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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I would really appreciate some input on some deaths in my community tank.

Tank details:
54 gallon
Marineland C22 Canister Filter with foam pads

Medium planted
3 root tabs, no other fertilizers
Temp: 77-78
Up and running for 8 months with no problems until recently

Ammonia and Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 10-20 Orange on the API Freshwater kit
pH: 7.8 (it's always this high as I live on limestone)

2 corys (down from 5; this is part of the mystery)
3 Pearl gouramis
2 panda garras
2 female dwarf gouramis
8 neons
3 male platys
1 oto

I realize I'm heavily stocked, but I love it and keep up with my WCs, so that is what it is.

First, corys:

I've had 3 adults since I originally stocked the tank several months ago. I added 3 tiny tiny tiny corys and 2 panda garras about a month ago after quarantining without incident for 2 weeks. Everything was fine for a couple more weeks. Then two weeks ago, when I was cleaning some plant material off my filter intake, I realized the carcass of one of the tiny new corys was stuck to the filter. I was disappointed, but didn't think too much of it because, well, sometimes fish die. A few days later, I noticed one of the other tiny corys stuck to the intake. I was able to free it, and that time it seemed fine, but now my obsessive worry was piqued and I started (and continue) to check the intake every time I look at the tank. I found it stuck to the intake a couple more times, and expected it to die. To my horror, a couple days later, I saw one of my adult corys stuck on the intake. I was able to free that one, but within a week, both that adult and the second tiny cory died. Another adult cory has disappeared. I never found its body and never saw any unusual behavior, but I have to assume it's dead. The remaining adult and little one are active and seemingly well. Other than getting stuck to the filter, there were no external indications of anything amiss with the ones that died. The adult that died looked thin in its last days, but until then had been completely normal and active.

I've never seen the panda garras bother the corys, other than competing with them for kelp wafers, but they and two new plants (added at the same time) are the only new elements, so I thought I'd mention them. Could they, or the plants, have been carrying something that doesn't affect the garras but kills corys?

Second, gouramis:

I didn't learn about Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus until after I bought 1 male and 2 females. I won't support that facet of the industry anymore, but that being said, I adore my two remaining females. The male died a couple months, maybe from DGI. He got lethargic, eventually stopped eating, his respiration slowed, and eventually he died. He never had any lesions or other external signs that my eye could discern, other than being visibly thin. Now it seems that one of the females is starting the same decline. There doesn't seem to be anything external, however, she does seem thin, her spine has curved, and there seems to be a lump on her right side. I tried to get decent pictures, but it's been impossible. She is still eating and swimming, but she's spending a lot of time hiding at the bottom of the tank. Her poop was normal this morning.

So, I read about TB, and I'm not convinced that's what she has, but I guess I can't rule it out. I researched internal parasites, but I'm also not convinced that's what's going. While she's thin, maybe even sunken, she does not look at all like the pictures I'm seeing. That being said, I've not dealt with an outbreak of internal parasites, so I could definitely not know what I'm looking at.

The male dwarf gourami died several weeks before adding the Pearls. Reflecting back, I suspect that the female's decline also started before adding them, so to me, it doesn't seem like they're the culprits. The Pearls were quarantined for three weeks.

I would be less concerned if it was just the new tiny corys that died, but since I lost two of my established adults, that makes me think something is amiss. All of the other fish are completely fine, both in external appearance and behavior.

I know this is a long, rambling post, but I wanted to try to give as much info and context as possible. Does anyone have any idea what could be going on? How likely does it seem that the dwarf gourami decline is due to poor breeding/DGI vs TB vs internal parasites? Are there species-specifics pathogens that could explain the cory deaths while everyone currently seems unaffected? Could the cory deaths and the gourami decline be related?

I ordered the Seachem parasite treatment bundle, but so far have not treated since I don't know what's going on. Any input would be greatly appreciated, as the research I've done hasn't really yielded anything that seems directly relevant. Thanks in advance!

146 Posts
I've had similar troubles with cories and bolivian rams in one of my tanks so I'm really just replying to follow along and share a little single-sample-size experience.

I kept bolivian rams in two of my tanks which I use the same water prep for (RO water mineralized with Seachem Equilibrium) and one tank always had a higher PH than the other, 7.8-8.0 vs 6.6-6.8.
The rams thrive in the lower PH tank. I've wanted to put my existing cories in the lower PH tank to see if they'd do better, but haven't as I've been worried about bringing any disease into a thriving tank.

The only major difference between my two tanks was substrate so I recently tore down my high ph tank and redid it to more closely mimic my lower ph tank and the remaining cories seem to be perking up a bit along with a PH that is lowering with each water change. Kind of odd since the previous substrate was a natural gravel but perhaps there was some limestone in that gravel and maybe that was an issue for my bottom dwellers. I'll continue to share any info here as things progress for me.
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