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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've been having an issue with one of my yellow labs pretty much since I brought it home 2 weeks ago. (The other fish I got that same day are doing fine, no issues at all). At first it would hide in the back right corner always swimming upwards. I did a complete redesign of my tank adding much more caves and he seemed to improve a tad bit. Was no longer swimming upright and staying out of the corner but now he is primarily resting on the sand. He doesn't come up to eat so I try to ensure I quickly sink a few pellets down to him, he'll grab one or 2 then that is it. All the other fish in the tank are doing fine and there's been no major changes other than the redesign but he was acting worse before the redesign. I've never seen him being harassed or bullied by the others they honestly just seem to ignore him. On top of that his left eye seems a bit "off" to me and he's got this black stuff on top, looks kind of like dirt.

I had my water tested the other day at the LFS and was told my levels were normal. My PH is 8.0 and I have naturally hard tap water. I have my heater set to 80 but I believe I have a janky thermometer because it's showing the water temp as 76/77 (I am planning to get a better thermometer this week)
 

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Put him in a quarantine tank. Get a test kit with liquid regeants and test tubes...provide test results for pH, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates.

If the eye looks odd but you can't quite describe what is odd...check the colored circle around the outside of the dark part of his eye. When it swells it looks funny...this is called pop eye. Can be a water quality issue.

Observe his feces...is it thick and food colored or thready and white/clear?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
pH: 8.2
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 2
Nitrate: 5

I did see his feces today, it was white/clear.
I have a Marineland Penguins Biowheel 350 filter and the tank is a 46gallon.

Nitrites are obviously an issue, could that be the reason for this labs problem?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Tomorrow I will pick up some Seachem Prime and do another 50% water change before adding the Prime (did a 50% water change when rescaping this past Sunday). I've read the best way to combat the nitrite problem is to do a water change (or multiple over a few day period) without actually cleaning the substrate, any truth behind this?
 

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Yes...my fish start gasping at 0.5 nitrite...it is very toxic. Get a new LFS as well, since they told you water was fine.

So your tank is not cycled. You have no way to treat the fish...no cycled hospital tank.

To try to maintain the health of your other fish, change 50% of the water tonight, and 50% again tomorrow. That should get you down to 0.5 ppm. Test daily and you are likely to need to change water daily as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The LFS is Petco as the closest actual fish store is an hour away from my house. Should I just change the water and not clean the sand? Should I also use Prime with each water change?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think these should be my last questions. I add baking soda when I do my weekly water changes to help increase my pH. Should I continue this with these daily water changes? Should I do the 50%r change and use Prime every day until Nitrites are testing at 0?
 

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What is the pH of your tap water?

You have to add Prime to dechlorinate the new water you are adding so yes.

Continue the baking soda (calibrated to the amount of water you replace) until you find out the pH of your tap water. Depending on the results we could recommend that you gradually eliminate the baking soda...or at least reduce it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The pH of my tap water is 7.5.

I did water change last night and went and picked up Seachem Prime, Seachem Stability, and aquarium salt this morning.

I used the Prime at 3x the regular dosage as they suggest up to 5x the regular dosage for nitrite emergencies. I added the salt and Stability as recommended. Will do another water change this evening and add more Prime rationed to the 50% new water. Unfortunately the lab and one of the zebras didn't make it through the night. I've got one more zebra this morning who looks like he might not make it through the day.

Hopefully the Prime, Stability, and salt combination can save the remaining fish and get these nitrites down to 0. Will keep you guys posted
 

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Keep adding the baking soda until your tank is cycled. Keep your parameters exactly the same in tank and added water for the duration.

Who recommended salt and Stability???

After your crisis is over, I would recommend gradually weaning off the baking soda over a period of months and then just use tap water with dechlor ongoing. pH=7.5 is sufficient as long as you are not using water that runs through a water softener.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sitting here thinking about it and I realized on Sunday when I changed the design of the tank I removed the air pump after reading on here people who did not believe it was necessary. I've got the hang n the back filter that is continually causing water flow on the surface. Could that be contributing to these issues or is it solely the nitrate? I got rid of the air pump to keep the tubing out of the tank but am willing to put it back in if needed or beneficial. Thoughts?
 

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I would add the air pump back in as long as you are using more Prime than usual so that you have good air/water exchange at the water surface.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well it gets worse, got home today and was inspecting each fish and noticed one of the female zebras appears to have ich. I suck at this fish keeping thing jeez... I've already added the aquarium salt this morning and plan to gradually increase the temperature over the next few days. I'll be doing another 50% water change today and adding more Prime and Stability as needed. How long should I continue with daily 50% water changes and is there anything else I need to be doing to combat the ich? So far it's just the one fish I've noticed it on.
 

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I will leave the ich to others...but you need to keep nitrites < 1ppm regardless of how many 50% water changes it takes.

You may want to check with Seachem on what Stability is supposed to do and how long it will take for it to handle the nitrites.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I've been keeping up with daily 50% changes and nitrites are still above 1 but are now a lot closer to 2 than they are to 5 on the API color chart. I obviously don't want to add any fish until my levels are regulated but here's the issue. 3 have died, one has ich which seems to be fading. I've got 8 cichlids (2 labs and 6 zebras) in the tank right now. With the depleted numbers because of the death, the OB Zebra (tank boss) aggression has increased substantially. The only other remaining OB is now hiding in the top corner by the filter and heater. The only 2 options I see are removing the aggressive OB (I don't have any quarantine/hospital tanks) or letting nature take it's course. Ideally I'd like to add 3-4 more to overcrowd the tank slightly and reduce his aggression but like I said, I don't plan to add any new fish until I know the levels are at consistently where they need to be. Do you guys have any recommendations?
 

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Rehome the OB. If you don't address the problem causing the other OB to hide at the top he will get sick and infect the tank.

Start doing 75% daily to get the nitrites under 1ppm.

Try an ich medication so it doesn't spread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I did a 75% water change early this afternoon and dosed with the prime and stability, couple questions though.

How long after the water change should I test the nitrite levels?

I've got a HOB filter (Bio-Wheel 350) which I've hidden with the rocks I've used in the tank, would this cause issues with adequate water flow through the filter and therefore slow down the cycle?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Nitrites are still reading high, somewhere between 2 and 5. That's with 50% change Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and a 75% change yesterday. Any other recommendations?
 
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