I'm NOT a good fish mom...cloudy eye, bad water. - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2012, 02:10 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation I'm NOT a good fish mom...cloudy eye, bad water.

I feel terrible, I've really let my fish down, and I know better so there's no excuse! First, let me paste a thread I started in the Fish Forum for background to the story;

Anyone with eye fluke experience?
After my water change tonight I just noticed one of my fish has a bright white crescent in the pupil of one eye - it looks like a cataract or damage would look, as it follows the curve of the iris. The fish is a Columbian Tetra so the eye is small & it's hard to tell, but it looks smooth and it doesn't look like it's on the surface, but within the eye itself if possible. Could this be an eye fluke? I haven't been able to see the fish head-on, so I don't know if the white mark is raised or not. I'm trying to decide if the fish's other eye is starting to look cloudy or if I am being paranoid, it's a hairline decision on if it's clear or starting to cloud. Will this spread fast, faster than I can get the meds? (if I need to order Prazipro, it will take a week to get here) I don't even know how long the eye has been like this, I don't usually stare so closely at my fish! (guess I better start)

I have Kanaplex on order as part of my Black Friday spending splurge and the order is supposed to arrive Monday. I had enough to do a weak (2/3 dose) treatment tonight, which I did as a knee-jerk reaction. I researched online & saw people recommend Prazipro for flukes. Will Kanaplex work as well or should I order Prazipro? The Prazipro will kill all my snails which is a bummer (and may cause an ammonia spike, which I'll have to plan for with extra water changes)

No fish have been added to this tank in months, could flukes suddenly appear? Has anyone seen eye damage that looked like this? The tank gets pretty rowdy because of the types of fish I have in it.

Tried to take a pic but the fish move too fast, I hope my description is enough.


Ok, so after I post that I sit & stare at the fish. I see one other Columbian has a very small, lightly clouded area in the center of one eye. So now I Google cloudy eye. My pH tends to run low, so I test the water. Results were horrible! My small water changes are definitely not good enough - it's a 125g tank, approx 95 gallons of actual water.
Results?

pH = 6.4 (ok I think)
ammonia = .25 = awful!
nitrates = 0
nitrates = 80 ppm = awful again!

I do use Prime and Stability when I do changes or top off. Better quit topping off and do more changes!

So I'll wait until tomorrow to do another small change (because I dosed Kanaplex tonight and I don't want to dilute it so soon). I do small changes because I don't want to stress the fish. I'll do 15% to 20% daily w/c until the readings are where they should be.

I have a Black Friday order coming Monday. Some of it includes more Kanaplex - I'm out now - and also Purigen. When I'm done dosing Kanaplex I will use the Purigen. I've never used it before - I bought it to remove the traces of the meds, plus to remove my driftwood tannins - does it also help remove ammonias and such?

Also in my order is a gallon bucket of Seachem Matrix Bio-Media. I want to add it behind the Hamburg Mattenfilters in my tanks to help harbor good bacteria.

Has anyone here had & treated cloudy eye? What did you do? Right now all I know is to get the water condition correct.

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2012, 12:36 PM
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Don't beat yourself up too much - at least you noticed and are trying to correct the situation. Believe me when I say that there are many people out there who wouldn't be capable of either.

I had a similar experience post power outage/drop in tank temperature - ammonia started to build up in my tank, and my fish got cloudy eye and minor fin rot. Daily water changes arrested it, but didn't cure it. I used Maracyn 2 (minocycline) on the advice of some forum members here, with good results. I also finally broke down and bought a long hose to make water changes easier, and now bribe a family member to help me with chores when I'm not feeling well rather than letting them slide. Keep on top of your water parameters and it will go a long way toward keeping your fish healthy.

I'm not sure if the Kanaplex would also work; I think it would and I know I was going to make it my second treatment plan if the minocycline didn't. I can tell you that if you've started an antibacterial treatment, it's best to follow through with it as directed, or you run the risk of nuturing antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Good luck.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2012, 01:27 PM
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Ammonia of .25 isn't that bad (not normal in a cycled tank, but not horrible); PH affects the toxicity of ammonia too and with a lower PH the ammonia isn't as toxic (if that makes you feel any better). Is your tank's PH normally 6.4 or is it usually higher? Also is the ammonia spike new or has this been going on for a while? Some things that can cause a mini-cycle are decaying fish food/waste in the tank or in the filters (have you swished your filter media in old tank water lately? I do this about once a month), a dead fish decaying somewhere, adding new fish, etc.

Nitrates are pretty high; does your tap water have nitrates? If not then you're tank is either overstocked, overfed, or not enough water changes (or a combination of those).

Why are you adding Stability? Bacteria in a bottle is hit and miss at best.

I don't find water change stressing to fish too much; mine even play in the water as it's entering the tank. Water changes are probably stressing to some degree for most fish, but swimming in high nitrates and water full of decaying waste is worse. lol I'd up the water changes to 40-50% weekly with substrate vacuum, particularly if you're overstocked. Clean water is the best preventative for most diseases.

Identifying and treating fish disease can be tough. If the fish aren't showing signs of distress yet I'd take a breath, do some research and try to find out exactly what it is that they have. Tossing in random meds that may or may not work could cause more harm than good in the long-run.

If your current fish will tolerate it, you can start by slowly increasing the temp to about 82 and adding a quarter or half dose of aquarium salt while you research what it is your fish might have. Just make sure there's extra surface agitation in the water (water splashing from the surface or adding an air stone or two) as higher temps deplete oxygen.

Good luck in diagnosing your fish. I wish I could help but I don't have experience with eye flukes and it's hard to tell what might be going on from the description alone. Hopefully someone else can help.


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2012, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies folks!

I'm running late for work so I only have time for some quick comments now -

Doing some reading last night brought to my attention that low ph does reduce some of the toxicity of ammonia so I felt a bit better about that. My ph is always low - I've never had it above 6.6, usually 6.2 - 6.4 is normal.

I do overfeed (which I'm trying to stop, but my fish make a buffet out of my plants) and I changed the poly batting in the HOB filters last night - they were filthy & caked with mulm. It's a Marineland Emperor 400 with the carbon filters removed (bio wheels in place) I also have a 19" x 22" Hamburg Mattenfilter in the tank. I'll be adding some of the Matrix Bio-Media behind the HMF when it arrives too.

I don't like to add salt, even reduced, because the tank is 99% tetra and cory (4 lone H. Rasboras are the exception to the tetra/cory stocking).

I added the Kanaplex as a knee-jerk reaction it's true, but my reading indicated that cloudy eye wasn't a disease of it's own, but a symptom of something else going on - bad water quality leading to bacterial infections being most common. I felt the Kanaplex couldn't hurt. A long while back I had a tank get columnaris, and when I see a sick fish I freak out! You're right that i have to remind myself to step back and take a breath - lol. Unless I know what the problem is for sure - something obvious like ich - I don't raise tank temps until I've ruled columnaris out, it thrives in warmer water. Having said that, I never saw a cloudy eye when columnaris hit that tank long ago, but at the fish died so fast I didn't have time to study them. Oh, btw I have very good surface agitation, but that's an excellent point to bring up when increasing temps, and one I didn't know about until well into my tank days!

Oh, I also emailed Seachem & asked if Kanaplex had any effect on flukes (just in case) - we'll see what they say...catching and QTing the fish is impossible - it's a 125 with lots of complex driftwood running the full length of the tank (one reason my pH stay low probably. I've read as wood degrades it can lower pH) and of course plants in the way...even if I could QT the fish I'd still treat the whole tank.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2012, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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Just a thought; I add Stability every time I do a w/c. When I started my first planted tank (only about two years ago) the starter kit I bought had Prime, Stability, and Clarity in it. I never used the Clarity, but the Stability bottle said to use it each time you did a change or top off. So I have been - lol. Is it not helpful?

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2012, 03:43 PM
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Doubt the fish has flukes. Usually cloudy eyes are a sign of poor water conditions (as indicated by your nitrates). Dosing kanamyacin as per seachem's (or national fish pharmacy for that matter) instructions makes the med pretty useless unfortunately, though it will set your Bio filter back compounding your problems. Clean water will usually clear up cloudy eyes.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2012, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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Seachem advertises that Kanaplex doesn't effect the bio filter?

Since the fish are all behaving normally, I'll just clean up the water & observe. I tend to over react, even if my cat catches a cold, or just sneezes - lol. The reason I suspect an eye fluke is because of the Columbian that has a very bright white, and very distinct crescent shape in the pupil of one eye. It's actually wider at one end, tapering down to a point. Imagine a very short, miniature planaria - that's the shape. The clarity and brightness of the white is startling. It is curved and follows the curve of the iris, though it doesn't touch or overlap the iris. It reminds me of a cataract. It could be damage as this is a rambunctious tank, but It's something I've never seen before, not even in pics. I wish I could get a photo of it, but the fish are too darned fast.

ok, I'm off to work now...

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2012, 04:18 PM
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Clean water is always the best medicine and should be the first step. Otherwise it is like standing in a room full of smoke and trying to get a flu shot!
Most medicines depend on getting the correct diagnosis. Often that is nearly impossible for the hobby sorts like us. I find it is so hard to get it right that I very rarely try to treat with medicine. It often kills the good bacteria which leads to a neverending fight to get things right so the fish can live.
The people who sell medicines will of course advise you differently but for me, I spend my time,effort and money on good clean water.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2012, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by driftwoodhunter View Post
Just a thought; I add Stability every time I do a w/c. When I started my first planted tank (only about two years ago) the starter kit I bought had Prime, Stability, and Clarity in it. I never used the Clarity, but the Stability bottle said to use it each time you did a change or top off. So I have been - lol. Is it not helpful?
Once the bacteria are established, I don't think you need to keep adding the Stability. Not sure why they'd recommend to add it with each water change, except to sell more product :P Perhaps it'd be good to use after adding a lot of fish or using a med that would affect your biofilter, but that is all I can think of...

Prime is also supposed to detoxify ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates for ~48 hrs by binding to them...they say you can add it every 48 hours to keep them in that state until your bacteria can compensate or you can do a water change. I wonder if you had a fish or two die somewhere? Maybe it was just an abundance of rotting food. Does your tap water have chloramine or nitrate in it?

I do ~50% water changes every week and vacuum the gravel I can reach pretty well too, and have never had any issues. Not sure if you have a Python or Aqueon water changer...I hope so with a tank of that size lol. They make water changes so, so, SO much easier though. There are even DIY guides out there to make your own.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2012, 05:02 PM
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The actual species of bacteria that handle the ammonia and nitrite in aquariums thrive under certain conditions, live a long time in the tank, and do not need to be added with every water change. It is a good idea to add them if something compromises the population, but in the day-to-day running of the tank it is a waste of money to keep adding something that is already present and doing fine. The trace of ammonia suggests that there is a problem, but perhaps adding more assorted species of bacteria is not the answer.

Here are some optimum conditions for the nitrifying bacteria that have been properly identified as the major nitrogen cycle species:
These bacteria use the carbon from carbonates (not from organic matter). If the KH is too low they can use it up, and this allows the pH to drop, perhaps too low. I would use baking soda or potassium bicarbonate to keep the KH at 3 German degrees of hardness or higher. 3dKH is fine for the fish you list.
These bacteria seem to do better when the pH is over 6.5. I do not know if this is because of the carbonates, or if there really is a concern with the pH.
I do not know if these bacteria use the minerals that we measure as GH, but I would simply make sure the GH stays at or above 3 degrees. 3 dGH is fine for the fish you list. I know the fish and plants use these minerals.
No medicines. When they are well established, these bacteria are fairly well protected in their biofilm from low doses of antibiotics, but when these bacteria multiply, and grow on new surfaces they are not yet in a developed biofilm. If I remember correctly Gram positive antibiotics are the worst. Antibiotics should not be in the tank when you are trying to grow more bacteria. Many antibiotics have minimal effect on established bacteria, so that is why the label says they do not harm the bio filter.
High oxygen. These bacteria might actually use more oxygen than the fish!

If you want to add more bacteria read the label and add products that include Nitrospira species of bacteria. But do not bother adding them while you are medicating the tank.
In the current situation, adding a bacterial additive and an antibiotic is not going to help anything. The antibiotic will be latching onto all sorts of things, including the debris in the tank, and the bacteria that you just added. By the time it gets around to the disease organisms there will probably not be enough antibiotic to really do the job. It will be busy killing the bacterial additive.

Here is how I would handle this situation:
Larger water changes, if you can keep the GH and KH similar but just a bit higher, than the tank. You can do daily water changes and raise the GH and KH a little each time.
Do as close to vacuuming the substrate as you can. Planted tank, and a plant specific substrate can make this hard, but do what you can. The more debris that is removed from the tank the better.
Gradually raise the GH and KH to a minimum of 3 German degrees of hardness. Then keep them there.
Clean the filter. Rinse the media in water removed for a water change. The biowheels have a pretty good % of the nitrifying bacteria, but while this emergency is going on I would keep the other media, not throw away any beneficial bacteria.
Feed as much plant based foods as the fish are willing to eat. Fish that will eat aquarium plants will usually also eat fresh and lightly cooked vegetables. This will do 2 things. Plant based foods have much less protein than meat based foods, and protein is the biggest source of nitrogen (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate) in the tank. Also, if the fish are nibbling the plants they might need more plants in their diet. By feeding them salad they will probably leave the plants alone.
Improve the conditions for the plants in the tank. Better light, adding carbon, adding other fertilizers (not nitrogen) can help the plants do better so they grow faster and use up more nitrogen.
I would double the filtration. I run the related, older filter, the 350, on a 40 gallon tank. On my 125 I have a sump that moves about 300 gallons per hour, and a canister that moves about 400 gph (per manufacturer- I have my doubts!) and I also run a Koralia power head that moves another 1000+ gph, though not through any filter media.
Finish out the schedule for the antibiotic you have started. While this is going on do as many water changes as you can.
When you are done with the antibiotic do a couple of much larger water changes and add activated carbon to the filter. I do not know if Purigen will remove medications. If it will, go ahead and use it.
Then test the ammonia and nitrite. If you think the tank would benefit from more bacteria then get a product that specifies Nitrospira. There are other species in such a product, too.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-03-2012, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
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So much to digest! I appreciate all the help : )

I have never tested GH or KH, I assume the API test kit is good enough? I won't be able to get one until the end of the week when I'm off from work, but I believe Petsmart does carry it.

I may be missing a Black Neon - it's hard to tell because one never would school with the others - it makes counting them hard. I do, however, have many dead ramshorns in the tank - I can easily count 40 + empty shells. They are dying due to degrading shells, they erode, pit and turn white. I saw where other members have asked about it and I myself was advised to try a few things. The easiest idea was to add a cuttlebone to the filter. I have purchased it, but haven't put it in yet (I will tonight after I do my w/c). This is all related...

The dead snails could be aiding the ammonia spike, as well as the fact that I feed frozen bloodworms at least three times a week. I never new about how protein effects the water conditions, even though it seems common sense once you hear it. I had started feed veggies to my fish and they loved it, I just got lazy I guess.
I rarely see any food not get eaten & land on the substrate, so much so that I worry about my cory getting enough food. I'm sure more uneaten food escapes than I am aware of, because it's a chubby little thing - lol.

There's so much more I'd like to comment on but it's late and I have a lot to do besides another w/c. Thank you so much for taking the time to help. And as usual Diana, you are a wealth of information! I'm sure I will have questions on GH & KH, I've bookmarked several articles to read to help me understand it and more.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-03-2012, 12:04 PM
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okay, diana covered just about everything that i was geting ready to type

i will add that stability will prevent a solid colony of bacteria frm growing as it is constantly consumng ammonia and dying, so everytime u add it in, u have a short cycle and that's it

and i didn't remember if it was stated, but large wate changes wont stress any fish that im aware of.. most fish rather enjoy fresh clean water.. dropping a few degress in temperate doesn't hurt either

i change 80% every week, and my temp drops 6 degrees everytime. and my ottos' rainbow's and tetra's spawn regularly. the only ones that do not are my zebra loaches

the nitrospira u are looking for can be found in nite-out II

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-03-2012, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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I definitely didn't know that about Stability - I have a friend who bought her starter kit the same time I did, and she's been using ti for every w/c since, just like me. I'll be sure to let her know.

Thanks for the nite-out II recommendation also...

When I do w/c, I drop the water temp a few degrees too - when I saw how my celebes rainbows (in another tank) started spawning behavior because of it, I made a point to do so in all tanks. I guess I'm just superstitious, but in the last 5 years I've had two outbreaks of ich. Once it was just one fish, once it was all the Black Neons in a tank, but each time it occurred the day after a 50% w/c. I've read the pH swings can stress fish and even possibly kill them, but I've never tested my water out of the tap to see how different it is. Will be an interesting thing to do on my next day off...

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-03-2012, 07:26 PM
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ICH is ever present.. period. fish carry the parasite mostly in a dormant state or their bodies are strong enough to fight it off

if its in the water colum, changing water does help remove it,, but it can't survive long without a host so its very unlikely to be there long enough to survive a water change

. my tank ph is about 6.6 with aquasoil. my water from the tap is 7.8.. and i still change 80%.. because my TDS, KH, and GH stay relatively similar.. the PH isn't what stresses the fish. its the difference in mostly KH, GH and tds do play a factor as well

NOTE.. don't just run out and do a 80% tomorrow. ur tank parameters are different at this point that ur tap water.. but do some progressive water changes and get things closer together and it will make a great transistion to larger water chagnes

i've drop tank temps 13 degrees before with no sicknesses.. having fresh clean water every week definitely helps boost fish immunity. its getting them to the point of doing it that can be hard if u haven't been


OH YEAH!!! your not a bad fish mommy! i've read ur thread's and posts. its obvious how much u care!! caring is the first and most important step

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