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  1. #1

    Join Date
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    Default New tank and all the fish are dying. What am I doing wrong?


    0 Not allowed!
    My wife and I bought a 10 gallon fish tank kit from PetSmart, the top fin brand, for our daughter.

    But since we've set it up on Sunday, we have yet to have a fish last more than 36 hours. 6 have died so far. Something must be wrong. so I went here to get some advice.

    I'll try to be as precise as possible in describing my setup

    The kit itself is the Top fin 10 gallon starter tank from petsmart. It comes with tank, heater, thermometer, filter, cover with light.

    For the water we used Purified drinking water with minerals added for taste, from Target.

    We have softened water in our house and was not sure if we could use that in the tank.

    The bottom of the tank is filled with glass beads and such bought from a dollar store. We got them from a person who had a tank. We rinsed them in the water from our tap.

    We had a couple of plastic plants, a little treasure chest and little submarine, for the tank, all bought form petsmart. All rinsed in our tap water before putting in the tank.

    When we put the water in the tank, we used Prime Brand "Concentrated conditioner for marine and freshwater" To remove chlorine. (not sure if we actually needed it, but was told it would not harm anything)

    Then we used API brand "Quick Start" To get the bacteria process started.

    We waited 24 hours and turned the heater on. We initially had it set to 82.

    We then bought 3 guppies. We let them float in the tank for a bit in the bag and then scooped them out and put them in the tank.

    We fed them twice daily, just a pinch each time.

    We also bought one of those little green moss balls for the tank. It's the only thing that hasn't died yet.

    Within 24 hours 2 the original 3 had died. I then got 2 replacements.

    We also adjusted the temperature down to around 77. I'm told that was better for the fish.

    Shortly after introducing the 2 new fish, the last of the original fish died. The 2 replacements died a day later.

    We then switched to Mollies. This time, on the advice of the person from the petsmart, we added, API brand "Stress coat" We also took sure to put some of the water from the tank in the bag, for 30 minutes after they had adjusted to the initial temperature.

    The first mollie died 24 hours later, just a few hours ago. I fully expect the other 2 to be dead by morning.

    I had the water tested yesterday

    0 Ammonia
    0 Nitrates
    Total hardness. 75. Which came up as "Soft. no action needed"
    0 chlorine
    Total alkalinity came in as 20 "Low"
    PH came in as 6.8. Neutral.

    I'm at a loss as to why, no fish has lasted more than 36 hours in that tank. I think I've done everything right. This is supposed to be a fun and easy hobby. But My wife and I are frustrated and my daughter is upset.

    At one point I had to use a little scrubbie to remove some of the glue from the inside of the tank. That was during inital setup. It was holding the boxes that came with the kit in place. I used no water and no soap. I guess, something could have been on the scrubbie, but it was only a small spot.

    The stuff in the tank was rinsed in tap water.

    But beyond that. I'm baffled.

    Was it my choice of Water to fill the tank?

    I just don't know.

    Does anyone have any ideas. What is happening.

    Can this be fixed, or to I have to drain the tank and start totally over?
    Last edited by craiga; 09-08-2017 at 04:04 AM.

  2. #2

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    4 Not allowed!
    Welcome to the AC.

    First, you need to be testing your own water, get one of these ASAP: https://www.amazon.com/API-Freshwate.../dp/B000255NCI

    How is your tap water softened?

    The fish are probably dying off because the tank is not "cycled"; read and understand this thoroughly: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ad.php?t=36492

    There's LOTS of good info in the beginner section of the forum: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...splay.php?f=66

    I started off in a very similar fashion that you have, and was given great advice, see the 10G journal in my signature below
    10 Gallon Beginner Tank... Journal
    40 Gallon Breeder: ... Journal
    29 Gallon: ... Journal

    “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went” - Will Rogers

  3. #3

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    2 Not allowed!
    Great advice that Slap has given you above. Unfortunately, products like Quick start are not very effective so the best thing you can do is cycle the tank the longer but proven way. The waiting for fish and all the testing may seem boring for your daughter but if you can make it a fun journey where you both can learn together, it will result in healthy, happy fish! Welcome to the AC! It's full of amazing people with great advice!
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  4. #4

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    2 Not allowed!
    I agree with Slap, since the nitrates are zero your tank is not "cycled". You need to read and understand the cycling process. This is a very common mistake that new tank owners experience and the stores know this but their business is to sell tanks and fish.

  5. #5

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    4 Not allowed!
    Welcome to the AC.

    I'm so sorry about your frustrating, rocky start in this hobby. You have been given excellent advice from Slaphppy7 -- I hope you will read through the links he has provided. Do feel free to ask questions that arise.

    The Prime you have purchased is a great product. Stress Coat is helpful. When you get the testing kit (also linked by Slap) then you and your family get to feel like scientists. I hope your daughter might enjoy the cycling process from that standpoint.

    Best wishes for you and your family. All is not lost. You can build a healthy, interesting, entertaining tank. You just need to start it off with the right microenvironment. We can help you get there.
    Learn from yesterday
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  6. #6

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    0 Not allowed!
    Welcome to the community you'll be in good hands here I'll let the others give out the guidance.

  7. #7

    Join Date
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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Thank you very much for the response. I get the basics of the cycle and the need for beneficial bacteria as well as removing harmful elements.

    I guess my question is, What do I do at this point?

    The tank was only filled with water and had the starter put in 6 days ago.

    As I said, there is currently was 1 live fish this morning, which may or may not be alive now, plus one of the Moss balls.


    What is the next step? Even if I have the testing kit, not the strips, what do I do?

    or do I have to completely start over, with new water?

  8. #8

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    1 Not allowed!
    If it were me, I would rehome the fish (if it's still alive) and start over with a fishless cycle.

    You don't need the starter, but you do need the liquid test kit and some pure ammonia.

    Again, how is your tap water softened?...although most times softened water shouldn't be used for fishkeeping
    10 Gallon Beginner Tank... Journal
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    “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went” - Will Rogers

  9. #9

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Again my thanks for the reply, but I am confused on one point and you'll have to pardon my ignorance on the subject.

    The water is new and doesn't have any toxins in it. Unless it was accidently contaminated with something. the test 2 days ago, said Zero nitrates & Zero Ammonia. Actually I had tests done 2 days this week and both came out exactly the same. I understand the need for the bacteria to remove the toxins, but wouldn't the absence of the harmful elements early on be beneficial to the fish. Like swimming in an unpolluted lake or something.

    I still don't quite understand, just why the fish are dying.

  10. #10

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    0 Not allowed!
    There is no bacteria to convert the ammonia from their waste into harmless elements.

    I'm betting there's ammonia in the tank...the liquid test would confirm that.

    Basically, the fish is swimming in it's own toilet.
    10 Gallon Beginner Tank... Journal
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    “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went” - Will Rogers

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