Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Danimal6, Apr 19, 2018.

  1. Danimal6

    Danimal6Valued MemberMember

    Tragedy struck my tank. I lost all of my poor fish to what has been diagnosed as internal parasites of some kind. I'm still new to fishkeeping, so I had no idea about what could have been causing my fish to act strange and I caught it too late.

    I don't want to give up, so I'm following the advice of the lfs employees (I know but they seem to know their stuff and haven't really led me wrong yet). They said to let the tank sit for a month or so with no fish, which is fine because it gives me a chance to work on a shrimp tank I've been wanting to build, but I want to be sure that if I do add fish in a month or so the water will be safe for them.

    So my questions are: will leaving the tank fishless for a month or so eliminate the risk of parasites being in the water? Also, how can I make sure the cycle is maintained without the fish, if that's possible?

    The only inhabitants left in the tank are some plants and three nerite snails. Thanks for any advice you can offer!
  2. Demeter

    DemeterFishlore VIPMember

    You would need to add some ammonia to the water every now and then to feed the bacteria, leaving it w/o source of ammonia will kill the cycle. Also not too sure leaving the tank set for a month will kill all the pathogens, but it's worth a shot.

    Not sure what type of ammonia to use, never actually used it myself, but I'm sure others can assist.
  3. toran

    toranValued MemberMember

    I would still treat the tank.

    API general cure would take care of any left. Read the instructions about your snails. I think they would be fine but if not put them in a separate container.

    Do a big water change before treatment.

    While the tank is empty you still need to feed the bacteria with ammonia. When you feed the snails put in a little extra and leave it till the next day at feeding time. Then take out the old before feeding the fresh food.
  4. Madeline Peterson

    Madeline PetersonValued MemberMember

    Parasites have complex and diverse life cycles. I'd need to know what kind of internal parasites to tell you if one month fishless will result in them all dying.

    As for how to keep the nitrogen cycle going, that's easy. Just add about as much fish food as you added to feed your fish. The bacteria will eat the fish food directly instead of eating digested fish food, aka fish poop. This will keep them alive without fish.
  5. OP

    Danimal6Valued MemberMember

    Unfortunately, I have no clue as to what kind of parasites killed them, I only even thought parasites after ruling out the easier answers. I think I'll try some kind of pathogen medication and do the food trick to maintain the cycle though, and as far as the snails go, I may be able to move them somewhere else if need be
  6. GuppyDazzle

    GuppyDazzleWell Known MemberMember

    I don't understand "what has been diagnosed" as internal parasites. Then you said you didn't know what kind of parasites, then after ruling out the easier answers. I'm trying to understand.

    Parasites have to come from somewhere. Did you recently get the fish from the LFS? If so, that's where the parasites came from. Are they the ones that diagnosed that parasites are you problem? If they said "I know they're parasites but I don't know what kind" it's a very unreliable answer. That's kind of like drinking a milk shake and saying, "I know there's a flavor, but I don't know what kind." It doesn't make sense.

    The advice to let it sit doesn't make sense either. There are parasites that can survive in the cyst stage a lot longer than a month. That's why it's important to know what kind.

    You could dose with some kind of parasite medication, but if you don't really know exactly what caused the trouble, you're shooting in the dark with any kind of medication. In that case your best bet is to tear down the tank and clean it thoroughly, either vinegar, or a bleach solution and rinse like crazy.
  7. Gypsy13

    Gypsy13Fishlore VIPMember

    I totally agree. You could spen a fortune on parasite meds only to find they didn’t treat Camallanus Worms, or that it was actually bacterial, fungal, etc. too many ifs in this situation. And if you have to wanna questionable month, why not take it down get it clean and sterile then start getting it cycled? Just my thinking on it. Good luck Danimal6. I’m sorry you lost your fish. :(
  8. OP

    Danimal6Valued MemberMember

    Sorry about the confusion, I thought parasites because they were the only other culprit I could think of. The easier answers weren't meant as types of parasites, but stuff like no white spots (ich), the tanks pH and temp. were consistent, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 10-15 nitrate consistently,

    And I added a bubbler to ensure that there was oxygen getting into the water. Additionally, they all deteriorated within 3-5 days (which I thought was really fast) and I noticed some red circles on their abdomens post-mortem. I had picked up a trio of cherry barbs, so maybe they were the source. I understand the whole idea of shooting in the dark though, and because of that I'm now considering the nuclear option. Any other advice?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2018
  9. Gypsy13

    Gypsy13Fishlore VIPMember

    Gotcha. But like I said, not knowing what killed your fish, dosing the tank may be wasted money and time. And since you have to “wait” anyway, I’d clean and sterilize everything. Start it up again. Get it cycled and then get new fish. ;)

    Not sure how you feel, but every loss is heartbreaking to me. I just wouldn’t take a chance. I’d definitely nuke it and start over. And just like I do all used tanks I get, I clean with salt water. Then rinse/repeat. The first rinse I really rinse. The second rinse is just rinsing out.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2018
  10. OP

    Danimal6Valued MemberMember

    Thanks for all of the help and responses, I was definitely broken up about the losses for more than a few days. I'm going to sterilize the tank as soon as I get a free day. Hopefully something like this won't happen again...
  11. GuppyDazzle

    GuppyDazzleWell Known MemberMember

    Don't beat yourself up. It happens to everybody. My advice when you have a problem is to step back, take a breath, and observe so you can make an educated guess as to what's actually causing the problem. On a forum like this you get a lot of well-meaning people all throwing different solutions at you. The next thing you know you're running around like a frenzied one-armed paper hanger trying to do something, anything!, changing water, adding this, adding that, then the fish die and you're not any closer to figuring out what the heck just happened.

    The problem with advice from fish stores is that there's no middle when it comes to knowledge. You either get the person who's been a fish nerd for 100 years and knows just about everything, or the minimum wage kid who still isn't quite sure of the difference between freshwater and saltwater. It's not their fault. Fish stores can't afford to pay for experts to staff their stores, they'd go out of business real fast.

    Again, don't panic if there's an issue. The biggest problem with medicating before you have a good idea of what's going on is that you're likely to miss the real problem while you're treating for something that isn't there. You don't have to wait until you're 100% convinced, but at least have an educated guess on your diagnosis.