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Old 04-13-2014, 10:17 AM   #1
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White Skirt Tetras Twitching/Erratic Behavior

I have two white skirts (2 inches total) that are twitching and swimming aimlessly around the tank. I notice what looks to be a metallic silver appearance on their sides. Is this an issue or just silver skin?

My tank parameters are:
PH: 7.7
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 0ppm
Temp: 73*

This is a 10 Gallon tank and has been setup for over a year.

I currently use a Whisper 20-40 @ 25% power. I also have aeration.

I last cleaned the substrate and did a 25% PWC three days ago. I do 25% PWC once a week or as needed. I test on the same schedule.

I have had the fish for over a year, and they were acclimated for roughly 30 minutes in a tank that had been cycling for a few days with Safe Start.

I added driftwood from Petco around a month ago to attempt lowering the PH to levels more suitable for Tetra. Other than that nothing in the tank has changed.

I normally feed a balanced mix of flake, granule, and brine shrimp crushed together into fine pieces and only a pinch once a day or every two days if I'm trying to fast them for whatever reason.

I will also note that these fish were marked as "Mixed-Fruit Tetra" at Walmart. I did not know at the time that Walmart deceptively labels their fish like that to hide the fact that they're really white skirts that have been dyed. I do not support the dye process nor any other forms of mistreatment or mishandling.

Is there any reputable source to get fish? My LFS is shut down, and many others are doing the same in the wake of corporate sprawl. I've heard corporates like Petco, Petsmart, and Walmart pretty much handle their fish the same, it's just the appearance they give to the public that changes the company image.

I have added some salt to the tank as a catchall remedy since I haven't yet built up much inventory for anything, much less medicines.

I have heating lights, but I've been leaving them off to reduce stress. I do not have a heater yet but there is an Aqueon Pro 50 Watt adjustable on its way. The tank normally sits at about 76-78* but because the lights are off it's at around 73*

Disclaimer: *** I understand now that Tetra are schooling fish and should be in schools of 5-10 or more in at least a 30 gal tank. Like all hobbies I'm learning my lessons as I go so I'm looking for advice and not criticism. Thanks for all your help!
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Old 04-14-2014, 08:36 AM   #2
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Hey there, nothing springs to mind. Perhaps someone will know. Can you post a pic?

Is there flashing with the twitching?

Edit - it sounds like no new fish in a fair bit?
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:58 AM   #3
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I could try to post a pic, but they like to dart around a bit so it would be tough to capture, and their symptoms are very subtle and hard to see on a photo.

As far as I can tell, they seem to be feeding just fine (fed them this morning after a 2-day fast) and don't seem to be flashing from what I can tell.

I kept a male guppy in there for about 3 days or so until the other tank was ready to accept him. Unfortunately he ended up out of the guppy tank somehow and so was the end of his short life. That situation still puzzles me but I'm unsure if the two events are related.

After day three of being in a salt-treated tank, they seem to be twitching less and now just hiding out (they don't have a school of course).

I will monitor their symptoms and report back with any changes. I'm open for advice as to medicines, setup recommendations, etc.
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Old 04-15-2014, 01:43 AM   #4
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White Skirt Tetras Twitching/Erratic Behavior

Sounds great they are improving, will do some reading here. Keen to know how it goes.

Edit - just thinking - no new fish added for a while? No new guppies, it sounded like another tank and a guppy may have been transferred in and out?
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Old 04-15-2014, 03:35 AM   #5
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Well there have been fish that have come and gone, but they were Walmart fish that seemed to be lively, until we got them home, and all of them died within a couple days of receiving. The Tetras are the only ones who survived this whole time. Tough little guys I gotta say! The guppies were new additions, but only until I could get another tank setup and cycled enough for them.

I don't plan on adding any new fish until my current situation stabilizes. I started out keeping aquariums without doing much research. Of course folks at the corporate pet stores are only willing to get the sale, and will tell you nothing about how to get started so you'll buy fish after fish as they die off piecemeal. As you can imagine, this got expensive for me after a while, and so I began putting myself through a little home study on the art of fish-keeping. What I found began to appall me about how much I had been grossly mislead by people at Petco and Walmart. In this hobby as well as others, I've found that if you don't want to get spun through a loop, then gaining personal knowledge is the only way to go. Other than that it's just the blind leading the blind.

I think after these Tetra run their course and return to the big pond in the sky, I'm going to live plant their tank and keep it as Guppy overflow. I'm thinking about just breeding my own guppies and making a superior breed muahaha!

I hear live plants have a hard time with aquarium salt, so I'll make sure to do a few PWC's before tossing the Lily Bulb in there.
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Old 04-15-2014, 04:08 AM   #6
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White Skirt Tetras Twitching/Erratic Behavior

Guppies united!

I'd like to do a planted tank with fish that don't eat plants, maybe cardinal tetras or plastic fish lol.

I've never tried it but everything I've read suggests the same and to not mix plants and salt.

It's interesting the salt helped. I started reading through looking at skin parasites but nothing so far. It doesn't sound fungal or bacterial so I'm back at parasites.

Something in the water conditions I also thought of but yours looks good.

Edit - scratching - no cotton wool in tank?
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Old 04-15-2014, 07:05 AM   #7
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Tank is clean. Just tested parameters again this morning and everything came back 0ppm with PH steady at 7.7

I'm beginning to think the lower temps might be the cause. I get my adjustable Aqueon Pro 50 Watt today for both tanks. I will increase temps to around 80 Fahrenheit in each tank, increasing at a rate of +2 degrees per hour. I've heard that an age-old Aquarist's trick is to turn up the temp to top margin, lightly salt the tank, and mash up brine shrimp, flake, and fresh garlic for food. The garlic will kill anything inside, and the salt will kill anything outside. The fish will love the taste, and the brine shrimp will help boost their immune systems. Just what I've heard anyways.

I suppose with process of elimination I'll nurse these things back to health. I'm sure they've had a tough process of being mis-transported, mis-handled, and worst of all dyed by walmart corp. They survived the full shock of a cycling tank (didn't know about the nitrogen cycle back then), survived many minor recycles, crashes, and ammonia spikes, and mostly survived harassment by other fish and the stress of the lights being on all the time. The abuse these things have taken is unreal. How they're recovering yet again is beyond me. 9 lives I guess!

I've decided to do subdued moonlighting in all my tanks. What are your thoughts? Do moonlights still spur the growth of algae?
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Old 04-15-2014, 10:20 AM   #8
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I've read that as well but not sure how leds fit into the picture. I haven't seen it listed as much as lighting time in general (ie is time period too much) so would be interested myself. I had also read that algae takes longer to get going so have split the light periods into 2 or 3 to give a break in the middle.

I talked with a guy at the lfs about it (they were more saltwater though) in passing and he hadn't noticed anything. They had a nice light unit which they had programmed to start and finish dim with full light in the middle of the day. I asked about time length , etc, etc and he just said as long as the shop is open. So I don't know I'm still learning.
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