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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I may need to disinfect my tank soon. My neons have white spots, and I have absolutely no money to get medication. I’m seriously pondering just putting all my fish to sleep, so they don’t have to go through slow deaths of being sick (I’ve already lost 5 neons, but they didn’t have spots). This is my first tank, I was awfully ignorant, and only after setting it up, did I bother to do any research about how to take care of now, I’m paying the price.
Although, I do want to try again, doing everything right! I plan on totally cleaning out everything (new gravel, but I’d like to keep my plastic plants and decorations), so it’s a fresh start again. I’ll let the tank cycle for at least two weeks (maybe a whole month), and get all my chemical levels evened out, etc. But I don’t want microscopic diseases to be there, if they don’t have to be, so I figure disinfecting would fix that. But how?? I heard you’re not supposed to use any kind of soap for fish stuff. Boiling water might melt the glue stuff in the corners of the tank and make it not as sturdy, and melt my plants.
Anybody know how I can get my tank ‘new’ without actually purchasing another one?

Also, I have an algae sucker (pleco?)...I assume they’re rather sturdy, since they seem to survive when others are dying. But he might be a carrier of whatever this is...should I get rid of him, if all my other fish end up going kaput? I bought my fish from three different stores, so I dunno who the culprit is. I could quarantine him for a while (such as when my tank is cycling)...if he seems okay after a few weeks, would it be safe to put him with a new batch? (This time, I’m gonna buy from one place, so if something happens, I can tell them their fishies are sick!)

Aurgh... :cry:

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First:  my betta fry tanks get velvet any time that I don't take care of them by weekly water changes, feeding too much, too high ammonia, nitrites, etc . . .  In other words, something else may be making your fish sick and the velvet, ick, etc  then takes over.  Pet shops will test water parameters for free.  Some kosher salt or aquarium salt will sometimes help velvet but wait unti other tell you to do so.    When I was a kid, we would put pennies in the goldfish bowl because mom didn't want to buy the copper salts - no wonder they all died.  We also gave any new fish a salt bath before putting them in.

How big is your tank?  How many fish did (do) you have in it?  What type of filter do you have?  Do you have a heater?  Do you need to use a declorinator?  These answers will help everyone on the forum to figure out the puzzle.

As far as starting over. . . any tank, gravel, plastic ornaments can be disinfected with a mild bleach solution.  Just rinse, rinse, rinse and use a declorinator rinse to be sure.  But by the time one has bought the bleach and more declorinator, one could have  paid for the medication.  (but medication won't do any good if the water is poor).

Live plants help all creatures survive and even more so in an aquarium:  live plants can help absorb fish wastes of nitrites (algae can absorb ammonia directly)

Cycling an aquarium without inputing waste and seed bacteria doesn't really work.  When I set up my 55 gallon, I dumped some water borrowed from a friend in the cycling tank, then every other day I added  fish food, fish waste from my fish jars, etc. to give the bacteria something to eat.  Too much kills the bacteria, too little and the bacteria cannot grow in the filter. Then when my water starts to clear. I dump the water, rinse the filter with room temperature declorinated water, fill the tank again and I'm ready to add fish.

And so if it sounds like I have all of the answers, just check my blurb on my 55 gallon taqnk disaster.  We're all making mistakes and learning  well most of us anyway  . . except for maybe Mark.  LOL


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229 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Okay, here’s the basics, to start.
10 gal tank (but only holds about 8.75, if I’ve done all my math right, what with gravel and not being filled to the very top...the filter said it needed to have an inch of space under the ‘waterfall/flow’ section)
(UPDATE ... some more fish died)
1 male guppy
1 Dalmation Molly
1 algae sucker fish (who also has a couple spots...feh!)

Filter - power filter? (I threw the box away, and for some reason Petsmart’s website doesn’t have it listed, even though they’re the only place that carries TopFin stuff! Here’s a pic of it, though...
Heater - I have it turned up to about 78 right now, since I heard that higher temps help with sickness.
Light - florescent, 25 watt (on for about 10-15 hours a day)

I used a generic brand water conditioner (HBH extra strength Bowl Prep), but this week I’m switching to AmQuel Plus and NovAqua, since many people say they’re the best.

I don’t think it’s velvet (but what do I know? heh). It’s not a sheen, or a over-all coating, it’s little speckles. At first, when I noticed it on my guppy, I figured air bubbles were clinging to him, because I didn’t have my filter flowing at the time...but that never happened before. Then I looked at my neons, and they had bigger spots. (I turn my filter off for about 10 min. to feed, so they can get to the food before it gets sucked into the filter)

I do a 20% water change every Saturday. I’ve only had my tank two weeks, but I plan on doing a 40% change once a month (every 4th Saturday)... is that good, or should I stick to 20% all the time, to not make my chemical levels fluxuate too much?

Not that I know what my levels are! I only have a PH tester right now - gonna have to wait until Friday/paycheck to get the Nitrate/Amonia one (any others I should get?). My PH is about 7.4 and I tried putting “downer” in it (one dose every day, for the last three days) to get it leveled at 7.0 but it hasn’t gone down yet..and I don’t wanna shock/burn the poor things!

The first two weeks I had my fish, it was just conditioned water. Then around the 13th I bought the PH tester and salt. I gave ‘em two tablespoons of salt (for 10 (technically 8.75 in there) gal tank)...I heard that helps with sickness, but it seems like it did the opposite!

Plants... I’ve wanted to get some, but I get all sorts of different opinions on what’s best. I won’t mind trimming back fast growers all the time, so that’s not a problem. I might get a little bundle of Java Fern (or Java something), and Hornwort to cover my corner where the heater and filter are.

I haven’t set up my air pump yet...maybe I should do that today!

I’m gonna give myself credit for at least trying to correct things. I told my husband my fish were sick, and he asked how I knew that. I said “look, they got white thingies”...and he said “maybe they’re just shedding.” so I said “Fish don’t shed!” and he said “They lose scales once in a while.” ...somehow, I doubt that’s the same thing. Ironically, he doesn’t do anything to his tank, other than have a filter, heater and that generic water conditioner, and all his fish are fine. Maybe the fish I got from Wal-Mart were already sick? My bettas from Petsmart and Teacher Pet (local/private store) are just fine. The betta from TP was in with the other guys, so I’ll have to watch him..maybe he just has to catch up ;p

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252 Posts
Sorry about all your problems. :(  Now, this is a long answer, but you're getting years of fishkeeping experience in one response. :cool: )

So, from the top. Ick looks like grains of salt. It's a pain to treat for it, but you can. Raising the temp, and adding salt help, but are not healthy for some fish. For that matter, some medications are also harmful to fish, and tend to mess up your biological cycle. However, if everybody in the tank is sick, it may be your only choice. Ick takes a couple of weeks to treat, as the parasite goes through different stages of its life, and can only be killed at some stages, so you have to treat long enough to kill off the different stages. Raising the temp helps to accelerate these stages, and makes it go faster.

If every fish is dead though, then yes, disinfect the tank. Don't use soap. Rinse everything with hot water and baking soda. Rinse well, let it dry out and then start the tank up again. (If you have only a couple of survivors, put them in a clean NEW bucket with an airstone, change some of the water everyday, keep them warm and watch for signs of disease. Once the tank is up and running again, and they seem healthy, put them back in)

Now, prevention. Yes, Walmarts tend to have sick fish. And they are on central filter systems, so if fish in one tank have it, they've all been exposed to it. To buy healthy fish, look at all the fish in a tank, not just the ones you want to buy. They should be alert, bright eyes, no spots or fungus (moldy fuzzy stuff), no odd whitish patches, no red inflamed wounds. Swimming well, not puffed up, no chewed off fins, etc. And in a good store, ask the clerks if that tank has had any problems - you may or may not get a useful answer.

A tank needs to cycle. (Biological action that changes the fish waste-ammonia - to nitrites, then to less harmful nitrates.) Cycling is an ongoing process, that takes a couple of months to finish, then has to also cycle a bit more everytime you add more fish. So add fish gradually to a tank - a few now, a few later. And for a ten gallon tank, not very many fish overall, I'm sorry to tell you.

If money is tight, don't get a lot of testkits. Spend your money on the healthiest fish you can find, even if they cost more than Walmart. Do regular partial water changes with dechlorinated water - 10-20% a week or every two weeks. Feed very small amounts of food. Get a couple of live plants - Java fern and java moss are really hardy and easy to grow.

Acclimate the new fish to the tank - float the bag in the tank to adjust the temperature, then open the bag and add tank water to the fish over a period of several hours to get the fish changed over from the store water. (Clothespin the bag to the tank side to keep it out of the tank.) Net the fish out, dump the bag down the sink, so you don't bring in any disease from the store.

Good luck. I hope this helps. Please don't get discouraged and quit, as it takes some time to get all this going. And you'll get a lot of conflicting info from everybody - so try not to get confused, there is no one way to do this right.
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