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Newbie running into MAJOR problems...

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Newbie running into MAJOR problems...
Old 04-13-2009, 11:26 AM   #11
 
I was under the impression that columnaris was an ever-present bacteria causing infections in only injured/stressed fish... is this not the case?

The only tank that the brother's fiancee had was the one she gave us to start up as far as I know though I can ask if she has anymore running. She was talking about switching to a salt water set up though. How would that affect things? If she has a saltwater aquarium running, I doubt it's cycled yet either since we would have started either at the same time or her after us. If it is cycled (by some miracle) then would we still even want anything from it?

I attempted again this morning to feed a little bit as the angelfish was rummaging around the bottom looking hungry. It spat out the couple of tropical flakes I tried, but took to dried blood worms okay.Nobody else came up for food and nobody touched the sinking wafer I dropped in for Meowth, the spotted catfish. I understand that the glass cats will more than likely need live or frozen food (at least that's what I read), or is it that everyone's still stressed from the move? Last thing I need is starving fishies after I spent so much time spoiling them rotten.
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Old 04-13-2009, 11:33 AM   #12
 
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Yes, it's true that it's an ever-present bacteria and is most likely too infect fish that are stressed. Maintaining good water quality keeps fish from being stressed and less susceptible to infection. Because your tank isn't cycled the water quality is an issue here, along with the fact that the tank is overstocked, which also stresses fish. You've got alot of issues as far as stressors that your fish are dealing with.
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Old 04-13-2009, 12:37 PM   #13
 
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Aunt kymmie has hit the nail right on the head. The "new tank syndrome" is extremely stressful on fish. You have too many (or the wrong kind) fish in the tank as an earlier member mentioned, but in a new uncycled tank this is a real disaster.

I'll leave the disease to others more familiar with this, the main issue for me is getting your tank habitable for the fish.

Buy a small bottle of "Cycle" from the lfs and dose the tank as on the label, one capful (which is 10g, your tank size). Repeat this after one week. The "Cycle" is active bacteria that will greatly quicken the establishment of bacteria in the tank and relieve stress on the fish that are left. Perform daily water tests for ammonia and nitrite; these should drop to 0 fairly soon if you use the Cycle. Nitrate at this point is irrelevant. Depending upon the test results, I would not do water changes beyond weekly, and then about 25% of the tank and do not vacuum the gravel as you don't want to remove the good bacteria that are colonizing it. And do not clean the filter for a few weeks, same reason.

Do not add anything from other tanks. You may introduce more disease from freshwater, and anything from a saltwater tank is always no. The seeding idea behind the transfer of water or filter material from another tank is correct, but in this case you have problems in your tank that do not need to be worsened. The "Cycle' is the seed for the bacteria and I have used it and it works.

Do not add any more fish to this tank, that will only make it even worse. In my view there is a good chance the molly will not survive, and the others may not either if the bacteria cycle is not immediately established.
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Old 04-13-2009, 01:26 PM   #14
 
Alright I'm back from my breakfast meeting and thanks a ton for all the great info you guys! I'm just waiting on my boyfriend to get back and we'll leave to the store for some Cycle, Maracyn (even if it's not for use in this particular instance it would be nice to have on hand), and MAYBE a 50gal heater since I just came across an excellent deal on a 50gal on craigslist with filter and pumps! :) Things are looking up! Assuming the craigslist transaction goes through alright and we get that 50gal tank today, what should my first objective be after cleaning it? I want to set this one up right and DEFINITELY want the fish happy in a large area.

I definitely had no intention of adding anymore fish to the 10gal tank though Byron. I think my statement about moving the ghost cats to a separate tank might have confused you, unless you were just laying a general statement of advice out there :) Either way, good advice all around!

Thanks everybody!
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Old 04-13-2009, 02:09 PM   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheknnudol View Post
Alright I'm back from my breakfast meeting and thanks a ton for all the great info you guys! I'm just waiting on my boyfriend to get back and we'll leave to the store for some Cycle, Maracyn (even if it's not for use in this particular instance it would be nice to have on hand), and MAYBE a 50gal heater since I just came across an excellent deal on a 50gal on craigslist with filter and pumps! :) Things are looking up! Assuming the craigslist transaction goes through alright and we get that 50gal tank today, what should my first objective be after cleaning it? I want to set this one up right and DEFINITELY want the fish happy in a large area.

I definitely had no intention of adding anymore fish to the 10gal tank though Byron. I think my statement about moving the ghost cats to a separate tank might have confused you, unless you were just laying a general statement of advice out there :) Either way, good advice all around!

Thanks everybody!
The "no more fish" was general, but added because in the original post you mentioned going to the lfs for something and your bf seing a nice fish so you bought it, or similar. We all have to resist those temptations unless we have the proper setup at home. And I certainly know how tempting it is to want to get some fish in a new tank, I still have that problem after 20 years of fish keeping.

As for doing it right with your 50g, that's easy. There was a link to a short article on cycling in an earlier post, but after reading it I think it needs a bit more explanation particularly on the timeline for all these processes, and when one can safely add fish and how. Over the past few weeks I seem to have posted quite a bit about cycling in response to several questions, so maybe its time I put it all together in one place. I'll work on that, but in the meantime, I hope you can get the Cycle and save your fish.

One thought on the heater, it is wise to buy the best. Heaters can malfunction, and you have to ask what is it worth if you lose some or all of your fish because the heater overheats or fails to heat. I've had it happen, so have many others. And with larger tanks like a 50g, it is better to have two heaters, one at each end. The heaters work less often and therefore perform longer and usually better. Two 100w heaters would be good in a 50g. The higher wattage heaters also have a better track record. I have two 200w heaters in my 70g tank.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 04-13-2009 at 02:13 PM..
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Old 04-13-2009, 03:25 PM   #16
 
Well after several trips to multiple pet stores, we've come home with Maracyn, Cycle, and a new thermometer. While the old temperature strip is reading somewhere between 83 and 87, the new digital puts the water around 76. BIG difference that I'm glad we now have a handle on. Also when we arrived, we found the smallest of our glass cats laying on his side on the bottom of the tank, gasping. I'm not sure what could have hit him so fast - do you think it's related to Token's illness or could it have just been the stress of the move?

I've put an offer in on the 50 gallon and hopefully we will have a response from the seller within the next few hours. It comes with an under-gravel filter and a couple of air pumps but I'm not sure what kind these are or what good if any they will be. The photo makes the filter plate look much smaller than the tank by comparison which leads me to believe it is probably not meant for a tank that large. Would I need to buy an additional 50gal filter? Or would a smaller one in conjunction with this one be sufficient?

As far as heaters go, I was planning on doing one at each end since it's just so darn wide (so yay! we agree!), though I was wondering, similarly, if two heaters graded for smaller tanks would be sufficient or if I would need two heaters rated for 50gallons.

Here's a tricky bit that I really shouldn't be thinking about yet as far as I'm concerned, but the boyfriend REALLY wants a black ghost knife fish because he saw some on sale for $expensive at petsmart. They get fairly large, I find, and I'm not sure if it would be 1) too large for a 50 gallon tank, or 2) a threat to the other fish in the tank as they would be much smaller over time (I've found stories preaching their peacefulness as well as others warning of their predatory behavior). Thoughts on the addition of one of these to the tank after a while?

ETA: Just received a phone call from the tank seller and heading out to purchase it now. woohoo!!

Last edited by Cheknnudol; 04-13-2009 at 03:34 PM..
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Old 04-13-2009, 05:54 PM   #17
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheknnudol View Post
Well after several trips to multiple pet stores, we've come home with Maracyn, Cycle, and a new thermometer. While the old temperature strip is reading somewhere between 83 and 87, the new digital puts the water around 76. BIG difference that I'm glad we now have a handle on. Also when we arrived, we found the smallest of our glass cats laying on his side on the bottom of the tank, gasping. I'm not sure what could have hit him so fast - do you think it's related to Token's illness or could it have just been the stress of the move?

I've put an offer in on the 50 gallon and hopefully we will have a response from the seller within the next few hours. It comes with an under-gravel filter and a couple of air pumps but I'm not sure what kind these are or what good if any they will be. The photo makes the filter plate look much smaller than the tank by comparison which leads me to believe it is probably not meant for a tank that large. Would I need to buy an additional 50gal filter? Or would a smaller one in conjunction with this one be sufficient?

As far as heaters go, I was planning on doing one at each end since it's just so darn wide (so yay! we agree!), though I was wondering, similarly, if two heaters graded for smaller tanks would be sufficient or if I would need two heaters rated for 50gallons.

Here's a tricky bit that I really shouldn't be thinking about yet as far as I'm concerned, but the boyfriend REALLY wants a black ghost knife fish because he saw some on sale for $expensive at petsmart. They get fairly large, I find, and I'm not sure if it would be 1) too large for a 50 gallon tank, or 2) a threat to the other fish in the tank as they would be much smaller over time (I've found stories preaching their peacefulness as well as others warning of their predatory behavior). Thoughts on the addition of one of these to the tank after a while?

ETA: Just received a phone call from the tank seller and heading out to purchase it now. woohoo!!

I hope you put the Cycle in the tank before you left. I'd bet the glass cat is expiring due to the ammonia and nitrite, whichever. A "move" from one tank to another is normally not that traumatic--provided the tanks are fairly equal in terms of water parameters (temp, pH, hardness) and are established biologically. We know the 10g is not, so that is probably the cause of the fish's state. If you added Cycle it may recover.

On the heaters, no, do not buy smaller ones. The point I tried to make earlier is that the heaters are both graded for the tank, and having two means less chance of malfunction and they tend to last longer; they are going on and off less, but have to be capable of heating the water volume. The smaller-wattage heaters are not meant to have to carry so big a tank, so its not a savings, and i expect they would give out sooner.

The knifefish is an avid predator that eats fish amongst other live foods, and can be intolerant of other fish. They grow to 12 inches or larger and would need a solitary tank. This info comes from Baensch/Riehl, Aquarium Atlas, vol. 1. Regardless of what fish you eventually get, it will be 8 weeks before a new tank is cycled and biologically established for significant fish to be added.
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Old 04-13-2009, 07:09 PM   #18
 
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Fungus maybe
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Old 04-13-2009, 07:18 PM   #19
 
Yes, we most definitely did put the Cycle in before we left. Token is looking a teency bit better (no longer motionless, but still not swimming around much), though the glass cat did not make it. I suspect he might have been sickly when we got him, however, considering his small size (probably half that of the other glass cat we got) and some weirdness on his antennae(?). The rest of the fish and the frog seem to be in their normal state minus the not eating which I (potentially incorrectly) have been attributing to the move.

My questions regarding the under-gravel filter seem to have been glossed over. Taking a look at the box it is in, it seems to be intended for use in tanks between 40 and 60 gallons, and my boyfriend's dad says that they work by drawing debris into the bottom of the tank where bacteria break them down, sort of like a septic tank. Is this the case? If so, is this preferable to using the typical bioBag-type filtration? I really don't know any better either way. Insight would be helpful.

Now that the Cycle has been in there for a few hours now, we went ahead and retested the water to see if there were any noticable changes. Here are the results:
Ammonia - Down to 0. Woot!
pH - steady at 6.6
Nitrate - Down to 10. Better!
Nitrite - Still testing at a full fledged 5.0 :(

We're pretty worried about the Nitrite reading so we went ahead and changed out a gallon of the water. It's not exactly the 25% change you indicated, Byron, but it's what we can do for now. Maybe it's jumping the gun, not giving the Cycle a chance to really affect things but with Token the way he is I want to do as much as I can right now.

It's probably me being paranoid but went ahead and tested the water that we've been putting into the tank (The supposedly awesomely filtered stuff) to make sure it's not contributing in any harmful manner.
Here are the results of that:
Ammonia - 0
pH - 6.0, oddly enough. Isn't water supposed to be neutral at 7.0?
Nitrate - Absolutely 0
Nitrite - Absolutely 0

I guess it's just fine for fishies...

Thanks for the info on the black ghost knife... I've read up about them a bit both in article/encyclopedia form as well as tried to find some 'testimonial' type information on forums and reviews. All of it thus far has been conflicting, so I guess the next step would be to get some input from someone with extensive experience with them if there is anyone like that here on this forum. :)

With the 50gallon tank, do we need to set it up completely independent of the 10 gallon tank and fill it with new water and start completely over? or can we somehow just transplant what we already have? I'm not entirely sure what cycling it by itself will achieve I guess... maybe I'm being dense. The thick and thin of it is that we don't have a whole lot of space here and a 50 gallon tank with goldfish (or whatever it is you cycle a tank with) in it for 8 weeks seems just a bit silly while the 10 gallon tears apart our CRT monitor with the magnet in its filter. Perhaps I'm sounding like I want to rush things, which to an extent is true, though please don't misunderstand that I do want to do the best I can for the fish while maintaining a certain lifestyle of my own.

Thanks again for everyone's input!
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Old 04-13-2009, 08:04 PM   #20
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheknnudol View Post
Yes, we most definitely did put the Cycle in before we left. Token is looking a teency bit better (no longer motionless, but still not swimming around much), though the glass cat did not make it. I suspect he might have been sickly when we got him, however, considering his small size (probably half that of the other glass cat we got) and some weirdness on his antennae(?). The rest of the fish and the frog seem to be in their normal state minus the not eating which I (potentially incorrectly) have been attributing to the move.


My questions regarding the under-gravel filter seem to have been glossed over. Taking a look at the box it is in, it seems to be intended for use in tanks between 40 and 60 gallons, and my boyfriend's dad says that they work by drawing debris into the bottom of the tank where bacteria break them down, sort of like a septic tank. Is this the case? If so, is this preferable to using the typical bioBag-type filtration? I really don't know any better either way. Insight would be helpful.


Now that the Cycle has been in there for a few hours now, we went ahead and retested the water to see if there were any noticable changes. Here are the results:
Ammonia - Down to 0. Woot!
pH - steady at 6.6
Nitrate - Down to 10. Better!
Nitrite - Still testing at a full fledged 5.0 :(

We're pretty worried about the Nitrite reading so we went ahead and changed out a gallon of the water. It's not exactly the 25% change you indicated, Byron, but it's what we can do for now. Maybe it's jumping the gun, not giving the Cycle a chance to really affect things but with Token the way he is I want to do as much as I can right now.


It's probably me being paranoid but went ahead and tested the water that we've been putting into the tank (The supposedly awesomely filtered stuff) to make sure it's not contributing in any harmful manner.
Here are the results of that:
Ammonia - 0
pH - 6.0, oddly enough. Isn't water supposed to be neutral at 7.0?
Nitrate - Absolutely 0
Nitrite - Absolutely 0

I guess it's just fine for fishies...


Thanks for the info on the black ghost knife... I've read up about them a bit both in article/encyclopedia form as well as tried to find some 'testimonial' type information on forums and reviews. All of it thus far has been conflicting, so I guess the next step would be to get some input from someone with extensive experience with them if there is anyone like that here on this forum. :)

With the 50gallon tank, do we need to set it up completely independent of the 10 gallon tank and fill it with new water and start completely over? or can we somehow just transplant what we already have? I'm not entirely sure what cycling it by itself will achieve I guess... maybe I'm being dense. The thick and thin of it is that we don't have a whole lot of space here and a 50 gallon tank with goldfish (or whatever it is you cycle a tank with) in it for 8 weeks seems just a bit silly while the 10 gallon tears apart our CRT monitor with the magnet in its filter. Perhaps I'm sounding like I want to rush things, which to an extent is true, though please don't misunderstand that I do want to do the best I can for the fish while maintaining a certain lifestyle of my own.


Thanks again for everyone's input!

I tried to insert answers under your questions, but didn't work, so hope you can follow this.

I don't advocate "Cycle" as a miracle cure, it isn't, but in my experience it really does lessen the stress on fish that are suddenly placed ina biolobically uncycled setup as yours were. If the damage was not too bad, the fish may recover now that there is some relief. Time will tell.

Sorry, missed these, more concerned with saving your fish. Undergravel filters do the job, no question, but not everyone recommends them. I've usd them, formerly a lot, now never. A big problem is that the substrate of the tank is the filter media, and that is where most of the biological action occurs. Which is fine as long as the undergravel filter doesn't get plugged (the gravel becomes packed with everything it draws into itself) and the water continues to pass through. Bacteria need oxygen, and if the water flow is disrupted through the bed, the bacteria will die and anaerobic bacteria will multiply. I had a bit to say about this in another thread, forgotten which one. To cut to the chase, the anaerobic conditions will cause nitrogen gas and hydrogen sulphide to form, and then more trouble for the poor fish. Merely vacuuming the gravel does not prevent it getting plugged. Your 10g would manage OK with an undergravel, but I wouldn't myself recommend one for the 50g. I would go with an outside canister filter. If anything goes wrong in one of those, the filter is outside the tank and you can disconnect the tubes and fix it. Plus they are very efficient and effective, and give opportunity for other media in the filter should you ever want to use peat to soften the water or dolomite to harden it, etc.

The water change is OK, just don't vacuum the gravel to avoid removing the bacteria you're trying to establish. You can overdose with Cycle, in fact I would if it were me, since you have a biological problem that is hurting the remaining fish. A second capful will do no harm. The nitrite will come down not immediately but it will. I think I said before, don't worry about the nitrates. A nitrate reading under 40ppm is considered OK by many aquarists, and several say a range of 10-20 is ideal. So you're OK on that.

It would be useful to know the hardness of this water, as I suspect it probably is very soft or so "pure" it could be distilled; many bottled waters are devoid of anything. The problem then is having to add mineral to it. What is wrong with your tap water? Check the pH and test for ammonia (don't bother with nitrite and nitrate), and we may have some more advice to better handle this.

Yes, the 50g will be a new tank on its own. Set it up, substrate, plants, whatever you want in it, fill it with water (we'll look at your tap water when you've answered my earlier questions), and then you need to decide how you are goin to cycle it. As you seem to want to move the fish from the 10g into the 50, we can discuss how this can be done. For now, let's save those fish, or the question will be academic.
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