Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Julie's Julies 06-11-2007 12:22 PM

All female swordtails are dying!
I am new to aquaria and have two tanks: a 10-gallon and a 55-gallon.

Specs on 10-gallon: 3 months old, live plants, UV lights, no sunlight whatsoever, Tetra filter 5-15, temperature is 77, three neon tetras, 1 cory cat, 1 male swordtail.

Specs on 55-gallon: 5 weeks old (but bought used so it cycled almost instantaneously), plastic plants, incandescent light, no sunlight, Penguin 350/double bio-wheel filter plus additional air stone for more aeration, temperature is 78, two baby angels, 1 female betta, 5 zebra danios.

I religiously change 25% of water every week on both tanks. I have never had an ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate spike on either tank. Ph is about 7.8-8.0 on both.

I bought a female red velvet swordtail for the 10-gallon tank. Day 1: healthy, though small. Day 2: stopped eating, clamped fins, thin white feces. Day 3: developed tail rot; moved to hospital tank and treated with Mardel fungicide. Day 4: slightly swollen left side; sinking to bottom of tank, listing to side, extreme lethargy. Day 5: dead.

I then bought four more red velvet females for my 55-gallon tank - all were large, beautiful, healthy, and active. The EXACT same symptoms occurred to one, and then another and then a third of these beautiful specimens!! I moved all fish from the 10-gallon into the 55-gallon and then put all four sick red velvets into the 10-gallon and made it a hospital tank. I've used Maracyn 1 & 2 and Mardel fungicide, again without results.

Three of the four are sunk on the bottom of the tank, unable to move. I need to freeze them, I think. All other fish are symptom free, including male swordtail. I don't get it.

I am assuming that the root cause is bacterial infection since they do not have ich, dropsy, visible parasites, etc. Any help, suggestions, info is greatly appreciated! I don't want to buy any more swords until the problem is remedied. :cry:

mHeinitz57 06-11-2007 01:30 PM

yeah it does sound like a bacterial infection which would explain the fin and tail rot and clamped fins. Also sounds like they may have had infected swim bladders too if they were floating to one side or having difficulty controlling bouyancy. Bacterial infections can cause the swim bladder walls to thicken and oxygen can not flow in and out of it via osmosis as well as it should. Bacterial infections can be a result of stress in a new tank but you may want to ask your local fish store how their red velvets have been doing in the store. Working at a fish store, I know that occassionally the breeders send a batch of fish that regularly have issues for several weeks in a row. If your water quality is really as good as you say it is, then the problem could lie at the fish store or the breeder supplying the store. If you are going to try again, maybe try drip acclimating the new fish over the course of several hours before releasing into your tank. If you still have the same problem and your water quality is good, I would try getting them from another store.

Julie's Julies 06-11-2007 02:39 PM

Thanks for the response. Your description of infected swim bladders definitely fits my fish! I will try drip acclimation next time around - I did this for my betta and she is doing great. I will also look for a third store to try (the first sword and the second batch of four were from two different stores).

mHeinitz57 06-11-2007 03:19 PM

different stores doesn't always mean different suppliers though. I would still ask if they have had any troubles with them. If you notice swim bladder infections again, try a bath of antibiotics (either Sulfa or Erythromycin). I've heard raising the temperature a few degrees can actually help if the walls of the swim bladder have become hardened. You can also get medicated foods but i'm not sure how well those work. Good luck on the next fish though! :-)

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