Pet of the Month
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Sep 1, 2017
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I recently transferred to a new college and I decided I wanted to have a pet here in my dorm since I was not able to bring my dogs with me. I then decided I wanted to get a fish. I have owned other fish in the past, but this was my first time trying out pictus catfish. I bought everything in needed to start a small tank in my dorm and then bought a few pictus cats and one sucker fish. A couple days after I added the catfish to the tank, it became a very cloudy/milky grayish white color and that is when my tank started going downhill. As of now, the water is still slightly cloudy, but has improved a little.

I first noticed something was wrong when my catfish became a lot less active. Soon after that I noticed when they would try to swim, it would be with a wobbly motion or they would swim partially vertical (tails up). They are also losing some of their spots/color. In addition, they also have had a HUGE loss in appetite and are practically not eating at all. So far, one of my catfish have died and I fear that the rest will soon share the same fate. Does anyone know what might have caused this and what I could do to prevent such an awful thing from happening again?

NOTE: My sucker fish does not seemed to be affected at all by this illness. He swims, eats, and navigates the tank in a perfectly normal fashion.


The current Mrs Treguard ;)
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Sep 6, 2010
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I'm afraid your problem is likely to be that you have too many fish in a tank that's not cycled.

In a mature, cycled tank, there are colonies of good bacteria, that live in the filter, and that eat the fish's wastes and stop the water becoming toxic. In a new tank, there are none of those bacteria, o the wastes build up and make the fish sick, or even kill them. You'll need to change nearly all the water, every day, making sure the new water is warmed and dechlorinated.

How big is your tank? Pictus catfish get quite big, and need to live in a group, so need quite big tanks. Can you get a picture of the 'sucker fish' too? There are literally hundreds of species of sucker mouth catfish, and some of them grow very big too. It might be that none of your fish are suitable for a small tank, but we need to know exactly how big it is, and exactly what species of fish you have, before we can tell.

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