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Tank Disaster.


Guest fushiii

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Guest fushiii

Hi all! I have two 4" orandas, one Red-Cap fantail (Fry) and a Calico veiltail (Mulligan). They're in a 20g Brillux Aquael tank with a Fan2+ filter. Unfortunately their old tank got damaged and this tank was an emergency buy, so there was no cycled water in it. The fish made it through the cycling with the help of 20% water change every 36 hrs for 2 weeks (and 10% every other day since then), Interpet Fresh Start and Filter Start, aquarium salt and regular testing. After 3.5 weeks the ammonia was undetectable, nitrites at 0.1ppm, ph 7.2, water at 23c, plants and fish were thriving. They're fed on Hikari Lionhead Gold, occasional tubifex and peas.

Now Mulli has always been one of those lazy little fish. We've had her for 3 years, she loves to eat, is very sociable, but not terribly active. She recently doubled her size (length, head-growth, body-depth) in the space of 6 weeks and had become a bit more active. Fry we've had for 2 years. He's always on the go, we've never seen him 'sleep' or even stop for a minute, fins are always erect, and he eats like it's an Olympic event. He has massive wen-growth, especially since switching to the Hikari, and has always been incredibly active and healthy.

9 days ago Mulli got 2 sores across the top of her tail, and was incredibly lethargic. I raised the salt content in the tank to a supportive level, added Melafix and waited. Nothing happened, in fact she got worse over 6 days. I was puzzled because I have *never* had Melafix fail on me. Pimafix was suggested along with the MF so I dosed the tank, and Fry immediately got sick. He stopped eating food, starting hanging around the filter, grazing on some algae, and then - horror of horrors, flipped upside-down. I discontinued the PF, too the driftwood out of the tank in case the tannins were affecting the medication results or the wood was absorbing the meds, did a 30% change and re-dosed with Melafix. Mull immediately perked up when the wood was removed, and has actually been fairly active.

Yesterday and today they are both completely upside-down about 30% of the time when at rest. I popped out and got some Interpet Anti-Fungus/Anti-Finrot, and added it in the recommended dose. The filter outflow forces oxygen through it, and there's a bubble-wall and airstone in the tank so it's well oxygenated. They can right themselves ok, Mulli's a little off balance because her tail has started to fray, and they seem unhappy that I've stopped feeding them (throwing gravel about and rooting through the plants for any old food!) but they're still swimming and playing. Neither one looks bloated or sunken, but Fry's developed red streaks on his tail in the last 12 hours and I am out of my mind. (Can you tell? Nearly 5am and I'm sat watching fishies instead of sleeping)

Mulli's now on her tummy under the filter, her dorsal fin has never been upright in her life, but the rest of the fins are unclamped and spread out. Fry's hanging around near the filter outflow, not his usual self but his dorsal fin is up and the others are, again, unclamped. It seems like if it's too dark or too light (room in total darkness or tank lights on) they're upside down, but normal living room light= upright fishies. They're not gasping, scratching or flashing, and I'm now totally at a loss and turning to you guys!

Help pleaaaase, before I'm plunged into poverty and insanity. I'm so scared for my little guys. My new test kit should be here tomorrow (can't hurt to have a backup, right?) and I'm going to get some epsom salts and will give them a little bath, see if it helps any. It's helped my otther unstable orandas in the past, but it's been at least 6 years since I had to deal with this sort of thing.

Thanks in advance. Going to try and get some sleep now, and see what you guys can come up with!

Oh and has anyone else's fish had a seemingly bad reaction to Pimafix? It's got me very puzzled.

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  • Regular Member

Hi Fushiii...Welcome to Koko's..I am sooo sorry for your babies...I know how difficult it to get some sleep when our fishies are doing well...I am so glad you are here..there are many experinced members and moderators who can help you...However, since you say your test kit would arrive tomorrow...tht wud be gr88..having a reading of the ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and pH is very helpful..I do understand that you have written a good detail on the problem..would be gr888 if you can answer the questions in the box above...helps evaluate the problem a lot better..

[*]Test Results for the Following:

[*]Ammonia Level?

[*]Nitrite Level?

[*]Nitrate level?

[*]Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)?

[*]Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)?

[*]Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops?

[*]Water temperature?

[*]Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running?

[*]What is the name and size of the filter(s)?

[*]How often do you change the water and how much?

[*]How many fish in the tank and their size?

[*]What kind of water additives or conditioners?

[*]What do you feed your fish and how often?

[*]Any new fish added to the tank?

[*]Any medications added to the tank?

[*]Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus?

[*]Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.?

You could skip their behavioral questions...cos your 1st post explains a lot...but other questions would be gr888.. :) ..I am no expert...but I was advised and I have read this that you cannot mix epsom salts with any of the medications and the normal aquarium salt...so I would not use any epsom salts for now..you could keep it on hand, just in case...but please don't use it...I would also advice a huge water change...like an 80-90%...just to clear up anything and give them pristine water...It helps a lot of times...please use pH and temperature matched water...and replace a huge chunk...I would also advice not adding anything for the time being..unless someone more experinced suggests something... :) ..

Again..just trying to help you until your question is answered by a mod...I really hope your fishies get better...take care.. :) ..we are all here to help you...let us know how they behave after your water change.. :)

Edited by SunshineGurl
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  • Regular Member

I made a huge typo in the above post..the 1st sentence reads..."I am sooo sorry for your babies...I know how difficult it is to get some sleep when our fishies are not doing so well..." :oops: ...sorry.. :) ...waiting for your reply...

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  • Regular Member

First off, yes, answer all the questions, especially test readings and current water changes, that you did not provide information for in your post.

Next, stop with all of the medications now. Do a 100% water change. You need to get all of those medications out of the water. Tossing medications into bad water isn't going to fix anything. And, even if you were to have acceptable readings as far as ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, there is more to water changes than just these things. Water changes also control bad bacteria growth, which it sounds like what you have.

It's obvious you realize you're way overstocked, but your water changes don't really reflect that. I'm rather surprised that you managed to cycle a tank with that many fish and only doing 20% water changes every 36 hrs for two weeks and 10% every other day for the next two weeks. Your readings had to have been really high.

What sort of water changes are you doing now? Have you ever done a 100% water change? Do you have gravel? If so, do you vacuum it with every water change?

You need to be doing much larger and more logical water changes. 50% minimum water changes are a must for goldfish. 10% isn't even going to touch the problem. But, water changes must be based on test readings. If your readings are good, you change 50%. If your readings are even the least bit high, you change 70%, 80% even 90%, maybe every day if that's what the readings call for. The purest, cleanest water you can manage is the best thing you can do for your fish at any time, but especially when they're sick.

I don't know what your test readings are now or what your water changes are like, but with that many fish and your symptoms, you have an unhealthy water situation that has invited bad bacteria.

By the sound of things, you have a bacterial infection going on and the best thing for that is salt and medicated food, unless, of course, you see indications of popeye and/or pineconing. Then, it would be epsom salt. Let's get some more information on your fishes' physical symptoms before adding in salt or epsom salt, but getting them going on medicated food right away is the best thing you can do first.

As you've strapped yourself for cash with all of the treatments, I won't ask you to have Goldfish Connection overnight some MediGold to you. As long as your fish are eating and appear to still have the strength to be able to fight the infection, Jungle Anti-Bacterial food should work fine. Get them going exclusively on medicated food for the prescribed time, usually 30 days. Don't stop feeding the med food too soon as it will not kill the bacteria. Do not feed the medicated food past the 30 days or as a regular preventative measure as the bacteria could build up a resistance to it.

Get us some more answers to the questions and let us know how things are going.

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Guest fushiii

Thanks sunshineGurl - you're right, it can be very frustrating. Don't worry about me adding Epsom Salts to the water, I was just going to pop them in my 'fish bath'! Mr Fry hasn't been upside down since I posted (the little beast) but Mulli is still a bit flippy.

OK - updated test results using Tetratest 6 in 1 strips. Apparently all tests showed as Safe/OK according to chart

chlorine - undetectable ph 7.2 kh 4 gh 8 nitrite - undetectable nitrate - 10

ammonia - undetectable (tested using Interpet test tablets)

temp roughly 23c

OK to clear up confusion for other posters:

Can I add that the tank is not particularly overstocked, it's a 20 UK GALLON tank, not US GALLONS. My partner re-measured the fish and they're actually closer to 3 inches, I'm partially-sighted so was guesstimating it as I cannot accurately read a measuring tape. So we have 2 3" fish in a 25 US gallon setup

Lab test at LFS today has shown no evidence of pathogens.

I'd like to add that the frequent changes were based on test results, not arbitrarily conducted or for the22 of it. The weather has been very strange here, that coupled with some local water supply problems has led to incredibly variable 'raw' readings in the last 6 months, as I even test the tap water. (I might add that unexperienced friends in our village have suffered devastating amounts of goldie losses this summer) Their previous tank had been running for 4 years, fully cycled and clear of any disease or value spikes until the water quality issues. I even managed to move house twice and save the water in a barrel to prevent having to re-cycle! That's why this is so frustrating, I've kept orandas for years now and nothing like this has ever happened.

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Oh I am sooo sorry...about the water problems...now this can be really stressful.. :( ...but I am glad Mr Fry isn't going upside down anymore..thts a relief...umm..did you try a massive water change??..or a 100% like Lynda advised??...tht would be a good place to start with...how are Fry's blood streaks??are they gone??? is Mulli just upside down?? and how abt the sores and fraying of his fins??...does it look good, bad or worse???..Lynda cud be right..this could be bacterial...now since the tap water quality isn't so good..I may not be of gr888 help here...this is a problem more experienced memebers can help you with...I don't see the pH of your water..any way you can find out the pH of your tank and tap water????also...it would be a gr8 thing to have drop test kits rather than strips....those are more accurate.. :) ...you are doing good..hang in there..while someone answers your questions...I really am keeping my fingers crossed that things do get better and your goldies get well.. :)

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I apologize. I must've seen that "4" and got it in my head you had four fish. No, your load is fine for the size of your tank and I apologize.

Test strips aren't the greatest way to test water. They're rather unreliable, but we'll go with what you have.

Next, epsom salt really won't do much good as a "bath." What epsom salt does is to extract excess fluids from the body. This can't be achieved with a quick dip. The fish needs to remain in the epsom salt for an extended period of time for the fluids to be drawn out. And, if your fish isn't displaying signs of popeye, bloating, swelling or pineconing, there really is no need for epsom salt. Epsom salt will not treat frayed fins or red streaks.

I'm also glad that you do base your water changes on test results, and it is a testament to you that you've managed to keep your fish alive where others have not, even through moves, but, nevertheless, a 50% water change, even in the presence of good readings, is the minimum that should be done with a 100% change once a month.

You say you had a lab test for pathogens and none were revealed, but you have sores on the fins, frayed fins and red streaks in the fins. These are all signs of bacterial infection.

You also said that you've had some bad weather with local water supply problems. This tells me that maybe your water supply can't be trusted, so even a 100% water change isn't going to fix anything if you have bad water coming directly out of the tap. I would suggest using only bottled water or boil your water before adding it into your tank. This is going to be a real pain, I know, but if there's something coming straight out of your tap that is making your goldies sick, you don't want to keep using that water as is.

If sores on the fins, frayed fins and red streaks in the fins are your only signs, that is, there is no popeye, bloating, swelling or pineconing, salt is the best answer along with trusted healthy water and medicated food. I would say to do that 100% water change with the bottled or boiled water and then start adding salt at 0.1% and bringing it up to 0.3% over 12 hour intervals and start feeding the med food.

Also, the flipping, especially if the fish can eventually right themselves again after a period of time, can sometimes be a result of the type of food they're eating. Some fish can't handle processed foods. So, feeding lots of fruits and veggies and gel food is often the answer to that.

Good luck and keep us informed!

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