Simultaneous Multiple Crises - Ich & New Fish and Shrimp
This is long. Please bear with me, I don't want to give incomplete info...
I have three freshwater tanks. One is fully planted; two have a few plants I actually put in weeks ago from the first (fully cycled) tank to aid in jumpstarting the cycles on the two newer tanks.
My 29 gallon tank has five black (aka skirt, aka widow) tetras and five serpae tetras. It is partially planted, and it has an algae outbreak I planned to take care of with an online order of fish, nerite snails, and freshwater shrimp. So far, so good.
My newest ten gallon has a couple of plants and was, I thought, fully cycled. All my readings look good on my test kit; I had jump started it with a filter from another tank, plus bacteria in a bottle, plus water from another tank, plus the aforementioned plants. The lemon tetras in it were (and still are) healthy. So I added blue tetras, which I haven't been able to find a lot of info on, but which I found in my local fish place and I thought were really beautiful. Same day I get them home, white spots appear on two of the fish. Looks like ich to me. So for the last two days I have been slowly upping the temperature (it is now at 83) and adding salt, plus I'm doing daily 50% water changes and gravel vacuuming. I've heard it is a good combo to start with to try to get rid of the ich.
Here's where the next bit of trouble begins. My other ten gallon, fully planted, is inhabited by 9 black neon tetras and 2 lemon tetras that I planned to eventually shift to the previously mentioned tank. When I discovered the ich in the other tank, I immediately ran to the tank I had seeded it with, this 10 gallon. I was suddenly convinced that I saw spots here, too. So I started upping the water temp and adding salt.
So last week I had ordered online plants and algae eaters for the first and third tanks. (Wasn't going to risk shrimp in tank 2 yet.) When I discovered the Ich, I immediately sent a message asking them to hold my order for a week. Unfortunately, they apparently did not receive the message (I have had problems with that with this online source before, but I like the products well enough that I have put up with it.) So tonight I receive the notification that my plants, shrimp, and new fish will arrive tomorrow morning.
I don't know what to do. I have one tank, which was supposed to eventually become my quarantine tank, that has two fish obviously with ich and so I'm sure the whole tank is infected. The tank I planned to add the most stuff to is now iffy - I don't know if it has ich, or if I'm just being paranoid and imagining a tiny white spot here and there - but I've increased the temp and added salt so I'm not sure I should try to add anyone else right now. My 29 gallon could probably house everyone I've ordered for a little while, but I am now afraid of adding new infectious diseases to my only almost certainly healthy tank. And my black tetras and serpae tetras are a little nippy, which is how they ended up in their own tank to begin with.
What are my options here? I'm not opposed to running out first thing in the morning and grabbing a new quarantine tank, but there is no way I could have it cycled by noon and shrimp are notoriously sensitive. I'm trying not to panic, but I'm feeling seriously overwhelmed right now. Help?
Welcome to the forum, Golden Rose.:wave:
Why not try to ask your local fish store for an established sponge filter media to jump start another tank to serve as quarantine tank?:) It will definitely help and will save you a lot of trouble. If I were you, I'd bite the bullet for awhile until everything will be back to normal.
How are the fish so far? Have you seen several more white spots?
Fingers crossed for you.:)
Edit: Now I'm totally confused with the options you have left.:? I would only advise watching the water parameters of your fourth tank while attempting to jump start it with the lfs' established sponge filter media or your media from the 29 gallons. If you detect ammonia and nitrites, do the water changes immediately. I don't think it is worth mixing the new arrivals in a QT where the occupants have ich. You'll never know that they don't actually carry ich compared to the afflicted ones.
Just a quick update:
The fish, shrimp, snails, and plants arrived as scheduled. Fortunately, about half the fish turned out to be on backorder, so I didn't end up with quite as many new arrivals as I had feared. I had never ordered anything but plants online, so I was really pleasantly surprised that I only lost one fish in transit. (I lost more shrimp, unfortunately; I don't know if I was just unlucky or if that is typical.)
Since my quarantine tank definitely has ich, I went ahead and added all my newcomers to my 29 gallon. (One of my other ten gallons may or may not have it, but I'd increased the temperature and salinity just in case.) Not a perfect solution, but so far, so good. I'm not certain adding 17 small fish at once is great for even a fully cycled tank, but I'm out of options. I forsee many water changes in the next couple of weeks!
The only problem turns out to be that my 29 gallon has some somewhat aggressive serpae tetras in it. My new shrimp apparently bore way too close a resemblance to dinner. So I immediately started slowly decreasing the temperature on the ten gallon that may or may not have ich so that by the end of the day, I could move all the shrimp into it. I know I lost one shrimp in the 29 gallon - I saw him get attacked and partially eaten before I could stop it, and when I did my shrimp moving, I couldn't find one other. My ten gallon is a little overcrowded on shrimp now. I'm not sure how many you are really supposed to have in a ten gallon, but right now I have 6 red cherry shrimp and 6 amanos in it. It is super heavily planted and the shrimp seem happy when I can find them. I am not sure how many are actually alive, they hide very well, but I know I have at least 5 amanos and 4 cherrys this morning.
The fish in the ich tank are, well, surviving. One has it really, really badly, and I keep expecting to lose him. Four seem completely healthy still, but I don't dare transfer them to another tank. Three seem to have very mild cases, if such a thing exists. All eight are eating pretty normally. I am considering buying a second heater for the tank - the current one can't seem to raise the temp about 86 and I'm not sure if that is enough to kill off the ich. I have increased the salinity slowly and steadily, too, so I hope the two together will kill off the parasite.
All is going about as well as I could hope, I suppose. My new plants and fish are gorgeous. I'm feeling pretty good about buying fish online, so that is something...
Make sure you dont use a chemical to try to get rid of the ich, it works but it kills tetras. If it is ich by the next couple of days you should start to see more white specs, until your fish are covered in it.
I didn't use any chemicals. Just heat and salt. I lost several plants, but I didn't lose any fish in that tank. All eight fish are still swimming and seem healthy. The tank has been replanted and looks pretty good. I've also got a few amano and cherry shrimp in the tank, but I think the blue tetras may have been helping themselves to cherry shrimp snacks, although I haven't actually seen it happen.
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