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Stormfish 05-02-2012 11:58 AM

Is it Costia?
I bought a school of Bleeding Heart Tetra 2-3 weeks ago, and since they've been coming down with a mystery illness that comes on very rapidly, and kills them off within 24 hours of onset.

My water parameters are "fantastic" as per testing at Big Al's. 0 nitrate, 0 ammonia, etc., etc. My tank is a live planted 20 gal. long with dual HO full spectrum lighting, heated to a consistant 78F, thoroughly aerated with two bubblers, and a Tetra Whisper EX70 HOB filter. The tank is cycled.

The illness begins as whitish bumps, which moves very fast all over the body, taking fins and tails. They gasp for breath. They become disoriented and unable to balance themselves and boom! dead.

I treated them for 7 days with Pimafix and Melafix. Did a 33% water change following it. No difference. I've lost 5-6 of them. Started out with 17. I have 2 more sick in the tank as I type this. Whatever this is, it wants to take them all.

On a side note, my three Otocinclus and 4 African Dwarf Frogs are completely unaffected by this, and all seem happy and healthy. They show no illness whatsoever.

I've attached some pics. Sorry about the poor quality. But you can see the white areas I'm talking about.

Please help! I'm not sure what it is, so I haven't treated it effectively. I've googled the heck out of this. I've badgered the guys at Big Al's (heh heh!), to no avail. Is it a form of costia? Advice needed, please and thanks.

Olympia 05-07-2012 03:23 PM

If this disease is progressing quickly, I'd move onto more serious medication like malachite green, formalin, or another powerful anti bacterial. You will have to move the fish into a separate QT as copper based medications can damage any plants, and will most likely kill the frogs. Pima/Melafix really aren't powerful medications and are best used for very unserious illnesses.

I'm not totally sure that it's costia. Could be a number of things. Are the fish itching themselves?

Stormfish 05-07-2012 03:42 PM

They're not rubbing up against anything in the tank. They behave normally — swimming around, schooling, eating and then the illness comes on suddenly (i.e., shows physical signs like in the pics) and they're dead within hours. Had another drop this morning. I noticed one of it's eyes was foggy, and it was dead within two hours.

Weirdest thing ever.

Btw, I have not been replacing them as they die. Whatever it is is affecting them alone and I'd hate to infect and and kill more Tetra.

Olympia 05-07-2012 03:47 PM

There is a form of columnaris that can kill a fish in hours. Perhaps it's a fungus?
Unless you are physically seeing the specks moving around, not just spreading.
Even if it kills off all your tetra- you may have to restart your tank before adding more, I'm not totally sure about that.

Stormfish 05-07-2012 03:52 PM

It looks like it's something on the inside of the fish, if that makes sense. They show a few whitish areas, their bodies go dark and almost metallic looking, and then they die. I've seen nothing on them in terms of parasites, worms, etc.

If this helps in the diagnosis, there were a couple close to death that I removed and put into their own little tank. I watched them and it was like they'd have a small seizure and die. I don't know how else to describe it. Happens very fast.

And I don't know if this is silly or not, but is it possible the ADFs carry something that the Tetra in particular are sensitive to? E.g., salmonella?

Olympia 05-07-2012 04:06 PM

I doubt it. ADFs can carry Chytrid fungus but as far as I know fish can't get it. Salmonella can be carried by fish as well as frogs.
There aren't too many diseases that pass easily between species.

Stormfish 05-07-2012 04:08 PM

Okie dokie. Thanks for your help, Olympia! Much appreciated. 8-)

Olympia 05-07-2012 04:10 PM

Yea, no prob! I'd just isolate the fish and try a tough anti bacterial/parasitic treatment.

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