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low05011487 10-11-2011 05:34 PM

Platy Plague in my tank
 
Hi all (sorry its a long one)

I have a 40 imperial gallon long planted tank and it has been set up for around 14 weeks now. It cycled fine, had no issues, lost one corydoras in the beginning 1 day after buying it from the store. Is/was currently stocked with 5 platies, 6 guppies, 4 panda corys, 3 bandit cories, 3 juvenile angelfish (moved them to my newly cycled 55 gal, although hadnt finished aquascaping), 6 neon tetras and 1 swordtail. All fish were introduced over a period of time and was a fishless cycle.

My water is ph 6-6.5 and and parameters have been fine, they currently are:

Ammonia- 0
Nitrite -0
Nitrate - 5-10
GH - 125
KH - 75
Temp- 26c

Anyhow, I wanted some new fish, to replace the angel fish I was moving. So I went online and ordered some (fool me) as my nearest store costs more to get to than to order online. They arrived all alive, looked healthy and added them to tank, being the idiot that I am, I did not quarantine them, as have mollys in my other 20 gallon and I know thats no excuse.

I bought 1 juvenile blushing angel fish, 1 juvenile swordtail, 4 small neon tetras and 1 female guppy.

The next day I found the new female guppy belly up in the bottom of the tank. Did the readings, were all fine. So put it down to stress from travelling, I had acclimatized them for an hour using the 1 cup out 1 cup in method then netting and releasing. Also the neon tetras were very small (like fry) and 2 of them had just dissapeared off the face of the earth- i checked everywhere and even the filter but to no avail. So I guess my larger juvenile angel may have had a happy meal out of those.

So I did a water change and vaccumed the sand. The next night I got up in the early hours to check thinking my tetras wouldnt be there but they were and low and behold another guppy was dead with its tail missing and my beloved dawn platy - the very first fish i bought , having had it 9 months.

I got very unsettled then, checked all the parameters, they were fine. Still did a 30% water change and gravel vaccum, fed sparingly and checked my fish and there were no physical symptoms of disease. The dawn platy had no damage, checked inside, looked normal though obviously im not a vet.

During the day one after the other i lost 3 more of my platies. Devastated. Tested the water again- nothing out of the norm. Got two filters running on the tank and plenty aeration and surface agitation. I immediately set up a hospital tank buying a 10 gal and moved 3 of my guppies looking very lethargic and one platy, not doing a whole lot but hanging around the filter.

The next day 2 of the guppies were dead, in my 40 gal my lovely swordtail which ive had for 3 months also dead. No sign of illness or disease. Again water changes, as at a loss of what to do. During that day my new angel fish died and this morning I woke up to my last platy on its last legs.

Sorry this post is so morbid, but im completely dumbfounded. My original fish were thriving before i added the new ones (the juvenile swordtail the only one remaining), could something I cannot see with my naked eye have gotten into my tank. The last swordtail has fin rot on his pectoral fin, so i added melafix, which has helped me in the past.

The only stuff i add to my tank are interpet tap safe and potassium, ferrous iron and trace elements fertilizers for the plants in half dosage as reccommened. I dont run CO2 and my fish are fed brine shrimp, frozen blood worm, flakes and pellets- all in date.

Im not sure what to do, I just want to cry, I euthanized the last platy and feel awful, some may not agree but i used the hard blunt object to the head technique as wanted it to be quick, he died instantaneously. However sorry if its tmi the platy had a little blue ball inside it- was like a very tiny marble and see through- not sure if that is part of its natural anatomny.

If anyone can help, i would greatly appreciate. This is like a black plague.

Pisces47 10-11-2011 07:06 PM

Whoa! this is certainly complicated isn't it?
I think that you've done enough and should start again. The only thing I'm not sure about is the plant fertiliser you are putting in the tank, I'm not a great believer in the liquid stuff and only use tablets.
Mixing live bearers and Angelfish can be fraught with problems as well, Angelfish are very territorial and aggressive, maybe they chased and pestered some of the livebearers to death.
Start again but don't complicate things too much, take out the plants and accessories and wash them under running water, rinse the sand/gravel thoroughly and cycle the tank again but don't add chemicals.
I would never buy anything without looking at it first, it may cost a bit extra but at least you know what you are getting.
Good luck and let us know how you get on.

low05011487 10-11-2011 11:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pisces47 (Post 858460)
Whoa! this is certainly complicated isn't it?
I think that you've done enough and should start again. The only thing I'm not sure about is the plant fertiliser you are putting in the tank, I'm not a great believer in the liquid stuff and only use tablets.
Mixing live bearers and Angelfish can be fraught with problems as well, Angelfish are very territorial and aggressive, maybe they chased and pestered some of the livebearers to death.
Start again but don't complicate things too much, take out the plants and accessories and wash them under running water, rinse the sand/gravel thoroughly and cycle the tank again but don't add chemicals.
I would never buy anything without looking at it first, it may cost a bit extra but at least you know what you are getting.
Good luck and let us know how you get on.

I still have 8 tetras, 6 corys and 2 guppies in the tank. Lost another guppy just now (she was pregnant) :-( the only thing ive just noticed is my larger filter isnt working properly (fluval u3), I have a tetratec filter in there aswell for 90 litres. This is a complete nightmare and my readings have shown a sharp increase in ammonia as I had to re-buy liquid drops today. I was using those sticks, even though their not reliable but also have a seachem ammonia alert on the tank and both were reading 'safe and 0' and thought well they are both reading ok it must be fine. The drops have proved that wrong as my ammonia is at 2.0. The outflow from my filter is very weak, although the other is working fine and provides lots of aeriation. I am the worst fish keeper in the world for relying on them sticks, when i should have bought new drops :-(

I realise now that im probably doing more harm than good in keeping doing the water changes as its stressing the fish, I added another airpump to increase circulation. So it seems I have an ammonia spike, a combo of adding a new biolad to the tank with a faulty filter.

Should I add bacteria to help it cycle as quickly as possible? Ive got the 55 gal with the angelfish and a Gourami in but i dont want to add a spike to that either and the hospital tank was set up yesterday.

1077 10-12-2011 03:00 AM

Would clean the filter that's not running right and get it running. Dirt inside, could be contributing to ammonia level's if bacteria inside is dying, along with any decaying waste trapped in/on filter material.
Would leave other filter alone,and clean it in maybe a week or two. Would not clean both at same time.
In my view,, it sound's as though the platy's,swordtail,and guppies , don't appreciate the rather soft water your report's indicate.
Live bearer's such as you list need Hard,Alkaline Water to perform well over the long haul,
and it is not uncommon for them to suffer from finrot,fungus,and slowly succumb when kept in softer water.
In hard ,alkaline water the fish you mention can live three to five year's or longer.(in softer water,weeks,month's)IME.
Were it me,, I might remove sick fish,dead fish,and let the tank run with the fish that are left and not add any more fish for a few week's.
Would leave plant's in place to help with lowering ammonia level's .
Would perform weekly water change as usual, while watching fishes closely. Tetra's and cory's will be fine in softer water.
Angelfish may have been weak,sick,when purchased or could have ate a smaller sick fish, and pathogen was passed on in this way to Angelfish.
Could also be that elevated ammonia level's were present before they were noticed and some of the fish have survived thus far while other's didn't.
Hard to say about the Angelfish, but considering the tera's and cory's seem fine thus far, I am leaning towards lack of hardness,alkalinity that the live beaer's appreciate as primary cause.IMHO

KendraMc 10-12-2011 11:12 AM

is it just me, or does it seem like your pH is low for the hardness of your water? that low of a pH isn't good for livebearers, but (from my understanding) that hardness should be ok. i don't know if this is your problem, but since it looks like you've lost only and most of your livebearers, i'd wonder about this.

low05011487 10-12-2011 01:09 PM

I have had a good clean in the filter itself, including the propeller and to no avail it still underperforms than it should do and the venturi system on it still isnt aeriating the water, although it is pulling in the debris and providing underwater agitation. I clean this filter once a week, both sponges in aquarium water- is it possible to overclean the aquarium and cause an ammonia spike? I usually start with cleaning all the glass with an algae pad, then removing the filter sponges with a couple of squeezes into a bucket of aquarium water, netting any plant debris, then gravel vaccuing the tank and under the stones and driftwood, also cutting any dead plant matter away before a 30% water change.

I think you have both raised very valid points in regards to the guppies, swordtails and platies not having optimal water conditions. I was mulling it over yesterday as to- if it was such a huge ammonia spike then why are my tetras and angels still swimming around and yet my platies and guppies are dead, which in the past have proved extremely hardy.

I live in a spa town in the uk and i always thought my water was hard, tests revealed it was soft as youve both stated and the ph and water hardness levels in my tank are exactly the same as the levels that come out of my tap. I tried to raise ph up to around 7 in the past but it did not work. Is there a way to improve water hardness levels? If this is nigh impossible then I wont be keeign livebearers from now on, as obviously the slightest defect in water quality combined with the softness and low ph has killed them.

I havent had any more deaths today, they appear to be quite active, i did another 30% water change and at the moment the ammonia is 0. I added some api cycle to my tank in the vague hope it may help this siutation. My angels and gourami are doing very well in the new tank. I also have a 20g with silver mollies and they seem to fine, with adding a bit of aquarium salt.

Right this may seem a silly question to ask. But as I live in a spa town, we have underground mineral water and a main well in the town (Buxton water) having looked on the specifics of the well water on the site it says the PH of the well water is 7.4 and these are the specifics:

Temp. at source: 81.5F (27.5C)
Calcium 55mg/l
chloride 37 mg/l
TDS 280 mg/l
Hydrongeniccarbonate 248 mg/l
Magnesium 19 mg/l
Nitrate 0.1 mg/l
Potassium 1 mg/l
Sodium 24 mg/l
sulphates 13 mg/l

Could I use the spa water for my tank- is it safe? The PH is alot better for the livebearers but what about water hardness - would this water be better than the tap water? Hopefully someone with good water content knowledge can help me with this one. As the well is open to the public I can collect using 5 gallon bottles several times per week and just heat to correct temp in a bucket for water changes?

Many thanks for everyones help

EDIT: Im not sure if this will help, but is a description on the buxton spa water:-

"Buxton is one of the purest natural mineral waters in the world. According to the British Geological Survey, the water that emerges from the source today fell as rain over 5000 years ago.
During its long underground passage, from a depth of 1500 metres, the water filters through the ancient limestone of the Peak District, acquiring a natural balance of minerals during its long journey. The water emerges at a temperature of 81.5 F regardless of the weather"

1077 10-13-2011 01:13 AM

[quote=low05011487;859388]I have had a good clean in the filter itself, including the propeller and to no avail it still underperforms than it should do and the venturi system on it still isnt aeriating the water, although it is pulling in the debris and providing underwater agitation. I clean this filter once a week, both sponges in aquarium water- is it possible to overclean the aquarium and cause an ammonia spike? I usually start with cleaning all the glass with an algae pad, then removing the filter sponges with a couple of squeezes into a bucket of aquarium water, netting any plant debris, then gravel vaccuing the tank and under the stones and driftwood, also cutting any dead plant matter away before a 30% water change.

I think you have both raised very valid points in regards to the guppies, swordtails and platies not having optimal water conditions. I was mulling it over yesterday as to- if it was such a huge ammonia spike then why are my tetras and angels still swimming around and yet my platies and guppies are dead, which in the past have proved extremely hardy.

I live in a spa town in the uk and i always thought my water was hard, tests revealed it was soft as youve both stated and the ph and water hardness levels in my tank are exactly the same as the levels that come out of my tap. I tried to raise ph up to around 7 in the past but it did not work. Is there a way to improve water hardness levels? If this is nigh impossible then I wont be keeign livebearers from now on, as obviously the slightest defect in water quality combined with the softness and low ph has killed them.

I havent had any more deaths today, they appear to be quite active, i did another 30% water change and at the moment the ammonia is 0. I added some api cycle to my tank in the vague hope it may help this siutation. My angels and gourami are doing very well in the new tank. I also have a 20g with silver mollies and they seem to fine, with adding a bit of aquarium salt.

Right this may seem a silly question to ask. But as I live in a spa town, we have underground mineral water and a main well in the town (Buxton water) having looked on the specifics of the well water on the site it says the PH of the well water is 7.4 and these are the specifics:

Temp. at source: 81.5F (27.5C)
Calcium 55mg/l
chloride 37 mg/l
TDS 280 mg/l
Hydrongeniccarbonate 248 mg/l
Magnesium 19 mg/l
Nitrate 0.1 mg/l
Potassium 1 mg/l
Sodium 24 mg/l
sulphates 13 mg/l

Could I use the spa water for my tank- is it safe? The PH is alot better for the livebearers but what about water hardness - would this water be better than the tap water? Hopefully someone with good water content knowledge can help me with this one. As the well is open to the public I can collect using 5 gallon bottles several times per week and just heat to correct temp in a bucket for water changes?

Many thanks for everyones help

EDIT: Im not sure if this will help, but is a description on the buxton spa water:-

"Buxton is one of the purest natural mineral waters in the world. According to the British Geological Survey, the water that emerges from the source today fell as rain over 5000 years ago.
During its long underground passage, from a depth of 1500 metres, the water filters through the ancient limestone of the Peak District, acquiring a natural balance of minerals during its long journey. The water emerges at a temperature of 81.5 F regardless of the weather"[/quote

I think livebearer's would like this water, perhap's not quite that warm for swordtail's platy's.
Mollie's and guppies would be fine at 80 to 82 degree's F.

low05011487 10-17-2011 01:17 AM

Thanks 1077, im thinking of collecting the spring water to help my livebearers but Byron in another thread suggested some Dolomite in a mesh bag in the filter so im going to try that route first :-) Since my last post there has been no more fatalities, the problem seems to be correcting itself with good tank maintenance and water changes, just need to make the livebarers more comfortable for the future :-) Ive learnt a lesson though and that is to never order fish I havent physically seen over the internet again!


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