Neglected my Tank...Please help!


I recently got a puppy, between work, school, all the things the puppy requires, and everything else life throws at you, I completely neglected my tank. I feel terrible and now that things have finally calmed down I want to focus on getting my tank back to normal. Here is the story:

Two- three months ago my tank had internal parasites, I treated it with an API powder (dont remember what it was called). The fish seemed to be doing fine and everything was good. About a month ago I got 3 sterbaI catfish.....2 of them slowly began turning white, and then died shortly after (this happened 2-3 weeks apart). I don't know if its a disease, something in my sand, bad water, or whatever else can it be?
I also had 1 platy die, he seemed normal until 1 day he was just hanging out by the heater and that night he was gone (he died before the 2nd sterbaI died and after the 1st). The rest of the platys, barbs and the gourami seem to be doing fine.

Since the rest of the fish are fine, I can't imagine there being a disease or something in my tank. I'm thinking the platy may have simply died from old age (I assume he was old since he was the biggest once since the first day we got him).

There is also a lot of new algae growth and I am wondering if I should clean it? I use the magnet to clean the glass, but I have algae on the air stone as well as on some ornaments (one looks like it has tiny green hair lol). I know algae is good, and everyone says to leave it, but is there such a thing as TOO MUCH algae?

I am now down to only 1 sterbaI catfish and I am wondering what to do. I don't want to get more until I know what's wrong with my tank, but I also don't want him to die from being alone.

Could the sterbaI just not be suitable for my tank? Is there something with the sand? What can I do? Please help!!

38 gal hex,
2 driftwood pieces (1 with anubais nana, 1 with xmas moss)
1 tall plant similar to amazon sword, I forgot the exact name of it
1 anubias nana
1 cocobut leaf tree with fern growing on top

8 cherry barbs
1 opaline gourami
1 sterbaI catfish
3 sunset platys

I am using Black Diamond blasting sand. I made the change from gravel to sand back in december prior to getting sterbais.

I did a water change about an hour ago, and now I realize I shouldve done a water test prior. I will do that tomorrow, since the water is currently freshly changed.

Also, whenever I change the water recently I noticed there isn't much being lifted from the sand. I don't know if that's a good thing and means I don't have much dirt or if it means I have a bad siphon that doesn't suction well?

Does anyone know what it can be? Advise please!


Can you get the name of the medication that you used? Perhaps there were traces of it in the tank and the cories were sensitive to it. How did you acclimate them to your tank? Knowing the parameters would be helpful and also your water change schedule to date. Have you been doing any water changes at all? It's possible that your nitrates are/were sky high and while your existing fish adapted to it as it rose the cories weren't prepared for it.


I was doing a water change about every 3 weeks. The medicine used was API General Cure, could this have harmed them?

Also, I am reading that white stringy poo is a sign of internal parasites in fish, is this true? Most of my fish (especially my platys) have always had white stringy poo, even when I was buying them at the petstore! What does this mean?

I rotate the food between tetra crisps, NLS thera-a pellets with garlic, and frozen food (either brine or bloodworms). About once a week or so I would put sinking wafers for the catfish, although they sometimes ended up sharing it with the barbs.


Water changes are normally done once a week, what are your parameters normally and what are they currently?

Yes, white stringy poo is a sign that your fish might have parasites. You might want to treat for that once you've straightened things out with your maintenance.

What kind of sinking wafers for the catfish?


I have a 38gal tank and an aquaclear 500 filter so every 2 weeks was fine, although at some point once I stopped doing that and did only once a month, hence why it got bad.

Right now my water is:
Ammonia 0
Nitrates 5-10 (somewhere between the 2 colors)
Nitrites 0
pH 7.6
Temp 78F

My parameters are usually lower nitrates, its usually about 5 never close in color to 10.

Also, only my platys and gourami are skinny. The platys were my very first fish in the tank (got then in august) and since I didnt know better back then I got them from petco. They always pooped stringy white even at the store, so I figured that's what poop is supposed to look like. The barbs look pretty chunky and healthy.

Do you think the corys got parasites as well, or did they starve since the barbs ate their wafers too?


I think it's more likely that the cories starved. What kind of wafers are they fed?


Tetra Sinking Algae Wafers

So the corys starved, but should I treat the tank for internal parasites since the platys and gourami are pooping stringy white and are thin?


AFAIK cories prefer a meatier diet. Algae isn't enough for them. If I were you I would pick up some sinking shrimp pellets or bottom feeder wafers that contain shrimp and fish.

And yes, treat for parasites. Just double check that the treatment is safe for your stock.


What is AFAIK? And would this be safe since it's natural?


As Far As I Know - AFAIK


AFAIK=as far as I know

I've heard European Fishlore members talk about that product and it seems to be of good quality! The label is misleading though; there is no such thing as a "chemical free" medication. There's something in that bottle and it has a chemical formula, I can assure you of that


Great! Thank you!

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