dismantling - need guru advice

  • #1
Hoping the Fishlore Rockstars can help me out.
(edit - holy moly this is a long post but couldn't figure out how to say it all faster)
I wasn't sure whether to put this in the water subtopic, or the fish disease subtopic as I don't know what the what is going on with this tank.
I will try to summarize as much as possible, here are the bullet points:

10 gal setup with aqueon filter, heater and sand substrate. Driftwood and live plants.
Tank setup in March, fishless cycle for about 5 weeks using ammonia and Stability.
After cycle added 4 endlers, 3 RCS, and 1 nerite.
Introduced them very slowly over about 90 minutes water exchange.
Weekly water changes (about 30%, using Prime as condition and temp matching. Tap ph matches tank, all parameters perfect)
Nerite died after about 24-36 hours (assumed it was a fluke)
About a week later I lost another shrimp, then another, then another.
At 2 week mark went on vacation for a week, neighbors fed flake food.
Returned to find a carpet of uneaten food covering the floor of tank.
Fish seemed fine. Water params were pretty good - just nitrates at 20.
Frequent water changes over next week to remove debris.
At week 4 I started to lose an endler roughly after each water change.
I had a thread going about it and it was deduced that possibly there was an issue with my tap water.
I did notice some possible fin rot - or results of nipping on 2 of them. Also one had sort of a sunken belly and someone suggested it was possibly TB?
After losing final ender, I drained the entire tank and refilled with water from my Everpure filter.
Added 1 betta and 3 Amano shrimp.
All seemed well - the shrimp were each molting about once a week, (not sure if that's excessive)
All was well for about 2 weeks, at which time formerly playful always hungry betta became withdrawn and stopped eating. I started to see some fin rot and one stringy poop and unfortunately probably didn't jump on the treatment plan as early as I should have.
Over the next week he declined.
Started treatment of Kanaplex. Both fish and shrimp died within 3 days.

SO, to summarize, I am truly stumped as to whether it is all bad water (and yes I am hiring a company to come test) OR coincidence (bad water or batch of fish first time, second time betta had parasite and amanos died from meds) OR first batch of fish really did have TB and tank is now contaminated, OR I am doing something horribly wrong with the tank.

Anyone else have any theories that will inspire me to keep going?
I have come to the conclusion that I probably need to take a break.
I don't want to start hauling 5 gal jugs of water back and forth.
I am stressed beyond belief over this and I feel so bad for these creatures it makes me sick.

What I am wondering now is what to salvage. Obviously I will keep the equipment. I'll dump the substrate, but what about my driftwood and plants and moss balls? Can I keep them in a vase? or something else? Do they hold onto disease and contaminates and should be thrown out?
If disease does live on an empty dry tank should I do something to it to sterilize?
Is there any way to know for sure what it was?

If you've made it this far in this post, I really thank you and any input you may have.
  • #2
. So sorry. That sounds so stressful! Unfortunately I don't know the answer about the plants. Maybe some of the experts do.., Coradee, jdhef, TexasDomer, Aquaphobia, el337, @oldsalt
  • #3
I'm thinking it may have been internal parasites that killed your fish. Sunken stomachs and long stringy white poop are both indications of internal parasites. I'm not sure but the kanaplex may have killed off your shrimp.
  • #4
Do you have any snails in the tank? Did they show any symptoms?
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Do you have any snails in the tank? Did they show any symptoms?

Only the one nerite in the very beginning and he croaked right away.

I'm thinking it may have been internal parasites that killed your fish. Sunken stomachs and long stringy white poop are both indications of internal parasites. I'm not sure but the kanaplex may have killed off your shrimp.

If the endlers had parasites could it have survived in a fishless tank to infect the betta? Or is it just coincidence.

  • #6
Depends on the parasite, but it's entirely possible.
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Depends on the parasite, but it's entirely possible.

That would explain a lot. How do you get rid of it then?

  • #8
I've never had to deal with parasites, so my advice could be wrong, but if it were me I would empty the tank, trrow out the substrate and clean everything in a 1 part bleach to 19 parts water solution. Then rinse everything until I couldn't smell chlorine any longer, fill tank, put all the other stuff I cleaned in tank and overdose with a dechlorinator. Then empty tank and start over with setting it up with new gravel.

But there may be an easier way, so hold on for more advice.
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
What about plants and driftwood? I assume boiling the driftwood should kill anything off, but the plants and mossballs?
Do I scrub the heater and filter parts with that solution too?
The tank is still up and running till at least Sunday when I make a decision.

  • #10
I think (don't quote me) that you can make a very mild bleach or hydrogen peroxide solution and dip the plants in. Some sensitive ones might not be too happy. Or you can maybe grow them by themselves for a while without any of the old substrate and at some point down the road you can presume they're safe?
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
I can't believe it's been over a month but my tank has just been sitting running empty. I'm finally getting around to breaking it down this week. Wondering if there is any more words of wisdom as far as disinfecting and thoughts on keeping plants.
  • #12
AFAIK; You can treat plants in a very mild bleach solution jetajockey may be able to provide some input. It depends on the plants. If they weren't expensive, I'd dispose and start again.

But - I'm not sure how effective your cycling would have been. Stability can work when used as directed (search FL, we have the instructions somewhere). If you weren't feeding the tank with an ammonia source, the cycle may not have finished.

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