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New Tank, Last Fish Died

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by KWas1837, Apr 24, 2019.

  1. KWas1837New MemberMember

    I have a ten gallon tank that I have had 3 1-2 weeks. I fell for the lie that you can buy fish after letting it run 24 hours. I bought two fish, a snail, and a ghost shrimp. After the neon fish died that night, I found this forum and learned about the cycle. I still need to get back to the store to buy a kit, so I cannot test my water, currently. The snail became less active after the first day. It died almost ten days later. It had strings coming from it. I added three baby Mickey Mouse fish that a friend gave me. They too became stringy (poop, I think). I posted last week to see how to treat for a parasite, and someone said it sounded like nitrate poisoning, not a parasite.

    Anyway, all of this to say the final fish is 99% dead. So what do I do? Do I keep cycling the water that is currently in there? Or do i take everything out, clean it, and start over?

  2. DutchAquariumWell Known MemberMember

    There are a few issues to start. The neons are usually a fish you shouldn't start with, they can be quite delicate. By only purchasing two of them you further stressed them out because they need to be in schools of at least 6 to feel secure. As for the fish still in their, just let it sit, it might make it and if it doesn't, leave it in their and it can help feed the bacteria in the system. Don't bother cleaning the aquarium just let it sit until cycle in over. You can add fish after only 24 hours but this should only be done by people that have experience and know what they are doing. I usually do add fish into a new aquarium right away, all i do is throw a old filter cartridge in to the new aquarium. If i don't have a filter cartridge to spare and i normally just throw a bunch of plants in and everything works.

  3. IslandvicWell Known MemberMember

  4. DonthemonValued MemberMember

    Or use Safestart..... in which I would clean the tank and start over.

  5. DutchAquariumWell Known MemberMember

    Safestart is a good recomendation, but there is no need to clean and start over.
  6. esims12New MemberMember

    I recently started up a new 55gal and it has been up for less than 3 weeks and I stocked it with a few cichlids after 24 hours and did not find any dead. I used two different types of concentrated bacteria. I added a whole bottle of one type in the day i set it up and then the Fluval brand bacteria after that and added some for three days until gone. Safe to say my levels are stable and everyone seems happy.
  7. candiedragonWell Known MemberMember

    It's up to you if you want to start over fresh or just go from there. Some people like a fresh start, others don't mind taking the reigns from this point and moving forward. Either way, you will still have to complete a cycle and it may take a bit longer if you start over unless you keep your filter media preserved in old tank water until you've set up the tank again and filled it with dechlorinated water.

    Don't get your spirits down, most of us started in the hobby similarly. It is a bit of trial and error, a learning experience, with a pleasant pay-off.
  8. KWas1837New MemberMember

    Thank you for the answers. I did two half tank changes, well, one was probably closer to 1/3.

    My worry is what if it was a parasite that killed them? How do I ensure that is gone without starting over?

    Where is the best place to read about completing a cycle?

    Someone suggested leaving the fish in there. He can just stay, dead? For how long?

    I’ve been adding Prime everyday, like someone suggested in a previous post. Do I continue doing that now?
  9. candiedragonWell Known MemberMember

    You wont need to continue dosing Prime if you dont have fish. That was a precautionary step to help alleviate the harmful effects of ammonia while cycling. However, do continue to use Prime with each water change to dechlorinate the water and maintain whatever bacteria colony you have so far, and for fish later on.

    It's up to you if you want to leave the fish in there as an ammonia source... or you could remove it and use other sources of ammonia like fish food or actual ammonia drops.

    Google or YouTube "Nitrogen Cycle" (or follow the link highlighting the quotes), theres tons of videos and writings explaining it. KG Tropicals on YouTube are pretty great at presentation and teaching about keeping aquariums, and they constantly talk about the Nitrogen Cycle.

    If you're concerned about parasites, maybe look into Hikari "Ich-X" to treat the tank before you add anything into it. This treats/prevents ich, velvet, flukes, and fungus. Remember to remove carbon from your filter as not to remove the medicine until you're finished with the treatment period.
  10. Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    Your fish probably died of ammonia, nitrite or nitrate poisoning. Parasites, if there were any, will die in a tank where there is no host (fish) they can feed from. So there is No Need to treat the tank for parasites. If you want more fish in that tank you can continue to cycle that tank-without fish in it-as it is. Do not do any water changes or take anything (filter media, gravel, decorations etc.) out at this time.
    You do need to buy a couple of things.
    1. You'll need some janitorial ammonia-that is ammonia without perfumes, surfactants or detergents in it. ACE Hardware in the US carrys their own brand, some grocery stores carry it, you can Google "pure ammonia" or you can order Dr. Tim's ammonia online.
    2. You NEED a test kit that measures pH, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. I recommend the API Master test kit. It costs around $20 US. Most fish stores carry it now.
    Your tank has been cycling the whole time you've had fish in it-that's most likely what killed them. So it's probably well into the process. Get your supplies together, read about the Nitrogen Cycle, and some of the other topics in here, https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfi...t-freshwater-beginner-important-topics.14296/
    And then read this: https://www.fishlore.com/nitrogen-cycle-page2.htm
    You can leave your fish in the tank if you wish until you get some liquid ammonia-and I recommend using ammonia rather than fish food or any other source, because you can control the exact amount you need to cycle your tank most efficiently. Keep the fish in there until you get ammonia. You do not need to keep adding Prime to a tank with no live fish in it but you will need to use Prime or some other dechlorinator when you do water changes while you are cycling the tank. Chlorine in tap water is harmful to fish and will kill beneficial bacteria in an aquarium. Prime contains additional ingredients that neutralize nitrites and ammonia in cycling tanks with fish in them.
    Do not put any more fish or critters in the tank until it has finished cycling (we'll help you with that). Once your tank is cycled properly, members here can give you advice on how to choose a whole load of healthy fish for your cycled tank.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
  11. KWas1837New MemberMember

    Goodness! Thank you so much! I really appreciate the non-condescending help! You guys are amazing! I’m looking forward to a healthy tank in the future!!
  12. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    We are not here to scold. We are here to teach. Most of us started right where you find yourself right now. None of us started this hobby knowing all there is to know and even we are still learning every day.

    You have already gotten some very good advice. Read up on the nitrogen cycle and then ask questions if there is something you don't understand.
  13. KWas1837New MemberMember

    I have a little bit of everything but nitrate. This is my first test. What do I do to get the nitrates (I want that, right?), and then how do I “get rid of them”?

    Thanks for all of your help!

    And, are my pH and High Range pH actually okay?

    There is still a small dead fish in the tank.

    Attached Files:

  14. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    Nitrates are the final step on the cycling process. You will eventually get some. Seeing nitrates means your cycle is growing. They are kept down with water changes but you don't need to be concerned about them right now.

    Your PH is fine. As long as it is 7 or more your cycle will grow.

    If you no longer have any living fish in this tank I would just let it be. You can leave the dead fish in there. It will produce some ammonia but probably not enough to fully cycle this tank. You will have to add another ammonia source. I highly recommend you get some pure Ammonium Chloride (Ammonia) but you can use fish food.

    Fish food will rot and produce ammonia eventually but the amount is hard to judge and can be very messy so you can either get more fish (not really recommended) or some pure ammonia to finish out this cycle.
  15. Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    Did you get some ammonia? The dead fish aren't going to provide the amount of ammonia you're going to need. Your pH of 7.4-7.6 is fine.
    Get the ammonia, use this ammonia calculator link:
      , and dose your tank up to 2ppm. The bacteria that will grow in the tank will convert Ammonia to Nitrite and Nitrite to Nitrate. You will eventually lower your Nitrates with water changes.

    Sorry, @mattgirl, didn't see you also responded. Do you want to take over here? I'll step out. No sense in redundancy!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2019
  16. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    Go right ahead. I never hurts for good info being repeated :)
  17. Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

  18. KWas1837New MemberMember

    Hey! I just tested again and ammonia is between .25 and .5 and my nitrates seem to be at about 5! Do I need them higher to finish the cycle? If I did a 25-50% water change would I be close to being able to get fish?!

    Thanks again for all of your help!
  19. Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    No. Your tank isn't cycled until your ammonia and nitrites are 0 and you have nitrates. Did you get some ammonia? You should feeding your tank an ammonia source at this point besides the dead fish that was in there.
  20. KWas1837New MemberMember

    Thank you! I’ve been trying to get my husband to order me some! Once it gets here, do I do it everyday?