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Listless fish - I don't know what is wrong

Discussion in 'Fish' started by katie304, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. katie304

    katie304 New Member

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    Hi I just introduced fish into my aquarium and they are not doing well. I don't know what is wrong and they are dying! They don't seem to look unhealthy other than they may be a bit listless. I bought 9 black tetra, 3 otto cats and 4 ghost shrimp. 5 of the tetra died and now one of my otto cats doesn't seem to be eating.

    I have a low-tech tank, 26 gallons with crypts, anubias and one amazon sword. They seem to be doing well. my ammonia is close to zero, pH is 7.2. I do not have a test kit for Nitrate/nitrite, but the LFS tested it for me on Saturday and said it was zero.

    Is the PH a problem? any suggestions? I did a 20% water change yesterday when I saw that I lost some of the black tetra. Could definitely use help!!!
     
  2. Flo

    Flo Aspiring Aquascaper

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    hi katie,

    for how long is the tank running? PH is okay. Are you adding co2? How is the temperature?
    Are the fish breathing faster? i would run a airstone if you have one. it s allways good for the fish and i would go for another nitrite test, bacteria will change ammonia into nitrit, maybe there was no peak at saturday but now. i would do a 50 % waterchange... maybe for some days and keep looking if the fish do better.

    btw: it s allways helpful to have a test kit at home.

    All the best
     
  3. katie304

    katie304 New Member

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    Hi, the temp is 77 and the I do not have CO2 but I use flourish excel periodically. I set up the tank about 1-2 months ago and just introduced the fish on Sunday. I just looked closer at my tetra, they have a tiny white spot on their fins. Do you think this is ich?
     
  4. katie304

    katie304 New Member

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    a really low quality pic of a tetra. not sure it helps
     

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  5. Shadow

    Shadow Moderator Staff Member

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    It does not sound correct, Ammonia close to zero but Nitrate and Nitrite are zero. After finished cycle the ammonia should be zero, Nitrite should be zero but Nitrate should not be zero. If all zero, your plant will be in trouble. Is this planted tank or fish only tank?
     
  6. bsnyder921

    bsnyder921 New Member

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    Hi Katie. Sorry to hear you're having trouble -- but glad to hear that you're learning.

    So the white spots could be ich. If that's the case, there are treatments available that you could try. A long time ago (before my 29 gallon had any live plants in it) I had ich. It was on my clown loaches and on a few tetras. I used a liquid treatment for it, and it worked well to get rid of the ich. I had no fish deaths. It did however cause a massive green-water algae bloom. I couldn't see more than an inch or two inside my tank because the water was so green! But it was worth it, I guess. I have no experience with regard to treating ich in a planted tank, but this would be the right place to ask and learn more about it.

    Also, where did you get your fish from? Is it a reputable store? It sounds like one possibility is that you got a bad batch of tetras. These fish go through hell during the shipping process to end up at your LFS. They're kept in the same water with no fresh air exchange, and the water is treated with a lot of chemicals. Plus it has food and fish dookie floating around in it. And it's dark. And the temperature fluctuates. And they get banged around. So maybe fish that were doomed showed up at your LFS, got thrown into a tank, and then immediately bought by you. Maybe they would've died whether you had them or if they would've stayed in the LFS. Always keep that in mind - if they're new fish, there's always a chance that they would've died no matter what your tank conditions were.

    I haven't kept shrimp before, but I have kept non-traditional eaters in the tank, like plecos and clown loaches. These fish feed differently than tetras or other types of fish, who typically eat flakes at the surface or just below the surface. I remember buying a pleco that I saw in a store. I saw him (and the dozen or more other plecos in the tank with him) being fed before I bought him. The tank was bare - no decor at all. The fish store person dropped in a small handfull of algae wafers, and all of the plecos immediately swarmed around them. No doubt those plecos had gotten used to their feeding routine. They also had competition to eat among the other plecos, which probably made them more aggressive eaters. Once I got my pleco home, he didn't seem the least bit interested in food. Maybe it was because he couldn't see the algae wafer being dropped into the tank since my tank was so much bigger than the one at the LFS. Or maybe it was because he was stressed from being in a new home and wasn't ready to eat yet. Or maybe he didn't feel the urge to eat so aggressively as before since he had no competition from other plecos. You never know. What I've learned though, is that getting into a routine helps. Try to feeding fish around the same time(s) every day. It also helps to do it when something else happens - like when your lights go on or off during the day. Maybe before you feed them you could tap the food canister against the rim of the aquarium a few times -- then the fish will gradually get used to that sound and associate it with feeding time.

    I know the feeding tips are well beyond the issues you're having with your shrimp, but it could still be helpful in the future.

    Good luck, Katie. Keep us informed and keep the pictures coming.
     
  7. Flo

    Flo Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Sounds like it s ich. there are some good medication against ich available. try "punctol" if it s available
    at your LFS. i can recommend it.
     
  8. Rodney

    Rodney New Member

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    I have used "Super Ich Cure" by API recently with great success. The active ingredient was Malachite Green. Something else you can do that will ease recovery is to salt the water with aquarium salt. It will encourage respiration and aid healing of the fish.

    Sorry to hear about your fish. I know that can be discouraging.

    Try:
    Salt and put in medicine.
    Wait 48 hours.
    30-50% water change.
    More salt and medicine.
    Wait 48 hours. You should see very little if any ich at this point.
    30-50% water change.

    Contine if needed.
     
  9. Flo

    Flo Aspiring Aquascaper

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    and please read the manuel carefully. sometimes light should be turned off and a airstone
    is recommend while using the medicine.
     
  10. katie304

    katie304 New Member

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    Hi everyone - I bought and administered the Super Ich cure today. I added an airstone and increased the temperature (I had to buy another heater to get it over the 80 degree mark). The medicine requires a regiment as recommended by Rodney which I will follow. There was no mention of the turning off the lights, so I went down to 1 bulb to not stress the fish any more. I was a little sad because I lost one of my Otto cats today which is disappointing because they are so cute. The shrimp seemed unfazed by anything going on in my tank and swim all over the place. I didn't expect to enjoy them as much as I do. I have quite a bit of algae but I will worry about that when my fish are healthy...

    How will I know when it is safe to introduce new fish to my tank? I am not in a hurry, but curious what is recommended. I only have 4 tetra and 2 ottos now (a 50% loss :thumpdown:) . I know you recommend a quarantine tank for any new fish, but realistically, my husband will be less than thrilled... direct quote: "how many tanks do you need"??
     
  11. Shadow

    Shadow Moderator Staff Member

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    If you have test equipment then you can measure ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Both ammonia and nitrite should be around zero and nitrate should be some number (not zero). This mean that beneficial bacterial colonies are ready to convert ammonia and nitrite into nitrate. However, if you don't have test equipment or lazy like me, just wait for 4 weeks and the tank should be ready :)). Of course something might happen that might kill the beneficial bacterial. For example do water large water change without adding anti chlorine or chlorimine. Washing filter media using tap water will also kill the beneficial bacterial (the chlorine kill it).
     
  12. katie304

    katie304 New Member

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    Hi Robert, I have a question -- I have well water (not city water) and therefore no chlorine in my water. it is a planted tank with aquasoil substrate. I tested ammonia, nitrate and nitrite - all are really low if not zero. Why is my nitrite not climbing? The pet store tested it on Saturday and he said the same results...
     
  13. Shadow

    Shadow Moderator Staff Member

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    good question, maybe you plant grow fast and take out all the nutrient. Another possibilities is faulty or expire test kit.
     
  14. Flo

    Flo Aspiring Aquascaper

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    hi katie,

    it s hard to say if there allready was a nitrite peak of not without constant messures.
    normaly The peak comes around the 3rd or 4th week after set up and stays high for a couple of days . so you have to know when it raised up and finally goes down after the peak.
    that s why To have a little test lab at home is recommend. only One messurement says nothing about The peak. cause nature soil are rich of ammonia the peak possible comes later as in the 3th or 4th week. especialy if all is new. used filter media could fasten this progress. i would not add new fish until nitrite is zero.
     

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