* How long has the tank been set up for? Upgraded Tank - 3 weeks, Previous Tank - 16 weeks.
* Size of tank (dimensions and volume). - 60 x 30 x 30 cm, 54 litres.
* How is the tank being filtered? - Bioflow mini filter.
* Water temperature. - 25 degrees centigrade.
* Your maintenance regime - 30% weekly water change. Filter media gently rinsed in old tank water once a month.
* Has anything new been added to the tank recently? - Pangio Doriae (Golden Eel Kuhli) added 3 weeks ago, and I started adding Ferropol 24 plant fertiliser on 30th July, but stopped after four days when first symptoms were seen.
* What other fish are in the tank? - 4 zebra danios, 5 x ray tetras, 4 neon tetras, 4 three-stripe cory cats, 1 pangio doriae (golden eel loach), 1 pangio alternans (borneo kuhli loach) and 3 pangio oblonga (chocolate kuhli loach).
* As detailed a description as possible of the symptoms the fish are exhibiting - 3 Pangio Kuhli (Striped Kuhli Loach) have died after shaking, fitting and not being able to swim (they just spun and ended up upside down on the sand). The Pangio Unknown started displaying these symptoms yesterday evening and was dead by this evening.
* How long ago the affected fish were added to the tank, and how long the fish have been displaying symptoms. - I have had the three striped kuhlis for around 3 months, and the silver loach for 1 month. After the symptoms started, the loaches were dead within 24 hours.
* Your current water parameters - ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH - 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 5ppm nitrate - do not know pH I'm afraid. I'll buy a test at the weekend.
The Pangio Loaches (3 chocolate, 1 borneo and 1 golden) are currently in my old Fluval Edge aquarium as I moved them into there after the first three striped kuhlis died. I thought maybe the plant fertiliser was affecting them, so wanted to get them away from it. However, as the silver loach died a week after being moved to the Fluval Edge, I'm not so sure this is the case anymore.
I have been advised to ask this question here by Neale at Wet Web Media as he was not sure what the problem could be, and thought Emma Turner (Hi Emma if you're reading this) might be able to help.
I really love these little guys, and really hope someone will be able to help me keep my other loaches alive.
When fish are in it's final stages like this, you really need to get it out of the community tank ASAP and quarantine it. Dying fish may release deadly toxins into the water well before they die. Those toxins could very well infect any fish near it and death can become a chain reaction.
Also, anytime you add new fish to an established tank, you risk cross contaminating that tank with deadly pathogens or disease. That new fish could be a host, and may appear to be perfectly healthy because it may have a resistance or immunity to what it carries, but the fish in the established tank could be acceptable to it.
Quarantining new fish isn't a simple solution either. There is no iron clad quarantine procedure. The minimum quarantine period should be 3 weeks. Prophylactic treatments for the most common parasites is good practice while the new fish are in quarantine. A more thorough Q-tank procedure would involve moving a healthy fish from the established tank to the quarantine tank to see if there are any communicable diseases between the fish. New fish could spend many months in quarantine. It all depends on how valuable your fish are to you and how much risk you are willing to take. The best solution is to never add new fish to already established aquarium. Better just to start a new tank.
I thought the shaking and inability to swim were indicators of a sick fish, not just one that was dying. In which case, I have no idea why my loaches are dying, as they seem fine and are acting normally up until the fitting starts.
All the pangio loaches were removed from my community tank to a quarantine tank when the first one died and the next one started fitting. All my other fish appear healthy and are acting normally. This is another reason I thought it might be poisoning as the loaches are scaleless so more sensitive.
So the most likely reason for the deaths is the Gold Loach. Who has bought some kind of loach disease into my tank that he is resistant to and is killing my other loaches. Should I be treating my loaches with anything? A general antibacterial medication? Or antiparasite medication?
It could be poisoning, but it could also be osmotic shock from the plant fertilizers being added and/or removed too quickly. Fertilizers will alter the water chemistry and some fish may have trouble acclimating to the new water conditions. In the future, a TDS meter could help you measure how much the water chemistry changes when the fertilizers are added or removed. I think the key to adding fertilizers is to add them slowly. I would add them by doing small slow water changes with fresh water that is pre-treated with the fertilizers.
Also, when you move the fish to quarantine, you need to be sure not to change the water chemistry. You'd want to match the KH, GH, and TDS of the main tanks' water. Knowing the pH would help also, but it helps more if you also know the KH and do several pH measurements through out the day and night. The pH can fluctuate from day to night because the CO2 content may change due to photosynthesis. This is something you really need to watch for in a planted tank. Sometimes at night, the plants can use plenty of oxygen, and drive up the CO2, which will lower the pH. If the CO2 gets too high, it could poison the fish. If the pH fluctuates too much, ammonia could become toxic also.
Using a wide spectrum antibiotic and anti-parasite medication may help if the problem is from the new fish, but if the medication is added to the water that could change the water chemistry more and further stress the fish. You might want to try medicated foods if they'll eat it. If you use medications, be sure they aren't past their expiration date. Most only have a shelf life of 1-2 years and may become toxic when they do expire.
My best advise is to provide them consistent water chemistry, maintain the great water quality, and feed them a combination of medicated foods. Get the test kits for KH, GH, and pH, a TDS meter, and track the water chemistry in the main tank, Q-tank, and the tap water.
(Also because of this copper sensitivity, it is critical to not use anti-ick medications that contain copper on loaches.)
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