Advice: Fish Disaster After Vacation

Fishlover1984

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Despite very specific instructions to the caretaker, we arrived home from vacation to find our fish tank incredibly smelly, with half the fish dead, the plants dying, and the remaining fish infested with cotton disease. We had left for vacation with the tank newly cleaned and everyone happy and healthy.

We figured out they were WAY WAY overfed and spent 4 hours cleaning the tank, adding more plants, cleaning out the dead, and changing probably 80-90% of the water (which I know isn’t great usually but it was SO bad).

2 days later, the water still really smells. I know that there is likely more that needs to be cleaned but I was worried about changing 100% water and stressing the remaining fish out more than they already are.

What would people’s advice be moving forward?

We are treating cotton disease with LifeGuard All-in-one treatment.

Thanks for your help. I am devastated.

Tank is 37 gallons with community freshwater fish (2 rainbows, 2 plecos, 2 loaches, and a couple tetra) and live plants.
 

Fashooga

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Typically carbon will help take the smell out of the water, but since your treating medication it's really one thing or the other at this point. I would medicate the tank to see if you can stop the bacterial growth they are having. Once that is clear than you can add carbon to get any of the left over meds as well as the smell from the tank.

How long were you on vacation for? If it was for a week, it be best to just not feed the fish, they can handle not being fed for more than a week.
 
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Fishlover1984

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Okay, I thought that might be the case. We were gone for 8 days. I have never considered not feeding them for that long. I thought it would kill them. I will consider that in the future. It would be better than coming home to find them dead or diseased.
 
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