Tank size: 36 gallons
ammonia: .5 - 1 w/API test kit (treated with Nutrafin Cycle for 3 days- currently reading a 1 still- picture below)
tank temp: ? Just realized this morning that our thermometer was broken- have the tank heater set on medium, getting a new thermo today.
Fish Symptoms (include full description including lesion, color, location, fish behavior): Behavior is the biggest indicator. The fish will kind of float toward the bottom, nose down, then bounce off of it and the sides of the tank, and float back to the top, nose up. The dying fish don't seem to have control over their bodies anymore and spasm as they bounce around the tank. So far, 7 fish have died- 4 were just found floating, the other 3 showed the aforementioned symptoms. Also, all fish seem to be staying near the top of the tank.
Volume and Frequency of water changes: New tank, only about a week and a half old. One day spent with filter on, water treated, air bubbler on before introducing fish to the tank.
Chemical Additives or Media in your tank: Added Nutrafin Cycle at the recc. of the PetSmart employee to try and get ammonia down. Have also added Aquafin Water Conditioner and Clarifier previously.
Tank inhabitants: Currently: 2 - GLOfish, 1 - Molly, 1 - Platty.. DIED: 3 Cardinal Tetras (didn't realize how sensitive they were when we chose them), 3 fancy guppies, 1 Swordtail
Recent additions to your tank (living or decoration): What we had at start up- Sunken Ship and rock swim through as well as a small submarine, s shell, a castle, and a monster (I have two little ones under 5)
Exposure to chemicals: beyond what we added? None that I'm aware of.
Digital photo (include if possible): Attached
Important facts: We started out with a Marina Cool tank, 2 gallons, and one cardinal and one GLOfish in that tank, about 2 weeks ago. We set it up and let it run for 3 days before adding the fish. A day later we realized they were really struggling in the tank and realized that the filter was entirely too strong for the small tank when one of the fish almost got caught in it as we watched them. So, we found a tank on craigslist- 36 gallons with a lot of extras. Got it that day, cleaned it out well with baking soda and water, and set it up. Got a new filter for it (Tetra Whisper x46), new aerator, and heater. Set it up, including gravel and decor, and let it run for 24 hours. At this point, we had turned off the filter in the other tank to try and save the fish. We did have an aerator in there with them as well. After 24 hours, we switched them over (we didn't know about the drip method at the time, do now though) but we did the water temp acclimation with the bags at least. Anyways, as we were at the pet store, they told us that the fish we chose don't do well alone, and we ended up getting more to allow them to school. Problem was, by the time we got home, the GLOfish was already dead, and the cardinal was struggling. We added the other fish, and have been struggling to keep them alive ever since, experience the above mentioned symptoms. We've seen no signs of changes in coloring, gills, or struggling to breath- beyond the sitting at the top of the tank for long periods of time. I do believe the heater temp was set too high for awhile after we first installed it, but it's since been turned down. And only this morning did I realize that the thermometer was broken as it's still showing a reading of 83 degrees, though I know it's much less then that (buying a new one tonight)
I have an API test kit and I've been checking the water daily. Even though it was reading fine for the pet store's testers (crap) it was showing high levels of ammonia with my API test kit. So they recommended the Nutrafin Cycle, and this is day 3 of using it, and the ammonia is still reading as high as it was before we even started it. I'm not entirely sure how long it takes to bring it down, but I just had to send another guppy to toilet bowl heaven this morning and it's really bothering all of us to think there may be something else we could do and that they may be suffering. I've read up on the possibility of parasites, of maybe us having shocked them by introducing them to the new tank, to bladder issues, etc. At this point, I'm pretty sure the ammonia is a big factor, but I have no idea what else to do to bring it down.
We started out huge amateurs (beyond my mom, who has kept a 40+ gallon aquarium for as long as I can remember, with little to no problem- so she has no idea what's wrong with ours) and only getting two fish for our daughter as a reward for good behavior, thinking, "How hard can it be?! We've kept two kids and two cats alive for this many years!" Stupid, arrogant and oh yea, stupid. The fact is, we've fallen in love with these little guys and I'm doing everything in my power to try and save them and help them, and we know having an aquarium is a long term commitment that we'd like to keep. I'm trying to learn as much as I possibly can about it and fix all of our screw ups as best as we can, and I know it's a lot of trial and error, but we really need help here. I'm not sure if I left anything out or not- please ask if I need to go in depth on anything else.
ANY information is much appreciated. I've added a picture of the tank, as well as the ammonia reading from the test kit.
Thanks so much everyone!