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LivinNandbyHim 03-02-2010 09:59 AM

1st time w/ 29 g tank; 1 week old; 14 fish; things are NOT GOOD!!
Last tuesday, (today is tuesday a week later) set up a 29 gal tank bought from friend; well kept tank before. It had been sitting in corner of my lr for year and half. Used tap water. Dechlorinator. Rinsed everything. Power filter. Air bubbler. Heater that seems to be too hot and is off. Next day (wed. Rarranged plastic plants got cloudy water stayed cloudy til 15% water change on fri.) water clear and temp pretty stable at 74 with hood light and house temp by sunday. Bought 3 fish : 2 black skirts; and gold gourami. Been trying to read and learn, so plan was to have these 3 for couple weeks or so and see.... Well, exuberant family member unexpectedly brought me 11 fish same day; so ended up with 14 fish put in tank that afternoon. (11: 3 rosey barbs, 2 tiger barbs, 2 mollies, 2 angelfish, 2 small whites that look like tetras or barbs). By sunday night, ick on 2 fish. Angels not doing well. Different fish nipping each other. Tiger barb can't keep its tail horizontal. Cloudy water. Bought ammonia tester and used tank buddies tabs for ick and ammonia decreaser. By monday angelfish dead and other barely moving. Ick still there. Barb still struggling. Water still cloudy. Did 7 gall. Water change. Fed fish monday night. By this morning, tues. One week. Water ammonia tester says safe. Water clearer. Ick still there and barb and angel not doing well. Barbs zipping around looking great. Uncertain about rest of fish, look ok. Not as good as barbs. >>>>> bad start. Feel terrible. Can this be salvaged?? Steps.... Sorry to be so long.

Oldfishlady 03-02-2010 10:46 AM

It sounds like the tank has not cycled yet, do you understand the nitrogen cycle, if you can get a master test kit that test for: ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, this will help you in this process.
The numbers you want to see are: ammonia 0ppm, nitrite 0ppm, nitrate 5-10ppm, pH varies, you just want it stable.
You want to make water changes anytime you have readings of: ammonia and nitrite 0.25ppm and higher, nitrate 30ppm and higher

Start making 50% water changes daily or if you can test the water make water changes with reading of ammonia/nitrite 0.25ppm and above, however, only vacuum the substrate 1 time a week, it can take 4-8 weeks to cycle.

The good bacteria needed to cycle the tank are sticky and adhere to everything in the the walls, decorations, plants both real and fake, they are in the top layer of the substrate and in the filter media, very little is in the water column itself so water changes will not hurt the cycling process.

Only swish the filter media in removed tank water when you make a water change and only if the flow has slowed.

If on city water supply use a good dechlorinator with any new water added to the tank and make sure the water temp is within a couple of degrees from old and new water when you make water changes.

The ich is a common problem when fish are stressed from being moved/added and poor water quality especially in a cycling tank. I treat this parasite by following the life cycle of the parasite, you can't kill it while it is on the fish without killing the fish, you have to make it fall off, raising the temp to 86F will help by speeding their life cycle so you can manually remove them from the tank with water changes/vacuuming. Aquarium salt 1tsp/gal can help kill the parasite as well, however, some of your species are sensitive to salt, so you may not want to use it. There are over the counter (OTC) meds, but I rarely if ever use chemical or medications as they seem to stress the fish more than the problem I am treating, but I have heard they do work.

Your stocking, some of your fish are schooling fish and when kept in a proper school of at least 6 of the same species, they are less stressed and tend to do better, not saying that they will drop dead if not kept in proper schools, the won't, just saying that they will be less stressed and stay healthier and you will see more natural behaviors. Tiger barbs especially will do better in larger group and it will help keep their fin nipping of other fish fin down too as they will keep that behavior among themselves.
At this point I would not add anymore fish until you are cycled and the ich has cleared, also I would QT any new fish for at least 3-4 weeks before adding them to your display tank.

Welcome to this awesome hobby and it will get easier, I can only speak for myself, but I too had this same problem when I first started this hobby and back then (30 years ago) we didn't have computers let alone the

JohnnyD44 03-02-2010 11:41 AM

great post and advice from oldfishlady....

hinesite, shoulda done some research before diving in....always helps...and can save some lives. That being said

+1 on just about everything....

I would wait until your tank ready for almost daily water changes, as its the only route to take, unless you want to plant you need to keep ammonia at zero, along with nitrites.

Read up on this: it should help in understand what needs to happen for your fish to survive...

once your tank is cycled (4 to 8 weeks) then, and only then, would i up the number of fish to keep them at their shoaling levels...

PaperclipGirl 03-02-2010 11:18 PM

Don't feel bad. I did the same thing with a 14g tank - just be prepared for a lot of water changes and even more patience. It will get there eventually.

Austin 03-02-2010 11:39 PM

Your tank didn't finish cycling yet.

If I was in this situation, here's a few things you can do...

I'd personally go out to the pet store and buy a huge chunk of hornwort. Along with a plant light bulb if you do not have one (GE T12 or T8 daylight 6500k-6700k 7$ for the bulb at walmart that fit my 29g perfectly...)

The reason I mention plants is that plants normally make it so that you don't have to cycle a tank if you have enough. Hornwort is common and I believe it uses lots of nutrients quick - nutrients = ammonia and such that your fish are producing that are toxic to the fish. Plants work quick to use the ammonia and it will help you keep ammonia levels down. When the tank is finished cycling after a few weeks you can trash it if you wish.

I'm not quite sure why people don't recommend live plants when new people come on the forum who didn't know about cycling tanks and so they didn't do it.

I'm sure there's a reason...? Not to hijack your thread, but if anyone can tell me why I'm curious. Light bulbs are usually cheap and so is a chunk of something like hornwort.

That's one recommendation that I see a possible solution to your problem in. If some other people come and tell me I am wrong, don't use this method.

The other repliers were absolutely right, change 50% of the water daily for a few weeks and buy a liquid test kit for ammonia and nitrite and nitrate.

Myself personally for ich I do not like the temperature raising method. Keep the temperature what it is (if you decide to follow my advice), and buy QuICK cure or something to cure ich. (QuICK Cure is about 3$ at walmart.) Add half the dosage (14 drops) to your tank since you have tetras. Note: It might stain the silicone holding the glass together. :S It doesn't look bad though... Just gives it a tink of blue. There's some medicines which might not be dye based but probably more expensive if you wish to buy those. Ich, if not an outbreak, can be fought off by fish if they are not stressed without medication.

The ammonia from the uncycled tank is going to stress the fish. The filter I use in my tank can hold 2 cartridges if I want. If you know anyone who might have a spare cartridge that might help. ;) Or a friend who has an aquarium who can give you a little filter media.

As you can see I like to babble idk if any of this made sense. Hope you got something from it.

Don't trust the fish store employees btw, ask here if you need to, we'll be happy to help and give you FACTUAL advice.

iamntbatman 03-03-2010 04:26 AM

Welcome to TFK! Lots of good advice given so far.

Austin, the main reason I don't recommend plants to new people with cycling issues is basically because, if you're unfamiliar with the aquarium cycle, you're likely new to the hobby and didn't do tons of research before buying whatever equipment you might have. Usually the "stock" lights that come with a tank aren't very good (they usually need at least bulb upgrades) so adding plants and getting lights that will actually allow them to grow is just sort of another level of hassle beyond dealing with escalated ammonia levels and sick/dying fish.

So, to the OP: yes, plants can and do use ammonia and a lot of them can use so much of it that you don't ever really see it spike. However, this does require the plants themselves and a decent enough light to grow them. If you want to try that you certainly can but in the meantime I would suggest a couple of other things: do large, frequent water changes, monitor ammonia levels and do more water changes whenever ammonia gets above 0.5ppm, get that heater working and get your tank up to at least 76*F.

Once things start getting settled, you should start reconsidering your fish stocking. As was pointed out you might have some issues with your stocking, especially with schooling fish that need more members in their school.

LivinNandbyHim 03-03-2010 01:00 PM

hornwort, stocking, head stands
Couple of things:

at this point, only choice I have found at stores is test strips. may have to go to next larger city to find test tube kits / liquid kits. Shows: nitrates at 20 nitrites at 0 hardness (GH) very hard 300
alkalinity (KH) 300 high and ph 8.4 ammonia 0.5

hornwort, this plant can be bought and left floating or stuck in the gravels?? don't have any other substrate.

"Once things start getting settled, you should start reconsidering your fish stocking. As was pointed out you might have some issues with your stocking, especially with schooling fish that need more members in their school.[/quote]"

^ fish stocking... adding , removing, or just later getting schooling numbers??? I only chose my own self 3 of the fish I have which were recommended to me by the lady at the local fish store skirts and gourami. the others were "gifts".

besides hornwort, would snails or something be of any assistance for keeping the bottom clean of debris???

one tiger barb still struggling with head stands. is he / she salvageable??

You guys are so awesome!! thanks for your mercy and your great advice!!!!!:-)

Austin 03-03-2010 03:35 PM

UGGGG FML. I typed out like a whole report and then I accidentally clicked a favorite on Firefox... deleted my whole friggen reply.

I'll try to remember what I said. 0.5 ammonia is quite high. I'm suprised you have nitrates and not nitrites. Nitrates are the end product of the cycle the beneficial bacteria goes to convert ammonia to nitrite to nitrate. Either your test strips gave you inaccurate results, the beneficial bacteria colony is growing slowly in your tank (would be good), or your tap water has some in it.

That PH looks kinda of high for tetras and [I think] angelfish. I know nothing about barbs so not sure about them. Mollies like the higher PH.Don't know too mucha bout gouramis either. :X

Hornwort can float, but as iamntbatman said, it might be more of a hassle for you since you are new to fish aquariums. If you don't have proper lighting and nutrients (though I'm sure you'd be fine for a while on the nutrients level), then the plants will die and decompose creating more waste.

Not only hornwort will work, a lot of quick growing plants would work as well. Plants that you see bunch of cuttings at the store are all probably floatable and quick growing if you wish to go this method. I just think hornwort is very quick at absorbing nutrients (ammonia/etc) from the water column so I thought that would be very helpful.

Also, I didn't realize before but some of your fish ARE schooling fish. The tetras I know are, and the barbs I think are somewhat too (I have never kept barbs though). You'd need at least 5 fish in a school for them to be happy and limit stress for them. Don't buy more fish now though. Either take the fish back or wait until the tank is cycled... and if they are still alive buy a few more to add to their school.

Snails do totally different things than plants. It will clean up excess debris on the bottom, but I don't think would likely eat much that the fish wouldn't eat off the bottom. Snails won't eat poop just like the fish. Mollies are little pigs so they'd probably consume everything off the bottom before the snails got it. Shrimp are good cleaners too. Before you get snails/shrimp I'd let your tank finish cycling, since I believe invertebrates are not as hardy as fish.

If your fish is doing headstands... I have no clue if you can save it. But, I'm pretty sure once they are at this point they are too far gone.

By the way, the angelfish and tetras are not the hardiest fish to be going through this type of thing, though I hope you can manage to save them. Lots of water changes will give you the best chance.

bex101 03-03-2010 07:03 PM

Try adding Stability by Seachem. I used it to start my tank and all readings have stayed at zero. Also, you might want to post pictures of the ich.. I know if it's ich you can actually treat with salt and high temps, which i tryed at first, but then realized I was dealing with velvet. Also, watch the tiger barbs. I had them yrs ago and swore never again. They tend to pick on each other and other fish.

LivinNandbyHim 03-03-2010 10:24 PM

So sad. both angels dead and both tiger barbs doing head stands. took them out too. I think rest doing ok.

black mollie had definite white spots , but today no spots noted. did 10 gallon water change with dechlorinator; stress zyme; and ph adjuster. getting aggravated trying to match these test strips to the results. my eyes are not making the match!! (venting, venting, venting, venting, venting, venting, ahhhhhhrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!) sorry; just broken hearted that things have turned out like this and poor little fish suffering.

I think we would have been ok if my beloved family member had not been so generous with their gift of 11 fish.

letting go and looking ahead::::: have been advised to raise water temp to 80 - 85 *. and continue treatments with ick med. and do daily water changes about 25%. to remove carbon filter.

worry ::: will fish tolerate high temps? and won't removing the carbon filter be detrimental to tank??? ((would I just throw it away??))

someone said ick can be treated with high temps and salt. SALT????

I do have a lot of questions and it seems that there is so much varyig and sometimes vague information out there that it's hard for me to make a plan or know what to do. never realized fish keeping could be so stressful.

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