What Am I Doing Wrong?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Armypro, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. ArmyproValued MemberMember

    Hello, as the title says I have no clue what I'm doing wrong. Most of my fish have some sort of disease and I cannot figure out what is causing it. I have a established 65 Gallon Tall Aquarium (Been running for 4 and a half months so it better be established) which is cycled (Of course), I have a Marineland Penguin 350 Filter, some sort of Airstone (A little curtain of bubbles) and Air Pump I bought at Walmart (The Pump is on the Filter).

    I'm using the Top Fin Water De-Chlorinator and am feeding Marineland Color Enhancing Flakes and Wardley Algae Discs, and every few days I'm feeding Frozen Brine Shrimp or Frozen Bloodworms.

    What I'm using for water changes are two empty Milk Jugs (What I had laying about, washed it before I used it) and a 5 Gallon bucket for cleaning. And am testing with the API Master Feshwater Test Kit.
    I bought a decent sized piece of Driftwood from Petco for my Bristlenose Pleco and to hopefully lower the PH but only caught at the last second it came from a tank that was "Under Observation" (But I washed it thoroughly with tap water before putting it in my Aquarium).

    My water Parameters are not fluctuating (Always stay at the same levels every time I test, which is weird, never get any Nitrites but Ammonia fluctuates every so often from .25 ppm to around .50 ppm and get very low Nitrates, but I assume the plants are what's causing it) and am staying on top of my Water Changes (I've been doing Water Changes every 2 or so days for my Tetras Fin Rot, but will go back to weekly once its gone), the Aquarium is aerated enough, no fish displaying signs of it not being. My PH is always around 8.2-8.4 (Its around 7.2 in my Tap Water) which is another reason I got the Driftwood which hasn't done much at all with the PH.
    My Substrate is Sand and Gravel, I vacuum the gravel every Water Change and bring the sand that is underneath to the top one whenever it looks dirty, that is the extent of my knowledge with sand.

    I have 2 Bamboo Plants, 2 Anubias, and one Banana Plant (The Banana Plant isn't doing to well). I've had the Bamboo Plants in there for around 3 months, the rest I got when my Aquarium was cycled. I had a Ribbon Plant but I replaced it with the Driftwood I got and it is now sitting on top of my Water Cooler.

    The fish I have are:
    5 Long Fin Black Skirt Tetras
    3 Swordtails (Male Red Velvet, Female Red Velvet, Female Neon)
    1 Australian Rainbowfish (Will be getting some Females on Thursday the 13th, which is today)
    1 Bristlenose Pleco

    There has been 3 fish that aren't in my Aquarium anymore:
    Female Red Velvet Swordtail (Before the Swordtails I have now other than the Male, passed away to who knows what)
    Female Australian Rainbowfish (Same with the Swordtail, I don't know what she died to)
    Black Kuhli Loach (I only had one and he is now residing in my 20 Gallon Aquarium till I can get a upgrade to a 55 with 3 other Kuhli's)
    Half Banded Spiny Eel (Died to something, I have no clue, I had another Eel which was sold to me as a Kuhli Loach so I guess died of starvation as I had no idea what to feed him, never found his body and I got the Algae Discs for the Loaches and Pleco)

    I'm posting this in the Freshwater Beginners Forum because honestly, all these diseases are new to me, and I've never kept any of these fish that I have now before. And am thoroughly stumped to what is causing all these diseases. I do not have a Quarantine tank, hoping to use the 20 Gallon as one once I upgrade.

    Thank you for reading this very long thread, I don't see what is causing all these diseases and am hoping someone can help me find out what it is. My 2 Female Swordtails have bloated stomaches whenever they eat, so something else is going on.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  2. AngelTheGypsyFishlore VIPMember

    First I would say not to get anymore new fish until you can get the sickness under control, so as not to infect the new fish, and also not being new sickness in with it. I would also definitely set up a qt, even if it is in a Rubbermaid bin. Many people use that option as it is cheaper and easy.

    Also I don't think you have quite enough filtration. Ideally you want 520-650 ph on your tank, and you have 350. You could just add another filter and be fine.

    If you are reading .5 ammonia, I would say you have a cycling issue. Do you have ammonia in your tap? If you do and you are doing multiple water changes, that may be the reason. If so, I would switch to using seachem prime as a water conditioner as it will detox the ammonia from the water change until the biofilter takes care of it.
    If you don't have ammonia in your tap, I would assume your cycle has been disrupted and take the necessary steps to get it back stable. I don't think you have enough plants to keep your nitrate that low, but doing multiple water changes will.

    The fish that died, did you notice any symptoms beforehand? That would help to determine what the cause might have been.

  3. Allie2011Valued MemberMember

    Do you know what the tank was under observation for? Boiling driftwood or poring boiling hot water over them is the best way to clean them there could have been something on it.

  4. ArmyproValued MemberMember

    Yea, theres a bit of Ammonia in the tap water. I read 0.25 and 0.50, sorry for the confusion.
    The thing with the Rainbowfish is if I don't get another Rainbow for him to school with hes going to continue to try and school with my Neon Swordtail (She has a similar color as him and the Rainbowfish is stressed because there is no other Rainbows to school with), which is stressing her out. And my Male Swordtail is only trying to mate with the Female Red Velvet which is stressing her out as well, probably because the Neon Swordtail has a Australian Rainbowfish tailing her.
    I do not know what the tank was under observation for, I wasn't really paying attention but I saw no signs of disease with the fish in there, or the frogs.

    The Swordtail wasn't eating for about a week, she completely collapsed and couldn't swim properly, I put her in a breeder net but all she was doing was loops in there. The Rainbowfish wasn't eating for a week (Same with the Swordtail), I don't know what got her as I fed them (She refused to eat), came back to turn off the light and she was lying on the gravel. The Half Banded Spiny Eel was eating alright, his scales may have been sticking up but he just wouldn't swim and would lay there in the gravel motionless, not even with his Pectoral Fins moving.

  5. AngelTheGypsyFishlore VIPMember

    How long have you had these 3 fish. Did you add the driftwood before the others died? Before or after you added the the fish? Were they fine before the driftwood? How long after the driftwood did they get sick/die?

    I would do this

    1. get a bottle of prime. Dose it for entire volume every water change and every time you read ammonia up to 1ppm(only need it once a day though.

    2. Separate your rainbow. If that means a $5 plastic tote from Walmart, that works. I have an 18 gallon for this purpose.


    If you can, separate the male/female swordtails from each other. Also make sure there are plenty of hiding places for her to get away.

    3. Make sure your cycle is stable. Test daily and add some sort of bacteria supplement if it's out of whack, and don't add any fish until it's stable. The stress from ammonia and nitrite is worse than the schooling issue, and will only get worse if you add to the bioload.

    4. When you get new fish, quarantine them. Use the tote.
  6. BekValued MemberMember

    I dont have enough knowledge or experience to give an answer,
    But i wish you luck and hope it gets figured out
  7. ArmyproValued MemberMember

    I've had the Female Red Velvet (The one that passed) for 3 months, she never came in contact with the Driftwood. I've had my Half Banded Spiny Eel for 4 Months, that all started after I put the Driftwood in. The Rainbowfish I think 2 Months, and never came in contact with the Driftwood. The two Swordtails came in when the Driftwood was in the Aquarium.

    My Rainbowfish has no signs of disease, he's acting like he always has, how would I heat the tote or bucket? With a regular heater? Would I need a Airstone for aeration? And would I be able to add in more Rainbowfish because with me he has only seen one other Rainbow.

    I assume I just buy some other Filter, stick in on the Aquarium and be done with it and the already cycled Filter I have would make up not having the other cycled? If I buy the same Filter would I be able to exchange the bio-media (Take one out from the other, place it in the other Filter and place the Media from that one in the other Filter) so that they're both somewhat cycled?

    The issue with all that is the price, I just bought a new 55 Gallon Aquarium and Stand that I'm going to pick up next weekend. Would I be able to add anything so the Rainbowfish would feel safe-ish in anywhere else other than the Aquarium (Such as the picture you posted, beautiful Angelfish by the way)?

    I'll test the water later today, I feel horrible right now, very sick.
  8. AngelTheGypsyFishlore VIPMember

    Easy questions first. Yes, you just heat the tote with a regular heater. You could probably use one of the inexpensive preset tetra heaters and be fine. I have an Aqueon adjustable in my bin, you can kinda see it in the back right hand corner. I used this tub to acclimate my new fish, they were going into a new, empty (but cycled) aquarium and they all came from the same tank. I have a high pH and they were in shipping for 2 days, so I used spring water with a ph close to what they were used to and slowly added tank water until the pH was the same, just to tell you why. Many people use these tubs as qt because they are cheap and easy to store when not in use. Because it was short term, I just had an air stone going, but I also am (re)cycling a DIY sponge filter I made to use as a qt filter when I add fish. It's a water bottle, cut small holes in the bottom and in the lid, cut a slit in the side close to the top. run airline tubing through the slit to the bottom, I put gravel, then a filter floss pad, and some ceramic rings in it. The last thing anyone wants is to add new fish that make the ones you already have sick.

    When you add a new filter to the tank, you don't need to move any media. You already have your current filter cycled to handle your bioload, and bacteria will eventually grow on the new one. Just don't touch the old filter and you'll be okay.

    For the separated rainbow, do you mean like decorations? since he's not sick or anything, you could put anything in there to make him feel more secure. But I think it might be okay if he stays in the tank for a week or two while the new rainbows are in qt. As long as no one else shows signs of illness (in the tank). Am I correct that since the death of the eel, you are only fighting fin rot in the tetra? Hopefully the extra filter will help take care of that. And you only need about 200 more GPH, so you should be able to get a filter that size fairly inexpensive. I have a spare penguin 200, and you can get them on amazon right now for $16.

    So just trying to get this all right in my head. Please let me know if I have any of this wrong.

    You had 4 swordtails, and one died 3 months ago, 5 tetra, fighting fin rot, 2 Aussie Rainbows, 1 died 2 Months ago, the eel, and the BN, and you added the driftwood less than 2 months ago? Then the eel died after the intro of the driftwood?

    I *think* we can rule out the driftwood, since 2 died before it was introduced, and only the eel since, but you could take it out and boil it for a while just to be sure. If it's too big to boil, you can pour boiling water over it, making sure to get all the crannies, then soak it in dechlorinated water for a few hours, let it cool and put it back. That makes the driftwood safe for sure. But I'm not convinced that's the issue. The other two deaths may have just been weak fish, and succumbed to the elevated ammonia, whereas the others did not. I know nothing about the eels, so I don't know how sensitive, etc, they are.

    Maybe go ahead and get the new rainbows and quarantine them for 2 weeks, minimum. You could use the new filter on a tote, and follow these instructions:

    Add prime treated water, add fish wait 24 hours. after 24 hours, add a whole bottle of TSS (bottle size depends on size of tote) and leave them in qt for 2 weeks. then, if they are not showing any signs of illness, you can add them to your tank, along with the new filter, which has now been cycled with the TSS (I have used it this was and it works) This will also adjust your cycle for your new bioload.

    while the new fish are in qt, you can make sure the cycle in the big tank is stable. Adding TSS or other bacteria as needed.

    IF you use prime and TSS together, you MUST wait 24 hours after dosing prime to add any TSS, as it will kill the TSS. Also do not add prime to water treated with TSS for several days, some say three, others say 7. TSS bacteria is housed in ammonium, and the prime will mess with the balance, making it ineffective.

    You should be able to do all this for around $60: (estimated guess on the prices, but I have bought all this stuff myself, so I think I'm close)

    tote: $7 (Mine is 18 gallons, and came with the lid)
    heater $15
    Thermometer $1-3 (I love the little magnet ones, they're like $3, but I can move them around)
    TSS $8
    Prime $10
    filter $20

    plus the cost of the fish

    Then you can pack it all up in the bin and if you ever need it again (like for more new fish) you have it already!

    And thank you for the compliment on the angel! He/she is already a favorite?
  9. ArmyproValued MemberMember

    Yes but I only have one Tetra fighting Fin Rot.
    Spiny Eels (I assume all Eels) are real nice community fish, very inexpensive (Food-wise) but do require pristine water conditions. I really miss the little guy, may get another one since he was really cool and fits into my stocking (peaceful 8" fish with a girth of around 1" is real nice for a community fish, mine wasn't the best size either). And since Petsmart doesn't sell Peacock Eels (Other people have been sold Half Banded Spiny Eels for Peacocks before weirdly enough), all I have to do is make sure its not the thing they're trying to sell, lol. The issue is price, I got mine for a real nice $10 discount (Kuhli's are $2, which I bought them as).
    $60 is too much for me unfortunately, my budget for my new Aquarium Upgrade was $210 and my Aquarium and stand is costing me $240, some other day maybe but I'm going to use the 20 Gallon as a QT when I upgrade this weekend or next weekend, one of the two.
    Glad I can just do that, can I use the Tetra Safe Start with all my fish in my Aquarium? Or some other Beneficial Bacteria booster to help stabilize the cycle and cycle the second Filter quicker? You said it contains Ammonium and I'm not sure if its harmful to fish like Ammonia is, and do I add it into the Aquarium or into the Filter directly?
    Would he/she already be a favorite for you? Because he/she is a real nice looking Angel, I don't have Angelfish, I'd like to but not at the moment. He/She is a Smokey Angelfish, right? I used to know a lot of Angelfish types but I don't really anymore, hah.

    Since we're on the topic of Filters would a Tetra Whisperer ex30 and a Top Fin 60 Power Filter be alright Filtration for a 55 Gallon Aquarium? My Tetra Whisperer is already cycled in my 20 Gallon and am going to move it to my 55 Gallon once I upgrade it, and it comes with a Top Fin 60 Power Filter.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  10. ArmyproValued MemberMember

    Thank you for your kind words, you and me both hope it gets figured out. As well as the inhabitants of my Aquarium.
  11. AngelTheGypsyFishlore VIPMember

    If the eels need pristine water, I would assume that's what caused his decline, and possibly the other two as well.

    I understand financial limitations ;) Most important is Prime as this will protect your fish from ammonia and nitrite. Along with water changes, you can keep your fish safe with this while cycling, and eventually have a successful cycle without anything else. It will take longer and be a lot of work, but it can work.

    Second, if you can, pick up the TSS. It's always good to have on hand, in case of a filter malfunction, death which caused an ammonia spike, adding new fish, etc. And yes you can use it with all your aquariums. The ammonium in the TSS is safe for fish, and only serves as a food source for the bacteria while it is in the bottle. It may cause an ammonia test to look ridiculously high, so don't test your water for a few days after adding it. *I was very skeptical about it's use, but I tested it on a brand new tank/filter/fish, and it completely cycled the tank in 12 days. I treated the water with prime and added the fish, waited 24 hours and added the TSS, fed lightly for 12 days, no testing, no water changes, on day 12 I had 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 10 nitrate, with one betta fish. One of the keys to it working is not overdoing it with fish. Follow the guidelines on the bottle (for new tanks) and if you're just using it to boost a cycle it works. You can squirt it directly into the water column, although you can pour it into the filter as well.

    Third, hold off on the new rainbows until you have your 55 set up and the 20 empty for qt, if you can. Definitely hold off until you know for sure your cycle is stable. The fish can survive it, as long as you keep up the water changes. (Quick thought: What do you have in the 20 besides the kuhli? Could you maybe do some rearranging temporarily to reduce the stress on the female sword?)

    The extra filtration on the 65 gallon is not immediately necessary, as your stock is quite small now. It can wait a little while. If you need the qt in the 20 up, the DIY water bottle filter can cost like $1.50, but I just used stuff I already had laying around: an empty water bottle, extra gravel (to weigh it down) and some filter floss to clean the water. I just happened to have some ceramic rings laying around, so I threw them in there for good measure. The bacteria will grow on all of it. I followed a video I found on Google. As long as you have an air pump your set!

    If you plan to use the 20 as qt, you don't need the tote or extra heater, so save that $25 :)

    And yes, the angel is a favorite! That question mark was supposed to be an exclamation point, oops! typo! LOL Yes he's a smokey, a blue smokey. I don't know all the color names either. A fellow fishlore member had him for sale, so I got him. Blue is my favorite color. I was planning on neon dwarf gourami gourami, but I had considered angels too. So my next build will be my gourami tank!

    Also for the filtration on the 55, I don't see a top fin 60, but they show a 40 or a 75. Is it an older model?

    What you want is 8-10 times your tank size in gallons per hour for HOB filters. (For canisters you can do 5 times tank size, just FYI) So for the 55 you want 440-550 gallons per hour worth of filtration. The top fin 75 says 250 in one part of the description, and 350 in another. The 40 says 210. If it is an older model 60, I would guess it has somewhere around 250-270 gallons per hour, but that is just a wild guess. The tetra whisper has 160 gallons per hour. So that's somewhere between 370-510, since 210+160=370 and 350+160=510. So maybe, maybe not. I'd say they'll do for now, until you can look at a different option.

    Just as a side note, I understand what is ideal, and I understand there is also real life. Sometimes we just have to figure out what is most essential, and what can wait. If I were in your situation, this is how I would prioritize it.
  12. ArmyproValued MemberMember

    Probably, I thought he was a Kuhli Loach as they are quite hardy fish, even Petco said he was a Kuhli.
    I do not know, it comes with the Kit which is nice as I hope I don't have to buy another Filter and just add the one I have on the 20 Gallon, possibly make a DIY Filter while fish are in quarantine and that's it, it comes with a 200w UL Heater which is adjustable (I prefer Adjustable heaters, can't do much with a pre-set heater). I'm not sure if I should add the Heater from the 20 Gallon into the 55 or if I'm fine with that.
    I got a Top Fin Penguin 200 I think it was, hope that's alright Filtration for my 65 Gallon Aquarium.
    Unfortunately I cannot, I have
    2 Male Guppies
    2 Male Platies
    4 Kuhli Loaches
    in there and it'll probably cause her more stress as there may be 4 Male Livebearers trying to mate with her.
    Look who I got! The Platy on the Left is our newest addition, the Platy on the right we've had for quite a while. I was hoping the Guppies would Socialize with the Platy but they didn't, so say hello to Micky Mouse... My Golden Mickey Mouse Platy (Names are not my thing, so I had other family-members do it its fun for them and they always do it, with my consent or not. I have 5 Zeba's in my 65 Gallon, and a Flounder and Ariel in my 20 Gallon). DSCN0188.jpg
  13. AngelTheGypsyFishlore VIPMember

    The heater should work ok. You will know for sure if you put a thermometer in there and monitor the temperature. I prefer the adjustable heaters as well.

    Is the penguin 200 a second filter for the 65? I'm not sure since penguins are made by marineland so it's either a top fin or a penguin

    Maybe you could put the males (swords, guppies and platies) in the 65 and females in the 20 temporarily until the 55 is set up? That would reduce the stress on the female swordtail.

    At first I read you had 5 zebras in the 65! . NCIS fans? Us too. (Why do they always get rid of the female characters???)

    Just out of curiousity, what is your full stock in your tanks? Is this right?

    5 tetra
    1 Aussie rainbow
    1 male swordtail
    2 female swordtail
    1 BN

    2 male guppies
    2 male platies
    4 khuli loaches

    What is your plan for the 55? I know you are going to move the stock from the 20 into it and up your kuhlis
  14. ArmyproValued MemberMember

    That's good, won't have to buy a new Heater.
    It is a Marineland Penguin 200, I forgot where I put the Filter so I forgot the brand, lol. Found it now.
    I'd hate to move the 4 Livebearers into the 65 Gallon Aquarium as it would stress them out lots more than needed and it'll take a long time catch them. I tried catching my Tetra with the Fin Rot (Advice of a Petco employee, not very good advice as they schooled tightly for about a day) so I could put him in a breeder box and put medication in there so he gets the strongest dose and I couldn't, it stressed me and him out a lot.
    I assume they got their name by the 2 Vertical Stripes running through the middle of them with the gray body (Could be some other reason). Zebra 1 through 5 since a few of them look so much alike.
    I personally am a NCIS Fan. I do not know why they never keep female characters for very long, I suppose they need they need a refresh of characters or they didn't want to keep working with them. They kept all the rest. I don't see the connection between Zebra and NCIS honestly, is it obvious? I haven't seen the newest season yet.
    That is the inhabitants of my Aquariums at the moment, I'm going to go with your stocking suggestions to stock the 55. I'm going to order 4 Striped Kuhli's (Found a Pet store that will) to go with my 4 Black Kuhli's.
    For the 65 Gallon my plan was to stock:
    6-8 Skirt Tetras (If I don't rehome them, they're causing lots of trouble disease-wise)
    6-8 Australian Rainbowfish (All Males or 1-2 Males and 5-6 Females)
    4 Swordtails (1 Male Red Velvet, 2 Female Red Velvets, 1 Female Neon)
    1 Half Banded Spiny Eel (I love those little guys, and they make excellent community fish which can be hand-fed, can't be beat)
    1 Rainbow Cichlid
    1 Pearl Gourami (1 if I get a Male, which I'm hoping to get, 2 if I get Females)
    1 Bristlenose Pleco
  15. AngelTheGypsyFishlore VIPMember

    You actually meant to type zebra, which is what I read at first, but it says "Zeba" and even though her name was "Ziva" I thought of NCIS...

    And catching and netting fish takes a lot of practice and patience. I understand not wanting to stress them. It was just an idea
  16. ArmyproValued MemberMember

    Whoops, hah that was a typo. I was thinking you thought that but couldn't see how, lol.

    I'm not going through the whole ordeal of trying to net a fish in my 65 Gallon that doesn't want to be netted, I can barely reach the bottom of the Aquarium not to mention corralling a fish into a net, that was not a pleasant experience for either of us.

    On a side note would the Filtration on my 65 Gallon Aquarium be alright? I don't want to put the Filter in and find out it won't work.

    Hey! The wonky Bubble Curtain I have is working as it should (Bubbles going through the entirety of it). Oh... And there it goes, right when I'm typing this just turns off, now its back on. May need to get a new one, this one just is not working.
  17. AngelTheGypsyFishlore VIPMember

    With your current stock the filtration is fine, but when you add more fish, I would add filtration with them. I would aim for a total of 520 gph when fully stocked. You just want the filtration to be enough for your bioload.
  18. ArmyproValued MemberMember

    So would that be a yes to adding the other Filter on and be set with all the fish I want in it? Now would be the time.
  19. AngelTheGypsyFishlore VIPMember

    Yes the penguin 350 with the penguin 200 will be enough on the 65. Sorry, I guess I missed you got the second filter
  20. ArmyproValued MemberMember

    Thanks, just cleaned the Aquarium so now would be a nice time to add it.

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