Red Fin Shark & 3 loaches dead, white 'algae puffs', brown algae blooms

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5 to 10 years
My 55 has been up and running for almost a year with no problems, the only recent change is I switched to TetraMin Crisps recently from Flake.
I went back to flake today.

A couple of days ago I noticed my Red Fin Shark (Jethro) floating, dead, with no signs of illness. I assumed it was just one of those random fish deaths that do happen even to healthy fish.
Next day I notice a couple of my small loaches, which I haven't seen in months as they live underground, above ground, one seems lethargic, the other seems normal.
Today 3 loaches are dead, covered in white slime/algae.

Since I started using the crisps instead of the flake, I've started to get brown algae blooms on the fake plants, this is the first time I've dealt with brown algae but from everything I've read it seemed to be a harmless and natural occurrence, so I didn't worry too much about it.
I've also seen white 'algae' pods start to develop. At first I thought they were egg sacs so I didn't worry. When sucking out about 20% of my water just now I noticed some on a bit of algae wafer. It's growing out of the wafer forming a ball shape that looks like a bunch of small stems feeding off the wafer with little balls on the ends. It's hard to describe exactly what it looks like, kind of a puff ball with an orderly structure about it.

So, taking a break before refilling the tank and tried searching a bit with no luck, so here I am seeing if anyone has any suggestions.

The remaining stock in the tank is:
1 Pleco (Large)
1 Dojo Loach (seems healthy despite the recent deaths of his smaller cousins)
8 Serpae Tetras
2 Zebra Danios (Used to be 6 but Jethro snacked on one every now and then)

The Serpaes are starting to look a bit lethargic and loosing their color a bit. The Zebras seem to be enjoying life just fine. Plecky is still a happy poop machine.

I don't have a test kit handy and I don't add any chemicals to the water other than the chlorine remover when adding water, and the occasional bit of aquarium salt or stress coat.

Any ideas what the problem might be, or what the white balls are?
Anyone had similar problems with TetraMin Crisps? I'm leaning towards blaming the food at the moment as I never had brown or while algae before using it.



Fishlore Legend
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More than 10 years
Good morning Razmear,

I have used the Tetramin Tropical Crisps before with no issues. I don't feel that the type of food you are using is causing the problems. Over feeding your fish may be an issue though.

Without knowing what your readings for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH are, it would be difficult to say what is causing your fish deaths. I'm so sorry you're having to go through this. I know it isn't easy. What first comes to mind is ammonia poisoning. Being exposed to any amounts of ammonia can be fatal to your fish.

I highly recommend an API (liquid) Master Test Kit. It will test for everything I just mentioned above. Test strips can be inaccurate and difficult to read.

Here are a couple of links on Algae that you may find helpful:

Salt in a freshwater aquarium is widely debated. Personally I would suggest that you stop using it. Keep in mind that salt does not dissipate from your aquarium without water changes. It just keeps building. Interesting link on the use of salt in freshwater tanks below. Not knowing what your salt level is in the tank is very dangerous. If you insist on using salt then I would suggest a hydrometer to measure the salt levels.
<---link to hydrometer.

If you would be so kind as to complete your Aquarium Profile Information it will be a great help to others with their responses. You can access the Profile by clicking on MY SETTINGS in the blue bar close to the top of the screen. In the drop down box click on EDIT AQUARIUM INFORMATION.

At this point I would suggest daily water changes of 30 to 50%. Anytime something is wrong with your fish and tank a water change is a good place to start. Having your own test kit in my opinion is crucial and I'm sure others will agree. If you have the means, then please get yourself the test kit that I mentioned above. You are striving for readings of 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and under 20 nitrates.

I also recommend using Prime or Amquel + and Nova Aqua +. These are three great water conditioners. You can use Prime by itself or use Amquel + in addition to Nova Aqua +. You don't need all 3. If you are having issues with ammonia, the Prime and Amquel + will detox ammonia for 24 hours until it's time for the next water change.

Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle link, also crucial to fish keeping:

Best of luck. Please keep us posted.



Fishlore Legend
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More than 10 years
Good morning. I'm so sorry to hear of your losses.

You indicate that you just changed 20% of your water. How often do you do water changes and what amount of water do you change on a regular basis?

Ken gave you more information than I possibly could have, so I really have nothing to add. I do concur with him that without knowing your readings, we're really shooting in the dark here.
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