Help Too much death - why?

escapay

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My 29 gallon is having issues - I've lost 5 fish now, only one body have I actually found and I think that was because she died this morning.

The tank has been set up since March 2013. The current stock as of today is:
7 Ember Tetras, 3 Black Kuhli Loaches, 1 Pangio myersi, 1 juvenile albino BN Pleco

Here is history of tank since May, I can go back further if needed - going to bold more important parts. Anytime I did a WC, I do add Prime for the whole tank. I feed no freeze dried, just frozen foods, pellets, and flakes.

May
May 2nd - added Comprehensive & Excel
May 3rd - added Excel
May 4th - Excel
May 5th - light feeding (I guess as opposed to normal feeding?)
May 6th - light feeding (I guess as opposed to normal feeding?)
May 7th - Water change, Comp, Excel
May 8th - Excel, Leaf Zone
May 9th - Excel
May 10th - Comp, Excel
May 12th - Excel
May 14th - Black Kuhli with discoloration on forehead (acting normal otherwise), water tested: 0ppm ammonia/nitrite, 20ppm nitrate
May 15th - fed mysis shrimp
May 16th - fed brine shrimp, added 3 Ember Tetras from 7 gallon quarantine **also the day I put 6 new Embers in my 10 gallon for quarantine and 6 Boraras brigittae in the 7 gallon
May 17th - Stress Coat (30mL added), Comp, and Excel, lost an Ember Tetra this day or 18th... stuck to filter
May 18th - Daphnia fed, Stress Coat (30mL), Leaf Zone
May 19th - Excel
May 20th - Excel
May 22nd - Water Change, Kuhli appears better, Comp, Excel
May 24th - Excel, Leaf Zone
May 27th - Water Change, Excel
May 28th - Comp, Excel
May 29th - Excel, Leaf Zone
May 31st - Comp, Excel

June
Jun 1st - fed Daphnia, Excel
Jun 2nd - Excel
Jun 4th - Water Change, Comp, Excel
Jun 8th - fed brine shrimp, Excel, Leaf Zone
Jun 10th - added 6 Ember Tetras & 1 juvenile albino BN Pleco from 10 gal quarantine
Jun 11th - Water Change, Comp, Excel
Jun 13th - Excel, Leaf Zone
Jun 14th - Comp, Excel
Jun 17th - Water Change, stirred sand, noted a missing Ember Tetra (so down to 10) ... between this point and Jun 24th, I lost another Ember Tetra, Comp, Excel
Jun 18th - Excel, Leaf Zone
Jun 19th - Excel
Jun 20th - 2 root tabs added, Comp, Excel
Jun 24th - fed brine shrimp
Jun 25th - fed daphnia, fed zucchini
Jun 27th - Water Change
Jun 28th - Comp, Excel

July
Jul 1st - missing 2 Embers (total: 7), water tested - ammonia/nitrite: 0ppm, nitrate: 20ppm, KH: 4, pH: 7.8
Jul 2nd - fed zucchini, Excel, Leaf Zone
Jul 3rd - giant Kuhli died (found body, all normal except barbels gone)

If it wasn't obvious from the above, I have live plants. It is low light. I've got some black beard algae on some - mostly, or if not solely, on the windelov java fern. I've got driftwood in the tank. All fish appear to be healthy and swimming normal. Everyone is eating well.

I do not know why my fish are dying and why the Embers are not turning up. I wouldn't think the Kuhlis or BN Pleco (about 2 inches right now) would be attacking the Embers, but maybe at night? The majority of the Embers are still pretty small. I do understand if the fish die and land on the bottom of the tank, the Kuhlis and pleco would probably feed on it. They are fast eaters.

I'm planning on a water change today or tomorrow since it is due for one tomorrow. Goal is to do weekly water changes, but this has been the last tank in my cycle of water changes since the issues it has been having.
 

plug

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I do not have an answer for you, but only an experience that I have had
I have also gone through periods of time (usually shorter than yours) where I have had a number of fish die unexpectedly, and for no known reason. The numbers can reach 5 or even 7 at one time. Just suddenly, one then another and so on, and like yours, everything seemed fine, and all water parameters were good, but inexplicably, they would die

The only difference with mine, is that I had a more mature tank. Could it be your tank is still in the maturing process where slight changes could stress and kill some of your fish?
 

iloveengl

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I will say from experience that a team of kuhlis will strip a carcass in hours, leaving only a slim skeleton that can be very difficult to find later.

It's possible that they are a weak stock, and the shock of moving was too much. Or maybe temperature spikes are occurring without you realizing it. Like a few other tetra varieties, these fish seem to do better in more established tanks.

I'm sorry I do not have a definite answer or solution. Good luck, though.
 
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escapay

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Pretty sure fertilizers aren't killing my fish, as I would expect it to be across the board with all my tanks. The Embers and BN Pleco were fine in my 10 gallon through quarantine. No signs of illness. Maybe one fish was a little paler then the others, I didn't record whether that was the case and I've had 3-4 times I've purchased new Ember Tetras since last summer.

I'm really upset that I lost one of my Kuhlis - my two giants were some of my original fish when I first started tropical community tanks. So I've had them 4 years or so. This is the second one I've ever lost of my original 3.

Hmm, so last fish death started 4 days after water change. The previous one went missing 6 or so days after a water change. And within a week (1-7 days, not sure since I didn't write it down like normal) I lost another fish from a water change. So I don't think anything is wrong with when I do my water changes - like not enough Prime or temp errors.

I know since this past weekend the temperatures were much hotter than normal. So the house was at 80F - the tank usually runs at that. It seems to have gone up to 82F in the last couple of days. Today I turned the heater down to "77F" but thermometer currently reads 80F. House temp is at 74F.

Would I have lost fish from the heat wave? I mean, the tank went up maybe 2-3 degrees warmer than normal at most. Again, no other fish lost in any of the tanks - including the smallest tank (7 gallons).
 

plug

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I doubt increase in temp could have killed the fish
In the summer like now, my tanks fluctuate a few degrees on the hotter side on really hot days
 
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escapay

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Currently no more fish have died. Everyone looks normal. Usually 1-2 Ember Tetras are away from the others when I turn the lights on. Either way I've kept my other fish (Boraras brigittae) in the 7 gallon in the mean time.
 
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escapay

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An update... as this is an ongoing battle. One went missing a little before July 29th and another disappeared around August 27th.

The most recent one started to develop a new issue - his back was curving during the last week of life.

No other fish deaths in any of my tanks besides the Embers in the 29 gallon. *knock on wood*
 

aylad

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Three suggestions for you -- well, I say "suggestions"...

The first one is non-negotiable if you want to stop whatever this is. Isolate your fish IMMEDIATELY after they begin showing any unusual symptoms, including abnormal behavior. If these are new species for you and you're not 100% clear on their normal behavior, you might set up one QT for fish that act funny and another one for fish that look sick. If this is a contagious disease, which is what it sounds like, you may be able to contain it.

The second one is more of a general preventative: your fish were in QT for ~3 weeks. I prefer to double that, and I insist on a minimum of 4 weeks with my fish. That's 4 symptom-free weeks (a lot of people don't get that any symptoms of illness reset the clock on QT... I didn't get that until I learned the hard way).

Might as well go ahead and treat your main tank as a QT itself. No equipment sharing from it to other tanks (Iike the boraras tank), no new arrivals for at least a month after last symptoms, etc.
 
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escapay

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Thanks for the response, aylad. All of my tanks have their own equipment (gravel siphons and sponges). They do share (with exception of the 36 gallon) a dirty bucket and a clean bucket, but only potential contamination would be when adding new water to clean bucket and trying to match temperatures.

All nets are soaked in Net Soak before and after going into tanks.

Good advice on the longer quarantine period. I've done that with my most recent fish (Rummynose Tetras purchased July 23rd) are still in quarantine.

Looks like next fish will be more stock to add to the 36 gallon instead then...

Only issue I have is I don't know how to treat the aquarium besides just watching it and keeping up with water changes.
 

endlercollector

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Ember tetras, like neons, need more acidic water, so do Kuhlis. I found that my neons would tend die off slowly after water changes along with my oto cats. Solution for my situation: half treated tap and half filtered water from machine outside grocery store. Small water changes more often also have helped. This may be relevant to your situation. Good luck!
 

aylad

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"Treating the tank" is, IMO, not always necessary. Some diseases are spread directly fish-to-fish. Isolating sick fish is often all that's needed.

As far as treating the fish that are sick, garlic additives like Garlic Guard or NLS Thera+A may help the fish get better; other than that, my usual approach is to just pick a medicine and dose the QT with it. :-\ Not a very effective approach, but diagnosing fish is definitely not something I'm good at.
 

LyndaB

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Skimmed posts due to length so hopefully got the info I needed.

You might be interested to know that you need more kuhlis. They are a species that require a large school. I have over a dozen of them, but you could do at least 6 in your tank, if not 8. And yes, as mentioned, they will become quiet aggressive when there are dead fish around.

I keep my kuhlis with embers and haven't had any issues with either species. I keep a cooler temp than you, about 74 degrees F.

How many rummies do you have in QT? They also require a larger school than most species.
 
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escapay

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As far as treating the fish that are sick, garlic additives like Garlic Guard or NLS Thera+A may help the fish get better; other than that, my usual approach is to just pick a medicine and dose the QT with it. :-\ Not a very effective approach, but diagnosing fish is definitely not something I'm good at.
Thankfully I feed NLS Thera+A weekly -- I'll see about giving the fish that more often then the flakes.

Ember tetras, like neons, need more acidic water, so do Kuhlis. I found that my neons would tend die off slowly after water changes along with my oto cats. Solution for my situation: half treated tap and half filtered water from machine outside grocery store. Small water changes more often also have helped. This may be relevant to your situation. Good luck!
I can see about removing some crushed coral - as I think this tank has some in the filter. My KH value here is between 0-1, hence why I've added it to three of my tanks. I've had issues with my pH going down to 6.0 or lower and then having issues with my fish.

Skimmed posts due to length so hopefully got the info I needed.

You might be interested to know that you need more kuhlis. They are a species that require a large school. I have over a dozen of them, but you could do at least 6 in your tank, if not 8. And yes, as mentioned, they will become quiet aggressive when there are dead fish around.

I keep my kuhlis with embers and haven't had any issues with either species. I keep a cooler temp than you, about 74 degrees F.

How many rummies do you have in QT? They also require a larger school than most species.
Just to note - I do know I need more Kuhlis. They are one of the next fish I'm adding, though I've not bought them since I've had too many deaths in the tank they will eventually be housed in... I chose to fill schools and add fish to quarantine for my other aquarium (36 gallon).

Here's a question - I've got two Kuhli species (Pangio myersi and P. oblonga), what is the best route with their numbers? I'd rather not rehome my single myersi - it is one of my oldest fish and if I did rehome her, she'd most likely go to the same exact situation. The stores I could take her to only have the black ones and the normal striped ones (P. kuhlii). I know where I can buy more of her type (took long enough finding a store, though is about 30 minutes away). Is there a way I can keep both Kuhli species?

And I have 6 Rummies in QT. They will be joining the other 4 in my 36 gallon within the next week or so.

29 gallon temp is at 79F currently. I've messed with the heater, but it seems every 2-3 degrees I turn the knob is when it finally goes down a degree in temp.
 

LyndaB

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Kuhlis don't seem to care how many of which species you have, as long as there are a lot of them. LOL I have both.
 
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escapay

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Kuhlis don't seem to care how many of which species you have, as long as there are a lot of them. LOL I have both.
Good to know! I will see about picking up some in the next week or so and they can go in the 10 gallon for quarantine. Hopefully the 29 gallon will be better by then.
 
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