Cories, dead tanks and other issues

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PygmyPepperJulli

Fish Crazy
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Location
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Hi all,

Recently I have lost a lot of cories, and now the ones remaining look like they are on the way out. I would love to keep these fish in the future but the rate at which they are dying is getting too much to handle.
1 pepper, 2 pygmies.

Ammonia 0, Nitrate 0, Nitrite 0 (with my brand new test kit that I finally got, hooray)/ pH 6.5 ish.
Tank 55gal, 4 foot
Planted with hornwort and ambulia, with some dying bacopa (just including this as to explain the parameters and that it isn't a a/n/n problem)
Tankmates- 18 neon tetras, 3 pearl gourami, and an angelfish. I do not suspect bullying to be the issue, however as I can't watch the tank every second of the day it could be.
Symptoms (for the pygmies)- very, very skinny. I don't even know if there's two or one at this point as I only ever see one at a time, and only ever when swimming to the surface very unsteadily to take a gulp of air or yesterday when it simply sat in the hornwort floating at the top for ages. I saw a tiny pink bit on one of them yesterday. Have not seen them poop (or eat, actually, which may explain the skinniness). Not sure if this is relevant, but when they get back to the bottom they seem to rise up a bit, realise they're floating and swim back down. Both they and the pepper have very short barbels, however I think the sand is quite fine and I don't think bacterial infection due to the parameters.

Ideas if issue- loneliness? I had more, but then they died and I 1. don't know if I'm giving up on them yet and 2. don't want to add anything until the problem is either gone or they all die. Worms? Would explain the skinniness and pink thing, however if they have it, they ALL have it, which will be a bit of an issue... I don't have any dewormer or the budget to get one (just spent it all on the test kit), so is there anything I can do?

And another issue....
I was going to qt them in my 10 gal, but that has crashed. Very badly.

With nothing in there, it's full of mosquito larvae, junk and debris, and I have no idea of how to fix it. Should I take all the water out, clean out the sponges (for all I know there may be toxic waste in there), and start a fresh cycle? Or is there something I can do? I want to possibly turn it into a long-term breeding tank for pygmies, or at least somewhere for them to live, but can't even isolate my current one(s) at the state it's in.

The latest death was (assuming the other pygmy isn't dead) last week, when I d=found the corpse of my riffle shrimp (which upset me quite a bit, I caught that riffle shrimp and he was one of my favourite parts of the tank). Not including the shrimp, it would have been around 3 weeks ago when the second last pepper died.

Anything would be appreciated at this point.
PPJ (likely soon to become 'lack of pygmy pepper juliis')
 
Last edited:
How many peppers and how many pygmies did you start out with, and how long ago did you get them?

Do you have photos of the peppered, or a species name? Common names vary by country, so want to be sure I know which type we're talking about.

Pygmies might be starving if they're not able to get enough food, and there are some large, aggressive and territorial fish in there, not ideal for pygmies, they'll be afraid of those, could be attacked by them (how big is the angel?) or may just be being outcompeted for food. Remember that pygmy cories have tiny mouths, so need food that's finely crushed, and the neons, gourami and angel could easily be outcompeting them for food even if it's small enough for their mouths, since they'll get to it first, and cories afraid to come out to eat with those others in there.

Can you get photos of any of the fish or tanks concerned? Hard to know what to suggest when we can't see what you mean about the tank. The ten gal, has the filter been running, or turned off? If turned off, it's likely rank with dead bacteria, and better to just clean the whole tank and filter out and start over.

I would suggest seeding a cycle for the 10g from the current tank, but probably better not to if you suspect disease. Personally I'd clean out the ten gal, catch whatever cories are left and put them in there, maintain water changes, use it as a hospital tank during this emergency and see whether you can save the remaining cories.
 
What are you feeding the fish and how often do you feed them?

If they are skinny, they are either not getting enough food or they have worms and or gill flukes. Deworming would be the ideal way to go but if you can't afford it yet, feed the fish more often and make sure they are eating until they are full. Then stop feeding and remove uneaten food. The extra food will hopefully let them produce enough blood to stay alive until you can deworm them.

Do more frequent water changes when feeding more often.
 
1. I had 6 peppers about a month ago (actually, had 3 from die out, went to the store and bought another three, and found 2 dead when I came back. Yay.) I started with 6 pygmies around a year and a half ago, but they have been dying out over time and I don't want to add some just for them to die (this was before I joined the forum and discovered pygmies need a much bigger group than that).

2. Corydoras paleatus (the normal one?)

3. The ten gal in definitely dead. I turned off the filter at one point (long story) and it all went downhill from there. It looks bad, smells bad, and is covered in all sorts of disgusting stuff. I took everything out this morning, washed it, and am hopefully filling it up this afternoon. I plan to put the cories in as soon as it's filled and filter up and running, but if there are issues with that I can wait. It won't be cycled, but it will be a very small biolode, and I'll stuff in some hornwort and do extra water changes.

4. What dewormers would you recommend?

5. I'm currently feeding seachem flakes (it's a quick fix, keep reading) and some frozen hikari sinking pellets and micro-bites. They are frozen, because while they are not past their due date they got infested by some tiny white bugs and started falling apart, and I really don't want to throw them out. I'll probably be buying some cheap spirilania (that's not spelt right, but anyway) sinking pellets soon.
 
1. I had 6 peppers about a month ago (actually, had 3 from die out, went to the store and bought another three, and found 2 dead when I came back. Yay.) I started with 6 pygmies around a year and a half ago, but they have been dying out over time and I don't want to add some just for them to die (this was before I joined the forum and discovered pygmies need a much bigger group than that).

2. Corydoras paleatus (the normal one?)

3. The ten gal in definitely dead. I turned off the filter at one point (long story) and it all went downhill from there. It looks bad, smells bad, and is covered in all sorts of disgusting stuff. I took everything out this morning, washed it, and am hopefully filling it up this afternoon. I plan to put the cories in as soon as it's filled and filter up and running, but if there are issues with that I can wait. It won't be cycled, but it will be a very small biolode, and I'll stuff in some hornwort and do extra water changes.

4. What dewormers would you recommend?

5. I'm currently feeding seachem flakes (it's a quick fix, keep reading) and some frozen hikari sinking pellets and micro-bites. They are frozen, because while they are not past their due date they got infested by some tiny white bugs and started falling apart, and I really don't want to throw them out. I'll probably be buying some cheap spirilania (that's not spelt right, but anyway) sinking pellets soon.


Okay... deep breaths, I'll try to keep this as brief as I can for now, cover the emergency situation as best as possible, then we can worry about longer term plans later, sound good?

1st - Trying to be brief because I tend to write massive amounts too easily, don't want to overwhelm you with info, and would like to help you, and these fish, through this emergency and hopefully be able to save them. But also want to give you a win, because I don't want this to make you want to give up on the fish species or the hobby! I also really don't want this to sound like I'm berating you for any mistakes, because I'm certainly not intending that, and this hobby is hard to learn at first, plus lots of mis-info out there, and lots of losses like this can be brutal and discouraging.

Step 1 - Need to get the remaining cories out of the current tank and into the 10g ASAP. Doesn't matter that it's not cycled at this point - there are only a few cories left anyway, and getting them out of the current tank and into a hospital tank and some proper food into them is the priority.

I suspect a combo of wrong/not enough food, potential water issues, and likely aggression from and/or fear of other tank mates has led to this spiralling situation of buying and losing cories, so getting them out and into the ten gal where they can feel safer, be in clean water (what substrate do you have for the ten gal?) and hopefully get some proper food into them has to come first, and whatever the reasons for the losses may or may not have been, we can work out later. But for now, getting them into the ten gal with clean, fresh, declorinated water, and with some decent quality food to help them recover is the most important thing.

Step 2: Don't buy spirulina algae for them. Cories are insectivores. They will eat and love some algae, but they need more protein than that, they're not vegetarian, and while the occasional algae wafer as a treat now and then is fine, the main part of their diet needs to be insect based foods. Bug Bites Microgranules crushed up even smaller (since even the microgranules can be too large for pygmies mouths, I crush mine even smaller for those guys) is the dried basic staple food I rely on for my cories, then I also use tiny frozen foods like daphnia, cyclops, moina and baby brine shrimp. Live food whenever I can get it.

I understand not wanting to waste food, especially if money is tight, but I'm worried about the fish food you currently have being infested with bugs. Not that the bugs themselves will do any harm, but usually, if the food is still pretty new, that means it's gotten damp or been improperly stored, and most fish foods contain things like fish oils that can go rancid in cases like that. If the food has turned rancid, then feeding it to the fish may make them sick.

So a decent quality replacement food is a huge priority. Don't buy lots of different containers of expensive foods at once, because while offering a variety is good, fish food also doesn't keep for that long, and it can take a long time to finish a container of food if you only have a few cories to feed, or one or two tanks even, so better to feed one or two expensive, high quality foods, than end up with 4-5 barely touched containers that are over six months old and going rancid. Make sense? Get Bug Bites if you can swing it, one small container isn't that expensive, will last a while, and will feed both species of cory quite happily, and the other fish will also love it and eat it even if the cories don't pull through.

@Colin_T Sorry, but since you're in Aus too, can you help with suggestions for food for these fish, since @PygmyPepperJulli is struggling for money right now? I see you said the 10g was full of mozzie larvae - if you're able to net some more mozzie larvae and/or other live food, it'll be better for the fish, and free!! Mozzie larvae are super popular with my fish.

Don't wait to add the fish - hornwort is perfect to suck up ammonia, add as much of that as you can spare to the tank, for the water quality and to help the cories feel safer in the 10g, but don't worry about the cycle for now. Get it filled and filter running, catch the cories and move them ASAP, then add hornwort, live mozzie larvae if you can catch some, or some of the seachem flakes crushed up small for pygmy cory mouths.

Will be keeping everything crossed for you and those little fish, let us know once you've moved them to the 10g, please?

@Colin_T
 
If you are running a permanent quarantine tank, you need to keep the filter running at all times. Otherwise turn it off and flush the tank and everything out after use, drain it, let it dry, and set it up a few days before you plan on using it again.

If the quarantine tank has been turned off and there is no water movement, that is why you have mozzie larvae in it. Scoop the larvae out with a net and feed them to the fish.

Flush the quarantine tank out and wash everything in it. Refill it with water from the main tank and move the catfish into it so you can target feed them. Add a heap of plants to that tank and prepare to do daily water changes to keep things clean.

Get some frozen bloodworm and brineshrimp if you can. Feed the catfish that every day. You can also buy frozen prawn from fishing shops (in the bait freezer) of from supermarkets in the seafood isle. Get 1/2 kg of frozen prawn and keep them in the freezer. Take one out and defrost it. Then remove the head, shell and gut (thin black tube in body) and throw these bits in the rubbish. Use a pair of scissors to cut the remaining prawn tail into small pieces and offer a few bits at a time. Let the fish eat as much as possible and then remove uneaten food. Put any left over prawn in the fridge and use within 24 hours.

A combination of prawn, bloodworms and brineshrimp fed 3-5 times a day should help them put on some condition and gain weight. You don't have to feed all 3 foods at the same time. You can do bloodworms or brineshrimp in the morning, prawn in the afternoon and the third one later that night (or any combination). You can feed this to all your fish, not just the catfish.

-----------------------

Section 3 of the following link has information on deworming fish.
 
I think a lot of this was covered in your previous thread re suggestions for food and potential worms:


What have you tried between the last posts on that thread and now?

If you can get them separated and fed up a bit but still see no improvement then it could be worms, which would need meds as per Colin's link.
 
Ok, sorry for not coming on sooner, I had some issues. I appreciate all your replies.

The pygmy (after looking under every rock, stick and plant in the tank, I've only found one pygmy, which I assume means the other one was either eaten (I don't think that's likely due to the eater probably being dead as well) or dead and decomposed) and pepper have been in the quarantine tank for around two weeks now. The pepper weight wise is still kind of skinny but not bad, while the pygmy still looks very skinny. It will eat though. It is also pale, so I suspect worms.

I've been feeding them prawns as per suggestion (because we already had some in the freezer), and crushed up flakes. I am going to buy more food, probably the Hikari carnivore sinking pellets because they liked them before and they are an acceptable price, when I can. I can't find the bug bites in Australia.

The QT Tank is going well, it is clean, working and has no a/n/n. I still do water changes. I wasn't sure whether to keep it bare-bottom or with some fine black gravel which they had with no issues before, so in the end I did both (half and half).

I do not know what I am going to do with the fish. There is one of each. I was considering doing a pygmy only tank in the 10 gal once they were better or dead, and giving the pepper to the lfs or something, however as they have worms I am not sure what to do. I also don't know if I will do pygmies in the 10 gal as every cory I have bought so far has died in less than a year (with the exception of this surviving pygmy).

Photos are still out. Sorry.

Does anyone know of a brand name or bottle name of a dewormer in Australia? I tried doing a search using @Colin_T's link but nothing that told me what to actually buy really came up.

Again, I appreciate all of your help and apologies for knowing literally nothing.

@AdoraBelle Dearheart @Lcc86
 
I used to buy Levamisole from stockfeeders but it's not cheap these days. It comes in 3 different concentrations (poultry, sheep and cattle). I think I used the cattle one (might have been the sheep but think it was for cattle) and used 1ml of Levamisole per 7 litres of tank water. But you will have to check that because it was 20 years ago.

Blue Planet fluke and tapeworm treatment contains Praziquantel and is available online or at some pet shops. Alternatively look at a supermarket or pet shop and see if you can find Praziquantel for treating dogs with tapeworm. It's the same medication except the dog one sometimes has other deworming products in so just look for pure Praziquantel.
Praziquantel treats tapeworm and gill fluke but does not treat thread/ round worms. You need levamisole for the thread/ round worms.
 
You can get Levamisole from Petbarn for $20.

It contains 16.5g/L Levamisole Hydrocholide. I really can’t tell many mL is needed per litre of water, but I’m sure someone can figure it out.

I soak cichlid pellets in it, straight from the bottle, then feed the soaked pellets to the fish.
 

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I struggled to work out the amount to add. The following link has a section about 3/4 down the page and it dribbles on about dose rates, but I am too irritated to try and work it out.

I hate working out stuff like that too, hope it's just that irritating you, and you're okay otherwise! Cyber hugs sent if wanted. :)

Maybe going full werewolf and hunting a cat or two will make you feel better?

Could really use your help on another thread if you wouldn't mind at least glancing at the photos and vids and giving your opinion on potential diseases or chances all these random fishstore livebearers will have worms. I've recommended the UK products that contain the right ingredients, but also seems to be something else going on, and tank owner is really dedicated and worried for her fish, and it's beyond my skill level, but desperate to help... it's this thread - nitrAtes were high, but sorted now and parameters fine now, but last video makes me think brain, so protozoan, viral, or bacterial infection perhaps?
 
I struggled to work out the amount to add. The following link has a section about 3/4 down the page and it dribbles on about dose rates, but I am too irritated to try and work it out.

The article mentions we need 2.36 mg of Levamisole HCl per litre of aquarium water, which is 94mg (2.36 x 40 = 94) per 40 litres of water in the tank.

KilVerm’s concentration is 16.5g per 1 litre of the stuff in the bottle. So to get 94mg for the 40L of aquarium water we need roughly 0.0057 litre or 5.7mL of KilVerm (94 / 16500 = 0.0057). This is a tiny amount.

The recommended dosage for chicken as stated on KilVerm bottle is 100mL per 2 L of drinking water, or 2L per 40L of drinking water. That is 350 times the concentration in the fish tank.
 
I'm glad someone can do the maths :)

The reason you have a higher dose rate for bird drinking water is because the birds don't live in the water and might only drink once or twice a day. They use the higher dose rate to make sure the birds ingest enough medication to treat them. Fish on the other hand live in the water with the medication, and the medication goes through them pretty quickly. You normally see worms being expelled after a few hours.
 
Thanks everyone, that's really helpful and makes sense :)

I'll try and get the dewormer soon. Speaking of which, do I get the one for dogs and then if that doesn't work the one from Petbarn? Or just the one from petbarn?

However, what if it isn't worms? What if the pygmy is just really skinny? (it's not getting much fatter, no matter how much I feed it).

I haven't seen anyone in either tank do a stringy white poop, and the fish in the big tank also don't seem to be skinny (or any skinnier than usual).

Another unexpected development- the pepper sleeps floating. I think it's swim bladder is broken. It can still snuffle along the bottom, but only if it's putting a small amount of energy into staying on the floor. When it's resting, it floats up, tail first, maybe a centimetre or two, then seems to catch itself and go back down again. Interesting.


Sorry for being rather difficult and making this go around in circles, I really am trying.
 

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