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Fish In Trouble After 1-week Cruise


gchen

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I just got back from a 1-week cruise. I had made some preparations, installing an autmatic feeder and testing it out the week before I left. When I got back, four my six fish showed obvious signs of distress. My white oranda was in the worst condition. It's been floating at the top, sometimes and its side, and its fins are all ragged. The lionhead is floating at the top but remains upright. The two ryukins are in better shape but their tails show some red burn-like coloration.

I started performing my usual treatment, which has worked for me in the past-- gradually increase the salt concentration and add Melafix for a couple of days. However, I just tested the ammonia levels just now, and the reading was about 4 ppm. The tank is only three weeks old, but I thought I had a cycled tank, when I got a zero ammonia reading two weeks ago. So, now I'm suspecting ammonia levels and not any disease. In that case, would the melafix be detrimental to the good bacteria in the tank, making things worse? If it's ammonia levels, my guess would be go to my local store and get another bag of bio-spira. Any advice?

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Hi George - forget the melafix. In fact, the best thing you can do is a couple of massive 50% waterchanges (1 today and 1 tomorrow).

They seem to be suffering the stress associated with toxic conditions and adding meds will just put more strain on their already weakend immunity. Try to get your water perfect and i'm sure this will show results.

Hopefully this helps :)

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Jen is right. Do a couple of massive water changes and then get some ammonia binders like prime or amquel. Dose accordingly. It appears your cycle has crashed and you are back to square one.

Salt to 0.1% (1tsp/gal) will protect the fish from nitrIte poisoning as well.

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Jen is right. Do a couple of massive water changes and then get some ammonia binders like prime or amquel. Dose accordingly. It appears your cycle has crashed and you are back to square one.

Salt to 0.1% (1tsp/gal) will protect the fish from nitrIte poisoning as well.

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So, what do you think caused the cycle to crash?

I have another smaller tank, which the white oranda and lionhead used to live. I tested its water, and it was fully cycled (zero ammonia and nitrites). I moved the oranda and lionhead into the the smaller tank, thinking that it would be better for them. Before I setup up the big tank, hey had lived their for almost two years together in the smaller tank. However, both fish died within hours. :( . Think the damage had already been done, or did the shock of being moved back into the original tank kill them?

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OK, I just added a full-dose of Bio-Spira into the tank. I'm going to perform another water test in 12 hours. Hopefully, things will look different. Anybody else add Bio-spira after a cycle crashed. Is it reasonable to expect results within a day?

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I'm so sorry George - that's sad.

Did you test your ph before putting them into the smaller tank? Was it identical to the bigger tank? These guys were already weak and unless the temp and ph were matched, it may have pushed them over the edge.

I haven't used bio-spira before so can't tell you what caused it to crash sorry or how quickly it will cycle your tank - someone else may be along who can shed some light here.

Again, i'm sorry you lost your fish :(

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I'm so sorry about your loses. :(

I haven't seen any pH number from you. As Jen said, the fish can be pushed over the edge if the pH difference is too great.

As for how the cycle crashed, it is not to know for sure as you were not there so it is mostly speculation. If your pH drops or even crashes, the nitrifying process will also suffer. I believe with pH at 6.5, the cycle is only 10% effective. This will allow the ammonia to buildup steadily. Once the pH recovers, the cycle will recover as well.

Please test the pH of both tank and also KH if you can.

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I'm so sorry about your loses. :(

I haven't seen any pH number from you. As Jen said, the fish can be pushed over the edge if the pH difference is too great.

As for how the cycle crashed, it is not to know for sure as you were not there so it is mostly speculation. If your pH drops or even crashes, the nitrifying process will also suffer. I believe with pH at 6.5, the cycle is only 10% effective. This will allow the ammonia to buildup steadily. Once the pH recovers, the cycle will recover as well.

Please test the pH of both tank and also KH if you can.

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OK, the consensus is that I need to test pH. I never got a pH test kit. I only got the nitrogen test kit. :(

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Hmm... I just did another test, and the ammonia and nitrite levels are still high. There seems to be no change after 11 hours. I'm tempted to do a massive water change, but will I also dump out all of the good bacteria? Or, do the good bacteria reside mostly in the filter, gravel, and ornaments and won't be disturbed by a water change? Help!

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So, I performed a pH test, and it came out to neutral (7.0). I don't think that's too bad. Anyway, I added a dose of this product called Proper PH 7.5. 7.5 is suppose to be perfect for goldfish. However, I performed a pH test two hours later and found no difference. Ammonia (2 ppm) and nitrites (5 ppm) haven't gotten any better either. Frustrating...

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So, I'm seriously thinking of setting up another smaller tank with nothing but a filter and no gravel. Then, I'll put some of the sick fish in with Bio-Spira and give them a clean start. What do you think?

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How small is small (tank)?

While the bio-spira can help with the cycling, it can't do miracles and you would still need to watch the water and all that. Bare bottom is not a bad idea. :)

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Hi - Sorry to hear about your fish - I hope the situation improves soon!

You are in super hands here with Laurie and CaptK - but I just wanted to answer you question about BS. In my experience, it certainly does help pull the tank through the cycle - but it is definitley not immediate! I wish they would not advertise it that way becuase that is disappointing and misleading - although it is still an effective and helpful product - it may shorten cycling by a week or so, although the cycle still has to go through all its stages and will take some time.

It sounds as though you are indeed cycling. I would not mess around with the pH or switching tanks - all that can lead to too much unecessary stress. Personally, I am not a big fan of pH adjustors. I was told to wait at least 4 hours before re-testing after adding pH adjustors (I think Rick Hess told me that, can't remember but it was someone I trust very much). Your pH of 7.0 doesn't sound bad for the fish - it is a question rather if the tank has the buffering capacity to maintain that pH in a stable way. A big, sudden change would be worse than a stable 7.0!

Test strips are cheap and easy and contain tests for gH and KH. If you want to read more about how those values affect pH to help prevent or predict a ppH crash, I highly recommend the book Fancy Goldfish by Dr. Johnson and Mr. Hess

and/or this link tour very own Data Guru's super fact-filled page:

http://dataguru.org/misc/aquarium/FishInfo.html

Yuu can find there a handy calculator to determine how much plain old baking soda to add to the tank to increase your pH (if necessary) or to help provide more buffering capacity to keep the pH stable.

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Well, my water parameters have only gotten slightly better. Ammonia is still at 2.0 ppm, but nitrites has fallen to 0.5. Weird... I thought ammonia should fall first. I've salted the aquarium to 0.3%, and the fish are showing definite signs of improvement in their appearance and activity level. In fact, most of the red burn marks in the tail of my red and white ryukin appears to have disappeared within the last 24 hours! I didn't know that these marks can heal so quickly. The water in my tank is becoming a cloudy white, which might be a sign of a second bacterial bloom. :) .

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Hi George,

The fact that nitrIte drops before ammonia is not that unusual in a tank that crashed. This is because there are 2 types of nitrifying bacterias at work here. One to handle ammonia and the other looks after nitrIte. So depending on the condition that impacted on them, one set might recover faster than the other and get back to work sooner. Which means in your case, the nitrIte one recovered first. If you started with no bacterias at all then it will be ammonia first then nitrIte. :)

Nevertheless, your waterQ is quite unstable and give rise to the bacterial bloom. It should clear in a few days. :)

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Wow! That is one of the worst case of ich I've ever seen. How did it get to this stage? Did you add a new fish or plants from a LFS?

Is the tank salted at all?

You really only have two choices right now. Treat with salt or over-the-counter meds like rid-ich. Salt is more gentle but it does take longer to be effective. Which way do you want to go?

Regardless of the type of treatment choices, you need to vacuum the bottom of your tank everyday (gently) to try to remove as many of the cyst (white spot) and tomites as possible. Each cyst contains 300 tomites and you can imagine how many free swimming tomites are in your tank now. :(

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OMG George - that's a nasty case.

Hopefully you can tackle it quickly - as it looks like it's causing major stress especially around the fins.

My fingers and toes are crossed for you

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My fish looked JUST like that when they broke out with ICH. We treated with Rid-ich and salt which worked fine, and the only one we lost was the loach (which i didnt know to move out before treatment) HOWEVER, we got a few BAD cases of fungus as a secondary infection, which we treated with Maracyn, then Maracyn Plus (a liquid). All in all, it took over a month to get them back to anything remotely resembling healthy.

If and when my ammonia spikes, the FIRST thing I do is a water change to get it down! :)

Start treating the ICH ASAP!! Good luck!

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