"I done a bad thing, George."
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"I done a bad thing, George."

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"I done a bad thing, George."
Old 09-10-2010, 11:22 AM   #1
 
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"I done a bad thing, George."

"I done a bad thing, George."

This morning's events reminded me of a quote I associate with Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, "the best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry." That further reminded me of the characters in the book, Lenny and George. Lenny, who is short on mental faculties, consistently unwittingly undermines his friend and care taker George's attempts to establish a life for the two of them.

On 8/7/10 the last fish in my display tank succumbed to a parasite of some kind. My plan was to leave the tank fish-less for 6 - 8 weeks, which I understand would have all but ensured that the parasite had run its full life cycle and died off completely because it had no fish to feed on.

I started a 10 gallon quarantine tank and put 4 yellow tail damsels in it. The plan was to keep them in quarantine for 4 - 6 weeks and introduce them to the display tank after the latter had been fish-less for 6-8 weeks. I tested the water regularly and was surprised to find that there was no ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate. Over the course of the 2 weeks I had the damsels, I observed several of them nipping the same fish repeatedly. When they finally nipped the fish to death I decided that they were too aggressive for the type of tank I wanted to have and returned them last weekend.

I replaced the damsels with 4 blue/green chromis. I tested the water to make sure it was alright before going to the store and getting them. I noticed that one of them appeared to have some kind of sore or wound but hoped it would heal. I found it dead the next morning. Several days later I found another previously healthy chromis dead. I tested the water and found that the ammonia was high. I changed 50% of the water. I tested the water again a couple days later and the ammonia was still high, so I changed 50% of the water again.

This morning I found one of the 2 remaining chromis laying on the bottom of the tank on its side breathing heavily. The other was upright but also breathing heavily. I was just about to leave for work, was already running late, and just didn't have the time to perform a water change.

Certain that I would arrive home to find the 2 remaining chromis dead if I just left, I netted them out of the quarantine tank and put them in the display tank, forgetting all about the fact that I wanted the display tank to remain fishless for at least another 2 - 4 weeks to ensure the parasite was gone. I realized the mistake I'd made above and beyond undercutting the quarantine period I wanted for the fish on my way to work.

"I done a bad thing, George."

The chromis that had been on its side died while I was still in front of the tank so I took it out. The other one is hopefully still alive and well, though. Or at least getting better. I am concerned that my adding the chromis to the display tank may result in not ridding the display tank of whatever parasite had killed all of my fish after all.

Should I

A) do a 100% water change on the quarantine tank when I get home and try to take the chromis out of the display tank and put it back in the quarantine tank? Is the presence of a small fish for one day enough to allow a parasite that may or may not still be present in the tank to make a comeback? Will I have "wasted" the past month of running the display tank fish-less even if I remove this fish when I get home and have to start over and wait another full 6 - 8 weeks?

Or

B) Is it very likely that after running fish-less for a month (8/7/10 - 9/10/10) and being treated with PraziPro several times and Kick-Ich once (I did not continue the full course of treatment because there were no fish left in the tank to treat) that the parasite is gone and I can allow this fish to live at peace in the display tank rather than subject it to whatever is going on with the water in the quarantine tank?

Thanks, everyone.
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Old 09-10-2010, 04:19 PM   #2
 
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were it me (and its not) i wold leave it and see what happens .... just me though
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Old 09-10-2010, 04:28 PM   #3
 
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Me persoanally: I would leave the Chromis in the display tank and not put another fish in for at least two months, more like three. In that time I would test the water in the display tank on a daily/every other day basis for Alkalinity and Calcium. Keep these numbers at 8-12 dKH and 400-460 ppm. Feed a garlic supplement along with a varied diet of Mysis, bloodworms, pellets and whatever else a Chromi should eat.

Please catalog the test results and status of the fish and post it here to keep us updated..(you have been doing this anyway, but definitley keep it up...)
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Old 09-10-2010, 06:18 PM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wake49 View Post
Me persoanally: I would leave the Chromis in the display tank and not put another fish in for at least two months, more like three. In that time I would test the water in the display tank on a daily/every other day basis for Alkalinity and Calcium. Keep these numbers at 8-12 dKH and 400-460 ppm. Feed a garlic supplement along with a varied diet of Mysis, bloodworms, pellets and whatever else a Chromi should eat.

Please catalog the test results and status of the fish and post it here to keep us updated..(you have been doing this anyway, but definitley keep it up...)
I basically agree.

I wouldl allow you 2 weeks or so for the quarantine tank to settle down, then add a fish. Q that fish for 3 to 4 weeks before considering adding it to the display. All the while treating the display as indicated in this post, especially feeding garlic supplemented food daily.

For the record, if it were me, I would allow the Chromis to live alone, without adding other Chromis.

The biggest lesson here is extreme patience. I am totally against the large water changes you have been doing. On a marine tank you will typically accomplish a lot more just by waiting a few days, when problems arise.

I can not repeat enough that my first response to ammonia and nitrite problems is to do nothing. Just wait. If the problem still exists in a couple of days, I am inclined to continue waiting. It can takes a week or so of close observation and testing of water to make a good decision on any course of action. And water changes don't help fix the problem, they just mask it. You need to allow for stability, not quick fixes.

{I just noticed... you have 3 very experienced hobbyists all telling you to "do nothing". Brilliant bunch we are.}
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Old 09-11-2010, 07:24 AM   #5
 
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Thanks, guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wake49
I would leave the Chromis in the display tank and not put another fish in for at least two months, more like three.
Well what do you know, it's a non issue after all; I just turned on the aquarium light to discover several hermit crabs busily eviscerating the chromis' remains in the display tank. I'm hoping the chromis only died because of the ammonia it had been subjected to in the quarantine tank before being moved to the display tank and the fact that it wasn't acclimated but hastily put in before I left for work (because leaving it in the quarantine tank with ammonia seemed to be certain death).

Why would you wait another two or three months to add fish to the display tank? I was under the impression that the tank needed to be fish-less for only 6 - 8 weeks to ensure a parasite was gone, and it had already been fish-less for 4 weeks with the exception of the 1 day and night the chromis was living in it yesterday. Do you think the chromis' presence for a single day and night was enough to start the parasite's life cycle over again?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pasfur
I wouldl allow you 2 weeks or so for the quarantine tank to settle down, then add a fish. Q that fish for 3 to 4 weeks before considering adding it to the display. All the while treating the display as indicated in this post, especially feeding garlic supplemented food daily.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pasfur
For the record, if it were me, I would allow the Chromis to live alone, without adding other Chromis.
Why? Do they fight? I thought they were a peaceful species.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pasfur
The biggest lesson here is extreme patience. I am totally against the large water changes you have been doing. On a marine tank you will typically accomplish a lot more just by waiting a few days, when problems arise.

I can not repeat enough that my first response to ammonia and nitrite problems is to do nothing. Just wait. If the problem still exists in a couple of days, I am inclined to continue waiting. It can takes a week or so of close observation and testing of water to make a good decision on any course of action. And water changes don't help fix the problem, they just mask it. You need to allow for stability, not quick fixes.
The fish in the quarantine tank were dying, presumably because of the ammonia. I thought that by changing the water in the quarantine tank I could prevent more deaths. Wouldn't the ammonia concentration of only increased faster if I hadn't changed the water?

So if I let this bare bottom quarantine tank run fish-less for 2 weeks it should cycle so that I can safely add fish to it to quarantine for 3 - 4 weeks? I thought I could just setup the quarantine tank and add fish, performing water changes as necessary. There was 0 ammonia in the tank for the two weeks I had the damsels, and suddenly it was at fatal levels after replacing the damsels with chromis.

If I let the quarantine tank cycle for 2 weeks and then add fish and quarantine for 3 - 4 weeks, why can't I then add those fish to the display tank? It will have been fish-less for 2.5 months total by then, with the exception of the day and night the chromis spent in the display tank yesterday before dying.
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Old 09-11-2010, 07:45 AM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Administrator View Post

Why would you wait another two or three months to add fish to the display tank? I was under the impression that the tank needed to be fish-less for only 6 - 8 weeks to ensure a parasite was gone, and it had already been fish-less for 4 weeks with the exception of the 1 day and night the chromis was living in it yesterday. Do you think the chromis' presence for a single day and night was enough to start the parasite's life cycle over again?
I would've left the fish in the tank for two months to make sure that they did not introduce any parasites themselves. Now that the fish are gone, I think that you can stay on track with keeping the display "fishless" for the 6-8 weeks as originally advised.

Sorry to hear about the Chromis.

I personally treat a Q tank like a freshwater tank. I run a HOB filter and wait for the cycle to end. I do not change the water in the tank (except for the water I replace to increase the salinity) until after I move the fish over to the display and want to Q another fish.
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Old 09-11-2010, 09:37 AM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wake49 View Post
I would've left the fish in the tank for two months to make sure that they did not introduce any parasites themselves. Now that the fish are gone, I think that you can stay on track with keeping the display "fishless" for the 6-8 weeks as originally advised.

Sorry to hear about the Chromis.

I personally treat a Q tank like a freshwater tank. I run a HOB filter and wait for the cycle to end. I do not change the water in the tank (except for the water I replace to increase the salinity) until after I move the fish over to the display and want to Q another fish.
Thanks, Jeff. I was advised not to worry about cycling the quarantine tank and to do water changes instead, but that didn't work out so well for me. I'll wait a couple of weeks until the quarantine tank tests zero for ammonia, quarantine a couple of fish for 3 - 4 weeks, and then add them to the display tank.

The quarantine tank is bare bottom and only has an ornamental cave inside it. I removed the filter bag from the HOB filter since it had carbon in it which I understand would reduce the efficacy of the PraziPro that I added to the quarantine tank when I first set it up. Is a bare tank and an empty HOB filter enough to allow the bacteria necessary for the nitrogen cycle to populate?

I won't have to think about this for quite a while, but how much water would you change in a 10 gallon quarantine tank after transferring the fish in it to the display tank before adding new fish to the quarantine tank?
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Old 09-11-2010, 11:42 AM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pasfur View Post
I basically agree.


For the record, if it were me, I would allow the Chromis to live alone, without adding other Chromis.

this is important because honestly they prob. would have picked each other off in time in your tank, ESP. in your size tank for that matter. ive never kept a school of them, though i think it would be nice, ive heard thats what they do. pick out the weaker chromi until your down to 1.
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Old 09-13-2010, 08:58 AM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Administrator View Post
Is a bare tank and an empty HOB filter enough to allow the bacteria necessary for the nitrogen cycle to populate?

I won't have to think about this for quite a while, but how much water would you change in a 10 gallon quarantine tank after transferring the fish in it to the display tank before adding new fish to the quarantine tank?
I personally use the interchangable pad that comes with the Whisper filters. The one that is a mesh bag full of carbon...

I change 50% of the water once I transfer a fish from the Q to the Display.
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:26 AM   #10
 
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Something I don't think has been mentioned here but is worth noting. Many healthy systems do infact have some ich parasites living within the system but the fish never show symptoms because they are healthy enough to fight off the infection themselves.

That said I agree with the more experienced folks that you should leave the tank as is and continue to carefully monitor your levels. In the future when looking for fish if you want some that will shoals and are less likely to kill each other off take a look at Cardinal fish in the Apogon genus.
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