I Have A Mess, Fish Are Dying

  1. Green Fish Initiate Member

    This is long and it spans many months, but help please if you have a moment! I think I have created a big mess and I don't know how to fix it. I had a tank with 2 mollys and 3 platys. I stayed on top of maintenance, nitrites and ammonia were always 0, I got the nitrates to about 20 and things were good until I had filter changes. We have well water with no nitrates, it is very hard (from what I Read this is good for these fish), and ph is naturally 7.3. The water isn't treated so no chlorine or additives. Every single time I changed the filter (only when the light on my filter would blink, maybe every 6 weeks), it seemed 2 platys would stress, one would get an ich spot or two, the other would go into hiding. I thought maybe I was removing too much good bacteria with the filter changes so I kept a piece of the old filter in with the new one the next time I had a change. The ick came back on this platy so I treated the tank with API fungus cure. I am guessing after that my tank may have cycled again? I have always done plenty of water changes, about every 4 days, and I would treat the new water with stress coat. I do get brown algae a little which the fish love to eat. Anyway, one molly had fry, I found two in the filter and decided to keep them. I knew this meant a larger tank size but figured I would wait until they were a little bigger to upgrade. I noticed that while the ammonia and nitrites were always 0, the nitrates were creeping up, and I struggled to keep them around 20, I was doing very frequent water changes and I began to use Prime also. I had some readings of 40 and stayed with water changes with the plan to upgrade the tank. The fish seemed happy enough, the two baby mollys were about 2 months old when I noticed that one of my platys was starting to look thin ( around this time I got a bigger tank and started to slowly fill it). This platy seemed happy, ate normally, just looked small. This went on about 3 weeks until about a week and a half ago when I noticed one adult molly had 2 ick spots and the platy was just looking very thin, so I treated the tank again with API fungus cure as I figured this was bacterial or fungal and probably because the tank was overstocked. I had put some of the old tank water into the new one to help cycle things. Now I realize this must have been stupid because the medication probably killed my good bacteria and if the meds didn't kill the actual problem I may have infected the new tank. The skinny platy ended up dying :(. The other fish seemed ok otherwise, just two ich spots on one platy but that was it. I noticed the baby mollys gills were moving fast, no other symptoms, but I moved them to the new tank as soon as I thought it was safe. The readings on the new tank were 0 for ammonia and nitrites and 20 for nitrates, I thought we were all good. I moved one of the adult mollys too just to lessen the load in the smaller tank which now had 1 molly and 2 remaining platys. Two days later the two baby mollys were dead in the new tank. They never showed ich spots or any other symptom, just looked stressed with clamped fins and hung out towards the bottom before they died. They actually died quickly if you ask me, I thought maybe the stress of the meds in the old tank and then moving to the new tank was too much for them. I moved the rest of the fish to the new tank, all seemed good, they were all eating, but then today I notice the first adult molly I moved to the big tank looks very stressed now, clamped fins, and while she was eating fine this morning doesnt seem to want to eat. The other molly seems stressed too, hanging by the heater. The 2 platys now are fighting and one is showing an ich spot. I have no idea what I did, if they are stressed from the new tank, from the meds, or if they are all sick. They have all had different symptoms, but none of them have many symptoms at all. I wonder if there could be parasites? My concern is now I have infected the new tank with parasites, but I am worried if I treat them with another medication it will be too much stress for them, but if I dont treat they will die of whatever is bothering them. I still have the heater on in the old tank, I have no idea if I should put them back in there? I also put the old filter in the new tank as well as the decor but I could put that back if the old tank might be better for them. If there is any advice I would appreciate it. I feel horrible, I am scared they are all going to die, and I don't know the best way to handle this. I lost 3 fish in the past week but it seems from different things. What would you do in this case?
  2. MongooseALaMode Well Known Member Member

    First off I wouldnt keep moving them around. That will only cause more stress.
    What sizes are the two tanks?
    Would you be able to post a picture of the fish/spots?
    When you say change the filter are you saying you changes the filter media(sponge or fluff)? Also, Your filter has a light???
    How much water do you take out when you do water changes?

  3. Green Fish Initiate Member

    I moved from a 10 gallon to a 20 gallon. Yes, the filter has a light that blinks when it needs a change. It also has an ammonia filter in it. I attached a pic but the spots are so small you really can't see them. The female on the left is the one looking super stressed and thin. The male on the right has 2 super small spots on 2 different fins, I can't get a better pic that shows them, they are about the size of a pin head. The stuff on top of the water is bubbles and a little food, I put some in to see if they would eat. He has but she isn't interested. I was changing the filter cartridges when the light would blink and for water changes I was doing about 20%, but in recent weeks I was doing more, usually about 40%. I knew the tank was overstocked so I was trying to stay on top until I got a bigger one, but it seems I failed. I had started my first tank this past winter and stupidly had not researched much until after I got the tank set up and stocked. I had fish as a kid and remember it being so easy, I didn't remember all of the maintenance and particulars that went along with keeping them. I feel terrible.

    I have the temp at 80 right now and for the past couple of weeks, I had read the higher temp can help them fight off infections.

    Attached Files:

  4. MongooseALaMode Well Known Member Member

    Wow that's a pretty cool filter.. I wish mine did that
    When you clean the tank and do a water change make sure you do not replace the filter media. That is where all the good bacteria is living. That bacteria is what keeps your water parameters in check.
    I would say that the upgrade to a 20g is a good thing. 10g is too small for platys.
    When I do water changes for my tanks I usually do around 60-75% change. Maybe up the %. Platys and mollies are messy fish and produce massive amounts of waste and ammonia.
    As far as ich goes ive only treated bettas and it was very obvious that it was ich. Sometimes my fish get little air bubbles on them and I get worried its ich. I couldn't tell you if what you are seeing is ich... Also ich is a parisite not a fungus.
    When I treated I used Krodon Ich Attack for my bettas. There is also Paraguard and Tetra Ich Guard.

  5. Green Fish Initiate Member

    I appreciate your response. I will get the parasite stuff tomorrow. When you have treated for parasites, did the treatment itself stress the fish? Does the treatment kill any remaining parasites that might be floating around the filter or tank? Yes I thought the filter was pretty cool with the light, I might have done more filter changes without the light, which sounds like would have been too frequent as far as getting rid of good bacteria goes. Thank you again for your reply.
  6. twilysparklez Well Known Member Member

    It sounds like you have the new Aqueon Quietflow filters. I wouldn't use the ammonia remover insert as it removes the ammonia the bacteria need. The light appears to turn on when water flow is restricted, so instead of replacing the filter cartridge immediately, I would rinse the filter cartridge using your tap water(since it has no chlorine) and then keep using that cartridge to prevent a loss of bacteria.
  7. MongooseALaMode Well Known Member Member

    I think the treatment kills one part of the life cycle(im not 100% sure) so you have to treat for a while and do frequent substrate vacs. I didn't see any stress when I used Ich Attack but I think it isn't as strong as the other kinds since its more herbal.

    I cant tell you any info on the other treatments so I would do a little research and see what you can find. You can google search the info and find fishlore threads :emoji_smiley:

  8. KimberlyG Fishlore VIP Member

    Many people confuse flukes with ICK when it presents on the body. Obviously I can not see from that picture but it is something for you to look for.
  9. Green Fish Initiate Member

    Yes, that is the type of filter it is. I never realized that ammonia remover could be causing a problem with the cycle but that makes a lot of sense. I got a new filter for the bigger tank but moved the old filter over just to get things started. The new filter doesn't have the ammonia filter, which at first I was worried about but now I see this may be a good thing. I will also keep this in mind with the rinsing of the filter. Thank you for the input, this very helpful!
  10. Jocelyn Adelman Fishlore VIP Member

    One other quick question.... is your tank ph always at 7.3 (same as tap?) it is possible that while well water is hard (gH) it doesn't always contain buffers (kH). It is possible (not likely but possible) that you may be having a constant ph crash going on, causing stress to the fish which is why the ich keeps coming back (plus I don't believe fungus cure treats ick, but I could be wrong).
    Rising nitrates in the ten gallon would be normal as it was overstocked. I usually do a larger water change then you (about 50% or more depending on nitrates). Doing a 50% change with water that has no nitrates would reduce the levels by 50%.... so if your at 40 it would bring you to 20, from 20 to 10 etc..... larger water changes would be helpful in this case. However, if your ph isn't stable then large water changes are detrimental (would cause a higher ph swing).
    Test your ph in the am before lights on, mid day, and then about an hour or two after lights off for a few days.... this will give you an accurate assessment to make sure it stays stable.

    Also on the ick, I used the heat treatment and it worked wonders, no meds needed. If I were to use meds I've heard the kordon ich attack works wonders.

  11. Green Fish Initiate Member

    Thank you for your response! The ph is one thing that seems to remain constant, but that never occurred to me that it could be changing so I will keep a very close eye on it especially since it is a well and not treated so natural things could be changing it. I had thought at one point maybe the nitrates in the well water had gone up but testing showed things were still the same, showing no presence. I wish I had more knowledge before setting up the initial 10g, it was probably at capacity from the start and then the babies didn't help.

    Today my female molly seems a little better, she is swimming around a little more and eating again, and doesn't seem a clamped as yesterday. She was the worst off late last night so I am keeping some hope that part of this is just stress. My male molly with the spots seems off, not eating and a little clamped which I have never seen him do before. The two platys are eating but one of them is swimming a little weird. I treated for parasites with API general, it was all I could find immediately available for parasites, but with more reading I am noticing that the fish have clear stringy poop so hopefully it is just parasites and not too far gone.
  12. Jocelyn Adelman Fishlore VIP Member

    Everyone doing ok?
  13. Green Fish Initiate Member

    Thankfully, yes! I had used the parasite treatment, kept the temp a little high and kept the lights dimmed. The spots are gone on the molly and the 4 fish made it through. I can't say the 2 platies are eating as much as they used to but they are eating and swimming nicely, and the 2 Mollies are eating everything they come across. No more clamped fins either. I still wonder if it was parasites or stress from the tank move, probably both. I am still being cautious as it hasn't been that long but everything looks very nice. Keeping my fingers crossed, thank you for your input!
  14. KimberlyG Fishlore VIP Member

    Very glad to hear this. Yes, just keep an eye on things. Hopefully the whitish poop was from stress. Keep us posted as to how things are going.
  15. Green Fish Initiate Member

    I sure will post an update, and thank you for your advice earlier.
  16. Green Fish Initiate Member

    Today I did my second water change after the parasite treatment, on schedule per the instructions. I figured everything was good, everyone looks very happy, no clamped fins or spots, everyone is eating nicely and swimming around. After putting in the fresh water I noticed a clearish stringy poop floating around the tank which I may have unearthed with the gravel vacuum or could be new. I just saw a little clear stringiness from my male molly so it seems he is having moments of normal and stringy poop as two days ago he had a normal poop that I saw. Could what might have been parasites still be there? He seems very happy but I am wondering if I should treat the tank again or wait a few more days. I wasn't around much to look at them yesterday and today haven't noticed anyone else pooping to see if they are normal or not which is strange because I feel like they are always pooping.
  17. KimberlyG Fishlore VIP Member

    Which treatment did you use? Internal parasites are best treated with medicated food. I wouldn't do that yet, I was just curious. Your fish have gone through some stress and that can cause the poop you are seeing as well.
  18. Green Fish Initiate Member

    I used API General Cure, the powder you put in the tank. It was all I could find quickly for parasites but it sounds like it might be a good idea to order that medicated food to have on hand just in case. I lowered the temperature back to 78 since they seem to be doing ok and it had been up around 80 for over a week and started putting the light back on. I'll keep a close eye on them this weekend in case there are any changes or that poop doesn't seem to improve.