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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone, I'm hoping to get some help!

This all started in my established (about 7 months now) 30g tank. Mid last week I did a 50% water change and vacuumed the gravel per usual. A couple days later I brought home 2 guppies and 4 ghost shrimp. I added them after acclimation and things seemed fine. Until about an hour later I found one of the new guppies dead. Then the next day I found the other new guppy dead as well.

My first thought was that they had just been too stressed... but then my other fish started dying off one by one! I've lost 12 fish total now and 3 more aren't looking too hot right now. They go up to the top of the water to breath and then have trouble swimming, floating around in the current of the filter.

My tank contains...
2 Dwarf Rainbows (3 died)
6 White Cloud Mountain Minnows (none died yet, but one is having trouble swimming now)
3 Neons (3 died)
3 Guppies (6 died)
4 Ghost Shrimp
1 Zebra snail
2 Otocats

2 Anubias plants
2 pieces of driftwood
I also have fake plants and gravel

At first I thought it was because I introduced the new fish...but I just checked my parameters and the Nitrate isn't looking good...
pH: 8.2 (has always been high)
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 5.0-10 ppm (and I think this is where my problem is coming from)

Please, can some tell me what I can do!? I feel AWFUL. I feel so helpless and my poor fish just keep dying off. I want to help them somehow. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. THANK YOU!
 

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Do a water change at least, making sure to dechlorinate the water.
 

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It sounds like the new fish introduced something into the aquarium or caused enough stress that the fish became sick and succumbed to an existing disease. :(

Another possibility is the addition of the new fish significantly reduced available oxygen levels. You said they go up to the surface and then float in the filter current? Try adding an airstone to see if this helps any.

Are there any other symptoms? Hard to make a diagnosis with just the info at hand. Anything else that you can think of?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, after last night's 80% water change I'm left with 1 rainbow, 1 neon, 5 white clouds and my otos and shrimp. :(

Also, right now the water has a milky white haze to it. I've seen this happen before after water changes and it usually settles within a few days. So that's not new to me and has never been an issue before.

As for symptoms... just the same as I listed above. They go up to the top for air and float there, otherwise they try to swim and have trouble, usually just getting carried by the current of the filter. The only other thing I can think of is they lose their coloring a bit, but I assume that is due to stress.

As for water perimeters, right now they are...
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrites: 0 ppm
Nitrates: 0 ppm - or just slightly above that

I'm guessing it's the two guppies I introduced. Damn... I guess that'll teach me to have a quarantine tank set up. *sigh* I don't know what else it could be.

When I go out to the store I will buy an air stone and see if that makes any difference. But if anyone else has suggestions, I'd be happy to hear them.

Thank you.
 

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If it's not an air issue, then it could possibly be the guppies introduced gill flukes into the tank. Try Quick Cure, as this has formalin as one of its ingredients which is supposed to be very effective against flukes.

Did you do a partial change? Did the milky haze start after or before the change?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If it's not an air issue, then it could possibly be the guppies introduced gill flukes into the tank. Try Quick Cure, as this has formalin as one of its ingredients which is supposed to be very effective against flukes.

Did you do a partial change? Did the milky haze start after or before the change?
Ick...is there any way to see the flukes? Or are they too small to see with the naked eye?

And the haze started after the water change I did yesterday... but like I said, that's normal and has never been a problem before. ???
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So I just had a thought... when I did my normal water change last week, I (for some reason) changed out the filter cartridge. Normally I wait a couple days after I do a water change. Do you think my tank started over and is cycling again? This is the only other thing I can think of. :/
 

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Your parameter don't indicate a dropped cycle... I would go with what sakura has said and look into medication. It is likely no co-incidence that your fish started dying after you brought new fish home :(


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Discussion Starter #11
Yeah...that's true. Also the haze has already pretty much faded and the remaining fish seem to be doing well. They're alert and swimming around like normal. Should I still be concerned and give meds? Or just wait it out a bit more? I've heard conflicting stories about giving meds. What a pain in the butt.
 

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Gill flukes are almost always too small to be seen by the naked eye although on rare occasions, one may get about 1 cm long and can be seen.

If the fish are now acting normally and none of them seem like they are going to die, you may want to wait on the meds. What may have happened is the fish with the most compromised immune systems (for whatever reasons, be it old age or stress or genetics) got sick and succumbed to the illness while the remaining fish are strong and healthy enough to fight off any infection.

An alternative is to remove the shrimp and the snail and add 1 tsp of aquarium salt per gallon but this may not be practical since I know shrimp can be really hard to catch.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I can try catching the shrimp and add the aquarium salt. Would I just do that once?

Also, when do you think it would be safe to start slowly introducing new fish?

Sorry for all the questions, but this is the first time something like this has happened to me. And thank you again to those who posted and helped me out. It really means a lot! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So I have more questions. -_-;;

2 more fish have died. I thought they were getting better...but that's not the case. I think I see some of the minnows with reddish gills...but I'm not positive. And I wouldn't know how to do a gill scraping like it says you can do to check. Plus no microscope. :/ One major thing I haven't really noticed is the "itching" on plants and aquarium decor. But I could just be missing it.

Also, can gill flukes spread that fast? Most of my fish died off within 3-4 days. It was crazy. And I'm not sure how to treat them. I've read all sorts of mixed reviews on different meds. I've upped the temp on the heater a few degrees and dosed the tank with aquarium salt like suggested. But I've read that won't kill flukes.

I'm just completely heartbroken about this whole thing. Almost all my fish (except 7) have died and the remaining ones aren't looking too hot. *sigh* I feel like a failure. :(

Oh, and one more question... can my snails and shrimp spread the flukes???
 

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Hi ShukiAi. I'm really sorry you're going through this. :( Don't feel like a failure though. These things happen to fishkeepers everywhere, even ones who have been in the hobby for decades.

In answer to your questions about gill flukes: They can spread pretty quickly, yes, as can other external parasites that can infest the gills. Not all external parasites or infestations cause the itchiness though. AQ salt won't kill the flukes but it will do three things: 1, help the fish create lots of slime coat so that the parasites have a harder time attaching; 2, dehydrate the flukes; 3, help the fish maintain its electrolyte balance so it stays healthy and can fight off infection.

Increasing the heat speeds up the life cycle of many parasites so they die faster of natural causes.

The AQ salt is the conservative treatment method, by the way. If you don't think it's helping, then the med to try is Mardel Quick Cure. This is one of the more effective meds because it contains formalin but it does turn the water blue and may stain. You may also need to use an airstone to help increase oxygen levels for the fish while using it.

Another med that you can use is API General Cure which contains metronidazole and praziquantel, which are both effective parasite meds. This won't turn the water blue. In both cases, you may have to do a mini-cycle on your tank as both meds can deal damage to beneficial bacteria in the filter.

If you can, keep the shrimp and snails in a separate container during treatment. Don't add them back until you are certain you have gotten all the meds out of the water by water changes and by adding the carbon back into your filter. Invertebrates are highly sensitive to medications.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Thank you SO much Sakura! You really helped clear up a lot of questions I had.

Right now I have my snails and shrimp in another small tank and I added in the AQ salt and increased the temp in the infected tank. Tomorrow morning I'll have to see how things are and decide if I want to stop and get some meds from my LFS.

So I shouldn't have to worry about the parasites being in the snails and shrimp? All I need is to put them back in the tank after this is all over with and have them re-infect it. :p

Also, I shouldn't have to worry about decor and such, correct? Oh! and have you heard of PraziPro? I read a few people use that med as well.

Thanks again!!! And thank you for the encouragement... I really appreciate it! <3
 

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PraziPro is a great med as well. Praziquantel is, along with formalin, one of the best meds for treating external parasites like flukes.

The shrimp and snails should be fine. I honestly am not sure if they can carry parasites or not but I know for certain that IF they could, the amount of parasites they would have would be minimal otherwise they too would die from an infestation.

The decor should be okay, as the medicines in the water will take care of parasites on them and in the substrate but if you wanted to be on the safe side, you can always take the decor out and rinse it in hot, scalding water.

I'm really glad I could help and I'm definitely rooting for your fish to get better. Hang in there!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Good advise. At this point its trial and error. Keep up with the water changes.
Yeah...I went to two of my LFSs today and talked with some employees about what happened. Most of them don't think it's gill flukes, but some other parasite or bacterial infection. I got meds tho and I'm going to treat the tank and my fish. We'll see what happens in a few days, I guess. And yes, I will definitely be doing water changes.

One thing I have noticed lately is little black worm like things on my plants and on the gravel. I can't tell if it's worms or just fish poop. XD;;
 
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