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Discussion Starter #1
I had a tankful of fish, then a few days ago I noticed the all the fish had torn fins and started behaving strangely. They all started to sit at the bottom of the tank and looked really weird. They all soon died and I couldnt make out what was wrong, as the water was changed a couple of weeks previously and the fish seemed so healthy. Some of the fishes were not less than 3 years old. Upon emptying the tank I notice very tiny parasitic worms in their millions on tank accessories! That is what killed the fish. I would like to know how did this happen, where did these worm/parasites come from and how should I deal with it next time it happens?:-?
Thank you for any help and advices.
 

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Hi, junglebee. I'm checking out your thread as you asked. :)

First, I know what those little worm things are and it'll be surprising but they DID not cause the death of your fish. Those nasty little bugs are called planaria and they exist in lots of tanks and they are harmless. Most of the time, their numbers are so low that we never notice them but sometimes the tank conditions are just right and they have a population boom. This could be from over feeding or from not changing the water often enough.

What size is your tank and how often do you change the water? This could be the key to us figuring out what caused the death of your fish.
 

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Thank you for your reply :) Its a three-foot tank that had different types of fish and some goldfish too. I clean the tank about every 3 months. The fish were perfect for a few weeks after I cleaned it and then suddenly they started getting sick. My fish were always greedy so I did feed them abit extra. Oh also, Ive got a plecostomus thats three years old and is still sick. I dont know how to treat it, it looks 'blind'.. any advice is most welcome.
 

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Now we need some more data please. Have you ever tested the tank water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? And pH?

And just so we are all clear, you are not doing any regular (weekly or whatever) partial water changes other than the "cleaning" every three months? And this cleaning is completely emptying the tank of water and refilling? Are you cleaning the filter?

Exactly what additives are going into the tank water? Conditioner (which one), salt, etc.?

Byron.
 
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Junglebee, feeding the extra bit is probably what helped to create the planaria bloom. Would you mind telling me how many fish you have in the tank? Also, I'm glad you were able to get your avatar to show up. Did you resize it like I suggested?

Just based on the info you've given, I think your fish may have gotten sick because the water quality isn't very good. If you aren't changing the water very often and you're overfeeding, you're creating a lot of pollutants that will make the fish sick, pollutants like nitrate and ammonia and nitrite. It's important to try and do a partial water change as often as you can. When the water quality isn't very good, fish become stressed and their immune system crashes.

Please let me know the number of fish and how often you change the water on a regular basis, okay?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
@Byron, thats true. I only completely changed the water about every three months. My fish always thrived. I only use aquaSafe. No I never tested my water. Any advice I would appreciate.

I had around 20 fish, common ones, tetras, and some goldfish. Its an underground filter so I can only clean the whole tank at once. The water was very clean when all the fish died. I only have a 6 inch plecostomus left and I desperately seek help in treating it. It looks 'blind' in the eyed and needs treatment. But Im not sure what to do. Any advice please.
 

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@Sakura, yes my avatar has had to do with the sizing! Thanks I got it right. Im loving this forum, right from the first day I find it very helpful thank you again!

Oh and my fish were really eager to eat so every so often I just fed them a little, and of course the pleco was there to eat as he is a big fish too. So after about two weeks of clean water the fish died.
 

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Hi Junglebee. I'm sorry to hear you lost so many fish. It sounds like your pleco may have cloudy eye because of the poor water quality. Clean water will really help with that. The cloudy eye may not ever go away now but the clean water will keep it from getting worse. If you want to treat it, you will most likely need to isolate it in a smaller tank but treating plecos can be difficult because they are sensitive to many medications.

Based on your tank size and filter, I would recommend you try to change at least 30% or more of the water once a week. I know this sounds like a lot but fish, especially goldfish, really put out a lot of invisible waste. You don't need to completely change all of the water. Once a week, using a gravel vacuum or siphon hose, suck out about 30% or more of the water and replace this water with clean water that has been treated with a good dechlorinator.

You may not want to add any new fish until you have gotten your tank fixed. Your tank will need some time to reestablish its filter bed.

I think what may have happened is when you changed all of the water, you removed all the good bacteria that was in the undergravel filter. This bacteria helps to convert toxic wastes into less toxic wastes. Without it, these wastes built up and made the fish pretty sick with ammonia poisoning. The only effective ways to control these toxic wastes is with this bacteria and with frequent water changes.

You may want to get a test kit that will test for these toxic wastes - ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. That way you can monitor the levels and if they get too high, you'll know that you need to do a water change.
 

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From what I have heard, the jury is still out on undergravel filters. There are some good articles on how to deal with them: I think keeping them from getting clogged is one issue.
Even with an undergravel, it is still advisable to to a weekly water change. 10% is a minimum, and more is always welcomed.
I don't think anyone has mentioned it, but mixing goldfish with tropical fish is not a good idea either. Goldfish are constantly eating and, I think, produce a great deal of waste. They also like different temps. Your tetras and other tropicals like it warmer, and goldfish on the cooler side. There are better answers than mine out there.
Buy an API (or similar) master test kit, liquid test kit, to determine your water parameters. This may help in monitoring spikes and aid in counter acting detrimental ones.
good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I want to thank all of you who gave excellent answers. I was really really sad when all my fish died, I love watching them for hours, and now I will start all over again. Ive noticed that a water tester is a must. With an undergravel filter all the dirt stays under, so if I change the water the dirt wont be coming out. Is that okay? And the way to go about treating my pleco is just clean water, am I right? He's the strong one thats why he is surviving still. But I feel so sorry for him because he was such an active fish, always ready to eat. Now he's in a tub while my tank gets settled.
 

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I want to thank all of you who gave excellent answers. I was really really sad when all my fish died, I love watching them for hours, and now I will start all over again. Ive noticed that a water tester is a must. With an undergravel filter all the dirt stays under, so if I change the water the dirt wont be coming out. Is that okay? And the way to go about treating my pleco is just clean water, am I right? He's the strong one thats why he is surviving still. But I feel so sorry for him because he was such an active fish, always ready to eat. Now he's in a tub while my tank gets settled.
Sakura8 covered things, but I will repeat in response to your direct questions and mention a bit more on cycling.

On the water changes, do them weekly, I would say 1/3 of the tank volume. Vacuum the substrate (gravel). And as you have an undergravel filter, it is a good idea periodically to put the siphon hose down each filter stem to draw some of the water from under the plate; this will bring up a lot of crud. Maybe once a month do this during the water change, in stead of vacuuming the substrate.

Don't ever take the tank completely down to "clean" it, this is not necessary provided you do weekly partial water changes as described. Sakura explained what happened by doing this. I would put the pleco back in the tank, he will be less stressed there, after you have done a water change of 1/3 to 1/2. Clean water and a clean substrate will be the best medicine. Use your AquaSafe conditioner with all new water.

What fish are now left in this tank, besides the pleco?

Byron.
 

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Undergravel filters are very beneficial when properly maintained. Yes, they tend to clog but if/when they do, it is usually because the substrate is not thick enough. One way to prevent this is to add a layer of filter floss between the plates and the substrates.

As to water change, I am not certain 10%/ week will have any effect. It depends on your nitrate levels. And still, in a freshwater tank, you can easily lessen the impact of WC by planting your aquarium. And if you add denitrifying bacteria to the mix, you should be fine by changing water once a month.
 

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@Byron, I have emptied the whole tank and cleaned it thoroughly. Just filled it up last night and am waiting for a while now before putting the pleco back in. No other fish survived, it is just the pleco. The fish that I had was two cichlid-type fishes, 6 goldfish and the rest were mixed tetra types. He's not eating to, and looks miserable. Ive taken note of your valuable advices and will stick to it. Thank you very much.

@LittleBigBlue, and you'r right, the substrate/gravel was a thin layer, I need to add more, and what you'v said about adding a layer of floss at the bottom of the filter sounds like a great idea, and it makes sense. I dont have plants as the fish continuously rip them apart and eat them. But I will take this opportunity to plant the tank while it is empty now. Thanks alot for the ideas and tips.
 

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@Byron, I have emptied the whole tank and cleaned it thoroughly. Just filled it up last night and am waiting for a while now before putting the pleco back in. No other fish survived, it is just the pleco. The fish that I had was two cichlid-type fishes, 6 goldfish and the rest were mixed tetra types. He's not eating to, and looks miserable. Ive taken note of your valuable advices and will stick to it. Thank you very much.

@LittleBigBlue, and you'r right, the substrate/gravel was a thin layer, I need to add more, and what you'v said about adding a layer of floss at the bottom of the filter sounds like a great idea, and it makes sense. I dont have plants as the fish continuously rip them apart and eat them. But I will take this opportunity to plant the tank while it is empty now. Thanks alot for the ideas and tips.
Just leave the pleco alone, don't try to get it to eat. Rest and calm surroundings are the best for it now. Let's hope it recovers. Make sure it has a hiding spot, in a wood crevice or under a chunk of wood; this will settle it.

Before getting any new fish, research suitable species so this doesn't occur again.:)

Byron.
 
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Obviously I will have to wait for the water in the tank before its ready, and then I will have to transfer the pleco in there as he's in a tub of water now where he is very unhappy. Hopefully its the last time I will have to disturb it. Thank you Byron.
 

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Obviously I will have to wait for the water in the tank before its ready, and then I will have to transfer the pleco in there as he's in a tub of water now where he is very unhappy. Hopefully its the last time I will have to disturb it. Thank you Byron.
If the water in the tank is conditioned (= water conditioner was used) and provided the parameters are not too different from the water the pleco is now in, and the temp in the tank is equal or a bit warmer than the tub water (not colder, this is the main thing), I would acclimate it fairly soon. You do this by adding some of the new tank water to the tub, slowly, then wait 15-20 minutes. This can be repeated if the difference between the waters is significant, but once is probably sufficient. Then net the fish out into the tank. You can then top up the tank for the water taken out.
 
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Discussion Starter #18
Well Byron, I do not know how to thank you for all your time and patience in explaining to me how to go about it. Id also like to thank the others who have shared their valuable knowledge.
Thank you everyone!
 

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Junglebee, Im orry to had read about your disaster with losing your fish. Rest assured alot of us go thru similar things, most of the time there totally unexpected and swift!

Id dare say that the majority of members in this forum will always help out, we all have the same interest and goals so sharing is a must!

Personally iv kept freshwater tropicals for roughly 20 years, and i couldnt believe how much i really didnt know! Then i came accross this site and have learned so much and also caught MTS ( Multiple Tank Syndrome)

THIS IS INEVITABLE!!!!

If one member doesnt know something or only part of a topic then others jump in and help, this is what the community is for, just a shame it cant be like here out in the big wide world, would be a much happier place!

Good luck with your Pleco and any future residents to your aquarium! Its a long and windy road with many hills and holes along the way. Thankfully the forums here to fill all those pesky holes in!
 

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if you could somehow maneuver the pleco into a plastic container to move him, would be optimal: they sometimes get stuck in nets.
 
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