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Algae and disease

PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:09 pm
by Photoman
Can cleaning algae off the sides of the tank cause ick or fungus to attack the fish? How about cleaning the gravel on the bottom? I am trying to figure out how my fish got sick. It seamed to arrive after I did a water change, clean algae and bottom vacuum. That would be the first time ever I had problems after a cleaning. I did find out Rainbows do not live a long life. One and a half years in the tank is a long time. Almost 3 for a Dwarf pleco. Thanks

Re: Algae and disease

PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:27 pm
by Diana
Ich is an organism that follows a specific life cycle, with pretty specific timing. It can hide in the gills, so be introduced to your tank with new fish that are not properly quarantined, and can live in a tank for a while without being noticed. If the fish in the store are infested, Ich can be in the water in their single cell form, so introduced to your tank when you add new fish with the water they are in, or when you share equipment from one tank to the next while the equipment is still wet.
Ich does not have a dormant stage of their life. Their life cycle can be a month long at cooler temps, though, so if you have a pond or cool water tank this might be a reservoir of Ich. Since they are not reproducing very fast, the fish may be able to fight off most of the organisms, so you might miss seeing it on the fish.

Some fungi and bacteria organisms can hide in tank debris, and in poor water circulation areas in between infesting the fish. Disturbing these areas might swirl the organisms around the tank, so maybe the fish could catch these diseases when the spores are stirred up. Target these areas when you are doing a water change. Siphon out the water under rocks and driftwood, and deep clean the substrate in areas without plants.

If you think it is the stress of a water change that is allowing the fish to catch a disease or parasite, try this:
Here is an alternate way of doing a water change, less stress to the fish:
Prepare the new water. Make sure it has the same parameters as the tank water.
Start a siphon from the tank.
Start a pump to add the new water to the tank.
Keep the siphon and the pump coordinated so the water level drops only very slowly, perhaps only drops a couple of inches over the whole water change. Note that a water change done this way (new water being added while old water is being removed) only does about 50% of the new water volume of a water change. For example, if you prepared new water with a total volume of 40% of the tank, then you are actually only doing a 20% water change. You can notice this if you measure the NO3 before and after: if it was 20ppm before, then it would probably be around 16ppm after this style of water change.
I have done a much larger water change doing this, having up to 100% of the tank volume of new water ready to pump into the tank (net change pretty close to 50%).

Another common factor might be that the fish are stressed from something else, a low level of stress, but just enough that when the added stress of a water change happens the immune system is weakened just that little bit more that allows a disease or parasite to attack. This low level stress might be incorrect water parameters (GH, TDS, pH, NO3, other toxins, temperature) or social issues (bully fish, wrong collection of species) or wrong food (for example a vegetarian fish being fed too-high protein foods) or something else.

Rainbow fish are common carriers of Mycobacteriosis. This disease is spreading among hatcheries of all the species of aquarium fish. A low level of this infection can kill the fish, perhaps not directly from Mycobacteriosis, but from any of several other diseases. The Mycobacteriosis weakens the fish, they catch something else which kills them.
Do some research about this. If you think this may be happening you can have a veterinarian diagnose it.

Re: Algae and disease

PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:31 pm
by Photoman
Thanks, I looked at pictures of Mycobacteriosis.Out of all I looked at just one looked like the one that attacked my Rainbows. A slime that was on the top of the fish. I'm going to look deeper into this. Good advice thanks.

Re: Algae and disease

PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 6:43 pm
by Diana
The problem with MB is that the external symptoms can vary. The external symptoms might even be some other disease that is attacking the fish, taking advantage of the weakened immune system.
The only way to properly diagnose MB is to dissect a fish, look for the nodules on the internal organs.