Fish Dying - Help! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 04:48 AM Thread Starter
 
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Fish Dying - Help!

Hello all,

I have a 30 g planted, community tank and over the course of the past approximately 2 months, all of my fish have been dying and I can't figure out what is going on. I was hoping someone here could help.

It all started when I bought about 5 cardinal tetras from a local fish store and put them into my tank but did not quarantine them first (lesson learned). The next morning all of the cardinals were gone (never did find them) and at first I suspected that one of the bigger fish was getting them. I went back to the fish store and was asking them about it and they indicated that the fish were probably not healthy to begin with. There were no cardinals left there and they told me that they had had some problem with them and had brought the entire tank to the back for quarantine. Didn't tell me what the problem was (probably didn't know). Since that time, a lot of my fish have been dying off. In the first week or two I think I lost about 6 or 7 fish....2 angels, a guarami, mollys, quite a few tetras. I slowly started to put things together and related it back to these cardinals. Before that, everything was good.

I am still losing fish and one of the latest has been a red-eye tetra that got a big red bulge in its side and died soon thereafter. The LFS said they thought it was a bacterial infection and gave me some tetracycline HCl to mix with the food for medication. Did this for a week (mixed it with brine shrimp), but now I have a red-serpae tetra that is not looking good and I expect to lose him in a few days.

I notice that what seems to happen is that the sick fish will start becoming inactive and just sort of stay in one place unless chased. Looks a bit strange because the fish looks disoriented and will swim a bit sideways or turn vertically. The red-eye was the only one that got the big ugly red bulge in its side, but I am keeping an eye on any others.

I have noticed a few white worms in the substrate (how did they get there?) and don't know if this could be related to the problem. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. I only have about 5 fish left, but I don't want to put anymore into the tank until I get this figured out. Thanks in advance.

Mike
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 05:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred
I am still losing fish and one of the latest has been a red-eye tetra that got a big red bulge in its side and died soon thereafter. The LFS said they thought it was a bacterial infection and gave me some tetracycline HCl to mix with the food for medication. Did this for a week (mixed it with brine shrimp), but now I have a red-serpae tetra that is not looking good and I expect to lose him in a few days.
Is your tank cycled? How long have you had it?

http://honors.montana.edu/~weif/firsttank/cycle.phtml

If it's cycled, do you do water changes?

Quote:
I have noticed a few white worms in the substrate (how did they get there?) and don't know if this could be related to the problem. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. I only have about 5 fish left, but I don't want to put anymore into the tank until I get this figured out. Thanks in advance.
White worms can either be planaria or microworms. This is usually due to overfeeding. Both should be harmless. Some of the fish will eat them.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 07:03 AM
 
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I'll go out on a limb here:

The swollen belly definitely sounds like dropsy, but the HCL should have taken care of that.

I would attribute the missing cardinals to the angels.

Since your tank is planted, I wouldn't worry about the cycling part too much.

I noticed you posted a couple of questions about dosing ferts. My guess is that your fish are suffering from NITRATE poisoning. I would do a water change and stop dosing the KNO3. Who cares if you get a bit of algae. Perhaps your test kits are off, and your Nitrates are sky high.

I may be wrong (somebody will surely say if I am), but I really believe your problem is too many chemicals in your tank.

Also, do you treat for chlorine or chloramine?
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 07:40 AM
 
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gotta disagree

I've been keeping fish for over twenty years now and it sound like it could be a couple of things that are contributing to your overall problem

I'm tending to agree with k_the_c..

Your tank is NOT cycled (i know the duys on this forum reckon you don't need to with a heavily planted tank but...)

Do a large water change 50% +

Get your self a Nitrite test kit and an Ammonia Test kit. I suspect that you have high nitrites which aren't being turned into nitrates as your filter isn't working properly (not cycled i.e. not enough good bateria in it yet.) If there's ammonia there too it will poison your fish.

All these thing will contribute to poor fish health, and weaken any fishes immune system bring any ailments they could normally deal with to a head. Were any of the fishes gasping desperately for air? (except the gorami as they breath air from the surface) If so, another indicator your nitrites were high.

the swollen belly could have been dropsy but it would need to have been really distended.

I'm afraid all this seems to fit togther because you are overfeeding them by the sound of it, you rarely get the planaria unless you are overfeeding.

Change plenty of water on a daily basis, make sure you add some filter bacteria culture stuff (sorry don't know what brands are available over there, cut down on the feeding and sit tight, don't add any more fish until everything settles down.

HTH
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the input all. Just a few points to address some questions.

The tank had been in operation for a little over a year and it is cycled. I have been testing since the beginning and after the initial cycle (at which time I did not have any plants) there has been no ammonia or nitrite.

I started making it a planted tank about 6 months ago by changing to eco-complete substrate, high light (110 W PC), and injecting CO2, however I have not been adding any fertilizer until a few weeks ago. All of the issues with the fish have been happening since way before I started adding ferts.

Before I started adding ferts, I would do about a 30% water change monthly. Now that I am adding ferts, I do a 50% water change every week.

As far as overfeeding goes, yes I have recently come to that conclusion myself, especially given that I have quite a few snails. I have started feeding them less and every other day.

The fish have not been gasping for air. In terms of the swollen belly (dropsy?), I wouldn't say that the entire belly was swollen, but it just looked like a big sore on the side of the red-eye tetra.

If you all think it may still be dropsy, do you think I should treat the tank by adding more medications. Should I add it directly to the tank or mix it with the food? Thanks again.

Mike
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-04-2006, 01:44 AM
 
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I hope someone answers this thread because I'm on the edge of my seat!

very interesting and I'm sorry for all your losses. It' very frustrating to find dead fish in your tank.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-04-2006, 02:59 AM
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it sounds like some sort of bacterial infection...it could be dropsy like other people suggested, but the thing is that dropsy is a general term that refers to a variety of internal infections.

a year ago, i bought a dozen of cardinals who started dying one by one the next day i bought them - one fish every two weeks or so - until only three were left... the symtoms were similar to your tetra's (swollen belly, funny swimming etc). they would get sick one at a time (one fish dies, next one gets sick etc). i tried various antibiotics, but nothing helped. the difference was that no other fish was affected in the tank, only the cardinals. i don't know if what ur fish has is the same, but there r some similarities. if other fish started getting sick in my tank, i would disinfect the whole tank. i guess that's my suggestion to u unless you want to try more antibiotics (i'd try a combination of those, just to cover all bases).


sorry to hear about your losses
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