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Disease or did I poison them with Peas?
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Mormegil
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Joined: 26 Apr 2006

PostPosted: 2007.01.22(Mon)10:45    Post subject: Disease or did I poison them with Peas? Reply with quote

I've never had a fish disease. But I'm still pretty new at this, so please bare with me.

Is this Ich?

(full size here: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/122/366005168_35e3fce7e8_b.jpg )

Here's the whole story, that I wrote before taking the picture, if anybody cares:

I've got a 10 gallon tank, where I've had small happy fish in for months (2 blue platies, 3 neon tetras, 2 upside-down catfish and 2 otocinclus). At one point, we noticed we couldn't find the upside-down catfish, and assumed it had died and got eaten (as what happened to our 2 ghost shrimp). So I went to Petsmart and got a new upside-down catfish (so the surviver wouldn't be lonely). That was on the 10th of this month.

Turns out the other catfish was just really good at hiding (so now we have 10 fish).

On the 17th, I decided to try my hand at very very simple planting - so I got a small Anubias. When I added it, I also added some aquarium plant food (as per directions). While there the PetSmart person mentioned that peas make good fishfood - without mentioning that I should husk them first. I also fed them an unhusked pea.

On the 19th, I found the new upside-down catfish dead floating right-side-up (9 days in the tank). I did the 5 in 1 check, and everything was in the safe zone, and I don't think dissolved oxygen was a problem, as the fish weren't hanging out at the top. I figured I got a got an old or dying fish (I don't know why I didn't think contagious disease, but I'm new at this).


On the morning of the 20th, I found another dead up-side-down catfish, and a dead neon tetra. I'm thinking dissolved oxygen again, I took out the Anubias plant (which uses oxygen at night).

I also noticed the larger blue platy was hanging out on the bottom, and shaking around (I guess rubbing themselves on the substrate - but in my freaked out mind, was thinking maybe it was trying to spawn or something). The other started hanging out at the surface. So I thought, dissolved oxygen again, I better turn up the power head flow and move the fake plant near the flow to get better circulation.

That's when I found the last dead up-side-down catfish in the "plant." I read up on peas on this site, and found I should have dehusked them, so I'm wondering if they chocked on husk or something.

Afternoon of the 21st, found a dead blue platy and a dead neon tetra. I'm thinking to myself must have been the peas!

The remaining blue platy wasn't looking good, it's scales were looking flakey, and was hanging out at the bottom like the other one did before it went. I'm still blaming myself for the pea or maybe the Anubias did something.

Then finally it hits me, maybe it's that ich thing I've vageuly heard about. Unfortunately, by this time, all the petstores were closed, so I couldn't get any medication. I read up all I could on fish disease.

Thing is, I couldn't see any prominent spots on the fish (maybe it's Velvet) - but only the platy looked sort of "hairy" with the scales partially coming off.

I don't have an aquarium heater (it's naturally warm here, temps always at 80 normally). So I can't do the heat thing. We figured we'll try getting some Copper Safe to save the last remaining fish if they live that long (otos looked OK).

I vacuumed the substrate along with a 30% water change to try to get rid of any cysts.

By 2 in the morning the last platy and last neon tetra were dead.

Now this morning it looks like one otocinclus went. So I've got one fish left in the whole tank. First one died on Friday, and now it's Monday.

In the middle of this, I just got a great idea, take a picture and post it here. I'll put that at the top of the post.

Thanks for any help.

Note: I plan to get a heater as soon as I can, and start a quarantine procedure.

Edit: I noticed the article on this site mentions to raise the temp slowly at 1-2 degrees F per HOUR! Isn't that considered fast?

Secondly, I'm going to bring a water sample to the lab where I study, and look under the microscope. Does anybody know if these guys are visible under the scope? Any idea how large a tomite would be?
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Mormegil
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Joined: 26 Apr 2006

PostPosted: 2007.01.22(Mon)13:34    Post subject: Reply with quote

Edit: Turns out these aren't Ich I images (I think I did see them, but couldn't get a picture). Theyr'e not even protozoa, they're microscopic multicellular organisms (smaller than some human cells), called rotifers. These ones were about 30-50 micrometers long.

I'm replying to myself to give an update for anybody interested (hey 14 people have read this, but no replies yet).

Here are some micrographs of the little bastards. From the quick research I've done, it looks like the top 3 might be Ich tomites (first one has an Ich tomite and something else). The other two may either be another disease parasite, or just free swimming protozoa (both cilliated). I'm not sure, but I thought I saw an Ich tomite EATING another protozoa.



full size is here:
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/161/366135807_3106d58e60_b.jpg

Any thoughts?

This is a diagram of the Ich life cycle. The predominant organism looks like the Ich swarmer. I haven't found a lot of images of these things, so I'm not sure at all on the identification.


http://parasitology.informatik.uni-wuerzburg.de/login/b/me14235.png.php

They don't resemble Ich too much on this identification page: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FA041

Figure 6.16 shows the various stages. http://www.fao.org/docrep/field/003/AC264E/AC264E07.htm. It looks like a larval stage if anything.

Chances are, I'll have a fish free aquarium by the time I get home today.

So my next question is, after letting the tank sit for a month, to ensure the parasites are starved out, do I need to restart the nitrogen cycle all over again? I would assume so.


Last edited by Mormegil on 2007.01.23(Tue)22:32; edited 1 time in total
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lenoirj
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Joined: 10 Dec 2006
Location: Yakima, Washington

PostPosted: 2007.01.22(Mon)16:15    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry, I can't really answer any questions for you. I just wanted to comment on the pics of the Ich parasite. They're amazing! Thank you for those.
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Mormegil
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Joined: 26 Apr 2006

PostPosted: 2007.01.22(Mon)19:11    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the compliments on the micrographs.

Anyways, surprise, the otocinclus (the last fish) is still alive. So I threw in some copper sulphate. It may be too late, but I figure it's worth a try.

Maybe I can save one fish.
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Cathy G
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Joined: 27 Jan 2006
Location: Wisconsin

PostPosted: 2007.01.22(Mon)20:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

Holy smokes did you learn a lesson the hard way!

Don't worry about your plant using too much oxygen, as long as there is good water movement on the top of your tank, there is plenty of oxygen. Remember not to add any inverts to your tank now. The copper will be there for life...

Those are great pics by the way. I hope your fish survives!
Cathy
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Shai
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Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Location: Calgary, AB

PostPosted: 2007.01.22(Mon)21:28    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry to hear about your fish losses. I had ich wipe out almost an entire tank once, it wasn't pretty.

I can't tell from the first picture you posted if that fish was suffering from ich. The salt-grain likeness of the parasite is quite distinct. If the fish didn't look like they'd been dipped or sprinkled in salt, there is a chance that your fish were not killed by ich. My understanding is that ich is often present in even the healthiest of tanks, but the fish do not succumb because their immune systems and slimecoat prevent the parasite from gaining a foothold.

I'm not so sure about the stocking levels in the tank. For future reference, tetras are schooling fish and should not be kept in numbers less than six. I'm not entirely knowledgable about upside-down catfish, but the ones I have seen at my LFS are quite large and I'm thinking, due to their size, your tank might have been overstocked.

I doubt very much the peas had anything to do with what happened, unless they were spoiled when you fed them.

I wonder what you mean when you say "everything was in the safe zone" regarding the 5 in 1 test you did. You should get separate testing kits for ammonia and nitrite, and probably nitrate too. The only "safe zone" for ammonia and nitrites is a reading of zero. Otherwise, you are poisoning your fish. : )

Good luck restocking your tank.
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Mormegil
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PostPosted: 2007.01.22(Mon)22:46    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ammonia and nitrates were at zero.

As far as tetras go, we started with 5 or 6, but a couple died right away, and the last 3 just went with this disaster.

The upside down catfish were about an inch long each. Not too big, plus we thought we had 2, but it turned out we had 3 (one was very good at hiding).


The otocinclus are said to have a very low bioload, like lots of algae eaters, and I was told a pair would be OK to add to take care of any algae. We didn't want plecos as they can get pretty big.


Thanks for the info.


Anybody know if 86 degrees / 89.5 degress is OK for an Anubias? How about copper sulfate?
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Thalas'shaya
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Joined: 18 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: 2007.01.22(Mon)23:21    Post subject: Reply with quote

The copper sulfate is safe at that temperature and shouldn't do anything weird until you get very close to the boiling point of water, by which point your fish will already be past saving. Wink the copper sulfate used in aquariums for treating fungus is quite dilute, and some water conditioners may remove it. In addition, every water change you do from now on will reduce the concentration of it a bit in your water. Still, it IS a toxin at higher concentrations, so beware of that should you need to re-dose the tank.
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sepgundamrg
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PostPosted: 2007.01.22(Mon)23:55    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you still have a fish in the almost 90 degree tank?!
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Mormegil
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Joined: 26 Apr 2006

PostPosted: 2007.01.23(Tue)0:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

One fish left, and I'm going with 86 degrees Farenheit, as that should stop any reinfections.

Sorry to freak anyone out, I never meant Celsius (which is funny, since I think in Celsius in lab, but Farenheit at home).
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