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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So here is my situation. I recently purchased a 75 gallon tank. I set up the tank with two canister filters from established tanks as well as two powerheads. I did add new substrate but all of the decorations were from an established tank. 8 fish also came with the tank which were added straight away. Within 6 hours all but one fish were dead and the water had become very cloudy. I presumed it must have been an ammonia spike and that the water was cloudy due to a bacteria bloom. I took my water and had it tested at my LFS and they said there was absolutely nothing wrong with it.

Not sure what to do next I bought 4 mixed africans from my walmart and added to the tank (they have a 90 day return policy so I figured they were good fish to help speed up the cycle). I also added an amount of gravel from a healthy established tank.

I also notice that the one remaining original fish has white gunk on its eyes.

24 hours later the water is clearing, I have isolated the fish with white in its eyes and everything seems to be improving.

12 hours after that I come home and one of the new cichlids is floating face down in the gravel and gasping. No physical signs of illness

The water is now fully clear but whatever is killing the fish is still in there...

i did a dip test and again all the water parameters are fine.

What do I do now? Should I treat them with Ich rid, salt the water, raise the temperature?

I know I've made mistakes and fish have died because of it. I really don't want to lose anymore...
 

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Sounds like you know what you're doing. If the water is testing 0 for ammonia and nitrite and nitrate is acceptable, I would suspect some sort of toxin in the water or a huge pH or hardness shock. Are you reading any nitrates? How long running before adding the fish? Was the tank clean?
What kind of substrate and did you rinse it first?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nitrates are around 20mg/L. The tank was running for about 6 hours before I added the original batch of fish.

It's been running for 5 days now.

In the last half an hour another fish started floating around the tank. It has now struck both my melanochromis auratus. The two demonsi I have in there seem okay as well as an unidentified one. They are only moving their side fins, no attempt to swim using their body. They almost seem paralysed...
 

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What dechlorinator did you use?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I used AquaSafe by TetraAqua. Funny thing is, I had a 28 gallon tank for 6 months and NEVER de-chlorinated the water and did not have any problems. Now on the 75 gallon I decided I should probably use some and it coincides with fish deaths. I have been suspecting it...
 

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Either that or there was a toxin of some sort in the tank to begin with. You purchased it new? Did you rinse it well before use? Some sort of chemical may have been used to clean it at some point in the store and it sounds like it's poisoning your fish. I'd pull them out and restart the whole process with a very thorough rinsing of the tank.
 

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I have used the tetra declorinator for quite a few years with no issues at all so I wouldn't think it is that. I am willing to bet the tank was scrubbed with something that is causing this issue, there are very few illnesses that would cause a fish to die so rapidly and those have distinct symptoms.
 

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i did a dip test and again all the water parameters are fine.
Do those parameters include ammonia and nitrite both?

What do I do now? Should I treat them with Ich rid, salt the water, raise the temperature?
Whatever you do, don't start medicating and making temp changes, etc without a diagnosis.

Take a sample of the water to test later, then do a large water change.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
UPDATE: I was 99% sure that it was bloat. White stringy poo, spitting food, beginning to show signs of bloatedness when they died.

It calmed down in the last 48 hours, again all of the water parameters were fine... the one fish in the tank seemed relatively okay...

I had about 6 juveniles in a small holding tank, and I figured that given that it was most likely bloat it would be okay to transfer them to the tank...

I added them and all of them seemed fine, exploring the tank, eating...

At around the 6 hour mark of being in the tank I noticed one fish crashed on the bottom, gasping gills and gaping mouth. I immediately took him out and put him back in the holding tank. He started spinning around and around and now he is dead... he ate about two hours ago and now he is dead.

I am beginning to despair.

I bought the tank from an acquaintance who had been running it for the last 8 months with just one red zebra in it. I asked if he cleaned it with a toxin but he assures me he used just hot water. I have been racking my brain to work out how anything could have got in there that is killing them and I just can't work it out...
 

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This really sounds like one of two things. Either faulty water tests and/or something extremely toxic in the tank. I'm assuming you're using strips, which are not very accurate, so see if you can get a liquid test kit and test again. Changing the sub could have removed some of the beneficial bacteria and caused a spike. But it's hard to believe it wouldn't recover quickly if there were established filters as well though. If it is not a spike, then I think you may have to break everything down to see if you can find the culprit. Check the filters too, maybe something trapped in there? I don't know, just thinking of all the crazy possibilities. I've read many odd stories of things getting into tanks.
 

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Bloat wouldn't have killed your fish as quickly and dramatically as with yours. I think you have to assume there is something poisonous in your water. Be sure you check your nitrite levels. I had a nitrite spike that wiped out a whole tank in 24 hours. Gasping for air is one of the symptoms of nitrite poisoning.
 

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...floating face down in the gravel and gasping.

...gasping gills and gaping mouth
Oxygen deprivation possibly brought on by nitrite poisoning. They're suffocationg to death. Nitrite inhibits the ability of the fish's blood to carry oxygen, so may be the cause. So, again I have to ask, does your test kit test for nitrite?
 

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are you doing water changes to be safe, if so how much and how often? You could try doing a 50% change then go grab a few cheap tetras or some danios and see how they do, their bioload is very small and if it is nitrites they would give the bacteria time to catch up, if they die as fast then you know there has to be something poisoning your tank.
 

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If in fact your issue is a lack of biofilter and high nitrite, you can do a significant water change and use Dr. Tim's One and Only. I've used it quite successfully in the past to jump start a cycle and help revive one that is failing. After I lost my tank to a nitrite spke, I'm never without a back-up bottle at home.
 

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I don't know what's up,but one thing for sure ,u can't go wrong with the product ,prime
 

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i guess you should have washed the tank thoroughly and add activated carbon to adsorb any harmful chemicals in it and let it run for atleast 24hrs, then draining it completely so just to be sure that the next fill up will be clean water. then run it for 6 hrs like you said with the whole filter setup attached to it. once the water clears thats the time you put in your fish.

just my 2 cents
 

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I agree with Prov356 - you're assuming your tank is cycled. You can get a 20 ppm reading of nitrAte in a tank full of nitIte because the test actually converts the nitrate to nitrite to make the reading. From your description this seems like a nitrite poisoning issue. Have you a liquid nitrite test kit?
 
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