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Fish Rubbing Themselves Against, Plants, Rocks. Is This Normal?


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#1 adracco

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 03:46 AM

My fish sometimes have an ich it looks like. So they quickly rub there bodies against the gravel or plants or rocks. Is this normal or an indicator of something wrong in the water. Just curious, the fish all seem to be healthy and have been around for a while. thanks in advance for any help.

#2 bigdave2009

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 03:56 AM

My fish sometimes have an ich it looks like. So they quickly rub there bodies against the gravel or plants or rocks. Is this normal or an indicator of something wrong in the water. Just curious, the fish all seem to be healthy and have been around for a while. thanks in advance for any help.



see any small white spots on them? or check your water stats lately?

#3 adracco

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 05:25 AM

No, the fish look fine, no white spots or discoloration. Look totally healthy, move around like they are totally healthy. Just every once and a while, they scratch themselves against the rocks or plants.
My bad! in my last comment I meant to say itch not ich.

#4 f1sh1275

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 11:27 AM

how long has the tank been set up and what are your water stats? have you added anything to the tank recently? meds ,ornaments, new fish etc

#5 connorsbala

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 11:49 AM

Agreed, would be helpful to see water parameters

#6 dthoffsett

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 05:09 AM

What kind of fish do you have? With most fish itching or flicking is a possible sign of parasites or other illness, however, with mbuna (rock-dwelling cichlids of Lake Malawi, Africa) it's a normal behavior.

#7 adracco

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 06:15 AM

I have had the tank a little under a year. 0 nitrates, 0 nitrites, .2 ammonia, p.h around 6 i think. Fish that scratch are danios, panda barb, black ruby barb, and my sae's. The neons never do this. I haven't added anything, recently. And the scratching I have noticed for about 6 month's. They don't do it all the time, just every once and a while. I don't see any parasites on them, would I be able to see them? Could it be my actual tap water? I do live in Los Angeles and I know that the water here is pretty nasty, with chemicals and what not. Thanks

#8 chicklette

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 07:19 AM

Well something is irritating their gills and we need to figure out why. Flashing is an indication of water quality problems or parasites or even some toxin in the water. Did you add any new fish in the tank recently?

Are you using the dip sticks or liquid when you test the water? This liquid is more actuate.

However, I see a problem, you should have a NitrAte reading so you tank may not be fully cycled. In a cycled tank you always get an ammonia and nitrite spike then you get a reading on your nitrates.

How often do you clean your tank and is your pH stable? If your ph fluctuates fish will flash and have a hard time coping with the fluctuation. If it remains stable donít worry about the pH then.

So that said I would get a real close up look of the fish. Check them over real good. Have you been using and chemicals near the tank? This will cause a lot of problems. Even aerosol sprays around the house.

#9 gourami_fan

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 07:39 AM

This behaviour for your kind of fish is not normal. It is likely due to parasites, commonly ich. You won't see anything just yet as they are starting to burrow into your fish. Once they settle, then you might start seeing white spots.

Keep a close eye on them, and make sure your water stats are good.

#10 adracco

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 05:42 AM

Thanks for the info guys, I will definetly keep a close watch. I usually do about a twenty percent water change every month. But I should do more I guess. I will do some water changes and take more readings, and then post an update in a little bit.
Thanks for the help I appreciate it. Also if they get the ich, how do I get rid of it? I do have a lot of plants, and was told not to add medicines to the tank.
Peace and hair grease.

#11 Mikaila31

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 05:54 AM

You have a ammonia reading, which is going to cause stress to your fish and make them more suseptable to disease . Have you replaced the filter media recently? Also if you are using test strips, they are really inaccurate. You will want to get some good liquid test kits, so you can keep an eye on your water stats.

#12 chicklette

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 12:10 PM

You should be cleaning your tank more. This may be why you are having water quality issues. I would clean the tank every week to every two weeks, doing a 25% to 30% water change. This depends on the filtration, size of the tank, how many fish you have (if you’re overstocked) and your nitrate level.

Do you have a python? That will save you a lot of back breaking work. When you clean your tank take all the decorations out and vacuum the gravel really good.

All the food got to the bottom (extra uneaten food) and that is why it is important to clean the gravel. Be sure to add a water conditioner.

Until you get your problems resolved I would feed your fish lightly.

Edited by chicklette, 14 February 2008 - 12:13 PM.


#13 adracco

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 02:38 AM

Thanks for all the advice. I will do more water changes. As far as my filtration, I have a hang on whisper filter, and an undergravel filter. The 80 year old Japanese guy at the lfs, who seems credible, and has sold me all healthy fish. told me not to change the whisper filter. That I should only just scrape it to keep the good bacteria in. Also with the undergravel, he said the same with not sucking the gravel because it would take away the good bacteria. Has anyone else heard this, or is he just giving me bad advice. Also if the fish get ich whats the best way help my fish. Thanks again.

#14 Mikaila31

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 03:49 AM

A employee that is right, for a change :hyper: . All tanks "cycle", which is the build-up of bacteria in the filter. This bacteria removes the toxins created by the fish poo and allows your fish to survive in your tank. I suggest you read this thread on cycling, since it will help you understand how you tank actually works. You can clean the filter and gravel, just don't replace it. Also only clean the filter in old tank water, tap water with chlorine in it will kill the bacteria, but rinsing the debris out of it in the old tank water won't harm the bacteria. Same with the gravel, you have to clean the waste out of it preferably with a gravel vac. This also will not remove the bacteria.

If your fish do get ich you should medicate them with a good ich med until the spots go away. This continue the treatment for another week to make sure it doesn't come back. But just because your fish are flicking it doesn't mean they have ich, almost all external parasites will make the fish flick.

#15 chicklette

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 08:05 AM

Personally I would get rid of the under gravel filter. Itís very hard to keep clean and traps debris under the gravel and is impossible to keep clean. However, this is just my opinion.

When you clean your filter gently rinse media is tank water, never tap. Tap water will get rid of the good bacteria. You can dump the water out in the filter and fill it back up with tank water.

But you do have to clean the gravel with your vacuum. If not ammonia and nitrites will build up. Just donít change the gravel. There is a lot of debris that needs to be cleaned in the gravel so donít worry about that.




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