Help! Cardinal Tetra Die-Off - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-25-2020, 05:11 AM
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Do you know if the cardinals you got are tank raised or wild caught?

I think that makes a BIG difference.

I can’t stop thinking about it.
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post #17 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-25-2020, 05:24 AM Thread Starter
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Fish store indicated they were NOT wild caught. I forgot to ask if they quarantined.

I’m thinking I may try doing some 10 gallon water changes (54 gallon tank) if I have anymore die off. I’m thinking this is some kind of osmotic shock from the GH of the fish store to the immeasurable values in my tank.

I’m assuming osmotic shock will make a weakened fish for its lifetime, correct?
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post #18 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-25-2020, 05:47 AM
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So much depends on your LFS and even then they can’t vouch for them.

I’ve become addicted to aquarium coop videos On YouTube and they are very open about neon/cardinal die off in their live feeds.

It happens sometimes even if you do ALL THE THINGS right.

I’d still take out all the things that you think might be causing an imbalance.

And am sure maybe others will yell at me, but put in some medicine in there.

I know we tend to blame ourselves but with these fish it is VERY likely that they are sick To begin with so no matter what you do to your water, they will keep on dying.

If it looks bleak and they keep dropping, it seems that general cure, Pima and melafix, garlic and a few more tetra specific medications might help.

Temp is also a thing, whether it is ich or a parasite u have to figure to either raise or lower your water temp.

Again, I have no idea. That is just what I have/would try in a desperate situation based on research and some personal experience over the last week
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post #19 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-25-2020, 02:06 PM
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Two things I've found that help with all fish, but especially sensitive ones, 1. Turn off co2 and ease it back on over a couple of days. I doubt fish are coming from a co2-enriched environment. 2. Use a UV. A UV will kill many pathogens that the fish can succumb to during the acclimation process when their systems are stressed.
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post #20 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-27-2020, 04:38 AM Thread Starter
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Tried easing back on the CO2.

I don’t have a UV sterilizer.

I’ve now lost 7 out of 37. None of them seem to have the deep solid red across the bottom of their bodies, but they are eating and I’ve fed frozen brine shrimp.

It’s a planted tank, so they hang out in the shielded back corner. They don’t seem to come out from there, because of the light?I don’t know if that’s the natural behavior? When they die that isolate from the group and then start spinning with their head facing up. Some of the dead ones did have a sideways curve.

I don’t think I acclimated them adequately in retrospect. I still don’t know about these impossibly high GH levels I am getting. We had a bottle of distilled water for the iron and I couldn’t get the sample to change from orange to green using the API kit. I think I must be doing something wrong.

The LFS said his GH was 2 degrees.

I think I will try a larger water change at this point using the RO water from the grocery store machine — even though the GH tests high.

Should I see if Petco has some GH test strips?

Thank you
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post #21 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-29-2020, 11:27 PM
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A couple of comments:
First is it possible the co2 level is too high and they are suffocating ?
Second temp is on the low side for cardinals - i tend to keep mine a bit warmer - 78 during the winter and 80-81 during the summer.
Third is the stock hearty (check if the store where you purchased them have had issues)
Btw the ph reading should be taken just before the co2 comes on in the morning. co2 will lower ph but not change the alkalinity of the water.
--
I have around 25 cardinals. I had two die this past year - one was my oldest (I had it for 18 months but it was probably closer to 3 years old). I'm not really an expert but no they shouldn't die if they are hearty and conditions are good.
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post #22 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-30-2020, 01:21 AM
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How are you doing?
I JUST realized that half of my neons are ACTUALLY cardinals. They colored up and now I can clearly see the difference.

I didn’t mean to have a mix of them but here I am.


I still though have not had a fish death since last Wednesday.

I followed all best practices.

My natural water parameters are suited for neon tetras (low ph:low Kh)

Honestly, it sounds like you might have got a poo end of a stick on a fish delivery. I think it sounds like all your water paeans are good so you have to see if the strongest survive.

I’m planning to give mine another week and then (since I now have both neons and cardinals) attempt or enrich their schools but QT them first.
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post #23 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-30-2020, 02:27 AM Thread Starter
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UPDATE:

The fish have never gasped for air at the surface and the drop checker has always been clearly green, not yellow, like it would for CO2 poisoning.

I’m down to 26 Cardinals from 37 😞

I performed about a 40% water change.

Rinsed the Eheim media in tank water and replaced the white filter.

In changed the four Purigen bags in the Magnum 350 filter to carbon.

I checked the pH with the light and CO2 off for the last 24 hours and it was 6.6

It takes one to two drops to change the API KH test from blue to yellow.

It doesn’t matter how many drops I add, the API GH the color DOESN’T CHANGE — stays orange! I tried it on distilled water: same! I have to be doing something wrong! Maybe have the LFS check my GH?

If the GH is that high the Cardinals must have had significant osmotic shock going from the LFS with its GH of 2 degrees.

When I first setup the tank I used organic planting mix (mistake) and had hydrogen sulfide issues, but I cleaned it out. Could the manzanita or the Eco-complete have absorbed that gas and are now slowly releasing it into the tank?

I have 3 Amano Shrimp that I’ve seen from the original ten??? Of the 6 Otocinclus catfish 5 have survived and there’s even a baby, so it’s not affecting them too much.

I guess I’m just stuck with the tank-o-death!
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post #24 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-30-2020, 03:47 AM
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Don’t give up.
The batch you got might have been sick.

The cardinals may also have sensitivities depending on whether wild caught or tank raised.

Any wrong look can send them into death shock, from what I am learning.

I know you have to explain fish death to your kid but perhaps that is one of the benefits of an aquarium.

I am planning to QT some neons next week. I suppose we will see if I am singing such an optimistic tune then.
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post #25 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-30-2020, 03:56 AM
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Please describe exactly how you are conducting the GH test. I don't want to read through the whole thread, but what is the manufacturer of the GH kit and have you verified that it is not expired? Also, do you have any epsom salt or GH booster-type products handy?
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post #26 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-30-2020, 05:07 AM
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Partially block out the planted light to keep half of your tank dark so they can hide, and pump air to increase the oxygen, don't worry about co2 much, current level is fine.

Normal perimeters and disease free planted tank, but new introduced cardinals still slowly dying off for a while, is common, because they die in shock-from acting normal to start heavily breathing, then belly up in less than an hour. Some lost is always expected especially for the weak/fatigue stock.

It doesn't matter wild stock or tank raised, these fish are naturally tanning/black water fish, tend to hide in the dark and they are fragile...

I had about 3 or 4 large orders of cardinals over the years in my fishing keeping, the best survival rate was a stock from a local importer who sold fish in his garage, he kept the thousands of cardinals in 180G and pump air 24/7, and keep the light on top of the tank off. His tank water is normal local tap but aged, no special ingredients....

afterward when I had the new introduced cardinals, I created dark area by blocking out half of the planted light, let them hide in darker side of the tank for a week or two, good result, I don't need to pump air because aeration is good enough, it is 160G tank with a 70G sump system, and 1200G/h pump.

CO2 is not the problem, but make sure you pump air, to increase the oxygen in the water.

be careful with columnaris though, dead cardinals with white patches on their body and other fish start showing same symptoms, require immediate action....


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post #27 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-30-2020, 05:14 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the response.

The kH lot Exp 08 2020
The GH lot Exp 04 2018!!!
From the same box, kept room temp

GH Testing Regimen:

I take a clean tube, wiped with paper towel, fill with water to fill line, hold the reagent bottle vertically, squeeze one drop into tube, cap with plastic cap, flip the tube end over end several times, observe change in color.
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post #28 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-30-2020, 05:21 AM Thread Starter
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My friend suggested the airstone. I hadn’t used it in a while and when I plugged it in I had the air pump too high and it cracked and just put big bubbles to the surface. So I removed it. I will go get another one.

Cardinals maybe weren’t the best choice for a planted tank. The back corner has been hard to get light into, so that’s where they stay. I may just get a raft of hornwort or something and see what shakes out. I have cut the light back.

Based on the previous posters comments, I just noticed that my GH reagent is out-of-date, so I’ll see if I can pickup a new one and an airstone as well.

Thank you all for the responses!
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post #29 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-30-2020, 05:24 AM Thread Starter
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Oh, my testing kit is API Aquarium Pharmaceuticals and the GH & KH came in one box, but had different expiration dates for the two enclosed reagents.
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post #30 of 32 (permalink) Old 07-30-2020, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John B View Post
The GH lot Exp 04 2018!!!
That is probably your problem. You can also loosely verify the GH kit by adding teaspoon of Epsom salt to one gallon of distilled water (both would cost about $3 at your grocery store). The GH kit would then read about 8 dGH if it is functioning correctly.

My neons are always swimming together out in the wide open and under extremely bright lights. It is one of the reasons that I always have had schools of them. I’ve also had many cardinals, that will school with the neons, throughout many decades. However, I agree with @Bettatail about no lights for any new fish. When I add new fish to a QT, lights are off for several days and feeding doesn't begin until the second day.

Perhaps my neon activity is a function of my tank parameters, but my neon activity has been consistent for over 50 years. I have only been testing GH for about 20-30 years and, generally, it has been in the range of 2-8 dGH. dKH is currently maintained in the 3.0 area, but that is only for plant purposes. In the past, before plant sensitivities, my pH ranged from ~7.2-7.8, so dKH was likely in the 5-6 area and neons were fine. Of course, this does not take into account any weakening of the species over the decades.

I did make a sea change in the ability of all of my fish to live far longer and without disease when I added a “level one” UV sterilizer on my tank about 15 years ago. So, to those that are concerned about fish disease, I would highly recommend these disease preventers. They have other benefits, as well.
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