My tank is 3.5 weeks old, 29 gallon, heavily planted (14 plants from anubias, myrio, tiger lily, dwarf lily, crypts to fern) and has 4 harleys, 6 medaka, 3 honey gourami + 1 dwarf rainbow (it was given to me for free). Theyíve been in the tank for 1 week, I started a fishless cycle but added fish when the inverts got out of control. My water perimeters have been consistent the last 2 weeks: ph7, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate 0 (api master kit), I hope that means Iím cycled but Iím not sure.
The biggest Harley and the lone rainbow are kind of bullies, chasing the others at top speed and the Harley nips too. I do want to expand their shoal but not until I see the perimeters maintain for a bit longer.
Today I found 2 white spots on the bully Harley and 1 white spot on the rainbow. Theyíre raised and look like a fleck of salt. I suspect itís ich or stress ich. Iíve gotten different advice from LFS, 1 said use ich x, 1 said to feed metroplex + focus + garlic guard.
Given I have a heavily planted tank and might still be in the process of cycling - what to do?? Iím not sure all my fish can handle heat. The temp is 77-78 the tank.
I tested this morning using api master kit, same as before , ph7, 0 everything else. I did a 15% water change yesterday.
Thank you in advance!!
Just accept that your tank is infected with the ich parasite and carry on. Many tanks are infected with ich without their owners even knowing. Otherwise healthy fish can live with ich and show no signs of infection. After going through its feeding stage the parasite will leave the fish and go to its reproduction stage. But the parasite will always be in your tank, and when a fish again suffers from ill health or stress sometime in the future you may see signs of infection.
Or you can take measures to eradicate the parasite. Raise the tank temperature to 28c/82.5f and medicate with an ich medication. Make sure you keep medicating for a week after visible infection has gone. If you opt for even higher temperature, 30c/86f the parasite cant reproduce and will die off if the temperature is maintained for a week after the visible signs of infection have passed and you dont need to medicate.
Be aware that you cant kill off the parasite while the fish is infected. Your fish will die or survive infection regardless of any treatment. Its only when the parasite is freeswimming which happens a few days after visible infection ends that the parasite can be killed off. Raising the water temperature speeds up the parasites life cycle, shortening the infected stage and shortening the time before it goes freeswimming.
And remember your fish store sold you infected fish. Ich parasite cant spontaneously appear from nowhere.
Medication will likely kill off your cycle, so if you medicate try to monitor water parameters and change water as needed. Remember to top up medication if you remove it through water changes.
Thanks Aiken, the no meds/high temp approach did appeal to me, but I’m not sure my fish (particularly the medaka) would appreciate that, might stress them out a lot, they were tiny when I got them and I had a school of 8, 2 didn’t make it after 1 night.
I’m leaning towards Paraguard if I use meds because from what I’m reading it’s “gentler” than the rest that contain formalin, will still stall/crash my cycle though so I’m leery. I do have Prime and Stability at the ready…
The medakas and other fishes you have should be fine at 30C (86F) for 2 weeks. Just do a big water change (80-90%) and complete gravel clean before raising the temperature. This dilutes the number of parasites in the aquarium and makes it safe for the fish.
Normally I would suggest cleaning the filter too, so it reduces the number of parasites in the filter. However, due to it being a new tank that is cycling, it is icky. I probably wouldn't bother with the filter.
Increase aeration/ surface turbulence when raising the temperature.
Keep the water temperature at 30C (measured by a thermometer in the water) for 2 weeks, or at least 1 week after all the white spots have gone.
Your rainbowfish is a bully because they need to be in groups of at least 8 (preferably more), and the harlequin rasbora could be a male and adding more to the tank can help alleviate the bullying from him.
Thanks Colin, I suspect it’s stress ich, or something else that resembles Ich. The spots come and go, one day I will see 4-5 spots, the next day I will only see 1-2 on the same fish (it’s been that way this week). It’s only on the bully rasbora and lone rainbow, maybe it’s related to not having a proper group? My water perimeters have been stable and no spots observed on other fish. I did lose another medaka to possible swim bladder disease this week (arched back swimming in circles at the top of tank and rolling on its back), tiny fish are just hard to keep!
Hoping to stabilize the current tank and add to them soon to make a proper group!
Post pictures of the fish so we can confirm white spot.
The Medaka doesn't sound like it had a swim bladder issue. If fish start spinning or rolling it can be a bacterial, protozoan or viral infection in the brain. These are common in dirty tanks or tanks that don't get enough water changes.
If another fish does the same thing (roll, spin, etc), get a 1-2 minute video of it and post it here. Upload videos to YouTube, then copy & paste the link here.
Thanks Colin, Iím trying to upload pix, let me see if this works.
The medaka had a bent back, hence I suspected swim bladder issue, I did take a video but deleted it when it didnít make it. It recovered the next day and swam and ate normally, but died the day after.
If my water quality is good and consistent, do I still need to do water changes? Iíve been doing 20% changes weekly despite the consistent readings, but Iíve been told I donít need to?
It's definitely white spot so raise the temperature to 30C (86F) and keep it there for a couple of weeks.
You need to do water changes regularly even if the water tests are good. There are lots of things in water that we can't test for and they need to be removed as well.
You do water changes for a number of reasons.
1) to reduce nutrients like ammonia, nitrite & nitrate.
2) to dilute disease organisms in the water.
3) to keep the pH, KH and GH stable.
4) to dilute nitric acid produced by fish waste and food breaking down.
5) to dilute stress chemicals (pheromones/ allomones) released by the fish.
6) to dilute un-used plant fertiliser so you don't overdose the fish when you add more.
7) to remove fish waste.
Fish live in a soup of microscopic organisms including bacteria, fungus, viruses, protozoans, worms, flukes and various other things that make your skin crawl. Doing a big water change and gravel cleaning the substrate on a regular basis will dilute these organisms and reduce their numbers in the water, thus making it a safer and healthier environment for the fish.
Imagine living in your house with no windows, doors, toilet, bathroom or anything. You eat and poop in the environment and have no clean air. Eventually you end up living in your own filth, which would probably be made worse by you throwing up due to the smell. You would get sick very quickly and probably die unless someone came to clean up regularly and open the place up to let in fresh air.
Fish live in their own waste. Their tank and filter is full of fish poop. The water they breath is filtered through fish poop. Cleaning filters, gravel and doing big regular water changes, removes a lot of this poop and harmful micro-organisms, and makes the environment cleaner and healthier for the fish.
You need a picture on the back of the tank to make the fish feel more secure. You can buy aquarium backings (pictures) from pet shops or online. Or use some coloured card or a plastic bin liner and tape them to the outside of the tank.
Some floating plants would also help the fish feel more secure. The white sand makes it quite bright and floating plants would reduce the glare. Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides/ cornuta) is a good floating plant. If it grows too well, you can plant it in the substrate.
You will need more aeration when you raise the water temperature to 30C (86F).
Thank you Colin for the detailed response, that makes a lot of sense! I’m due for a weekly water change tomorrow so I will siphon the substrate too.
The tank is at 80F/26.7C right now, I’m slowly cranking it up, it’s been colder so I hope the heater can get it done. I have a second 100w heater but it’s a piece of turd, it’s barely keeping the 9 gallon quarantine tank at 75F at full power.
Thank you for the advice to make the aquarium better for the fish, I will tape some color paper on the back and get something better online. I’m bummed about my local fish store, I’ve picked up inverts (snails, planaria, etc) and now parasites. The big chain stores by me don’t sell live plants.
If I lower my waterline by a smidge, will the higher drop create enough aeration? I raised it initially to lower the impact and also have the filter on the lowest setting to have calmer water for the medaka.
Lowering the water level by an inch or two will help to increase aeration. But make sure the water level is still high enough for the filter to work properly.
You need to get the water temperature up to 30C asap. The white spot parasites grow and breed faster in warm water but die at 30C. If the water is 28-29C, the parasites will grow and spread rapidly and kill the fish.
If you put 1-2 inch thick sheets of polystyrene foam on the base, back and 2 sides of the aquarium, it will help to insulate it and the heater shouldn't have to work as hard. Having a coverglass on the tank will also help by trapping heat. Use 4, 5, or 6mm thick glass, rather than the 2 or 3mm thick stuff sold at most pet shops. The thicker glass is less likely to chip or crack compared to thinner glass.
If the heater is still struggling to warm the water up, you can put a sheet of polystyrene on the top and front of the tank. But in the morning before you turn the tank light on, remove the foam from the top and front and wait at least 30 minutes before turning the light on. This reduces the stress of the fish going from dark to light.
Don't have foam in contact with light units or power filters because the heat from these (especially the lights) can cause the foam to burn or melt and it can release some really toxic fumes.
My temp increase plan hit a bump, I raised it to 82F and some of the fish showed stress (staying at the surface and breathing hard), tank also became cloudy and I had a brown algae attack (covered some of my plants and the glass in 48 hours), also saw biofilm proliferate but that I did not mind. I hesitated raising it further after losing a medaka in that 48 hour span.
I can only manage one front of this assault so I dialed the temp back down to 80 and decided to medicate with 1 scoop of Metroplex + 1 scoop of focus + 1 tsp of tiny pellets soaked in Garlic Guard. I started feeding this mix 2x a day on Tuesday, I also siphon and water change (~40%) every 48 hours and medicate the water column as well with Metroplex (took out carbon from the filter).
Today is day 3, no losses so far, all the fish seem ok, the same afflicted fish are still showing spots but behaving otherwise normally. The plan is to keep up for 2 weeks and see if this solves it.
I know it’s not a common medicine people use for Ich in freshwater. It says on the box it treats protozoan parasites and anaerobic bacterial infections. Seachem claims it won’t affect the filter bed, I will find out if it works!
I’ve been feeding the fish medicated food for 8 days, white spots on the affected fish cleared up after 5/6 days. No fish losses and they’re all energetic and acting normal, they might actually be in better condition now since they’ve been eating more, they’re certainly all chunkier. I’ve reduced feeding to 1x per day in the second week, 6 more days to finish the medication cycle.
One negative side effect: my bladder snails died, as did other inverts I would guess. They died from the medicated water column (wouldn’t happen if you just feed medicated food). Malaysian trumpets seem to still be around though, those guys are indestructible.