Sick Jack Dempsey HELP! Help

  1. mlm61477 Initiate Member

    I have a 39gal tank with two JD's in it. One large male 6" or so and a female 4". They've been in the tank since around May 09. Both have been doing well. They have breed several times over the past few months. I do a 10 gal change of water every 2-3 weeks. Yesterday the female who is almost always in her cave was at the top of the tank breathing heavy and has what looks like fin rot or ich. It came on so suddenly! The male is perfectly fine. Before she was sick, I cleaned the filter (Eheim 2213) medium which I've done a couple of times since I got the fish. I did put new coarse filter pad and a fine filter pad in. The Mech and substate are the same. Once I noticed she was sick I immediately added a proper does of melafix. The instructions on the melafix says to treat daily for 7 days and then do a water change, which I plan to do. Is there anything else I should try? Any idea what might have cause her to get sick so suddenly and the other JD not to be sick at all? I've been feeding Cichlid Gold by Hikari. I'll post pics of her when I get home, at work now. Thanks for any advice or help you all can give.
     
  2. bolivianbaby Fishlore Legend Member

    Welcome to Fishlore! I wish it were under better circumstances.

    Your information says you're aware of the nitrogen cycle, but you don't use test kits.

    Do you know your readings for PH, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates?

    Also, do you feed them live food? If so, is it bought or do you breed it yourself?

    If the male isn't sick, could you quarantine the female while you're medicating her?

    Fin rot and ich can be caused by poor water conditions, so it would help if we could rule those out.
     

  3. mlm61477 Initiate Member

    Haven't done a test kit ever! Fish have been fine for 7 months. The only changes made were ones listed in orig post. Only fed them live brine shrimp I bred but that's been several months ago. Only feed them food listed in original post. I do not have a quarantine tank to put her in right now. Trying to get a plan of attack to get her better asap.
     

  4. Shawnie Fishlore Legend Member

    welcome to fishlore!!

    Sometimes a fish can tolerate bad water for an amount of time...so being that she was ok for 7 months, is great..but now shes not....I think at this point, a test kit is something you really should consider....api makes a liquid master kit that will give you 100's of test for everything..I bet you will find shes suffering from ammonia poisioning..the reason I feel this is those 2 fish, with their bioload being so large, in a 39g tank, and only water changed out every 2-3 weeks, probably is seriously effecting her now...

    I would recommend changing out water daily with some prime conditioner...that way if it is ammonia/nitrites, the prime will detox them and make them safe for the fish, while the tank goes through its mini cycle stage....otherwise, the melafix isnt going to fix a water issue and will kill off whatever is left of the beneficial bacteria you once did have....

    good luck !
     

  5. mlm61477 Initiate Member

    Pictures of Sick Fish

    Here are some pics of the sick fishy!

    So, I'm going to get a test kit......and I'm assuming that the message here is to change out the water immediately and daily if possible.....does this mean a complete change out or is 1/3 enough? Is distilled water from the grocery the best to use to change it out with?
     

    Attached Files:

  6. bolivianbaby Fishlore Legend Member

    Poor baby!:( Regular tap water (if the PH is the same for the tap and the tank) dechlorinated should be fine. I would only advise 25-50% daily water changes. Also, garlic juice (from minced garlic jars) or Garlic Guard sold at fish stores will boost her immune system a bit and help her fight this. Mercy, they almost look like battle wounds, but it could be the pics.

    Is there something sharp she could've cut herself on? JD's are known for trying to squeeze into spots that they won't fit into. Bless her heart.
     
  7. Shawnie Fishlore Legend Member

    aww poor girlie...I agree it looks like injuries of some kind, from decorations or fighting (smaller tanks will do that when they get in breeding mode) or her water...I would most definately get a proper test kit (dont let the stores talk you into test strips) and do partial changes with BB's reccomendations....good luck!
     
  8. mlm61477 Initiate Member

    I've tested and the results are: with test strips...got them before I read your post shawnie.

    Ammonia - .75
    Rite - .5
    Rate - 80
    pH - 7.2
    Alkalinity - 80
    Hardness - 150
    Chlorine & Chloramine 0.0
    Temp - 78-80

    I just got threw feeding them and she did eat but I also observed the large male chasing her and trying to bite her. She got away from him each time but I can tell it's wearing her down. They are normally in a small cave side by side. This cave is barely big enough for the him but somehow they both fit themselves in there. She has never had "battle scars" from going in and out of it. She did damage her upper lip slightly a month or so ago but that was because she had eggs about to hatch and she was trying to dig a hole to china, I mean nest for the fry to go in after they hatched.

    Anyway, I change out approx 28% of the water, then added prime conditioner and half the recommended sea salt. I was also advised by the local pet shop to continue treating with the meta fix. That seems like a lot chemicals to be putting in there all at once. Thanks again for all the advice. This little JD has officially become the most expensive fish I've ever owned. LOL!
     
  9. mlm61477 Initiate Member

    More pics of the sick girl and one of her mate

    More Photos with a better camera.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. bolivianbaby Fishlore Legend Member

    From your water readings, your tank has gone into a mini-cycle. Most members use the API freshwater test kit for the most accurate readings. It's around $25-30 here in GA, but it gives you hundreds of tests. Given the condition of the female and the readings your having from the strips, it's probably a good investment to let you know for sure when your tank completes this mini-cycle. The ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels are not making things any easier for your female.

    My advice would be to do daily partial water changes with Prime (it detoxifies ammonia and nitrites) until your water parameter readings are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and nitrates 20 or below. As far as using salt is concerned, some people use it, some people don't. I don't use it in any of my tanks.

    It's usually recommended not to keep JD's in anything smaller than a 55g. That would help eliminate aggression in the future. You can usually find fantastic deals on Craigslist, at garage sales, and anywhere people sell second-hand items.

    Please keep us posted on her progress and let us know however we can help:;hug2
     
  11. mlm61477 Initiate Member

    Well, she's still a kickin'! Tough little fish. She seems to be doing better....not staying at the top against the glass. She has spent most of the day today at or near the bottom but not in the cave as was normal. She also just had a big dinner. So, I would think having a good appetite is a good sign. She has lost two big chunks of her tail fin and the spots on her side in the pics above have got what looks like a white/translucent thick goo on them. The male only chases her when they are fed, once the food is gone he calms down and goes back in the cave.

    Is there something to take the chlorine out of tap water, cause I can't afford to keep buying distilled water? I've got 22 gal of tap with chlorine waiting but it will need to set for several days before I can use it in the tank. I need to speed up that process somehow.
     
  12. bolivianbaby Fishlore Legend Member

    That's an awesome sign! JD's are tough fish for sure.

    Tetra Aquasafe will dechlorinate your water, stress coat will dechlorinate your water, anything marked as a dechlorinator should be fine.

    I take water out of the tap (matching temps), add dechlorinator per the instructions, and pour it gently into the tank.