Friday, December 10, 2010

Tales from the Tank #6

Patience is a Virtue
I'm learning a lot about myself in this process of developing a fish tank.  A few weeks into it and I want more fish.  Not just the six little fish we started with but lots of fish.  BIG fish.

I just can't decide what to do.  So one night, we were out and about so we took a water sample to the local pet store and our PH levels etc were good and low and behold....they had fish on sale!

On Sale! I didn't realize fish go on sale - I was so excited!  Since I love a good bargain, we left the store with two little red platyes and two Dalmatian Mollies - for just $4.00!!  The mollies are black and white spotted just like the dogs and are super cool. The playtes were red and black with these little pot bellies and were so cute!

A week or so passes and all is well, and then my friend Kathi and I were out for dinner - and got to talking about fish, and just how bad our local big box retailer (Wal-Mart) treats Beta's and they are so mistreated etc., we decided after dinner (and a bottle of vino) -- to "rescue" a beta from Wal-Mart.

So after picking through the most dreadful specimens and a couple already dead...we found a pretty blue and purple beta...and $3.00 later, he was on his way to a big beautiful tank with new playmates.

So another week into this, everything seemed to be going along "swimmingly" (intended pun LOL), and all of a sudden we noticed white spots on the tetras and playtes.  Terry said, call Kathi! she'll know what it is. So she rushes over, knowing just what it is, brings her supply of "fish medicine"!

Well, apparently when fish get stressed, (or as Terry later read online), you introduce new fish from "large" pet retailers, they can develop Ichthyophthirius multifiliis. Do not ask me to pronounce it. ICK or ICH  is commonly known as white spot disease, and is common to freshwater fish. GO FIGURE.

Treating the ICK
So the best way to treat ICK is with (of course) ICK Away, or ICH-Rid - seriously, this is what it's called, I'm NOT making this up.

The hard part is that you have to treat the tank, and then 24 hours later do a 50% water change out (that's 20 GALLONS of water) and REPEAT three days later with a 15% change out which is 15 GALLONS of water. And oh by the way....don't forget to remove the carbon filter (like we did during the first treatment) or else the medicine gets trapped in the filter and doesn't work.  So three water change outs and almost two weeks into ICK - we found the rescued beta dead on the bottom of the tank. Two days later one of the red platyes died. So I made an executive decision.

The fish with the worst ICK needed to go.  So in addition to the two we lost, we flushed (YES FLUSHED), one albino tetra, one Buenos Aires Tetra and the other red platy.  We have left the two mollies and four of the original six tetras.  So I went from six to eleven back to six fish.  There's a lesson here I just know it.

One week later, we had our water tested again at Pet's Playhouse - it's perfect (figures). Terry made me confess to the owner that I added fish before I was "supposed" to and we developed ICK and now we think it was gone.  I also admitted to flushing three fish still alive, but he said that was probably the best thing to do (so I felt better then).  He did say, it's all about the "New Tank Syndrome" and how people are impatient. Wow... he either has me pegged - or it happens all the time right? Then he said, "Go home, put the carbon filter back in and come back in a week".

So the lesson learned is this:  when the pet store tells you six weeks before you add new fish - WAIT SIX WEEKS.  Don't be impatient and try to buck the system or break the rules.  Otherwise you will be out $7.00 or more depending on how much you spent on the silly fish to begin with.

I'm still waiting for the water company to call and say "Mrs. Schrafel, we think you have a water leak somewhere.  Your water usage in the last month has quadrupled".   Oh well, the check's in the mail.