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Old 08-12-2021, 11:29 AM   #1
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New tiger barbs sick

Hi everyone! Iím looking for some help regarding 6 new tiger barbs I bought a few days ago. I bought them at petsmart, which isnít ideal but itís the only store near me. Theyíre pretty small and I have them in a 25 gallon tank with 2 mystery snails. The tank cycled for about a week before I put anything in. Anyway, they all seemed fine and energetic the first couple of days, but yesterday I noticed them becoming less active and losing their appetite. This morning they wouldnít eat at all and stay in one area of the tank. I also noticed them starting to flash on objects yesterday. I checked my water parameters and theyíre all fine. Is it early signs of ich? Is it flukes? Iím relatively new to identifying fish diseases, but Iíd really like to get these guys feeling better soon!

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Old 08-12-2021, 01:24 PM   #2
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New tiger barbs sick

Hereís a couple different pictures of them if it helps at all!Click image for larger version

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Old 08-12-2021, 01:59 PM   #3
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What does ď the tank cycled for about a weekĒ mean? How did you cycle the aquarium and what do you use to test? And what are your water parameters?
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Old 08-12-2021, 09:09 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by BigRedsReefs10 View Post
What does ď the tank cycled for about a weekĒ mean? How did you cycle the aquarium and what do you use to test? And what are your water parameters?


Hi! So I set up the tank about a week or so in advance, and used Stability and Stress-zyme to get it going. I put the filter in with just a sponge and no carbon filter. I also use wonder shells. I put the heater in during that time as well. Upon getting home from school, my water parameters were:

Nitrates: 0
Nitrites: 0.5
pH: 6
Temp: 78

Since my nitrites were up a little I did about a 20% water change, I also hoped this would bump my pH up a tad. The fish are now more active and swimming around the tank more so it mustíve helped a little, but they still arenít wanting to eat for me. I would also say some of their swimming is definitely erratic. Iíve never had barbs before and have invested quite a bit of research in them so Iím hoping to save them!
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Old 08-13-2021, 11:39 AM   #5
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Ok so sounds like youíre fish in cycling, those bottled bacteriaís arenít the instant fix they claim to be. They can speed things up but you still need an ammonia source to start the process, that being said I recently tried fritz turbo start (an alleged live bacteria culture) and it greatly reduced my cycling time but I still had to dose pure ammonia multiple times. The fact that you only listed nitrite and nitrate readings makes me think your using the test strips? If so those arenít going to help you, you need to monitor ammonia and nitrite and need to change water out if they climb much higher than .5ppm combined if you have livestock. In terms of reducing its simple math, if you have 1ppm ammonia and do a 50% change youíll have .5ppm. Ali makes a good f master kit so you can monitor your levels. Also donít worry about ph, just let your tank run at what itís going to run at, you can use natural methods to raise or lower , rocks and substrates or driftwood and so on, but donít use chemicals to chase some perfect number. Tbh I donít test ph even in my old reef tanks as long as I see itís stable I let it be.
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Old 08-13-2021, 11:49 AM   #6
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Ok so sounds like youíre fish in cycling, those bottled bacteriaís arenít the instant fix they claim to be. They can speed things up but you still need an ammonia source to start the process, that being said I recently tried fritz turbo start (an alleged live bacteria culture) and it greatly reduced my cycling time but I still had to dose pure ammonia multiple times. The fact that you only listed nitrite and nitrate readings makes me think your using the test strips? If so those arenít going to help you, you need to monitor ammonia and nitrite and need to change water out if they climb much higher than .5ppm combined if you have livestock. In terms of reducing its simple math, if you have 1ppm ammonia and do a 50% change youíll have .5ppm. Ali makes a good f master kit so you can monitor your levels. Also donít worry about ph, just let your tank run at what itís going to run at, you can use natural methods to raise or lower , rocks and substrates or driftwood and so on, but donít use chemicals to chase some perfect number. Tbh I donít test ph even in my old reef tanks as long as I see itís stable I let it be.


I have been using test strips. I just did another ~40% water change after losing one of my little guys in the night Iíll go out and buy that master kit today. Iíd hate to lose any more, although I fear it might happen. They all seem to be swimming close to the surface today, even after the partial water change. I hope I can help these little guys out.
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Old 08-13-2021, 12:14 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by BigRedsReefs10 View Post
Ok so sounds like youíre fish in cycling, those bottled bacteriaís arenít the instant fix they claim to be. They can speed things up but you still need an ammonia source to start the process, that being said I recently tried fritz turbo start (an alleged live bacteria culture) and it greatly reduced my cycling time but I still had to dose pure ammonia multiple times. The fact that you only listed nitrite and nitrate readings makes me think your using the test strips? If so those arenít going to help you, you need to monitor ammonia and nitrite and need to change water out if they climb much higher than .5ppm combined if you have livestock. In terms of reducing its simple math, if you have 1ppm ammonia and do a 50% change youíll have .5ppm. Ali makes a good f master kit so you can monitor your levels. Also donít worry about ph, just let your tank run at what itís going to run at, you can use natural methods to raise or lower , rocks and substrates or driftwood and so on, but donít use chemicals to chase some perfect number. Tbh I donít test ph even in my old reef tanks as long as I see itís stable I let it be.
+1 on this.

Ammonia is the first thing you will have in an uncycled tank, and unfortunately its the parameter you arent able to test for yet.

To add.

With all the water changes you have been doing you might not see anything untoward in your water parameters. It might take a while for the improved water conditions to reflect in improved health of your fish. If it is an issue caused by ammonia the only treatment i know of is improved water conditions and time.

Light feeding is important also while cycling. What they eat in 1 minute daily or 2 to 3 minutes every 2 days. If they arent eating dont leave uneaten food to decompose, syphon it out.

And dont add more fish until you are cycled for the ones you already have. When you are consistently seeing no ammonia and nitrite you can add a little bioload. Continue monitoring and doing water changes to control waste until your cycle catches up. Rinse and repeat until fully cycled.
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Old 08-13-2021, 12:54 PM   #8
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New tiger barbs sick

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+1 on this.

Ammonia is the first thing you will have in an uncycled tank, and unfortunately its the parameter you arent able to test for yet.

To add.

With all the water changes you have been doing you might not see anything untoward in your water parameters. It might take a while for the improved water conditions to reflect in improved health of your fish. If it is an issue caused by ammonia the only treatment i know of is improved water conditions and time.

Light feeding is important also while cycling. What they eat in 1 minute daily or 2 to 3 minutes every 2 days. If they arent eating dont leave uneaten food to decompose, syphon it out.

And dont add more fish until you are cycled for the ones you already have. When you are consistently seeing no ammonia and nitrite you can add a little bioload. Continue monitoring and doing water changes to control waste until your cycle catches up. Rinse and repeat until fully cycled.


Thank you for the advice! I always make sure to net out any food that goes uneaten after about 3 minutes. This particular case upsets me as I had a fantastic group of tetras right before this group who I had for quite a while and they came to me with ich which I successfully treated. The only met their end when I left asked my roommates to feed them for 2 weeks while I was out of town. Whether they over fed them or forgot to feed them I donít know, but lesson learned. I was hoping to have another lively, healthy bunch in this group. It makes me sad, as I always try to do right by my fish, but it seems I have a little more learning to do
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Old 08-13-2021, 12:58 PM   #9
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Thank you for the advice! I always make sure to net out any food that goes uneaten after about 3 minutes. This particular case upsets me as I had a fantastic group of tetras right before this group who I had for quite a while and they came to me with ich which I successfully treated. The only met their end when I left asked my roommates to feed them for 2 weeks while I was out of town. Whether they over fed them or forgot to feed them I donít know, but lesson learned. I was hoping to have another lively healthy bunch in this group
Is it the same tank? Same setup etc? Or did you start over?
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Old 08-13-2021, 05:18 PM   #10
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Is it the same tank? Same setup etc? Or did you start over?


I started over. Since Iím in college and it was only a few weeks before moving from one house to another, I decided to wait until I moved into my new house to start over, as it was easier to move empty tanks.
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Old 08-13-2021, 05:23 PM   #11
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I started over. Since Iím in college and it was only a few weeks before moving from one house to another, I decided to wait until I moved into my new house to start over, as it was easier to move empty tanks.
Was thinking maybe something carried over from your old tank. Nevermind.

If you ever end up doing similar again, try to keep all your filter media wet and aerated. This will preserve your beneficial bacteria and mean you arent starting your cycle from scratch when you set up again.
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Old 08-13-2021, 07:08 PM   #12
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Was thinking maybe something carried over from your old tank. Nevermind.

If you ever end up doing similar again, try to keep all your filter media wet and aerated. This will preserve your beneficial bacteria and mean you arent starting your cycle from scratch when you set up again.


Okay, great! Thanks for the tips guys! Hopefully my next tank setup will go a bit better than this one.
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Old 08-13-2021, 09:59 PM   #13
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New tiger barbs sick

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Was thinking maybe something carried over from your old tank. Nevermind.

If you ever end up doing similar again, try to keep all your filter media wet and aerated. This will preserve your beneficial bacteria and mean you arent starting your cycle from scratch when you set up again.


I did use some of the old substrate, though this substrate was not in the tank when they were fighting ich. They had that long before. I didnít use all of the substrate from that tank, but about half of it. When cycling next time, should I empty my tank and refill it, or should I just do a partial water change and leave some of the current water?
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Old 08-14-2021, 04:06 AM   #14
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I did use some of the old substrate, though this substrate was not in the tank when they were fighting ich. They had that long before. I didnít use all of the substrate from that tank, but about half of it. When cycling next time, should I empty my tank and refill it, or should I just do a partial water change and leave some of the current water?
It would depend on the circumstance.

If everything died off from something insidious that might carry over into a new set up, i would strip everything down, disinfect everything you wanted to keep with a bleach solution and start over even though it means killing of anything beneficial to your cycle. Thoroughly rinse before resetting up. Better safe than sorry.

If its a matter of you suddenly finding with no fish, and there would be no issues that could carry over, for example a friend kills everything off by overfeeding, or the heater breaks, or something like that, and you dont plan on setting up again for a few weeks, i would just leave the tank running as long as you can. Beneficial bacteria will survive several months as long as its kept wet and aerated. Even just kept wet it will live a few weeks. When it comes to having to take down the tank, just put your filter media in a bucket of dechlorinated water until you are able to re-set everything back up. You might get some die off of bacteria, but at least you arent starting over.

For prolonged periods of no fish, you could dose ammonia to feed the bacteria. You keep it alive indefinitely if you needed to doing this.
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