Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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marzipanquinn 01-18-2010 07:06 PM

I would really like some advice
 
Hi, well I'm very new to this forum and to fish keeping...
Here are my stats..
  • Tank size: 84 litres/18.48 gallons
  • Using Master Test Kit by API: Nitrites: 0ppm, Nitrates: 2.5ppm, Ammonia: 0.1-0.15ppm (The colour doesn't quite match 0 or 0.25, it's in-between), PH: Somewhere between 7.4 and 7.6 (It's hard to tell).
  • Freshwater (I don't know what brackish water is).
  • The aquarium has been set up for less than a month, I would say 3 weeks.
  • To begin with I had 10 neon tetra, 6 glow light tetras, 6 rummy nose tetras, 2 algae eaters and 2 fancy guppies. NOW I have 6 neon tetras, 3 rummy nose tetras, 6 glow light tetras, 1 algae eater (not sure what exact kind he is).
  • Quarantine...Well the neon tetras and the glow lights were the first fish in the tank, no quarantine for them. I didn't quarantine the others, though I wish I had even though I'm not sure it would have made a difference.
  • The temperature in the tank has always been between 24 and 26.5 Celcius/76.5 - 80 Fahrenheit. Temperature did go down slightly during water changes due to new water being colder.
  • There are live plants in the tank 8-9 plants.
  • The filter I am using came with the tank, it's a "VitaTech internal filter", that's all I know about it. I clean the filter once a week or so with water from the tank, which I obviously dump afterward.
  • Only other equipment I'm using is an air pump.
  • The tank receives some sunlight to the smallest side of the tank. I live in Ireland so not too much sun shine about!
  • I did the last (and first) water change 3 days ago. I did a 24 litre water change which is a little over 25% change. I did vacuum the substrate. Fish have not been in the tank for too long and the parameters were all fine so didn't see any need to do more changes.
  • I started off with just feeding the fish flakes once a day. Now I feed twice a day, once at 9am and then again at 6pm. Bought "Complete Sinking Food" today to try on sucker fish.
  • The only treatment I have used so far is "Anti White Spot" by "Interpet". First dose was today.
Ok, here's my story, it will probably be long but I want to provide the most detail I can so I know exactly where I went wrong (which could be pretty much everything I did).
Ok. I got the tank. I first rinsed the substrate with water and put it in, filled it with water, put in the filter, started that and put in the thermometer. I then put in some starter solution my sister gave me for removing chlorine and making the water healthy in general. I wanted to start the nitrogen cycle with fish food. I researched it and I got some many mixed instructions for the nitrogen cycle. Some said use food, some said don't. So I just left it and let it stand for a week.
After a week, I bought plants and 2 ornaments. I put the plants in, leaving them in the pot as I didn't know what else to do with them. I rinsed the ornaments and put them in. I let the tank stand again for a week. During the week I notice MANY tiny snails roaming around the tank. Not wanting an infestation I would fish them out with the net and feed them to my sister's turtle. There are still some left but it's not as bad as it was. I don't mind having one or two.
Seeing the snails all living happily in the tank made me think the tank was fit for living fish! I had been testing the water regularly and the parameters have always been good, very slight increase of nitrates. I wanted to get some fish so... off I went to our local pet store. I bought 10 neon tetra and 6 glow light tetras. By the next day I noticed a funny colouring on one of them. I googled it and my fish looked IDENTICAL to an image of one online with neon tetra disease... Apparently no cure so I decided it was best to kill the poor little guy and hope that the rest didn't have it. But the next day another fish showed the same thing so.. I fished him out and killed him too (This sounds so terrible). 2 days later, in the morning I found one dead. So that took me down to 7. In the mean time I had no problems with the glow lights. I watched the neon tetras for another few days, watching their colouring and their fins especially. I did notice one with frayed fins but I didn't want to kill more, just in case I was wrong.
About a week after getting these guys and after 3 dying on me, I had to go to the next county for an appointment. I didn't want to get more fish from the last place and this county had 1 shop in particular that had a very good rep. I went to the shop not intending really to buy any but I saw the rummy nose tetras. I bought 6 and while I was there I was going to get something for the ph as I thought it was a bit too high. I asked the man in the shop for something and he told me not to bother too much with the ph. He said that the fish were bred in higher pHs so they should live fine in a higher ph. So... I left the ph, still wondering should I get something... That day I also bought the 2 algae eaters. This shop quarantines the fish for 2 weeks themselves before selling so I wasn't worried about them.
I went to another shop and bought 2 fancy guppies. When I bought these, the lady in the shop took water from another tank and then threw the guppies into it. I didn't think anything of it until she handed me the bag, it was COLD!!! I was worried then that I had made a mistake, that guppies weren't tropical fish, I said nothing as I was afraid that I had made the mistake. In the car home though I remembered that they definitely were tropical fish! All the way home I was worried they'd die from shock. They didn't die.
I put these fish in the same way as I put the others in. I left the bag floating in the top of the tank until the water temperatures were the same, then released them. I did think about quarantine but I had no where to put them! I can't afford another tank as I don't work. When the guppies were in, I noticed one of them was missing an eye. I thought maybe he was missing it for a while.
I decided the next day that now I had all these fish I should do a water change, even though water parameters didn't change) so I did. While I did that I took the plants out of their pots and planted them properly in the tank. The plants have been doing really well. They are sprouting roots and are even growing new leaves.
The morning I found the one-eyed guppy dead. Two days later, the other guppy died and a neon tetra (this time is didn't look like the neon tetra disease). I was baffled. I noticed on of the sucker fish had started to move a lot less. He wasn't dead, just very still unless u poked him with the net. Later that day, he was dead.
At this point I was wondering what could possibly be wrong. Water tests were all good, they were all eating. I thought maybe they weren't getting enough oxygen at night. The plants produce oxygen during the day but produce carbon dioxide at night. I hadn't noticed any coming to the top wanting air. I changed the filter to make more air pump out of it. I also put the air pump on for 4 or 5 hours a day, especially nearer night.
Now I was down to 6 neon tetras, 1 algae eater, 6 glow lights (original number) and 6 rummy nose tetras (original number). I was very happy with the rummy nose tetras especially as they were staying in a group and swimming together and looked great. I read somewhere that the higher the temp in the water, the higher their metabolism and it was better to keep it lower. So I lowered the temp by one degree. Up until this point, I had only been feeding once a day (I had been warned that over feeding would kill them, mine were dying anyway so didn't see any harm in feeding twice a day).
Next day, rummy nose tetras were covered in white dots. It happened really quickly! Since then, 3 have died and I'm afraid the other 3 could be dead by tomorrow. I treated the water with "Interpet Anti White Spot" today and am waiting and hoping the last 3 will live.

My question to you, whoever has had the patience to read all this is. Where did I go wrong. I know I went wrong for definite with the no quarantine bit. and I probably shouldn't have gotten that many fish so soon. But as a new fish keeper, reading so many mixed articles and getting very mixed advice from family and friends, really didn't know what to do so i did what I thought was ok.

Do you think that the PH is the problem? I know it's higher than desired for these fish but they were bred in high ph.
What IS the right temperature for tetras? It seems to be different on every site and it's not mentioned in the book i have.
Could the newer fish (not the neon tetras) have died from the neon tetra disease?
Could the temperature change during the water change have caused the ICH/White spot? Or could there have been spores in the plant roots that were released when I took the plants out of the pots?
Do you think I have an oxygen problem?
Can my algae eaters survive without the sinking food and just live on algae?
How come the neon tetra disease has seemed to vanish? Was it neon tetra disease in the first place?
Why have all the glow light tetras survived through all of this and the rest of the groups have lost a few?
Could the guppy with the one eye have had a disease that killed the other or could the other have been lonely after the other one died?
Could I have my fish under too much stress?
What would you do now?

These are all questions I have in my head. I have come to realise that keeping fish is extremely difficult (I have a lot of furry animals and no fatalities there, they’re much easier keep)
I would REALLY appreciate any advice or comments (good and bad) I know I've made mistakes but I can't learn from them properly unless I know where I went wrong.

Please comment and thank you VERY much in advance.

stephanieleah 01-18-2010 11:43 PM

Welcome to the forum...sorry about your fish.

Before I forget I want to throw this out there that there is a sticky on here somewhere about how to humanely euthenize fish, so if the need arises again, hopefully it won't, you will have a way to do it with least suffering for the fish.

It sounds like your tank cycled since you have traceable nitrate reading. I can't help thinking that your tank is overstocked and that the beneficial bacteria couldn't keep up with the amount of fish being added to the tank. It is usually suggested that fish are added slowly to the tank so that even a cycled tank has time to acclimate to the new bio-load.

I also wonder if the plants had something to do with it. Did they come in some gel stuff? Or fluffy foam stuff?

Also, your water changes...I'm assuming you try to get the temperature as close as possible between the tank and the new water?

In a healthy planted tank there shouldn't be a need to pump air into the water. If anything all this disturbance would stress fish out more.

And as far as NTD, sometimes that type of discoloration comes about just due to stress.

The snails are not harmful...it just depends on your preferences. If you overfeed they will tend to be more abundant as they eat the food scraps.

WHAT type of algae eaters are they??? Algae eating fish span from very sensitive to very resilient. Can you post some photos?

You have chosen some sensitive fish that have certain needs. Spontaneous purchases from the LFS often result in fish losses because the water conditions aren't appropriate for that type of fish. Trust me, I learned this the hard way when I went to eh LFS for neon tetras and since they didn't have any I bought cardinals. Cardinals! And of course the LFS sold them to me, no questions asked. All but one died and I took that one back to the LFS so it wouldn't die, too. Now I know better. If I see something I like, I write it down, go home and research that fish on the internet.

Ich was probably introduced because of stressed and overstocked environment, not lack of QT (well that too but anyway). SO...your to-do list

Because I don't know about rummy noses and fancy guppies, I'll not advise on treatment for the ich. But you NEED to post pictures so we know which algae eaters are there (some may be very sensitive to medications and QT will be required).
Also wanted to mention for future reference do you WC before you add fish, not after.

The rest of your questions: (I'LL ANSWER IN CAPS)
Do you think that the PH is the problem? I know it's higher than desired for these fish but they were bred in high ph. LOOK ON THE INTERNET--WHAT DOES IT SAY FOR YOUR PARTICULAR FISH? MANY WOULD ADVISE AGAINST TAMPERING WITH IT WITH CHEMICALS. JUST GET FISH THAT SUIT YOUR WATER PARAMETERS. YOUR PH MAY BE A LITTLE HIGH FOR THE RUMMY NOSES AND THE GLO-LITES. DON'T KNOW, NEVER HAD THOSE, JSUT GOING BY WHAT IT SAYS ONLINE.
What IS the right temperature for tetras? It seems to be different on every site and it's not mentioned in the book i have. NORMAL TEMP, AROUND 78
Could the newer fish (not the neon tetras) have died from the neon tetra disease? OTHER FISH CAN GET NTD BUT IT IS PROBABLY STRESS
Could the temperature change during the water change have caused the ICH/White spot? Or could there have been spores in the plant roots that were released when I took the plants out of the pots? WHAT IS THE TEMPERATURE DIFFERENCE?
Do you think I have an oxygen problem? NO...BUT TAKE A PICTURE OF YOUR TANK AND POST IT. IF FISH ARE PILED ON TOP OF EACH OTHER, THEN MAYBE.
Can my algae eaters survive without the sinking food and just live on algae? YES BUT THEY APPRECIATE A VARIED DIET TOO. POST PICTURES AND NEW THREAD AND GET FOOD IDEAS FROM OTHER MEMBERS
How come the neon tetra disease has seemed to vanish? Was it neon tetra disease in the first place? HARD TO TELL WITHOUT PHOTOS
Why have all the glow light tetras survived through all of this and the rest of the groups have lost a few?
Could the guppy with the one eye have had a disease that killed the other or could the other have been lonely after the other one died? I'VE PERSONALLY NEVER HEARD OF A DISEASE THAT CAUSED ONE EYE, SO MY GUESS WOULD BE IT WAS TOTALLY STRESSED OUT, PROBABLY GOT BEAT UP, COULDN'T SEE, THE POOR GUY JUST COULDN'T MAKE IT.
Could I have my fish under too much stress? I THINK I'VE ANSWERED THIS ONE : )
What would you do now? TREAT THE TANK FOR ICK...I'LL FOLLOW YOUR THREAD ABOUT ICK TO SEE HOW EVERYTHING TURNS OUT!)

marzipanquinn 01-19-2010 03:35 PM

Hi, thanks a MILLION for your reply, I really appreciate it. I haven't had time to do anything with the tank today bar feed them and fish out the latest victims. Two of the rummy nose tetras died over night so only one left of them now. I'm not sure if he'll survive tonight, but hopefully! The other fish didn't get the white spot as bad as they got it so I hope they'll live through it.
I will reply properly tomorrow as I have to go again. Will post the pictures too tomorrow. You've been a great help and I will be following your advice on everything! :-)

marzipanquinn 01-20-2010 02:08 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Ok, finally I have time to reply properly!!
Thanks for the link for the euthanizing, I read it and it is the method I used for my neons. I knew cold water can shock them so figured ice cold would most likely do what I needed it to do.

So I could have overstocked my tank? Uncool. I will definitely not do that again. I'm not going to buy another fish until my tank settles down. I have been researching the PH thing. I am still confused about it because some say messing with it can be worse than leaving it. From the research I have done, my understanding is that if the fish are bred in a high PH they more than likely will tolerate a higher PH. If they're bred in the right PH than it's best to keep them in it. Fast fluctuations in PH can harm the fish so if I'm to change it, I should do it slowly. Sooooo here's what I'm thinking of doing:
The rummy nose tetra was bred in a high ph, so was the algae eater. I have no idea what PH the neons and glow lights were bred in and I wouldn't trust the answer I get from the fish shop if I asked because I they sold me sick fish... Also there are some issues I have with them about how they keep their animals but that's another story. Anyway, do you think it would be sensible if I got a bucket and tested out the effects of different rocks in water in relation to PH? As in, I pick up a rock from say the beach, bring it home, sterilize it, scrub it with a brush then pop it into a clean bucket and test the PH from time to time to see if it changes it? If I change lower the PH I would rather rely on something like rocks or drift wood than have to use chemicals. Good idea, bad idea?

The water change I did.. the water I put in wasn't as warm as the water in the tank. I did put in very little at a time over the day to try and avoid a massive temperature change. I have been to the fish shop since though and bought another heater. I've had the water heating for the last 2 days and am ready for the next water change using the same temperature water :-)

Ok, so I don't need the water pump, that's cool. How about air through the filter? I've attached a picture of my tank so you can see the plants, I do have 3 ornaments but I had to remove them while I treat the ICH as the bottle says it can stain them. You can see the air bubbles from the filter, I don't like how they look but if it's better for the fish to have them then I will be keeping it like that, what do you think? I do plan to change the blue stones to black stones as I've read that darker stones are better for neons. The blue ones did look darker in the bag... Oh and about the plants, the roots were wrapped in a sort of cotton-ball-like stuff, brown, and then that was popped into the pot.

I can see now how the fish could have been under too much stress. I think I went too big too quick. I'm treating for the ICH but I did lose the other 2 rummy nose tetras. I have only one left now and I'm debating whether he'll be ok on his own or if the company of the neons and the glow lights will do for him. The fish shop I got him from is a good long drive away and I would not like to give him to the shop I have issues with.

So my overall plan for the tank:
I will continue to treat the ICH for 4-5 days after the fish are clear. I will be taking much more care with the water changes (heated water into heated water).
If I can find a stone/rock that will lower the PH for me, I would like to use that. I don't know how to gradually lower the PH with it but I will research that when/if I get to it.
If I can't do this, I will leave the PH as it and hope that the fish were bred in similar PH, the chances are that they were. The water in Ireland is much the same all over and I can't see the fish shops buying from too far away. The glow lights seem happy enough in it, none of them have died at all yet. No neon has died in a week (I think) so maybe they're ok too. When I do eventually buy fish again, it'll be low numbers and I will go for fish that prefer neutral/alkaline rather than tetras who like the acidic water. Possibly Mollies or Guppies. Oh and I will be examining my fish too before I buy them! None of this giving me fish in cold water and giving me fish that are missing an eye. Actually I just won't buy from there again...

I'm going to make a new thread to find out the type of algae eater my guy is, so I will be able to research him then! Thanks a MILLION for all your help, I'm feeling more hopeful about the whole fish thing again!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!




marzipanquinn 01-20-2010 02:17 PM

2 Attachment(s)
I thought I should upload a picture of the foamy/cotton-ball-like stuff from the plants. Don't think my description was the best.
I've also attached a picture of how the fish stay. They are normally near the bottom, in a group. They tend stay where there is less of a current which is coming from the filter.


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