Three sparkling gouramis died suddenly after a few days in my tank

EstherB

I have a paludarium that's been set up for about 3 weeks. There is about 9 gallons of water in the bottom of it. I used a quick-start bacterial cycling aid. I have a half dozen Anubias nana, a couple of crypt Wenditii, some java moss and a few strands of elodea, and a couple of pieces of drift wood (one polyresin, one mopani wood that was boiled for hours) for decor. I have a Fluval U2 submersible filter set horizontally, as the water depth is 4.5". I tested the water with a test strip and it was within acceptable parameters. Temperature ranged from 76F to 78F (no heater, but the ambient temperature of my home falls within the acceptable range of sparklers and the 3 oto cats I put in at the same time). I did a 40% water change a couple of days before I bought the sparklers and otos. I already had one sparkler who is still doing well, from another pet store. I let the bag containing the fish sit in the tank for like 30 minutes before removing the fish within and putting them into the tank. I've been feeding the sparklers some micro pellets, and sucking up leftovers with a new turkey baster.

I am very sad that the 2 female sparklers I purchased a few days ago died yesterday, and the little male looks like he is dying as I type, with sort of a bloated belly. The 2 females that died did not have a bloated belly. The original sparkler from the other store is OK so far. What on earth could have happened?
 

AlphaFish

Since all the other fish are fine, I think you got them sick from the store.
 

Basil

Does your test strip test for ammonia? Although I would think all the fish would be affected.
But my first thought is aggression.
I ended up moving my sparklers to a 29 g species tank. I thought a well planted 10 would be big enough. And I only saw what I considered light chasing here and there. But I kept finding dead fish but with no outward injury.
I did lose one since moving them to the larger tank but he did have an apparent injury. But I still think the others died from aggression.
I have one male who has staked the left side of the larger tank. Hoping I don’t have too many more males who are going to want their own territory.
Is your fish store able to sex them? I usually only find juveniles for sale.
 

Pfrozen

Did you cycle your tank with an ammonia source or did you just add the bacterial starter? The bacteria need something to consume in order to grow and colonize. Otherwise it just kind of floats around and dies after awhile
 

EstherB

Does your test strip test for ammonia? Although I would think all the fish would be affected.
But my first thought is aggression.
I ended up moving my sparklers to a 29 g species tank. I thought a well planted 10 would be big enough. And I only saw what I considered light chasing here and there. But I kept finding dead fish but with no outward injury.
I did lose one since moving them to the larger tank but he did have an apparent injury. But I still think the others died from aggression.
I have one male who has staked the left side of the larger tank. Hoping I don’t have too many more males who are going to want their own territory.
Is your fish store able to sex them? I usually only find juveniles for sale.
They were scared and kept to the plants or under driftwood. They never wanted to just swim out in the open. My original female follows me around the tank like a little dog. And no, my Tetra test strip does not do ammonia. But I had just done like a 40% water change a couple of days before I added the new sparklers, and I'd had 1 oto and the original female sparkler in the tank for a couple weeks. The now-deceased ones were 2 females and a nice little male. All were young, but you could see the difference in the length of the tail and dorsal fin, and the male had a lot of red in his, too. Do you have to have an aquatic jungle in your tank for sparklers, or would some driftwood and 6 young Anubias nana and a couple crypts, a clump of java moss and a clump of floating elodea be enough? The sparklers would dash from one cover to another.

If aggression actually kills these silly fish, I might have to rethink what I put in the bottom of the paludarium and get a few white clouds.
 

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