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ccbeauch 10-06-2012 04:18 PM

5 dead cardinals the morning after purchase
So I added 18 cardinals yesterday afternoon to the 4 I bought a week ago and then when I woke up this morning, there were 5 dead ones! This scares me a lot because they looked fine yesterday. I added them to my discus tank so I was worried my discus might catch this killer. The discus are afraid of the cardinals so it wasn't them that committed the massacre. They were purchased from petsmart (not sure if that might be why) after being shipped there as well the same day of purchase. So should I get rid of all of the cardinals for fear of passed infection to my kings of the aquarium, get rid of a few that seem to have white on their face or torn fins (i thought this might be from abusive shipping), or keep the survivors?

Answers much appreciated as I've never kept cardinals before.

mach_six 10-06-2012 04:36 PM

I'd take them out now and set up a QT for them.

wkndracer 10-06-2012 04:52 PM


Originally Posted by mach_six (Post 2034532)
I'd take them out now and set up a QT for them.

Pulling them now is not a bad idea but it's also like the old adage about closing the barn door after. Whatever is on/in those fish is now in your tank.

CC you have setup an awesome display tank (imo).
Suggest you read this as time allows.

mott 10-06-2012 05:21 PM

Always qt! especially with expensive fish in the main tank, hopefully they were just stressed beyond belief and didn't have any disease!

kevmo911 10-06-2012 05:24 PM

Adding chain LFS fish directly to an established tank with expensive fish is an astoundingly poor choice.

LFS's generally share water between a large number of tanks, so any a single diseased fish could easily contaminate many many others. Big chain LFS's tend to have more unhealthy fish, on average, than a mom n pop LFS.

My death rate over a couple weeks, when buying from one of the big chain LFS's, is between 1/3 and 1/2 of purchased fish. The first time I bought fish from one of them, added them directly to an established tank, and lost not just all of them, but 80% of the previous tank occupants, was when I purchased a 10g tank for quarantine purposes.

Quarantine all the cardinals ASAP. Not sure how much it will help your current troubles, but keeping a QT tank for all new purchases will save you many headaches (and money) down the line.

Option 10-06-2012 05:53 PM


Originally Posted by kevmo911 (Post 2034587)
Adding chain LFS fish directly to an established tank with expensive fish is an astoundingly poor choice.

I couldn't agree more.

wkndracer 10-06-2012 05:58 PM


Originally Posted by ccbeauch (Post 2034513)
Answers much appreciated as I've never kept cardinals before.

I honestly believe the OP gets it on our feelings regarding quarantine :icon_roll

wishing you good luck with your fish going forward :fish:

AVN 10-06-2012 07:20 PM

Hey there, I specialize in Tetras and other small schooling species.

First of all I'd like to admonish you for not qurantining them for at least a couple days to a week before introducing them to your main system. What, you want all your fish to catch Ich or other microbial diseases?

Now I have over 40 Cardinals in my 200g schooling/planted tank and I've never experienced mass deaths like that, no matter what I did to them/introduced into the water.

You should really post water parameters if you want specific help... But from what I can gauge, unexpected deaths when introducing new stock usually comes from stress. Did you acclimate them properly? Are they being harassed by other residents? How were they acting before you got them from the store?

Any information is helpful in determining what went wrong.

ccbeauch 10-07-2012 08:17 PM

bad choices
My tank water is 1ppm amonia, 0ppm nitrate, 0ppm nitrite, 120ppm alkalinity, 120ppm hardness, 7.6 pH. I think the wood or natural dirt might be the culprate for the high pH. The lady at Petsmart had the same numbers I have and said she had never seen a more perfect tank quality but that the pH might have been high. Not sure if she knows anything truely beyond netting and bagging them. My discus were actually kinda afraid of the Cardinals and hid while they were tank mates. I am now down to 7 total Cardinals from the starting 22 I added. I returned 6 live ones, found 7 dead, and 2 are MIA. The remaining ones look very healthy and I do have a 20gallon tank in the bottom of mine that I could use for a Quar. tank but I wasn't sure if that had to be established and didn't want to kill them that way. I let them sit in their baggy for 20 minutes while the water warmed up to my 84 degree mark.

Should I still take the other 7 out and Quar. them or is it just too late and I should leave them in anyway at this point. Thanks

ccbeauch 10-07-2012 08:18 PM

btw, thanks for all the advice and help. ohh and the two plecos don't care one way or the other about the Cardinals and same for them.

kevmo911 10-07-2012 08:31 PM


Originally Posted by ccbeauch (Post 2035857)
btw, thanks for all the advice and help. ohh and the two plecos don't care one way or the other about the Cardinals and same for them.

In my experience, bottom feeders tend to have more impressive immune systems than column fish.

Cycling the new quarantine tank isn't absolutely necessary, but you'll have to watch ammonia and start doing daily water changes after the first couple days. You can also take some of your filter media and either throw it into a new tank to jumpstart cycling, ideally inside a filter. You can use the 20g, or buy a 10g for $20 or so at your PetSmart. Hopefully you have a spare filter? If not, a cheapie will work fine.

At this point, not sure using a quarantine tank will do any good. You might want to wait it out and hope for the best.

I have a 10g that sits on my kitchen counter for QT. No stand necessary, and I keep disposable plants (some moss and ferns) in it, as well as a few BA tetras, which aren't terribly plant friendly. It's got the stock hood, with mini CFL's replacing the incandescents that came with it, and a couple small filters. Anyway, I keep a few things in the tank to give it some charm (heh), and I'm not going to cry over anything I normally keep in there. All new fish go into it for a month, unless there's a death, and then the month cycle restarts. It's probably a total $50 investment. That's one easy route you could go.

ccbeauch 10-07-2012 09:10 PM

okay thanks. I already have a 20 long under my tank built into the stand from the guy I got it all from. He had a marine tank and that was his filter. Seeing as how he glued the stand together I just left it in there. Didn't want to smash the tank apart to get it out. I kinda thought one day I'd have a use for it. I already have a filter and heater so the tank just needs some water, clown puke, and cycling for the next time I decide to get some fish. I think because 4 have been in my main tank for 9 days and the survivng 3 for 2 days as well that it is a lost cause this time and hoping for the best is my only option. I was thinking about returning the living 7 but they all look so healthy that I think they can stay.

What do you all think about that?

wendyjo 10-07-2012 10:24 PM

If you have an ammonia reading in your tank then that's probably part of the problem. A cycled tank should have 0 ammonia reading and I can't believe the Petsmart employee said the tank was perfect.

jake 10-08-2012 01:20 AM

When I first tried cardinals, I had them drop like flies. I got them right off the truck, special order at the lfs. I talked to an old-timer hobbyist who told me to feed them baby brine shrimp, preferably live, but frozen would do.

I tried them again, same lfs, feeding frozen bbs starting the second day, and had no losses.

That was just my experience.

Sent from my nerd device.

shrimpedout 10-08-2012 01:28 AM

Why do you still have ammonia in your tank, especially with expensive fish like Discus?

Get shrimped out!

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