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willertac 01-07-2014 11:06 PM

Tank Extinction and Current "Disease"
About 2 years ago, the tank I have labled as saltwater was freshwater and had started with barbs. The barbs weren't working for us, so we waited a little longer and then bought 3 mollies, 1 male (seemingly a cremecicle lyretail, according to petsmart), and 2 females (a black one and a sliver and black lyretail). We also found ourselves with 2 red-tailed sharks, followed by 2 bala sharks. The first to go were the red-tailed, but that had been due to a fungus. So a few weeks after we had gotten the mollies, one of them, the dalmatian lyretail, had given birth. We had a net full of fry that kept getting fuller. And then, after one batch of young, the black molly died, along with the remainder of the sharks. When the fry were large enough, they were released back into the tank. Eventually, we didn't bother catching the babies anymore, as they had already managed to save themselves by hiding.
As well as plenty of fish, we had at least two live plants, one of which needed to be trimmed regularly. But after a while, the cremecicle died as well and left behind an abundance of children. Now, it was getting harder to tell mama from her children and grandchildren.
After a certain span of time, the water chemstry began to take an odd change. We had expected the ammonia spikes from so much waste, and had performed frequent water changes for that cause. But with each water change, the water got worse and we kept loosing more and more fish. Soon after the changes occured, second generation fish began appearing with bellies curved inwards, giving them a thin and weak appearance. Many died of ammonia poisoning and all that showed signs of a curved belly went as well. Eventually, there were only 5 or so of the previous 100 that possibly roamed the tank. Even after the death of many and frequent water changes, we were left with that little. And the death of every fish but the 3 I took to my own tanks came upon us. And again, 2 of the 3 remaining of a long chain of relatives succumbed to their weak selves. Fin, the lone survivor was placed into a tank with my current platys Ray and Mickey/Rickey where she went along well. But one day, she began showing signs of some weird ailment I have never before seen in a fish. She curved like an "S" in a sense and seemingly could not remove herself from that position. I isolated her just in case. And along she swam curved in the spine running the length of her. And then I had lost her too.
Ray had soon given birth too, aparantly bought pregnant ("surprisingly"), and I placed her fry into a breeding net. When they developed, I noticed a trend: every Mickey Mouse platy born of her had had the same curve in their spines as Fin had. Only the Mickeys! I quarantined them and they all died as well, leaving me with only 1 perfectly fine one and 4 remaining sunbursts.

What was the mystery plague that stretched back through the generations that are still causing havoc on my fish today? Was it the plants that caused the ammonia spike? Could it have been the new treatment of the tap water we replaced with conditioner after each change? Was it this odd ailment that I assume to be "Fish TB", as told by others when I asked? Or was the extinction caused by the overpopulation of the tank? Am I still plagued by this mystery illness or injury and what exactly is it?
Maybe one of you can answer the question as to how all my fish suddenly stopped living?

(P.S. Thanks for even reading my long post:thumbsup:)
Molly tank-72g, planted, parameters were perfect leading up to the sudden spike.
Platy tanks-10g each, unplanted

keepsmiling 01-12-2014 06:45 PM

Can you please post exact numbers on the parameters, the set up, your water change schedule, what you use to dechlorinate the water, and anything else you can add to it? What do you feed exactly?
We may be able to decipher this together. The condition you speak of is scoliosis,
here is some info on that{IMO it comes from inbreeding}
Aquarium tropical fish disease diagnostics. Fish treatment. Sick fish, ill fish, cure fish.

keepsmiling 01-12-2014 07:56 PM

Here is another train of thought. When breeding fish properly, you take two strong individuals who are a good example of their species. You condition these fish for breeding, then you breed them. Some, but not all of their offspring should be a good example as well. Most breeders then cull out inferior fry, leaving only the 'good' ones. These if needed for more breeding, would be paired with good strong offspring from another unrelated pair. The conditioning is important, as those two fish have to produce all the aspects of the unborn fry. Including having appropriate calcium levels to produce good strong bones and properly aligned spines. If your fish are all just thrown into a tank to have at it, and it gets muddled along the way on who is who, and these fish are breeding, you are going to start seeing issues such as you are. Think of dogs that come from puppy mills where the mom is bred again and again and again, without a break, no room to move, and not such great nutrition. What is the outcome there? Puppies who are sick, easily get sick, have genetic deformities and issues, and die.....

willertac 01-12-2014 08:01 PM


Originally Posted by keepsmiling (Post 3726073)
Can you please post exact numbers on the parameters, the set up, your water change schedule, what you use to dechlorinate the water, and anything else you can add to it? What do you feed exactly?
We may be able to decipher this together. The condition you speak of is scoliosis,
here is some info on that{IMO it comes from inbreeding}
Aquarium tropical fish disease diagnostics. Fish treatment. Sick fish, ill fish, cure fish.

Unfortunatly, I cannot remember how the parameters were after the spike, as they died out near the middle of the summer. But one part of my mystery is solved, thanks to you. Now I can worry at least a little less about being stricken by a fish disease myself. But could scoliosis be passed on within the tank, because unless Ray inbred, there is no reason for her babies to be this way too. But it is possible that is what happened.
I do remember, though, that the ammonia was so bad that we were told our fish were most likely not going to survive any longer by the petstore when we took a water sample. We had been brought to changing the water at least 1 time a week, and we either used the API water conditioner or the Top Fin one. Our large plant was (I can't remember the type) light green, kind of like one huge, tangled vine, and had small sort of tear-drop shaped leaves. The smaller one was a thicker-leaved, darker-green and it looked just like a bunch of leaves with no stems. The larger one we had to trim at least once a month because it got so big.
Thanks for helping me thus far!

keepsmiling 01-12-2014 08:56 PM

I would think it's possible she did inbreed, or just wasn't in the proper condition to be bred in the first place. Or it could just be a genetic trait.
As far as the high ammonia,one or several of these things could have been happening~
What we do know, is if high ammonia occurs in a tank that is cycled, then the amount of ammonia being produced is too much for the beneficial bacteria to convert it.
a.the tank was overstocked
b. the tank was overfed
c.the maintenance of the tank was not being handled properly, or in a timely enough fashion. Including the cleaning of filter material so it can do it's job, removal of waste in the substrate, and so forth.
d. the deaths started to occur for whatever reason, and dead individuals were missed and not removed in a timely fashion, causing the spike in ammonia.
e. all of the above

To keep this from happening in the future. Be sure to stock appropriately for the size of the tank that you have.
Buy titration test kits, API kits are good, and monitor the levels yourself, at least weekly.
If a fish dies, remove it quickly and run a fresh bag of carbon for a couple days. Test the water parameters!
I suggest you buy a bottle of Seachem Prime. Use it exclusively to dechlorinate. It also removes chloramines, and eliminates the effects of ammonia, nitrite and nitrates for one day{good when you have an issue, and are preparing water for a water change the next day as well}

2scicrazed 02-03-2014 07:53 AM

I also usually put a few neons in my breeding tanks. They act like the perfect canaries and get ill from dropping water quality far sooner than the other species. I also keep plenty of fast growing plants such as star grass, mosses and duck weed. These absorb toxins very quickly and then your removing the toxins everytime you take out excess growth.

As to the scoliosis, I generally start getting some of these after a breeding colony has gone for about a year. I cull all of them and introduce new, unrelated males (just as cattle ranchers do). Generally solves problem. That and I not only net out the young males as I spot them and grow out in separate bachelor tank - but I keep a betta in tank. Most deformed fry never make it past a week this way.

But even with the betta culling, my guppy colonies easily go from six individuals to well over 100 in just 7 months. (In heavily planted 10G tanks). This with no change in water quality or deaths of sensitive neons.

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