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SubscribeSilver-Tipped Tetras
ogothangel
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Fingerling
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Hello. I have a 29 gallon tank. I have 4 silver-tipped tetras, 3 zebra danio and a butterfly pleco. I had 2 black mollies that just died. I'm treating the tank for ich. Now that the black mollies are no longer looming over them, the tetras are behaving differently. One patrols the left side of the tank, one on the right and 2 keep fighting in the middle. They've been going at it all day.

They are supposed to be schooling fish so I should have more of them to eliminate this behavior, is that correct? If so, should I add more fish when I just lost 2 to ich? As I said, I am treating the water but I'm not sure if I should add any fish for a while. Any advice is welcome.
Post InfoPosted 25-Jan-2008 03:31Profile PM Edit Report 
brandeeno
 
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ideally you wouldnt want to add more fish as you are treating for ich. the newbies will be very stressed and more e to contraction of the parasite. i would say get a net and separate the fighting ones, once the ich is cleared up (you might want to get the fish now and put them into quarantine now if you have a quarantine tank) then add the fish to your tank. you could try to add four more tetras and hope most of them survive, but the expense is totally up to you. separation could stress the other fish and cause it to contract the ich as well. so if you slowly acclimate on a drip system to the tank (this would be acclimating fish you would add) then you should eliminate most of the stress put on the fish. pour them nto a bowl and drip acclimate them for an hour or two then net them into the tank. then keep up with your ich treatment and watch closely for the diassapearance of the spots. make sure your temperature is raised to about 85 degrees farenheit...

good luck....

\\\\\\\"an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure\\\\\\\"
Post InfoPosted 25-Jan-2008 03:55Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
ogothangel
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Fingerling
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I really appreciate your feedback! I suppose I should have mentioned that none of my fish currently show signs of ich. The two that did have died and have been removed. But I read that the parasite lays eggs which can live for up to 30 days so the water should be treated. I wanted to be on the safe side and not risk the tetras getting it so I went with the treatment.

I had the same problem with my zebra danio when I first got them. The largest one bullied all the rest and even killed one. But he stopped when I got the silver-tips. I didn't want more danios.

Unfortunately, I do not have another tank to separate them. I'm going to have to save up for a quarantine tank.
Post InfoPosted 25-Jan-2008 04:08Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
keithgh
 
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EditedEdited by keithgh
You are correct the Ich is still in the tank and it should be treated for at least another 2-3 weeks. I would then wait another 2-3 weeks before you even think of getting any more fish for that tank.

I have sent you a PM with plenty of Ich information.

Have a look in [link=My Profile] http://www.fishprofiles.com/forums/member.aspx?id=1935[/link] for my tank info

Look here for my
Betta 11Gal Desktop & Placidity 5ft Community Tank Photos

Keith

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Post InfoPosted 25-Jan-2008 04:46Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Shinigami
 
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Hey, welcome to FishProfiles!

Silver-tipped tetras is one of the tetra species that fellow member Calilasseia classifies as a part-time territorial species. As you noticed, they will school when other large fish are present, but adult males that are alone may pick certain locations in the tank that they will defend from. The males will combat each other; Calilasseia terms this behavior "jousting". Generally, the fish swim side by side with their fins spread. I'd be surprised if they have actual damage from this behavior.

IME, jousting is a breeding-related behavior that only healthy, dominant males exhibit, but I haven't kept silver-tipped tetras specifically. That said, the bigger males may be bullying the other fish and make them less healthy, which could make them more e to ich. Adding more fish will probably help them calm them down, but in your situation it may be best not to do so for a few weeks. Observe your fish to make sure that the fish are not getting extremely stressed or actual physical damage. If either of the latter situations are occuring it would be a good idea to separate fish.

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The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian.
Post InfoPosted 25-Jan-2008 05:04Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
ogothangel
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Fingerling
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Thank you so much, keith. That really clears things up on the ich. It must have been on the plants I bought a week or so ago. I haven't added any new fish to the tank in at least 3 weeks. But I have added plants every week. I must be more careful about where I get my plants.

Shin, thanks for the info on the tetras' behavior. They do seem to be territorial. And when they are 'jousting' it is head on, not nipping at fins but more like they are trying to ram their heads. It's pretty unique. They were territorial when I had the black mollies in there but they got more so when the mollies died. It's like they are trying to re-establish the hierarchy.

Since I don't have a temporary tank yet I will keep an eye on them. There is plenty of room and plenty of plants and structures for them so perhaps they will each find a happy place like the zebras did. I'll try to get a little temporary tank and quarantine them soon so I can eliminate the parasites. I thought 4 was a good number for a small school but I guess a minimum of 6 is better for these small little ones.
Post InfoPosted 25-Jan-2008 05:50Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
brandeeno
 
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you could also try moving arround the plants and deco to eliminate the territories and let everyfish establish their own territory in the tank, this will help you to keep the peace (it might be a bit hectic at first, but most likely the individuals will establish personal territories... also if you want to push scholing behavior get one large fish like a dwarf gourami that will be the top of the heirarchy and keep the others in line. but dont add this fish until after the ich treatment...!!!




\\\\\\\"an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure\\\\\\\"
Post InfoPosted 25-Jan-2008 07:00Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
ogothangel
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Fingerling
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Thanks, Brandeeno. I did some rearrangement of the plants last night. It totally worked!! When I came home this afternoon I looked at them and they are ALL getting along very peacefully now!!!!! I'm so excited!! They seem to have settled on a part of the tank for each one and when they cross each other they are not attacking or acting aggressive at all. It is such a beautiful thing!!

I took pictures of the tank, the pleco, and the tetras and uploaded them onto my myspace account (http://www.myspace.com/necrotic_angel). If there is a way to put them up on this site I will but they are the first pics I've taken so they are not high quality or anything. But I did get some decent pictures of the butterfly pleco (he is gorgeous). I can't catch the zebra danio on camera but I did catch one zooming by in a snapshot of the silver tips. They all appear to be healthy and happy.

I'm so thankful for all of you and the information I have gotten from this site. I am amazed at how much I've learned and the difference it has made in my tank in such a short period of time! This site is golden in my book!!

I also learned that a couple of my plants are actually not aquarium plants and are black listed. I pulled the jasmine rush out and planted it in a pot and it already looks better (it was looking pretty sad). I'll say it again, this site is GOLDEN!
Post InfoPosted 25-Jan-2008 22:19Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Shinigami
 
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EditedEdited by Shinigami
Glad to hear things are working out for you!

When you said butterfly plec I thought you meant a hillstream loach, which is often labelled as such. I did not think you meant the sailfin plec. You either have Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps (AKA Glyptoperichthys gibbiceps) or P. joselimaianus (AKA G. joselimaianus). Sailfin plecs are great fish, to be sure, and I myself have had a related species (The rhino plec Pterygoplichthys scrophus) in the past, but they will grow to at least a foot long and will be inappropriate for your tank in the long run. They'll need a bigger tank, and I mean over 100 gallons, which are almost all 6' long tanks. Large fishes can be quite a commitment! An alternative is to sell it back to the LFS or have someone with a bigger tank adopt it when it gets too large. I do see large plecs from time to time at the LFS that were obviously traded back, probably because the original owner did not have space for it. Then you can buy a new little fish for your tank.

Also, make sure it's getting enough to eat. Plecs are one fish that die from starvation quite often, not because they need lots of food compared to most fish, but that their food requirements are not met. Most tanks don't have enough algae to support a plec, and most plecs don't survive off of algae alone. They like to eat other foods too, and might consume some of the foods that sink all the way to the bottom, but there usually isn't enough of this either. Supporting your plec's diet with food such as algae wafers (which is usually a formulation of many foods, not just algae) will help keep your fish healthy; my Royal Watermelon Plec also gets fresh vegetables such as lettuce, zucchini, and cucumber every now and then as well, just to mix things up.

I'm saying this stuff not that your plec is unhealthy, but I'm just trying to make it as happy a fish as possible, from one plec lover to another.

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The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian.
Post InfoPosted 25-Jan-2008 22:31Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
ogothangel
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Fingerling
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EditedEdited by ogothangel
Thank you, shin, for correcting me on what species I have. I naively bought it at a pet store and so what it really was could have been unreliable. It'll help me to learn more about it now that I know what it really is.

And thanks for the tips. I noticed a couple of days after I got it that it seemed hungry and couldn't seem to get enough. It looked like it was panicking all over the tank and skimming the surface and everything. I felt like it was starving so I researched it to find out what else it could eat and then I rushed in and bought some algae wafers. I thought that when my mollies got sick it was connected to that because they ate so much of the wafers. I had to break one in half so the plec could have one and the greedy mollies had their share. But then they stopped eating it so much when they got sick. Plus I think it was too much for the plec because he would act strange after eating it. So now I put about a half a wafer in there every other day and he seems to be doing very well. I'm sure that there couldn't possibly be enough algae in the tank for him even if he could live on algae alone. But after doing a little research I realize that a variety in diet would be optimal so I'm looking at other things to feed him. The cucumber I had thought about trying. I've heard a lot of people say that they do that.

I did not have any idea that this fish could get THAT big!! I better start saving up for that tank because I would want to keep him. I wonder how fast they grow? It would take a couple of months to establish an ecosystem in a 100 gall tank at least, right?
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2008 02:51Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
ogothangel
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Fingerling
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In studying the details of the pics I found, mine seems to look more like the Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps. It has the most similar color schemes and patterns as well as features all around.
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2008 03:05Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Shinigami
 
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EditedEdited by Shinigami
If you think it is, it probably is. The good news is that you know what it is, but the bad news is that it's the bigger of the two species; P. gibbiceps can even get to 1.5' in length. Make sure you consider that in the width of the tank so the fish can properly turn around. As long as you're planning to go for a large tank, the 180 gallon would be a better home as it is 2' in width, which gives it a couple more inches to more effectively turn around. The 100, 125, and 150 gallon tanks are basically all the same tank except that the larger tanks are taller; for a plec, it doesn't matter at ALL what the depth of the tank is. Bigger is better, though, so if you can afford it that 180 would be a pretty good home... (Dimensions I'm referring to are standard All-Glass Aquarium dimensions, applicable if you are in the US).

It's good that you started feeding it. It didn't look like it was really emaciated, but I wasn't completely sure.

"Act strange after eating it"? How does it behave in this situation? My plec doesn't act strange even when I massively overfeed it. In the wild, herbivores and grazing species of fish are used to feeding on a lot of foods, some nutritious, but most of it not really all that nutritious; they make up for it in pure volume of food. Thus, plecs can eat a LOT, and they pass it through their system quite rapidly through what seems like miles and miles of digestive tract. They have to, to get all the nutrients they possibly can out of their food. Of course, in the aquarium, it's a different story, since foods like algae wafers are packed with TONS of nutrients. But I'm still not sure a fish would act differently (in a bad way) from having too much food available.

Cucumber is a great food to feed; it may take a couple hours for it to realize it is food, but after it does it'll tear it apart. Veggies can be left in the tank at least overnight.

Unfortunately I am not entirely sure how fast these fish grow, but I wager you should be getting a couple inches per year at least. Your fish may outgrow this tank, or be near it, within a year.

You can cycle a big tank in the same amount of time you can a small tank. I recommend a fishless cycle if you want to do that. What would be more appropriate, though, would be, when you are setting up the new tank, just to take a bunch of gravel and the old filter cartridges out of the filter on the old tank and stick them in the filter on the new tank; this will bring all the important bacteria you need and you won't have any problems with the transfer. I haven't had to truly cycle a tank in years because of my ability to pass around the important bacteria between tanks.

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The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian.
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2008 04:58Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
ogothangel
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Fingerling
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By acting weird after it eats the algae wafer I mean that he stops moving ... like he sort of goes to sleep. Almost comatose. He hardly moves at all for the rest of the night. That's why I started giving it to him every other day. He's a lot more active before I give it to him and his normal activity returns the next day. But I'm sure he likes them because he finds it and devours it and then just stays there.

I look forward to trying different foods out on him and see what he responds to the best.

The left over crumbs seems to be good for the other fish, too. The tiny little albino zebra danio has been eating at it. That danio hides around the plec too which I find amusing. I caught it on a short video today.

I appreciate the tips on the tank. It'll be so cool if I can pull this off and raise that fish to be so big. I've got research and planning to do. What a great hobby! That's very interesting about transferring the beneficial bacteria through the filter. That'll be way easier.
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2008 08:29Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Shinigami
 
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EditedEdited by Shinigami
That's not too weird, he's just chilling out and digesting. I'm sure you don't feel like moving too much after a huge meal, either. I'm surprised your fish shows so much activity. Most plecs aren't very active at all, especially during the day.

Your reaction to having to get a tank six times larger than your current one seems to be surprisingly calm, lol. Not many people can handle that kind of expense. You might've only paid a few dollars to get this fish, but it's going to cost you a fortune. You seem to be on the path to having a healthy plec for years to come. BTW, you should be expecting at least 10 years if nothing goes extremely wrong, and 20 years wouldn't be unheard of. It will outlive all of the fish you currently have many times over.

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The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian.
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2008 19:22Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
ogothangel
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Fingerling
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EditedEdited by ogothangel
That's awesome. I know that getting a tank that is so much larger will be an extravagant expense but if I'm raising this fish and it grows that big then I would do what I had to do to keep him in a happy environment. Knowing ahead of time like this helps because I can plan for it and budget it and learn more along the way.

I am surprised at how active he is too because I've read that they are nocturnal and they should be fed in the evening. But I have read that they will sometimes be active in mid-morning. That is what he does. He'll hang out on a leaf for a few minutes and then swim around and suck on stuff ... rocks, ornaments, the glass ... just like all sucker fish I've seen. He's just so much prettier than many I've seen because of his fins. When he swims and eats his fins are all flexed out and he looks happy. He does sleep plenty during the day though. He's not active like the other fish that constantly swim around or anything.

Yeah those algae wafers are a feast for him alright. I'll try him out on a cucumber slice tomorrow.

OH! My husband talked to a guy at an aquarium store when he got me the coppersafe who said that he didn't think our mollies had ich. He thinks they were suffering from the ammonia spike. He said it can burn their skin like ultraviolet rays. He said that because this is a brand new tank that is only over a month old it is highly unlikely that it was ich. He said that the problem can be aggravated by over feeding. The mollies were pigs and ate all the time until after that first algae wafer. That is when they stopped eating as much and swimming and bullying like they had been doing. I dunno. None of the other fish are showing any of the symptoms. I hope he was right because that would mean my tetras are safe. I'm not going to use the coppersafe right now at all. I am still using the quick cure and maracide just to be on the safe side (I read that was okay to do). And I still won't add any fish for at least a month. They are all so happy in there right now anyway that I don't want to change things by adding to the society.
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2008 23:24Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Shinigami
 
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EditedEdited by Shinigami
Ah, yes, when the plecs feed and they spread their fins, they do look pretty awesome.

When you treated for ich, what symptoms did you see? The white spots would give away that it was ich, but if you only saw the flicking of the fish off of objects as if they were scratching themselves, well that's a little more ambiguous. It is certainly not unlikely to get ich in a new tank, especially if you accidently purchase a fish that has ich or was in the same tank as a fish with ich. However, an ammonia spike is also a likely problem in a new tank, especially with overfeeding as well as having many fish. If you have an ammonia test kit, it would be good to keep track of the ammonia that way, so you can do a water change if the ammonia starts coming up. Ammonia is converted to nitrites by bacteria that develop in your tank over time; nitrites are also toxic, so a nitrite test kit can also be valuable. Nitrites are converted to nitrates, which are not toxic unless you let them build up (ie. not do a water change for months). For more information, look up terms such as "Nitrogen Cycle", "New Tank Syndrome", and "Cycling", and you'll come up with a ton of info.

The two meds you are currently using are formulations including malachite green, which I personally prefer over those that contain copper (it's really just a personal preferences though, both are effective depending on who you ask). Remember, with any medications, catfishes such as plecs tend to be more greatly affected, so using only half the dose is recommended.

Either way, whether you had ich or not, it would not be a great idea to get new fish. Meds often compromise the bacteria of your biological filtration and may destroy colonies. Also, adding more fish would only add more ammonia sources and put a greater strain on your biological filtration if it has not yet stabilized.

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The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian.
Post InfoPosted 27-Jan-2008 05:23Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
ogothangel
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Fingerling
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female usa
I never noticed them rubbing on anything like they were scratching. They had white spots on their bodies and tail fin, they were eating a great deal less, and they were inactive.

Whatever was wrong with those mollies, I am sure that over feeding them was a contributing factor. And I had tested the water when I noticed those symptoms and there was an ammonia spike at the time. Whatever the problem, that was likely another contributing factor.

The male molly died two days after showing these symptoms. The female did not show the spots right away. She just started eating less and became inactive. After the male died, the female started showing the spots. She was fatter and I think stronger than the male because she was the dominant fish of the tank at the time. She may have been more resilient but whatever was wrong was taking her down, too.

I didn't know the plec was sensitive to the meds. I knew the tetras might be though so I have been using half doses. Glad I'm on the right track there.

I appreciate the tips. No worries, I will not add new fish for a while. Things are finally going very smoothly and I don't want to disturb that.
Post InfoPosted 27-Jan-2008 19:13Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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