I have lost 5 male blue rams in the last month. These fish arrived healthy a month ago and one by one have died with the same symptoms. The ill fish will separate himself from the rest of the rams and hide in the plants. The whole time laboring to breathe. It seems that their gills are slightly inflamed but honestly it's hard to tell because they are moving so fast. The fish does not seem to lose color at any point throughout the whole ordeal. Within a day or two the fish always dies, I presume from suffocation. Meanwhile the females in the same tanks are doing just fine.
This is happening in three different tanks, two of the tanks are community tanks and the other one is setup as a breeding tank. The two community tanks are heavily planted with co2
injection. All of my tanks pretty much run the same:
The fish get a wide variety of foods from flake, new life spectrum, hikari micro wafers, and frozen blood worms once a day.
I'm out of answers. Is there something that can be suggested to help with the gill function?
I have had limited success with taking one of the sick fish and placing him in a beaker containing tank water with some aquarium salt for 5-10 minutes, twice a day. This fish lasted for 4 days which is twice as long as other fish that received no treatment.
When the last male died I was present and decided to have a look at the gills to see if I could tell what was going on. It seemed logical because this seemed to be a respiratory issue.
Graphic photos - If you are not comfortable looking at dissected fish, do not click on these links
You can see in this image
the filaments of a healthy gill in red.
The gills of my fish looked to be pale pink and inflamed, almost to the point of being closed to water flow.