Swordtail Has Me Perplexed

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Ms Bossy, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. Ms BossyNew MemberMember

    In an attempt to circumvent getting a chicken for my 5 year old (they hatched some at school and he was really hung up on having one of his own. We live in an apartment in metro Atlanta so that wasn’t happening), we got a 10-gal aquarium and some swordtails. And I found a new hobby.
    Anyway, six months later, here I am desperately trying to save the lone swordtail that survived my learning curve (we lost two in the first month, which isn’t surprising since learning that it was probably too many in a 10-gal).
    He has ick. That’s for sure. I am treating him for that, but two days in he seems worse off. Plus, I discovered white wriggling worms in the tank. I can’t tell if they’re the harmless type or not. I put him in the quarantine tank and cleaned everything thoroughly, including the substrate (probably a bit too thoroughly). Did a massive water change and cleaned the two live plants that were in there.
    Now he’s hovering at the surface. He hasn’t pooped in a few days either. I’m at a loss.
    I use Prime for my water changes and I’m treating him with Super Ick Cure. Other than that, I haven’t added anything to the water.
    Temp is at 78. I have dip test strips. Here are the readings as of 10 minutes ago:
    GH: 0
    KH: 0
    pH: 6
    NO2: 0.5
    NO3: 20
    Ammonia: 0.5

    I know the hardness and pH are not favorable for swordtails, but I’m not sure about adding things to offset or “fix” the issue since I’m already treating him with ick meds.
    Pics attached. Help!

  2. scarfaceFishlore VIPMember

    The white worm is more than likely detritus worm and is harmless.

    You should be cycled if the tank has been setup already for 6 months or more. I’m unsure about the accuracy of your dip strips. Most recommend API’s liquid test kit for better readings.

    I don’t see any signs of ick on your fish.

  3. Hunter1Well Known MemberMember

    Hopefully someone will come along and tell you if that is ick. I don’t know, my fish have never had it.

    I know some treat ick with heat, like raising the tank temperature to 82-84, but research before trying it.

    Do you know why you are showing nitrites and ammonia?

    At .5 each, you can treat with Prime for the entire tank to neutralize them.

    Nice, big swordtail, good luck.

    Edit: I didn’t see you were using test strips. I highly recommend the API master test kit. $25 on Amazon.
  4. Ms BossyNew MemberMember

    For whatever reason, all the Prime in the world can’t balance the ammonia. I’m seriously considering going to bottled aquarium water since it’s such a small tank. I can only assume that the issue is with my county’s water. Cram nearly 1million people into 437 sq. miles of space and there’s bound to be some water quality issues.
    I’ll definitely look into the master kit for testing because I don’t think these strips are very accurate.

    He’s got white spots on his back and tail fin that kind of protrude a little. Like grains of salt. This started after I battled white fuzzy globs growing on the plants and substrate last week.
    Still hard to see, but here are a couple pics.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2018
  5. PhillyKevValued MemberMember

    Prime doesn't balance Ammonia. It temporarily detoxifies it so it doesn't harm your fish. Only beneficial bacteria will remove the Ammonia. You should be dosing 5x normal amount of prime every 48 hours while you have positive readings in either of those to protect the Fish. Question is why you have readings in a tank that's been around awhile. Are you cleaning anything in tap water? Chlorine in tap water will kill the beneficial bacteria if you are rinsing your filter in it. Are you familiar with the nitrogen cycle?

    Also having 0 hardness means your pH will not be stable which is also bad. Do you have a water softener? Can you bypass it? If so, test your tap water without the softener for kh, gh and pH and see if higher, then introduce that water very slowly, Not sure how quick would be safe, maybe 10% change daily. You need to buffer the water. If can't do it from tap water, look into other buffers like cuttle bone, sea shells etc.

    Edit... Right, you said you cleaned everything in the tank, including filter media? If you did anything besides swish it in used tank water or let it dry out the beneficial bacteria is likely dead. If that's the case, you are now doing a fish in cycle. Read up on that and the nitrogen cycle.

    Good luck!
  6. PhillyKevValued MemberMember

    Also, do you have activated Charcoal in your filter? If so, that's removing the ich meds you added.
  7. Ms BossyNew MemberMember

    I took the old filter out so it’s not interfering with the meds. I have a new filter for after treatment.
    And I do think I probably overdid the cleaning when I saw the ick initially, so bacteria is probably not where it should be.
    I have bacteria supplement to try and get things back on track, but I’ll read up on cycling with a fish in the tank before I go throwing things out of balance any further.
    I understand the nitrogen cycle, I just have had a heck of a time getting things where they need to be since that weird white globby crud showed up in the tank last week. Before that, things were going swimmingly (heh).
    A PetSmart employee sold me the Prime after my water test came back with off the charts ammonia (that’s when I lost the first two swordtails). She said it would clear it right up with Prime and I believed her!
    So, more bacteria, plus seashells to buffer the water...
    I don’t have a water softener. This is straight from the tap, into the holding bucket with Prime. About an hour after that, I add bacteria supplement per the directions for water changes and let it all sit for 24 hours.

    I will admit to rinsing the net and scrubber in tap water without thinking about it. I actually used a bucket of water that I had ready for a water change to clean everything else though. I figured I didn’t want to clean the stuff in Old infected water.
  8. PhillyKevValued MemberMember

    It's OK to rinse your net and cleaning tools in tap water. Just not anything in tank that supports beneficial bacteria. No need to let the water sit for 24 hours. Prime works instantly. Many believe most bottled bacteria to be useless. It can't hurt but questionable if it helps.

    Make sure to dose the full volume of the tank with 5x normal prime dose, directly into the tank, every 48 hours while ammo or nitrites elevated. So for a 10 gallon tank, normal dose is 1ml.the cap is 5ml,so put a full cap in.

    The pH and hardness is a major issue too. Without kh of at least 4 pH can swing wildly, and even slight changes in pH can be harmful. PH scale is logarithmic, 1 point difference is a 10 fold change in acidity.

    Also, I wouldn't trust test strips. Get an api master kit as well as the kh and gh kit. Or have petdumb test your water for you.
  9. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to FishLore!

    If you removed your old filter, you removed all your bacteria and therefore lost your cycle. When treating with meds, you only need to remove the carbon, not all of the filter media. If you have a filter that has a cartridge with carbon encapsulated inside of floss, you need to cut the floss and dump out the carbon.

    I'm not sure that your fish has ich. Generally with ich the entire fish looks like it was sprinkled with salt, but maybe you are in the early stages.

    Once you put your new filter media in, you will need to cycle the tank. I would highly recommend getting a bottle of Tetra SafeStart+, since it is the easiest way to get a tank cycled. If you choose to do this, please post for some advice on how to properly use the TSS+.

    Best of luck!
  10. nylessValued MemberMember

    you could try increasing the temperature of the tank to make the ich's life cycle happen faster and just let it run its course quickly. some also suggest raising the temp of the tank while treating for it to force the cysts to hatch so they too can be killed. Help - raising temp to kill ich i believe that article touches upon what i am referring to. otherwise i would just follow the instructions on the bottle and run the full course of medication. if it is ich it looks to be a very mild case and more than likely will run its course and not affect the fish (unless it gets worse). i would focus mostly on making the fish happy and making sure the water parameters are good which should help the fish fight it naturally especially coupled with possibly increasing the water temp a little bit. in my experience a healthy fish will fight off the ich with a temperature treatment as long as its slime coat is good which usually correlates with a healthy environment and a happy fish.

    good luck!
  11. Hunter1Well Known MemberMember

    I agre with jdhef, don’t completely remove your filter media.

    Rinse your cartridge in water removed from your tank before you dump it.

    If you have to replace, put the old filter in front of the new filter for a month so your beneficial bacteria can transfer to the new filter.

    Edit: save that swordtail, he looks kool. I kept them as a kid 40 years ago. Can’t find good ones around here or i’d have 1 or 2.

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