Swordtail died randomly overnight. Stuck at the bottom. What happened? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 06-11-2009, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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Swordtail died randomly overnight. Stuck at the bottom. What happened?

Hey guys, so, I've had my my male black and red swordtail, named "Lambo", for about a month or so, In a peaceful community tank, along with 2 Dalmation Mollies. Male and Female. 2 Yellow Platies, another Swordtail, and 3 Black Phantom Tetras. My swordtai was doing so well the night before.

This morning when I woke up, getting ready to feed the rest of the fish, I noticed him not moving in one of his usual hiding spots. I tapped the tank with my finger in that corner. Nothing. Then i took the net and swished it in the area, hoping to scare him a bit so he would move. Nothing. At that point i knew something was wrong.

I washed my arm thouroughly, and ended up having to move a rock in that area to dislodge him. When he floated to the top, i noticed white stuff that was pretty translucent around his belly. His belly had holes in it, and damage around his anus area.

My guesses are, He got stuck there last night, and was thrashing around in an attempt to get loose, and maybe couldnt breathe, or damaged himself from the gravel underneath to the point where he died from his injuries.

My other guess is he had parasites maybe. The parasites maybe ate him from the inside out. I have no idea. Or possibly the other fish nibbled at him for a while, while he was decaying. I hope he didn't have Ich because last time I checked thats contagious.

But, that's my story, if any of you have any insight as to what happened to Lambo, or what may be going on, that would be greatly appreciated. I'm pleased to be a part of this community.
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post #2 of 4 Old 06-13-2009, 12:05 PM
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I've been waiting for those with more experience than I have at diagnosing problems to respond, but I'll make a general observation. Fish do die from several things that could be undetectable without dissection. If this was an isolated death, and the other fish look fine, I wouldn't worry. Just keep close observations on the others at feeding time and in general to see if their behaviours are normal. I have had one fish suddenly die without any reason I could detect, and in aquaria where nothing new has been added for months.

Lots of parasites and diseases are contagious, but careful observation will sort this out. This is not ich from your description.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #3 of 4 Old 06-17-2009, 01:29 AM
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How long has the tank been set up? If the tank itself has only been set up for a month it could very well still be going through some stage of the cycling process, which is very hard on the immune systems of your tank's inhabitants. This could lead your fish to die from any number of diseases, ammonia poisoning, nitrite poisoning, etc.

Diseases that cause a lot of external damage like you're describing usually take quite a bit of time to get to the point you saw. If you didn't notice any sort of damage the night before, I'd put my money on the damage being caused by other fish nipping at him while he was dying or already dead. Without photos at the very least, determining the actual cause of death is not easy.

However, in order to protect the health of your remaining fish, you should post your water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate) and any more information that may help us understand what water quality issues or diseases may be present in your tank and then we can offer advice on how to prevent more deaths.

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post #4 of 4 Old 06-17-2009, 02:08 AM
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I would also wonder if the other swordtail is a male. Often, male swordtails do not get along with other males . Could possibly be that this fish was stressed due to hounding by other swordtail that you may or may not have witnessed. In any event,, I agree with others. See that ammonia=0 nitrites=0 and nitrAtes =20. Swordtails and platys would appreciate cooler water than the mollys. Swordtails do best in the long term with temp between 74 and 77 degrees. Mollys are comfortable at temp up to 82. All livebearers prefer slightly hard alkaline water and do poorly in the long term in soft or acidic water. Livebearers also appreciate some vegetable or algae as a portion of their diet. I currently have two hi-fin, lyre tailed swordtails who very much like Omega veggie flakes along with brine shrimp and occasional blood worms. I would not rule out the possibilty of a fish that was sick when you got it. Sometimes fish that are sick can go a considerable length of time before presenting noticeable symptoms. That's why maintainig good water quality is important. Many fish can fight off disease and or parasites if provided with good water quality.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.

Last edited by 1077; 06-17-2009 at 02:22 AM.
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