Fish Died How Do I Cleanse My Tank For New Additions? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 10 Old 12-02-2010, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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Fish Died How Do I Cleanse My Tank For New Additions?

Ok, specs first - 10g, fully cycled (haven't measured water params in 2 months) - used API Master Test kit when I did.
Freshwater tank - had it 5 months - cycled the tank with one male Betta (now deceased), got hitch hiking Ramshorn snails (7 to 12) - did not quarantine Betta (ignorance) - tank is 78 degrees (heater).
I have a ton of live plants, small gravel substrate - use a Hydro Sponge Filter II, which I squeeze out in a small bucket of tank water monthly - Hardly any natural sunlight gets to the tank, I use a light timer - 6700K 15Watt bulb, 10 hours per day
Last water change about a week ago. Usually change weekly - most it's ever gone is a week and 3 days - I remove approx 4 gallons of water and replace with 4.5 gallons normally. I only vacuum the substrate lightly because I have 5 Sword plants and they feed on the rest - not to mention 5 other plants.
I fed my Betta once a day with Betta pellets - only 3 or 4 pellets each feeding.

He acted listless and just floated near the top of the tank. His color faded and he looked like he was actualling going gray around his mouth and head - not easy-to-see individual white spots like I've seen in pictures of Ich - but a fading whiteness ti his mouth and parts of his head.

He finally ate two pellets and ignored the other ones - when normally he'd be like a dog and eat until he couldn't fit anymore.

I'm assuming my Betta died because I didn't change the water weekly like clock-work and let it go an extra 2 or 3 days twice in a row (it had been clock work 'till then) AND that I only fed him Betta pellets. He seemed happy and he liked them so I figured why spend more money on food.

I was having an average of 2 Ramshorn snails in my tank - then a week or two ago there was a snail explosion and I counted 15 at one point. Maybe that had something to do with it. I never fed him more than 3 or 4 pellets once a day and I skipped about a day per week.

So how do I make sure my tank is suitable for any more fish? Do I have to remove everything and start all over again?

Thanks for any help you can give. This sucks and I'd like to not go through it again if I can help it.
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post #2 of 10 Old 12-02-2010, 06:30 PM
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Have you gotten a water test kit? I would suggest getting one of those and posting up some specs of your water quality. The snail explosion is probably due to the extra food in the water that your betta did not eat.
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post #3 of 10 Old 12-02-2010, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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I have a test kit, as mentioned. API Master kit. There may have been a stray pellet or two in the tank but not enough to sprout and feed 15 snails. At least I don't think so. Testing the water is kind of pointless, isn't it? I haven't even done a water change yet because I don't want to do that if I just have to dump everything and start over. I think I'll turn the heat up to 85 for a few days to kill Ich - if that's what it was - and then change the water - maybe all of it.

Get rid of unecessary overgrown plants - scrub the sides of the tank with my algae sponge. Don't know what else to do.
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post #4 of 10 Old 12-02-2010, 11:11 PM
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Well for starters, never use a betta to cycle a tank. Missing a couple of days from your water changes shouldn't hurt it too bad. You should at least test the waters once a month.
Were your live plants dying off? If they did, and you didn't remove them, it can change the water parameters.
My advice is do some more research.
betta water gives some useful info
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post #5 of 10 Old 12-03-2010, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, I don't know if you're not reading the specs or what. My water was in excellent condition. I stopped testing because - after cycling - no matter how many times I tested or at what intervals - it came up the same - Ammonia - 0, Nitrites - 0, Nitrates - 5. This was my first fish - so I didn't know it was cruel and reduced the lifespan of a fish when you cycle a tank with them in it. I didn't even know what cycling was.

This website helped tremendously. My plants are alive and thriving, if a bit sloppy. I know almost everything I could possibly squeeze into my brain about water conditions for a Betta.

And btw, salt - in most cases - is not good for the fish. I'll have to explore old threads but I had long, involved discussions with another member of this forum about it and he backed up that statement with research and articles. A different member said one of the most important things I remember - even used it as his quote - I'm paraphrasing but - 'The best medicine in your cabinet for a sick fish is . . . . .clean water'.

Thanks for trying to help.
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post #6 of 10 Old 12-03-2010, 03:36 PM Thread Starter
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I need to know what to do about a tank where a fish has died. Can I add more fish if I just change the water and set the temp up to 85 for a few days - - - - - or do I have to dump the whole tank and start over?
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post #7 of 10 Old 12-03-2010, 03:59 PM
It is hard to say why your Betta died, it could have been old age, sick when you got him etc.....they don't have that long of a life anyway especially some that have spent a long time on a store shelf without proper care and feeding.......however, I don't think it was from cycling the tank or a couple of missed water changes especially in a heavy planted tank with a low bioload....that said.....I would make a good water change, lower your temp to 78-80F, check your water prams and if everything checks out add another Betta....personally, I wouldn't tear the tank down and if you are getting an over population of snails-bait them and remove....I like snails and my common snails have a job in my heavy planted I do bait and remove on a regular basis...

And very true about the don't need it or want it long term especially with is great for short term treatment used in QT......freshwater fish thrive with fresh water... and the number one medication/treatment IMO/E......
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post #8 of 10 Old 12-03-2010, 06:35 PM
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From what I've read, the main thing that needs you to strip down the tank (or even get rid of it) is fish TB. Other infections and parasites seem to relate more to the immune systems of the affected fish than the virulence of the organisms.

Like oldfishlady said, I wouldn't strip the tank down. (Not that I'm any kind of expert) I can't see that you did anything wrong. My bettas are fed pellets and they are supposed to be good nutritionally, and unless you are hugely overstocked and your fish are creating lots of waste (which you're not - your water tests tell you that) a day or two late on your water change isn't going to kill your fish (some people don't even change their water weekly and their fish don't immediately die).

I don't know where you got your betta, but here, those fish are often kept in horrible conditions in the shops. They are kept in little jars and, if the shop doesn't change the water frequently, they are basically swimming in their own waste. They don't have heating and are subjected to whatever changes in temperature exist in the shop. Your fish might have come to you badly affected by his treatment in the shop.

I'd chalk it up to bad luck and get another fish. In the absence of any sign of specific cause of death, that's what I've done after I've lost a fish. Sometimes fish just die.
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post #9 of 10 Old 12-04-2010, 12:45 AM
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I agree with much of the above. Fish could have been subjected to toxins during (cycling),fish could have been sick when purchased and that ,along with effects of being used to (cycle) the tank,may have slowly weakened the fish until it finally succumed.
Would also consider Water conditioner,and foods offered. Would toss old food and purchase a variety of new foods taking care to soak pellets before offering them to the fish and providing some variety.Few fish will thrive on one specific food.
Water conditioner can sometimes address metals,chlorine ,chloramines,ammonia,and can also help in emergency situations where perhaps nitrites , suddenly become problematic and PRIME would be my choice for water conditioner.
Would also be very careful as to what finds it's way into the tank either on our hands, (soaps,oils,lotions, etc) or by aerosol's paint,hairspray,deodorant's,air freshener's.
Would also see that no one else is also feeding the fish or placing their hands in the tank(children).
I would not tear down the tank for the loss of one fish.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #10 of 10 Old 12-04-2010, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of your advice and assistance. I put a lot of work in this tank and I hoped I wouldn't have to start over. I'm doing tank maintenance today, trimming and re-planting, removing what little dead and decaying leaves there are, squeezing out the sponge filter thoroughly and doing a big water change, scraping algae off the glass, etc. I'll feed the plants and let the tank go another week or so, do another water change and test everything and then see about getting new fish.

I read another older post from Byron about wood possibly leeching a toxic substance into the water. I changed out my driftwood a month or two ago, so that worries me a little. But I boiled it for like 4 hours before I put it in the tank - so that should have killed organisms - don't know about the toxic substance.

Thank you all once more. Looks like I'll just have to clean up and try again.
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