Advice needed

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Advice needed

Postby chalky75 » Mon Jun 25, 2007 3:32 pm

I am new to this, so if I have done this incorrectly, then I do apologize !
I need advice. I have had my 125litre tropical tank set up since October 06. Did everything by the book and everything has been hunky dory.
In the past month though fish have been dying and fin nipping and I am so worried and don't know what to do next. I have 2 pearl danios, 11 penguin tetras, 3 bronze catfish, 2 clown loaches, 1 pleco, 1 gourami, 1 gold barb, 1 rainbow shark & 2 denisonni. I have asked our local fish shop if my tank is overcrowded and after testing the water he said no as the filter was coping. We have recently had trouble with keeping the NO3 down but everything else is fine. I am doing partial water changes every 2 days with properly treated water to try and get this reading down. I have also checked our tap water and it is perfect. I can't understand why and what fish is doing the nipping. My poor bronze catfishes have hardly any fins left on the top (and it isn't fin rot) and a few of my penguin tetras have nipped fins. Can someone help me, put my mind at rest, also if someone can recommend good plants to add to my aquarium I 'd be so grateful. I'll hand it over to all you 'experts'. I look forward to hearing from you. I hope I don't sound too crazy, but I never thought I'd be so worried about my fish !
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Postby sunny23uk » Mon Jun 25, 2007 3:52 pm

Hi and welcome :)

Can you tell us a little bit more about your tank please:
what type of filter do you have?
What is the NO3 reading?
Did they test for NitrIte (NO2) and what was the reading?

Have you observed any of the fish actually nipping the fins - if so, which ones?

There could be a few possibilites causing this, so if you have observed any chasing behaviour, that could be the culprit.

Do you currently have any live plants in your aquarium? Do you have lights on the aquarium?
Some good plants to potentially try would be Limnophila sessiflora, Java fern or Vallis, which should be ok in most water types.
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Postby chalky75 » Tue Jun 26, 2007 3:28 am

NO3 reading yesterday - 110
NO2 0.1 all other tests are fine. Testing kit has been checked by shop and it working correctly.
I have a Juwel Rio 125l and the filter is the one attached to the tank. We do have a couple of airstones which we put in as the danios are quite possessive over the flow coming out of the filter. We did have a few plants, but we can't seem to get the good balance between healthy fish or plants and of course I'd rather see healthy fish. I will try your suggestions of plants though (thanks). We have a light on the tank and we have been adding iron plant food in also.
As for my fish, the danios are quite 'bullish' but that is usually between themselves and the dennisonni as they are about the same size and they are the largest fish in the tank. Our ruby/rainbow shark chases the penguin tetras, but that seems for sport and it is not all the time, but I have noticed that the tetras have nipped fins, but they also fight between themselves. I have noticed recently that our clown loaches are throwing their weight around, but do clown loaches nip ???? The gold barb harrassed his mate to death, and he now harrasses our honey gourami, but I have never seen him nip (wouldn't put it passed him). Our pleco does nothing apart from mad dashes around the tank, so I don't know who is picking on my catfishes, I thought that they were covered in tiny spikes so I can't understand why they would target them. It's so frustrating as the tank is in our lounge, and I am often just sitting and watching and I can't say that its is 1 fish, they must wait until I go to bed.
I have prepared more water for the partial water change which I am doing every 2 days. I'd love to hear suggestions.
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Postby Angel Fish » Tue Jun 26, 2007 4:02 am

What are the dimensions of your tank?

Chalky75 wrote:I have 2 pearl danios, 11 penguin tetras, 3 bronze catfish, 2 clown loaches, 1 pleco, 1 gourami, 1 gold barb, 1 rainbow shark & 2 denisonni

I know your LFS said that your filter is "coping" with the amount of fish you have, but they are still jeuveniles and will grow.
Do you know the species of Plec? - Some species can grow to well over 12" :shock:
How long have you had the Clown Loaches? They really need to be in a larger group in a much larger tank as they can also grow to well over a foot long, with very deep bodies - but we'll sort your water out before we go into all that :)

As you've already said, we need to concentrate on getting the NitrAtes down - was the reading lower when you had plants in there?
Water changes are really the way to go for now, but then there is the 0.1 NitrIte reading.
Have you added any new fish recently? - A sudden increase in waste could lead to a spike.
Have you tested for Ammonia?

Do you have your own test kit or does the LFS test the water for you?

Sorry, this has turned into an interrogation again :? - but it will help us to help you :)
All the advice I give is based on my own personal 30 years of experience.
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Postby chalky75 » Tue Jun 26, 2007 4:17 am

I have had the clown loaches for about 6 months now, they haven't grown very much, but I am aware that they can become massive as can the pleco. I am not sure what kind he is, he's dark with spots, I don't think he's the rare variety. My LFS said that once he gets too big they'll take him back for a display tank and give us a smaller one. We did recently purchase 3 honey gouramis, but 2 sadly died and we've the 1 left.
I test my water every few days, but I also get my LFS to test it too when I need help. The readings are always the same, so I should have more faith in myself. The readings could have been lower when we had more plants, but this high readings is new too me and started recently. I had it too easy to begin with as everything was text book perfect. Perhaps it is down to too many fish. I am quite tempted to buy another larger tank to go alongside it, but is that running before I can walk ??? Please keep the suggestions coming, I am determined to sort this matter out. Thanks guys.
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Postby Angel Fish » Tue Jun 26, 2007 4:36 am

Larger tanks are much easier to keep stable than smaller ones, so perhaps a trip to the LFS is in order :wink:

The sad thing about keeping potentially large fish in a small tank is that they become stunted and will not live as long as the should.
Stunting is something that's not visible from the outside as the fish don't reach their potential physical size. Unfortunately the internal organs don't realise that the fishes body has stopped growing and they continue at the normal rate. (It's all down to the hormones that are released into the water) It's a bit like wearing a size 6 shoe when you have size 10 feet :shock:
If your shop is willing, I'd return the Plec and exchange it for a smaller species like the Bristlenose, then any damage (if it hasn't been done already) will be averted. But it's only a suggestion.
I'd do the same with the Clown Loaches too - Three or four Zebra Loaches might be better :)

Is your filter flowing ok? Have you rinsed the media recently?
All the advice I give is based on my own personal 30 years of experience.
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Postby chalky75 » Tue Jun 26, 2007 9:17 am

Thanks for the tips and info, it's nice to hear from people who don't sell fish, because I sometimes wonder whether they just sell fish for the sake of it and the last thing I want to do is cause any harm.
My filter does seem to be functioning correctly, the flow hasn't seemed to altered. I make sure that the media is looked after.
Like I said before the other readings seem to be fine it's just the NO3.
I'm doing another partial water change tonight, I'll take a reading tomorrow and let you know.
Good advice about the breeds of fish too, thanks.
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Re: Advice

Postby Tigerhair » Tue Jun 26, 2007 9:36 am

chalky75 wrote:Thanks for the tips and info, it's nice to hear from people who don't sell fish, because I sometimes wonder whether they just sell fish for the sake of it and the last thing I want to do is cause any harm.


The decent shops don't and they don't want to cause harm. Trouble is it's difficult to tell the difference sometimes. The best way to know is to find out as much as you can before you go and chat to them.. If they don't know the answer to some of the questions you ask and don't try and find out for you then... well, they ain't great!
I will be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box, when there's any evidence of thinking going on inside it! Terry Pratchett
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Postby Angel Fish » Tue Jun 26, 2007 9:38 am

It's sad that a lot of LFS' are out to make money. There are some really decent ones - they tend to be the small, privately owned ones.

If ever you see a fish that you'd like, pop in here and ask - we're completely impartial and will let you know if it would be compatible with the size of tank, other fish etc.
If your LFS gives the same advice, you'll know they're a pretty good one :wink:
All the advice I give is based on my own personal 30 years of experience.
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Postby sunny23uk » Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:24 pm

Hi again. :)

Getting back to the fin nipping, I did have some concerns over the gold barb, as some of the smaller barb species can be prone to nipping fins - especially tiger barbs.

Do your bronze catfish (I'm assuming they are cory's but it would be good if you could confirm from this link) have anything to hide under, like wood or caves? If not, then that could be a possible solution to the problem.
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Postby chalky75 » Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:48 pm

Hi, they are corys, for some reason we were told that they were catfishes (LFS). They do have hiding places, but I am going to but more plants so that should give all the fishes some hiding places. The worst picked on out of the cory's is one we call eye-eye as he lost 1 eye months ago. Eveb though it has healed brilliantly perhaps the other fish can sense he is slightly weaker. I have just had a look at him and the top fin is really badly nipped, and he has a slight chunk taken out of his back tail.
I have just finished my partial water change, but I did take the readings of the water beforehand, just in case -
pH - 7.0
NH3 NH4 - 0
NO2 - 0.1 (if that)
NO3 - 50 - 110.
The colour is definately getting lighter, so I am going to carry on the water changes for a few more days and then give the gravel a good clean.
Please keep any suggestions, hints and tips coming, and help me put my mind to rest. Thanks.
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