Let's Hear Some Horror Stories

MrFancyFish

Hello Fishlore community; longtime listener, first time caller. This is my first post on this terrific forum. I've been creeping this site for a while but only created my handle recently when my girl MsFancyFish decided it would be cute to do the Mr and Ms bit. Ok so as for the topic,we have been having some problems lately as one of my Telescopes brought in some anchor work to our main tank and if anyone's ever dealt with these things you know they make you want to scoop out your eyeballs with a spoon. We have lost 2 of our guys in the past week. suffice it to say MsFancyFish is just feeling overwhelmed and I don't blame her. Im also running out of stuff to say to keep her head up through it. She recently asked me if people ever even keep fish successfully . I then said something along the lines of "I promise you ask any of these people to tell you some horror stories of their worst experiences...". So here we are. In the spirit of making her feel better and like she's not incompetent at fishkeeping, which she absolutely is not, please share said stories. I know you guys got em. Thanks all
 

Presidenchill

when I was younger my huge tiger oscar jumped out of the back of the tank in the middle of the night and it was super loud but I didn't think nothing of it as I also had a cat at the time that would fall off of stuff but his lifeless body was discovered the next morning under the dresser. Still no clue if foul play was the culprit. For a few nights after, I would hear banging on the empty tank as if he was still in there and my cat was kicked out of the room the initial night as the main suspect in a now deemed aquatic-homicide case.
 
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UnknownUser

I love the reason for this post sure, many people here witnessed (and then heard on posts like these) my horrible beginnings with my first tank. No knowledge of QT or the cycle, I dropped in a bottle of TSS and went to Petco for my first fish, two male guppies and two female platies! Now basically every single word of that has something screaming “DO NOT DO THIS” in it. After a few deaths, I found this forum. Poor original 7 fish.......

Even when you do everything right bad things can happen. Learn from your mistakes if you made some, and do better next time. (I say this calmly now but I was crying like a baby as those 7 fish were dropping 1 by 1). You will be excellent fishkeepers soon
 
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Presidenchill

My friend put hot water only in a tank and put fish straight in, you can imagine what happened.
 
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Wrench

My Bala shark has eaten several a.d.f in her day and killed off 2 other balas and some of my skirt tetras.
My rope fish recently left the tank and was mauled by one of my cats when I was at work last week.
My dojo loaches face rotted off and he was then finished off by...the bala.
My heater went on the fritz one night and shot the tank to almost 90°
We all have errored and lost fish, shes not an exception, it just takes patience and a continuation of wanting to learn.
 
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CaptainAquatics

I tried to put a silver tip shark (columbian catfish) in a 5 gallon tank back when I was starting out (around 3 years ago (I have been fishkeeping for four years but didn’t REALLY get into it until around year 2 when I got my 55 gallon)). That was (and continues to be) my dream fish however I now know that 1: they are brackish fish eventually preferring full salt water, and 2: they need a little more than 5 gallons. Anyway that isn’t even the worst part of it all, the worst part was the fact that he braught in worms that proceeded to slowly spread to each and every tank I had at the time (which was around 5 if I remember right). Such a nightmare!
 
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John58ford

I don't usually keep things short but here's one: I have a friend leaving the area (literally opposite end of the country stuff) and adopted his fish. His tank had been sick but he knew he was leaving and never got it straightened out. He left me with a very large fancy guppy (who happens to hate Cardinals, and the color blue in general...), 2 very large Cardinals, 2 ottos, a very nice clown pleco, and a giant amano shrimp. I set them up their own cycled 29 with the in intention of a school of Cardinals and a school of rummynose. I added the required stocking to even the schools out and commenced medication.

Here's the horror story: 21 days it took me to figure out I wasn't dealing with ich secondary and a primary parasite issue like was suspected. I went through a full series of e.m. erythromycin, full treatment of general cure, half a bottle of ich-x, no response, a bottle and half a kit of super ich cure. Daily 30-50% water changes through this and flushed between meds (about 350 gallons over the month just on this one tank)... The tetras started dropping like flies around day 15 looking like they had rolled in a salt dish... I wasn't able to time getting home from work and one being fresh enough to scope him until day 18ish... It wasn't ick. It was a resistant bacterial infection that looked just like it (until you put it under the scope). I managed the rest of the tank (the few fish left...) by literally flipping a switch. Secret here, u.v. sterilizers oxidize malchite and other light sensitive medications.... They also however kill bacteria and most water born disease in their tracks especially if it's an oversized unit. I designed mine for 120 gallons, and hooked it to the 29... I never had ich in this tank, I've died it blue and lost more fish in a month than I have in years combined. I would have likely been fine if I would've just flipped the switch. Second sore spot is the meds used were more than twice the value of the fish (dollar wise).

The bright spot is I still have the pleco, Otto's, (it's all worth it if I don't kill the pleco in my eyes) giant shrimp and the one evil giant guppy, one rummy made it and went from sparkle king to clear as day within 30 hours of flipping the switch and turning on the sterilizer. I reset the clock in that tank and bumped the rummy nose school back up. Cross your fins for me.

Good luck with your fancy fish friends, it does get better. I have many fish I would consider successful and I'm sure you will too.
 
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HereFishee

I had a tub of brine shrimp outside to let it multiply, so I could scoop out live food for my fish friends all summer long. I woke up today and my husband told me he had to dump that water outside because he noticed "mosquito larva" swimming in it. I know I was going to feed the brine shrimp to fish, but I also feel really bad they went out by drying up in grass. It's no way to go.
 
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Wrench

I had a tub of brine shrimp outside to let it multiply, so I could scoop out live food for my fish friends all summer long. I woke up today and my husband told me he had to dump that water outside because he noticed "mosquito larva" swimming in it. I know I was going to feed the brine shrimp to fish, but I also feel really bad they went out by drying up in grass. It's no way to go.
Ouch thays rough
 
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MsFancyFish

You have been through it for sure... that being said you also certainly have a real desire to keep it up. Labor of ❤️

I don't usually keep things short but here's one: I have a friend leaving the area (literally opposite end of the country stuff) and adopted his fish. His tank had been sick but he knew he was leaving and never got it straightened out. He left me with a very large fancy guppy (who happens to hate Cardinals, and the color blue in general...), 2 very large Cardinals, 2 ottos, a very nice clown pleco, and a giant amano shrimp. I set them up their own cycled 29 with the in intention of a school of Cardinals and a school of rummynose. I added the required stocking to even the schools out and commenced medication.

Here's the horror story: 21 days it took me to figure out I wasn't dealing with ich secondary and a primary parasite issue like was suspected. I went through a full series of e.m. erythromycin, full treatment of general cure, half a bottle of ich-x, no response, a bottle and half a kit of super ich cure. Daily 30-50% water changes through this and flushed between meds (about 350 gallons over the month just on this one tank)... The tetras started dropping like flies around day 15 looking like they had rolled in a salt dish... I wasn't able to time getting home from work and one being fresh enough to scope him until day 18ish... It wasn't ick. It was a resistant bacterial infection that looked just like it (until you put it under the scope). I managed the rest of the tank (the few fish left...) by literally flipping a switch. Secret here, u.v. sterilizers oxidize malchite and other light sensitive medications.... They also however kill bacteria and most water born disease in their tracks especially if it's an oversized unit. I designed mine for 120 gallons, and hooked it to the 29... I never had ich in this tank, I've died it blue and lost more fish in a month than I have in years combined. I would have likely been fine if I would've just flipped the switch. Second sore spot is the meds used were more than twice the value of the fish (dollar wise).

The bright spot is I still have the pleco, Otto's, (it's all worth it if I don't kill the pleco in my eyes) giant shrimp and the one evil giant guppy, one rummy made it and went from sparkle king to clear as day within 30 hours of flipping the switch and turning on the sterilizer. I reset the clock in that tank and bumped the rummy nose school back up. Cross your fins for me.

Good luck with your fancy fish friends, it does get better. I have many fish I would consider successful and I'm sure you will too.
That does make me feel better... not from your pain and suffering of course just that I’m not the only one who feels this impending doom and panic. I just had the lightbulb go off above me about the UV sterilizer just last night. If possible could you tell me more about how to do this? We have a 55 gallon tank and a 30 gallon hospital pond.

I tried to put a silver tip shark (columbian catfish) in a 5 gallon tank back when I was starting out (around 3 years ago (I have been fishkeeping for four years but didn’t REALLY get into it until around year 2 when I got my 55 gallon)). That was (and continues to be) my dream fish however I now know that 1: they are brackish fish eventually preferring full salt water, and 2: they need a little more than 5 gallons. Anyway that isn’t even the worst part of it all, the worst part was the fact that he braught in worms that proceeded to slowly spread to each and every tank I had at the time (which was around 5 if I remember right). Such a nightmare!
Yes it is!
 
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DaScotty

Had a 10g with Marineland HOB on it, after doing some maintenance on the filter and intake tubes, I turned it back on. It started up fine. But then a little while later I heard whooshing and slicing noise. I then realized I forgot to put the strainer portion of the intake tube back on, and a Harlequin Rasbora got sucked up and chopped in half. I felt sooooo bad. Never made that mistake again, of course.

-Scott
 
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MsFancyFish

when I was younger my huge tiger oscar jumped out of the back of the tank in the middle of the night and it was super loud but I didn't think nothing of it as I also had a cat at the time that would fall off of stuff but his lifeless body was discovered the next morning under the dresser. Still no clue if foul play was the culprit. For a few nights after, I would hear banging on the empty tank as if he was still in there and my cat was kicked out of the room the initial night as the main suspect in a now deemed aquatic-homicide case.
It must be an Oscar thing... my kids Dad has had a couple of them involved in mysterious and gruesome suicide/ homicide situations. Turned out to not be foul play which was a relief although then it became a “what could I have done to make him want to live!?” type of thing. Hard to not internalize it I imagine.

I had a tub of brine shrimp outside to let it multiply, so I could scoop out live food for my fish friends all summer long. I woke up today and my husband told me he had to dump that water outside because he noticed "mosquito larva" swimming in it. I know I was going to feed the brine shrimp to fish, but I also feel really bad they went out by drying up in grass. It's no way to go.
Oh geez... that is definitely no way to die.
 
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Presidenchill

It must be an Oscar thing... my kids Dad has had a couple of them involved in mysterious and gruesome suicide/ homicide situations. Turned out to not be foul play which was a relief although then it became a “what could I have done to make him want to live!?” type of thing. Hard to not internalize it I imagine.

Well oscars jump because they are instinctively used to either jumping to catch food on low hanging trees or plants in the wild but they also are tank bangers when they want me to know they are hungry. I think back then it was a water quality issue or tank size issue and he wanted to escape the parameters and conditions of the tank I had back when I was a child.
 
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MsFancyFish

My friend put hot water only in a tank and put fish straight in, you can imagine what happened.
OMG... just OMG

Had a 10g with Marineland HOB on it, after doing some maintenance on the filter and intake tubes, I turned it back on. It started up fine. But then a little while later I heard whooshing and slicing noise. I then realized I forgot to put the strainer portion of the intake tube back on, and a Harlequin Rasbora got sucked up and chopped in half. I felt sooooo bad. Never made that mistake again, of course.

-Scott
Awww, that...really...sux.
 
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John58ford

That does make me feel better... not from your pain and suffering of course just that I’m not the only one who feels this impending doom and panic. I just had the lightbulb go off above me about the UV sterilizer just last night. If possible could you tell me more about how to do this? We have a 55 gallon tank and a 30 gallon hospital pond.
Well I'm definitely no expert in the field of UV yet but the basics are you need a bulb and a way to house the bulb. Water has to pass within 3cm of the bulb, and for a set amount of time. What I've read indicates for a basic design, water needs pass by the lamp within 3 cm at a rate of ~20 gph per watt for level 1 and 10gph per watt for level 2.

The ones you see on Amazon etc are typically just "clarifiers" and run at 40-50 gph per watt.

A clarifier needs to turn the aquarium over once every hour, where level 2 needs to turn it over 2.5-3 times per hour. Usually clarifiers and sterilizers are on their own pump system, unless they are grossly oversized like mine. I just put mine in line with my spray bar.

I built mine from 4"abs pipe, I put shaved fittings inside it to create a swirl effect and prevent the water from taking the short way. The bulb was mounted in the center. I'm using a 14" long 12 watt bulb at ~130gph. I have some other math on my notebook about actual dwell time (not watts per hour) and I am well I'm excess of level 2 in this configuration for a 29 gallon.

Here is what the parts look like: (the shorter housing and the tube with all the holes drilled is for a polisher not the sterilizer)

20200526_171932_HDR.jpg
20200526_172009_HDR.jpg

And here it is plumbed in to the tank to the right of it: (it's actually sized to go level 1 connected to all my tanks in the rack simultaneously but the 29 in question is in quarantine state currently)

20200602_120326.jpg

There's a place from Oregon has a web site that is a good information source. They even sell some of the less expensive in tank units modified with smaller motors and design adjustments to get them up to true level 1 for little tanks like ours (They specialize in ponds, so even a 55 would be "little"). I have never bought a product from them but have been grateful for the knowledge they share, they are well recognized by allot of people I know.

Pros and cons I can't tell you yet as I've been sitting on the project for months and was just pushed into it by my most recent horror story, but I can say it manages (not cures) bacterial waterborne illness quite well. According to most that use them, it will reduce waterborne pathogen significantly.
 
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MrFancyFish

Thanks so much to all who have replied you guy are awesome. These stories didnt disapoint, thats for sure. Darn DaScotty, straight up in half?? That's rough dude. As for everyone who didn't reply, you're all obviously dead to me
 
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Basil

Thanks so much to all who have replied you guy are awesome. These stories didnt disapoint, thats for sure. Darn DaScotty, straight up in half?? That's rough dude. As for everyone who didn't reply, you're all obviously dead to me
Another example of why we need combination reactions! I really wanted to “like” and “laugh” at the same time!
 
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Presidenchill

Thanks so much to all who have replied you guy are awesome. These stories didnt disapoint, thats for sure. Darn DaScotty, straight up in half?? That's rough dude. As for everyone who didn't reply, you're all obviously dead to me

Looool that escalated
 
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Debbie1986

Bad water change last year, lost 1 of my featherfin squeakers and some tetras. I was so heartbroken over it. poor babies

Baby featherfin squeakers hide a lot, so when I saw them swimming by the filter I was like ohh, how exciting, they aren't shy any more.... no , they were dying

smaller one on left died.RIP
 

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StarGirl

The worst Ive had was when I changed substrate and all of my Rummynose and Neons died within 2 days. I don't know what happened but all of the other fish were fine.
 
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CHJ

I like to share my horror stories/disasters, not so that I look like a fish murderer but so that others will not make the same mistake.

Most recent disasters.
I had the male sumo loach guarding the cave (Angry loach attack!!!) and the female plugging up the entrance with sand. Then I decided in my war against "The slime" to chop out every bit of greenery that had the slime on it.
Yeah, I use greenery as a nitrate sponge and it never occurred to me what I was doing. Those 2 loaches were dead by dawn. So much for being the world's first/second captive breeding.
Then all the slime came back over then next few days.

I decided to copper the pond snails in a tank as I was tired of them possibly eating my cory eggs (you just said "Oh no." didn't you?..)
Well as soon as the water was blue the corries started gulping air. Then I though I remembered something about scaleless fishes and copper. Then I Googled. Then my wife and I began panic water changes and moving all the cories to a 20 gal breeder. All the baby sterbs got flash fried instantly and we lost additional 9 green lasers.
My lasers have been resentful ever since and now refuse to breed.
 
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Debbie1986

Keeping fish keeps you humble

One of 2 of my terrible teens female bettas , 1 of them attacked a more adult female who is pushy, so now I have popeye to combat.

terrible teens female bettas have been banished to the community tank . I think it was the blue crown tail because she's fearless

it's like dealing with a cat fight in high school

Penelope who was attacked is in treated water with lights out so she'll rest & heal. She seems oblivious that her eye is 3x it's normal size. I hope she doesn't lose it, but she ate okay today.

Totally my fault. The older female betta fish do not redo their social structure, but these are younger girls & more feisty.

Col Mustard got beat up. Not sure who but his fins are shredded so he's in a 10 gallon w/ 2 mystery snails. he seems to be recovering. he's moving around much better than yesterday.

fish politics stink.
 
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