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SubAtomicScope 08-04-2009 02:06 PM

What is going on???
I'm confused. I am running a new 20 gal freshwater tank which I guess I MIGHT have overstocked a little but I am not sure. I cycled the tank for a few days as required, then introduced the fish. 18 Guppies, 10 Platies, 1 Lonely Molly and 3 angels. Anyway, that is not what I am confused about...
I have been having a problem with slighlty milky water and having problems clearing it. I have been doing 1/3 water changes every 2 to 3 days, but no matter what I do I have been having AT LEAST 3 -4 Guppies a day die. I tried a FULL water change this morning and removed the Side Internal filter and replaced it with 2 standard Undergravel filters (going back to the basics). I have also removed all the decorations from the tank. The water seems to be clearing but for some reason the Guppies are still dying. They seem to experience a little decay on the fins which I thought at first might be fin rot, but none of the other fish in the tank seem effected at all. ONLY THE GUPPIES. The strangest thing of all is that the guppies LIPS (if you can call them that) have ALL turned a black color. The Molly , Angels and Platies dont seem effected at all.
We have a serious lack of decent Pet Stores here in the Middle East and I am having a heck of a time finding any water testing kits, but MIGHT have found 1 about 2 hours drive from here. Maybe will go tommorrow. The only pH testing things that I have been able to get are the little pH paper test strips which show a pH in the tank of 6.0 - 7.0.

In roughly 4 days I now have about 5 guppies left and even they are not looking very good. I have moved them all over to a quarintine tank but I think it is too little too late, but as I said, the other fish are still swimming around happily.

Any Idea's?

Herky 08-04-2009 02:31 PM

If it was only set up for a few days, and without fish, or doing a fishless tank was never cycled. You put an insane bio load on the tank by putting that many fish in it at once. Doing a full water change will have restarted or severely hindered any cycle you may have gotten started. Discoloration can occur from many things...and I can't say you have made a good choice with going to a purely undergravel filtration system.

SubAtomicScope 08-04-2009 02:48 PM

Ouch, that cut me deep Shrek, but at least your honest, Thank you, I appreciate that. Do you recommend that I put the Internal filter back in? Maybe with the guppies out the main tank that is the reason it is clearing up now, less load on the tank...makes sense. Hopefully the tank will settle now. What do I do about the seperated guppies that are now sick?
I thought that what I was doing was cycling the tank...I know that this is a real beginner question that probably should be on another thread, but how then do I cycle the tank properly?
Thanks again for you prompt response Herky.

artgalnj 08-04-2009 05:36 PM Herky stated, that's alot of fish for a 20g tank, not to mention a non cycled 20g. If you're new to the hobby, you really need to buy some test kits (dropper test kits are more accurate than strip test kits IMHO). Check your ammonia and nitrite levels. Those results will tell you alot about the condition of your tank. If possible at least check ammonia, nitrite, ph and nitrate.

As far as the film on top, I had an oily film on my 75g tank a day after I set it up (I have a canister filter). I put a small filter onto the back of my tank and the film cleared up within 24 hours. The only thing I can think of was that there wasn't enough surface aggitation.

SubAtomicScope 08-05-2009 02:03 AM

Things seemed to have settled down now, although this morning I now only have 2 Guppies left...
I have put the internal filter back and things seem to be doing OK...for now...
Its funny, I have never seen myself as a beginner to Aquariums....In the past I have had a 50 Gal tank running without any problems at all...maybe it was just luck. My overnight learning curve about things like the Nitrogen Cyle has been very steep indeed...:-?
Testing kits are another thing ala together. There just does ot seem to be ANY kits anywhere. I am working a contract in the Middle East at the moment and find that animals are VERY easy to come by, but accessories are near impossible...guess I will keep looking in the meantime.
Thats to all of you for your help, it is much appreciated.

artgalnj 08-05-2009 06:02 AM

I'm sorry to hear that you only have 2 guppies left. Smaller tanks can be more difficult to start and maintain. 2 to 4 smaller fish should help your tank to start cycling better than alot of fish and try to keep your water changes to partial water changes as opposed to very large water changes. I'm sure if you've researched Tank Cycling online, you have found alot of useful information. Good luck and remember slow and steady is best.

SubAtomicScope 08-05-2009 10:31 PM

I have indeed been doing a LOT of research since my initial screw up regrding Cycling...seem to be well on my way now...thanks to everybody for you assistance...oh, BTW...only 1 lonely guppy survived...out of about 18...I feel so bad...:cry:

SubAtomicScope 08-14-2009 10:11 PM

I have FINALLY managed to get a water testing kit...YAY...and I must admit, I think I have managed to cycle the tank without it...what do you think?

I still have my original fish in the tank, minus the few thank unfortunaley passed on...I have been doing water changes everyday which has proved to be a real pain, but I finally managed to test the water yesterday and my Ammonia and Nitrite levels are both at 0. Thats good, right? I must still check the Nitrates though. The water is crystal clear and the fish seem, what do you the tank cycled...Please say yes...please...:-D

jeaninel 08-14-2009 10:41 PM

Test your water everyday but do not do daily water changes unless ammonia or nitrites show up. If your ammonia and nitrites stay at 0 for a full week and you have some reading for nitrates then your tank is cycled. Then you can just do weekly partial water changes of 25-40% or so. Add fish slowly, only 2-3 at a time with a couple weeks in between additions.

Twistersmom 08-14-2009 10:45 PM

Zero ammonia and zero nitrites, sure sounds good.
I have not been able to cycle a tank in less than three weeks, without seeding. How long has this tank been set up?
Great job on all those water changes and seeing the other fish through! Angle fish are said not to be good cycle fish, so I am sure you have had wet hands a lot lately!

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