I have a 55 gallon tank that has been set up since 2/25/08 with 2 silver dollars and 2 dwarf gouramis. Tank has been cycled for weeks now. (Nitrates: 5-10, Ammonia: 0, Nitrites: 0, pH: about 7.5)
On 3/9 I added 10 neon tetras and 2 clown loaches. Since I'm new at this, I didn't realize I should have quarantined the new fish until it was too late. The whole tank got ick/ich, which I fought for a week with salt (1 tbsp/5 gal), elevated temps (86 degrees) and 50% water changes everyday. (I did lower my water level so the filter would create more aeration.)
After a week there were no visible cysts but I continued to treat for another week with salt (1 tbsp/10 gals) and elevated temps, but water changes only every other day.
There are still no signs of the ick but Wednesday I came home and 1 of my tetras had an almost clear/beige "patch" on her tail where it should be red. I quarantined her in fear that it was neon tetra disease. However, she turned white and died over night. As far as I understand NTD shouldn't have killed her that quickly. (?)
Last night I found a loach that had also turned white and died. I removed him and did a 50% w/c, this time, without adding salt. This morning I woke up to find that all of them seemed to be losing their color. (They look "cloudy") Now I don't know what to do and I'm afraid I'm about to lose the whole tank.
Here are some things that I wonder about
(things that might be causing the problem)
*I have well water, is that missing certain minerals the fish need? (I've tested the water itself and the nitrate, nitrite, ammonia and pH levels are perfect)
*I accidently dropped about 50 gravel sized pieces of the loose activated carbon in there about two weeks ago and I wasn't able to pick it out as I can't find it in my black gravel! (I will remove all the gravel though, if that is what is hurting my fish!)
*I was told not to give them the flake food because it doesn't sink and they will gulp air trying to eat it. I was also told that I needed to give them frozen brine shrimp since I gave up on the live plant thing. So, I have been giving them a freshwater multi-pack. It contains four different "blocks": bloodworms, spirulina enhanced brine shrimp, cichlid chow (with ingredients from turkey heart to a Vitamin B12 supplement) and emerald entree (with brine shrimp, krill, plankton, spinach, and so on). I take one of the blocks and melt it in water from the tank and feed them about a 5 mL dropper's full twice a day. During my research though I found some people that say to only give them this type of food as a treat. I switched them back to the flake food for now (since last night). Could the food I was feeding them be the culprit?
For all of you who took the time to read my novel, thank you for bearing with me. I wasn't sure if all of this info was pertinent, but I didn't want to leave anything out! :D Any advice will be very much appreciated! Thank you in advance!