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Something is going on with my skirt tetra and guppies; I need some advice.


AquaticTurtle
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For quite a while now I've noticed most of my guppies(mainly the males from what I can tell) have what looks like shredded tail fins from something like fin rot, but it doesn't seem to be getting better even with water changes. I often see lot of the guppies sitting at the bottom of the tank and breathing faster than normal which makes me think they're stressed from something, but as soon as I get close to the tank they all swim to the top to be fed. I also have a group of 7 skirt tetras(mix of normal and glo varients) and currently one of them is breathing heavily as well as it's eyes are noticeably bulging compared to the other tetras(I have had one previous skirt tetra die from something similar, though it looked more bubble-like on that one fish eye and a type of growth around the eyes/face). There is a what appears to be a surface scrape of some sorts on the tetra where some scales are missing but it doesn't look fungal or anything from what I can tell(the fish move around so it can be hard to inspect them). The tetra has been kinda isolating itself by staying near the top of the tank or hiding back in a corner but it does come out when I go to feed the fish(even though I don't think it's been eating) before hiding again. I want to point out that some guppies have developed curved spines and I am aware that guppy inbreeding can cause that but some of those same guppies also look a bit skinny so I'm worried it could be something like "fish tb" that I keep hearing about. Given how many fish we have(forgot to mention it's a 29gal tank) and how many fish are showing these issues, I was thinking of trying a treatment of Kanaplex(kanamycin) to see if it would give some improvement to the fish but from what I read, some people have said it impacts the bio filter and some say it only hinders it a little so I don't know what I should do since we have so many fish and simple quarantine  methods won't do anything since the whole tank could have whatever infection this could be so I'd rather dose the actual tank. I do have Maracyn 2 and Maracyn, but I don't want to use those in the main tank since they'll impact the bio filter more and idk how the meds would affect the little clown pleco.

As I've mentioned, I have a little clown pleco and I don't want to do any treatments that would harm them, so has anyone had success with safely using kanaplex with a clown pleco present in the tank, and how much of an impact on the bio filter would the treatment be? Would I be safe to dose the whole tank and just make sure I use the water conditioner until the bio filter recovers a bit if affected?
I use the tetra 6 in 1 easy test strips to test the water regularly, it's a 29gal tank, and idk if this is relevant but I feed the fish tetramin flakes(sometimes I see them eat the tiny seed shrimp too that we somehow got years ago) as well as the occasional algae wafer for the clown pleco.


PH: It's usually about 8.0/8.1 last I checked with a liquid test kit(hard to tell with the test strips but 8.0/8.1 is around where the tap water tested at in the past).

GH: About 300(we have really hard water)

KH: I think the test strip showed 140.

Temp: 78

Ammonia: 0

Nitrite: 0

Nitrates: Around 40(for medical reasons, I couldn't lift heavy stuff and had to delay the water changes but I can now).

 

If anyone can give me some advice on what the issue could be and such I'd appreciate it, thanks in advance!

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Don’t stress the nitrates if it’s causing you issues. Nitrates under 50 is what’s recommended for planted tanks. My lfs isn’t concerned about them around 80. You have absolutely normal water for over half of the US. Your guppies have to be very happy in it. The real question is the kanaplex. Most plecos are very tough little fish. Common plecos can even take brackish water. I assume they’ll be just fine. I haven’t had to do that, but I don’t see a reason why not. Just keep a close eye on them 

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I have a question, how long have they been together? I have begun calling my glo fish sharks. They absolutely shredded a betta I tried with them. Betta has recovered. They may be doing the same to the guppies. Slower moving, with tasty fins. 
 

if both of them come from big box pet, it may just be a sourcing issue. Glo fish are tough, but not always from that kind of store. As for the guppies, they can be hard to keep alive from there.

 

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On 2/10/2024 at 10:56 AM, Tony s said:

My lfs isn’t concerned about them around 80

80 is pretty high though. High nitrates are not dangerous, but bad in the long run. LFS don't stress the nitrates because the fish are only meant to be with them until they are sold and hopefully that is pretty fast. This is also why one never should compare how fish are kept in LFS to their actual needs. It's just a temporary stay. For nitrates, I've always gone with a max of 20 for nitrates. Higher values are not lethal like high levels of ammonia or nitrates but they will still stress the fish and inhibit growth 

Edited by EggShappedFish
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On 2/10/2024 at 4:05 AM, Tony s said:

I have a question, how long have they been together? I have begun calling my glo fish sharks. They absolutely shredded a betta I tried with them. Betta has recovered. They may be doing the same to the guppies. Slower moving, with tasty fins. 
 

if both of them come from big box pet, it may just be a sourcing issue. Glo fish are tough, but not always from that kind of store. As for the guppies, they can be hard to keep alive from there.

 

I've had the guppies and skirt tetras together for a while, with some of the tetras being about a year and a half and all these guppies were also born in this tank. Surprisingly enough, I've only ever see the tetras nip at the other tetras or eating baby guppies(good for population control at least)... For the most part the tetras kinda keep to themselves and it's only the males with the shredded/choppy tail fins. As far as the nitrates go, I try to keep them down as much as I can since this tank isn't planted and extra nitrates will only cause stress in the long run, not to mention the algae growth I'm getting.

Edited by AquaticTurtle
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With the symptoms your describing you could have two things going on curved spines and weight loss can be sign of a parasitic infections the bulging eye and lethargy could have a bacterial component what I would do is a course of kanaplex and add some aquarium salt 1 table spoon for 5 gallons that will help reduce fluid buildup in the eye it won't harm your clown pleco I have used kanaplex with bristlenose I had not harmful effects I no people who have treated other species of L number plecos without having issues then I would follow up with a course of expel p active ingredient is levamisole once a week for 4 weeks so do a large water change through gravel vac that will remove parasites eggs from the substrate add the medication blackout the tank as levamisole is a light sensitive medication in 24hr do a water change and through gravel vac and repeat on week 1 week 2 week 3 week 4 and add any extra air stone during treatment @AquaticTurtle

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On 2/10/2024 at 6:43 AM, Colu said:

With the symptoms your describing you could have two things going on curved spines and weight loss can be sign of a parasitic infections the bulging eye and lethargy could have a bacterial component what I would do is a course of kanaplex and add some aquarium salt 1 table spoon for 5 gallons that will help reduce fluid buildup in the eye it won't harm your clown pleco I have used kanaplex with bristlenose I had not harmful effects I no people who have treated other species of L number plecos without having issues then I would follow up with a course of expel p active ingredient is levamisole once a week for 4 weeks so do a large water change through gravel vac that will remove parasites eggs from the substrate add the medication blackout the tank as levamisole is a light sensitive medication in 24hr do a water change and through gravel vac and repeat on week 1 week 2 week 3 week 4 and add any extra air stone during treatment @AquaticTurtle

Salt is always the thing I suggest.

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On 2/10/2024 at 5:48 AM, EggShappedFish said:

80 is pretty high though. High nitrates are bad in the long run

That is correct. In unplanted tank, under 20 is best practice. But yes, nitrates are best described as being in a smoke filled room. A small amount of smoke is uncomfortable. As the smoke increases it becomes unbearable. But not necessarily lethal. I believe I heard of a study where they had live guppy fry in a solution of 800 with no lethality. Large scale African cichlid tanks often get in the hundreds. They have to be overstocked, and no plants.

but for the health reasons mentioned, higher is not preferable, but not lethal 

But then the algae goes nuts.  Which is weird, I have large glow fish tank, unplanted, no algae 

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On 2/10/2024 at 5:43 AM, Colu said:

With the symptoms your describing you could have two things going on curved spines and weight loss can be sign of a parasitic infections the bulging eye and lethargy could have a bacterial component what I would do is a course of kanaplex and add some aquarium salt 1 table spoon for 5 gallons that will help reduce fluid buildup in the eye it won't harm your clown pleco I have used kanaplex with bristlenose I had not harmful effects I no people who have treated other species of L number plecos without having issues then I would follow up with a course of expel p active ingredient is levamisole once a week for 4 weeks so do a large water change through gravel vac that will remove parasites eggs from the substrate add the medication blackout the tank as levamisole is a light sensitive medication in 24hr do a water change and through gravel vac and repeat on week 1 week 2 week 3 week 4 and add any extra air stone during treatment @AquaticTurtle

The thing is, I’ve never had any issues with parasites other than an ich infection which I’ve eradicated back in like 2022 and that’s when I first got some of the tetras. I do have paracleanse and expel-p but I don’t have aquarium salt and have never used it. I’ve seen other bacterial related infections in the past and that’s why I thought this was bacterial since I didn’t add any new fish too recently and haven’t seen any other indications of parasites(at least externally). Is it really possible for internal parasites to be present without showing noticeable symptoms? The fish didn’t have these symptoms when I got them and only recently I’m noticing this stuff(and yes I did quarantine them first for few weeks). 
Edit: If I start the treatment with kanaplex today, should I do a water change first or wait til after the treatment since the nitrates aren’t too high yet? I was going to do a water change today but if idk if I’ll have to do one at the end of the treatment or not.

Edited by AquaticTurtle
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On 2/10/2024 at 9:16 PM, AquaticTurtle said:

The thing is, I’ve never had any issues with parasites other than an ich infection which I’ve eradicated back in like 2022 and that’s when I first got some of the tetras. I do have paracleanse and expel-p but I don’t have aquarium salt and have never used it. I’ve seen other bacterial related infections in the past and that’s why I thought this was bacterial since I didn’t add any new fish too recently and haven’t seen any other indications of parasites(at least externally). Is it really possible for internal parasites to be present without showing noticeable symptoms? The fish didn’t have these symptoms when I got them and only recently I’m noticing this stuff(and yes I did quarantine them first for few weeks). 
Edit: If I start the treatment with kanaplex today, should I do a water change first or wait til after the treatment since the nitrates aren’t too high yet? I was going to do a water change today but if idk if I’ll have to do one at the end of the treatment or not.

I would do a large water change then dose kanaplex after the full course of kanaplex do a 50% water and run active carbon for 24hr to remove any remaining medication 

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On 2/10/2024 at 6:05 PM, Colu said:

I would do a large water change then dose kanaplex after the full course of kanaplex do a 50% water and run active carbon for 24hr to remove any remaining medication 

Just did the last(3rd) dose of the Kanaplex couple hours ago and so far I don’t see any visual or behavioral difference in the fish, so tomorrow I’ll do another water change(and put a new carbon filter in) then wait til the next day or so to try the Expel-P treatment. I know that medicine is light sensitive and the lights need to be off for it, but does that mean only leave the lights off for the first 24hrs after dosing or is that for the whole week(the directions on the box don’t specify for how long)?

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On 2/16/2024 at 4:01 AM, AquaticTurtle said:

Just did the last(3rd) dose of the Kanaplex couple hours ago and so far I don’t see any visual or behavioral difference in the fish, so tomorrow I’ll do another water change(and put a new carbon filter in) then wait til the next day or so to try the Expel-P treatment. I know that medicine is light sensitive and the lights need to be off for it, but does that mean only leave the lights off for the first 24hrs after dosing or is that for the whole week(the directions on the box don’t specify for how long)?

Just leave the light off for 24hr during treatment 

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