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-   -   Eel in Crisis.........help, please! (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/tropical-fish-diseases/eel-crisis-help-please-10243/)

tanknewbie 12-23-2007 04:56 PM

Eel in Crisis.........help, please!
 
Ok, you already know the issues with my tank. I got a testing kit this morning and everything was off the charts. I did about a 30% water change and vacuumed the gravel. After a couple of hours I retested and here is where we are (still waaayyyyyyy out of line):

Nitrate: 20
Nitrite: 05
Hardness: 75
Total alkalinity: 120-180
PH: 7.8

Now for the eel. It is no surprise that he is having trouble, but I need to know how to handle it. He has a nip taken out of his back (from a fish that I have already returned). The bite area is covered with a thick film and it is white. A couple of other areas on his skin look like they're peeling (like a sunburn). He is wigging out against the mirrored side of the tank and won't go into his hiding place. He does this weird vertical thing where he just kind of floats along (nose up, tail down). I've seen him go ahead and flip on his back a couple of times. He lays there for a few seconds then he gets up. He also seems to be having trouble breathing as well as his tail staying well below his body when he isn't swimming.

I bought some Melafix, but I know this isn't going to help until I get my tank straightened out. How aggressive can I get in changing the water without shocking them all to death? Or, would it not hurt to add a little Melafix anyway?

Thanks for any help.

comando489 12-23-2007 06:12 PM

umm add a little water conditioner with stress coat in it. not much else i can think of. you can add a little salt as well.

herefishy 12-23-2007 06:14 PM

A 50% water change only, do not sweep the gravel, is not out of line. Since you already have fish in the tank, you may have to do this on a daily basis, maybe more. If you sweep the gravel, you are also removing some of the beneficial bacteria. At this time, you cannot afford to lose any. You are now learning one of the most important lessons in fishkeeping, patience. Be patient when cycling a new tank before adding fish.

tanknewbie 12-23-2007 09:04 PM

Update
 
Well, I can stop worrying about the eel. We just lost the poor thing.

I am in the process of a massive water change right at the moment. My husband knows the man that actually owns the pet shop (this, I did not know) and I have apparently been dealing with a manager and an employee. So, he is going to try to get hold of the guy tomorrow and get him to take the fish back so we can cycle the tank properly (and hopefully not lose any more fish). With the Holiday we are not hopeful at getting anything done, but we are going to try. If not, I have to do my best to keep these fish going until Wed.

Herefishy, I hear what you are saying. It wasn't impatience that prompted this wreck though. It was listening to someone who knew less than me. I had my doubts and asked numerous questions about this but was reassured by 2 people that it would be perfectly fine. My biggest mistake was not doing a large amount of research prior to purchasing either the tank OR the fish. I did the research after, which of course is far too late.

I appreciate the help. I will probably have more questions as time marches on. But for now I think I am doing about all I can do. Thanks a bunch.

SST 12-23-2007 09:13 PM

I'm sorry to hear about your eel.

I ended up cycling my tank with my betta in it (due to lack of knowledge about it, unfortunately) and ended up doing small water changes (10%) daily or 20% every other day. He came through it fine and is recovering from previous fin damage.

Until you can deal with the store owner, that might help out the remaining critters. Just an idea....

Hope you have a good holiday season without further losses.

tanknewbie 12-23-2007 10:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SST
I'm sorry to hear about your eel.

I ended up cycling my tank with my betta in it (due to lack of knowledge about it, unfortunately) and ended up doing small water changes (10%) daily or 20% every other day. He came through it fine and is recovering from previous fin damage.

Until you can deal with the store owner, that might help out the remaining critters. Just an idea....

Hope you have a good holiday season without further losses.

Thank you for the condolences. I have a question about cycling with the betta: if they can live in the horrific conditions that most people put them in.....why would cycling cause them any further stress? I know this seems like a really stupid question to all of you experts.......but wouldn't a betta be one of the better "scout" fish? I swear, one of the great tragedies is how bettas are treated (and that you can't keep a school of them). If you could keep a school I would have bought every betta in the pet store I "listened" to. They were in little 4 oz cups (like condiment cups) with just enough water to cover the fish. No air holes, no swim room, no nothing. Worse that what you normally see a betta sold in. So, if they can live in THAT, why can't they do ok during cycling?

I know that bettas don't belong in bowls, but I also know they can do well in them if properly taken care of. My bowls are 1 gallon bowls and I know how to take care of a betta in one. Mine were healthy and happy for 1-1/2 years (well, maybe not ecstatically happy, but they did well). The only reason I lost them was that I did not anticipate the dog getting into them. So, I won't be returning the betta. I just can't have him returned to that little cup and I know I can keep him well until the tank is cycled and I can return him to it.

Happy Holidays to you as well. I'm also hoping for no more losses (fingers crossed).

SST 12-23-2007 10:26 PM

I had been changing my water 100% every week and fishies fins got fried. Now he's recovering.

On a goldfish forum I read that they use bettas as fish to cycle with. And on a betta forum, they used a goldfish! LOL.

Since this is my first tank to cycle, I have no further experience. Good questions though. I hope someone can come along and answer them. I'm interested, too.

bettababy 12-25-2007 04:41 AM

Let me see if I can help shed some light here for all.
When it comes to cycling a tank, no matter what fish you use, the conditions will turn toxic at some phase of the cycle (early on). Some fish have very strong immune systems such as the danios. Some fish are very resiliant also, like the betta. Some fish should never be used to cycle with, such as goldfish. Why not cycle with goldfish? Because they are about the dirtiest fish out there, which means the tanks tend to cycle "harder" and conditions become more extreme due to the amount of waste they produce.
With that said, I want to say, most any fish can be used to cycle a tank if it is done properly, and most any fish can survive it without any permanent damage. I have even cycled a tank with a few neons already... no harm done to the fish...why? Because I did small 5% daily water changes, I kept my feedings extremely light, I tested water daily, I monitored my fish constantly, and I used only a few for a pretty large tank (4 neons in a 47 gallon), and I used extra filter media and also biozyme, which is a dry form of the beneficial bacteria and helps to seed the tank. So... it CAN be done... it's a matter of how much work you're willing to do and how much learning you do before attempting it.
Bettas can usually handle cycling unless it is extreme. Bettas can also handle 100% water changes weekly without damage being done. If your betta suffered fin damage, it was not the water changes themselves that caused it. I have been doing 100% water changes on my bettas for many many yrs, never a problem. If you are feeding daily, it could simply be a matter of you needed to make those changes twice/wk instead of once to be safe with 100%. The thing that's harmful about doing 100% water changes is the loss of beneficial bacteria, which causes a tank to cycle again... and the extreme change in water conditions.
Example: 1 betta in a 1 gallon bowl, over fed daily, water conditions goes down quick... by week's end the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate are all spiking... 100% change brings these params down to zero across the board... extreme change.... vs 1 betta in a 1 gallon bowl, fed lightly every other day, water quality stays in pretty good shape... end of wk maybe showing some ammonia reading, 100% change, everything goes back to zero... slight change. My bettas when kept in bowls always had water changes (100%) every other day. Their feeding schedule was also every other day... so waste was never allowed to build. They ate, they passed waste, next day they got cleaned, then they ate again next day, etc etc.

Now, to approach the idea of what to use for starter fish, and how to do it properly... first, figure out how big the tank is, what it will hold, and what you'd like to put into it for a final population of fish. Be sure your plans are not going to overcrowd the tank, the fish you want are compatible, and conditions are right for them... then either choose the sturdiest of the fishes you want to start with, and just 1 or 2 fish is all it takes in any size tank... be sure to add the other fish very slowly... over a course of wks and months instead of all at once, and don't add those next fish until after the cycle is complete and you've done your first water change. If all of the fish you wish to keep are too delicate to handle the cycle, then there are 2 options left to you: 1. choose another, sturdier fish that is compatible with your final population, or choose another sturdy fish who has a different and appropriate home waiting for him afterwards.

Also, quick note... be sure if using a betta to cycle that he has another home waiting, since bettas are not good community fishes. Your betta and other fishes will be safest if the betta lives alone.

If you want help with your specific tank, let us know how big it is, post your water params, and we can help guide you through one step at a time. We will ask a lot of questions, please be sure to answer them as completely as possible. Without enough of the right information nobody can help. And, as was said... if you want to make this a success... lots of study/research and lots more patience are your biggest friends.

SST 12-25-2007 09:31 AM

Thanks Dawn! You rock!

Turns out, through your explanation, that I was feeding too often and not changing often enough. Now that he's in a cycled tank, the fins are regrowing.

Thanks for taking the time for such a comprehensive explanation.

GThiele113 01-01-2008 09:56 PM

My eel had the same problem when i moved him into a smaller tank. He started acting just like your in the morning and when i came home he was dead and a white film covered him.


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