Whats this whitish dust in new 55? oh yeah, all fish dead too - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 7 Old 08-27-2009, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Whats this whitish dust in new 55? oh yeah, all fish dead too

the darnedest thing happened when I put my fish in my new 55. all the fish died. Ive since been reading alot aout cycling, and have changed water 20% added bacteria, tested for ammonia, and saw some first day after the fix, but gone the next day. but I have the oddest VERY fine white dust clinging to the plants, rocks ornamentals and gravel, and of course all through the filter. vaccuumed what I could. running a penguin 350. air wall 16" ph 7.8 tap. I'm spooked about that high ph, and the fish I had were: 4 gouramis (badly misspelled) 6 tiger barbs 2 zebra danios siamese algae eater. plastic plants, and no light setup yet, but good indirect light from living room with skylights. I'm skeered to put some more fish through the meat grinder, but from what i'm reading, I need to have somebody in there to help the tank cycle.my kids and my wife are the ones taking it the hardest though. any ideas any one?
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post #2 of 7 Old 08-27-2009, 09:12 PM
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Hello and welcome to the forum!

Sorry to hear all of your fish passed away. How long did the fish live in the tank, before they started dying?

Did you dechlorinate the water before adding the fish? What color is the gravel? Did you wash the gravel before adding it to the tank? I am thinking the dust might have come off the gravel.

For the fish you had, I do not see the ph as being the problem. My ph is the same.

What water test kit do you have?

I know, lots of questions!
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post #3 of 7 Old 08-28-2009, 08:09 AM
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Did you let the tank cycle completely? The ammonia might have gone away but if the nitrite bacteria haven't grown yet the nitrite spike might have killed them. I am suprised about the zebras though, they are used by some people to cycle. How about water temperature? It should be around 78 degrees and you should let the fish sit in the bag in the aquarium while doing small water changes for at least 30 min before introducing them otherwise they may die of shock. Thats all I have for ya.

btw, I have a ph of around 7.8 and have about 7 different species of fish and 2 frogs doing just fine so I wouldn't worry about that.
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post #4 of 7 Old 08-28-2009, 03:41 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, didn't give them the chance they deserved. washed the pale yellow large curd gravel with a hose outside before building the tank. used a water conditioner that claims to make the water ready instantly. the fish were fine the first 24 hrs. saw disoriented behavior the morning of the second day, started dying the third. all dead ( the danio's last) by the fifth day. but I did use some old fake plants and ornamental statues from a tank I had ten yrs ago. Guessing thats where the dusty stuff is from. but I 'm gonna procede with current regimen of trying to cycle. guess I'll get a couple of danios again and see if they'll live now that I'm not ignoring cycle protocal. gonna take it slow. gonna put some of the wet gravel (from my 10 gal I canabalized to build this one) in a sock in the filter canister. sound right? thanks for your help.
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post #5 of 7 Old 08-28-2009, 04:08 PM
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Sounds like a good plan.

The most important thing when cycling a new tank is to keep the toxins at a safe level.
The API freshwater test kit would be a good one to buy, if you do not have one.
Starting with danios, is a choice. They are more tolerant of nitrites than other fish.

When doing a fish cycle, it can be a lot of work. Lots of water changes. I try to keep both ammonia and nitrites under .25 ppm. Test water at least once a day.

Using what you can off the 10 gal, will help seed the new tanks cycle.

I would start with the danios and not add anymore fish till the tank appears cycled. Zero ammonia and nitrites. This will take a few weeks.

When its time to add new fish, add slowly, only a couple at a time, to give the bacteria a chance to catch up to carry the new load. Test daily after adding new fish.

Good luck! I hope for you and your family it goes better this time. Any more questions, just ask! We are all here to help.
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post #6 of 7 Old 08-29-2009, 04:29 PM
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Previous posts have indicated what occurred, so I'll only add a suggestion. Get a bottle of a biological supplement, I prefer Seachem's "Stability" but Hagen's "Cycle" does the same as does API's "Stress Zyme" and there are a couple of others. "Stability" and some of them are live cultures of bacteria that instantly seed the tank and the bacteria use the ammonia produced by the fish (and then the nitrite, second stage) as food to multiply. This will cycle the tank immediately and prevent fish stress and loss provided you don't add more fish than the bacteria can handle. Put only a few fish in when you add the Stability. In your 55g, half a dozen tiger barbs or zebra danios would be fine. And zebra danios should be kept in a group of minimum 6, they are shoaling fish (as are the barbs) and fare much better (= healthier) in a natural group.

I would not put gouramis in with tiger barbs, they are not compatible. Barbs and danios are fast swimmers, gouramis are slow sedate fish; plus the tendancy of barbs to nip fins of such fish. Sometimes this tendancy is minimal when kept in large groups of 9+, but I wouldn't risk the health of gouramis by combining them with the others.


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 7 Old 08-30-2009, 01:04 AM
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Others have offered very good advice. I would only add that, it is best to feed the fish sparingly during the (cycling) ,or maturing process. A pinch of food every other day,once ,,will help prevent ammonia levels from becoming lethal. Is it possible that too many hands are offering food? If so, the cottony,fuzzy looking stuff could be ,or could have been,decaying food which would cause ammonia levels to rise as the food decays. Best to delegate one person to feed the fish . Have read about familys that each member was unknowingly feeding the fish.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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