New Tank, Fish Sick, Using General Cure With No Results. Ideas?

Ali W

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Hello all! Please forgive the long post but I’ll try to convey as much info as possible so someone out there can hopefully help me.

New 20 gallon high planted tank set up on 4/22. TopFin 20 filter, temp 78. As I had been out of the hobby for a while I was unaware of a fishless cycle so I chose to initially stock with 3 male guppies. I also added a bacteria starter, which I found out later was totally useless as it was not the correct brand. Lesson learned. FYI the fish were completely healthy when I added them....eating, no signs of parasites, swimming actively, no fin damage.

The next day one male guppy was rather listless, hanging out near the surface, not eating but no obvious signs of fungus/parasites. He died the next day. Then the cycle repeated the next day exactly with another fish. By this time I had decided that maybe the remaining guppy had bullied the other two so I decided to add 3 females to the tank to “distract” him. I should mention that I added TSS plus to the tank on 4/29 and was water testing during this entire period with ph 6.8 ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates all remained 0

Ok, so of course the same day I added the females...later that night I noticed hairlike poop from the male and he started acting listless. After some research I determined he had an internal parasite and decided to use General Cure as it is safe for plants, doesn’t kill my B.B., and doesn’t stain the tank.

First dose given 5/1 and water parameters: ph 6.6, ammonia and nitrites 0, nitrates 5. I was hoping to save the last male but alas he followed the same path as the others. Second dose general cure given tonight, 5/3, and current water parameters: ph 6.6, ammonia 0.25, nitrites and nitrates 0.

Now my females are not eating and hiding out near the top behind the heater and filter intake. Does anyone have ideas? It seems as though the Gen Cure isn’t working...what else should I try? And worst case scenario...if I lose these 3 females....how long will the parasite (if that’s what it is) live without a host?

Thanks for any and all help! This is my first tank after having kids and they have all been so excited. I’m so bummed that it seems I’ve had one disaster after another
 
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Ali W

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I’m not changing water currently A because I added TSS plus and B because now I’m dozing General Cure. According to the package directions, I will need to do a 25% change on 5/5.
 

Hunter1

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I have no idea.

Did you see any dead fish in the tanks where you bought your fish?
 

Hunter1

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How is your ammonia and nitrites numbers?

I saw this a new tank and 0 nitrates so you aren’t cycled.

You need to test, then treat accordingly; water changes to reduce ammonia and nitrites, I recommend Stability added to filter after every water change.

I’m a TetraSafeStart fan but only if you can leave the tank alone for 14 days. If you have high ammonia or nitrites, you can’t do that.
 
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Ali W

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All of that information is included in my post. You will also see that I cannot do water changes as I am in the middle of treating with General Cure. My question is about the parasites, not water quality.
 
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Ali W

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I took the carbon out, as directed, and the instructions are to do a 25% water change 48 hours after the second dose.
 

GuppyDazzle

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It's good you're following the instructions on the medication closely. When I asked about your water change schedule, I was more curious what water changes you've done since you set up the tank, and before the illness set in.

I'm not a fan of the cycle starters. For one, I'm not convinced they can bottle up the right bacteria and keep it alive on a shelf until it's poured into the tank. [sarcasm warning alert] I see the cycle starter procedures as patting your head and rubbing your stomach and turning around in circles and doing a bunch of other rituals until, if you're lucky, the normal cycling process has a chance to occur. Instead of 25% water changes every other day and letting nature take its course, it's a procedure of no water changes, adding more, waiting, scratching your head wondering why the cycle won't progress, trying to coordinate water conditioner, it's all so confusing.

I'm not God's gift to fishkeeping, but I see an awfully lot of people have bad trouble with cycle starters.
 
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Ali W

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Well the illness set in basically the second day the tank was set up. Prior to adding the TSS I was changing 15% every other day, even though my testing was fine.
 

Hunter1

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All of that information is included in my post. You will also see that I cannot do water changes as I am in the middle of treating with General Cure. My question is about the parasites, not water quality.
The reason most of the posts are centered around your water quality is because most of us have learned that illness is directly related to water quality.

And the fact your tank is not cycled is what I believe is the root cause of the fishy deaths.

You said you saw no dead fish in the tanks at the lfs yet you lost 2 fish in 3 days of getting the fish.

It is not uncommon to lose fish early on, I did.

The. 2 things that i’ve changed is I buy from a lfs I trust as I drive 2Xs as far to buy fish and keeping my water parameters good.

Your medication may work but the longer fish are in a uncycled tank ups their susceptiblabilty to death.
 

Fashooga

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Can you elaborate on the "hairlike poop"? Was it white?

I have a feeling that the uncycled tank and parasite is almost a lose/lose situation. If I'm reading right your tank started on 4/22/18, so your fish is fighting a cycling of the tank, even though the numbers show 0 across the board but that stress of the uncycled tank is leading them to get sick.

I think your fighting an uphill battle with this. If the guppies die than I would start the fishless cycle and add a couple of flakes into the tank to start a new ammonia source. It takes at least 4 weeks for a tank to be able to be ready for fish. I think you take the fish out and leave everything else you will be good to go in a few weeks vs. battling and trying to save fish in a tank that isn't quite ready yet.
 

Hunter1

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Can you elaborate on the "hairlike poop"? Was it white?

I have a feeling that the uncycled tank and parasite is almost a lose/lose situation. If I'm reading right your tank started on 4/22/18, so your fish is fighting a cycling of the tank, even though the numbers show 0 across the board but that stress of the uncycled tank is leading them to get sick.

I think your fighting an uphill battle with this. If the guppies die than I would start the fishless cycle and add a couple of flakes into the tank to start a new ammonia source. It takes at least 4 weeks for a tank to be able to be ready for fish. I think you take the fish out and leave everything else you will be good to go in a few weeks vs. battling and trying to save fish in a tank that isn't quite ready yet.
I agree with Fashooga except I would use pure ammonia as an ammonia source instead of fish food.

Just what I would do.
 

Fashooga

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I agree with Fashooga except I would use pure ammonia as an ammonia source instead of fish food.

Just what I would do.
I agree with the ammonia but in my opinion...if I have just one tank why buy a bottle of ammonia if your not going to use it after that? I could go to the store buy a bunch of raw shrimp and throw one in the tank and have a bag full of shrimp to cook for dinner!
 

GuppyDazzle

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Let's see if I have this right.

On 4/22 you set up a tank. You added bacteria starter. You added three "completely healthy" male guppies. Almost immediately they started dying.

It seems to me you have only two feasible possibilities. Either the water was toxic in the original setup, or the cycle starter was toxic. I don't think anything that happened after the original setup is important to the solution.

The fact your water readings showed zero for everything indicates that nothing had a chance to happen after the original setup. Of course your tank wasn't cycled, but ammonia hadn't even had a chance to show up. The core issue is not cycling.

Did you use water conditioner originally? Did you acclimate the fish before adding them to the aquarium? I know you're thinking parasites, but I've never heard of a parasite that takes down a bunch of healthy fish in two days.
 
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