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View Full Version : please help my loaches retain their mortal coil!!



smooba
01-29-2008, 07:16 AM
Ok... PANIC TIME!!!!

Sweet Jesus... just when I thought I was getting the hang of this... I get XXXXXXXXX slapped from above!

My 30 litre tank with 6 loaches in it has some problems. It all started when I recently added a Burmese border loach (polka dot loach etc). He's a spaz and likes to swim up the water return pipe from the pump. Not just nose around in it... but all the way up until you can't see him. You can hear the pump start to gurgle and freak out... and then the minute you walk over to the tank he pops back out... wriggling his way back out the way he went he in. I put it down to just wanting to cram himself into as small space as possible and enjoying going against the current of the pump.

I was worried he was going to snag a fin doing this or just get stuck where I couldn't get him out... so I took a good close look at him in the tank... he swam right up to side and layed down with a guilty look... and what did I see?!

Tiny little white spots on the surface of his skin.
ICH!!!!
I took a good look and sure enough... I bought him with a very tiny companion and the much smaller (1/2") looks fine. No sign of Ich... but then I began to take a very close look at the other Clown loaches in the tank... and sure enough... some tiny but very definite signs of Ich on one or two as well. I then took a look at the much larger Pearl Gourami pair I have... no Ich at all... and my big suckermouth Catfish... no Ich either.

But at this point... I reckon the tank has Ich so they all are bound to come down with it and need a treatment. So off to the fish store I went... bear in mind I live in Hong Kong... so often getting fish gear is more about selling you whatever they think they can fob off on you than what you actually need. But anyhow... I picked up bottle of Distinct-C. The med for treating Ich or 'white spot'... The directions state to use 10 drops per litre of the tank... so

Tank capacity formula:
length X width X water level (in inches) divided by 62 = litres of water
(my tank is 17X11X10 to equal 30litres)

Dosage & Applications:
30 ltr. tank X 10 drops per 10 liters = 30 drops of Distinct-C medication

Coincidentally I just added a heater to bring up the tank temp after a long while it being too cold and all the fish being sluggish. I turned the heater on yesterday and brought it up from 70 fahrenheit to the current temp of 82 fahrenheit over the last 24 hours. I tried to do it gradually because I didn't want to shock them.

Is 82 degrees Fahrenheit stressing them out?
Was the increase over 24 hours too much for them?
Should I drop it down to something lower?

Because of the addition of the heater there was a massive improvement in activity in the tank. The fish were going like nuts! Just clowning around... even the Gourami's got in on the act... so last night about 11pm when I went to bed... everything was find... switched the light in the tank off... and the fish were still goofing about. Everyone was just fine. Last image I had was the catfish coming out of hiding to roam the tank like he usually does during the night... literally the last image I saw as I dozed off was that of the catfish... gliding up to the surface and around the pump.... like he always did.

This morning when I woke up... to my surprise the tank was subdued... temp still the same... and catfish was still up top.
WHAT!??!
He never does that... so I took a closer look. He was just sitting there. Not sucking on anything... just sitting there... so I moved my finger by the glass... enough normally to get him to run away... but nothing. No response. I used the net to prod him... nothing.

The catfish has shuffled of this mortal coil. XXXX
He was a dead as door nail. I picked him out of the tank and the poor fellow was done. He had two big white spots on his stomach/underside. One smaller... one larger... not Ich... not on the surface... but almost from the inside out. An ulcer of some sort?

Was this caused by the medication?

On top of a dead catfish... all the fish are crazy subdued. From a circus atmosphere to a funeral parlor. Total dullsville today. On closer look... the Burmese border loach is not moving... on the bottom and rapidly breathing. I mean like crazy. So fast that he could win a prize. That's not good. The Clowns haven't even budged but have just sat on the bottom all day. Lights on and temp up... not even moving... just sitting there looking glum. Everyone except the Gourami's are on the bottom breathing rapidly - I mean like crazy rapid... I'm afraid they might not make it through the day. I took out several cup fulls of tank water to increase oxygenation by the action of the pump water return but that's had seemingly no effect..

Bad news!
GAAAH!!!!!

What to do?

I'm guessing to cut the med dose in half?

Or perhaps wait a day?

Should I change the water by 50% again?!

I'm worried a change to the new cooler water (at least until it adjusts) will stress the fish even further. Is it possible to heat the water in the microwave to just around the 80 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid stressing them?!

Man this has had me stressed all day. Those poor little fellas were happy as yesterday... and today... it's requiem time with everyone is triage.

If I forgot anything or you need any more info... please let me know.

cheers,
smooba

smooba
01-29-2008, 10:16 AM
XXXXX I came home from the gym and one of the Clown loaches has bitten the dust. Man that makes me angry... They were so keen yesterday and today they are hurtin'.

I'm fast suspecting its a combo of the medicine and the temperature change over 24 hours. The loach had a funny white spot on the side where he was laying on the sand... again from the inside out... not similar to a blotch of Ich.

I'm beginning to wonder if this medication doesn't cause them to ulcerate or something?

Hopefully someone with more experience can come on and post up something.

cheers,
smooba

crackatinny
01-29-2008, 10:21 AM
Most medications recomend with skinned fish like catfish and loaches to only use half dose, is there anything like that on the bottle?

Dave66
01-29-2008, 10:25 AM
Damn it. I came home from the gym and one of the Clown loaches has bitten the dust. Man that makes me angry... They were so keen yesterday and today they are hurtin'.

I'm fast suspecting its a combo of the medicine and the temperature change over 24 hours. The loach had a funny white spot on the side where he was laying on the sand... again from the inside out... not similar to a blotch of Ich.

I'm beginning to wonder if this medication doesn't cause them to ulcerate or something?

Hopefully someone with more experience can come on and post up something.

cheers,
smooba

smooba,
You never, ever use full strength medication with scaleless fish like those Botia. Full strength burns their skin, and as you've seen, can kill them.
Always use half-doses of medication with loaches and other scaleless fish. Make take longer to eradicate the parasite, but at least your loaches will be alive at the end of it.
Make sure to put fresh carbon into your filter to remove residual medication when the loaches are cured, and do a 50 percent water change as well.
Google drip acclimation. You should practice it if you buy more loaches, as they are far, far less likely to be vulnerable to the Ich parasite that way.

Dave

sailor
01-29-2008, 01:30 PM
Sorry to hear of your problems and losses. Loaches are very supseptable to ich. Are you using a quarentine tank for any new fish purchases? I agree with Dave, use that drip method for any new aquisitions. I always try aquarium salt and higher tank temps to battle any ich. I hope you get it under control and don't lose anymore fish.

smooba
01-29-2008, 04:22 PM
Hi guys... thanks for all the insight and information so far. I don't know what I was thinking when I cracked open that bottle of medication. Damn. I really did a job on the the poor little fellas. One minute happy and swimming... the next dead on the bottom.

So here's the update:

I lost two more of the clown loaches and the large Burmese border loach... so add that to yesterdays carnage of one loach and catfish... and I'm not doing so hot. Sigh... what a boneheaded move.

The root of this is in my childhood. When I was a kid I had a fish and it got Ich... it died fast because I was too little to know what Ich was and my parents weren't going to be bothered to traipse down to the store to spend money on fish medicine after working a 12 hours shift. Fish died... got flushed... end of story. Now some 20 some odd years later I just panicked when I saw one or two little white spots and overreacted ran off and bought the meds and proceeded to kill off half of my tank.

Head meet brick wall.

So... I did a 50% water change... added the charcoal filter again... I was worried about drastically cutting down the medicine in the tank so I figured a 50% change and using the charcoal filter would be best. Since I'll have to toss out that charcoal anyhow... I might as well use it to at least get the fish up on their legs and then medicate again with a lighter dosage of the medicine. So does that sound about right?
I think the best course of action is to go with half or less of the recommended dosage with this Ich medicine... remove the charcoal filter at the time and see how they do.
I don't care if they have a few white spots for longer if I can save the remaining fish in the long run.

Does that sound like a realistic plan?

FWIW - my two Pearl Gourami have never been happier or healthier. They're just a playful as ever and it's such a major contrast to my sick little loaches.
Ok... I'll post in the AM and let you know who makes it.

PS...
I'll also set up a Q-tank and read up on the 'drip acclimation'.
Thanks again.

smooba
01-30-2008, 05:10 AM
Ok.. woke up and so far the rest of the tank is still alive. The Pearl Gourami's are still fine as ever. Cruising around and playing in the current of the water return. Not a single change in their behavior. I'm attributing this to that they are a scaled fish as opposed to a skin type fish (loach, cat etc.) So they probably dealt with the medicine far better.

The 3 remaining Clown loaches seem to be getting a tad better. A bit more movement and less hyperventilation. But still not back to 100%. Not even close.

The smaller Burmese border loach is still alive but hasn't moved a micron since yesterday. And he's still hyperventilating like mad. I don't think he's long for the tank. Sadly.

Even though I can only see a spot or two of Ich on the clown loaches I'm now reluctant to add more medication. I think I'll wait another day before I add a 1/4 or 1/2 dose and I'll remove the charcoal filter again.

The irony of killing off my fish with medicine while trying to help them through a bout of Ich isn't lost on me. :(

fraggle
01-30-2008, 09:47 AM
smooba,
You said that the direction said to use 10 drops per litre of water right? So if your tank is 30 litres, shouldn't that be 300 drops? As in 30L x 10 drops = 300? If that is so, then haven't you UNDERdosed the tank? Even if you are only meant to use 1/2 for loaches etc? If you only used 30 drops and you were meant to use 300, (or 150 as the case maybe) then it would hardly have touched them at all would it?
Someone correct me here if I'm wrong, don't want smooba to be over killing the fish, but that's what I worked out.

Hope they make it through!

smooba
01-30-2008, 01:20 PM
smooba,
You said that the direction said to use 10 drops per litre of water right? So if your tank is 30 litres, shouldn't that be 300 drops? As in 30L x 10 drops = 300? If that is so, then haven't you UNDERdosed the tank? Even if you are only meant to use 1/2 for loaches etc? If you only used 30 drops and you were meant to use 300, (or 150 as the case maybe) then it would hardly have touched them at all would it?
Someone correct me here if I'm wrong, don't want smooba to be over killing the fish, but that's what I worked out.

Hope they make it through!

Sorry my bad... that was a typo. I was seriously confused there for a second!
I just went and double checked and recalculated the dosage and then re-read the instructions and realized I dosed correctly for scaled fish... and it is indeed 10 drop of meds per 10 litres of water. I changed the above post to reflect that so in case anyone read that and dose to 300 drops.

No doubt that'd have killed everything in the tank. :(

It seems that very slowly the remaining tank is coming around... at this point that is:

2 Pearl Gourami's

3 Clown loaches

1 Burmese border loach

Though I wonder if the border loach will pull through... he's still hyperventilating like mad. I'm sure he can't keep that up for long. The clown loaches have had their heads and nose turn black. A bit on the upper and lower parts of the tail as well.

smooba
01-30-2008, 01:23 PM
Most medications recomend with skinned fish like catfish and loaches to only use half dose, is there anything like that on the bottle?

I went back and checked this (I actually did check it before) and there is nothing in the instructions regarding non-scaled fish or loaches. On the instruction sheet.. or on the bottle label or on the box. I didn't expect there to be actually... it's locally made. It's still my fault for not doing my research before just kneejerk medicating the fish. :(

Lady Hobbs
01-30-2008, 02:27 PM
Clown loaches are suspectible to ick. They are crawling around on the bottom of the tank where the ick hatches.

I would just use salt or half doses of meds as stated above.

I have also edited your posts for swearing.

jbeining75
01-30-2008, 02:29 PM
Problem might be stuffing 6 clown loach into a 30 litre tank. They are goona need room. Like 700 litres.

fraggle
01-31-2008, 06:54 AM
I think we've all knee jerked at some point in time smooba! I wanted some melafix the other day and the shops were all closed for a long weekend, so would have had to wait 3 days, so decided to make my own. That was a bit of a risk as I didn't know what else they may have put in it! So that was a bit of a knee jerk from me too, but it worked out well.

Hope your lot all pull through mate!

jbeining75
01-31-2008, 07:09 AM
Good luck with the tank and hopefully it will get better

seamajor
02-02-2008, 10:49 AM
We've all had losses ...doing what you're doing is the answer... ask questions and learn. Your passion for you fish is great but don't be too hard on yourself...I bet you'll never have this problem again!

smooba
02-02-2008, 11:47 AM
Yeah the problems seem to have come to a slow stop. The Ich appears to be gone. It's just unfortunate that I had to accidentally kill of most of my Clown loaches and others in the process. It's left me with a tank that has 2 Pearl Gourami's, 2 Clown Loaches and 1 Burmese Border Loach.

I've now added in a new bag of charcoal to the filter to get rid of the rest of the medication and I've done partial water changes twice since everything went chaotic on me.

In terms of crowding... my loaches are still relatively tiny so they've got plenty of room to grow before they begin to feel crowded in this tank I suspect. Though if anyone knows of a good rule of thumb for tank size/number of fish then by all means I'm open to suggestions.

At the moment they're approx. only about 1.25" from nose to tail. I'd read that they prefer to be kept in groups... and I've noticed they're quite skittish now that there are only two of them... where as before they were rather silly and bold. At any rate... getting a larger tank isn't much of problem and I don't think they got the Ich because of crowding... I suspect the Ich came as a result of adding new fish (the Burmese loaches) into the mix the wrong way - eg. no quarantine tanke/drip acclimatization.

I'll post up any news if things go screwy in the next couple of days or so. If not... I'm going to go ahead and start setting up another larger tank and I'll find a hardy fish to help cycle the tank before I move the existing fish, loaches and all... then perhaps you the smaller tank as my quarantine tank.

The Gourami's seemed rather hardly little fish... anyone know if they're good to cycle a new tank with prior to introducing new fish/plants etc.?

cheers,
smooba

fraggle
02-03-2008, 01:13 AM
At least things seem to have settled down for you smooba, sorry you lost the ones you did.

If you are getting a bigger tank, and the fish you've got are alright in the tank you have, why don't you try a "fishless cycle", there is a good sticky on it in the beginners forum.

In regards to how many fish, I got told the 1" per gallon rule, but to make it complicated, it was measure the fish length x height x width, so that the little fish, like the neons or something say, are 1" x 1/8" x 1/16 inch, so they don't actually take up a gallon, and you can fit more of them that a single 1" to a gallon, so that's why the bigger fish such as the oscars etc need more, as the might only be 10" in length, but you couldn't keep them in 10 gallons of water, they would be 10" long, 4" height, and 1.5" wide, so that would equal 60! And it depend on how messy the fish are too, as 1 big oscar is going to produce more waste that a dozen neons say.
Hope that makes sense or you can understand what I'm on about! lol

jbeining75
02-03-2008, 01:16 AM
Sorry for your losses hopefully you get the tank under control.... Good luck....