Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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se0naid 02-03-2009 05:39 PM

Newbie requires help...(probably lots of it.)
Hi everyone,
I am really new to this, but recently bought a tank from a friend (20 gallon), when she upgraded hers. She supplied it with the filter and the heater that she used. We purposely didn't clean the filter before transporting just to help when I set the tank back up. She gave me some of her sailfin mollies from her tank, 1 - 3 inches long and 4 babies just under an inch with 2 other babies smaller.

I added water conditioner, aquarium salt, stress coat and a live bateria to improve the filter. That was 3 weeks ago. The tank looked really bare so I spoke to my LFS and asked advice about getting some new fish, they said because I had used the original filter that the tank would be fine, that all the bacteria levels would be ok by now. They suggested 4 smallish sunset platys, 3 small red platys and 6 large neon tetras.

The fish all looked healthy in their tanks. I stupidly never quarantined any of the fish, (lesson learned). After 2 days I noticed what looked like Ich on my tetras, but not on any of my other fish so I began treating them for this. All that happened was 3 of my tetras lost their colour and died, then the other lost their colour too. I removed them from my tank and they proceeded to die, but thats not my problem now.

One of my red platys became very listless 3 days ago and is hiding among the plants in the corner of my tank. I noticed yesterday that she has a white patch at her tail just before her tail fin and her fins underneath have became white around the edges. Her fin on her back is down.

Today 1 of my male sunset platys is exactly the same, same listlessness, same with his fins.

I've read every fish condition website I can find and apart from being really confused about what it is, I have no idea what to do next, no sure if I trust the guy in shop is looking out for my or my fishes best interest. I have been doing partial water changes every second day about 15%. The temp of the tank is 78, when the light is on, and drops a degree or 2 when the light is off.

Please help!!

Thanks Seonaid

P.S. Can i just say that it hasn't stopped them getting jiggy if you know what I mean. :roll:

steelerfan 02-03-2009 07:24 PM

Sounds like your LFS had you add too many fish at once. Even if you have an established filter, the system is only housing the bacteria necessary to accomodate the fish in the tank. When you add too many, the bacteria cannot keep up with the increased waste production and ammonia and nitrites build up. Listlessness and clamped fins are classic signs of ammonia/nitrite poisoning. I would begin doing 50% water changes at least once a day and test for ammonia and nitrite often, do water changes if there's more than just a little of either. Hopefully your stock is hardy enough to make it, it will probably take a good 10-14 days (maybe more) to get bacteria built up to the point it can process the load present. You can buy stuff like ammo-lock to get the ammonia out, but I think it makes more problems than it's worth. BioSpira is a good product for jump starting bacteria, might be a good way to go. For future reference, I wouldn't add much more than 6 fish at a time to a 20G tank, and wait 2 weeks before adding more.
As far as the ich goes, stress, such as being moved and/or the water issues can bring a gill-dwelling dormant ich to life, so to speak. Unfortunately, neons and any tetra really, are very sensitive to ich AND its treatments. Might not be much hope for them, cross your fingers!! You have no choice cuz without treatment ich will claim everything in there, it has happened to me!!HTH and good luck!! Things will improve, hang in there!

steelerfan 02-03-2009 08:48 PM

got to looking at that and it seems a little doom and gloom.....sorry, it's not that bad. See if can get stuff called Pro-Form C, it's a lot easier on fish like neons. It will help. Also try slowly increasing the temp to arund 86 degrees, ich has a real tough time with those temps. The platys will be mad about it but they'll be fine. HTH!!

willow 02-04-2009 02:37 PM

sorry you are having a hard time of this.
i am wondering about the temperature of your tank,you say the temp drops when
you turn the light off ?
do you have a heater in there ?

aquakid 02-04-2009 02:51 PM

you should reset your tank but clean everything with an alohol solution

se0naid 02-04-2009 04:28 PM

Thanks folks.

How about this, this is the advice I got from my LFS. He suggested Meth Blue. No sure what that'll do apart from be hard on my plants and filter.... or am I missing something?

willow 02-05-2009 04:12 PM

have you tested the water ?
the best kit is the API water test kit,as the stripes you get are not reliable.
the platy with the clamped fins,is probably suffering due to the water conditions.
the meth blue i don't know about,another member would have to conferm
if it would be of use to you or not.

se0naid 02-05-2009 05:58 PM


I've tested the water again today. Ammonia is almost zero, nitrite is slightly higher than it should be. My PH seems to want to keep climbing. It was at 8/9 yesterday, I did a 30% water change yesterday, tested it again today it's still at 8, did another 30% water change today still at 8. I have 2 ocean rocks, they aren't coral, but are quite porous. I'm beginning to wonder if they are the cause. Going to check the water again tomorrow, if the PH is still high going to remove the rocks. I've dropped the temp of my tank by a degree to see if that helps. I've removed any plant material that is loose or looks like it isn't its best.

Trying by process of elimination now

KrisRogers 02-05-2009 08:48 PM

Please get the ocean rocks out it'll mess with the ph. Your fish are fresh water.

Link to another forum answering ocean rock question.
Beach Rocks for Freshwater Aquarium?

With ick keep the temp at 86 fahrenheit . have you added a little salt to the water? Sodium chloride (NaCl) “Aquarium salt”

heres a link about ick and treating it

PS. . Keep up the water changes and good luck

sorry if i repeated anything just trying to help

se0naid 02-06-2009 01:09 PM

Thanx Kris,

Will take them out the tank. Read that page you gave me the link too. Loads of info.

Fish are looking a bit happier today, just a little bit... fingers are crossed.


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