What's Killing My Fish!
Help! Hopefully you more experienced fish keepers can steer me in the right direction. It's sad to see 1 fish die every couple of weeks and not know how to stop it. What happens is 1 fish will start to isolate themselves and breath rapidly, and eventually stop eating. They will ususally bloat up at bit or have scales sticking out. Once they get to this point they die within a few days. I also lose a shrimp about once a week.
I believe my fish issues could be due to parasites from an weak immune systems - possibly due to high nitrates (20-40ppm - see below for more info). They do not get spots (ICH). This could be due to lack of vacuuming my gravel (but see my routine/issues below).
Regarding the Plants, I also wish they would do better. The crypts are doing OK (sometimes a leaf melts), just very very slow growing. The swords are not doing too well. The plants eventually turn a lighter green and the leaves start to melt (break apart). They do grow a bit but the new growth also doesn't look too good and is fragile. The java moss and moss balls look good and grow ok.
Here's some info on my setup & maintenance:
You seem to be overstocked for a 27 gallon. I think that killed your fish. Too many fish can cause a spike in ammonia. Which is very deadly to fish.
Also, I'm hoping that if I am a bit overstocked that the 50% water change every week, and the use of 2 Aquaclear filters (with Purigem) would help compensate for that. Keep in mind that my fish are all pretty small (some are tiny micro fish).
Do you see any other symptoms that might sugges parasites? In particular, long white stingy looking poop?
It your fish are bloating to the point of pineconing, they are getting dropsy. Dropsy is an end stage of an existing problem that could be caused by internal bacterial infections or perhaps parasites. The swelling is caused by organ failure and the fish can't release fluids so they swell up.
Were these fish added all at the same time? If not, did you quarantine any new fish before adding and for how long?
Regarding poop, I have noticed from time to time the long stringy white stuff, with gaps where it would appear like a hair. But this is not consistent amoung the fish and I don't notice it with any of my current fish. And not all the ones that died.
Some of the ones that died had the pineconing/dropsy, but some did not. Perhaps 1/2 of them. Do you think the high nitrates led to this?
I added the fish in stages. I don't have a second tank so don't quarantine. I don't lose any fish within the first month or two of getting them. When I do acclimate I put them in a large bowl (mixing) and add 20% tank water every 30 min or so, about 3-4 times. Then after 1-2 hours put them in.
That stringy white description could very well be internal parasites :( My guess would be that you introduced them when adding new fish without knowing if they were sick or carrying something that could wipe out your tank.
Even the best local fish stores can carry fish that are sick so it's really advisable that you quarantine for about a month (some people say less is ok but i tend to be overly cautious) in a bare bottom tank so you can observe the fish before adding. You can grab a cheap 10 gallon tank off of Craigslist or at yard sales so you don't have to invest crazy money into a QT tank unless you're trying to isolate large fish.
If you can imbed a picture here that would be helpful. It will probably be tough to get a tank shot of the fish in question so you can also try to find images that resemble what your fish's symptoms are. If it does turn out to be parasites, you should treat the whole tank with something like Metronidazole. If you suspect internal bacterial infection, a gram negative med. like Maracyn II can be used if not advanced.
Here's a link from our disease section for your reference but see what your local fish store has on hand for treatment. Keep us posted and I hope you're able to get rid of the problem.
Nitrates can also be damaging to fish. I aim for max 5 Nitrates in my tanks.
I think this maybe a combination of the parasites and Nitrates.
Any ideas how to lower the nitrates? Also regarding parasites, I'm trying to avoid medication since I don't want to harm the shirmp (and plants). Any suggestion there?
Picture of my tank
Here's a pic of my setup.
Nitrates can only be lowered by water changes. I'm sure there's medications that are invert/plant safe.
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