Sick Fish?!
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:10 AM   #1
UberSquid
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Sick Fish?!


I have a ten gallon planted tank that has been up and running for several months. It was cycled well before the addition of fish. There is one Anubias, a hand full of Java Ferns, some Hornwort and I will be adding some Christmas moss shortly. I'm using a LED hood with a compact fluorescent to add extra light. I'm running a homemade Co2 system, a HOB filter and bubbler at night.

My water looks good, no ammonia, no Nitrites, and very low Nitrates. PH is right at 6.4. I do weekly water changes of 15% and swirl the foam prefilter in the removed tank water to clean it off. My plants are growing nicely and it seams that things were going great until last week.

I had seven White Cloud Minnows and six Ghost Shrimp. One fish died with no warning two weeks ago and another developed fin rot. I did a 50% water change and removed the fish with fin rot to a hospital tank. He died within 24 hours. About a week later I noticed that I had one fish that seemed to be having trouble keeping her balance. She then started swimming oddly almost like she had broken her back but hadn't been physically injured in any way that I could see. I had removed all the water from the hospital tank so I set it back up and put her in. I tried feeding her a pea and she seems to be doing better but is still very lethargic. Three days after I moved her I noticed the youngest female in the tank doing the same thing so she was removed to the hospital tank as well. Now it looks like my last female is having the same problem.

I don't want to dose them with antibiotics and kill all the bacteria in my tank if I don't have to but I also can't find any illness that really matches the symptoms I'm seeing.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. I hate to loose more fish and I'm worried that I'm going to have to tear the tank down all the way and destroy the plants.
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:20 AM   #2
UberSquid
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I forgot to mention, the fish show no signs of physical illness other than odd behavior and the shrimp are doing just fine...
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:17 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UberSquid View Post

I don't want to dose them with antibiotics and kill all the bacteria in my tank if I don't have to but I also can't find any illness that really matches the symptoms I'm seeing.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. I hate to loose more fish and I'm worried that I'm going to have to tear the tank down all the way and destroy the plants.
Treat the qt tank and see if there is improvement.
Double check water with another test kit or get the LFS to double check it.
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:50 AM   #4
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Could you post a video and pictures? Thanks. Change water in the QT 100 to 200% a day depending how big it is.
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Old 03-25-2013, 07:22 AM   #5
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It sounds like you did not Quarantine the fish you purchased. Quarantining fish should be a fish keepers first priority! It could have prevented your planted tank from getting infected! Separate 5- 10 gallon tank will do.
Why are you running a bubbler at night? Can you not shut your CO2 off? Running a bubbler will out gas your CO2! HOB filter out gas a lot of CO2 as well. Look into EI dosing. 15% water change is weak. HOB filters are not good filters over all because they have a small filtration area compared to power canister filters. Canister filters can store large amounts of bio media & sponges which will be healthier for the aquarium. Larger water changes especially in a small tank can have important results for positive redox. Which will replenish vital minerals that the fish need to fight disease as well as the plants need for proper growth. Minerals get spent or used up rapidly & become not available to fish & plants causing deficiencies leading to disease & poor plant growth, even though you say your plants were growing fine the fish could have been exposed to excess waste & or disease from not quarantining your fish. Once the disease gets in your tank you will have issues , but some are in all tanks no matter how good the tank, but healthy redox will minimize your chances of having problems. Good luck
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Old 03-25-2013, 03:38 PM   #6
UberSquid
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardstuff View Post
It sounds like you did not Quarantine the fish you purchased. Quarantining fish should be a fish keepers first priority! It could have prevented your planted tank from getting infected! Separate 5- 10 gallon tank will do.
I didn't quarantine the fish, I should have but I didn't do enough research before I put the fish in. When I was a kid we didn't know to quarantine fish and so I pretty much went with what I remembered from setting up an aquarium as a child including the HOB. I'll probably be looking to build my own canister system soon.

I can shut of my Co2 at night but I've read a ton of warnings about PH changes with shutting the Co2 off at night so I just run the bubbler when I turn the lights off. Actually since I installed the DIY Co2 the fish seem to be a lot healthier and happier.

I'm off to pick up a broad spectrum antibiotic to dose my hospital tank with. Hopefully that will help my minnows.

Thanks for the feedback everyone!
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:38 AM   #7
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Uber - try just doing daily water changes in the QT tank with some salt at 1 TBS/10 gallons unless treating scaleless fish like cories and plecos. If you have a 10G QT, 50% a day will do. 5G - at least 100% a day. Keep us posted.
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:09 PM   #8
UberSquid
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It was ammonia poisoning...

It appears that a couple of weeks ago our city water upped the amount of chloramine in the water. The conditioner I was using would take care of the Chlorine but leave enough ammonia to be an issue. I'd done my ammonia check just before I changed the water the week my fish started to get sick. I didn't even think to check the water that I thought I had just made safe. The test strips I was using for a quick check don't show ammonia levels so I thought everything was in order. My setup has been cycled, I don't over feed, my bio load is right where it should be but once the fish started getting sick I kept changing the water more and more frequently unknowingly building up toxic levels of ammonia. The measures I was taking to help the fish was actually making it worse.

I don't even know why I decided to test one of my aged water jugs today but the ammonia check responded rather quickly to a bright green. I just wish that I'd thought to check the water I was putting in several days ago. I could have saved my fish and myself a lot of grief. If it wasn't for the fact that White Clouds are so hardy then I'm sure that I would have a shrimp only tank by now. (Oddly the shrimp are fine...)

Thanks for everyone's assistance. Take this as a que, make sure you know what you are putting into your tank...
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:22 PM   #9
papwalker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UberSquid View Post
It was ammonia poisoning...

<>

I don't even know why I decided to test one of my aged water jugs today but the ammonia check responded rather quickly to a bright green. I just wish that I'd thought to check the water I was putting in several days ago. I could have saved my fish and myself a lot of grief. If it wasn't for the fact that White Clouds are so hardy then I'm sure that I would have a shrimp only tank by now. (Oddly the shrimp are fine...)

Thanks for everyone's assistance. Take this as a que, make sure you know what you are putting into your tank...
That's why I suggested a double check on the water.
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