Neon tetras with mystery disease, don't want to infect my whole tank! Help 

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lea

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Hello

I'm new to fishlore and it seems a great site for getting help!

I have a ~9 gal freshwater tank with 1xbetta, 6x White Clouds, a snail and % x neon tetras. I've had it set up for 2 years without many problems and do weekly 1/4 water changes with a siphon and treat with 1teaspoon of aquarium salt per 10L (1tsp per ~2.5 gal) along with the usual water ager which includes a stress reducer and slimecoat additive.

All my fish are super healthy bar my neons, which constantly seem to get sick with what appears to be columnaris (mouth fungus). My 5 current neons (and all i've previously kept), seem to eventually develop small grey/whitish mouth disfigurement along with minor ragged edges to the fins (also with a little tip of white, but very hard to see). Some also have a faint patchy look on the sides of their bodies but it is not a typical white and fluffy look i;ve seem online usually associated with fungus or columnaris. There are not spots or dust like ich or velvet, so i'm sure it is neither of these.

My neons also are acting like nothing is wrong, swimming and feeding actively. Once this condition develops it doesn't seem to progress either, and my reading on columnaris suggests that they would be dead in a few days if otherwise left untreated.

I tried treating with wardleys antifungus (conts malachite green, acriflavine, formaldehyde) for over 2 and 1/2 months and no change. I;ve also tried melafix & pimfix, but no avail. I don't want to constantly medicate my fish tank and am worried using malachite green for long periods for the sake of my new mystery snail (who's been in there only a few weeks).

Any ideas?? I don't want anything contagious in my tank as I love my fish (esp my Betta), as does my 3yr old daughter who would be very distraught if the betta got sick/died!!

Many thanks!!!
 

Kunsthure

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Welcome to Fish Lore!

I'm sorry you're having such trouble with your fish!

Neon tetras, at least in the US, are really fragile and die or get sick easily, so it could just be that you're getting weak stock that are ticking time bombs. But it might be stress-related because there really isn't much space in a 9g for all the fish you're keeping.

Most people here advise against the routine use of salt for various reasons. The salt may be playing a role as well.

Is there a possibility of moving the betta to its own tank? They're better off by themselves and you're lucky yours is playing nicely with others. Some members here have reported that their bettas lived happily in a community tank for some time and then one day just snapped

Do you have a second tank you could move the neons to for treatment? It seems unlikely that the other fish will be infected since they haven't yet. But if the neons are in a hospital tank that'll spare the other fish being put through courses of medicines.

I'd say do two or three 25% water changes a week while the neons show symptoms. Clean water is key to healing. You can add garlic to their food to boost their immune system. Soak their food in garlic juice that you can find in a jar of minced garlic stored in water. IIRC, Vita-Chem isn't available in Australia, but there might be a similar product to try.

I'm sure other members will be along with suggestions soon.

-Lisa
 
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Lucy

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Welcome to FishLore!!
I'm sorry about your fish.
I agree with Lisa, the betta should be in a tank of it's own. Neons have been pretty sensitive over the past couple of years.
I've had luck using Fungus eliminator for mild mouth fungus.

I didn't have any luck with neons and did quite a bit of reading about them.
You might want to do some research on Neon Tetra Disease. If I recall correctly, it is parasitic and fatal. There is also something called False Neon Tetra Disease which is bacterial and can be treated with antibiotics
The only way to tell the difference is if they respond to treatment.
It can also be confused with columnaris.

Also none of your fish need salt. In fact neons don't tolerate it very well at all.
That and the stress of having a betta in the tank doesn't fair well for them.

Good luck, I hope things improve.
 
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lea

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Thanks for the advice so quickly!

Yes I realize now it is a few too many fish for a 9 gal, got some bad LFS advice who said that many small fish in 9 gal was fine as long as filtration & O2 was very good (I told them my filtration is really excellent as i've lots of water splash at the top from a rising duck bill powerhead faced against the aquarium wall - this way there's's less current for the Betta, but he plays in it all the time at any rate!).

My betta loves his tank mates, follows them playfully (not a 'chase') on occasion but never nips, so i've never had a problem, he's a placid boy .

I tried one neon who looked the worst in a hospital tank for 3 weeks with meds, but still no change.

Would the garlic affect the other fish?

I also heard somewhere that too many large water changes can stress the fish out. Is that a myth? Mine (except the curious betta) do go into hiding for a while when they see the siphon.

I wonder if I should just euthanaize the neons if they don't improve, if they won't heal i'd rather loose them and lift some bioload off the tank rather than risk my other happy fish.

BTW - its only a very small salt amount, and most betta sites i've seen so far do recommend a bit for general health (so far so good with me), but I know there is a large debate on salt!
 
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Lucy

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Stress plays a huge part in fish health. Even if it seems the betta isn't bothering the neons, just knowing he is there can be stressful.
Kind of like if you felt someone was following you. They may or may not do you harm but knowing they are there is stressful/
That and the over stocking and salt are three stress factors in your tank.

Rather than put them down, If it were me, I'd probably Q the neons and try to treat in case it's FNTD.
 
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lea

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HI lucy

Thanks for that - Might give the salt a miss then.

I also have read neons are quite delicate due to overbreeding, and the bacterial thing may the correct. MY LFS said neon tetra disease doesn't exist in Australia, but so many are imported I wonder if that's the truth.

I also am unsure of neon tetra disease as the fish don't seem to be unhappy, aside from they ragged appearance. The fact they aren't getting any worse is a real mystery, as everything i've read so far suggests they should be dead from any other disease by now.

Might try them again in an antibacterial med in hospital tank and hope for the best, but i'm thinking it might just be kinder to send them to fish heaven and make less of a crowd in the tank for the sake of my other fish.
 
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lea

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I think you are right about the stress lucy, the white clouds don't mind a bit, but as it's only the neons it is proibably that they find the betta imposing.

I'll try to med them in hospital and find thema new home
 
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Lucy

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Best of luck! I know it's frustrating when our fish aren't feeling well.
 

Kunsthure

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Garlic is great for all fish, sick or healthy. People too! Everyone needs an immune boost.

Large water changes can shock fish if the temp is very different or the pH is different, but 25% isn't a large change. With the high bioload you have coupled with sick fish, it'll be more beneficial than harmful to the sick ones to change the water more often.

-Lisa
 
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lea

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Thanks all, I'll try garlic and meds and keep them in hospital until I can find them a new home. Hopefully that will be best for all of them!

Many thanks!
 

Aquarist

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Hello Lea and Welcome to Fish Lore,

Sorry to hear about your Neons. I hope everything turns out ok.

I wanted to let you know that I've moved your thread to the Freshwater Fish Disease section of the forum. This may help you to get more responses and to help others down the road that may have the same issues.

Thanks and I hope you enjoy the site.

Ken
 
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lea

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Thanks Ken - I have done much more reading on NTD (& false NTD) and I have come to the conclusion that is what they have as there is just no white patchy fungus, but certainly a whitish 'discolouration' on the muscle.

Also assuming that they did not respond to treatments including my antibacterials, I am guessing that it is probably NTD, and so tonight did the sad thing and put them to sleep .

I also did a 25% water change and dosed the rest of the tank with some melafix and pimafix, just to be certain there are no other free-floating nasties remaining in there.

On the plus side, there is a much better bioload now (1xbetta, 6xwhite clouds and 1xsnail) and i'm sure they will all stay healthy and happy from now on in.

I just am doubtful I'll ever go back to keeping neons! Probably a good thing as I am more of a Betta lover and the white clouds seem a much better tank mate who couldn't care less about him and are tough as nails to boot
 
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Edit: Sorry you had to make that decision.
 

Goldwing_Don

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Welcome to fishlore Lea
 
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lea

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Thanks ryanr and Goldwing_Don

Sad yes, but hopefully happy remaining fish.

I also know never to trust my LFS ever again! (I'm sure they said NTD doesn't exist in oz purely to sell me more meds/fish). Also peeved they advised to stock more fish than that tank could cope with.

Thus also very glad to know I no longer possess an unhealthy overstocked aquarium

Thank you all for the great welcome and help - ilook forward to spending mroe time on the site!
 
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