Project Kindergarten - Page 5 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #41 of 143 Old 11-27-2012, 12:55 AM
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I don't know how you guys do it. I already have bitten my nails to the quick just with my one tank (I'm pretty new to the hobby), I don't think I could handle taking care of tank that I didn't have 24 hour surveillance on. Plus with kids...yikes. Serious kudos and hats off to you for having the patience and the dedication to take on the challenge. I can only sit back and admire that mindset, serious brilliance.
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post #42 of 143 Old 11-27-2012, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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Izzy - your school tanks sound awesome!. . . so more details? Are the kids actually cleaning up a natural river for the fish to be released into the wild at the end of the school year? What grade(s) are they in, and what type(s) of fish? THAT sounds like a fantastic project to be a part of! I'm teaching the kids as much as I can about how to care for the fish, but they're too young to really have so much to do with the actual maintenance, except for feeding and adding the liquid ferts once a week, lol. For my Kindy crew, it's way more basic . . .

Jen - I'm pretty new to all of this, too - and you're right. The fact that I can't keep a close eye on the fish has been a constant worry to me. But. . . now that we've gone through two breaks (one because of a hurricane, which sucked because it was unplanned, and I couldn't do anything about it for FIVE DAYS! The other was a four-day Thanksgiving break), and everything was fine, I'm finally starting to relax a little bit. Winter break is going to be difficult, because I will have to find a way to get into the school, but the tank will be more established by then, so I think it'll be okay. . .

Thanks for such sweet words, but I promise - patience, dedication, and brilliance have nothing to do with it! If you had seen the condition of the tank when I took over, I'm sure you'd have done the same thing. I suspect any member of this board would have . . . those poor fish were dying very quickly and something was obviously wrong. . . I think that the teacher has learned enough that her tank will never be allowed to get into such a sad state in the future (when I'm out of the equation) At least, I'm hoping so!
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post #43 of 143 Old 11-27-2012, 09:14 PM
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I'm hoping to get some more/better pictures of one of the tanks this weekend. When I do I'll start up my own thread so I don't derail yours! It's a lot to talk about!
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post #44 of 143 Old 11-27-2012, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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Fantastic! Let me know when you get it up - it sounds like an amazing project!
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post #45 of 143 Old 11-30-2012, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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Soooooo, I've been a dirty rotten slacker, and I skipped a water change last week on the Kindy tank. I didn't exactly mean to do it, just the school was closed on Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving break, and the only day that my schedule and the class schedule lines up is on Friday. I tested the tank before and after the break - all was well and stable, so I wasn't too worried about it. . .

Point being that I JUST got back from doing a water change to find that we've had BABIES!!! There are only two of them, and judging from their size, they're around 2 weeks old. I hope they make it through! The teacher asked me if she should tell the kids, and I left it up to her, though I'd love it if one of the little ones made the 'discovery' on their own. . . I think we decided that on Monday, if they're still in the tank, I'll bring in a breeding net to keep them in for a while. Not just to keep them safe from the bigger fish, but so that the kids will be better able to see them up close. VERY exciting - I was really hoping they'd breed!

I don't think I have a picture of the momma, and I didn't bring my camera today, so no pics of the babies, either. The mother was sold to me by the name of "Tuxedo Platy," but I have no idea how accurate that is. She's pretty, though. Black on top with a white (and very chubby!) belly. One of the little guys looks exactly like her, the other one is pure white (so far). She looks like she may have more to come, and one of the Blue Mickey Mouse Platy looks to be expecting, too!
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post #46 of 143 Old 11-30-2012, 01:02 PM
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Ouhoho, babies. You know I just love baby fishies. :3 My blue Mickey Mouse, the huge one, I think she paused her pregnancy or something for a while there, but she's been getting bigger and bigger over the last two weeks, so has my swordtail, they look like balloons!

As for your Tuxedo Platy, believe or not, I haven't been able to find ANY photos of any black and white ones. Not a one. However, they do come in more than one color. Yours may actually be a Panda, that's what it sounds similar too. Tuxedo's are fairly colorful. I was looking at them and now i think my mislabeled platies I thought were painted platy, or even red-tailed black variatus, are infact Tuxedo Platy. lol The most common photos of Tuxedo's I've managed to find look just like my little buddies. They even have red and black ones. The Tuxedo's usually have all color of some-sort on their outer sides, and black through their middles. Like this one:

Now they do come in different colors, so it's possible you have one that is black and white. =p

These are my three, called Red-Tailed Black Variatus, I assumed them mislabeled painted platy. Now I have no idea, what do you guys think? They sure look a lot like the Tuxedo Platy. Sorry, it's the best I have, they're so hard to get photos of, you can see my betta and red platy fry zooming in the background as proof of how fast they move when a camera is around, though many of you already know. xD

Turning on the Aquarium lamp in the morning is MY cup of coffee.

Last edited by Sylverclaws; 11-30-2012 at 01:06 PM.
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post #47 of 143 Old 11-30-2012, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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Panda Platy!!! Could be! All I know is what they had 'em listed as at the shop - maybe they just guessed, tuxedo *sounds* right for something black and white - weird name for the colorful ones, though. Who came up with that, I wonder?!

I'll try to get a picture for you next week, if you really want to see momma. She does look like the Panda images you posted *shrugs* She's a sweet little thing, of THAT I'm sure! The kiddo's have named her 'Tux,' and so she will always in some way BE a Tuxedo Platy - to them, anyway! :)

Can't help with ID for yours, you know that I really don't put much stock into the 'varieties' of Platy, lol! They're so mixed and mingled - a Platy is a Platy is a Platy to me! The only differentiation I really make is if they're high-finned or, if they've got that tramp stamp, Mickey Mousers. Aside from that, I'm no help, sorry! But your little ones are very pretty!
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post #48 of 143 Old 11-30-2012, 01:26 PM
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Yeah, but it's fun to know anyways. I like knowing. I just think those colorful ones are gorgeous though. =) I had a panda for a while there, he was the prettiest panda I'd ever seen. He died about a week after I got him or so, I have no idea why. I saw nothing obvious. =(

Anywho, here's a couple different photos of panda platies. Most come out half black and half white, but some get more black on them than others. There's also some that come out with less black, or half black, half white with spots in the white areas. Usually they are white for the head and part of the body, and the whole lower end is black though, that's the most common. =)
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Turning on the Aquarium lamp in the morning is MY cup of coffee.
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post #49 of 143 Old 01-13-2013, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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Arrow Update time. . .

Sorry I haven't updated this (or any of my other threads) in such a long time. I kind of got lost in the Christmas rush, and am only just now starting to get back to normal busy from insanely busy!

So, the kindergarten tank is having issues right now, and making me very sad. I've said before that the Platy who live there were just bad stock to begin with. They developed ich soon after being brought home, and both of the shops that I go to had complained that their last few batches of Platy had come in with issues, and many of them had been sent back, or entire batches had died. . . of course they didn't mention this fact until AFTER I brought the fish home, but it probably wouldn't have changed much, anyway. I was on a timeline for getting this tank up and running for the kids in the classroom, so I couldn't put as much time into choosing stock and QT as I usually do with my home tanks. When I took over the kindergarten tank, it was in a state of terrible neglect and the few remaining fish were dying off quickly. I picked the healthiest Platy I could find between both shops, and that was that. . .

Things were going great after that initial ich outbreak had been taken care of, and I was finally at the point of thinking it *might* actually be smooth sailing from here on out, but then one of the fish got VERY thin in an extremely short period of time. I pulled her out and brought her home to my hospital tank, but she didn't make it. I was hoping that it was an isolated event, and that I got her out of the main tank in time to keep it from spreading. Everything seemed okay in there for a while, the fish seemed happy, and all was well.

When the babies were born we put in a small breeder net for the fry, mostly so that the kids could find them more easily. A few days after the net went in, I found one of our prettiest Platy - the red one - dead, and trapped behind the breeder net. I wasn't sure if he had been sick/weak/dead before he got there, and the current had pushed him behind the net, or if he had somehow gotten trapped back there, and died because he was unable to get free - one of the problems with running a tank that can't really be watched. . . Everyone else seemed okay in the tank, and he looked healthy enough - aside from being dead - so I just guessed it was a random accident. Everything continued as normal for a while. . .

Over winter break we lost another of our fish - the little white speckled Molly juvie that was the only fish left from the original stock in that tank. I was REALLY sad to lose that one - he was my favorite, and I was looking forward to bringing him home to my home tank to live with my own Mollies. But it happened over the break while the tank was more or less unattended (both the teacher and I managed to get in a few times, but it was still pretty much on it's own). Again, he didn't look emaciated, just dead. And with what that little fish had gone through in the previous set-up, it really could have just been his time, since most of his life was lived out in terrible conditions. . . I'm glad he was at least able to die in a clean and well-planted tank. . . But still - nothing pointed to an illness. He was just fine one day and gone the next.

Luckily, the children weren't really any the wiser. The original sick girl was a blue MM Platy, and I had a 'replacement' in my home tank. I switched the sick one for the healthy one, and they never noticed a change. The red Platy died over the weekend, and I was able to sneak him out of the tank before school started, and the Molly died during winter break, so while one or two of the kids noticed that these fish had gone missing, I was able to talk to them about it one on one without upsetting the entire class.

Classes resumed on Wednesday, the 2nd of January, and everything looked okay. The plan had been to add a dwarf frog and an apple snail or two to the tank after break, but then our sunset Platy started looking thin. He continued to lose weight startlingly fast, and by Monday morning, the 6th, he seemed to be having trouble eating. He'd try to eat, get a mouthful, and spit it back out again - regardless of what the food was (they get a mix of wet-frozen foods like brine, bloodworm, mysis, etc, along with NLS flakes and pellets, and veggies regularly), though he was still behaving as if nothing was wrong in every other way. His color remained good, breathing normal, and swimming along with the others.

I pulled the class together and explained to them that, just like they had all been spreading nasty cold germs around the classroom, the fish were also passing around an illness called 'Skinny Disease,' and that we would have give them medicine to help them be healthy again before putting any new critters into the tank. I made it very clear to the students that fish's bodies aren't like people's bodies, and because they're so much tinier than us, they can get very sick very quickly, and sometimes they die even though we do all we can to help them feel better. The kids asked a lot of really good questions, and took the whole thing very well - I'm proud of them! They're sad about it, but considering how many fish deaths they witnessed before I took over, I think they'll be okay if we lose him or any of the others - they seem to understand that sickness and death is, unfortunately, a part of fish-keeping, whether we like it or not.

The symptoms of a fish losing weight while continuing to eat and otherwise behave normally can be indicative of several different things, so I decided to treat the tank with API General Cure, which contains both Metronidazole and Praziquantel. It treats a range of issues, and has helped me in a similar situation in the past.

Unfortunately, I have a very hectic schedule that involves caring for many small children, and I couldn't get to the store for meds as quickly as I wanted to. Luckily, I still had one packet of medication left from before, so last week I fed the tank 2x daily with food that had been soaked in the medication. Many people/books recommend dosing the food instead of the water anyway, as it gets directly to the source of the trouble this way, but the poor little Platy was having trouble eating, though he was obviously trying to, so I wasn't really sure how much good the meds were doing him. Finally, on Friday, during the second feeding of the day - HE ATE! I was so happy to see that. . . I'm really hoping that he isn't too far gone to save at this point. . . I got a new box of medication on Friday after school, and the teacher made a special trip into the classroom yesterday (Saturday) to put the first dose of meds into the water. We will put another dose in tomorrow - 48 hours later, and the final dose will go in on Wednesday. I'm hoping that it'll be okay, and even if the little Sunset doesn't make it, the illness will be stopped in its tracks and the rest of his buddies will be okay.

We will be doing several water changes and wait at least 2 weeks before adding the frogs and/or the snails to the tank to be sure that the meds are cleared out from the system. From what I've found, these drugs *shouldn't* harm frogs or snails, but I'd rather be on the safe side. For now the new babies are hanging out in their own tank in my 2 year old's room. . .

Keep your fingers crossed that all goes well with the treatment, and with the new additions when we get there!
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post #50 of 143 Old 01-13-2013, 12:08 PM
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Awuh, nooo. I liked that little oddball molly you had. =( I hope it's taken care of. With sick fish, it's always iffy no matter what you do. I think that is what I hate most about caring for fish. You can't just give them some cold medicine and expect it to be fine. It's just sad when it happens. =( I wish you the best of luck.

I've had some recent troubles myself, so I know how it feels. Lost my favorite dalmation baby, as you know. And something weird with one of my Schwartz cories, it's eating and still getting thin. I hope I don't have the same problem! I moved him to the tank where I am already treating my new fish and hoping he'll get better. It worries me that he just let me catch him and didn't try to get away. c.c And here I was hoping the new year would bring better luck! Well, maybe it will anyways and our sick friends will recover quickly.

I am glad the kids are asking so many good questions, so maybe what happened isn't a total loss. It's a chance to teach them about what happens and that caring for fish, even if you do so well, can still have problems and losses.

I personally haven't lost any fish to illness lately, in fact I've had some good luck treating the newbies that happened to be sick when I got them or became sick soon after. I hope that continues. I haven't had any of my oldies become sick in the last month(I was having those damn ich rebounds! I just couldn't seem to fully get rid of it!), and I think it's because I finally got them adequate room. lol I was worried I'd have to give away more of my favorite babies just to keep them all healthy. I did, as you know, have to give away many of them before I got my new tank running. I admit, the new tank is still giving me some problems, but the water parameters are where I need them, I just had that algae problem from my wood and color issues no doubt thanks to it and new plants. @.@ Drives me crazy! I also got a bubbler set up...they love that! I'm thinking about a decoration that it'd go into. lol We'll see. I needed more air in there because I added medicine just in case over that little cory.

Heh, well you're doing good. We can see that. I hope you don't stay bummed about the losses and illnesses too long, it happens to the best of us. You and I seem to have problems around the same times. lol Here's to hoping we can fix it and help the others heal.

I am so happy to see this thread updated too, even though it was a fairly sad one, I've kinda been on my toes waiting. :3 Even though it's not all good news, it's nice to hear about the work you have put in, the interest the kids have and their willingness to accept and learn, and that the teacher has also taken great strides to help and learn as well! You've opened up a few doors for our next generation, and a few of the older ones. Let's hope it not only sticks, but continues to grow!
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Turning on the Aquarium lamp in the morning is MY cup of coffee.

Last edited by Sylverclaws; 01-13-2013 at 12:13 PM.
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