What happened?

SecondTime

Tank
What is the water volume of the tank? 20 g High
How long has the tank been running? 3+ years
Does it have a filter? Marineland 150 HOB plus Aquarium Coop medium sponge
Does it have a heater? 100W
What is the water temperature? 76
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) 6 Longfin Zebra danios, 6 Panda Corys, 2 Honey Gouramis, plus plants: Amazon swords, Java Ferns, Anubias Nana

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? weekly
How much of the water do you change? 25%
What do you use to treat your water? Use purified water
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? both

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? Yes
What do you use to test the water? API Master
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: typically 15- 20
pH: 7.0

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish?
How much do you feed your fish?
What brand of food do you feed your fish?
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods?

Illness & Symptoms Please see description below
How long have you had this fish?
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms?
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms?
Have you started any treatment for the illness?
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase?
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all?

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)

Can anyone help me figure out what might have happened? Here's the chronology of relevant, recent events:

Tank was a goldfish tank, converted to tropical community. Fully cycled and tested weekly. When converted, stocked with 6 Longfin Zebras (purchased Oct and Nov 2020) and 6 Panda Corys (purchased Nov. 2020)

Monday 12/28 Added 2 Honey Gouramis

Thursday 1/7: Treated with 2 squirts Easy Green, first time using. Also added a 2nd Anubias purchased from Aquarium Coop

Friday 1/8: Fed 2 Hikari Sinking Wafers, first time using

Saturday 1/9: One Zebra (acquired Nov 1) thin, lethargic. Assumed it might be a parasite.

Treated tank with General Cure and removed Zebra to isolation tank with large tank water. Cleaned large tank, found dead (but not decomposed) Panda Cory acquired Nov. 11

Jan 9 Tank parameters: Nitrates ~25, Ph 6.4 (way lower than it usually was – maybe the General Cure?), Nitrites 0, Ammonia 0.

Sunday 1/10: Zebra died. Late in day found one Honey Gourami (acquired Dec. 28) acting strangely – hovering near top on one side of tank. Didn’t budge when I came to glass; typically he would swim away.

Monday 1/11 Honey Gourami died. Gave second treatment of General Cure per package instructions.

Wednesday 1/13: Per GC package instructions, did 50% water change, added carbon to filter.

Friday 1/14: All remaining fish (5 Zebras, 5 Panda Corys, 1 Honey Gourami) seem to be OK.
 

Cherryshrimp420

Where did you get the purified water? Fish should not be kept in pure water. Seems like your water has no KH. GH is possibly also low.

Either way, the water needs to be re-mineralized first before keeping fish.
 

SecondTime

Hi Cherryshrimp,

Thank you for the reply.

I've used bottled purified for 3 years without problems. This is not distilled water; I believe it still has some mineral content. I've checked Kh and Gh with API test strips and show the same readings now that I've had before: Kh 40; Gh 30. I'm using the same source (Publix brand) for purified water that I have for the last 3 years.

I do wonder if something else is in play here, since one would think that if the water was the issue, it would cause issues with all of the fish, not just 3 of them, and it would show first in the fish that had been in the tank the longest, which isn't what happened. The original 4 Longfin Zebras, purchased in October, that were the first residents in the new community tropical environment are going strong.
 

Cherryshrimp420

Hi Cherryshrimp,

Thank you for the reply.

I've used bottled purified for 3 years without problems. This is not distilled water; I believe it still has some mineral content. I've checked Kh and Gh with API test strips and show the same readings now that I've had before: Kh 40; Gh 30. I'm using the same source (Publix brand) for purified water that I have for the last 3 years.

I do wonder if something else is in play here, since one would think that if the water was the issue, it would cause issues with all of the fish, not just 3 of them, and it would show first in the fish that had been in the tank the longest, which isn't what happened. The original 4 Longfin Zebras, purchased in October, that were the first residents in the new community tropical environment are going strong.

What unit is the KH and GH measured in? dKH or ppm? Im guessing ppm in which case it is low.

Yes you can keep fish alive in purified water, but it's low KH means that if you do any modifications to the water the parameters can swing wildly and shock your fish. In your case you mentioned adding Easy Green and General Cure. Not sure what chemicals are in them but they might mess with parameters which a tank with low KH cannot handle. Even just stirring up the substrate can cause issues in a tank with low KH.

Other potential problems would be overfeeding or overloading the amount of bioload your tank can handle.

It's hard to say what the real problem is, and hard to say whether the water exacerbated those problems or not....

My guess would be just a simple overfeeding or messing with the tank too much where the water could not buffer for those changes.
 

Aprilbeingbasic

sounds like very soft water, low KH and low GH. and I would agree with above, could have been any desease but your water has very little buffer and this can stress fish out. Generally, unless it a fish that specifically wants soft water, you should make sure it has minerals.
 

SecondTime

Ready to give up.

Another Panda Cory death today...

Just want to add a bit of background here: I'm in a quandary, as I'm reluctant to use treated tap water due to issues described in this thread: Puzzling Parameters after Prime | Aquarium Water Forum | 481763

I can treat with Prime or AquaSafe, but there is a nitrite issue...I'm very reluctant to use that treated water in my tank, as the one issue I've never had in this tank is high nitrite - thank God as I know that's lethal.

So, should I just buy a remineralizer like Equilibrium, or should I try a small PWC - say 25% - with half treated tap and half purified? That way there would be some minerals added, and I can hope and pray that any nitrites present are either detoxified or so minimized as to not be an issue.

Or, should I just give up and find another hobby...

This is seriously depressing. I had much better luck 30 years ago when I kept fish....
 

Aprilbeingbasic

Ready to give up.

Another Panda Cory death today...

Just want to add a bit of background here: I'm in a quandary, as I'm reluctant to use treated tap water due to issues described in this thread: Puzzling Parameters after Prime | Aquarium Water Forum | 481763

I can treat with Prime or AquaSafe, but there is a nitrite issue...I'm very reluctant to use that treated water in my tank, as the one issue I've never had in this tank is high nitrite - thank God as I know that's lethal.

So, should I just buy a remineralizer like Equilibrium, or should I try a small PWC - say 25% - with half treated tap and half purified? That way there would be some minerals added, and I can hope and pray that any nitrites present are either detoxified or so minimized as to not be an issue.

Or, should I just give up and find another hobby...

This is seriously depressing. I had much better luck 30 years ago when I kept fish....
Add salt, it greatly detoxifies nitrites. Your low pH will also be slowing down the effectiveness of your bacteria, so they can't process the nitrites as fast. Add salt for now but I would say you also need to mineralise your water
 

Cherryshrimp420

Ready to give up.

Another Panda Cory death today...

Just want to add a bit of background here: I'm in a quandary, as I'm reluctant to use treated tap water due to issues described in this thread: Puzzling Parameters after Prime | Aquarium Water Forum | 481763

I can treat with Prime or AquaSafe, but there is a nitrite issue...I'm very reluctant to use that treated water in my tank, as the one issue I've never had in this tank is high nitrite - thank God as I know that's lethal.

So, should I just buy a remineralizer like Equilibrium, or should I try a small PWC - say 25% - with half treated tap and half purified? That way there would be some minerals added, and I can hope and pray that any nitrites present are either detoxified or so minimized as to not be an issue.

Or, should I just give up and find another hobby...

This is seriously depressing. I had much better luck 30 years ago when I kept fish....

I read through your other post... I don't think your tap water has any issues tbh. How much are you feeding your fish? Overfeeding is a common cause of a lot of problems in fish keeping
 

SecondTime

I’m feeding a small pinch of flakes once a day. That will be reduced since the population has thinned by 28%....
 

Cherryshrimp420

I’m feeding a small pinch of flakes once a day. That will be reduced since the population has thinned by 28%....

That small pinch might well be too much. For your stocking I feed a couple grains of fish pellets and that's it.
 

SecondTime

That small pinch might well be too much. For your stocking I feed a couple grains of fish pellets and that's it.

Thank you Cherryshrimp. I'll reduce it.

Wouldn't my ammonia be creeping up if overfeeding was the issue? (Just trying to educate - or more correctly, re-educate - myself).
And, to hopefully close this loop: I've just retested my tank water:

pH 6.8 (on the low end of the typical range for my tank, but in the range)
Nitrites 0
Ammonia 0
Nitrates 5.0

I treated with 1 dose of Stability and that's it.

I will add Equilibrium which is due to arrive tomorrow to start mineralizing the tank, and going forward I will use Prime treated tap water, adjusted for pH (my tap pH is 8.0/8.2).

One last question:

How long do I run the carbon-filled cartridges in my filter to remove the meds?

I have plants, so don't want to run it too long. it's been in for 72 hours now. And yes, I know to keep all of the media except the carbon when I remove it. (In addition to the Marineland carbon-filled cartridges, I do also have a bag of bio balls in the filter, plus some filter floss that's been in the filter for a couple of months.)

I cannot thank all of you (and everyone on the forum) enough for all of your generous expert help. Only hope I can pay it
forward at some point. Very grateful for all of you!
 

Cherryshrimp420

Thank you Cherryshrimp. I'll reduce it.

Wouldn't my ammonia be creeping up if overfeeding was the issue? (Just trying to educate - or more correctly, re-educate - myself).
And, to hopefully close this loop: I've just retested my tank water:

pH 6.8 (on the low end of the typical range for my tank, but in the range)
Nitrites 0
Ammonia 0
Nitrates 5.0

I treated with 1 dose of Stability and that's it.

I will add Equilibrium which is due to arrive tomorrow to start mineralizing the tank, and going forward I will use Prime treated tap water, adjusted for pH (my tap pH is 8.0/8.2).

One last question:

How long do I run the carbon-filled cartridges in my filter to remove the meds?

I have plants, so don't want to run it too long. it's been in for 72 hours now. And yes, I know to keep all of the media except the carbon when I remove it. (In addition to the Marineland carbon-filled cartridges, I do also have a bag of bio balls in the filter, plus some filter floss that's been in the filter for a couple of months.)

I cannot thank all of you (and everyone on the forum) enough for all of your generous expert help. Only hope I can pay out forward at some point. Very grateful for all of you!

It won't always cause an ammonia spike. Overfeeding leads to higher dissolved organic matter (DOM) and bacteria count and other stuff, and that leads to the usual fish diseases. Ammonia/nitrite/nitrate is just a useful indicator but not always the cause of problems.

I dont know what the actual cause is, but your water has low buffer and you recently added new fish so my best guess is the tank couldn't handle the increased bioload.

The carbon should be able to remove meds within 24 hours. Hope this helps
 

SecondTime

Help help help help!!!

ANOTHER sick fish... one of the Panda Corys suddenly started swimming very erratically - spinning around, upside down, rightside up, almost like it was in the vortex of a tornado. It came to rest under a plant and I was able to net it, put it in my 1 gal hospital tank. I noticed moderately red gills, so treated the hospital tank with a dose (adjusted for 1 gal tank) of erythromycin, thinking it might be bacterial gill disease.

it is laying on the bottom of the hospital tank now - sometimes does the crazy swim thing then comes to rest on its side. Not looking good...

I'm so very puzzled!! I changed out 50% of the water after the second dose of General Cure, but maybe what's going on is bacterial? Of something else entirely?

The rest of the fish seem fine - but I've made that statement twice in the last few days, and....

The Panda Corys are getting hit hardest, for sure, but they are the smallest, and the bottom feeders, so maybe are more vulnerable to whatever the source problem is?

Will retest my tank water tonight (last tested 3 days ago - Nitrates 5.0, Nitrites 0, Ammonia 0, pH 6.8) and post the results here - just in case it's something wacky with the parameters. I'll also test Kh and Gh.

Thoughts??
The Panda is still with us, but barely so.

Water quality and parameters:

Ph 7.6
Nitrites 0
Nitrates 10
Ammonia 0
Kh 3
Gh 3

If the issue is my Kh or Gh, please guide me with very explicit instructions on the steps to take. I have Seachem's Equilibrium, Acid Buffer and Alkaline Buffer on hand but have never used any of them.

Thank you!
 

SecondTime

The Panda is hanging on (I think) - it's very hard to tell with these little guys. He is upright, on the bottom of the tank, and it looks like his little gills do move now and then. I really don't want to poke at him or stress him further.

Another dose of Erythromycin is due this afternoon. Here's hoping....

Now to figure out what's happened/happening in the main tank. All other occupants accounted for and seem to be doing ok today (fingers crossed!)
 

SecondTime

Nope...poor little Panda didn't make it.

Still hoping some of the experts here can help me out. I'd specifically like some help with use of the Seachem buffers
 

Cherryshrimp420

Hmm I'd stop messing with the tank water too much. This includes medications and any chemicals. Just too much change can stress a fish and small fish like cories can die from stress alone.

Again, in tanks with low KH it is really easy to mess things up. Anything you do, like disrupting the gravel, stirring up poop etc can affect the water in soft low KH conditions and stress out the fish. I would just stop feeding and let the tank recover by itself.

Perhaps in the future, consider adding a bag of crush coral in the filter and when it comes to water changes, start with very small amounts of Seachem Equilibrium so that the GH and KH rises SLOWLY
 

SecondTime

Thanks so much, Cherryshrimp. You've been my savior in this whole situation.

I didn't add the erythromycin to the main tank - only to the hospital tank. And, I had cut way back on feeding, but I'll hold off completely for a few days.

I will keep the water changes very small for the next few weeks. Would you recommend that I use my tap-Prime treated water (post softener) vs the purified with Equilibrium? The kH of the post-softener water is 10 and the gH is 3. Another option is to use Prime-Treated tap water PRE softener, the kH is 11 and the gH is 16.
 

Cherryshrimp420

Oh right I forgot about your tap water parameters. Just mix your usual purified water with tap water to get a reservoir for water changes. Start with something like 10% tap + 90% purified. Then once that reservoir is used up, at next water change use 20% tap and so on. Eventually stop at 50% tap + 50% purified, at which point I think this parameter would be pretty good for most fish.

But if you want to keep going, your fish MAY adapt to complete tap water eventually. Hard to say that you won't lose any, but people have definitely kept fish successfully in your tap parameters
 

SecondTime

Which tap option do you recommend, pre softener (high kH and gH) or post softener (high kH, low gH)?

If it matters, I do have plants (Swords, Java Fern and Anubias) and the algae is always a challenge.
 

Cherryshrimp420

Which tap option do you recommend, pre softener (high kH and gH) or post softener (high kH, low gH)?

If it matters, I do have plants (Swords, Java Fern and Anubias) and the algae is always a challenge.

Pre softener is better. The water post softener is unreliable because you don't know what stuff are removed including what proportion of calcium vs magnesium are removed.
 

SecondTime

Cherryshrimp420, just wanted to check in and again thank you for your help. I’ve been gradually increasing the mix of treated tap and purified. Next week, it will be at 50/50. The Gh and Kh are now at 4, and the fish population seems stable. Things are looking up, thanks to your wonderful guidance and help!
 

Similar Aquarium Threads

Replies
16
Views
205
Diane 007
Replies
4
Views
66
A201
Replies
10
Views
81
Zephyrski
Replies
7
Views
129
Yumi9001
Replies
4
Views
43
Fisch

Latest Aquarium Threads

Top Bottom