Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Airlie 09-02-2012 08:34 PM

Please help me save my fish!
1. Size of tank? 30 gallon

2. Water parameters
a. Ammonia? none measurable
b. Nitrite? no
c. Nitrate? no
d. pH, KH and GH? pH = ranging between 7.4-7.8+ over the last few days, KH = (Yesterday the dKH according to the test kit was 2, but on the advice of the folks at the good fish store I've added a "Malawi/Victoria buffer (7.8-8.4) to alter it. The dKH is now 4-5).
e. Test kit? API - Little bottles - liquid in test tubes.

3. Temperature? 79

4. FW (fresh water) or BW (brackish)? FW

5. How long the aquarium has been set up? 3 years. It had a rough first year, but has been stable through mid-winter power-outages and all kinds of other challenges for around 2 years. Over the course of the last year, I think, I lost 2 fish (one cardinal and one golden tailed Danio), but they were isolated incidents spaced months apart with no apparent stress or illness in the other fish.

6. What fish do you have? How many are in your tank? How big are they? How long have you had them?


Before the current sadness:
All fish are/were small around 1-2 inches.
3 Five Striped Barbs (small ones) - 3 years
3 silver danios - 1 year
2 gold tailed danios - 1 year
2 cardinal fish - 3 years
1 loach - 2 years (long skinny fellow, maybe 3-4 inches)

New Fish Added during a fatally dumb impulse to get some new additions from a pet store (rather than the good fish store that I know 40 minutes away) and find some algae eating friends to help me combat the algae in the tank:
2 small cardinals (to be companions for my older ones who had lost one a year or so ago)
4 guppies (2 yellow tailed, 1 blue tail, one black/silver)
2 snails
1 algae eater (little guy)

The cardinal fish tank at the pet store had several large, dead fish in it. I had second thoughts, but allowed myself to be reassured by the storekeeper and the apparent healthiness of the little guys.

Sunday :When I brought the fish home, I checked the PH prior to putting them in. The water seemed a little alkaline (Ph around 7.8), so I removed the coral that I usually keep in the filter (since in the past the water had tended toward acid and adding the coral is what had stabilized my tank before). I did a 25% water change and acclimated the new fish in a bucket of freshly treated water at the right temperature for about 1/2 hour before dumping the bucket of water with the new fish into the main tank. (I transferred fish by net from the store bags to the bucket to minimize water transfer between the store tanks and my tank.)

Monday: All was well. Everyone seemed healthy and happy except one snail that didn't die, but seemed stunned and wasn't moving.

Tuesday: X new cardinal (the smallest fish) - I racked it up to stress. Fish showed no sign of illness that I could recognize. Just dead on the gravel in the morning.

Wednesday: X new algae eater dead on the gravel in the morning. He had been happily swimming two nights earlier. Disappeared into the plants on Tuesday.

=> Tested the water: PH, Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite. All measures were good. Temperature ok.

Thursday: X old gold-tailed Danio, X other new cardinal fish. Dead on the gravel in the morning. Had been apparently fine the night before.

=> Took stunned snail, dead fish, and water sample back to the pet store. They tested the water, said it was perfect. Refunded me $ for the dead fish. Couldn't say why they were dying other than they were small and fragile.

=> Did a 25% water change and added water with aquarium salts. (I hadn't added any for a month or two and thought it might help.) I changed the filter. Put the coral back since things seemed to go well with it there.

Friday: X Barb. Dead on the gravel in the morning.

X 2 remaining cardinal fish (old)
X 1 new guppy (yellow tail)
Dead in the morning on the gravel and/or filter.

=> Drove 40 minutes to good fish store desperate for help. Brought water sample. All tested well as before, but they had a phosphate test (there were phosphates) and a KH test. From that, they had 2 theories:
(A) bacterial infection from the pet store - recommended that I treat with Voogle and Seachem Polyguard.
(B) Tested water and found low KH (2). Possibly night time PH fluctuations due to removing coral, algae in the tank and the large amount of algae due to direct AM sunlight on the tank this time of year. (Bathroom skylight.)

=> Treated the tank with Voogle and 1/2 dose of alkaline tending buffer (Seachem Malawi/Victoria 7.8-8.4) as recommended by the fish store for theory #2.

X black tailed guppy dead on the gravel in the morning (Had been looking a little wimpy the day before).
Barb #2 Acting ill. Swimming into the side of the tank. Open gills.

=> Treated the tank with Voogle again and Seachem Polyguard for theory (a). Polyguard seemed to make the fish uncomfortable, but they settled down a bit now. Tested PH = very blue.

mid-afternoon - X Barb #2. Had been looking ill in the morning. Barb #3 has bloody looking nose (from running into the tank wall?) and red streak in the fins. I don't expect him to live through the night.

1 Barb (sickly)
3 silver Danios (1 is getting erratic)
1 gold Danio
2 guppies (yellow and blue tail)
1 loach

7. Were the fish placed under quarantine period (minus the first batch from the point wherein the tank is ready to accommodate the inhabitants)? Only about 1/2 hour.

8. a. Any live plants? No
Fake plants? Yes, several, but there were open swimming areas and hiding spots. I just took 2 out that had black fuzzy algae on the tips of the pointy leaves since someone mentioned that black algae could be a bad thing.

b. Sand, gravel, barebottom? Gravel. Recently vacuumed, some algae, but nothing's festering.

c. Rocks, woods, fancy decors? Any hollow decors? Just an upside down clay pot - currently covered in fuzzy algae.

9. a. Filtration? Whisper w/filters. (It came with the tank.)

b. Heater? Yes. It has been getting chillier at night this week, but the temperature seems to be staying steady.

10. a. Lighting schedule? What lights are used? I usually turn-on an overhead fluorescent when I feed them in the morning. Then turn it off about an hour later. There is natural sunlight through a skylight that is indirect most of the day, but there is direct sunlight on the tank this time of the year for around 2-3 hours a day.

11. a. Water change schedule? 25%-50% once a week (on the weekend)
b. Volume of water changed?
c. Well water, tap water, RO water? Tap water treated with prime and sometimes aquarium salts.
d. Water conditioner used?
e. Frequency of gravel/sand (if any) vacuumed? I vacuum when I change the water. Usually, I do a 50% change over 2-3 days vacuuming 1/2 the tank the first change and 1/2 the tank the second.

12. Foods? Tiny pellets for small fish and shrimp based flakes.

How often are they fed? Just in the morning.

13. a. Any abnormal signs/symptoms? <See sad story above.> Dead fish looked fine. Eyes not poking out, no streaks of red or red gills, scales and mucus seemed fine. Fins ok. The black guppy lost the use of her fin on one half of her body before she died (all guppies were female).
b. Appearance of poop? n/a, though one of the guppies had a reddish looking poop hanging earlier today, but it is gone now and that guppy is still alive.

c. Appearance of gills? Fine

14. a. Have you treated your fish ahead of diagnosis? See above.
b. What meds were used? Voogle and Polyguard

Pearl2011 09-02-2012 10:55 PM

1/2 hour isn't quarantine, that is acclimation.
It is probably an internal infection, I couldn't tell you what though. I would put the sick fish into a quarantine to prevent the spread.

Airlie 09-03-2012 06:00 AM

What is an effective quarantine for something like this? I don't have a sick tank, so I'll need to set one up. (BTW - I'm very happy. No new deaths this morning.) :-) The one that seemed sickly last night is not totally well, but improving. What, exactly, is Polyguard? Should I keep treating with it and Voogle?

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