Adjusting aquarium after a total loss?

kaitygoodman

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Hello all!

I am fairly new to the freshwater hobby, however I did my research beforehand. I acquired an old 75 gallon from my dad that had been sitting in his garage since the 1990s after he was too busy for the hobby. I had it resealed, cleaned it with vinegar and made it brand new. I bought all new equipment such as lights, filter, heater etc. I cycled my tank with fish food and checked parameters until I reached 0 ppm ammonia and nitrite and 20ppm nitrate. I did use some of his old decorations after I did a boiling soak for 20 min. I started out with a yellow lab, which was doing just fine. I then added in a blood parrot, a rainbow shark and a few horse-faced loaches. (I understand this was a mistake as these fish are for expert fish keepers.) I did use black sand substrate. However, in less than 2 days my rainbow shark started to show signs of ich. I put salt in the aquarium and began to treat the tank. I was too late it seems, as when I woke up the next morning all but my loaches and the blood parrot were dead. I continued to treat and do the water change as directed, but it was too much for the fish and they all died. I ended up having to redo my tank, cleaning all of the decor again and vacuuming the substrate. When I pulled the filter sponge out the hang on back filter, a bunch of dead fish particles ended up in my tank. So, I had to clean my tank yet again. Before cleaning the tank my ammonia level was well above 8.0 ppm (I know this because it was still at 8.0 after a 90% water change). I finally have it down to .25 ppm and nitrite to .5ppm. Unfortunately with sand substrate and all of these water changes, I still have particles in the water my filter cannot pick up. First off, should I grab an in-tank sponge filter? Also what most likely went wrong? Stress, or did the ich spread like wildfire? Did my dad's old decor still hold some ickyness that could've murdered my fish? Right now I left those decorations out of the set up just in case.
 

mimo91088

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I mean fish can die from ich. But that's FAST. Poor stock maybe? Maybe a toxin? Did you make sure it was aquarium safe sealant?
 
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kaitygoodman

kaitygoodman

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mimo91088 said:
I mean fish can die from ich. But that's FAST. Poor stock maybe? Maybe a toxin? Did you make sure it was aquarium safe sealant?
I went to a professional aquarium store, so I hope so. I'm thinking it was more of a toxin, but I don't know what it began until I upped the stock. The yellow lab was from a Petsmart where the other fish were from that aquarium store.
 

mimo91088

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Could be maybe something that got on the decor or tank while sitting in your dad's garage. I'd scrap the decor just to be safe.
 

NevermindIgnoreMe

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Also, it's good to keep in mind that most pet store fish are sick, or on the verge of getting sick in some or most cases. Unless the stores kept their tanks extremely clean and not overstocked, and practice quarantine (for the fish) which most don't, health issues aren't very surprising. If you can I'd try to take the fish back to the stores.
 

fanutd100

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What kind of black sand are we talking about? Tahitian Black Moon sand was recalled, and completely off the market for known contamination (people losing their livestock due to toxin in it).

Other than that, it's hard to tell where the issue lies. So many things that can be the root cause here.

You still need to test the ability of the bacteria colony before adding livestock. And adding slowly. One at a time if possible for non schooling fish. If anything, snails should be the pilot species. You plan to have loaches, so why not raise the food source first while testing water?! If snails can thrive then add loach.
 

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