29 Gallon Tank Fish Death Toll Rising, in need of assistance

Kathylee

EMERGENCY TEMPLATE: (EDITED For easy reading)

-Water volume: 29 Gallons
-Running: Started November 2020
-Filter: Yes HOB + Sponge filter
-Heater? Yes
-Temperature? 78°
-Entire stocking:
5 Trilineatus Corydoras (False Julii)
2 Ottocinculus
1 Juvenile BN Pleco
4 Molly Fry
(Also; Bladder Snails, detritus worms, Globular Springtails, there was a few Hydra but mollies ate them.)

Maintenance
-How often WC: Used to be weekly. Now I've been changing 50% every few days because I keep seeing symptoms.
-How much: 50%
-Water Treatment: ONLY PRIME
- Gravel Vaccum & WC (hover above sand, I use a Spatula to move sand around so air pockets do not form)

*Parameters - Very Important
-Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? YES
I used seeded media & items from my 20g. (I did have a small NITRITE spike after adding media, it was under .5ppm & cleared up in a couple days)
-What do you use to test the water?
Tetra 6 in 1 strips + Ammonia Strips & API Freshwater Mater Test Kit

EXACT PARAMETERS:
Ammonia: 0 PPM
Nitrite: 0 PPM
Nitrate: between 10-20 ppm
pH: 7.6
Chlorine: 0
GH: 9° Hard
KH 3° (40-60ppm)

Feeding
-How often: 1X per Day
-How much: 2 mini omnivore wafers, 1/4th algae wafer, a sprinkle of other foods. I try not to overfeed.
-BRANDS:
HIKARI: Algae Wafers, Fancy Guppy/Livebearer food, omnivore wafers, Vibra Bites. Sinking wafers for bottom feeders.
Aqueon Bottom Feeder/Shrimp pellets
Xtreme Krill Flakes & omnivore sinking pellets
Aqueon Revitanew Formula & Hikari First bites for molly Fry. (Now theyre larger)
Zucchini + Cucumber slices
- NO FREEZE DRIED.
- Frozen (1X per week): Omega One Blood Worms & San Francisco Bay Brand Baby Brine Shrimp.

Illness & Symptoms
-How long have you had this fish?
Most I have had from several months up to 1 year.

-How long ago did you first notice these symptoms?
Maybe 1 month ago- after adding new fish (Even though I did Quarantine new Fish first)

In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Fish keep getting infections that start at white spots & turn into fuzzy fungus or get red spots & die within a few hours after red spots appear.

Have you started any treatments?
I Used Maracyn for Gram Positive infections & had 0 results. (So is this a Gram Negative bacteria?)

Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? Some of the new fish did not look well upon arrival & died shortly thereafter. My other older fish were NOT ill when I purchased last year. And have not had any illness until introducing new fish into tank.

How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all?
New fish: Some fish became pale, looked stressed, flashing at first, hiding, clamped fins. The older cories have no appearance change.

Explain your emergency situation in detail.

I have made a couple different threads trying to figure out what is ailing these fish. I've spoken to the Corydoras Guru & other members. I've done hours of reading. Sometimes symptoms point to one thing & them change. I've taken advice on reducing stress BY:
-Adding Leaf Litter IAL
-Adding plant cover
- purchased driftwood but it still hasn't sunk yet.
- Dimmed lights & reduced how many hours lights were on per day.
- shuffled plants to create hiding spaces.. Ect

DEATH TOLL IN ORDER: (From January- Now)
-1 new Otto during QT; arrived poorly
After 1 month in QT they were moved to 29g:
- 1 new Cory; no visible cause
-1 new Otto; developed white spot, turned into a huge fuzzy ball on top of head, put him in QT treated with Maracyn, he died after 4 days of treatment.
-1 new Otto- had been fin/tail clamping but no other symptoms
-1 new Cory developed bright Red spots under pectoral fins & on side, barbell loss, pelvic/anal/2cd dorsal fins were eroded away, and white fuzzy patch above pectoral fin on one side. Scratching against objects. Died within 20 hours of red spots appearing. Treated with maracyn & it did not help.
- 1 older Otto.... Seemed fine, looked healthy, nice colorings, no previous ailments, plump belly.. Woke up the other morning and she had developed red spots overnight ( I had performer 50%WC right before she died)- died 3 hours later. After death when I netted her out, she had small whisps of white fungus around mouth, like a fungal infection had just started.

-I have 1 new sick Cory who was pale+flashing & has barbell loss. Hid color is coming back, but he looks thin/skinny still, hides a lot, barbells have not repaired.
- 1 older Otto who developed a white flat spot on head- it does not look like a fungal infection YET but that is how the other Otto's started.

Remaining symptoms:
-I have 2 ottos left out of 7.. And the 2 left are hiding, they used to be ALL over tank, now hide under filter.

-BN Pleco seems unaffected yet.
-4 Molly Fry unaffected yet.
-4 older cories Unaffected.
-1 new Cory improved & looks better
-1 the last new Cory looks poor.

I desperately need some guidance;
I don't know what I am battling. Is is bacterial then turning into a fungal infection? Red spots= bacterial Septicemia or Flukes. It is now spreading to my healthy older fish & I'm seeing death after death.
 

86 ssinit

Ok let’s see a pic of your tank and can you test your tap water like you tested the tank. What type of hob and sponge filter are you using and how often do you clean them
 
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Kathylee

Ok let’s see a pic of your tank and can you test your tap water like you tested the tank. What type of hob and sponge filter are you using and how often do you clean them
Okay. Tank lights are off right now, its midnight here, but let me get you that other info.
-It's an Aqueon QuietFlow 30 But it's modified, I have removed the Aqueon Prefilters & added Fluval filter Floss, intake sponge, sponges, and carbon inserts. I remove the large sponge & rinse it in a dirty bucket every week because lots of plant debris get stuck in there.(plants are still adjusting & growing) I disassemble it every 3-4 weeks to clean the gunk/leaves/stems/roots out.
-Aquarium Coop M sponge filter just sits at the back. I only put it in there to use as a sponge later down the road for my QT for new fish (that wont happen for a while) about every 2 weeks I slip a 1 gallon bag under it & take it out. Shake the bag. Dump, rinse, repeat. I've only had to do it a few times because it's not been in there very long.

- Tap Water Parameters:
Ammonia: 0
Nitrate: under 5ppm (very slightly pink)
Nitrite: 0
Chlorine: 0 (huh, last time I checked the tap water it was slightly pink for chlorine!)
Gh: 150ppm,) hard
Kh: under 40ppm, low
PH: maybe 7.2---7.4
I used a timer & took a photo if you'd like to see the test strip results.
 
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Cherryshrimp420

Id say you are feeding way too much. Detritus worms are a good indicator of feeding levels. If you see them then probably too much food

For your stocking I personally would not feed at all, depending on how much algae is growing. The cories and ottos can be supplemented with veggies once in a while
 
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Kathylee

These are photos of the Tank starting in November until now:

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20210102_231538.jpg

20210116_210939_HDR.jpg

20210227_210607.jpg

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Id say you are feeding way too much. Detritus worms are a good indicator of feeding levels. If you see them then probably too much food

For your stocking I personally would not feed at all, depending on how much algae is growing. The cories and ottos can be supplemented with veggies once in a while
The detritus worms came from my seeded filter media- which was from my 20g molly tank. There were no fish in here at first so the detritus worms exploded.. Then I added 3 ottos from My smaller tank. They left their wafer around to graze on so the snails & detritus worms got to it first. That's why I added 4 molly fry to clear up the pests. They eat the worms & the snails.
 
Upvote 0

Cherryshrimp420

These are photos of the Tank starting in November until now:

20201227_222125.jpg

20210102_231538.jpg

20210116_210939_HDR.jpg

20210227_210607.jpg

20210319_105625_HDR.jpg

The detritus worms came from my seeded filter media- which was from my 20g molly tank. There were no fish in here at first so the detritus worms exploded.. Then I added 3 ottos from My smaller tank. They left their wafer around to graze on so the snails & detritus worms got to it first. That's why I added 4 molly fry to clear up the pests. They eat the worms & the snails.
Detritus worms exist in every tank. If theres no food they will quickly die out.

You dont have to worry about "contaminating" with them.

Just be careful on the feeding is my best advice
 
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Kathylee

Detritus worms exist in every tank. If theres no food they will quickly die out.

You dont have to worry about "contaminating" with them.

Just be careful on the feeding is my best advice
Okay feed lighter, thanks. I don't mind them, they aren't pretty, but the fish snack on them.
Do you have info on the fungus, red spots, any of these symptoms?
As soon as a red spot appears the fish dies within hours!
 
Upvote 0

Cherryshrimp420

Okay feed lighter, thanks. I don't mind them, they aren't pretty, but the fish snack on them.
Do you have info on the fungus, red spots, any of these symptoms?
As soon as a red spot appears the fish dies within hours!

Too much feeding leads to high dissolved organic matter which drive bacteria growth... Its really hard to tell what exactly is growing on your fish... (and I dont think we can find out without lab equipment).

Either way.... Bacteria, fungus, etc have colonized the skin and feeding on the fish. The worst fish may need to be raised in a separate tank with increased salinity.

Water change, reduction in feeding should allow the rest to recover in the long term
 
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Kathylee

Too much feeding leads to high dissolved organic matter which drive bacteria growth... Its really hard to tell what exactly is growing on your fish... (and I dont think we can find out without lab equipment).

Either way.... Bacteria, fungus, etc have colonized the skin and feeding on the fish. The worst fish may need to be raised in a separate tank with increased salinity.

Water change, reduction in feeding should allow the rest to recover in the long term
Alright, thanks. When I first started up with the mollies I realized what over feeding truly was- they will eat it ALL & look so bloated, so I think I learned a lot from that. I feel like I do not add a whole lot of food to the 29g, but maybe it is too much. Everyone says if you don't offer food to the Ottos then they'll starve & their gut bacteria will die. So normally for example; I'd put 2 micro omnivore wafers in, a tiny piece of an algae wafer, a couple Vibra bite worms, and then a bit of krill flake food for the Molly fry (they're a few months old now) the snails clean up any crumbs they can find.
I was told to reduce lights, so I feel like barely any Algae is growing at all now. I can see some near the bottom substrate line, there's some green spot algae here & there, and some long green thread-looking algae only on the Crinum Calastrium for some reason. Up top near the lights it's growing top leaves of plants.

I've had the other cories for almost 1 year now & the 3 ottos several months on mostly this same diet on same portions with no problems.

The 3 older ottos were added first, then a few molly fry, then 3 older cories. In January I ordered new fish, Quarantined, February I added the new fish & within a few weeks all the new fish just kept looking worse & worse.
I was told to do 50% WC every other Day & observe symptoms to see if they got better or worse.
Im still doing WC & I think all the fish that were really sick have died.
And to add 1 Indian Almond Leaf at a time, but to do it slowly. Also to add driftwood- but its still floating in a bucket.

Maybe the organic buildup from the food is different then; because its a newer-set up tank than my older ones? Would my Nitrates be reading higher if I was overfeeding too much? Just wondering how to get a reading on the organics if its related to overfeeding. (Sorry)
These are photos of fish that have deceased:
Red spots or areas, then white fungus.
So I Just keep doing the WC and feed less? And hopefully the rest do not catch it, I have one Otto right now with an odd flat spot on top of his head. I'm just watching & hoping it doesn't also turn into another infection.

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20210318_105556_HDR.jpg
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Upvote 0

Cherryshrimp420

Alright, thanks. When I first started up with the mollies I realized what over feeding truly was- they will eat it ALL & look so bloated, so I think I learned a lot from that. I feel like I do not add a whole lot of food to the 29g, but maybe it is too much. Everyone says if you don't offer food to the Ottos then they'll starve & their gut bacteria will die. So normally for example; I'd put 2 micro omnivore wafers in, a tiny piece of an algae wafer, a couple Vibra bite worms, and then a bit of krill flake food for the Molly fry (they're a few months old now) the snails clean up any crumbs they can find.
I was told to reduce lights, so I feel like barely any Algae is growing at all now. I can see some near the bottom substrate line, there's some green spot algae here & there, and some long green thread-looking algae only on the Crinum Calastrium for some reason. Up top near the lights it's growing top leaves of plants.

I've had the other cories for almost 1 year now & the 3 ottos several months on mostly this same diet on same portions with no problems.

The 3 older ottos were added first, then a few molly fry, then 3 older cories. In January I ordered new fish, Quarantined, February I added the new fish & within a few weeks all the new fish just kept looking worse & worse.
I was told to do 50% WC every other Day & observe symptoms to see if they got better or worse.
Im still doing WC & I think all the fish that were really sick have died.
And to add 1 Indian Almond Leaf at a time, but to do it slowly. Also to add driftwood- but its still floating in a bucket.

Maybe the organic buildup from the food is different then; because its a newer-set up tank than my older ones? Would my Nitrates be reading higher if I was overfeeding too much? Just wondering how to get a reading on the organics if its related to overfeeding. (Sorry)
These are photos of fish that have deceased:
Red spots or areas, then white fungus.
So I Just keep doing the WC and feed less? And hopefully the rest do not catch it, I have one Otto right now with an odd flat spot on top of his head. I'm just watching & hoping it doesn't also turn into another infection.

20210309_193310.jpg
20210221_222104.jpg
20210318_105556_HDR.jpg
20210219_211943.jpg
20210302_212147.jpg

Oh wow thats is quite a bit of food you are feeding. Just fyi, my 75 gal has 1000+ MTS and hundreds of ramshorn snails and I feed the entire tank less than one algae wafer per day on average.

So reducing light to combat algae is good, but if fish food is still there, you are shifting bacteria growth from photosynthesizing ones (eg. Cyano) to other nonphohotsynthesizing strains. These can be nasty.... And potentially harmful to fish in high numbers.

I dont know if there is a commercially available DOM testing kit... Maybe in the future we will? For beginners just the nitrogen cycle is already an entrance barrier... But you can get a general sense of where your tank is heading through tds levels, nitrates levels, presence of worms etc
 
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Kathylee

Oh wow thats is quite a bit of food you are feeding. Just fyi, my 75 gal has 1000+ MTS and hundreds of ramshorn snails and I feed the entire tank less than one algae wafer per day on average.

So reducing light to combat algae is good, but if fish food is still there, you are shifting bacteria growth from photosynthesizing ones (eg. Cyano) to other nonphohotsynthesizing strains. These can be nasty.... And potentially harmful to fish in high numbers.

I dont know if there is a commercially available DOM testing kit... Maybe in the future we will? For beginners just the nitrogen cycle is already an entrance barrier... But you can get a general sense of where your tank is heading through tds levels, nitrates levels, presence of worms etc
Oh wow! That's a boatload of snails. Okay so yeah too many wafers. My stocking is low now anyway after this. & Oh, No I wasn't reducing lights to fight algae, it all gets eaten! Another member said to reduce lights to lower stress because the tank was too bright, & the sand it too white. He said the fish were stressed & we know stress can make them become more susceptible to illness. So I've turned them down & lowered the light cycle. But it's also in turn lowering the algae growth- and I have the pleco & ottos who mainly eat it. So I'm trying to find a balance.
I started adding live plants 1 year ago, and it was the first time I have ever seen worms, snails, springtails, limpets, planaria, hydra.
The detritus worms, I hardly ever see them anywhere but they get in my filters! Then multiply & I see them come out in the water output flow, usually the fish eat them up quickly. & I added root tabs in the 29g (because its all sand), and the detritus worms like to stay close to the root tabs as well.
 
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Cherryshrimp420

Oh wow! That's a boatload of snails. Okay so yeah too many wafers. My stocking is low now anyway after this. & Oh, No I wasn't reducing lights to fight algae, it all gets eaten! Another member said to reduce lights to lower stress because the tank was too bright, & the sand it too white. He said the fish were stressed & we know stress can make them become more susceptible to illness. So I've turned them down & lowered the light cycle. But it's also in turn lowering the algae growth- and I have the pleco & ottos who mainly eat it. So I'm trying to find a balance.
I started adding live plants 1 year ago, and it was the first time I have ever seen worms, snails, springtails, limpets, planaria, hydra.
The detritus worms, I hardly ever see them anywhere but they get in my filters! Then multiply & I see them come out in the water output flow, usually the fish eat them up quickly. & I added root tabs in the 29g (because its all sand), and the detritus worms like to stay close to the root tabs as well.
Since you have cories, detritus worms are like the perfect food for them. You wouldnt have to feed anything until all the worms are gone. And then you can think about supplementing with fish food.
ALSO: just to add, you may need to consider a salt treatment for the entire tank since most of the fishes don't seem to be doing so well.
 
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Kathylee

Since you have cories, detritus worms are like the perfect food for them. You wouldnt have to feed anything until all the worms are gone. And then you can think about supplementing with fish food.
ALSO: just to add, you may need to consider a salt treatment for the entire tank since most of the fishes don't seem to be doing so well.
Out of the stocking I have left there are 2 that I can physically see, that do not feel well- 1 Cory & 1 Otto.
I have salt on hand, that I originally purchased with mollies.

Im afraid to use it with the bottom dwellers. I would need to go research how much salinity each one can tolerate. (Pleco, ottos, cories) for how long, and how to raise it slowly.
When I was treating one Otto earlier who had a large fungal infection on his face, I used salt, but it was in the QT tank away from the others.
I think when I first joined Fishlore I remember reading that most scaleless fish can tolerate salt for a period of treatment but it will hurt them if used long term.
 
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Cherryshrimp420

Out of the stocking I have left there are 2 that I can physically see, that do not feel well- 1 Cory & 1 Otto.
I have salt on hand, that I originally purchased with mollies.

Im afraid to use it with the bottom dwellers. I would need to go research how much salinity each one can tolerate. (Pleco, ottos, cories) for how long, and how to raise it slowly.
When I was treating one Otto earlier who had a large fungal infection on his face, I used salt, but it was in the QT tank away from the others.
I think when I first joined Fishlore I remember reading that most scaleless fish can tolerate salt for a period of treatment but it will hurt them if used long term.

Ah sorry to hear. The redness on the gills in some pics could be ammonia burns as well. I guess with only 2 left you may not want to do salt treatment. But if you do, make sure to do a salt treatment and NOT salt bath. Salt treatment is raising the salinity very SLIGHTLY to 0.1% - 0.3% for 48 hours+. Most fish would be fine with such a small change. Salt bath is where you dip the fish for a few minutes in a high salinity solution (generally not recommended for sensitive fish).
 
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Kathylee

Ah sorry to hear. The redness on the gills in some pics could be ammonia burns as well. I guess with only 2 left you may not want to do salt treatment. But if you do, make sure to do a salt treatment and NOT salt bath. Salt treatment is raising the salinity very SLIGHTLY to 0.1% - 0.3% for 48 hours+. Most fish would be fine with such a small change. Salt bath is where you dip the fish for a few minutes in a high salinity solution (generally not recommended for sensitive fish).
Yes! That's how I did it with the Otto in QT. I raised it slowly over 48 hours so I remember how to do that!
And I've done salt baths on mollies so Im familiar With that too.
I guess keeping mollies have taught me more than I realized.

Ammonia burns were my first thought too, but I checked & checked & with both liquid & test strips and 0ppm ammonia every time, but the red spots are a symptom of bacterial infections common amongst bottom dwellers- I just have no experience with treating this type of infection and can't identify what it was.

If you search Red spots up these are results:
Red spot Disease
Red Pest
Red Blotch disease
Ammonia Burns
Bacterial Septicemia
Hemorrhagic Septicemia
Gill/Body Flukes can cause red patched areas.
So I've been trying to watch symptoms and figure this out to pinpoint it but still don't know 100%
 
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Cherryshrimp420

Yes! That's how I did it with the Otto in QT. I raised it slowly over 48 hours so I remember how to do that!
And I've done salt baths on mollies so Im familiar With that too.
I guess keeping mollies have taught me more than I realized.

Ammonia burns were my first thought too, but I checked & checked & with both liquid & test strips and 0ppm ammonia every time, but the red spots are a symptom of bacterial infections common amongst bottom dwellers- I just have no experience with treating this type of infection and can't identify what it was.

If you search Red spots up these are results:
Red spot Disease
Red Pest
Red Blotch disease
Ammonia Burns
Bacterial Septicemia
Hemorrhagic Septicemia
Gill/Body Flukes can cause red patched areas.
So I've been trying to watch symptoms and figure this out to pinpoint it but still don't know 100%

Yeah unfortunately, like I mentioned before we don't really have a way to identify the exact strain without taking the fish to a lab... Just general tank maintenance is all I can recommend
 
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Kathylee

Yeah unfortunately, like I mentioned before we don't really have a way to identify the exact strain without taking the fish to a lab... Just general tank maintenance is all I can recommend
Alright well Thanks for taking the time to read all this and answer back to me!! I appreciate it dearly. I've been having a rough go at it, since ordering these new fish.
Hopefully another member who's experienced this may see it & share.
 
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Kathylee

UPDATE:
On My break at work so I gotta be quick
Its been 15 days & the Otto with a white bump on head cleared up.
The Cory with missing barbels looks better but no new growth yet.
I really thought things were starting to look better!
Last night I saw a small pink area around fins on ONE Cory. And a tiny white fungal area.
Ughhhhhhhh
Im starting to wonder if its the substrate, bacteria stuck in it or something?
Im keeping up with WC and still its coming back
 
Upvote 0

SarahPar

Sounds like multiple diseases, the fungus growth was obviously just fungus.
The red dots sounds like septicemia or some other internal disease. Might be hard to treat without dosing antibiotics orally. You could try furan 2 but not sure what use that would have, might be worth trying though. If you can get cephalexin and seachem focus you could dose that in their food, that would be the most ideal treatment.
 
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Kathylee

Sounds like multiple diseases, the fungus growth was obviously just fungus.
The red dots sounds like septicemia or some other internal disease. Might be hard to treat without dosing antibiotics orally. You could try furan 2 but not sure what use that would have, might be worth trying though. If you can get cephalexin and seachem focus you could dose that in their food, that would be the most ideal treatment.
Thank you for your reply! I have API furan 2 on hand, and I have Seachem Kanaplex- it says you can use in the food with instructions right on the back of package, but it also says it may hurt plants. Which I have a lot of.
My sand is white Imagitarium sand, its hard & grainy. I recently purchased Caribsea Sand for my other 20g tank & the sand was so soft & smooth & almost velvety. (I just received my 2cd order of it- im going to put it in my other tanks now because I like it's texture much more)
Im wondering if the sand i used initially was too coarse, causing irritations on the fish leading to bacterial infections.
Honestly I don't know, trying to think outside the box.
I've done a 15 gallon Water Change twice so far this week. I took the filter apart & did maintenance, checked everything.
All started happening a few weeks after adding some new fish. Now I've lost most of them.
I've just been battling with this & doing the best I can. The fish look a bit better after yesterday's WC, I'm not sure if I want to strip the tank bare of plants to use meds, or just keep up with the WC.
I have a 5 gallon QT, I was thinking of putting the ill looking Cory in it & maybe medication by himself. Worried about stress.
 
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