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lwebe10

Cannister filters possible to blame?

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So many of you longtime members may remember me. I have kind of gotten out of goldfish keeping after almost 25 years. I have moved two times and still had massive issues in the last three years. I have gone from rock to sand to no substrate, completely started my tanks over...gone city and well water and for the last three years I keep getting squishy stomachs, ulcers, floaty issues and death in my fish. I mean I have bought whole new tanks and filters and started 100% over and still it happened. I have medicated, salted, dipped, quarantined, stressed, cried done 25% water changes, 100% water changes, 50%...daily or weekly and watched my parameters like a hawk. After much debate because to be honest I truly miss keeping fish I have wondered if maybe anyone else has noticed these issues when they switched to all enclosed canister filtration? Back when I had hang on the back filtration I never EVER had problems. The only die off I experienced was from power outages and lack of oxygen for 3 days even with me blowing water into there...or over water change shock.

I am no scientist on bacteria...but since my issues seem to diagnose to bacterial infections and I have even bought brand new filters with built in UV lights, started all over and lost all my new fish within 6 months to the same type of symptoms. WHAT THE HECK?? I like the enclose filters because it eliminates the gunky hang on the back filter smell but maybe not having access to oxygen or being open running water it develops some other kind of harmful bacteria??

I don't know after three years of trying EVERYTHING...It is the only thing I can think to change but before I eliminate my canister filters and restart a stock tank pond or new tank I thought I would ask Koko's what they think?

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Welcome back! :)

I don't really know the answer to your question with any degree of certainty, but lots of folks here run canisters without issue. I would imagine that there is some kind of really persistent bacteria infection that just hasn't left your system.

If you want to try again, maybe do something on a small scale, with one or two fish, and keep a QT journal here, so we can help you troubleshoot.

Do you currently have any tanks up?

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I have a stock tank with fry that I hatched last year and had separate from all the parents that died off...I bleach cleaned the filters and have tried not to get to attached to them because I started with probably 100 and have maybe 30 left...same thing floaty issues and swollen bellies but no signs of ulcers. I have treated with food from goldfish connection past the allowed treatment times, and medications bought from Petco. It doesn't seem to be able to be cured. I had a silver phoenix egg fish I bought from tommy for over 150 bucks with shipping that I kept 100% separate from anyone...didn't use the same siphon on even or net. Whole new smaller canister filter and it STILL got ulcers, I spent TONS in treatments, treated with salt and still lost it. I have tried making my own fish food and switched brands of food. I thought it was the original canister filter so I bought two whole new ones...and a whole new stock tank to start over with and bought 1 fish from rain garden and 2 from goldfish connection...I mean COMPLETE start over...all died from ulcers.

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I've run canister filters for 15+ years and never had any issues with salt, tropicals or goldfish. Welcome back and I hope this attempt goes much easier for you.

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Have you tried a 100% new setup with a brand new fishless cycle and all brand new parts? (new tank, new filters, etc.)

Edited by ChelseaM

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Yes three times now, and I mean I am in school for nursing and have been a CNA for almost 10 years, I know all about cross contamination and that I mean 100% overboard EVERYTHING new..tank, filter, siphon, net EVERYTHING. I was having severe floaty issues and swollen bellies AND ulcers that killed off fish I had for 3-4 years with no problems. I started over completely and they died to ulcers on the sides...I had no decorations for them to scrape on they just appeared as a red mark that grew no matter WHAT treatment I dumped in there. I moved in town for 6 months during construction so I had chlorinated city water...started over with some ranchus and city well water...a new 75 gallon tank and filter...died. Metronidazole, Prazi, Mellaflix, not all together of course...I tried EVERYTHING. I started over with a whole new 45 and small canister and 1 fish..ulcer died, I had hand spawned fry and so far no ulcers now I am back to swollen bellies and floaty issues????

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I have an absolutely insane theory.

You have had the same problems with entirely new equipment, new fish, different house, different water source etc. and yet they're all having the same problem. The only thing I can think of that they have in common is you. (Please let me explain! I know that statement sounds horrible!). You mention that you're a CNA. I assume that's a nursing assistant? Is there any chance that you carry some kind of bacteria on your skin? Something you might have picked up at work? Something you're completely immune to, maybe even that's relatively harmless to people, that is harmful to your fish? Maybe some kind of staph? As a health care provider you probably wash your hands 100s of times a day, but maybe something hitched a ride on your forearms and was transferred to a tanks when you reached in??

This is me grasping at straws. It seems like you've done everything you can to eliminate any source of infection. That's the only reason I bothered to mention something this improbable and unlikely.

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hehe I don't mind you asking, I have not been in a CNA setting for 2 years...im working on my nursing degree so I have just been a book worm. I thought it might be my well water had gone nasty but we drink it with no issues and that should have been negated for the 6 months I was in town with city water

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Sometimes, once you get something into your system, it's near impossible to get rid of it. :(

I'm very sorry for all you have lost. :hug

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This is an interesting problem. It is true that you are the only known constant here, but I don't know of any human disease infecting fish. However, you do affect the fishy environment in many ways, including things like products you use in the home. My first reaction to your problem was, "It must be the water." That's not impossible from what I know right now. Is the municipal water from a well? If so, it could be the water. Have you ever had the well water tested -- a full test, not just "parameters"? There could be bacterial contamination or an excess of some mineral. The fact that the water doesn't make people sick is irrelevant. We don't die from chlorine, but we could from drinking water from a lake with healthy fish in it.

A few things come to mind. What is "the gunky hang on the back filter smell"? I've never smelled anything from a working HOB. There may be a smell when one is cleaning the filter, but not when it is running. This may indicate something funny about your water. How is the water returning to the tank from the canister? Spray bar? Splashing in?

Tell us about the current stock tank and its fish. I assume it is outside? Where were the fish during the winter? How old are these fry? What did you do to disinfect the tank after the parent fish died? What do you have for filtration? How big is the stock tank? What is your water change schedule?

I would really like you to start a DD thread on these fish. Put a link to this thread for your history of problems, but focus the DD thread and answer the questions on the form only on the current fish and tank. This gives us a chance to narrow down the possible causes of your problem.

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I was also in agreement with Bronwyn, though it is really rare. I use a combination of HOB's and canisters for my goldfish and have never had a bad smell while they were operating. It's super strange. I don't have many ideas, but I look forward to seeing other more experienced fish keepers have to say.

Good luck!

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Well first off I would like to say dang, you look super hot in your profile pic.

Now, with that out of the way, let me know if you would like me to come over and help you evaluate the situation ;)

But seriously, can you tell us more about the size of your tank or tanks? About the gph of your filters? About your cleaning habits of the tank and filters? What are your ammonia and nitrate levels in your tap and tank water? How many gallons per fish do you allow? Things like that.

It seems like you know what you are doing but we have limited info to go on. That is why I believe another member suggested you start and thread in disease and diagnosis, so we can get all of that info in one place. Good idea.

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HAHA at Diesel...I'll start a DD thread here when I get a day. I am slowly converting my .7 acre plot into an urban garden type thing. I had to build 15 nest boxes for 18 chickens today...were still working on the 10x12 harbor freight green house. I installed another 2x12 raised garden bed yesterday and hauled a ton of dirt by bucket to fill it. Whoow am I beat. My hope is to eventually go Aquaponics with my goldfish and greenhouse so need to get my issues fixed since I can't really add chemicals once they are supplying the water for food. And as for the smell...I had a 125 gallon fishtank with 3x the giant penguin filter on it and it has that smell when the filters build up like wet dirt...not a fishy stink just a damp wet smell but it is also my headboard for my king size bed so it was constantly sort of in my face too. This is where most are wintered or in a 100 gallon stock tank in the laundry room.

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