Rainbow Shark Disaster

acozart01

Member
Hello! I need any help I can get quickly.
recently I have got a rainbow shark from a pet store. my boyfriend and I have never had an aquarium and don't know very much about fish. the pet store knew this and knowing I had a Fluval 5-gallon tank they supplied me at the beginning of this nightmare with a rainbow shark ( telling me it was a red tail shark?), 3 tetras, 2 small corys that were white, and a sucker cleaning fish not sure the actual name. after bringing home the tank and setting up letting it run for a day( like they told us to) when we went back the next day for the fish I listed above we brought them home acclimated them and no fish seemed to be fighting but within a few hours, we started having fish die very quickly starting with the tetras. long story short in about a week we went through 11 fish and they all died. the only thing I have left is a rainbow shark. after all of this happened I started reading A LOT online about what happened and soon realized the amount of fish I got and the fish I got was not good. now that you know the backstory of my horrible tank set up for the little guy. I know that a 5-gallon tank is WAY too small for him especially in the future and if he survives I'm going to work on getting a new tank in the future for it. But before I do that I want to make sure he can survive after everything that happened to him. I have a couple medium size plants and hiding caves for it after reading that they like to hide. he doesn't seem to act right after reading online. his fins are almost ripped looking and he swims around the middle to the top of my tank doesn't seem to gasp for air. I am trying everything to keep it alive without pouring even more money down the drain for the fish to continue to then die. please help I only know a bit about keeping an aquarium from growing up and my parents having multiple big tanks in our house, but this is so far out of them being able to help me. thanks in advance for anyone that helps at all!!
 

wisecrackerz

Member
The best advice I can give you for a red tail/rainbow shark in a 5 g, is to tell you to return it to the store today, or tomorrow at the latest.

Every day the fish is in that tank is another day of stunting (permanent disproportionate bone growth restriction, similar to foot-binding in humans), and another day of ammonia poisoning. There's nothing you can do to a 5 gallon tank that would change those two conditions.

In a 5 g, as a beginner, i wouldn't recommend anything besides a betta, OR (not and) maybe a few shrimp. The store where you got all these fish may give you store credit.

In the future, it's best not to rely on the advice of a (usually) poorly paid, and poorly trained retail employee. I would advise you bring a smartphone with you on your next pet purchasing trip, and do a quick google about the breed/species, and its needs, before purchasing any new pet.
 
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acozart01

Member


wisecrackerz said:
The best advice I can give you for a red tail/rainbow shark in a 5 g, is to tell you to return it to the store.

In a 5 g, as a beginner, i wouldn't recommend anything besides a betta, OR (not and) maybe a few shrimp.
I agree but sadly this store and I are not on good terms due to the fact I got no money back, I killed a bunch of fish and they won't take it back. all they said they would do for me is give me a new fish so here i am..
 

Travisb1297

Member
Ok. Your profile says you don't about the nitrogen cycle. Is that still true? And I agree with wisecrackerz, you should probably take the shark back.

And if they won't take the shark back, see if a Local Fish Store will.
 
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acozart01

Member
Travisb1297 said:
And if they won't take the shark back, see if a Local Fish Store will.
where I live we have 2 pet stores 1 isn't open due to the corona virus and the other is petland where i got the fish

Travisb1297 said:
Ok. Your profile says you don't about the nitrogen cycle. Is that still true? And I agree with wisecrackerz, you should probably take the shark back.
i do know very basic info about this and because this is my first tank i put that i didnt know about it so that someone can help explain it further
 

wisecrackerz

Member
Even if they don't give you $ or store credit back, would they take the fish back to save its life?

Kept in a 5 gallon, its life is measured in days. No amount of cycling is going to help that.

If you're determined to save the life of this fish, and absolutely cannot rehome it, you're absolutely going to be pouring $ into it, just like any other pet.

Instead of a 30 gallon tank, you could use a well-cleaned large storage container (30 gallons or larger), but you're going to need a filter, and that won't be cheap.
 

Travisb1297

Member
Yes. I agree with wizecrackerz, a good sized tote could work but you will need to purchase a filter. A HOB would work and could easily be used for a tank later. The filter would still have to cycle and you'd need to to do daily large water changes to help mitigate the build up of ammonia
 

MacZ

Member
My advice may sound all but nice, but I would give back the fish (refund or not, wouldn't matter to me) and start over with bigger tank, live plants and natural decoration after a thorough research into fishkeeping.

But please don't get me wrong, I blame the store, not you. Still, after the fish is gone don't do anything else without having researched it.
 
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acozart01

Member
yes, I agree but as I mentioned before they won't take it back. I do blame myself for believing a person I talked to that these would be a good beginners fish, after reading online I read that this fish is far far far from that..
 

wisecrackerz

Member
I don't think we can really give any further help/advice until you decide what you're going to do here.

You can try to rehome it; you mentioned your parents have several tanks, and are more experienced aquarists, or you may have a friend or neighbor who has a more suitable home.

You can just keep it in the 5g until it dies.

You can try to keep it and save it, by giving it a bigger living space, which is going to be a big investment of time, work, and $ you mentioned you didn't want to spend.

As far as I can see it, those are the 3 options available to you.
 

GlennO

Member
Euthanise it. It's been through enough. Do a fishless cycle and consider a Betta.
 

Mhamilton0911

Member
Bigger chain pet stores measure success in sales, not correct set ups. The smaller and more local the store, typically you'll see more knowledgeable people who actually care about the fish they sell you.
You might be able to re home the shark, try Craigslist, maybe Facebook (I've never used but I hear others who have success) otherwise your tiny tank will not work out for that shark. Like others said, a temp tank out of a storage tote will be better for it in the longer run it you can't rehome it.
A Betta is a good fish for that tank. 5 gallons to himself and he'll be happy, plus they are great fish, he'll start to recognize you when you walk in a room, wait at the top for him food, follow your finger.
Do you have anyway to test the water parameters? That way you'll know when it's safe to add anything else.

Sorry about your bumpy ride so far, when this road smooths out, you'll enjoy your fishies.
 

Noroomforshoe

Member
I agree you need to find the shark a home with a bigger tank, a 48 inch long tank is required for a rainbow shark. That is a 40 gallon breeder or 55+ If you can not get a tank this size, try to find someone who does, There is always Craigslist.
I do not agree that the shark is going to die in 3 days just because your tank is too small. People quarantine fish for months in tanks that are too small for them to live in.
The problem is that your tank is not cycled , and fish waste is turned to burning toxic ammonia, then the cycle starts, and you have even worse toxin called nitrate for 3-6 weeks.
So you need to go online and purchase Seachums prime or Amquel, you are going to dose the full 5 gallons every 3 days. and change 30% of the water 2 times a week. Until you can prove that the tank is cycled, Zero Ammonia, Zero Nitrite, and now has nitrites.
FWI, A rainbow shark is an albino version of a redtail shark. That was the one and only thing the pet store got right!
 
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acozart01

Member
thank you so much to everyone that replied! we are going to try our best to rehome it. after this we plan to do a deep clean of the tank and get things to test the water, then just get a betta fish! he has white spots on him now is this from the water or is it actually sick with something?
 

Dunk2

Member
acozart01 said:
thank you so much to everyone that replied! we are going to try our best to rehome it. after this we plan to do a deep clean of the tank and get things to test the water, then just get a betta fish! he has white spots on him now is this from the water or is it actually sick with something?
Picture?
 

Travisb1297

Member
White spots is generally bad but a picture could help us diagnose it more thoroughly
 
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acozart01

Member
Noroomforshoe said:
I agree you need to find the shark a home with a bigger tank, a 48 inch long tank is required for a rainbow shark. That is a 40 gallon breeder or 55+ If you can not get a tank this size, try to find someone who does, There is always Craigslist.
I do not agree that the shark is going to die in 3 days just because your tank is too small. People quarantine fish for months in tanks that are too small for them to live in.
The problem is that your tank is not cycled , and fish waste is turned to burning toxic ammonia, then the cycle starts, and you have even worse toxin called nitrate for 3-6 weeks.
So you need to go online and purchase Seachums prime or Amquel, you are going to dose the full 5 gallons every 3 days. and change 30% of the water 2 times a week. Until you can prove that the tank is cycled, Zero Ammonia, Zero Nitrite, and now has nitrites.
FWI, A rainbow shark is an albino version of a redtail shark. That was the one and only thing the pet store got right!
thank you so much for this! I was thinking the same thing about the tank size. im not sure if this changes anything but the tank does have a filter on the left side of the tank that has been running and cleaning out things. it's hard to see in the pictures.
 

Dunk2

Member
Sorry, but I disagree with a previous post that suggested partial water changes 2X per week.

With an uncycled tank, the frequency of water changes should be determined based on testing results, not time. Your tests could show that daily changes are necessary.

Even when using Prime, water changes are necessary to keep the combined level of ammonia and nitrites below 1 ppm.
 
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acozart01

Member
so I'm currently not home and I have this picture of the other shark that passed away a few days ago. they have the same white spots and I didn't take a picture but this shark progressed into having a large white patch behind its head and some more spots on its body. hope this helps you can see in the previous post the white spots on the fish that is still alive. it concerns me to give him to someone considering everything in the tank died and had these white spots so I don't want to infect another person's tank!
 

Travisb1297

Member
Looks to be some sort of fungal infection maybe. I don't think it's ich. Could be wrong
 

Travisb1297

Member
Do you have any medicine on hand? It might be hard to get a hold of quickly, with the current state of things
 
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acozart01

Member
Travisb1297 said:
Looks to be some sort of fungal infection maybe. I don't think it's ich. Could be wrong
my parents said the same thing which is why I am not putting him in their tank they also have a pretty full tank with Bala sharks and angelfish and all kinds of fish that are doing so well that I don't want to risk killing them...

Travisb1297 said:
Do you have any medicine on hand? It might be hard to get a hold of quickly, with the current state of things
i do not sadly, i possibly can order some but what would type should i order?
 

Travisb1297

Member
I would see if somebody else confirms the fungus diagnosis. I'm not very familiar with medications unfortunately.
 

MacZ

Member

Travisb1297

Member
I think Columnaris can be treated with a wide variety of medications but I'm not sure of what medications betta tolerate
 

MacZ

Member
Travisb1297 said:
I think Columnaris can be treated with a wide variety of medications but I'm not sure of what medications betta tolerate
This is still a rainbow shark and not a betta.
 

Travisb1297

Member
Oh My bad, sorry about that
 

Noroomforshoe

Member
Dunk2 said:
Sorry, but I disagree with a previous post that suggested partial water changes 2X per week.

With an uncycled tank, the frequency of water changes should be determined based on testing results, not time. Your tests could show that daily changes are necessary.

Even when using Prime, water changes are necessary to keep the combined level of ammonia and nitrites below 1 ppm.
What do you recomend to a person who currently does not have water testers?
 

Lebeeze

Member
If you cant rehome it, do 50% water changes everyday and use seachem Prime as your water conditioner with every water change.

The 50% water change will keep the ammonia and nitrites down and Prime will keep the ammonia and nitrite non toxic to your fish.

Do this EVERYDAY until the cycle is complete, which is when you have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and nitrates start building.

I know times are wierd right now but try and get him a bigger tank as quickly as you can !!
 

faydout

Member
Are you in a position where you could borrow some from your parents (test kit and meds) sine it sounds like they still keep fish?
 

Falena

Member
Im terribly sorry you ended up in this situation. I agree with MacZ in that it looks like columnaris to me too, unfortunately.
This bacteria is present in all aquariums but attacks fish when their immune system is weakened due to poor water quality, stress, poor diet ect.
The treatment would be antibiotics that target gram negative bacteria. There are multiple strains, some kill quicker than others.
It can be successfully treat with a combination of furan-2 and kanamycin if caught early enough. However, having to wait on meds isn't going to work in your favour I'm afraid I've heard people sometimes treat it with aquarium salt but I have no experience with this method. For the time being I'd follow others advice and keep up with the frequent water changes and look into treatment options. However, even if you're successful in treating him, you're going to have to keep him disease free and healthy until you can rehome or give him a bigger tank.
 

GlennO

Member
Noroomforshoe said:
FWI, A rainbow shark is an albino version of a redtail shark. That was the one and only thing the pet store got right!
No not even that, it’s a different species altogether.

Don’t rehome it. You shouldn’t rehome sick fish. It’s sick because it’s been poisoned by ammonia nd continues to be while it’s in an uncycled tank. Put the poor thing out of its misery ASAP.
 

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