Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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kald 10-07-2009 10:02 AM

One of my platy fish has what I think is mild fin rot.
There is apparently some ammonia in my 25 gallon (.5 - 1) but none of my fish seem affected by it, even my 5-day-old fry. Today I noticed that my very healthy 5 month old male platy has black tips around his fins, though he is still very active and acts no different than normal.

I have done a 25% water change on saturday, and then I did a 15-20% change today. With baby fish and ammonia levels, I would think I should change water a little more frequently than my usual 25% a week change. Would two changes a week be too much?

Also, I usually do not use chemicals/cycler to remove chlorine; I usually wait between 5 hours and a full day to add water. I thought this could be the problem with ammonia, so I bought some AquaPlus Tap Water Conditioner and add it to the buckets before I add to the tank, but I still wait a few hours to be sure. Will this help?

How should I go about ridding the tank of ammonia and healing my platy?

kald 10-07-2009 11:40 AM


It seems that a few of my fish are a little stressed. They are swimming around with their fins down.

Help would be much appreciated :(

jeaninel 10-07-2009 12:35 PM

First we need some more info. How long has the tank been set up? What are the readings for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. How many fish and what species?

If ammonia is present you need to do frequent water changes to get the levels down. If the tank is new and going through a cycle this might mean doing daily water changes depending on how many fish you have in there. A fully cycled tank should have 0 ammonia and nitrites and some reading for nitrates (preferably under 20ppm).

Use the water conditioner at each water change. You don't have to let the water sit. It works instantly. You might want to think about picking up some Prime instead of using the AquaPlus as it will help neutralize ammonia and nitrites.

Hope this helps.

kald 10-07-2009 01:02 PM

The tank has been set up since February of this year. I added fish 5 weeks after that, and never had problems up until now.

Someone experienced (who runs a small fish business in my area specialising in tropical fish) did liquid testing and he said the ammonia is .5 to 1. He told me not to worry about my nitrites/nitrates because they were perfect, so I didn't question that. He did tell me that the ammonia shouldn't be a major problem at this stage due to the size of my tank (25 gallon) but recommended I use a water conditioner and do some water changes like I am currently doing.

My fish are...

3 Platy
2 Swordtails
1 Molly (I bought it by accident, got mixed in with the platy at the store. I am returning it as soon as possible)
1 pleco
1 chinese algae eater
3 amano shrimp
1 bala shark (juvenile, will get rid of it once it gets too big, but it does a great job and cleaning up the tank!)
1 male short-fin betta
4 zebra danios
2 black neon tetras (2 died due to new tank syndrome, I think I will be giving these away as well)
~10 swordtail/platy hybrid fry born last weekend. I have three people willing to take them off my hands.

Think overstocking may be an issue?

jeaninel 10-08-2009 12:08 AM

Yeah, you're up there on the stocking limit. And with the addition of the fry that may be what caused the ammonia spike. The other possibility is that you were not using a water conditioner and if your tap water contains chlorine/chloramines (which most do) that could have harmed your beneficial bacteria. But I would think you would have seen problems earlier. Letting the water sit out for a few days may dissipate chlorine but not chloramines. In any case, frequent water changes to keep ammonia low will help your fish until your bacteria colony can catch up to the additional bioload of the fry. And be sure to use a water conditioner at each water change.

kald 10-08-2009 09:40 AM

So, every few days I will do a small ~15% water change and use conditioner. This should help.

I am going to be getting rid of 2 black neons and the molly quite soon as well. Will more shrimp help to keep the bottom clean? My three shrimp are always digging around in the gravel and eating bits of dirt. Does the "inch a gallon" rule count for them?

jeaninel 10-09-2009 03:19 PM

Shrimp make a great clean up crew. That is, if the fish don't find them a tasty They have such a light bioload you could probably add a couple more without too much impact.

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