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Old 10-16-2004, 08:05 PM   #1
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Ill Fish -- So many dying, so many symptons *sigh*

I am going to try and answer all these questions the best that I can. And I will probably be jumping around. But the main story is my fish are dying left and right for a few months now. Haven't added new fish in 7 months. Clean tank regularly and change filter. As in regulary, I mean weekly. ...

1~What type of fish is afflicted? In addition, please describe what is wrong with the fish to the beset of your ability (i.e. cotton like growth, bloated, etc.). I have 1 angel that I just moved to a hospital tank. She (the male died about 2 months ago) has gills wide open and is gasping. Just came up suddenly today. I am assuming this is gill disease. I am currently treating with Maracyn-Two.

Treated in tank: 2 corries and 1 of them had fin rot in the past 2 weeks, darting very excited all over the tank and staying to the top. Which it never did before always stayed on the botton. I treated tank with Maracyn but since didn't seem to do anything, I moved on to Tetracyclyn tablets which really was a mess. Tank turned blood red. Finally got that cleaned up. Then it got a fungus all over the the dorsal fins. Well actually there were not dorsal fins left. So I treated that with Maroxy. He seems to be doing well and back at the bottom of the tank. He was always eating through all of this. Aslo using coppersafe. Just put that in this week.

Fish have been dying for the last few months. We'd get home and suddenly see a fish floating or sunk to the botton. So far we have lost the mate to the angel, 3 Mollies, 1 corie, 1 rainbow tetra)



2~What are your tank parameters (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, temp, pH)? Please give exact values. I am checking these all the time and ammonia and nitrites are ZERO. The temp is 76.


3~ How large is the tank? How long has the tank been set up?
30 gal and set up for one year. Had a horrible disaster last year with ammonia so I keep an eye on it.

4~What type of filtration are you using? Please give the name and number (i.e. Fluval 304) and amount of gph if known. Top Fin 40.

5~How many fish are in the tank? What kinds of fish are they and what are here current sizes? 1 angel (adult), 2 cories, 2 platys, 1 pleco, 1 rainbow tetra.

6~When is the last time you did a water change and vacuum the gravel? Small water changes all along, vacummed tank out last weekend.
How often do you do this? Every week. How much water do you remove at a time? Out of the 30 usually about 5-7 gals. Clean the filter pack every week by running under water and cleaning the gunk off and put a new one in monthly.

7~How long have you had the fish? If the fish is new, how did you acclimate it/them? Between 7 months and 11 months.

8~Have you added anything new to the tank--decor, new dechlorinator, new substrate, etc.? No

I swear I am reading what I just wrote and I feel like a complete idiot. I have been using Mardel products and following the chart in the packages to help me decide what product to use. I am sure that I am missing alot but I am so frustrated right now that I just want to get rid of the whole tank. I feel that I am running around with my head cut off and doing more damage than I ever anticipated.

Any help, advice or just to plain tell me I am doing wrong would be greatly appreciated. Slaps upside head are also welcome
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Old 10-16-2004, 09:58 PM   #2
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Hi Lisa,
I'm sorry to hear about your troubles with the tank. Let's see if I can help out a little:

I have a Mardel fish care guide here -- it came in with the medicines. It seems like Maracyn 2 and coppersafe are good meds to use right now. Do you happen to see little salt grains on the fish? This is the parasite ich. Sometimes the ich isn't visible on the skin, but hidden in the gills. If this is the case for you, this may be why the gills are swollen. Here's an article on ich just in case: http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showqu...q=2&fldAuto=32

About the tank parameters, what test kits are you using, and how old are they? The dip-strip tests are often not as accurate as the liquid test tube kits. I like Aquarium Pharmaceuticals - Doc Wellfish - kits. It wouldn't hurt to take a water sample to the lfs and have them check it for you. The anglefish's gills, plus the cories coming up for air frequently may suggest ammonia that is too high.

Do you know the pH? There was another discussion about cories with finrot. It was suggested that maybe the pH was too high for the cories, or possibly the angelfish was bothering them. I see you have 2 cories now. They are happiest in groups of 5 or more. I would get three more for your tank, after you get everything straightened out.
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=34198

Mollies like some salt in the water. They can live in brackish tanks, or in full saltwater tanks (after acclimation, of course). I don't know if that was a cause of their death, but ideal conditions for them would include some aquarium salt. However, your cories wouldn't like any salt at all.

For water changes, change about 7.5 gallons once a week. Gravel vac half the tank at each water change. This is so you don't disturb too much good bacteria, while still getting some waste and uneaten food out. A lot of the good bacteria resides in your filter. I don't have a Top Fin filter so I don't really know what they look like. You can change the floss as needed (the part that traps debris) but the sponge part of the filter is where the good bacteria live. Rinsing it out every week only rinses off the good bacteria, and you may see an ammonia spike. Don't rinse it until it's very cruddy. I have a sponge filter in my tank, and I don't even remember the last time I rinsed it. Also, rinse in your bucket of removed tank water, not in tap water. Is there any carbon in the filter? Don't run carbon while using medications -- the carbon will absorb the medications and take them out of the water. Take the carbon out of the filter, and replace it after the treatment is done, to remove the traces of medicine then.

Hope this helps!
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Old 10-17-2004, 12:15 PM   #3
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Forgot to mention -- the antibiotics that you put in the main tank can kill some of the good bacteria too. When you are done with the treatment, run carbon to remove the medicine, and do another partial water change. Keep monitoring your ammonia level in case you get a mini ammonia spike, and do water changes to correct it as needed.
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Old 10-17-2004, 12:29 PM   #4
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Thanks so much for the reply.

I have stressed over this so much. The Angel that I QT'd actually seems to be breathing a lot better. I don't think that I have Ich. I survived that debacle last year using the heat treatment that I got from Allie on this site.

The filter system I am using is a cartridge. You pull out the old and put in the new. It's all in one. Is that not a good thing?

I am itching to get in a clean the tank. Is that not a good idea while treating? The Maracyn-2 is not clouding it up and it looks like I haven't cleaned it for months. Should I wait until treatment is done?

Checked my test kit and it's Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. It's less than a year old.

Ammonia and nitrites are still ZERO. So it sounds like I still need to keep plugging along.

An t-iasg ~ Thank you so much for your help. I would love to buy some new fish. Just when I think I have a handle on things, another one dies. I had 3 cories and the played so well together. I think the 2 that are left are just plain sad. I know my angel misses her mate. They laid eggs 3 times for me!
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Old 10-17-2004, 02:36 PM   #5
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I'm glad the fish don't have ich now! But at least you went through it, and if you ever have to again, it should be a little easier to get through the second time!

I'm not sure what you mean by cleaning the tank. The water is not cloudy (good!) but it looks like you haven't cleaned? You should be doing water changes during treatment. In an uncycled QT tank, you ideally should do a water change every day before adding the new medicine dose. In the main tank, keep up with water changes as needed, while monitoring ammonia. The antibiotic shouldn't kill all the good bacteria, but you should be prepared for an ammonia spike. When you are done with the treatment, keep tabs on the ammonia level for a week or two to deal with any spikes. The ammonia level will go back to 0 as the good bacteria recover, but just be prepared for a spike.

If you mean clean and rinse the filter now, I would wait. Don't risk rinsing off the good bacteria now -- their numbers may be a little low because of the meds, so keep all of them that you can on the filter!

The filters that are easiest to work with, IMO, are filters where the different types of filtration (mechanical, biological, chemical) can be changed independently. The mechanical layer would filter out debris, the biological layer would be for your good bacteria to reside, and the chemical layer can hold carbon as needed, like to remove meds or polish water occasionally. I don't run carbon every day, but it's nice to have the option to add it occasionally. When you're not running carbon you could put some extra bio-media in. For now, if you have to remove your carbon by cutting through the cartridge and removing it, go ahead. You can add some fresh carbon back later to remove the meds. You may need a little bag for this purpose (they are at the lfs) if you have to cut thru the original carbon holder. Is it possible to snap the carbon pack out, and replace it with a new one, or would you have to get a whole new cartridge? If you have to get a whole new cartridge, see if you can at least separate out the sponge part where the good bacteria are, and try to fit that part in to the new one somehow, to get it "seeded".

The test kit sounds good! It would be a good idea to get a nitrate kit if you don't have one. If you see nitrates, you know your cycle is complete. Most people keep their nitrate levels at 20-40 ppm with weekly water changes. (Since I have some plants in my tanks, I have had 0 nitrates for awhile.) Some fish are sensitive to nitrates, though, and they need a level of under 20 ppm. Otocinclus catfish are one; I don't know about cory cats. You could do google searches to see the recommended nitrate level for the fish you have.

Poor angelfish -- I think they do miss their mate if one dies. Hopefully you can get a new buddy for her soon!
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Old 10-18-2004, 05:51 PM   #6
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Back again ... and now I am wondering if I don't have Ich again! I have been watching the fish closely. The ones left in the main tank are going crazy today. Darting all over, swimming up and down the glass. The pleco (who is normally very sedate) is all over the place. 8O I am really now leaning towards the Ich and thnking I have misdiagnosed all along. I have turned up the temp as of the a.m. to slowly get it to rise. I have done the same in the QT tank. I am about to do a water change as soon as I sign off. I must mention that I see no outward signs on the outside of their bodies. Except the poor corie that is just a mess (and I can't catch him or he would be QT'd too).

Was wondering if I should stop the Maracyn-2 or continue on with it? I will check back in tonight.
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Old 10-18-2004, 10:55 PM   #7
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Oh no! Not ich again...Did you just use the elevated temperature last time? I've read that some plecos do ok, but some don't, with added salt for ich. I bet your cory wouldn't like the salt at all. The darting and increased motion are signs of a parasite -- like the fish is trying to knock them off by swimming rapidly or rubbing on things in the aquarium.

What meds are in the tank now? Maracyn 2 (for finrot) and Coppersafe? I would finish the Maracyn dose since you said the cory looks rather bad (if you are on day 3, for example, and you have two more days to go, then finish it). Just remember to increase aeration -- medicines, plus higher heat, mean less dissolved oxygen in the water. Lower the water level just a bit to make the return water splash a bit, and this surface agitation will increase aeration. But I don't think I would continue with the Coppersafe. I think the heat will take care of the ich very well, and there is only a small window of time that the ich parasite is vulnerable to the meds anyway.
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Old 10-22-2004, 05:38 AM   #8
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Oh Boy ... It's been quite a week for me. The angel died . So sad since they are my FAVORITE fish and the corie died also. *sigh* I have elevated the temp slowly each day and I am currently at 86 degrees. Trying to get to 87 just to be safe. I've increased the aeration also. Now I am doing water changes since the nitrites were .50 yesterday. I expected this and I am prepared. The ammonia is 0 maybe .25.

Sadly I am left with the pleco, 1 corie (poor sad little guy), 1 tetra and 1 platy. The tank seems so sad. I desperately want to get more fish but know that that will be way out in the future.

Thinking of getting a little 5 gallon and get it cycling so I can introduce new fish to that tank before putting them in the main tank. I know people do it both ways. Since I've done the "put them in the main tank" thing, I think I will try the way now.

Thanks so much for all your help. I will keep you posted.
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Old 10-25-2004, 09:47 PM   #9
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Okay ... another fish (the last corie) had fungus all over it and died. Now I am left with just 3 fish!

Maybe it's not ich, maybe it is ... I am ready to throw in the towel. I am keeping the heat up but all I really want to do is clean, clean, clean that tank out!!!!!!!!!! *sigh*

My daughter keeps asking me when we can get more fish ... *another sigh*
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Old 10-25-2004, 11:19 PM   #10
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I'm sorry about your fish What fish do you have left, and what are the symptoms? The pleco, tetra, and platy, right? Getting a quarantine tank for new arrivals is a good idea. I know it's tempting to add them right to the main tank, but if one is sick, you could have weeks of illness to deal with, somewhat like what you're dealing with now.

I'm wondering about the "fungus". Fungus and bacterial infections often look similar. Usually, bacterial infections are more common. Describe the appearance or behavior of the remaining fish and we'll try to see what this could be. For now, unless the fish look extremely stressed, keep the heat up.

Again, I'm not sure what you mean by cleaning the tank. Certainly keep up with water changes and scrub some algae off if you see it, but don't clean the filter now. It's imortant to preserve the bacteria on there, especially now. When fish are ill, they don't need the added stress of high ammonia or nitrites.

Be patient (me...of all people...I am so impatient...lol) Work on keeping the parameters at a good level (ammonia and nitrites 0, nitrates 20-40 ppm) and the temperature stable (I know it's raised right now). When everything has been good for a month or so, then get some new fish...QT them first and add only a few at a time!
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Old 10-26-2004, 09:21 PM   #11
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Ah My Friend ...

The last fish that died had cottony-puffy stuff over both fins. Poor thing was hiding behind a rock. Took me awhile to find him. Looked like a fungus to me. Very cottony, puffy. When he was moving, it was to race around like crazy and then to settle back to hiding.

You would think with all the meds that I have put in the tank that nothing could have possible survived!

My nitrites went up when I raised the heat. By cleaning, I merely mean doing water changes, vacuuming what is on the surface of the rocks and not touching the filter at all. Tank is very clear (finally).

The remaining fish (1 tetra, 2 platys and the pleco). Ooh, i guess I have 4 fish, not three. Well they are doing well. I gave them peas tonight and they were thankful. I am not planning on any new fish for quite awhile. I am going to wait until atleast December.

I am thinking of getting a 5-gal to use as a QT tank for the new fish. I will keep my eye out on the bargains and go from there. The tiny 2-gal I have for QT doesn't cut it.
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Old 10-26-2004, 11:28 PM   #12
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Cottony, tufty material is most likely fungus. I'm glad to hear the remaining fish are doing well! Keep checking the parameters frequently and watch out for any more outbreaks. Hopefully, everything has run its course!!

Quote:
By cleaning, I merely mean doing water changes, vacuuming what is on the surface of the rocks and not touching the filter at all. Tank is very clear (finally).


Most likely, the good bacteria is rebounding from the medicines and has caught up to the bioload again. The nitrite spike and cloudiness probably occured during a mini-cycle as the bacteria were catching up again.

Giving peas is good -- I give my fish peas once a week. It sounds like everything is getting back to normal! Take it slow and easy and don't forget to keep checking parameters frequently for the next few weeks. You should be ready for some new fishies in December!
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