Can anyone point me in the right direction for this illness? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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Got some fish earlier this week and out of the serpae one is having an issue, I can't really figure out what I'm looking at so any help would be great! It's the white hanging down.

Started a round of paraguard today, hopefully my nerites handle it ok.

Edit: photo updated, the white underneath is hanging from his stomach. Not sure if it's a fungus or something else. Sorry it's a bad pic.

I just don't understand. I can't keep fish to save my life. Since I started a year ago I've probably lost 30 fish and only had 4 survive longer than a month. I see my buddy throw 15 random in my old 10 setup and they survive, but I spend hours a day and they all die. It's extremely disheartening because I enjoy this so much.

Idk what it could be. Most of them come from the same store, but if all their fish died they wouldn't be in business, so it leads me to believe it's on my end.

My second tank was set up 2 weeks ago, using cycled media. I added 7 guppies over 3 days and have already lost 3 with another one on it's way out. There was a slight nh spike(.25ppm) but that shouldn't wipe them like the plague should it? My water was a bit soft(4dgh) so I increased that a bit after a water change, but they seem worse off now. The confusing part is the invert thrive in my tanks, but the fish can't even make it a week.

Here are the logs

10g dirted planted (guppy) https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...t?usp=drivesdk

20g planted(serpae)- https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...t?usp=drivesdk


I use RO I reconstitute myself with a bit of equilibrium and a bit of alkaline booster. All the other info should be in logs, any questions just ask.

At this point I'm just watching guppies die every 12 hours and seeing illness start showing in my serpae. I'm just frustrated and at a loss. If you made it this far, thanks for listening to me vent, hopefully I can figure it out, but a year in and I haven't got it yet...
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New to the hobby, feel like ive really found something that can be a life long passion. I sincerely appreciate anyone taking the time to pass along any advice, and look forwards to being able to do that same. -DC

Last edited by dcchillin; 05-17-2018 at 04:57 AM.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-16-2018, 07:27 PM
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Not sure what we're supposed to be looking at.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-17-2018, 03:27 AM Thread Starter
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Edited pic, sorry hopefully the new one is better

New to the hobby, feel like ive really found something that can be a life long passion. I sincerely appreciate anyone taking the time to pass along any advice, and look forwards to being able to do that same. -DC
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-17-2018, 01:36 PM
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Sorry for the trauma!But on the other hand, it is not all that unusual for many new to the game. So some basic that you may have covered or not?
You are aware of the tank conditions and seem to be working to get it right. However there may be things missing in that thinking. You mention others who do little and it works so perhaps it is a fact that in trying so hard to get it right, the water parameters are actually not staying stable long enough for the fish to adapt to them. I find many fish will adapt to less than ideal when speaking of PH/GH/ KH, however it can be stressful and if we are changing those items, the fish may ever get there.
Maybe start with basic info if you have it on hand? What does the water have before adjusting? Unless terribly far off,I might try giving the fish a go without adjusting as getting it right and keeping it right is a pretty steep learning curve. There are some products out on the market which I feel might be better banned than sold! Unless your water is really toxic, I'm betting most simply do not treat it except for removing an chlorine or chloramine treatment. Most are simply not that inclined to study it. So getting the water stable is far more important than getting it "right".
Sounds like some of the basics are missing and this is a good time to have a QT, which is often a point missing in the new operations. It can seem such folly to have a tank setting somewhere, just for QT but then adding new fish to an existing tank is almost sure to add problems that are much harder to fix in the main tank. When people have the flu, we often try to limit the exposure to other people and it works much the same for fish.
A small hint on getting better pictures of the disease? Try catching that fish in a net and holding it against the glass, so that you are able to get a good clear picture. If not, it will help to describe the white much moore. Fuzzy white patch on the fish skin or does it hang out? Also info on how the fish act before dying will help. Do that go to the surface and gasp, indicating breathing problems or go to the bottom and lay down? This may be hard as stressed fish will not all act the same or get the same disease. This makes it quite possible that there are several different items to work on as different fish look/act different.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-22-2018, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry it's taken a few days to get back to ya, here's what I've been dealing with:

So out of 7 guppies I'm down to 2. They have a white fungus on the head, and the other that already died were experiencing fin rot. They would lay on the bottom or on plants, dart for the surface than sink again. The two i have left were swimming as of last night, but I'm very concerned.

The serpae, well idk if it was white poo or what because they've all gotten rid of that, (at one point I coulnted 2 or 3 with this hanging underneath them). All 8 of them have shredded fins, but they are also working out their hierarchy, so I can't tell if it's an infection or just everyone being uppity. I did see them calmly schooling yesterday for the first time, following one guy, so maybe they're working it out? Aside from the shredded fins, they move well and go crazy for food, so here's hoping?

So I started treating both tanks with paraguard about 5 days ago. Idk it almost seems like it does more harm than good for the guppies, the serpae I haven't seen any difference.

I've done about 25% change every other day for the guppies, it's a relatively new dirted tank so it has some tannins and such. Just trying to clean it up for them. I was thinking about doing a 50% and starting some salt? I'm really weary of antibiotics, they seem to be rather destructive in general, so I'd like to use that as a last resort.

I was considering setting up the qt again, but the guppy tank was empty, and the serpaes, well ya I rolled the dice with those guys because I only had 3 in the tank. Next time I get fish I'm using my qt.

As far as the water goes, that's always a point of contention. Everyone flips out when I talk about RO, but my tap simply isn't usable. It's either 15/25 kh/gh or it gets ran through a softener. I wish I didn't have to use RO, but that's been the easiest for me. I've had people tell me to just use equilibrium, and to use what I feel is a massive amount (1.5 TBSP per 5g), whereas I used .5 TSP and got to 4dgh. Someone suggested my test might be bad, but it was consistent from my old bottle. That situation is a bit mystifying to me.


Any tips, tricks, or hints? Am I at least on the right track?

New to the hobby, feel like ive really found something that can be a life long passion. I sincerely appreciate anyone taking the time to pass along any advice, and look forwards to being able to do that same. -DC
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-22-2018, 01:18 PM
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If you can drink your tap water,neighbors are drinking tap water?,then you can keep fishes in tap water which should be easier to reproduce and remain more stable.
Just need to choose right fishes.
Looking over one of the log's submitted,the one constant is ammonia.While the reading is small ,who is to say the ammonia level is not higher at some point during the day such as after feeding's.
Should not see any measureable ammonia in established tank of a few month's + plants unless it's still leaching from soil,residual from too much food, fish poo,other's possibly feeding the tank, too many fishes,not enough plant growth, water conditioner that doesn't maybe address chloramines ,or ammonia from source water.
where is ammonia coming from with R/O?
Small level's of ammonia over extended period, may have negative affect on many fishes at varying degree's.
Eventually it will take a toll.
Water you have from the tap is close to perfect for guppie's who like hard alkaline water but maybe not suited ideally for some of the tetra species.(like softer water)
Opinion's vary,But I try to keep fishes that thrive in the water I can most easily reproduce = Tap water,So many of the livebearer's and Rainbow's do well for me where soft water species I have kept often don't perform as well as I think they should.
The fact that you have lost some thirty fishes over last year indicates concerning issue for near anybody who keeps fish.
I would be inclined to keep with twice weekly water changes while at same time using less and less R/O water till water in the tank is what it is without R/O = mostly tap water and try the guppies again maybe from different source.
Just about got to store water already premade for water changes if using R/O to maintain stable condition's week in and week out.
Can't adjust water in the tank with fishes lest unstable condition's with each water change cause unneeded stress = sickly fishes.
Opinion's vary.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 08:25 AM Thread Starter
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Everyone hates RO...I can't use the tap, it's 1kh 30gh with a bunch of nastiness outside, and 20gh/15kh inside after the softener. I've tried to use it both ways and the results were horrible. I'd love to not use RO, driving a half hour to carry buckets around sucks, but it's what I've had the "best" results with. Idk, for what its worth no one in the house drinks it and I'll be moving soon for the third time in two years, so really is tap more consistent?

As far as the ammonia, idk if it just my test kit or my eyes. It doesn't seem quiet yellow but it's close. I certainly don't overfeed, if anything I'm concerned I underfeed. If there is ammonia in the tank idk from where. Only thing that goes in it is the water, a few flakes of food, and ferts. The filtration is overkill in every way. Even when I had just a plwco and inverts the reading was the same, so I just assumed the reading I got was baseline for my kit.

I appreciate the advice and I understand what you're saying about consistency. Unfortunately that has to be accomplished with ro, so I guess I'll settle on a recipe again and hope it doesn't concentrate over time. My only question is how I show 8gh with 1/2 TSP of equilibrium in 5 gallons, where as others (and seachem) suggest I need 1.5 TBSP.

That being said, even when I used the same recipe every time (water @~7kh/14gh) my fish still died(even the last guppies I tried). Idk if it's the store or what.

New to the hobby, feel like ive really found something that can be a life long passion. I sincerely appreciate anyone taking the time to pass along any advice, and look forwards to being able to do that same. -DC

Last edited by dcchillin; 05-23-2018 at 10:44 AM.
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