Medicated Cycle Done ... now what? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-15-2015, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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Medicated Cycle Done ... now what?

For tank setup and configuration (in answer to all those questions usually requested) please see my profile page.

Preceding these 14 days of medicating my tank, I had to treat for ICH. Following a 10 day ICH treatment, I did a 60% water change on my 15gal tank ... a week later, my male swordtail looked like his face was melting, the guppies didn't look too good.

In any event, I've just finished 14 days of medicating with Melipix, Pimafix, and ICH Attack ... every day 30% water change, every 3rd day 60% water change. During the treatment the male swordtail died. One of my 2 female guppies gave still birth to 12 babies then died herself. Just now, completed 60% water change and treated with Stress Zyme and Stress Coat. Being the water sample fine with API Master (drops & vials) I don't think I have a major water cycle to worry about. I've replaced the charcoal into the corner skimmer filter - I debated this, but caved in to have carbon in the filtration process. As well, I have a bio-sponge filter with a bubbler.

Being that these 3 months of getting my tank set up has been nothing short of stressful and unsuccessful so far,
> is there anything I should consider regarding more diseases?
> is the tank going to go through a big cycle / mini cycle or just stay as is?
> I believe the charcoal will remove all the medications - is it okay to continue with this filter for a longer time period or will I need to removed it after a few days/weeks due to absorbing the medications?

I've dropped the temp from 84F to 82F; ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 0. The remaining 4 adult guppies + 4 live babies (about a month old and still very small but incredibly active and voracious), 4 neons, 2 chinese algae eaters, and 1 corey look great and have been looking much better for about a week. I'm wanting to be an aquarium enthusiast, but if the stress doesn't stop, and the fish all die, I think I'll take the hammer and destroy my tank so that I am not tempted to retry. I know I need another female guppy, so I'm hoping in the baby-pod that there will be a couple of beauties the boyz can play with. Also, I'll probably return 3 to my fish supplier so I can keep the population down ... but gotta determine the gender before I do.

Also wondering if anyone has used the company that sells "ready to go" bio-filters, that are "guaranteed" to be cycle complete. I'm thinking about a small 5 gal tank for QT purposes, but know it will need to be a somewhat active and live tank as well otherwise I fear it will cycle while treatment or quarantine is ongoing.

Thank you!
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post #2 of 8 Old 04-15-2015, 09:49 PM
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Current results of water tests would help. From previous posts I'm seeing no nitrate, unless It's densely planted & lightly stocked something is amiss. The nitrite & nitrate bottles you have to shake nearly to death, pop off the top, put in a small piece of aquarium gravel, it'll work the same with mixing it as a spray paint can. Often testing inaccuracies arise from the chemicals not being mixed thoroughly.

The various xxxfix products really fix nothing but the retailer's bottom line. Back in the day heat & salt was the usual remedy for ich, thanks to so many years of half baked treatments many strains are heat & salt resistant. While herbal & all natural sounds great it often doesn't cut it. Quinine sulfate will knock it out, a formagreen med almost always will, as will copper. Not knowing your water hardness I'd go with a med containing formalin & malachite green, ProFormC is about the best out there. You might not see the ich, one of the first places it attaches itself is the gills, velvet is similar in this respect. Don't be leery of the proper use of chemicals, water is a chemical.

The salt isn't helping anything, and may be causing more harm than good. I won't get all technical with osmotic pressure & such, but with 30 tanks it's something I never use. 82F is still pretty warm for the livebearers & cats, I'd drop it down to 78F. While Stresscoat will remove chlorine it will split the chlorine/ammonia bond in chloramine, leaving you with ammonia. I see from previous posts you're also adding an ammonia remover, you can get the dechlorination, ammonia detox, and much more for significantly cheaper with Seachem Prime. I also see you had fish with some sort of clear go on the face, this is most likely bacterial, seeing you don't have a camera look up columnaris. This is a bacterial disease that often presents itself as a fungal issue. The fungus is secondary to the bacterial issue.

As far as the charcoal, it will remove the meds, but gets full pretty fast. You're probably doing a better job at med removal with your water change schedule.

If you're talking about Angels Plus with the sponge filters, good outfit, good product, good guy. I've been dealing with him for many years, he's got a stellar reputation among aquarists. If you've got a link to anyone else providing cycled filters/media I'd appreciate it. They're very few & far between, I've shipped cycled media plenty of times over the years. If you could provide a location there may be a club near you, plenty of folks run fishrooms, and have media to spare for someone having a cycling issue. What you can do for a quar tank is run a spare smaller filter, or run spare media in your main filter for the quar tank when needed.

So, get back to us on the water hardness, location, and link to who you're looking at for cycled filters. Ditch the salt, pick up a bottle of Prime, with a 15 gallon tank a small bottle will last seemingly forever. Look up columnaris, see if it looks anything like you saw on the guppys.

From your previous topic, congrats on starting up again at 55! I'm 55 as well, been at this for 23 years, while the learning curve may be steep at first it's nothing impossible. Many things have changed over the years, the biggest things are our understanding of the sciences behind what happens in a aquarium, and the way easy availability of info thanks to the internet. No tank smashing, we've all started pretty much the same place as you and can understand the frustration, hell it still happens here at times! Stick around, keep asking questions, we'll get you to where you need to be!
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post #3 of 8 Old 04-17-2015, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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Tolak -

Thank you for the very insightful reply. Certainly things to think about and recommendations to follow.

I actually borrowed a camera from a neighbor and have now posted a picture of my aquarium. I tried to get pics of the fish in focus, but to no avail - blurry little creatures! In any event, they appear to be in a healthy way with no goo, ich or other issue to share. Hopefully this will remain the case!

Since there are no issues with the fish at this time that I can verify, I'm keeping a note on hand to get Proform-C if I should get some sort of illness breakout. However, I will be getting the Seachem Prime. I did a 5 gal water change today (day 2 post removal of medications via 60% water change and reintroducing the charcoal in the filter). I'll do another 5 gal change in 2 days then 10 gal change 2 days after that. Then, as long as the ammonia & nitrites remain at zero in the tank, I'll go to a weekly cycle ... or so.

Question - as a kid 45 years ago, I only did water changes when the corner filter looked dirty, which would've been about every 4-6 weeks. When did it become necessary to do water changes more often, it just seems so excessive. And, back then I certainly overcrowded my tanks based on recommendations of 1 inch of fish per gallon ... and I can say, honestly, that I never ever had an issue with disease or sick fish ... let alone watch any of them drop dead nearly instantly.

As for salt, I suppose I'll allow the salt to be removed through upcoming water changes. Again, this was something new to me because as a kid this was something I had never heard of. I only introduced the salt as I was desperate to rid my tank of whatever infection got into it ... along with all that herbal med! Hopefully, it's all in the past!

By the way - even after super shaking the begeezers out of the API test kit drop bottles, I still come up with 0, 0, 0 for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. Ph is per tap water, at about 7.6. I have no way to test the water hardness, only to say that what comes into my pipes from the city which is excessive - thus, I installed a water softener about a year ago and I use the softened water for the fish tank. I tried the hard water initially, but comparatively, I think the fish prefer the softened water ... despite what I've read to the contrary. Hmmmm.

As for the ready-to-go, pre-cycled bio-filter sponge, I happened to stumble across Angel Plus, which is why I asked. Nothing new to add here. And, once I am confident with my tank, I'll take your suggestion and add a second sponge-filter to use for when I need to use a quar-tank.


Last edited by ksteph01; 04-17-2015 at 04:29 PM.
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post #4 of 8 Old 04-17-2015, 08:25 PM
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I would like to pay something forward tolak did for us by sending us established filter media.

I can send you a piece of healthy established media. You can just pop it in your hang on the back filter until you need to quarantine again. Message me your address.
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post #5 of 8 Old 04-17-2015, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by AnnieH View Post
I would like to pay something forward tolak did for us by sending us established filter media.

I can send you a piece of healthy established media. You can just pop it in your hang on the back filter until you need to quarantine again. Message me your address.
I love when things come full circle like this. While we may disagree at times on some aspects of fishkeeping, (hopefully without being too disagreeable!) it seems we're always there to back up another member who may need a hand. This right here makes my day! :)

Corner filters are still around, the triangle of plastic powered by air that sits in a corner. The larger round versions are called box filters, all the tanks in my fishroom that are used for anything larger than tiny fry run them. While some things have changed some really haven't! The inch per gallon guideline was started many years back in an effort to keep new fishkeepers from overstocking. The whole guideline is "one inch of slim bodied fish that grows to no more than 3 inches per gallon of water". Everyone seems to have forgotten the middle part, and takes shots at that guideline with examples such as a 10" oscar in a 10 gallon tank. Going by half the guideline can get you in a whole lot of trouble! With experience many folks go past that guideline quite a bit, as mentioned it's a good starting point.

Water changes these days is based more on the science we now know behind what happens in an aquarium. Back in the day large frequent water changes were avoided thinking the water held good bacteria, and removing too much removed the good bacteria. What was actually happening was a buildup of waste increased the total dissolved solids, which works in many ways like hardness in stabilizing pH. Nitrogen based waste that fish produce is acidic. Over time the built up waste dropped the pH, while increasing hardness to stabilize it at that pH. Nitrifying bacteria grow slower at a lower pH, ammonia is in the less toxic ammonium form at lower pH levels. Joe fishkeeper does a large water change after a lengthy time, the new water is softer, with a higher pH. This makes it hard for the nitrifying bacteria to do what they need to do, and the osmotic shock on the fish from the change in hardness can be rough to deal with. Double whammy on the fish, not knowing the science behind it back then it gets blamed on the new water & removal of bacteria. Having a much better understanding of the science behind it these days, we know the nitrifying bacteria is for a huge majority of the time found in the filter media, changes in hardness with the accompanying osmotic shock is way worse than a change in pH, and we understand the parameters in which those bacteria best grow.

Fish back then were often either locally bred, or imported wild caught species. There were very few fish farms, and overnight or next day shipping was rare and really expensive. Basically you had stronger fish genetically, who were exposed to a lot less diseases, and drug resistant diseases were unheard of. Today fish farms are a huge business, lots of inbreeding occurs there,often making for genetically weak fish. These fish get exposed to bacteria that are more drug resistant. The wholesaler gets fish in from several different farms, in many cases on a centralized system, so the fish get exposed to whatever was at the other farms. They then go to a local shop, many once again on a central system, and often getting fish from a couple different wholesalers. You end up with weaker fish, who are exposed to more diseases, some of which are drug resistant. Throw a bit of adversity at the poor fish, being shipped a few times in a few weeks or less, the last being brought to your house, you see belly up fish. This is why local independently owned shops will most often carry a better product than the chains, they'll deal with local breeders, might be a bit more choosy in what wholesaler they get fish from, the downside is often they're a bit more expensive.

With all the water you've been changing it is possible that the nitrate is reading zero. As it is, the API water testing kit is a great thing for when there's problems, but it's nowhere near laboratory grade, closer to the kid's chemistry kits available. When the ammonia test kit sells for $6 online it probably takes about a dollar to make it. For the price you can't beat it, but expect the occasional variances due to that. Some years back they did have a bad run of the ammonia test kits, everything was testing at 0.25 ppm ammonia, even distilled water.

Water softeners remove calcium & magnesium, replace it with sodium & potassium. The water acts as if it's softer, the total dissolved solids, which is a big part of what hardness is, remains the same due to the dissolved sodium & potassium. Not a big thing to worry about unless you get into live plants, using fertilizer & such. Lord knows I use enough electricity in my setup, due to this I really don't do plants at all, the lights would kill me, as would my wife when she saw the bill.

Angels Plus is a good stumble, your Google Fu must be strong! Glad to hear the fish are doing better, post the pic, everyone here loves pictures!
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-18-2015, 01:06 AM Thread Starter
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Really??!! That would be totally awesome ... but then put me in the camp of sometime having to pay it forward. Well, this is what life is about. I'll see how I can get you my shipping info off line and out of the forums.

You & Tolak are a blessing! <3
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post #7 of 8 Old 04-18-2015, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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I posted the picture of my tank on my aquariums tab ... but we'll see if this link works as well. I'm technologically unsavvy ...

Cheers, and thanks for helping!

Update: well, it appears the picture didn't post. So, you can see my tank on my aquariums tab.
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post #8 of 8 Old 04-21-2015, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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I got the Prime and today used it for the first time with my water change. I think I am now about 1 week free of using all those medications. With the house water coming from a softener, I performed todays water change from the outside faucet, which is the cities hardwater supply - I feel comfortable as Prime states it reduces the effects of metals, so it appears Prime does a little softening as well.

Since elimination of the meds, I've lost 1 Neon; 2 of my Neons are still social and frolic about, and my 4th Neon spends time hiding ... however he does come out to eat. I think there is a little shock of going from the polluted (by medication) water and having crystal geyser water ... oh, and I think I'm going through a mini-cycle that hopefully won't punish my little ones too harshly. All the other fish look a little better and a little less stressed. For 2 days there was very little eating (again, adjusting to their cleaner water environment?) but that appears to be improving.

Again, cheers and thank you for the ongoing support!
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