Help Urgent..fish Dying Off No Idea Why

Johnnyv4449

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Hopefully someone can help me on this one. I have gone to all of my local stores and none of them have any explanation as to why my fish are dying off one at a time. I've showed them videos water tests etc an no one can tell me anything.

I have a 150 gallon tank with a 55 gallon sump below it. This tank has been running for 4 months. The tank was running fine with no issues until about 3 weeks ago. One fish was added around that time but they were quarantined prior to moving to this tank. I have lost all different species. There are no signs of parasites or physical issues. The fish just go to the bottom of the tank and breathe really heavy. The shortly after die. I have checked every fish that died and cant see anything on them. They are all "healthy" looking fins open etc but are not eating or coming to the surface. All the Geos I've had for over a year in a 55gal no issues. This tank was active and healthy.

Tank: (remaining)
Geo Junipari (largest fish 4 inches Max) sick
Geo Surnimensis (lost 2) sick
Geo Heckeli (2) 1 sick
Congo tetras
Redline Shark
Severum (3)
Zig Zag Eel
Flagtail
Gibbiceps Pleco
and 2 other small fish

Lost: 2 Geo Surinamensis, Cupid, 2 krabensis, 2 Geo Trabajo, 2 Geo Alfrons, Uaru,
Tank parameters rarely change. PH has been 7.0 to 7.3 for weeks (a little high for Geos but that is how they have been for over a year), .25 Ammonia max at any time, 0 Nitrates, 0 Nitrites, Phosphates are present. Right now every other fish in the tank are active eating and look good, except my last 3 Geos and one uaru.

I treated for gill Flukes, parasites, bacterial, water changes, aeration, vitamins, water surface is moving. I tested tonight and I have 7.0 ph, 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrites and 0 Nitrates.

I'm at a total loss. Every one I've spoken to has no suggestions at to what it can be. Any help would be appreciated.
 

86 ssinit

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When fish die off one at a time I believe it’s something in the water. Like a parasite. Pics may help. Do you have a uv sterilizer in the tank?
Not sure but isn’t a 55gal sump kind of big for a 150gal tank? Pics of sump would be good too.
Did the fish deaths start after the new fish was added? Is it still alive? Are all the other fish from the 55?
 

JenC

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I'd expect to see 0 ammonia and some nitrates in a cycled, established tank. Have you had a LFS double check your water test readings?

Are you dechlorinating water and have there been any changes to your water source? Do you dose CO2 or any other water supplements?
 

smee82

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I'd expect to see 0 ammonia and some nitrates in a cycled, established tank. Have you had a LFS double check your water test readings?

Are you dechlorinating water and have there been any changes to your water source? Do you dose CO2 or any other water supplements?
Its quiet common to have 0 nitrates in a planted tank and false positive readings for ammonia are extremely common, test kits arent as reliable as people believe.
 

JenC

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Its quiet common to have 0 nitrates in a planted tank and false positive readings for ammonia are extremely common, test kits arent as reliable as people believe.
Agreed. My planted tanks often have 0 nitrates but OP didn't say it was a heavily planted tank. I'm also not concerned about a hint of ammonia at that low pH; it's nowhere near harmful. I'm interested in what maybe happened to OP's cycle and whether the water tests are accurate.
 

Lajos

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If you don't see any other symptoms of parasites infection other than "fish staying at the bottom and breathing heavily", then most likely it's due to Gill Fluke infection.

And by the time you discovered that they are breathing heavily and staying at the bottom, it's actually at very advance stage of infection and cannot be saved.
I'd tried to even use Potassium Permanganate and Methylene Blue to save them but without success.

Gill flukes attacked the fish gills and if the gills are damaged, the fish will die. And there are little symptoms until at late stages.
And the fish will die one by one slowly and it affects mainly the bottom level fish which is one of the main symptom of gill flukes infection.(my opinion)
Geophagus are bottom level fish and they are more vulnerable to gill flukes that usually stay at the bottom of the tank.

Top level fish are usually not affected by gill flukes.
[Note: This is based on the assumption that your water is free from ammonia and nitrite which can also kill the fish, and you change your water regularly and your water quality is good.]

Methylene Blue might be your last resort as it helps to improve the oxygen intake in the fish. (this is for affected fish only).

Here is the use of Methylene Blue:
[ Methylene blue is used as a medication for the treatment of methemoglobinemia.
Methemoglobinemia can be caused by high nitrites (and ammonia) in the blood, which happens in fish respiration in water high in ammonia or nitrites. Methemoglobinemia is treated with the use of methylene blue, which restores the hemoglobin to its normal oxygen-carrying state.
MB is effective in treatment of some gill diseases, especially from injury such as ammonia burns (or cyanide poisoning sometimes used in capture of some marine fish) or fluke damage as it transports oxygen allowing for more gill efficiency and as well aiding in some healing of tissue.
This is backed up the use of Methylene Blue in humans as an antidote for carbon monoxide and cyanide poisoning. ]

But you cannot use Methylene Blue in the main tank as it will kill the beneficial bacteria. You can only take the fish out to do a dip/short bath in a pail or other tank that is not in used.


What medication did you use to treat the gill flukes infection?
How long did you treat the tank?

To totally eradicate gill flukes from your tank, it may take 1-2 months or longer treatment based on my experience.

If you have plants and sands/gravel, it might be impossible to eradicate them from your tank.
The flukes in eggs/cysts form cannot be killed/destroyed by medication and they can stay dormant for quite long inside the substrate.
Plants may absorb your medications and make them less effective.
In the past, I'd to remove all my substrate, plants and even changed tank to treat the gill flukes.

Two medications that I recommend:
1) Praziquantel
2) Anti parasite, slime & velvet by Interpret.
It contains Formalin, malachite green and another medication if I can remember correctly which is effective against gill flukes.

https://www.interpet.co.uk/Products/Test-Treat/Fish-Treatments/Anti-Parasite,-Slime-Velvet-Plus-100ml

Praziquantel is safe to the fish and won't affect the plants but it need to be used in at least double dosage and on every 3-4 days as it lose it's effectiveness very quickly(my suspicion).

Anti parasite, slime & velvet by Interpret is a strong medication but I tried not to use it for too long as it's harsh for the fish.
I used Prazi and Anti Parasite alternatively so as not to be too harsh on the fish.

Here are some useful information about gill flukes treatments:

https://www.velda.com/pond-fish/diseases/gill-flukes/




Final solution - Using Potassium Permanganate:
Caution: It may kill your fish if the fish is too weaken by the gill damage.


http://www.simplydiscus.com/library/disease_medications/medicine_cabinet/pp_usage.shtml
 
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Johnnyv4449

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Wow thank you so much for the info. Unfortunately I lost my last surinamensis last night and the junipari today. One heckeli at the bottom. then i'm out of Geos. I expect it is gill flukes.

I'll try to answer the questions:

1. Nothing new added to the Sump
2. Fish store got readings of less than .25 Ammonia and <.5 nitrates.My test is probably due to the water change.
3. The added fish is probably the healthiest fish in the tank. All the Geos were fine in the 55gallon tank. They were moved over about 3 weeks after the tank was started.
4. I have sand substrate.
5. Tried Marcal across a few doses. Methylene blue
6. Switching to copper as if I had ick. (after water change)
7. Sump turnover as I calculated it with the head pressure to be about 650 gallons per hour. This pump was originally in the same tank as a saltwater tank when I bought it. Thoroughly cleaned it and it has been running about 4 months.
8. UV sterilizer is in the tank.
9. Yes dechlorinating water and house PH is at 7.0. Using Prime
10. Sump set up: #1 inflow splashing into first with airstone in there as well, #2 coarse material, #3 bio filter, #4 Carbon, Phosphate remover etc with filter material for fine, #5 fine material, #6 pump and UV.

I added some pics as well. What should I do next. The only bottom dwellers left are the pleco and the eel and both are healthy. Everything else seems to be fine eating and moving. Small heckeli is swimming as well but seems to be lethargic and not really eating. . Large one is on the bottom.

Thanks for all the help.

Johnny
 

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Lajos

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So sorry to see you losing so many fish at one time.

Geophagus are beautiful fish.

You might want to remove the affected fish to another tank to prevent them from spreading to other fish as the first step.

You can consider some of the suggested treatments above but it seems to me that Potassium Permanganate is the fastest cure temporarily as you have to consider the parasites eggs/cysts that probably cannot be destroyed by medication.
But if you use Potassium Permanganate in your main tank, you have to remove and stop all the filters temporarily as it will kill all the beneficial bacteria.
Read the link above and watch the video on Potassium Permanganate.

If not, use my method of Praziquantel and Anti parasite(Interpret).


Note: I find that some species of fish like catfish/loaches tend to be quite hardy towards gill flukes.

You mentioned that you added one new fish about 3 weeks ago.
Is the new fish still alive?

Gill flukes usually comes in through another new infected fish, plants or snails.
If your new fish is still alive, then I suspect could be some kind of toxic in the water.

But some fish may carry with them the gill flukes for some time without you noticing it.
It may take weeks before you can see the symptom of gill flukes infection.

Take note that Methylene blue is not very effective against parasites.
It's more useful for ammonia and nitrite poisoning and probably bacteria.
 
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Johnnyv4449

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Thanks to everyone for the help. Unfortunately I've lost all Geo's except one. Plus a number of other fish. Is Potassium Permanganate something I would be able to buy locally? I haven't been able to find it as of yet.How will I know if I have this issue under control. Everything else in the tank looks to be ok. What should my next steps be on this? it is probably 180 gallons of water so not to easy in setting up another tank. I really don't want to start everything over if I can avoid it. I've had aquariums for years but this is the first time that I've ever had something that I couldn't figure out or get under control.

Thanks,

Johnny

 

JenC

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What have you treated them with already?

I'm not a fan of medicating without a specific diagnosis but if I was in your situation I'd dose API General Cure. It has both metro and prazi, covering more bases.

I'm still interested to know if the tank has CO2?
 
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Johnnyv4449

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I only have the one Geo in a tank with Copper Power but that didn't seem to have much of an affect. I now have him on Copper Power and Praziquantel (Prazipro) . It is a 10gal hospital tank and I am down to 1 Geo Heckeli. I was going to do a water change in that tank today and just use Praziquantel. I also added Praziquantel to the main tank. All the fish in there seem to be much more active. The Severum are back up to the surface to eat. I never had an issue with the Congo tetras, Gibbecps or the Redlines. The Flagtail is super active like when I added him. Every fish that was sick was moved to the hospital tank and I only ave the one left.

The Geo I have in the hospital tank.He is still breathing heavily and the color is not good. Is that fish to far along to save?
At what point can I assume that it is safe to get Geo's in my quarantine tank and eventually add to the main tank?
How would I check the Co2 in a tank?
 

Lajos

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Praziquantel is a very safe medication. Even if you overdosed it, it's still safe for your fish.
In the past, someone mentioned that he was dosing like 4-5 times higher than the normal and his fish were still doing fine.
This is my favorite medication but I'm not sure how long it will stay effective in the tank.

But I also like Anti parasite, slime & velvet by Interpret because it can last me for a week. And I only dose it again when I change the water.(once a week)

Does your other fish have any symptom of scratching?

Is your new fish or the last fish that you added still alive?

What do your mean by Copper Power? Is it a form of Copper sulfate?

Yes, it's usually quite hard to save a fish if it's breathing heavily and laying at the bottom.
I guess you can only put it back to your main tank if the fish recover completely from heavy breathing.

Usually you can get Potassium Permanganate from the fish shop or the pharmacy.

Here is one example of Potassium Permanganate for fish and there are very useful info here.
https://ultraclear.com/potassiumpermanganate.html

There is also a brand named Baxter which produced Potassium Permanganate and other fish medications.

Take note that Potassium Permanganate will stain anything that it comes in contact with. So, avoid it from spilling over your clothes, carpet, wood, walls, floor, etc.

So you have to wear glove, handle it slowly and very carefully.

Here is a good link about fish Gill disease.
http://www.fishdoc.co.uk/disease/gill disease.htm


I just realized that a few of the video links which I posted earlier were deleted by the moderator here.
It seems to me that the moderator is more interested to delete my links that helping you.
I think one of this day they will ban me from posting here. LOL.

I repost of one of the link here. In case the link is deleted again, please search the youtube on the title below.

How to diagnose and treat a gill fluke infection with fish vet Dr Loh.


There was another video on how to use the Potassium Permanganate.
Please search the youtube if you really want to use Potassium Permanganate.
 
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Lajos

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I guess JenC wanted to know whether you use CO2 in your aquarium which may cause your fish to breathe heavily.
 
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Johnnyv4449

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copper power
the new fish is the Flagtail and has no issues. ill try to find Potassium Permanganate and see if that works. Maybe the Geo will recover.
 

JenC

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How would I check the Co2 in a tank?
I guess JenC wanted to know whether you use CO2 in your aquarium which may cause your fish to breathe heavily.
Yes, I was wondering if there was a carbon dioxide system running for plants as they can deplete oxygen from the water. But you'd know if you had one so it sounds like that's not a factor.

I'm glad some of the fish seem better. Prazi is a good antiparasitic. I recommended General Cure because its combo meds are generally preferred over plain prazi for external parasites but both can be effective.
 
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Johnnyv4449

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Thanks. Actually the main tank looks much better once I added the Prazi (not exactly sure why) but all the fish are up and moving much more.

Even the Geo in the hospital tank seems a little better. He is off the bottom and the color is back in the fins. Still does not look right though and still breathing heavy. Ill try the general cure as well.
20190502_211512.jpg
 
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Johnnyv4449

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Thanks. Actually the main tank looks much better once I added the Prazi (not exactly sure why) but all the fish are up and moving much more.

Even the Geo in the hospital tank seems a little better. He is off the bottom and the color is back in the fins. Still does not look right though and still breathing heavy. Ill try the general cure as well.
View attachment 553468
Main tank
20190502_222639.jpg 20190502_222656.jpg 20190502_222753.jpg
 
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