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Hello everyone, I'd like to introduce myself first, my name is Joe Hickey. I just as of 6 months bought my first tank and thought this was going to be the easiest thing since slicing your own bread. I read online briefly(keyword briefly) how to cycle tanks, and got excited and went out and bought some fish to cycle my tank with.

Problem after problem occurred of course. I had bought 4 danios, 2 oscars and a puffer fish. (I will take the insults). I now realize my mistakes after my visits to the fish store and asking them what is wrong. I really wish they were nice enough to stop me from doing such a foolish thing. Either way. Surprisingly, I still myself don't know how... they all managed to survive the cycle. I at the time was running a 55-70gallon aquaclear (HOB). Sadly shortly after what seemed to be the end of the cycle, my 1 oscar (brock) and Ochito (Figure-8 puffer) both got Ich. I treated them both puffer cleared up, but died a few weeks after, and Brock well he didn't make it. (What was scary was that Brock Lesnar in real life got real sick around this same time).

So after awhile things seemed ok, then I purchased more fish, sadly my Oscar left took a liking to a few of these fish, and would not allow me to buy many of the fish i wanted. Eventually I was up t about 10 fish a few tri-color sharks, the 4 danios, 1 oscar, 1 bala shark, and a blue acara. Then the worst thing happened, my girlfriend being the sweatheart that she is... cleaned my fish tank on the outside... but happen to also get the spray inside. All but Oscar died, I realized the problem pretty quickly when she told me what happened. I bought fungus medication, did lots of water changes, somehow..... after 2 weeks of suffering.... Oscar survived.

Well 2 months after, my fish tank was booming, I was back to the 2nd roster, 3 tri 1 bala, Oscar, 4 danios and 1 blue acara. Was doing my weekly, water changes, feeding them twice a day, making sure it didn't last in the tank for more than 3 minutes. Then out of no where, (I'm sure not really) a spike in ammonia came.... I did my water changes, nothing helped, so I went to the same fish store, they recommend Amquel. They told me it would be okay, to put it directly into the tank. I did and that same evening I lost all my fish.... including my Oscar. They seemed to be poisoned, I was confused too because it almost seemed like actual fish dieases, they formed a white film over their eyes and also white slime over their bodies.


For the last 2 weeks, I have been doing constant water changes, I bought an emporer 400, and have been testing the water everyday. Just yesterday I tested my levels all were zero. I felt it was time to take a chance, and grab 3 danios. Well... they didn't even make it through the night.


I am now tempted to empty the entire tank out, and start from ground zero.... with help from this community. Please help me, my goal is to have a nice family of fish (with an Oscar) I've read that is really possible if you raise them from birth together.


So please help me everyone. Thank you! and I understand I will receive critism for my mistakes, I understand.
 

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I'm so sad reading your story...poor fish! It's hard to lose fish, especially when the problem could have been prevented in the first place.

Well, if all of your levels are zero, including nitrate, your tank is not properly cycled (you have no live plants, correct?)

Your oscar...I'd not be surprised if the ick came from the stress of incompatible fish. Puffers and oscars and danios seems like a combination destined for a stressed tank.

I'd not give up yet...I've never had oscars myself but I have heard that they should not be kept in groups due to their aggressive nature. If a community tank is what your envisioning for youself, may want to re-home the oscar or buy a new tank and give the oscar his own tank.

And for the future, have your gf spray the cleaning rag first, then wipe : )

Oh yeah, and for now, just get a good liquid test kit, test your water daily, when ammonia levels are detectable or like .5 or .25 (nitrite, too), then definitely do an immediate water change : ) do this until you have a nitrate reading
 

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Hi Joey, welcome to the forum. Sorry to hear of your troubles. Just so I understand, are there any fish in the tank right now, or is it empty? From what I read it sounds like you last added danios but they died the next day??
 

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Well your girlfriend isn't the only one who has done it... lol if you read around you'll see some others.
My wife just leaves all the tanks for me to take care of.

If it was me... I'd dump the tank water out completely. Take all your rocks out, everything.... and clean them with tab water. No chemicals lol...

Then set the tank back up. put in your water and gravel and all that... Cycle the tank WITH NO FISH... you will have to put ammonia in to start the good bacteria.

personally, I keep a secondary tank, i keep a handful of comet goldfish. When i was a kid i did science experiments on them. Tested them with different levels of chlorine and all that to show what levels are unsafe for them..

Anyways I found these goldfish could survive straight tab water (where i am from), and had less deaths compared to the rest.

What I'm saying is i use comet goldfish to do my cycles. Since they are CHEAP, like 15 cents if that each... well I've always used them to test my waters out before I bought more costly fish. Once the tank was good to go, i then moved them out, and bring in the nice stuff.

However regardless keep checking your pH, temp, water hardness/softness etc. Keep a log of it say in excel or w/e. Reason I suggest this is because if they do keep dieing maybe you can pinpoint what the issue is.

Oh and remember fish like different temps and pH and all that good stuff.. so keep that in mind.


Hey the pet store you go to, how clean is it, and how is the smell there?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
@Stephanieleah - yeah it has been a very sad trip so far, I don't have any plants. And sadly the oscar died after the amquel water change. I do agree that the stress probably did come from one of the incompatible fish, which could have led to the ick. My girlfriend no longer cleans the tank, I wasn't angry at her just sad I knew she was trying to help. I will keep testing the water, until ammonia finally comes back, hopefully it is sooner than later.


@Aunt Kymmie - Yes the tank is empty now, I have just a tank of water, that still reads 0 ni 0 na and 0 ammonia. And the danios were added only yesterday and didn't make it when I woke up.



@Aaron Combs - I've been contemplating dumping the entire tank, I just didn't know if it was better to keep what I have since, it must have some good bacteria still in there (i hope). I've always heard danios were really good hardy fish, thats why I tried them out first, but when they died in one night I got really scared, I almost even contemplated giving up on the aquarium altogether... but that quickly went by.

Well thank you for all the help guys, hopefully I can make something good happen here.
 

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Without a source of ammonia (ie: fish waste) any "good" bacteria left in your tank will perish. I'm not a fan of using fish for cycling. Since the tank is empty why not go for fishless cycling? It'll be easier and you won't have to lose any fish in the process. You may already know what is in the article I'm posting a link for but it's good information to brush up with.

http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/...inners-guide-freshwater-aquarium-cycle-38617/

If you do decide to empty out the tank and start fresh,cleaning with hot tap water and vinegar is what I always use. Just rinse the tank very well to remove the vinegar.
What kind of test kit are you using?
 

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hello and welcome.
you'll end up with a beautiful tank in no time,hang in there.
we have all made mistakes befor.
the guys here will help you through,:-D
 

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Welcome to TFK!

I think tearing down the tank completely and giving it a thorough cleaning is best since there's no way of knowing if there are still traces of the cleaner in the tank (which seems likely since a couple of hardy danios died overnight, which probably can't be attributed to ammonia poisoning in a tank of that size). A good cleaning with vinegar, followed by a hot water rinse, then maybe even a cleaning with bleach and another (large) rinse might be a good idea. I definitely recommend using one of the fishless cycling methods described in the article Kymmie linked to; pretty much any cleaner your girlfriend would have been using would be deadly to bacteria and that way you could use the cycling bacteria to test the safety of the tank rather than fish. Plus, fishless cycling is a better idea anyway.

Any ideas for what you want to stock the tank with once you get it back up and running?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you again for all the responses. I have taken everything out of the tank, removed all gravel and water. I am going to use vinegar to clean tank because I am really scared to use bleach. Is there a special kind of vinegar that I am supposed to use... as well if I do get convinced (a special kind of bleach)?. Once I get this back up I am going to go and just start off with a few danios early on then introduce an Oscar and that might be my main focus.
 

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I use distilled white vinegar. It's perfectly fine to use bleach, as long as you rinse it well when you've finished cleaning. Plain old Clorox Bleach is what I use when I'm cleaning the micron cartridges from my HOB filter. Manafacturer's instructions specifically state to use bleach, you just have to rinse well.
If I were you (and I'm not!) I'd wash the tank just as iamntbatman has instructed. Happy Cleaning :)
 

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+1 for everything said, just wanted to say welcome!

don't sweat the mistake...it happens and now you'll know what you are doing...

have you given any thoughts to what kind of fish you woud eventually like to keep after the tank has gone through it's cycle??
 

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joeyburger said :
Once I get this back up I am going to go and just start off with a few danios early on then introduce an Oscar and that might be my main focus.
hello and welcome! sorry for your loss and the tank troubles...!
oscars can grow at a rate of 1 inch a month until they get about 10- 11 inch then they'll slow down. imho a 55g is barely big enough for a single oscar, seeing how they have a big bio-load and are very messy eaters also. having a few danios and an oscar together imo is trouble in the making...the oscar may see the danios as a snack rather than friendly tankmates. i am not trying to discourage you or anything in that nature...just trying to help you avoid futrue troubles. i have oscars myself (2 albino & 1 tiger) along with a jack dempsey and they are housed in a 125g for now.
 

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Thank you again for all the responses. I have taken everything out of the tank, removed all gravel and water. I am going to use vinegar to clean tank because I am really scared to use bleach. Is there a special kind of vinegar that I am supposed to use... as well if I do get convinced (a special kind of bleach)?. Once I get this back up I am going to go and just start off with a few danios early on then introduce an Oscar and that might be my main focus.
When you clean everything with either vinegar or bleach and water mixture ,be sure and clean the filter as well ,and purchase new cartridges,pads,sponges or whatever kind of filter material the filter holds.
Rinse evrything three or four times and let dry completely before using it in the aquarium.
Three or four small danios will work to provide source of ammonia for the bacteria that is needed to feed on , but they would in my view,represent a small bioload and thus when placing much more than one or two small fish in your tank after the tank has (cycled) you would still see a rise in ammonia levels. Certainly an Oscar is capable of producing much more waste, (ammonia) than a small group of danios. This sudden increase in waste(ammonia) will need to be realized and water changes will be needed to keep levels at or very near zero assuming you want the fishes to remain healthy.
Water conditioner you use will be important and I would recommend PRIME or AMQUEL+ which is different than regular Amquel. You want a conditioner that clearly says on the bottle that it detoxifies or removes,Chlorine,chloramines,AND AMMONIA.
Were it me,(and it ain't) I would cycle the tank with two or three uncooked,raw,coctail shrimp. I would put them in the toe section of a pair of ladies nylons with a rock to hold it down ,and toss the nylon with shrimp,,into the aquarium and leave it for three weeks.Once each week,,I would change out 25 to 30 percent of the water just as you will need to do each week after fish are added.At the end of three weeks,,I would test the water with my test Kit (you do have test kit right?) and ammonia,and nitrites should read zero and you should see some measureable nitrAtes. I would test the water for a couple three days in a row ,to see that these numbers don't fluctuate. I would then perform a 50 percent water change using water conditioner's mentioned and slowly begin stocking my tank with fish two or three at a time with a week in between new additions of fish to allow the bacteria (good kind) to catch up.
No fish will have been harmed and the tank would have a healthy bacterial colony much more capable of adjusting to the addition of a large fish such as Blue Acara.
Have kept Oscars and when young,,they are much more trouble to keep in tanks less than 75 gal due to the amount of food needed and waste created. Once mature,, many will eat anything that swims and can fit in their mouth and they can reach twelve to fourteen inches with proper care and in my opinion would feel quite stressed in a 55 gal in the long term.Many folks say,,, I will get the Oscar a larger tank in a few months Blah,Blah,Blah but in reality,most don't. Is why you seldom see Adult Oscars,they usually die from disease related to poor water quality from being kept in tanks too small to allow water quality to be maintained at the levels needed to ensure the health of these fish. Hope some of this helps>
 

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Hi and welcome to the forum.

I second all the good advice you've been given above. One thought to add, before starting another setup think through what you want in the end, by which I mean the type of tank, with which fish (even if generally, like African rift lake cichlids, or livebearers, or tetras--because these different types of fish do not live together in the same aquarium due to differing water requirements and behaviours, some of which you've already learned the hard way. Knowing what you'd like in the end will make it easier to build it along the way, and there are plenty of us on here to offer suggestions.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
wow thanks again everyone for all the feedback and responses. So a few updates.... I spent about 5hrs cleaning my tank with bleach and vinegar. After it was all said and done, my girlfriend spotted a tank online that came with a stand (so I didn't have to use my dresser). I decided to toss the old tank and just use the new tank with stand. I threw out the old cartridges in my emporer 400. And rinsed it with vinegar, I am wondering if this is enough, I wish there was a way to test for fish dieases. So just to be certain I wanted to check to see if maybe I should be anti-fungus medication while performing the cycle. Also I have decided to go a fish-less cycle just because I don't want to see anyone go due my ignorance.


Thanks again all the help has been very well.... helpful :p
 

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Oh and I did want to add one other thing, I am decided to just stick with an oscar. I really enjoyed my last one so much that I can't see getting anything else.
 

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I use distilled white vinegar. It's perfectly fine to use bleach, as long as you rinse it well when you've finished cleaning. Plain old Clorox Bleach is what I use when I'm cleaning the micron cartridges from my HOB filter. Manafacturer's instructions specifically state to use bleach, you just have to rinse well.
If I were you (and I'm not!) I'd wash the tank just as iamntbatman has instructed. Happy Cleaning :)
If you're worried about the bleach, then after you clean with the bleach, rinse it out WELL, and then fill it up with water, Add a double-dose of dechlorinator, let it sit, dump it out, and fill again.

Bleach = chlorine (ie CLORox)

Declorinator would help neutralise any traces of the bleach.

If it was me though, I lean more towards hydrogen peroxide. (Once hydrogen peroxide is exposed to air or light it turns to pure oxygen and water)

I've also used Oxy-Clean to clean a tank since in my experiments it breaks down into salts and oxygen.
 

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congrats on the new tank.
i wish you the very best of luck.
you're in great hands,and the guys here will help you get through.
:-D
 

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wow thanks again everyone for all the feedback and responses. So a few updates.... I spent about 5hrs cleaning my tank with bleach and vinegar. After it was all said and done, my girlfriend spotted a tank online that came with a stand (so I didn't have to use my dresser). I decided to toss the old tank and just use the new tank with stand. I threw out the old cartridges in my emporer 400. And rinsed it with vinegar, I am wondering if this is enough, I wish there was a way to test for fish dieases. So just to be certain I wanted to check to see if maybe I should be anti-fungus medication while performing the cycle. Also I have decided to go a fish-less cycle just because I don't want to see anyone go due my ignorance.


Thanks again all the help has been very well.... helpful :p
Would NOT add anything to the tank while fishless cycling other than source of ammonia like shrimp mentioned earlier, Dechlorinators mentioned earlier,and tapwater.This way you know exactly what's in the aquarium.
Cycle in a bottle products,stress this or that,Mela this,or Pima that,along with ph up or down products,,often cause more problems than any benefits. they may provide. By keeping chemical compounds to the simplest form... you will have far less to worry about and fish keeping can be more enjoyable.;-)
 
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