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Effects of malachite green/formalin on plants

Discussion in 'Fish for Planted Tanks' started by Carissa, Dec 24, 2007.

  1. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Hi,
    I'm dealing with a mysterious illness in my tank and although I've been pretty iffy on adding any types of medications because of the plants, it's to the point that if fish keep dying off I'll have to consider doing something. It started with a recurrent case of ich which I think I have completely under control now, at least I've had no symptoms in three weeks, but then suddenly within the past three days I've lost a pleco and a cory. They both started showing swim bladder problems and in the case of the cory, his barbels showed internal bleeding, and died within 24 hours of showing symptoms. There is no reason that I can see for this as far as water chemistry goes, all parameters are normal and healthy and I'm doing my regular water changes. It's been suggested that I could have some kind of parasite so I was just wondering if adding malachite green and formalin will kill my plants, or what meds I could add without endangering the plants. I am going to wait until I see another fish get sick before I do add anything in case it was coincidence with the two fish that just died.
     
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Carissa,

    I have used Mardel products for many years with planted tanks to treat ick with no ill effects on the plants and good results for the fish.

    The product name for ick is currently Maracide and a main active ingredient is malachite green.

    I do not know about formalin and plants.......

    I understand that corys are more sensitive to meds than others, so I dose about 80-90% since I have about 2 dozen of them...... they all come through fine.

    I would at least feel safe recommending their other products based on this experience, but do not know if they have something specific to swim bladder issues. I wasn't aware that this condition is contagious?

    What 'symptoms' did they display? Did they seem disoriented, or just twirling around?

    Could the bloody barbells be more caused by the fish in distress and rubbing/hitting gravel,rocks,etc as it careens about the tank?

    Have you changed your filter media recently? any disruption to the nitrogen cycle?

    How old are your fish? I know we sometimes forget how long we have had them and the older ones will be more susceptible to disease.

    Have you changed ANYTHING no matter how minor in the last 6 weeks?

    Hope this helps.

    P.S. On a completely unrelated note:

    Merry Xmas to all!
     
  3. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    I have had the cories for about 6 weeks, the pleco about 5 months so they are young.

    This past week I did my water change as normal on Wednesday, my regular 50% water change. I added in all my ferts except nitrate since I already have enough nitrate. I did not add the calcium chloride and epsom salts that I normally do add to keep the GH around 30 for the plants, I forgot. I did dechlorinate the water and it was the same temperature roughly. I didn't do anything else any different from normal. I also changed the solution in my two co2 bottles and co2 production went up quite a bit from what it previously was. My drop checker was green.

    The next morning I noticed that my pleco wasn't acting quite normal, he was sitting in somewhat odd positions in the tank and wasn't active. I added some algae wafers and he showed minimal interest which was unusual. Later on he wouldn't move and when I would touch him with the net he would swim but couldn't seem to maintain buoyancy properly. He didn't swim around much though for me to really see what was going on, but I knew he was sick. I did an immediate 25% water change, thinking that something must have gone wrong with the previous one. I also added in the epsom salts and calcium chloride. He died later that day. The rest of the fish seemed unaffected.

    Then yesterday (this being 5 days after the original water change) I noticed that one of my cories wasn't very active either. Then I found him burrowed under some rocks. He also couldn't swim upright and I could see some blood inside one of his barbels like there was internal bleeding. I removed him and put him in a hospital tank and treated him with Jungle Fungus clear (which has antibiotics in it). He died today. After death I saw that both of his barbels had blood showing on them, and there was nothing in the hospital tank for him to have gotten hurt on so it must be a symptom of whatever is wrong. The rest of the fish still appear fine including my other cory.

    So to me it seems reasonable that it was not something with the water change, that it was coincidence. If it was, you would see symptoms in more than one fish, happening at the same time, not a fish starting symptoms 5 days after the water change. Also, I don't think it's particularly something environmental, because only one cory got sick; if it were an environmental stress I would think that both fish of the same type would be exhibiting symptoms even if no other fish were affected. Ammonia, nitrite, are 0 and I haven't done anything out of the ordinary with the filter or any other drastic changes to the tank.

    So if I eliminate the water change and some environmental factor, I'm left with disease. Not that those other things couldn't play into it, but the root factor must be some type of disease to fit both cases. At this point I'm just hoping I won't see any other symptoms and it will go away...

    The only other thing that I can think of, and it's a long shot, is that I changed my co2 bottles. But the co2 level can't be near enough to cause co2 poisoning, at least I wouldn't think so. And I would think that it would affect all fish, not just one here and there. And I didn't think that co2 poisoning would cause swim bladder problems either. My drop checker has been fading from bluish green to lighter green but has definitely never gotten to yellow.
     
  4. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Well, I'm officially going back to using salt. I never had these kinds of problems when I used to use salt all the time, but I stopped because everyone said it was bad for plants. Then I got ich, twice, for the first time ever, had fish that were flashing, had some weird unexplainable deaths, and now this. So salt is now returning. :)

    I've got the remaining cory in a hospital tank with malachite green, formalin, and jungle fungus clear. He's not acting funny yet but his finnage doesn't look so good. I've also increased the temp on the main tank to try to kill any parasites or what have you that could be causing the issues along with the salt.
     
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