Feeling defeated, desperately seeking advice

jinnix

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I'm not sure if I'm posting to the right forum, but I'm seeking general advice and encouragement.
We've had the worst luck. We feel miserable and defeated. We set up our tank in early June and we ignorantly thought it was going to be a piece of cake. We set up our tank, we did a fishless cycle, and then happily went out and bought four zebra danios from petsmart. When one died we would replace it with another. After two weeks we realized things were going horrible and we found a fantastic LFS that taught us about ammonia and the nitrogen cycle. We started buying water from them and a few more danios and things were good to go. After a week or so of happy tank we decided to add some bloodfin tetras, and, with all of our awesome luck, they had comlumnaris. We were devastated, but we were able to get the bloodfins out without killing any danios. This was about two weeks ago. Today I noticed that one of our danios had a fungal infection, and he passed away while we were out trying to find a cure. I also noticed another one has an open mouth and I'm assuming it somehow caught the columnaris. We're treating with tri-sulfa. Now we have five danios left and we are at a crossroad. Five danios is too small for a school, so we can either add more danios and try to keep them alive, or we can trade them in and start everything over with different species of fish, or we can give up entirely. We are just exhausted of trying to keep fish alive, and we have spent so much money, time, and passion into what was supposed to be a fun hobby. I'm trying so hard to keep my spirit alive but I just feel like we have the worst luck and I have no idea what to do. Has anyone ever gone through this or does anyone have any advice? Maybe I'm just venting to the internet. It's been so frustrating and heartbreaking.

General details: we have a 20g long and water parameters have been perfect for weeks. I know it's still a relatively new tank but I'm confident in our tank setup. We have lots of live plants that have been thriving. We just didn't realize how many fish we would be losing in such a short period of time. I feel like we've been trying so hard to give them a good life but we're killing them anyway. Help?
 

chrt396

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Sounds like you are exasperated!! Let me first of all ask you a couple questions. One of the investments that you probably already know about by this time is..do you have a liquid test kit of your own. If you do...what are your readings. You say the tank is perfect. What are your readings?

2nd will be a comment. I have never had a lot of luck with Danios myself. Whether they are supposed to be hearty or not...it escapes me..for I bought 6 in a perfectly set up tank and lost 4. May I suggest Gold Barbs? They are colorful and pretty. HARDY as heck! There are a lot of hearty fish....I just like Barbs. What would YOU LIKE to stock in your tank? Bloodfin Tetras are pretty hardy..but you may have gotten a bad selection from the store that you frequent.

Lets start with this. What are your water parameters. Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates and pH? What temperature do you run the tank at?

We all lose fish! No matter how hard we try...we lose them. The blessing is...none of them that would fit in a 20g tank is going to break the bank. It could have been bad stock from the store...could have been the ride home...could have been your water parameters...let us narrow it down.

Post your water parameters.
 

Thai Aquarium owner

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Fish keeping really is a fun hobby. You are just having rotten luck.
When you add fish to the tank, it is so important that they do not have any parasitic bacteria, or diseases.
All your problems may have stemmed from just one fish that you added.
Treat the whole tank with a parasite guard and a fungal medication ( sorry do not know brand names sold in USA ). Your LFS will be able to advise.
Also the guys on here will help i,m sure, as my short post will bring your topic to the main notice board.
best
 
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jinnix

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While we don't have a testing kit of our own, we get our water checked every week at our LFS which uses the API water testing kit. They told me today that ammonia is 0 and that nitrates and nitrites are "well within desired parameters." They know me by name now, and they're just as baffled about my bad luck as I am.
I appreciate your advice. I love Golden Rams, but I hear they're harder to take care of. We have a healthy betta tank, so with this tank we wanted colorful and lively fish that were really active and fun. We wanted to eventually add harlequin rasboras and black neon tetras but we're just so hesitant to add any tetras at all because of the diseases we've had. We're just burnt out of it right now. There's always something wrong and there's no time to just enjoy the tank
 

Anders247

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Nitrites are "well within desired parameters"? Nitrites should always be at 0, so if there's any reading, that could be a problem.....
 
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jinnix

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I do appreciate everyone's concern. We need to invest in our own testing kit. I trust our LFS 100%, they have had no qualms about telling us something is off in the past
 
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jinnix

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They do know. In the beginning they would tell me all the numbers, now that I've gotten to know them they either give me a thumbs up or tell me when something is wrong. Today I specifically asked for ammonia reading. Right now I'm just desperately tired of constantly losing fish. I think I'm just going to quit the hobby. Too much heartbreak and worry and my bad luck is prevailing. Maybe I'll try again in a few years
 

chrt396

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Just so you know...it is always nice to have a testing kit around so that when something doesn't appear right in the tank, you can immediately go to the test kit and read and react...instead of having to wait for the time to get to the local fish store. With that said, what @ said is correct. You may have bought a bad batch of fish, and then one thing led to another.

A little story. I went to a higher end fish store today in Tampa. They have some great specimens in that store. I didnt really need any fish..but I wanted a particular plant that they carry to fill in my 90 gallon tank. I saw a Rainbow Fish that was crazy unique. I was staring at them for a while..trying to figure out what it was. I've never seen anything so different. The young lady who is VERY knowledgeable...not a part time student...who was helping me was looking at some of the ones I was considering. She said..."I normally wouldnt say anything...but I like you..and you are a good customer. They have Ich! You shouldn't buy them" Now...I wonder what would happen if she didn't like me..or if it were the 1st time I had been there. I would have infected my entire tank! I didn't have my reading glasses...so I would NEVER had seen those little white spots in a million years. Things like this happen every day, minute and second. At most pet stores, there may be one person in the entire store that really knows a lot about fish or marine life. Everyone else is a student of fish...and learning. You need to be proactive in your selecting a fish. Inspecting the tanks for dead fish, behaviors, cleanliness. If your problems have arisen from inventory from one store...try another. Every fish store is going to have bad stock a time or two.. They buy them from breeders and wholesalers..and many of them were just introduced to the LFS tank...then YOU come in and want to re-locate them again! They need to be healthy to withstand that.

The fact that you trust your LFS is a great thing. However..it is YOUR hobby and YOUR tank. Invest in a kit that will prevent you headaches. API TEST KIT.

PS...don't forget your glasses when you look at fish!
 

Bijou88

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What's your water temperature usually? I only ask because you seem to be having lots of issues with danios in particular and I know they prefer cooler waters than a lot of people keep their tropical tanks set at.

I'm really sorry you're having all this bad luck, I can imagine how frustrating that must be

 
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jinnix

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Bijou88 said:
What's your water temperature usually? I only ask because you seem to be having lots of issues with danios in particular and I know they prefer cooler waters than a lot of people keep their tropical tanks set at.
I don't have a heater in my tank because I read that they like cooler temps so it floats around 72-76 degrees

Thank you again for y'alls advice. I know it's my fault for not checking the bloodfins thoroughly or putting them in a QT. It looks like the columnaris has spread to our danios. We can't catch them so we are treating them with tri-sulfa but I know at this point we are just waiting for them to die. I'm sad for them but I know there's just not a lot we can do. Maybe I'll try this all again in a few months. I guess I just don't have an aquarium-thumb
 

Thai Aquarium owner

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If you treat the fish with the correct medications, at the right dose, there is very little chance that they will all die.
However, there may be 1 or 2 fatalities during the process of trying to eliminate the problems.
What you will be left with, will be a very vibrant and colourful tank of fish that you are able to enjoy to the full.
Many, many people who have kept fish, have experienced problems similar to your own through a lack of knowledge and advice, and it is only by " hanging tough " and finding a way through the issues that you will learn and achieve your goals.
 

Dylfish2000

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I have felt your pain

When I first started keeping fish, every once in a while one fish would die, and fish would just keep dying. In a couple of months, I went from 10 fish to 2. Those 2 lucky survivors were black skirt tetras, and I totally recommend these fish. They are fun to watch, and my best 2 even survived a week without power during a snowstorm! Both those fish lived to be 5 years old, and I miss those little guys.

Hope the fish gods give you luck


 
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jinnix

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Dylfish2000 said:
Hope the fish gods give you luck
Haha thank you. I'm now thinking it might not be columnaris that my danio caught; instead of the mouth disappearing it almost look like there's a bump on it. They're still active and eating so that's a good sign. Either way, we're treating with tri-sulfa and hoping for the best. We're still doing water changes and taking care of them as best we can. Who knows? Maybe we cure them and they live for years. Fingers crossed
 

happygolucky

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I feel you and your pain, when I got my first "large" tank (10g) I stocked it with 7 guppies, all died within a week (I forgot to cycle, didn't have a test kit, etc). It was a mess, but I am fighting through just like you should be. I have been doing daily water changes in an effort to lower my nitrites during cycling, and it sucks, but I think it's all worth it when I can just stare at my fish living out their lives.

If you can take the advice given to you so far and utilize it well, your tank should be fixed, your luck will hopefully improve, and you will have a beautiful tank that you can just watch for hours on end
 

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While the fish prefer cold water they also prefer stable water conditions. The tank is quite small and your house room temperature probably varies quite significantly between day and night. This would be adding quite a bit of stress to the fish. Regardless of how clean you keep the tank, there will always be pathogens, but if the fish are healthy and unstressed they can fight them off, much like a well cared for lawn does not grow weeds.

If you are wanting to stay cold water I would suggest a larger tank so the daily temperature change isn't so great, or add a heater - even if set quite low to keep a more stable temperature.

Apart from that, regular small water changes (weekly, or bi-weekly) will usually be the best solution to happy fish (and overcoming illness). If you do that then you will find you don't need to even test the water, unless you are keeping species that require additives to obtain a specific water chemistry that is different from your usual tap water.
 

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What are your exact parameters? Your temperature in the tank? What kind of filtration are you using? Different fish have different needs. Also are you buying from a reputable source?
Don't give up as we have ALL been in your shoes. When it isn't meshing well it is so frustrating, then the tank matures and it meshes well and then it is pure joy. I just takes time sometimes.
Last, are you doing weekly water changes of 5gallons at least? Water quality is key to fish health.

I'm sorry for your losses and I look forward to seeing pictures soon.


 

fishnewbie33

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Do you have carbon in the filter? It needs to be removed when medicating the tank, otherwise it will remove all medication. Just thought I'd add that as I've done it a few times myself.

What water conditioner are you using?

Also, as said before, many of us have had lots of things go wrong when we started fishkeeping. The fact that you want to learn and improve is the key.

Try not to get discouraged, it happens to most (if not all of us), and we're still here, still learning and still improving

A few more things I wish I'd known:
API Master Freshwater Test Kit is very accurate, if you follow directions
Test your tap water to get a baseline of what you are adding to the tank
Chlorine will kill the beneficial bacteria in the cartridge. Clean the filter cartridge as necessary, in treated (conditioned) water or old tank water
Replace filter cartridge when it is falling apart (~ 1yr or so)
When you replace the filter cartridge with a new one, your tank will become uncycled, unless you use bottled bacteria (Tetra SafeStart, Dr. Tim's O&O) or seeded media
Get a thermometer to monitor tank temps
 
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