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Old 04-18-2013, 06:19 PM   #1 
bniebetta's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Exclamation Prevent the loss of my tank?

This is the backstory. If you want to skip to my question it is in bold. I have to admit I accidentally did something really stupid. One of my sorority members died in her quarantine this morning. None of the girls had contact with each other, but the girl in question has been totally erratic and agitated since the day I got her. I have done everything in my power to make her happy, but she always displayed fear, aggression, repetitive or focused behaviors, and antisocial tendencies more so than what I have observed as normal betta behavior.

There was no sign of illness other than strange behavior even up until yesterday. I have never noticed anything physically wrong with her. She was nothing short of the perfect female. When I went to feed her she floating at the bottom with her face buried in the stones (one of her odd behaviors- she would constantly digging around in her glass stones). Her body was paled and she had bright silvery patches on her fins. From what I have read, I think she died from myco.

When she first came to me I had to take her away from the other QTd girls because it was stressing her out. I set up something separate for her in my room where it was more private and added all the tank cover I could scrounge (including a live plant that I bought from LFS. The plant came from their NPT that also houses fish, snails, etc. The LFS is not known for its cleanliness or even great fish care. The plant was not in that tank for long before I bought it).

My set up seemed to help her feel slightly more at home, but she refused to associate with us and continued her repetitive behaviors. After she had been with me for a week, she still seemed great so I took the plant out and put it in the main planted tank where my sorority is to go. That was about two or three days ago, and then she dead this morning.

Although I would like to know whether she got sick from the pet store/plant or if she came to me sick, the question is really if that plant has now spread her disease to the main tank. This sounds horrible, but I placed the plant with one of the weaker females I am less attached to and I am watching her carefully to see if she displays any signs of illness.

I have to try to do whatever I can to salvage the tank or else the 8 other females will be homeless. I cant really afford to start completely over and chuck my substrate, plants and filter for new ones.

Is there any possible way to disinfect and sterilize the tank, plants included, to make sure it is safe for the others? How can I save everything. I am willing to have to start the cycling over again as long as I don't end up giving all my pets funeral services.
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:30 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: CT
To totally disinfect the tank you'd have to drain it, and give everything a good wash. I usually use a white vinegar solution to do so. I don't really measure, but I use a couple capfulls as I'm cleaning. Haven't had a problem afterwards.

I would also just rinse the live plants thoroughly in plain water.

Some would recommend a weak bleach solution, but I'm not comfortable doing so.

I'm fairly certain live plants wouldn't be carriers for any fish diseases, but it's possible the plant itself is toxic. Sadly most LFS's don't even know the species of the plants they're selling.
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Old 04-19-2013, 01:07 AM   #3 
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Location: Midwest
I've read on fish emergencies that vinegar doesn't kill myco if that is what it is. You want to read the the myco thread all the way through there is disinfectant mentioned.
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Old 04-19-2013, 11:20 AM   #4 
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Location: CT
Yeah, I apparently skipped over that little nugget of info.
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:01 PM   #5 
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Florida
Originally Posted by jadaBlu View Post
I've read on fish emergencies that vinegar doesn't kill myco if that is what it is. You want to read the the myco thread all the way through there is disinfectant mentioned.
Mycos is extremely hard to kill. If it WERE mycos (which you wouldn't know unless you sent the body to a lab to be tested), pretty much everything would need to be tossed. Live plants would probably not survive the disinfecting process and anything porous (silk plants, decor) would need to be bagged up well and tossed.

Bleach can kill mycos (to my knowledge) but it needs to be used, then the tank and everything else disinfected needs to be set out in the sun for a month or two and then it probably needs bleached again. Mycos has a thick mucous layer around it that makes it extremely hard to kill. I do believe that bleach and drying it out would get rid of the layer surrounding it, and bleaching it again would just be safe to do.

Otherwise, you can only use disinfectants that are proven to kill it. These are very strong, medical grade type disinfectants. Barbicide, used by salons, is one that would work.

The one member here I know who uses a disinfectant (on EVERYTHING, literally) also uses bleach afterwards to get the disinfectant off. Then it's time to rinse like crazy.
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