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Fish Dilemma HELP!
So, as the story goes "my fish are dying and I don't know why".

Over the last few weeks I've had about 30% of my fish die through what I thought were unknown circumstances. Water readings all fine, regular water changes etc. It wasn't until I saw a dead panda Molly in the tank with ripped fins that I realised it was our RTS causing the problem. Returned him to our LFS and the problem seemed solved, or so I thought.

Woke up this morning to find out pearl gourami and one of our little platys dead. As seen from the photos it isn't too pretty. (Platy originally was full orange with just a black stripe on his back) [Image: uiKZr5gl.jpg] do[Image: 2Bek71al.jpg]

With the fish dying recently we added 2female guppy and 1 male to the tank when returning the RTS. (Could this be the problem?)

Total tank stock:
1 large common plec(9") 
2 bristlenose(1albino) 
3 female guppy 1 male
6 platys (1 small 5 about 1 inch in length)
1 silver gourami 

Thanks in advance,

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Should probably add, 250l 4ft tank
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I don't know what music you had in mind but my brain automatically rendered "my fish are dying and I don't know why" to the tune of 'Grim travellers' by Bruce Cockburn. Kinda fits, reading the rest of your story!

My instinct, especially given the photo of the gourami, is to assume that fish dying now have given up the struggle against injuries and/or other stressors sustained while the RT(B)S was still in the community.

One tactic used by aggressive fish is to repeatedly ram their victims where most damage would be caused to vital organs. Your gourami may well be evidencing this. 

The auto-immune systems of all fish that the shark had been harrassing would have been compromised through stress and they now may be vulnerable to nasties that they would just shrug off in their non-stressed state.

If newly-introduced (and properly-acclimatised) fish were dropping, then I'd be concerned about an aggressive pathogen in the tank. I don't think it's worth taking pre-emptive action, such as medicating. 

Others' opinions may differ, of course!
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Oh, sorry - welcome to the forum!
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Welcome to .

I'm not much help on this subject, The platy doesn't look too strange but the gourami looks like its had an ulcer.
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I agree with V!, the damage may have been done by the plec following death, but do have a question.....
Is your water hard or soft as the livebearers need hard water, and the gourami will do far better in soft?
If at first you don't succeed....
...get someone else to do it! Big Grin

Enjoy your fish, shrimps and snails!

All my posts are from a desktop.
Mobiles are way too complicated for me, although I do have one now. Wink
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Oh sorry you come to the site with sad news Sad
Hopefully you’ll get some answers and things will be sorted soon.
Bikini Bottom - 168l
Bronze, Peppered  & Albino Cory, Black Widows, Cherry Barbs, Green Tiger Barb (rescues), Amanos.
The Kremlin - 58l 
Bronze Corys.
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Water parameters? Smile

Common plecs are armour-plated, and it’s rough and sharp. And they’re extremely powerful fish that could easily kill or injure any of those tankmates, even accidentally. A big plec with small fish means its only a matter of time before there are casualties. Especially at night, and especially if it’s chasing the Bristlenoses, because commons are usually very territorial.
I don't keep fish, I keep water. Water keeps fish.
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Thank you everyone for the hasty replies!

Not too sure how to tag someone as such but Vale! Thank you, yes it seems only the older fish seemed to be dropping, all newcomers fine and eating well etc.. yes totally makes sense in terms of immune systems being damaged!

Plankton, sorry I'm not too sure.. how would be the best way to check this?

Black ghost, I can read the testing strip tonight and let you know parameters of the water?
Yes I understand what you mean with plec, he's rock hard!(no derogatory terms intended!) As soon as the light goes to blue led he's out and about. No the bristlenoses seem happy as Larry and are the fastest growing in the tank!(mainly because they aren't dying.) The common has his area under the driftwood and the bristlenoses tend to live ON the driftwood, even sometimes feeding on the commons back!! So not a problem there.
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[Image: eg4CzeDl.jpg][Image: qq4vThzl.jpg]UPDATE: got home from work today to find one of the new guppy's dead being eaten by the albino bristlenose.. Any advice please would be great.

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What do you feed all the Plecos? I know very little about them, i am no expert &, i only ask as I have 1 juvenile BN Pleco & because I also have otos in my tank I was told very specifically before I left the shop to make they all have plenty of different veggies, wafers & bogwood to snack on etc. Every second or third day there is a cucumber/courgette slice or romaine lettuce, occasionally a piece of sweet potato
I don’t think it’s been unheard of for common Plecos to suck on the slime coat off other fish but again never owned a common Pleco
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Any news from your test strips yet? Unfortunately an important parameter that your test strips won't address is ammonia (unles you bought ammonia-specific test strips, of course!). Can I recommend that you switch from strips to a liquid kit - the API Master Test Kit is great value - especially if bought via the internet, where it's typically cheaper.

If finances won't run to that right now, it would be really useful if you could get an LFS (Local Fish Shop) to do ammonia and nitrite tests for you - it might cost a couple of quid but it would answer an urgent question.

In the meantime, results from the test strips that you have are eagerly anticipated, as per Blackghost above. Actual results, with numbers, rather than 'everything's fine'.

In general, a single fish dropping after moving from shop water to home water shouldn't cause panic but suggests that observation of the community could be increased. The tailfin of the fish in your last pic looks a bit ragged and red. If so, that could indicate presence of ammonia in the water or a bacterial infection (possibly something like pseudomonas - Google it for more info) but there could be other causes too. What does the finnage of other fish look like in that regard?

A move to unsuitable water, as per Plankton's post, can easily stress a weak fish. You should be able to find out the general characteristics of your tapwater from your Water Authority's website. If that seems a bit of a daunting task I'd be happy to help - just PM me your postcode if you'd rather not publish it here.

Diagnosing fishy diseases (if that's what we have here) can be really difficult, especially for the likes of us without access to top-notch lab equipment! But we often can narrow down the possibilities given sufficient info. 

Bottom line : still don't panic! Consider increasing the frequency (but not necessarily the volume) of water- changes ; and make sure that the tank is otherwise well-oxygenated. The latter can be accomplished via an airstone or by pointing the outflow of a motor- driven filter towards the surface so that it ripples.
[-] The following 1 user Likes Vale!'s post:
  • Jackd0808
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Sorry to hear that you have lost some fish.  Sad


I agree with V!, the damage may have been done by the plec following death, but do have a question.....
Is your water hard or soft as the livebearers need hard water, and the gourami will do far better in soft?

Seeing that you have both hard and soft water species it is important to know what your water hardness is.
Just tell us which town you live in and we can look up the hardness for you, if you are in London or other large city/town then the district will also help.

Hard water fish species, such as platy, need hard water for osmoregulation, without hard water they will usually die from organ failure, usually kidney failure.
Fish use osmosis and diffusion to regulate their bodies this is known as Osmoregulation (the ability to regulate osmosis).
Water goes in through the mouth, out the gills, out the skin and excreted; this is then replaced by minerals taken into the skin, or through the gills and vice versa.

Without this system a fish would either suffer from lack of the correct balance of minerals (hard water fish in soft water), or too much of one or more minerals (softwater fish in hard water), resulting in some form of deficiency.

Fish osmoregulation is needed by fish because fish live in an environment where these are readily available to them, which is why the correct balance of your water parameters is so important to your particular fish.

Another question ..
What is the tank water temperature?
Some fish species prefer the water slightly cooler (under 24C) and others prefer the water slightly warmer (above 24C).
Thank you
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[Image: BlZuLp4l.jpg][Image: ohJk3GIl.jpg][Image: nLnt8Y6l.jpg][Image: W37ImfUl.jpg][Image: du8MG5ul.jpg]Apologies, tied up at work will give a in depth reply later! Pics attached of strip reading from water and what strip reads. Also water hardness figures for my postcode
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Ok, so we have another death  Cry our other little platy.

Purchased api master kit yesterday and arrived today. Ammonia reading 0.25. 
Nitrite reading bottom of the scale
Temperature a constant 26C 

Little bit lost as to what to do now? [Image: 0cpQNrKl.jpg]

Any more advice/bits I've missed that need going over would be great. 

Kind regards,

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