Documenting My Qt Experience

Loachland

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So, this thread essentially serves as two things: a) a place for me to track my own QT progress, and b) a way to let other people look at what I'm doing and yell at me if I'm making any terrible mistakes. (IMO, constructive criticism = good)

DAY 1 (technically not day 1 because cycling but I'm counting days with fish)
PARAMS:
Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 6-7, PH 6.7ish, KH 1.5 dH, GH low (I forgot the actual number). These were cross-verified by LFS liquid testing, and my readings were from API Liquid.
SPECS: 10g tank, TopFin Power Filter 10, sand substrate, makeshift tinfoil lid in case of jumping

I've got a 10g QT set up for some new arrivals: black kuhli loaches! I cycled it with some old tank media from the DT, and I've put some (clean) filter sponges in, because they sink and give the kuhlis places to hide. There's also a plastic cup that a plant came in, because they really love hiding in those at the LFS.

I have three kuhlis in the QT right now, I got them earlier today. They'd been at the LFS for a few days, and the owner (who I trust pretty strongly) told me he hadn't had any losses. (I mean, maybe another employee found them, I guess, but it's his job to do morning rounds, so it seems like a good sign to me.) He warned me about the smaller striped/black kuhlis in a different tank, and sure enough they were clearly not doing well for whatever reason: I don't think it was LFS negligence, something just wasn't right with them. I made sure the tanks weren't on the same filtration system, so cross-contamination possibilities were fairly low.

There were several black kuhlis in the healthy tank, glass surfing because of the storm that was rolling in. Most looked great, though one had a couple small white dots on it, and there were a few with little discolorations from mechanical injuries. A couple had weirdly colored skin, like the color was flaking off or something, but I'm fairly sure that was a mechanical injury result too. (Shipping & wild catch has to be stressful for the poor things.) Every kuhli was acting normally, though, and all in all they looked pretty happy. Hypochondriac I am, I knew I was always going to find something wrong with the tank, and since I'm QTing I was less nervous about possible disease,so I decided to purchase despite the white-dot one. A super nice employee netted me three of the healthiest ones, and I was on my way!

After a looong acclimation process, I released them into the QT. I had to net them from the bag to prevent any LFS water getting into my tank, so I'm afraid I may have stressed them a bit. Still, I've kept it dark to calm them, and I'll be feeding bloodworms tonight, which tends to soothe my DT kuhli.

I'm not naming any of the new arrivals until I know they're healthy, but right off the bat I've noticed one is less hyper than the others. They're so similar, I can't be sure it's always the same one each time, but all three only start zooming around at the same time if there's been an immediate stressor (e.g. a net). None of them seem lethargic by any standards, so I'm hoping that maybe one just has a slightly more chill personality.

To right my low KH and GH, I picked up some MarcoRock to put in the filters: I'm definitely putting it in my DT, but I'll hold off on the QT until they're more acclimated. I don't like remineralizing RO with powders so I'm glad to have a more self-paced alternative. (MarcoRock is a kind of Florida limestone, it came recommended and was way, way cheaper than crushed coral.) I also grabbed an 'Arti-Pod' from my LFS's aquascaping section, and I'm waterlogging it to give the kuhlis more hiding spots.

Such concludes day 1's journal, hopefully the next few will be shorter and less eventful
 
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Loachland

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Early on Day 2: the fish pretty much glass surfed through the night, or at least they were doing it every time I was awake. This morning, though, they appear to have calmed down, if only slightly.

The 'Arti-Pod' is actually something called Trellis Vine, and while waterlogging it overnight it sort of curled up from a teardrop shape to a tube-of-lipstick shape. I also ran the MarcoRock in the filter for a little while last night, just to get the pH slightly up in case my acid-leaning water was bothering the kuhlis, since they came from a slightly alkaline tank. I took it out after a few hours, though, since I didn't want to cause any big swings, only to mineralize a bit more.

All three fish in the QT look healthy for the moment: however, the bubbles from the filter outflow are forming a sort of clear foam on the surface of the tank water. I'm wondering if it's a protein foam from the Trellis Vine pod, or if I somehow got soap in the water last night? That seems like it would have caused problems overnight, though. You can read more about the foam here, any help would be appreciated.
 
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Loachland

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Ok, I've been real busy lately, and thankfully nothing happened worth updating about, but here we go!

Day 3, everything continued as usual: there was still foam, but it was no big deal. I continued surface skimming and feeding. By this time, all three fish had settled down, and they were laying on the bottom when I came in instead of glass surfing. They've behaved like that since, only going nuts if you disturb something in the tank. I also bought them a PVC cross pipe to hide in, but it turned out to have a barcode sticker on it, so I didn't put it in - any tips on removing adhesive residue, should I boil it?

Water Parameters, Day 4: pH 6.9, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, GH 2-3, KH 1-2
Day 4, I came in to notice one glass surfing in an unusual way, sort of like it was trying to get more oxygen by staying at the top level. I ran a nitrite test immediately, and it came back purple (a strong positive)! Terrified, I changed 30% or so of the water immediately. I then continued to run tests on the water I removed. As it turned out, the nitrite wasn't accurate, and I'd probably grabbed a dirty tube or something the first time. This sort of false-alarm test has happened before, but the WC wasn't just me reacting to the positive, I figured at least I'd remove the foam even if there wasn't really a nitrite spike.

In doing the water change, I noticed something alarming - the water was rather warm to the touch. My personal hunch is that the aluminum foil I'd been using as a lid had been acting as an insulator. I replaced the foil with some wooden slats, and since then the temperature has stayed down. I'm fairly sure that if the weird glass-surfer actually wasn't getting enough oxygen, it was the heat combined with the increased surface tension. The water change solved both of those things, and all loaches went back to normal.

Day 5, there was still a little foam, but significantly less. The trellis pod still wasn't waterlogged in its separate container, though, so it's not safe to add back in yet. Day 4's water params had told me that using the MarcoRock for a few hours had no appreciable effect on GH, KH, and pH, so I've got it in the filter permanently now. I mean, I can still remove it whenever I like, but I'm not currently planning to.

On Day 5, I also noticed that at least one of the javas seemed to have a white-colored mouth. My immediate thought was columnaris, but so far I've also wondered if my fish have septicemia, ich, internal parasites, pH shock, heat shock, TB, nitrite poisoning, gill flukes, old tank syndrome, and soap poisoning, with none of those turning out to be true so far; basically, I cannot trust my own judgement. I'm starting to be afraid I might be in a 'cried-wolf' sort of situation, where if a disease actually breaks out, I won't believe my intuition anymore. I was going to be out of the house anyway that night, so I decided to just continue monitoring the situation.

(If anyone's wondering why I'm a fish hypochondriac, two reasons: A) I'm OCD and B) I lost some goldfish a while back to a long, slow, truly horrific case of carp pox that I was powerless to cure. I've never yet had tropical fish disease problems (knock on wood), but I live in fear of a repeat of the pox years.)

Day 6, a.k.a today, I got home to see them making use of their hiding spots. Two were stacked atop one another, which was super adorable. I used the light from my main tank to illuminate the dim QT, so I could inspect the white mouth, and I noticed they all have white mouths to some degree. My DT java doesn't have that light a mouth color, but it's so consistent between the three that either they're all sick or none of them are. Once again, I think I'll just see how things play out for a little longer - SulfaPlex is only a short drive away.

The foam atop the water is also all gone! Yay!
 
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