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Jasey 04-05-2008 01:10 AM

Mysterious Panda Cory Death
Today I discovered my one of my panda cories, the lone male, dead as I was doing a water change. Now I am assuming he was male, because he was considerably less-plump than all the others, and his blackness was more prominent. His death didn't surprise me too much, though, because he had been behaving abnormally for the past week or less. He would breathe more rapidly than the other 5 cories, and forage less frequently for food, and he would not hide in the shade of the driftwood/plants. Looking at his body after he died, he had some light red splotches near his belly. His unusual behavior and the splotches are the only evidence I have towards the unknown cause of his death. Any ideas? I'd like to keep the other cories and fish as healthy as possible.

The tank is a 55 gallon.
Substrate: sand.
Lighting: 2 18Watt fluorescent on for 9 hours
Water parameters: ammonia=0, nitrite=0, nitrate=40, pH=7.5
Other fish: 5 black skirt tetras, 1 pearl gourami, 1 bristlenose pleco, 1 mystery snail, 5 panda cories (living), 1 black molly
Filtration: 2 HOB (used) equivalent to Penguin 330
Last water change & amount: Today, 25%
Feeding: Flakes daily, crisps and freeze dried bloodworms occasionally; shrimp pellets and veggie wafers alternated daily

dougz 04-05-2008 09:25 AM

That's too Bad, Jasey.. :(

I'm guessing the little guy was more sensitive than the other fish in the tank to the high nitrates in your tank..

20-25ppm is getting up there, 40 is really up there..

Might want to step up the water changes..

That's all I can think of, and hopefully someone with more experience can help you trouble-shoot this better..

okiemavis 04-05-2008 09:47 AM

So sorry for the loss, I agree the the high nitrates thing. Panda's are more sensitive than a lot of cories. How new are they? I ask because panda's are notorious for shipping poorly. I'd recommend plants to keep the nitrates lower, but with your lighting I don't think you could keep any alive. I think you'll just have to keep up with the water changes and test your water params religiously.

Jasey 04-05-2008 12:27 PM

Thanks for the replies. Man, I guess I will have to do either.. more than one water change a week, or change more water when I do them once a week. Right now I have been doing 25% weekly, but the nitrates are still at 40 after the change.

As for plants, the tank currently has two frilly plants, 1 java fern, 2 grass plants I don't know the name of, and 1 red ludwigia. I use pfertz fertilizer and they have all done great so far, except for the java fern.

Perhaps I am feeding the fish too much, and this eventually leads to a high nitrate level?

okiemavis 04-05-2008 02:05 PM

You should test your tap water for nitrates, that may be contributing to the high levels. Also, yes, overfeeding will cause high nitrate levels. Nitrates are the end result of food as well as fish waste breaking down, that's why "feeding" an empty tank helps speed up cycling a new tank.

Jasey 04-05-2008 03:27 PM

I just tested my tap water for nitrates, and sure enough, the level was 7. So that must contribute some. I wonder if it would be okay to just feed them every other day? Or, should I continue feeding them every day but just cut back on the amount?

Here is the amount I feed the tank daily: 1-2 pinches of flakes, with an occasional pinch of freeze dried bloodworms as well. Then, for the bottom dwellers, either 3 veggie wafers, or about 10 shrimp pellets (alternated every day).

okiemavis 04-05-2008 03:46 PM

I'd stick to feeding every day, just less. The flakes should be as much as they can consume in no more than a minute. As for the pellets, I've always had a harder time with those, as my cories like to graze and won't gobble it all down at once. 10 pellets seems like a bit much though, I've got a bunch of bottom feeders and I only feed about 4-5 pellets.

What water conditioner are you using? I use Prime (which I love, it's so concentrated it's going to last me forever). It neutralizes the nitrates so they aren't toxic to fish, so if I were you I would look into getting a water conditioner that will take care of the nitrates in your tap water.

Jasey 04-05-2008 05:59 PM

Thanks for your responses. I use Stress Coat as a water conditioner, and I don't think it has an effect on the nitrates. As for feeding, the only thing is, the next day all of the pellets/wafers are gone. I'm assuming they are eaten because I can't see them anywhere. The pleco and my snail are always the first to start eating them. I think I'll cut back though. I especially can on the flakes because several usual float down.

Flashygrrl 04-05-2008 07:34 PM

You could always get some water sprite and see if that helps any (can't remember if you has it before or not).

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