Tank Bleaching Advice How Do I

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Rowan Heneghan, Jun 26, 2018.

  1. Rowan HeneghanNew MemberMember

    I've had two bettas in a row die from some sort of parasite in my 5g betta tank. I've been told my two options to make sure it doesn't happen again is running the tank empty for two months or bleaching everything. I've decided to bleach it, and have accepted that this means ruining the cycle, but my tank is planted and has a nerite snail in it. Can I move the snail to my other tank (which doesn't have any bettas in it) or will it carry the parasite? Is there a way I can bleach without killing my plants? Any tips would be appreciated!
  2. FishGirl38

    FishGirl38Valued MemberMember

    I've never done this...and personally I have been told to never use bleach on an aquarium to clean it...especially if you plan on re-using the supplies...what kind of parasite have you been dealing with? I would say the snail is safe to transfer but...I'm honestly not sure if he'd carry the parasite (depends on what it is), though usually snails are fine with their shells to protect their fleshy bits.

    Have you thought of using vinager instead? it's an acidic alternative that wont kill fish if they come in contact with it (like how bleach will)...Though I'm not sure if vinegar will kill the parasites (again, depends on the parasite). If it's ich, you could try turning the heater up in the tank to about 86-88F and add some salt (if you don't have fish in there you could just salt bomb it.)

    With ich, they cannot reproduce in water that warm, and the salt (to my understanding) makes it harder for them to latch onto fish/infect fish.

    There are medications you can use as well, even if there are no fish in the tank, the medication should kill the parasite, THOUGH, most parasitic medications contain copper, this is their main ingredient. Copper will kill shrimp and snails, so if you do go this route, take the nerite snail out before you do. Also, you'll have to remove the carbon out of the filter so that the carbon doesn't pull the medication right out of the water as you're adding it.

    Edit: You could pull the plants out and store them in a bag of water for now, You'll have have to get them back into (a) tank within the next day and a half though. When you say bleach the tank, how would you go about it?
  3. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Generally when sterilizing a tank with bleach, you want to use 1 part bleach to 19 parts water. After cleaning, rinse until you no longer smell chlorine, then fill tank with water (and put any other objects your sterilized in the tank) and overdose with a dechlorinator. Then empty tank, rinse (also rinse all other objects you sterilized) and you're good to go.

    I would not recommend doing this with your substrate though, I wouldn't think you'd ever get the bleach rinsed out of it.

    But with all that said, why not just treat the tank with a med that kills parasites, let the med run it's course, then do a large water change and put fish back in?

  4. Lagertha

    LagerthaValued MemberMember

    In my honest opinion I’d toss everything and buy a new tank, substrate, plants and start over.

    The snail I would put in a separate small maybe 2 gallon filtered tank on his own maybe add some shrimp too.

    This is just me but I’m a lot OCD and reusing a tank that had parasites in it would cause my anxiety to probably kill me.

    But that’s just me.
  5. FishGirl38

    FishGirl38Valued MemberMember

    Thank you for this, I wasn't aware you could dilute bleach to be safe enough for aquarium use.
  6. Bearwithfish

    BearwithfishValued MemberMember

    I have bleached lots of tanks over the years. here is the method I use -

    Put in 1 part unscented regular bleach to 15-20 parts water. let the tank sit for 15 minutes. empty rinse tank until the smell is almost or completely gone. fill with water and 5x the normal amount of dechoronatior. let the tank sit for 30-60 minutes. empty rinse again and you are good to go.

    I have done this on over 20 tanks (fresh and saltwater) with no ill effects at all.

    In my opinion, the Snail may be an issue. were it me (and it's not) I would do the following -

    I would quarantine it. Heat treat it for a few weeks (kick up the temp 1 degree each day until you reach 85 degrees - leave for 2 weeks - then lower by 1 degree until you are back to your typical temp). then leave it in the QT for an additional 4 weeks just to be certain

    I hope this helps.
  7. OP

    Rowan HeneghanNew MemberMember

    I don't know what exactly it was, whether parasite, virus, bacteria... I just know it was causing my bettas bloating and constipation, white stringy poo hanging off one of them for days, and for both it was a quick death between becoming slightly lethargic and pineconing and dying a few days later. It was an expert on a bettafish subreddit that suggested to me that those are my two best courses of action, but I'd really love to preserve the cycle and plants... are there medicines I could use to be sure my tank is safe from this illness?

    Just to clarify- that would kill the plants and the nitrogen cycle bacteria too, right?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2018
  8. Bearwithfish

    BearwithfishValued MemberMember

    Oh yes. You would be starting from scratch 100%.

    I do understand it is not an easy thing to consider. But if you are unsure what it is that caused the problems this would be the easiest way to start over.
  9. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Yes there are meds that you add to the water to treat for internal parasites. I cannot tell you the name of any though, since I never had that problem.

    Also, I wanted to add that Bettas are very prone to bloating and constipation. You need to be very careful not to overfeed a betta. Additionally, if you feed it any freeze dried foods, it is best to soak then in a little tank water to re-hydrate them before feeding them to your betta. Not doing so can also lead to constipation.
  10. OP

    Rowan HeneghanNew MemberMember

    thanks! yeah I'm aware and had been very careful to follow this and feed very little. I've managed to determine that it definitlely wasn't my feeding habits that killed them.
  11. IHaveADogToo

    IHaveADogTooWell Known MemberMember

    The bloat and consitpation and stringy white poo tells me the parasite was either threadworm or tapeworm. The problem is, those two parasites are different and you need different medication to treat them.

    As for the plants, the plants themselves may be hosting parasites since there are no fish right now. I know this is not what you want to hear, but you're going to have to treat the plants, too, which might kill them, or you're going to have to throw them away.

    Or - you could just do what was originally suggested to you, and just let the tank run without fish in it for a couple months.
  12. OP

    Rowan HeneghanNew MemberMember

    Alright, thank you. I think I'm just going to bleach... I'd miss having fishies too much to go for two months, so i'll just deal with the one month it'll take to recycle. As for the plants, thankfully its only some duckweed and amazon sword, not a huge deal or very expensive, i'm just sad because they only juuuust started looking really settled and healthy. Ah well. Thanks for the help everyone!
  13. Bearwithfish

    BearwithfishValued MemberMember

    You know there is one more option available here.

    You can run this tank empty for 2 months and set up a new tank in the meantime. That way you are not fishless for 2 months. I mean this would be ideal this way, in the end, you have 2 tanks!!!

  14. OP

    Rowan HeneghanNew MemberMember

    I know lol I actually have a 20 gal community tank I just love bettas and don't want to pay for another tank. thanks so much though!
  15. AquaticJ

    AquaticJFishlore VIPMember

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