Consistent Death Problem

TombedOrchestra

Valued Member
Messages
254
Reaction score
16
Points
53
Fully cycled tank, 55 gal, guppies platties tetras mollies pleco. Nitrates 20, good everything else. Higher pH 8.3.

Not sure what's going on... I've been having very consistent / regular deaths.

I had a tetra die overnight. Another died with looks like popeye today. Guppie has equilibrium issues.

Signs point to water quality issue (which mine doesn't SEEM to have).... possibly some disease / bacteria / parasite?

If you all think it may be a disease of some sort... is there a 'catch all' medicine (or a combination of meds) I could dose the tank and see if it helps? I used parasite medicine (Herbtana?) 2 weeks ago (fish dieing, one pooping white).

Consistent 25-30% water changes weekly. Been having similar problems since I started the tank last November. Can't seem to keep fish alive for long in this tank before they start having issues / dieing. (Mostly unexplained quick deaths without any signs of issues.)
 

McGoo

Valued Member
Messages
247
Reaction score
105
Points
73
Experience
3 years
I don't know for sure, but maybe the ph in your water is too high for the type of fish you're trying to keep. I'm not 100 certain that ph can be the factor or not . Maybe someone else may be able to shed more light on it. I hear cichlids do better in higher ph if that's something toot may have an interest in. Cichlids are very lively and quite colorful, but semi aggressive to aggressive, and aren't great for planted tanks. Hopefully some of this helps.

Tetras ph 6.5-7 (withstand 5-7.5)
Guppies 6.8-7.8
Platties 7-8
Mollies 7-8
 

Fashooga

Fishlore VIP
Messages
4,814
Reaction score
2,747
Points
348
Experience
More than 10 years
You indicate that you've had this problem since November, when you started this tank. Can't keep fish alive. I wonder if your LFS is giving you bad diseased product. If all fish you bought and died came from one source I would question about your source and look at another place.

You should treat for internal parasites since your seeing white poop.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #7

TombedOrchestra

Valued Member
Messages
254
Reaction score
16
Points
53
lilabug4545 said:
Are there any other symptoms?
Had the occasional white poop. One fish had some swim bladder issue (very bloated belly, couldn't swim, floated in corner for a week or so... spine started to bend...). Fish randomly just die... I see them and they are fine... then they're not the next day. The fish that's having trouble swimming (swimming upwards, having trouble stabilizing) also has some frayed fins... not sure if it's fin rot or maybe just normal for that fish. It's weird... the fish look great when they are put in. They do wonderful to start. Then weird things start happening to them.

McGoo said:
Tetras ph 6.5-7 (withstand 5-7.5)
Guppies 6.8-7.8
Platties 7-8
Mollies 7-8
AquaticJ said:
These fish are fine at that PH as long as it’s stable.
pH is a stable 8.3. I know it's a higher pH, but I did hear that these fish are quite adaptable and will adapt well to the higher pH. I'm not discounting pH as a factor or the issue.

Shelbi said:
Have you put any aquarium salt into the tank? Not to be confused with Marine salt.
I have not tried aquarium salt. I feel like that might not help my situation... I could see that as maybe a supplement to a med? I feel like what's going on is more than aquarium salt could fix? I have never used aquarium salt though... so I could be wrong.

Fashooga said:
You indicate that you've had this problem since November, when you started this tank. Can't keep fish alive. I wonder if your LFS is giving you bad diseased product. If all fish you bought and died came from one source I would question about your source and look at another place.

You should treat for internal parasites since your seeing white poop.
I have used three separate LFS. All seem to have issues. So I'm pretty sure it's the tank. It did seem to get worse when I added some fish from one particular LFS. Perhaps that brought a disease in. That's why I was asking if there's a 'catch all' medication, or a combo of meds, I could add to the tank that would clear 'everything and anything' that could be a potential issue.

I treated for parasites two weeks ago using an Herbtana product. The white poop went away (but the fish that had it I think is the one that died...) and I saw a white fish with white poop today (not like the last time though... the other was VERY thick and cloudy. This looked almost like regular poop, just whitish).

Is there another medication I should try for parasites? Could it be a bacteria?

Maybe it's just the pH!!!!

I'm getting quite frustrated ... But I appreciate all the help and advice...
 

AquaticJ

Fishlore VIP
Messages
6,193
Reaction score
4,443
Points
458
Experience
5 years
It's not the PH if it's stable, my guess is it's your LFS having bad fish like @Fashooga said. If they're main stream stores like Petco or Petsmart, they're likely getting their fish from the same distributor. Maybe try upping your water changes to 50% twice a week. For parasites, a good medication is General Cure, which you can find here API General Cure Freshwater & Saltwater Aquarium Parasitic Fish Disease Treatment. For bacterial, I like erythromycin, which can be bought here API E.M. Erythromycin Freshwater Fish Bacterial Disease Medication, 10 count. Just always remember to remove carbon from your filter whenever using any kind of medication. Now I'd suggest using these both together, as API says doing so is safe. Aquarium salt isn't going to solve your problem.
 

GuppyDazzle

Well Known Member
Messages
1,044
Reaction score
926
Points
148
Experience
More than 10 years
My two cents.

What are your actual ammonia and nitrite readings? I see lots of people say, "The water's fine," then move on and avoid what is probably the most likely cause of your trouble. Without knowing the actual readings, it's impossible to guess what's causing your fish to die.

I always disagree with adding any kinds of medication or salt unless you have a good educated guess what you're treating for. Medications are stressful for fish. Besides stressing the fish, another problem with dumping medication is that if you miss the mark, you just spent several more days not treating for the right disease.

If you're getting fish from three different fish stores, I think it's unlikely that they all have diseased fish. There's something going on in your tank. I'd be interested to know what your ammonia and nitrite readings are. If you have anything above zero for ammonia or nitrites, that's a problem. It could indicate overstocking or overfeeding, or a cycle that isn't completed or was interrupted for some reason. Some medications can break the cycle, which would also be a reason not to medicate unless you're fairly sure what's wrong.
 

SFGiantsGuy

Well Known Member
Messages
1,088
Reaction score
388
Points
108
Experience
More than 10 years
Fish usually are much more resilient and capable or adapting IF there's not a dramatic, reciprocative, sponteanous ph swing, so IME it's probably not that. My absolute, infallible, golden rule when introducing new inhabitants to any PRIMARY tank is: A "screening". Meaning what I do is, I always use a 10 gal. QT tank with Erythromycin, ICH-X and API's General Cure and sometimes Paraguard, to immediately minimize any possible, potential pathogens are eliminated BEFORE introduction into any main tank. However recently, I have some sort of internal parasite, possibly from an Amano shrimp. Keep in mind that many parasites can "hide" out in your substrate and can also sometimes be immune to some medications. Therefore, some medications are not 100% effective. Although they can greatly assist in the chance of eliminating parasitic problems, however, nothing is guaranteed for repeat intrusions. A few of my fish recently have had white poop, refusing to eat, sulking, nervousness, fast breathing, emaciation, and then eventually...death. Lost 4 in the past week now. (1 Oto, 1 SAE, 1 all-white guppy and 1 Platy) Dosed General Cure, and now PraziPro. Will use Metroplex as a last resort though.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #11

TombedOrchestra

Valued Member
Messages
254
Reaction score
16
Points
53
WhoKnows said:
My two cents.

What are your actual ammonia and nitrite readings? I see lots of people say, "The water's fine," then move on and avoid what is probably the most likely cause of your trouble. Without knowing the actual readings, it's impossible to guess what's causing your fish to die.

I always disagree with adding any kinds of medication or salt unless you have a good educated guess what you're treating for. Medications are stressful for fish. Besides stressing the fish, another problem with dumping medication is that if you miss the mark, you just spent several more days not treating for the right disease.

If you're getting fish from three different fish stores, I think it's unlikely that they all have diseased fish. There's something going on in your tank. I'd be interested to know what your ammonia and nitrite readings are. If you have anything above zero for ammonia or nitrites, that's a problem. It could indicate overstocking or overfeeding, or a cycle that isn't completed or was interrupted for some reason. Some medications can break the cycle, which would also be a reason not to medicate unless you're fairly sure what's wrong.
Ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 20-40 ish. Ammonia / nitrite has ALWAYS been at 0 the entire time my tank has been set up (got it from a friend who had it cycled and I filled it up immediately keeping the cycle). I just checked ammonia last night... it's POSSIBLE the color was the slightest change (so at most 0.25) but it may have just been the lighting... pretty sure it was still 0. I'll check again today.

SFGiantsGuy said:
Fish usually are much more resilient and capable or adapting IF there's not a dramatic, reciprocative, sponteanous ph swing, so IME it's probably not that. My absolute, infallible, golden rule when introducing new inhabitants to any PRIMARY tank is: A "screening". Meaning what I do is, I always use a 10 gal. QT tank with Erythromycin, ICH-X and API's General Cure and sometimes Paraguard, to immediately minimize any possible, potential pathogens are eliminated BEFORE introduction into any main tank. However recently, I have some sort of internal parasite, possibly from an Amano shrimp. Keep in mind that many parasites can "hide" out in your substrate and can also sometimes be immune to some medications. Therefore, some medications are not 100% effective. Although they can greatly assist in the chance of eliminating parasitic problems, however, nothing is guaranteed for repeat intrusions. A few of my fish recently have had white poop, refusing to eat, sulking, nervousness, fast breathing, emaciation, and then eventually...death. Lost 4 in the past week now. (1 Oto, 1 SAE, 1 all-white guppy and 1 Platy) Dosed General Cure, and now PraziPro. Will use Metroplex as a last resort though.
SFGiantsGuy, you seem to be very PRO medication. Seems there are very different opinions on the matter. I'm fairly inexperienced when it comes to fish tanks (I've learned a lot already!) but when it comes to fish diseases / bacteria / parasites... I'm learning as I go. I don't want to just dose the tank with all this **** when they don't need it, but on the other hand, I have NO idea what's wrong. So I think that's probably my only option at this point. My water isn't the most IDEAL situation, but if this has been happening consistently for 6 months, it can't just be the LFS store's fish. I got my fish from 2 separate fish stores (Petco / Petsmart) ... BUT also a locally owned LFS ... with locally raised guppies.. and they also have similar problems.

Would you recommend dosing for parasites immediately when you see white poop?

General Cure, followed by prazi pro, followed by metroplex if the disease is resistant? ... Here's the thing. I dosed with Herbtana and thought it worked OK. However, I think the fish that were diseased (? Maybe?) died off during the dosing, so I THOUGHT it was better.

But what's confusing me the MOST... is that it doesn't seem like it's ONE thing. I have fish that poop white. I have fish that die with no symptoms. I have fish that have bent spines. I have fish with popeye. I have fish that have frayed fins. I have fish that appear to have swimbladder issues (can't swim straight) then die.

I wish it were just CLEAR (Yes parasites... YES water issues etc) ... but I feel like there's 10 things wrong that I have no idea even where to start...
 

bitseriously

Well Known Member
Messages
1,745
Reaction score
1,314
Points
148
Experience
1 year
@SFGiantsGuy are you aware that API GC includes praziquantel, the active in Prazipro? Just checking...

TombedOrchestra said:
it doesn't seem like it's ONE thing. I have fish that poop white. I have fish that die with no symptoms. I have fish that have bent spines. I have fish with popeye. I have fish that have frayed fins. I have fish that appear to have swimbladder issues (can't swim straight) then die.
Another member recently cited Occam's Razor in their diagnostic discussion (@Jenoli42). Occam's Razor instructs us to prefer a solution to a problem if it has fewer assumptions, and I think that's useful here. I would ask: Is it more likely that a) each of the 5/6 diseases you list above has somehow (and separately) been introduced to an otherwise healthy tank, or b) an overall issue exists with water quality or tank-level stressors that is causing all these diseases to affect all your fish (recall that we're always told that most of these pathogens exist in most aquarium environments, but that healthy fish typically resist or tolerate them at 'background' levels).

I have to go with option b), because it represents a single problem with many consequences, as opposed to option a) which seems to rely of a great many "if's" in order for it to be true.

If it were me, I'd really focus on improving water quality (which goes beyond the basic parameters we always ask about, ie you can have 0/0/±20 with correct pH and temp, and still have water quality issues). Assuming you're using treated tap water for your water source, if you haven't done it already, I'd screen your municipal water quality assessment/report for issues, and I'd bump up your water change schedule (2x per week, same volume you're doing now). Wipe down the insides of the glass, collect any dead/dying plant matter (if planted), vac a portion of the substrate with each water change (assuming gravel), etc. Maybe age your water for a day if you can before water changes. It could take a few weeks of this to really improve water quality.

Having said that, I'd also treat the tank with a medication that will target and control two or more of the problems you're seeing, so something like API Gen Cure or Seachem Metroplex if you can get them. Notwithstanding the cause of the problems, they obviously exist now, so treating will hopefully limit losses and protect healthier remaining fish.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #13

TombedOrchestra

Valued Member
Messages
254
Reaction score
16
Points
53
bitseriously said:
@SFGiantsGuy are you aware that API GC includes praziquantel, the active in Prazipro? Just checking...



Another member recently cited Occam's Razor in their diagnostic discussion (@Jenoli42). Occam's Razor instructs us to prefer a solution to a problem if it has fewer assumptions, and I think that's useful here. I would ask: Is it more likely that a) each of the 5/6 diseases you list above has somehow (and separately) been introduced to an otherwise healthy tank, or b) an overall issue exists with water quality or tank-level stressors that is causing all these diseases to affect all your fish (recall that we're always told that most of these pathogens exist in most aquarium environments, but that healthy fish typically resist or tolerate them at 'background' levels).

I have to go with option b), because it represents a single problem with many consequences, as opposed to option a) which seems to rely of a great many "if's" in order for it to be true.

If it were me, I'd really focus on improving water quality (which goes beyond the basic parameters we always ask about, ie you can have 0/0/±20 with correct pH and temp, and still have water quality issues). Assuming you're using treated tap water for your water source, if you haven't done it already, I'd screen your municipal water quality assessment/report for issues, and I'd bump up your water change schedule (2x per week, same volume you're doing now). Wipe down the insides of the glass, collect any dead/dying plant matter (if planted), vac a portion of the substrate with each water change (assuming gravel), etc. Maybe age your water for a day if you can before water changes. It could take a few weeks of this to really improve water quality.

Having said that, I'd also treat the tank with a medication that will target and control two or more of the problems you're seeing, so something like API Gen Cure or Seachem Metroplex if you can get them. Notwithstanding the cause of the problems, they obviously exist now, so treating will hopefully limit losses and protect healthier remaining fish.
BitSeriously, This is VERY helpful. Thank you. I am NOT using tap water. I go down to a natural spring and get water from there. I CANNOT use my tap water unfortunately as it contains very high sulfur content which I heard is poisonous to fish. However, come to think of it, if I let it sit for a day or two, the sulfur may off gas itself and then I have good water..... hmmm.. I will look into that.

So, is there a chance (there probably is a chance...) but is it likely that the spring water I'm using is tainted to some extent causing these issues?

I do vac half the gravel every other water change. No dead plant matter in the tank, plants seem to be very healthy.

Perhaps my plan of action may be to switch water sources and see if conditions improve, no meds at this point? Perhaps a general cure or stress coat?
 

bitseriously

Well Known Member
Messages
1,745
Reaction score
1,314
Points
148
Experience
1 year
But you're still treating with a conditioner, right? Something like Prime will remove any heavy metals, which could be part of your problem (tough to say with well water, short of a comprehensive water test).
You could also add activated carbon to your filter setup, I've read carbon can be effective against some types of sulphur.
If it were me, before trying to switch water supply entirely, I'd try to solve or eliminate any possible problems with your existing water supply. I'd set up a treated water reservoir: food-safe bucket or bin, heater, and simple filter like AquaClear 70, running just carbon. You might be able to use Purigen instead of carbon, maybe others can comment if they have knowledge/experience. Condition/age/filter your water for 24-48hrs before water changes. Try that for a month or so, and see how that works long term. If you have the single 55gal tank only, you'd want a 30gal bin at least (enough to hold half your tank worth of water, in case you ever need to do an emerg water change).
Part of the problem is that while you can medicate for immediate effect (notwithstanding we're not sure what to medicate with, which is a serious issue in itself), it can take a month or more for a change in water supply treatment/regime to yield observable benefits. It seems like bad things happen fast in aquariums, while improvements happen slowly - it's frustrating for sure.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #15

TombedOrchestra

Valued Member
Messages
254
Reaction score
16
Points
53
bitseriously said:
But you're still treating with a conditioner, right? Something like Prime will remove any heavy metals, which could be part of your problem (tough to say with well water, short of a comprehensive water test).
You could also add activated carbon to your filter setup, I've read carbon can be effective against some types of sulphur.
If it were me, before trying to switch water supply entirely, I'd try to solve or eliminate any possible problems with your existing water supply. I'd set up a treated water reservoir: food-safe bucket or bin, heater, and simple filter like AquaClear 70, running just carbon. You might be able to use Purigen instead of carbon, maybe others can comment if they have knowledge/experience. Condition/age/filter your water for 24-48hrs before water changes. Try that for a month or so, and see how that works long term. If you have the single 55gal tank only, you'd want a 30gal bin at least (enough to hold half your tank worth of water, in case you ever need to do an emerg water change).
Part of the problem is that while you can medicate for immediate effect (notwithstanding we're not sure what to medicate with, which is a serious issue in itself), it can take a month or more for a change in water supply treatment/regime to yield observable benefits. It seems like bad things happen fast in aquariums, while improvements happen slowly - it's frustrating for sure.
It would be SOOO much easier to use my tap if I could rather than the spring. Sooo much work getting 30 gallons of water every week.

I am not treating with any water conditioner. I was under the assumption that water conditioner only needed to be added if you're using water from tap that comes from city treated water (chlorine). Should water conditioner be added every water change (adding new water?)

Also, I do age the water first. I fill up at the spring and it sits for a minimum of 2 days (still in sealed containers, should they sit open to off gas stuff or does it not matter?) I always do about 15 gallon changes each change.

I do have an Aqueon 55 filter. I added 2 filters that have carbon (that's an activated carbon filter, right?)

I stated in another post that when I got the tank in November, I kept the same filters until about 1 week ago (I didn't know you were supposed to change them!!! Oops). So I just changed them. Perhaps it wasn't filtering like it should have contributing partly to the problem and maybe the new filter will help over time.

Thank you greatly for your time !!! Talking through this and problem solving with an experienced member is very helpful.
 

bitseriously

Well Known Member
Messages
1,745
Reaction score
1,314
Points
148
Experience
1 year
Ack!!! Please say you didn't change the filter media outright?!? As in, did you throw out the old cartridges and put in new, or did you add new without removing old? You have 2 cartridges, right? Both old ones gone, or just one? Changing filter media is a big mistake unless it's old and falling apart/not working/contaminated. Mfrs want you to buy new supplies, and seem happy to have you risk your fish to get you to do it.
The short version of the long story is that the vast majority of the beneficial bacteria that keep your fish healthy live in the filter media, because that's where they get a constant supply of "dirty" water to feed on (due to the pump in the filter). There is some bb in your tank (substrate, surfaces, plants, etc.) but not enough to maintain your cycle if you've removed the old filters. So if that's what's happened, you're looking at cycling your tank again on top of all your woes.
So the obvious question: did the fish deaths start before or after you changed the filter media? Also, are your water parameter numbers above current for yesterday/today? Ie are they based on what you've always seen when you test, or are they current actuals?
 

SFGiantsGuy

Well Known Member
Messages
1,088
Reaction score
388
Points
108
Experience
More than 10 years
Yeah I know that API Gen. Cure has Prazi. in it, but also has Metro. in it as well, it's just nice to have both in the same medication though... : ) Ugh, 1 of my Corys is still flashing a bit some, otherwise everyine else seems ok today so far...
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #18

TombedOrchestra

Valued Member
Messages
254
Reaction score
16
Points
53
bitseriously said:
Ack!!! Please say you didn't change the filter media outright?!? As in, did you throw out the old cartridges and put in new, or did you add new without removing old? You have 2 cartridges, right? Both old ones gone, or just one? Changing filter media is a big mistake unless it's old and falling apart/not working/contaminated. Mfrs want you to buy new supplies, and seem happy to have you risk your fish to get you to do it.
The short version of the long story is that the vast majority of the beneficial bacteria that keep your fish healthy live in the filter media, because that's where they get a constant supply of "dirty" water to feed on (due to the pump in the filter). There is some bb in your tank (substrate, surfaces, plants, etc.) but not enough to maintain your cycle if you've removed the old filters. So if that's what's happened, you're looking at cycling your tank again on top of all your woes.
So the obvious question: did the fish deaths start before or after you changed the filter media? Also, are your water parameter numbers above current for yesterday/today? Ie are they based on what you've always seen when you test, or are they current actuals?
Yes, I did throw out the old and replace with new... oops. I heard somewhere before that BB is stored in the filter but I was just so excited to hear that a new filter might solve my issue I just threw it out and replaced it.
HOWEVER, I just checked my levels and they are the same as last night. 0,0, 20. That's good! Perhaps it doesn't need to recycle. It's been 3 days since I changed filter. If I lost the cycle ammonia should have started to rise by now, eh?

The fish deaths started well before I changed the filter. This was only 3 days ago. The old filters were BADDDDDD. TERRIBLY brown with stuff hanging off of them. It looked unbelievably terrible. Like, I really thought it was killing my fish.

SFGiantsGuy said:
Yeah I know that API Gen. Cure has Prazi. in it, but also has Metro. in it as well, it's just nice to have both in the same medication though... : ) Ugh, 1 of my Corys is still flashing a bit some, otherwise everyine else seems ok today so far...
I will wait out my tank for a few days from now. If my fish stay healthy now, I'll call it good. If any more get diseases or look funny, I'll dose with Gen Cure.

I think the last two deaths may have been related to tank shock. The one guppy died 5 hrs after going in tank. My death today was a guppy that's been in tank for about a month (probably with old filter, also around all the other diseased fish) and a tetra that had popeye.

Sorry to hear about your fish!
 
Toggle Sidebar

Aquarium Calculator

Follow FishLore!





Top Bottom