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can't figure out the lesson yet

Discussion in 'Fish for Planted Tanks' started by tedr108, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Continuation from yesterday's saga...

    I have a fairly well established (1 month) 50G tank, fully planted (too much so!), canister CO2, 4 wpg lighting (though full blast is only on 3 - 4 hours per day, rest of the time it is at 2 wpg). My animals are 13 cardinal tetras, 3 Cory cats, 2 Oto, 4 SAEs, 6 cherry shrimp, 3 amano shrimp, and a dwarf puffer (temporarily borrowed to clear my tank of snails -- you should see this little guy, he is a deadly snail hunter). Ammonia at 0, Nitrites at 0, Nitrates was 50ppm (a little high -- 50% water change this morning brought it down to 25ppm). All animals and plants are happy and doing great except for some new ones that I brought in this week...

    I tried to bring in 11 ember tetras a couple of days ago -- these are supposed to be tough fish -- tougher than cardinals even. They were shipped overnight. I only transitioned them for about an hour, I usually do more. The problem was that there were some dead ones in the shipment and the water smelled bad and I just felt like I needed to get them out of the polluted water ASAP. I probably got to about 50% tank water into the bag by the time I put them in the tank. Most of the embers seemed to be gasping for air, they all got ich, some got pop-eye ... and in the end they are all dying ... I only have 4 left.

    Other than giving a longer and better transition next time, I honestly don't know what to do differently -- perhaps do a water change the day before they arrive, in case they do not like higher nitrate ppms. I'll definitely only order a few next time to see how it goes. If anybody knows anything that I might look at, please let me know. I don't mind learning from my mistakes -- too bad the fish had to pay the price. One thing I don't like is not knowing what I did wrong!
     
  2. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    After doing some more research, I've decided that the most likely scenario is that my nitrates were too high. The probable culprit is over-feeding on my part. I've been following EI very carefully (1/2 tsp KNO3, 1/8 tsp KH2PO4, 10ml trace elements) and have even started going only 3 days per week with the macros and 2 days per week for the micros recently.

    I can only assume that the cardinals and other fish were able to adapt to the higher nitrates because they had time to do so, while the embers were expected to adapt to a high reading right away. As stated earlier, almost all of them were gulping for air at some point.

    I realize that the nitrate testing kits are not to be trusted without calibration, but the 50ppm is still a rather high reading.
     
  3. Mooner

    Mooner Lifetime Charter Member
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    Luckily the ich did spread to your other fish:eek:

    Set up a small quarantine tank:

    10 gal = $11.00
    Foam Filter = $9.00
    Heater = $7.00

    total = $27.00

    Cheap insurance to protect your main tank and can be broke down and stored when not needed:)

    Also call who you received fish from and ask for a refund for DOA's:mad:
     
  4. atrixnet

    atrixnet Prolific Poster

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    Some tips for acclimation of new fish

    Nitrates aren't toxic to fish up to over 200 ppm from my reading. You would have to do some really crazy stuff to get your nitrates that high! Like poop in your tank or do no water changes for months!

    Some tips that have helped me to transfer fish to my tank successfully without illness or fatality, even after shipping overnight during this year's bitter winter...

    When fish arrive plop the plastic bags into your aquarium and let it float for 10 minutes to get their water somewhere relatively close to your own tank temp. Then remove the bags and cut them open. Gradually over a period of twenty minutes get their water to a state of 75% tank water %25 original bag water. Why only 20 minutes? Acclimating fish to water for too long a period of time can have adverse effects I've been told by some ver experienced aquarists (we're talking several decades of experience on their part). Acclimation should not be too sudden nor too long, they say. This is simply because waiting forever to get your new fish into their new home can cause ammonia to build up in their bags and then you've got a whole 'nuther problem on your hands... which brings me to the next point:

    At the outset of that twenty minutes put a dose of Seachem Prime into their bag(s), sufficient to dose a 10 gallon tank. Boom. Ammonia, nitrites gone. Dose them with pimafix and melafix while in the bag, following dosage recommendations on the bottle, adjusted to the amount of water in their bags. Stress reduced, bacteria killed, external fungus reduced.

    Let them swim around 5 minutes more, meanwhile fill a smaller (I use a 10 gallon) hospital/quarantine tank with existing tank water from your aquarium. Give them a bath in methylene blue, 10 seconds at maximum recommended dosage and no more than 10 seconds! Boom. External fungus gone, internal fungus on the way out. Gills clean. Healthy start!

    Introduce fish into the tank. Kick on the airstone. The fish need lots of oxygen to calm down the excessive gilling from the stress of shipping and handling and the reduction of oxygen on their gill membranes and in their hospital tank water from the methylene blue. Dose tank with pimafix and melafix for the next three days following the dosage recommendations on the label. Stress of acclimation greatly reduced.

    Keep that oxygen going for the next three days. Even with the CO2 you can great CO2 saturation AND oxygen saturation simultaneously. Call me crazy for saying so, but my (limited) experience with CO2 over the last 2 years has proven this time and time again.

    And finally, before you ever get the fish home make sure you've arranged for some places of refuge (hiding places) for the new fish to run. They are strangers in that new tank and they are going to be nervous and wary of predators. Giving them somewhere safe to hide from unfamiliar tank buddies will greatly reduce their stress.

    Hope that helps!
     
  5. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Tommy & Chris,

    Thanks for the info and tips. I will use them next time. I need to take a breather after "stressing" and losing so many of my new fish the last couple of days, but I'm sure I'll be ready to try another order of fish soon. I really had beginners luck with my first 20 fish -- I even had a cardinal tetra get stuck in the input of my filter and practially mutilate himself trying to get out -- incredibly, he survived, after a couple of days of some listlessness. So, guess I was thinking I would never lose a fish, except to old age. Well, the last couple of days were a rude wakeup call. :(
     
  6. atrixnet

    atrixnet Prolific Poster

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    I'm really sorry about your lost fish. I hate that. You live, you learn. The more you allow yourself the chance to learn from the mistakes and experience of others, the fewer mistakes you make and the more experience you gain for yourself. You're on the right track by seeking out information in good places.

    Again, I'm really sorry about your fish. That sux. Don't beat yourself up about it though. You'll be fine and you'll do great next time. Keep seeking information and get all the knowledge you can.
     
  7. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Tommy,

    I'm a little confused about where the hospital tank ends and the regular tank begins. Do the fish stay in the hospital tank for 3 days?

    I think I'll just set up a permanently running hospital tank.
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I use a small well run/taken care of 20 gal planted tank to fatten all the fish and as Q tank.

    I think if the fish eat well, the types of foods I fed, and I can get them to several 4-6 X a day, then they will do pretty good. I 50 Cards, 60 amano shrimp, 40 cherries, 25 Blue shrimps and 30 cordy panda.

    Here's a pic:

    [​IMG]

    This tank has a high load, but I change the water 2x a week and have carbon and zeolite as well as good sized filter.

    But, EI is not a strict thing, you can reduce the amounts.
    Better to start high and reduce till you see a negative aspect, then starting out limited and stunted.

    There is no one target for all method.
    You get in the ball park then tweak a little here and there.

    If you have a high fish load and feed often, you will not need as much N and P.

    You will still need some to get optimality out of the plants. But this should never come close to being stressful, for the livestock.

    Common sense applies.
    I dose fairly high, on the upper ranges, then reduce it a little from there and see how things go.

    Keeping a good eye, doing the water changes consistently, watching the plants, feed the fish well etc and see how it goes. Do so slowly, do not make changes fast. Give a change about 3 weeks, which is pretty short to test a plant's response.

    Then evaluate.

    Regards,
    tom Barr
     
  9. atrixnet

    atrixnet Prolific Poster

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    The hospital tank ends after the 10 second exposure to methylene blue. Fish are immediately removed and moved to the main tank after that.

    Now Tom Barr brought up the topic of longer-term quarantining. If you want to set up a quarantine tank to keep them in for a few weeks before moving to the main tank, sure, you can do that. Some people don't have the luxury of a full blown quarantine tank. But if you do, they can be a very good tool. Here's why:

    The 2 main reasons for a q tank (as I see it) are to keep new fish from getting eaten/beaten/killed while still tiny and new in the world (new fish are often young and easy prey for bigger fish), and to observe new fish for sickness and contain disease there in the q tank if there is an outbreak amongst the new arrivals (it's a lot more common for new fish to get disease than those veterans of an established tank). So in short, a q tank protects your new fish from your older fish, and your older fish from your new fish until it's deemed safe to expose them to each other. :p

    Do you HAVE to set up a longer-term quarantine tank? Uhhhhm I'd say it's not critical. I don't have the luxury of doing it at this particular living space where I presently reside. There's no room, and the missus won't have it. I pull a spare ten gallon aquarium out from under the sink and put it to use for only the hour or so that my process takes. My fish do fine without the long-term quarantine tank process; I've had a few fatalities in new fish groups now and then--everybody does with new arrivals, but in 4 years I've never had disease in any aquarium but for my very first 5 gallon tank, and since then no fatalities amongst my livestock either. You could say I'm lucky, or maybe one could conclude that I must be doing /SOMETHING/ right at least.

    Do I advocate full-scale quarantine tanking? Yes I do. Enthusiastically. But I'm not going to tell you that you MUST use one or the polar ice caps will melt and the earth will descend into mass panic and everyone will die, especially your fish...? Nope. Just think about the principles of new acclimation and you'll be able to formulate your own process for the introduction of new fish into your aquarium(s)...

    1) Minimize stress - give fish the very best environment during and after the transition to the new tank
    2) Maximize health - Kill bacteria, disease, fungus

    If you read through the tips I originally laid out, you'll see where those two principles come into play and why.

    CAVEAT EMPTOR!
    Take all this with the proviso that these are the practices that work for me. I'm not by any stretch a member of the guru team, nor a turbo expert, nor a sage experienced wise veteran of the art of fish husbandry. I just stand on the shoulders of those giants and do pretty well using their knowledge and recommendations, at least most of the time :)
     
  10. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Thanks, Tom & Tommy...

    Thanks for the caveat emptor warning, Tommy, but not necessary with me. I take full responsibility for everything I choose to do -- no exceptions. :)

    You know, Tom, you may have hit on a big part of the problem when you mentioned about eating "the types of food I feed." The first several hours the embers were schooling with the cardinals and looked quite happy. At feeding time, they got all excited and chased the food around, but they never ate any of it that I could tell -- usually racing up to it and turning around, occasionally taking it in their mouths and spitting it out. I tried high-quality flakes (crushed by me), NLS small fish formula and even frozen brine shrimp. I didn't know anything else to try. Perhaps they were not eating because of stress, but perhaps they didn't like my food. I'm sure that starving did not help the situation. Next time, I'll ask the vendor what they feed the fish I order from them.
     
  11. Mooner

    Mooner Lifetime Charter Member
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    Would you rather medicate a 5-10 gal tank or a 90 gal:eek:

    IMHO you or anyone should use a q tank for new fish. Why take a chance with your best tank by adding new fish. How hard can it be to find a single sq ft for a q tank. Search this forum for all the people that have asked how to cure their large planted tank after adding new fish:confused:

    I keep new fish in the bare bottom q tank for no less three weeks. If an outbreak has occurred, I've used a diatom and no meds. Paid for the diatom with what was save on meds.

    Anyway, hang in there:D
     
  12. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Chris, I now have a 5G quarantine tank... :D
     
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