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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey all,

I ordered 14 cardinal tetras from liveaquaria about a week ago. Ever since then, I've lost one fish a day.

Livestock is:
10 CRS,
too many cherry shrimp to count,
13 Celestial Pearl Danios
Ramshorn snails

The tank is a 40B, sits at about 76 degrees and is densely planted. The parameters are normal, the tank has been set up and cycled for over a year now. It sat with just the cherry shrimp and plants until about two months ago when I added the CPDS.

I use an ehiem cannister filter and do maintenance on it every four to six months, I've never witnessed a nitrite spike, and I don't dose anything. I run no CO2 on it either.

Lights are on a 7 hour cycle. Only algae I've ever dealt with is staghorn.

I honestly have no idea what is killing the tetras. I've researched and am panicked that it is Neon Tetra Disease, as the fish are discolored on their red stripe but it's towards the ventral side of the fish. I've noticed no prominent bends in their spines, and I've seen no parasites on the fish either. They eat the flakes I feed my CPDs, and I've abstained from feeding the blood worms that I usually give once weekly until I figure out what is causing this. The danios seem okay, I lost one but haven't lost any since. The ottos are eating and are doing okay as well.

One thing I can't find in all of this is how long the protozoa survive once the disease finishes taking its toll on the population. Does it persist in the water forever, or does it die off once there are no more hosts?

I know there is no cure and I know that it could spread to my CPDs. I've monitored them closely. I check the aquarium multiple times a day and remove the deceased fish before they degenerate. Is there anything more I can do?

Is there a recognizable difference between false neon tetra disease and NTD? Do I need to cut open a fish and analyze for cysts?

Here are a few photos of the tank and the fish. I apologize for the quality of the pictures, as I only use a cell phone to take photos.

Warning the last two photos of are a deceased tetra I lost today.

I appreciate any help given!
 

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My experience with cardinals is that it helps to know the water parameters from the seller (ph + TDS). That way, you can base your acclimation plan accordingly. I find cardinals to be more sensitive than say Rummy Nose Tetras (my experiences).

Good Luck!
G
 

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Cardinals can often die if you look at them funny! My experience is that drip acclimation indeed is important for Cardinals, and in a perfect world quarantining them is ideal. Since I don't have a quarantine tank myself I have a second method I use for Cardinals. I eagerly await for the next shipment to arrive at my favorite LFS, and when they do pay for the amount I wan't, and have them mark hold 12 for me on tank. Usually two weeks later pick them up, this allows the weaker ones to pass on, and gives me time to observe them on trips in beforehand. Obviously being a regular, and spending $ in the store on a regular basis helps with their willingness to do this.
 

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No matter what I do, I always lose at least 25% of neons when I add them to the tank. They are very sensitive, but once acclimated (a couple months), can outlive many fish under less than ideal tank chemistry. I always buy them for 99 cents ea. on sale at Petsmart. It may be that because they are wild caught, they have less tolerance than fish that are captive bred.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I acclimated them over two hours, adding minimal amounts of water each time. The lights were off that entire day in order to reduce their stress. They ate and schooled just fine in the aquarium. As of now I'm down to a remaining 7 tetras. I inspect each for parasites or worms or fungus on their scales - they don't present any symptoms other than discoloration :(

Hard or soft water?
KH took 4 drops,
GH took 5 drops.
Both register in the 50-100 ppm range.
PH sits at 6.

I don't know what else to do. Perhaps I'll abstain from tetras all together :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You sure a shrimp or something didn't die in there and spiked the ammonia?
I tested water before adding the tetras and daily ever since. It's been at zero. I could have missed the spike, but I'd assume other fish would have suffered, or I'd witness multiple deaths at once instead of one death a day across a duration of eight days now :(

I can't count all the cherry shrimp so I suppose it's plausible, but I check the tank multiple times and remove deceased fish. I've never plucked anything dead out of the tank other than the tetras. I still have all thirteen of my CPDs, all ten of my CRS, and three ottos. It's a death pattern that's specific to my cardinals.
 

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I just picked some up from my LFS, had a few die, acting sick, pale etc. I caught a few of them with white poop, and doing some ocassional flashing, as well as rapid breathing. I'm treating for internal parasites now, but will probably add some prazipro for possible gill flukes once it arrives in the mail.
 

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I've found Cardinals to be no more demanding for acclimation than any other fish.
The real issue with cardinals IME is the quality of the stock.
One batch at my LFS was 150 fish. 1 month later 10 left (all deaths), 1 month later 5 left. I bought the 5 and they have been fine for 6 months.
The latest batch (from the same distributor) was 100 fish, one month later only 5 deaths.
Sounds like you just got a bad batch.
Doesn't liveaquaria give you a 14 day guarantee on fish? You should get some replacements.
 

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I've found Cardinals to be no more demanding for acclimation than any other fish.
The real issue with cardinals IME is the quality of the stock.
One batch at my LFS was 150 fish. 1 month later 10 left (all deaths), 1 month later 5 left. I bought the 5 and they have been fine for 6 months.
The latest batch (from the same distributor) was 100 fish, one month later only 5 deaths.
Sounds like you just got a bad batch.
Doesn't liveaquaria give you a 14 day guarantee on fish? You should get some replacements.
Yup. Stock has a lot to do with it. I purchased 10 a year ago at my usual LFS. They're nice folks, but not perfect. They had two tanks full of Cardinals, one tank had washed out colorless fish. The other had brilliantly colored Cardinals just as we like to see them. The owner insisted upon pulling the 10 from the colorless fish, insisting that the only reason the other tank looked so much better was because it was full of black substrate and a black background. Well, it's been 10 months. Eight of the ten are still swimming around healthy as can be, except they have never "colored up" and are just as faded as the day I brought them home. Even coloring foods with lots of beta carotene haven't helped.

I suspect shock. How long had the tetras been tanked at your LFS? Too many water changes and too much traveling in crowded plastic bags via UPS or FedEx is hard on the little critters.

Good luck. :)
 

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I just treated my tank with Seachem Metroplex. Within 20 minutes the fish were reacting, going beserk pretty much - erratic swimming/flashing/shimmying. It's been about 7 hours now and I can tell there has been a positive response. I'm waiting for the morning to speculate on their color. They have been dark/pale and white on their bellies. The remaining symptom is visible breathing, and possible reddened gills. Awaiting PraziPro in the mail. Anyways not trying to hijack this thread, but maybe someone will find this information useful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It's been the first day since eight have passed that I've lost no tetras. Here's hoping I see no more loss, but one is showing similar patterns the last few have, and so I am worried even still.

I've found Cardinals to be no more demanding for acclimation than any other fish.
The real issue with cardinals IME is the quality of the stock.
One batch at my LFS was 150 fish. 1 month later 10 left (all deaths), 1 month later 5 left. I bought the 5 and they have been fine for 6 months.
The latest batch (from the same distributor) was 100 fish, one month later only 5 deaths.
Sounds like you just got a bad batch.
Doesn't liveaquaria give you a 14 day guarantee on fish? You should get some replacements.

I had not realized liveaquaria did the guarantee across 14 days. I will shoot them an email and show them the photos and logs I've kept. I do not know that I want more cardinals, however, and am uncomfortable adding fish until all of this is settled. It's too much anxiety over livestock, which is part of the reason the tank remained a plant grow out/shrimp tank for over half a year. The tank has run without ferts or co2 so I've been incredibly pleased with the stability and the results. The only downfall I've witnessed in its lifetime is that of the tetras. I planned on adding the CO2 system I purchased and ferts to the aquarium come the start of april, but I am hesitant to do so now that I've witnessed this progression.

I will, for now, chalk it off to the stock I recieved and hope the rest endures. I've never had such problems with cardinals, as I had a school of 12 in a 20G and never lost any of them. I moved houses and rehomed them to a friend, but they are doing well even in his aquarium. It's just my luck I suppose, but I feel terrible thinking there was more to be done. Guess it's time to set up a quarantine tank, but since I've witnessed no other symptoms in any of the other inhabitants, I do not think it was contagious. I suppose that's a minimal bright spot to all of this, but it is disheartening all the same.

I just treated my tank with Seachem Metroplex. Within 20 minutes the fish were reacting, going beserk pretty much - erratic swimming/flashing/shimmying. It's been about 7 hours now and I can tell there has been a positive response. I'm waiting for the morning to speculate on their color. They have been dark/pale and white on their bellies. The remaining symptom is visible breathing, and possible reddened gills. Awaiting PraziPro in the mail. Anyways not trying to hijack this thread, but maybe someone will find this information useful.
This makes me smile, I wish you all the best and please keep me informed! I could use some hope in the wake of all of this.

Thank you again everyone for the input and suggestions. I will report if there are any more losses or changes.
 

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The days where quarantining simply meant keeping the fish in a separate tank, are long gone.
The hobby is too expensive for that. invest in decontamination. Safety Stop is about $12 a bag.
 

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Hope that "Blue Life Safety Stop Instant Fish Quarantine" stuff was just a joke.

Never heard of that med before, so I looked it up.
It's a two part medicated bath treatment, one part Formalin (Formaldehyde) and another part Methylene Blue.

First of all new fish are already highly stressed (being captured, transported, etc), and then to add even more stress by moving them to multiple containers for dips is not the best decision. Not to mention the stress load the harsh medications themselves have on the fish.

Formalin is already a harsh chemical. Methylene Blue is also fairly harsh, though less so than Formalin. Those meds can treat things, but a mere single quick dip I doubt would do much "curing" at all, usually longer exposures in the form of baths over the period of days is required (Methylene dips can be effective for some things). So in the aspect of it's marketed treatment, I highly doubt it's very effective. I did read some mention of it only being a preventative and won't treat/cure already contained diseases, and well if that's true, a simply healthy fish would do the same in preventing diseases, and these med baths would only weaken the fish's immune system and do nothing to boost it.

For the majority of the claimed infections it says to treat, you would be a whole lot better of using Kordon Ich Attack/Rid Fungus as a bath (not a dip, treat whole tank and leave in water), as it is very gentle on fish. Heck, even Melafix would boost fish's immune system (won't cure much, but help prevent). Still even with safer/gentler meds available, I still don't really recommend using any meds unless there is a identified disease as the meds could be ineffective or unnecessary. Though, Melafix and Ich Attack do seem to have a therapeutic effect on fish and it might be helpful to calm down new stressed fish (boosting their immune system in the process).

Nothing replaces quarantining. Plus those meds don't treat a whole lot of other infections that could spread to other fish.

That Safety Stop for $12, you'd be better off buying a Formalin + Malachite Green med and a separate Methylene Blue bottle for that price (much more content). But I did see Blue Life sells the med for $2.49 and Premium Aquatics $3.79. Still wouldn't recommend using on new fish even if it was free.


I haven't read in depth of what the OP is dealing with yet so I can't comment on what the disease is or what med would be effective.
 

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I also prefer using methylene blue etc, bought separately, but some people are not confident around medicines.
Also note some scaleless/armoured fish don't take well to the above medicines and even tetras are better treated at half doses.
I think it is important to also take care of the fish's slimecoat after netting and transport into a new system.
I am also including deworming in my future quarantine system.
 

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Deworming can be a great idea as internal parasites can take the longest to show symptoms of. Most the the dewormers seem to be fairly well tolerated.
Though other bacterial, fungal and viral meds, I personally would just quarantine and only treat for those type of infections if symptoms are actually seen.
As still, Formalin + Malachite Green baths, even Methylene Blue dips, don't treat all infections, so they still don't mean infections can't "escape" the treatment quarantine system and still end up infecting the main tank.

Even then some bacterial diseases do live in our aquariums constantly, only infecting fish once their immune systems are compromised enough (due to water quality issues, or various other stressors). So good water quality is always essential.



ADD: On a side note about quarantines, in the past I've been running/maintaining quite a lot of tanks, and with so many tanks and only so many maintenance equipment, you REALLY gotta be careful about cross contaminating tanks. I've tried really hard, making sure to always sanitize equipment (again, not enough to have designated maintenance equipment) to prevent cross contaminating infected tanks, but still somehow on a few occasions I still managed to contaminate some main display tanks (which SUCK!). I wasn't too happy about doing all that extra preventative steps to keep from cross contaminating the other tanks, but despite all my efforts, I managed to do so. Pretty much quarantined for no reason, since the main tanks ended up getting infected anyways. I still recommend quarantining highly though as it can save you a even bigger headache and dead/infected fish/plants/inverts. Just noting from my experience to make sure you are superrrr careful about contaminating tanks with the infected water or equipment (rinse a whole lot and sterilize), better yet, pay the extra bucks to get designated quarantine maintenance equipment.
 

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For what its worth, I find neons much hardier than cardinals. And they will school with your remaining cardinals. If you don't want to keep buying cardinals, you could just buy some neons. I have a school of 5 neons and 3 cardinals. I originally bought 16 from 3 different LFS and now I only have 3. The ones I lost happened with days of putting them in the tank. For me, cardinals and rummys give me more trouble than all other fish combine.
 
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