OK, all my fish died of Ick. Now what?
OK, so I still have one fish hanging on, but I really don't think that she is going to survive. I have lost five guppies to what I think is ick. My question to you is how do I get the tank cleaned out so when I restock the tank the new fish won't get sick?
Also I need to ask if I should think about trying a different kind of fish other than guppies, this is my second time at trying to stock guppies, I had them as a kid and loved to see all the babies, but I just can't seem to keep them alive. Are they a particularly weak fish? The water in my area is very alkaline, around 8.3. The water is also very hard, we do use water soften and it doesn't seem to make that much different. This is a ten gallon tank so I can't try Mollies.
If all the fish are dead, add aquarium salt to the water, turn up the temp to around 85 F, and wait two weeks.
That should kill all the remaining ick.
Guppies are one of the most hardy species of freshwater fish.
The guppy fish itself is hardy, but sadly the fish now being sold are anything but. One can read many articles on the poor health of this fish, due to inbreeding over decades.
If you are sure this is ich, raising the temperature in the tank with no fish present, and in this case salt can be used, will deal with it over two weeks as mentioned. But if there is any doubt that this was ich, you should try to pin down what it might have been.
Do you know the GH (general hardness) of the tap water prior to the soften, and the GH after? This is not likely to have made much difference in this case, as the guppy itself is versatile with water, but it could be an issue with other species. And, softeners frequently add sodium-based salts to the water to remove the calcium and magnesium salts, and this can just as bad to some fish, though again the livebearers should not be that adversely affected. But before new fish are acquired, it would be a good idea to sort this issue out.
I would suggest that you should never, ever use softened water created by sodium water softeners. You might reduce your waters hardness by mixing say 50/50 with RO, DI, RO/DI, Distilled or clean rain water/melted snow. For DI water, consider an API Tap Water Filter.
As Byron points out, live bearers do just fine in hard water. To reduce alkalinity, use something like Seachem Neutral Regulator, but adjusting pH with any product can be tricky and must be done very gradually - fish can handle a very wide range of pH, but have low tolerances for rapid changes in pH.
Also, for new fish, make sure you properly acclimate the fish to your water chemistry. Empty the fish bag into a bucket, that's inside a larger bucket. Create a siphon drip from your tank to the bucket the fish are in using some air line tubing. Control the drip with a single knot in the tubing - tighter the knot, slower the drip. You want a drip or two per second to slowly acclimate the fish. Continue the drip for 30 minutes to an hour. Near the end you can increase the drip. Then net and transfer the fish to your tank - discard the water in the bucket(s) and top off your tank if necessary with fresh, treated water.
Hang in there. If you do a tear down, make sure to cycle properly. Add plants, even floating. Use a good water conditioner and a bottled bio-seed and add fish slowly over time.
Good luck - keep us posted.
Thank you for all your posts. My last guppy is still handing on and (knock on wood) is still looking ok. She looks like she is getting stressed from being the only one in there but she is still eating and is swimming around more today.
When I checked in on her this morning I saw that the snail hadn't moved since yesterday. So I picked it up to move it to another spot and the fleshy part slid out of the shell. When I took both part of the snail out I noticed a very strong, nasty smell to it. The fish got sick after I added this snail to the tank, is it possible that the snail had anything to do with the fish getting sick?
Ich would show as small white spots on the fish, usually most obvious on the clear fins.
The first ones to die had the white specks on them, but the last two that died didn't, they lost their color and seemed to have small lesions all over their bodies, they also were breathing very rapidly and their fins deteriorated. I did a 50% water change this morning and planned to do another tomorrow night. I'm still going to give the tank a couple of weeks before I add more fish just to make sure that whatever happened in my tank doesn't happen to the new bunch.
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