Whats happening to my fish? Behavior changing!
I had posted a while back and was told to get water testers, and due to lack of funds, I just now got my testers. They are just teh strips, I know, not as accurate, but thats what I could afford for right now.
so quick update, my silver tipped shark, who used to be very active, is now hanging out behing the heater in a corner. swimming like crazy, but acts like he is trapped in the upper corner. He comes out when I shut the light off.
my algae eater used to be all over the tank doing what he is supposed to, eating algae, now he always behind the filter intake tube. But he comes out when the light is shut off.
Molly is normal.
I am down to 1 platy left, I don't know what happened to the others, no dead bodies, nothing, just gone. I watch the tank a lot so I would have noticed if a fish died I think.
so my water tests are bad, what can I do do help?
according the the guide on the package, these levels are not good.
Also what can I do to help keep algae down? when I clean the tank I can get it off of the gravel and sides, but all my fake plants are terrible and it wont come off.
Any help Please!!!
Thanks in advance!
First, on the water. I don't think the results you posted are "not good" so I don't fathom the package info. Ammonia and nitrite at zero is exactly where it should be. Nitrate at 40 is a little high but not so much that regular partial water changes won't keep lower (more on that momentarily). Hardness at 300 means fairly hard water, and along with a pH of 8 this should suit livebearers (molly, platy).
The nitrates are linked with the algae. In the presence of light, and without live plants, green algae will use the nutrients and proliferate. Reducing the light will combat this, along with regular maintenance (those nitrates again). If you mean brown algae, that is normal in new tanks (up to 3 months or maybe a bit longer) and it will (should) disappear. If it is green, it is probably helping in that it is using some of the nutrients. And without live plants it really doesn't hurt anything (on plant leaves it "suffocates" the plant by preventing photosynthesis).
Now the nitrates. Have you tested the tap water itself for nitrates? Some tap water is high in nitrate, and if so, a good conditioner like Prime at each water change will help. Normally, nitrates are kept low by weekly partial water changes of 40-50%. Unless of course the nitrates are coming in the tap water, but then the Prime handles those and the pwc will still keep the natural nitrates down.
Now to the fish. You don't mention the tank size... but the shark will grow to 6-8 inches or more and needs room. It is also brackish water, and that is going to be detrimental. The molly can tolerate brackish water, the platy somewhat less so, the algae eater not at all. Also, the shark like to be in a group, and fish that are shoaling by nature often develop unfortunate behaviours when denied this requirement. Unless you have a large tank that can accommodate a group of these fish, I would seriously consider returning it for exchange to the store.
I would do the same with the algae eater, for similar reasons. Assuming this is the common Chinese Algae Eater, it will also get to 6 inches and can be quite aggressive to other fish. They also do not eat algae as they mature. I would consider returning this fish.
If you do the above, let things stabilize before adding more fish. Livebearers should be fine, this includes mollies, platys, swordtails, guppies (the more common are these); plus there are some other basic-water fish. And live plants would help, Vallisneria is excellent in harder water, and mollies love to nibble algae off the leaves (mollies are vegetarians).
Hope this is of some help sorting this out. Test your tap water for nitrate, and let us know the number as we may have further suggestions.
Byron, Thank you so much that has helped a lot!
My tank is a 75 gallon tank. I was told that the algae eater would get up to 12 inches, whatever kind he is. and I was told that my tank would be big enough. But if you think that I should return him I will see if I can, but I have had him for over a year, and I don't have the receipt. If I can manage the algae (with your help) with out the algae eater Im totally willing to do that.
I tested my tap water and it is:
Nitrate: inbetween 0 and 20
So I need to get a better water conditioner, is the Ph and Alkaline ok?
One thing I still don't understand, you said that the shark is brackish water, and the algae eater can't tolerate it. They seemed fine for so long then changed, why did it take so long. I have had this tank for over a year this way. I didn't know what I was doing really whenI started it, but I want to make it right.
thank you again so much for your help!
Is it possible to post pictures of your algae eater and your shark?
I've heard some people say that the Chinese algae eater can reach 8 or 10 inches but 12 inches sounds a little extreme to me. Perhaps what you have is a common plecostomus?
Also, I'm not sure if your shark is a bala shark or a Columbian shark. Both grow fairly large but have different care requirements.
Here is a picture of my shark and my algae eater. The shark pics are not that great, he wouldn't stop moving, lol.
The Algae eater is a plecostomus not a Chinese Algae Eater and they can get quite large depending on the breed. I had some and they got about 10-12 inches. Shark I don't know
The "algae eater" is a pleco as noted by Mystic, so that is OK as far as aggressiveness (it isn't except sort of to its own or related bottom fish, but this is not a problem). It may get up to 18 inches depending upon the species, I haven't researched this one so I just toss that out for your consideration. Definitely no salt in its tank, they are highly sensitive to salt and it can burn their skin as well as cause internal issues.
The shark looks like the Columbian, which is brackish water; fish can sometimes "seem" fine in unsuitable water parameters, then suddenly they develop any one or more of odd behaviours, aggression, lethargy, and sometimes suddenly die. Knowing the fish before buying it is highly recommended, it can save you and the fish much grief. I have bought fish that I had to take back, we learn from this. Some fish stores (usually those dedicated to fish as opposed to chain stores) will accept fish in exchange if you explain your difficulties; they know we sometimes get ourselves into these fixes, and they want your continued business, so they will try to help.
You may or may not have nitrate in the tap water with that range. For the present, I would do weekly partial water changes of around 50%, using a good conditioner, and monitor pH and nitrate. Check both immediately prior to the water change, and the day following, and maybe again after 2-3 days. Over a two-week period this will give you an indication of the tank's biological system.
Thanks for the info!
So should I keep the algae eater, and try to return the shark? I really like the algae eater, But I want a happy tank.
The shark is an issue, It was bought for us by a friend, he doesn't know about fish and thought it was cool looking. will another LFS take a fish for me? Petsmart is the nearest. We have more tropical fish stores, but they have more SW fish than FW.
I will do a water change and start keeping records of the tests.
I do not plan on adding any more fish anytime soon, some things came up and we have 30 days to move to a new house. I will wait til we move before adding more fish, I will just work on getting the tank balanced with your help!
Call the store(s) ahead, so you don't waste a trip.
The pleco (might as well use its correct name) will be fine; however, they do need wood to rasp on, real wood, not fake. When you return the shark, see if you can buy a piece of bogwood. The dark wood is best in my view, it is heavy and readily sinks, has few tannins to discolour the water (only for the first few weeks anyway), and is well suited to these fish. It will also give him a hiding spot; a piece with a sort of tunnel would be good, or partly raised up from the gravel so he can get under it. These fish love a roof over them:-), it will calm him a lot.
Good luck. Keep us posted, we're all here to help.
I use to work for a "Chain" pet store like PetSmart and It is usually their policy to not take a fish from someone. You would be better off with a LFS that is not a chain. Call ahead as some chain stores will take them and put in a tank made just for them but not usually
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