Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Dragon Arcadia 10-20-2011 12:35 PM

Need help with possible ich outbreak.
Sorry if I'm doing something wrong with this post, but I just registered with the sight a few minutes ago. I need help with what I think is an ich outbreak in my tank. Here's the information I'm supposed to include.

Sorry in advance about all of the missing things and unknowns. I have cared for a larger aquarium in the past and I do have some experience, it's just that right now I'm on a tight budget and trying to make things work in a college dorm room. In the years I've cared for the larger tank, I was lucky and my fish rarely got sick, so I don't have much experience in diagnosing and treating illness.

1. Size of tank?
5.5 gal

2. Water parameters
a. Ammonia?
Less than 0.02 ppm
b. Nitrite?
c. Nitrate?
d. pH, KH and GH?
pH is about 7.4-8.0, others are unknown
e. Test kit?
No test kit yet

3. Temperature?
About 75F

4. FW (fresh water) or BW (brackish)?
Fresh Water

5. How long the aquarium has been set up?
Over 4 weeks

6. What fish do you have? How many are in your tank? How big are they? How long have you had them?
4 neon tetras, three weeks
1 betta, three weeks
1 ghost shrimp, three weeks

7. Were the fish placed under quarantine period (minus the first batch from the point wherein the tank is ready to accommodate the inhabitants)?
No, only acclimated over about one hour

8. a. Any live plants? Fake plants?
1 live plant
b. Sand, gravel, barebottom?
c. Rocks, woods, fancy decors? Any hollow decors?
Had a brick of zebrastone, replaced it with a hollow plastic cave one week ago

9. a. Filtration?
Tetra PF10, carbon and bio-foam cartridges
b. Heater?
Tetra HT10

10. a. Lighting schedule? What lights are used?
Halogen desk lamp for a few hours each day
b. Any sunlight exposure? How long?
Little sunlight for most of the day

11. a. Water change schedule?
Water changed twice, no schedule yet
b. Volume of water changed?
About 50%
c. Well water, tap water, RO water?
Mixture of tap water and natural spring water. Spring water is probably not the source of the sickness, however, because my friend uses it in his aquarium as well and has no problems. Also, it has been a while since I used it.
d. Water conditioner used?
Tetra AquaSafe
e. Frequency of gravel/sand (if any) vacuumed?
Not vacuumed yet

12. Foods?
Tetra flakes
How often are they fed?
Once or twice daily in small amounts

13. a. Any abnormal signs/symptoms?
White spots on one neon tetra. Others look fine, but one died last night. Also, the betta needed to be removed from the tank as it repeatedly got stuck by attempting to swim up the filter's overflow spillway, hurting itself in the process. Betta also has white spots and appears to have popeye only on the right eye.
b. Appearance of poop?
Haven't seen any.
c. Appearance of gills?
Seem to look okay.

14. a. Have you treated your fish ahead of diagnosis?
b. What meds were used?

15. Insert photos of fish in question and full tank shot if necessary.
Tried multiple times to take a good picture of the fish, but the pictures won't come out clear enough to see much on my cell phone. I'll see if I can find a camera to take better ones.

I just really need help on diagnosing what exactly is wrong with the fish and what to do to treat them. Also, keep in mind that I won't be able to use more complex treatments as I am limited to what I can do in a dorm.

KendraMc 10-20-2011 12:45 PM

first advice, regardless of whether it is ich or not (i'll let someone else weigh in on that one), do a large water change and get a test kit (people here like API master kit, if that isn't possible, get a liquid kit. strips are unreliable). odds are, you have nitrites, especially as your tank is new. nitrites are very bad for the fish. large, frequent water changes are needed while your tank cycles, 50% a week at least, more often when you have ammonia or nitrites. start there and see if that helps.

Dragon Arcadia 10-20-2011 01:30 PM

Thank you for the advice. Found my camera, but I can't find it's USB cable. I'll upload the clear pictures from my phone, then see if I can find that kit.

Dragon Arcadia 10-20-2011 01:51 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Okay, this picture is pretty bad, but if you look closely at the side of the betta, you can barely see a few white dots. Also, on the back of his head, just above the fin, you can see the patch of bare skin from his attempts to swim up the spillway. There is a picture of the filter with the area where he kept getting stuck circled in red. If anyone knows what would make a betta so desperate to swim up a filter spillway and get stuck over and over, I would appreciate that as well. I have had bettas before and not once has one wedged itself in the filter until now. If no one knows what might be causing this, I'm open for suggestions on ways to block off the spillways then.

The most infected fish is the neon, but I can't get any pictures at all that are clear.

BobtheSnail 10-21-2011 07:55 AM

Well, it's probably ich. I'm treating for that right now, actually, and will begin treatment for fin rot soon... but that's very much off topic.

Now, there are a couple of options for treating your ich fish. You can either:
A. Add salt to your tank OR
B. Buy some formalin/malachite green to add to your tank.

Actually, I'm just going to give you the link to an article someone shared with me exactly one week ago-
Ich | The Skeptical Aquarist


thekoimaiden 10-21-2011 11:33 PM

Another thing that will help get rid of the ich faster is to raise the temp of your aquarium. This speeds up the lifecycle of the parasite. Since they are only susceptible to medication in the free-floating stage, a higher temp will mean more parasites go into the free-floating stage to be killed. But don't push the temperature too high or it will stress out your fish too much. Hope this helps! Ich is something all aquarists fight from time to time.

Tha Bizness 10-22-2011 08:50 AM

If it were me I would just raise the temp of the water and add salt. After a couple of weeks your problem will be gone.

vaygirl 10-22-2011 04:04 PM

Your betta may be trying to get away from those tetras. Bettas don't always like tankmates.They usually either fight off an invader or move to another spot. He seems to be trying to move. His next attempt might be to try and jump out. They are notorious jumpers.

Is there any chance the tetras are nipping him? Are his fins tattered at all? If it were me, I would get him a tank of his own. You can use a 2 gallon drum bowl that will still fit a heater if you don't wanna go high tech. Just do a couple weekly water changes to keep his water clean (50 and 100%). Check using your test kit to be sure that's an adequate schedule. If you want to fight off ich for him on his own, he can go up to a temp of 84-86 but do it gradually over a couple days.

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