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Old 06-11-2004, 10:38 PM   #1
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I'm a newbie, so I just don't know...

I've had my 5-gallon tank for almost four weeks. One of my Black Skirt Tetras isn't looking right. I noticed yesterday that he doesn't float straight up and down, he tends to lean to the right. And his head is usually higher than his tail. I've been watching him and today I noticed that his fins are starting to look a little ragged. As of right now, I haven't tested the water - like I said, I'm new to this and am learning as I go. I'm planning on running to the LFS to get a testing kit soon.

Am I overreacting in thinking that there's something wrong? These are the guys I like the most, so I don't want to lose one...

TIA - Allison
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Old 06-12-2004, 12:15 AM   #2
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Welcome to Aquarium Advice! You say that you have had the tank for 4 weeks.

1) How often have you been doing water changes?

2) How much water are you changing?

3) Where did you get the tetras? Also, you mentioned these are the guys you like the most...what other fish do you have in there? Were they added before or after the tetras?

4) Once you get your test kit, please post your water parameters...ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.

5) What kind of filter? Do you have a heater?

Just from reading issues other people have had, some possiblities might be a swim-bladder disorder and maybe fin-rot (depending on the severity of the ragged fins). I am curious though to see what other fish you may have in there as far as that goes...anybody that might be giving him a little nip?

Also, answering those other questions would be a good start so that we can have a little more information and hopefully give you a better answer!

Paul
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Old 06-12-2004, 02:11 AM   #3
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Thanks so much for answering. I hope my answers are enough to go on. I can't believe I'm really starting to like these fish. This was just supposed to be a little tank for my 3 year to enjoy looking at.

1. Waited 2 weeks before the first change, and now change every week.

2. I change approximately 15%.

3. I got all of our fish at Petsmart. We have 2 Black Skirts and 2 Fancy guppies which were first in the tank. One week later we added 2 Neons and 2 other fish (They were mislabeled and I thought they were dayglow tetras, but they're not - I was just at the store and tried to be sure to remember what they were, but I forgot!).

4. I just tested with the kit, here's what I got: PH 7.5, Nitrite between 2.0-5.0, and Ammonia 2.5. This kit didn't have a nitrate test.

5. I hope I answer this one right! We got an Eclipse Tank System. We didn't change the filter that it came with. It is mechanical, charcoal, and has a bio-wheel. I hope that's what you're looking for. We don't have a heater as the water is maintaining a temperature of about 78-80 degrees.

I have noticed that the other black skirt has been becoming aggressive toward this one. I was thinking it could be swim bladder but just to a mild degree. However, I think the other one does have 3 white spots on it's tail fin, c/b ich? I don't want to overdo any medicating especially since I've realized that this is probably not the best mix of fish. I'm fine with letting nature take its course, I just happen to like the Black Skirts the most.

THANKS!!!
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Old 06-12-2004, 02:44 AM   #4
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OK, that actually does help quite a bit!

All right, where to begin? Let's just start out 1 at a time.

1) Did anyone at PetSmart explain the nitrogen cycle to you? I'm going to guess that they didn't, so I would recommend reading this article here:
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showqu...q=2&fldAuto=21

The fact that you have both ammonia and nitrites registering means that your nitrogen cycle is in process, which is good, but brings me to #2.

2) Both your ammonia AND nitrite levels are WAY too high! Those levels are almost certain to be causing the fish stress and are only a couple notches from being toxic. I would recommend doing a 25% water change right away and then again every day if necessary until these levels come down. Ideally, you want your ammonia to be 0, nitrite 0, and nitrates up a little bit. This WILL happen with time, but at this point, if you just let nature run its course, you may lose several and possibly all of those fish!

3) You are already a tad overstocked for a 5 gallon. A basic idea of how many fish to keep is 1 inch of fish for each gallon. You probably already have 8 inches of fish, and as all of those tetras will grow to around 2", eventually as those fish mature, will grow to around 16 inches of fish! This also accounts for the severe rise in your ammonia and nitrite levels because the tank may already be overstocked BEFORE the cycle completed.

4) If it IS ich, letting nature take its course will mean all of the fish will be infested and eventually die. Here is another great article to read:
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showqu...q=2&fldAuto=32

There are excellent pictures and descriptions there to look at. If it is ich, you will have to treat it one of the ways listed, or it will just get worse. It sounds like your water temp is fine for the fish without a heater, but not having a heater will eliminate treating ich with the high heat method. I'm sure someone else with more experience treating it will pop in with more advice if you do determine it is ich.

But anyway, I don't think your mixture of fish is bad. I think they will be fine together. Right now, your most important pressing issues are to lower those levels of ammonia and nitrite through daily 25% water changes if necessary, and to determine for sure whether or not that fish has ich and act quickly if it does! Don't go too crazy with your water change, don't change it all out at once or anything like that, as that will be VERY stressful for the fish. When you change, make sure to get the temp as close as you possibly can, even using a thermometer if necessary. Don't forget chlorine remover.

I know this might all seem overwhelming right now, but trust me, once you get the hang of this, it will get much easier and seem like second nature!
Good luck, and keep us posted!
Paul
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Old 06-12-2004, 05:02 PM   #5
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I just retested my water, and the ammonia level is actually at 0.25 (it was really close to the 0 color, but I think there are still some trace levels of ammonia). Guess I was a little tired when reading the reference card. I'll go ahead and do a water change to hopefully bring down the nitrite level.

I'm fairly sure it is ich. I tried to take a picture, but it wouldn't come out clearly enough. In our tank at work, our first batch of fish were infected. They all died with the treatment, so I'm somewhat nervous to treat them. Again, it's only on one fish at this time. I bought salt last night (just because), do you think that's a good way to start? Or should I go buy some of the meds?

My brother told me that one of the pet stores had 10 gallon tanks on clearance for $2.50. I'm thinking I might get one (or two) for a quarantine tank, especially if I plan on getting a larger tank in the future.

Thank you so much for your help. I could hear my husband roll his eyes on the phone last night when I told him I was getting a testing kit. He's just happy I found a place to find this stuff out!
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Old 06-13-2004, 12:47 AM   #6
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Most of the meds out there are better at killing fish than killing ich. I tried three different meds (one after another, not all at once) on one infestation and all the fish died of ich. I haven't tried the salt and heat treatment (I haven't had any fish with ich since I heard about this method) but it worked for my brother.

P.S. Melafix can help the fins heal faster and prevent secondary infections.
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Old 06-13-2004, 04:27 AM   #7
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Read the article written by Allivymar on FW ich in the Articles section. No need to add meds; although, Melafix can also be used during the treatment. It sounds like there may be multiple problems in the tank.
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Old 06-13-2004, 11:35 AM   #8
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yeah i think the 2 things that make fish swim sideways or whatever are swimbladder/popeye.

im sure there are more but...yeah.

and petsmart teaching the nitrogen cycle phhhwaw

and to me the best way to explain the appearance of ich are white pimples.

i havent exp'd ich yet. but im sure i will in the future. and i think if they have ich then they'll itch on things
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Old 06-14-2004, 12:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
and to me the best way to explain the appearance of ich are white pimples
Ich should look like this, if there is a pus-like appearance, it is bacterial or viral.

How are the fish doing today??
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Old 06-14-2004, 07:46 AM   #10
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