Dreaded Neon Tetra Disease!?
I had 3 jumbo cardinal tetras for about 2-3 months, they were perfectly healthy. I decided to add 3 more so they could school. The day after I lost 2 of the tetras, one was dead dead, the other had a curved spine and looked like it couldn't swim. The next day 2 more had died, similar symptoms. It has been about 1 1/2 weeks since that with my two remaining tetras, they always seemed to be a bit restless, but I was hoping it would be because they didn't have a school. Now today I noticed a swarm of white bubbly spots on them, they are still restless, and a loss of appetite. I have 1 male guppy in the tank as well, and so far none of this has phased him. The tetras are still schooling together, as well as have a nice color to them, sometimes they calm down...but they seem very stressed.
Is this the neon tetra disease, false neon tetra disease, maybe ich? (although they don't seem to be itching against the gravel.) Is it worth me getting antibiotics for the fish?
EDIT: I take that back, my fancy guppy appears to be hiding by the heater, which is something I haven't seen him do. (he shows no physical signs)
Water conditions: 7.2 pH, 0 Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate. 78 degrees.
I don't know the symptoms of neon tetra disease but your pH is much higher than cardinals prefer - they do best in very soft water, with pH below 6. This may have contributed to them becoming more susceptible to this disease.
Cardinal tetras are supposedly resistant to NTD... although a quick search on the internet showed a picture of what is supposed to be NTD on a cardinal.
Neon tetra disease usually first presents as restlessness. As the disease progresses the fish may develop deep white spots that destroy the color, abnormal muscle movements, difficulty swimming, lumps in the flesh and occasionally spinal deformities.
Columnaris, false NTD is an external bacterial infection, and to me, looks really different. NTD is internal and aside from deformities the outer skin is normal looking. [columnaris] This disease can also lead to spinal deformities but externally looks different from NTD.
Ich presents as white spots and the fish will look like it was rolled in salt.
If it is NTD, unfortunately the afflicted fish will need to be euthanized and the aquarium will have to be cleaned. It is highly contagious and can infect all kinds of fish.
If it is columnaris, treat with broad spectrum antibiotics.
Late stage NTD can cause white patches. They are normally small and can be confused for ich until they become larger and are irregularly shaped. There is no confirmed cure for NTD, it is highly contagious but only seems to affect characins, with some barbs and loaches being the exception. This would explain why the guppy is unaffected, livebearers, catfish, and puffers seem to be immune to it. While columnaris affects all species. Its always hard to pin a diagnosis down but, it sounds like NTD to me. I have never been able to cure it although rumors exist that erythomycin is effective. My PH is 7.4-7.6 and I could never keep tetras healthy so I don't keep them anymore.
Last year I got some neon tetras that had this diease I tried eveything and still lost all of them. I did have other fish in with them a pair of Honey Gourami, Harlequin Rasbora, and golden barbs all the others were fine just the neons were infected Good luck with them.
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