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Apr 1, 2023
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I am new to fishkeeping. I’ve had zebra fish and Kuli loaches for a little over a month and I recently got 2 German blue rams and 2 snails. My zebra fish have been noticeably stressed (hanging out in a group, staying near the top of the tank) however after about a week they have started to chill out about the rams. I am concerned however because one of my zebra fish has started swimming very strangely (in almost an “s” formation)I do have an algae bloom I am trying to deal with (the snails were not enough so I ordered some chemicals) so I’m not sure if this is related. I’ve also heard Ich is a problem with rams (and today I think I might have also seen some white on the rams, I know sudden chaos all around) but I’m not sure if this could affect swimming in the zebras?

I can’t seem to attach a video, so here are some screenshots.


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Welcome to TFF, and the hobby. :hi:

First on the zebra danios...this is a curvature of the spine. Other members who have more direct experience with fish diseases will be able to comment on this; I saw it only a couple of times many years ago, but I never guess on fish disease as that can make things worse. I will "tag" a couple members, @Colin_T and @GaryE .

On the algae, never, never use any chemical algicide in a tank with fish and plants. Substances that dissolve in the water may well be able to diffuse across the cell membrane and thus enter the fishes' bloodstream and internal organs. Algicides can also harm plants. And possibly some bacteria. Don't use them. There is a cause of "problem" algae, and the only safe and effective way to deal with it is natural. I can't tell from the photos, but I assume the plants are artificial? No problem there, but that means the nutrients naturally occurring in any aquarium will be used by algae. We can control this but it is not harmful.

The two Rams are another problem. This fish must have very warm water, around 80-86F/27-30C, never cooler. This is much too warm for the Zebra Danios though. Returning the rams, or alternatively getting rid of the danios, is needed. Remember the rams must have the warmth, but a lot of other tropical fish do not.

Ich is caused by a protozoan, and fish succumb to it when they are stressed. Newly acquired fish are obviously seriously stressed, so we frequently see it on them. The other fish in the tank will also get it especially if they are stressed, and I suspect the danios are given their behaviours. Raising the temperature to 86F/30C for two full weeks is the safest way to deal with this. The other fish will be better with this than with any chemical medication. For just two weeks higher temperatures can be tolerated by most fish we keep.
Hello Byron,

Thank you for your reply! Yes I don’t have any real plants. I do have an entire wall of windows nearby, so this algae bloom may be due to an abundance of light. I am hoping the snails can target some of it, but I will hold off on using chemicals as per your advice, I really didn’t want to use them anyway. I am working on reducing the light on the aquarium.

I have increased the water temperature now, so hopefully that will be enough to handle the ich! I also followed some online advice and did a rather aggressive water change (tank flushing, I normally just do 20-30%) and to be honest the fish seemed quite pleased afterwords, and were even swimming WITH the rams as everyone played in the nice fresh water.

As for the temperature, the store the I got the rams from were promoting that they were good for 78-84 degrees (I know they were local so potentially they were raised in cooler water?) and some sources I found online suggested zebra fish are good for up to 82. My tank is typically set for 80, which the pet store guy (a small local place that seemed very knowledgeable) seemed ok with. I would rather not return either as long as they can thrive in their current water temperature. I do know that zebras are extremely hardy. My apartment is also quite warm (I don’t control the heat at all) and I’m not certain I could get the tank below a 79-80 if I wanted to, as I swear the tank heater is never on.
check the water quality and post a 1 minute video of the fish swimming.
The store's advice is incorrect. It is an unfortunate truth in this hobby that staff in so many fish stores are not trained in fish matters and often the advice they give is wrong. There are dozens of threads about this. The only thing you can do is post on this forum when there are issues and members can advise. Many think that any "tropical" fish can be housed together, but this is completely false. Each species has evolved to require a certain environment (environment means everything from water parameters to the hardscape of substrate, wodd, rock, etc, and other fish. We cause so much more stress to fish by not providing the necessary environment. And stress is the cause of more than 90%of all disease issues in aquarium fish, so preventing stress is extremely important.

Danios and rams cannot live together if you want healthy fish. I have detailed this previously. What you do is your decision, but you cannot keep these two species together because one or both will be stressed by doing so.
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When planning a tank I usually create something like this. Source of info is seriouslyfish.com - that way I can tell if what I am planning is suited for temp and hardness (I tend ignore pH). For hardness everything needs to be within the range of my water and not close to the extremes, I check that there is an overlap on temps and ideally try to have this somewhere in the middle of the range. Size is mainly just so that I don't get caught out by the salesman telling (for example) - these clown loach only get to 2" so will be fine in your 20G. I do also look at the profiles to check on aggression levels, compatability and stocking numbers. This is what in my community tank

NameTypeLength (mm)pHHardnessTemp
Cardinal TetraParacheirodon axelrodi
3.5 - 7.51 - 12dh23 -29
Peppered CoryCorydoras paleatus
6.0 - 7.01-12dh22 - 26
Sterbai CoryCorydoras sterbai
6.0 - 7.61-15dh24 - 28
pencil fishNannostomus marginatus
4.0 - 7.01-10dh22 - 28

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