something looks wrong with my 2 tanks very long post sorry - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 9 Old 01-01-2013, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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something looks wrong with my 2 tanks very long post sorry

this is going to be longer than normal post. First I apologize for any mistakes English is my second language.
Now i have 2 tanks that are 10 gal and I have a feeling something is wrong but can not indicate what, reading around the internet so I decided if I post may be I can gather some opinions of you guys and go from there. I will fill out the chart you have for both tanks.

Here is a summery of the problems.

Tank one is my main tank. There was a female sword tail fish that had 1 bright red bloody looking dot on her. Did not look like it is under her skin, there was nothing white or fuzzy on it. After giving birth /I did not find any fry from it/ she kept hiding in the plants and I saw her 2 times laying on the air stone. Just as she would lay on the bottom, looked like heavy breathing and she would stay in the bubbles like this. Then this red dot showed up. I freaked out and euthanized her... then I treated the tank in general with tetra life guard. No other fish was sick, now my male sword tail is doing the same thing- laying near the air stone and breathing heavy. He is bright red so I can not notice anything wrong with him, the only thing that I have noticed is his top fin seems to be nipped also his poop is bright red. I have a male molly that has been a little bully lately and I was thinking he might of stressed out my sword tail, also I changed the lighting of the fish tank so now it is stronger lights -I am not sure if the sword tail guy is sick or no. All other fish seems happy and healthy. All of them eat when fed including him, he keeps eating with no problem.

Fry tank. I added some guppies to it out of another tank I own and the problems started... First thing I am noticing is some of the fish is flashing not very often usually morning when I turn on the light. I lost a young pregnant guppy without any signs of disease last week.Today I lost an old guppy that first lost coloration, then I noticed she is turning white- no spots just her entire color kind of faded- last night her top fin had something white and looked like fungus but was kind of hanging there on strings, the fin was gone from what I noticed... It was New Years Night /Happy New Year/ So i did not have time to deal with her, today I found her dead... so that is very alarming to me, when I examined her dead nothing looked wrong but I also could not take a good look. I have 2 other old guppies in the tank that are alive I`d say around 1 year old- both have not been pregnant for over 2 months. One fish start having crooked back and the other just has no belly left- looks very skinny. Both of them look good in color no spots, no flashing, their colors are shiny and they swim normal and are active. I have noticed that only the young guppies are flashing not the old once. There is one molly that keeps her tail clamped very often. She started doing that after I added the guppy- not sure if this is related. They were perfectly healthy before I moved them to the new tanks, i have had all these guppies for at least 7 months and the younger once are raised in the fry tank. I have not added any new fish at all from a store. The plants are live in both tanks and have been added about 4 months ago. I have not had any problems before that so now I am not sure what is going on. Also all problems start showing once I switched fishes between tanks. I can not determine if it is that the fish tank had something that got on the fish or the fish had something on them that moved to the tank and if there is in fact something wrong with the tank itself or it is that my older fish is actually getting old and their immune system is giving up on the. All molly on the other side seem to be doing just great /cross my fingers, also all the sword tail fry is growing pretty good too- I have not lost any fry, so it seems to be a problem only with the adult sword tail and guppies in both tanks/.

Sorry for the long post just wanted to be detailed and explain the situation.
I do add salt in both tanks my live plants are good with brackish water. I add about 1 or 1,5 tbs per 10 gal, I know I should do 2 but I want to leave myself some space for mistakes, because from what i understand- every time I change water I should add more salt, I change about 30 % of the water so I do not want to drop more salt than what I need, I try to add about that amount 1 time a week and I do 2 or 3 water changes a week because I am a little overstocked with all this fry.

I am considering doing another treatment for both tanks with tetra lifeguard because I think it is a good general measure, I have used it in the past for treatment combined with salt and it did help sick fish to recover. I have not started the treatment yet, because I want to read a little before starting. It bothers me that it is possible for the medicine to kill my beneficial bacteria in both tanks and I may have to cycle the tanks all over again... this is not such a big deal though because my other concern is I want to make sure the fry is not sick before i take it to the store, i know the guys there do cell it to people so I don`t wanna transfer diseases to other people

Thank you for reading this all help would be appreciated

Happy New Year

Main tank and Fry tank

1. What is the size of your tank?- 10 Gal - both

2. What are your water parameters? State the brand of test kit used. - API freshwater master test kit -both

Nitrite- 0
Nitrate- 20
PH- 6.8 /main tank/- 7/ fry tank/
Ammonia - main tank- 0.5, fry tank 0,25

I do water changes every other day or once every 2 days to control the ammonia, I think I am jst overstocked with all this fry...

3. Is your aquarium set up freshwater or brackish water? I add API salt but is set up for fresh water

4. How long the aquarium has been set up?- 8 months /main/, about 4 months/fry tank/

5. What fish do you have? How many are in your tank? How big are they? How long have you had them?.

Main tank
3 dalmatian molly- 2 full grown one still stays smaller / have had them at least 5 months/
1 balloon molly- full grown /have had him at least 8 months/
2 young male guppies- with the tail I`d say about 0.6 inches /1.5 cm/ are about 4 months old- home grown
3 fry sword tails- about 3 months old- home grown
1 male sword tail- with the sword comes to 1,5 inch /4 cm/- have had him for at least 4 months
1 female sword tail- young under 1 inch /about 2 cm/ at least 4 months old home grown

Fry Tank

3 young guppies - 2 are 4 months old under 1 inch, 1 is about 2 months old- home raised
3 adult guppies- have had them for 8 months- full grown in size over 1 inch
1 adult molly- have had her 8 months about 1 inch
6 molly/sword tail fry- under 1 inch, were born at my main tank about 2 months old

/all fry is gonna be removed and given to a LFS once I determine my fish is not sick for sure, I know the tank is overstocked/

6. Were the fish placed under quarantine period (minus the first batch from the point wherein the tank is ready to accommodate the inhabitants)? - No

7. What temperature is the tank water currently? - 82 F = 27C both

8. Are there live plants in the aquarium? -yes /both tanks/

9. What filter are you using? State brand, maintenance routine and power capacity.- using a hydro sponge filter pro 2 or 3 not sure was told in the store it is good for 30 gal tank- I wash the sponge in fish tank water at least 1 time a month- both tanks

10. Any other equipment used (aside from heater and filter which are two very important components of the tank)?- no other equipment

11. Does your aquarium receive natural sunlight at any given part of the day? What is your lighting schedule (assuming you do not rely on sunlight for our viewing pleasure)?- no sunlight whatsoever, I keep my lights on at least 12 hours a day, all my plants are slow growing low light plants- both tanks

12. When did you perform your last water change and how much water was changed? How often do you change your water? Do you vacuum the substrate?
Both tanks- today. Change water every other day or every 2 days, usually just test for ammonia every other day and if there is ammonia I do water change. I change anywhere between 15% to 50% depending on the ammonia level. I suck the poop of the bottom but do not use a special vacuum for it.

13. What foods do you provide your fish? What is the feeding schedule?
- both tanks I feed 1 time a day, rarely 2 times, 1 day a week I keep them hungry, I feed them flakes, dry blood worms and sea weed from time to time, also I add algae tablets - the molly love them. Main food is the flakes some days I just feed them the dry blood worms and sea weed instead.

14. What unusual signs have you observed in your fish?- I explained them above

15. Have you treated your fish ahead of diagnosis? If so, what treatments did you use? State your reasons for planning ahead of proper diagnosis.

Main tank I treated with Tetra Lifeguard 2 weeks ago.

Fry tank has not been treated ever so far, I just added salt with todays water change and this is pretty much it.

I would like to know if there is a problem with my tanks, what is it, how can I fix it... It is weird because I have not had any problems with them and out of now where this signs showed up. So I would like to correct the problem if there is such.

Thank you again for reading
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post #2 of 9 Old 01-02-2013, 08:35 AM
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Hello Iantra!
Thank You for the long post, it really helps us to understand what is going on. Thanks also for filling out the questionnaire for both tanks! And here I am asking you a whole bunch more!!
I am not an expert in diseases and I'm learning as I go... but what seems inconsistent to me is:
Live plants take up ammonia. A heavily planted tank should not have any ammonia issues.
So my first question is how many plants? Can you give us names of what you have and numbers of each? Can you possibly give us a picture of both tanks?
I find that IMO the Adult 10 gallon is the one overstocked, yes?
NitrAte numbers look good. Ammonia is high in the Adult tank which makes sense but with plants...
Have you ever tested your tap water? Mine has Ammonia .25 in it.... Yours? So for me I can't expect my Amm numbers to drop when I add it at water change time.
Do you plant fertilize? How often and what days? Type?
The last NEW thing from outside the home to go into either tank was plants 4 months ago? No rocks, wood, nothing else? Just switching around of fish/fry?
What De-chlor product do you use at water change time?

My questions to those who will read this... more experienced than I...
Temp too high?
Ammonia level with live plants?
Lets hope we can find some answers for you.
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post #3 of 9 Old 01-02-2013, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for reading my post, I will try to answer your questions as much as I can.
I am thinking you are right and the problem might be related to how planted the tanks are compared to how many fish are in there. I am currently working on planting the main tank with more plants because originally I started it with plastic plants and afterwords I start replacing the plastic with real once. The fry tank was started with real plants, which are slow growing, they are multiplying so every time I get new once I move them to the main tank. However I read somewhere that slow growing plants also take longer to deal with the ammonia... something like that anyways...
Main tank has one large I think it is named marble sword plant and it is taking almost all the space and I think is growing pretty good because I need to trim his leaves from time to time, they get too large and grow out of the water. It has also some java fern that is growing pretty good and I just moved 2 baby plants in there but they are tiny so I am not sure if they even count, i have a floating plant that looks like hornwort or whatever the name is but it is just similar plant. May be that is why it has a little higher ammonia because it is overstocked and needs more plants... I will attach picture of it.
Fry tank has: java fern a few plants,and from what I am thinking I have 2 plants of anubias and 2 more sward plants. But I am not sure about the second froup. I have a total of 4 big plants in there.
I just tested my tap water for ammonia /never thought to check on that/ and it came out on 0. For declor product I use prime on Sacheam I think... It is a red and white bottle.
I do not add anything for my plants to grow the only thing I did and it was 2 days ago is to change the type of lights on the hoods of the tanks to full spectrum lights.
I do not think I am super pro with my tanks but I am just trying to create a stable environment for my fish. I realize that from what I read it might be the fact that there is amonnia in my tanks that stresses out the fish and may be that is why problems pop out. Do you think by adding more plants I could stabilize this. Also because I am using only air driven filters I just ordered stronger air pumps so I can create better current in the tanks. My friends at the local fish store are not recommending me to use anything with carbon in it they always say it can poison my fish. I personally just don`t like the current power filters make in a tank... so I am trying to find other ways to have the tank running smooth.
When I was 14 I had a tank that I did not have any filtration in and had a ton of horwort growing, just a sponge with air rock and the same fish breeds and it run with no problem for 2 years. I remember I didnt even had a lighting for it and I was using desk light for 2,3 hours in the evenings :) So I am confident I can stabilize the tanks without needing to add chemical filtration.

Anyways I am attaching 2 pics of the 2 tanks, not great pics but are the newest the main tank still has 2 fake plants in it for fry to hide in them, and the fry tank has 1 fake plant /the red one/ I used it when I started the tank and never removed it.

Actually with the plants we also got a tiny drift wood piece that was given to us for the java fern to be attached to, and it is in the fry tank. There was something like a lava rock that my husband got for his fish tank and that is where the guppies used to be, that rock came 4 months ago too. Now the fish tank the guppies used to be still has the rock but is with different fish in there.

Another thing may be important to add about those guppies is that the old fish tank they used to be is connected to aquaponic system, we just had to put different fish in there cause guppies are not making enough fish poop to grow the vegetables, but they neve had health problems while they were in the aquaponic fish tank and also the fish tank in the aquaponic has perfect water parameters...

Here is the pics

Fry tank- red plant on the right is fake

Uploaded with

Main tank - plant on the left side is fake but I use it to hold my java fern on it and for baby fish to hide- also the moss ball that you see is fake it is supposed to level the phosphates in the water but Im not sure it does anything else than just decorate :D

Uploaded with

thanks for reading again
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post #4 of 9 Old 01-02-2013, 06:47 PM
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Thank You so much for posting the photos. That really helps us to see if something has been missed sometimes. Both your tanks are lovely!
Now I would not call them heavily planted but as mentioned live plants sure do help. And both these tanks have been up and running for several months. Adults 8 mo. and Fry 4 months you said.
You have NitrAtes so I'm still baffled by the Ammonia numbers.
Good that you are doing the water changes and using Prime. Prime will neutralize the Ammonia but I believe it will still give readings, so water changes are the way to go. Great to know too that you are not adding Ammonia with a water change.
I'm hoping a few members with experience can chime in here. There is lots of information here to review.
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post #5 of 9 Old 01-02-2013, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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Hey JackieBabie thank you for replaying though. I am kind of worry if it is a parasite, today I saw some of their poop was kinda lighter color but still nothing else is visible. I am going to try and see what is going to happen with the stronger pumps. I am thinking about either adding more plants or adding one more filter for each tank. Not sure what to do. For now im gonna wait and see what happens. Cause I really can not treat them for something I can`t see. My male sword tail in the main tank looks like has huge difficulties breathing, and keeps laying down on the tank bottom around the air stone, he still goes up to eat but always returns down there, nothing looks bad on him otherwise, no other fish is acting like this...
May be they are getting old. I also will wait and if the babies do not show any signs of illness I`ll take them to the pet store cause they are getting big and territorial... I had to split up to of the baby male mollies cause they were fighting and there is a baby sword tail that is hiding in the mini cave in the fry tank and just chases every other sword tail that swims by I find it very funny, reminds me of a dog or something.
Anyways thank you for trying to help
Have a wonderful evening
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post #6 of 9 Old 01-02-2013, 09:23 PM
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Hey No problem.. wish I could help more... but the thread is now in the New Posts section so more members will see it.
I took the thread link to the chat room....
It is advised to lower your temperatures to 78. 82 is too high for Swordtails. Also an increase in plants would be good, sure can't hurt!! Double them if you can.
Also now that you have changed your lights you may need to also Fertilize the plants. I do so 2 x a week but you should start with once a week and not on a water change day. Fert on an opposite day. Hopefully more members will post replies to you.
Still have some concerns about where the tank is with the cycle being that it is only a 10g, but more plants will help this issue.
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post #7 of 9 Old 01-02-2013, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
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:) Yes I will ask my husband to adjust the heater, I am freaked out to not mess it up and fry my fish in there :) I will look into fertilizing the plants too. It is possible that my beneficial bacteria got reduced after the treatment I did with tetra lifeguard 2 weeks ago I read it could start the cycling process all over again so I think that is what is happening but not sure I hope I save my sword tail... the rest of the fish is doing just fine
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post #8 of 9 Old 01-02-2013, 11:15 PM
Before I even start let me say i'm no expert, but here goes:

At the very beginning, you said the first sick sword(the one you euthanized) gave birth, but there were no babies. Why do you think she gave birth if there were no fry? Could it be that she was dying because she could not give birth? This would explain why she laid on the bottom like that, and yes birthig issues would have killed her anyway. If this is a possibility, I wouldnt worry about parasites.
The High temp could definetely be an issue too. Your sad male sword could just be stressed from loosing a companion. Also, water tends to be cooler near the bottom or near currents, so heat could explain why he laid by the airstone.
As for the other fish, My guess is they're jst stressed from the change in environment. My guppies have always flashed from time to time, but if the others aren't doing it, I guessthe young ones are just tense because they moved. I think all the fish with signs of stress such as clamping and flashing will adjust and settle down soon.

In conclusion, lower temp, add plants is fine, do your filter thing, water changes,and wait. If you decide they are ill, thenyou can go back to medicine, but be careful wih chemichals as unneeded ones can be stressfull too
Hope this helps!
Good luck!
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post #9 of 9 Old 01-02-2013, 11:25 PM
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Yes you are probably experiencing another cycle. That is quite a possibility. Again extra plants will help immensely.
Good luck with them. keep us posted.
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