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Old 10-08-2004, 12:12 PM   #1
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fish scraping on rocks, no white spots - ick?

I am new to SW. I have a 29 gal with a few damsels that has not yet cycled. The fish have recently started scraping themselves on the tank decorations. In my reading it seems that this is a sign of parasites, but I see no white spots like in the photos of ick. Two of the fish have seem to lost some color since being added to the tank -- they're not quite as bright.

Is this ick considering the lack of spots? Do the fish require treatment?

Everything I read seems to contradict everything else -- I am new to this and it is all very confusing to me with each source recommending a different solution.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-08-2004, 12:17 PM   #2
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SOunds like your cycling the tank with fish. This will put a higher stress load on the fish and make it succeptable to multiple parasites and issues.

What are your water quality levels? IE ammonia, nitrite, nitrate.

Do you have makeup water ready to do a water change if you have high levels of ammonia or nitrite?
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Old 10-08-2004, 12:29 PM   #3
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I had fish flashing (scraping on rocks) w/no visible signs of parasite. It was marine velvet/oodinium, a parasite similar to ick that starts internally on SW fish. If its that, quick action is needed. Poor water quality was the cause of mine.

Like fishfreek said, check yur water levels immediately and monitor them constantly since it does sound like you're cycling with fish. How many damsels by the way?

Another question - what are your ultimate goals on inhabitants? Lots of damsels get pretty mean with others and don't play nice. You sure you want to keep them?
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Old 10-08-2004, 05:27 PM   #4
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more info

Being so new to SW, I honestly didn't even know that there was any other way to cycle the tank until very recently. I read a couple of books and talked to some people at an aquarium specialty store. I was actually told, "people cycle tanks with damsels," so that's what I decided to do. I have 4. The real goal of this current setup is to develop my skills until I move to a new home (within the next 2 years) which will allow the space for a larger aquarium.

pH 8.2
SG 1.024
ammonia 0.50 (just started to rise)
nitrate 7.5
nitrite 0

I had assumed that the nitrogen levels beginning to rise was part of the "normal" cycling process.

I really don't forsee myself keeping anything more than the few damsels I have at present considering my goals for this tank.

What do ya'll think I should do about my itching fish? Is this Ick? Velvet?

Last night none of the fish ate (they were previously all excellent eaters). They were all hugging close to the tank decorations and not swimming at all (previously they'd dart all over the tank). This morning two ate and two seemed intersted but did not eat. They are all swimming better today. I think maybe they're "breathing" (whats the word for what they do?) faster than usual today, but I'm not really sure.

Thanks again. Looking forward to your feedback.
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Old 10-08-2004, 05:32 PM   #5
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Also, they seem to be holding their fins in close to their body, a change from previous behavior.
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Old 10-08-2004, 06:34 PM   #6
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Fin clamping. Amongh other things, a sign of ammonia toxicity. Please change some water ASAP--those little guys are suffering! Did the LFS that sold you the damsels give you instruction about water changes? I wonder if you have a typo in your parameters--the cycle goes ammonia--nitrites--nitrates, so it would be weird to have ammonia and nitrates and no nitrItes in a new tank.

If you want to keep the damsels, you'll need to test/do water changes every day until the tank cycles or they will likely either die or suffer permanent damage. If you think you want other fish, you might take them back and cycle with LR.

Being brand new to SW myself, I understand how frustrating it is to get contrdictory advice from everyone. One thing to keep in mind: people at the LFS want to sell you stuff. People here want to help you and your fishies.
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Old 10-08-2004, 07:18 PM   #7
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so it would be weird to have ammonia and nitrates and no nitrItes in a new tank.
Actually, I get nitrate readings of 6-9 with my tap water! I verified this with my water company published readings as well. This probably explains the 7.5 nitrate reading.
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