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3-4cm fish dying in grow out tank...


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Hi All

First time this is happening to me i have a 4x18x18 grow out has about 50-60 fish in there 2-4cm in last few days i notice a few of the larger ones dead very strange but the first 6-8 was all same spieces(t-reef) then the kadango redfins now i notice a few red empress ..

they stay close to the bottom and breath fast

when they are dying they die in full color with mouth left open

i read a few places to try to work it out but cant pin point the problem

i did test on water amonia nitrite and nitrate was all good ph was a little low 7.4

just cant work it out.

Any help will be great

plenty of air and surface water movement



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i would sugest to test the water and tell us the findings

but if you cant, then do a large water change see if helps slow down there breathing if so it was your water quality and you will need to do more frequent water changes

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I have to agree with Foti on this. I would like to know what he actual readings are and how they differ from the tank they were previously kept in.

I know this is upsetting, but it may be a simple fix.

I would also like to know what medications you used. It may be a water issues and treating them with medication could be doing them harm.

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I had gold comps in the tank before..I turned it into a grow out tank all was good for 1 month until I bought a bunch of gold occis and a female bristlenose of someone put them in my tank I noticed the female bristlenose looked flat like a pancake and white looking then it died 2 days alter and then the nightmare started with first the t-reefs only dying then the kadangos and then the red empresses and now the lithos have started to die..I tested my water many times readings perfect only thing was ph was 7.4 ...since they have started to die all the fish are breathing very very fast sitting on bottom and slowly dying..I have used metro..wardleys parricide....primafix ....meathlene blue.... doing a water change before using different meds it is sand substrate my other bristlenose in there nearly dead also cause I don't think they liked the parricide medicine now that tank is complete empty moved them into a 2ft tank with different tank water will know what’s happening 2moro...there must be something someone on the internet that has similar problem heavy and fast breathing and sitting on bottom and they were occasionally scratching themselves....it is the highest tank in my garage was thinking maybe car fumes but that is very little possibility cause have a big canvas drop sheet that blocks all that and hardly any cars where I am...

I can’t believe I waited all this time just ready to sell or swap and this happens I guess I will be paying for the electricity not the fish :(

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heavy, fast breathing, sitting on the bottom.

this is a common symptom of water quality.

you say all paremeters are good.

are the test kits fresh. do you trust the readings?. if you have an LFS close by, take a water sample and have them check it. or maybe another breeder close to you.

what filtration are you useing, is there an air stone in use.?

rapid water changes can actualy increase the problem thruogh rapid ph swings.

from the desciption of the bn and the other fish, my guess? this is a nitate issue

hope you get this sorted

may the fish gods smile upon you

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thanks mate it is possible was thinking back 2 day's prior them starting to die i did a filter clean possible i took all the good bacteria out...

hi Litho i do hope you tested the water like you said! because it would of shown

the best thing for you to do now is water changes every day till heavy breathing stops

at 1 point we all have had (or read about) problems with our tanks this is how we all have learnt and you will look back on this and use it to help others :thumb

water quality is very important when keeping fish. nearly all problems start from there "do not over stock" and if a fish is showing a problem out of the ordenary then you must "test" the water!

all the best


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I had this happen to me before with Cylindricus a few years ago.Overnight they just dropped to the bottom of the tank breathing heavy to this day i still don't know what happened.Everything else in the tank was fine other than them.I managed to save 1.But even when i moved them to another tank, the same happened.Very strange.I'm pretty sure it's the same thing that happened to me, has happened to you and i have no idea what it is,wish i did!

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hey mate

i had a similar thing happen to my fry lost around the 100 mark

i tried metro but it didnt work

in the end i used melafix and also daily water changes

i saved around 60 fry

no idea what caused them to die just happy one minute then bang the just dropped


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there are many probs that attack the gills from water parameters

to pathogens but in cases of low oxygen the fish will be at the top

to me it sounds like it could have been Velevt AKA Odinium

by the rapid breathing and sitting on the bottom

in Africans it doesn't nessecarily show all the usual symptoms

as with other tropical fish such as the body cysts

I would have thought that the Metro treatment would have turned

it is a dino flagellate and not a quick fix disease as it already has

a hold on the fish before it has attacked the gills to the stage that

causes the increased repiration

It is possible that they had contracted a secondary problem also

toxic shock has different effect and usually the fish will just drop dead

from perfectly normal behaviour with no signs


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Sounds like Chris hit on the head mate. I was going to suggest an ammonia\nitrite spike which would disappear in a day or so but that would most likely force them to the top.

Sorry to hear about your loss, I have lost tanks of fry before for no real reason and it is heart breaking digging the bodies out. I was just about to see if you had some empress I get as it is likely that I am heading there next meeting.



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