I Finally Lost All Of My Fish. :( Moving Forward... Advice?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by kattimus, Aug 2, 2017.

  1. kattimus

    kattimusNew MemberMember

    I have a 20gal tank that I've had intermittent success with since February of this year. I did a fish-in cycle that took about 8 weeks, and I didn't lose any of the 4 painted platys over the course of cycling.

    Once cycled, I added another 4 platys (2 bumblebee, 2 Mickey Mouse) and some anacharis. (Side note, anacharis doesn't like warm tanks, and has since mostly died off since mid-April.)

    Condensed timeline:

    I lost a couple of fish, replaced some fish with some red wag platys, had some fry, dealt with ich (heat and water changes for treatment). And after the ich went away, I started losing fish regularly. I imagine that the heat and ich probably stressed them out. I lost a couple to wasting away (which I am thinking in hindsight may have been a parasite or fish TB... I'm a "worst case scenario" kinda gal).

    Throughout this, my tests are showing this following:

    Ammonia .25ppm (It was at 0ppm, but at some point, it stuck at .25ppm... my tape water tests at .25ppm also)
    Nitrite 0ppm
    Nitrates 5-10ppm, depending on whether I went an extra day or two between water changes.
    pH 7.8-8.0

    Temperature was up to 84F while treating for ich. I have since brought it down to 78-80F.

    * * * *

    This morning, I lost my final fish. All I have left is some snails that came along with the anacharis.

    So, I'm not looking to solve any fish death mysteries, I'm just looking for advice going forward.

    Should I risk more fish and just plop them in there?

    More fish and treat with a parasite medication?

    Break down the tank and start completely over?

    Thanks for any input!
  2. KimberlyG

    KimberlyGFishlore VIPMember

    I would probably break down the tank, sterilize every thing and let it dry out.
    Meanwhile, I would keep that filter running in a bucket and keep it fed with fish food
  3. Danjamesdixon

    DanjamesdixonWell Known MemberMember

    Don't do exactly what you did before and expect different results - that's the definition of insanity.

    I'd start over from scratch given your current track record. Break down and recycle your tank, change your fish source, ensure your water source is pure, and so on.
  4. leelew32

    leelew32New MemberMember

    Also make sure you get good quality fish. Don't buy just because it's there. Start slow when adding your new fish only add one or two for the first month and monitor. Invest in a decent quality liquid test kit too, those strips are terrible mostly and I would not trust there results. Once you keep your water perfect your problems will be a thing of the past.
  5. OP

    kattimusNew MemberMember

    Oh, for sure on the strips. I use the API liquid test kit. :)

    I appreciate the sentiment. I don't want to break it all down and start over, but I think it's my best bet at this point.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2017
  6. purslanegardenWell Known MemberMember

    I don't think you need to break down the tank totally. Ich is not something that should survive in a tank, if you have created the conditions for which it should die in. In other words, other than medication since you don't have fish now, keep up the tank maintenance and temperature for which ich would have been destroyed. After the time period, then verify tank parameters and let your tank stabilize. You will need to give ammonia source while this is going on.

    Your tap water at 0.25 ppm means your tank water won't be much lower than that, so just have to live with that if you dont do other things that can lower it more...though 0.25 is OK.
  7. Donnerjay

    DonnerjayWell Known MemberMember

    Sorry to read about your rough ride. Glad you're sticking with the hobby!

    Not strictly true. First, no amount of ammonia is safe for fish. Second, once the tank is cycled, the beneficial bacteria will take care of the ammonia and nitrite levels.
  8. purslanegardenWell Known MemberMember

    Yes the theoretical is that there should be no ammonia, but as others also say, many tanks actually don't have 0...they have trace amounts between 0 and 0.25 (which is why many consider their readings as 0.25 because it's also not 0). Also, I do agree the BB will help keep the ammonia down but if it did get rid of people's tap water readings of 0.25, then they would at some point, be able to measure 0. But they usually don't get 0 or else they would have been happy and not come ask about it, which means again that there is some measurable value greater than 0, in their tanks at the times that they are taking the readings.

    We should strive to keep fish in optimum conditions for them but the reality is that ammonia, nitrate, temperature, PH, etc are a constant battle, as well as possibly, different readings at different times. So it's good to know about each tank's relative conditions at various times (eg when new water is added 24 hrs later, later in the week, sometimes if you go 2 weeks, how did the parameters change, etc) and try to keep the fish in good living conditions.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017

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