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Today I came home to find two of my 2-inch, healthy clown loaches dead. I have a 150 gallon heavily planted tank, with no aggression.
I am worried that my 5 other clown loaches will perish also. There didnt seem to be any spots on the dead loaches, but on did look a bit red in some areas. Recently I added 10 rummynose tetras and 3 chinese algae eaters from LFS, quarantined them too. Of the 10 rummynose, only 6 remain, and I believe that may be due to aggression. It is possible that these new fish brought in some infection, which I know clown loaches are susceptible to. I do not know which fish are causing this problem, and I need to fix this as soon as possible to protect the rest of my 30ish fish in the tank. I have a 10 gallon tank running that I can use a hospital tank if need be.
Please please suggest treatments, and I'll post updates. Again, I'm not sure which fishes are causing the problem, so I don't know which to quarantine. Is there a medicine I can add to the tank while all of my fish remain in there?
Thank you all in advance for your advice!

Please respond, I really need advice!
 

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So how should I treat my fish so no more deaths occur? So far, I have put in some stress coat in case the fish were stressed. I also changed the carbon cartridges in my filters. What else can I do? Should I quarantine? Should I use actual medicine treatment? Since those deaths, no more fish have died, and all look healthy, but I am worried that there still is a disease in the tank.

Please help!
 

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How long did you quarantine for?

Were the rummies quarantined with the CAE? The rummies that died, did they die in quarantine or in the loach tank? Did they have red patches (besides the face)?

Can you give a more specific time frame of anything (new fish quarantine, when new fish added, when symptoms appeared, when deaths occured)

Were there any other symptoms at all? Fish hiding, darting, breathing hard, not eating, inactive, red streaks on fins, bulging/pop eyes, bloated belly, open sores/wounds, clowns seem to have lost their shelter to CAE?, any of the clown loaches really skinny?, etc.

Chinese Algae Eaters can be pretty aggressive. Some have peaceful ones, but it depends on the individual. Have you witness the CAE harassing other fish constantly? Rummies and clown loaches shouldn't be a problem aggression wise.

The red areas on the fish can be internal bleeding, either from physical injury (fish hurting other fish) or internal hemorrhaging (septicemia) from a disease.
If you can describe how the red areas looked and where they were located, we can narrow down if it is from disease or injury.

Treatment/fix depends on what the problem really is (whether disease or aggression).

Pictures might be helpful (any fish with red areas, dead or alive).

But yes, do check on your water quality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
When I bought the rummies from the LFS, I was told they had been in stock for 2 weeks already, and had no problems, and were quarantined before. So I only quarantined them for one day. (Bad move on my part, I know.)

Within a day of adding them to the large tank, there were only 8 left, and I was not able to remove the dead bodies (probably were eaten, maybe by the clown loaches, couldn't find bodies). Just now, one of the rummies was doing flips and turns, and is obviously dying. I removed this one and put it in 10 gallon quarantine. Unfortunately, I am not able to remove the rest of the rummies as they are too fast for me and I'd tear up my whole planted tank trying to catch them.

I bought these fish friday, and added them to the tank saturday.
On monday, I came home to two dead loaches.

The rest of the loaches seem active. One of the dead loaches had a faint reddish coloring near dorsal fin, it seemed the typically orange part of the body became faintly red. For a couple of months now, almost all of the loaches have had faint blackish dots on the sides of their body, but I looked this up and from what I understand that is normal. I will try to get a picture tomorrow to you.

Also, two of the remaining five loaches are "skinny," but they were skinny when I added them to the tank about a month and a half ago, and are only one inch. The rest of the loaches, including the ones that died, are thicker, and are (or at least seemed to be) incredibly healthy.

In terms of water quality, it may not be the best, but I am doing water changes (30% daily now) and I am changing my carbon in the filters, in case it's an ammonia problem. The rest of the rummies seem fine, and the rest of the fish seem fine.

Yes, the CAE do sometimes chase the other fish, but not much. I already had CAE, all I did was add 3 to my existing population of 5. I don't see much aggression there.

What treatment option should I go with? And thank you so much for your response, I really appreciate it!
 

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Based on the quick deaths, I'm going with water quality. You need to start by testing the big three--ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. How long has this tank been set up? I'd also like to hear about your circulation...could there be an oxygen problem?
Disease doesn't drop that amount of fish in less than 24 hours.

Anyone chime in, but red markings along fin bases---nitrite burns?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Based on the quick deaths, I'm going with water quality. You need to start by testing the big three--ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. How long has this tank been set up? I'd also like to hear about your circulation...could there be an oxygen problem?
Disease doesn't drop that amount of fish in less than 24 hours.
I have two canister filters running, and if it's an ammonia problem, that should be fixed by changing the carbon bags in the filters, which I'm doing.
The tank was set up at the beginning of this summer, so around 7-8 months. Many of the fish in there have been around longer than that. Also, the driftwood and some plants were borrowed from pre-existing tanks, so the tank should be well-enough established.
I have a surface skimmer running, in addition to the two filters. I could definitely see it as an oxygen problem actually... one of the rummies went to the top of the tank almost as if it was gasping for air. I do not have any powerheads running to add oxygen, so that could definitely be it.
Thank you for your help!

Bump: Trying to remember environmental science now... so this would be hypoxia, right? My one reservation is that there is oxygen coming from all of the plants in the tank.
 

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I don't think the carbon is going to fix your ammonia problem, if that is the problem. You need to get some numbers. If you don't have a test kit, I'm sure your LFS will do a free water test for you. I hope you get it figured out, I love clown loaches!
 

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I have had Chinese Algae Eaters kill all sorts of fish. They turn carnivore as they grow, they lamprey-suck on the sides of other fish, they attack and eat smaller fish at night when they are sleeping... and five of them? yikes.

Plus, they don't eat algae.
 

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Thanks for the detailed reply.

Activated carbon/charcoal does not remove ammonia, nitrite or nitrate. AC pretty much just removes organic compounds. It actually also removes many medicines you add to the tank, (I am sure if the Stress Coat product would get removed by AC or not). Good to know to remove AC when you are treating a tank, otherwise the meds would be removed and not cure the disease. But it is good for removing any remaining med from the water after treatment is done with.

If you set up your outflow of your canister filters correctly to create adequate surface agitation, along with the surface skimmer, there should be plenty of dissolved oxygen. If the filter outlets are mounted well below the water surface and aren't rippling the water surface, then low oxygen levels are possible. Plants do produce oxygen during photosynthesis, but how much depends on many factors.

Water with low oxygen levels is a environment anaerobic bacteria like which could be a breeding ground for anaerobic bacterial disease that can cause hemorrhaging (internal bleeding, red streaks on fins - septicemia).

Are you injecting co2 into your tank? If you do, can you detail how much you inject and tell a bit about your set up.

The new fish could have possibly died due to stress if no real symptoms were witnessed. If you inject co2, new fish need even more time to gradually acclimate to elevated co2 level water.

The symptoms before death are still not strong enough indicators pointing to a particular disease. The description of the rummy nose doing flips and turns could just be the fish dying for whatever reason (could be ammonia poisoning), pretty much just a fish dying and is trying to stay alive/swim or is just being carried around in the current. Or maybe it has internal injury or damaged swim bladder from being rammed. Possibly internal infection causing it. Whirling disease? Just not enough identifying symptoms to give you a more narrowed down answer. The rummy gasping at the water surface could be for many possible reasons as well (low oxygen levels, too much co2, difficult breathing due to ammonia/nitrite poisoning, disease, or maybe just a fish dying from internal injuries having a hard time breathing and finds some relief at the water surface)

The red near/on the clown loaches dorsal fin, still possibly internal bleeding from injury or it could be a internal infection. Ammonia can also cause red streaked fins and body.
The loaches being skinny most likely have internal parasites (the worms eat the food the fish consumes so the fish's nutrition gets taken away) and so I would treat the whole tank, you can use Hikari PraziPro or Seachem Metronidazole (both are safe), although maybe treat for this after you have done treatment for whatever it is you are dealing with at the moment.

First things first, test your water (as mentioned if you don't have a test kit, have your fish store test your water). Even if the tank has been set up a long time and even though you do water changes, it is still possible to have bad water conditions. Even with meds, if the water isn't healthy, chances of the fish recovering/remaining healthy are not good.

How big are the CAE? I would think you would have enough biomedia to support your new fish load, but there is still a possibility too many new fish at once, set things overboard. I do highly doubt this though, but it is slightly possible if things are lacking.

Sorry I am really tired right now and can't think too well, so I can't really come up with what info you can give to help us better determine what is the real issue going on.
Test your water and let us know the results. Pics of the visible symptoms would help. Any more description or symptoms might help narrow things down. Pics of the whole tank, especially the filter outlets and water surface would be useful.

I still can't give a treatment plan yet as I am still not sure what is the real problem.
If bacterial/viral infection, there are antibiotics that could be used.
If aggression, then removing the aggressive fish would stop the physical beatings.
If ammonia/nitrite poisoning, then do water changes and add Tetra SafeStart to increase beneficial bacteria populations.

Keep an eye on all the fish and report any new findings.

Hope this was somewhat helpful even though I can't give a more certain answer.
I'm going to get some rest and will check back later.



EDIT: Oh, I looked up the Clown Loach black spots, I am not familiar with it and have never seen it occur in any of my clown loaches (besides the normal greying out during dominance battles), but I found these links/threads which you might be interested in looking at.
This thread in particular has the most info, I didn't read through it all, but it sounds like some people may have found the reason for it. I am not sure if it is harmful or a sign of issues or not, take a look through it
http://forums.loaches.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2148

http://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/forums/threads/clown-loach-black-spots.382444/
http://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/f...oach-with-black-spot-on-their-stomach.302069/
 

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Update: I came home today to another dead clown loach. There are other ones that are fine but at this point, I don't know.
The CAE range from one inch to two inches.
Currently I am not injecting any CO2. The filters insert water below the water line so they don't insert much Oxygen.
Attached is a pic of the newly dead loach. Looks red...

Update: I came home today to another dead clown loach. There are other ones that are fine but at this point, I don't know.
The CAE range from one inch to two inches.
Currently I am not injecting any CO2. The filters insert water below the water line so they don't insert much Oxygen.
Attached is a pic of the newly dead loach. Looks red...
If someone can please try to diagnose the problem based on this dead fish, that would be very helpful. Thank you in advance.

If ammonia/nitrite poisoning, then do water changes and add Tetra SafeStart to increase beneficial bacteria populations.
I bought a fancy new water testing kit. Ammonia is fine, and nitrite if fine. However, Nitrate is 60 ppm, which is not good. What do I do to bring down nitrate?
 

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Water changes will bring down nitrate. In the case of mysterious deaths, I'd be in favor of a large one right about now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Water changes will bring down nitrate. In the case of mysterious deaths, I'd be in favor of a large one right about now.
I just did a 30% water change, changed the filters, and cleaned up the gravel. Is there anything else I should do tonight?
 

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You didn't do the basics to prevent this from happening. This is why you quarantine. There is no magic panacea which is why we do preventative things. No one here can look at a dead fish and tell you what medicine or equipment to add. It doesn't work that way... ammonia should be zero. Nitrite should be zero.. nitrate should be 20 ppm or so. The fact that you believed carbon to remove ammonia shows that you are not knowledgeable with the basics of aquarium care. That's where you need to start. You need to do a water change and quarantine fish. There are any number if things this could be, but haphazardly adding medications (which your activated carbon would immediately remove) would certainly do more harm than good.
I don't mean to be harsh, but this is why we do things like we do. Ride it out and hope that the rest make it or you can identify something... other than very high nitrate...
Cleaning out filters and gravel could cause a mini cycle if you do it wrong... just stop what you are doing and read some basic info on aquarium care... the helpful bacteria live in the filter media and gravel... you don't clean all of it at once...
 
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