Posted: 2007.05.27(Sun)17:14 Post subject: First fish death
I feel horrible, one of my female swordtails died last night. When I first got her three months ago she didn't eat very much, and recently she hasn't been eating at all (that I could see). I didn't do anything fast enough.
She looked healthy otherwise, just extremely shy. I don't want this to happen again. What could I have done? My male swordtail doesn't eat very much either, but he isn't as shy. He also doesn't look too great. I can't tell anything specific, he just seems a little beat up, and his scales are dull.
Also, my female pearl gourami sometimes seems to lose most of her colour. Her stripes disappear and her spots become faded, and that lasts for about a day or two. Is this normal? She also has some kind of twitch in her 'neck' that she gets, and starts to float a little bit to her side. She does this every once in a while. I can't tell what that is.
Joined: 06 Feb 2003 Location: Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Posted: 2007.05.28(Mon)4:18 Post subject:
It is extremely helpful if you include your tanks water parameters when making a post such as yours. the pH and the concentration of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are nessesary. also probably a good idea to include your water change schedual, how much and how often.
I am worried, still. My male swordtail now seems to be the one who doesn't really eat. I don't want to lose him too.
He hangs around the back of the tank, and I only see him sometimes. He is often hiding. At feeding time he doesn't eat. He is with one female swordtail, two pearl gourami, ten baby swordtail and one bristlenose.
to be honest I haven't got a clue, but perhaps if you could answer these qus. It might help.
When did the first fish become ill?
Is it just the fish that you mentioned that are ill or all of them?
Did you change or do anything prior to the onset of symptoms?
What kind of decor and filter do you have?
What do you feed?
If multiple fish are affected from different families it would tend to point to poor water conditions. However, your results (accept the pH swings) are fine. That would lead to 3 things;
Something has changed that test kits don't pick up (ie toxic)
Something that all the fish are exposed to is harming them (ie bad food, poor O2 levels etc.)
Fish TB or similar?
Hellen, the swordtail that died, was shy from the day I got her. She would hang off to the side at feeding time, but not usually eat. I would see her nibble at things occasionally, however. A couple of weeks before she died she became much more shy, and hid almost all of the time. I don't know if she ever ate - apparently not. Simon, the male swordtail, has always been a little shy as well, however I would see him eat at feeding time more often. Now he usually hangs around the back, even with food in the tank, but he isn't often completely hidden (as Hellen used to do). A fair amount of food sinks to the bottom and I think he nibbles at that later on, but I still do worry.
I think that all of the other fish are fine. I'm hardly a fish expert, though. This is my first aquarium and these are my first fish. They do look good to me, though, and act normally (eating, etc). I don't see much of Jogi the bristlenose but I think he is doing well, too.
About a month or so before Hellen died I added a CO2 injector for the first time. It ran for a while but it died and I took some time to refill it. I added the new one only about a week before she died. Other than that, I was a bit lax on water changes for a couple of weeks, only doing 20% once every two weeks instead of once a week. The nitrates have always been very low, though (<1).
The filter is an AquaClear 50, and I monitor it and make sure the flow is never too impeded. Admittedly, though, I don't clean the filters very often. The decor is all natural; three pieces of driftwood, sand and gravel substrate with laterite, and a variety of live plants. I don't think it should be causing a problem.
( http://img410.imageshack.us/img410/3140/tank07smallju9.jpg )
For the three months or so I had all of the fish, I only fed tropical flake food and sinking tablets (made of the same stuff). I would feed about two or three times a day. I added the tablets because they would not be eaten by the greedy fish right away and I was hoping the slower ones would be able nibble at them. Now I add algae tablets for my bristlenose and dried bloodworms once a day or two.
Sorry if I wrote a bit too much. I tend to get carried away.
OK to sum up;
Female swordtail, bought 3 months ago, has been shy, and not eating since bringing home.
Male swordtail, shy, dull looking, poor appetite
Pearl gourami, twitch, dark colour, swimbladder
The swordtails are normally boisterous, active fish so being 'shy' is a significant symptom. I would hazard you have introduced an infection with the swordtails, they probably had the infection already and the stress of moving them has allowed it to flourish.
Your decor and feeding regime are fine. I would limit the bloodworm to 2 servings a week, anymore and you risk bloat.
Your O2 and stocking are also good.
I am going to hazard that it is TB. The lack of appetite and dull colour would seem to indicate this. Unfortunality reliable cures are scarce so I think you have 2 options;
Isolate the male swordtail in a separate tank.
Is your pearl gourami eating?
I would also implement a 20-30% water change a week if you haven't done so already.
TB can infect humans, wear gloves while performing tank maintenance if you have any break in your skin, wash your hands thoroughly afterwards and don't suck on the syphon tube to get it going
Yeah, that sum up sounds good. Though I think the male swordtail looks a bit better now, I can't say for sure he looks dull or if it's just normal. He still acts shy, though. The female is very 'outgoing'.
The pearl gourami's colours seem fine most of the time, she just gets pale every once in a while (rarely, I've seen it maybe a couple of times). She does lean over and twitch but that only seems to be when she is interacting closely with the male. Sort of like a dog rolling over to get his belly rubbed. I personally can't make any conclusions from that, though.
All the other fish besides Simon are eating fine, yeah.
I thought about isolating the male swordtail, so I will try to do that. Is a small 10 gallon with a heater and substrate good? Do I need a filter, or can I just do water changes?
About the siphon, that is actually how I start it, is there another way? I usually don't get the water in my mouth.
I greatly appreciate your replies, thanks.
EDIT: I guess I forgot to mention a few important things. I was a little upset when I made the thread.
The tank is 30 gallons, about 15"x12". It's been running since January, the temperature is 77
If the pearl only acts like this while interacting with a male I doubt it is a sign of illness. Just be watchful for any over attentiviness from her mate.
A filter would be good, but if you haven't got one keep the layer of substrate thin (just enough for the swordtail to feel secure), plant well (something like java fern would be ideal) and do a 50% water change daily - syphoning the bottom. This way you can encouragh him to eat and he doesn't need to compete with other fish. Observe him for any breakdown or mark on his body, rapid breathing etc.
There is a method of starting a syphon where you put the whole tube into the tank and allow it to fill with water, then pull out one end and let it drop into your bucket, this should be enough to get it going. Otherwise you can get hand-squeezy pump thing to attach to the end.
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