Illness ID on cardinal tetra

MacZ

Member
I have some idea what's happening, but as I have never before had the case I'm a bit unsure how to treat it, so I'd be happy to first get a second opinion.

Tank

What is the water volume of the tank?
20gal/80l
How long has the tank been running?
5 months
Does it have a filter?
yes
Does it have a heater?
yes
What is the water temperature?
26°C
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)
7x Paracheirodon axelrodi
8x Corydoras habrosus


Maintenance
How often do you change the water?
1x/week
How much of the water do you change?
25-50%
What do you use to treat your water?
Sera Aquatan / Aquatan Blackwater
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water?
Just the water, leaflitter substrate.

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish?
yes
What do you use to test the water?
strips + drop test for ammonia
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia: 0.000mg/l
Nitrite: 0.00mg/l
Nitrate: 15-20mg/l
pH: 6.6

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? , and live foods.
1-2x daily, one fast-day/week
How much do you feed your fish?
the amount they eat within 1-2min.
What brand of food do you feed your fish?
Tetra (flakes), Sera (tabs), and live daphnia.
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods?
Frozen red mosquito larvae

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish?
4 months, knowing the previous owner, age-estimate is that the fish is about 4 years old.
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms?
first "something's off" 2 days ago, obvious sign of disease today.
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms?
faster breathing, body seems a bit swollen (not enought to call it dropsy), new symptom as of today: white threat-like thing, maybe a worm, on the side of the fish
Have you started any treatment for the illness?
Not yet.
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase?
No.
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all?
Behaviour: Not much, keeps it's territorial position, though it seemed a bit exhausted from chasing away conspecifics lately.
Appearance: Besides the bigger belly and that white threat on the side nothing of note.


The situation in detail:

The fish is my alpha cardinal tetra, dominates the tank for 3 of the 4 months I own it now. First thought it's just fat because I fed a lot of live and frozen food lately and when the tetras are full they all breath a bit heavily, so I reduced the amount of food after a short time and two accidental over-feedings.
After I added the new tank mates, on thursday it caught my eye that the fish is a) kinda fat / bloated looking (no pineconing, no usual signs of dropsy), b) heavily breathing although I didn't feed anything that day. Today I also noticed a small thread-like white structure on the left side of the fish. Can't tell what exactly it is though, because the fish mostly doesn't show this side. But it's very clearly no ich.

History of losses in the tank:
Nov. 18th 2019 - Jan 11th 2020: 6x otocinclus sp. 3 dying of starvation, 2 of infection from injuries, 1 sudden death of unknown causes. All cadavers got half eaten by the tetras before removal.
Jan. 20th 2020 - 1x cardinal tetra, cause of death very likely old age and maybe permanent gill-damage from an ich outbreak last year (same batch as the now sick one.), cadaver was untouched on removal
Night of Feb. 13th to 14th 2020: 2x Corydoras habrosus, likely acclimation problems, coming from high pH, going into low pH. Cadavers were untouched on removal.

History of sickness in the tank:
Ich-outbreak Oktober 24th - November 18th. No losses directly by the outbreak, maybe one later death due to permanent damage taken to the gills.

Pictures:
It's just that thing coming from the reflector stripe.


20200215_111208.jpg

20200215_122044.jpg
 
  • Thread Starter

MacZ

Member
My Question: Is it flukes? Just need confirmation, after that the path is clear.
 

CichlidJynx

Member
It kinda looks like anchor worms
 
  • Thread Starter

MacZ

Member
CichlidJynx said:
It kinda looks like anchor worms
That is not good... As far as I know there's nothing to do about those, right?
 

CichlidJynx

Member
MacZ said:
That is not good... As far as I know there's nothing to do about those, right?
So you can use medication, I would use malachite green, formaldehyde, erythromycin. (HikarI Ich-x & API Em Erythromycin)
 
  • Thread Starter

MacZ

Member
Both products are not available here. I'm on my way to the store with the biggest choice in meds. We got Amtra, Tetra, Sera, EsHa and JBL available here. I know Sera Tremazol and the corresponding products of the others are out of sale here since 2017.

But thanks, with the active compunds I should be able to do something. :)
 

CichlidJynx

Member
MacZ said:
Both products are not available here. I'm on my way to the store with the biggest choice in meds. We got Amtra, Tetra, Sera, EsHa and JBL available here. I know Sera Tremazol and the corresponding products of the others are out of sale here since 2017.

But thanks, with the active compunds I should be able to do something. :)
Best of luck, please let us know how it went!
 
  • Thread Starter

MacZ

Member
I will. Just got out of the store with Sera Tremazid, only thing they sell here against skin and gill flukes and JBL Aradol against anchorworms. I just hope I only have to dose the former. If not I got the bigger guns immediately at hand.
 

DoubleDutch

Member
Dermosporidia
 
  • Thread Starter

MacZ

Member
DoubleDutch said:
Dermosporidia
How's the contagiousness and what to do about those?
 

DoubleDutch

Member
MacZ said:
How's the contagiousness and what to do about those?
In fact it is quite harmless, but only not very esthatical.It is not lethal and not treatable.
 

CichlidJynx

Member
DoubleDutch said:
Dermosporidia
I’ve never even heard of this, thank you for bringing it to my attention.

MacZ said:
How's the contagiousness and what to do about those?
sorry for misleading you towards anchor worms, I was ill educated
 
  • Thread Starter

MacZ

Member
Allright...
 
  • Thread Starter

MacZ

Member
Well... makes 30 bucks expenses for nill, BUT who knows when that stuff comes in handy. :D I'll try and get a refund on the harder stuff, the stuff against flukes I'll keep, though.
 

CichlidJynx

Member
MacZ said:
Well... makes 30 bucks expenses for nill, BUT who knows when that stuff comes in handy. :D I'll try and get a refund on the harder stuff, the stuff against flukes I'll keep, though.
I hope you can cause I’ll feel real bad about it :banghead: I would definitely keep the fluke meds like stated
 
  • Thread Starter

MacZ

Member
It's allright. I was still on the bus during saturday shopping rush hour, nervous what exactly happened and no idea if anything is going wrong. I'm finally home now, having done all shopping before I was able to look after the tank. Also did a new ammonia test, last one was from yesterday.

Ammonia is still at 0.000mg/l, so the heavy breathing of (meanwhile) three of the tetras is not caused by ammonia, which is a relieve. I think I'll dose the fluke meds anyway, they are plant based and all we got here anyways.
 
  • Thread Starter

MacZ

Member
DoubleDutch said:
In fact it is quite harmless, but only not very esthatical.It is not lethal and not treatable.
How sure are you?
 

DoubleDutch

Member
  • Thread Starter

MacZ

Member
Your diagnosis. :)
 

DoubleDutch

Member
MacZ said:
Your diagnosis. :)
owww okay. Have a google and compare I'd say.

Pretty common on cardinals and rummynoses.
 
  • Thread Starter

MacZ

Member
Yeah, did so, asked fishkeepers right here in the neighbourhood for opinion and to compare pics with my fish. We are all a bit on the fence between dermosporidia and gill/skin flukes, but all are sure it's not anchor worms. So as it's too late to do a waterchange tonight, I'll start dosing for flukes tomorrow after changing 50%.
I doubt I got it in with the corys, because that wormlike thing on the side cannot have grown since thursday evening and some symptoms where there before I got them, as I noticed them while adding the corys (well, 20min after that.)
 
  • Thread Starter

MacZ

Member
CichlidJynx said:
I hope you can cause I’ll feel real bad about it :banghead: I would definitely keep the fluke meds like stated
Don't feel bad. It's fine. :)
 
  • Thread Starter

MacZ

Member
And it's gill and skinflukes, ladies and gentlemen. Another tetra is skimming the surface more than one is breathing heavy. I'm delighted... -.-
Fluke meds it is in the morning after the water change.
 

DoubleDutch

Member
MacZ said:
Yeah, did so, asked fishkeepers right here in the neighbourhood for opinion and to compare pics with my fish. We are all a bit on the fence between dermosporidia and gill/skin flukes, but all are sure it's not anchor worms. So as it's too late to do a waterchange tonight, I'll start dosing for flukes tomorrow after changing 50%.
I doubt I got it in with the corys, because that wormlike thing on the side cannot have grown since thursday evening and some symptoms where there before I got them, as I noticed them while adding the corys (well, 20min after that.)
Flukes are hardly visible
 
  • Thread Starter

MacZ

Member
Are they? I guess I found some pictures credited wrong then.

What else could be going on then?

I checked further:

O2:
- surface agitation and waterflow: check
- no film on top
- temperature is the usual 26°C
- only the neons are affected

Not a reason either. Test says O2 = 4-5mg/l.

Stress factors:
- Me hanging out too much closely in front of the tank?
Actually since adding the cories I only watched and were not that much at home. So anthropogene stressors are out.
- The cories themselves seem a mixed bag in that regard. The neons act irritated by a cory (or a squadron of 3-4) zooming by. But... could that actually be? Tetras have gotten used to the cories by now.

possible contamination:

- I fed live foods and frozen foods several times lately. Could those be sources of pathogens? Possible sure, but how likely? Also could I have fed to much? I remember cichlids not taking an overfeeding red mosquito larvae well.
- The cories could have brought some housewarming presents. But does anything develop that fast? Yes, two cories died the first night, but what has such a short incubation period? And shouldn't the other 8 cories then not be affected, too? Looked up incubation times for different diseases that affect the gills. This one is out.
- Erm... DoubleDutch, I trust there was nothing going on in your tank with the plants in, right? Please, don't take this personally, I'm just trying to rule you out immediately. :) Not a suspect, as, thinking about it, some early symptoms were there before I got the plants.
- Have to ask my neighbour if his fish are ok. I "parked" some frogbit of DD's there and got it here later. Same, time-frame/chronology doesn't add up.


Update: One of the cardinals (and sorry for calling them neons all the time, in german they are called "red neons" not cardinals), passed away over night. Just skimmed it off the surface. Rest doesn't hang out on the top anymore. Interestingly it was not the one I started this thread for.
 
  • Thread Starter

MacZ

Member
Update #2: Waterchange done, meds dosed, fish are mostly calm.
Well, the cories just witnessed their first waterchange in my tank, so they are going bonkers a bit, schooling along the glass. But what to expect, they are only for 3 days now.
The cardinals are breathing much more freely now and not as fast and heavy as before.
 

CichlidJynx

Member
MacZ said:
Update #2: Waterchange done, meds dosed, fish are mostly calm.
Well, the cories just witnessed their first waterchange in my tank, so they are going bonkers a bit, schooling along the glass. But what to expect, they are only for 3 days now.
The cardinals are breathing much more freely now and not as fast and heavy as before.
Good, I hope this is the answer to your problems!
 
  • Thread Starter

MacZ

Member
I hope so too. We'll see. It says in the instructions to repeat the treatment after a certain number of days depending on the temp, when it's gill flukes. In my case that means I have to dose again on wednesday. After that it should be fine again.
 
  • Thread Starter

MacZ

Member
Update #3:
- Everyone seems relatively fine, cardinals still somewhat breathing fast, but not as heavy anymore. Gills look better.
- Cardinal with "thing" on the side still separating itself, still looking bloated. Still eating, though not going for it with much drive.
- Said "thing" has receeded/fallen off(?) partially. At least I can now be sure it's not anchor worms.
 
  • Thread Starter

MacZ

Member
Update #4: Did O2-test today. All good, 4-5mg/l is within range.

- checklist above updated
 

angelcraze

Member
MacZ said:
Are they? I guess I found some pictures credited wrong then.

What else could be going on then?

I checked further:

O2:
- surface agitation and waterflow: check
- no film on top
- temperature is the usual 26°C
- only the neons are affected

Not a reason either. Test says O2 = 4-5mg/l.

Stress factors:
- Me hanging out too much closely in front of the tank?
Actually since adding the cories I only watched and were not that much at home. So anthropogene stressors are out.
- The cories themselves seem a mixed bag in that regard. The neons act irritated by a cory (or a squadron of 3-4) zooming by. But... could that actually be? Tetras have gotten used to the cories by now.

possible contamination:

- I fed live foods and frozen foods several times lately. Could those be sources of pathogens? Possible sure, but how likely? Also could I have fed to much? I remember cichlids not taking an overfeeding red mosquito larvae well.
- The cories could have brought some housewarming presents. But does anything develop that fast? Yes, two cories died the first night, but what has such a short incubation period? And shouldn't the other 8 cories then not be affected, too? Looked up incubation times for different diseases that affect the gills. This one is out.
- Erm... DoubleDutch, I trust there was nothing going on in your tank with the plants in, right? Please, don't take this personally, I'm just trying to rule you out immediately. :) Not a suspect, as, thinking about it, some early symptoms were there before I got the plants.
- Have to ask my neighbour if his fish are ok. I "parked" some frogbit of DD's there and got it here later. Same, time-frame/chronology doesn't add up.


Update: One of the cardinals (and sorry for calling them neons all the time, in german they are called "red neons" not cardinals), passed away over night. Just skimmed it off the surface. Rest doesn't hang out on the top anymore. Interestingly it was not the one I started this thread for.
My thoughts FWIW are the cories brought something in. Or they came in with the live foods. Pretty hard to control what comes in from the wild (if that happened), I pretty much assume a hitchhiker parasite will be there.

I hope whatever it is, the meds you have treats it.

Just wanted to mention, my super blue kerrI tetras brought in suspected anchorworm, I used parasite guard by Tetra because it contains the med Diflubenzuron which treats anchorworm specifically. It's not a common thing seen in aquaria, mostly a problem with outdoor ponds, but I don't have any doubt that is where my tetras were from. But tbh, I don't see anchorworm killing so quickly, so probably it's flukes as you thought.
 
  • Thread Starter

MacZ

Member
By now I think it came with the food or the tetras had it when I bought them already and just succumbed to the parasite now. The symptoms appeared partially before the cories even entered the tank and as I said I only noticed them consciously while adding the cories.
 

angelcraze

Member
MacZ said:
By now I think it came with the food or the tetras had it when I bought them already and just succumbed to the parasite now. The symptoms appeared partially before the cories even entered the tank and as I said I only noticed them consciously while adding the cories.
Wow, this is like a crime scene investigation. I do the same thing when something goes wrong, I have to get to the bottom of it. Wishing you the best!
 
  • Thread Starter

MacZ

Member
Update #5: Original "Something's wrong...."-tetra also died overnight. Allthough in this case I'm pretty sure he was just beyond recovery. Cadaver looked untouched upon removal I so hope nobody ate from it.

I'll keep an eye on the rest and do a 10-20% waterchange before work.

Rest of the cardinals is breathing better than yesterday. I am all but sure if I want to stock up on cardinals ever again.
Cories are seemingly taking over the tank now.

Also a thought what could have happened actually: When the otos died the cardinals had a feast each time. Likely the cardinals ate something with those carcasses that needs 4 weeks+ (last oto died Jan. 6th if I remember correctly) time to develop until even visible...
 

DoubleDutch

Member
MacZ said:
Update #5: Original "Something's wrong...."-tetra also died overnight. Allthough in this case I'm pretty sure he was just beyond recovery. Cadaver looked untouched upon removal I so hope nobody ate from it.

I'll keep an eye on the rest and do a 10-20% waterchange before work.

Rest of the cardinals is breathing better than yesterday. I am all but sure if I want to stock up on cardinals ever again.
Cories are seemingly taking over the tank now.

Also a thought what could have happened actually: When the otos died the cardinals had a feast each time. Likely the cardinals ate something with those carcasses that needs 4 weeks+ (last oto died Jan. 6th if I remember correctly) time to develop until even visible...
Grrr sorry mate
 
  • Thread Starter

MacZ

Member
Thanks... it's frustrating and... Worst. Timing. Ever.

Noticing your "old" fish are sick and likely having been sick for a while as you add healthy new ones is the most unfortunate way this can go down I can imagine.
 

CichlidJynx

Member
MacZ said:
Update #5: Original "Something's wrong...."-tetra also died overnight. Allthough in this case I'm pretty sure he was just beyond recovery. Cadaver looked untouched upon removal I so hope nobody ate from it.
I'll keep an eye on the rest and do a 10-20% waterchange before work.

Rest of the cardinals is breathing better than yesterday. I am all but sure if I want to stock up on cardinals ever again.
Cories are seemingly taking over the tank now.

Also a thought what could have happened actually: When the otos died the cardinals had a feast each time. Likely the cardinals ate something with those carcasses that needs 4 weeks+ (last oto died Jan. 6th if I remember correctly) time to develop until even visible...
99.99% of the time otocinclus are wild caught and likely came in with parasites, it wouldn’t surprise me that’s what caused it. Sorry for your fish lose bye, it always sucks
 
  • Thread Starter

MacZ

Member
Agree. My mistake, now I have to deal with the consequences.
 

CichlidJynx

Member
MacZ said:
Agree. My mistake, now I have to deal with the consequences.
I introduced a BanggaI cardinal in my reef and it dropped dead in 3 days even after meds and I fought ich for 2 weeks after, definitely set up a QT tank after that!
 
Top Bottom