Silent Killer in my Tank

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by lunachick, Aug 2, 2015.

  1. lunachickNew MemberMember

    Hello! I need help, advice, opinions, anything. Im at my wits ends. I purchased 12 junvenile Angelfish (dime and nickel size) in March 2015. My plan was to let them grow a bit, pair off, and keep 4-5. Starting a month ago, I began finding one angelfish dead every morning (twice a week). I mean dead as in stripped to the skeleton, eye balls gone, entrails and skin hanging in the plants. Its that gruesome. As always, the day/evening prior, everyone is happy, eating, social, etc. No new fish have been added. Whatever is happening, it happens overnight and its brutal. What is going on???

    Tank: 180 gal
    Tank age: 2 years
    WC: 25%-30% weekly
    Ammonia: 0
    Nitrate: 0
    Nitrite: 0
    Ph: 7-7.2
    Temp: 74-76 F

    Food (varied diet, 2x daily): Bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia, beef heart, greens, algae tablets, and flake food

    Tank mates:
    5 Angelfish (was 12)
    5 Neon Tetras
    5 Rasboras
    4 Diamond Tetras
    2 Fat Lipped Gouramis
    1 Albino Bristlenose Pleco (4" female)
    1 Candy Strip Pleco (2")
    1 SA Bumblebee Catfish (2")
    No Inverts
  2. BluestreakflWell Known MemberMember

    Sounds like the poster child for the perfect tank. The only thing I notice is off, is that your temp is a bit cool for Angels, they prefer 80-82, as far as I can tell with your stock, all should be fine at 80. I dont know that the cooler temp could be giving someone an attitude problem? It sounds like one of your fish is secretly psychotic, and slaughtering the Angels. Once a fish is mangled and wounded, by nature, other fish will try to eat it. Itd be like having a freshly butchered cow dropped into a shark tank. If something is severely attacking one of your angels at a time, and the rest of the fish are then eating it after its mangled, this is why youre just seeing the skeletons and such left. As far as who the culprit is, that is really hard to say. Do your plecos get any protein in their diet? I know on rare occasion plecos that dont get some meaty foods have been known to latch onto fish and take chunks out, but that is very rare. As long as theyre getting some meaty food along with the usual algae/veggie matter, id say its either one of the gourami, or one of the angels. Oh your shoal of Angels, do you have an Alpha male thats particularly more fiesty than the others?

  3. lunachickNew MemberMember

    I'll be sure adjust the temperature higher today. The angels are still too young to sex. I provide beef heart during second feedings and only at night to make sure the nocturnal fish (candy stripe pleco and the bumblebee cat) get to eat. They all receive a varied diet of fresh veggies and live food daily. I agree, I am beginning to wonder if I have a psychotic fish in there lol

  4. BluestreakflWell Known MemberMember

    If the tank has been established at its current temp for a while, id go up 1-2 degrees a day so you dont shock any of the fish.
  5. lunachickNew MemberMember

    Will do :) I sure appreciate your advice and input. I wanted to add that the tank is well planted and there are plenty of caves and crevices for everyone so there shouldn't be any territory issues. Ive owned and maintained freshwater aquariums for 20+ years (cichlids are my favorite) and this psycho fish issue is a new experience for me lol
  6. Et tuValued MemberMember

    When I was a little kid I witnessed a plec hanging onto the side of a rather large Angel. That particular plec had developed a taste for fresh fish flesh.
  7. BluestreakflWell Known MemberMember

    Yeah my pleco goes nuts for both of the sinking pellets/wafers I feed my Cories, they seem to keep his protein needs in check. I believe shrimp is the main ingredient in those, maybe try them out and see how your Plecos like them, in case it's one of them going vampire on your angelfish.

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  8. waterlilykariWell Known MemberMember

    Both current and past plecos I have kept have eaten everything they could snag before the goldfish or dojo loaches got to it. I always offered some food they liked that the others did not to ensure they didn't get outcompeted by the others but eventually when the Sailfin pleco (previous pleco, not a current one for a reason) reached adolescence he needed more and more protein in his diet as he grew...and boy did he grow! He was rehomed specifically because he had reached more than 8 inches in roughly as many months and was going after the goldfish. I do have to mention that it is not quite as rare as Bluestreakfl mentioned, it just is usually more common in tanks involving the larger varieties of plecos (such as Commons and Sailfins) in with fancy goldfish, though can happen with any pleco and any other fish if conditions are right. It is most often goldies you will hear this happening to because for whatever reason the muco-protein secreted by fancy goldfish for their slime coat is considered by the plecos to be especially tasty compared to the slime coats of other fish. I suspect it's either a higher protein content or somehow otherwise satisfying the plecos nutritional deficiencies better but that is just my theory.

    Like I said, it can obviously happen with any other fish besides goldfish and of course, any pleco variety has the potential for this too. Because the plecos' mouths are built to scrape wood pulp off sunken wood, algae off rocks and even scavenged meat off deceased fish they find, they have a nasty habit of inadvertantly taking more than just the slime coats off of tank mates when they cruise in for a little snack. Couple that with many fish tending to drift towards the bottom of the tank when they sleep, some even sleeping laying on the substrate and especially those that blanch in color while they are asleep, the plecos can often mistake those snoozing fish for dead ones and being scavengers, the plecos tend to see it as a convenient snack.

    While obviously not the only potential culprit, that is my theory of who to look to first if you are sure it is not an aggressive alpha or territorial dispute gone south. Maybe consider a moonlight to see by and checking in on them in the middle of the night to see who's doing what to the angels. Let us know how it goes and good luck!
  9. lunachickNew MemberMember

    Ended up losing 3 more angels. I finally snuck up on the tank at 3am one morning and watched. It was my female BN Pleco. I caught her red handed terrorizing and attacking any angel she could get to in the dark. I've raised her from a baby (I kept her from a previous BN spawn) and she's 3 yrs old now. She gets a varied diet from veggies, meats, and driftwood. Idk what snapped in her but she just didn't like the angels. I sold the last of the angels and she's been fine ever since.

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  10. happygoluckyWell Known MemberMember

    Yikes, this post could be a horror story ;) . I'm glad you figured it out.

    P.S Your profile betta is so cool!
  11. lunachickNew MemberMember

    Thank you :) He's my new Koi Betta breeder

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum

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