My new Aquarium killed my fish: Where did I go wrong?
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My new Aquarium killed my fish: Where did I go wrong?

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My new Aquarium killed my fish: Where did I go wrong?
Old 01-03-2012, 10:45 AM   #1
 
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My new Aquarium killed my fish: Where did I go wrong?

All

I purchased a new 10g aquarium "kit" and here is the link to what I bought: Aquarium Kits | Complete Half Moon Shaped Aquarium Kit With LED Lighting .

I followed the directions step-by-step to set it up. I rinsed my gravel thoroughly, as well as the artificial plants and ornaments. I used tap water to fill the tank up partially, installed my ornaments, heater, and filter, and then filled up the aquarium entirely. The water was crystal-clear and everything looked good.

Then, with the advice of the aquarium expert at Petsmart, I purchased Top Fin brand Water Conditioner as well as Bacteria Supplement. Top Fin's directions said to use 10mL of each per 10 gallons of water so that is exactly what I did. Once I added both of these things, the water turned a cloudy-white tint after about 3-4 hours. I went online and read that this is probably due to new-tank cycling from Bacteria Bloom due to the Supplement that I added and I thought it would just go away after time.

I let the aquarium sit for 2-3 days with the heater on and the filter running so everything would be OK before adding fish. After the 3rd day, I took my kids to Petsmart to pick out some fish. With the advice of the fish expert at Petsmart, I bought 2 male Hatchetfish and 3 small freshwater Ghost Shrimp. When I took them home, I again followed the directions to add them to the aquarium. The tank was still cloudy-white but I assumed this was normal after reading articles online.

Well, after about 3 days or so, I noticed that the fish were losing their fins so I decided to do Ammonia Test Strips (made by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals) to test the Ammonia levels. The levels came back completely normal at literally 0 PPM. After the 4th day, both fish were dead and had to be flushed. The 3 shrimp are still alive today which is day 5.

Can someone please tell me what is going on and what I need to do? If I added fish to the aquarium too soon, I really wish the person at Petsmart would have told me so. I am totally new to owning an aquarium and followed the written directions as well as the verbal directions given to me by the Petsmart person.

Also, just as a side note, both Fish didn't eat at all when I tried to feed them. The also seemed to hover at the very top of the water. I thought they may be looking for food since they were at the top but when I dropped in some tropical flakes, the didn't even try to eat them.

Please help!
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:00 AM   #2
 
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Your tank needs to cycled, which can take a number of days or weeks. A cycle lets all the bateria that fish need to fish build up. This also lets the water in the tank establish itself. The only other is to filled your tank up with live plants and let soak up the ammoia( sorry if I spelled that wrong) Also ten gallons is too small for common hacketfish, so you know next time. Its also better to do your homework, then relie on store workers, because just because they work in the fish department, it doesn't mean they know what they're doing, trust me.

Last edited by Jayy; 01-03-2012 at 11:08 AM..
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:02 AM   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djtleek View Post
All

I purchased a new 10g aquarium "kit" and here is the link to what I bought: Aquarium Kits | Complete Half Moon Shaped Aquarium Kit With LED Lighting .

I followed the directions step-by-step to set it up. I rinsed my gravel thoroughly, as well as the artificial plants and ornaments. I used tap water to fill the tank up partially, installed my ornaments, heater, and filter, and then filled up the aquarium entirely. The water was crystal-clear and everything looked good.

Then, with the advice of the aquarium expert at Petsmart, I purchased Top Fin brand Water Conditioner as well as Bacteria Supplement. Top Fin's directions said to use 10mL of each per 10 gallons of water so that is exactly what I did. Once I added both of these things, the water turned a cloudy-white tint after about 3-4 hours. I went online and read that this is probably due to new-tank cycling from Bacteria Bloom due to the Supplement that I added and I thought it would just go away after time.

I let the aquarium sit for 2-3 days with the heater on and the filter running so everything would be OK before adding fish. After the 3rd day, I took my kids to Petsmart to pick out some fish. With the advice of the fish expert at Petsmart, I bought 2 male Hatchetfish and 3 small freshwater Ghost Shrimp. When I took them home, I again followed the directions to add them to the aquarium. The tank was still cloudy-white but I assumed this was normal after reading articles online.

Well, after about 3 days or so, I noticed that the fish were losing their fins so I decided to do Ammonia Test Strips (made by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals) to test the Ammonia levels. The levels came back completely normal at literally 0 PPM. After the 4th day, both fish were dead and had to be flushed. The 3 shrimp are still alive today which is day 5.

Can someone please tell me what is going on and what I need to do? If I added fish to the aquarium too soon, I really wish the person at Petsmart would have told me so. I am totally new to owning an aquarium and followed the written directions as well as the verbal directions given to me by the Petsmart person.

Also, just as a side note, both Fish didn't eat at all when I tried to feed them. The also seemed to hover at the very top of the water. I thought they may be looking for food since they were at the top but when I dropped in some tropical flakes, the didn't even try to eat them.

Please help!
Honestly your first fault was to listen to the guy at petsmart.

You cannot put fish into the tank day 1 through day 30. Not unless you know how to cycle your task fast. (IE. use tank water from an established tank - and I don't suggest this until you know what you're up against)

Cloudiness on day one or the 1st week may be bacteria bloom. I would start by reading up on cycling an aquarium and what type of fish you can add.

These are my steps into cycling a tank (planted or not):
1 - Clean the tank and gravel with tap water (including all fake-plants, decor, etc)
- do not use chemicals
2 - after aquascaping the tank and priming your filters fill the tank with water (make sure the water is within the temperature of the fish that you will be placing in the tank) (make sure you have a heater for tropical fish, cold water cycling will take longer)
3 - let the tank run approximately 24-48 hours
4 - get a bacteria starter and dose the tank with it. (ie. cycle, easy start bacteria booster, seachem stability, etc) do this normally as instructed, you cannot overdose the tank with bacteria booster/starter.
4a. - dose regularly as instructed by the bacteria booster
5 - you can branch out at this point and do a fishless cycle or cycle with fish (I would choose fishless)
6 - begin feeding your tank after you have dumped bacteria starter in the tank
7 - after approximately 2-3 weeks do a light vacuum of the gravel in the tank and a 10% water change
8 - add another dose of bacteria starter and drop 1 single fish in

(note: the entire time you are cycling your tank, you should do water tests every 4-5 days to make sure you see the spike in ammonia, spike in nitrites, and spike in nitrates[do not use strips, buy a master test kit] -- when they all kind of die down, you should be able to then add your fish)

this is at least my technique, there's differences with others as well, and others input is welcomed =).

Last edited by CamryDS; 01-03-2012 at 11:05 AM..
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:09 AM   #4
 
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First off most of the time people (especially at big chainstores) are WRONG.
The cloudy water could have been from the supplement. It could have been a bacteria boom as you said but here is where it might have gone wrong.
First off I would advice you to buy a API master test kit. It is more accurate then the test strips. 3 days are not enough for a tank to cycle. The cycling process is where the bacteria takes off and then has to settle down. Most fish can not withstand this process unless you watch the water parameters closes. During the cycling process you will see a spike of ammonia then a spike in nitrites then nitrates. After the ammonia and nitrates fall down and nitrates stay steady then your tank is cycled. During this process you can add a bacteria supplement but you still need something to feed the bacteria like fish food or some ppl use frozen shrimp. Have a read at this thread: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...m-cycle-38617/

Also do you a airstone in the tank for the fish? There needs to be a way for the fish to get oxygen into the water. An airstone running off a air pump will provide this.
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:13 AM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CamryDS View Post
Honestly your first fault was to listen to the guy at petsmart.

You cannot put fish into the tank day 1 through day 30. Not unless you know how to cycle your task fast. (IE. use tank water from an established tank - and I don't suggest this until you know what you're up against)

Cloudiness on day one or the 1st week may be bacteria bloom. I would start by reading up on cycling an aquarium and what type of fish you can add.

These are my steps into cycling a tank (planted or not):
1 - Clean the tank and gravel with tap water (including all fake-plants, decor, etc)
- do not use chemicals
2 - after aquascaping the tank and priming your filters fill the tank with water (make sure the water is within the temperature of the fish that you will be placing in the tank) (make sure you have a heater for tropical fish, cold water cycling will take longer)
3 - let the tank run approximately 24-48 hours
4 - get a bacteria starter and dose the tank with it. (ie. cycle, easy start bacteria booster, seachem stability, etc) do this normally as instructed, you cannot overdose the tank with bacteria booster/starter.
4a. - dose regularly as instructed by the bacteria booster
5 - you can branch out at this point and do a fishless cycle or cycle with fish (I would choose fishless)
6 - begin feeding your tank after you have dumped bacteria starter in the tank
7 - after approximately 2-3 weeks do a light vacuum of the gravel in the tank and a 10% water change
8 - add another dose of bacteria starter and drop 1 single fish in

(note: the entire time you are cycling your tank, you should do water tests every 4-5 days to make sure you see the spike in ammonia, spike in nitrites, and spike in nitrates[do not use strips, buy a master test kit] -- when they all kind of die down, you should be able to then add your fish)

this is at least my technique, there's differences with others as well, and others input is welcomed =).
After reading online, you are probably right: I shouldn't have listened to the Petsmart person. Let me ask you this: I read through your tank cycling instructions. Do I need to completely drain my tank and start all over? It seems like I did everything you suggested except I did a "fish" cycle, not "fishless". If I shouldn't add fish within the first 30 days, why do your instructions say that a "fish cycle" is an option?
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:26 AM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boredomb View Post
First off most of the time people (especially at big chainstores) are WRONG.
The cloudy water could have been from the supplement. It could have been a bacteria boom as you said but here is where it might have gone wrong.
First off I would advice you to buy a API master test kit. It is more accurate then the test strips. 3 days are not enough for a tank to cycle. The cycling process is where the bacteria takes off and then has to settle down. Most fish can not withstand this process unless you watch the water parameters closes. During the cycling process you will see a spike of ammonia then a spike in nitrites then nitrates. After the ammonia and nitrates fall down and nitrates stay steady then your tank is cycled. During this process you can add a bacteria supplement but you still need something to feed the bacteria like fish food or some ppl use frozen shrimp. Have a read at this thread: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...m-cycle-38617/

Also do you a airstone in the tank for the fish? There needs to be a way for the fish to get oxygen into the water. An airstone running off a air pump will provide this.
So should I "feed the tank" now that there are no fish (other than 3 Ghost Shrimp) left? If so, how many times a day should I drop tropical flakes in the tank and how much? Also, no I do not have a pump/airstone. I didn't realize those were a necessity for a tank. Like I said, I am new to this and wrongly trusted the Petsmart person to tell me everything I needed especially after I specifically asked. I am learning every day though. ;)
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:29 AM   #7
 
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Because it is still an option people use. Not everyone likes to do because it can harm the fish during the process or even kill them (as you found out). The whole point is there needs to be a way to feed the bacteria during the cycling and even after. Fish in the tank will do this by both the food you feed the fish and the waste the fish produce.
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:39 AM   #8
 
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Originally Posted by djtleek View Post
After reading online, you are probably right: I shouldn't have listened to the Petsmart person. Let me ask you this: I read through your tank cycling instructions. Do I need to completely drain my tank and start all over? It seems like I did everything you suggested except I did a "fish" cycle, not "fishless". If I shouldn't add fish within the first 30 days, why do your instructions say that a "fish cycle" is an option?
That's based on experience.

Fish cycling causes stress on the fish since it has to live through the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate spikes. That's not something I suggest, but people have had success at this. I don't recommend it -- especially for beginners.

Fishless cycling is the way to go at least for me.

Just to be safe, I would tear down the tank, let the contents dry, and start over again afterwards. The death of fish may affect the next wave.
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:39 AM   #9
 
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Originally Posted by djtleek View Post
So should I "feed the tank" now that there are no fish (other than 3 Ghost Shrimp) left? If so, how many times a day should I drop tropical flakes in the tank and how much? Also, no I do not have a pump/airstone. I didn't realize those were a necessity for a tank. Like I said, I am new to this and wrongly trusted the Petsmart person to tell me everything I needed especially after I specifically asked. I am learning every day though. ;)
I will be honest with you here. I have never cycled a tank this way. I know the principals behind it so I will say this. I would start over if it was me. I would drain the tank. Fill it back up with dechlorinated water. Add a small amount of fish food once a day. Once you get a ammonia reading you can adjust how much "food" you add. I would keep the ammonia somewhere around 1ppm. From there you should shortly see nitrites(say shortly but could take days or weeks). Once those are there and nitrates start showing up the nitrites should start dropping. The whole time keep the ammonia up as this is what is feeding the other bacteria.. once you have ammonia levels no nitrite levels and have nitrate levels. I would do a water change, vacuum the gravel (to get rid of any excess food). This will help bring down the ammonia and some of the nitrates.
Ammonia should never be higher then .25 with fish in the tank. Nitrites are deadly at any level to fish, and nitrates should be below 40 some will say less then 20.

Last edited by Boredomb; 01-03-2012 at 11:46 AM..
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:42 AM   #10
 
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Originally Posted by djtleek View Post
So should I "feed the tank" now that there are no fish (other than 3 Ghost Shrimp) left? If so, how many times a day should I drop tropical flakes in the tank and how much? Also, no I do not have a pump/airstone. I didn't realize those were a necessity for a tank. Like I said, I am new to this and wrongly trusted the Petsmart person to tell me everything I needed especially after I specifically asked. I am learning every day though. ;)
Lesson 1 -- read a lot of articles on this issue before even buying a tank
Lesson 2 -- IGNORE all chainstore representatives about fish
Lesson 3 -- Go to a single shop aquarium store and ask for advice, look at their aquarium stock and see if they are in good shape (clean water, healthy active fish, etc)
Lesson 4 -- READ some more
Lesson 5 -- if you think you're ready, you're not, read more!
Lesson 6 -- when you're sick of reading, read some more, once you feel like you're asking the right questions, then start building your aquarium.
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