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looking for expert advice

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looking for expert advice
Old 10-22-2007, 04:30 PM   #1
 
looking for expert advice

I just signed up on the site, I searched for this site because I have some questions (problems) with my tank. I do have a favorite LFS but they are over an hour away (I live in a very small town). You guys seem knowledgeable and much more convenient to talk to.

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10 gallon glass tank
cultured one year in February 08
4 - black skirt tetras
5 - white cloud minnows
1 - Chinese algae eater
a few pond snails
some live Elodea

my algae eater is sick, it has been sick for over a month. none of the other fish seem to be affected. here are the symptoms I can see

he is very pale, original detail had turned milky.
his top fin has over the past few weeks has disappeared.
I never see him eat, although he must because he is still here.
lacks activity, just sits in the cave and sucks the wall.

I realize now after reading on the forum I should have started by checking water levels, but I didn't, I do not have a test kit, none for sale locally. I swear I will get one soon.
Here is what I have done so far. about 5 weeks ago I started to notice his color and his fin, and started the Mela Fix for one week. No change except fin, did a 1/4 water change. I noticed an accumulation of waste in the gravel and fearing I may have damaged the bacteria I decided to make no further treatments for a month, only 1/4 water changes weekly. nine days ago I started the QuICK Cure (half dose for tetras) for 3 days, and added 2 tablespoons of aquarium salt. 6 days ago, 3 days ago and today, I did a 1/4 water change and I have been dosing with Stress Zyme. I realize I may have made a mistake removing the filter cartage (whisper) and added a DIY bacteria sponge in front of the cartage that can stay in place when the cartage is replaced. I plan on continuing the 1/4 water changes every 3 days for another week and some change, then go back to the weekly water changes. If he doesn't get better I feel like I have to put him down. I don't know what else to do. Not responding to treatments, and I feel like I really hurt the bacteria population.

here is my other concern.

After watching the tank closely over the past month I noticed a passable problem with the heating. I set the heater for 76, but have noticed the heater turns on (or the little red indicator light anyway) as low as 74 and does not turn off until sometimes as high as 81. The thermometer is internal and I expect it is accurate. I understand fish don't like fluctuation's. Maybe this is OK I don't know, should I get another heater? I have noticed my black skirts look more silver when it is warmer.
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Old 10-22-2007, 04:54 PM   #2
 
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Welcome! :)

Your tank is overstocked so I expect there are some problems with the params. You are doing the right thing with the frequent pertial water changes. Until you get the test kit (I recommend a liquid one as the strips are inaccurate) you won't know for sure but I would definitely suspect parameter probelms because of the overstocking.

Melafix won't harm your parameters as it's a natural product but other meds might. I'm not familiar with the one you are using unfortunately.

Is it possible that your tetras have been nipping the fins of the CAE? Tetras can be a biit nippy, and especially in small tanks.

On another note, a CAE is a big fish and becomes agressive with age. They're not really suited to small community tanks at all. My advice is, once he is healthy again, return him to the lfs because they get to well over a foot long.

The tetras do best in groups of 6 or more, and tend to be nippier when in smaller numbers which is why I asked about them nipping the CAE.

The minnows are actually cold water fish and will not appreciate the raised temperatures that your tetras require long term.

My advice is to choose either the tetras, or the minnows. Personally I think 10g is still too small for the tetras, so I would go with the minnows and then keep the tank at a lower temperature for them.

The way heaters work is that they turn on when it gets a bit cooler and off a bit when it gets too hot so it's normal that your heater is doing this, BUT it's not normal for there to be such large fluctuations. I suspect a problem with the internal thermometer.

Let us know how you get on, and post the params as soon as you can. The 3 crucial ones are amonia, nitrite and nitrate though it's useful to test for ph. The kh and gh are also useful but if finances are a problem, these are the 2 that you are safest to skip on. Most master test kits which sell for around 20 here, test for amonia, nitrite, nirtate and ph, so this would be a good one to buy. They seem expensive but last for absolutely ages, and give thorough, and accurate results.

Good luck.
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Old 10-22-2007, 04:58 PM   #3
 
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Replace the heater. You should not see that high of fluctuations. Even in the worst of winter when I can not keep my house about 65 my tanks never dip below 77-78 and never go above 80-81. There is no reason for the tank to have such huge temperature swings except for either a bad heater or one that is too small.
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Old 10-22-2007, 05:40 PM   #4
 
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I second F4A on the heater. I also second falina (dude did you change your name? that sounds soooo... different..) about tetras in groups of 6 or more. I started with only a couple glowlight tetras and they were really inactive and anti social. when i got a total of 6 they did alot better and were more active. now I have 12 and they are almost verging on playful!
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Old 10-22-2007, 05:47 PM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beetlebz
I second F4A on the heater. I also second falina (dude did you change your name? that sounds soooo... different..) about tetras in groups of 6 or more. I started with only a couple glowlight tetras and they were really inactive and anti social. when i got a total of 6 they did alot better and were more active. now I have 12 and they are almost verging on playful!
Yep. I used to be Julie. 8)
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Old 10-22-2007, 05:56 PM   #6
 
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Platies (making sure it is not Xiphophorus variatus which is bigger and slightly more aggressive inheriting the swordtail's genes)
Guppies
Endler's Livebearers
Betta
Dwarf Gourami
Honey Gourami
Sparkling Gouramis
Otocinclus
Corydoras (dwarf species only)
Cherry Barb(Capoeta titteya)
Five-banded Barb(Barbodes pentazona)
Jordanella floridae
Zebra Danios
White Cloud Mountain Minnow
Boraras brigittae - Mosquito rasbora
Boraras maculatus - Dwarf rasbora
Boraras merah
Boraras micros
Boraras urophthalmoides
Sawbwa resplendens

Celestial Pearl Danio
Hengeli Rasboras
Trigonostigma espei
Cardinal Tetra(Cheirodon axelrodi)
Ember Tetra (Hyphessobrycon amandae)
Emperor Tetra(Nematobrycon palmeri)
Flame Tetra(Hyphessobrycon flammeus)
Glowlight Tetra(Hemigrammus eryhthrozonus)
Head-and-Tail-Light(Hemigrammus ocellifer)
Jewel Tetra(Hyphessobrycon callistus)
Kerri Tetra(Inpaichthys kerri)
Loreto tetra(Hyphessobrycon peruvianus)
Neon Tetra(Paracheirodon innesi)
Nannostomus beckfordi
Nannostomus eques
Nannostomus harrisoni
Nannostomus marginatus
Nannostomus mortenthaleri
Nannostomus nitidus
Nannostomus trifasciatus
Nannostomus unifasciatus
Carnegiella strigata
Gasteropelecus levis
Gasteropelecus sternicla
Iriatherina werneri
Pseudomugil furcatus
Pseudomugil cyanodorsalis
Pseudomugil gertrudae
Pseudomugil signifer
Pseudomugil tenellus

Might want to look into the above choices for a 10g.8) Welcome to Fishforum.com.
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Old 10-22-2007, 06:37 PM   #7
 
Huh, you would think they would tell you these things about the fish at the store when you try to buy them. actually they did tell me to have a minimum of 3 tetras, I thought I was doing good with 4. My ignorance isn't their fault I guess. I think I am going to the LFS soon to get a heater, and a test kit, and I was thinking an aeration setup would be good. recommendations? I dont know what to do about the overstocked issue. I don't know if I can return any, I bought the fish 8 months ago.
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Old 10-22-2007, 06:45 PM   #8
 
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Don't feel bad, it is all too often that LFS will not give the best advice, and in some cases, give the totaly wrong advice but that is why we are here. We don't know everyhting yet but with our growing numbers someone is likely to be able to help. My LFS told me I can get 8 hatchets and 6 killifish for my 10 gallon on top of the swords I already and my cories. Not to mention they did not know that mystery snails were not asexual.

Stick with us and hopefully in the future you will have a good handful of advice to take with you to the LFS so you don't get into another bad situation.

As for the overtocking problem, it might work but you really need the test kit to be able to tell. If the ammonia is up then it is likely too many fish and I would be looking for someone who needs some or some other way to deal with the extras. Maybe a second tank ;).
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Old 10-22-2007, 06:47 PM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FuzzAz
Huh, you would think they would tell you these things about the fish at the store when you try to buy them. actually they did tell me to have a minimum of 3 tetras, I thought I was doing good with 4. My ignorance isn't their fault I guess. I think I am going to the LFS soon to get a heater, and a test kit, and I was thinking an aeration setup would be good. recommendations? I dont know what to do about the overstocked issue. I don't know if I can return any, I bought the fish 8 months ago.
Liquid test kit-Aquarium Pharmaceuticals
Heater-Eheim, Sera or Visitherm (popular demand)
Air pump-I used Precision. Not sure if that is available in your place.

You can either sell the fish at a lower price or donate them.
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Old 10-24-2007, 12:34 AM   #10
 
okay for anybody who is still fallowing, I got a test kit. Results as fallows.

pH = 7.4
GH = 8 drops which is 100-200ppm
Nitrite = 0
Ammonia = 0.25ppm

nitrate wasn't in the kit, so I will have to get it separate later.

I changed the bio-filter within the last few days, ya know because its a top fin filter setup and so you chant change the particle filter without changing the bio-filter. I was hoping that may contribute to the ammonia, I mean aside fron the whole overstocked thing. last 1/4 water change was last Monday (about 36 hours ago).

I also added an air bubbler today and replaced the heater.
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