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Plants and medication questions

This is a discussion on Plants and medication questions within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> Very sorry! I forgot to upload the pictures! I will get those up first... The first picture is a picture of 2 lemon tetra. ...

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Plants and medication questions
Old 03-20-2011, 02:34 AM   #11
 
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Very sorry! I forgot to upload the pictures! I will get those up first...

The first picture is a picture of 2 lemon tetra. The one with the big white spot on its mouth is sick, and the other one is Ok, just had its mouth open.
DSCN3530.jpg

Side view of the sick fish.
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Full tank shot.
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My Amazon Sword and Aponogeton.
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My Anacharis (most of it).
DSCN3532.jpg

These photos were taken last night, less than 8 hours ago. Sorry I couldn't really get a good pic of the diesase.
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Old 03-20-2011, 02:47 AM   #12
 
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Post Part 1

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Originally Posted by bettababy View Post
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.
It is still no less on contribution on your part. This information is a valuable part of my fish keeping experiences, and I greatly appreciate it.

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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.
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Well, I have the pictures up, so I guess maybe you can judge if I have "enough" plants to temporarily justify the overstocked tank (which may not be possible). Like I said earlier, I didn't mean to end up with both school species, but that is what happend in my beginer days.

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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?
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Ah, yes, nitrite. In my defence (lol) I went to Petsmart yesterday and they didn't have nitrite test kits. I looked for them. The ammonia and nitrate I test with API test kits (the one with the vial and colorful water). For the pH, I am stuck using some Jungle dip tests, which I know are terribly inaccurate, but I am hoping pH is at least somewhat accuarte.

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You mentioned a picture... is there somewhere I can see it please?
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I replied to this in an earlier post. Sorry for the delay.

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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.
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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.
Thanks for sharing the details! Some person on this forum told me awhile back,"you can't recycle a tank by 90% water changes, you have to remove the bacteria colonies." Most people on this forum I think are pretty knowledgeable, but that is what I unfortunately heard on here.

Last edited by small fry; 03-20-2011 at 02:56 AM..
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Old 03-20-2011, 02:56 AM   #13
 
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Post Part 2

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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.
I understand. I wish the conditions were better. I will not be Q 2 species at once in the future, though.

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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.
Hmm...I didn't realize that once fish adjust to the nitrate, that they temporarily "need" it. I will be much more careful with toxicity fluctuations.

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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.
Yeah, sorry about that. I really shouldn't have medicated the tank as I was walking out the door. I guess that is just a fish keepers instict. I just didn't want this stuff to spread. I didn't realize the real danger until you started helping me with the situation.

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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.
Very true. I guess I will stop the Melafix.
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Old 03-20-2011, 03:09 AM   #14
 
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Post Part 3

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Originally Posted by bettababy View Post
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.
I understand the importance of regular maintanence. I do realize and admit that I have slacked a little bit, but I think the tetra that is sick right now is sick from the LFS. Reguardless, the 50 nitrate didn't help the diesase any. I need to get a schedule together, which is actually what I have been working on with all my tanks.

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Originally Posted by bettababy View Post
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.
Very good advice. This is what I tell people all the time. The mistakes I made were back in the day before I had access to the forum. I did not research fish (other than making sure they could live in the same temp and pH) like I should have, and I regret the consequensences. Fortunately now I have the sense to research completely the fish, research it more, run it by the forum, and then getting it in that order. Rest assured, this is certainly a beginer mistake, and I would like to think that my beginers days--while I am still paying for them--are still far behind me.

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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.
A good lesson in and of itself!

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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.
Like I said, I wont be getting any more fish until after this diesase has passed. When you say,"finish up the anti-fungul", you mean I don't need to put a carbon filter cartridge in the filter? I didn't put carbon in the filter (as I mentioned in an earlier post), because I didn't know if the anti-fungul was going to be any good for treatment, and I didn't want to stress the fish out by hitting them with it twice. Discontinue Melafix, got it. I will not use Tetra Parasite Guard on the tank.

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Originally Posted by bettababy View Post
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.
I think that is it, then. As far as nitrite level, I forgot to mention that I have never seen this indicated outside of a cycle, and I have only done 2 cycles that lasted more than a day or 2.

Thanks again for your time, bettababy!
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Old 03-20-2011, 01:40 PM   #15
 
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As far as nitrite level, I forgot to mention that I have never seen this indicated outside of a cycle, and I have only done 2 cycles that lasted more than a day or 2.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "never seen this indicated outside of a cycle"...?


In regards to cycling, I can assure you that no tank is going to fully cycle within a day or 2, even when it is "jump started" using media, substrate, etc from an established tank. Bacteria needs time to grow and colonize. There are different species of bacteria that make up the group of nitrifying bacteria found in an aquatic environment. One species utilizes ammonia, which begins the cycle. The waste product of that bacteria is nitrite, which another species of bacteria utilize. The waste of that species of bacteria is nitrate... and yes, there are denitrifying bacteria that then can utilize nitrate if the conditions are proper for it, such as in a refugium. All of this takes time. The average freshwater tank takes 4 - 6 weeks to fully complete the cycle. In cases where it is "jump started" by using media, substrate, water, etc from an established tank that can decrease the time it takes, but at least a week or 2 is still needed to establish a healthy bacteria colony enough to call a tank fully cycled.
Cycling can be tracked with water testing. Ammonia shows up first, then as ammonia begins to go down nitrite shows up, then as nitrite goes down, nitrate goes up.

I also want to comment on your plants. I only saw 1 amazon sword that was clearly identifiable. I also saw what looks like a species of aponageton bulbs? Most important is that you do not have a "heavily" planted tank. If you take a look at my aquarium photos, look for the 65 gallon angelfish tank... that is a "heavily" planted tank. Another good example of heavily planted would be the tanks by Tikashi Ammano... such as this one Takashi Amano – “Zen and the Art of the Aquascape” The Essence of Things
See the difference?

One other mention about planted tanks... not all species of plants consume as much nutrient levels as others, or as quickly. Anacharis, when healthy, is good for heavy nutrient levels, as is hornwort, duck weed (be careful with this stuff, it gets out of control easily and can be very difficult to get rid of), naja grass, water lettuce (typically found/used in ponds), etc. Aponegeton bulbs are a slower feeder than the ones I listed here, as are amazon swords in comparison to the others. I strongly urge you to do some study/research on plants so you understand what qualifies as heavily planted and what plants are most desirable for your intended situation. Also remember that lighting is vital and each plant species has its own needs for light, water chemistry, nutrients, and temp.

In time, with experience, study/research, and help here on the forum, you will learn these things.

Let me know if there is more I can do to help... and keep me posted on the condition of your fish. Complete the 4 days the instructions indicate for the treatment and then put the carbon in the filter. We can reevaluate the situation at that time. Also, let me know if you notice any new symptoms in any of the fish.
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Old 03-20-2011, 04:11 PM   #16
 
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I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "never seen this indicated outside of a cycle"...?
I guess I meant in all the time I have had fish, I have never seen nitrite while a tank was not cycling.

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Originally Posted by bettababy View Post
In regards to cycling, I can assure you that no tank is going to fully cycle within a day or 2, even when it is "jump started" using media, substrate, etc from an established tank. Bacteria needs time to grow and colonize. There are different species of bacteria that make up the group of nitrifying bacteria found in an aquatic environment. One species utilizes ammonia, which begins the cycle. The waste product of that bacteria is nitrite, which another species of bacteria utilize. The waste of that species of bacteria is nitrate... and yes, there are denitrifying bacteria that then can utilize nitrate if the conditions are proper for it, such as in a refugium. All of this takes time. The average freshwater tank takes 4 - 6 weeks to fully complete the cycle. In cases where it is "jump started" by using media, substrate, water, etc from an established tank that can decrease the time it takes, but at least a week or 2 is still needed to establish a healthy bacteria colony enough to call a tank fully cycled.
Cycling can be tracked with water testing. Ammonia shows up first, then as ammonia begins to go down nitrite shows up, then as nitrite goes down, nitrate goes up.
Ok, I will watch tank quality closer than normal when jump starting if I have to add a fish before 2 weeks. If I add gravel from another tank, will it "cycle" itself, or does it still need an ammonia source?

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I also want to comment on your plants. I only saw 1 amazon sword that was clearly identifiable. I also saw what looks like a species of aponageton bulbs? Most important is that you do not have a "heavily" planted tank. If you take a look at my aquarium photos, look for the 65 gallon angelfish tank... that is a "heavily" planted tank. Another good example of heavily planted would be the tanks by Tikashi Ammano... such as this one Takashi Amano – “Zen and the Art of the Aquascape” The Essence of Things
See the difference?
Eh, I guess my tank isn't heavily planted.

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Originally Posted by bettababy View Post
One other mention about planted tanks... not all species of plants consume as much nutrient levels as others, or as quickly. Anacharis, when healthy, is good for heavy nutrient levels, as is hornwort, duck weed (be careful with this stuff, it gets out of control easily and can be very difficult to get rid of), naja grass, water lettuce (typically found/used in ponds), etc. Aponegeton bulbs are a slower feeder than the ones I listed here, as are amazon swords in comparison to the others. I strongly urge you to do some study/research on plants so you understand what qualifies as heavily planted and what plants are most desirable for your intended situation. Also remember that lighting is vital and each plant species has its own needs for light, water chemistry, nutrients, and temp.
I realize that amazon sword is a "slow feeder" and aponogeton is even slower. That is why I have anacharis (and used to have hornwort) to do the "heavy lifting". I understand the lighting requirements of these plants, and have a system capable of meeting their needs (except my substrate is abit shallow for amazon sword, the amazon sword is only temporary in the QT).

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In time, with experience, study/research, and help here on the forum, you will learn these things.
I understand the plant requirements. They are doing fine (except for the hornwort that mysteriously melted and littered microscopic masses of hornwort all over, made a huge mess), and have been growing like crazy.

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Let me know if there is more I can do to help... and keep me posted on the condition of your fish. Complete the 4 days the instructions indicate for the treatment and then put the carbon in the filter. We can reevaluate the situation at that time. Also, let me know if you notice any new symptoms in any of the fish.
Sounds good. As for an update, all fish seem fine (other than that spot on that one). They are all darting around like heathy little fish, eating with an enormous appetite as usual.

The only reason why I think there might be a problem is because my relatively new Bronze Corydoras died without any signs of diesase. Personally, I think that Bronze was stressed. When I got it from the LFS, he would swim to the top of the bag and fall upside down and look dead for afew seconds. I think he had issues.
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Old 03-20-2011, 05:19 PM   #17
 
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When you shop for fish at the lfs, any lfs... if something about a fish doesn't look right then you tell the lfs you don't want it. Some lfs's are very careless when they catch fish, often injuring or over stressing the fish by chasing it literally to death. That is not a fish you want to take to your home tank. Practices like this in lfs's will never change if the customers don't stand up and say something. If a fish in a lfs tank appears sick then you don't want ANY fish from that tank, the same thing if there is even 1 dead fish in a tank. Fish illness is most often communicated via the water they share. It is better to say no and walk away than to encourage these practices at the stores. As long as a customer is willing to pay for a dying or sick fish then the store is making its money and doesn't care, and has no reason to change anything they are doing.
If its a fish species you really want then either look for other ways to find one available, such as online auctions, or tell the lfs you will wait for the next HEALTHY shipment to arrive and will be back then. Don't settle for less.
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:13 AM   #18
 
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I shall attempt to answer question posed by OP with regards to using borrowed seed material in the way of gravel, and or filter material from an established(disease free) aquarium.Many are those who borrow this material and then leave the tank to run assuming that the bacteria will continue to develop.The bacteria in question, must have daily source of food (ie) fish waste,fish foods,or it will begin to die off.
Folks also get into trouble with this approach by borrowing filter material and or gravel from a tank perhaps holding one or two fish, and then seek to add many more fishes to the newly seeded tank than bacterial colony can support.
Bacteria develops in direct proportion to the bio-load present.A tank with few fishes,will have much less of a bacterial colony than a tank holding many fishes. You cannot add more fishes than original tank that borrowed material came from, and not expect an ammonia /nitrites spike until such time as the bacteria can multiply to deal with the increased stocking level.
Slow and steady stocking even with seed material is the way forward.
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Old 03-21-2011, 02:23 AM   #19
 
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Well said 1077! Thank you for catching that, sorry I missed it.
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