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Old 09-19-2010, 02:44 PM   #1 
ashleyy's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: USA
My boyfriends fresh water tank has some serious problems...

I didn't post this in the betta related threads because his tank had plattys a sucker fish and guppies. But man, let me explain this situation to you.

We are both really inexperienced fish keepers lol.

He has a 55 gallon fish tank. I know for a fact that it has not be changed at all, what so ever for over a year. He lives with his grandparents who are too old to care for a tank of that size and he is a very busy working college student.

He did have a pirana that we assume died of old age because he had it for a long time.

Maybe a month or two after the pirana died, he got 4 plattys. They all died shortly after. And during this time his tank turned a milky color for a few days and then it cleared up. I'm guessing that was a bacteria bloom due to the new fish being in there.

After the platys died he got 4 guppies, 2 males, 2 females and about 20 tiny snails. They lived for a about 3 weeks and then we decided to buy a gravel vaccum and clean out the massive amounts of algae from the tank.

I sucked up a lot of algae and we never used a gravel vaccum before so we didn't know how much water would have been lost. His grandpa took the outdoor hose and but it thru the window into the tank to keep it from emptying out while vaccuming the gravel. The fish were still in the tank during this. The pet store worker said this would be okay. We added water treatment periodically while the tank was filling up/emptied out.

I was skeptical of this and sure enough all the fish besides from the sucker fish died that night. But before we clean the tank, the female guppy had a white string hanging from its belly for a few days. We weren't sure if it was a parasite or a worm. I suppose we won't know now.

They have had the same filter for a longggg time now. I rinse and clean everything in it. But we still never a new filter pad. I told him to not get anymore fish until the tank is ready, but his grandparents came home with some more fish. Bigger ones, Some sort of shark and catfish. I dont know the exact names.

I'm just worried because I know the tank is very unstable and there could be a change that there could be parasites in there. UGH! what should we do? I would hate for more fish to die.
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Old 09-19-2010, 04:40 PM   #2 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
It sounds like nitrate and/or pH shock from old tank syndrome

I would continue with the vacuuming weekly along with a 50% water change to maintain water quality now that you did a big clean on it

I would also give the filter media a good swish/rinse in old tank water or dechlorinated water to get the big pieces of gunk off or even change the filter media at this point, but I would cut the spongy part of the old filter media off and keep it in the filter box or rubber band it to the new filter just enough so it will stay in the water and get some flow until the new filter media has had time to colonize (1-2 weeks)

Make sure the water hose doesn't have the fungal treatment on it for molds, otherwise it should be safe to use, but I would let the old water clear from the hose before you start adding fresh water to the tank
Also, make the water changes in two steps-remove the water and vacuum and then add the new water along with the correct amount of dechlorinator for the 55g volume even when you only removed half the water at the beginning when you start adding new water.

You may also want to either check your water prams or take some tank water to a pet shop for a test-and post the number for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH and if you can have both the source water and tank water tested so we can compare numbers.

Also-parasites are the least of the tank and new fish worries at this point, try to talk them out of adding anymore fish if you can.....good luck.....
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Old 09-19-2010, 05:12 PM   #3 
ashleyy's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: USA
He told them to not get any fish.. but they came home with fish! geez lol. He is going to buy new filter media very soon and I will let him read your reply :]

I've been wanting to clean out that tank since I first saw it.. I just feel really bad that the fish died because of it.

You are so helpful, thank you for all the help you have given me :]
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