New fish keeper here. Having a few problems...Ick, fungus, - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 07-13-2011, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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Red face New fish keeper here. Having a few problems...Ick, fungus,

First I want to say that I have been researching constantly since deciding to get a fish aquarium and once i found this forum, i've been delighted with all the great info. I literally lose hours reading post after post about fish. :) But not quite as much time as I 'lose' sitting in front of my fish tank watching my new friends.

Here's what I have:

20 gal cycled tank - ammonia 0, nitrite 0, GH 75, KH 100, PH, 7.0-7.2 i have an API ammonia kit but haven't sprung for the master kit yet, so i am still using test strips for everything else

currently stocked with
1 dalmation sailfin mollie (female) "Tina Turner" (her mate "Ike" got kicked out of the tank for abuse
20 or so mollie fry, they are hard to count! "NONAMES"
2 cardinal tetras "Larry and Moe" (RIP 7/5/11 " Curly")
4 black neon tetras "Dorothy, Sophia, Blanche and Rose"
2 cory cats "Sony and Cher"
1 bristlenose pleco "Hoover"
(RIP 7/1/11 Elvis the white baby gourami)

10 gal tank - almost finished cycling ammonia 0, nitrites <.5, GH 75, KH 100, PH, 7.0-7.2

currently stocked with
1 orange sailfin molly (male) "Ike"
1 red dwarf gourami "Bubbles"
1 blue gourami (not a dwarf) - not named, my son isn't very creative!

I started the 20 gal tank at the end of April. My first fish tank in years and last time i had fish i didn't know a nitrogen cycle existed. I researched before getting started and luckily have a great LFS here in town that is a mom/pop place. Even so, i know i've made a few mistakes in this process, and now I've lost a couple fish and am having some problems. Probably mostly due to impatience...

So I got my tank set up and bought 3 cardinal tetras, a cory cat, and two dwarf gourami's to start. Too many to start with, i know, i know.... Two weeks later i got impatient and bought a few more fish, again too many too soon. I bought 2 sailfin mollies, another cory cat, and a kribinsis. The krib went back to the store two days later because she was MEAN! After this purchase was about the time I found this forum and started getting some better understanding of what i SHOULD have done.

In a couple of weeks I decided to set up a 10 gal for my son, i started him off with some of my water and my gravel to get the cycle going. I bought him a blue gourami (who i know might have to be moved to a bigger tank eventually) and gave him the male mollie because he was aggressive more and more toward the (pregnant) female mollie and then when he started in on the other fish, I moved him out. I felt like he was stressing the female out, he doesn't bother the fish in his new tank. After moving him out my red dwarf gourami started in with some aggression, mostly aimed at the female mollie. I don't know why they are all so upset with her! :) and i ended up moving red gourami to the 10 gal the night that the female mollie had her babies. It was an incredible thing to watch! but i wasn't interested in seeing the gourami eat them all. (the fry are growing and seem to be thriving in a a little breeder hanging in my 20 gal.

I have since added 4 black neon tetras and a bristlenose pleco to my 20 gal.

Here are the problems that i've run into:

20 gal - the day that I added my last set of fish, late that night i noticed that my female mollie had ick. I treated immediately with QuickCure and turned up the heat over a day from 76* to 85*. I had to treat at the 1/2 dose because of my tetras. The treatment seemed to work well however. None of the other fish in the tank ever showed signs of ick. A few days after the treatment finished, however I lost the smaller of my dwarf gourami's. He was tiny - less than an inch long. I'm thinking the cycle got him since it wasn't quite finished, but i was in the nitrite part of the cycle. I have a fairly low ph so the ammonia part of the cycle never took anyone out... I've also since lost one of the cardinal tetras for unknown reason.

My 20 gal tank finally finished cycling after 8-9 weeks (FOREVER!!!). The last bit of nitrite diisappeared when I added 3 hardy aponogeton bulbs that i had started sprouting in a jar. But then a couple of days later I noticed this weird thing going on with Tina's (the black female sailfin mollie) mouth. It started as what looked like an ick spot and later in the day there were 4 or 5 of them. I moved her to a little QT tank and dropped in a couple drops of Quickcure becaue it looked like ick again. The next morning the spots had all exploded. There is just no other word for it. There was flesh hanging from her lips and she was laying on the bottom of the tank and gasping for breath. I figured she was about a goner, but had to wait til afternoon to take her to the LFS for input. Meanwhile i notice a ulcer like spot on the gill of one of my other cardinal tetras, so took both of them to the LFS. They said it was fungus and i treated with Tetra's Fungus guard. This was last Thurs, i replaced carbon on Monday afternoon. Fungus Guard seemed to do the trick and ulcer is gone on the tetra. Weird mouth stuff is gone on the mollie. But the mollie is still behaving strangely. Last night I swear she was having seizures. She would shiver, and start to roll over onto the side, then jerk out of it and swim normally for a few minutes. I have no idea what could be her problem, but she seems better today.

Last night I noticed that my male sailfin in the 10 gal had huge red spots on his gills and streaks on his head. So i dosed this tank with fungus guard as well. This morning, i noticed my blue gourami wasn't doing well. He was acting just like the baby gourami acted before dying. Hanging at the top of the tank and slowly letting his tail drop, almost going vertical, but with no other visible signs of illness. So I pulled him out and put him in the QT tank (that i cleaned since female molly used it last week) and now he seems to be fine.

I bleached my bucket, gravel vac and nets this afternoon. My next purchase is a another set of nets and a bucket so i can keep these each tank completely free of contamination from the other tank.

My questions if you've made it this far:

1 - are gourami's particularly sensative to nitrites or is it the meds that is hurting them, I can put the blue gourami in my 20 gal, but then run the risk of starting up the fungus in that tank again if he does have anything... both gourami's have had trouble after medicating the tank and during the end of the nitrite part of the cycle., but I think the nitrites are the prob. I need to get him out of this tiny QT tank.

2 - my 20 gal tank has finished cycling now, so i'd like to add some fish, but now i am scared to do so with the issues i've had. and after losing 2 fish, i'd rather get whatever issues i might have fixed before buying anything else.

3 - Where in the heck did the fungus come from? Maybe the apongeton bulbs that i had just added to the tanks? I was thinking i cross-contaminated the tanks with the net, but possibly the bulbs were the culprit as i added them to both tanks...

4 - female mollie - poor thing has suffered through a new tank cycle, being picked on by two different fish, pregnancy, ick, delivering 28 fry, fungus and now this twitching/seizure thing. I just wonder if there is any chance she'll pull through all of this?

You are a rockstar if you made it through all that rambling. Any input would be appreciated!!
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post #2 of 5 Old 07-13-2011, 01:55 AM
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A few things to consider.. you appear to have rather neutral to soft water according to what has been posted.
mollies,guppies,platy's,and swordtails, perfer hard alkaline water and frequently suffer over the long term when kept in softer water. They are more suceptible to fin rot ,fungus,and condition described as shimmies and or condition where fishes are seen rocking back and forth near or on the substrate.
Dwarf gourami (Colisa Ialia) are prone to iridovirus which is said to affect as many as 25 percent of all of the species imported, and is as far as I know untreatable.Not much is known as to whether this iridovirus or mycobacterium is easily transmitted to other species but you could google info on..( iridovirus and dwarf gourami) and decide if they are worth trying to keep.Male gourami are the ones most frequently offered in fish stores for they are much more colorful than the rather drab females and males will often not tolerate other males in all but the larger (50 plus gallons) Tanks, they are territorial.
Is said that the Honey gourami appears not to be affected by the iridovirus to nearly the degree that the Dwarf blue,red's,seem to be and this might be of interest.
Dwarf gourami appreciate softer water and a single honey gourami along with the cardinal's would do well in 78 degree to 80 degree F which unfortunately is a bit warm for the cory's who really do better at 74 to 75 degrees over the long haul.
Is wise to try and research preferred water conditions for species being kept and try to keep fishes that can all fair well in similar conditions with respect to pH, GH,temp,and compatibilty should also factor in as well.
Fishes that have gone through the cycling process may suffer immediate harm, or the effect's may not be apparent for some days/weeks.
Is wise to quarantine new fishes and as you have noted,,try not to share bucket's, net's, across quarantine tank and display tanks where disease may be present or meds are being used.
Most often times,new hobbyist's expierience problems by purchasing fishes before tanks have cycled,placing too many fish in the tank to cycle = ammonia and nitrite poisoning, purchasing fishes that are too large for the tanks, purchasing fishes that do not share same requirement's with respect to water chemistry, or all of the above.
Fishes strive to adapt to the condition's they are placed in,some will and some won't. Some are sick possibly when purchased,and other's deteriorate slowly if condition's are not favorable.
Without knowing your maint schedule, I would submit that weekly water change of 30 to 50 percent every week,not overfeeding,not overstocking, and researching the needs of fishes before purchasing, will go a long way towards minimizing problems.
I would NOT attempt to alter the pH in the tanks, to suit the fish which may or may not share same requirement's, but would instead,, select fish that appreciate the water you have from the tap which is the easiest water to re-produce.
Fish keeping is much more enjoyable and less problematic when self infilicted problems are minimized.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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sabianhunter (07-14-2011)
post #3 of 5 Old 07-13-2011, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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I did every other day water changes in the first few weeks, thus the long cycle time, i think. Now I am changing once a week 25-40%. Since both tanks have just finished cycling it's only recently that the water changes have decreased from multiple times a week.

I poked around a bit more after my post and I wonder if my male molly might have ammonia poisoning. He has always been high-spirited, but he seems agitated, and both his gills have big red spots. Not like a sore, but he looks like he is bleeding under his skin...

What do I do with the gourami's if we decide we aren't going to keep them? I don't know any other fish keepers, except my uncle who has a giant oscar - I don't think my dwarf gourami would stand a chance... :) I've had the dwarf for 2 months, so taking it back to the store probably not a choice and the blue gourami came from a big box store out of town.
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post #4 of 5 Old 07-14-2011, 11:00 AM
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First off, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Glad you joined us.

1077 has basically pin-pointed the issues causing all this, so I will just re-iterate a couple of things that are critical.

The fish at present are not "compatible" in terms of water parameters, and some in terms of behaviours. I agree with 1077 that your water is not hard enough for livebearers, and any you buy will continue to have health problems. Fungus on mollies is common when this occurs, as is the shimmying. Best to avoid livebearers in your situation.

Gourami are not community fish in small tanks, with few exceptions. Please read the profiles on these fish, under the second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top, or in posts if the scientific or common name is exactly as it is used in the profile it will be shaded and you can click on it to see that profile, example Blue Gourami, Dwarf Gourami. Info on water parameters, minimum tank size, number of fish, compatible tankmates, etc.

Ich always occurs due to stress. Fish experience stress when water conditions change or are not within their preference, from non-compatible fish (aggression, bullying, etc), etc. Eliminating stress is the best way to have healthy fish.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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sabianhunter (07-14-2011)
post #5 of 5 Old 07-14-2011, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your responses. Now what to do with these Molly's ?? and all these fry? I guess they can live here a bit longer til I find something to do with them. Still learning more each day about what it takes to properly care for fish. You'd think after 2 months that I'd know everything by now!

I will be much more cautious about choosing species in the future. I am glad I have this site as a resource.
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