All My Fish Died - Not Sure Why

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by Fisshues69, Jul 16, 2019.

  1. Fisshues69

    Fisshues69New MemberMember

    I have a 29 gallon tall tank that I set up back in May. I ran it for two weeks and added 3 zebra loaches & a dwarf Gourami. I also dosed it with bacteria to jumpstart the nitrogen cycle. Water tested fine after having the fish a couple weeks (0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrites 20 or so nitrates), and the fish seemed fine too. I had been doing 10% water changes weekly and things seemed to be going ok.

    2 weeks ago - I got 4 mollies and a clown pleco. I did get these at petsmart instead of an aquarium store. The mollies were shimmying a lot, but I figured that was new tank syndrome and it would settle down. They were eating ok and mostly active.

    Over the past week, I have lost all my fish. They all ended up getting ick, and had white stringy poop. I increased the temp to 86F and added a small amount of aquarium salt, but it did not seem to help. The loaches had red gills, and there was blood on the paper towel I put them on when I netted them out of the tank after the died. One of the mollies had what looked like a white fuzz all over it at the end, it was even on his eye.

    Right now the tank is empty except for a few molly fry, one of them must have had babies before dying. Water levels are still ok, and I am feeding them baby fish food. I

    My question is - why did this happen? Were the fish sick from Petco? Did I add too many fish? I dont want this to happen again. I am going to run the tank for another 2 weeks at 86 to be sure the ick is gone, and then add some more fish. I would like to get really forgiving and hardy fish though. Would 5 or 6 zebra danios and a bristlenose pleco be a good point to start from again, provided my water is still testing ok? This hobby is more challenging than I thought and I dont want to get fish that are easy to kill in case I make another mistake.
  2. kallililly1973

    kallililly1973Well Known MemberMember

    Two weeks usually still isn’t enough time to cycle the tank. Did you test your tap water to make sure there were no nitrates in it and you were getting false readings? The size of the bio load you added sounds like you caused an ammonia spike and the red on their gills was probably ammonia burns. Also are you testing with the api kit or tear strips or bringing water samples to the store ?
  3. OP

    Fisshues69New MemberMember

    I did not think to check the tap water I will do that. I am using the API kit with the test tubes and the liquid.
  4. BottomDweller

    BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    Welcome to fishlore! Sorry to hear you are having problems with your fish.

    If you did not add any ammonia at the very beginning then leaving the tank to sit for 2 weeks will have done nothing to cycle it. When you cycle a tank you are growing 2 sets of bacteria. The first type basically eats ammonia and turns it into nitrite, The second turns the nitrite into nitrate. Without an ammonia source the first type of bacteria will not grow so neither will the second. The tank would have only started cycling when you added fish since they produce ammonia constantly.

    Another thing is 10% water changes once a week is not very much at all. If you had 1ppm ammonia in the tank that would only lower it to 0.9ppm (assuming the new water had no ammonia in it).

    After 2 weeks you had 3 zebra loaches, 1 DG, 4 mollies and a clown pleco. This is pretty heavy stocking for a new tank and adding the mollies and pleco could have caused a mini cycle, especially since the tank had barely cycled already.

    To me it sounds like the new fish were a bit unwell but all your fish were weaker than usual due to poor water conditions and were more susceptible to disease so your tank was quickly wiped out.

    Your plan sounds good to me. Test the water frequently to ensure it is fully cycled before adding any more fish. I would start by adding 4 or so zebra danios then if all goes well adding another 4 a few weeks later. Remember that danios are temperate fish so keep the tank around 70-75f once you have finished the ich treatment.
  5. mdjrnc

    mdjrncValued MemberMember

    Just for future reference some medications I have personally used for all your issues has been fritz malachite green for the white fuzz, hikari ich x for ich, and api general cure for the white stringy poo. I almost always use general cure when buying a new fish just to prevent the parasites from spreading if the fish does have them. The loaches gills bleeding may have been from the salt. Loaches are very very sensitive and I have heard bad things about salt with them.
  6. OP

    Fisshues69New MemberMember

    My poor loaches :( I think they were on deaths door either way though. I will pick that stuff up. Petco is also doing a buck a gallon sale so I am going to get a quarantine/hospital tank set up I think as well.
  7. GuppyDazzle

    GuppyDazzleWell Known MemberMember

    The only testing you mentioned was in May. Without knowing water parameters, all you can do is guess at what's happening. What are your readings now?

    It sounds likely your tank was infested with ich, fungus, and internal parasites. Usually when a bunch of diseases break out at once it's a problem with the water. No way to know unless you test.

    Do water change frequency and volume based on your test readings. 10% once a week is light for partial water changes, especially if you're not testing frequently. Most people change out at least 25%, or more, once a week, depending on bioload and how much they feed. Once a pattern develops where your ammonia and nitrites are at zero and your nitrates are around 20 ppm or less, you can set a schedule and test less frequently.
  8. OP

    Fisshues69New MemberMember

    Maybe I was unclear- I have a testing kit now. I'm testing about .25 ppm ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 20 ppm nitrate. I tested the tap water for nitrate and it did test 0. I didn't test when I had the fish since they seemed to be doing so well. Lesson learned though. I will change out more water in the future for sure though.
  9. Zka17

    Zka17Valued MemberMember

    Well, you did get some nasty things with the mollies/pleco... While you are making sure that the cycle is getting back on track, I would start dosing Seachem ParaGuard as per instructions... All those nasty things are in your system right now, and when you are getting new fish, and if they are getting stressed, those nasty things can kill them again...
  10. OP

    Fisshues69New MemberMember

    That is a good idea. I'm going to run a quarantine tank this time as well, and that seems like something to use in the quarantine.
  11. Zka17

    Zka17Valued MemberMember

    Quarantine tank is a good idea - when you already have a functional display tank... since yours does not have fish now, it will be the quarantine for the first set of fish. Then it is a good idea to have a quarantine tank for any later-added fish.

    If you want a quarantine tank setup fast, I would add an air-driven sponge filter to your tank while it is cycling... then just add it to the quarantine tank when time will come - you will get instant cycling!