Help New Swordtails Eating Algae, Pooping Strings, Then Dying

Discussion in 'Swordtails' started by 20gal_long, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. 20gal_longNew MemberMember

    We have a 20 gallon-long tank (long established, fully cycled, recently tested all specs normal) with 4 Blackskirt Tetra, 3 Julii Corycats, and one Nerite snail.
    Last week we added 3 female swordtails.

    They started eating the algae on our plants like crazy which gave them black stringly poop. The store told us this was normal.

    After a few days one of them changed to white stringy poop. It started to clench its fins, hang out first at the top, then at the bottom, and died a day later.

    The other two were fine. The store told us it was probably transportation stress and gave us a new one. The store also mentioned it could be parasites, but none of the local pet stores had the tetra parasite guard in stock so we ordered it. Should come in tomorrow.

    I just saw that two of the swordtails (one of the old ones and the new one) are showing the same behavior like the one that died.

    All the other fish are acting normal.

    What is happening - are these parasites or could they be overeating on the algae? Please help!
    Clearly it's something in our tank. The new one had been at the store since last week (recognizable because it is missing a small piece of fin) and was doing just fine there.
  2. dcutl002Well Known MemberMember

    White stringy feces is a sign of parasites. Prolly came from the pet store.
  3. 20gal_longNew MemberMember

    thanks - so the Tetra Parasite Guard is a good first line of attack?
  4. dcutl002Well Known MemberMember

    I would use it.
  5. 20gal_longNew MemberMember

    also, if the parasites came from the pet store, how come the other swordtail that was swimming in the same pet store tank for a week was fine until it got here? anything in our tank that could cause this? (we had all the other fish for months)
  6. dcutl002Well Known MemberMember

    Eh, hard to say exactly, but if I was to bet money I would put it on the pet store. That is why quarantine tanks are a good thing to have.
  7. 20gal_longNew MemberMember

    Thanks ... if anyone has every heard of swordtails having issues with overeating algae, please let me know.
  8. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

  9. 20gal_longNew MemberMember

    All water parameters are normal. (right in the "safe" range of the various test strips) zero ammonia, of course.
  10. 20gal_longNew MemberMember

  11. 20gal_longNew MemberMember

    I fed them extra flakes this afternoon and they seem better. Are they maybe needing more food than the Cory's and Blackskirts? We just added 3 more "servings" to the twice-daily feedings when we added three fish, but maybe they needed more than that (due to travel stress)?
  12. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    Unfortunately I, and many other members, have found test strips to be inaccurate. How do you know ammonia is zero? Is there any way you can get a liquid test kit (more accurate) or get it tested at a store with a liquid test?

    They do not need to be overfed, no.
  13. 20gal_longNew MemberMember

    I used a liquid test kit - I only use test strips for the other stuff. Ammonia is zero.
  14. 20gal_longNew MemberMember

    It's never been above zero since we finished cycling the tank more than a year ago.
  15. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    What specific parameters do you use the strips for then?
  16. 20gal_longNew MemberMember

    Ammonia = liquid test (since it's so critical I'm not relying on test strips). All other stuff is with a strip - and parameters haven't changed when the fish were added. Tested every 2 days since the added fish to make sure there are no spikes etc. The tank is fully cycled, the stocking levels are still well below max, all other fish are doing well, so I'm fairly confident it's not the water.
  17. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    I would get a liquid test kit. Strips can be very inaccurate - they were for me, especially for GH. Swordtails really need hard water, and with a pH of 7.2 (assuming it's accurate), it may not be high enough (as your GH may not be accurate with the strip test). I would get a liquid test to also test pH, GH, and KH to get more accurate readings.
  18. KO_Valued MemberMember

    Parasite can not show symptoms for a little while, some show very few right up until death. The fish that was healthy at the store may have suffered from the stress of the move which has accelerated the symptoms. If the fish is eating that is always a good sign.