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-   -   Do I try and treat it, or do I euthanize? (http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums/f17/do-i-try-and-treat-it-or-do-i-euthanize-151571.html)

CaptainMako 05-05-2011 03:16 PM

Do I try and treat it, or do I euthanize?
 
Hey everyone.
So some of you have maybe caught me whoring the chat room for help, but I will explain for those that haven't had to endure that.

I have a twenty-nine gallon freshwater tank with six dalmatian mollies.
The current situation is stressing me out beyond belief. Several of my mollies are developing pop-eye, and all of them are beginning to develop fungus. One molly has a torn up tail fin. I have asked and asked you guys, but I mainly seem to be getting advice on how to cycle my tank (which I never did) instead of how to ensure these fish survive.
I have had the mollies for 3 or 4 months now. My girlfriend gave them to me when I wanted into the hobby. They were in horrible condition, green water, one gallon tank, etc. for I don't know how long. When I got them, I cleaned it out and all of that, and soon after upgraded them to a 29 gallon tank. Since then, I have only had one other issue and that was a fungal attack that I quelled. My issue is PWC's. I am still a beginner so I did not understand how often I was supposed to do them. That was probably where my problem came from, because I did them every two weeks. They have had a long stretch of perfect health and I noticed the other day that two of them had pop eye. I just keep finding more little symptoms each day.
On the 3rd I did a 50% water change. Last night I put the first dose of API Pimafix (anti-fungal treatment) into the tank because it worked last time. The only other tool I have at my disposal is API Aquarium salt that I was incorrectly using to try and make the water brackish. The tank shouldn't have any salt in it now.

I have had recommendations to do 50% water changes, buy chemicals like AmQuel and Maracyn/Maracyn 2 and altogether euthanize the fish.

I am fifteen years old with a parent who doesn't understand the PWC thing, so the constant changes of water will probably spur anger. My mobility to Petco (My only choice for anything locally) is limited without personal transportation, and money is tight sometimes. There is also a flight of stairs between my sink and my tank, and I have a minor tendon issue in my legs, so PWC's can be tricky. I've been trying to treat it with what I have, but they might need treatment that I cannot give them.

So I want educated thoughts. If you guys think I should euthanize the fish, I will do so. If you think it can be treated, tell me what I need and tell me, in newbie terminology, what to do.

I am looking to cure the mollies and keep them alive, and identify what it is I am doing wrong that causes these things to happen. If it requires more consistent PWC's, I have learned a lesson and will do so.

Thanks guys, any help would be appreciated.
I apologize in advance if I at all seem moody, there's a lot else going on and now my first tank is in distress after thinking it was perfect. I wanted to be responsible for another living thing, guess I got what I asked for.

-Shaun

dskidmore 05-05-2011 03:45 PM

PWC every two weeks is fine in a healthy, well established tank, but when there is disease, or an excess of nitrogen products, there may be a need for a lot more.

Do you have ammonia/nitrite/nitrate test kits? If not, how does the water smell? If it smells like fish, you probably have excess ammonia/nitrite. Nitrate buildup is somewhat normal, and will be kept reasonable with those every other week PWCs. Get the test kits when you can, the kits have marked on them the safe levels.

If you have excess ammonia/nitrite, you have to step up the PWCs. In emergency situtations, I've done 50% water changes daily.

If you can't do PWCs, there are various chemicals that can detoxify the ammonia. I like Prime. This is not a good long term solution, you'll be dumping chemicals in the tank forever if you don't get the cycle over with.

Option B for getting rid of excess nitrogen products, if you have a pond nearby, see if there are any underwater plants you can take samples of. I've done well with this when I had to do an emergency cycle of a tank. The downside is that a plant cycled tank can experience shock if you have a power failure and it remains dark for a day.

Is that sink upstairs or downstairs from the tank? Do you have access to a drinking water quality hose, like the ones used with RVs? Or a water bed filler? (I'd suggest buying a python with a long hose, but you said money is tight.) If you can either do your drain or fill with a hose, that should help your knees some. I acutally run my hose out the window for draining in summer.
I just learned about cycling but I already have fish. What now?!

Once you have addressed the ammonia stress, you can worry about the disease. Make sure you have a good diagnosis, some of the medicines have good charts inside the box. You can also post pictures here and ask for help with diagnosis. I can't really say what the appropriate treatment is from your description. The torn fin is probably ammonia stress, the rest of it could be a variety of bacterium or parasites. Less ammonia stress will give the fish's immune system a fighing chance and make your treatments more effective.

All this supposes you really want to attempt to save these fish. This is the slow, painful route. You may loose one at a time and have a single battle scarred survior or no survivors at the end. The fastest way to get your tank running is to euthenize the fish, and do a fishless cycle: The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling

By the time you finish any of the slow methods of fishless cycle, your tank sould have completed a quarentine period and be free of the issues that were killing your previous fish. Don't put new fish in too early! You need it to be empty for as long as possible. You know there's something bad in there, you're not just watching for symptoms, so I'd go on the long side, 6 weeks or more.

Remember after your first addition of new fish, to quarentene all new additions so you don't get stuck with this fungal infection cycle in your new tank again.
The Freshwater Quarantine Tank

You'll find lots more help in the articles section.

Maya 05-05-2011 03:51 PM

Okay... The best thing to do is to continue with the consistent water changes. Popeye is generally not contagious. The fact that more than one of your fish is afflicted indicates that the problem is tank wide. There are lots of causes and if you don't have the money to spend on treatments or the transportation to get them...
It won't matter what it is anyway. The PWC will dilute whatever is stressing the fish and dilution will also keep the bad stuff like ammonia from staying too high. The fungal stuff you can continue to treat with the meds that worked the first time. Do not overdose or continue to add meds unnecessarily or you will make your problems worse. I would not euthanize the fish. It sounds like you are earnestly trying to do what is best and they may pull through.
As far as your parents are concerned... I am a parent and would be thrilled to see my child acting responsibly and trying to provide good care for his tank. It shows your maturity. If they question the need or PWC's try to educate them about the care of freshwater aquariums ( although as a parent.. I ask that you do it respectfully. We don't appreciate attitude lol). Good luck

CaptainMako 05-05-2011 04:00 PM

The goal right now is to cure these fish, remove them from the tank if necessary and then address what I am doing wrong. But if I have to change that order up I suppose I will.

The only testing I have is an API Ammonia testing kit. Even then, the results could be invalid because the tube cap was thieved off me by my cat and it's improperly cleaned with tap water and air dry. Also, I do have an Aqueon brand water changer long enough to reach between, but it does not work.

Now I see why everyone is giving me so much info on cycling. I have unknowingly been cycling the tank and this disease is a result of it?

So I am now assuming I have three options.

One. Euthanize the fish and just leave the tank for a while. Start over.

Two. Attempt to save them, which could be a lost cause.

Three. Use these already sickened fish to cycle my tank, a process which I know next to nothing about. I suppose this is a great opportunity if I take this route and the above question answers "Yes". If so, I'll soddenly use these doomed fish to pave a life for future fish.


You guys pick. I can't stand this back and forth stuff anymore. Answer that question above in bold if you could.

Thanks again

EDIT:
And to Maya, here's the thing about doing BOTH PWC's and the Pimafix.
I almost have to choose one or the other, because doing a PWC would pretty much render the chemicals null if they are just being taken right out again. Unless I put the chemicals in immediatly after finishing the PWC?

Maya 05-05-2011 04:16 PM

Use your meds/chemicals after the water changes.

ShadoeFox 05-05-2011 04:18 PM

Frankly, I'd go for the save. If for no other reason, then it's always satisfying to fight and win and loosing still teaches you alot.

One thing to note, now that you've medicated the tank, you won't really be able to keep inverts in there (At least, I think not with the list you gave.) just letting you know before you put them in there.

I wish you luck. I started my first tank with fish by mistake, and I had to fight the good fight. It's worth it.

CaptainMako 05-05-2011 04:23 PM

So if I go with what you guys suggested, I would have something like this:

1.) Water changes daily, percentage 25, 50?
2.) Antifungal treatment immediatly after PWC
3.) Add salt?
4.) Repeat process the next day.

And my outcome may come out to either:

A. Cured fish, PWC's now more regular and knowledge gained.
B. No survivors. I start over.

I understand about trying. It felt pretty good taking them from a one gallon to a twenty nine gallon, and then successfully combating a fungal attack earlier. I know your first tank never goes perfectly, but I wanted so bad to beat that notion.

Maya 05-05-2011 04:28 PM

You are cycling a tank with fish... that almost certainly is the cause of your problems. There are lots of people who cycle with fish. It isn't unheard of, just difficult for you and your fish. If you do so, You have to continue with your frequent water changes. The idea of cycling is to let bacteria build up to convert ammonia to nitrates. Ammonia is toxic to fish (if you have read any of the articles provided to you, I should sound like a broken record). The fish are suffering stress from poor water parameters. New water from water changes will alleviate that stress. It won't hurt to change it. The bacteria is in your filters, your substrate and on your surfaces.
Your fish may live, they may die but either way your killing them does nothing but eliminate the problem immediately. If you leave them at worst, they boost your cycle. The only reason to kill the fish is to not have to deal with them. If you have another home available, you could always re-home them to an established tank. The disease will probably disappear with good water conditions.

ShadoeFox 05-05-2011 04:30 PM

Saddly, those are basically the two most likely outcomes. I'm not really a proponent for euthenasia of anything unless all hope is lost, and frankly I don't think that's the case for you.

dskidmore 05-05-2011 04:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CaptainMako (Post 1340431)
Now I see why everyone is giving me so much info on cycling. I have unknowingly been cycling the tank and this disease is a result of it?

Every new tank cycles. It is a fact of life. You introduce new clean water into a new clean tank, a new clean filter, and fish and fish food that start polluting it. Until the bactieria population builds up enough to handle the processing of that pollution to a less toxic form, the tank is polluted.

Let's say you have the sniffles. Do you lay in bed and eat chicken soup, or do you run outside in a snowstorm and drink as much vodka as you can? You get over the sniffles fastest if you are comfortable and pampered for a bit. High ammonia levels is like throwing the fish out in a storm with poison as their only water to drink and breathe. They're not going to be able to recover quickly under those circumstances, no matter what other treatments you are using.

Quote:

Originally Posted by CaptainMako (Post 1340431)
Two. Attempt to save them, which could be a lost cause.

Three. Use these already sickened fish to cycle my tank, a process which I know next to nothing about. I suppose this is a great opportunity if I take this route and the above question answers "Yes". If so, I'll soddenly use these doomed fish to pave a life for future fish.

If you attempt two, you will end up doing three or returning back to one. Either way, wait 6 weeks after the last sign of disease before adding new fish, and use a QT if adding new fish to a tank with existing fish.

Cycling with fish is a matter of keeping the ammonia level down low enough to not stress the fish, .25ppm or less. This is slower than a cycle without fish, where you can let the ammonia crank up to 4ppm where the bacteria are well fed by not yet stressed. Basically, keep up with ammonia testing (daily until consistently .25 or less) and change 50% of the water every time it goes above .25.

I would not worry about having rinsed the ammonia test kit cap in tap water, I do that all the time. Ammonia dissapates in air, so by the time the water air dries, andy ammonia contamination in the tap will dissapate too. You're using tap for PWC, aren't you? There is way more affect on the test from that. (Not suggesting you change that unless there is something wrong with your water. You can test a sample of dechlorinated tap water to see if you have any ammonia in your tap. My tap reads .25, which is why I use Prime as my dechlorinator.)

Quote:

Originally Posted by CaptainMako (Post 1340431)
You guys pick. I can't stand this back and forth stuff anymore.

You're going to get different opinions from everyone. If you can't decide for yourself, ask your Mom or flip a coin.

Quote:

Originally Posted by CaptainMako (Post 1340431)
And to Maya, here's the thing about doing BOTH PWC's and the Pimafix.
I almost have to choose one or the other, because doing a PWC would pretty much render the chemicals null if they are just being taken right out again. Unless I put the chemicals in immediatly after finishing the PWC?

Dose the tank after the PWC according to the volume of the PWC, not the volume of the tank. Then follow redosing instructions on the bottle as normal.


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