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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 20 gallon tank, with gravel substrate, few plants including hornwort (due to running high nitrate). I have or should i say, had several guppies, during the past 24 hours have lost 5 adults and numerous fry. after finding the first three dead, yesterday, with no apparent cause i did a 50% water change,added 1 1/2 tbs aquarium salt to the tank, then noticed a small "fuzzy" area on one of the males, i treated the tank with Tetra Fungus Guard, this morning i found another 2 dead and most of the fry not there. all the ones left are swimming at the top of the tank with exaggerated movements, put the carbon filter back in thinking i had a toxin.
water temp is 78 degrees, tank is 8 months old, but had the fish for the past 2 months with only occasional fatality
ammonia is 0
nitrite is 0
nitrate is 10ppm
ph is 6.4 (stable at that range)

what do i need to do to save the last 5, any help appreciated
 

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Hello thena! Welcome to TFK. I'm sorry that such a sad story has brought you to us! I am hoping our membership can help you solve these issues quickly. I'm afraid I'm not much on diseases but wanted to ask a few questions.

Before the first deaths, did you do a water change? Could there have been a large temperature difference? A water change without de-chlorinator? Sometimes we get in the zone doing our changes and we forget a step we get so busy and distracted. Is the output of the filter ABOVE the water line? i.e. the return flow breaks the surface? When was the last time you added ANYTHING new? And what was it?

You have mentioned a bunch of different symptoms so I'm grasping at straws hoping it will trigger answers for one of our more experiences members to help you.

Your numbers look good from testing. If you put carbon in, you will pull out your meds. Try to take your time and not do to many things at once. Slow and steady. Really it's about stabilizing this tank now and trying to stop the deaths. But there is only so much you can do and sadly you are going to have to ride this out.

Keep testing your numbers for the next few days... do water changes as directed with meds. Don't make any changes to your filter right now, ie don't clean it.

Good Luck. I hope things settle!!
 
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Discussion Starter #4
i found 3 dead then did a large water change, 50%.treated water with "start right" the temp did not fluctuate more than 2 degrees, noted one to have a tiny area of fungus, treated the tank and thought it was over. Then got up, found 2 more dead (not fungus one), looked online was suggested to use salt in the tank. i did. only 1 1/2 tbs. did another water change yesterday again 50%, without salt this time. (never used it before) but fish still at the top. filter is partially submerged but causes waves in the water. I am trying so desperately to save the poor fish. they do not look bad, even the fungus is about gone. my water parameters are steady. was told to add a small piece of coral to help PH to come up slowly as mine runs 6.4 all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
well this afternoon when i got home from work, went to check on the fish.....down to 4 adults and 2 fry. So sad
 

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this morning i got up to find i have no live fish in the tank. not sure where to go from here, all that is left in the tank are some snails and plants, they seem to be OK tho. Can someone tell me what i need to do with the tank, like how to clean it in case it was a toxin. all water parameters seem OK. I use API test kit. the only thing that is off is the ph at 6.4 but seems to stay there.
 

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Awwwwwww! I so sorry! This is so NOT the normal experience but it does happen occasionally to a fish keeper. I'm posting this thread link for our Reference Team to take a look. I'm hoping one of them can give you some guidance on what to do.
 

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This thread is so sad!

From what I've read, being without a fish host for a time is enough for many pathogens to die off. . .
I'd personally let my tank run without fish for about a month or so before adding anything into the system - a fishless quarantine period.

There are a few things out there that might need more. . .
I don't know much about them, though. :/

If you don't mind my asking. . .
Where on the fish was the fungus?
Is the pH in your tap-water the same as in the tank?
How often do you usually do water changes?

I'm sorry you're going through this, sick tanks are never fun. :(
 

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Other than the PH being a bit low for guppies... I'm not sure what it could possibly be. Let me see if I can ask someone for you...
 

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If you have naturally low pH you can switch your substrate to a calcium based one like aragonite. That will raise it in a controlled manner.
 

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Sorry for your loss.My only thought on the cause is probably not a fungus The fish don't die off as quick as yours did.Don't get too discouraged,the fact you've got test kits and are doing water changes tells me you're going to be successful in the future.Good Luck
 

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So sad to read your thread, dead fish are no fun at all. This IS a uncommon thing, for a stable tank to suddenly start killing fish, but there is probaly a simple solution. If we can diagnose what is wrong, then im sure we can correct the problem and you can go back to enjoying your fishtank.

First thing i would want to know : Do you perform regular scheduled water changes, or did you just change when you noticed somthing was wrong? So many different ways to maintain the water in a fishtank, none are without potential problems.
 

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I requested help from a friend who is more specialized in diagnosing diseases, this was her response after reading this thread:

"I agree that it's most almost certainly not a fungus. The fuzzy spot was excess slime coat. Because they were swimming at the top, that indicates they had a lack of oxygen which in turn indicates to me external parasites such as gill flukes or costia etc. These parasites target the gills first and then the wounds they leave behind can become infected. They can also go internal through the gills and cause internal damage. Although, it sounds like asphyxiation was the most likely cause of death with the poor guppies not being able to get enough oxygen through their infested gills.

If thena can leave turn the heat up to 86 F and leave the tank unoccupied for two weeks, any remaining parasites will die off and the tank will be fine. The hornwort and the snails may not take that high heat so she may need to remove them. Then, before she adds new fish in, she should use the Start Safe or whatever the bacterial supplement is that she has and monitor the levels just as if the tank was new for the first week or so."
 

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Discussion Starter #15
the tap water PH is between 6.2 and 6.4 (after letting air run in the container). The snails and plants in the tank seem to be fine. Then one fish that had what looked like fungus was on his back just under fin. I really thought i was doing everything right, changing 25% of the water every 5-7 days, no nitrites, no ammonia (once got up to .25 but did a 50% change and did not go back up) my nitrates did however get to over a hundred, got a filter additive called Nitrazorb and put hornwort vines in the tank and that seemed to take care of it, that was over a month ago. Have not had anymore problems. I did add two fish about 2 weeks ago, but they were in the last ones to die, last night. The water is clear, no odor. It was all so sudden. all gone in a matter of 3-4 days.
 

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I just wanted to add - the new fish not being the first to die doesn't mean that they didn't bring something with them. It's actually more likely that if they were carrying something that they had been living with for a while, and the fish that were in the tank already had never been exposed to this pathogen, that they would not be the first fish to show symptoms. You could say that they are carriers. Once other fish (who have never encountered the parasite or whatever was causing the illness, and thus have no defenses against it) start dying, the added stress could push them over the edge and they also succumb. What you described is pretty suggestive of some kind of infectious disease process.

Frankly, I would think that it's easier to bleach the tank, get rid of anything that can't be bleached, and start over. I don't like to take chances with anything infectious, and you do not have any fish that need to be housed while you're attempting to clean.
 

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My eye caught this: "...treated water with 'start right'..." Is that the water conditioner you've been using. I'm not familiar with that. What is the exact full brand name? How long have you been using the product?

The product name makes me think it's some kind of bacterial cycle starter product. If that is the case, what have you been using as a conditioner?
 

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water was treated with "start Right" by jungle. says it conditions tap water, removes chlorine and adds slime coat. I want to thank everyone for the help and suggestions. this whole experience was so fast and so sad, going to try to keep a few snails and plants but will tear down the tank, clean it well with bleach water and then set it up run it at 86 degrees for a couple of weeks, then cycle it. I know that is probably over doing it, but i never want this to happen again. I love to watch fish, and have always wanted some.
 

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I can't find any reference that claims Jungle Start Right detoxifies ammonia. While I'm sure your problem stemmed from other causes, some of the symptoms you described sound like ammonia poisoning.

When you start up again, you might seriously consider using Prime by Seachem. It detoxifies ammonia. That's important if your water supplier uses chloramine.
 

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I would advise against sanitizing the tank. Much better to correctly diagnose the problem and fix it. If it is disease, most can be succesfuly treated in a couple weeks or less. If its not disease, then sterilizing will do nothing to help, and when you set up again your likely to develop the same problem. Hallyx makes a good point regarding chloromine. If you're treating your water in a way that does not nuetralize chloromine you might be loading your system with toxins. Cycling is the slowest most difficult part of maintaining a tank and bleaching it will set you back to square one. I recommend getting sea chem Prime as a dechloronator and continue your setup. If it is gill parasites(likely) there are effective treatments available
Good luck!
 
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