Need help with new aquarium, possibly bad advice from local store.
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Need help with new aquarium, possibly bad advice from local store.

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Need help with new aquarium, possibly bad advice from local store.
Old 01-04-2011, 06:09 PM   #1
 
Need help with new aquarium, possibly bad advice from local store.

My daughter and I started a 20g aquarium last week. We went to the local aquarium store, and they recommended some leopard danios as good fish to get the tank cycled. So we bought 5 of them last Thursday. Everything was fine for the first couple days, and then we started losing about 1 per day. We have one left as of right now.

Upon investigating the fish this morning (when there were two left), it looked like they had some white spots on them. Definitely not ick, the spots are larger than that, but still not super noticeable given the small size of the fish.

So I went to the aquarium store today and told them my story. When we looked in the tank they had there, where we bought them from, some of the fish had the spots. The girl said it looked like a bacterial infection. She didn't really apologize for apparently selling us sick fish, but she did recommend something called Melafix. This brings me to my questions...

With only one fish left, and it likely too far gone to be saved, should I even bother with the Melafix? If it is some sort of fungus or bacterial infection (I haven't really seen anything online resembling it, at least not in the bacterial infections, looks more like a fungus to me), and the last fish dies...will the bacteria/fungus remain in the water? Or, is it localized to the fish?

I am hesitant to add something foreign to the water if it isn't necessary, and I don't want to drain the whole tank and start over if I don't have to. The store manager tonight said that if the fish die, I can stop treating, and not to drain the water. He said the cycle will continue even without fish at this point. Thus far, I haven't seen an ammonia spike at all, and nitrites and nitrates are all zero.

So I would appreciate any advice you can give me. I've had aquariums in the past, and never had any issues outside of the normal ick outbreak. We are really stressing over this one, as we hate to see the fish suffer. We want to get this done the right way.

Some tank info:

20g glass Marineland LED kit
Penguin Whisper 150 filter
Heater set to 78
Artificial decorations only at this point
Couple of air stones
All tests are reading good, nitrates, nitrites, ammonia are all zero still

Thank you,
Andy
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Old 01-04-2011, 06:29 PM   #2
 
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Being that the tank is still so new, and there's only one fish left I'd be tempted to say let him pass, and start a new. I always add Mela/Pima fix when adding new fish to my aquarium. I like many people don't have a quarantine tank available. Good luck and I hope your daughter can keep her hopes up for the next batch!
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Old 01-04-2011, 06:35 PM   #3
 
So is the Melafix safe then? It won't negatively impact my biological filtering, or the cycle? Should I add it now, with the one fish remaining, on the off chance that he might survive?

Also, if the fish does die, my big question is, will that infection/fungus remain in the water with no fish in the tank? If not, I guess I could feed the empty tank and try to get through a fish-less cycle, right?

Thanks for the help, really appreciate it.
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Old 01-05-2011, 04:43 AM   #4
 
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Were it me,, I would remove the lone fish and euthanize it. I would then purchase four or five more danios or tetras such as Blood fin,pristella,Glowlights,or silver tipped from a different store.
I would feed these four or five small fish a tiny amount of food once every other day for three weeks and perform a weekly water change of 30 percent once each week.I would not remove or clean the filter for the next three weeks. Temp would be 74 to 76 degrees.
I would use water conditioner such as PRIME for new water added to the aquarium each week during the weekly water change.
The fish I mentioned are small active fish that will present not too large of a bioload on a young tank/filter/ .So long as the feedings are not too much or too often,, ammonia levels should not rise to lethal levels and the tank can slowly mature without harming the fishes.
A couple three flakes of food crushed between your thumb and finger once every other day ,will be sufficient for the fish and will go a long ways towards keeping ammonia levels from becoming lethal.
Feeding more than this,or beginning with more than the four or five small fish mentioned,,WILL result in ammonia levels that are likely to place the fishes under considerable stress and can lead to their demise.
At the ned of three weeks,,then you can add a few more fishes two or three at a time with a week in between new additions.
Would resist the urge to use anything in the aquarium other than dechlorinator. You have only lost a week thus far ,so removing the sick fish,and beginning anew will not slow things much .
Would eyeball any new fishes closely before purchasing and as mentioned,, might consider a different source for fish in light of previous expierience.
Ideally, you would perform fishless cycling but with a child,, It is sometimes difficult to interest them in observing an empty tank for the three to four weeks needed for the tank to (cycle).
Hope some of this helps.

Last edited by 1077; 01-05-2011 at 04:46 AM..
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Old 01-05-2011, 07:13 AM   #5
 
That does help, thank you. So, is it safe to assume, that the water in my tank is okay to add new fish to then? My main concern is that if the previous fish had some sort of bacteria/fungus and died, does that issue remain in the water? Or, is it isolated to the fish?

We do still have the one remaining fish, and his white spots are not as bad as the others were when they died. I picked up an aquarium book yesterday, and there was a section in it regarding salt dips for fish that had some of the issues mine have had. We did the first one last night, and I'll do a few more today, in an effort to save this last fish. My daughter is not going to allow me to euthanize it, I can tell you that right now...

So for now I'll try to get the remaining fish better. In the meantime, if anybody can tell me whether or not I would need to dump all my water before adding new fish, I'd appreciate it. The guy at the aquarium store said the issue is isolated to the fish and that I would not need to dump the water...but I'd like confirmation.

Thanks again all.

Andy
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Old 01-05-2011, 07:22 AM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asaj View Post
That does help, thank you. So, is it safe to assume, that the water in my tank is okay to add new fish to then? My main concern is that if the previous fish had some sort of bacteria/fungus and died, does that issue remain in the water? Or, is it isolated to the fish?

We do still have the one remaining fish, and his white spots are not as bad as the others were when they died. I picked up an aquarium book yesterday, and there was a section in it regarding salt dips for fish that had some of the issues mine have had. We did the first one last night, and I'll do a few more today, in an effort to save this last fish. My daughter is not going to allow me to euthanize it, I can tell you that right now...

So for now I'll try to get the remaining fish better. In the meantime, if anybody can tell me whether or not I would need to dump all my water before adding new fish, I'd appreciate it. The guy at the aquarium store said the issue is isolated to the fish and that I would not need to dump the water...but I'd like confirmation.

Thanks again all.

Andy
I would drain the water,There is little benefit to saving it. Most parasites and bacterial pathogens have trouble surviving for more than a week without host fish to infect (feed on).
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Old 01-05-2011, 09:12 AM   #7
 
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+1 to 1077, but I've had excellent experience with melafix and pimafix used together. Most 'drugs' will negatively affect a cycle, but those two won't.

Of course, they're not powerful drugs. If the fish with white spots is active and eating, I'd try to save him (since the drugs are cheap and last forever), and if he's not eating, let it play out. As disturbing as it is, if you leave the dead fish in the tank, it's an excellent source of ammonia. After ammonia and nitrite spike and disappear, remove the fish, do a 80% water change, and add fish. This way you won't have to worry about losing any more fish.

If you insist on a fish-in cycle, after the danio dies, change the water,and I'd go with a single male guppy. They don't require a group, are about the cheapest fish you can buy, and are VERY durable fish.

As for the water-
while most fish diseases will die off without a host, if ammonia and nitrite are 0 there's no benefit to keeping the water. Might as well change it.

On another note- do you use strips or a liquid test kit?
The strips can easily be old (or inaccurate by flawed design) and are generally viewed by experts to be about as accurate as looking at the water and guessing the parameters. If you can invest in the API master test kit ($48), it will last a VERY long time.
I use the tetra Laborette kit ($25), but when everything runs out I'm going to get the API one.
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Old 01-05-2011, 10:54 AM   #8
 
Well, the last fish is still alive. So I guess I'll just keep doing the salt dips to try and keep him alive. As long as he's alive, I'll leave the water as is and just hope to get an ammonia spike. If he dies, and I still don't have any movement on the ammonia, I'll drain the water. The fish seems to be swimming around okay and everything, but he hasn't eaten in a couple days, maybe from the stress? I just crush a flake up about 3x a day, to see if he'll eat. If he doesn't it goes to the bottom and I guess it's decomposition will spawn some ammonia, is that correct?

Either way, sounds like the test kit is a good investment, I'm just using strips right now.

I'll post updates, thanks again all. I feel better if I at least have a plan...we've been feeling kind of lost over the past few days.

Andy
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Old 01-05-2011, 07:22 PM   #9
 
Okay...the last fish died today...

I am leaning towards draining the entire tank and starting totally from scratch. If we do that, is there any need to rinse the gravel and decorations? Do I need to be concerned about whatever those fish had, being on the gravel and decorations? Or will draining and refilling with fresh water take care of any issues?

Thanks,
Andy
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:50 AM   #10
 
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Were it me,, I would drain the tank,remove decor and give it a good rinse with mild solution of bleach/water and let dry completely. Would also replace cartridges in penguin filter with new cartridges and begin again with three or four small hardy fish as mentioned earlier, paying close attention to feeding as described should you choose to use fish.
Feeding fishes more than once every other day or two will in all likelyhood result in the need for daily 50 percent water changes should you wish for the fishes to survive.
Once the tank has matured,cycled, then you can offer food once or twice each day but until then (three to four weeks,) feeding as desribed will help keep toxic ammonia,and nitrites from killing the fish.
Test kit will allow you to monitor the levels of ammonia ,and nitrites and the need for water changes or not.

Last edited by 1077; 01-06-2011 at 01:00 AM..
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