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Old 10-15-2017, 07:13 PM   #1
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Cool Neon tetra disease...way forward

Looking for some advice...I have a 15 gallon tank that I'd had about 7 or 8 neon tetras in. Several of them died and I hadn't really put a finger on what was wrong, as this occurred over several months. After doing some internet searches I realized it's probably neon tetra disease. They developed the spine curvature and other changes that are described with this disease, however it takes a lot longer for them to die from it than I'd have thought. I have 3 left, one quite ill, one looking like he's in the early stages, and another that looks generally healthy. I should have quarantined the initial sick ones but I hadn't realized what was happening until they were pretty much all infected. There are no other fish in the tank.

So here's my dilemma: I would like to put more fish in that tank. It's so empty with only the 3 tetras in there (plus 2 assassin snails and a handful of pest snails), however I know neons aren't the only ones that can get this disease. I thought about adding cardinal tetras since I read that they're resistant, however the reality is that my water is quite hard and my pH is around 7.8, so I'm thinking it may be best if I choose something that isn't so susceptible to hard, high pH water.

I've got a few options that I'm kicking around:

1) Add the cardinal tetras and hope they can adapt to my water conditions

2) Try to lower the pH/soften my water so that the cardinal tetras may do better than if I tried to adapt them

3) Pull the neons out of the tank altogether and put them in the little 1 gallon I keep as an isolation tank and let them live out whatever time they have left in there so I can put something else completely in the 15 gallon

4) Euthanize the neons, clean out the tank, and put in something else

5) Leave things as they are until nature takes its course then replace the neons with something else

What is everyone's experience with neon tetra disease? I know there's no reliable treatment for it...is it normal for it to take months to kill the fish? Are there fish other than cardinal tetras that are resistant to NTD that would be okay in my high pH water? I'm leading toward option 3 but not sure...it's another tank to maintain and really no good way to cycle it.

Anyhow:
Tank size: 15 gallon column
Stock: 3 neon tetras, 2 assassin snails, unknown number of pest snails
Using API master test kit:
pH: 7.8
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: Don't recall exactly it's low but not 0 (so few inhabitants it doesn't get very high)

I do a 30% water change weekly or so.
One good sized java fern in there, plus a couple of plastic plants and a faux coral

Filter is the aqueon HOB that came with the tank
It's a 2 year old tank; pretty well established as far as cycle and all that
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Old 10-15-2017, 09:11 PM   #2
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I'd go with 3 or 4. IMO, neons only flourish in a heavily planted tank. PH is a big issue with Neons and with Cardinals. As for cleaning the tank, I would just do a 50% WC, with a thorough gravel vac. It's usually not good to try and alter your PH chemically. The water won t stablize, and eventually do a vertical rebound. Driftwood will slightly lower your PH naturally. There are so many colorful, more durable tetra choices other than neons and cardinals.
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Old 10-15-2017, 09:25 PM   #3
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Frankly I don't have the stomach to euthanize. My husband will do it if I ask but ugh...I may just put them in my little one gallon. I can do water changes from one of my cycled tanks. I hadn't honestly done a ton of research on my own water conditions and how they relate to different fish species when I got the neons. I've since been reading up and realized that may have been doomed from the start. I wanted to do shrimp as well but I'm not sure I can pull it off since they seem to prefer softer more acidic water. I have pristilla tetras and red serpaes in my larger tank and they've done very well. The java fern in with the neons takes up probably 25% of the ground space in that tank so I went ahead and ordered a bunch more plants for all of the tanks. I'm still a novice with planted tanks...
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Old 10-15-2017, 11:11 PM   #4
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Most fish that you buy locally are likely already acclimated to your water parameters, while in the fish store display tanks. Neons are just very fragile. I'm not a pro aqua Gardner either but I have had a lot of success with low light plants such as your java fern. Before I added a large school of Silver Dollars and a few African cichlids I had a lush grouping of various large and small "Anubias" and the noted Java Fern. The fish ate them down to the roots. Research Anubias. It attaches to driftwood and rocks just like java fern. Some varieties grow large and might be a good contrast to your java fern.
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Old 10-17-2017, 06:09 PM   #5
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I actually just ordered some anubias. I have a little one in the 5 gallon I'm cycling for a betta and it's really pretty. I ordered a bunch of plants (amazon has variety packs so I figured I'd give that a shot, plus a couple of more that I liked the looks of). I can't afford to continuously be buying plants but I figure this will be good to experiment what works in the tank. I need to get into the planted tank forums though because I get very confused by the fertilizers and whatnot. I pretty much just plunk them in the tank and ignore them.

I wasn't sure if the pet store was doing something with the water to make it more effective for the fish. I had never thought of neons as fragile but the more research I do the more I realize they may not be the best option for me. Researching different fish that would do better with my water parameters.
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Old 10-17-2017, 06:48 PM   #6
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I never used fertilizers with the low light plants. Just attached them to driftwood and rocks and let them feed on the dissolved nutrients that occurred naturally in the tank water. They did fine.
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Old 10-27-2017, 04:12 PM   #7
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You need to break everything down and stearlize it and toss the substrate. Start over.
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