13 October 2015

ich, ugh

My two females in the QT tank showed white spots the day before yesterday. Then realized I'd seen the 'normal' one dashing up and down one corner the day before. I thought it was just a nervous, skittish fish, but now I guess it was flashing from irritated gills or skin. I'm dismayed, but have dealt with this twice before so more confident I can beat it again. They're isolated, so I can treat it more aggressively. I looked at my past records and a bookmarked article to remind myself of the regimen. Siphoned out the thin gravel layer (threw it away) and removed the pvc pipe. It needs to be bare-bottom. Took out and threw away the hornwort trimmings. I've also taken the precaution of separating out all the equipment- only using certain items on the QT tank, not carrying back and forth. This makes some tasks a bit awkward as I'm now short on buckets for work on the main tank, for example. I sterilized all the fishkeeping things that I'd touched the day I found out the fish had ich, in case it got used again. Sprayed with 1:10 bleach solution, boiled small hard plastic parts and pvc pipe for five minutes, rinsed a dozen times until no more bleach odor.

Plan of attack is to gradually raise the temp to 86°, dissolve in 1 tsp salt per gallon the first day, another half per gallon the second and third day, with a total of 2 tsp per gallon for the rest of the treatment period. Doing 30% water changes daily (with replacement salt doses) vacuuming the bottom. I was at store for something else so grabbed a slightly larger plastic tote. Bought a new fifty-watt heater too, because the little one I had wasn't adjustable and it's crucial to keep the temp steady and high (then gradually lower it again). Treatment period is for ten days. I'm keeping written notes, will review when it's all done (unless a fish dies).

In the notes I'm referring to one fish as 'norm' and the other one as 'bloat'. I've fed peas, saw them each eat a few bites. One has reduced a bit and looks almost normal, the second one is still severely fat. I thought maybe they were egg-bound now I just think it's due to prior overfeeding or poor diet- if constipated they can bloat up with gas. There have been a few fish poos in there, but not nearly as much as I should see if Bloat expels what she needs to.

Blah. It's either buy convenient, cheap fish at the pet store and risk diseases like this, or pay an extra thirty, forty dollars to mail-order! Or the in-between route, find someone local who has spawning fish and will sell you the offspring. There were cherry barbs at the auction I recently went to, but all the lots had way more fish than I want to add to my tank....

The main group of barbs don't look their best, either now. The fishes are all alert, active and eating but quite a few still have pale marks on their bodies, and some have split fins. Again, I don't know if this is from their enthusiastic spawning lately, or something about what the hornwort emits? or was my water quality very poor before I fixed that intake tube elbow piece? (I did test though, haven't seen any alarming levels this past week or two). There were high nitrates yesterday, I think because I accidentally pulled up a few rotala stems. I did a partial 10 gal wc without a ferts dose...

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