Dying Fish...help!

Jodykuhnle

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ive had my tank about 1 month now. I have only 2 of my original 6 fish still alive and I think they are both circling the drain. I think my dwarf gourami may be attacking the fish. I pulled Amy small white Molly from the tank tonight dead. The platy and 1 of my guppies look injured. I had a dead platy last week. Remaining in my 20 gallon tank...1 dwarf gourami, 2 guppies (1 of which is injured) a larger Dalmatian molly, and my sick platy. My nitrites are about 2.0 and ammonia .25-.5 pH 7.4 nitrates 5.0. I bought 6 fish initially, had some deaths while I was learning the water cycle. Had 3 neon tetras not last 10 hours in my tank (ph may have been off for them? Guess they like more of 6.4-6.8 range). I don’t want to get more fish til I figure out the water and death cycle. Should I remove my gourami?
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Jenoli42

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Jodykuhnle said:
ive had my tank about 1 month now. I have only 2 of my original 6 fish still alive and I think they are both circling the drain. I think my dwarf gourami may be attacking the fish. I pulled Amy small white Molly from the tank tonight dead. The platy and 1 of my guppies look injured. I had a dead platy last week. Remaining in my 20 gallon tank...1 dwarf gourami, 2 guppies (1 of which is injured) a larger Dalmatian molly, and my sick platy. My nitrites are about 2.0 and ammonia .25-.5 pH 7.4 nitrates 5.0. I bought 6 fish initially, had some deaths while I was learning the water cycle. Had 3 neon tetras not last 10 hours in my tank (ph may have been off for them? Guess they like more of 6.4-6.8 range). I don’t want to get more fish til I figure out the water and death cycle. Should I remove my gourami?
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Welcome to fishlore! Sorry you're having troubles... i'm hopeful we can help.

the problem is your parameters. your nitrites are unsafe for fish and your ammonia is at a level that could also be harmful. what is your water change frequency? are you using something like prime to try and detoxify? your levels are too high to use just prime without also doing daily water changes.

one of the photos shows a pretty bad deformity...i'm concerned about columnaris or another pretty bad disease. i'm not an expert at diagnosing, but i'm picking that your fish are not doing well because the bad water quality has compromised their immune system and the bad things that are always present have infected your fish

i would highly recommend doing a large water change to get your nitrites down below 1ppm (60%). be careful to match your temperature and pH when you add new water and be sure to condition your water to dechlorinate before you add it. add water slowly so that your fish aren't further stressed.
 
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Jodykuhnle

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I did a 25-30% water change Sat night, I’m using the API master test kit and after my water change I tested the water again on Sunday afternoon and had the same results. My tap water is very high in pH. After sitting for 24 hours out on the counter the pH was 8.2, from the tap it reads 7.6. I use the Aqueon water conditioner when adding new water and API pH down. I may have been over feeding the fish, I was feeding twice a day. Before I knew about the complete “cycle” of the fish tank, I did a 50% water change to “clean” the tank and stirred up all the gravel to skim out all the uneaten food to “clean” it but from what I learned, that may have set my cycling back a few steps by stirring up the beneficial bacteria. That was about 2 weeks ago maybe
 
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Jodykuhnle

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I read up on the columnaris just now and I did notice a whitish fluffy material on my platy that looked like fuzz. And my guppy has that “saddle” on its back. Guess I’ll be treating my tank...
 

Jenoli42

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Jodykuhnle said:
I did a 25-30% water change Sat night, I’m using the API master test kit and after my water change I tested the water again on Sunday afternoon and had the same results. My tap water is very high in pH. After sitting for 24 hours out on the counter the pH was 8.2, from the tap it reads 7.6. I use the Aqueon water conditioner when adding new water and API pH down. I may have been over feeding the fish, I was feeding twice a day. Before I knew about the complete “cycle” of the fish tank, I did a 50% water change to “clean” the tank and stirred up all the gravel to skim out all the uneaten food to “clean” it but from what I learned, that may have set my cycling back a few steps by stirring up the beneficial bacteria. That was about 2 weeks ago maybe
So my suggestion is that you need to increase your water changes in terms of both frequency and volume until your nitrites are below 1ppm.

the vast majority of your beneficial bacteria are in your filter media. there are some in your substrate, but maybe 1-5% of the total.

I'm not familiar with Aqueon, but I know the formula for Prime. Prime detoxified ammonia + nitrite up to a combined total of 1ppm. your current levels are 2.25-2.5 combined. that means you need to do water changes to keep your fish safer imo. if you were to do a 50% change, that would still have your levels at more than 1ppm combined...

the pH is not a concern. as long as it's stable in the tank, your fish will adjust to whatever it is. your concern right now is your nitrites in particular.

if they're at 2ppm, and you have nitrates, the good news is that you're nearly there!

did you use any bottled bacteria to help your cycle along?
 

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Jodykuhnle said:
I read up on the columnaris just now and I did notice a whitish fluffy material on my platy that looked like fuzz. And my guppy has that “saddle” on its back. Guess I’ll be treating my tank...
it's your choice to treat for columnaris, but it is nasty. i truly believe the bigger problem for your fish at the moment is your nitrites.

also, be warned that other fungal infections can present like columnaris, which is bacterial. check out youtube videos to get help on the difference...but please consider your water change routine in terms of your nitrites... good luck!
 
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Jodykuhnle

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I’ll do another water change tonight after work. When I “cleaned” the tank....I also took out my filter cartridge and rinsed it out in the sink under running water....so there goes the bacteria right? When I had the first few fish die, I went to a more specialized fish shop and they recommend the test kit which I got and the quick start (beneficial bacteria) not sure of he brand. Good news is my guppy is still looking ok, swimming and eating, but my platy is now at the bottom of he tank hiding behind a rock. That’s what my other platy did and within 24 hours he was gone. He comes out and swims for a min but then finds a new corner to lay in. I do have 2 live plants in my tank that are doing well, 1 leaf is a little brown but all the others look fine.
 

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always only ever rinse your filter & filter media in a bucket of tank water... for future reference.

how long ago did you put in the quick start? (probably API brand if that was the product name)

you might consider buying a detoxifier like prime (it doubles as a conditioner) on your way home ... unless the one you already have detoxifies ammonia & nitrite. & I really really hope it's not columnaris
 
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Jodykuhnle

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So, last night I did an 8gal change from my 20gal tank, added water conditioner, ph down, and aquarium salt all per directions. I also added an ammonia remover sachet thing to my filter. I also added an air stone and have an accurate thermometer that reads 74 degrees. With all of that, my nitrites improved slightly to between 0.5-1.0 and my ammonia is at 0.25 and nitrates between 0-5.0. My injured or sick guppy seems unphased and is swimming around like the other guppy. My platy is still alive but I’m sure hanging on by a thread. He hides in my rock cave thing and just sits at the bottom of the tank. I saw him swimming a tiny bit once today
 
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