Fish acting very strange this morning. - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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Fish acting very strange this morning.

Yesterday i did a full cleaning of my aquarium, took the filter out had to change the co2, all that fun stuff. Everything is starting to look good after a month of it running. My ammonia/nitrite/nitrate have all just about dissapeared(0.6 niTRATE). Anyways i just fed my fish, and tried to come up with a way to keep a cucumber at the bottom of my tank for the otos i have.(just put a plastic film container with aquarium gravel on it until i can figure out a better solution) I noticed my rosey barbs were doing something a bit odd.

At first i thought one was attacking the other or fin nipping, so i watched him more carefuly and they were doing it back in forth. But looking at there fins(even the 2 red swords) i dont see ANY fin damage, so i watched them a bit more. For about 3-5 minutes(tried to record it on my camera but the batteries are dead) they swam around the tank, the 2 of them doing circles around one another kind of nipping/darking into the side of each other. I wouldnt say they were trying to hurt one another, and this went on an on. I dont know if they were playing/fighting/mating but it was really odd. They would stop for 10-20 seconds but still swim together, and then start again. Was wondering if anyone had an idea what they were doing.

Also i found a oto dead at the bottom of my aquarium, but his body is all dark and he is missing an eye. Not sure if a shrimp got a hold of him after he died last night or if another fish did this too him, or maybe he was sick, but should i be concerned?

This is the second oto ive lost in a week, i originaly bought 3, lost 1 returned it because he fish store told me the batch was new and these were all very young(they just released them from QT to sell) so then i bought 3 more because they are doing a marvolous job with the algae and i lost another in the first 24 hours.

How long should i allow them adjust to the tank, i usualy leave the bag in the water for about 45 min, and add aquarium water slowly to them every 10-15 min.

Here is a pic of the oto

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 07:02 PM
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As far as ottos go, it's not at all unusual for them to be dropping like flies. Personally, I bought 9 of them wit the hopes of ultimately getting 4 or 5 to survive. From what I understand, they can appear to do perfectly well, and then die for no known reason within the first month or so. The ones that survive do great.

One problem with new ottos is that they are usually starved by the time you get them. Check their bellies. They should be rounded and plump. If they're flat or, even worse, caved in, then you need to work very hard to feed them. Forget the algae in the beginning. The first goal is to try to keep the ottos alive.

Also, I do my best to try to avoid any fish that has just been made available to be sold at the LFS. I want the left overs. The last of the bunch. I generally prefer that the fish have been up for sale for at least 10 days. That gives time for the diseased, weakened, and overly stressed fish to die out before I start making my selection. It also gives the fish more time to adjust between being caught (or bred), shipped and then stuffed in a crowded tank with little hiding places at the LFS in which people then gawk at them all day long. Rather stressful for a fish. And that's not even talking about all the water changes they experience in the process. So having a fish stay in a tank at the LFS for 10 or more days gives them a chance to recover before I stress them out all over again by having them caught, bagged, and then placed in yet another tank with different water, different fish, and different decor for the new fish to handle.

Okay, that's regarding the ottos. FEED them. Keep at it until you know they are fat and happy. Expect losses for at least the first month.

Second concern, your barbs. Unless fish become schizophrenic (they probably do), then odds are these guys are fighting. When fish fight, they don't have to cause any real harm to each other. It's like an argument. I've seen this with some of my fish. Sometimes my male guppies will get into an argument over who knows what. I've had a couple of cardinal tetras do it. I even had two brand new, less than a day old, guppy fry do it! It usually results in no damage to either fish, and they stop after a while. See if they're still doing it the next day. They may be trying to figure out which one is dominate. Once it'd determined, they each know their place in the group, and there's no need to continue arguing over it.

Last concern, cleaning your tank. Never do a "full cleaning" of your tank and filter at the same time. Always make sure that you leave a good amount of undisturbed bacteria to keep the water parameters in check. I'm very guilty of over cleaning. What I've found works best for me now is to (1) scrape the algae off the tank walls, (2) stop plunging in the vacuum hose deeply into the substrate, just get the top layer clean, and (3) do NOT change the filter until the following week (or so, depending on the type of filter). By doing things in this order, I feel that I am cleaning the tank most efficiently while still maintaining a healthy amount of bacteria. Cleaning the tank walls throws the crud into the water column. Which I then clean out when doing a water change and vacuuming. All the crud that is stirred up gets picked up by the filter which I then clean out the following week. It is the order that I think works best to get that super clean tank that some of us want without causing too much harm to the needed bacteria.

So to recap: Barbs? Ignore them. Ottos? Feed them. Tank cleaning? Do it in steps to keep bacteria colony plentiful.

Oh, I almost forgot. To keep the cucumber at the bottom, use plant weights. You know, those metal strips you get that hold a bunch of plants together? You can buy them, too. Just poke them through the cucumber in an upside down "U" shape so that the metal points are buried into the substrate. Others have used forks. I have some screwcumbers that work, too. Just make sure whatever you use it can be left in water for a day or two and is placed in such a way that it cannot scratch the fish as they eat further down into the cucumber.

I hope that helps!

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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thanks, basicly answered everything other then the picture of the poor oto that died. Do you figure that was caused from a shrimp?

Thanks for all the answers/advice though, i know not to do a crazy cleaning, but like you said i think i started on one thing and got carried away, my nitrites and nitrates havent spiked, ill start doing smaller cleans each week instead of one big clean a month.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 10:01 PM
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As far as the dead otto, who knows what began eating it. Almost all fish will eat dead fish in the tank. This is nature's way of cleaning up after itself. It could have been the shrimp, but it could have been anything else in the tank. The dark color is just the fish's coloration when it's dead. I wouldn't worry about it either way. The only time to worry is when healthy fish or shrimp eat the dead carcass of a fish that died of a disease because by eating it, the healthy fish/shrimp can become infected with the disease. But if that was to happen, you'd know it. Because of the way ottos are known for dropping dead and that you got it right away (not 5 days later when it has fuzz all over it), I don't think whatever ate it will be harmed.

Don't worry about over cleaning. I still do it sometimes. I honestly think it's not a bad trait. It means we are wanting to be sure our fish have good, clean water and tanks. I'd rather be over cleaning than under cleaning! In time, you'll find the right balance of keeping the tank clean while also keeping a healthy amount of bacteria.

Also, remember, as long as you don't remove all the bacteria, if you do get overzealous and clean too much out, the remaining bacteria will quickly reproduce in the same way a new tank is seeded with bacteria. So it's not as if you'll be started all over again. Just watch your ammonia and nitrites for a mini-cycle and take appropriate actions, if needed.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-23-2008, 03:13 AM
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Vicki nailed it that Otos are almost always wild-caught (WC) unless you buy them directy from a breeder, and that the mortality rate tends to be high. I think I lost 4 otos out of my 15-20 I just bought within the first 2 days even though I took extra care acclimating them to my tank.

From the yellow belly showing on the pic of your Oto, I wonder if it was a female full of eggs? It's also very natural for shrimp and other fish to eat dead fish- so I wouldn't worry about that.

There are veggie clips you can buy that are useful for holding on to cucumber and lettuce, so that's another option. Also, be sure to peel cucumber before adding it to a tank- the wax that's usually on the outside isn't good for fish.

www.otocinclus.com is a great website for info on Otos, as well.





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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-23-2008, 08:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, going to take back the oto today and get a new one. The 2 otos ive had in my tank for 2 weeks have grown quite a bit, and there bellys look much rounder and full compared to the 2 new ones that are alive.

I havent seen them eat the cucumber at all i put 2 pcs in the tank, they are pretty thin as well i did peel them before hand. They seem to really like the driftwood and one of my plants that had a lot of brown algae growning on the leafs when the tank was cycling.

The rosy barbs have stopped acting strang so thats good, everything is really starting to look good in my tank, appreciate all your help/advice.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-23-2008, 09:42 PM
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Yeah, skinny or sunken bellies is not good. So when you do get your replacement otto, get the fattest bellied one you can find.

Mine didn't make a dive for cucumbers either. But when I put in a plant that had some diatoms on them, they had it white-glove clean in a matter of hours.

I lost one within the first 12 hours of getting them. And then I lost another because he wedged himself in my DIY CO2 ladder (which I have removed). And I found a 3rd dead for no apparent reason last week. So that should give me 6 left. The tank is so planted and so busy, it's hard to count them so I can only hope there's 6 in there.

Sounds like your barbs settled their argument.

I'm glad to hear things are looking better. I hope your new ottos make it!

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-23-2008, 10:56 PM
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my penguin tetras fought 24/7. They chased my SAE's and ottos and anything else that had a black stripe. They actually nipped my SAE to the point i saw a missing scale! At that point those little gangsters became Marble Gobi food!

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