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Concerning LFS Advice... Updating Treatment Progress


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I just brought home my first fish, a pair of Dwarf Gourami. I was nervous walking into the fish store because I haven't been going out during pandemic barely at all. Then the store manager was pretty aggressive in the way she handled the fish and it was pretty off putting but I just wrote it off as being in the business for a long time.

After she scooped them out she said "You have aquarium salt right?" And I said "I don't" and she said "Oh you need it, it is a necessary component, we put it in all of our aquariums, 1 tablespoon per 10 gallons." I knew something wasn't right but at the moment I couldn't recall that you don't want to use salt in a planted tank. I bought it anyways cause she was so intense about it. She had asked me if I had a plants prior to this.

She also basically said I was dumb for planning on drip acclimating them. She said drip acclimation was useless unless they had traveled a long distance for a long time. (I still drip acclimated them when I brought them home because I don't think it hurts either way.)

Do you think she knew there was something already wrong with my fish? I've attached a picture in case someone who knows more sees something I do not. They are both very active but the powder blue one is slightly less quick and his head is a little wider than the other. They are spending a lot of time right up on the glass like they are trying to find their tank boundaries. They both ate flakes after I got them acclimated into the tank. I just ordered the trio of meds to have my bases covered if something obviously wrong starts to present itself. 

I'm just nervous I guess, to have been given such odd advice.

Tank Info:
Fishless Cycled for 5 weeks

GH KH pH Nitrite Nitrate Temp
300 120 7.8 0 20 78.3

 

FireandIce.jpg.2a5b95ed7ee8a5363d51924cfac60ca3.jpg

Edited by BreeMarie
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Your tank parameters look great! I would try not to read too much into their aggressive suggestions, I’ve been known to be fairly aggressive myself which I don’t even realize it when I’m doing it (It’s something that I have to work on daily.) As far as handling the fish I can not comment on it since it wasn’t seen by me. I can suggest that you should trust your judgement and gut feeling, there’s no harm in walking away from anything at anytime if you’re uncomfortable.

As far as the salt suggestion goes, everyone has their opinions. I definitely believe that it can serve a purpose, even in small amounts in a planted aquarium (minerals etc.) but a full blown dose would definitely not be beneficial to the plants.

I’m sure I’ve been thought of or called dumb among many other things, several times in my life, whether perceived or not. Don’t sweat the small stuff and acclimate however you choose to as you are responsible for the fish you brought home and only have to answer to yourself. I personally use the drip method and plop and drop at different times depending on what I think is best.

As far as if you were sold fish with known problems, I’d go back to suggesting to not read too much into it and do the best with what you have. At the end of the day that is the absolute best that any of us can do. We are all learning as we go whether you have 1 day of experience or 100 years of experience.

Please take this next one in gist/fun/sarcasm, “suck it up buttercup, you got this!” (I know, gotta work harder on that aggressive thing!) We are all here to learn, interact and help each other out, if at anytime you feel uncomfortable about anything or think you need advice someone will be here to help you or anyone else that needs it.

Your fish are beautiful and I think you’re going to give them home they deserve!

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Your fish look lovely and healthy! I would not worry about the store manager knowing they were ill. They look very well fed - keep an eye on how much you feed them. Most fish are total gluttons and will keep begging long after they've had enough. In a tank like yours that is newly cycled, it's important to keep a careful eye on not overfeeding (not that I'm saying you are! I don't know how much you're feeding). Overfeeding can lead to mini cycle crashes and more illnesses. I have to remind myself daily that my fish do not in fact need a second and third breakfast every time I walk by the tank and see them begging.

In the future, if you're worried about fish being sick when you purchase them, here's a few signs I look for in the store-

  • Overall, do they swim normally and are active? No hanging out in the corner or on the bottom (unless that is normal for that fish, like a pleco). Are any any other fish in the tank looking sick? Don't feel awkward about standing and watching the tank for a few minutes. If employees bug you, just tell them you're looking and can let them know when you need help. 
  • Fins- Do they look clear and not frayed? No white spots? 
  • Body- Again, any signs of white spots or fungus? Slime coat look good? Do they look bloated, or especially skinny/boney? You're looking for no signs of fungus, no cotton like growth, and no little white spots that look like sugar crystals all over the fish. 
  • Belly- You want a nice normal round belly. Sunken in is often a sign of wasting disease or internal parasites, and you'd want to pass on that fish (and probably the whole tank). In opposite, bloat is also a sign of illness. 
  • Eyes - Clear is good. Any haziness/cloudiness is not good. Any bulging is also not good. (pop-eye)
  • You can also ask to watch the fish eat (non-negotiable for me if it's an expensive fish).
  • Ask how long it's been in the store. A fish that was delivered with the last few days may be sick but not showing signs yet. I like to hear that a fish has been there at least a week, ideally two weeks, before buying. Although if I'm worried it's going to sell out it's not always possible to wait a week to buy it. 

This hobby inspires passion, and passionate opinions, in lots of people. You'll have to weed through it all and figure out what works for you, and what you want to get out of the hobby. There are lots of ways to do just about everything.

Edited by Jessica.
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@StruggleThank you for taking the time to give me so much advice. I guess it mostly seemed like strange advice with her knowing I had a planted tank and having told her these were my first fish. I felt like she thought I was more naïve than I personally feel I am. I spent weeks researching the fish I was going to pick and have watched hundreds of hours of youTube content and lurked so many forum posts. I know I have a life time to still learn and I know she obviously knows much more than me. It just felt so *fishy* to be told to use salt in a planted tank. Preemptively dosing salt consistently (she said to do it even after every water change) seemed more like a disease purpose rather than a mineral purpose. But I don't know enough to know by experience so I guess like @Jessica.said I gotta just sift through what people say and figure out what works for me and in the future do like you said @Struggle and not be so afraid to walk away from a situation. 

Only time will tell how it pans out with my first fishies. I am already so fond of them. I'll be sad if they pre-emptively die. For now I won't dose the salt. I had just gotten in an extra sponge filter that I put in the back compartment of the aquarium to prime it in case I need to do a quarantine container and salt dose and I ordered the med trio as well.

Thank you for all of those tips for picking out a fish @Jessica. I'll definitely reference that list the next time I go. I was so nervous by the whole experience I didn't even think to ask about how long they had been there. 

The blue one was active all day but is now sitting in the corner behind the filter current. Not sure if it is cause it is darker now or if because something is wrong. I guess I'll just keep an eye out and see how the first few days pan out and keep my fingers crossed. 🤞🤞🤞

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@BreeMarie the only thing I can think of is if she has over years found a bit of salt to be a key in her mind to keeping fish in general healthy. I personally run about a tablespoon per 10 gallons in most my tanks. Doesn't seem to bother the plants and I feel it really helps with live bearers specifically.

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  • BreeMarie changed the title to Concerning LFS Advice... Update-Dead Fish

Well a day and a half after bringing Fire and Ice home... Ice has died. I'm so sad. He is discolored when I found him this morning. Is his cause of death identifiable? I'm worried about Fire now. I knew something was wrong. Yesterday he just wasn't half as active as Fire. My heart is sad...

 

IMG_20201008_100122.jpg.c5e3e7aa31ffd04e272608212aea8747.jpg

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What are your water parameters at? Also gouramis are a bit more difficult to get established in my opinion. I've had all conditions be right and they still just sulk and die. Their color is one of the best indications of how they are settling in. Any stress and they go pale. From the picture nothing jumps out to me as being the cause. So I'd either say just simply stress or water problem.

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Cory was talking about these species in Monday's live stream, about how they can beat up on each other. That has been my experience as well so it could have stressed out.  I also think the Dwarf Gouramis today are more fragile because all the mass farming.

 

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I totally agree it may require some work to get a pair to live together. They are also territorial. You may want to look into a powder blue female. If that style doesn't work out honey gouramis seem much more robust and passive.

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Just to confirm, parameters are still looking good? I know often people fishless cycle the tank, it looks ready on paper. Add fish and feed, and then fish die. Then they notice they now have ammonia that could have caused it.  In general new tanks are unstable and stressful compared to a well seasoned tank. 

 

Also remember that sometimes things just go wrong and we can't figure out why, I start with, lets check common places, at some point if nothing turns up, I chalk it up to bad luck/ I don't have the skill set to figure out what went wrong and I try again.

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@Ben Ellison On Tuesday 10/6 when I brought them home these were the parameters. I have a seachum amonia reader in the tank and I test with the Tetra strips. 

Amonia GH KH pH Nitrite Nitrate Temp
<0.02 300 120 7.8 0 20 78.3

Here are my tests for today 10/8. They look to be the same minus a dip in kH (The chlorine is 0 white the brown from the hardness trickled down)

Amonia GH KH pH Nitrite Nitrate Temp
<0.02 300 80 7.8 0 20 78.1

IMG_20201008_153136.jpg.384b372c956f5cfce7e1fec42b6dad9e.jpgIMG_20201008_153052.jpg.fe512c757b51b080fed58447c0664976.jpg dip

 

747806210_IMG_20201008_154336(1).jpg.2b5b192b96a6aeb939dd022717728745.jpg

IMG_20201008_154538_1.jpg.1a5a746612374fffa39b95ad39e93df2.jpgIMG_20201008_154208.jpg.a52b8ecd0e18f232b70215b9c7b1238d.jpg

@MickS77Thank you for the link, I didn't get to tune into the live so I'll check that out now! Maybe that was it. It seemed like everything said they were a peaceful calm community fish. I believe Fire is a female and ice was a male. Fire was alot more active and did seem to be a busy body all around ice. Can stress kill them that quickly? It had been barely a day and a half. I guess between the move and the tank. They came from the same tank at the store but I guess that doesn't mean much. 

@Cory Thank you for the advice! Now Fire has a white spot on her Dorsal fin that I am guessing could be ich? It is really hard to get a clear picture of her because she is zooming all over the place. It wasn't there this morning when I found dead Ice. I ordered the trio on Tuesday and it should be here tomorrow. Should I dose the tank with all three tomorrow?
 

 

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Typically one spot isn’t ich, could be the start of it, or a fungus or a cyst. 
 

when you get the trio I’d start with ich x/maracyn. 1 dose of each and let it sit for like a week. After that, let the fish rest for a week. Then on the 3rd week use paracleanse to deworm the fish.

 

this is a slower treatment that is less stress on the fish. Plus we suspect an active infection starting and may have to switch gears if it continues to develop and we can diagnose it.

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@Pete Thank you for the link for extra detailed instructions. I put in some salt this morning because I felt so bad and will happily replant the tank if I can save the fish. I keep looking out the window and checking my tracking number for the trio to arrive today. 

Really wish I had primed the sponge filter well before this so I could do a full quarantine tank and do full salt dosage. Learning lessons the hard way I guess.

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@BreeMarie Good luck with treatment. One of my mama platies got fungus a few weeks ago and I had to treat her in my planted 20 gal. Ich-X and salt got her cleared up in about a week. Hope you have the same luck I did.

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@Ben Ellison That was my gut feeling from the beginning and I equally wish that was the case and don't at the same time. I wish it to be true because I am so very discouraged with these being my first fish and I really did a ton of research on what I wanted and felt like I was super patient before bringing them home. It would make me feel better to know it isn't me. On the other hand... that is unfortunate not only for her business but also those poor fish. It really highlights the quality at aquarium co-op to pre-quarantine the fish they bring in. 

I have two other LFS I'll be trying instead. I just dosed IchX and Maracyn but things aren't looking good. Fire is mostly hanging out in the front corner very close to the substrate and won't eat. She is definitely in distress and my heart aches about it. 

If she doesn't survive is there something I need to do to the entire aquarium before attempting new fish again? 

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I am feeling more hopeful today. I also used stress coat when I did the water change before dosing IchX/Maracyn instead of just dechlorinater. Fire is moving around a lot more today. I don't know how to tell if things are visually improving. The fungus seems to be getting longer. I'm just glad she isn't struggling in the corner today.

The water is a little cloudy but I think that is normal with the maracyn.

IMG_20201010_142534.jpg.b82b45a0cdd87262567ae0f3003a625e.jpgIMG_20201010_142540.jpg.51f167d1504af9a5c848df1d89526941.jpgIMG_20201010_142525.jpg.192fecf1a77856f3ede946f7ebd34e38.jpg

IMG_20201010_142526.jpg

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I'd say mostly you're left with the bacterial infection now which is common with a fungal infection.  Stay the course with the treatment as it's improving each day. 

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Hi BreeMarie, I read your first post a few days ago, and was very sorry to see that your male died. (Assuming male since he was so much more colorful). I'm a fish newbie, in the last few days of fishless cycling with my second aquarium (45-gal) (first one, 10-gal, being many years ago). I originally wanted rasboras and powder blue dwarf gouramis - so gorgeous - but heard Cory discuss how the males can be pretty aggressive. Other info online also suggests that, and someone mentioned inbreeding as a possible reason why they may be susceptible to disease. I've changed my mind after going to my LFS and seeing pearl gouramis (and still love the harlequin rasboras). The question of salt use has been very puzzling to me, bc of many opinions, but its use seems more prevalent with live-bearers. I also have many plants that were not cheap, so I don't want to harm them either. I wish you the best of luck with your remaining gourami. 💙

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@Maggie Thank you, I was very sad. I do think my blue was a male because his dorsal fin was pointy. From what I read males have longer pointy dorsal fins and females have shorter and rounded dorsal fins. I did put in a tablespoon of salt the day before the meds arrived because I was so worried I was going to lose Fire too. I haven't noticed a negative effect on the plants but I also did about a 35% water change before dosing the meds so that further diluted the salt.

I had heard over and over again to have the meds just in case. It truly did not register to me how quickly they can show a sign and then down turn for the worst. It was less than 24 hours that I lost Ice from bringing him home. On Fire, that tiny white fungus spec was huge in less than 24 hours. I won't make this mistake again and before I get more fish I will have a quarantine tank and sponge filter prepped. 

She is moving around a lot today and ate all of the flakes I put in this morning (maybe 1/8th of a teaspoon worth because I know you aren't really supposed to feed much during treatment). I am hopeful she will make it through! 

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I'm wondering if I should dose again? I dosed last Friday and have been letting it sit and things were looking better but this morning there are a couple bubbles of spots of fungus that have grown on her left side.

Yesterday I could start to see on the dorsal fin being clear which I've read is the fin growing back? 

Few Hours Later* Those puffs are gone now and there looks to be a pretty deep hole where it was. I probably just need to take Cory's advice from yesterday's live and be patient. I ordered her the xtreme flakes instead of the generic flake the store sold me so I'm excited to see if she likes them.

Water Parameters still look good! Low nitrates and zero ammonia or nitrites.

IMG_20201013_094135.jpg.67f5c3f14797b9086c37fb99f37fd821.jpgIMG_20201013_094043.jpg.13ccec0ffefd4c4448baef39985c8b59.jpgIMG_20201013_094105.jpg.85989974ee76411561dc77ff6a6d7b40.jpg

A few hours later when those puffs are gone. She is still super active and eating. 

IMG_20201013_134815.jpg.f2b45274a807475b7e479b6442d59720.jpgIMG_20201013_134824.jpg.3bedec0959e26359517893d7e0e30c2c.jpgIMG_20201013_134713.jpg.f86cb9df382d047da6e7def2c09c330d.jpg

Edited by BreeMarie
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  • BreeMarie changed the title to Concerning LFS Advice... Updating Treatment Progress

Fire is looking pretty good. Considering dosing ichX and maracyn one more time after a water change today. It would be the third treatment. Her Dorsal fin is growing back!! Yesterday morning it was nothing but two clear little bits. Now it is all about a millimeter tall when she sits still and isn't zipping around. She is a fiend for the Xtreme Krill Flakes. 

PXL_20201018_152333796.jpg.3e6e5f8dd0bb5307cfc86adfeeacb665.jpgPXL_20201018_152807521.jpg.46980a9aec903adce68cc3611213f890.jpg

Edited by BreeMarie
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This post has been a well documented lesson in what to do for a fungal infection.

Thank you so much for the steady stream of updates @BreeMarie, this is model for what I wish every post in the disease forum would be.

It is how I learn on this forum. A problem is posed and then a course of treatment is followed. Often we never hear from that original poster again.

One of my recent wild collected fish has injury in the same place that is developing a fungus. After following your experience here, I know exactly the course of medications I am going to treat the injury with.

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Thank you so much for your kind words @Daniel. I was actually nervous posting so much cause I didn't want to seem like I was pestering. But this is my first fish and I figured if I kept posting pictures if something was going really wrong someone would tell me. 

I took a guess on the second dose on Tuesday but I think it was the right call cause the fungus seemed like it was flaring up again in a couple spots. I figured since the packaging said you could dose daily with water changes after 4 days would be okay. I did water changes and dosed on the 9th and the 13th. I also only did 10 gallons dose despite my tank being a 15g (13gal of water). I'm gonna give it the rest of the day to see how the little white bits on the tip of her newly grown fin looks before I do a water change and decide on the 3rd dosing. (Unless someone says otherwise 😅)

Edited by BreeMarie
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I think a third dose would be a good idea. I think it is really on the mend though and is looking good. Glad you could nurse it back to health. I try very hard to save every fish. Its so rewarding to me to bring one back from the brink and see it have long and happy life. I believe you will be very well prepared on your next fish adventure 🙂

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1 hour ago, BreeMarie said:

Thank you so much for your kind words @Daniel. I was actually nervous posting so much cause I didn't want to seem like I was pestering. But this is my first fish and I figured if I kept posting pictures if something was going really wrong someone would tell me. 

I took a guess on the second dose on Tuesday but I think it was the right call cause the fungus seemed like it was flaring up again in a couple spots. I figured since the packaging said you could dose daily with water changes after 4 days would be okay. I did water changes and dosed on the 9th and the 13th. I also only did 10 gallons dose despite my tank being a 15g (13gal of water). I'm gonna give it the rest of the day to see how the little white bits on the tip of her newly grown fin looks before I do a water change and decide on the 3rd dosing. (Unless someone says otherwise 😅)

It's generally a good idea to finish a course of treatment, especially if the fish is looking better. The fungus/bacteria are more likely to become resistant and come back stronger if you use a half dose, or stop treatment at the first sign of improvement. Ever have a doctor tell you to finish the course of antibiotics, even if you feel better? It's the same thing going on in your aquarium, and actually a big issue in terms of antibiotic resistant bacteria, globally, but that's a different topic. 

You should refer to the directions on the meds, but I believe maracyn calls for 4 doses total? (Don't quote me on that, read the instructions on the meds). If you've given dose 2 and are considering dose 3, it'd advise you run through all 4 doses as instructed on the package at full strength. 

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10 minutes ago, BreeMarie said:

@Jessica.That is good to know. I was doing the method Cory recommended to dose and let it sit for a week. 

Is it okay that I didn't go back to back daily with the maracyn already?

Ah, okay, I missed that in my last reply. I though you were only dosing per the package instructions, and considering stopping mid way through treatement. I haven't used meds in that way, so I have comment on what your next move should be beside that I'm sure if Cory recommended it, it is a good treatment plan. If you're working on using a plan he recommended then never-mind me. 

Edited by Jessica.
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You can do different strategies for meds, the one thing I'll say is, if you have a method that is working, I wouldn't switch. Also if you have a method that isn't working after say 3-5 days, I would switch. I'd probably do another treatment and let it sit as the gourami seems to be recovering pretty well. 

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That definitely makes sense @Jessica.! I went that way, one, because of Cory's advice but also because it made the most sense to me personally since this poor fish was already having the roughest go of it and I've heard that the treatment isn't the easiest thing on their little bodies. And per this post thanks to you and others I'm feeling encouraged to follow my gut a little more than before all of this.

Thank you @Cory! That is exactly what I'll do. I appreciate the 3-5 day method guidance. That makes a lot of sense and helps me on knowing how to make a decision moving forward for sure! 

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