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Old 09-23-2006, 10:20 PM   #1
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My fish are....Well...just generally unhealthy!

I swear i have the worst luck in the world with fish....Not to sound sulky or anything, but my tank is almost a year old and is still nowhere near stablized. ALthough i havent had any deaths in...mabye close to a month (its a record for me) my fish dont look so good. All my fish hang out in the back ALWAYS. Except for the danios and the cories. The ram actually sits on the bottom. Now, hes not my main problem, because he could well be nearing the end of his lifetime naturally, because i got him from a friend and she had had him for almost 2 years, so...hes acutally pretty old for a ram. Hes shows some of the signs of old age, like loss of colour. But i dont know about the sitting on the bottom thing. My serpae tetra has some sort of permanet fin rot... When i got him (from the same friend) he was already missing half his tail ( i figured bad cycle??) But now it seems to be getting worse, way worse. None of the other fish seem to have this problem, just him. And its only his tail, not his other fins. My peppered cory likes to hide in between the heater and the tank wall. Everytime i see him there i think hes dead. He doesnt move or anything. Then, when i go to scoop him out with the net, he moves, and acts complety normally, picking food out of the gravel and all that corie stuff. I figured it wouldnt be ammonia cuz that causes gulping, correct?The ammonia and nitrite are 0. The nitrate was embarrasingly high, like 60, but its been a busy summmer, and ive hardly been home. Mabye that was it, but i have no clue. I know, i should have done more water changes. I havent done one in three weeks, but tons of people who know nothing about fish do a water change about every 3 months and there fish are fine... This brings me back to the bad luck thing... So, i just did a 80 % water change, so that should fix that. But then, i looked at the tank, and the fish are GULPING! Which makes absoulutely no sense. A water change should have fixed anything that could have caused gulping. They werent gulping before the water change, why now?

Oh, and i forgot to say, the ram, and one of the tetras, are not eating, and havent been for a while. My LFS is having trouble getting anti parisite medications across the border, so i dont really know what to do about it.....Except garlic soaks.....but my dad refuses to let me buy a 30$ jug of the stuff (the smallest size they have) for two 3$ fish..... FIgures.....

Tank stats

24 gallons

Fairly low bioload, due to deaths and me not wanting to subject any more fishies to my bad fishkeeping skills till the tank stabilized:
3 tetras
2 danios
3 cories
1 bolivian ram
Ammonia, 0
Nitrite, 0
Nitrate: no idea, but just did a 80% water change
Filter, aqua clear (i forget the number, buts its rated for a 30 gallon)
subtrate, gravel
Plants; fake
heater: working just fine
temp:79

What should i do about all this.....Everyone seems to be telling me that the tank will stabilize soon. Thats what theyve been saying for 6 months....I have no clue what to do....

Help!

Fishygurl
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Old 09-23-2006, 11:03 PM   #2
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When you did the 80% water change, did you use a dechlorinating solution? Also, check your tap water's pH to your tank's pH to see if there is a major difference. 80% is a big change to do after waiting three weeks.

The rams I have kept ( which are all now dead after about two months) always were aloof, hanging in the back of the tank always.

If the fish with the missing tail looks like he is getting worse, you may want to consider euthanizing him. Nothing like keeping a fish around to eventually get sick and really mess up the tank and the other fish. I had a molly that lost his upper lip a while ago, looked quite pathetic, and one day when I saw him try to eat but could not, I knew that he was suffering and I gave him the ICE DIP. It was sad to see him go, especially since he weathered my initial bout with ick when most others had died.

I feel the same way you do. I started my tank almost a year ago, and have been through so many fish I have lost count. At the moment I have just a few "survivors" remaining, and they seem to be happy. I think after almost a year that both are tanks are probably stabilized, and it is more the fish stock we choose. I have decided to try another fish store for stock for my next purchase,and I'll see if this theory proves true.

If all else fails, at least we can sulk together!
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Old 09-24-2006, 01:02 AM   #3
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Yes, of course i used dechlorinator. I already checked the PH....not a big difference. Um...no offense, but i dont think that a tail that has been like this for a year is worth euthinizing the fish.....its not like he CANT eat...he just doesnt. Im going to trying dosing melafix again.... My guess is that since he had already had a problem with his tail, he was just more succeptible to getting fin rot from the nitrate. Mabye i shouldnt have done a 80% so suddenly, but i panicked.LOL
Thanks for the advice, more opinions would be appreciated!
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Old 09-24-2006, 02:37 AM   #4
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Are you changing out filter pads completely when you do maintenence? When you do water changes, are you also syphoning the gravel? Have you tested your tap water for high (or low) levels of anything at all? Even something like a pool store can test for little things that may be in high concentration in your tank. Petsmart may be able to do a comprehensive test for you, for things like calcium, copper, iron, phosphates, nitrates, ammonia, KH and GH, etc. Honestly, 60 ppm nitrate isn't all that high. Not ideal, but it's not going to kill the tank. 3 weeks between a water change isn't that bad, as long as you aren't overstocked or overfeeding.
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Old 09-24-2006, 03:28 AM   #5
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An 80% water change is way, way too much. Remember that water stability is more important than anything else, a rule which I have noticed seems to be largely ignored or unknown around here.
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Old 09-24-2006, 06:19 AM   #6
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An 80% water change is way, way too much. Remember that water stability is more important than anything else, a rule which I have noticed seems to be largely ignored or unknown around here.
What is the water stability rule?
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Old 09-24-2006, 08:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ichthyologist
An 80% water change is way, way too much. Remember that water stability is more important than anything else, a rule which I have noticed seems to be largely ignored or unknown around here.
That's a pretty huge paint brush you are using and FWIW, the most often repeated % I've seen posted is no more than 50%. Show me where you've seen otherwise.

In the meantime, doing an 80% water change after going weeks without one can be detrimental. The ph in the tank was more than likely too low and could not match the ph of the new water. In situations like this, small frequent changes are much better.
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Old 09-24-2006, 09:12 AM   #8
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Have to agree with JChillin. 80% is substantial, but I don't think it's way too much at all.
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Old 09-24-2006, 09:20 AM   #9
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Are there water stability 'standards' or 'rules' that I have missed, this is why I asked. I thought regular water changes/testing/filtered/clean, etc... was considerd stable, am I missing something
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Old 09-24-2006, 09:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquarious
Are there water stability 'standards' or 'rules' that I have missed, this is why I asked. I thought regular water changes/testing/filtered/clean, etc... was considerd stable, am I missing something
You're not missing a thing. The accepted rule is that you keep a mature tank's parameters level at all times. Any sudden or drastic change in any of them (ph, temp, etc), is not good.

In the above situation, it's possible that the drastic change in water volume did not match the existing tank parameters.

HTH.
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Old 09-24-2006, 02:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jchillin
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ichthyologist
An 80% water change is way, way too much. Remember that water stability is more important than anything else, a rule which I have noticed seems to be largely ignored or unknown around here.
That's a pretty huge paint brush you are using and FWIW, the most often repeated % I've seen posted is no more than 50%. Show me where you've seen otherwise.
Correct -- even 50% is far too much. Anything more than 20% should be reserved for cases of poisoning either by contamination, ammonia, or in some situations nitrite.

Around here, I see recommendations for voluminous water changes often for high nitrates. That is bad advice. It is more important to bring nitrates down gradually using a series of small water changes over time. Any drastic change in water quality, even for what you think is the better, is stressful to fish. It is more important to keep the water stable, and use slow, curving changes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jchillin
The accepted rule is that you keep a mature tank's parameters level at all times.
Absolutely, that is my point.
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Old 09-24-2006, 05:26 PM   #12
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Ok...I get that 80 was too much...as i already said, i panicked. No, i dont change the filter completely, just wash it. I am thinking that the Ph was most likely the problem...and the water change was stupid of me, its true. I know better. The serpae tetra died, but none of the others. The ram is still sitting on the bottom. If there was a ph change, how long will it take for the fish to adujust, so i can tell if the water change helped?

Ichthyologist: I dont think 50 is too much, unless you do 50 once a month (as i already said, the 80 i did was a HUGE mistake) If you do 50% once a week conistently, your not acutally changes the water levels too much, becasue the water changes are frequent......At least thats what ive been told.

If nothing seems to get better in a couple of days, what should i do?
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Old 09-24-2006, 05:57 PM   #13
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If nothing seems to get better in a couple of days, what should i do?
Do nothing. That is what I am trying to emphasize. Let your tank stabilize (again) for a couple of weeks. Actually, your bio-load is low enough now that I would wait a month.

If you are truly thinking your nitrate levels are the problem, (as indicated in your reason for doing the 80% water change) then purchase a nitrate test kit. I highly doubt this is the problem, however.
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Old 09-24-2006, 10:52 PM   #14
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I have a nitrate test kit....How else would i know that the nitrate was too high. I wont do anything then.
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Old 09-24-2006, 11:03 PM   #15
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Re: My fish are....Well...just generally unhealthy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by fishygurl
Nitrate: no idea, but just did a 80% water change
Just how high was your nitrate before the water change? I'll look through some of your older posts to see if I can catch up with your tank.

Edit: I reviewed your posts back to May and could not find anything regarding high nitrates. However, I did find a lot of posts describing all kinds of symptoms that seem to apply to everything under the sun. Just how much and what kind of medications have you given your fish since you started?

On another note, thumbs up for looking into a planted tank. I cannot say enough how much better fish do in planted tanks!
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Old 09-24-2006, 11:16 PM   #16
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I have to say any amount of water change is fine if the replacement water is the same as the existing water. I do 50%+ once a week. A tank with very high nitrates is another story. the nitrates need to be reduced by small daily water changes over a period of a week or two.
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Old 09-25-2006, 03:03 PM   #17
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When i said i had no idea how much Nitrate was in the tank, its because on the AP test kit its basically the same color for 40, 60, 80, and 120. I havent actually put many medications on the main tank. I quarintined the fish before i gave them medications. The only stuff that went into the main tank was Melafix and Pimafix, and that was only a little bit and it was back in mabye january. JUst recently, anti internal parisite meds because only a few of my fish were eating. This seemed to work...for a while. Yes, I know my fish seem to be suffering from absoulutely everything under the sun as you put it. But its true. I am certain that all these problems come from my orginal source of fish. I know now that the LFS i bought all my original fish from is not exactly the best. Most of there fish came down with anti parisites the first week in a new, cycled tank....I dont see how that could be my fault. The only thing i can see to do if my fish dont get better in a round a month is move the healthy fish to a quarintine, then wait for the rest to die, which it seems like they are of unknown causes. Then sterilize the tank, put new fish in, then watch the "healthy" one fromt he old tank for 3 months to make sure the really are healthy, then put them back in. Can diseases or parisites live in the filter? Because if they can ill just put and extra piece of media in my 10 gallon. (which by the way, i got form a classroom and is perfectly healthy...MOre evidence of mybad fishkeeping luck.) That way i wont have to do such a long cycle.

Oh and the nitrates wernt that high....most likely around 40-50, because when i tested a week earlier they were 25-30, and i have a low bioload and dont over feed.
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Old 09-25-2006, 05:07 PM   #18
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If you suspect some sort of infection or parasite, do not quarantine. Treat the entire tank. Even if some fish look healthy they could be harboring something.

Keep us posted.
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Old 09-25-2006, 05:28 PM   #19
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Quote:
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An 80% water change is way, way too much. Remember that water stability is more important than anything else, a rule which I have noticed seems to be largely ignored or unknown around here.
I disagree. In a well maintained establilshed tank I don't believe any amount of water change is too much. I often do very large water changes with no problem and my fish thrive.
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Old 09-25-2006, 09:20 PM   #20
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Yes yes, there is always someone who shows up with the exception to the rule with an "I do fine" response.

I do a 15% water change once per month and my fish thrive. So... ?
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