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Concerned about my new Apistogrammas

Mazan

Active Member
Messages
283
As discussed here: https://apistogramma.com/forum/threads/some-apistogrammas-from-peru.24724/page-2#post-119255, I recently got 4 Apistogramma "ladislao" - supposedly 2 pairs, at any rate 2 definite males and two much smaller ones that are meant to be females but might not be. Along with them came a little agassizii that I didn't order. I have had them just over two weeks and recently I moved the agassizii to another tank as it was chasing the smaller ones and being chased by the dominant male. I was also thinking of moving one of the males that was always getting chased, but now I think something is wrong with them, and I do not want to risk my other tanks in case they have some kind of disease or parasite. They looked really good until a few days ago when I noticed the dominant male was no longer displaying and chasing the others from the place he was usually defending, and all of them have clamped fins. I have seen one of the males flashing a couple of times and at times he seemed to be swimming a little erratically, like shaking his body, but not all of the time. They are all eating brine shrimps eagerly but ignoring bug bites, vibra bites and a softer vitalis food I have tried, though they did seem to take an interest in the bug bites and vitalis initially. The agassizii seems totally fine and will eat anything I have tried.

The tank they are in is 175 litres but is not filled to the top as only the Apistogrammas are in there, the footprint is 70 x 50cm. I used river sand and branches and twigs from the river (same as I have in my other tanks) to create barriers and hiding spots, but such that it would not be difficult to remove as I knew I would have to catch fish before long. I also added leaf litter, not almond leaves but ones collected locally, the same type I have in my other tanks. I used filter material and a pre-filter sponge from the other tanks and added a load of water lettuce to be safe. There is a little peat in the filter (same peat as in two other tanks). GH is 1, KH 0-1, TDS 39. I don't know the pH as my liquid test has run out and the cheap meter I got is no good. But out of the tap it was usually around 6.8 using the liquid test (that I know is not reliable in soft water). I have also run out of nitrate test but I am sure they are not high as there are only very few small fish in the tank and some of the water lettuce leaves are going yellow. There is no ammonia. I have done some water changes, adding new water gradually in case the pH is different to the tap water.

Now I am not sure what to do and would appreciate any advice.I do have some Paraguard but am nervous of using chemicals and reluctant to add anything that might make the situation worse.
 

Eddy. E.

Member
Messages
74
Location
Germany
Hello Mazan,

Use methylene blue, or methylthioninium chloride, which is pretty much the same thing, along with salt, and do not use glutaraldehyde in conjunction with malachite green oxalate (like it's used in Paraguard). Glutaraldehyde is basically nothing more than formaldehyde and causes mutations when used frequently.
For the duration of the treatment, I would increase the temperature to 29° degrees (84F). Make sure that an aerator brings additional oxygen. Every use of a drug depletes the oxygen, and the fish may have enough problems already. Whether malachite green oxalate or methylene blue, both drugs are very sensitive to light, so turn off the lights while treating. After treatment, I would filter through activated carbon for a few days to remove the remnants of the drugs in addition to a 80% water change. Good luck.
 

Mazan

Active Member
Messages
283
Thank you. Interesting I did not know that paraguard contains glutaraldehyde, it says it is safer than others that contain formaldehyde. It does say it contains a combination of aldehydes, but does not say what. I only bought it as a last resort to save an injured acara - it didn't work.

How long do you recommend doing the treatment for? And how much salt and methylene blue to add? Would I add these just once and keep the water topped up to the same level? I seem to have had pretty good luck with my fish normally and am not at all experienced with treating diseases, I get nervous in case I do it wrong..When I tried salt on the aforementioned acara it seemed to get worse.
 

Mazan

Active Member
Messages
283
Ok I have just seen in another of your posts salt 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons for 3-4 days - is that correct?
And what do you think might be wrong with these fish? I should perhaps have added that they are all still quite active and come to the front looking for food when I come near, though not as quickly as before. The smaller ones seem less affected than the two males and are behaving normally, except that their fins are rather clamped.
 

Eddy. E.

Member
Messages
74
Location
Germany
I have no idea about the fish so far. Without any pictures, or better a video, i can't tell you what it could be, or not. Methylene blue, or methylthioninium chloride you can usually find here in Germany in some medical treatments, such as Bactopur from SERA brand and its already resolved. So unfortunately I can't tell you exactly how much you need to add to the aquarium.
 

Mazan

Active Member
Messages
283
OK thanks. I finally managed tp get some methylene blue (they didn't have it at the first shop) and dosed as per instructions 1 drop per 4 litres. I have raised the temperature so far to 28C, lights are off, extra air pump on and I will add the salt shortly.
 

Apistoguy52

Active Member
Messages
314
As someone just following along…what are we trying to treat with MB and salt? Nitrite toxicity? Fungus?
 

Mazan

Active Member
Messages
283
As someone just following along…what are we trying to treat with MB and salt? Nitrite toxicity? Fungus?
I don't know, in the first post I describe the symptoms. They looked fine for two weeks then started to go down hill, clamped fins, not as active, occasional flashing.
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,479
OK thanks. I finally managed tp get some methylene blue (they didn't have it at the first shop) and dosed as per instructions 1 drop per 4 litres. I have raised the temperature so far to 28C, lights are off, extra air pump on and I will add the salt shortly.
Don't over dose; MB is quite lethal if too much is added. The bottle stuff i have has direction (I think it was hiraki); i would start with 1/2 to 2/3 amount they recommend.
 

Mazan

Active Member
Messages
283
Oh dear, too late now I dosed as per instructions…I put less salt in so far though, will probably add more tomorrow, depending how things are.
 

Mazan

Active Member
Messages
283
So I haven't killed them with the treatment yet! I added another teaspoon of salt today (only added less than half the amount yesterday). Temperature is at 28.5, heater is still on, it will probably go up a little more during the day. This morning only two of them were out and active when I put in the Artemia (one male and one of the small ones). I did see the other two briefly at the back but they did not come out to the front to feed as usual. As the brine shrimp spread around I hope they will get some. I did not see any flashing this morning, but will watch a bit more later. There is nothing obvious to see on them except for clamped fins.

A piece of good news is the agassizii, which was with them for 2 weeks, still seems totally fine, I have been watching him carefully and rather worried as I already put him in the other tank before noticing anything wrong with the others. A day later and I would not have moved him.
 

Mazan

Active Member
Messages
283
Quick update, later after posting yesterday I twice saw the other small one but it came out swimming very frantically and flashing (flicking against leaves etc.) a lot and I didn't see it eat. The one small one that was out and about and feedinglooked pretty normal actually, and the male that was out was swimming normally with no flashing but still with very clamped fins. This morning the one small one was active at first light - a little light gets in to one corner of the tank from the window, but the back of the tank is covered with polystyrene for insulation, so without the lights on its quite dark. I switched on the lights just briefly and the other small fish emerged swimming normally and eating with no flashing. But I only saw one of the males and he didn't look too good, he was hiding under a leaf and dashed off when I put the lights on. So I am cautiously optimistic about the two smaller ones, but not so much the two obvious males.

Today I turned up the heater a bit more as yesterday and the night were quite cold and the temperature had dropped a bit. I will add a little more salt. Would it be best to do the water change and add the carbon on Sunday morning? Or tomorrow afternoon? And keep the temperature high for a few more days maybe?
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,479
My only experience is with salt in the tank you want to do small water changes (if you are diluting the salt; if increasing or keeping the same level of salt add the salt to the new water). Beyond that i would be scared to give advice :(
 

Mazan

Active Member
Messages
283
Hmm Eddy. E. said 80% water change - but maybe it should be done in small stages? I have been adding salt gradually. It has increased the TDS a lot (now 136), I suppose that is to be expected.
 

anewbie

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,479
Feel free and ask away. Just make sure I don't get any problems with the translation. My English is a bit rusty...hehehe
I think the current question is if the water change should be small or large when removing the salt. My concern is that a large water change will have a large impact on tds which can shock the fish; but your earlier instruction was to remove 80% of the water.
 

Mazan

Active Member
Messages
283
Feel free and ask away. Just make sure I don't get any problems with the translation. My English is a bit rusty...hehehe
Thanks Eddy, your English seems perfectly good and I am very grateful for your help! The questions I have are:

1. As anewbie stated - 80% water change all at once or gradually? TDS is much higher with the salt in.
2. Should the new water be at the same temperature and should I keep the temperature high for a while (a few days?) or lower it immediately after the treatment.
3. How long should I leave the carbon in the filter after the treatment?

If they survive I would add almond leaves after the treatment but I imagine there is no point while there is still carbon in the filter.

I haven't looked at them yet this morning, still having breakfast! But I will see how they are looking and post an update a little later. The treatment has so far been in progress for two and a half days, I was thinking of ending it tomorrow morning.
 

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