Help Lost majority of my tank, still don't know why?!

owenhlewis

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HI guys, hoping you can help shed some light!

Tank

What is the water volume of the tank? approx 14 gallons (52 litres)
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 degrees celsius (78.8F)
What is the entire stocking of this tank?

Before sickness:

4 x Neon Tetras
4 x Glo-light Tetras
2 x Albino Corys
1 x Bristlenose Pleco (small)
4 x Guppies
3 x Platys
1 x Siamese Algae eater

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? Weekly
How much of the water do you change? 20% & 40% alternating weeks
What do you use to treat your water? Prime + hardness salt
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Vacuum substrate to front of tank where I can access

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? Yes
What do you use to test the water? API Test Kit
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 5ppm
pH: 7.0

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? daily
How much do you feed your fish? small pinch
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Red Mico Colour Sticks + Goldfish flakes (had it when doing fishless cycle for Ammonia)
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? No

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 5 months
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? 9 - 10 days ago
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Nothing on first lot other than reserved behaviour
Have you started any treatment for the illness? Yes
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? Yes, very reserved.

Explain your emergency situation in detail.

Ok I will try keep this as short and succinct as possible.

Tank was established, overstocked but regularly cleaned with no visible signs of any illness of fish distress. All seemed pretty happy.

Added a Siamese Algae Eater to the tank, seemed to be fine for about 4 - 5 days.

1 x Neon Tetra looked a little reserved/lethargic/dull in colour. No other visible issues e.g. white spots, damaged fins etc.

The same Neon tetra, found dead in tank.

The next day, 4 - 5 of the remaining tetras also reserved, hiding and staying hovering in the one spot, mouths gasping. One had some white on his tail, picture attached.

Next day 2 tetras dead, along with the Siamese Algae eater (I suspect he had a nibble on the dead tetras).

All other tetra's no good, had to euthanise.

Thought that was end of it. Then..........

Cory's no good, all lethargic. Close to death, had to euthanize.

Left with: 4 x Guppies, 3 x Platys, 1 x Bristlenose Pleco & 1 x Dwarf Gourami, all looked in good health.

Dwarf GouramI develops white on it's eye, fins, and also those little whisker things (white ball on end, cotton like).

Started treating tank with Pimafix, assuming it is fungal.

3 days into treatment, GouramI dies (he was lethargic for all 3 days of treatment), as does the Pleco.

Now all left is healthy/happy Platys & Guppies.

I've stopped the Pimafix now, done a single Tri-sulpha treatment to the tank, and waited a few days before doing a 40% water change.

Parameters have been fine the entire time.

I'm at an absolute loss. I don't want to add any more fish until I work out what it could have been.

Some suggested the Tetra's had some kind of disease, passed it onto the rest who may have had a nibble of the bodies etc?

Any help would be greatly appreciated as I'd love to replenish the tank (nowhere near as full as what I had).

This is my 3 year old daughters tank, she's shattered as the Dwarf GouramI was her birthday present and favourite (she named her Queen Elsa from Frozen).
 

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86 ssinit

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What kind of test kit are you using? It sounds like to much ammonia.
 

EmbersToAshes

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It sounds like you're well educated in fish care and I don't think it's related to improper care or an ammonia spike if you have been testing water regularly each week. It is probably some type of bacterial infection, maybe some fungus contaminated the wounds. It's hard to say for sure what it is. I have seen this before in Mollies, goldfish, dwarf gouramis and neon tetras but have not come to a diagnosis or discovered any treatment. The only things similar I found our neon Tetra disease and dwarf gouramI disease but I don't know how these illnesses are capable of contaminating other species. All fish I have seen with these symptoms seem to die and it will wipe out entire tanks. The only hope in my opinion would be to acquire a sample and have a veterinarian or biologist analyze it under a microscope. I'mvery sorry and I hope you can come up with a treatment. If you do please let me know.

If you want to try something I would try Furan 2 or something else that treats both gram positive and gram negative bacterial infections. Dose the entire tank and make sure you do the full course. I would even treat the tank again two weeks after the first treatment had ended. In my experience it has spread so fast treatment had little effect. By the time the fish show physical symptoms they seem to be knocking on deaths door and most died in under 48 hours.
 

MacZ

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Ok, got some questions, before I say anything else:

- How long did you take to stock the tank? All at once or several batches?
- Did all fish come from the same source?
- How many fish died by themselves, how many did you euthanize?
 

kallililly1973

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I think the main problem is having 19 fish in a 14 gallon tank.. especially seeing both the SAE and BN pleco have the capability of reaching 4-6” a lot of the fish u mentioned also have relatively big bioloads so I would be doing at least 75% WC’s every 5-7 days
 

MacZ

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kallililly1973 said:
I think the main problem is having 19 fish in a 14 gallon tank.. especially seeing both the SAE and BN pleco have the capability of reaching 4-6” a lot of the fish u mentioned also have relatively big bioloads so I would be doing at least 75% WC’s every 5-7 days
I didn't want to be that direkt, but true, I wouldn't even be surprised if the overstocking did actually cause ammonia spikes and shot the cycle out of whack.
 

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Even with no ammonia I’d think the fish were stressed in a tank that overstocked and unfit for their sizes. Stress alone can cause disease.
 

A201

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I'm going with a bacterial outbreak. Not going to reccomend antibiotics in the display tank.
Remove any fish showing symptoms asap and either treat the disease with antibiotics in a QT tank or euthanize.
A weekly 50% WC & Don't restock until symptoms are not seen for at least three weeks. Hang in there, things will level out.
 

EmbersToAshes

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The overstocking may have caused stress which weakened the immune system and caused the bacteria to be able to enter the fish more easily. It may also have enabled it to spread especially quickly through the tank.
However it looks like the tank has plenty of live plants and hiding places and you mentioned the bristle nose was still a baby and I'm assuming the simease algae eater is as well, so I don't think the stocking is too over the top if it where normal circumstances. It is certainly overstocked, but you yourself said it was overstocked so...yeah. It probably wouldn't have been an issue if this bacteria didn't interfere
 

kallililly1973

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MacZ said:
I didn't want to be that direkt, but true, I wouldn't even be surprised if the overstocking did actually cause ammonia spikes and shot the cycle out of whack.
I dint want to be either but some things need to be said n I didn’t mean it a disrespectful way.
 

EmbersToAshes

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A201 said:
I'm going with a bacterial outbreak. Not going to reccomend antibiotics in the display tank.
Remove any fish showing symptoms asap and either treat the disease with antibiotics in a QT tank or euthanize.
A weekly 50% WC & Don't restock until symptoms are not seen for at least three weeks. Hang in there, things will level out.
I hadn't considered the fact antibiotics would defenantly harm your live plants, and inverts if you have any. If the fish are moved to a QT for treatment I wouldn't add them back to the main tank for a few weeks to make sure the bacteria in the main tank have starved, and that's not 100% safe without knowing what type of bacteria.
I personally would remove the plants and inverts and set them up in the QT and treat the main tank for this particular case
 

Gel0city

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As mentioned above, I think your tank has a lot of bioload just for a 14 gallon, creating a spike in ammonia. Have you tried using the API Master Kit? Those are more reliable than using test strips.

Eventually, the pleco is going to get larger and you might have to rehome him. Corydoras should be kept in schools of at least 6 or more (I do not think your tank can handle as many). Tetras should be in schools as well, and I would recommend only 1 school as your tank is 14 gallons.

I'm sorry for the information, I mean no disrespect, but I believe that you want to do what is best for you fish.
 
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owenhlewis

owenhlewis

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86 ssinit said:
What kind of test kit are you using? It sounds like to much ammonia.
HI 88SSINIT, i'm using the API Master Kit and had been testing every day. I also took it to the LFS and the parameters were fine also which is why I'm a little stumped.
 
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owenhlewis

owenhlewis

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EmbersToAshes said:
It sounds like you're well educated in fish care and I don't think it's related to improper care or an ammonia spike if you have been testing water regularly each week. It is probably some type of bacterial infection, maybe some fungus contaminated the wounds. It's hard to say for sure what it is. I have seen this before in Mollies, goldfish, dwarf gouramis and neon tetras but have not come to a diagnosis or discovered any treatment. The only things similar I found our neon Tetra disease and dwarf gouramI disease but I don't know how these illnesses are capable of contaminating other species. All fish I have seen with these symptoms seem to die and it will wipe out entire tanks. The only hope in my opinion would be to acquire a sample and have a veterinarian or biologist analyze it under a microscope. I'mvery sorry and I hope you can come up with a treatment. If you do please let me know.

If you want to try something I would try Furan 2 or something else that treats both gram positive and gram negative bacterial infections. Dose the entire tank and make sure you do the full course. I would even treat the tank again two weeks after the first treatment had ended. In my experience it has spread so fast treatment had little effect. By the time the fish show physical symptoms they seem to be knocking on deaths door and most died in under 48 hours.
I had fish about 10 years ago when I was 24 and only just picked it back up now so i'm not fully across it all just yet. I made a point to test water regularly, change it regularly and ensure not to overfeed etc. Up until that point the fish were very active, colourful & healthy.

It was suggested could have been Tetra disesase which spread to the rest, which kind of makes sense as my guppies and platys are still happy and healthy to this date whereas only the tetras and those who I think would like to have a nibble on the dead (bottom feeders and gourami) have died.

Appreciate your help!
 
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owenhlewis

owenhlewis

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MacZ said:
Ok, got some questions, before I say anything else:

- How long did you take to stock the tank? All at once or several batches?
- Did all fish come from the same source?
- How many fish died by themselves, how many did you euthanize?
Hey Macz,
I stocked the tank in several batches just to ensure the bio load didn't create ammonia spikes, so over 4 - 5 month period. Seemed to have no issue.

Nearly all the fish came from the same source except for the Siamese algae eater which was only a couple of weeks before all the trouble started! I didn't use a QT as I dont' have one so this is a lesson learnt there if it was him that brought something to the tank.

I'd say of the 12 fish that 6 of them died naturally and 6 were euthanized. The ones I put down were barely breathing, turning on side etc.
 
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owenhlewis

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Boostr said:
I check mine under a white light led shop light, the best readings I've seen with this light. So my Ammonia being .25 under the other light is 0 under this light.
kallililly1973 said:
I think the main problem is having 19 fish in a 14 gallon tank.. especially seeing both the SAE and BN pleco have the capability of reaching 4-6” a lot of the fish u mentioned also have relatively big bioloads so I would be doing at least 75% WC’s every 5-7 days
MacZ said:
I didn't want to be that direkt, but true, I wouldn't even be surprised if the overstocking did actually cause ammonia spikes and shot the cycle out of whack.
LivebearerMom said:
Even with no ammonia I’d think the fish were stressed in a tank that overstocked and unfit for their sizes. Stress alone can cause disease.
kallililly1973 said:
I dint want to be either but some things need to be said n I didn’t mean it a disrespectful way.
I knew this would be the common theme in here is "overstocking" and yes being new back to keeping fish I undersestimated how much room fish actually need so I'm not disagreeing with any of you as you are all correct the tank was overstocked and would have had a high bio-load..........however........I tested the water daily (each day with my daughter in the morning) and I changed the water weekly to ensure no ammonia spikes etc. The fish themselves looked healthy & happy, very active. I know they could still have been stressed with the full tank regardless so I agree this could have caused bacteria/infection to creep in to their low immune system.

All the bottom feeders were babies, I would have definitely had to rehome them.
 
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owenhlewis

owenhlewis

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EmbersToAshes said:
The overstocking may have caused stress which weakened the immune system and caused the bacteria to be able to enter the fish more easily. It may also have enabled it to spread especially quickly through the tank.
However it looks like the tank has plenty of live plants and hiding places and you mentioned the bristle nose was still a baby and I'm assuming the simease algae eater is as well, so I don't think the stocking is too over the top if it where normal circumstances. It is certainly overstocked, but you yourself said it was overstocked so...yeah. It probably wouldn't have been an issue if this bacteria didn't interfere
Thanks again, I feel this is likely but the silver lining here is I no longer have an overstocked tank so once it settles down and some time has passed I'll introduce a few fish but leave it at that!
 
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owenhlewis

owenhlewis

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Gel0city said:
As mentioned above, I think your tank has a lot of bioload just for a 14 gallon, creating a spike in ammonia. Have you tried using the API Master Kit? Those are more reliable than using test strips.

Eventually, the pleco is going to get larger and you might have to rehome him. Corydoras should be kept in schools of at least 6 or more (I do not think your tank can handle as many). Tetras should be in schools as well, and I would recommend only 1 school as your tank is 14 gallons.

I'm sorry for the information, I mean no disrespect, but I believe that you want to do what is best for you fish.
No I appreciate the feedback, nothing wrong with stating facts to help someone out!

I use the API Master kit so i'm not worried about water parameters (as I also go to lfs every couple of weeks for a cross check).

Yes the Pleco was my first mistake and I was going to have to rehome him, for now he was a baby. The Cory's the second mistake, I had no idea they needed a school so the 2 I had must have been lonley.
 

StarGirl15

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I was going to ask if it was a SAE or a CAE.....lol but it looks like you know what you are doing.
 

Addictedtobettas

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You mentioned white cottony like susbstance?
There’s very few infections that cause that sort of a physical effect on fish and kills within 24-48 hours, columnaris or the like comes to mind.
Or something like gill flukes with a fungus.

Unfortunately once something like those two are in the tank and a fish passes that isn’t immediately removed, the other fish get too close and things spread.

I’ve dealt with both but columnaris was wicked fast from the time the signs showed up to death and the water parameters were all fine. However I suspect a crummy filter wasn’t helping and wc every day would have been good.

With an overstocked tank esp you may see ‘good’ parameters but still have problems in the tank. Even just the stress can cause something like columnaris to take out the weaker fish and away the tank goes.

Hopefully you can get the remainder of the fish in a qt tank if any signs show...
 

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