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Old 11-10-2004, 04:39 AM   #1
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Tank Issues or just anxiety

Sorry so long. I am new to this game (fish AND forums).

My son was born early this year and he expressed an amazing fondness for fish and water very early on. My wife and I decided to get him a fish tank. I asked a friend to help us because I really did not want to kill the fish. He has a couple of tanks and his fish have always done well.

We bought an AquaTech Hex5 in May and my buddy gave us a couple Comets to cycle the tank. After a few weeks, we bought two little fantails and gave him back the comets. The fish did well and my son adores them.

The Fantails have long since outgrown the 5 gallon. My friend offered his 29 gallon to me as long as I agreed to take a few of his fish (two calico fantails and a black moor). I agreed cautiously, since the other fantails grew so quickly--but I really needed something for them fast . I kept his fish in bowls while I cycled the new tank with two long-finned zebra danios (and gravel from the 5 gallon). That was three months ago.

At the same time (enjoying my new hobby and feeling quite the fish genius) I decided to set up a FW community tank. I studied up, and discovered that my friend was more lucky than good with fish. So I went to an LFS while on business in Williamsburg and found a very nice, knowledgable guy to help me out. I set up my 30-gallon cube and cycled with my trusty little danios. I planted the tank and waited patiently, watching my levels and so on. When the time came, I introduced 1 male and 2 female swordtails. When my levels were right again, I put in two pictus catfish. When my levels were right again, I added two angels and tragedy struck... A female sword swam to heaven, then the angels bought it, then one of my cats perished. I noticed some oddities in the way the swords were acting so I moved them to the empty 5 gallon and the danios went back in with the goldfish. The swords died, clearly infected with what looked like fungus.

So I got back on the horse. A few days ago I added three baby angels to the tank and now I am sporting a healthy, albeit odd, assortment of fish (1 pictus cat (original), 1 red-tailed shark, 1 small Raphael cat I rescued from my friend, 4 guppies and the 3 little angels). My levels are good, my maintenance seems to be on target, my plants are growing--but...my tank is cloudy and has been constantly cloudy from the beginning. It is not grey or green, but just hazy all the time. Near the glass and at the bottom it appears fine. Also, there are always little specks of something floating around. The fish seem fine, but the haze drives me crazy. No clarifiers have worked yet. Should I worry? My wife thinks it might just be the light or the glass lid but I don't know. Any ideas? I am afraid it is linked to the swordtail killer.

Also, my goldfish tank is now cloudy (actual cloudy through and through) and water changes are not helping. And when I went to move the danios to the 5 gallon after the disease went away, one of them showed up missing. Poor guy--I am such a bad fish dad. The two calicos are looking like they might have dropsy (misc scales look out of place). But they act fine, and why would it just affect the calicos? And how should I treat them if that is the case?

I really thought I was being responsible in learning everything I could before beginning this venture. Now I realize just how little I know. Please help. I hoped to move the guppies to the 5 gallon and add one more fish group to the 30 gallon (any suggestions). But I am afraid to do anything now--I don't want to move the guppies since everything seems fine in their tank--and I have only had goldfish in the Hex5. I don't want to add new fish to cloudy tank in case the cloudiness is a sign of worse things to come. I don't want to fill the 5 gallon in case I have to treat the calicos, but I don't want to try and treat the calicos alone if what they have might infect everybody without me knowing it. And all the goldfish have been doing so well. Why would the sickness develop now, when no fish have been added for months? I chalked my first fish tragedy up to Petsmartitis--if something happens now I really only have myself to blame and that is surprisingly hard for me to handle.

Thanks. Please help.

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Old 11-10-2004, 09:11 AM   #2
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Welcome to AA, NutHunter!

Wow! What a story - you certainly have some situations to deal with here.

All of this sounds like water quality issues, which cause stress, which makes the fish susceptible to disease. Anytime something unusual starts going on and the first step is to test your water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Post back with these parameters and we will be able to help much more.

For your angel tank the cloudiness is likely a bacterial bloom and it should clear up on its own provided the water parameters are in order. What kind of filtration do you have on this tank? If you can avoid using water clarifiers I would recommend it - they will complicate matters and are treating a symptom, rather than than the cause, and this will go away by itself anyway.

Fish with signs of illness should be removed promptly to a quarrantine tank, and it is great that you have a tank that can be used for that, so I'd go ahead and do it, but otherwise don't add more fish or make any changes if you can help it for now.

I'm going to move this over to the General forum where all of our trusty FW members can see it and offer suggestions. We'll help you though this, fear not!

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Old 11-10-2004, 04:05 PM   #3
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This might be a long shot, but there was one time when my water got cloudy/hazy from air going through the filter. My airstone was too close to the filter intake and bubbles would get sucked up, atomized, and come out as haze. I moved the airstone and the problem went away.
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Old 11-10-2004, 04:48 PM   #4
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I'll only comment on the goldie tank - since that's all I have.

How big are the goldies? You have 5 in a 29 & that is pushing the bioload limit on that tank. Most people would suggest 10 gal per goldfish & serious goldie keepers aim for 20 per.

You can keep the 5 fantails in the 29 but will need a lot of work. First off, we need to know your ammonia, nitrite & nitrate levels ... also the temperature & pH. Also, what kind of filtration you have in that tank? With all that cloudy water, it is likely that you have a water quality problem & that is prob the root cause of the dropsy (if indeed that is what it is) ...

Goldies make a lot of waste & in a small tank, you'll need to do a LOT of water change to keep up. When I had my 2 fantails in a 10 gal QT - it is not unusual for me to have to do 50% water changes every day to keep levels in check. I suspect you'll need to do that kind of water change permanently if you want to keep that many goldies in a 29.

As for treating the calicos ... first & foremost - fresh clean water ... only after you fix the water will other treatments be helpful. Dropsy has many causes, from water quality problems to bacterial & other infection. Some are treatable, others not. But all the treatments starts with perfect water ....

It is not unusual to see prob in one gold & not the other. The diff kinds are different in hardiness. Eg. red cap orandas are very sensitive to poor water conditions, while the comets are not. Of your 5, the common fantails (if that's what you have) are the most hardy & will prob show signs last.

Anyway, I'll start with the water parameters & fixing any problems there. Then I'll suggest a more detailed description of the sick calicos (a pic might help) so we can find out what's wrong & go from there.
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Old 11-11-2004, 02:31 AM   #5
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Thank you all for the quick replies. (and thank you TankGirl for the local welcome)

Hashbaz--once is a longshot but twice is a rule--my bubble stone is about 5 inches directly in front of my filter intake--and the water does look almost like carbonation. I will get back to you with the results. One more thing about the cloudiness--the first two segments of my filter tube are cloudy (grey). I have never seen it before.

I am out of town right now but will check my levels tomorrow evening and post them. I alwys waited for <.1, 0, <.5 before adding new fish before. I admit I have not checked them since two days before the angels went in. I have a topfin 30 in the FW tank and a Proquatics 120 for the Goldfish.

I appreciate the advice on the goldfish. I sort of guessed I had too much fish. Considering the way the first two fantails grew, I expect that even following this regimen will not be enough. The Calicos appear to have some scales reflecting light differently than their other scales, as if they are at different angles than the rest. I can't say they are bulging or flaring because all I notice is the disparate light reflection. The larger one is the one that got me worrying because there appears to be about 9 or 10 different places on his body where it occurs. I will try and take a photo. By the way, jsoong, can you tell me why all five Goldfish remain all crowded together? I thought the two fantails stayed that way once I moved them because they were used to it, but now all of them hang out within fin's reach all the time. Might it be the water temp?--I cannot seem to keep it below 70.
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Old 11-11-2004, 12:14 PM   #6
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Goldfish are actually schooling fish (esp the single tail). It is pretty common to see all the goldies in a pond at one end or the other. Mine do the same in the tank ... guess they just like each other's company.

Just having different kinds of scales is not in itself a sign of disease. There are 3 types of scales in fancy golds: Metallic, Matt & Narceous. Metallic scales are shinny, Matt is transparent (like the "scaleless fishes"), & Narceous is in between. Calicos are usually Narceous .... but the term only means that the fish has 3 colors - white, orange & black.

A pure-bred show fish will have scales of all one type, but the pet-store fish will often have a few scales out of place. These fish are perfectly healthy ... they are just not pure-bred & will never win any prize at a fancy fish show.

I guess that your calico is matt or naceous & has a few shinny scales? That's not a sign of disease. I have one like that too, perfectly healthy ... just means he is a mutt. If it were dropsy, all the scales would be sticking out - like a pine cone - esp. if you look at it from the top>

PS - fancy golds like the temp in the low to mid 70's, so I wouldn't worry too much about getting the temp under 70.
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Old 12-20-2004, 03:13 AM   #7
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All Problems solved except what new friends to add

Long time...sorry about the delay and leaving everyone with their wonderful advice hanging.

The cloudiness turned out to be phosphorous. It is all gone now. I had a huge algae bloom out of nowhere, changed the water every two days or so, and used Phos-X. Now my water is perfect and the fish are doing great.

It also seems that I had way too much gravel in my tank. I took out about twelve pounds!

All has been good for about a month. My 30 gal tank currently has 3 Angels, 1 Pictus Cat, 1 Raphael, 1 Pleco, and 1 Rainbow Shark.

I am ready to add more now, but I don't know what to do. The Angels hang in the top (2 around my sword plant, and the third by the heater). The Raphael and pleco are basically not there (I never see them). The Cat stays active but keeps to himself in a corner behind a rock, under the sword. Basically, I thought about adding another angel and a school of something to occupy the middle depths of the tank. It is two feet high so there is still alot of open water.
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Old 12-20-2004, 03:30 AM   #8
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I like platies, as they are active, colorful, and come in many varieities. Only problem is, you'll be overrun with them soon, although looking at the current population of your tank, maybe not. I think that the Pictus and Raphael cats get fairly big, but i'm not certain.

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Old 12-20-2004, 11:53 AM   #9
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You probably know this already....but just be PATIENT and CAUTIOUS when adding your new fishies....since it hasn't been that long since there were issues. Maybe add one or two fish and wait a few weeks before adding more. (Even if you eventually want a school, it's probably best to build the school gradually rather than adding them all at once) HTH
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Old 12-20-2004, 01:32 PM   #10
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Just my 2 cents.... from looking at your posts above it seems to me that you may have an easier time keeping water perameters in check by getting different filters. If you are looking for inexpensive ones try Aquaclears or Penguins. Also, an Emperor 280 would be great for your tanks. You can pretty much ignore what the package says the filters are rated for, in all my tanks (cichlid tanks) I turn the water over at least 10 times per hour. If you are interested check out Big Al's online.
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Old 12-23-2004, 07:04 AM   #11
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I wouldn't add any more angels to your tank. A good rule of thumb is 1 angelfish for every 10 gallons. This keeps them from being overcrowded as they get bigger.
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Old 12-23-2004, 12:24 PM   #12
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i agree, i have my tank just a touch overcrowded right now. i have 3 angels in my 50 gallon and 2 are full adult size. The other 3 are past juvenile but not fully grown. I am waiting for my fiancee to give me the go ahead to get a new tank for them.just a bit of caution (this is somethign that happened to me) but your red tail shark, when it get larger, it WILL start getting super agressive. Again this is just something that happened to me.My shark was ONLY 3.5" long and he killed off 2 angels and 4 other fish before he got moved to my friends cichlid tank where he is thriving with a 9" frontosa. Also, the pictus catfish, if it is the Pimelodus pictus catfish, be VERY VERY careful when handling this fish at all. It has 3 barbs on it that can make adult humans extremely ill from the poison that it can inject into you. I have a rafael catfish in my tank. I just hope you have a driftwood or rocks stacked up so that he can hide. He is a nocturnal fish that will stress out even more if he isn't hiding when your light is on. Other then that great job!

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