View Full Version : Why is nothing ever simple?

03-19-2007, 06:43 PM
I understand the value of frequent water changes, but after finishing my cycle with a water change (first tank), I decided to follow my tank through a one month period without a water change - I monitored all the parameters to make sure that chemically the tank was in good shape and I was prepared to do a water change the moment anything went wrong.

The readings were all excellent and even the nitrates never rose to dangerous levels. My algae was nuts, but it was like that when my cycle finished. I was watching the water flow from my filter to ensure that it was maintained as needed to keep the flow strong enough to aerate the tank, and I topped up my water as necessary.

However, my fish started to look less than ideal - two of my Danios are looking hollow bellied. The eyes are looking strange - the smallest Danio appears to have gone blind and my largest Danio appears to be blind in only one eye - I don't know if they got into a fight or if it is the water. My smallest Danio also started to swim very erratically and and even upside down without any apparent control over his body - I thought I had lost him.

I did an immediate water change of about 25% (I only had enough prepared water to cover a 20% water change, I have since added another jug to hold more water for larger water changes when necessary), and removed the filter cartridge (I still have a filter foam covering the intake which I replace frequently). I dosed with Aquari-sol and Melafix and cranked up the heat. My smallest Danio seems to have picked up a great deal after that and is eating. Since the initial water change I fed my fish with thawed blood worms - my Betta doesn't care for them, but the others loved it after the smallest one ate the first one. At this time I noticed that some of my Danios have an unusual texture to their skin, I am thinking Velvet - it is like a fine brown dust on them, and a little on my Betta as well.

I picked up some General-Cure capsules (which works with Melafix) and some Pima-Fix (which I am not using yet). On Sunday (two days after the first WC), I did another 25% water change and dosed with one General-Cure capsul, one Tbsp of Aquarium Salt, and one tsp of Melafix (but NOT the Aquari-Sol). I will be giving them a second capsul on Monday and then doing another water change and putting in a fresh cartridge into my filter.

This morning my fish appear to be in pretty decent shape. My smallest Danio is swimming in circles (and has been for a few days now) and may be hiding, but he also likes to play near the filter intake and in amongst the fake plants so it is hard to tell.

My Platys previously alternated over who had clamped fins, and it is the male's turn now, but the clamped fins is not constant. Their eyes also seem strange with black rims around them. I am hoping that my treatments will help their eyes as well as whatever else is going on in that tank.

I have not seen any gasping at the surface or the bottom, not a lot of hiding other than from more aggressive fish (until they decide to change roles), the only shimmy appears to occur when they are riding the wake of the filter. Two are really fat (both female) with no signs of eggs or live young, but no scales protruding and these ones appear to be very active, eating very well, and showing no other signs of distress.

I hope that I am doing everything right. If I missed something let me know.

03-19-2007, 07:22 PM
One of the purposes of a water change is to replace all the nutrients, and to replace the "burned out water".

03-21-2007, 03:32 AM
My Danios and Betta appear to be rusty - probably Velvet. I am dosing with General-Cure (by the makers of Melafix).

Two appear to be hollow-bellied, a third may be heading that way. Also dosing with Melafix and thawed frozen brine shrimp and blood worms.

Eyes are strange, may be pop-eye. The smallest Danio appears blind, has hollow belly, rusty and is swimming in tight circles constantly and seems to be developing mouth fungus, but it is hard to tell. The largest Danio (greedy guts) appears to have lost or is otherwise blind in one eye, but seems otherwise healthy, is still somewhat aggressive and feeds well.

The smaller Danios all appear to have some reddening around the gills.

The Platys seem to be find, their eyes were looking a little strange but seem to be a little more normal now.

Fins are all fine, no lesions or growths.

I have have an email into the makers of Melafix to see if I can add the Pimafix while also treating with General-Cure - if anyone has had any luck with this let me know.


Lady Hobbs
03-21-2007, 10:19 AM
Sounds to me like your fish are all suffering from the lasting results of high ammonia and nitrites. The toxic levels of these two can take some time to do damage to your fish. They don't all die immediately but their immune systems have been very weakened and the results are lasting.

It's common for fish used to cycle a tank to get ICK, baterial infections and fin rot later on.

Water changes are important! It's the same as us having to breathe the same dirty air over and over. A month without a water change is much too long.

03-21-2007, 10:41 AM
I agree, even if you aren't seeing high nitrates you need to replenish your water with fresh water thru water changes weekly. There are nutrients and hormones in the water that we cannot test for (at least the average aquarist can't as far as I know) and you need to remove some and replenish others. Plus, if you have live plants, they will use up some of those nitrates you need to remove making your readings much lower, correct me if I am wrong here plant people.
Did you cycle this tank with these fish, or do fishless cycle? As Hobbs said, prolonged exposure to the toxins that are necessary for cycling will cause health problems later on. Do your water changes regularly and you should see fewer problems in the future.
Yes, Pimafix can be used along with Melafix, and I believe it says so right on the bottle. Be cautious in medicating though as many issues can be resolved with larger more frequent water changes. Besides, alot of medications will kill off that biological filter you just got a month ago. Mela/Pimafix won't do that.

03-22-2007, 02:03 AM
My readings were all good, but the Zebra Danios were the fish I cycled with. I knew that I could use Pimafix with Melafix, but General-Cure only mentions that it is safe with bacterial related products, no mention of anti-fungal meds. I have finished my General-Cure but I don't know if I should do a water change the first day after or the second day after the last capsule - it says to wait two days between doses.

I have already done two 25% water changes before adding the General-Cure, and will be doing one more water change before adding my fresh filter cartridge.

There is no sign of Ick or fin-rot. And only two seem to be showing any signs of distress in terms of behavior, one milder than the other.

My Betta is showing some signs of stress, redness around the eyes and colour getting paler that usual, I did not cycle with this one, but he may not be appreciating the meds I am using for the others.

I don't have any plants and I have kept my aeration up and topped up with fresh water throughout.

I may have to consider euthanizing the smallest, but I don't want to rush into anything. The little guy is swimming in circles (not a good sign) and scooting around the bottom of the tank and then around the top and around the plants.

03-22-2007, 10:36 AM
I agree on the melafix and pimafix together, but I would continue daily water changes of about 25%, stress coat and maybe some salt if your fish can tolerate it.

03-22-2007, 06:35 PM
I have added one Tbsp of salt to my 10g tank, and I have previously added salt - I hope that they can all handle it, but I don't know if I can go too high with a Betta.

Is Stress Coat the same as Aqua-Plus? The only difference in the description seems to be the addition of Aloe-Vera. I have Aqua-Plus at home and a bottle of Stress Coat at my work (it's my bottle and I can bring it home as required).

I will be doing another water change per the instructions of General-Cure, and inserting a fresh filter-cartridge with carbon (to help remove the remaining General-Cure from my water).

I will start adding Pima-Fix after that. With Pima-Fix and Mela-Fix, is it ok to keep the filter cartridge with carbon in place, or should I remove it again for another go with the Pima-Fix?

Also, I have already been dosing with Mela-Fix for several days now. Is there a problem with extending its use. I know what the bottle says, but practical experience is not always the same.

Lady Hobbs
03-25-2007, 05:11 PM
You have had about everything go wrong that can go wrong. In a tank of that size, the water is very condensed which makes the ammonia and nitrite levels much higher than in a larger tank.

Probably the only fish that could survive an uncycled tank of that size would be the danio's and even those can not survive terribly high levels of toxins.

When you try to cycle with fish (which is not fun) you have to do small daily water changes to remove some of the toxins. Some claim this slows the cycle down but I haven't found this to be true in my case. Most of your growing bacteria lives in the filter media and in the gravel and I have never found doing water changes a detriment in the cycling process. If it does slow down the cycle process, it doesn't by more than a few days so I opt to do the changes and save the fish personally.

(Personally, when I got into this fish business, I got messed up by cleaning the gravel with is a huge NO NO which I didn't know at that time. This obviously messed me up) I finally left the darned thing alone and did only my testing daily. If the ammonia was over 1.5-2. I would change out about 25% of the water and always make sure it's dechlorinated.

I also think you have too many fish in there and certainly for a tank trying to cycle. What I would do if I were you was to remove the Betta to a large vase or bowl. And remove to another tank whatever fish you can and only leave the danio's to finish this cycle process.

You may possibly have had a completed cycle but too many fish were added at once which set the tank back again? You can only add about 2 fish once a week in a tank that size. And not many at that. And a major mistake was not to do water changes for a month. Even in a well cycled tank, water changes should be part of a weekly schedule and at most.....10 days to 2 weeks. Fish can not live in old stale water and need these changes. This is like 10 people trying to all live in a closet together and breathing only comtaminated air.

A newly cycled tank is very touchy the first 3 months. They can be set-back very easily so very mininual gravel cleaning can be done. And if you clean the gravel, leave the filter alone. If you change the filter, leave the gravel alone. Don't do too much changing all at once.

Are you removing the charcoal for all these medications you're adding? Use them all as recommended then replace the charcoal again and let it run for a few days to remove it from the water and do water changes before adding anything else.

Salt remains in the tank and is only removed with water changes.