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Old 11-11-2022, 10:19 PM   #1
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Death mystery

Hello,

I have a weird mystery.
Today I went to do my weekly water change. Started my routine and noticed I was missing a Cory catfish. I noticed he looked a little sluggish earlier in the week but was still feeding quite vigorously, which was the norm.
I see no evidence of the smaller cory. I sifted through the substrate, checked my filter equipment...I see no evidence of him at all. I am thinking maybe he was eaten by the other Cory, who was larger....and they can be omnivorous. Is this plausible that a Cory could have devoured another sick cory to the point of no evidence?
I'm sad because I have no closure about what happened 😪 🤔

Thanks,
Michelle

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Old 11-12-2022, 01:51 AM   #2
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If you have shrimp, snails or fish in a tank, and something dies in that tank, there is a chance the other creatures will eat the body. If the catfish was small, it could easily be eaten in a day.

Most catfish have hard skulls and these don't get eaten unless the fish doing the eating are big enough to swallow the head. But a small skull could disappear in the tank and be very hard to find.

------------------

I notice you are having trouble with some Java Fern and this could be linked to the death of the catfish. I'm not saying the plant dying killed the fish or vice versa. But when fish and plants start dying, there is usually an issue with the tank.

If a fish every dies, or you have problems with fish not acting normal, then do the following things. This can also help plants if there's a water quality issue.

Test the water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH.

Wipe the inside of the glass down with a clean fish sponge. This removes the biofilm on the glass and the biofilm will contain lots of harmful bacteria, fungus, protozoans and various other microscopic life forms.

Do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate every day for a week. The water changes and gravel cleaning will reduce the number of disease organisms in the water and provide a cleaner environment for the fish to recover in. It also removes a lot of the gunk and this means any medication can work on treating the fish instead of being wasted killing the pathogens in the gunk. And if you have overdosed with plant fertiliser, the big daily water changes will remove any fertiliser.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it is added to the tank.

Clean the filter if it hasn't been done in the last 2 weeks. However, if the filter is less than 6 weeks old, do not clean it. Wash the filter materials/ media in a bucket of tank water and re-use the media. Tip the bucket of dirty water on the garden/ lawn. Cleaning the filter means less gunk and cleaner water with fewer pathogens so any medication (if needed) will work more effectively on the fish.

Increase surface turbulence/ aeration to maximise the dissolved oxygen in the water.

You can also post pictures and video of the remaining fish and plants so we can check them for disease and behavioural/ swimming problems they might have.
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Old 11-12-2022, 04:37 AM   #3
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So my other fish looks good-feeding well, good color and perky fins.
I checked water parameters -- nitrates were 10 and ammonia was 0. My pH did drop.... usually my tank runs around 7.5 but today it was more like 7. I am attributing it to a change in my supply from my tap. If the ph change was sudden enough, I suppose that could be my culprit. I did a 30% change, as is my usual routine.

I am banking on my bigger Cory having eaten the little one at this point. I've never completely lost a fish and not been able to find it.
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Old 11-12-2022, 08:06 AM   #4
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The catfish in the top picture is looking very red around the face and head. This is usually an infection under the skin or in the sinuses, gills or skull. It can also be caused by something bad in the water (usually ammonia, nitrite, nitrate).

I would do a 50-75% water change and gravel clean every day for a week and see how the catfish looks in a week.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

------------------

You need a picture on the back of the tank to help the fish feel more secure.

Maybe add some more plants (plastic or real). The Java Fern issue is probably lack of light.
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Old 11-15-2022, 11:15 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone for your thoughts!
I increased aeration... Got a new pump and larger air stone, which can't hurt.
My healthy Cory seems to have good color but will do another partial water change, to be on the safe side.
I ruled out ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, so it isn't a cycling issue. I will monitor pH to make sure nothing funky is going on there.
I treat my water with Seachem prime before using it so don't think chlorine is an issue.
I am also running my light more to try to address the plant issues.
I think my kitty cat (the furry kind) is so much easier =).


Take care!!
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Old 11-16-2022, 04:52 AM   #6
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Does the tank have a lid? Might the cat have had a snack?
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Old 11-16-2022, 08:06 AM   #7
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The tank has a good lid. It's out of reach for the cat and she has zero interest in it--it's much too wet for her liking!
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Old 12-04-2022, 04:38 PM   #8
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Update

A few updates --
First, I am blaming my fish loss on my city 😡 I have literally done nothing different with water prep (Prime, buffers, 2mL's Replenish) and the pH is back to the baseline of 7.5. The city definitely messed with things on their end. Not sure if they flushed hydrants or did something but I literally kept the same exact regimen and my pH swung from 7 ish to it's usual 7.5 (my tank's baseline.)...same water additives and same 30% weekly water change. I think they did something and my little guy couldn't handle the crazy pH swing. Not sure where he went but I think he was eaten.

And for those of you following, I figured out that my loss of java ferns is likely due to the fact that my tank is presently lightly stocked and I've been keeping nitrates rather low.

I also did some research on the redness around gills and pectoral fins that someone mentioned. I decided to trial Praziquantel, to see if it might help. My jury is still out but it definitely didn't hurt.

I've done a few deep cleanings too.

Overall, they are looking feisty and feeding well. Thanks everyone for your input! 💕 I was able to piece things together. Glad that things look more typical in my tank.
Take care!
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Old 12-04-2022, 11:38 PM   #9
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Good to hear things seems to be getting better

Praziquantel treats tapeworm and gill flukes, and possibly some external protozoan parasites. Gill flukes cause the fish to breath heavily and lose weight. Tapeworm cause fish to lose weight over a period of months. Most fish carry gill flukes so using Praziquantel is unlikely to have any bad side effects and should make sure your fish are free of these parasites.

When you treat fish with Praziquantel or any deworming medication, you should treat them once a week for 3-4 weeks. This ensures you kill any adults worms as well as any larvae that hatch from eggs. If you only do one dose, the fish can get reinfected from eggs in the tank or their digestive tract.

You should also treat all your aquariums at the same time to prevent cross contamination.
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