Plants and medication questions
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Plants and medication questions

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Plants and medication questions
Old 03-17-2011, 07:35 PM   #1
 
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Plants and medication questions

Hey guys. I hate using medications in general, but there is a good chance that if I don't medicate these diesases tetra (it is like a 50/50 chance to get a sick tetra from my LFS) all of my fish will die.

My 10g amazon QT tank is occupied by 6 lemon tetra, 2 Albino Corydoras, 1 Bronze Corydoras, 1 "Julii" Corydoras, and 1 Ghost shrimp. As far as plants it has a good amount of Amazon Sword, some Anacharis, and some aponogeton. I use Flourish Comprehensive twice weekly.

I plan to hit the tank with a Parasite Medication first, as this seemed to have been most effective in past cases (although it was too late). Anyway, I really need to know if there is a possibility of any harm to the fish, ghost shrimp, or plants. I don't want to ruin $40 worth of plants, or $40 worth of fish, and I also want to add a small colony of ghost shrimp this week if anyone doesn't dis-approve (which you are all very welcome to do if need be).

Next I want to hit the tank with a Fungus medication. Same concerns there.

Is there a list of active ingredients that would be harmful that anyone can come up with? I have used the fungus medication and parasite medication before with lemon tetras, albino corydoras, and aponogeton without any visible signs of damage, but I am not sure if it was "Ok" or if there would be any harmful effects adding the shrimp and other plants and corydoras.

Anyway, I don't want to dose if it will do harm. I am also open to recomendations reguarding treatment. I will edit in a link in just a sec...

(edit:)

Here is a link to the thread with information about the diesase.
The mysterious diesase is back again!!
I suppose I will link that thread here also.

I would like to start the treatment within the next 2 days, but I need to know if it will effect ghost shrimp because I plan on possibly starting a ghost shrimp colony of about 10-15. You can click on the link to make suggestions.

I am sort of pressed for time because I am making a (unfortunately rare) trip to Petsmart. The store is about an hours drive from my house. I can take afew things off my list if need be.

Thanks for any advice given!

small fry,

Last edited by small fry; 03-17-2011 at 07:41 PM..
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Old 03-17-2011, 09:22 PM   #2
 
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All I can input is I have used coppersafe and erythromycin in my 55g planted tank. To date, I have not lost any plants or fish. I do know better than to use copper with shrimp - don't have any shrimp. The copper and antibiotic didn't kill off my all my snails (Pond snails survived, the Ramshorn died). Sorry I don't have additional medication data....
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Old 03-19-2011, 10:01 AM   #3
 
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It is always dangerous to mix medications, and often un-necessary. We have members with more experience in treatments than I have, and hopefully they will be along to offer assistance.

Byron.
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Old 03-19-2011, 04:25 PM   #4
 
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Hi small fry, Byron asked me to stop in here and contribute to this thread. My first words to you are "stop".

I have a number of questions I need to ask in order to better understand your situation, so please bear with me. The first question is why do you have so many fish in a 10 gallon with plants and shrimp if its a quarantine tank? I am wondering if you are missing the whole point of a quarantine tank? (I will explain about this, keep reading please)
I need to know what your water params are for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH... and water temp. (I need updated results for those you have already provided throughout the course of this "mess")

I would really like to see some photos of the sick fish, even if they are not the clearest, best pics on the world. A photo of the entire tank would also help. A trained eye can often see things in a photograph that others may not even notice is there, and this can lend a lot of insight not only to the problem but potential solutions.

You have had some good advice suggested to you throughout this ordeal (both threads) and you have been given some erroneous information as well. Let me first clear up the biggest error I saw. Cory cats are not "labyrinth fish". Cory catfish belong to the family syluridae, labyrinth fishes belong to the family anabantidae. Cory catfish have the ability to breathe via gills or oxygen absorption through the gut, but are not labyrinth fishes.

I must admit I am struggling a bit with sorting out all of your information, what has been done, what you "wanted" to do, and what you have not done yet.

There are many possibilities for what is going on here, but I can tell you for sure that your current "method of treatment" is not a healthy approach. Massive 50% - 70% water changes alone will cause issues, especially for lemon tetras, and especially where water quality is already obviously a problem. Rapid and drastic changes in water quality can kill, cause stress, which leaves the animals open to any illness, and can cause the tank to cycle again, at which time (both poor water quality and cycling) it is not a good idea to add any medication.

The first problem I can see going on in your tank is that it is very over crowded. This will lead to/cause illness in itself. Medication should NEVER be used in a situation where ammonia is anything but 0, nitrite is anything but 0, and nitrates are under 20. Ammonia, nitrite, and high nitrate can take a useful medications and create a toxic environment that is deadly. Instead of having the desired effect it has the ability to wipe out an entire tank.

I caught the names of many meds that were mentioned throughout these 2 threads, but I never saw any name put to the anti parasite medication? Can you list the name and ingredients please?

Mixing medications in most cases can also be quite lethal, so I would have to suggest you not attempt that either, at least not without the help of someone (like myself) who is trained and experienced with these meds. When there are 2 problems to treat, typically, the most severe of the problems is dealt with first and then the other after... not all medications are safe to mix (for you or the fish). Some mixtures can produce toxic fumes which can harm you, some can cause chemical burns (to you and your fish), and some of them, because of the chemical reactions of the ingredients, can turn the water into a toxic mess that can be quite difficult to clean up/fix later. Please don't do this.

I understand your apparent urgency in all of this, but I must remind you that patience is a better solution. Mistreating an illness, especially in a fish, can not only mask symptoms needed to correctly identify the problem, but often medications causing adverse effects are then confused with the actual problem... making the whole thing near impossible to sort out. I did not see a single medication that I could have safely suggested thus far, based on the information already provided. Stress also causes symptoms that can often be confused with illness, and these poor fish have surely been through a multitude of stress.

Think of it this way... if you went to a dr and told the dr you were sick, would you want the dr to properly identify the illness via tests and monitoring or just start handing you multiple meds to see which one might work? Imagine not only how sick that could make you, but how easily the actual problem could be missed and how dangerous it would be for you to take a lot of medications that you likely don't need and maybe couldn't handle.... that is exactly the environment that has now been created for your fish.

Your best approach at this point would be to get me the basic info I asked for (water params and temp, etc) and lets start over. Add carbon to your filter and remove all medications that you have have been trying up til now, and make a list of each med you tried, how long you used it, and when/where/how much was done for water changes between each addition.

Slow down the amount of water you are changing at once. It is safer to change smaller amounts more often than large amounts less frequently. (Can you also tell me how often you do regular maintenance on this tank and describe it for me please?) 10% changes each day is more effective and safer than 50% - 70% every 2 wks.

What foods are you offering the fish? How much and how often are you feeding them? Do you see food left in the tank after 5 minutes? Do you remove excess food immediately?
What other chemicals are you adding to this tank? Water conditioner (what brand)? Fertilizers for the plants? Supplements of any sort?

And lastly, until we sort this out... do NOT buy any new fish to add to this tank, even if something dies. Lemon tetras do not need a large group to survive or thrive. While schools are usually suggested for most of the tetras, the environment you are able to provide should be capable of handling the number of fish you add to the tank. 10 gallons and 9 - 10 fish is not a properly stocked tank, quarantine or not.

Now... quarantine tanks. These are called quarantine for a reason. These tanks are set up to contribute to just what they say, isolating a new group (or sick) of fish before adding them to a main tank. New fish should not be added until after the first ones are deemed healthy and moved to the main tank. Keeping it species specific is also a good idea so there are more options in treatment should something turn out to need medication. Quarantine tanks should be very basic, no substrate, artificial (plastic or silk) plants, small pieces of pvc pipe, and a simple sponge filter or hang on filter, and of course, a heater. Lack of substrate serves multiple purposes in a quarantine, but primarily it allows you to easily "clean"/remove one med from the tank before attempting or using another, and it also avoids any build up of waste and/or food that falls through the average substrate and gets trapped. Many medications can/will leave a residue on glass, in substrate, etc. and this can also cause problems when switching meds, unless the tank is properly cleaned/sterilized first. (This can be done by emptying the tank and cleaning everything with a bleach/water solution and let to air dry completely for 48 hrs and then rinsed again until all odor of bleach is gone).

What you are describing for your 10 gallon tank is not a quarantine situation. It is currently set up as a main tank, which is where a large part of your problem is coming from. If you continue in this fashion you may never resolve the issue that continues to kill your fish, and you will make it much more difficult for anyone else to help you.

As was mentioned by someone else in the other thread, putting a positive name to any illness via internet is impossible. It isn't going to happen. Without the ability to do the lab work needed to properly id a specific bacteria, fungus, protozoan, the closest you will come is to generalize it as bacterial, fungal, or protozoan. We can still offer treatments and solutions if we know the general illness (bacteria, fungus, protozoan), but please stop trying to put a name to it. All that will do is waste your time and cause you frustration.

I don't have any immediate solutions to offer you, but I will continue to contribute here and help you sort this out and get it resolved if you will work with me to do so. You have a long way to go, so new fish should not be anywhere on your agenda at this time. Working on setting up another "main" tank to move healthy fish into as their time in quarantine ends is going to be a huge part of battling your current problem. I would suggest you work on this while we sort things out. If that isn't possible, then maintaining a proper population balance in the current tank is a must. This will leave you with some difficult choices, I'm sorry... but some things are just not possible... and what you are attempting to do now is one of those things.

Hang in there.... and please, remember... patience!
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Old 03-19-2011, 04:26 PM   #5
 
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One note I forgot to mention... most medications are toxic to shrimp.
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Old 03-19-2011, 08:33 PM   #6
 
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Post Part 1

Ok, so nobody protested the anti-fungal before I had to leave. No one also protested Melafix, so the tank has been dosed with anti-fungal and 1 days' dose of melafix. Please note that all medical treatment up to this point has been done before this post was made. Also, I read this post on wordpad, and wrote my responses as I went along, so it might leave me asking something that is addressed later on, etc.

why do you have so many fish in a 10 gallon with plants and shrimp if its a quarantine tank?
Because it is heavily planted and I already had the 2 species without a school. Long story.
 
I need to know what your water params are for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH... and water temp.
Ammonia 0
Nitrate 10
pH 7.5 (I know, not the greatest)
Temp is almost always 78, but it gets higher sometimes in the summer.:(
 
I would really like to see some photos of the sick fish, even if they are not the clearest, best pics on the world. A photo of the entire tank would also help. A trained eye can often see things in a photograph that others may not even notice is there, and this can lend a lot of insight not only to the problem but potential solutions.
I got a shot of the tank, some amazon sword, an odd algae, and a not-very-clear pic of the 1 sick lemon tetra. Notice the 1 lemon tetra with the most white on its mouth. The sore has faded, and all the "fuzz" is gone after the fungal treatment.
 
You have had some good advice suggested to you throughout this ordeal (both threads) and you have been given some erroneous information as well. Let me first clear up the biggest error I saw. Cory cats are not "labyrinth fish". Cory catfish belong to the family syluridae, labyrinth fishes belong to the family anabantidae. Cory catfish have the ability to breathe via gills or oxygen absorption through the gut, but are not labyrinth fishes.
Thanks for clearing that up!

I must admit I am struggling a bit with sorting out all of your information, what has been done, what you "wanted" to do, and what you have not done yet.
Very sorry. I am not always the clearest person by any means.
As far as treatment I have added an airstone setup. I dosed 1 days worth of Melafix (yesterday), and 1 treatment of fungus clear. I have preformed 3 major water changes within the past 5 days. That is about it.
I have not started any parasite medication.

There are many possibilities for what is going on here, but I can tell you for sure that your current "method of treatment" is not a healthy approach. Massive 50% - 70% water changes alone will cause issues, especially for lemon tetras, and especially where water quality is already obviously a problem. Rapid and drastic changes in water quality can kill, cause stress, which leaves the animals open to any illness, and can cause the tank to cycle again, at which time (both poor water quality and cycling) it is not a good idea to add any medication.
Goodness! I thought that after the tank was cycled, it stayed cycled unless you destroyed a bacterial colony (e.g. taking out the gravel, taking out a bio-cartridge, etc.). I know that my tap and tank water is almost the same as far as pH, hardness, and alkailinity. I always make sure the tempreture is the same. I guess I need to stick to small water changes.

The first problem I can see going on in your tank is that it is very over crowded. This will lead to/cause illness in itself. Medication should NEVER be used in a situation where ammonia is anything but 0, nitrite is anything but 0, and itrates are under 20. Ammonia, nitrite, and high nitrate can take a useful medications and create a toxic environment that is deadly. Instead of having the desired effect it has the ability to wipe out an entire tank.
Goodness! Wow! I tested the water today and the params all meet the proper toxicity (or more like the lack of it). I will certainly keep that in mind!


I caught the names of many meds that were mentioned throughout these 2 threads, but I never saw any name put to the anti parasite medication? Can you list the name and ingredients please?
Yes. Jungle Fungus Clear is the med I used/am using ("1 dose every 4 days", but that doesn't mean I will give them a second dose). As far as ingredients, I can only list the active ones, as they are the only ones that are listed;

Nitrofurazone, Furazolidone, Potassium Dichromate.


Mixing medications in most cases can also be quite lethal, so I would have to suggest you not attempt that either, at least not without the help of someone (like myself) who is trained and experienced with these meds. When there are 2 problems to treat, typically, the most severe of the problems is dealt with first and then the other after... not all medications are safe to mix (for you or the fish). Some mixtures can produce toxic fumes which can harm you, some can cause chemical burns (to you and your fish), and some of them, because of the chemical reactions of the ingredients, can turn the water into a toxic mess that can be quite difficult to clean up/fix later. Please don't do this.
I forgot about the dangers of mixing meds. I didn't really plan to do so without the approval of the forum. The only other med I mixed with the fungus clear was Melafix. I may read on later and have this answer itself, but is Melafix an Ok med? I used it because it seems to have good results for others.

I understand your apparent urgency in all of this, but I must remind you that patience is a better solution. Mistreating an illness, especially in a fish, can not only mask symptoms needed to correctly identify the problem, but often medications causing adverse effects are then confused with the actual problem... making the whole thing near impossible to sort out. I did not see a single medication that I could have safely suggested thus far, based on the information already provided. Stress also causes symptoms that can often be confused with illness, and these poor fish have surely been through a multitude of stress.
Well, I needed some kind of treatment and I gave 3 hours (I think) for the forum to object (which wasn't really all that fair to the forum, and I am not blaming anything on them). I was walking out the door and I felt like I needed some treatment started. If I wasn't a member of this forum (thank goodness I am), I would have done treatment like back in the old days, treat with ever kind of med walmart has that looks like the symtoms, and treat over a very long period of time (sometimes weeks, one occasion, a month). I am so glad to have the support of the forum and great experts!


Think of it this way... if you went to a dr and told the dr you were sick, would you want the dr to properly identify the illness via tests and monitoring or just start handing you multiple meds to see which one might work? Imagine not only how sick that could make you, but how easily the actual problem could be missed and how dangerous it would be for you to take a lot of medications that you likely don't need and maybe couldn't handle.... that is exactly the environment that has now been created for your fish.
Ouch! So true. I feel like a terrible fish keeper right now.


Your best approach at this point would be to get me the basic info I asked for (water params and temp, etc) and lets start over. Add carbon to your filter and remove all medications that you have have been trying up til now, and make a list of each med you tried, how long you used it, and when/where/how much was done for water changes between each addition.
Ok, I am going to wait for you to reject my (awful) treatment method before I add the carbon (I will have to run to the store also, which I can do in a flash).

Wednesday: 50% water change. NO meds added.

Thursday: 50% water change. NO meds added.

Friday: Melafix (whatever the label dose for a 10g tank), 1 fizz tab Jungle Fungus Clear (recomended dose for 10g tank)

Saturday: Today I got back from a trip and haven't done anything as far as meds or water changes.

I will finish this post in another post, as this post was too long.
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Old 03-19-2011, 08:34 PM   #7
 
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Post Part 2

Slow down the amount of water you are changing at once. It is safer to change smaller amounts more often than large amounts less frequently. (Can you also tell me how often you do regular maintenance on this tank and describe it for me please?) 10% changes each day is more effective and safer than 50% - 70% every 2 wks.
My regular maintanence is kinda wacky. I test the water every week to 2 weeks (sometimes 3), and change the water if the nitrates exceed 25 (as people always say,"its Ok under 40). I am making a more regular system with all my fish, including my QT for water changes. I don't know how the QT water got up to 50 (actually, it was between 25 and 50 so I just said 50 as a good guess). One of the many reasons I am trying to be more organized with my routine water changes. It sounds like a great idea doing smaller water changes. I am asuming that I can still give my bettas, guppies, and my cichlid larger water changes, though, right? I know tetra and corydoras are amoung some of the weakest fish, so I am just making sure you meant (or didn't mean) all fish, or just tetras and corydoras.

What foods are you offering the fish? How much and how often are you feeding them? Do you see food left in the tank after 5 minutes? Do you remove excess food immediately?
Well, if by removing the excess food immediately, you mean after 5 minutes, yes. I gave the 4 corydoras (it is only 3 now) and my ghost shrimp 1/4 to 1/2 (actually 2 1/4 pieces) algae wafer a day. They are good scavengers, and they always look pretty fat, so I don't think I need to feed them more than that. Also, the tetras will sometimes nip (or swarm, depending on wheather or not I have fed them) at the algae wafer. The wafers are 1/2" in diameter.

The tetras just eat Omega One Super Color Color Flakes (it says color twice on the package). It probably isn't the best for a staple, but I have been meaning to look more into that. I sometimes feed them HBH Flake Frenzy (usually when I can't find the color color flakes lol).

What other chemicals are you adding to this tank? Water conditioner (what brand)? Fertilizers for the plants? Supplements of any sort?
Just SeaChem Prime (de-chlorinater), and Flourish Comprehensive (for plants). That is it. Ocasionally afew drops of some odd blue water that end up in the tank after I get new fish from the LFS. The LFS lady calls it "medicine", but I can't get her to be any more specific than that.

And lastly, until we sort this out... do NOT buy any new fish to add to this tank, even if something dies. Lemon tetras do not need a large group to survive or thrive. While schools are usually suggested for most of the tetras, the environment you are able to provide should be capable of handling the number of fish you add to the tank. 10 gallons and 9 - 10 fish is not a properly stocked tank, quarantine or not.
You don't have to worry about me buying more fish while I have a sick fish. As far as handling fish, I hardly ever have a problem with water quality issues unless I get lazy and forget for afew weeks. I have about $40 worth of plants in that tank. As I have said earlier, I do not plan on having the tank this stocked in the future. I just had 2 species of school fish back before I knew they were school fish, and I couldn't bare to get rid of either one (although all my original lemon tetras have died, I get them sick from my LFS, but I never see the signs until they are in my tank).

Now... quarantine tanks. These are called quarantine for a reason. These tanks are set up to contribute to just what they say, isolating a new group (or sick) of fish before adding them to a main tank. New fish should not be added until after the first ones are deemed healthy and moved to the main tank. Keeping it species specific is also a good idea so there are more options in treatment should something turn out to need medication. Quarantine tanks should be very basic, no substrate, artificial (plastic or silk) plants, small pieces of pvc pipe, and a simple sponge filter or hang on filter, and of course, a heater. Lack of substrate serves multiple purposes in a quarantine, but primarily it allows you to easily "clean"/remove one med from the tank before attempting or using another, and it also avoids any build up of waste and/or food that falls through the average substrate and gets trapped. Many medications can/will leave a residue on glass, in substrate, etc. and this can also cause problems when switching meds, unless the tank is properly cleaned/sterilized first. (This can be done by emptying the tank and cleaning everything with a bleach/water solution and let to air dry completely for 48 hrs and then rinsed again until all odor of bleach is gone).
Well, I know the point of a QT. This started out as a display tank, and it went from community, to school fish, to QT pretty suddenly. I like the plants to keep the tox down, and provide the new fish with a more "natural" feel. I figure it is less stressful for them.

What you are describing for your 10 gallon tank is not a quarantine situation. It is currently set up as a main tank, which is where a large part of your problem is coming from. If you continue in this fashion you may never resolve the issue that continues to kill your fish, and you will make it much more difficult for anyone else to help you.
I'll see what I can do.
As was mentioned by someone else in the other thread, putting a positive name to any illness via internet is impossible. It isn't going to happen. Without the ability to do the lab work needed to properly id a specific bacteria, fungus, protozoan, the closest you will come is to generalize it as bacterial, fungal, or protozoan. We can still offer treatments and solutions if we know the general illness (bacteria, fungus, protozoan), but please stop trying to put a name to it. All that will do is waste your time and cause you frustration.
I stopped trying to put a name on it along time ago. I was wondering if the forum could help me out based on symtoms, discriptions, pictures, and past knowledge. Now that this thread has progressed, I see it is probably going to be impossible to identify the diesase by internet.

I don't have any immediate solutions to offer you, but I will continue to contribute here and help you sort this out and get it resolved if you will work with me to do so. You have a long way to go, so new fish should not be anywhere on your agenda at this time. Working on setting up another "main" tank to move healthy fish into as their time in quarantine ends is going to be a huge part of battling your current problem. I would suggest you work on this while we sort things out. If that isn't possible, then maintaining a proper population balance in the current tank is a must. This will leave you with some difficult choices, I'm sorry... but some things are just not possible... and what you are attempting to do now is one of those things.
Thank you for your help and your offer to help in the near future! Don't worry, adding fish is on the agenda, but CERTAINLY not for a good while. A healthy tank is a much bigger priority than a stocked tank. When you say "setup another 'main' tank", do you mean the tank I plan to put them in (the 55g amazon tank), or I need to get another tank to put the fish in? The 55g amazon tank still needs some cheap, black substrate. It may be awhile before I get that, but I can put an accerated effort on getting that soon if need be. A new main tank, as in a new tank I get just for this purpose will simply be impossible. I just got a new 10g tank (w/ hood and filter for $19!) today, and with a pacman frog coming (shh, don't tell anyone), and fish upgrading tanks, I am at my limit in my small-ish room. I have already got rid of as much furniture as my parents will allow.

Thank you so much bettababy for your very informative post. I geatly appreciate you taking your time to help me solve my problem!

Thanks!
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Old 03-20-2011, 12:37 AM   #8
 
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Small fry, I printed our past posts so I could organize my thoughts better before writing again. I am not going to copy/paste anything from before as I don't think its needed, but I am going to split this info up into 3 posts due to length. I have tried not to forget anything.

In reply to your last posts...
The timing here was a bit off. Again, I understand your urgency, but 3 hrs is not much opportunity for anyone here to offer help. While there are members who are generally here most of the time, those who come here to help do so as volunteers, and we all have lives outside of the forum. Weekends can be even harder to try to pin someone down to a short time period because many people are "out" on the weekends rather than their regular weekly schedule. We all try to get to posts as quickly as our schedules allow. When dealing with medical issues, time is even more important because it takes time to ask and answer questions that are needed for a proper diagnosis and safe treatment plan.

Let me clarify for you about heavily planting a tank to handle waste levels. This can be very difficult to achieve a proper balance. It takes a huge amount of plants to utilize a small amount of nutrients. In a small tank, where water chemistry fluctuates more rapidly and drastically, even more so. Plants can also be overwhelmed, so be careful with that too. In finding balance between fish and plants it means a lot of plants and very few fish. Adding lots of plants doesn't allow for adding lots of fish, it doesn't even itself out. Thus, heavily planting a tank does not create a situation where over stocking is safe. Artificial plants and décor serve the same purpose as live plants for shelter without the issues of being safe with medications in the water. When medications and plants don’t mix you can end up with a mess. Dead plants are not just expensive, they can also pollute the water quickly. Live plants are not a good idea for a QT tank.

I noticed you listed your water params, thank you... however, you missed the nitrite? Knowing all of the params is important. Knowing only some of them does not offer a complete picture of what is happening in your water chemistry. Can I ask what test kits you are using?

You mentioned a picture... is there somewhere I can see it please?

On to cycling and large water changes.... Once a tank is cycled doesn't mean it will remain that way. When we over clean a tank, be it large water changes, too much gravel vac, filter and other things all at once, etc., there is such a thing as over doing it, which depletes bacteria colonies. Bacteria are found all over the tank, in the substrate, on the glass, on any decor, in the filter, in the filter media.... any surface that is continuously wet and has a food (waste) source. When we over clean, the tank can experience what is known as a mini cycle, which doesn't put you back at the very beginning, but will cause some sporadic fluctuations in water chemistry until the bacteria repopulates or catches up to those waste levels again.
Depletion of the bacteria colony doesn't just mean removing the bacteria during maintenance, but it also applies to removing the food it uses to feed and populate. Large water changes leave the tank with a very low to no waste levels, which the bacteria need for food.

Last edited by bettababy; 03-20-2011 at 12:39 AM.. Reason: typo
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Old 03-20-2011, 12:38 AM   #9
 
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Take away the food and the bacteria die back to only what the aquarium is providing for. Then... when you let things sit for a week, 2 wks, 3 wks, etc. the waste builds faster than the bacteria can repopulate. This is why it is important for a tank to be stable with regular maintenance at regular intervals. And, lastly, there is a limit to how much waste a bacteria colony can utilize because there is a limit to how much bacteria can populate a given tank. Again we go back to surface area... the amount of surface area you provide that is constantly wet and provides food is the limit on how many bacteria can populate that tank. When a tank is over stocked, the amount of waste can exceed the amount of bacteria that are possible in that environment, which also can cause rapid and drastic fluctuations in water chemistry.

The other danger in large water changes has nothing to do with the bacteria population. When water is polluted, such as 50ppm nitrate level, the fish have acclimated to it gradually as it has built up. Changing 50 – 70% of the water alters water chemistry in some drastic ways (including mineral content) and the fish’s body needs time to adjust to good conditions the same way it did to the bad ones. Changing things too quickly can cause shock to the fish’s organs, which results in organ damage, sometimes permanent, and sometimes for organs to stop functioning all together… leading to death. This applies to all fish. Some are more tolerant to change than others, but in general all are still affected when there are too many changes too fast.


About the walking out the door and “needing something”… that is a bad habit to get into, a deadly one. Once again, patience is safer and more productive. Your “old way” of handling a medical problem sounds like a nightmare, but for sure, it is dangerous to you and your fish. Let me ask you this… if you don’t know what the problem is then how can you buy something to fix it?
On that same note, there is more to know about medications for fish tanks. They are not all safe for all species of fish, nor do most of them contain the needed warnings to safely treat your fish. There are many forms of fungal medications out there, each with different ingredients in them, different amounts of ingredients, etc. Some of them, regardless of their claims, will contain ingredients which can be toxic to some species of fish, and too harsh for others… end result, the meds kill the fish before the illness does. In cases of a sick fish, if it is so sick that its going to die within 24 – 48 hrs without treatment, then chances are likely it was too sick to survive treatment to begin with. Please, for the sake of your fish, slow down and take your time, get all of the info you need before doing anything drastic like shopping for medications. 90% of fish illness problems can be resolved by fixing the environmental issues such as water chemistry, without the need for medications. Because the use of medications requires good water chemistry, that is always the first place to start… small water changes and clean things up first. That then paves the path for safe medicating without so many risks and allows time to see all of the symptoms and decide on a proper diagnosis so you are getting the right med the first time.

And, your comment about the Melafix and using it because it worked for someone else… also a very dangerous practice, and for the same reasons I just mentioned… not all species of fish react the same way to the same medication, and not all medications can safely or effectively treat for all types of fungus, bacteria, etc. If it were that simple there would be one super med and no other would be needed. Your water chemistry, temp, fish, and situation differ from everyone else’s, and from tank to tank. All of those things play a part in how effective or safe a medication is.
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Old 03-20-2011, 12:39 AM   #10
 
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Regular maintenance. For all fish, extremely important. Large water changes will have the same effect on any tank, especially if they are infrequent and waste is allowed to build between the changes. There is no way to achieve stability with doing large water changes on a scattered basis, which means a lot of stress and potential for health problems in any/all of them.
For a properly stocked tank, weekly water changes are the most appropriate. 25 – 30% each week, gravel vac 1 – 2 times/month during the water changes, and filter media cleaned in dirty tank water in between the water changes. That is standard. For an over stocked tank, water changes should be done more frequently based on how over stocked it is and where the water params check out. A healthy, stable tank should have readings of ammonia 0, nitrite, 0, and nitrate below 20 all the time. If this is fluctuating between changes, that is an indication there is something out of balance and that should be identified and resolved as soon as possible. The more the difference between tank water chemistry and tap water chemistry, the smaller the amount of water that should be changed at once and the more often it should be done. This will avoid the drastic swings that can easily kill fish.

Your mention of how you ended up with this 10 gallon situation brings up a few other points that are important. Research first, buy later. Taking something home before you know what it is and how to care for it can make for a huge mess and lost lives. Not a good idea.
One mistake I see made quite often is that people tend to set up their tanks and then go in search of a fish to put into it, hoping the fish can handle the created environment. That is backwards. It is much easier (and healthier) to select and research a fish species and then work on providing the environment that it needs. This also helps to avoid over stocking issues because you know ahead of time what the animals need.

I know how hard it can be to control impulses, but in fish keeping there is so much that relies on stability. Each time you drastically change a tank’s situation you cause other changes at the same time, including water chemistry.

As for what to do now… get your 55 gallon set up and running, cycled, and ready for the fish intended to go there. Work with what survives in QT between now and then. If something dies, do not replace it until all of the current/remaining fish are healthy and in their permanent home. You don’t want to re expose the current fish to new fish that may be sickly when you bring them home.
Finish the med treatment for the anti fungal, discontinue the Melafix, then work on getting the tank stable and keeping up with water quality, let the fish recover from the stress of illness, meds, and ever changing water chemistry. Skip any anti parasite medication you may still be considering.

Once I hear back from you about your test kits, nitrite level, etc. and see the photo, then we can start over in a healthier way. No panic, no rush.
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