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Here's another fish question...

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I have had a 10 gallon fish tank for about ten years. I have never had problems keeping my fish alive! I recieved of course, a free 30 allon tank about 2 years ago. I can not keep fish alive in the thing to save my life. I don't have any clue what I am doing wrong. I do water changes and always add start zyme when I change the water. I don't over feed them. I test my water and it is with in limits. I don't know what else to do. I know people that have to sell their plachausomis (sp?) becuase they get to big. I buy them every two months!!!
post #2 of 18
what is start zyme?

when you first set up your fish tank, did you cycle it?
post #3 of 18
Can you give us an overview of your tank maintenance procedures? Your setup (filtration, etc.)? Is it planted? Heated? What's the temperature? What fish have you tried to keep in there?

What's in your 10-gallon tank? Just curious.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marie-p
what is start zyme?

when you first set up your fish tank, did you cycle it?
Start zyme maintains a bioogical balance. It breaks down sludge, and it adds beneficial bacteria.

Cycle it? Does that mean run it for a while with out fish?
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by evnshawn
Can you give us an overview of your tank maintenance procedures? Your setup (filtration, etc.)? Is it planted? Heated? What's the temperature? What fish have you tried to keep in there?

What's in your 10-gallon tank? Just curious.
I don't have the 10-gallon tank up and running anymore.
I keep plastic plants in my tank.
Temp is 77f
I have tried placosamis, pollies, kissing fish, beta, guppies, gromees, silver dollars, neons etc. (sorry about the spellings)
I have a air bubble stone, and I am unsure about the filter name
I do water changes about every 3 weeks, and clean about every two months.
post #6 of 18
Clean every two months? What do you mean, clean? Also, how much water do you change when you do your changes, and what do you treat the water with beforehand?
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by evnshawn
Clean every two months? What do you mean, clean? Also, how much water do you change when you do your changes, and what do you treat the water with beforehand?
I'm sorry I ment clean tank and change water every two months. I change about 1/3 at the water changes. I treat the water with start zyme after I change the water. I never did it beforehand I always did it afterwards.
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by emb_78
Start zyme maintains a bioogical balance. It breaks down sludge, and it adds beneficial bacteria.

Cycle it? Does that mean run it for a while with out fish?
You shouldn't need to add bacteria at every water change. What you do need to use is something that will remove the chlorine.

yes, cycling it means building up the good bacteria culture before putting fish in.
the traditional way to do this is to set up the fish tank without fish and put food in every day. The food will break down and the bacteria will feed on it. After a few weeks of doing that, you can slowly add fish. Don't fill the fish tank to full capacity right away.
You can also use bacteria culture (I'm assuming that it's what Start zyme is) when you set up your fish tank and then start adding fish slowly after a couple of days. Some people say that's not as good but I've never had any problems with that.
Just make sure you keep track of the ammonia level, especially as you are gradually adding fish to the tank.

After you're done the cycling, you shouldn't have to add any more bacteria.
Unless your filter is clogged, don't change the filter material. If you need to change it, don't change it all at once or else you will loose your bacterial culture.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by emb_78
I'm sorry I ment clean tank and change water every two months. I change about 1/3 at the water changes. I treat the water with start zyme after I change the water. I never did it beforehand I always did it afterwards.
do you change all the water every two months? (or most of it?)
if that's what you're saying... that's probably why you are having problems. That's a very big shock for the fish.
Ideally, you should change around 1/4 of the water every week or every two weeks.
post #10 of 18
If by clean it you mean you remove everything from the tank and rinse/wash it off, by doing that you are starting the cycle all over again. The cycle happens in every new tank, and as Marie said, once it's cycled, you won't need to add any more bacteria.

It looks to me like maybe you have a couple of things happening here.

1. When you do water changes, you need to treat your water with a product like Amquel (removes chlorine and chloramines). It only takes a teaspoon to treat 10 gallons of water, and you only have to treat what you change. Meaning, if you change a third of the water in a 30-gallon tank, you only need to use one teaspoon, not three.

2. The cycle takes about six weeks, sometimes longer, to complete in most tanks. Here's how it happens: your fish produce waste, which is in the form of ammonia (food rotting also does this). Ammonia is very hazardous to fish, which is why you want to be extra careful with water changes and monitoring the tank during this time. Soon, though, nitrifying bacteria grow in the tank, and those bacteria turn the ammonia into nitrites, which are harmful to fish, but not nearly as harmful as ammonia. Then the tank will grow other bacteria that turn the nitrites into nitrates. Nitrates are harmless at low levels, but the only way to get rid of them is water changes (or live plants, but that's a whole 'nother topic).

So, in short, ammonia (provided by fish) becomes nitrites, which becomes nitrates. If you clean everything in the tank, you kill the bacteria that do this, and it all has to start over again. Unless you have a diseased tank (and most of the time not even then), it's not a good idea to break down your tank and start over.

If you get some Amquel, make sure you have appropriate filtration, and continue with your water changes (maybe smaller ones every week would be better, especially while the tank is not yet cycled), you should be fine. I would stay away from getting any delicate fish before the tank is cycled. Neons, for instance, are not really the beginner fish they are touted to be; the little buggers are actually quite difficult to keep alive.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the info. Can you guys recommend the products you use?
post #12 of 18
see your pm and answer back...lol..
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by emb_78
Thanks for all the info. Can you guys recommend the products you use?
You name it, we got it. But what we use the most of is Amquel. Can't live without that stuff. It's also good to have a test kit on hand, as well as product to control the pH. (Lots of stuff will do that.)
post #14 of 18
I use stuff made by sera ... most all of the declorinators work... it is personal prefernce
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by evnshawn
You name it, we got it. But what we use the most of is Amquel. Can't live without that stuff. It's also good to have a test kit on hand, as well as product to control the pH. (Lots of stuff will do that.)
I have a test kit and plenty on PH control... I just ordered some Amquel... I hope this will do the trick!!!
post #16 of 18
Eh, it'll be fine. The main thing is just to let your tank cycle, and then maintain by doing regular water changes. In a few months your fish deaths will just be a bad memory.
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by evnshawn
Eh, it'll be fine. The main thing is just to let your tank cycle, and then maintain by doing regular water changes. In a few months your fish deaths will just be a bad memory.
I sure hope so!!!
post #18 of 18
When we first started our tank, we had severe problems too. If all of the wonderful information you've got here still doesn't work, here's another piece of the puzzle:

TEST YOUR TAP WATER - pH, hardness, all of it. We found out that the reason our fish were so sick is because our water was so hard (lots of dissolved minerals) that nothing we were putting in was working, and the nitrogen cycle wasn't going well. It also has a really high pH(alkaline), and fish prefer slightly acidic to neutral conditions. Getting distilled water from the store was the answer for us, with a little tap water (treated of course) mixed in. The few water plants I have in there seem to keep the nitrates in check too.

We now have a nice 30 gal. tank with the same fish I've had for three years. And that is through three moves and several vacations!

Oh, and so you know, Plecostamus fish are what you had. They are good tank scrubbers. They scare me though!
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