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Old 07-31-2018, 01:28 AM   #1
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Uneducated - Need help

Ok. So. I'm a petsmart fish parent. My knowledge and habits come from shallow research and info from NON professionals. I've learned more in the last week about parenting fish than I have my entire adult life... please be kind!

My family has had this Oranda for 2 years. "His" name is Michaelangelo (because "he" is orange) but after my research this week, I'm pretty sure he's a she. Not the point...

For 2 years, he's been active and healthy. Thriving in a 2.5gallon tank.

The week of July 4th, we upgraded to a 10g tank. Added a black moor and a sucker fish. And a bubble strip. Followed protocol as we understood it to introduce the new fish. The black moor didn't make it. The sucker (Joyle) and Michaelangelo seemed fine.

Week of July 15, the tank started losing water. We assumed a leak, got a new tank and started the whole process over again. Turned out not to be the tank but a defect in the filter that overflowed the water instead of filtering it back into the tank. My husband decided not to put a filter in it after the change to prevent overflow.

We went out of town 7/19-23. Leaving a family member to care for the animals. Returned home to find Michaelangelo turning black.

I scoured the internet looking for causes. Landed on ammonia poisoning. Got a test kit from Walmart, just strips no real info. In 5 days, we've done two 40% water changes. Removes the bubble strip. Clean filter in. According to the strips, ammonia is at 0 again. But Michaelangelo is not back to normal.

I've watched for the symptoms I read online. He occasionally gasps but not at the top. He's definitely less social but I didnt notice any lethargy until today. I did see his gills spazzing 2 days ago but nothing consistent or since.

I attached pictures...

I'm thinking to get real testing stuff to see if any further water treatment needs done. Then just watch and see if his behavior gets better/worse. Mostly - I don't want him to be suffering. We may not have been knowledgeable in his proper care, but we did our best with what we had and we love him.

Any advice would be so helpful!!!
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Old 07-31-2018, 02:11 AM   #2
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Your fish has ammonia burns. I'm guessing your tank isn't cycled???? My advice would be to start doing 50% water changes every other day to keep the water free of or at least very low in ammonia. If you can buy an API master test kit (Amazon.com) I would order one asap. This will measure your ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. It will also give you a gauge on how frequent you need to change the water. Essentially, you will be doing a fish in cycle on your tank at this point and this requires frequent water changes. I would also be investing in a hang on back filter....rated for a 20 to 30 gallon tank.....to get that water turned over quite a bit.

An oranda can change colors with age but I don't think that's the issue here. You said you have a sucker fish...I'm assuming a pleco? What type of pleco is it?? Pictures of him would help identify if you don't know. Also, your tank is to small to house an oranda and pleco. This will cause you water quality issues. I would suggest a 30 gallon tank. Size of fish is a consideration in tank size but so is bio load (fish poo) and you happen to have two heavy pooper's for fish. I'd also suggest getting a Python gravel vacuum to clean up your tank during water changes.
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Old 07-31-2018, 03:06 PM   #3
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Thank you! I'll start the every other day changes today and update when the test kit comes in.
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Old 07-31-2018, 03:43 PM   #4
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Also cut feeding to one time a day and don't overfeed.
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Old 08-03-2018, 03:53 PM   #5
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My master test kit is out for delivery. But I'll be leaving soon and might not get to test til in the morning. Wanted to update.

Good news - with consistent water changes and a new plant to help healthy bacteria growth, he at least doesn't look worse...

Test results by tmrw!
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Old 08-04-2018, 03:10 AM   #6
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Good deal. Just keep that water pristine and if you see results, keep after it. Your cycle will take up to 8 weeks generally so patience and a little work will be needed.
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Old 08-04-2018, 05:51 PM   #7
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Test results!!

Ph
7.8

Ammonia
0.75

Nitrite
1.0

Nitrate
30

And I remembered a picture of the sucker.
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Old 08-04-2018, 11:50 PM   #8
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Ya your gonna have to do a couple of 50% water changes to get that ammonia down and the nitrite very low. Nitrates shouldn't go over 40 ppm.....your at 30 so not bad. If your getting nitrates your tank then you should be cycled. That looks like a common pleco so you will probably have to re-home him or take him to an LFS at some point. They get to large for your tank size.
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Old 08-05-2018, 02:49 AM   #9
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Makes sense. I remember the one my parents had in high school got to be over 10in.

The incorrect "common knowledge" is to keep the population lower than recommended for volume and fish won't grow bigger than their environment. The info sheet that came with the 10gallon said it would hold up to 4 cold water fish... ��

Thank you for all the help. Truly. I'll keep up the water changes and update next week.
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Old 08-05-2018, 03:50 AM   #10
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Sounds great
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