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Old 02-14-2004, 01:13 AM   #1
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Fish death... it won't stop!

This past Sunhday (5 days ago) I went to the lfs (Petco) and picked up 5 green barbs. They were really small so I worried if they would make it in the tank. My tank is fairly new - completely cycled about 1 month ago - so I didn't know what to expect. I figured I might loose one so I bought 5 hoping for 4.
Anyway, Monday night I eneded up coming hoome to a dead fish.
Tuesday night - another dead fish.
Wednesday was fine.
Thursday morning ANOTHER dead fish.

Thursday night I added an air curtain in the back of the tank so I was intruding the fish space for a while. I was planning to add the curtain to aid in getting more oxygen into the water. I thought that this might just solve my problems.

nope. Thursday I end up with another dead green barb AND a dead 2 month old tiger barb that survived through the tank cycling.

WHY?

I went to the LFS tonight and picked up a new nitrite test kit and a new ammonia test kit. Both kits are the liquid kind and the ammonia test is the 2 step type. I know I have good kits. I ALSO know that my water is good to go. Both tests came up with 0ppm.

I'm on my last thread - this is NUTS! I lost 4 itty bitty green barbs and one tiger barb. I am left with 2 rainbows, a red tail shark, one tiger barb, one green barb, and a couple of catfish. Everything else "seems" happy.

What else can I check? Can my temperature be set wrong? Everyplace I look for temperature settings gives different numbers to me. The LFS has their tanks set to about 80. Internet sites range from saying 72 ~85! I have no clue. I set to 78 and hoped that would be fine.

I have been doing weekly 25% water changes. I don't think I need to do them that often, but I figured I would stay on the safe side.
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Old 02-14-2004, 01:24 AM   #2
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Your temperature is fine. Sounds like your water parameters are fine too. Were there any signs of disease? Tiny white spots on the fish? Washed out color? Rubbing against the gravel or aquarium decorations? Rapid breathing or racing around the tank?
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Old 02-14-2004, 01:35 AM   #3
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This kind of thing has happened to me in the past and it drives me NUTS!
Buy five zebra danios - all dead within a week.
Buy four serpae tetras - all dead within a week.
Buy three corys - all dead within a week.

Meanwhile the water parameters are pristine and there are other fish in the tank happily living it up.

I think every lfs employs one idiot who drops the fish on the floor before putting them in the tank for sale.
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Old 02-14-2004, 01:27 PM   #4
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At this point I WISH that there was someting obvious like disease in the tank. Everything seemed to be going well. I have no idea what's up. Today I lost the last green barb. Basically I have less fish than I had before I added the green barbs. I did go back to the fish store last nigh when I picked up a new test kit and they didn't have any green barbs at all. I am wondering if all the fish were doomed for some reason.

As much as I keep eyeballing the nice $!0+ fish I am very wary of ever buying them.
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Old 02-14-2004, 01:33 PM   #5
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Go back to the LFS and tell them what happened to your little fish. Maybe they will have something to say about it.
Just a thought--have you added any new decorations to the tank lately?
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Old 02-14-2004, 04:27 PM   #6
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Go ask petco what happened to all of their barbs or f they had been getting any complaints. I've got a question or two for you:

Are the fish breathing normally or faster then normal

Do they act fine and just suddenly die, or does their health deteriorate over time adn then die?

Maybe all the death in the tank is releasing ammonia into the tank, causing more dead fish? (just a newbie thought)

Do you have a QT tank? (I just bought one. I think it's a great idea and shouldn't cost more than $40.)

Do any of the fish hide more than normal?

I think answering these questions twould help us help you solve your problem...
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Old 02-15-2004, 01:11 PM   #7
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Ohhhh... the plot thickens.

Now my 2 catfish are being taken away. I was netting one that I thought was dead and noticed that it started to wiggle as I pulled i to the surface. I pulled it over to the glass in the net so I could take a good lok at it. Instantly I could see the problem. The green barbs were so small that I probably couldn't see this, but the catfish is bigger so it's much easier to see. It was also helpful to see it underwater.

Anyway, it looks like there is slimey cotton growing on the top of the fish. It's a lot and it must have just grown there almost instantaneously. I really don't think this fish is going to pull through, but I'm trying anyway. The fish has given up and doesn't swim at all.

I looked in this post http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=18065 and I find that I may have a fungus " Fuzzy White Growths or Tufts of Cotton on Fish". It seems to take over the fish REALLY fast. I picked up some medication called Maroxy made by Mardel. The lfs didn't carry any of the suggsted meds listed in that chart. I did about a 40% water change and added in the meds.

I have decided to treat the whole tank rather than a QT because this is a fungus and may be growing someplace in the tank. I have pulled both of the filter catridges out of the filter and tossed them in the trash just in case they had the fungus growing in them. I have also dumped my media baskets and left them empty. All that is filtering now is the bio wheels. I will be monitoring the tanks nitrites and ammonia and hopefully nothing gets out of hand.

This sucks.

Anyone have any suggestions? I haven't looked at the tank to see if the catfish are still alive this morning. It's depressing that I'm having such horrible luck with this and the tank has only been up for about 2 months.
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Old 02-15-2004, 05:41 PM   #8
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James, a cottony growth that is killing fish this fast is likely Columnaris - a bacterial, not fungal infection. The bugs prob came from the petco fish --- that's the main reason to quarantine new fish, so bad ones won't kill off all the fish in your tank.

To treat that you need a strong antibiotic, or you are going to lose all you fish. I am no expert on Columnaris, but there had been a lot of threads in this forum about treatment, etc. Do a search & look at some of them.

You can also try to PM Allivmar, who had posted lots on the subject of disease, but I think she might be away on a cruise or something.
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Old 02-15-2004, 06:36 PM   #9
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I am 50/50 with the stuff on the fish. It's either bacterial or fungal. I did read up and found that it might be bacterial Columnaris as you suggest. I also read that it might some fungus thing they get. It's not really possible to tell which it is. I decided to try the fungal teatment first.

The catfish are now gone. I won't be putting anything new in for a week or two. I boiled out a log of driftwood today and it's in there for now. I replaced fiters and everything seems to be normal again. >sigh<

Should I run the medicine for the Columnaris or should I wait on that? I don't want to run any antiboitics if it's not necessary. I'm thinking that I will continue with 25% water changes every 2 days. Hopefully that will clear the fungus or bacteria out.

OH - how do you normally QT a new fish? I don't have a QT tank and I honestly don't have the room indoors to set up a QT tank. If I were single I would just put a tub on the floor and be careful not to kick it, but I have 3 kids that rampage the house. That tub would last about... ohhh - maybe 2 hours. I might be able to set up a 10 gal here at work, but I would perfer to keep my desk clear. Hmmmm.
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Old 02-15-2004, 07:05 PM   #10
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From what I read (remember I am no expert) bacterial infections kill fish much faster than fungal one.

By any chance are you using Maracyn? That is erythromycin, an antibiotic. Even though Mandel's site says it treats fungus, it has no anti-fungal activity that I know of. It should help in Columnaris though. Once you started on antibiotics, it is wise to finish the whole treatment. Otherwise you run the risk of selecting for anti-biotic resistent organisms. So I say continue with the Maracyn & treat for the full course. <Although for Columnaris, I think people use both Maracyn & Maracyn II, (and the source I use say to treat goldies using KMnO4) >

To QT new fish, you can use a 10 gal aquarium setup (some use smaller like a 5). But if looks don't matter, you can go with a rubbermaid tub with a small heater & a sponge filter. (just make sure your heater is not going to melt your tub!) Most people keep fish in QT for 2 weeks before adding to the main tank, some are paranoid & QT much longer.
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Old 02-15-2004, 07:58 PM   #11
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Maroxy is what I am trying out.

I have no idea if anything is present in the tank right now. It's knid of impossible to tell. The 4 remaining fish are healthy and active. i have a read tail shark and it's usually hiding out in a rock, but I see it's out looking for a new home in the driftwood.

I am hesitant to start up using Maracyn. It is an antibiotic, but I'm still not sure what's wrong with the water. I will go ahead and do it anyway. I read the sheet that came with the Maroxy and I can safely run both at the same time. I'll do this with some water changes and hope that all the junk in the tank goes away.

A simple 5 gal? That makes it a little easier, but I still need to figure out a nice place to put it. I think it's going to end up here at work on my desk. Oh well!
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Old 02-15-2004, 09:09 PM   #12
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Oops. I didn't know about Maroxy (all the trade names means nothing to me unless I have the generic "real" drug name) - did a search on anti-fungals & it came up with Maracyn (which isn't an anti-fungal at all!), thought that might be what you were using. Shows you how little I know...

Well, I am with you on this one. Since you hadn't added an antibiotics, it would be debatable if one is needed now, since all the remaining fish appears to be fine... And antibiotics can muck up your good bugs. But OTOH, if Columnaris is the culpid, it may be safer to treat.

What to do? we need more expert opinion. Alli. are you checking the forum on your cruise ship?
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Old 02-15-2004, 10:18 PM   #13
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Ok - I read the instructions in depth and Maracyn is for bacterial disease and the Maroxy is for the fungal. I can run them at the same time without any harm to the good bacteria in the tank. I picked up the Maracyn and I am using it now. I have to run it for 5 days and the Maroxy was a more "use as needed" medicine. I am stopping the Maroxy (only used it once anyway) and I'll go with the Maracyn for 4 more days. I guess there won't be any water changes until it's all done. I hope it works!
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Old 02-17-2004, 12:22 PM   #14
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As far as a QT tank, we set up a 5 gallon for one of our bettas before we decided to put him with another betta in a split 10 gallon tank. The 5 gallon is now our QT tank and right now houses just five neon tetras and two bitty catfish. When the cats outgrow the 5, I'll move them to the 20 and get more small ones for the 5.

I figured it would be much easier to medicate a small 5 gallon tank if a new fish comes in with problems.

I bought the five gallon at Walmart for $29. It came with a filter and lighted hood, but I had to purchase the heater. It is small and would fit on a kitchen counter or end table (you can see pics of it in my gallery...new ones to come soon...the current pics still show Bill the Betta in it).

I plan to eventually install a 55 gallon with angel fish and since angel fish are MUCH pricier than others, I certainly don't want them dying off on me, so that's why we did the QT tank.
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Old 02-17-2004, 04:24 PM   #15
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Walmart? I can't believe I didn't think to look there!
The local Walmart and Petco are in the same shopping center and only about 2 stores apart! I was looking in Petco, but I don't want to spend $60 + on a 10 gallon tank thatI will hopefully only use for a month or two.
I'll definitely have to go into Walmart and see what they have!
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