newbie dramas! Help

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by sunbird73, Apr 7, 2010.

  1. sunbird73New MemberMember

    newbie dramas - ich in new tank!


    It was my daughters 7th birthday so in my infinite wisdom I got her an aquaone AR380 (38L) tank, and after running it for 24hrs (as advised by LFS) I went and bought some fish. First mistake.

    Second mistake - we bought quite a few fish - 2 guppies, 2 platys, 5 glowlight tetras, 3 neons, and my daughter picked out the teeniest little albino pleco that she could find. *SIGH*

    So then I read on here and realised my mistakes I went about some damage control - bought some java moss as I read somewhere that real plants can help with the nitrification process (and also thought as it came out of someones home tank that maybe some good bacteria might come with it??). Also bought some Prime and some Seachem Stability.
    My budget after all this was quite stretched, and I couldn't afford the $$ for a nitrite and an ammonia test kit, so just have a pH kit right now. pH stable at 7.2.

    Yesterday evening, my daughter pointed out that the little yellow suckerfish had a couple of spots on its tailfin. Since he is so tiny I had a little squint at it, then forgot as I went about putting 3 unruly children to bed.

    This morning the little guy is covered in tiny yellow/white bumps!! Suspect that it might be ich....:;fru

    Rang the pet shop as it has been all of 48hrs since I have had the fish, but the LFS were adamant that none of *their* fish had it, it must have come from my tap water :-\ hmmm. I understand that fish get it when they are stressed (new tank) but he must have had it in some form when I bought him?

    Anyways, I took him out of the tank and put him in a bucket with a spare heater in an effort to try to prevent the rest of the fish being overwhelmed with the parasite (as they also have to deal with my new tank cycling!). I read that it stays encapsulated for a few days on the fish, and is not infective during this stage, just when they release to the water. Is there any chance that I may have removed him before they released?

    Will my newly cycling tank survive a treatment for ich? Is this the end for all my fish? The LFS said to take out the carbon in the filter.... but wont the treatment kill all the good bacteria I am trying to grow?

    help please, this fish thing is totally stressing me out!! The kids are in love and have named everything....
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2010
  2. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Hi sunbird welcome to FishLore :)

    I'm sorry about your fish. Sure sounds like ich. Does it look like grains of salt?
    If so, you can try and treat without meds.
    Slowly raise the temp to 86F. Add an airstone to make up for less oxygen in warmer water.
    Leave it there for at least 2 weeks.
    Do thorough gravel vacs and water changes to pick up any ich spores in the gravel.

    You've got a few stress factors going on.
    Moving the fish to their new home, exposure to toxins from a cycling tank and it's also overstocked.
    Stress weakens their immune system making it harder for them to fight off disease and illness such as ich.

    Test kits are really important. It would be a good idea to get one as soon as possible.
    Although pricey, go for a good liquid test kit like the API Master Kit. It's more accurate than the strips and less costly in the long run.

    Imo, you should not use the stability. The bacteria it contains is not aquatic, it dies off quickly. That's why you have to keep adding it.

    To help your fish get through the cycle, do daily water changes with Prime (that'll detox the ammonia created by fish waste and left over food) until your readings are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites with some nitrates showing.

    Be patient, it can take up to a month, sometimes longer to cycle a tank.

    It would also be a good idea to either get a larger tank or see if you can return some of your fish.

    The 5 glowlights fully stock your tank.
    Or the 2 guppies and 3 neons.
    Sadly, your tank isn't big enough for the pleco.

    Sorry for the long post and bad news.
    Many of us started out on the wrong foot, so you're not alone. :)

    Good luck!

    Last edited: Apr 7, 2010
  3. sunbird73New MemberMember

    Wow really? The fish shop told me that double the amount of fish I had would be maximum for that tank (think 38L is a 10G tank) & fitration. But then they also sold me the tank in the first place... (and told me the little suckerfish wouldn't get bigger than about 5cm... maybe he isn't a pleco?? Sure looks like one tho). He is looking a bit sad anyway, the fact that he is too much for the tank might just be academic in the end :(

    Unlikely they will take any back since I have ich... oh the irony

    I just read about using salt to get rid of the parasite - would this be an option do you think? Which fish would tolerate this least? All of the other treatments sound nasty for the filter (and for me handling them).

  4. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    If you can post a picture of your pleco, someone can help you with an ID.

    Some members use salt for ich and other problems. Personally, I don't use it.
    :( Your pleco won't tolerate the salt.

    Your fish are probably young so they look small. Soon enough they'll get bigger.
    I've got glowlights and I was surprised how big they got. They're full grown now, at about 2" and have a good amount of bulk to them.

    It would help if we knew the readings for ammonia, nitrite and nitrates.
    Go ahead and change the water. it might perk him up a bit.

  5. ShineWell Known MemberMember

    Here's a link to an article I found on ich a while ago. Quite informative  

    basic info on clearing it up is as the others have said: raise the temp--"Increase temperature to 30°C/86°F. With tropical fish, an increase in temperature to 30°C/86°F is usually very well-tolerated. Since this temperature prevents reproduction of Ich, it can theoretically cure the problem by itself. So the first step would be to increase the temperature slowly, 1°C/2°F per hour until the correct temperature is reached. This temperature should be maintained for 10 days, and then slowly returned to normal. Some fish can tolerate higher temperatures"

    Probably better to raise the temp more gradually then this suggests though
  6. sunbird73New MemberMember

    Have just changed his water in his little isolation tank, poor thing. The water in the main tank was fairly warmish anyway, about 26 C, and as I used a different heater for his little quarantine space it accidentally went up to 29.5c anyways even tho it was set at 24 since I put him in 2-3hrs ago. So check! Temperature is up ... lets hope he is a strong fish :eek:

    I read that the ammonia doesn't start to go up until day 3? It is currently only day 2, the rest of my fish are looking vy happy right now, so maybe it hasn't hit yet. I have changed 10-20% of the water yesterday and today, hopefully that will keep on top of it.

    What are the chances of the Java moss I bought from a private seller being able to seed my tank with good bacteria? Am hoping that may have helped ...

    Is there an incubation period for Ich? Or does it depend on water temp too, cos I don't think it could be the plant I bought as the spots showed up within a few hours of getting the plant.

    No signs of any spots on any other fish yet either.

    The fish store are denying any responsibility for the ich, they offered to test my water tho - would it be cheeky of me to ask them to test the tank that they sold me the pleco out of? >:D

    And what is the likelihood of ich being present in my tap water cos that sounds like a bit fat load of poo to me. He told me this after he said that the ich would be present in my BRAND new, straight out of the box, direct from the factory fish tank LOL. Um, don't think so!! (I also pointed out that they were responsible for selling me that tank anyway!)
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2010
  7. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning Sunbird and Welcome to Fish Lore.

    When you're dealing with ICH it's always best to treat the entire tank. If one fish has ICH then the entire tank is infected. ICH is always present in your aquarium, when the fish are weakened and the immune system isn't up to par, the fish are stressed and there is a sudden temperature change then the ICH attaches itself to the fish.

    Personally I would return the fish to it's main tank, and raise the temperatures in the main tank to treat everyone. Raise the temperature to 85/86 degrees and leave it there for a full two weeks. Higher temperatures require more oxygen so it's recommended to add an air stone/supply line. ICH may appear worse before it gets better. Do two gravel vacuums each week to remove the spores that fall off the fish and into the substrate.

    By returning the fish in quarantine back to the main tank will also keep you from having to cycle two tanks at the same time. It's going to take daily water changes to keep your fish safe from ammonia poisoning since they aren't cycled. Do daily 30 to 50% water changes, add some Prime or Amquel + to detox the ammonia for 24 hours until it's time for the next water change. When adding new water be sure to remove the chlorine (either of the chemicals above will do this too), make sure the new water temperature is as close as you can get it to the temperature of the tank.

    The plant that you added may contain a little bit of good bacteria but it won't be enough to give you an instant cycle. It may help to cut down the cycling time though by several weeks. It's hard to say for certain.

    I know a lot of information is being thrown to you at one time. It will get easier once your tank is cycled and the ICH is gone. Try not to feel to badly as many of us have been where you are :)

    Here are a few links for you:

    Best wishes. We're here to help when you need it! Hang in there!
  8. ShineWell Known MemberMember

    From the same article:


    It is commonly thought that Ich lies dormant in all fish tanks, just waiting for an opportunity to attack. This is not accurate. However, it is possible that a resistant fish or group of fish can harbor a low level of Ich infection without obvious symptoms until stress of some kind reduces the fish's ability to fight it off. Then the infection becomes full-blown, seemingly out of nowhere. While this is a possibility, the most common and most likely cause of ich in any tank is through the introduction of new fish.

    Ich is present in many fish bred in fish farms and distributed to pet stores. Carefully inspect each new specimen you are considering for purchase. Even fish that appear perfectly healthy can still harbor ich in the gills, or have a new infection that doesn't yet show the typical symptoms. If possible, quarantine all new fish in a separate tank to prevent an infestation of Ich, as well as other potential parasites and diseases. The quarantine period should be two weeks or longer, during which time you should carefully observe the new fish. Anti-parasitic medications or foods can be used during this time to prevent the spread of certain other types of parasites, such as worms and flukes.

    And from another article (more reading):

    (1) Ich is always present in an aquarium- WRONG. Ich doesn’t come in with dry salt mixes or lands in your tank from the atmosphere. Ich is a single-celled animal that is introduced to your tank, usually attached to a new fish or free swimming in the shipping bag water.

    (2) Ich cannot be killed or completely wiped out- WRONG. Ich is an Obligate Ectoparasite. This means that without a host (a fish), it will die of starvation within 6-8 hours.

    (3) Cleaner Wrasse (Labroides Dimdiatus) and Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata Amboinensis) eat Ich- WRONG. Wrasses and shrimp eat necrotic tissue, damage scales, and scabs. It has been well documented that the symbiotic “cleaning stations” in the reefs by wrasses and shrimps are there to help heal wounds from carnivore attacks, territorial fights, and other skin/scale injuries. It is possible that these cleaners might knock the parasite off the fish while doing this, but do nothing to control the reproduction and life cycle of Ich in your aquarium.

    (4) Fish eventually get immune to ich- TRUE. After repeated exposure and survival, fish build an immunity to Ich. However, new introductions don’t have this immunity and often die of Ich within a week of introduction, even though every other fish is fine. You will blame your LFS for selling you a fish with Ich, but the problem is Ich is present in your tank and your fish have gained some immunity which prevents fatalities- but they still suffer from the disease.

    (5) Stress causes Ich- WRONG. If Ich is present in your tank then stress reduces immunity and your fish will show more advanced and serious signs of the disease. But if Ich is not present, it doesn’t matter how stressed your fish get they won’t get Ich.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2010
  9. trailblazer295Well Known MemberMember

    Some types of pleco only hit about 5" still alot bigger than the 5cm you were told. While some can hit 2ft and grow and crazy speeds.
  10. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    I'm wondering if your "pleco" isn't an oto, since the store told you that... a pic would be helpful. :)
  11. marina3Valued MemberMember

    Raugh start there...but it will pass and you would have learned so much!!! Look at it like a "crush course" in fishkeeping...And believe us when we tell you "we all been there" because if it was not the ich, is overfeeding, water parameters, etc, etc...there is stress involved SPECIALLY when the people at our LFS know LESS than what we, as newbies know!!! Very frustrating,:;fru but as you can see for the great responses you got, you are in a good place (Fishlore) were people are very knowledgeble and eager to help!
    Good luck and keep us posted!!:;hi2
  12. sunbird73New MemberMember

    Honestly, my daughter picked it out while I was chasing my 3yo (hence the teeny tinyest one in the tank *sigh*) so I didn't read the label on the tank he came out of, so the pleco is my interpretation of what he is. I can't really take a pic right now cos he is in a fluoro green bucket *blush* and it wouldn't show up very well. What is oto short for? Will look it up in my fish book :) Remember tho, that the guy that sold me the fish and told me it would not grow very big, is likely to also be the same guy that told me that the ich would have come from my brand new dry aquarium, or from my chlorinated drinking water ;)

    Well, the good news is, he is still alive in his quarantine bucket. Water is still 29.5C too (I had dreams of him being cooked with my heater that hasn't been used for 2 yrs!)

    I have been doing some researching last night, very dry parasitology journal articles lol, but am much more info-ed up than yesterday.

    I feel like going and complaining to the store about their ridiculous information and denial of liability, but then at the end of the day - what do I want from them? I don't plan on using their nasty chemicals anyway :;dk Other than a bit of satisfaction when I educate them on why their statements where so wrong >:D

    I think I will keep him isolated for two reasons - 1) as he is covered in mature trophonts under his skin, when they all release there will be huge contamination of the water. While I accept it is likely that the other fish are already infected, it at least will reduce the parasite load on the water - seeing as he was only in the tank for 48hrs with them (and the life cycle takes 3 days minimum at 25C) hopefully the load on my main tank is only small at this stage. Smaller load of parasite can only be good IMO.

    2) the little suckerfish (whatever he is) is unlikely to tolerate salt, so I am going to treat him with heat alone. The main tank I will treat with salt and heat as all the other fish (guppies, platys and neons) should tolerate the salt better.

    Also as the choice of newly cycling tanks are one full of fish, and one with just one tiny fish, he is probably going to have less ammonia load in the one with just him? They are both probably much of a muchness cos they are both new tanks! (Also if the worst happens, the kids won't have to see it)

    I am quite surprised how invested I am in these fish LOL! Have become totally obsessed - my husband thinks I have gone mad as I talked his ear off last night about trophozoites, trophonts, obligate parasites and stupid pet shop people. I swear his eyes rolled back in his head, and I could almost see him thinking "but its only a fish!"
  13. ShineWell Known MemberMember


    LOL--I often have thoughts like that too. Sadly some of them would continue to spout their clearly inacurate statements regardless of what info you showed them. Bit of an exerise in frustration :;fru Especially that statement they gave you about parasites in the chlorinated tapwater! GAH! That one would have had me spinning out over the phone :eek:

    As far as the bristlenose in the bucket goes, if you have Prime I would be using that for daily 50% water changes... along with the same for the main tank. It'll detox the ammonia for him so he isn't getting burned gills on top of the ich

    :) Amazing how quickily obsession kicks in isn't it? ;)
  14. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

  15. sunbird73New MemberMember

    Have just come back from the LFS. Had a strong debate with the manager :;swls, who took a look at me thought I was a dumb housewife, but he got a bit of a shock! He was very stubborn to begin with but my advanced logic won out in the end, and although I don't need another fish at all, he has replaced the fish for my daughter. But the satisfaction was worth it :D

    SO now I have 2 little yellow fish in my quarantine tank. I looked at the sign on the tank this time my little brain has forgotten the actual latin name in my victory drive home, but definitely began with "A", and was long. Doh! So not a pleco. Cannot find it in my tropical fish book anywhere. Had a look at a pic of a chinese algae eater, and altho they look similar (the gold one anyway) they are not the same as the head shape is different.

    Looked at pics of the otocinclus and it is definitely not that one. Once I upgrade these two fish to the 75L old decomissioned tank from their bucket in the garage I will try to post a pic.

    So had to visit another pet store cos I best not show my face at the first one for a wee while - the manager there was vy helpful and offered to test the ammonia in the tank for me, so will go there on the weekend and take her a sample.

    Need to go have a coffee now :;co Thanks so much everyone, this forum is such a huge help !
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 9, 2010
  16. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    I believe there is also a Siamese Algae Eater.
  17. trailblazer295Well Known MemberMember

    Any chance your receipt says the name? some stores have the type on them.
  18. sunbird73New MemberMember

    ah nope. nothing on the receipt (they are not computerized)

    Been looking on other sites in NZ - someone mentioned a golden black eyed b.n? What would the b n be?

    Golden blackeyed Ancistrus? Does this sound right? So might be pleco after all???
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2010
  19. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

  20. ShineWell Known MemberMember

    bristlenose maybe? look up some pics and see if they match :)

    lol--Meenu! :;nin2

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