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RackinRocky 06-06-2013 10:33 PM

Two Turquoise Rainbows shimmying! Need help!
Seems like I've had problem after problem with fish. I posted recently about getting a Turquoise Rainbow. Well, I put him/her in a quarantine tank with 2 guppies I got on the same day, from the same place. Within 3 days, both guppies died. They got hollow looking, weak, and stayed at the top. Frayed fins. The Rainbow, however, looked and acted great.

I took the dead guppies out and did a huge water change, and the Rainbow was fine for 2 days, and now, as of this morning, he/she is doing something similar to "shimmies" that mollies get. Not only that, but the fish also twitches every 15 seconds or so. Not flashing off things, just twitches in place. Like a shudder. Still eating fine except for the strange behavior.

I went and got another Rainbow after having this Rainbow for a day, (before it started acting like this) since I liked it so much, and was told you need to have more than one. I put this Rainbow in another tank (never had any contact with the quarantine tank as I feared it would get what the guppies had) and it was very active and healthy, eating and more colorful than the first one. Well, this afternoon, now ITS shimmying. Not twitching yet, but staying in one spot (unless disturbed) and shimmying.

I have no idea what to do. My parameters are fine on both tanks. Both zero ammonia, zero nitrites, and 5-10 nitrates. I'm wondering, since I'm on city water, if they could have added more chlorine or chloramine than usual, as it seemed to get worse after a water change. Any suggestions? Don't know where to start. Have Maracyn and Maracyn II, Furan 2 and Kanaplex. But don't want to medicate until I know what's wrong. I'm really attached to these fish already. My PH, by the way, is 8. Temp is 78. Should I check the tank PH against the tap water? Any chance that could be the problem? I'm desperate!

jaysee 06-06-2013 10:58 PM

Water changes, water changes and more water changes. If you don't know what to do, do a water change.

RackinRocky 06-06-2013 11:13 PM

Well, I guess I'm doing the right thing then. I'll do another one tomorrow. Thanks!

fish monger 06-07-2013 09:17 AM

According to my little bit of research, shimmies are a symptom of stress caused by water quality. Supposedly, rainbows are very sensitive to sudden changes in their environment. Water changes that are frequent, but not too large are suggested. My judgement call would be no more than 20%...daily or every other day until symptoms go away. Needless to say, you need to determine if this fish is a good fit for your water and eventual home in the first place.

RackinRocky 06-07-2013 04:59 PM

Just to update: I PM'd someone here in a panic, as the first rainbow is acting worse today. While waiting for a reply, I was wracking my brains, and thought about PH. I had tested for everything else in my API kit. I had just assumed tPetsmart's Ph would be similar to mine, since they are only 20 minutes from me. I called Petsmart and told the woman what was happening, and asked what PH they had their tanks at. She said they keep them at 6.0! BINGO! My fish had gone from 6.0 to 8-8.2!

Now in a near blind panic, I went to a LFS and got a couple pieces of driftwood, since I'd heard they lower PH. I talked with the owner, who seemed quite knowledgeable, and he said that was a huge difference in PH, and the fish was in shock. I asked if the driftwood would work fast enough to save the fish, and he was doubtful. He said it would decrease the PH in time, but not immediately. He said that since the fish was already in such extreme trouble that I might consider using Proper PH 7.0 by API. That would get the PH down now, and the driftwood would eventually help out to keep it that way. He suggested I use only half a dose and then check the PH, and watch it like a hawk. And not to add any more unless the PH was climbing noticeably.

Well, I'm glad I did only use half a dose! I know the product is supposed to take it down to 7, and go no lower, but still... only half a dose took it down to 7.4, which I think these guys can live with very safely, since their range seems to be up to around 8, from what I've read. It was just the dramatic increase that screwed my fish up. The person I messaged said the same thing the LFS owner did, so now I feel so relieved that I'm doing all I can, even though the fish might be beyond help at this point. But at least in the future I'll know NOT to buy from Petsmart, and to acclimate longer than I did with this fish (1 hour), and to ASK what PH the shop has their fish at. I want to thank the person I messaged from the bottom of my heart for replying so quickly, and being a hero. I had a reply by the time I got home from the LFS. This forum and the people on here are truly wonderful.

RackinRocky 06-08-2013 01:31 PM

The first Rainbow is looking better this morning. PH is reading between 7-7.2. I've been advised to keep the PH at the current level for a while, then let it climb back up to my normal PH, which is about 8. Sounds good to me! I hate having to use chemicals to bring it down, and I do have five plants in that tank that I'd hate to lose. So I'll check the PH level daily and add a TINY bit of the Proper PH 7.0 if its climbing too much. It doesn't take much of that stuff!

The first rainbow is still shimmying, but not as severely, and not twitching as much either. Also, he/she was very eager to eat spirulina brine shrimp today, so I'm getting a little hopeful.

KPainter 06-08-2013 01:53 PM

You must be so relieved to finally know what's going on and what to do!

fish monger 06-08-2013 02:57 PM

Try taking your PH readings right after you turn the lights on and again after they have been on for about 4 or 5 hours. The PH will drop when the lights have been off over night due to the plants giving off CO2. After the lights have been on for several hours, the plants start to absorb CO2 and your PH should rise. Probably would be good to use the average of the two readings to determine your average PH. Thanks for your kind words.

RackinRocky 06-08-2013 09:13 PM

Wow, if the PH is lower when the lights are off, they must be getting pretty low then! I took the reading this morning less than an hour after I turned the lights on. So it must be going lower than 7.2 at night. I'll get an average and post it. I'll test it tonight after lights out and then tomorrow after they've been on a few hours. Thanks!

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