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 Post subject: Re: tail fraying
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:09 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:12 pm
Posts: 20
Location: Canada
Oh, forgot to answer this one: I never really saw them getting hyped up when eating. Is it good or bad thing? Are they supposed to get hyped up?


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 Post subject: Re: tail fraying
PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:15 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 3:21 am
Posts: 4236
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Hi Oleg.

1. Just out of curiosity... why do you ask if feeding earthworm flakes alone would cause this, if you are saying you feed a balanced diet? (or did I read wrong... sometimes I need to skim through posts!). You mentioned (Frozen Mysis, Frozen brine shrimp and earth worms flakes...I'm also feeding catfishes with earth worm and Spirulina stick).

In this regard, are you feeding live or fresh earthworm to the catfish?, or also earthworm flake or pellets? I would be suspicious of fresh or live earthworm, unless you get them from a reliable source (not exposed to pesticide or contaminated in other way) and you give them a good rinse. Otherwise this would be a great way to introduce pathogens into your system.

If you are feeding only earthworm flakes, and if you've been doing it for several months, that could definitely bring a nutritional deficiency of some kind, be it mineral or vitamin or both. I doubt this is the case if you are feeding the other items you mentioned.

***
2. Both Mirador and Mark have made excellent suggestions. Upping the water changes and ensuring top quality is your best shot. Adding the vegetable or plant component to the diet is very important. You mentioned the spirulina sticks for your catfish...maybe you can add nori algae sheets (my altum gorge on them), or chopped spinach. Sally's Emerald Entree is a practical and nicely balanced frozen food for those of us short on time.

***
3. The aggressiveness. Mike and I were OTP several weeks ago on the subject and we were talking about this. His opinion was that this could have to do with too many dominant males in the same tank. I've had to deal with this frequently. So, for all practical purposes it would be a bad sign of things you don't want (too few females) and those boys you have, ripping each other up! Could it be the same the other way around (too many females)?

Scratches and a little bit of fin tearing, from driftwood branches or sharp branch stubs, is a relatively normal thing that we fix by rearranging things so it won't happen. But if all or most of the fish in your tank have the kind of fin damage we see in your fish, I agree that something else is going on.

In my case I have literally seen an entire ventral fin get bitten off right from the base of the stub and fall to the bottom of my aquarium, and I have seen this happen 2 or 3 times in my life with these fish (altums). They can get miserably mean. Again, looks like this is not you case.

***

So other than the great advice you have received from our good members, one practical thing that could help, is supplementing the dry component of the diet with a product such as Seachem Nourish or Boyd's VitaChem. I would like to keep my pH at around 5.5 (preconditioning your tap water), maybe adding ketapang leaves (or extract), and some salt (1 teaspoon per gallon, which is a minimum therapeutic dose). I mix all this stuff in my preconditioning barrels to keep the water stable. You might want to try this for at least 2 or 3 weeks to see in there is any improvement.

And these recommendations, any of them, should be preceded by Al's (Mirador) recommendation of deparasiting/deworming your fish... all of them.

Need to go for now.

Ed

_________________
God listens. He may not always give you everything you want, when you want it; but he always gives you what you really need, when you need it most!
E.R.


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 Post subject: Re: tail fraying
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:12 pm
Posts: 20
Location: Canada
Ed, Al,

Thank you for your feedback. Sorry for the delay - took me some time to prepare.
I did the following:
- all catfishes besides 7 X Sturisoma
- removed most of driftwood and plants
- removed 80% of the substrate ( since I don't need plants to be rooted, I only left a minimum required to cover the glass, between 1/8"-1/4"
- cleaned 2 canister filters ( well, preserving the media OFC )
- did 50% water change

In addition, I'm going to start Melafix treatment just to speed-up fins recovery. I'd prefer to avoid using any meds at this stage but to keep weekly 50% water changes + Melafix and check for results, since I do not see any signs of parasites.

Regarding the feeding, I did the following:
- ordered "Boyd's VitaChem", will start soaking the dry wood (see below) as soon as it arrives
- ordered some freeze-dry black warms
- replaced black warms flakes by black warms bits ( flakes creat way too much mess )
- switched to 3 x day feedings

I'll keep doing that for 30 days ( including melafix daily + VitaChem daily with food/directly into water) and see how it goes, will share the results after 30 days.

P.S. Funny thing - removing most of the decoration was a very positive move - a lot of swimming space was added, they started to move freely around the tank. However, I guess it also triggered some pre-spawning behavior and I'm afraid a pair is starting to form. At least it looks like. Going to break this huge open space by planting Anubias
(which are free floating at the moment) into pots, create some territory markers for the pair ( if it is a pair ). Check picture below - sorry for the mess, still in the middle of the maintenance.


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 Post subject: Re: tail fraying
PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:49 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2015 12:22 pm
Posts: 51
Location: Toronto, Canada
Hi Oleg,

Just wondering how are your Altums doing in regards to fins.. I just can't get mine to start growing them back.. it looks just like yours or a bit worse..


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 Post subject: Re: tail fraying
PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:51 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:12 pm
Posts: 20
Location: Canada
Hi Slobodan,

I made quite a lot of changes, but it looks like the fins issue is indeed related to fighting (mostly), followed by stress etc. The pair I separated looks much better than the rest - their fins are still far from being perfect, but I clearly see improvement there. I'm really pushing it to build 2 breeder tanks to completely separate the aggressive ones since I have a feeling 2-nd pair ( on the right side ) is forming, adding even more stress to the (already) stressed-out fish.

I switched to 50% weekly WC in addition to the daily 10% (drip), but I don't think it changed a lot. I also added some vitamins to the water column (weekly) and to the food (daily), but as I mentioned, the only improvement I see is with the pair which is separated ( and thus no fighting ).

I'll keep watching them closely and keep you updated. My greatest fear is the smaller/weaker ones on the right side are going to be sick as a result of permanent stress caused by the 2-nd pair forming, hope I don't lose any to hexamita and alike before I have my breeders ready.


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