New Tank, Losing Fish.

  1. dyerpunk Initiate Member

    Hi, I'm having problems with a new tank and am looking for help. I have lost 3 fish so far, and the other 3 don't look good, 1 gasping for air, the other 2 not eating only 1 playing like normal. The one that is gasping for air also appears to have finrot, visible damage to fins. Other fish are not attacking or nibbling at the fish. All 3 remaining fish are male guppies who have gotten along since I brought them home about 9 days ago. The 3 that died were 2 male guppies, and 1 Dalmatian molly all bought at the same store at the same time. All 3 died within a day of each other all from the same gasping for air and not eating symptoms. No visible damage to those 3. The tank is a new 20 gallon tank kit. I treated the water for chlorine, and added tetra safe start and let the tank run for a week before the fish we're purchased. The fish were fine for 2 days and the they started acting funny. The first one died 3 days later, 5 days after purchasing them. My tank is at 76 degrees, my ph is at 7.6, my ammonia levels vary daily between .5 and 1ppm, never above 1ppm when testing, 0 nitrite reading, and 5ppm nitrate reading with matches my tap water. I have been doing daily water changes of 4 gallons since I lost the first fish. I am aware of the nitrogen cycle. I am using a API freshwater master test kit, the liquid, not the strips, and my test match what petsmart got when they tested the sample I brought them. After reading multiple forum post and after talking to the sales associate at petsmart I decided that adding 3 tablespoons of aquarium salt would do no harm, and may help. I added that this afternoon. I was also told that my ammonia level was safe and shouldn't be killing my fish. The other advice I received from petsmart was that if I lost all the fish I should empty and clean the tank and start from scratch because it may be some disease. I have 2 questions. 1, Is there anything else I should do now to save my current fish. 2, If I lose all of them should I start clean, or continue cycling my current water. Thanks in advance.
  2. AllieSten Fishlore VIP Member

    Hi there welcome to Fishlore.

    So adding Tetra Safe Start before you have fish in the tank, won't work. You need a source of food for the bacteria. Their food source is fish waste. So without fish, the bacteria starves and dies. Making the Tetra Safe Start pretty much useless. Sorry to say.

    Your Ammonia level of 0.5ppm and 1ppm will kill your fish. The very first thing I would do is a large water change. Asap. 75% at least. I would get some Seachem Prime for your dechlorinator also. It will protect your fish up to 1ppm of ammonia, nitrites, & nitrates for 24-48 hours. Which will hopefully prevent anymore fish deaths.

    Next if you want to use Tetra Safe Start plus, you will need to wait 24 hours after adding Prime to add the TSS. They don't play nice together right away. I would add the TSS 24 hours after the Prime.

    Then wait for 7 days. Do nothing else. Don't test because it will make your crazy. The chemistries go nuts. No water changes nothing. On day 7 test your tank. You should be nearly cycled. At that point I would expect to do a large water change, but it depends on your water chemistries where you are with your cycle. I would use Prime daily after day 7. You could actually start adding it on day 3 after adding TSS. It would be fine. I would wait and see how your fish are acting. You will need to add the full tank volume everyday until you no longer see ammonia. Your full tank dose is 2ml for Prime. This will protect your fish from ammonia poisoning and nitrites and nitrates. It is an excellent product.

    Hope this makes a little sense. Please ask questions if you need more info.

    Good luck!

  3. dyerpunk Initiate Member

    its really sad that I was told .5 to 1ppm was safe at petsmart. Gonna do a water change then head to the store. Thanks for the quick reply will keep you guys posted

    just reread that, store then water change with the prime
  4. AllieSten Fishlore VIP Member

    Don't ever listen to PetSmart employees. They rarely know what they are talking about. Some do, but most don't. No ammonia is safe, but 0.25ppm is about as high as you can go without there being significant issues.

  5. dyerpunk Initiate Member

    Just got done changing the water. The 2 healthy ones are acting much more active and healthy immediately after the water change. I think you saved those guys! :) gonna add the safe start plus tomorrow before bed. I'll keep you updated, but for now at least 2 look like they'll make it. Thanks again!
  6. dyerpunk Initiate Member

    All of my fish made it through the night! Even the real sick one is doing much better this morning, hes finally closing his mouth, and starting to swim more. Thanks again for the help.