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Newbie's Progress (I knew this would happen!)
Thanks to all who have responded and contributed so
patiently to my newbie questions.
I'm adding CO2 now using the bell approach. I used
one of those cough syrup dosing cups with a hole
drilled in the bottom and 1/4 OD airline tubing from
the bottle to the bell. This provides a 1 cubic inch
'bubble' and seems to be very appropriate for a 10
All of the plants are doing well. In fact, I don't
have anything in the tank that isn't putting on new
growth, and some of the plants' performance has been
nothing short of astonishing.
One of my questions regarded the efficacy of using
salt in a planted tank to prevent/cure common diseases
and parasites. I had initially salted the water to
approximately 1.5 ppt (0.15%), because I had observed
a large number of some sort of worm. I feared a
parasite infestation of the tank's animal inhabitants.
After finding that the consensus of the list was that
the salt was not necessary and would probably not be
good for the plants, I did 20% water changes over
several days and gradually reduced the saline
concentration to less than 0.5 ppt. After doing so,
I added the first of the tank's animal
inhabitants--two neon tetras and one black molly.
This morning (3 days after introducing the fish), I
had coffee with a pair of tetras infected with Ich.
One has it worse than the other, but they are both
definitely infected. The molly is rather large (2-1/4
inches) and does not appear to be infected. Ammonia
tests 0, nitrite tests 0, pH is between 7.2 and 7.4,
alkalinity is about 100 ppm.
Based on what I understand about the life cycle of the
parasite, the fish probably picked up their cysts just
hours before I walked into the LFS, so I do not
associate the reduction in saline concentration with
the infection. Also, since these are the first fish
added to the tank, I didn't quarantine them. Now, I
have a tank that is capable of producing 300 new ich
organisms for each speck on my fish! ARGH!
As I see it, I have two options. Option #1 is to
evacuate the fish to a hospital tank, treat them, and
leave them in the hospital for a period that exceeds
the estimated life cycle of the organism. The risk
here is that the stress of chasing, netting and
relocating them might push them over the edge. The
benefit is that the plants will not be subjected to
Option #2 is to go back and increase the saline
concentration of the tank they're in--the planted
tank. The risk here is that the fish will die anyway
and the salt will kill or damage the plants. I have
used salt in fishtanks and goldfish ponds to treat
disease, but never in a planted tank. I'm comfortable
with my knowledge of my water and my ability to
There is a third option--euthanasia followed by no new
fish for a week. That seems extreme and unnecessary.
I'm going with Option #1--treatment with a 3 day, 3
ppt salt concentration in a hospital tank, followed by
a 4 day isolation period to break the parasites' life
cycle. It seems the safest for all involved.
At least 3 Mystery Snails have volunteered to join my
community. I believe they came in on the Crypts or
the Echinodorus. These alga-vores cost a buck-fifty
at the LFS. I would rather that they kept the Ich--I
would have been happy to pay them for the snails...
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