I'm a little concerned...
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I'm a little concerned...

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I'm a little concerned...
Old 04-01-2009, 09:44 PM   #1
 
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I'm a little concerned...

Well, one of the newer fish I baught was a lovly male Swoardtail, around 3-maby 4 in. long. He was happy and livly in the pet shop tank, then when I got him home he seemed to be okay, mellow and crusing around in the tank. But more recently he's seemed to be...less active. He'll go up to the top with the others in the morning at feeding time, but by afternoon he just sits on the bottom of the tank.
I've never had a Swordtail before....is this normal? I don't know, the others in the tank seem livly, eager to eat, the tempature is fine, and the tank was recently cleaned. I'm a little concerened he may be sick of course....but me not knowing hardly anything...I wouldn't know what to look for or what to do^^;
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Old 04-02-2009, 12:09 PM   #2
 
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Several possibilities, so we need more info.
How long has the tank been running, what size, what fish are in it, what is the pH of the water?
When did you add the swordtail, and were other fish added at the same time [you mention "one of the newer fish"] and if so, how many?
When you added him/them, did you float the bag, gradually mix the water, or...?
Do you know the pH of the water he was in at the store (the bag water)?
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Old 04-02-2009, 02:11 PM   #3
 
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Alright.^^
The tank has been running since this past Saturday, March 28th. That was when I cleaned it out and refilled it, that sort of stuff. Its a 50gallon tank, 11 fish I think. I'm not sure the exact names of all of them, but I have three of these little fan tailed guppys, a couple of these little orange tetras, a Placostumus, an alge eater, a little Cory Cat I think they're called, an Angel fish, and a cooly loach. The ph of the water I do not know, I should probubly test that...
The Soward tail as added at the same time as the Angel and the three guppys, purchesed from the same store(though different tanks of course). I got them all on Monday(March 30th) and began noticing the change around night time on Tuesday.
I floated the bags for a little over 30min., thats how I was taught to introduce fish into a tank.
Nope, I have no clue about the ph of the water at the store, honestly I'm not sure if the girl helping me could have told me either^^;

Last edited by DragonFish; 04-02-2009 at 02:15 PM..
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Old 04-02-2009, 06:07 PM   #4
 
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Alright.^^
The tank has been running since this past Saturday, March 28th. That was when I cleaned it out and refilled it, that sort of stuff. Its a 50gallon tank, 11 fish I think. I'm not sure the exact names of all of them, but I have three of these little fan tailed guppys, a couple of these little orange tetras, a Placostumus, an alge eater, a little Cory Cat I think they're called, an Angel fish, and a cooly loach. The ph of the water I do not know, I should probubly test that...
The Soward tail as added at the same time as the Angel and the three guppys, purchesed from the same store(though different tanks of course). I got them all on Monday(March 30th) and began noticing the change around night time on Tuesday.
I floated the bags for a little over 30min., thats how I was taught to introduce fish into a tank.
Nope, I have no clue about the ph of the water at the store, honestly I'm not sure if the girl helping me could have told me either^^;
I'm taking your "cleaned it out and refilled it" as meaning a cleaning of an existing tank, not a newly established one. So that leads me to think that the biological cycle is out due to the cleaning, new water (I'm assuming a complete water change) and new fish. More on this in a moment. The other thing is that the water in your tank may be sufficiently different from the water the fish was in at the store (pH, hardness) that it was too great a shock; I have known fish to take a day or two to react to things like this. And the fish may already have been weakened by something we can't identify (injury when being caught or in transport), and certainly would be weakened by the stress of being moved. So there are two main issues that I'll explain, the "cleaning" problems and the method of introducing new fish and why.

A 50g tank is a good size (the larger the tank the more stable the water generally) but you should never clean it thoroughly--and it should never even need it. If you do weekly partial water changes, syphoning the gravel to remove the mulm, and rinse the filter media regularly, you should never have to do more. I don't know how much you know about the biological cycle, but this is extremely important and I will start from the basics so if I mention what you already know excuse me.

Fish produce ammonia through regular respiration and excrement. Ammonia is very toxic to fish, but there is a bacteria called nitrosomonas that converts ammonia to nitrite. At an acidic pH (below pH 7) some of the ammonia is ammonium which is much less toxic to fish, and plants need ammonium--which is why it is good to have live plants especially in a tank with a pH of 7 (netrual) or lower. But there is still ammonia that is (hopefully) converted to nitrite. Nitrite is slightly less toxic to fish, but a second bacteria called nitrobacter converts nitrite to nitrate. Nitrate is only toxic to fish when the level is very high, but this should never be a problem if you do weekly partial water changes because that is when the nitrates get sucked out of the system and the fresh water comes in. And here again, plants consume nitrate so that is more help.

It takes a while for the two bacteria to become established; 5-9 days for nitrosomas and close to that for nitrobacter. Once they are both established they will remain at a level that can handle the biological process in your tank. If they have insufficient food (ammonia or nitrite depending) they will die off; but they can multiply quite fast by dividing (called fission) once they are established in the first place. So future additions of new fish can be handled, provided you don't add too many to overload the biological system and make it crash again. When you "clean" the tank and filter, you are removing/destroying the good bacteria. Some of this is OK, because it multiplies fairly quickly, but you don't want to kill off more than absolutely necessary. The filter should only be cleaned (rinsed) by itself, never at the same time that you change the water or add new fish. If you change the water properly by siphoning the bottom, you are again removing some of the good bacteria, and this should not be done when the filter is also being cleaned. Rinse the filter media in some water taken from the tank, never tap water (the chlorine kills the bacteria completely), just to remove the large particles and sludge.

Now to adding new fish. Floating the bag is a good start. But a critical point is to ensure that the water in the bag and in the tank are relatively similar in composition (pH and hardness) to avoid shocking the fish. This we do by slowly adding some of the tank water (I generally use a cup, some aquarists set up a drip system into a pail) to the bag (don't remove what's in the bag), waiting 10-15 minutes betwen each addition of tank water. The greater the difference in water the more this has to be done. I never worry about hardness, only the pH, the reason for which I'll explain.

Fish cells, like our cells, are largely water. We drink water to supply our cells, but fish can't drink, so the water that the fish is in passes through the scales into the cells. All fish have an internal pH, and when the outside water passes into the cells, the fish has to adjust its internal pH to be equal. If this is done too quickly, or the difference in pH is very great, the fish will go into shock and probably die. This is why maintaining fish at a "optimum" pH and avoiding pH fluctuations is so important. You should have a test kit for pH, ammonia and nitrite; once the tank is established, and provided you don't do something to affect the biological equilibrium, ammonia and nitrite should not be future problems. I've never bothered testing for either ammonia or nitrite once a tank is biologically established (3 months to be safe), but I check the pH at the very least once a week before and after the partial water change. And I always know the pH of the water the fish come in either by asking the store or testing the water when I get home; this way I know how long I need to mix the water to lessen the stress on the fish. When the water is adjusted, use a net to remove the fish from the bag and put it in the aquarium. Never tip the bag and pour the bag water into your tank; you don't want to introduce pathogens and all that ammonia into your tank.

Until we know the pH of your tank I can't say much on that score, but if it is at or near neutral you should be OK with the fish mix you have. Swordtails and guppies are livebearers and their optimum pH is slightly alkaline (above pH 7.0). The angels, cory and pleco (probably, depending where it came from) prefer slightly acidic (below pH 7). But a neutral of close to it pH should suit all of them.

One last word on stores. It pays to deal with a reputable aquarium store and get to know them. Staff in such stores are often hobbyists themselves, and they can be invaluable.

As it is only the swordtail acting odd, I'm hoping it is not a water issue. I suggest you wait it out. If it was related to what I've said above, he will probably recover, but if its something internal, its anyones guess.
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Old 04-02-2009, 07:10 PM   #5
 
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Wow, such wonderful information! I very greatly appreciate this, it really does help a lot.
Yes, the tank we have had for a while now so it is not a newly established one. Unfotunitly, cleaning out the tank couldn't have been avoided. We had some strange infestation of this odd hairy alge-like stuff that wouldn't come off until I scrubbed at everything for a good while(before that I hadn't actually cleaned the tank and fully changed the water in a while. I did sometimes do partal water changes, but they wre not as often as you suggested. I will surly begin on that), not to mention we recently moved. It wasn't a big move, only around 15-20 minutes from house to house and the only fish I had at the time were the Placostumus and the two tetras. We had had others, but the Guramis and Mollies continued to harrase the other fish to the point were they'd killed off my neon tetras and my snails and the rest of the little orange tetras, so they were given away to a friend.
Anyway, I do have a ph testing kit and I'll go and see what I can find out.

Oh, and he seemed to be a little mroe active this morning, though now hes sitting on the bottom again. He'll get up and sim around for a couple minutes just above the bottom every once in a while, but otherwise remains mostly motionless. I do hope he will pull through...
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Old 04-02-2009, 07:52 PM   #6
 
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Wow, such wonderful information! I very greatly appreciate this, it really does help a lot.
Yes, the tank we have had for a while now so it is not a newly established one. Unfotunitly, cleaning out the tank couldn't have been avoided. We had some strange infestation of this odd hairy alge-like stuff that wouldn't come off until I scrubbed at everything for a good while(before that I hadn't actually cleaned the tank and fully changed the water in a while. I did sometimes do partal water changes, but they wre not as often as you suggested. I will surly begin on that), not to mention we recently moved. It wasn't a big move, only around 15-20 minutes from house to house and the only fish I had at the time were the Placostumus and the two tetras. We had had others, but the Guramis and Mollies continued to harrase the other fish to the point were they'd killed off my neon tetras and my snails and the rest of the little orange tetras, so they were given away to a friend.
Anyway, I do have a ph testing kit and I'll go and see what I can find out.

Oh, and he seemed to be a little mroe active this morning, though now hes sitting on the bottom again. He'll get up and sim around for a couple minutes just above the bottom every once in a while, but otherwise remains mostly motionless. I do hope he will pull through...
The algae sounds like brush algae. It is normal to have a bit in an aquarium (it frequently appears on rocks, wood, ornaments, and plant leaves) but a sudden explosion of it indicates poor water quality (too much nutrients and the algae will take advantage). That's where your water changes would have helped, maybe even prevented it. I can't stress enough, you must do regular partial water changes, and it is much better to change less water more often than doing more water less often. Once a week is a good schedule--choose a day like Saturday morning or something, and stick to it. Just 25-35% of the tank volume each week would make a world of difference to your fish and probably prevent the algae from becoming a nuisance. Don't forget to always add water conditioner to the replacement water; a good one not only removes chlorine and toxic minerals, but helps reduce stress on the fish.

Gouramis can be a problem with tetras. Mollies prefer more alkaline water (above pH 7) so don't mix well with acidic water fish like tetras and cats. Be careful what you add in the future, the fish must be compatible in terms of the water preference and their behaviour. Look up any fish you are considering, or post a message; there are enough of us on the forum with experience of I suspect all the fish that someone can provide information before you buy a fish that causes trouble. And let us know what the pH is when you test it. Good luck, and good fishkeeping.
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Old 04-02-2009, 08:34 PM   #7
 
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Ahh, this is good to know, I will surly begin changing the water out regularly to make sure it doesn't come back like it did before, there is still a little bit left. All this new knowledge is wonderful!

The ph test shows that it’s at around 7.6, is that around normal/a good level to be at?
Also I was worried that the temperature might be a little high for him as well, my heater is odd will heat up the tank very quickly and a very low setting, so I keep it almost turned off. My thermometer shows it’s at a steady temp of around 77-78 degrees F, from my research on the Swordtail that’s not too high for them, but I wasn't really able to dig up all that much info on the species either so I thought I'd bring it up.
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Old 04-04-2009, 11:04 AM   #8
 
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Ahh, this is good to know, I will surly begin changing the water out regularly to make sure it doesn't come back like it did before, there is still a little bit left. All this new knowledge is wonderful!

The ph test shows that itís at around 7.6, is that around normal/a good level to be at?
Also I was worried that the temperature might be a little high for him as well, my heater is odd will heat up the tank very quickly and a very low setting, so I keep it almost turned off. My thermometer shows itís at a steady temp of around 77-78 degrees F, from my research on the Swordtail thatís not too high for them, but I wasn't really able to dig up all that much info on the species either so I thought I'd bring it up.
If the pH of your tap water is also around 7.6 like your tank, fine. Don't mess with it. Test it regularly, like just before you do the water change and then again a few minutes after. You don't want the pH fluctuating around, but a fluctuation of a couple decimal points is OK, say 7.4 to 7.6 at a water change, or similar. If the tank pH starts dropping you need to look into it, but provided you do weekly water changes and don't overfeed or add too many fish it should not be a problem. The tank will "stabilize".

Temp is OK for general tropicals. Don't go any higher than 78 or 79F, I think 77-78 is a good range in a mixed community of fish. But be careful with your heater; if you have reason to think it isn't accurate or malfunctioning, get rid of it and buy a good one. There is nothing worse than waking up in the morning to dead fish because the heater stayed on and they cooked, it's happened to me. A good heater is an important investment, and always get one large enough. In a 50g tank I would reccommend two 100w heaters, one at each end. Having heaters that are higher wattage, and two of them, means less wear and tear on each one so they perform better and there is less likelihood of malfunctioning.
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Old 04-07-2009, 12:08 PM   #9
 
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Alright, thank you very much for the insite, it had helped me greatly. I'm definitly goign to look into a new heater, even though I've never had issues with this one heatign up too much as long as I keep it at the correct setting I think I might just as a precausion.

Unfortunitly, my swordtail didn't make it. Though what he died from was something intresting, I've seen it before as well. I once had a female molly with the same thing. Around his mouth on his bottom lip he had a slight white coloring, and of course I thought it to just be his coloring for it looked like nothing more. Though over time it got bigger and then fuzzy. I watched closy, then quarintined him away in an old breeder box i have(Don't have a quarintine tank set up yet)when the fuzz took over half of his mouth and prevented it from moving. That was done yesterday morning. He seemed fine in the breeder, fairly calm and alright. When I woke of this mornign though he was thrashign around and the fuzz had spread over his entire mouth, gotten way worse over night. I had noticed this with my molly as well, she thrashed about when it spred rapidly and then died shortly after. My Swordtail died about an hour after I woke this morning.

My question now is....waht is it? I have a picture I took shortly after he died...

(You can see my beta off to the right, apparently he took my Swoardtails thrashing as agression and wouldn't leave the box alone. I seperated him of course until my Sowardtail umm....died. This picture was taken shortly after he died adn I let the beta loose again. Also, his mouth was quite a bit fuzzyer, seemed he knocked it off with the thrashing...)
All of my other fish seem totally fine and healthy, though I'm keeping tabs on them all of course. Also what was funny wiht my molly as that no one else got sick, even the other three mollys that I got from the same tank...
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Old 04-08-2009, 10:12 AM   #10
 
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White fuzz around the mouth is often mouth fungus, but I can't ascertain this from the photo. Also, I don't know if the previous behaviour you mentioned in earlier posts is indicative of fungus. Better leave this to one of the members with more experience in ailments. I've been lucky I guess, never had much problem with disease other than parasites (ick, velvet, similar) and fungus once, so I'm not much good when it comes to diagnosing ailments.

On a general note, though, many diseases will occur if the fish are stressed by something, whereas if not the disease may not be able to take hold. This is one reason why water quality and the biological cycle in an aquarium is so important. The start of this thread had to do with a major cleaning of the tank, which we've covered and you now understand, but that may have ben a factor in whatever this problem is. Maintaining our fish in suitable water goes a long way to keeping them stress-free and healthy.
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