Jump to content


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About new2fish

  • Rank
    New Member

Profile Information

  • Location
  1. Hi! But also Help!!!!

    Thank you, thank you everybody. I love the support that you are giving me...... Am down to 4 Danios. On the upside, the snails are doing OK. These are "mystery" snails from PetSmart (I take it that "LFS" = Local Fish Store?). I have tried necropsying these little bodies - hard to do! Gill wet mounts appear normal; no blunting and no parasites. Opening up their tiny bodies and finding colon is much harder - I essentially get all the "guts" and look. One fish had what looked to be "eggs", but that was 1 of 3. I think if that was real, all would have parasites, so it may not have been "real". As an aside, all of the Danios that I have bought came from the same tank at PS, so if something is wrong with the fish, it would be wrong with ALL the fish (they've been together for a long time). Jvision: thank you so much for answering some questions that I had. I didn't understand *why* such a large water change, if nitrogen issues are under control. And I didn't realize that I should use the amount of Prime for the entire tank, as John had suggested. Am planning a 50% change today. The Hydor filter is a canister. I have the return bar set so there is a lot of agitation at the surface. I also hypothesized a lack of oxygen issue, but the fish have never been seen to be "gasping at the surface". They just......die. Usually overnight, so I just find the little corpses somewhere on the bottom. Your description of my plant changes also makes sense. The outside leaves often turn clear, and fall away, but some of the plants are starting new, green growth at the center. I do have a Java Fern attached to a branch, which is the healthiest of them all. The other names I do not know. The snails, when active, are mowing down the brown algae. There is a large one, Hank (is it wrong to name your aquarium friends?) leaves a lovely swirling pattern in the muck. I had turned the temperature down a bit, and they got sluggish. But turned it back up a notch, and they are sliding around the tank, munching. The tank lights are on when the clinic is open, but this varies from day to day (some days we're open 12 hours). There is a lot of natural light, though. So I'm going to get a timer and decrease to about 10 hours. Question - If my algae growth diminishes, will I have to feed the snails something else? What else do they eat? Bart: how do I contact you privately? would love more plants, as well as more expert advice. Damien: I agree whole-heartedly that something is wrong with this tank. At first I thought it was just my inexperience, but sheesh, I've had tanks before, and have NEVER had this problem. The sand/substrate was bought at Big Al's. Sorry, I don't know the brand name (may still have the original receipt, but it would be at the clinic). I did not wash it prior to putting it in. Is there any specific "toxin" that you may be thinking of? Anything that could be tested for? I have also considered that it may be causing a problem, but made the assumption, that since it was sold in a LFS, and for aquarium use, that it was safe. I have never used sand before (just gravel), but thought this would "look nice". After the algae bloom settled, and the great fish die-off started, I was taking water samples to Big Al's. On the test strip, there was always a faint colour change of the Chlorine indicator. This persisted. We weren't sure if it was perhaps cross-over from fluoride, which was in the distilled water that I had used. After that I went back to water changes with tap water. BUT fluoride is in tap water as well, so this made no sense to me. I continued to test the water with strips that I had bought from PS, and this did persist. I tested the tap water: negative. I tested water in a bucket with just the rocks in it (after a week, to see if they were leaching Cl): negative. I did the same with the substrate: negative. But after I switched the testing method to a colourimetric indicator (a test kit for pools / spas) I NEVER got even a hint of a colour change (I know that these tests are meant to measure higher concentrations of Cl, but the water always tested perfectly clear, so "0"). However, I still wonder if that may be a hint of the problem. There has never been any cleaning with bleach, or anything that would add Cl to the tank. And doesn't Prime bind Chlorine? I also thought that a tank this big could support more starter fish. Had as many as 14 Danios just before Christmas (I thought maybe some of the "stress" for these schooling fish might be because they were in an ever-diminishing school). All but 1 died. Then I added the last 9 that PS had. And we're down to 4. I will take the heater out today during the water change, and look for issues. Am I looking just for a small crack in the glass, for example? Would love to have you come and look at the tank, and aid with the troubleshooting. It would really suck if there is something really obvious, that I have overlooked. How would we arrange this? We are in south Edmonton (@Ellerslie Pet Hospital). Cheers, Kate
  2. Hi! But also Help!!!!

    Thank you John and Bart. John, I "fished" a little body out yesterday, prepared to look at gills and poop. But I think it had been dead and hidden for quite some time - it really just fell apart during my necropsy attempt. And I also didn't realize how tiny those little Danios are. I felt very clumsy handling it, even with magnification. Will try again (hopefully won't have to) on a fresher corpse. Bart, I love your suggestions of using plants to decrease water changes. Also, would love any freebies. Am wondering if you are around South Edmonton?. I have a question about water temperature, since you brought it up. I have a small thermometer (typical of what you can buy at Big Al's), that is stuck to the glass as far away from the heater as possible. But I wonder about the accuracy. It was reading steady at 79F. I turned the heater down to 77 at the beginning of December, as I wondered if that was an issue. The water feels cooler to me, but the thermometer still reads 79. If I take it out of the tank, it does read lower, so it's not like it's "stuck". The thermometers that I use for the practice don't measure that low. It's such a simple thing...... Also you mentioned rocks leaching toxic materials. All the stones in the tank were bought either through Big Al's (a rainbow rock and a few quartz stones) and glass beads from PetSmart. Hopefully not an issue. Thank you both for your suggestions. Cheers, Kate
  3. Hi! But also Help!!!!

    Thank you so much, Jordanne and John, What I need is help "from the trenches", and you have kindly provided this. Answers to your questions: 1) water changes: I haven't been great with this. During the "algae bloom from hell", I sucked out about 50% and replaced with distilled. Since then: not 100% sure, but have likely done 10% every 2 weeks or so. Water replaced directly from the tap, with about 1/3 capful of Prime each time. 1.5) Feeding the fish: used to do it daily. Now every second day. Just a little pinch. I am the only one with the qualifications to feed. The food *used to be* on the counter, and my staff told me that sometimes clients (usually clients children) took it upon themselves to give a feeding. Now the food is kept in a drawer, and only I do the honours. 2) Salt - only added API salt once, on Dec 13. Did not even add as much as the label suggested. I kinda weenied out on that one. Here on the forum there was a lot of discussion. I thought that salt may help with our water hardness here in Edmonton. But is there a way to test or monitor this. I haven't added salt since that one time. 3) Plant species - OK, again a newbie answer. Kinda the plants that you can buy from Big Als or PetSmart (i.e., your run-of-the-mill varieties) 4) assessing poop: I have, in the past with the 20 gallon tanks, had fish with the 1-2 inches of feces hanging out from the back end. These fish: not so much. So not sure how to get poop for assessing. Will try 5) Gill smears - yes, I can. Although being a vet, I fall back to the concept that I know Dogs and Cats *a lot*. Fish, not so much. I had finches and canaries for years, and also didn't really do Vet medicine on those either. However, I have a new associate that is keen on exotics. so *MAYBE* with my specialty (I am a Clinical Pathologist) and his interest, we can team up and look at fish as another species of interest. I think that reading here, Fenbendazole is the answer to all fish parasite woes. I have Panacur. Can treat, if needed. My feeling always has been that species with nucleated red blood cells (ya know, the reptiles, amphibians and fish.......oh and also those nasty insects - tarantulas come to mind) have medical issues mostly based on HUSBANDRY issues. So I have focussed on those. Looking to you folks in Edmonton that have overcome the hard water and algae bloom issues to give insight here. But maybe the insight is that I have relied on weak fish (from local retail outlets) to establish my tank. These suggestions and any others so greatly appreciated. Cheers, Kate
  4. Hi! But also Help!!!!

    Hello, Arianna at PetSmart told me about you folks. This forum is fantastic!!! I'm a veterinarian, and the tank I'm desperately trying to get going is at the clinic (South Edmonton), so a very public place. And my failures are becoming quite embarrassing, to say the least. I've had (small / 20 gallon) tanks before, but have never had problems like I'm having now. I have read through a lot of posts on this site and haven't found anything about this exact problem. My problem is that I can't seem to keep the fish alive for longer than a couple of weeks......Sorry, this may get wordy. I bought all equipment from Big Al's, last March. Can't remember the salespersons name, but it seemed that he was knowledgeable, so I'm sure everything was appropriate for the size, etc. The tank is a 72 gallon bow front. Hydor filter. Don't know the manufacturer of the light, but it's an LED. Submersible heater. Substrate is sand, with a bit of gravel. There are plants and a few rocks. Am using Prime according to label directions. Haven't used fertilizer since the beginning. Started with another product to help get the cycle going (can't remember the name). I know now that I started the tank too quickly......too many fish, too soon (newbie mistake). Started with 6 minnows and 4 Serpa tetras. Added more too quickly (just wanted the tank to look good). Many died. Then I had a bad algae bloom (apparently "normal" for spring in Edmonton?). That finally resolved, but all the fish had died, except for a couple of the serpa tetras. I then had some issues with a mild positive Chlorine colour on test strips on water I took to Big Al's while trying to add more fish to the tank.......Finally, after testing EVERY aspect of the water (direct from the tap; from the tank after 1 day, after 2 days, etc) I realized the error was likely the strip (I bought a water testing kit for Cl- & Br- from a hot tub place - there has never been positive colour on this test.) By this point probably 30 fish have died (in small batches, of course). I got frustrated with Big Al's lack of empathy and help. Switched to PetSmart for fish. After trying tetras (Serpas were the hardiest, but those too died along the way), mollies, rasporas, and a few others, have settled on buying Danios as my testing fish. They are cheap, and I've read on this forum that they are hardy. So far, I think I've lost probably another 2 dozen. They look fine for a couple of days, but then start dying off, one by one by one....until I have one left, so I go back to PetSmart and buy more. I started focussing on assessing whether the tank is cycling properly. Have done this every 1-3 days throughout December: Ammonia is always between 0-0.25 ppm; Nitrite always 0 ppm; Nitrates 5-10 ppm. Am testing with an API Freshwater Master Test kit. Added API salt on Dec 13; have not kept up with that. Plopped a dozen Danios in; also 3 "mystery snails" to chomp up the brown slimey algae also on Dec 13th. Continued to test the water, and have consistently had the same values, so I know the tank is cycling. By yesterday, there was 1 Danio and 2 snails left. Other things: I have slimey brown algae; I have black growth on some of the plant's leaves. Many of the plant's leaves become clear, and die. But other plants seem to do quite well. Yesterday I bought the last 9 Danios that PetSmart had (I probably should only have bought 6, but I couldn't stand to leave the tank with just 3 fellers in it at the store); and 3 more mystery snails. My husband jokes about how much time and money I have spent with this tank. I don't find it funny. More than the time and money, I feel quite badly for all the little dead bodies.... This tank is almost a year old, and I still haven't figured out the problem. Thank you, all and everyone, who may offer help and advice. I'm sorry for the long post; probably should have posted in "tank emergencies". HELLLLLPPPPPPP! Cheers, Kate