Urgent! Fish ill, please help! CAE

triivk

Tank
What is the water volume of the tank?
250 Litres

How long has the tank been running?

10 Months

Does it have a filter?
Two active filters - one canister filter, one clip on

Does it have a heater?
Yes

What is the water temperature?
26-27 Deg (I am concerned about white spot!)

What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)
Snails
3 Buenos Aires Tetras
3 Emperor Tetras
6 Neon Tetras
1 Chinese Algae Eater (FISH OF CONCERN!)\

Maintenance
How often do you change the water?
Weekly

How much of the water do you change?
50 Litres

What do you use to treat your water?
Seachem Prime

Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water?
Yes, Vacuum weekly

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish?
All tetras were added after cycle, Chinese Algae Eater in tank cycle

What do you use to test the water?
API Freshwater Master Test Kit

What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia
: 0.25PPM (I've added prime and did a 60L water change)
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 10ppm
pH: PH 6 (I just added Seachem Neautral Regulator)

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish?
Once/twice a day

How much do you feed your fish?
A pinch, or one algae wafer

What brand of food do you feed your fish?

Fluval bug bites, Tetra Tetramin tropical flakes, Fluval bug bites algae wafers

Do you feed frozen?
No, they never liked it and it spikes ammonia

Do you feed freeze-dried foods?
No

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish?
5 Years (Chinese Algae Eater)

How long ago did you first notice these symptoms?
2-3 Days ago

In a few words, can you explain the symptoms?

EARLY ON I noticed glass surfing, flashing, general signs of stress

ON CLOSER LOOK I noticed VERY FEW, and barely visible white spots on head alone, smaller than ich normally is,
his fins are pinned to his side!

Have you started any treatment for the illness?
I have turned the temp up from its usual 25-26C to 27-28C, and done a big water change, I wanted to use Blue Planet Multicure, but none of the other tankmates seems to be ailed, and seeing as CAE are scaleless I was unsure if it was appropriate

Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase?

No

How has its behaviour and appearance changed, if at all?
Flashing, fins pinned to side, glass surfing, general signs of stress

Explain your emergency situation in detail.
(Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)

So my Chinese Algae Eater is probably around 5-6 years old, recently I noticed him flashing, breathing heavily and now pinning his fins to his side. On closer inspection, I identified a few super super small white spots, not like ich, smaller and only on his head.

I realise after doing tests that my PH is too acidic, so I added some neutral regulator to try and get it closer to neutral, I also see that my ammonia has spiked and as such, I did a 60 Litre water change alongside dosing with Seachem Prime.

I had considered treating the tank with Blue Planet Multicure, which contains Malachite green (which is why I was hesitant to use on a tank with tetras and a CAE), methylene blue and acriflavine - but considering only one fish seems to be outwardly stressed, I am unsure. I do have 2 filters running, a canister and a hang on - alongisde an airstone. It is a planted tank with lots of hiding spots, a good light and generally speaking understocked.

I am so scared and I just want to make my fishy okay, so I am hoping after trying to clear up the water parameters he might be okay but I am unsure.
Please help, any course of action would be greatly appreciated.
 

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GlennO

Have you added any fish recently? Ich is normally introduced with new fish. I can't see any spots on him. I'm wondering why your pH is so low, are you on town water? What is its pH? Town water (at least here in Aus) is usually slightly alkaline.
 

triivk

H
Have you added any fish recently? Ich is normally introduced with new fish. I can't see any spots on him. I'm wondering why your pH is so low, are you on town water? What is its pH? Town water (at least here in Aus) is usually slightly alkaline.
No new fish or plants have been introduced as of late, I’ve no idea why this has occurred. The dots might not even be anything to be concerned of, perhaps the texture of his skin-

I live in Melbourne, Victoria, the tap water is usually slightly acidic, but it should not be as acidic as it is in my tank.
 

GlennO

Have you only ever changed 50 litres at a time? I know the tank is lightly stocked but 50 litres is a very small percentage of the total volume. I think you should do a large water change occasionally and that would be the first approach that I would take to see if the CAE improves.

Your pH might be dropping because of the limited water changes. The buffering capacity may be reduced over time, I'd get a KH & GH test kit if you don't already have one and check the KH in particular.
 

triivk

Have you only ever changed 50 litres at a time? I know the tank is lightly stocked but 50 litres is a very small percentage of the total volume. I think you should do a large water change occasionally and that would be the first approach that I would take to see if the CAE improves.

Your pH might be dropping because of the limited water changes. The buffering capacity may be reduced over time, I'd get a KH & GH test kit if you don't already have one and check the KH in particular.
While the tank is 250 Litres, the actual volume is probably a lot less due to all the gravel and hard scape - is it acceptable to take out more water than an eyeballed half-way mark? I realise now you’re probably right and 50 litres per water change is far from enough.

Is the fins pinned to the fishes side a sign of stress generally or an actual illness? Should I continue to mainly monitor water parameters rather than quarantining/treating with medicine? Thanks for all your help
 

GlennO

Something's not right, it could be an illness or stress. I wouldn't treat with meds because you don't know yet what you're treating for. Are any other fish showing any signs of stress? I'd start with a 50% water change and see if there's any improvement. Do you use any other additives besides Prime and the pH buffer? Fertilisers, minerals? Are you able to test your tank and tap water for KH & GH?
 

MacZ

On closer inspection, I identified a few super super small white spots, not like ich, smaller and only on his head.
Cyprinid fish develop something we call "Laichausschlag" (spawing rash) in German during spawning season. It comes with white dots on the head area, hightened metabolism and often aggression.

I've seen that regularly on Gyrinocheilus species.

Just to make sure: The fins are really clamped? This is important because that makes the only difference.

On a sidenote: A pH of 6 is not too low for any of the fish in that tank. All the tetras live in an average pH of 5 in the wild. And it should also not be a problem for a Gyronocheilus.
I recommend not tweaking pH without knowing KH and especially not with chemicals from aquarium supply companies. These products are designed to only work short term, with long term use either being dangerous to the livestock or overall water parameter balance. The manufacturers also assume bigger waterchanges than you do, which would lead to build ups you don't want.

Speaking of build-ups: A build up of hormones may cause the development of the aforementioned spawning rash by pushing the fish into an artificial spawning mode.
 

triivk

Something's not right, it could be an illness or stress. I wouldn't treat with meds because you don't know yet what you're treating for. Are any other fish showing any signs of stress? I'd start with a 50% water change and see if there's any improvement. Do you use any other additives besides Prime and the pH buffer? Fertilisers, minerals? Are you able to test your tank and tap water for KH & GH?
I rarely, haven’t recently, add Flourish - otherwise just Prime (and apparently today the PH Neutral Regulator). I am just arriving home and will test ASAP. Seeing as I already did a 25%ish water change today I may do the 50% tomorrow instead.

Just another side note - After just having walked in the door I noticed that his fins are no longer clamped though they are torn from what I presume would be continued flashing. He otherwise is acting fairly normally - the other fish as well.
Cyprinid fish develop something we call "Laichausschlag" (spawing rash) in German during spawning season. It comes with white dots on the head area, hightened metabolism and often aggression.

I've seen that regularly on Gyrinocheilus species.

Just to make sure: The fins are really clamped? This is important because that makes the only difference.

On a sidenote: A pH of 6 is not too low for any of the fish in that tank. All the tetras live in an average pH of 5 in the wild. And it should also not be a problem for a Gyronocheilus.
I recommend not tweaking pH without knowing KH and especially not with chemicals from aquarium supply companies. These products are designed to only work short term, with long term use either being dangerous to the livestock or overall water parameter balance. The manufacturers also assume bigger waterchanges than you do, which would lead to build ups you don't want.

Speaking of build-ups: A build up of hormones may cause the development of the aforementioned spawning rash by pushing the fish into an artificial spawning mode.
Hello, I have just come home to see his fins no longer seem clamped, however he was briefly glass surfing (perhaps just from seeing us come home). I have noticed though that his fins seem to be mildly torn from what I assume is flashing. I will test for KH right now - otherwise I do think the 25% water change has helped temporarily.

OH MY GOD!! NEVERMIND! The KH is reading at 0/1! (Using the API KH test I identified that in one drop the water turned yellow) What on earth do I do?
Cyprinid fish develop something we call "Laichausschlag" (spawing rash) in German during spawning season. It comes with white dots on the head area, hightened metabolism and often aggression.

I've seen that regularly on Gyrinocheilus species.

Just to make sure: The fins are really clamped? This is important because that makes the only difference.

On a sidenote: A pH of 6 is not too low for any of the fish in that tank. All the tetras live in an average pH of 5 in the wild. And it should also not be a problem for a Gyronocheilus.
I recommend not tweaking pH without knowing KH and especially not with chemicals from aquarium supply companies. These products are designed to only work short term, with long term use either being dangerous to the livestock or overall water parameter balance. The manufacturers also assume bigger waterchanges than you do, which would lead to build ups you don't want.

Speaking of build-ups: A build up of hormones may cause the development of the aforementioned spawning rash by pushing the fish into an artificial spawning mode.
As another update, because KH was so low, I've added crushed coral into my filter, in the hopes of helping raise the KH. I've heard adding bicarbonate is not ideal so I have not added any yet, I will wait to see if the coral helps at all.
 

GlennO

OH MY GOD!! NEVERMIND! The KH is reading at 0/1! (Using the API KH test I identified that in one drop the water turned yellow) What on earth do I do?
It's what I suspected was causing your low pH but it's not a big problem. What is your tap water KH? Regular decent sized water changes may be enough to raise your KH and stabilise pH.
 

triivk

It's what I suspected was causing your low pH but it's not a big problem. What is your tap water KH? Regular decent sized water changes may be enough to raise your KH and stabilise pH.
I've just added crushed-up coral to the filter for the time being, the tap water is about as soft as my tank water. Which is... concerning. Should I be doing water changes with bottled water or something?
 

GlennO

I've just added crushed-up coral to the filter for the time being, the tap water is about as soft as my tank water. Which is... concerning. Should I be doing water changes with bottled water or something?
No, soft water is ok, did you test the GH as well? My only concern would be if your pH has crashed much lower than 6 but regular larger water changes should keep it close to tap water levels especially given your low stock load.

The crushed coral will help with buffering but be careful that you don't over compensate, you don't have hard water fish.
 

triivk

I added about a handful of coral into the filter - should I take it out after an hour? My other fish seemed to be majorly relieved and were actively swimming under the filter with the coral, but my Chinese Algae Eater has just started glass surfing again. Is this just stress from changing parameters? Should I take the coral out? I’m so sorry for so many questions and thank you for all of your help.
 

GlennO

It takes days to weeks to dissolve and affect parameters and a handful is not going to do much, you can just leave it in. I think the best thing that you can do in the short term is a large water change.
 

MacZ

The KH is reading at 0/1! (Using the API KH test I identified that in one drop the water turned yellow) What on earth do I do?
First of all: DON'T panic. Because there is no reason.

If the reading is identical in your tap: Add some catappa leaves (= IALs) and that's it.
If not, do more waterchanges, keep them up at 50% weekly and that's it.

You can choose between two different buffering systems. KH and humic substances (aka "tannins"). The first one raises pH with KH, the second one buffers pH between 4 and 6.
The only dangerous thing is a FAST change of high amplitude (like a drop by 2.0 points within 30 minutes). Not the actual level the pH settles at, as long as it's between 4 and 9.

FYI: It's utter nonesense to try and keep pH around Neutral (6.8-7.2). Almost all natural bodies of water are either acidic or alkaline (from slightly to very), neutral waters are the exception.
Your fish can live easily in 0 GH, 0 KH and pH down to 4.5 without problems. So don't panic about this and don't start meddling with water chemistry without a decided plan. And "I have to get my pH to neutral" is not a plan.

I added about a handful of coral into the filter - should I take it out after an hour? My other fish seemed to be majorly relieved and were actively swimming under the filter with the coral, but my Chinese Algae Eater has just started glass surfing again. Is this just stress from changing parameters? Should I take the coral out? I’m so sorry for so many questions and thank you for all of your help.
Take the coral out. The behaviour is due to you working in the tank. You likely stirred up stuff there, so they are trying to get some edible particles from the water.

And I agree with Glenn: 50% waterchange.
I've heard adding bicarbonate is not ideal so I have not added any yet, I will wait to see if the coral helps at all.
Crushed coral contains bicarbonate. What you heard concerns bicarbonate in it's pure form added directly to a tank, as this at first produces a caustic cloud of bicarbonate dissolving in the water. Except humic substances, liquid fertilizers and de-chlorinator all additives to the water should be added to waterchangewater before adding it to the tank, to dissolve and dilute everything to harmless concentrations.
 

triivk

It takes days to weeks to dissolve and affect parameters and a handful is not going to do much, you can just leave it in. I think the best thing that you can do in the short term is a large water change.
I will get to that tomorrow ASAP. Thank you so so much for all of your help you have been amazing, you’ve made this so much easier thank you!!
Un
First of all: DON'T panic. Because there is no reason.

If the reading is identical in your tap: Add some catappa leaves (= IALs) and that's it.
If not, do more waterchanges, keep them up at 50% weekly and that's it.

You can choose between two different buffering systems. KH and humic substances (aka "tannins"). The first one raises pH with KH, the second one buffers pH between 4 and 6.
The only dangerous thing is a FAST change of high amplitude (like a drop by 2.0 points within 30 minutes). Not the actual level the pH settles at, as long as it's between 4 and 9.

FYI: It's utter nonesense to try and keep pH around Neutral (6.8-7.2). Almost all natural bodies of water are either acidic or alkaline (from slightly to very), neutral waters are the exception.
Your fish can live easily in 0 GH, 0 KH and pH down to 4.5 without problems. So don't panic about this and don't start meddling with water chemistry without a decided plan. And "I have to get my pH to neutral" is not a plan.


Take the coral out. The behaviour is due to you working in the tank. You likely stirred up stuff there, so they are trying to get some edible particles from the water.

And I agree with Glenn: 50% waterchange.

Crushed coral contains bicarbonate. What you heard concerns bicarbonate in it's pure form added directly to a tank, as this at first produces a caustic cloud of bicarbonate dissolving in the water. Except humic substances, liquid fertilizers and de-chlorinator all additives to the water should be added to waterchangewater before adding it to the tank, to dissolve and dilute everything to harmless concentrations
Understood, thank you. I’ll remove the coral - and tomorrow I’ll proceed to do a 50% water change. Thank you for all your help.

Just to clarify further - I’m sorry and again thank you so much, is the fact that my CAE is still itching a lot on the gravel something I can overlook and tie back to your earlier comments? Or should I be watching this closely?
 

MacZ

Don't be sorry, if at all you owe an apology to your fish, not anybody here on the forum. ;)

Keep watching and if something changes observe closely. Just one tipp for using a forum like this: Stay factual with what you write and avoid interpreting behaviours so people are not pushed into looking for something you suspect and can look at it with objectivity.

Also: Unless a fish is in critical condition (basically dying, in which case everything is too late anyway), killing each other, the whole tank showing signs of poisoning (e.g. ammonia or nitrite) or acute oxygen deficiency there are no urgent situations in fishkeeping.
 

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