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Medication & Sterilizer

Discussion in 'Fish Diseases & Cures' started by jinglesrr, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. jinglesrr

    jinglesrr Thread Starter Member

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    I have been losing one fish a day to some sort of bacterial infection. My chemistry readings are all perfect. I never do water changes but only add to the water as needed and clean my filters just one at a time to keep the good bacteria going. However, when my fish guy sold me some pennicillian pills, he said to give one daily (ten total) at night until all gone but to turn off my sterilizer since it also kills good bacteria. He said I could keep the uncharcoaled filtration going and the lights on at night though. He said that sometimes airborne bacterial will blow into a tank and cause problems. This is the second time in about seven years so I have a pretty good batting average. I have a tendancy to leave my sterilizer on most of the time, except when feeding since my tank easily gets green water. Now I am wondering if that may have caused the bacterial infection in the first place! Now I am wondering, once the medication treatment is finished, how long a day (night?) can I keep the sterilizer on without jeprodising my good bacteria in the tank? I keep my lights on a timer for about ten hours a day (too much?) and have lots of red lotus, annubis, and fern plants. My tank is a twenty gallon tank.

    Thanks for any information you can give!

    Ruth
     
  2. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Active Member

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    Hi Ruth,
    can I ask why you aren't doing water changes? This is probably the reason your dealing with infection in the first place.
    Did the fish guy ask for a sample of you water to "test" before selling you the penicillin? Before you do anything else (if I were you) I'd test your water with a liquid test kit. Assuming this is freshwater, I'd use api since it's easy to find and fairly easy to use. If you can't afford a test kit right now, then take a sample to your local fish store and ask them if they could test it (I know Petsmart/Petco willl normally do it for free). Then I'd invest (fairly cheap) or make a siphon (python no spill clean n' fills are awesome) with a "plunger" and use that to "clean" the bottom of your tank being sure to "vac" the gravel/substrate to remove any wastes. If you're not sure about how to do this properly theirs lots of great videos on youtube showing you how to hook them up (if you purchase one like the python brand) or how to correctly siphon a tank.

    Are you on city or well water? Because with city water you'll find chlorine and other baddies which cause harm to your fish so ANY TIME you add water back into your setup (even for topping off) you'll need to add a quality dechlorinator. I highly suggest Seachem Prime (because it only takes a little so a bottle will last quite a while, it works immediately, and neutralizes the baddies). With Seachem you can safely dose for the entire tanks volume rather than trying to guess/calculate how much water you need to add in order to properly dose with the dechlorinator.

    Next, when you say you are cleaning the filters one at a time...exactly how are you "cleaning" them and are they hang on back or canister filters? To correctly clean a filter one should siphon a bucket of "dirty" tank water and swish filter media inside of it in order to "clean" it- this leaves your benefical bacteria in tact. If it's really nasty/gunky get yourself a cheapo new toothbrush and gently "brush" the gunk off- Toothbrushes are great for cleaning aquarium stuff (just remember to keep it with your aquarium stuff so it won't be used for anything else)! I find they are great for gently cleaning the "edges"/"seams" of the aquarium too.

    In regards to running the sterilizer you can run that 24/7 once your done treating....any time you "medicate" a tank you want to shut off any type of sterilizer & remove any/all forms of carbon (many times found in filter cartridges).

    As for lighting, what kind of lights and what is the wattage and type of the bulbs? (ie. compact fluorescent, T5HO, Fluorescent, T8, LED, etc) (ie. how many watts and how many bulbs) (ie. what kind of bulbs...pink plant, blue actinics, standard flourescents). The reason I'm asking these questions is because you mentioned having green water issues- which usually lighting is to blame for (Ie. too much light, wrong type of bulbs, on too long).

    The plants you mention are hardy and should do well for you...I love the red tiger lotus :) Such an easy plant that gives a nice splash of color!
     
  3. jinglesrr

    jinglesrr Thread Starter Member

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    Hi Dwn,

    I am on city water and always use Seachem Prime before adding water. As I mentioned, I already did test my water with an API kit and it had no ammonia, nitrites, and the PH was 6.8. My fish guy offered to test my water but since I had the kit already just did it myself. He is against doing water changes in general and since I have such perfect water chemistry, I tend to agree. His contention is that every time a significant water change (25percent or more) there is an adjustment period the fish have to go through that causes them stress. I have also questioned him about why he doesn't recommend vacuuming as you suggested (btw: his tanks are pristine!) and he says this isn't done under conditions in the wild and that the gunk feed the plants and will just convert to harmless mulch in time. I went through a period of having brown malm on the bottom of my tank but it is now all gone! I do use ferts. for my plants but think they also feed on a lot of what the fish naturally deposit. He said that the city of San Francisco has been making some less than desirable additions in the water and that the less one has to add at a time the better. I add a gallon of treated water a week which is lost through evaporation. What I do on occasion, is swirl the bottom of the substrate to filter out the gunk on the bottom of the tank. Also, he taught me to peridically poke holes in the substrate to release the gasses below which hs said immediately neutralize in the water. My filters hang outside and I was taught the technique you used but will admit the last few times I was lazy and cleaned with new water so I will admit I was bad and accept the consequences! I don't know what the wattage of my lights are: They are two very bright blue neon tubes. Is ten hours too much?
     
  4. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Active Member

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    blue neon are actinics...those are used for saltwater normally. Are you actually getting plant growth with them though?
    10 hours should be okay, but if you're getting algae just cut them back a bit (most will tell you 8 hours max, but I run mine just under 10 hours too).

    no ammonia or nitrites without water changes ey, are you lightly stocked? and wondering how you're doing on nitrates without doing partials? And poking the substrate with chopsticks/skewer like your doing is definately good practice, especially since your not siphoning (siphoning does the same thing- releases the dead pockets, but also removes the dirt/waste from the tank).

    I'm on city water too, Primes great...been using it for the past few years- previously used the wal-mart crap which I questioned if it ever really worked since I had more problems stress wise when I used it. I do the partials and cleaning in the theory of "toilet bowl syndrome". My thinkings that even with plants that the "system"/tank needs flushed (drained/partial) every one in awhiile to remove the waste. But if what your doing is working for you, the tanks clean, the fish are healthy...then I don't blame you one single bit for sticking to what works for you!

    Should you find time, I'd love to see picts...I love browsing the photo section to see what others stock and how they decorate/setup their tank :)
     
  5. jinglesrr

    jinglesrr Thread Starter Member

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    Once I get my tank "unsick", wait the required two weeks afterwards before my fg will sell me another algae eater (he is very strict that way!), I'll see if I can get some. I don't do any fancy landscapping, etc. Pretty much just stick them in and that's that! I want to get another dwarf albino bushy nose cat as they seem to be the very best algae eaters....better than even scrapping the tank! Oh, on your suggestion to use a toothbrush: my fg suggested I use an old credit card to get that algae since it doesn't scratch plastic tanks. Seems to work. No, not lightly stocked at all! No more deaths since the two doses of medication so I think we are on track!