Sick Platy-> well Platy-> Tetra Safe Start-> Flashing Platy

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by janiskfp, Nov 28, 2009.

  1. janiskfp

    janiskfpValued MemberMember

    I put in Tetra Safe Start to address an ammonia spike/get back on track. This fish started flashing about ten minutes after I put the stuff in. I put in just enough to treat six gallons. I shook it really well, and then used a syringe to pull from different depths of the bottle.

    Now she's hiding and clearly uncomfortable. What's up with this? Just before I put it in she was fine, and all I did before that was top off a half gallon (10%) fresh water (no change from the usual, and she's loved water changes so far) and take out most, but not all, of the carbon.


    I treated my Tank with Maracyn and Maracyn 2, which seemed to take care of m Platy's poofy scales (not too bloated, though) and seeming light spots, which may have been missing scales. I did the full 5 day treatment, let her go for another 2 days soaking in it, doing 25% water changes to keep the ammonia down, since the meds at that strength gave me an ammonia spike.

    I already tried treating the sick Platy in the hospital tank, and she got sick in a day of returning her to the primary tank, so I treated the primary tank.

    I took out the meds with a little too much activated carbon in the filter compartment, plus 4 20% (at least 14 hours apart) water changes, which should get meds down to 41-42% even without the carbon.

    I also put a healthy Platy in isolation in the hospital "tank" (it's a 1.5 gallon jar with a bubble filter and a heater)to:
    1. Give the female a rest and let her establish territorial dominance in the primary tank
    2. Keep some live filter media
    It was getting only slightly elevated API readings of NO3 (.25), Nitrites (<.25 but not quite 0) and 5-20 Nitrates depending entirely on where I was with water changes.

    I put just a smidge of this Tetra Safe Start in the hospital tank too, and the male in there started freaking out, too, but he's not as bad.

    EDIT: The snails are fine. We have a home for most of them and are awaiting a good transfer opportunity. Probably Monday.

    Is any product out there going to perform as I expect it to?
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2009
  2. Shawnie

    ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    im sorry your fish babies are sick :(
    its probably the ammonia causing the flashing or the meds ...and you just happen to add TSS at a time where its starting to really effect the fish......if there were ANY medication left in the tank, it will kill the TSS effectiveness.......medicines kill the beneficial thats probably what happened to your cycle...I would continue with daily water changes for a week and retry the TSS after that......using an entire bottle for your tank not rely on it for 7-10 days to recycle the tank if you have even a small amount of meds in there at all...

    when using tss, you MUST use the entire bottle(it states it on the back as well) as its impossible to know how much bacteria you are using and how much is just water .....I hope things get better soon!
  3. OP

    janiskfpValued MemberMember

    A couple of things I forgot:

    My Seachem AmmoAlert reads 0 in the primary tank. I'm using Seachem Prime 8 drops/gal (2x prescribed dose, safe to 5x), as I always do, in water changes, so even if it isn't effective after 24 hours, it gets replaced. (If I'm not mistaken, the Prime should work as long as it hasn't been used up, but the H- gets used up by more than just the NO3.)

    My dKH is 4 = KH 72 (API)
    GH takes 8 drops = GH 143 (API)

    I've tested this a few times, and it seems consistent.

    My pH in both tanks is around 7.4, which is lower than I usually keep it, but given the Prime and the ammonia, it doesn't surprise me. Since the KH seems to be holding up as high as I've ever had it, I'm not too worried. Should I be?

    I was under the impression that the antibiotics take a certain concentration to make a dent in any bacterial growth, good or bad. If I'm not mistaken, I should have gotten it down to 10-20% of original concentration, or even less with so long on so much carbon. But that's why I'm saving half the bottle for after one or two more water changes. I've already spent close to $70 on this round of illness. I'm not too terribly inclined to spend another $14 on another bottle of the TTS.

    Why would both my fish, seemingly fairly healthy, with no sudden parameter changes I could detect, with a max concentration of ammonia of .25 (more likely ammonium), freak out right after I put the TTS in? Does anyone have any secret info on TTS? Can it go sour? Is is particularly acidic or basic?

    You know what I'm really wanting, is ingredient lists on fish products like we have on food. I'd pay extra for that.

    Man, there's just nothing more frustrating than having newly healthy fish one minute, you do something you think will be good for them ,and bam, they aren't healthy-seeming anymore.

    Here's my plan unless someone can steer me right:
    • two more days of 20% water changes
    • add the other half of the TTS after the 2nd water change (I still have some carbon in there)
    • wait two days on the water checking params, unless they look funky, then another water change
    • if the fish seem healthy, I'm moving the male back in to the primary tank when I take the 5 snails out
    • if the fish don't seem healthy??? I still am getting rid of the over abundance of snails, and I may still move the male
    • water change will happen on Mon. since I'm sending a bunch of water with the snails

    If these were something other than my daughter's only pets, I'd probably not worry so much.

  4. iloveengl

    iloveenglWell Known MemberMember

    (In reference to the bulleted list)...
    I see some problems with the way you're planning to use TSS (such as water changes 2 days after adding the TSS, taking readings too soon after adding TSS, using only half a bottle, having any meds in the water, etc.), which is going to cause you to pour more money down the drain. You may want to read this link for proper use of TSS before you have another go at it: It really is pricey, and if you don't use it correctly, it's a waste of money. :;th

    Imho, TSS wouldn't cause harm to your fish. But if you feel that's the case, why add the rest of that bottle? Perhaps forgo it and go with daily partial water changes instead.

    I hope your little girl's fishies start to perk up. :)
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2009
  5. Shawnie

    ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    is that something that stays in the tank at all times? if so, relying on them isnt good as they can malfunction and ive seen a few members loose an entire tank from relying on those

    a ph of 7.4 and an ammonia of .25 is NOT ammonium its ammonia...ammonium is under a 7.0 ph (although ive read under 6.8 is more accurate for ammonium)[/QUOTE]
    NO concentration is the only garunteed way to have no effect on the bacteria...just because you use less , doesnt mean ti wont kill....some have luck using it, but most do not...spending more on TSS doesnt have to happen, but daily water changes do until you are cycle without TSS

    any ammonia is deadly and effects all fish different....TSS can go bad if not properly stored at room temps, older than a year (although i dont like it older than 6 months) or if put in a tank with meds, wrong or ammonia locking products , among other things... not sure on the acidic basis or not..never tested it alone

    allot of us have been there and its totally frustrating :(

    if you dont add a full bottle of TSS , id continue with daily water changes no matter what..but thats my opinion...partial bottles arent reliable and Id not take a chance that it will work...
    i always worry about any sick fish babies..but they are all daughter is the one who could care less....good luck!

  6. OP

    janiskfpValued MemberMember

    Thanks for the great info and advice.

    I got the smallest bottle of TSS at the LFS. It's for 30 gallons. I have about 5 gallons of water in my tank and about a gallon's worth of substrate, plants, an ornament (heater, filter stuff....)

    I shook it for two minutes before I sucked up from all levels with a syringe. I based that on someone saying the API Nitrate bottle #2 can settle so badly that you have to shake it for that long. I figured if that precipitate would come up after hand-shaking for 2 minutes, the bacteria in the TSS bottle should, too. Outside of it going bad after opening (but it's not refrigerated nor vacuum sealed??) I'm not sure how 15 gal worth of the stuff, partial or whole bottle wouldn't do the trick for 5 gal. Yes, I know it' says use the whole bottle. I would too if I were a popular, pricey product. I'm eager to check the params tomorrow to see if I get any ammo reduction or nitrites (or more than 5ppm nitrates like I had today).

    I know so many fishlore folk have been through similar frustrations. It's really nice to have a group of people who are willing to take the time to make those frustrations worth something more, something to people like me, by sharing them.
  7. OP

    janiskfpValued MemberMember

    Oh, yeah, I forgot. I tried using the ammo alert and pH alert by Seachem before. The ammo alert lasted about six weeks, but by that time it was hard to read, and the pH alert started going white after two weeks. I got this fresh ammo alert just for this round of antibiotics since it's the only thing commercially available that measures NO3 (ammonia) but not NO4 (ammonium). I wouldn't trust it for longer than a month. I still kept the API test level, which tests positive for NO3 and NO4, under .5 at worst. I'll keep it at or under .25 if I can help it going forward. I can't tell with the colors if it's at or under .25.

    I'm actually thinking just before this API kit runs out, which at my pace should be pretty soon, I'll try the Seachem. I'll overlap a bit to check them against each other.

    I also forgot to say that I buffer my water change water with baking soda (like .4 tsp/gal that I have premixed 1/2tsp per cup of RO water) and I have lots of egg shells in my filter and tank (NaCHO3 and CaCHO3 really do a number together, what a dance!). Normally the pH is around 8.2 or so, so it dropped substantially over time when the antibiotics killed (or partially killed) the bio-filter. I'm guessing there's enough in there to soak up some of those pesky live H+ left over from the Prime's NO3 to NO4 conversion and keep the pH above neutral. I just hope that bio-filter kicks up pretty soon.

    I add my new water about a cup at a time, maybe every 10 or 15 minutes, over an entire evening (it takes 3 hours that way for 20%) when the pH's don't match like this. It makes these illnesses/treatments and extra hassle. But it's that or let my KH drop, which is less stable than me adding a bit of higher pH water over time with the buffer in it. The girl loves the new water, the boy, not so much, but he gets over it pretty quickly. You know how boys are. (I kid.)

    I still don't get this TTS reaction, though. At least they ate tonight. I minced up peas for them, just to keep the poo in check.

    And the snails are chompin' away at whatever they find. I don't get it. Aren't they supposed to be the touchy creatures? The big one is hanging, inverted, from the filter box.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2009
  8. Lucy

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

    I'm wondering if the changes in pH is what's causing this behavior.
    I don't think I've read of any one's fish having a reaction to it.
    I don't know if you've seen this:
    Q & A With Tetra about Tetra SafeStart

    As you can see, Tetra is very helpful, thorough and prompt in answering questions. Perhaps you can ask them if they've had questions similar to yours.
  9. OP

    janiskfpValued MemberMember

    Thanks Lucy! That one's getting bookmarked!

    The more I read, the more I'm figuring out different companies produce different products. They approach the whole thing differently from each other. So when it comes to water conditioning, it seems like one needs to subscribe to one company/product line and stick with it.

    I still get nervous about letting my NO3 get up that high. So the cultures grow slower. I guess I'd rather keep the fish less stressed. Mine have always gotten sick as soon I notice any stress. Well, at least this one female I have.

    (BTW, pretty cat. Clever photo.)
  10. Lucy

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Your welcome. :) It's confusing trying to wade through all the products out there, isn't it?
    Thanks! It was a real trick trying to get the tank set up that day. lol
    I loved that cat and still miss him.
    He was a lovable mommas boy but sadly died at the young age of 5 from an enlarged heart and lung problems.
  11. Shawnie

    ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    messing with the ph can do it also...backing soda, although it works, is a temporary thing that doesnt last and it also changes it super fast....why do you want a higher ph? a stable one is much better....i think the huge changes fast in ph, combined with the meds, and mini cycle, is the problems
  12. OP

    janiskfpValued MemberMember

    TSS has ammonia in it (to help it work)

    I did read in Lucy's link that TSS has ammonia in it. There was already ammonia in the water thanks to the meds killing off the Nitrosomas, etc., so I think that's what made the fish freak.

    That said, I'm really glad I didn't dump in a whole 100ml-bottle for 30 gallons in a six gallon tank.

    The main tank is cycled, NO3=0, Nitrites=0, Nitrates = 10-20 (stinking poopy snails;)), and I'll do a water change tonight. The hospital tank isn't cycled, so I'll get some fresh water in there, and try some of the rest of that TSS after dosing the boy with some fresh water. I might just put it in the water change water. I don't see a reason in the world it shouldn't work.

    The baking soda thing is tough because people can use it, but it really takes a ton of reading/chemistry to use it safely, and they have no idea how little it takes to make a huge difference. Most people don't bother testing their calcium concentrations to see how it's going to balance with the baking soda they use, they're just trying to mess with the pH. No, I don't use it to raise my pH. I use it as a buffer, to raise my KH, along with other minerals, so that my pH is steady, not necessarily high, and about where Platies like it.

    From what I've read on the marine aquarium sites, a bit of NaCHO3 (baking soda) along with enough CACHO3 (calcium carbonate) over time makes a more stable hydrogen environment. Together they make Lime. Yes, adding a bunch of baking soda (they say 1t for 100 liters will buffer entirely) will almost immediately buffer any water to 8.2. It's a tough buffer, and tends to muscle other buffers to the mat. If you aren't higher than that concentration and all the buffering capacity gets used up, your pH can drop very suddenly with, say, ammonia and Prime, or another H+ creating process. The bottom of your buffer drops out, so BAM! That's bad. If you dump in a bunch at once, your pH will skyrocket if it's < 8.2, which is why I put in a cup of water at a time when I get something eating up my buffer/KH. I'm not actually trying to raise my pH, I'm trying to keep it stable by keeping my KH up so that the minerals in the water can buffer (cushion) any changes. My idea is not to do anything sudden, and get my NaCHO3 concentration up very, very gradually, without suddenly changing the pH with it, and keep it there, for more stability, not less. I didn't have any sudden pH swings this time around, but it still moved more than I wanted it to, and that was because the CaCHO3 (eggshells) ate the baking soda, which is why baking soda doesn't seem to last that long. I just need to keep moving in a harder water direction with more of both, slowly.
    This sells my point:  
    These sort of explain it:

    I'm using RO water, which sort of necessitates my figuring out what exactly happens with the water so I know what to add. Tap water is already pretty Limey, as it were, so it's already got, well, baking soda, in it, and a bunch of other stuff. I just don't trust the tap water here, but that's another story.

    BTW, the sudden addition of a bubbler can change your pH just as fast and maybe as much, but only up. There's an interesting read.

    I need to mention that my water got bad in the first place because I was trusting the Jungle Quick Dip Strips. With my over-stockedness, I needed to be changing the water at least twice as fast. Don't rely on the strips. They didn't register my Nitrates at all over 20ppm, but under 20, they matched the API test kit. I actually don't plan to rely on any test kit, or wait for anything. I'm just going to do twice-weekly 20% water changes. (40% with the snails). Period. Lesson learned.

    And thank you all, so much, for your input. I am always grateful.

    Edit: and yes, I am an absolute idiot to try to use RO water and do it in a six gallon tank. I won't ever do fish again with less than 15, and I'll be in a place that's not downstream from 3M.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2009
  13. Lucy

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Maybe I missed something? I don't think TSS has ammonia in it.
  14. Shawnie

    ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    nope it doesnt have ammonia in needs ammonia to activate and live....

    janiskfp at this point I think you have it all figured out as everything we advise, theres another reason why its not good or working for you...

    I hope things get better!!!! and once the tank cycles , the ph will stablize itself without anything needed IMO...good luck!
  15. OP

    janiskfpValued MemberMember

    OK, I'll go with that, but can you explain why the Tetra rep said, "The bacteria is housed in a special stabilized solution of
    ammonia"? S/he was saying it in reference to using ammonia de-toxifying products with TSS. I'm missing something (I'm blonde, so I usually am.) Here's the post I read that Lucy linked here:
    Q & A With Tetra about Tetra SafeStart
  16. Lucy

    LucyModeratorModerator Member

    That's interesting. I totally missed that part.
    Might have to get clarification from tetra on that.
  17. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Hello. Concerning post #15 and a "special stabilized solution of ammonia" being in would seem that even the bottled bacteria have to have a food source so it kind of makes sense that there would be a form of it included within the bottle.

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