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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In my 29 gallon, heavily planted,7.6 pH, no ammonia, no nitrites 5 nitrate (tested today this has been constant readings for weeks), almost all the fish are dead now.

In the last week I have lost (newly added) 6 hatchetfish - one looked like it's eye was fogged, other ones showed no disease, just died. 8 neon tetras dead - established for 6 months one had slight fuzzy growth on head for one day before dying. 1 oto cat - established for 6 monthslooked like it was wasting away for a day or 2 before dying; and this morning, one previously healthy acting and looking juvenile angelfish established for 3 months- yesterday it started acting different, hiding in the back of the tank but eating and not showing any outward sign of disease, this morning on the bottom almost dead, started floating and barely alive a few hours later - I removed and flushed. CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHAT IS HAPPENING AND WHAT TO DO?

REMANINING FISH -I have one juv. angelfish that looks and acts fine, 3 cory cats who look and act fine, one oto cat healthy and eating & many healthy cherry shrimp.

I treated the tank with melafix yesterday and today at the strong recommendation of the Petsmart person - I am now feeling foolish because I think I should have gotten Furan 2 or something similar but these fish are not showing very obvious signs of Columnaris. I also added the recommended amount of salt yesterday and lowered the temp. a bit after reading high temp encourages Columnaris.

I decided to make a 30% water change and expect everything else to die???
 

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I'm hoping someone with more experience will be able to help you out here, but water changes can't hurt. My guess would be that something 'rode in' on one of your new fish - possibly Columnaris, or a fast-moving protozoan. It can be so difficult to diagnose - especially with the fast-moving illnesses. . . I'm so sorry you're going through this. Hopefully everyone else will remain well, and you can get a QT tank set up for future additions. :(
 

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Columnaris sounds likely to me also. From recent posts, it seems to be an epidemic. There is great info here on the site and online also. I would suggest you research for yourself just so you get first hand information. It tends to get watered down and distorted when passed along.
 

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After this you may want to look into creating a quarantine tank for all new fish to go into for a few weeks before being introduced to the main tank. This way you can observe them for illnesses that they could potentially introduce to the tank, as you've unfortunately seen :( Sorry this happened to you :(
 

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Sorry I can't help.

But I will tag along to receive advice and see what happens.

I've never had this happen.


Sorry
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for all your responses, but I have no idea what is happening to this tank.... one person refers to protozoans...others to bacteria.....I need to know what I am dealing with - Protozoan...bacteria.....fungus.....virus...all these disease agents are different and there are a myriad of each....and treatment varies accordingly.

The frustration to me is not being able to diagnose what the infectious agent I am dealing with is and then knowing the treatment. UGH! Any possibility that it will run its course and I can start over????
 

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I had something similar run rampant through my tank awhile back, it killed off all but one of my Harlequin Rasboras within a day but left the rest of my tank untouched (kuhli loaches and pearl gourami, although it may have killed one of the loaches). It was all the sudden out of nowhere, but I've come to think it was a protozoan from a wild-caught kuhli loach that had been introduced to the tank without a QT period. The only thing I could do at that point was massive water changes, several times a day, as I couldn't safely medicate without knowing the exact cause.

After that I've taken to quarantining all new fish for 8 weeks.
 

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Columnaris sounds likely to me also. From recent posts, it seems to be an epidemic. There is great info here on the site and online also. I would suggest you research for yourself just so you get first hand information. It tends to get watered down and distorted when passed along.

+1
 

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I am not much when it comes to disease diagnosis, and normally for this reason I do not attempt help. But there are some aspects here which are suggestive that I will explore.

Aside from the one or two mentions of external oddities, I take it all the fish showed no external signs prior to death, correct? And this dying began within a few days of introducing the hatchetfish, correct? And it has been sudden, obviously.

This is a case where I would assume an internal protozoan (arriving in the new fish) and begin medicated foods. I have twice had similar issues. I now quarantine new fish for 4-5 weeks and depending where they came from, use medicated food for 1 of those weeks once the fish begin eating normally after arrival. Metronidazole is the drug I mix in with the food. Seachem market this as metronidazole, and Aquarium Solutions (I think) market a product called Metro+ which was also effective. This drug is a white powder that you mix with flake food, and the oils in the flakes will assimilate the drug.

Identifying the exact protozoan is next to impossible without microscopic dissection by a microbiologist, but this isn't necessary anyway. In my case, the new fish (a tetra) were decimated by half in about 4 or 5 days, and at that point the tank fish began dying in numbers from 2 or 3 to even 5 every day. My hatchets were nearly decimated (they were not the new fish), and one species of cory went fast, and several various tetra.

I think if this were columnaris, you would see evidence on all dead fish. Not seeing this leads me to suspect internal protozoan.

I will explain how to prepare the food if anyone asks.

Grannyfish, I'm sorry I didn't see this thread sooner to respond [I wasn't looking in this section, for some reason], but in point of fact it would still have been too late to save your fish. It obviously takes a few days for the metronidazole to take effect, during which fish will continue to die.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Bryon,
Yes it is correct that the dying/dead fish had no external signs of what I thought Columaris is supposed to resemble, except for one neon tetra that had some cottony stuff on its face the day it died. None of the other fish showed this. For the most part, the fish simply started hiding, usually just for a day or even less, before they died, including a young angelfish, the last fish to die. My second young angel, who had been acting perfectly normal while all the other fish were dying started hiding and on Monday. I decided to try Maracyn and Maracyn 2 since all the other people seemed to think I had Columaris. I didn't expect this angel would live BUT the second day of treatment it started perking up and today it is back to behaving almost normally and eating. Through all the other deaths, my 3 cory cats and one oto cat and my cherry shrimp have been fine. What do you think could it be parasites? Would these medications have any affect on parasites? What do you suggest I do? I appreciate your responding as I know you are very knowledgeable. Thanks
 

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Bryon,
Yes it is correct that the dying/dead fish had no external signs of what I thought Columaris is supposed to resemble, except for one neon tetra that had some cottony stuff on its face the day it died. None of the other fish showed this. For the most part, the fish simply started hiding, usually just for a day or even less, before they died, including a young angelfish, the last fish to die. My second young angel, who had been acting perfectly normal while all the other fish were dying started hiding and on Monday. I decided to try Maracyn and Maracyn 2 since all the other people seemed to think I had Columaris. I didn't expect this angel would live BUT the second day of treatment it started perking up and today it is back to behaving almost normally and eating. Through all the other deaths, my 3 cory cats and one oto cat and my cherry shrimp have been fine. What do you think could it be parasites? Would these medications have any affect on parasites? What do you suggest I do? I appreciate your responding as I know you are very knowledgeable. Thanks
This is not likely a protozoan if the fish are recovering like this from Maracyn. Which only goes to show how difficult it is to pinpoint disease. As this seems to be working, stay with it (= according to the label directions]. Changing course in midstream is not wise. Of course, it may be something else entirely, and just working its way out.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks. Do you think I should treat it a second dose? The directions say repeat once if necessary, but I don't know how to determine if it is necessary since the fish are not showing outward signs of anything. I would rather not double treat it. I have started using salt and will continue to do so. Would you agree that is a good idea?
 

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Thanks. Do you think I should treat it a second dose? The directions say repeat once if necessary, but I don't know how to determine if it is necessary since the fish are not showing outward signs of anything. I would rather not double treat it. I have started using salt and will continue to do so. Would you agree that is a good idea?
If there are signs of improvement in fish behaviour generally, and no visible external signs of anything, I would not do another dose.

Salt in itself is stressful to soft water fish like corys, and angels though perhaps less so. Here again, without evidence of something that needs salt, don't add it. The next partial water change will remove some of this, and so on.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have completed the round of Maracyn and Maracyn 2 and the surviving fish seem to be fine but I am noticing my plants look stressed. Many are developing brown spots. Is this normal after the use of these meds?
 

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I have completed the round of Maracyn and Maracyn 2 and the surviving fish seem to be fine but I am noticing my plants look stressed. Many are developing brown spots. Is this normal after the use of these meds?
Yes. I have had Maracyn kill some species, my pygmy chain swords melted. Other plants survived OK. Which plants were affected?
 

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It is mainly my java ferns that are getting lots of brown spots.
This is likely the Maracyn. Water changes will remove it (if the fish are OK now). Nothing else is necessary, return to your normal schedule of light/fertilizer and the plants should recover. New leaves are the test, if they appear normal; existing leaves won't improve.

Byron.
 
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Just read an article that said columnaris can be external or internal. The treatment you used and the properly medicated food mentioned by Byron are proper courses of treatment for both forms. Glad you were able to get control of things.
 
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