Community tank all sick with same symptoms, need help ASAP!


Hello everybody and thank you for taking the time to read this and respond.

in a 20 gallon tanks I have one rainbow Cichlid named Billy who’s four years old and since her hubby passed away last year I decided to get her some company. I added four small tetras and a couple of otos. Everything seemed fine until one of my tanks became over crowded with endlers so I put five small ones in the tank.

For a while everything still seemed fine and I didn’t add anything else. Then I noticed my main fish Billy the rainbow Krib, slowly starting to lose her colour and had long white stringy poop. At first I boiled it down to stress with the Endlers starting to get a bigger so I removed them.

unfortunately this did not solve the problem. Things have only gotten worse. Three out of four tetras died within a couple of days and one oto. Now that I think of it I actually believe that I may have gotten a parasite from the one of the otos that I had replaced. I’ve had them for years and in all of my tanks and I’ve never had a problem with them so I never suspected that the new one could be the problem!

So Billy the crib, the last tetra, and both otos have the following problems.

BILLY the Krib - She’s almost pure white with no purple left on her whatsoever, she’s extremely bloated (I fed her peas and it seemed to help the bloating a bit but the problem came back right away and none of the other problems went away). Her other problems include, hiding in odd places, flashing, (We talked of the bloating and loss of colour), heavy breathing, and her body doesn’t look right… almost like there are holes that look porous (fungal)?

The last remaining tetra is also breathing heavy and has lost its color, white stringy poop and I’m not sure of anything else. The point is they all have the same thing whatever it is. The oto Also has a long wait stream poop which I have never seen before.

The water parameters are all in good condition as well.

I live in Canada where all of the good medication’s have been banned here so the only things I have that could potentially work are as follows: prazipro, Paraguard, fenbendazole, Pimafix and Melafix.

I already tried using the PraziPro which did not work. All I had in the filter was bio media crushed up and sewn into filter floss. It’s still currently in there. I also have a plant that I treated which had black beard Algae by using a peroxide soak. This tank is also about 20 feet from my front window.

because I don’t know much about parasites it seems to me that Billy has both internal and external but again I have no idea! I just really need some help because she’s my favourite fish and I’d like to breed her one more time before she passes away. She’s a strong girl and I know she can make it through this if we can figure out what’s wrong. So anyone with any information please tell me what exactly to do and what to use out of the five mixes I listed.

thank you so much and I apologize for the long read I just I wanted to think of everything possible so anyone who responds I won’t have any questions for me. It’s OK if you do LOL, I’m just trying to cover everything. Thanks again everybody!

I see that I can attach some photos. I’ll try my best and see what I can capture. There’s one photo (first one) of her when she was healthy and parading around her second batch of little fry!

The 2nd to 4th photo shows Billy’s lack of color, white spots (which I don’t think is ick but I could be wrong) and also a photo from her behind showing how bloated she is. In Photo two and four you can also see a medium small/medium sized red blotch across her mid section across her mid-black line..

In photos three and four you can see one of the autos. By say it, there doesn’t seem to be much wrong except for when they are having a movement from the bowel.

and finally we have the fifth picture of the tetra who is actually looking wait OK here. I do believe he or she is extremely stressed as it is a schooling fish who has recently lost its mates. It’s white colouring and heavy breathing could be due to stress because his colours were showing just fine when I came back to take pictures after removing Billys caves.

Now with all that being said I hope I left you with little to no questions. Also to be honest, at this point I really only deeply care about Billy getting well, the others are a bonus!

thank you!


This for me looks like your fish have dropsey.


This for me looks like your fish have dropsey.
Oh nooooo!!! Isn’t the survival rate only 2%? What can I do to help her beat it if possible? I just lost a Betta to Dropsy but I still don’t understand it bc dropsy is most likely a condition that formed from something more serious. She’s the fish I’ve had the longest and she holds a special place on my heart!!! ❤️


Dropsy is a symptom of [usually ] an internal bacterial infection .
Pic 3 shows damage [ raised scales ] indicating internal damage is happening .
Usually when you see it it is too late as the internal damage is much more advanced then what you see on the outside .
At a loss since Canada does not allow antibiotics ..
Potassium permanganate may help you clean things up but has a steep learning curve ..
Sometimes bacterial infections are just opportunistic and old age is the weakness that allows it .
If other younger fish are fine this may be the case ?


I agree with coralbandit, it's likely immune weakness due to old age that made an opportunistic bacterial infection possible. I have an Apistogramma with similar symptoms (no dropsy though) in a similar age range.
If your fish had no dropsy I'd say just leave her be and make her last few months as comfortable as possible, but with dropsy... It may be time to put her down so she doesn't suffer much longer.

If you don't want to work with Potassium permanganate: A lot of IAL/alder cone-extract and generous waterchanges (50-75%) might help too.

I would assume the fish will not survive the stress of being netted and bathed with epsom salt anymore.

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