method to me it works best just need to keep it warm for a few weeks. But having said that I don't deal with it often because like Jeaninel quarantining the new fish helps a lot and is the best choice.


You can follow Old Fort Exotics on You Tube and on my Fish room thread.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5l...KdIa-pb3K2zb7A
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/d...h-room-517930/

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post #9 of 25 Old 01-17-2017, 11:05 AM
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Heat works well. But as was mentioned just like meds its often abandoned too soon. 86 in the 2 week range is what I shoot for. Salt can work but is stressful.

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post #10 of 25 Old 01-17-2017, 12:25 PM
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If you are using heat then salt is unnecessary and will only add more stress to the fish, as was mentioned.
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125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta
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