Wierd experience resulting in fish death.

TheFishmonger

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I went to feed my fish today and noticed white stuff on all the barbs, the fins and body. It looked like columnaris. I also noticed a celestial pearl danio barely able to swim and being carried away by the current. I went crazy as this CPD was from my second batch of young fish. I took it out and then proceeded to empty the tank. I changed 75% of the water and moved all the CPD's in the same fishbowl to transfer them in the 5.5 gallons. The sick CPD was being kicked around by the other fish, so I proceeded to place the bowl in the 5.5 gallons. Unfortunately my betta in there does not like company and he was hostile to the fish in the bowl when I submerged it. The CPD's wouldn't come out either. Then the sick CPD loses her balance and floats out of the bowl and was attacked my betta. I grabbed it with one hand while holding the bowl with the other and ran over to my 20 gallons to place them both underwater. The CPD was weak enough, but as soon as I emptied the bowl I put her back in. I placed her on the table and she was breathing very rapidly only to pass away a minute later. The weirdest part was all this time I was trying to see if the betta would accept the CPD I turned on the filter in the 20 gallons, and the white stuff disappeared completely from the bodies of all the barbs. As if it was sucked up. I was very angry to say the least with this weird experience that made me panic and rush to evacuate the CPD's out of the tank. I would have handled this differently, isolating the sick CPD that could have made a recovery.

I have been thinking for some time to move the CPD's back into the 5.5 gallons, because I do not see them eating and some have gotten thin. I moved them from the 5.5 gallons previously because my male betta stopped eating and went into depression most likely because he did not get along with the barbs in the 20 gallons tank. I am annoyed with the betta because he has indirectly been the cause of death for three CPD's already since he took up the entire 5.5 gallons. The CPD's were perfectly happy and eating in their 5.5 gallons tank for months, even though it provided limited space. I am worried that they are dying because they are not eating or are stressed by the presence of bigger fish like the barbs. Also, I am beginning to think that algae is having an impact on their health as they hang out at the top of the tank where there is green algae growing there. I either have to kick the betta out of the 5.5 gallons or increase the number of the CPD's in the 20 gallons for them to have confidence and feel safe enough to eat when I feed. Water parameters were normal two weeks ago, I did a 50% water change as well last week. I can't take measurements as I broke my last API tube and my order is stuck somewhere. The temperature is 75 F. I am also wondering if I should buy a 1 gallon bowl for the betta or give it a second try in the 20 gallons tank. I know the 1 gallon is not recommended for the betta, but he leaves me little choice.

Yesterday was the weirdest experience I ever had with fish. What could that white stuff on the fins and body be?
 

Fae

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I'm not familiar with barbs or running a semi aggressive tank, but this is my take on it.

The cpd only got sick because of stress. Likely, if things don't change, you will eventually lose all of them. It seems to me like it died mostly because of the stress of being attacked by the Betta, although you're probably right that it was sick as well.

It seems like you don't really like your betta. Why don't you find a new home for it? Not trying to be rude, I just can't imagine why you're blaming the Betta for acting as Bettas are well known to act... They are not community fish, right? Spare the fish the stress of a 1g tank and just find him someone who would actually like to put time and care into him. Then you can focus on your cpds. They can go into the 5g and destress, and hopefully the sickness will go away with that.
 
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TheFishmonger

TheFishmonger

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The issue is not the betta. Neither am I hating on the betta for being a betta. Though it is true, that all the problems started surfacing with the depression that betta had. I put him in the 5.5 gallons to be more relaxed, hopping it would accept a few small tankmates. The issue is what is going on in the 20 gallons, and how to make it more comfortable for the fish in there. It is identifying why the CPD's have are thinning and dying or losing their balance and dying in the 20 gallons. It is also identifying what was that unknown white stuff on the barbs that looked like a disease but disappeared with a water change. As a last resort, I thought about putting the betta in a bowl, I know its not ideal for the betta, but it is thought until I find a better solution or get him another tank. The issue in the 20 gallons could also not be stress. It could be an internal parasite that I am unaware of. This is why I am posting on these forums to find solutions and exchange ideas.

When I first bred the CPDs in the 5.5 gallons the conditions were not ideal given the small space and the constant chasing by the only male at that time. But, at least for sure they had no other stress from the presence of bigger fish. I thought the barbs would be a problem when I first moved them to the 20 gallons but the Barbs are busy picking on each other instead of bothering other fish. I had the CPD in the 20 gallons for 2 months when the first batch of fry hatched in the 5.5 gallons. I lost only one CPD then, an adult female. When I put them back in the 5.5 gallons I hatched some more fry a month later. This time I decided to leave them in with their fry, but two CPD's died (a young male from the first batch and another adult female) since I left the water unchanged for over a week because of the tiny fry, and I had a problem with gas bubbles coming from under the substrate that killed off my large colony of bladder snails. So I moved them again to the 20 gallons to let the fry grow. This is when the betta started having depression problems and stopped eating. Three months later, I lost the second young CPD male, followed by the older male and father of the group, and now a young female CPD from the second batch. All these losses were after I moved the betta in the 5.5 gallons tank, which is why I said the betta is indirectly caused this issue. The betta itself has issues beyond my comprehension. It randomly bangs into plants and I have no clue what to do as I treated him with seachem paraguard. So, given the wasting issues in the CPD's which I previously had with some of the Rummynose, I suspect that the deaths have to do with a parasite or stress, maybe both. I am thinking that perhaps I should put the betta back in the 20 gallons tank and treat all together with Seachem, and something that kills internal parasites, and then I will be able to say yes, stress is the cause.. Or no, the issue was an internal parasite. Right now it is too difficult to say since there are many plausible scenarios that require different responses and I need to rule out each possible cause to arrive to the right action.
 

Fae

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Sorry, I wasn't trying to say I knew the answer to your sickness issue as I honestly don't have a ton of experience with illnesses. I was simply commenting on what I thought I could offer some insight about.

Sounds to me like you're in a real pickle. If this is doable, I would either get a large tank and make three sections, or set up 3 smaller tanks, and divide the fish by species into hospital tanks. They likely all have the same issue, but the added stress of the competing fish won't make healing easier. I would treat all of your fish aggressively for fungus, or whatever it is you think is the heart of the issue. From what you've said it seems to me like the illness has progressed quite a bit so I wouldn't hold back

While your fish are in the hospital, I would clean any tank they have been in recently with bleach, throw out your filter media, and start fresh. Whatever they've caught seems, for lack of better descriptor, seems straight up FUNKY. Hopefully everyone recovers with treatment but I would NOT put anyone back into whatever caused this

Hopefully that helps, sorry I can't offer more specific advice or insight into what exactly is plaguing your fish. I'll give it some thought but I lack practical experience with fish, reminds me of raising millipedes though so I'll have a think
 

Fae

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Do you have some photos of your tanks? It sounds to me like its some kind of environmental problem which is providing suitable breeding ground for disease.

You said at the beginning you thought it was columnaris? Could it be that or ich? If it all disappeared when you changed the water with the barbs.

TheFishmonger said:
algae is having an impact on their health as they hang out at the top of the tank where there is green algae growing there.
TheFishmonger said:
I lost only one CPD then, an adult female
TheFishmonger said:
but two CPD's died
TheFishmonger said:
since I left the water unchanged for over a week because of the tiny fry, and I had a problem with gas bubbles coming from under the substrate that killed off my large colony of bladder snails. So I moved them again to the 20 gallons to let the fry grow. This is when the betta started having depression problems and stopped eating
TheFishmonger said:
wasting issues in the CPD's which I previously had with some of the Rummynose
Have you been cleaning your tanks in between all these deaths? And I don't think algae would create a problem for your cpds unless they already were immunocompromised
 

Jdk246

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can you please present more info on the 'white stuff'. Is it like strings? slimy perhaps? or just small patches? All this is important to identify the cause of this illness. i personally never kept cpds before but from what i'm reading, the most likely cause is stress. weird stuff just happens to all my fishes and even turtles when they get stressed out and the best treatment which i have always used is by just placing them in a bigger and cycled aquarium which i think in your case is not possible to do. Placing a (presumably male betta as it is aggressive) in a 5.5 gallon tank with tankmates was a mistake IMO unless there is so much hiding space or the tankmates were like kuhli loaches, snails,etc which the betta ignores. So for the 20 gal problem, just try to do frequent water changes (but not too much as it would cause stress) and based on your betta having a depression and the others getting sick as well, there could be something to do with your water parameters or your 20 gal tank itself. As for the betta being placed in a 1 gal aquarium, it is for sure not the best place for your betta and i recommend you having the 1 gal as a temporary setup and try to get a bigger one (preferably a minimum of 5 gal in my experience). If you are going to place it in a 1 gal, you will have to do water changes every other day otherwise the betta will be having some problems such as fin rot,parasites and other nasty stuff. Good luck!

and dont forget to post the pics
 

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