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Old 10-21-2011, 03:12 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Toxic Tank Mystery

I didn't want to write about this until my fish was better. Didn't want to jinx the recovery. I want to diagnose this tank so I know what steps to follow to make it safe. Here's what happened:

I got a 2.5 gal minibow for one of my females. I washed it out, filled it with dechlorinated water, let the heater bring the temperature to 78 and then acclimated the fish for 45 minutes (both temp and water acclimation).

Within three hours of letting her loose, she had clamped fins. I should probably have caught on at this point, but I had an exam and had to run. Within four hours, she was lying at the bottom of the tank.
I was frantic, of course, changed the water in her 1 gal tank, put her back into it. I also added some oak leaves for tannins. For two days, she lay at the bottom of her tank, only coming up for air. When she swam, she wobbled. This wasn't an SBD kind of wobble. It looked neurological, like she was dizzy, almost. I just kept changing her water and coaxing her to eat and hoping.

Yesterday, I woke up, did my usual, "is she going to be alive? I don't want to look", routine. Surprise! Happy, wiggling, "I'M STARVING!!" fish! Made my day.

BUT: What about this tank? I think there's something leeching out of this tank. Should I bleach it and let it sit out in the sun? Heat it? Anyone else had this experience, have any idea what this is?
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Old 10-21-2011, 07:06 PM   #2 
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Location: Lake Havasu, Arizona
I currently have a boy going through chemical poisoning/burns from a new tank, heater and plants.

I think the best you can do is to rinse everything new in really hot water multiple times before use again. I unfortunately didn't follow this to a T and may lose my favorite boy soon.
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:59 PM   #3 
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I always bleach a tank after I've had a really sick fish in it, but maybe that's just me. 10% solution for 15 minutes. Then rinse rinse rinse rinse, rinse until you're sure there's no bleach left. Then fill one last time and add a dechlorinator and let it sit again awhile. Last step would be to let it air dry in the sun. I also add an extra step of rinsing in RO water before I air dry, but that's pretty picky and I find few people do that.
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Old 10-21-2011, 09:03 PM   #4 
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Location: Middlesex County, NJ
I went through a similar experience a while back. I got rid of the tank, the decor, and the heater. I'll never know what the deal was but two fish got stress stripey and died in it within 48 hours of showing symptoms. One from AB, the other from Petco. They also seemed disoriented, couldn't find their way around. They showed bloat too though which led me to think it was bacterial. I did NOT get rid of the live plants between fish and I still can't believe I did that.

So, clean out the tank and everything in it, let it sit out in the sun and dry for a couple days or replace everything if you can afford it. It's one of those fish keeping mysteries I think happens to everyone at least once. Some of us more then once.
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Old 10-21-2011, 11:35 PM   #5 
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Alright. I'm going to bleach the tank and heater, rinse with hot water several times, and then let them sit in the sun for a week. That should probably cover all bases. Thanks for the input guys.
Pataflafla, I'm so sorry about your fish. It's terrible to think you're doing something great like getting a bigger tank for your fish and then find out that it's actually hurt them. I feel for you and I really hope your boy pulls through.
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