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Aquarium Co-Op Multi-Test Strips

Jim TN

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I must say I am in a bit of shock. I used my last Tetra Test Strip a few days ago. I used my first Aquarium Co-Op Test Strip a few minutes ago. The readings are very different, though, I will say I had trouble reading the Tetra Test Strips. The main difference is the PH.

The Co-Op test strip says my main community tank is Nitrate 25, Nitrite 0, Hardness 150, Buffer/KH 40, PH 6.4 and Chlorine 0. I judged the Tetra Test Strip to be around PH 7.

I would prefer my PH to be around neutral. My tap water is around PH 7.6.

My fish are Neon Tetras( doing extremely well ), Bloodfin Tetras, Lemon Tetras, Harlequin Rasboras and Honey Gourami. 

My tank is heavily planted and has a lot of wood as I feel tannins are good for fish though I realize they reduce the PH.

Do I need to use Seachem Alkalinity? A water change will increase the PH but my tap water Buffer/KH is around 25.

Thank you


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If everything is goin well, why would you want to introduce chemicals to make things "better"?

Seems to me your tank's inhabitants are happy and healthy in the current environment, changing things just for change's sake doesn't seem worthwhile.

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Sorry. My ego prevented me from putting my fish first or maybe my subconscious played a role. I have problems in my 29 gal.

I have had all of my fish for a few months at least. Until three weeks ago, I thought I was doing a great job for someone that got their first aquarium this year. I check my water often and nitrates are never over 25. It has been months since my tank had the slightest bit of ammonia or nitrite when I have tested the water. My fish were happy playing above the air stones and most of the different species in the aquarium would almost be schooling together at times. I thought I had Eden.

I was most worried about adding Neon Tetras originally as they are less hardy that my other species based on what I have read and seen on YouTube videos. But all eight of them continue to do great. My Harlequin Rasboras have not had a problem either. My Gold Honey Gourami rebounded from a problem of losing a lot of his swimmers but now looks great with long swimmers.

My problem is my Lemon Tetras and Bloodfin Tetras. Most still look good but I have lost the following:

I found one bloodfin dead one morning with a bloated stomach. He had no problems the day before whatsoever. I had fed vibra bites the day before and my Fluval E100 quit working sometime during the night. It mostly starting working again and the temp never got below 74 degrees. I keep them at around 76 degrees normally. I have replaced the heater. I think he ate too many vibra bites and they expanded in his stomach and the temp dropping a little maybe made digesting even harder. I think this death was maybe just bad luck but I no longer feed vibra bites to these somewhat smaller fish. They all had trouble eating them and the Neon Tetras simply could not eat them.

One Bloodfin Tetra died of a bacterial infection ( I think ) midway on one side of his body. I moved to a quarantine tank and treated with Maracyn. He died a week later. The problem probably started with a wound. I have four Bloodfins remaining.

My Lemon Tetra died of a bacterial infection ( I think ) that started at the base of his tail. I treated with Maracyn but after a week he was not looking good so I tried salt as he was not eating and swimming very little. He died two days later. My guess was something nipped his tail and started the problem. I have five remaining and they are doing fine though one had his tail fin nipped several days ago but no infection and perfectly normal.

I also lost a male Cherry Barb in my ten gallon Cherry Barb tank and I know that wound was from an attack as the dominant male is a real bully to everyone. He has hurt my other remaining male now but there is no sign of infection yet. My females outnumber the males and they have had no problems. I treated the male that died with Maracyn but to no avail. He died in five days.

Now I have another bloodfin with a white nose and showing some signs of stress. Fungus? Still swims with the others most of the time but does move less than the others. I will attach the best photo I could get. They swim pretty fast. I am worried I will lose him.

So I have two big concerns. 1) Why am I getting these infections/etc all of the sudden? and 2) why do my treatments not help?

My plants are three types of Crypts, two types of Anubias, Micro Sword, Val, moss balls and Hornwort.

My original post mentioned my PH getting lower and very little KH to keep it from doing so. So I was wondering if I need to fix that. Still, I don't know if that is contributing to my problem.

Thanks for any help,

Confidence Lost




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As you said, infections like you're seeing happen for a bunch of reasons. You're occasionally going to run into sick fish and a lot of the time our treatments are a shot in the dark. I wouldn't get too discouraged losing a fish while trying your best to keep them healthy. Honestly, I've had the best experience with recovery using just salt. I only bring out the meds when things are dire.

The only thing I can suggest is moving fish/plants around to try and minimize aggression. It sounds like you've had a few instances of nipped fins/fighting and that's something you can take care off with larger schools or more hiding spots.

Edited by Schwack
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Thank you. I bought a new 10 gal aquarium. It will be a permanent hospital/quarantine tank with salt and tannins. I read the Co-Op article about salt and have added 1/3 tablespoon per gallon. I have the Bloodfin with the white nose in the tank. No plants but I used a sponge from another tank for bacteria. Over time, I plan to increase the tannins in this tank as I hope the combo of salt and tannins will lead to success. 

Not sure if I should continue to use the Co-Op Quarantine Trio or just the salt/tannins. Maybe both? 

Not sure about using my medications to treat disease as much. Seems like they might be harsh on a weakened fish. Maybe as you note when things are dire.

I don't really like the smaller tanks and now I have three 10 gal and one 3 gal. Still, I will not bring my 40 gal breeder online until my skills improve ( I hope ). Nor do I plan to buy more fish until I can prove that I have the skill to save most sick fish. Animals or even plants dying is very depressing.

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After looking online, it looks like my Bloodfin probably has Columnaris. What is the best way to treat?

As for the other fish that have died, they didn't look like this Bloodfin but I noted that Columnaris can look different so it is possible three of the four died of Columnaris.

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Neither of the pet stores in my county sells kanamycin. One sells furazone but was out. Aquarium Co-Op sells neither of these medications.

I have erythromycin and it says it treats columnaris but your article did not mention this medication. I have tried erythromycin on the other fish that died.

For the moment, I don't have an option except to treat with erythromycin.

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I live in an area with low buffer and slightly acidic tap water so I can relate to the dropping ph problem. I’m not sure what parameters your various fish prefer, they might all be fine at a 6.4, but I’d double check to make sure. If you find you need to keep the PH higher you can add crushed coral to raise the buffer level. It’ll take a while but it works great. 

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I called my closest local fish store. Not in my county but only 45 minutes away.

They told me to use Maracyn. I expressed concern about what I read online. They told me to call Fritz.

I spoke with Sara at Fritz. She recommended Maracyn for gram positive columnaris and Maracyn 2 for gram negative columnaris. She recommended using both at the same time. I asked if this might overdose and she said no.

So I have Maracyn but I need to drive 45 min to buy Maracyn 2 this evening before they close.

The US Govt is not allowing Furan-2 to be sold as of sometime in 2021.


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Jim TN,

Columnaris is gram-negative. Use Maracyn 2 if that is all you can get your hands on. Erythromycin/Maracyn will not be effective. Stick with Maracyn 2.

There are 2 other options:

1) Kanaplex/Furan 2 combo - Furan 2 has been discontinued and is tough to find. You can substitute the Furan 2 with Hikari Bifuran if you can find that.

2) API Triple Sulfa or Seachem Sulfaplex - These will also be difficult to find.

I have used the above successfully to treat Columnaris. Sometimes one works better than the other depending on the case. Maracyn 2 would be the best "Plan C" for it. A Plan D would be API Fin and Body cure.


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If you can't get furan2 you can use AAP aquatronics furacyn with kanaplex or AAP spectrogram which is a combination nitrofurazone and kanamycin or you can get aquatics foods premium flake containing nitrofurazone that you can use with kanaplex 

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What I would do is treat with kanaplex in food and api fin and body cure active ingredient is Doxycycline to treat the water column only use them together if using kanaplex in food or you could finish your Frist course of maracyn2 and then treat with kanaplex in food


Edited by Colu
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I appreciate everyone's help. When I started these more aggressive measures seven days ago on 11/1/2021, I had three fish showing symptoms. A Bloodfin Tetra(white on nose/head), a Lemon Tetra(white spot on his right side) and Male Cherry Barb ( wound on his side, color of red the same as the rest of his body ). The measures were Maracyn 2, Salt ( First 1 tsp per gallon and then increased to 2 tsp per gallon ) and tannins. 

I setup a 40 gal hospital tank for the fish in my 29 gal. I setup a 10 gal hospital tank for my Cherry Barbs.

I lost the male Cherry Barb two days ago. The Maracyn 2 did not seem to help his wound but I am sure the move was stressful as well.

The Bloodfin has had the white spot for ten days at least. He continues to go downhill. So much so that I am now giving him salt baths starting today. 4 tsp per gal. I feel really bad for him.

The Lemon Tetra seems to be doing better. His nipped tail fin continues to regrow and the white spot does not seem to be getting worse. Maybe better. I wanted to give all the fish some excitement, so I put a small Hikari Wafer in the tank. It was off to the races. Only the Lemon Tetras were big enough to carry it in their mouth but everyone gave chase. The Neon Tetras are good little opportunist. The Lemon Tetra with the white spot is the dominant male. He carried the "ball" more than anyone else and looked very good.

No other fish have developed symptoms in the last seven days. Knock on wood.  

Interesting that with the combination of Neon Tetra, Bloodfin Tetra, Lemon Tetra, Harlequin Rasbora and Honey Gourami, the Neons and Bloodfins almost become bottom dwellers. The Lemons the middle and Rasboras the top. But they of course all go everywhere at times. 

Keeping my fingers crossed. I do now have the Kanaplex and will use depending on the progress I make. At least I will have it in the future if nothing else.

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