My fish are sick! Please help! Help

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by mikehornsby, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. mikehornsbyNew MemberMember

    Please please help!!

    About 8 weeks ago set up my first tank. 190 litre. I added water conditioner and plants. I waited about 6 weeks and I made sure that ammonia and No2 and No3 levels were zero. My plants were doing fine so decided to add my first fish. I bought 7 sissortails and added them to the tank. As expected the ammonia levels went up briefly and then come back down to zero along with No2. No3 went up to about 0.10.
    So as the water quality was fine and the fish seemed happy I added 3 orange tail sharks and a pleco.
    The same day I noticed that one of the sissortails had stopped eating and had pop eye, so I went my local store and bought some treatment - Interpet Anti internal bacteria. Which seems to be working well and the swelling is going down slowly
    2 days later I noticed that one of the sharks now has cotton on his gills, but there is a notice on the side of the anti internal bacteria bottle not to use any other treatments in the same tank.
    I went to my local pet store and was advised to keep treating the pop eye (as the sissortail is still not eating but the shart is) and add some aquarium salt to slow down the progression of the cotton mouth until the sissortail is better then treat the shark But I have just read that I can't add any salt to a tank with a pleco fish.
    I only have one tank and can only apply one treatment! I can't choose one fishes health over another! I really don't know what to do! Please help!
  2. iloveengl

    iloveenglWell Known MemberMember

    :sign0016: to fishlore :)

    What ammonia source did you use to start the cycle?

    I believe your tank is about 50 gallons, yes? What kind of pleco is it? A common pleco will grow too large for that size tank. They're also very heavy waste producers. Is an orange tail shark the same as what we call a red tail shark: Id they're the same, then I suggest returning 2 of the 3 because these are very territorial fish and they will become very aggressive with 3 in a 50g tank. I'm not familiar enough with swordtails to comment on them, except I hear the males can be quite aggressive in groups.

    How long after you added the swordtails did you add the 3 sharks and pleco?

    What are your water paramaters now? Without more info, my first thought is it sounds like the tank is uncycled or is going through a mini-cycle from the major bioload added too soon, and the fish are suffering from poor water conditions, stress, and possibly injury from aggression. How often were you changing the water?

    I'm sorry your fishies are not well. Hopefully we can get the tank straightened out before you lose any. IMO, I'd return the pleco and 2 sharks asap. That will reduce the bioload and overstocking aggression. I'd also add some garlic guard to the water to help boost their immune systems. Pristine water with reduced livestock will do as much (if not much more) good as medications.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2009
  3. alicemValued MemberMember

    I'm thinking there's a misunderstanding and mikehornsby has these or something similar:

    Good questions. I agree, partial water changes are needed.
    I believe mikehornsby should do several water changes of atleast 30% every other day, or so, to reduce the ammonia.
    Partial water changes along with gravel vacs can also remove contaminants and parasites from the water.

    IMO it is better to have clean water than adding a bunch of meds and chemicals, especially with several different issues affecting the fish.
    Hold off on adding any more meds and give the partial water changes a try for 1 - 2 weeks.
    You'll grow tired of it, but it's alot less expensive than buying meds. Plus you tend to interact with the fish and them you, in this way.

    I agree, return the pleco, especially if it is a common.
    Ancistrus and plecostamus should be added after the tank is well established.
    As iloveengl stated, plecos absolutely do carry a huge bio load.
    When the tank has been successfully running for several months, then you can add a pleco and biofilter will fair better.

    Are you wanting one for algae eating or because you like the way they look?
    There are many beautiful pleco/ancistrus and some even eat algae, but it needs to be growing and present first.
    Here's a pretty one:
    And another:
    The smaller plecos or ancistrus are more expensive, but don't overload the biofilter as badly.
    With a smaller pleco you can have more midwater fish to see and enjoy.

    I suspect returning 2 of the 3 sharks is really good advice too.
    That way the one shark can be your prized specimen. ;)

    Without a quarantine tank we run the risk of having these problems when adding new fish.
    Don't feel too bad, we were all newbies once and even us old timers are still learning as we go.
    Hopefully your fishy problems will lessen quickly.
  4. OP

    mikehornsbyNew MemberMember

    Hi thanks for the replies.

    The pleco is a common, I knew how big he will grow when I bought him, currently he is only 2 inches and the filter seems to be coping with his waste well?
    I am planning to upgrade the tank to a 350 litre within 12 months. Should I still return him? Surely they don't grow that fast?

    I have looked in the last few minutes and the cotton substance I saw on one of the sharks seems to have gone!?

    Decided to complete a water change and "hoover" the gravel anyway.. Which
    I have just finished

    I have seen one of the sharks chasing the other two, but I have never seen them chasing eachother and they have even both taken to the same cave! I know I need to return the aggressive one. but what about the two that seem to be ok with eachother? Is this because they are babies? Will they grow out of this and start fighting?

    Question? Do I need to change the water even when the No3 levels are low? I was under the impression I don't need to? Although some minerals in the water may help my plants

    Thank you both for your advise so far! I am learning, Thankfully without loosing any fish yet!

    Regards Mike

    P.S - Just put a quarantine tank on my Xmas wish list! ;D
  5. alicemValued MemberMember

    Yes. Nitrates aren't the only thing that builds up in your tank over time.
    Pheromones, total dissolved solids and fungus, which always present but will be lessened by doing pwc.
    Partial water changes also act like another filter for your aquarium removing the debris so the bio filter doesn't get clogged as quickly.

    Some folks do partial water changes every other week and some monthly.
    I choose to do 30-50% partial water changes weekly and some times sooner according to my schedule during the week.
    I've noticed that my water is clearer, the fish are more active and vibrant than before I began this routine.

    It may sound goofy, but I enjoy the interaction the fish and I share in thier world.
    They are less easily spooked and it seems to me like they recognize me when I walk by thier tanks.
    During a pwc I can also check out everything closer.
    It's a great time to remove dead plant leaves and rearranging the decor to stir up the poo that settles around it.
    Then the stirred up debris and poo can be syphoned out with the pwc.

    Have fun with your aquarium. It's a neat hobby. There is always stuff to learn, which makes it interesting.
  6. iloveengl

    iloveenglWell Known MemberMember

    :whistling: Thanks alicem I had my brain set on swordtail for some reason. :no2:

    A healthy common pleco in a proper environment and proper diet can grow very quickly - 12" in a year. So yes, I still recommend returning him. We never know what may happen months down the road and if an expense crops up that disallows the purchase of the larger tank. It's much easier to return a little pleco than an 8-12" one. Just mo, though. It may work out fine to keep him.

    Yup. Adults are extremely territorial, even when they get along fine with a buddy when they're young.

    The pwc schedule for my 55g is gravel vac out 10g and add 15g back in once a week. (I add an extra 5g because my water evaporates quickly.) That keeps my nitrAtes stable and below 20ppm. NitrAtes are just as problematic as ammonia and nitrite if NitrAtes become much more than 20ppm.

    I learned my water change routine based on my water params. Once my tank was cycled, for the first couple weeks, I tested the params. every other day. By the end of the week, my Nitrates were around 20ppm, so I knew that I need to do a water change. Some people need to do 2x week, others do 2x month. It depends on the stocking of the tank and how big of waste producers the fish are. :;th

    However in a tank with any reading of ammonia or nitrite, partial water changes need to be stepped up to bring those readings down to 0 because even low levels of ammonia and nitrite can cause fish stress and illness.

    Anytime! That's what this place is all about! :;bananabeer

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