Down but not out. Long noob story. - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-30-2015, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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Down but not out. Long noob story.

Hi all. Here's my story, which thus far, is a bit depressing.

It all started when my son wanted a fish tank + glofish for his birthday. Without any experience, we got a 5 gallon glofish tank, some decorative gravel, plants, tetra water conditioner, hooked everything up, with the excitement of putting the colorful fish in.

Per directions which came with the glofish tank, we let everything run for a few days before adding fish. We proceeded and got 3 glofish, Boo (blue), Goblin (green) and Rainbow (red).

After the fish were situated, I noticed Boo's bullying the others, and Rainbow would sit/hide behind the plant without eating. I started doing research on fish keeping.

My deficiencies in preparation and planning were evident. Knowing I was in for a fish-in cycle, I bought test kits and did daily water changes. I also realized a 5 gallon tank's too small for glofish (or any # of fish for that matter), which preferred to be in groups to feel "safe". I didn't know how Glo-Fish could market their products with a clear conscience, granted, I was the sucker who fell for it. At that point, I convinced my wife to allow a bigger tank in our already cramped city apartment.

I managed to find a 20g long on craigslist, with an Aquaclear 30 + some add-ons for a decent price. I started a fishless cycle with the new tank in parallel.

After 3 months, Boo, Goblin and Rainbow were actually doing ok, though Rainbow's still hiding a lot and not eating well. The 5g tank finally fully cycled. The 20g was nearly there, with ammonia dropping and traces of nitrite after 2 1/2 months. Everyone was excited. The fish would soon have a bigger home and new friends.

Then one day, Goblin went missing. Not many places to go missing in a 5g tank. I immediately checked the filter, and found his tail sucked up in one of the openings. I freed him, but he's hurt too much to swim. I was prepared for Rainbow, but not Goblin. He's always active and held his ground against Boo.

Focusing on the positives, all tests with the new tank looked good. I did a partial water change, adjusted the temp on the heater for a constant 77 degree, and moved Boo and Rainbow over. A bit of exploring, and they settled in just fine.

A day later, we got 4 more glofish and 6 platys. The staff put all 10 fish in the same bag and there wasn't much water in there. He was also not gentle, when flipping the bag (with the fish in it), to double bag/tie it. On hindsight, 1) I should had said something 2) I should had watched the fish more carefully in the tank 3) I should had asked to see if he could feed the fish in front of me 4) I should pick out the fish I want vs. let him pick it 5) ask for specific gender. I did none of that, getting lost in the moment.

I did the temperature acclimation and water mix prior to taking the fish out of the bag, and putting into the new tank. At first glance, everything looked good. We have a new fish family!

Then I started noticing long solid white poop from the platys. Reading up on it, it could be a sign of parasites. I thought they might be overfed at the store, so I refrained from feeding them. Everyone made it through the 1st night. I tested the water and everything looked fine.

On the 3rd night, one of the platy died. I had no explanation outside of shock from the move and possible compatibility issue with the glofish. Water tests all looked ok.

A week later, we started noticing white spots on the glofish, even on Boo and Rainbow, which were healthy before. 2 started looking especially lethargic. All symptoms pointed to ich. This was when I probably didn't help myself, even with best intention. I turned up the heater to speed up the ich lifecycle. I had 2 airstones going. Even gently, it went from 77 to 79 in about 2 hours. I did a 25% water change, and gravel vac, which probably stressed the fish out even more.

I let it sit overnight, hoping the fish would adjust/calm down. The next morning, I increased the temperature from 79-81 in about 2 hours. By this time, the 2 glofish were looking worst. Within an hour, they both died. Thinking the temperature change was a factor, i slowly adjusted the temp back to 77.

Thru the next 3 days, all the “new” fish died, leaving just Boo and Rainbow, looking strickened. The next day, they too passed on. The irony, the fish which endured and survived under the fish-in cycle succumbed in a cycled tank.

Many lessons learned. Many things to reflect on. Mainly, i'm 2nd guessing myself on the temp adjustment and water change, when the fish were already in a heightened stress state.

With the water conditions ok, i'm leaning towards fish stress from move, a parasite outbreak, and lack of timely treatment as the cause of death.

I'm frustrated and disappointed, but do not want to give up. With now an empty tank, what should i do to resolve the outbreak to make the tank suitable for fish again?

I'd prefer not to pull everything, clean and start from scratch (but will do so if that's the only way). I've turned up the temp, added salt, and ich treatment (Seachem Paraguard) even with no fish. Am hoping with no live hosts, the parasites will die out, and it should resolve itself in time right?

Thanks for reading this really long post. I needed to get it off my chest. The 5 gallon will be setup as a quarantine tank, and I won't rush to get many fish at once any more. With your help and support, i hope to get it right with healthy and long living fish.

Here's a picture of the tank w/fish we briefly enjoyed.
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-30-2015, 10:37 PM
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Could be a combination of illnesses brought in by the new fish. The temperature increase over 2 hours shouldn't have any effect on a healthy fish. Crank the temperature to 86+F, keep it heavily salted, wait 2 weeks & you'll have no more ich. Once that's done the next issue is the cycle, which may have been affected by lack of a food source. Here's a link to help understand cycling;

My 11 year old daughter wanted fish, we got the usual 10 gallon setup. Being a kid, getting bored with it as often happens it ends up being up to my wife & I. She's 34 now, I've got this 30 tank 1k gallon fishroom running, breed fish, sell fish & supplies on the side, clubs, online craziness, the whole deal. Be warned that this is what a kid with a tank can lead to! :)

You'll get plenty of help & support here, yours is a pretty common start. Read up & ask questions, there's a ton of info available online now. It wasn't that way back when I started, miracle anything went well!
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atomixnyc (01-31-2015)
post #3 of 5 Old 01-31-2015, 10:10 AM
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What he said ^ No need to break everything down and start again. And as you've found out, quarantining new fish is very important. I set up a 10 gallon for that purpose and leave it bare bottom to closely watch for everything potentially bad that could happen with new livestock.

A lot of us landed here because we had beginner's pain and fish losses. I'm glad to see you aren't going to give up. Before you know it, you'll have a nice community tank to enjoy.

Welcome to the forum.

Animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.
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atomixnyc (01-31-2015)
post #4 of 5 Old 01-31-2015, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Tolak View Post
Could be a combination of illnesses brought in by the new fish. The temperature increase over 2 hours shouldn't have any effect on a healthy fish. Crank the temperature to 86+F, keep it heavily salted, wait 2 weeks & you'll have no more ich. Once that's done the next issue is the cycle, which may have been affected by lack of a food source. Here's a link to help understand cycling;
Thanks. Temp is cranked up and salt is added. I've ammonia at hand to add on a daily basis. Hope that will minimize impact to the beneficial bacteria. Nonetheless, i'll go through the cycle tests post 2 weeks, with water changes.
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post #5 of 5 Old 02-01-2015, 06:41 AM
Same thing happened to me only it was 4 tanks and not just ich but some sort of nasty protozoa (found that out at a high end pet shop with a microscope). They told me there that para guard should knock it all out, they said go ten days and crank the temp up as far as you can. Good news is without fish or a "host" the ich or whatever it is should die out as well. So keep both tanks and use the 5 gal as a quarantine in the future. I would treat both with para guard just to be safe, why not you already have it.
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