One of my Tetras randomly died with no sign of illness... - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 12 Old 09-02-2012, 11:48 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation One of my Tetras randomly died with no sign of illness...


One of my cardinal tetras died randomly, whom seemed fine a couple hours before hand. I came to go to bed and couldn't find one of them, and when found, he was just lying there at the back with loss of colour and his fins chewed up. He is one of the originals and always swam with the others. so huuh? Should I be concerned for the rest?

The rest of the tetras are still doing their normal thing.

1. Size of tank? 10Gal

2. Water parameters
a. Ammonia? 0
b. Nitrite? 0 - 0.1
c. Nitrate? 4 - 6ish (looks like its rising, due for a water change anyways)
d. pH, KH and GH? pH 7.6
e. Test kit? API

3. Temperature? usually around 79 - 80

4. FW (fresh water) or BW (brackish)? FW

5. How long the aquarium has been set up? Couple months

6. What fish do you have? How many are in your tank? How big are they? How long have you had them? 3 neons, 3 cloudy minnows, betta, spotted cory, snail. All generally young(had since thank was cycled), all under an inch, except the betta.

7. Were the fish placed under quarantine period (minus the first batch from the point wherein the tank is ready to accommodate the inhabitants)? Yes

8. a. Any live plants? Fake plants? yes, 3 different types. All look to be in good health.
b. Sand, gravel, barebottom? Gravel
c. Rocks, woods, fancy decors? Any hollow decors? Coral for pH, betta cave, wall thing with a bubble tube.

9. a. Filtration? Yes, the one you get with a marina deluxe 10g... aquaclear?
b. Heater? Yes

10. a. Lighting schedule? What lights are used? around 10 hours or more a day
b. Any sunlight exposure? How long? in the basement, no direct exposure

11. a. Water change schedule? every so often (4 - 5 days) 20% change - includes gravel vaccum.
b. Volume of water changed? 20%
c. Well water, tap water, RO water? tap
d. Water conditioner used? API water conditioner, using stress coat now
e. Frequency of gravel/sand (if any) vacuumed? above

12. Foods? flakes for fish, bloodworm treat for betta, shrimp/veg pellets for bottom feeder at night
How often are they fed? once a day, with a day fast

13. a. Any abnormal signs/symptoms? none at all
b. Appearance of poop? Before today it looked like he was pooping just fine
c. Appearance of gills? redish look (normal for tetras, not ammonia burn)

14. a. Have you treated your fish ahead of diagnosis? Had a fish die of something, Hemorrhagic Septicemia was what store keepers said after hearing symptoms and seeing fish.

Treatment is done, water is already getting clear and filters are back in.

b. What meds were used? Tetracycline
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post #2 of 12 Old 09-03-2012, 03:00 AM
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So what prompted the use of Antibiotic (tetracycline) was the diagnosis of Septicemia by LFS as the result of the death of a fish prior to this one? I think I'd have done a larger water change and tried to lower Nitrate before treating tank with meds. The diagnosis wasn't very conclusive or specific, so possibly no medication was needed. Antibiotics can compromise nitrifying bacteria, so watch for possible ammonia spike and be prepared to use Prime to detoxify should this occur. Any clue as to why there is measurable Nitrite? Make sure your water changes are thorough with respect to removal of detritus. Coarser gravel substrates can trap a lot of debris. Sand would be better for the Cory.

I am uncomfortable with the stocking choices. (Are they Cardinals or Neons, you mention both?) Bettas and Cardinals are okay at 80 degrees, but that's warm for Neons and Cory Cats and White Clouds. It kind of matters which species you have. White Clouds ought to readily tolerate the pH you have, all others would be better off if it were closer to neutral or below. I think there are one or two too many schooling species in the tank. I would go with the Betta and a few Cories or Betta and a few Cardinals. That's it. I don't think the white clouds are a great fit, and I would like to see schoolers used only in larger tanks. . .If you only use one of the three schooling fish you have, you could possibly keep a couple more individuals.

In the future, medications only should be used in a hospital tank if at all possible. I know it seems like an unwelcome expense, and no one wants to think of their fish getting sick, but the downside of in-tank treatment is possible water issues afterwards. If this fish died of nothing more than natural causes, there may have been no point compromising the safety of the tank with medication. It's possible the Tetracycline used after death of the first fish (what kind was that one?) is having negative impact on your water and this may have precipitated the death of this tetra. . .

I don't mean to sound negative, and I have certainly been in this position with nowhere to treat the fish but the one tank. Monitor your remaining tetras and hopefully all will remain well with them when you address the nitrate with water changes. Don't forget to check ammonia and Nitrite and use Prime.

Good Luck

thousands have lived without love; not one without water.

W.H. Auden in "First Things First"
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post #3 of 12 Old 09-03-2012, 03:22 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response, I should have added another point. Even though the tetra had been dead for maybe an hour or two. He was already decaying... does that happen fast or is this unusual?
They're all neon tetras, I've just heard them be called cardinals. Just getting the names mixed up. They first fish to die was a Black Molly, and I was told to use the treatment to kill whatever it was in the tank. I always deal with the same guy at the store. He has quite a few aquariums of his own and knows a lot. So I took his word for it.
It was when I first started, I asked what went with a betta. They said to get clouds along with the others. Should I just sell/give back to the LFS and get more tetras? Well when I figure out whats happening with the tank...
I should say that two of the tetras did seem to stay separated from one. The one that died, and one of the others were always together - though I should mention they would nip at each other some times? is that them fighting for alpha of the group? The other always stayed in hiding, but always comes out to eat of coarse.

I have been having trouble getting Prime here, I told one shop to order it in for me, haven't heard anything yet though. I should be upgrading soon, to a 20gallon. I'll do daily changes and watch the levels. Hopefully no one else will die!


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post #4 of 12 Old 09-03-2012, 08:08 AM
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Morning Josh!

Yeah. Cardinals have a solid bold RED stripe down the length of their somewhat more substantial body, when compared to neons. Neons have less red, are more greenish than blue, and stay smaller. Kept in tiny groups, they often descend into miscreant behavior. The ultra-bright colors of so small a fish is an indication of their source: muddy black and tea-stained Amazonian waters where they live in positively huge groups. The colors allow them to keep visual contact with each other. It would be disadvantageous for such a small morsel to live alone. The bigger tank will help, in that a larger group (10-12) will be a better number with which to start. You should visit a Public Aquarium that houses and displays these as they live in nature. It is a staggering sight to see. And cory cats are the same. Live in schools of thousands. There is no problem with an Alpha fish that has many subordinates. But when there is only Alpha and a couple underlings, things are unnaturally tough for them, and they are always getting clobbered. The loner fish was probably staying clear of the aggression, but these creatures are not at all intended to be loners, and his strategy will not work for long. Once Alpha hassles the other fish to death, it's "game on" for the final two.

So yes, bigger groups are better.

Yes, it is my experience that fish which die decay with amazing speed. I often feel decomposition has even begun in some cases before they "gave up the ghost." And other fish are opportunistic and in the wild as in aquariums will never miss an opportunity for free and easy protein.

Mollies prefer warm water, but also water more similar in chemistry to that preferred by the white cloud mountain minnows. So do not replace the molly with another molly. Yours was just one ten gallon tank trying to be too many things to too may fish all at once.

Buy prime on-line. Very economical, and effective. SW people use it, because of these reasons, plus, it doesn't mess up our Protein Skimmers after use.

Let me know how it goes.



thousands have lived without love; not one without water.

W.H. Auden in "First Things First"
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post #5 of 12 Old 09-03-2012, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
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Afternoon Randy,

With your information, I am sure to get an upgrade! I definitely won't be getting another molly. I was irresponsible to not research before getting fish, I didn't even know how to cycle in the beginning, poor betta... he was my cycling fish! Fortunately its established now!

Also I awoke this morning to another missing fish. The 'alpha' is still around, he was hiding/sleeping in the betta cave and is now swimming around. The other one (the loner fish) is missing, can't find a single trace.

So I think its best I don't purchase any fish for awhile, at least until I can get the upgrade and give the clouds a new home. And I'll see to getting Prime :)

Thanks for all your help!

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post #6 of 12 Old 09-03-2012, 11:51 AM
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Yeah. Could be aggression killing the tetras, could be something else. Always better to wait to add new fish until after figuring out what the real problem is.

Upgrades are exciting! Keep us posted.


thousands have lived without love; not one without water.

W.H. Auden in "First Things First"
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post #7 of 12 Old 09-03-2012, 12:51 PM
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Not trying to freak you out, but maybe it is neon tetra disease? I heard that they stop schooling and then die. Are there any fading patches on the fish?

We were two ships in the night
Hell bent on trying to survive and
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post #8 of 12 Old 09-03-2012, 12:58 PM
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Right. Resembles a whitish patch on upper flank just in front of the tail.


thousands have lived without love; not one without water.

W.H. Auden in "First Things First"
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post #9 of 12 Old 09-03-2012, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Well if that were the case, they are all infected and to my knowledge, there is no known cure. But their swim patterns are the same, full colour. No lumps, white patches or spine irregularities.
There was also no school to break from, because there wasn't that many. The one that died did stick with the other, and never broke away to my knowledge. So I can't be sure its NTD. Still a shock to me that the tetra just died like that though.

That missing tetra reappeared... ninja tetra. I used a flash light and everything to try and find it haha!

I'll keep you all posted!
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post #10 of 12 Old 09-03-2012, 03:38 PM
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Exclamation I am very confused

I cannot understand why I keep losing my balloon mollies..:( The temp is around 78 most of the time.
The water is clear as a bell after water change yesterday.


My tank has been up and running since June this year. I do regular water changes( about 25%) every week. I add salt and stress coat every time. I feed them once a day just a pinch as I only have three soon to be two...:( I have bought several of these fish because I love them but they keep dying. Can anyone tell me what to do next?
Thank you,
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