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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
SO I need some advice from someone who has been through this disastrous disease. Almost all my fish have now died from a deadly case of neon tetra disease.

FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS this disease came from a batch or Neon Blue Gouramis I bought at Aqua forest Aquariums. Yes this is the same shop that is on this site. I don't blame AFA for my loss because I know I should always quarantine new fish but unfortunately I did not have a QT tank so they just went right into the main tank. Since I paid top dollar for the fish and this is an ADA shop, which sells only top notch aquarium supplies, I figured it would be fine. I was wrong.

So just a reminder to all to quarantine the fish that you buy.

I use only RO with ro-rite added. I do a 20% water change every week. I dose all ferts separately exactly as recommended. I have pressurized co2 hooked to a ph controller. I rarely overfeed and the tank is very very clean.

Here are some quick stats;
Tank: 54gal all glass corner bow front

Filters: 2X Rena Xp1's (one with seachem biostars and a coarse sponge the other has course sponge and fine filtration)

CO2: 5lbs bottle, with double gauge regulator, electronic solenoid and needle valve, diffused via CO2 diffuser 5000 from Green Leaf Aquariums (also on this site). Controlled by a SMS122 pH Controller by Milwaukee Instruments

Lighting: 130 watt Compaq florescent (1X65watt 67K and 1X65watt colormax/67k) ALSO 36 watt T5 (18watt colormax 18watt 67k) TOTAL 166 watts for 7hrs a day. Roughly 3.08 wpg excluding substrate displacement.

Substrate: 3 bags of eco complete with a base of play sand and some decorative landscape rock mixed with course red lava rock (all boiled of course except for the eco)

Tank Age: Filters came from old tank. Most plants and all the wood came from old tank. 25% the substrate came from the old tank. The new tank is about 6 months old. But it’s cycled for sure.

SO on to the problem! I have lost 6 gouramie, 3 Siamese algae eaters, 4 or 5 tetras, a koolie loach, and last but far far from least 2 large orinoco altums angel fish :icon_cry::icon_cry::icon_cry:that were roughly 4 years old (man they were lookers). Some of the tetras were that old too :icon_cry::icon_cry::icon_cry: so you know I keep a well maintained and balanced tank. So I’m down to a L24 Redfin Cactus Pleco, a blue tetra, a hatchet, a koolie loach, and about 6 neon’s after this last euthanasia session where I had to say good buy to two tetras, my last Siamese algae eater(such a happy fish), and my last orinoco altums ANGEL! :icon_cry::icon_cry::icon_cry: . Man it’s been horrible!

So my question is what now??? I obviously can't empty and sterilize my tank because the plants are all thriving and growing profusely. Medications and chemicals will not touch Neon Tetra Disease. I read one guys thing saying add this and this and this and this and double the dose of that. To that guy I say "not a friggen chance dude. There is no way I’ll drop a chemical nuke in my take." The tank is EXTREMELY healthy besides this dang disease. Yes, I tried both Pima and Mela meds when I first saw this disease starting with disastrous algae results because I had to stop using ferts during the medication time. Unfortunately I did not figure out what was wrong with the sick gourami until it was to late and the infection spread.

Does anyone know how long Neon Tetra Disease can live in a tank without a host? I know it can live without a host but for how long? Will a very clean tank rid itself of the disease faster? I have herd this disease can live in the water column as well as in the gravel. But since it is passed by fish eating infected flesh it seems unlikely the parasite could live in the water column.

What fish can't get the disease? It seems like a lot more then just neon’s and angels can get it!

I'm very open to new fish and invertebrate suggestions as well.

Sorry for the very long post but I need some help with this one!

Man this sux so bad. I miss my angels already. Aqua Forest is getting some frozen fish and a piece of my mind for sure!!!
 

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While I have no real experience with this disease I feel your pain as I lost all my fish in a 10 gallon and to this date I have no idea to what. UV sterilizer was running in the tank, water parameters were normal, there was no overfeeding(though the tank was overstocked), and tank maintenance was not neglected with weekly water changes. I chalked it up to bad feed, but as I recall I did purchase a couple of neon tetras a while ago before the deaths, so it makes me wonder if this was not the work of NTD. Anyway, as tempted as I was to tear that tank down, I placed some Amano Shrimp in it after my fish died and all the Amano Shrimp thrived and tripled in size. So, to some extent shrimp may not be effected by the same diseases(s) as fish, although I don't know if this also holds true for NTD. I guess if a shrimp ate a dead fish with NTD and then a fish ate the shrimp it could get NTD.

Personally, I would tear the tank down, bleach everything and start over as painful as it may be. If you don't want to do this, you could try coverting the tank to a shrimp and snail only tank and see what happens.

You could try a diatom filter to clean the water but I cannot say if this will help. UV sterilizers are supposed to prevent the spread of waterborne parasites. In my case my UV sterilizer did not stop the string of mysterious deaths I experienced.

The only way you could truly/100% prevent the introduction of disease in your tank from infected fish is to quarantine all new fish for at least 2 weeks and if they make it, you may be fine. Also, disinfecting plants may also be a good idea as some parasites could come attached to plants without your knowledge. You need to do both.

Good luck and keep us posted on how you make out.
 

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Yeah I was just gonna ask if you quarantined the new fish for a few weeks? I quarantine all new fish and plants no matter where I get them from. It's simple enough to set up a small Q tank and not take a chance of infecting your main tank with sick fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
In the aftermath of an epidemic!

Believe it of not i have never quarantined any new fish i have gotten and i have only had two problems with disease in my tank in 6 or so years (most of my fish don't die so i really haven't bought all that many). I know i should set up a quarantine tank and i am planning on it. In fact i started doing it yesterday.

" Personally, I would tear the tank down, bleach everything and start over as painful as it may be."
Can't do it dude. this tank is FULL of very well established and manicured plants. The new eco complete alone would cost over $100 to replace. BUT It is a possibility this tank may have to be moved in a few months so if that happens then i will probably go this rout or i may just tear it down for a while. Moving with a 54 gal planted tank is way friggen hard!!! I already did it once.

The shrimp tank sounds like an ok idea but their has to be some fish that don't get it. What about puffers?
 

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Before you go thinking it’s my fault I'll tell you IT IS NOT because I know my stuff very well (it’s an obsession/addiction for me). This is my second tank and most of the stuff (that is still alive) came from my old 50gal. I have perfect water. I use only RO with ro-rite added. I do a 20% water change every week. I dose all ferts separately exactly as recommended. I have pressurized co2 hooked to a ph controller. I rarely overfeed and the tank is very very clean.
Well, a 20% weekly water change is really not much. Not much at all, actually. 50% weekly (or more) is ideal, especially with regular fertilization of the water column. Even experienced aquarists have problems sometimes, and I might suggest that since you've only had 2 aquariums, you most probably have been lucky enough to avoid some of the more frequent issues that plaque serial-aquarists.

All the equipment/routine in the world can't ensure a successful aquarium, but adhering to some basic "best practice" methodologies for doing things (like getting a QT tank, which you seem to have already done) can help minimize problems like this. Although you may (or may not) have purchased some "infected" livestock, it's your own fault that your tank (and its inhabitants) are now infected (no offense). You admit this yourself though (below), so I don't feel too bad for pointing it out...

I know i should set up a quarantine tank and i am planning on it. In fact i started doing it yesterday.
The tank is EXTREMELY healthy besides this dang disease.
This is like saying "I'm EXTREMELY healthy besides this inoperable, cancerous tumor in my abdomen." I'm going to have to agree with Homer on this one: either really clean the tank extremely well, tear it down, or make it an invert only tank (though it seems like you're not having much luck with them either)....Personally, it would take me a long time to feel comfortable enough to re-introduce fish to a tank that has already been infected, but that's just me...
Yes, I tried both Pima and Mela meds when I first saw this disease starting with disastrous algae results because I had to stop using ferts during the medication time.
I'm not aware of fertilization being contraindicated while using these remedies. I've used both products in the past and never stopped dosing ferts. I had no problems.

What fish can't get the disease? It seems like a lot more then just neon’s and angels can get it!
I know cardinals (P. axelrodi) are immune...other than that I'm not sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
aftermath

Tearing down the tank is simply not an option for me right now. I simply don't have the money to rebuild it at the moment and if I move in two or three months, whats the point. So I guess its going to become a shrimp, beta, cardinal, and perhaps Ram tank. Does anyone know if Rams can get NTD? Will a ram and beta fight? My last beta got along fine with the angels and everyone else in the tank. The last ram I got didn't like the angels at all, actually the angels didn''t like the ram I should say so i had to take him back.

Apparently otos and plecos don't get NTD or at least mine haven't.

A 50% water change sounds like to much to me. I have tried doing larger and more frequent water changes and it seemed to cause more harm then good. It was just to much of a disturbance for the plants and fish. Things actually do better for me when I do less but am very punctual and persistant. Perhaps because I am over filtering by a lot I can get away with less water change. (500 gph on a 54 gal tank!)


"I'm not aware of fertilization being contraindicated while using these remedies. I've used both products in the past and never stopped dosing ferts. I had no problems."

I can't remember why i thought i should stop all ferts while using the meds. It could have just been my choice, or it could have said something on the bottle. I eneded up with a hair algae crisis which I had to use algae killer to get rid of. I battled with the stuff for months but it just kept coming back.

I'm no stranger to the typical planted tank problems my friend. This is not a typical problem I have now.

Coleman, most of your post seems to be condesending and not of a helping nature. Did I misunderstand your intentions?
 

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You certainly did. I meant no ill-will whatsoever. Sometimes when I get real matter-of-fact I come across as condescending, and I'm certainly apologetic if that's the case. You need a QT tank - you obviously know that. I'm sure your tank is in good health other than the whole NTD thing...but like I said, that's kind of counterintuitive.

My point is this: I've been doing this a long time, and others have been doing it much longer than me. When something goes awry, I've found the reason is usually my own doing; I don't QT fish properly, I forget to dose a day, I change the photoperiod, my water level's low and the resultant increase in surface agitation is outgassing my CO2 - whatever. Rather than going on a diatribe about how bad a vendor's stock was and how pissed you are that it infected your whole tank, learn from the experience and try to prevent it from happening in the future, and furthermore admit that the resultant infection (and fish losses) were your own doing. Like I said earlier, if you observe some "best practice" methodologies, you minimize risks to your tank. IT sounds like, for the most part, you've been doing this...but now you've learned your lesson about QT'ing fish. I learned this the same way, as most do: the hard way. The most common problems people experience with their aquariums are self-induced, but few seem to acknowledge that fact (including myself sometimes).

Are you certain that your fish have NTD? ARe you positive about this diagnosis? Oto's and pleco's are both susceptible, so watch them carefully.

Again, sorry if I came across as condescending earlier...no ill wishes, only best of luck to you. :thumbsup:
 

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I'm sorry you are having a hard time.

My plants, fish and shrimp from Aqua Forest must be defective because they are all thriving.





Knock on wood this all stays alive....
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
aftermath

WOW infopimp. You spent some dough on that little tank. I've been eying those Crystal Reds for a wile but they are CRAZY money. Like $15 per or something like that. Right? If you get babies and you'd be willing to sell some I'd buy whatever you'll sell me if they are a good price. I want some of those really bad. It looks like some dwarf riccia in their too. I bought some of that from them as well and it’s growing good but again it was a bit pricy. I had a ton of regular riccia but it all died off when I had to use the chemicals to kill the hair algae. It probably would have come back because the tips were still green but I was worried about ammonia because there was a LOT of it.
I'm going to do a nano tank next like yours next because dealing with a 50 gal when moving is just to dang hard!

Apology accepted ColeMan. We all do learn from experience. I used to have a QT tank before I moved here but I gave it to my friend when I left (it was a pretty sweet little nano). I am 99% sure it is or was NTD and 100% sure whatever it is/was came from the gouramis from Aqua Forest. I'm not blaming them for my loss because, you are right, I should quarantine my fish but, I just didn't expect to pay extra for sickly fish and I am angry and sad about the loss of my 2 angel casualties. I don’t blame aqua forest in fact I will probably still buy stuff their but I will be extra careful!

Yikes! I didn’t think Otto’s or Pleco's were susceptible merely for the fact that they have showed no signs of the disease and I haven't read anywhere that they were susceptible. I'll keep an eye on them. My blue tetra is now acting crazy but I can't see any lumps or spots on him but the little dude is like a friggen rocket ship all over the tank, so he’s hard to get a good look at. I'm going to leave him in the tank for now. He has always been ADHD so it could be normal.

Another question: Do I have to wait for my QT tank to cycle to use it?

Check out my new profile to see my tank.
Sorry for the low quality pics. I took them with my blackberry real quick today.
 

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Yes, it has to be cycled just like any other tank.

Have you thought about running a UV Sterilizer in your tank? It may wipe out any remaining cooties in there. You can get submersible ones that you can use for this purpose.
 

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Apology accepted ColeMan. We all do learn from experience. I used to have a QT tank before I moved here but I gave it to my friend when I left (it was a pretty sweet little nano). I am 99% sure it is or was NTD and 100% sure whatever it is/was came from the gouramis from Aqua Forest. I'm not blaming them for my loss because, you are right, I should quarantine my fish but, I just didn't expect to pay extra for sickly fish and I am angry and sad about the loss of my 2 angel casualties. I don’t blame aqua forest in fact I will probably still buy stuff their but I will be extra careful!
I'm glad we got things straightened out. I too have been lax about a QT tank, and so am just now getting around to setting one up (I haven't been in any kind of a hurry to add more livestock to my tank), so don't feel bad. And, also, it sucks to pay top dollar for unhealthy fish, and there's no reason that you can't bring that to a vendor's attention. If you're certain they sold you infected fish, you have every reason to bring it to their attention and tell them you were dissatisfied. If you demonstrate working knowledge and sound logic regarding the hobby, chances are you can start working on some type of customer-business relationship that benefits you both; you can get "inside" knowledge about he healthiest stock, incoming shipments, good deals, etc. Just don't put all the blame on their shoulders.

Yikes! I didn’t think Otto’s or Pleco's were susceptible merely for the fact that they have showed no signs of the disease and I haven't read anywhere that they were susceptible. I'll keep an eye on them. My blue tetra is now acting crazy but I can't see any lumps or spots on him but the little dude is like a friggen rocket ship all over the tank, so he’s hard to get a good look at. I'm going to leave him in the tank for now. He has always been ADHD so it could be normal.

Another question: Do I have to wait for my QT tank to cycle to use it?

Check out my new profile to see my tank.
Sorry for the low quality pics. I took them with my blackberry real quick today.
In my experience pleco's are pretty resilient little creatures and are generally the last to succumb to diseases/disorders in a tank. Oto's, not so much...but if they're doing good, then that's great. I'd probably be doing massive daily water changes to help get the tank "cleaned" up and increase the chances for your remaining fish.

Unfortunately, yes you have to wait for your QT tank to cycle before you use it As an experienced aquarist, though, I'm sure you know some good tricks for hastening cycle time (using a seeded filter, mulm, etc).

Yes, it has to be cycled just like any other tank.
Have you thought about running a UV Sterilizer in your tank? It may wipe out any remaining cooties in there. You can get submersible ones that you can use for this purpose.
UV sterilizers are great to combat a variety of maladies and it's not a bad idea to have one on hand. Unfortunately, it won't do much for NTD...Something noteworthy here: NTD is often misdiagnosed, and many people who think their fish have NTD have sort of thrown meds at their fish and, on occasion, even report success. My guess is that these people who report successful treatments had fish the were infected with something else (ie bacterials infection, etc), and jsut got lucky. My point: maybe its worth trying a UV on the off chance that it isn't NTD...if you have one lying around, it might be a good idea to give it a shot...you don't have much to lose at this point....
 

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Another question: Do I have to wait for my QT tank to cycle to use it?
As an experienced aquarist, I'm surprised you're asking that question. No offense, but something to think about before you slam AFA. To have that level of mortality is usually the result of the environment they're in, not the environment they came from.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
aftermath

As an experienced aquarist, I'm surprised you're asking that question. No offense, but something to think about before you slam AFA. To have that level of mortality is usually the result of the environment they're in, not the environment they came from.
I have never tried using a QT tank before it cycles and I need one NOW.

Like I said before, I don't blame AFA.
 

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FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS this is the first and probably the last batch of fish I will buy at AQUA FOREST AQUARIUMS IN SF!!! THIS IS AN AGA SHOP TOO that carries all amano products. WTF! YES THIS IS THE SAME SITE THAT IS ON THIS FORM.

I love the shop but it seems that everything I buy their dies or infects my tank...Before you go thinking it’s my fault I'll tell you IT IS NOT because I know my stuff very well (it’s an obsession/addiction for me).
Like i said before, i don't blame AFA I'm just dissatisfied. 95% of the fish i bought their died in this NTD epidemic.
Sounds like you're blaming them to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
I went back and edited my posts so it hopefully does not sound like I blame AFA.

Any chance we could get someone who has been though NTD to comment on what they did after the epidemic?

I'm going to look into a UV sterilizer. I know they are expensive so I don't know if I can get one right now since I'm laid off at the moment. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
figure i"d give a quick update. I moved in april 09. So i did 100% water change, washed all the plants + filters. No more issues since the tank was set back up. I waited a total of 5 months before adding new livestock and no one got sick. I re aquascaped about 2 weeks ago so i think I'm pretty much in the clear now. Fingers crossed.

working on a black beard algae outbreak with hydrogen peroxide at half max dose because i now have discus :) The hydrogen peroxide actually works quite well. It works better if you can spray it on with a squirt bottle out of the water though. I think the algae out break is because it was time to replace my CF bulbs. Got a 9325K and a 67 k on the way.

Also just wanted to let people know that if you have a square pin fixture there is an adapter to make it fit straight pin bulbs. Check ebay if your interested. I was stoked to find this out because the square pin base has a somewhat limited selection of lamp spectrum and the 9325 /67k mix always looked very nice to me and now i will have it.

You can see some pics of the new scape here
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/fish/97874-discus-digging.html
 

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Hi there....I am battling the same disease that your tank had last year and was hoping you could tell me exactly what you did to clean the tank. I have a 72 gallon bowfront planted tank with a 20 gallon sump. Everything was fine until I introduced about 20 neons to the tank. I had only had cories and a few snails prior to my neon purchase. I, like you, have never had any problems dumping everyone into the main tank before....never had a qt tank and never thought I needed one....until now. I'm just sick about this. My plants have gotten huge and beautiful and the weird thing is my cories are thriving! I guess they are not affected? I had read somewhere that you needed to take out all of the infected fish and wait one month before adding more. So I did this. First I bought some swordtails and they were doing good for about 2 weeks....even had babies, which are in a little tank inside the tank....so I bought some angels. Well, last night the swordtails died and this morning one of my angels is looking bad. If I take everything apart and bleach it, what do I do with my plants? What about my sand? I can dump the dirt under the sand ( even though it makes me sick ) and start over with that....but, anything else I need to do? MAN I HATE THIS! Thanks for any help you can give me. Feafur
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
OUCH!. Yeh man this disease is a serious pain in the butt.
I did not empty everything out of my tank. I just didn't buy anything new for about 5-6 months. Once i identified the disease and its symptoms i would immediately get rid of any fish that showed any signs whatsoever... It was very sad. After about 4.5 months i had to move so i took all the water out of the tank (put the fish in a bucket) and moved everything. The tank was without water for about 6 hrs (i put plastic wrap over the top so evaporation gave some moisture but most plants were dry by the time it reached its new home. I washed both filters just as i normally do and replaced most, but not all the sponges inside. I washed the plants off in the tank when i got to my new apartment then used a gravel vac to get that water out. Then i took out about half (roughly 1.5 inches) of substrate being as careful as possible to not stir the substrate up (my thought and hope was that maybe the disease could not penetrate all the way through the substrate. Lastly i added another bag of new substrate over the top of the old, filled the aquarium back up and did a rescape where i got rid of as many of the old plants as possible. Its been almost a yer now so i think I'm in the clear although i did have a beta get dropsy recently in the tank but i think he might have had it from the beginning because he was never very active like other ones I've had.

I have to say that one thing you said in your post has me thinking you may have something else and that's how quickly your fish die. Mine would take much longer. The actual time depended on the size of the fish. My angels too about 3 weeks for me to be able to say "yeh they have it" and they still would have lived for another few weeks i bet. Gouramies took about 2 weeks to die. tetras took about a week or less. I didn't have Cories so i don't know if they get it. My pleco is still doing just fine and he has been in the tank since day one. He must be like 10 years old now. He came with my first tank lol.

Mine would all develop a white spot on their side which would grow until it finally burst open. It would then be an open flesh wound that would sometimes bleed and looked very gruesome. I assume you have read about what this disease is but I'll summarize. Its a parasite of sorts that burrows through the stomach and intestines of the fish and grows in the fleshy part of the fish. It breads and grows in a pocket which becomes the white spot you should see. After a period the pocket burst open and a new generation of the parasite is release into your tank to be ingested by another unsuspecting fish. This parasite can live in the water column and supposedly in aquarium gravel for a reasonably long time. I didn't find an absolute time it can live.

If its a small tank start over and bleach everything. Mine is a 54 gal corner bow with about 6-8 bags of substrate in it so the substrate alone would have been hundreds of dollars to replace and i simply did not have the money to do this. I still don't. I may have gotten lucky.
In hindsight I should have made it a shrimp breeder during the months i was waiting.
You may want to consider a shrimp breeding tank. I now use my quarantine tank as a shrimp breeder and i love it. Plus if you get some cool, high grade, or rare shrimp you can make some $$$. Shrimp keep plant tanks absolutely pristine too. My quarantine nano (10 gal) gets no ferts, has no substrate, no co2, and LOTS of light and it is really amazing. Its not aquascaped or anything but it is kinda arranged with mosses, riccia, java ferns, and Anubis. It grows pretty fast too. Not like the other tank but I'd say the growth is more healthy without a speck of algae. Best part is shrimp don't get the disease and they will clean that tank good. Might be worth a shot.
Get a bunch of shrimp. Then buy some cardinals every month or so, QUARANTINE THEM FOR A WEEK, then add them to your big tank and see if any get sick. If any show signs take them out immediately. Wait 2 or 3 months before you try your first batch. Deep gravel vac during all water changes.
Good luck dude. No matter what you should set up a smaller tank you can toss questionable fish in. I know i would have taken the sick gourami out long before the parasite burst out of him if i had a small tank i could have put him it. Now if i ever see a fish showing signs like this i would put it in a glass of water before i let this happen again. The beta came out a month before he died.
 

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Believe it of not i have never quarantined any new fish i have gotten and i have only had two problems with disease in my tank in 6 or so years (most of my fish don't die so i really haven't bought all that many). I know i should set up a quarantine tank and i am planning on it. In fact i started doing it yesterday.
Me too. 6 years, no quarantine or meds. I've managed to get some fish from the store that had Ich, but it never spread around the tank.
 
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