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Fish dying.... doing my head in


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Hi everyone,

I have a 4 x 2 x 2, pH around the 7.6 mark, water temp around the 26 mark, nitrites fine, ammonia fine etc etc...... but I keep getting sick fish.....

At first I thought it was the temp (we had a few hot days (40) a while back) and I lost a young Elec Yellow (3ish cm), then within 2 days my Dimi compress died..... sad.gif he was around the 6 - 7 cm mark...... then everything seemed to be ok for a week or 2 then my Mono sebae got sick...... same symptoms, I had to put him out of his misery on Monday night, now my Melanochromis chipokae (6-7cm too) is showing the same signs.......

The signs are:

Not Eating...

Very Fast Breathing...

They are the only 2 symptoms that I can see....... there are no visible marks or anything else......

The only other sign that I noticed was with the Mono, and that is under the gill, it looks very pink and maybe slightly puffy......., but I am not sure if they have all been showing this, the Mono's slim shape made it easy to see that.......

Any idea's, I am not sure if what they have is contagious and it is spreading to each fish....... I have done 3 water changes and tried Salt...... I am running out of idea's....... any help would be greatly appreciated.......



0410 49 69 75

Perth, WA

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Hi Kev,

Those few Perth hotties here had me worried too - touch wood no losses. It may be the warmer weather. Try what the others have said, also open your lids so that the warm air can escape. Try daily partial water changes with cooler water perhaps. My fish are not too keen to rush at food when the tank temps are up. Prob. best to hold back on the food during the warm days.

On another note, sometimes redness around the gills can indicate some type of poisoning eg. chlorine, copper, chloroamine or maybe an airborne poison eg. flyspray. Just a thought.


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Thanks for the replies.......

As far as air goes, I have a big mouse compressor etc, with double outlets running full blast, but I will add another compressor......... anything is worth a try......

Once again, thanks.....

Merjo, are you in Perth also? Wondering if you aren't too far away you might want to come and see for yourself....... I am in Joondalup.

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Sorry about that Kev sad.gif A friend in both NSW and Wa are heving similar problems as well with this. Sounds very similar - just a lot of heavy breathing with enough air.

Perhaps gill flukes?? The friend in WA is running a course of gill fluke treatment and the one in NSW is in the middle of his as well even though both have had water tested as ok in all departments.

Sorry mate, I have no answers for you except keep up with extra water changes of pre treated water. I don't think changing the compressor will do anything.

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Thanks Anita, it is sooooooo annoying, I have only been keeping Cichlids for about 8 - 9 months, from the start they have seemed so damn touchy.....

First 3 days, I lost 6 fish, then everything fine for a while then a couple died, no reason found, and now a few months later again I have lost 5 fish since November...... just 1 at a time, with the same symptoms....... I am begining to think I should just keep the koi I have out the back in the pond..... wink.gif

Can anyone tell me if Tangs are easier than Malawi's???

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I know this seems funny, but take one to the vet.

Its about $70 for a bacterial/parasite culture and if you add it up, its probably cheaper than letting it run its course. Its less emotionally draining too wink.gif

Call the vet before you go down, and just see if they have any experience with fish and if they can do this for you smile.gif Dont freeze the fish, as this will render a culture useless and probably kill any parasites.

I went thought something similar about 2 years ago. It was heartbreaking.

If nothing else, the lab tests proved to all involved that it was not my fault and nothing i did was the cause of the carnage.

Something to consider anyhow.

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Hi Kevin,

These fish can be really frustrating , can't they.

I would tend to agree with Anita, flukes would seem a likely candidate.

Not sure the local vet is likely to be able to give you much help unless they have a particular interest in fish. Having said that the only way to accurately diagnose flukes is with a gill scraping from a LIVE fish.

Most people just treat them on the presumption?? Not that scientific I know.



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Hi Kev,

Like I said in the PM's, sometimes it really is a best guess. I would keep doing the partial water changes and try the fluke treatment - won't hurt if it's not flukes. Lighten up on the feeding too.


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I would run them through a treatment of Octazin as it sounds like

Ich or protozoan prob with the gills to me by the hard breathing

Dosage is one tab per 25Lt over 3 days then 30-50% water change on day 8

personally I prefer to run a second course just to be sure there aren't any bugs left that have survived

Most good LFS have Octazin but be warned if you buy the 200 tab jar its cheaper in the end than paying $1-$2 a tab loose

cool.gif L2H

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With those sort of losses spread over that time frame I would definately be looking at some sort of infection/desease/parasite. With experience there are all sorts of things to look for. Rapid breathing is not diagnostic of just one ailment. Like you getting a fever, could be any number of things. If low DOR (disolved oxygen ratio), all the fish in the tank will be affected, not just one or two. Typical behaviour is for the fish to hang at the surface "sucking air" or if bottom dwellers like Corydoras or Loricariads, rise to the surface and take a gulp of air.

A newly introduced fish may breath fast as a result of osmotic shock where too fast a change of water conditions rupture the gill filaments. These fish usually lay on the botom and 'pant'. Secondary infections (fungal/bacteria) set in and the fish dies if the shock hasn't killed it first.

Gill parasites (flukes) have very characteristic symptoms. As the parasite population increases the fish slowly drowns. After some time of rapid breathing (weeks) the fish will dash to the surface, then slowly fall, spiralling to the bottom. If one fish in the collection has these symptoms then assume that all the fish in the tank are infected.

Fast breathing and swimming 'just not right', fins and or tail clamped ? suspect Costia or Oodinium. Examin closely for a dulling of colour or smokey film on the body (Costia) or fine gold dusting on the skin (Oodinium). Again assume all fish in the tank are infected even if not showing symptoms.

This could go on for hundreds of pages and I haven't even got to treatments yet!

this site might be helpful for those interested ;- http://www.fishdoc.co.uk/video/fishmovies.htm

click on the menu.

Darn! I got a couple of others hidden in this machine some where blush.gif

Oh well that's a start to get you all thinking.

Too many people jump straight to water conditions and 99 times out of 100 that ain't the problem. If your water is off (amonia/nitrite/nitrate/DOR etc) then every fish in the tank is showing symptoms all at the same time. Ones and twos dying over a period and you have an infection of some sort.


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