What To Do Now To Ready Tank For New Fish?

lisamia81

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I posted a few days ago about my fish getting tail rot. I'm sad to say that all of my fish have died. All I have left is a plecostomus. What do I do now to get the tank ready for new fish? Do I need to take everything out, clean it again, boil the decorations?
 

A201

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Don't panic. Change out 50% of the water. Concentrate keeping the Pleco alive. In three or four weeks begin slowly stocking the tank. Be sure to research the fish you want. Consult with the forum for advice.
 
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lisamia81

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kallililly1973 said:
Sorry for your losses. How long was your tank up n running? What size tank? Was it cycled? What are the current water parameters. Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates?
Thank you, my tank has been up and running for about a month now, it's 35 gallons. I really am not sure if it was cycled, I'm a beginner. I've read that the ammonia level needs to be at 0 when it's cycled and for some reason the nitrite levels are always high. 2 days ago I did a 50% water change with just 2 fish left in there. Immediately after water change, the nitrite was still reading "dangerous" I don't understand

A201 said:
Don't panic. Change out 50% of the water. Concentrate keeping the Pleco alive. In three or four weeks begin slowly stocking the tank. Be sure to research the fish you want. Consult with the forum for advice.
What about the tail rot disease that's in the tank? Will water changes get rid of it? I'm afraid when I add more fiah they will get it too
 

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It took my 29 gallon about 8 weeks to cycle. At this point, my advice would be to continue doing 50% water changes every day until you're down to 0 nitrites. If they get EXTREMELY high then do about three 35% water changes in the same day until you're down to 0. That worked for me well once upon a time-- also, I would suggest purchasing Prime so that the harmful toxins get neutralized and don't hurt your fish as much. Do that for each water change and you'll see a significant change in 3 - 5 days.
 
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lisamia81

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LHanna61 said:
It took my 29 gallon about 8 weeks to cycle. At this point, my advice would be to continue doing 50% water changes every day until you're down to 0 nitrites. If they get EXTREMELY high then do about three 35% water changes in the same day until you're down to 0. That worked for me well once upon a time-- also, I would suggest purchasing Prime so that the harmful toxins get neutralized and don't hurt your fish as much. Do that for each water change and you'll see a significant change in 3 - 5 days.
Thank you I will definitely try that! Not to sound stupid, but what is prime?

LHanna61 said:
It took my 29 gallon about 8 weeks to cycle. At this point, my advice would be to continue doing 50% water changes every day until you're down to 0 nitrites. If they get EXTREMELY high then do about three 35% water changes in the same day until you're down to 0. That worked for me well once upon a time-- also, I would suggest purchasing Prime so that the harmful toxins get neutralized and don't hurt your fish as much. Do that for each water change and you'll see a significant change in 3 - 5 days.
What about the tail rot disease in the water? Will water changes get rid of it?
 

david1978

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Unfornatly no. The bacteria that causes fin rot is always in our tanks weather we want to admit it or not.
 

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Fin rot is caused by poor water conditions, its not a disease. Your tank isn't cycled. "Cycled" means that you have enough beneficial bacteria living in your filter media to convert all waste to nitrates. Any waste produces ammonia, then a bacteria called Nitrosomonas grows to eat the ammonia. Their byproduct is nitrites. Another bacteria called Nitrospira then grows to consume the nitrites. Their byproduct is nitrates. When you have a tank that's completely cycled, all the waste is converted to nitrates immediately. Every week or so you'll need to do a 50% (give or take) water change to lower nitrate levels and replenish "healthy" water. When this isn't done fin rot develops.

Personally, Id do an 80% water change and keep your Pleco alive. Get the routine of keeping the tank healthy and staying up with maintenance and then SLOWLY add some new fish when you feel like you have a handle on things.

DO NOT remove and replace filter media, as if you do you'll be restarting your cycle over and over every time. If you're running those carbon filter cartridges that "recommend" replacing ever week, add a spong to the intake and some bio balls to the filter itself. When you do your water changes, just rinse the media in some used tank water before you dump it.
 

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lisamia81 said:
Thank you I will definitely try that! Not to sound stupid, but what is prime?
Not stupid! We've all been there!
Prime is another kind of water conditioner BUT it has the added benefit of neutralizing Nitrites in the water for 24-48 hours so it doesn't directly harm the fish. It's still 100% in the tank and it will still read on your API tests (that you should purchase ASAP if you don't have) but it creates a barrier and allows you an extremely short lifeline with an extremely small window to perform water changes and help your fish. It's a life saver for this exact reason.

This will help get the tank cycled.

In the meantime, make sure your tank is the correct temperature and the filter is strong (if you need any advice on this, let me know). For the fish that's in there, keep it at the directed temperature (look up if you don't know) but on the lower side. If the tank is TOO warm then the bad bacteria will reproduce and attack the fish in the tank.

The cycle in the meantime, will help build up good bacteria and create an ecosystem for that fish to be happy in.
 
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lisamia81

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DuaneV said:
Fin rot is caused by poor water conditions, its not a disease. Your tank isn't cycled. "Cycled" means that you have enough beneficial bacteria living in your filter media to convert all waste to nitrates. Any waste produces ammonia, then a bacteria called Nitrosomonas grows to eat the ammonia. Their byproduct is nitrites. Another bacteria called Nitrospira then grows to consume the nitrites. Their byproduct is nitrates. When you have a tank that's completely cycled, all the waste is converted to nitrates immediately. Every week or so you'll need to do a 50% (give or take) water change to lower nitrate levels and replenish "healthy" water. When this isn't done fin rot develops.

Personally, Id do an 80% water change and keep your Pleco alive. Get the routine of keeping the tank healthy and staying up with maintenance and then SLOWLY add some new fish when you feel like you have a handle on things.

DO NOT remove and replace filter media, as if you do you'll be restarting your cycle over and over every time. If you're running those carbon filter cartridges that "recommend" replacing ever week, add a spong to the intake and some bio balls to the filter itself. When you do your water changes, just rinse the media in some used tank water before you dump it.
Well I have been in the habit of trying to keep up maintenance on the tank, I've done everything recommended and used the chemicals and water changes and everything! I don't understand what I did wrong! That's all I've been doing is trying to figure out why nothing I do seems to help the water conditions and I've had to watch all of my fish die. Very frustrating especially when I literally have done everything I was told to do when I asked for help. Thanks everyone for your help and input. I will try my hardest to keep the pleco alive. Thank you

LHanna61 said:
Not stupid! We've all been there!
Prime is another kind of water conditioner BUT it has the added benefit of neutralizing Nitrites in the water for 24-48 hours so it doesn't directly harm the fish. It's still 100% in the tank and it will still read on your API tests (that you should purchase ASAP if you don't have) but it creates a barrier and allows you an extremely short lifeline with an extremely small window to perform water changes and help your fish. It's a life saver for this exact reason.

This will help get the tank cycled.

In the meantime, make sure your tank is the correct temperature and the filter is strong (if you need any advice on this, let me know). For the fish that's in there, keep it at the directed temperature (look up if you don't know) but on the lower side. If the tank is TOO warm then the bad bacteria will reproduce and attack the fish in the tank.

The cycle in the meantime, will help build up good bacteria and create an ecosystem for that fish to be happy in.
Thank you so much!! I have a lot to learn!
 

LHanna61

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Another thing you should do, if you haven't already is add in real plants. Not sure why anyone uses fake plants because real ones just take care of themselves and you only benefit from them. They won't help immediately but down the road you'll be grateful that you have them as they eat up the Nitrates(? I believe) which is the last part of the cycle. In addition to water changes, you'll have a very healthy tank. It's a TON of trial and error though and learning from experience. Don't give up!
 
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lisamia81

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LHanna61 said:
Another thing you should do, if you haven't already is add in real plants. Not sure why anyone uses fake plants because real ones just take care of themselves and you only benefit from them. They won't help immediately but down the road you'll be grateful that you have them as they eat up the Nitrates(? I believe) which is the last part of the cycle. In addition to water changes, you'll have a very healthy tank. It's a TON of trial and error though and learning from experience. Don't give up!
I have read that! But I also read that certain fish have to have certain kinds of plants and I haven't researched further as to which plants. I will do that when I am able to get more fish
 

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Are you using city water and if so have you been using a dechlorinator?

Also, when you said
lisamia81 said:
Well I have been in the habit of trying to keep up maintenance on the tank, I've done everything recommended and used the chemicals and water changes and everything!
I cringed a little. I don't add ANYTHING to my tanks. No chemicals what so ever. If the fish in the local farm ponds can live without chemicals, so can mine. Just make sure you're using a dechlorinator if you need it, and make sure you have a good/correct stock. If you are keeping incompatible fish/bad stock, that can cause a lot of issues and sometimes youd never know it.
 
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lisamia81

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DuaneV said:
Are you using city water and if so have you been using a dechlorinator?

Also, when you said I cringed a little. I don't add ANYTHING to my tanks. No chemicals what so ever. If the fish in the local farm ponds can live without chemicals, so can mine. Just make sure you're using a dechlorinator if you need it, and make sure you have a good/correct stock. If you are keeping incompatible fish/bad stock, that can cause a lot of issues and sometimes youd never know it.
Yes I've been using city tap water and putting in a dechlorinator. How do you keep your water conditions healthy without chemicals? Lol seriously tell me! I started out using no chemicals, just dechlorinator. I had to begin with 2 very small goldfish, 2 very small fancy goldfish, 2 tetras and a plecostomus. Slowly one by one they all died except for the plecostomus. I got test strips and the water conditions were way off. So I went ahead and added chemicals. After I added chemicals, it seems like no matter what I did, the nitrite levels always read "dangerous" even after a water change. I would love to not have to use chemicals!
 

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Prime is the best in the market for dechlorination and removing other harmful minerals from the tap water...

Take it slow, patience is the key to aquarium success. It would be tempting to add fishes into a new tank.... Let the tank stabilize with the pleco...

The root cause of the problem is the not cycled tank.
 
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lisamia81

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gok said:
Take it slow, patience is the key to aquarium success. It would be tempting to add fishes into a new tank.... Let the tank stabilize with the pleco...

The root cause of the problem is the not cycled tank.
I am going too, I won't add any more fish for awhile. So you know that the tank is cycled when the nitrite levels stay at 0?
 

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lisamia81 said:
I am going too, I won't add any more fish for awhile. So you know that the tank is cycled when the nitrite levels stay at 0?
All three... Ammonia, Nitrate and Nitrites... All should be 0 or at bare minimum...
 

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Nitrates don't need to be zero. Anything below 40is safe, I personally keep mine below 20.

A cycled tank will typically have nitrates unless you have a huge plant load
 

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What chemicals have you been adding?

There are a vast number of chemicals available at the LFS for "adjusting" your water. The reality is that for most people they are unnecessary. I'm sure they make a lot of money for the companies selling them, because people want to believe that these chemicals will give their fish better lives.

If you haven't already read through all of the links on this page https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfi...t-freshwater-beginner-important-topics.14296/ then I would suggest doing so. Particularly on the nitrogen cycle.

Somehow when I first started out knowing nothing of the nitrogen cycle I managed to avoid any of my new fish dying, however ignorance of the nitrogen cycle (and some other important things like the size tank required for various species) for maybe 12 or more years, meant that my fish never got the best life that they could have. I know now that their lives could have been much longer if I was not ignorant. 20+ years later I'm on a new journey with tropical fish, I did a heap of research to make sure that I take the best possible care of them.

Once your tank is cycled, your life will become much easier. Provided you are diligent with your maintenance, and avoid what I would call the number one mistake (which is over-feeding), your fish, and you will be a lot less stressed, and you will be able to enjoy the benefits of owning an aquarium

Tony.
 
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lisamia81

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wintermute said:
What chemicals have you been adding?

There are a vast number of chemicals available at the LFS for "adjusting" your water. The reality is that for most people they are unnecessary. I'm sure they make a lot of money for the companies selling them, because people want to believe that these chemicals will give their fish better lives.

If you haven't already read through all of the links on this page https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfi...t-freshwater-beginner-important-topics.14296/ then I would suggest doing so. Particularly on the nitrogen cycle.

Somehow when I first started out knowing nothing of the nitrogen cycle I managed to avoid any of my new fish dying, however ignorance of the nitrogen cycle (and some other important things like the size tank required for various species) for maybe 12 or more years, meant that my fish never got the best life that they could have. I know now that their lives could have been much longer if I was not ignorant. 20+ years later I'm on a new journey with tropical fish, I did a heap of research to make sure that I take the best possible care of them.

Once your tank is cycled, your life will become much easier. Provided you are diligent with your maintenance, and avoid what I would call the number one mistake (which is over-feeding), your fish, and you will be a lot less stressed, and you will be able to enjoy the benefits of owning an aquarium

Tony.
Just the dechlorinator and the tetra easy balance and I put in some aquarium salt. I will check out the link, thank you! I gotta get my tank to cycle!
 

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