Afternoon chaps and chapettes,
I have always had an on off relationship with fish and fish tanks, every time I get into the hobby I either lose my job or move house, perhaps this is lifes way of telling me to stop keeping fish :) Anyway...
My girlfriends parents had a fish tank that they didn't really want and didn't look after. So I kind of took over. Gradually changing water and putting plants in steadily over a period of months. I then moved in with my girlfriend and the tank was kind of left behind and I didn't see it for a fair old while. Then I found out that they were going to get rid of it unless we took it off their hands. It hadn't been touched for at least 6 weeks and things were really bleak; every neon had mouth or body fungus, several fish had died and there were no rummy noses on any tetra in about fifty feet.
My girl and I did an emergency tank move, we could only take about a third of the tank water with us and the rest was boiled and brita filtered (oops-advertising!) as a top up. I'm stupidly pleased to say that not one fish has died in the move, despite all being sick or in poor shape. However, with the exception of the armoured corydoras, the fish are very *very* pale. Worst hit is the little otocinclus, when we moved him we found that all his chums had died in the weeks before and he was the only one left :(
In terms of problem areas, well there are a few:- I had no time to cycle or age the water more than a day before we moved, and have no idea what the various chemical levels of the water were before or after the change. It was kind of an emergency tank transfer to save the poor fishkies. I also moved from gravel to sand and only washed it once before putting it into the tank, a kind of dust forms on the surface that I skim off using paper towels. This is thinning out now though.
So The advice I'd like is... what else can I do to help these fish get back on their feet? (or fins I'm sure the fish would prefer it anyway). The Oto worries me most of all. He looks like a ghost. When we first put him in his colour started to come back but he now is almost albino. I have tried cucumber, corgette and algae wafers but he kinds of keeps to himself out of the way and doesn't eat much. They like friends too but I am loathe to add more fish to a "new" tank in this state. The other fish are eating but their colours are shot to bits.
Is it just a case of gritting my teeth and letting the tank settle or is there a magic lamp I could rub?