White granules on water surface

bobjane
  • #1
Hello, first time poster.

I've just set up my first tropical freshwater aquarium and there are small white granules (for lack of a better description) floating on the surface. I'm hoping someone can identify them so I'll know whether to scoop it out or leave it alone.

Here is a photo. Sorry for the large size, I wanted to keep the clarity up.
 
timg
  • #2
What sort of substrate are you using? This looks like debris from the substrate or something similar that has been added to the tank when you started.

What size is the tank? How long has it been running? Is it cycled? Has it go fish in? The dreaded question.... what are the water parameters?

All these questions are very important for us to know what problems you may be facing, not just now, but in the weeks to come. We find it much easier to give the right advice if we know the details of your setup!
 
bobjane
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Substrate: rounded pebbles, roughly 5mm diameter. I washed it thoroughly before using.

Tank is 90L (24 gallons). Been running about 4 weeks. Cycled. Fish have been in there for about 3 weeks.

Water parameters:
pH is around 7.
Temperature is set to 29C (84F) - the Clown Loaches have Ich.
Don't have hardness measurements.

I've lost the following fish so far:
2 unknown catfish - one had a pop eye before dying
2 clown loach - one had red and swollen mouth and was legarthic before dying
2 rainhow sharks - one was legarthic before dying
1 silver shark - red fins and tail for a few days before dying
1 betta - 1 pop eye before dying, head was torn apart when found dead (by other fish or Enteric Septicemia?)
2 Tetra Rummynose - heads were torn apart when found dead (by other fish or Enteric Septicemia?)

The floating granules seem to be organic - my impression was fish eggs or some sort of parasite.
 
timg
  • #4
Ok, it looks like you have a serious problem here.

The floating granules could well be organic, but fish eggs are not likely in this situation. It is more likely bits of dead fish, from what you have just listed!

You are saying that the tank is cycled, have you checked the ammonia and nitrite readings? I can only assume that you have cycled the tank using the fish, which is always dangerous unless you can keep on top of it all the time. With the load that you have listed already, there is no way that the tank could ever cycle and support that number of fish!

How many fish have you got left? The first impression from your previous posting is that you stocked the tank almost immediately and looking at the fish you have lost, it was seriously overstocked to start with.

Let's see what we can salvage from this:

First of all, how many fish are in the tank now?
What is the ammonia and nitrite readings?
How often are you performing water changes and how much each time?
Your photo gallery indicates that you have several tanks, so is there a chance of re-locating any fish from this tank while it is stabilized? (This would need to be a separate tank, not one with fish in already)

popeye is a sure indication of poor water conditions. Several of your fish have suffered from this ailment.
redness around the mouth and gills is an indication of ammonia poisoning.
Lethargy can be caused by many different reasons, not least ammonia poisoning, but also through a variety of other ailments.
Ich is present in the tank and this will not get any better without treatment.

My remedy: (This is only my solution, not necessarily the way to go)

Do an immediate 50% water change with dechlorinated water. Remove any activated carbon from the filter and clean the filter properly in old tank water.
Raise the temperature to 32C and treat with an Ich remedy, and something like Prime or a stress-reliever.
Perform a 25% water change every day for the next two weeks, topping up the meds in the correct proportions each time.
Remove the floating debris and vacuum the gravel every water change.
DO NOT remove any fish from this tank to any of your other tanks yet, unless you can treat the two tanks the same way. they will almost certainly be sick now, even if they are not showing it, and putting them with other fish will just create a larger problem!

When the situation is under control, then you need to look at stocking levels in the tank. The rule of thumb is 1" per gallon of adult fish. To show how this works better, if your two clown loaches had survived, they would each be capable of attaining 16" each, so those two fish alone would have been too much for this tank! Add to that the sharks, 12" each, the cats, on average between 6 and 12" each, depending on the breed, and you can start to see where the real problem is!

I will PM some of the others that may be able to help with alternative solutions, or advise further treatments for this situation. please do not take offense at this post, we are here to help people in exactly your situation, and new members often start this way!

Good luck. I will alert the others and they will come and help too.
 
Butterfly
  • #5
You have been getting excellent advice thus far.
Can you get a good picture of just the granules? What do they feel like ?
definately need to know your Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrate readings please.
Clown Loaches are very sensitive to medications so if you use meds on him make sure they are for scaleless fish. Clowns are notorious for getting ICH. Raising your temps over 82F(good for you) doing frequent water changes and substrate vacuums for 14 days should see him back in good health. I don't usually use any meds on my clowns.
sorry for all the questions but they will help us help you.
Even though the tank is overstocked I wouldn't move them to a tank you already have fish in.
water changes are your friend anytime you suspect a proble a water change will make you and your fish feel better
Carol
 
bobjane
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
The granules don't look like parts of dead fish - they're too regular. Definitely some sort of repetitive substance.

The tank was cycled using goldfish from an outside pond. No ammonia, nitrites, nitrates readings yet. I'll be buying a testing kit asap.

Fish left:
2 unknown catfish
2 bristlenose catfish
2 clown loaches
3 platys
1 rainbow shark
1 silver shark
4 swordtails
6 neon tetras
4 rummynose tetras
10 glass shrimp

Water changes - weekly 10% change.

Just the one tank. The above photo is the only one in my gallery.

I had ordered the second half of my fish and two days later the Ich popped up. I did a 50% water change, removed the carbon, added Ich medication. Next day the ordered fish arrived and had nowhere to go so the carbon went back in and now I'm waiting for the new fish to settle in a bit before continuing with the Ich treatment. Not sure how long to wait.
I've got the temperature set to 29C, I'm not sure if the rest of my fish can handle 32C.
The Ich medicine I'm using is Ichaway based on Malachite Green (read about it being hard on the fish but it was what the fish shop recommended).

I do see now that I'm overstocked. Didn't find out until recently that clown loaches and sharks can grow so large. Plus got overly excited at the fish store buying fish for the first time.

The picture of the granules attached to my first post is about as good as I can get. They resemble very fine wood shavings, soft to the touch, no smell.
Size wise, the leaf in the picture is about 1.5" across. Each granule is roughly the size of a pintip.

No offense at all taken timandkaren. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to answer my questions in such detail. Thank you.
 
bobjane
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Recommendations for a good vacuum for my type of substrate (5mm diameter rounded pebbles) would be great too.
 
timg
  • #8
Fish left:
2 unknown catfish
2 bristlenose catfish
2 clown loaches
3 platys
1 rainbow shark
1 silver shark
4 swordtails
6 neon tetras
4 rummynose tetras
10 glass shrimp

I have to be honest here, what was the fish shop playing at? Did they know what size your tank was? With the fish you have left, you should be looking at at least a 75 gallon for starters! That would need to be doubled within about 6 months just to cope with the fish you now have, without adding any more. The shop should be closed down for selling you all these fish without at least warning you about the sizes of the adult fish!

This is a recurrant problem with some fish stores, a blatant disregard to the fish they are selling.

unfortunately you are still way overstocked and nothing you do short of buying a second, much larger tank will get you out of this one without further losses. It might be worth you going back to the store and asking them to take some of the fish back, but my guess is that they will refuse.

This is the first lesson in fish-keeping, and you are learning the hard way! The only way to even maintain the tank at this stock level is with daily water changes at 50%. This will just keep the fish alive, it will not gain any ground until the stock level can be drastically reduced. My suggestion from here has to be to buy another tank as soon as possible to share the load. You won't have time to cycle it, but with continual water changes, at least the fish would stand a chance of survival while it cycles with the fish in there. one of the others might be able to give further assistance here, but I must admit that you have been given very bad advice, if any, from the store.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #9
welcome to FishLore! This is a great community for helping each other with fish and just enjoy the hobby. Hopefully we can help with getting your tank back on track.

you've gotten great advice from timandkaren.. my first question is what live plants do you have in there? the debris looks like it could be from plants. I would remove it - to a container of tank water if you want - but i'd take it out. Then proceed with water changes as TI'm suggested and treating the Ich as Butterfly suggested. if you want to use a med, Ich-Attack is the safest one for treating ich and the only ich med i'd recommend using.

is a very popular vacuum, although I don't know how well it does with marbles. we have flat marbles for our substrata, but I clean the tanks all by hand.

Prime would be the best water conditioner. Vitachem and Fish Protector would both be good to add daily to your tank. Most likely you'd have to order those online, unless a LFS there stocks them.
 
timg
  • #10
Looking at the list of remaining fish has given me a thought about the granules. They could very well be fish eggs, seeing what you have there now. I would suggest that they are possibly from the swordtails or platties that aborted due to conditions. Both these fishes are livebearers and get pregnant at the drop of a hat, so could very well have been carrying before you got them. in the conditions they are now in, they would have aborted straigt away, as there is just no chance of them being able to give birth.
 
bobjane
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
I'm afraid I'll have to take the blame here. The fish were bought from 3 places so there's no way they could have known.

I'm guessing that I should be ok for a short time - the loaches and sharks are about 2" each. The rest are all under 1".
 
timg
  • #12
as long as you learn from your mistakes, it's not all bad! You are right about the for now bit, but it would be worth looking around for a bigger tank as soon as you can, if you want to keep the fish. There are reasons for this, since you have platties and swordtails, you will, sooner or later have an increase in numbers, and preparation for that is always wise!
 
bobjane
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
pH is at 7-7.5.
Ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites are all at 0.

Lost a neon tetra and a clown loach is dying with a swollen mouth.

Started treating the Ich again - cleaning the gravel, large water change, Ich medication.
 
Butterfly
  • #14
Do you have anyway to up the water current? Add a bubbler maybe add another filter. The clown needs highly oxygenated water and he sounds really sick.
Keep up the water changes for right now. It will slow your cycle down but we need to get your fish healthy first then worry about the cycle.
Carol
 
bobjane
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
I have two bubblers running. The clown with the swollen mouth died.

On the 4th day of water changes/ich treatment now and the last clown is looking better.

How long should I keep doing the treatment? I've read anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks.
 
Butterfly
  • #16
When I use just heat and water changes I continue for 14 days. If your using meds follow the directions on the package.
Carol
 
COBettaCouple
  • #17
the ich med that we'd use is Ich-Attack and we put the recommended amount in daily. we've not tried any other meds for ich.
 
Butterfly
  • #18
Did you ever figure out what was on top of the water?
carol
 
bobjane
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
Never found out what it was. I removed them seeing as people thought they were aborted fish eggs or worse.
 

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