lots of poop and fish look weird..please help - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 12 Old 08-06-2007, 11:44 PM Thread Starter
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lots of poop and fish look weird..please help

I have had my 20 gal. tank since Feb. 07 and it includes 1 common pleco, 1 tiger barb, 1 blue dwarf gourami, and 1 long fin cherry barb. The cherry barb has been in the tank for about one month and the rest have been there since Feb. I have had to deal with ICK once in march but nothing since, until now. I know my tank isn't overstocked and I'm not over feeding my fish, but they are pooping excessive amounts and it's clay colored and white. I just did a 50% water change on Saturday and had to do another today because the gravel was very dirty and the fish looked wierd. They were all slightly pale and the tiger fish's stripes were fading. I tested the water before the water change, ammonia: 0, nitrite: 0, nitrate: 0, and pH: 7.2 (normal for my tank). I don't know what is going on. Any help please?
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-06-2007, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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and to add, after the first water change the fish returned to normal color and then this morning they began to look pale again. Then after the 2nd water change they returned to normal color again, but the excessive amounts of poop is still high. I don't know if they have infection or what. please give any advice. thanks
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post #3 of 12 Old 08-07-2007, 04:04 AM
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0 nitrates is a little unusual, im not sure if im right but tiger barbs prefer to be in a group, so maybe hes a little stressed, and ur common plec will outgrow ur tank, my fish all poop alot, all the time, how often do u feed them and how much? do u use a gravel vac wen u do water changes? how long do u leave the lights on for?
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post #4 of 12 Old 08-07-2007, 04:15 AM
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What test kit are you using? Your tank is actually overstocked with a common pleco in it. At this rate, you will have to carry out nearly daily water changes. I expect your water parameters to be on dangerous levels rather than zero.

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post #5 of 12 Old 08-07-2007, 09:46 AM Thread Starter
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I am using the API freshwater kit. And the nitrates were under 5.0 so I assumed it was closest to zero. My pleco doesn't seem to have grown since I've bought him. I was just worried because I have been doing more water changes than usual and their poop used to be pink and brown and now it's white and clay colored. I didn't know that barbs needed to be in schools when I first purchased him, but he seems to be doing fine alone and is usally pretty active. I do use a gravel vacuum when I clean out my tank and I feed my fish a small pinch of food 2xday. So do you think something else is giong on or do I need to find another home for my pleco? Is that possibly the cause of the excessive build up of waste?
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post #6 of 12 Old 08-07-2007, 12:16 PM
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plecos r HUGE waste machines!!! so yes it is probably the pleco, even wen they r small, they seem to be big waste producers, i would advise rehoming him now, and perhaps getting a smaller breed, like the bulldog, or clown pleco
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post #7 of 12 Old 08-07-2007, 02:54 PM
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Ok, what are you feeding them? I think this is going to explain the poo color a little more. As for the change in attitude of the fish when you do a water change, my first guess would be lack of oxygen. I would try putting an airstone in there and see how they react. As for the pleco, they can only produce as much waste as they eat so if he isn't being overfed and is under 6 inches he will be fine for awhile. Even a BN or Bulldog pleco if fed a lot will produce a ton of poo so size nor species matters much.

It is really a catch 22 when feeding plecos though. They need a lot of roughage to keep them healthy but if you feed them whatever they will eat you wind up with a lot of waste. If you don't then they can develope problems. Just keep up with your water changes and make sure the fish are healthy. Is what they invented the gravel vac for. As long as your nitrates are staying low and you have zero ammonia and nitrites it seems like you are doing everything right.
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post #8 of 12 Old 08-07-2007, 05:03 PM
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Oh and just in case you haven't, make sure to shake the second bottle for the nitrate test really really hard. I didn't do this when I first got mine and I was getting low readings. My actual reading was 30ppm where before I shook it really hard I was only getting 10.
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post #9 of 12 Old 08-07-2007, 07:11 PM
If the fish are perking up after water changes, it does sound like there is too much waste in the tank and that it is bothering them. I would keep up with the water changes until the pleco gets a new home, and do keep close tabs on the water parameters.

Best wishes for your fishes!
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post #10 of 12 Old 08-07-2007, 10:12 PM
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I'd hold off on feeding the fish for a couple days or so. Try adding an airstone with an airpump for the tank like Fish4all suggested.

What kind of filter do you have?

I hope you know Cherry barbs and Tiger barbs are a "schooling" fish and tend to feel comfortable in larger groups.
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