Crystal rainbow tetras with cloudy white flesh - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 02:51 AM Thread Starter
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Crystal rainbow tetras with cloudy white flesh

Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate
0/0/<5

pH 7.08
KH 2.25
GH 3
TDS 135

Temperature 75F

I picked up some ornate glass tetras/crystal rainbow tetras (Trochilocharax ornatus) from the Wet Spot a few weeks ago. A couple came in with white cloudy areas in their flesh that I attributed to stress. I started doing 25% daily water changes, but symptoms have only worsened. Now, most fish have the cloudy patches pictured here.



A Japanese blog mentioned that all of his T. ornatus developed these symptoms and over the course of a couple months, all died. Ive also seen lots of posts about glass catfish getting cloudy white patches when stressed but Ive never seen a post where someone describes a recovery.

What's the cause? "Stress" is a catch-all term and is frequently the given explanation when a glass catfish goes white, but it's almost impossible to find examples of glass tetras going white.

So what could be stressing them? Water parameters seem like they'd be ideal for a wide variety of fish. There are no other fish in the tank to stress them, they eat flake food from my hand, and literally never hide. Lighting is very dim (maximum of 20%).

Disease? I'm not seeing any symptoms of the most common fish diseases. All have a healthy appetite.

Perhaps the fish need truly acidic water? Id prefer not to mess with pH as Ive read its best avoided. I could put some peat into the filter to try softening and acidifying the water, but I wanted to get some opinions. Boston area tap water is annoyingly high (~8.6) due to pH-raising additives to mitigate leaching of old pipes. Once aerated it drops down to around 7.5. RO won't be an option for me until I move in June.

Or maybe they need dramatically cooler or hotter temps than 75? I can't find any definite info on where they're collected. The only rumor Ive found is that they were collected near Loreto, Peru.


Thoughts?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 06:37 AM
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Sounds like a seriously soft blackwater fish from this article. Complete opposite of water parameters your giving them. Get the peat pellets, catappa leaves and rainwater out.

http://www.seriouslyfish.com/species...harax-ornatus/
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 06:10 PM
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A lot of shops have RO systems and you can buy water from them. That's what I would do until you move. Make sure that once you add in your acidifying compounds, add in a little bit of buffering capacity, if only to stabilize the pH of the water so it doesn't fluctuate wildly.

If you need buckets to transport water, Wendy's restaurants in well-trafficked areas will give you the buckets w/lids that their sandwich pickles come in, usually for free. Just go in and ask to speak with the manager and ask if they can have their staff save them for you. Use a bent paperclip to pull the rubber seal out of the lids and then give everything a good scrub in the shower and put them back together. Filled to 3/4" from the top they hold exactly 4 gallons.

I have MTS
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2019, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKS View Post
Sounds like a seriously soft blackwater fish from this article. Complete opposite of water parameters your giving them. Get the peat pellets, catappa leaves and rainwater out.

Trochilocharax ornatus ? Hummingbird Tetra ? Seriously Fish

I'll give that a shot. I forgot to mention I had stuffed 5 catappa leaves behind the mattenfilter but it looks like that alone wasn't enough. I've added peat and pH has begun to drop. It was 6.55 this morning when I checked. I'm not sure how much the peat will soften the water so I'll do partial WC's with RO water from my work until I move. Then I can install an RO/DI system and a storage tote to heat and remineralize water prior to water changes.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 12:50 AM
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That’s a good start, I’d just go buy some distilled water at grocery store and just do small 10% max water changes until you slowly get TDS down. I’d go ahead and set peat up so it’s only getting about 1/3 water flow from now on.

These read like very delicate fish and I would like change in water chemistry, even though it’s heading in right direction, to be a slow and subtle change over coarse of 7-10days.

Don’t know what plants you may have but you may have to find a line on TDS somewhere between fish’s optimal range and what some plants will tolerate.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2019, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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So I jumped the gun and bought an RO/DI system early since I was tired of bringing buckets of the stuff from my work every few days.

Current parameters:

- pH 5.5
- KH 1 (remineralize with KHCO3)
- GH 4 (remineralize with CaSO4, MgSO4)
- TDS 110.

I'm still seeing white patches in most of the fish. Since my last update, two of the larger males have gone entirely white, lost their ability to right themselves and were euthanized with MS-222. All fish have healthy appetites and are not shy at all. Even the two that were euthanized were eating and at least attempting to swim with the others.

Shortly after switching to RO and dropping pH a small female that I believed to be days from death improved greatly in condition, but the continued decline of several other fish makes me question the ultimate cause of her renewed health.

Any other ideas? Softening and acidifying the water has not entirely eliminated the issue, but it may have bought me more time. Lighting is VERY dim and the only other tankmates are some cherry shrimp and bladder snails. Do these fish require even softer water (0/0 KH/GH)? I only mineralize KH to 1 to prevent pH swings and GH is 4 for the shrimp, but I can remove them if need be.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2019, 02:23 AM
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They eat up to the point when they die? That is very strange.
One of the most reliable indicators of sick fish is loss of appetite in the aquarium.


There is a strain of columnaris that attacks the muscles of the fish. It is the slowest developing variant- taking much longer than the other 3 strains to kill the fish. At the late stages, the muscles die where the bacteria proliferates and the fish is unable to use these muscles. Its basically a strain that attacks internally- not externally. Your picture and description of symptoms ( all but the healthy appetite up to death) are consistent with this strain.

Now, hypothetically, if this was what killed the fish, the fish may have been weakened by the water parameters before you got them ( I think you noticed this whiteness when first brought them home?) and continued to weaken with your own water parameters. This would make sense because this strain of columnaris isn't as virulent. This strain can linger in even healthy tanks... actually all four strains are more apt to be more prolific in clean tanks than a tank high in organics. In that situation, in the case of a tank and filters that are not sufficiently maintenance/cleaned, you will see aeromonus ( an equally deadly bacterial infections).

I would say that it would be worth trying to treat them- since you have experienced deaths_ for columnaris.
Which is a combination of kanamycin (active ingredient in Seachem Kanaplex)and nitrofurazone ( active ingredient in API Furan 2 or Jungle Fungus tabs).

The only other thing that I can think of may be an intro-muscular parasite. These are extremely rare and have complicated life-cycle/host configurations that are not supported in aquarium.

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope

Last edited by Discusluv; 05-05-2019 at 02:26 AM. Reason: spelling
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2019, 03:01 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Discusluv View Post
They eat up to the point when they die? That is very strange.
One of the most reliable indicators of sick fish is loss of appetite in the aquarium.
I thought this was very odd, too. One of the most recent to die would float motionless upside down and then would try to snap out of it once I started feeding but would then get shoved out of the way by the feeding frenzy. Really sad to watch, honestly.


Quote:
I think you noticed this whiteness when first brought them home?)
This is correct. I noticed white patches on some immediately but just thought it was stress-related. This wouldn't be the first time I've had to deal with a columnaris outbreak -- I think you were the one who suggested columnaris when I posted a while back about a mystery disease that was slowly killing off different fish that had been in my tank for months. A few rounds of AAP Spectrogram (nitrofurazone and kanamycin in a more convenient combined package) seems to have knocked that bug out as I haven't had any more deaths.

In any case, I've still got some Spectrogram. I'll dose the tank this week as suggested and report back.

Thanks!
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 01:04 AM Thread Starter
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Still no improvement. At least half now are almost entirely white. Several are swimming upside down and will likely be euthanized if they don't improve within the next couple days. Any other ideas? I can't find any specific location for where they're collected other than Loreto, Peru. Any chance they're from a water that's NOT acidic and super soft?
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 01:16 AM
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Frozen food defrosted with vitamins? I've saved more than a few fish that way.


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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 04:02 AM
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Medicated food would be something else you could try. Since their appetite isn't affected this might be another option.

I have MTS
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 07:19 AM
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Im sorry this problem is still plaguing your fish. The only thing that comes to mind that you might try is dried catalpa or oak leaves to add tannic acids to water.

Are you using any Excel or CO2 in this tank?


Edit: I see now, looking back, that @DaveKS had suggested dried leaves earlier.

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 09:05 AM
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I would shift any affected fish to a hospital tank considering probably lost anyways but might stop it spreading across rest of school.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by ranitomeya View Post
Still no improvement. At least half now are almost entirely white. Several are swimming upside down and will likely be euthanized if they don't improve within the next couple days. Any other ideas? I can't find any specific location for where they're collected other than Loreto, Peru. Any chance they're from a water that's NOT acidic and super soft?
What have you been doing as far as water change schedule and also what water prep before doing those?

These are sensitive fish from my readings and my maintence would have featured small water changes and very slight adjustments heading towards what they like which is probably very old and tannic waters.

If your bombing these fish with constant 50% water changes and scrubbing tank clean your not seeing this fish and what it wants, steady, probably dirt by some people’s standards, slightly yellow water and a mulm laden tank.

Last edited by DaveKS; 05-24-2019 at 09:43 AM. Reason: Typo
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