Tank Without Power For 3 Days. 3 Dead Fish And 1 Sick, Sick Guy Died, Now Another Ill. Help Please! Help

Discussion in 'Advanced Freshwater Aquarium Topics' started by Vimknight, Jun 22, 2018.

  1. VimknightNew MemberMember

    Hello all!
    Let me preface this by saying that I'm new to the hobby, having had my tank around a month and a half. Though new, I've thrown myself in headfirst, read every book, subscribed to all the big YouTubers I like and watched hours of videos and listened to days of podcasts, realfishtalks and so on. I researched every part of my tank and have driven my girlfriend mad with my newfound hobby. All this said, this is a pretty bad situation, and I know the value of experience, so I come to you good people with the hope that you will help me beat this threat to my aquarium.

    The tank in question is a marina lux 70 with stock lighting. Fluval stratum substrate, planted with jungle val, spiral val, some lovely crypts I'm yet to identify (green tops of the leaves with Lovely red/purple underside and Broad leaves, any ideas?) bacopa compacts, crypt parva, java moss on some spaghetti rock and a good amount of java fern on some driftwood and a ceramic ring, fertilised daily with 2.5ml of George Farmers, the Aquascapers Complete fertiliser.
    Currently conducting 50% water changes daily with Prime and feeding fish relatively sparingly.
    Parameters are as follows:

    Temp: 24.5 degrees celsius
    Ammonia:0.25 (could be down to api test as am using prime and believe I have managed to re-establish filter with only a mini-cycle)
    Nitrites 0
    Nitrates: above 75 ppm ( tapwater contains 22.5ppm)
    Ph: 7.4
    Filter is the marina i160 twin cartridge affair that came with the tank as I currently can't justify getting a decent hang on back to the partner, hotrodded slightly with bio noodles and some filter foam.

    The tank is fairly well stocked, with 3 young pearl gourami (1 male), 3 female peppered corydoras (all laying eggs everywhere before the catastrophe.), 2 oto's (did have 4) and 4 zebra danio (1 male,did have 2 males), notice the did? Yeah, onto that.

    Myself and my girlfriend went on a trip across the UK to visit family, leaving my stable and happy little patch of nature rigged up to a battery powered automatic feeder (twice daily).
    Imagine my horror on arriving home to the lights off, filter not running, and heater off. Somehow the power pack they were all plugged into(hindsight... lesson learned) fell off the chest off drawers it was on top of (again, lesson learned) and managed to trip the fusebox. I have no way of knowing how long the power was out, the trip away being for 7 days. My current guess is 3 days. This is because of two things,
    1) one of my original 3 oto's survived, I found one floating and one dead on the bottom covered in what looked like the white tufts of columnaris mouth fungus or some other water mold. The other is going strong today, no hiccups
    2) The water was bad when I came back, but not what I would have expected from say a 6 day blackout.

    Honestly I breathed a little sigh of relief because the tank wasn't covered in algae, only two of the most fragile of fish was actually dead on discovery and I was hopeful for being able to recover my tank from this situation. I cleaned off the front and both sides of my tank,scrubbed the algae and debris off the ornamental bonsai tree, trimmed some dead leaves off the plants, removed the fish, gravel vac-ed and did a 70% water change with prime. My filter uses a manufacturer supplied cartridge refill, two slots for two cartridges. Restoring power showed that the flow rate through the cartridges that had been stagnant for god knows how long was well below par, so I removed one, replacing it with a clean cartridge, hoping any surviving bacteria will quickly populate the new filter and then changed the remaining filter 4 days later.

    Onto livestock, immediately I inspected all of my fish, one Danio had a small white patch on his head between his eyes and above his top lip. All the other fish looked fine. Immediately ordered a breeder net online as a means to quarantine him away from the group. First two days he was fine, feeding and acting like a danio should, but on day three my breedernet arrived when I went to QT him I noticed the white patch had travelled much further up the head and that a small lump had formed on the edge of what I was now realising was not simply a "white patch" but necrosis of tissue, he was literally losing his face. QT'd and over the next day and a half salt dipped him around every 16 hours in 3% salt solution. Yesterday I noticed him going between gasping at the surface and resting on the bottom of the breeder net, so I gave him a 30 minute salt bath and hoped to see some improvement, but on returning him to the tank he stayed near the surface for 2 hours before finally rolling belly upwards and losing control of his swim bladder ( rolling over and over, on his side sometimes etc.) within 10 minutes of this he was dead. I've taken post mortem pictures of him, including cutting off a gill plate as I noticed him staying near the airstones before I had QT'd him, so wanted to checfk on gill tissue damage etc but other than what looks like a melted face, I couldn't see any obvious problems with the gills(no brown or white spots or dead tissue)

    This morning I've awoken to another of the Danio's listing from side to side, not able to quite control his bouyancy. One of my cory's is being EXTREMELY shy too, just sitting in the corner of the tank, and dashing away if you get too close before being a statue again.

    I've gone through every bit of information on the internet to do with fish diseases, and am still having problems identifying exactly what it is that is killing my fish. but my suspects at this point are Columnaris (though I can't say which strain as it features both the outward symptoms and a seemingly long incubation/mortality period.) or similar bacteria. I have seen no classic Cottonwool around wounds or mouth though and am having a of a time here. I've attached pictures of the danio who passed, as he is the only fish with visible external symptoms.

    I'm here all week monitoring this thread for both a chat about fishkeeping and for advice from you lovely people here at FishLore. This is the biggest threat to the little ecosystem that I call my own, help would be hugely appreciated!
    Thank you for reading this wall of text guys,


  2. finnipper59Well Known MemberMember

    I looked at your pictures and read your descriptions. I really suspect bacterial in infection, whether columnaris or some other. I would go ahead and treat the entire tank for columnaris. The medication for it would kill off most other gram negative bacteria as well. I also didn't see gill fluke damage. Keep feeding them sparingly as many of your beneficial bacteria possibly died off from oxygen depletion. Columnaris is often treated with wrong medication. You need a medication containing Nitrofurazone. Two that I know of are API Furan 2 and the other is Hikari BiFuran.

  3. Dch48Well Known MemberMember

    Your Nitrate levels are way too high. I also think that 50% water change every day is excessive and stressing the fish.

    Since you changed both filter cartridges, your bacteria is gone if it wasn't already dead. Your tank is recycling.

  4. VimknightNew MemberMember

    Thanks for your reply! As you say, I inspected for flukes, worms and other parasites as well as a very light biopsy (small fish, just wanted to see if any nodules on liver etc but wasn't able to see anything.
    Definitely agree with you about it probably being bacterial infection. This tank was doing absolutely amazingly before the trip, cory's laying infertile eggs and the danios mating successfully (though I wasn't rescuing any fry)

    Unfortunately I am in the UK. So we have some imho ridiculous regulations around antibiotics and such that make getting things like furan, erythromycin, and maracin extremely hard. I've just bought some eSHa2000 and am going to be running the full course on the tank. I have just fed the danio who is having swim bladder problems half a shelled garden pea, which he ate and have added half a clove of crushed garlic to my filter (suggested on planted tank forum as a possible immune system booster).

    Thankfully I have a fantastic resource for columnaris, ( ) which I have read front to back and so am aware of how it is often wrongly treated.

    Does anyone have any experience with ESHA 2000 (again recommended on planted tank forum by a few fellow UK based hobbyists.)? Hoping that it does the job as I don't have the expendable income to spend on loads of different treatments having just been let go from work.
  5. VimknightNew MemberMember

    Under normal situations, I agree that the bacteria would be gone, if all I used was the filter cartridges and nothing else, however my i160 is hotrodded, with a media bag of bionoodles under the cartridges and a string of them running down the channel between the cartridges, The filter also has 2 replacable bioscreens and I've added some coarse foam as a prefilter too. All of these were not swapped out and stayed in the filter. Cory from AquariumCoop says that the bacteria we need can double in population over 24 hours, hence leaving all this media and only swapping one of the cartridges for 5 days (giving the surviving bacteria time to seed the new cartridge.) though I understand youtubers don't know everything,

    My tank is currently undergoing a minicycle at most, test readings have confirmed this and the last of my Tetra safe start was added too(with the second cartridge swap).

    The water changes I will take into account. 50% daily was a recommendation online to try to get rid of as much of the "old" water out of the tank as quickly as possible. What would you say is better? 25% daily, 30% every other day?

    Thank you!
  6. Dch48Well Known MemberMember

    I would keep testing the water and changing as much as is necessary to keep the Nitrates below 40.
  7. VimknightNew MemberMember

    Yes! My target since day one of the tank has been getting the nitrates to around 40 - 50 ppm as I have a fairly heavily planted tank, but have been having massive problems with the hardness and amount of nitrates in my tap water. over 22 ppm nitrates from the tap. This is why I'm feeding so sparingly at the moment, i have such little wiggle room, the smallest overfeed and my nitrates spike quite quick, taking me into the territory where I want to change the water again.
  8. finnipper59Well Known MemberMember

    ESHA 2000 doesn't get recommended much here in the US, but I understand that is is a good multi treatment for bacteria, fin rot, and fungus. I'm glad you have that available to you. It should work fine. Good luck.
  9. VimknightNew MemberMember

    Thank you for those words of hope, I'm currently going between refreshing this page and watching the newly sick danio having issues remaining the right buoyancy, he pitches left and right whenever he stops using his caudal fin to give him thrust, and sometimes up and down head higher than tail or vice versa. ESHA 2000 arrives tomorrow morning so I'm really hoping that it does the trick.
  10. VimknightNew MemberMember

    Worrying thought: I need to remove all carbon/ Zeolite etc from my filter while running the course of esha2000. The cartridges for my fiter come with zeolite and carbon contained in a package within the filterwool, What should I do in this situation? Use a scalpel to make a small incision and get as much of it as possible out?

    Let me know what you advise!
  11. finnipper59Well Known MemberMember

    You have the correct idea. Slice open the cartridge and remove it's contents. Put the cartridge back in with the incision facing the water input so any left over crumbs don't wind up in the tank. That will work fine.
  12. VimknightNew MemberMember

    Thank you so much for all your advice today :) Helping to keep this hobbyist sane! I've just gotten home from shopping to find the sick danio now almost constantly keeling over onto her left side, infact she looks like she's swimming while lying sideways. So far no real gasping or signs of massive stress, she's still playing with her friends, simply keels to her side every time her caudal fin stops giving her thrust.

    Should I euthanise her at this point? It would break my heart and realistically I would like to avoid it, as she still has her appetite.
    Thoughts would be appreciated, if it helps, I could try to get some footage or photo's of her
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
  13. VimknightNew MemberMember

    Okay, after further inspection its definately always her left side that she tilts to, if sh gives no fin movement she rolls onto her left side
  14. finnipper59Well Known MemberMember

    Euthanasia is a hard thing to suggest as well as do. I think you said you were getting medication tomorrow, but only you can see her and know if it's too late to save her. The medication is going to take a couple days to start to work. She could heal and have a great life or be gone when you awaken. I don't envy the decision you have to make, whatever it is will be for the fish's best benefit. You will at least have the medication to treat others and according to their normal life span, you're going to watch them all go eventually...it doesn't get easier except when you remember that she could have been a larger fish's meal a year ago in the wild. You took good care of her.
  15. VimknightNew MemberMember

    ESHA2000 arrived today, just changed 50% of the water with prime and removed the activated carbon and seolite packages from both cartridge. Leaving the prime for an hour and a half before adding 23 drops. The wonky danio is still wonky but again took the little flake offered to her. Wish me luck :D
  16. finnipper59Well Known MemberMember

    Thats great that she still has an appetite. The medication may have time to save her yet. Keep feeding her, and if you can keep some dim light in the room at night so she's not in complete darkness, that helps reduce stress during times she may wake up.

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