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t2000kw 04-03-2007 05:37 PM

Secret for miniizing losses with fragile fish???
In the last few months we think we found a way to minimize losses with fragile fish, at least with cardinal and neon tetras.

We used to put them in a bare bottom quarantine tank with some floating plants to take up any ammonia from the fish. Loses were heavy in the first few days. Survivors that made it a few days to a week with no symptoms of disease went into an established tank. No losses after that.

Allen from our club noticed that once he put his in an established tank, losses ceased. High losses before that, though.

The batch before the last looked healthy enough so we took a small chance and put them directly into our established tank. No losses.

The last batch we got we put into an established but small tank for observation purposes (quarantine). Then transferred them into the large established tank. No losses.

Same thing with two weather loaches. One died. We immediately put the other one into an established tank. It is doing well after a month.

Has anyone else noticed that this works for fish that tend to die off shortly after bringing them home from a store?


Six 04-04-2007 06:23 AM

Re: Secret for miniizing losses with fragile fish???
I think it's all dependant on your QT methods and the state of your established display. But, it's a good thing to try, considering most people want to buy schools of neons and cardinals it would be nice to have your entire purchase live. I've worked in many stores and I would agree that sometimes no acclimation suits these particular two species well - but there are times you QT and save them all or not QT and lose them all. I guess I'm saying that there's many factors leading up to the purchase of the fish at the store by the customer to remember as well. But, I like your thinking. Try to find a new, better way of doing things.

To keep this scientific and not simple subjective theory- can you eleaborate more on when the fish was bought, how many, and what tank size and establishment/chemistry you introduced them in?

Six 04-04-2007 06:26 AM

Re: Secret for miniizing losses with fragile fish???
I'd also like to point out that "fragile fish" is maybe to broad a term considering this methodology way not work at all for rare species of Pelvicachromis, or perhaps discus or rare plecos. Stating this works for neons and cards better than other methodologies, I'd agree with.... but I doubt it would work for all fragile fish. Expecially Apistos and uncommon tetra or rasbora.

Troy McClure 04-04-2007 07:42 AM

Re: Secret for miniizing losses with fragile fish???
I remember when I got my juvie discus. I spent hours and hours drip acclimating them to a fairly new tank. And by fairly new I mean the Bio-Wheel filter probably wasn't even established yet. I was religious in changing their water every day for the first month and didn't have any losses until months down the road. I have only used the QT method once on a pair of green rainbows my mom picked up. that's because I trust where I get my fish from (Monfort) and I don't trust where she got hers (PetSmart.) I think in a QT tank, if it's something that isn't setup all the time, using AmQuel Plus is all but necessary. I made sure it was used on the green rainbow QT tank (10gal, rocks, gravel from the 10yr old 29gal, water pump, heater, no light) and they turned out great. I haven't had any problems with adding groups of neons directly to a tank either. To the best of my recollection, I've always added fish directly to the tank they were going to live in, following a reasonable acclimation method of matching temp, gradually changing out the bag water for tank water, netting out the fish instead of dumping the whole bag, etc.

IMO, stress reduction is crucial - no/very low lighting, constant temp, clean water, dark colored gravel preferrably established, and a additive to neutralize NH4, NO2, NO3.

t2000kw 04-04-2007 12:17 PM

Re: Secret for miniizing losses with fragile fish???

Originally Posted by Six (Post 290656)
To keep this scientific and not simple subjective theory- can you eleaborate more on when the fish was bought, how many, and what tank size and establishment/chemistry you introduced them in?

Without having kept notes I can't elaborate much. The QT tank was a bare bottom tank, about pH of 8, maybe 7.5. I don't remember if we mixed RO/DI water in with it or not, but I think we did to get it close to the water the incoming fish were used to. I used Amquel Plus as a "just in case" thing. We added floating plants from the goldfish aquarium. The store's pH was not far off from our pH.

I do remember that deaths from a Chillicothe store that rhymes with "wetland" died off much faster than from a Grove City store that rhymes with "get Smart." We had much better success from the latter store. Some losses, though. Zero losses after we put them in the established, planted tank, with the exception of one time when I think we did lose one.

The QT tank was 10 gallons, the final tank was 55. The numbers varied from 6 up to 20, depending on how many I could afford at the time.

If I did this often I might have done some data gathering and ran it through Minitab to see what correlations there were between different variables, but I did not. I used to do that for a living (six sigma) and I've been away from it for a while and got lazy about things like that.

I'm sure that what the fish have experienced before taking them home is a big part of the problem. The second store mentioned before holds them in a warehouse for a couple of weeks to weed out the weak ones (and possibly to spot serious problems). They have a system in the store that changes water in the tanks several times daily.

The ones I got from Matt (3?) all survived. They were placed directly into the 55. Of course, they came from a clean tank and didn't have all of the stresses that store bought fish might be subjected to.

From now on, with these fish, I'm just going to check all of the tank inhabitants out carefully before buying any fish from that tank and will place them directly in the 55. We still can use a few more of each of those fish species.

Six 04-04-2007 01:49 PM

Re: Secret for miniizing losses with fragile fish???
I think you might kick yourself for not QT later on, expecially if you're a fish store junkie -buying fish from all over.

IME Petland does not keep their pH nearly that high although Petsmart might since they automaticly change their water 3 times a day with a mix of tap water and filtered water (my brother works at a PetSmart and Petland doesnt change their water enough- no one does- to maintain such a high pH in retail tanks. Retail tanks are normally low in pH IME). That's kinda high pH IMO for tetras, but to each their own. If the fish are wild caught, which PetSmart's may not be (they actually are very into keeping thing cultured) and thus the lack of death.

Wild fish are much more fragile and harder to care for than cative stock. Cative raised stock, like the ones from Matt, are far more likely to survive in another aquarium and IMO shouldn't be added into the equation. Any fish acclimated for that long in captivity will be hardier, regardless of it's inherit past.

Also, you may want to take into account that neons and cardinals are not hard for everyone to keep. I've kept cards years ago, in subpar conditions, and didn't have issues until I lost interest in the tank and killed them. You may want to look into you pH and see if you can't bring it down a little. The acclimation shock may actually hard them in their very specific case and therefore you;re getting favorable results with the "dump" method.

Like I said, I would not dismiss the idea of QT. The time you take it for granted is the time you get wild stock infested with who-knows-what that stresses the entire tank. Vigilant- yes. Too gung-ho.... maybe. ;)

Just playing a little devil's advocate here too. :P

Good luck

t2000kw 04-04-2007 06:22 PM

Re: Secret for miniizing losses with fragile fish???
We now have a cycled, natural planted tank now that could be used for QT. No other fish in it but occasionally we move a few into it. It's a 10 gallon.

All of our planted tanks slowly move to a neutral or lower pH over time.

As for the local Petland's pH, it is around 7-7.2. What I don't like about their setup (I don't like much about them, as you can probably tell here . . .) is that all tanks in one bank share the same water path, so if one tank has a problem, all of them can end up with it. I don't know how often they change their water but from th elooks of it I don't think it's very often. That could be a local thing. We've had issues with the local place that we wouldn't have with most other stores, like no refunds on fish purchased on sale. We don't buy fish from them anymore after the last ordeal we went through--got the refund, but the way the manager dealt with us and the situation wasn't pleasant. They don't even have the courage to put a notice up in plain view that fish on sale are not guaranteed once the pass the register. It's on your receipt where it's too late. We got our refund on the legal principle that there was no mention of no guarantee before the sale so no contract was in force to negate the normal guarantee. Thanks to an undergrad business law class! But they won't have to confront that issue again with us since we don't buy anything live from them now, and I prefer to spend my money elsewhere on non-fish items. We have a Complete Pet Mart and even the online World Pet Store (which allows you to order online and arrange a local pickup, I believe) in town, and if I really need something only Petland has I will usually drive to Columbus, combining it with a trip to a couple of thrift stores, and buy fish food at PetSmart or Jack's. The attitude of PetSmart employees, at least in Grove City, is excellent. It may take a few minutes to get some help, and not all of the employees are knowledgeable on all of their products, but they are humble enough to admit that and can often get someone else who can be of more help. They make up for any lack of knowledge with their great attitude.

t2000kw 04-04-2007 06:33 PM

Re: Secret for miniizing losses with fragile fish???
I forgot to mention another thing I like about PetSmart. They match their online prices. Petco does not honor their own online prices. But guess what? PetSmart will match Petco's online prices! (On the same exact items, but they do carry many of the same exact items in the fish department.)

Is there a fish store that some of the members have absolute trust in their fish as far as disease and health are concerned? Byerly's is gone in Columbus, so maybe we'll have to travel to Cincinnati or Dayton to visit such a store. I don't have that absolute confidence in PetSmart, but I am generally happy with the store and haven't experienced any horror stores with fish from there. But maybe it's an individual store thing, too, and maybe not all stores are as careful with their fish?

Liz, what is the store where you work like, and what do they stock? Is it only marine aquariums?

Troy McClure 04-05-2007 10:18 AM

Re: Secret for miniizing losses with fragile fish???

Originally Posted by t2000kw (Post 290881)
Is there a fish store that some of the members have absolute trust in their fish as far as disease and health are concerned?

Monfort Aquarium on Colrain Avenue. It's easy to get to off of Ronald Regan Highway.

I don't have that absolute confidence in PetSmart
I don't blame you. Most places with centralized filtration and high school kids "maintaining" the tanks makes me skeptical. I have been very tempted to buy fish from them in the past but always refrained because I just can't be sure. I've seen how Monfort handles their new arrivals, I've been there when my cousin Eric has just gotten back from the airport, I've seen what they do behind the scenes. There aren't large aquatic convention folks that come to PetSmart and say, "Hold these expensive fish for us and setup our displays." like they have with Monfort. Industry people obviously trust Monfort Aquarium, they've been around longer than PetSmart, and they are sort of family to me, so I trust them completely. On top of that, I'm not going to get the personal, down-and-dirty, bottom-line, insider info from some PetSmart high school kid like I will from Tom or Dave at Monfort. :D

t2000kw 04-05-2007 01:25 PM

Re: Secret for miniizing losses with fragile fish???
Sounds like the way Byerly's was.

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