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What's going on in my tank?!?!

Discussion about fish health and water chemistry.

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Post Thu May 25, 2017 2:28 am
ngkevin2011 Level 3 Member
Level 3 Member

Posts: 95
I had 9 quarter size, 2 prebreeder angels, 4 small, 3 adult cories in a 29 gal bare bottom grow out tank. Running a large sponge and HOB filter. I power feed them with flake, tetra bits 4-5 times a day. 50% water changes daily sometimes twice. Temp 79. Deworming every 2-3weeks.

Everyone was happy. They ate like pigs. Grew up fast. Then problem started about a month ago. 1 angel lost appetite, darted, less active, hanging out in corner, breathing a bit faster and more labored, toward the end it was more like floating than swimming. It died less than a week later. Then my cories same thing. Died off 1 by 1. Then another angel got same symptoms a week ago. I cut down feeding to 2-3times/day with just enough for them to finish in 3-5min. Then my last 3 cories died off at once few days ago. I took water sample to Petco nearby. They tested and said water was good. Everything where it should be. I checked it myself pH 8-8.2 (I have very soft general hardness about 4 cuz of whole house water filter +new water softener, but high KH and pH), ammonia ~0.25, temp 79. I then did 10-15% water changes twice daily. 2nd time usually after their last feeding with aged water to reduce pH swing. And put 1teaspoon aquarium salt/10gal. Then the sick angel died today. 2 more angels started with symptoms since yesterday.

Note that they still showed interest in foods. But they just spit out right away, or chewed then spit out. Today I saw both of them tried to swallow. But they seemed to choke on small flake. They darted then dropped down on tank bottom lifeless for a good 5min before revived. But still breathing elevated a bit more labored, less active mostly in corner, darted a bit. No sign of deseases like ick, Hith, white poops. Water perimeters seems good except pH a bit high at 8-8.2. All other fish still looking good n feeding strong. Actually they were all healthy and ate like pigs until they show symptoms all a sudden. Didn't look like bloating either cuz they had no problem descending to tank bottom. Am dumbfounded to what's wrong. Tried everything I knew too. Anyone had this problem before?!?! I need to know what's wrong before it wipe out my remaining angels. The angels I lost were nicely orange covered. But now a prebreeder smokey got it too.

Post Fri May 26, 2017 1:37 pm
Passionfish Level 20 Member
Level 20 Member

Posts: 12302
Location: apple valley, mn
First thought is bloat. Bloat occurs in fish with long GI tracts. Typical diet for this fish is algae with organisms living in algae and perhaps plankton too. However, they spend the entire day searching for food because their is no lavish food bar in their native habitat. Since they ingest small amounts all day long the food passes through long gi tract slowly but steadily.

Fish will long gi tracts need vegetable matter and/or spirulina in their diet. This will prevent food from stopping in GI tract. Once food stops bloat can occur. Will not go into the entire story of bloat now.

Predator fish have shorter gi tracts but predators do not eat all day long. They may get a few small bites a day or nothing. Thus their gi tracts are not filled either.

It is true that some fish factories power feed fry and grow outs to speed growth. It is my understanding that only enough food is consumed within minutes then nothing more for a few hours. Then repeat many times during the day. I have not read any scientific studies about this feeding method but have heard stories that fish raised with this type of feeding have shorter lives. It is not due to problems with gi tracts but perhaps a gene that is affected by unnatural growth. That is purely conjecture.

Another possible issue is fish that are inbreed which includes all aquarium strain fish. Again, rumor is this fish lose something as they are inbred. Perhaps an immune system gene that allows immune cells to recognize bacteria or virus. When the immune system fails to recognize the invasive organims, fish die. This immune system disfunction could be problem with fish from fish factories that power feed too. Again pure conjecture.

Another issue is soft water. Fish need calcium and magnesium to function. Calcium is requried for bone growth. The fish do not need liquid rock like water from Minnesota aquifers but they need some calcium in the water for growth.

I would start with no more food for a week. Clean water which from your comments on water changes is done. However, ammonia should be zero at all times. Bio filters that are fully cycled are capable of keeping ammonia at zero. With a reading of 0.25 ppm, either bio filters are not fully cycled or bio load was increased to a level beyound filter capacity. Most filters can catch up in a few weeks to handle increased bio load but right now, ammonia could be stressing fish. Presume nitrite is zero and nitrate is less than 20 ppm. Both should be at those levels.

Stress is a big deal. Stress can shut the immune system down with result fish cannot survive any bacterial, viral or fungal infections. A lot of things affect stress. Water changes with different water chemistries or temperature, nitrogen content of water, tank mates, too much light, no places to hide, etc.
Like a complete unknown

Post Fri May 26, 2017 1:45 pm
Passionfish Level 20 Member
Level 20 Member

Posts: 12302
Location: apple valley, mn
First correct underlying issue that result in fish stress. This alone maybe enough.

Fungal infections methylene blue or malachite green
Bacterial infections salt or broad spectrum antibiotics
Viral there is no treatment.
Multi celled organisms like ick, there are proprietary products containing malachite green and aldehyde. Other organims have various treatments. A shotgun approach is Clout.

Do not treat for disease unless it is there. If fish do not show signs of worms, do not treat with a dewormer.
All treatments stress the fish. We are trying to reduce stress but only accept treatment stress because we believe fish will dies without treatment.
Like a complete unknown

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