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Old 04-04-2011, 03:11 PM   #1
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Need a diagnosis, please help.

I have a 55 gallon tank that has been fully cycled and set-up for about 2 - 3 months. The tank is planted with java moss, java fern, water lily bulbs, and amazonicus. The tank contains freshwater aquarium salt. Being fully cycled the water is testing out at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and I do regular water changes (25% per week) and so the nitrate is also testing out at 0. The PH is 7.9 or so. I do not have tap water, I have well water but it is full of lime and other things so I do treat the water I use in water changes. The temperature of the tank remains a steady 74-6. The tank is filtered by 2 large HOB's not sure of brand or model. They do, however, have a very strong flow and I am also in the process of setting up a DIY wet/dry filter/sump and already have the overflow and most of the rest completed. There is also 1 air driven sponge filter and an air stone in the tank.
Living within are 6 Platy's, 4 Guppies, 3 Swordtails, 1 Molly, and 1 Large Ghost Shrimp. The livebearers were initially set-up with trios. The fish were acclimated by floating and then slowly adding aquarium water to the bag before netting the fish out and placing them in the aquarium. The only exception to this is the first three or so fish the water in the bag was added to the aquarium (I maybe unwisely figured since the tank was freshly cycled the bacteria from the shop would be beneficial if in the water). The fish are fed dry tropical fish food from TetraColor which is almost gone - after which they will be fed Livebearer Earthworm dry flake from Kensfish.com. None of the fish are new, however I have added 2 pieces of fake wood decorations. It breaks my heart, but so far I have lost 2 Mollies, 2 Guppies, and 2 Ghost Shrimp to what appears to be the same problem.
The fish have a varied but consistent set of symptoms which has me extremely confused. They were initially swimming near the surface, not moving much and so I assumed low oxygen content. So I added an airstone and the sponge filter. The water, however, has alot of surface disruption due to the dual HOB filters and two inch lowered water level to use an aquarium divider and so I was skeptical that it was the problem. Better safe than sorry though. Then, they started sitting on the bottom, almost hiding. There has also been some flicking against decorations like it might be ich but there are no noticeable white spots that I have seen. The worst symptom is toward the end before they pass away they start being unable to swim properly. It has appeared that they were 'bent' they would swim, or rather flop about nose down and aimlessly. After this starts they sit on the bottom, usually hiding within a decoration almost all of the time. Yet, when I attempt to fish them out with the net they usually swim vigorously before coming rest at the bottom again in hiding. At this point they stop eating.
First, the mollies were affected. All three mollies had symptoms. Two of the mollies are dead and the other molly seemed to be lost but has since recovered somewhat (despite the fact that for some reason I can't seem to find her when I just took a moment to check on her while writing this). Oddly, the female and male guppies that passed, when I found them in the morning has their tails shredded. I say oddly, because I watch the tank very closely and have never seen even the slightest bit of agression between any of the fish not even the males. None. Most recently, one of the swordtail females has started flopping about, poor girl.
Please if anyone can help me I would greatly appreciate it. I hate to see these fish suffering and dying. I am definately an animal person and if I cannot keep fish properly in a healthy environment then I am considering giving up the hobby for the fish's sake.
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Old 04-04-2011, 04:15 PM   #2
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Hmm, I am kind of stumped! Sounds like swim bladder issues, but I don't think that would KILL them.
When my fish have swim bladder issues, I feed them boiled, shelled peas.
Hopefully someone else will come along and be of more help to you.
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Old 04-08-2011, 06:12 PM   #3
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"It has appeared that they were 'bent' they would swim, or rather flop about nose down and aimlessly."
By bent do you mean like this? Scoliosis fish image by Tapil523 on Photobucket
If so, it could be scoliosis, as far as I know there is no cure
But it does sound like swim bladder disorder up until that point. I agree with dkpate about feeding peas, its worth a try anyways. sorry to hear about your situation
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:12 PM   #4
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New Pictures! Please Help!

So - Update time. I treated the tank with Quick Cure. Water changes everyday, added salt, raised the heat, and covered the tank to block out light. When I finally removed the towels covering the tank there was a surprise for me. The first VISUAL symptom. The sickest of the fish still alive had some white patches on her sides and a spot by one gill. Her tail is also a little shredded, although it was an oddly small tail when I got her. I feel so bad for the girl. I pray this aids in the identification of the disease.
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:32 PM   #5
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Fish tuberculosis can also bend the spine, it might be worth looking up.
If the white spots are fungus, the high heat will make it worse.
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