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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am new to aquariums. Here are my tank specs: 65 Gallon, Planted (anubias, amazon sword, java fern, cryptocoryne wendtii, and corkscrew val) NH3 0, Nitrite and nitrate 0, pH 8.2, GH 180 KH 240 ppm.

Fish: 3 spotted corys, 2 angels small, 4 platies, now 6 silvertips.

My silvertips started dying about a week to 10 days after I got them. Started with 8 lost 3 in about a week, bout 4 more and now down to 6 again, no white spots until 3 days ago, found one spot on one tetra. Started treatement with APs quick cure on day two of that. But this is about 3 weeks into the deaths. What do you think, water hardness? This forum said silvertips could tolerate hard water. Was it Ich all along. The other fish, including the angels, are all fine. Looking for guidance. Should I give up on tetras of any type. What would be a good replacement?
 

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So I am new to aquariums. Here are my tank specs: 65 Gallon, Planted (anubias, amazon sword, java fern, cryptocoryne wendtii, and corkscrew val) NH3 0, Nitrite and nitrate 0, pH 8.2, GH 180 KH 240 ppm.

Fish: 3 spotted corys, 2 angels small, 4 platies, now 6 silvertips.

My silvertips started dying about a week to 10 days after I got them. Started with 8 lost 3 in about a week, bout 4 more and now down to 6 again, no white spots until 3 days ago, found one spot on one tetra. Started treatement with APs quick cure on day two of that. But this is about 3 weeks into the deaths. What do you think, water hardness? This forum said silvertips could tolerate hard water. Was it Ich all along. The other fish, including the angels, are all fine. Looking for guidance. Should I give up on tetras of any type. What would be a good replacement?
you are trying to keep an acidiphillic fish in water thats only really suitable for rift valley cichlids, the other fish are all far more adaptable to harder and more alkaline water.... you need to

A. test your water form the tap or source that you fill your tank with.... Im betting its gonna be alkaline as your tank water is now... and B. given that you say first off, that you are new to aquariums.... go an do some research.... find out which fish are suitable to be kept int he water you have....


PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE...... dont try to adjust your water.... in this situation and being new to aquaria it will be a fruitless and frustrating task..... if you want to have a wonderfully satisfying aquarium.... keep it simple.... choose fish suitable for the water you have.

Further down the line when you have been bitten by the bug....and you will im sure.... THEN and ONLY then.... start to look more at adjustments of water chemistry, reverse osmosis water, and the wider variety of fish that you can keep.

BUT for now.... KEEP IT SIMPLE.... and please do some research! PM members whom you trust. The profiles are not all correct and are often not well written therefore ambiguous.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. I decided not to try and adjust the water and was trying to select tolerant fish. Any suggestion for a replacement for the silvertips? My tap water is very hard I checked it too.
 

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Sorry to hear that you've been having issues with your babies, it can be so frustrating to deal with - even when you do know what's wrong. Much worse when you don't. :cry:

I'm not so experienced with treating illness and disease, but I do know that it's possible for Ich to be present, without spots, for quite some time, so it is possible that they've been carrying it around. It could very well be that stress put on their systems from moving to a new home and the hardness of your water can have played a role here. (I'm not sure what the required hardness for these fish is, to be honest, only that they can be found in blackwater, which is soft)

I wouldn't say to ever 'give up' on an entire group of fish, but if this one in particular doesn't prefer the water you have (again, more research is needed here), it would be best for both you and the fish to pick another, better suited fish for your tank. . .

Sorry I couldn't be more help to you, but I'm sure Snappy and others with more experience than I will be able to sort things out for you. Best of luck, and Welcome to TFK! :)
 

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Ok I have been asked to elaborate on the pH thing..... put simply pH is an exponential scale .... by this we mean that the scale is not simply a case of pH2 double the alkalinity than pH 1 and ph 3 being double the alkalinity of pH 2.... and so on.... that would be a linear scale.

In fact ph 2 is 10 times the alkalinity of ph 1 and ph3 is ten times the alkalinity of ph2.... making it 100 times more alkaline than ph1.

SO you can see if you progress this that by the time you get to ph 8 the line on the graph of increasing alkalinity is heading virtually vertically and pH 8 is immensely more alkaline than pH7..... so while the profiles say the silver tip tetra can tolerate pH 8 ( I will add that in 26 years of fishkeeping I have never seen this to be true in REAL life)... you can understand that if we use the same progression.... pH 8.2 is very much more alkaline again!

Ok so hardness here does play a part as well butt hats a direct derivation of pH where carbonates are disolved in the water and will take up some of the h+ ions which make water acidic..... more on that later.

Jes is right in what she is saying about the Ich being caused by stress.... thats absolutely right...every aquarium HAS GOT ICH!!!!! The simple fact is that it only manifests at times of stress or bad fishkeeping... in this case the alkaline pH will have spurred on the Ich if indeed it was Ich manifesting.

Congo tetras and red eye tetras are good .... but be aware of red eyes... they can be nippy.
 

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Congo Tetra should not be kept in hard water, they are more sensitive that the Silvertip.

As for the data in our profiles, most of which I authored from reliable sources: Hasemania nana is listed in Seriously Fish, Diszhal and Fishbase as managing with a pH up to 8 and a GH up to 20 dGH. I certainly agree that all characins will fare better in soft, acidic water, but I tend to accept the opinion of biologists like these sites that suggest higher levels for certain species.

To the dying Silvertips. I suspect the fish have been in similar water for some time: check with the store, what is their GH and pH? And these will be commercially raised fish, not wild caught with this species. If there is a significant variance between the store and your home water, fish need to be slowly acclimated and this might cause serious shock and death.

I have experienced near-identical issues and it has always been due to internal protozoan that are undetectable externally until the fish dies. This is a more likely cause. The ich could be related, I have seen this too, and I agree it is always present and needs stress to cause an outbreak beyond what the fish can fight off.

I have a local chain store from which I will no longer buy fish. Every species over some 6 months acted as you describe, half of them dying within 1-2 weeks (sometimes in a day or two), and those that made it through my 5-6 week QT usually died during the next couple of months. Internal protozoan was suggested by a microbiologist, and this in one case spread via the new fish to the main tank and feeding medicated foods did stop the deaths of my older fish. I also acquire fish from a local importer (direct wild-caught) and have never had this occur. My most recent acquisition of 55 fish only had a couple of losses, in the corys which is not that surprising, but no losses among the 37 characins (hatchets, cardinals, and two pencilfish species).
 

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Congo Tetra should not be kept in hard water, they are more sensitive that the Silvertip.

As for the data in our profiles, most of which I authored from reliable sources: Hasemania nana is listed in Seriously Fish, Diszhal and Fishbase as managing with a pH up to 8 and a GH up to 20 dGH. I certainly agree that all characins will fare better in soft, acidic water, but I tend to accept the opinion of biologists like these sites that suggest higher levels for certain species.

To the dying Silvertips. I suspect the fish have been in similar water for some time: check with the store, what is their GH and pH? And these will be commercially raised fish, not wild caught with this species. If there is a significant variance between the store and your home water, fish need to be slowly acclimated and this might cause serious shock and death.

I have experienced near-identical issues and it has always been due to internal protozoan that are undetectable externally until the fish dies. This is a more likely cause. The ich could be related, I have seen this too, and I agree it is always present and needs stress to cause an outbreak beyond what the fish can fight off.

I have a local chain store from which I will no longer buy fish. Every species over some 6 months acted as you describe, half of them dying within 1-2 weeks (sometimes in a day or two), and those that made it through my 5-6 week QT usually died during the next couple of months. Internal protozoan was suggested by a microbiologist, and this in one case spread via the new fish to the main tank and feeding medicated foods did stop the deaths of my older fish. I also acquire fish from a local importer (direct wild-caught) and have never had this occur. My most recent acquisition of 55 fish only had a couple of losses, in the corys which is not that surprising, but no losses among the 37 characins (hatchets, cardinals, and two pencilfish species).
Without wanting this to descend into an argument.... Congo tetras are bred and raised with monotonous regularity here in Britain with little or no adjustment to the water conditions. Her ein the east midlands we have a tendancy to had and alkaline water and yet Congo Tetras do spawna dn flourish

As with any natural living creature there are opinions and evidences which will differ from what is read. That is why I trust empirical evidence for more than any so called expert.
 

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Always interesting to see two very different viewpoints expressed. . . fish can be baffling to me sometimes! Silvertip parameters aside, I'd like to get a clearer image of what's going on in your tank right now?

You said that you used API Quick Cure on the tank to get rid of the Ich. This medication is Formalin and/or Malachite Green, I believe, and so should work well to combat Ich. I'm not terribly familiar with the med as sold by API, but I have used these base ingredients to treat Ich before - just not on these fish, specifically, so am unable to comment on their particular sensitivities. Assuming that the fish are handling treatment well, be sure to follow the course of treatment through until the end, and keep a very close eye on the inhabitants of the tank during that time. Have you also raised the temperature in your tank? This will speed the life-cycle of this parasite, and go a bit further to ensure that you've got them out.

I would continue to monitor the tank, and it's inhabitants, very closely after you finish treatment for further signs of trouble caused either by Ich, or by a possible protozoan infection. . .

I'm fairly new to the world of fishkeeping, too, so don't like to advise on illness/medication (read: be sure to double check me) but if you are dealing with a protozoan similar to the one Byron mentioned, API Quick Cure won't be terribly effective. . . I have used a Metronidazole-based medication in protozoan situations in the past. It is possible you have both issues at the same time, but as your Silvertips have stopped dying, lets hope it was just the Ich!

I would suggest that once you get the Ich out and things (hopefully) settle down, give those pretty little Silvertips a few months to settle in and recover. You have 6 left, which is a decent little shoal for them. I'd keep an eye on them, and if after some time has passed without further issue, and they seem to be doing well in the water you have, make the decision to add to their shoal or choose another fish to stock as well.

This should give you a bit of time to look into the possibility of setting up a QT tank for future additions to the tank. It is so very important to QT new arrivals before putting them in with the fish you already have established in the main tank. It saves the fish and their keeper so much stress and heartache in the end. . .
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the good reminder about pH being a logarithmic scale, I know that but looking at the numbers sometimes it's easy to forget. A human being quite happy with a blood pH of 7.4 is in dire condition with a pH of 7.2
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I think I have learned the lesson of the need for a QT tank. So far the fish are faring well. The tank temp is at 78. The remaining fish seem to be doing well. Treatment cycle for quick cure (malachite green and formalin) says a 3 day course of treatment. Was going to wait a couple of days do a water change and then add back the charcoal filter after the 3 days are complete.
 

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I should coment on the ich treatment, which I missed previously. Characins are very sensitive to chemicals and medications, which is why many treatments usually recommend half strength with these fish. Malachite green is not good to use with characins, but having said that, I suspect (hope) the level of this drug in this product may be minimal anyway.

For future treatment, and ich is very common with new fish, if the fish species can tolerate it, raising the temperature to 86F without any drugs will usually work. Keep the temp at 86F for a full week, then turn down the heater and let the tank return to normal temp. If the fish cannot manage with the higher temperature, raise the tank temp as high as you can and use CopperSafe. This is not a strong drug so it is less likely to cause difficulties for sensitive fish [and I have had no losses using this with wild-caught characins like pencilfish and various tetra, farlowella, and even corys which are notorious for having problems with medications]. A good water change first, raising the temp some, add the CS, maintain the heat for one week, then return it to normal, and wait another 3-5 days for the next water change.

Here in North America, where kkomadina lives, we are seeing more issues with commercially-raised fish than used to be the case. For some 20 years I never quarantined, and I never had issues beyond ich which was never a problem (never lost fish to this) if caught right away. But over the past 3 or so years, both from my experience mentioned previously and from what I have read on this forum and elsewhere, this has changed noticeably. After my loss of half my existing fish in a display tank, I am now quarantining new fish for 5-6 weeks. It is a wise precaution these days.

Byron.
 
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I should coment on the ich treatment, which I missed previously. Characins are very sensitive to chemicals and medications, which is why many treatments usually recommend half strength with these fish. Malachite green is not good to use with characins, but having said that, I suspect (hope) the level of this drug in this product may be minimal anyway.

For future treatment, and ich is very common with new fish, if the fish species can tolerate it, raising the temperature to 86F without any drugs will usually work. Keep the temp at 86F for a full week, then turn down the heater and let the tank return to normal temp. If the fish cannot manage with the higher temperature, raise the tank temp as high as you can and use CopperSafe. This is not a strong drug so it is less likely to cause difficulties for sensitive fish [and I have had no losses using this with wild-caught characins like pencilfish and various tetra, farlowella, and even corys which are notorious for having problems with medications]. A good water change first, raising the temp some, add the CS, maintain the heat for one week, then return it to normal, and wait another 3-5 days for the next water change.

Here in North America, where kkomadina lives, we are seeing more issues with commercially-raised fish than used to be the case. For some 20 years I never quarantined, and I never had issues beyond ich which was never a problem (never lost fish to this) if caught right away. But over the past 3 or so years, both from my experience mentioned previously and from what I have read on this forum and elsewhere, this has changed noticeably. After my loss of half my existing fish in a display tank, I am now quarantining new fish for 5-6 weeks. It is a wise precaution these days.

Byron.
Excellent advice.... I always advise QT periods of between 4 and 8 weeks depending on the species.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So I am wondering what is the minimum size for a quarantine tank? 10 gal? For just a few fish at a time would 5 gal be too small? Also thanks to everyone for all of their comments and help. The silvertips seem to have stabilized, lost one more but the remaining 5 look very healthy, I got them from a shop with a high pH in the water 8.4 they said.
 

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I would use a 10g before a 5g for QT. Normally you would probably acquire a group of a species, say 7-9 tetra, and they are almost always at the small juvenile size when available, so a 10g gives you sufficient space. The more space around them, generally speaking, the less stressed fish will be. And I am not a fan of "bare" tanks for new acquisitions, so provide some cover, be it chunks of artificial wood and branches, floating plants, etc.
 
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