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Author Topic: Dying fish, white fuzzy stuff, cloudy water.  (Read 14695 times)
Reign26
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« on: August 12, 2010, 11:53:08 PM »

Ok here goes the info:

30 gallon tank, filtered by a fluval 204. Over head tank lights are like fluorescent bulbs. My husband tested it last night, pH was 6.5 (stable for a month), Ammonia, Nitrate, nitrite are 0. GH is 3 drops on the labonett test kit. KH is 1 1/2 dH.

Husband cleaned the filter last night. Did a partial (10%) water change this past weekend when he syphoned the rocks.

In the tank we have; 1 guppy (1 died), 2 glofish (1 died), 1 neon tetra (soul survivor of 4), 2 kissing fish, 1 bala shark (the other passed away after surviving a dive from the WC tank to the kitchen floor), 1 eel, 2 snails (seen a baby the other day, can't find it now). 1 African dwarf frog (don't know where he is) and an algae eater (whereabouts unknown). For a total of 8 fish, 1 frog, 2 snails, 1 algae eater.

I just removed a dead fish covered in white fuzzy stuff (wrapped up like a cocoon), what I'm concerned about is this white fuzzy stuff on the bottom of the tank that looks like cotton fuzzies with dirt in it. I researched to see if my kissing fish mated or if my snails were busier than I thought. But nothing I find looks like whats in my tank.

I was told never to do a complete tank change (which I'm inclined to do). So I don't know where to proceed from here.

Any help is appreciated!!!


Thanks,
Reign
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Reign26
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« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2010, 12:04:57 AM »

OH! We also feed once a day; flakes and those algae discs; (according to the pet store) and the fluval filter that pushes water into the tank is pointed away from the input filter, thereby pushing the water in a circle. It agitates the top water pretty well. I also have two bubble things in a plastic tube.

I've noticed the guppies and glofish attempting to swim into the input filter. Is that normal?  jolly1
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PuntiusFanaticoma
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« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2010, 12:52:20 AM »

I don't believe you're testing nitrates correctly. In a matured tank, you should always get a measurable amount of nitrates. IF your nitrate, nitrite and ammonia readings are really all zero, I would assume your tank has not even started to cycle. Retest properly and I'm sure your results will be different.

Theres also the fact that your tank is poorly stocked, and overstocked. Bala sharks don't belong in tanks smaller than, 100 gallons, as they are a large, deep bodied fish, added with the fact that they are very active and need to be kept in a group. He'll also eat your neons, and possibly your glofish.

Kissing fishes are kissing gouramies. I'm not familiar with them, so I won't comment on them, though I'm almost certain two grow too large to be kept in a 20gal.

When you say algae eater, my mind imediately thinks chinese algae eater. They're not from China, shockingly, and neither do they consume as much algae as you might think. They grow to a foot long, and as they grow, they prefer sucking hickies in their tankmates as opposed to algae.

The only eel that I think would fit in your tank throughout its life would be zig zags and peacocks. The rest just get too long.
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PuntiusFanaticoma
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2010, 01:00:00 AM »

Continuing the above posts as long replies turn out wierd.

Glofish and neons need to be kept in a group of their own kind, which means at least 6 neons and 6 glofish.

I'm worried about your frog. He is in with several aggressive feeders and may be outcompeted for food.

I'm sorry if this news is disconcerting to you. But I speak for the well-being of the fish, and right now the fish that you have are very stressed. As a responsible fishkeeper, its up to you to do whats right now that you know it.

P.S. The best cure and prevention against disease of any kind is good water quality. So I would reccomend you step up your water cange schedule from the meagre 10% to at least 50% weekly, though more is always better.

Good luck.

Staff Comment Puntius in the future please keep it one rolling post. THey really are not that bad. MRM
« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 01:39:58 AM by MRM » Logged
MRM
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2010, 01:37:26 AM »

Puntius has hit a couple of issues that I deal with in more detail but he is on the right track.

We have several problems here one your tank is not cycled that is going to be the big problem right now. Do you understand the cycling process if not here it is in a nutshell:

Fish are in tank and poop and pee producing ammonia. A natural bacteria comes along and eats the ammonia and excretes nitrites. A second bacteria comes along eats nitrites and excretes nitrates. Nitrates are used by plants and removed by doing weekly 50%+ water changes.

Unfortunatly I am afraid by cleaning the filter the process that had started went down the drain. Hopefully you have a seperate area for your bacteria to inhabit and it is not harmed. What are you using to test . if you are using strips they are next to useless. If a liquid regents test make sure you shake the bottles really well especially the nitrate test the chemicals tend to seperate out and need to be shaken and pounded to get things re mixed.

Now for the bad news your stocking is way out of whack:

Guppies, glofish, neon OK for now we will deal with them when all of the other problems in the tank are delt with.

Kissing fishgrow to around 12 inches and are to big for a 30 gallon tank. Need at least a 75.

Balas grow to betrween 10 and 14 inches are a schooling fish that need a minimum 125 gallon tank.

The eel is going to fall into one of two catagories neither appropriate for your tank since thaey will get to big for it. If it is a Zig-Zag, tire track, or peacock eel they will grow to large for your tank need at least a 55 though they have been known to grow larger than the 10+ inches they are supposed to grow grow. If it is one of the "freshwater" moray eels well they just don't exist.

Unless you bought mystery snails you probably have common pond or ramshorn snails (we'll deal with the snails later).

African Dwarf frog. If you can't find it most likely dead. They are highly sensitive to ammonia and it probably tried to escape the tank.

Algea eater, depending on the type there are problems and then problems. If you got an otto then you are ok unfortunatly they are very sensitive fish and most likely will not make it through the cycle. If you happened into one of the fish stores still selling Chinese Algea eaters I have bad news for you. As a young fish they do eat algea however as they get older they need more protien and eat the slime coat off of other fish and sometimes prey upon weaker or smaller fish. They also grow to over 12 inches and are not appropriate for a 30 gallon tank. If you bought a plecko then it is most likely a common plecko. There are 3 fish sold under this name and they grow from anywhee between 18 and 24 inches though there are some wild specimens that are even larger. Deffinatly not appropriate for a 30 gallon tank. You may have lucked out and got a rubber lipped, bulldog, clown, or bushy nosed plecko but I would be surprised.

The white stuff is mold or bacteria eating leftover food or a dead fish best thing to do is scoop it out and throw away.

Reign.. are you still with me? I know this is a lot but we can fix this I promise.

So first things first I need you to look over your filter. i am not familiar with the fluval model but it should have a couple of different slots for filter materials. The first one in line should take care of your mechanicle filtration (catches all the bits of gunk and such). The second one should hopefully be a sponge or some sort of ceramic noodles or some such this would be your biological filter. Never mess with the biological filter. if it is a bit gunky swish it around in dechlorinated water. The mechanical filter pad can be changed as often as needed. never scrub out your filter pour stuff out yes clean out hoses and tubes as needed but never scrub out the whole thing at once bacteria congragate in the strangest of places.

Now basic tank maintinence. While your tank is cycling you will need to remove 50% of the water every other day minimum, Everyday during the first part of the cycle. You need to test the tank daily. Start just testing for ammonia when that shows up start testing for Nitrites too. When the ammonia goes away start testing for nitrites and nitrates. When the nitrites zero out then you should have measurable nitrates. When this occurs you will be able to slow water changes down to just 50%+ once a week.

I am just giving a basic overview right now I am sure you have a lot of questions and concerns. Do two things as soon as possible. Get rid of the fish that are out of whack for your tank. Take them back to fish store don't flush unless dead. Buy a python, it will help with the water changes. Do not get any new fish at this time.

So any questions?
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Reign26
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« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2010, 12:30:52 AM »

Ya holy crap!!!! I listened to the fish store!!! They told me 2 kissing fish were fine along with the 2 bala's and the eel. As long as I had kissing and bala's in pairs. I have not seen them chase my smaller fish yet. But I don't watch the tank for 24 hours a day.

I would return the fish but the grace period passed, so not sure If they will take them back. I will call tomorrow and check.

I'm not sure what kind of eel it is, but they also told me a 30 gal tank would be fine for it since i didn't/don't have many fish to begin with. He buries himself in the rocks which is neat but i don't want to hurt the poor thing.

I honestly have NO idea what you mean by cycling the tank (please tell me how as I don't want to lose more fish). When we set it up, it ran for a week with nothing in it. Over the 7 days we added the decorations and one fake plant. At the end of the 7 days we took the water and had the store test it. Everything was fine according to them. Our filter does have layers like you mentioned. The second layer is white tube like things that I was told not to rinse in fresh tap water, but instead to rinse in the filter water to preserve the bacteria. I have not cleaned/scrubbed it since we set it up (the filter).

I really hope the frog isn't dead. He was my choice to add (asked the store). I will try to look for him tomorrow.

That was just so much info, I don't know what to do. I've wanted a fish tank for years (originally a salt water, but found out how hard they are and how big they need to be). If you could please walk me through one step, one day at a time what I need to do to save these guys. I'd really appreciate it.

I kinda want to cry. I don't want to hurt any fish....  Sad And BTW whats a python????? Do you mean a snake???

Now I'm sad. How do I fix this?

Thanks for your patience with an inexperienced fish owner. Sad

Oh an my test kit isn't one of those test strip ones. It's one where you have test tubes you add tank water to and add drops in. The ammonia one we have to leave sit for 20 minutes before reading it. It's always in the yellow which the kit says is perfect, same for the nitrites and nitrates and everything else. (not the 20 minutes, but the end results)

I just read about aquarium salt... I do have that, but fish store said don't need it!!! how much should i add??? and the pet store was Petsmart, Petco. Go figure...

And the white stuff that was there now is spread across the tank. In small (2mm) clumps. It seems as if the filter picked up some of it.

And yes they are 2 mystery snails, one blue, one gold.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2010, 12:37:58 AM by Reign26 » Logged
MRM
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« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2010, 12:52:44 AM »

Reign take a deep breath. You are OK Do not use the salt that may have been the only good advice the store gave you. Besides the rinsing advise on the white tube things in your filter that was good. There is a good chance that the store will not refund your money but they will take the fish back.

Now go back and re-read my really long post it was a lot of info to take in the first time. I know you don't want to, heck I don't want to and I wrote it Smiley THis link http://www.badmanstropicalfish.com/forum/index.php?topic=9402.0  is a more in depth look at cycling though I did provide a readers digest version.

A python is the name brand of a Gravel vac that attaches to the sink thus no bucket brigade.

What kind of test kit do you have and does it test for Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates? Shake them really well  even hit them against a table as sometimes the chemicals seperate, especially the nitrates test. Give os the nemeric values of the tests.

Scoop out the white stuff.

Glad they are mystery snails. this link: http://www.badmanstropicalfish.com/forum/index.php?topic=6317.0 will give you the basics on snail care. the big thing is getting calcium for their shells. The advice in the article is good however you can also buy liquid calcium in the salt water section at most fish stores. A couple of drops every couple of days and the snails will be fine.

Now deep breaths, re-read, we will get you to the relaxing and enjoyable part of fish keeping soon. It is a bit over whelming now but it will get better.
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Reign26
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« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2010, 01:58:51 PM »

It's been a long time since my last post. Ran into some family issues I had to deal with and school started back up for the kids and college for me. (drive a school bus). So I've been busy and stressed and, yeah insane.

Since my last post, we've got all the levels even (so the test says). I did redo the tests and shook the crabby pants out of them. Smiley Our pH dropped really low. 6.2. No matter what we can't get it back up. It was reccomended we add some crushed coral in a bag to our filter, because our water shows as soft.

We lost one snail, and the eel jumped tank, of course, it was over a weekend I was away mad. Other than that nothing has happened. We've done a 50% tank change with tap water that I let sit on the counter in gallon jugs for a week. I found out what we thought was an algae eater is not an algae eater. It hides alll the time and never comes out, but is alive.

The rest of my fish are flourishing. Growing and swimming like crazy. I was also told if I go to feed them and they don't rush for the food that they are stressed. Well, they don't just rush, they hop, skip, and jump for food. I lift the lid and they are lined up.

As far as returning the fish, they told me no. Outright. I asked them why? I was told they can't verify where they are from and don't have tanks available to "quarantine" them. I showed my receipt, the guy shrugged and walked away. I won't be going there again and told him so along with a few choice words....  Smiley

We got a different test kit, well husband did. He got those strip thingies  lame . Everything is in the safe levels. The test results say:

Ammonia is 0.5 mg/L - says stress
Nitrate is at 40 - says safe
Nitrite is a 0
Hardness - 75 ppm
Chlorine - 0
Alkalinity - 40 - says low
pH - 6.2

These results are from 1 minute ago. As a refresh, my tank is a 30 gallon. Fluval 204 biological filter.
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Pat Mary
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« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2010, 03:41:53 PM »

As MRM said, the test strips are extremely inaccurate.  You need the liquid type with test tubes.  Most people here use the API master test kit.

Seeing that your LFS won't take the fish back, I would post them on Craig's list or something like that.  The only other option would be to get a very large tank.
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MRM
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« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2010, 03:45:33 PM »

No need to age the water and take up that counter space. Just get a good dechlorinator, I use API's Tap Water Conditioner. It gets rid of chlorine, chloramine, and deals with heavy metals. You don't need the stress coat stuff with aloe.

40 ppm Nitrate is high. Start doing weekly 50%+ water changes. THat will help get it down. Nitrates are best at between 10 and 20 ppm most of us try to keep them around 10.
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Reign26
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« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2010, 01:33:15 AM »

No need to age the water and take up that counter space. Just get a good dechlorinator, I use API's Tap Water Conditioner. It gets rid of chlorine, chloramine, and deals with heavy metals. You don't need the stress coat stuff with aloe.

40 ppm Nitrate is high. Start doing weekly 50%+ water changes. THat will help get it down. Nitrates are best at between 10 and 20 ppm most of us try to keep them around 10.

Thanks. I thought the Nitrate's were a bit on the high side as well. I'm going to have hubby do another water change, it's been a little over a week since the last one. We are trying to increase the pH slowly using a acid buffer and alkalinity buffer, 2:1 parts recommended by my LFS (well not local but the best around).
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Reign26
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« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2010, 01:34:07 AM »

As MRM said, the test strips are extremely inaccurate.  You need the liquid type with test tubes.  Most people here use the API master test kit.

Seeing that your LFS won't take the fish back, I would post them on Craig's list or something like that.  The only other option would be to get a very large tank.

They are inaccurate but for now, they are ok. Going to my LFS tomorrow and going to check on a new liquid test kit, didn't like the one we had. To complicated to read. Thanks!
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MRM
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« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2010, 11:11:27 AM »

Do not use the buffers provided by the LFS. When we start playing with the PH of our tanks it is like playing russian roulette. The swings that occur in the PH do more damage to the fish then what a low or high PH does to them. If you are really concerned about the PH being to high pputting a mesh bag of crushed coral into your filter would be much safer.
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