My 55g fish tank just lost all its fish, I desperatly am seeking advice. - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 23 Old 03-05-2010, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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Angry My 55g fish tank just lost all its fish, I desperatly am seeking advice.

Hello everyone, I'd like to introduce myself first, my name is Joe Hickey. I just as of 6 months bought my first tank and thought this was going to be the easiest thing since slicing your own bread. I read online briefly(keyword briefly) how to cycle tanks, and got excited and went out and bought some fish to cycle my tank with.

Problem after problem occurred of course. I had bought 4 danios, 2 oscars and a puffer fish. (I will take the insults). I now realize my mistakes after my visits to the fish store and asking them what is wrong. I really wish they were nice enough to stop me from doing such a foolish thing. Either way. Surprisingly, I still myself don't know how... they all managed to survive the cycle. I at the time was running a 55-70gallon aquaclear (HOB). Sadly shortly after what seemed to be the end of the cycle, my 1 oscar (brock) and Ochito (Figure-8 puffer) both got Ich. I treated them both puffer cleared up, but died a few weeks after, and Brock well he didn't make it. (What was scary was that Brock Lesnar in real life got real sick around this same time).

So after awhile things seemed ok, then I purchased more fish, sadly my Oscar left took a liking to a few of these fish, and would not allow me to buy many of the fish i wanted. Eventually I was up t about 10 fish a few tri-color sharks, the 4 danios, 1 oscar, 1 bala shark, and a blue acara. Then the worst thing happened, my girlfriend being the sweatheart that she is... cleaned my fish tank on the outside... but happen to also get the spray inside. All but Oscar died, I realized the problem pretty quickly when she told me what happened. I bought fungus medication, did lots of water changes, somehow..... after 2 weeks of suffering.... Oscar survived.

Well 2 months after, my fish tank was booming, I was back to the 2nd roster, 3 tri 1 bala, Oscar, 4 danios and 1 blue acara. Was doing my weekly, water changes, feeding them twice a day, making sure it didn't last in the tank for more than 3 minutes. Then out of no where, (I'm sure not really) a spike in ammonia came.... I did my water changes, nothing helped, so I went to the same fish store, they recommend Amquel. They told me it would be okay, to put it directly into the tank. I did and that same evening I lost all my fish.... including my Oscar. They seemed to be poisoned, I was confused too because it almost seemed like actual fish dieases, they formed a white film over their eyes and also white slime over their bodies.

For the last 2 weeks, I have been doing constant water changes, I bought an emporer 400, and have been testing the water everyday. Just yesterday I tested my levels all were zero. I felt it was time to take a chance, and grab 3 danios. Well... they didn't even make it through the night.

I am now tempted to empty the entire tank out, and start from ground zero.... with help from this community. Please help me, my goal is to have a nice family of fish (with an Oscar) I've read that is really possible if you raise them from birth together.

So please help me everyone. Thank you! and I understand I will receive critism for my mistakes, I understand.
joeyburger is offline  
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post #2 of 23 Old 03-05-2010, 02:31 PM
I'm so sad reading your story...poor fish! It's hard to lose fish, especially when the problem could have been prevented in the first place.

Well, if all of your levels are zero, including nitrate, your tank is not properly cycled (you have no live plants, correct?)

Your oscar...I'd not be surprised if the ick came from the stress of incompatible fish. Puffers and oscars and danios seems like a combination destined for a stressed tank.

I'd not give up yet...I've never had oscars myself but I have heard that they should not be kept in groups due to their aggressive nature. If a community tank is what your envisioning for youself, may want to re-home the oscar or buy a new tank and give the oscar his own tank.

And for the future, have your gf spray the cleaning rag first, then wipe : )

Oh yeah, and for now, just get a good liquid test kit, test your water daily, when ammonia levels are detectable or like .5 or .25 (nitrite, too), then definitely do an immediate water change : ) do this until you have a nitrate reading

Stephanie's updated tank profiles:
29 gallon 10 gallon
stephanieleah is offline  
post #3 of 23 Old 03-05-2010, 02:36 PM
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Hi Joey, welcome to the forum. Sorry to hear of your troubles. Just so I understand, are there any fish in the tank right now, or is it empty? From what I read it sounds like you last added danios but they died the next day??

If you don't stand up for something you'll fall for anything...
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post #4 of 23 Old 03-05-2010, 02:42 PM
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Well your girlfriend isn't the only one who has done it... lol if you read around you'll see some others.
My wife just leaves all the tanks for me to take care of.

If it was me... I'd dump the tank water out completely. Take all your rocks out, everything.... and clean them with tab water. No chemicals lol...

Then set the tank back up. put in your water and gravel and all that... Cycle the tank WITH NO FISH... you will have to put ammonia in to start the good bacteria.

personally, I keep a secondary tank, i keep a handful of comet goldfish. When i was a kid i did science experiments on them. Tested them with different levels of chlorine and all that to show what levels are unsafe for them..

Anyways I found these goldfish could survive straight tab water (where i am from), and had less deaths compared to the rest.

What I'm saying is i use comet goldfish to do my cycles. Since they are CHEAP, like 15 cents if that each... well I've always used them to test my waters out before I bought more costly fish. Once the tank was good to go, i then moved them out, and bring in the nice stuff.

However regardless keep checking your pH, temp, water hardness/softness etc. Keep a log of it say in excel or w/e. Reason I suggest this is because if they do keep dieing maybe you can pinpoint what the issue is.

Oh and remember fish like different temps and pH and all that good stuff.. so keep that in mind.

Hey the pet store you go to, how clean is it, and how is the smell there?
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post #5 of 23 Old 03-05-2010, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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@Stephanieleah - yeah it has been a very sad trip so far, I don't have any plants. And sadly the oscar died after the amquel water change. I do agree that the stress probably did come from one of the incompatible fish, which could have led to the ick. My girlfriend no longer cleans the tank, I wasn't angry at her just sad I knew she was trying to help. I will keep testing the water, until ammonia finally comes back, hopefully it is sooner than later.

@Aunt Kymmie - Yes the tank is empty now, I have just a tank of water, that still reads 0 ni 0 na and 0 ammonia. And the danios were added only yesterday and didn't make it when I woke up.

@Aaron Combs - I've been contemplating dumping the entire tank, I just didn't know if it was better to keep what I have since, it must have some good bacteria still in there (i hope). I've always heard danios were really good hardy fish, thats why I tried them out first, but when they died in one night I got really scared, I almost even contemplated giving up on the aquarium altogether... but that quickly went by.

Well thank you for all the help guys, hopefully I can make something good happen here.
joeyburger is offline  
post #6 of 23 Old 03-05-2010, 04:26 PM
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aunt kymmie's Avatar
Without a source of ammonia (ie: fish waste) any "good" bacteria left in your tank will perish. I'm not a fan of using fish for cycling. Since the tank is empty why not go for fishless cycling? It'll be easier and you won't have to lose any fish in the process. You may already know what is in the article I'm posting a link for but it's good information to brush up with.

If you do decide to empty out the tank and start fresh,cleaning with hot tap water and vinegar is what I always use. Just rinse the tank very well to remove the vinegar.
What kind of test kit are you using?

If you don't stand up for something you'll fall for anything...
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post #7 of 23 Old 03-05-2010, 04:32 PM
willow's Avatar
hello and welcome.
you'll end up with a beautiful tank in no time,hang in there.
we have all made mistakes befor.
the guys here will help you through,

when you set up a new tank,hide an extra
sponge or two behind some decor,that way you have
something seeded for you next filter.
willow is offline  
post #8 of 23 Old 03-06-2010, 04:15 AM
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Welcome to TFK!

I think tearing down the tank completely and giving it a thorough cleaning is best since there's no way of knowing if there are still traces of the cleaner in the tank (which seems likely since a couple of hardy danios died overnight, which probably can't be attributed to ammonia poisoning in a tank of that size). A good cleaning with vinegar, followed by a hot water rinse, then maybe even a cleaning with bleach and another (large) rinse might be a good idea. I definitely recommend using one of the fishless cycling methods described in the article Kymmie linked to; pretty much any cleaner your girlfriend would have been using would be deadly to bacteria and that way you could use the cycling bacteria to test the safety of the tank rather than fish. Plus, fishless cycling is a better idea anyway.

Any ideas for what you want to stock the tank with once you get it back up and running?

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iamntbatman is offline  
post #9 of 23 Old 03-06-2010, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you again for all the responses. I have taken everything out of the tank, removed all gravel and water. I am going to use vinegar to clean tank because I am really scared to use bleach. Is there a special kind of vinegar that I am supposed to use... as well if I do get convinced (a special kind of bleach)?. Once I get this back up I am going to go and just start off with a few danios early on then introduce an Oscar and that might be my main focus.
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post #10 of 23 Old 03-06-2010, 03:01 PM
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aunt kymmie's Avatar
I use distilled white vinegar. It's perfectly fine to use bleach, as long as you rinse it well when you've finished cleaning. Plain old Clorox Bleach is what I use when I'm cleaning the micron cartridges from my HOB filter. Manafacturer's instructions specifically state to use bleach, you just have to rinse well.
If I were you (and I'm not!) I'd wash the tank just as iamntbatman has instructed. Happy Cleaning :)

If you don't stand up for something you'll fall for anything...
aunt kymmie is offline  

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