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Old 05-26-2004, 11:29 AM   #1
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Much confusion over sick fish - Please help

Where to begin? My tank had finally seemed to finish cycling a few weeks ago. The ammonia levels, and nitrite levels were down to 0. Then my tank was hit by a bacterial infection, and I lost over half my fish in the span of 2 days. There was no warning. I would leave in the morning and the fish would seem fine. When I would get back in the afternoon, and some would be dead.

I got some medicine from the pet store, and that seemed to clear things up, as I lost no more fish. A few weeks later I decided to add a male beta. The water levels were fine at the time. Then a couple of days later he started to develop a small patch of white fuzz on his fins. I immediately called my pet store, and then began to medicate for fungi. Within a day the fish was dead. Then one of my other fish developed a white bulging film over his eyes, and white blotches on his body. Within a day he was dead too. The next day, another fish. I have been medicating for 4 days now, and a forth fish is beginning to show signs of turning ill.

The water has turned a bit hazy, though I am surmising that this is because of the medication. When I checked the water levels though, I was quite shocked. My nitrites had skyrocketed from nothing at all, to almost the limit of the testable range, in a matter of a couple of days (I double tested just to be sure).

My wife thinks some of these problems might be stemming from the large number of snails in my tank. They came in with the plants and have since propagated. I couldn’t say exactly how many there are. They are breeding successfully, and so there are young ones being born all the time. I would guess that there are anywhere from 40-80 snails ranging in size from about half a dime to the head of a pin. Their shells are very shiny and translucent.

Does anyone have any ideas what could be causing the diseases to keep popping up? Why is it that the medication doesn’t seem to be working, or is it that these fish were already too sick internally to recover? And what of these snails? And the wild nitrite swings? I don’t know what to make of all of this. Please HELP!!!!
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Old 05-26-2004, 11:52 AM   #2
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AS someone battling mystery outbreaks of bacteria, I feel theconfusion.
Though your tank is young and can still have wild swings.


As far as snails go....
I feel if you get them..it can point to introduction of disease...but not so much from snails as from not cleaning plants before addition. Most parasites (Ich/Velvet/Worms) cannot live too long without FISH hosts. But there are a plethora of nasty other stuff that can live wih or without the fish present.

However, a snail explosion is definitely a sign of too many nutrients available. Otherwise there are not as many because the little ones even consume each other. And certain types can even eat cyno if it is hiding in the substrate where they hang half the time (in fact trumpet snails can be beneficial in turning over you substrate and keeping pockets of yuk from developing they are just rough on planted tanks and many simply don't like them). Enough large snail or hundreds of small ones could impact the ammonia levels and start a mini cycle.

Sincee you treated with an antibiotic, chances are that your tank is re-cycling and you just missed testing for the ammonia spike(the fungus was likely ammonia burns)


When in doubt....first step should ALWAYS be to Step Up Your Water Change Schedule! This gives you the critical time to diagnose and attempt rescue.
Most outbreaks stem from a swing in parameters, even if it was only 24 hours long and you missed it, the fish did not and will stress. Stress equals hello opportunist diseases.
BTW:
ALWAYS QT new fish! No less than a week! (I QT for 4 and still miss an illness on occasion 8O ) It is always easier to treat a few fish in a QT tank than a whole stable tank of previously healthy animals.


Do a full test :
NH
NO
NO3 if you have one
PH
and post with tank size
tank occupants
and change schedule and temp

Add a Tablespoon of salt per 10 gallons to ease any symptoms of nitrite poisoning
and step up your change schedule...test first then do a 50%.
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Old 05-26-2004, 12:53 PM   #3
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Cheers, thanks for the response. I will check my tank’s current water levels when I get home, and post them here. Should I go about removing any of the snails from the tank, or should I let them eat themselves into a state of equilibrium? They don’t seem to be eating many plants, yet…. Though they have removed much of the algae from the tank. One plant is looking a bit moth-eaten, but the others seem fine.
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Old 05-26-2004, 08:50 PM   #4
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Hey Eoin

We had a problem with snails when we introduced some new live plants. We got most of the snails out (totalling around 80!) and then rinsed the plants again in aquarium water. Since then the number of snails is steady at around a handfull, approx 10 - 15. We did use some snail removal chemical but this tended to interfer with the balance we already had so we stopped it.

I have reed somewhere, think it was on this forum, that adding too many differnt chemicals only makes the situation worse, we took this advice and have since been able to achieve a very stable tank, only added a dechlorinator on a water change. Maybe, if you are adding different chemicals this could be the case.

I also read here :P that snails are high producers of nitrite, when we had our outbreak of snails, the nitrite rocketed too.

In our tank with artificial plants, there are no snails and the algae does develop quicker (bizzarely) as the snails are good for controlling algae, but as you said they are a pain when it comes to attacking the live plants. We had a cuple of planrts that we eaten so much they just fell apart, and it didnt take long for that to happen.

I can suggest removing as many snails as poss, but to have a few is good for the ecosystem, and if you are adding chemicls, to reduce the number (over a period of time). Try the rinsing of the plants with aqarium water at your nxt change, maybe just nothing, but it worked for us.

HTS

Jon & Liz
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Old 05-26-2004, 09:06 PM   #5
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The reason your nitrites went way up is because you are "uncycling" your tank. All the chemicals you are adding... while they kill the bacteria infecting your fish, they also kill your good bacteria! Unfortunately there is no way around it, which is why they say to always QT a new fish to prevent bringing infection into your tank, and if fish do come down with something, put them in QT to treat them, so you don't have to treat the whole tank and run into the problems you have.

The snails are really just an annoyance, they wouldn't be causing the bacteria or anything. Sorry for your losses.

-brent
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Old 05-26-2004, 10:09 PM   #6
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I just checked the levels of my tank. The ammonia levels are at 0. The nitrite levels are at 1.6. The nitrate levels are at 110+, and the PH is at 7.0. I’m doing a 50% water change right now. I’m amazed by how quickly those levels spiked.

I don’t have a quarantine tank set up right now, but I do have an old 2 gal hex that I can re-fit for future use. At this point though, I’m going to discontinue using any more of the medicine.

The fact that this medicine would start to re-cycle my tank, hadn’t even occurred to me. It makes obvious sense though. When doing a water change, I only use a de-chlorinator. I’m not sure what I will do with the extra snails. I don’t want to kill them if I can avoid it.

Hopefully the last few fish can hold on.
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Old 05-26-2004, 10:12 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by jonstinton
I also read here :P that snails are high producers of nitrite, when we had our outbreak of snails, the nitrite rocketed too.
How are snails producers of nitrite?
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Old 05-28-2004, 08:49 PM   #8
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I'm not sure, I've looked for the post that told me about it and i cant find it. It was a while ago. Am i confused?
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Old 05-28-2004, 09:09 PM   #9
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Snails in mass quantitiy can produce a lot more waste (ammonia) than most people would expect. The ammonia turns into nitrite of course. But if your tank is cycled, and you are doing weekly water changes, then you should be fine.

"The nitrite levels are at 1.6. The nitrate levels are at 110+"

The nitrite being at 1.6 shows that the tank isn't completely cycled. Ammonia and nitrite should always be 0. The nitrates at 110 is way too high. I would do a water change every other day for at least a week. And then make sure you are doing it weekly. They shouldn't be at anything above 40 ppm.

Good luck!

-brent
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Old 05-29-2004, 04:56 AM   #10
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That sounds about right! lol I knew they did that some how When we removed a load of snails it totally over 60! 8O
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