Something is wrong with our Swordtail! Important

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by Matt&Julie, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. Matt&JulieNew MemberMember

    Hi Everyone,

    First time posting here. We are new fish owners (and really enjoying it) and here is our setup:

    We have a 20 gallon tank currently with 4 female platyfish and 2 swordtails (1 female and 1 male. we are getting a new female but we want to wait a week since we just introduced 3 new fish about a week ago).

    We have live plants. I'm sorry but I can't tell you what kinds, just that the owner of the local fishstore in town assured us they would be fine with our platys and swordtails. All the fish seemed to be behaving well together and acting normally until today.

    The problem:

    One of our females started hanging out at the bottom of the tank today. Noticed it a couple hours ago... and every now and then she tries to swim... by swim she just kind of twirls. She can move around but it's extremely erratic and she kind of constantly is moving towards the ground, all the while twirling. After one of these little sessions she just lies for a bit.

    We have taken her out for now... Not sure what to do! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Tony G.

    Tony G.Fishlore VIPMember

    Welcome To Fishlore.
    Oh no! sorry about your little female :( Does she twirl kind of as she was in a tornado? If so she has Whirling Disease :( As far as i know it cant be treated :-\ The best thing you can do is pull her out and put her in a breeder net near the top of the tank so she can rest away from the other fish :-\

    If you have any other problems please let us know, we are here to help.
  3. Gouramiguy17

    Gouramiguy17Well Known MemberMember

    Is she really skinny? I had a swordtail with the symptoms and I put her in a breeder box with some plants and I fed her ally of good food and I kept the water clean and she recovered

  4. OP

    Matt&JulieNew MemberMember

    Thanks for the quick responses.

    Gouramiguy: She does not appear to be skinny. She is very comparable in size to our other Swordtail (mail) and has not changed much in size since we bought her a week ago.

    Tony: Kind of like a pencil rolling down a table... After googling Whirling Disease, we think that must be what she has. We have already taken her out of the tank.

    This Whirling Disease does not sound very friendly. We are hoping it is contained to her... otherwise we may have some serious problems. She was purchased separately from the other fish and came out of a different tank than the platies and plants we bought. Apparently the dangerous spores that is the whirling disease are not released until they die.

    In the smaller tank that she is in now, she kind of "whirls" up to the top of the tank then just sinks back down to the bottom on her side.

    We are sad that one of our fish might pass away, far too soon! :(

    Thanks again for the responses.

  5. Tony G.

    Tony G.Fishlore VIPMember

    Spores... you mean like tiny white spores that look like salt?

    As far as i know whirling disease is NOT contagious. Please confirm on the white spores though, it could also be another disease called ICH
  6. OP

    Matt&JulieNew MemberMember

    I don't think I worded it quite right... on another site we read that fish infected with Whirling Disease release spores into the water once they die, and that these spores can infect the other fish.

    There are no spores that we can see in our tank. We got the sick Swordtail out earlier. We just went out to dinner at my parents place, and by the time we returned the sick Swordtail has died :(

    It was a very fast turnaround from when we first observed the symptoms to when she died. She was seemingly fine just a day ago, and today this morning we first started noticing the symptoms. Perhaps she had been more lethargic the last couple days and we didn't notice it.
  7. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Hello Matt&Julie. Welcome:sign0016: to Fish Lore. So sorry to hear that you lost one of your fish.

    I see that you just set up your tank on 11/1. I'm assuming 2009. I'm not sure that your tank has cycled and your fish may be experiencing ammonia poisoning. Here are two links to the nitrogen cycle that is crucial to fish keeping.
    The Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle
    Four Methods of Fish Less Cycling

    If you have any questions at all don't hesitate to ask.
  8. Shawnie

    ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    welcome to fishlore!!!!!!!!
    I agree with ken..sounds like an uncycled tank :( if you read his first link, you will understand more...but cycling fishless isnt an option now as you have a tank full of them...see if you can find prime , which is a water conditioner , that will detox ammonia/nitrites for each partial water change that you have to do daily....otherwise, you may loose all the fish babies to ammonia .......if you can find an api liquid master test kit, it will be something you need and will test 100s of times for you....
  9. OP

    Matt&JulieNew MemberMember

    Thanks everyone for the responses.

    We bought Ammonia and Nitrite test kits and tested our levels. The reading for both was 0.

    We also bought some Prime as recommended and are now treating our new water with it when we do our water changes.

    For a 20 gallon tank, how much water is a suitable amount to replace each day? And I will be honest - we had only been doing weekly water changes to this date. Didn't realize they should be done daily. We were changing about 1/3rd to 2/5ths every weekend up to this point.
  10. iloveengl

    iloveenglWell Known MemberMember

    Hey there Matt and Julie - Welcome to FishLore. :)

    Did you use an instant cycle product? Are you using strip or liquid tests? I ask because it seems really odd that you would read 0 for ammonia and nitrite on a brand new, uncycled tank. :;sh I'm wondering if your readings are correct.

    Prime is great. :) Daily water changes are necessary for uncycled tanks to stop the ammonia build up from killing your fish. Once it is cycled, weekly water changes are fine.
  11. OP

    Matt&JulieNew MemberMember

    We did not use an instant cycle product.

    I will give you all the exact time line, to see if it will help explain things. On Oct 24th we filled tank up with water and set up filter.

    On Nov 2 we bought 2 male platies (young salesperson at the store thought they were females. No problem, innocent mistake!). A week later on Nov 9 we bought 3 female platies to put in tank with males, and 1 live plant. On Nov 17th we bought a couple new plants and a male and female swordtail. On Nov 22 female swordtail begins acting as described above and dies that night. On Nov 23 we purchase Prime, and an ammonia and nitrite test kit.

    It is a liquid test. We fill a little beaker with 5 ML of water, then drop 8 drops of a solution #1 and then 8 drops of solution #2, shake for 5 seconds and then sit for 5 minutes then compare the color in the beaker to that on the paper. Similar process for the nitrite test.

    Is it possible that we had an ammonia spike over the weekend and that killed our swordtail, but the platies managed to survive?

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