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LizD 09-01-2012 06:30 AM

New Tank, two diseases, 6 fish left
Having some issues with a new tank and hoping you all can help!

A little background:
I have a 55 gallon tank that was cycled for over a month before fish were added. Start Zyme and Start Rite as well as a dechlorinater were added. Filter is a Marineland BioWheel 350. Marineland PowerHead is turned on a few hours a day, fish seem to enjoy the current. No live plants. Submersible heater. Light is 12hrs on, 12 hours off, natural light filtered in during the day.

9 fish were originally purchased from Petsmart 2 weeks ago today and put in the tank. 3 sunburst platies, 2 dalmatian mollies, 2 plecos, 2 dwarf gouramis. Fish are being fed Tropical Fish flakes, algae pellets and bottom feeder pellets from API. Water parameters have been tested every other day since the addition of fish and have consistently remained the same.

Ammonia- 0
Nitrite/Nitrate- 0
Hardiness- 75
Chlorine- 0
Alkalinity- 80 moderate
PH- 6.8-7.2

On day 4, I had one platie and my dalmatian molly die. No signs of illness, both very active. Brought them both in to the store, received an exchange for another platie and another dwarf gourami. Water parameters tested = OK.

Day 2 of new additions and the new dwarf gourami starts acting weird, sitting at bottom of tank. Day 4: Dead. One pleco is discovered underneath tree branch, covered in fuzzy substance. Brought back to Petsmart, refund received, no new fish added.

3 days later, one of my original gouramis starts getting white cottony substance around mouth. Next day, he's staying at top of tank, flittering across top of water sucking up air. He is still alive. Go to Petsmart, bring the fish, they tell me its Velvet and to treat the tank for that. I do my own research amongst forums and figure out its cottonmouth. Went back to Petsmart, they tell me to treat it as a fungus, even though I've gotten contradicting information to treat it is a bacteria. To stay safe, I buy Pimafix and Melafix and begin treating the tank for both. Carbon filter taken out, 25% water change done, and this will be day 6 of treatment.

The dalmatian molly for the past 2 days has been acting a touch weird, swimming as if his tail is paralyzed, it hangs down at a weird angle and isn't as active as he usually is.
Last night I notice my Pleco, dalmatian molly and one platy have small white spots on them . Ich! I've read multiple treatment ideas, I have upped my temperature from an average 77 to 80 degrees, and marine salt had previously been introduced into the tank and I have added more. Water parameters tested, still the same as before, all perfect numbers.


Should I stop treating with Pimafix/Melafix since none of my fish are displaying any symptoms (there are technically 2 days left in the recommended treatment). Should I begin medicating for Ich? If this is the case, should I do a water change before I treat and then do daily changes? The pet store has Rid-Ich but are there any other recommended medications/actions to take? I'm down to 6 fish in the tank (3 platies, 1 pleco, 1 dwarf gourami, 1 molly) and would love not to lose any more. Please help!

This is my first go at a tank and I am trying to do this right!

Side note: I am told from a Petsmart employee that the week I purchased my fish, the filtration system in the store went down and they had a bunch of fish die as well. As of 5 days ago, the part was still not fixed. I purchased fish 3 times in that time period before I knew the situation they were having. No new fish have been added.

Tazman 09-01-2012 11:04 AM

There is something not right here, with no plants there should be a Nitrate reading.

Do you have a test kit and if so liquid or strips?

Start ICH treatment IMMEDIATELY, ich can quickly wipe out a tank out if not treated. Slowly raise the temperature to above 84F, this will quicken the ich lifecycle.

Start a treatment with salt, add 1 teaspoon full of salt per gallon of water SLOWLY over 12 hours. (Dissolve the salt in aquarium water before adding it)

You will need to perform DAILY without exception water changes and vacuum the tank (VERY IMPORTANT), this will remove any cysts that have fallen off the fish and prevent them from spreading further.

It is is important to keep track of how much water you remove from the tank during partial water changes, you will need to add salt back in relation to how much water you removed, so if you removed 10g, you would add 30 teaspoons of salt slowly over 12 hours.

Keep the treatment going until all the cysts have dropped off the fish and then for at least a week after you notice no signs on the fish.

I cannot stress enough the need to keep the water extremely clean while you do the treatment, any downgrade in water quality will have a serious effect on the already weakened fish.

Best of luck and keep us posted as to how things progress.

LizD 09-01-2012 11:38 AM

I test with 6-1 test strips but I went out and bought a new batch this morning because you're right, it is weird that my nitrites have been 0 ever since adding the fish. I tested again recently and while all other levels remained the same, Nitrites changed and went up to 1.0

Thank you for your advice. When I get off of work, I am going straight to the pet store, buying Rid-Ich, do about a 50% water change and then begin treatment. The aquarium already has the marine salt added but I was told to just drop solid crystals in vs. dissolving it first, so I will do the dissolving salt this time around. The carbon is still out of the filter from when I was doing the Pima/Melafix treatments, so I assume I need to keep it out until the Ich treatment is complete?

Should I keep the power head on at all times to increase the oxygen flow/water disturbance? Or would the addition of an air stone or something similar be more effective?

I will up the temperature another 2 degrees or so, slowly, hoping it won't stress out the fish anymore than they may already be, especially with frequent water changes ahead.

Any recommendations on doing salt baths for the fish?

Thank you again!

Tazman 09-01-2012 09:28 PM

If you can get a API Liquid test kit, they are far more reliable than the test strips. They usually go for about $20, sometimes more depending on where you live.

Yes, keep the carbon out until the treatment is complete, not totally necessary but will help.

Yes, keep the powerhead on, it will help to keep the water circulated and aid the process.

I would not recommend salt baths for the fish, the treatment you are doing is basically a full tank version of that anyway. The salt will kill the ich and with the increased temperature it will definitely help. I would also not be worried about the increased temperature, unless your fish require anything under 70F they will be fine. Try to cut down on feeding as well, the less chance the water has to get dirty the better.

Follow the DAILY water changes and salt treatment and you will ich free in about a week - 10 days hopefully :-)

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