Type of fish: hillstream butterfly loach (Beaufortia kweichowensis) *Had 4, now only 2 survive.
Length of time tank has been set up: 43 days
Size of tank: 20 gallon tall (24 1/4" length x 12 1/2" depth x 16 3/4" height)
Filter: powerfilter with biowheel
Water temperature: 75 degrees Fahrenheit
Maintenance regime: 25% water change weekly
New things added to the tank recently: everything and nothing *Explained below.*
Tankmates: 6 pearl danios and one rolling moss ball (this plant came from the same tank my loaches lived in at the store)
Current water parameters:
-ammonia = 0
-nitrite = 0
-nitrate = approximately 20ppm
-pH = between 7.0 - 7.5
Food used in tank:
-sinking pellets and flakes (alternate feedings)
-blood worms (thawed) *as an occasional treat
-artemia (thawed) *as an occasional treat
I wanted to add that I have a power head in the tank to create a current for the loaches and also have an airpump with airstone in the tank to help oxygenate the water. Also, I have the light turned on for 10-12 hours each day.
*I set the new tank up at the end of July. I did a fishless cycle using ammonia and a biological starter. It took 29 days to complete the cycle. Once it was completed, I did a 50% water change and waited a day before adding fish. I added the danios, loaches, and rolling moss ball all at the same time on August 29th. (I floated the bags for 15 minutes and then added 1/2 cup of my aquarium water to each bag every 10 minutes for 1/2 an hour. Then I used a net to remove the fish from the bags and let them loose in their new home.) I also had some java moss in the tank at first, but I removed it. I just wanted to add that there was algae already present in my tank before I decided to purchase the loaches.
Everyone was fine and I didn't notice any strange behavior or health issues at first. My largest loach usually stayed on the side of the tank. The two medium sized loaches usually stayed on and in the tall rock cave. My smallest loach (who was much darker than the other three loaches - more so than any photo I've ever seen of hillstream butterfly loaches) usually stayed on the other side of the tank from the others in and around the small rock cave. After the fish had been in their new home for one week, I did a 25% water change (prepared the water the day prior) and vacuumed the gravel while doing so. A day later, my largest loach went into hiding. I couldn't find him for almost two days. When I did find him, he was floating inside the rock cave. The only abnormal thing I noted upon examination was redness between the eyes (brain area?). While trying to discover the cause of his death, I read about Patchy Disease on this site. I re-examined him and saw a few white spots on his body. I immediately checked my other loaches, and sure enough, I noticed a few white spots on the two medicum sized loaches, too. I read about Ich also, but the white spots didn't appear as the description I read. Having thought that my loaches had Patchy disease, I started treatment with Maracyn and Maracyn 2 the next day. My other fish all seemed okay, so I thought the medicine was working. I couldn't locate my small loach yesterday, so I immediately became worried. However, he appeared on the side of the glass this morning. At first I was relieved. I still didn't see any white spots on him. Then I noticed that he had what appeared to be blood (internal hemorrhage) around his mouth, was having possible difficulty staying attached to the glass, and was breathing more rapidly than I had noticed before. A little while later, I noticed that he was getting the same redness between his eyes like the first dead loach had. My first thought was hemorrhagic septicemia, but he didn't present as the description. Then I thought Hole in Head, but it didn't match as I didn't see any holes. I also read about Trichodina, but it didn't fit. Then his eyes began to bulge. I read about Pop Eye, but again, the full presentation did not seem to fit the description. He died a few hours later, but his body didn't float. I removed him as soon as I noticed him. Shortly after death, he started loosing his dark color and turning white. I don't know whether this is normal at death for a fish, but the other one didn't do that.
I've been searching the Internet like crazy, but I cannot find anything that matches what I noticed. Any ideas? Will my other loaches be okay?
Thank you for any input.
When did you add the danios? Perhaps they brought in the infection.
The danios were added at the same time as the loaches. They were in a different tank than the loaches at the store (an extremely reputable one), but both tanks looked healthy. They had some sort of shrimp in with the loaches, and I can't remember what other species they had in with the pearl danios. If it is an internal parasite, am I treating it correctly with Maracyn and Maracyn 2 or should I be using something else? I don't want to lose my other two loaches.
But they should help an internal bacterial infection which is what your fish seem to have. However, diagnosis can be very difficult on some of these problems with many illnesses having the same symptoms.
I would continue the antibiotics for the full treatment and hope that takes care of it.
If you are using multiple antibiotics on your tank, keep an eye on nitrite and ammonia numbers.
Maracyn and Maracyn 2 are not supposed to effect the filter bacteria, but that's a good idea just in case.
The Maracyn and Maracyn 2 treatment (5 days) was completed on Monday. I did a partial water change (25%) on Tuesday because the water took on a brown tinge - I'm assuming from the medication - and because the nitrate level increased a bit (appearing closer to 40ppm). I had the replacement water prepared two days prior. Ammonia and Nitrite remain at 0ppm and my pH is holding steady. I also changed one of the filter cartridges since it was time to do so. (The powerfilter with biowheel that I have holds two cartridges at a time.) The two remaining loaches seem to be doing okay, but I'm still holding my breath. Who knew a person could get attached to their fish so quickly? I'm truly emotionally vested to these little creatures.
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