Major Disaster In Our Tank. Need Advice

christine lemcke
  • #1
We have a 55 gallon tank. It was set up new end of September. New filter/cartridges etc. Everything was thriving until a few days ago. We had a mix of black skirted tetras, mollys, guppies a few gourami and things were great. Just noticed fungus, got right to petsmart and bought their suggested treatment of pima fix and aquarium salt. Following directions yet fish are still dropping after 2 days of treatment. Down to 3 fish now from possibly 15-20. One has fungus on his tail fin. I'm at a loss. What else can I do? How can I get back on the right track to a healthy tank and fish? Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!
  • #2
Hello and welcome.

First of all find yourself a better pet store with a selection of real medications. Pimafix is snake oil and salt iisn't likely to help.

Second can you please post a complete stocking list and exact parameters? What is your maintenance schedule like?

Third, please post some pictures of affected fish to help with a diagnosis.
christine lemcke
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Thank you for your response.
We had... 3 gourami, 3 balloon belly molly, 3 black skirted tetras, 3 red tetras?, a flying fox, pleco, 2 guppies.. I believe
All were purchased from same store. Added a small angel from another store and it died a day later and things went downhill fast. We do 10% water change weekly for maintenance. I'm not sure what you mean by parameters. I'm embarrassed to say I'm an amateur but eager to learn and avoid this ever happening again. I'll include picture of the deceased... I also bought the strips to test the water and everything registered as safe.. so sad and frustrated by this


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  • #4
That's ich! Relatively easy to treat but not using the stuff you have. Besides the medication treatment of ich requires frequent gravel vacuuming with water changes, possibly daily. Once the ich is gone though you really need to be changing more water than 10% weekly. You have some stocking issues too which we can help you with when you're ready
  • #5
I know you mentioned you saw fungus, but on the second black skirt tetra picture it looks like it has ich because of the little white salty crystal like spots. Do you see the white spots on anyone else?

Edit: ooops too slow to post!
  • #6
Ich can be fought simply by heating the tank gradually to 82, I believe.
  • #7
Ich can be fought simply by heating the tank gradually to 82, I believe.
86F + is better.

There is a sticky about it OP that you should read
  • #8
86F + is better.

There is a sticky about it OP that you should read
Ah, I thought I was off. Thank you for correcting me
  • #9
Ich can be fought simply by heating the tank gradually to 82, I believe.

That only speeds up the lifecycle of the ich parasites. You still need to vacuum the substrate frequently to remove them as they drop off!
christine lemcke
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
So the cottony stuff around their fins is ich, not fungus? I thought that's what some of the other fish looked like they had. But aquatic person said fungus. Ok will definitely discontinue that place. I want to be sure I am doing the right thing. Is there a treatment in addition to raising temperature of the tank as suggested as well as gravel vacuuming and increased water changes?
  • #11
There are several medications on the market for ich but you don't want to combine them with heat or salt. It's just too stressful on the fish!
  • #12
With ich its either meds or heat not both.
  • #13
No medication can kill ich while its on the fish. You have to wait until it falls off.

Water parameters are ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, PH. Go buy the API master test kit, liquid.

As far as treating ich, its SUPER easy:

Turn the heat up to 86-88 and leave it there for 2 weeks.
Add a bunch of extra air stones.
Every day vacuum the gravel GOOD and do a 50% or more water change. If you have a lot of decorations remove them and clean them.
After the water change every day, in another bowl dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt per gallon of water and dump it into your tank.

Ich hates warm water and warm water isn't as oxygen rich, that's why you want to add more air stones. ALSO, its believed most fish suffocate from ich infesting their gills which can't be seen, so the extra oxygen helps. Doing a good vacuum every day helps get the ich that's fallen off and is now in its reproductive stage out of the tank. The new water keeps the tank clean and fish healthy. Adding salt can help kill ich AND it will help with your fishes recovery. Think about when you have a sore, you soak it in salt water. Same idea.

Ich is SUPER easy to treat but it can be deadly. Get the heat cranked up, go get some more air stones and start cleaning the tank. Also, it should be noted that ich is almost always present in the tank, like germs in our air, and only attaches to the fish when the right conditions present themselves. Cold water, poor water, or more than likely stress. Good luck with your tank!
  • #14
Do not use salt.

Ich can't attach to new hosts at 85°F. Ich can't reproduce at 86°F. Ich dies at 89.5°F (5 days). Biggest problem is most don't have accurate thermometers and the right temp is very important. 82°F will only speed the life cycle of ich and make the outbreak worse.

Heat, air stones and daily gravel vacs for 10-14 days will cure your tank of ich.
  • #15
Before we all jump to ICH, it would be nice to have clearer photos. I see what looks like microbubbles, and columnaris. The OP describes a cottony growth on the fins, which is how I would describe columnaris. If it is columnaris, turning up the heat on the tank will kill the fish.

The OP can look at pictures of columnaris and ICH online to determine if the fish have one or both of the diseases.

Treatment for columnaris is antibiotics. For ICH, if they also have a bacterial infection like columnaris, would be something with malachite green in it.
  • #16
I see what looks like microbubbles, and columnaris. The OP describes a cottony growth on the fins, which is how I would describe columnaris.

Losing 10+ fish over a couple days as well sounds more like columnaris to me, coupled with everything going downhill after adding an angelfish from another store to the existing stock. I have dealt with Ich once and it did not kill as quickly as the OP is describing, in fact it was very easy to treat (as noted in this thread).

Columnaris on the other hand wiped out a lot of fish from my tank in a short space of time, funnily enough after adding angels without QT. Here is a pic of one of the angels that was affected:


Once I was able to identify what the problem was, treatment was fairly easy to follow using the correct meds. This is a great sticky as well:
Columnaris Symptoms And Treatment
christine lemcke
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
Unfortunate update, the last of our fish have been lost. At this point do we continue with major water changes as suggested or do we just empty the tank and start over? Very sad day.
  • #18
Sorry to hear that. Personally, I think it looks like ich too (those little white spots on the underside really look like ich). Did it look like specs of salt on your fish? Could you see them dropping/dropped off an laying on the bottom? If so, that's definitely ich and Id go up to 90 degrees, continue with water changes and good vacuuming and in 10 days the tank should be more than safe. If you don't think it was ich, you need to know exactly what it was so you can treat the tank OR break the whole thing down, boil everything, clean the tank with bleach and start over. Sorry you lost your fish.

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