Tank Size: 36 Gallon / Fish:7 Platys & 1 Molly / Issue: Red Gills(Ammonia)

method4ever

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Please help, my wife and I just started this freshwater tank for about a week or 2 now and recently cleaned it ( last Sunday ). Then the other day I looked into "red gills" as my fish seemed to have the symptoms and were floating at the top of the tank. After much research I learned to drain the tank immediately by 50% and refill it, which I did. Now some of the fish are still at the top while ones that were before are swimming around and not so lethargic. When I replaced the water I added more bacteria, more dechlorinator. I am skipping feeding them today as I fear overfeeding caused the spike in ammonia levels, and I also removed another 10% of water and added bacteria/dechlorinator. I was told not to remove that much water ever again and to never remove more than 30% water. Anything else you can recommend?

Note: I bought a sock for the filter and filled it with some sort of ammonia removing rocks I got at Petsmart per employee recommendation. I am trying to do everything I can within my budget and ability to save these guys, they are troopers!

Also, how long will their gills stay red after I have fixed the levels in the tank?
 

AshWolFF

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The tank has not been cycled long enough. Look at the highlight Nitrogen Cycle and click the link. The Nitrogen cycle takes, at the least amount, 6 weeks to complete.

When you have higher bio-load fish like Platies and Mollies it'll jack up the ammonia. They may or not make it because the Nitrogen Cycle is still taking place. The red gills are from ammonia burns but ammonia is not all they will have to get through. They'll have to go through two other chemicals in deadly spikes, nitrites and nitrates, before the cycle is over.
 

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Did you do anything that could have removed a significant portion of your nitrifying bacteria such as replace you gravel or filter? If you medicated the tank it could also have killed the bacteria. If you are dosing too much bacteria, that could also hurt your fish. The bacteria consume oxygen as well and might be competing with the fish. Dosing too much dechlorinator might also have adverse effects. Make sure you dose proper amounts always.

Another thing, what bacteria are you using? Not all of them work and none of them are instantaneous. The cycle usually takes a few days with the bacteria. Tetra Safestart seems to be the favorite and I also think seachem works. I can't speak for the other brands.
 
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method4ever

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Plantlover:
I am using Top Fin Bacteria - and Top Fin Water Conditioner -

Which I just switched to API brands yesterday, I am dosing according to how much water I removed. So if its 5ml per 10 gallons and I removed 18 gallons I would dose roughly 9ml or so and same with the conditioner. I may have to re-evaluate that. And from what I read AshWolff's post seems to make me think I should have waited much longer before adding any fish(I did not want to sentence them to their death..) because my tank still has nearly a month before the cycle is complete. Bleh, never really been great with fish, but I am trying!
 
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method4ever

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AshWolff:
Your post makes me think I should have waited the month and a half at least before adding fish. It sounds like my fish are doomed, should I really just expect them to perish and if so just wait about a month before getting more?

Edit: PetSmart(Probably a bad way to start this sentence...) told me that Platies(sp) and Mollies(sp) don't produce a lot of waste?

Plantlover:
I generally bought Top Fin ( have both conditioner & Bacteria ) but now I am buying API products for my tank instead. I am trying to ration out how much I put in by roughly how much I remove, so for instance the other day I removed roughly 50% of the water which is 18 gallons so I read the bottle and learned it was 5ml per 10 US gallons and therefore added roughly 19ml of bacteria and used the same method for conditioner. Should I have really waited/are our fish doomed?

I have bought special gravel for the filter to remove ammonia from the tank(at least that's what it says it does...). I have not removed any gravel and only added a very TINY amount of gold gravel for aesthetics recently. Should I remove water still?(I was removing 10% each day after the 50% emergency removal).
 

junebug

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Lesson #1 is never to listen to pet store employees. Their job is to sell you more stuff, not help you have a healthy tank.

So, first step is to get yourself some Prime and Tetra Safestart (both available at most petstores). Add the appropriate dose of Prime to the tank after a large (75% or larger) water change, then 24 hours later, add the appropriate dose of TSS. Feed the fish no more than once a day for now, since they *ARE* huge waste producers (see this is why we don't listen to petstore employees) and don't touch the tank for two weeks. I repeat, don't touch it. Water changes will stop the TSS from cycling your tank, and if you start testing the water, you're going to flip out and do a water change which will interrupt the cycle.

Take the ammonia absorbant out of your filter during this time or again, the TSS won't work.

Topfin bottled bacteria is not one of the brands that actually works. Make sure you get TSS
 
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method4ever

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Apparently the fish are doing it again according to my wife. I am going to go home and do another large water swap. What was the brand that you are recommending junebug? >.< I want to save my fishes!

Edit: I have API Bacteria now. I am going to the petstore just let me know what I need to pick up and do Thanks for helping guys!

So here is what I think you are telling me:
1. Buy "Tetra" brand "SafeStart"
2. Buy "Tetra" brand "Prime"
2. Remove 75% water
3. Add water back to tank
4. Add Prime(Tetra Brand)
5. Wait 24 hours
6. Remove Ammonia Absorbant
7. Add SafeStart(TetraBrand)

Or should I get SeaChem Prime(I can't find any Tetra brand for the prime)? - Only have PetSmart around me, I can try Target/Wal-mart but the Fish specialty store near me burned down recently
 

junebug

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Prime is made by Seachem. They usually carry it at big box stores, so you shouldn't have an issue. If they don't, you can get another water conditioner as long as it neutralizes ammonia as well as dechlorinates.
 
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method4ever

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junebug said:
Prime is made by Seachem. They usually carry it at big box stores, so you shouldn't have an issue. If they don't, you can get another water conditioner as long as it neutralizes ammonia as well as dechlorinates.
Awesome, so my steps are right? Getting off work now and going to go get supplies!
 
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method4ever

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You guys here are truly amazing! Thanks for putting up with newbies like me!
 
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method4ever

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Okay done! Tomorrow I will put in the safe start and remove the ammonia removing rocks. Will keep you posted!
 
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method4ever

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Did steps 1-4 yesterday at 8pm. Fish are still floating at the top as of 8:55am but not dead. Haven't added the whole bottle of safe start yet(treating it like a new tank).
 
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method4ever

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So I didn't have a bubbler and now I picked up a bubbler for 35-60g tanks and have it attached to a sandstone and my little chest. So far they are swimming around again, though one got stuck to the filter/vacuum(opposite side of tank). Is there a such thing as too much bubbles? Can't spend anymore for a few weeks so I hope this does the trick...
 
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method4ever

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Problem solved! Seems to be bacteria related!!!bought a treatment set and now the fish are stressed BUT returning to normal! So happy but sadly I'm down to 4 fish since our tank was brand new I am assuming one of the fish we got from Petsmart had an infection prior to being added to the tank... Never buying fish there again.
 
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