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Help! Cory Catfish Suddenly Dying.

terrylc

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Hello, I purchased a Betta in February. Shortly after I got 2 Albino Cory Catfish to live with my Betta. Things went well so I got a third Cory in the beginning of March. I have a 3.5 gallon tank and I have some moss balls in it. I brought the water in to Petsmart and they tested it for me, saying it was cycled, around mid March. About a week later (3 weeks in to March) my most recent Cory died. He had been smaller and less active the whole time, but I thought he was just younger and maybe didn't get enough food- my Betta likes to eat the sinking pellets too. There was never any fighting or nipping that I saw, and I watch the tank a lot because I love them. Things were fine since then until yesterday (April 12th). I noticed my Betta and a Cory bump into each other- not aggressively, just a bump and they kept going. However, I saw pieces of my Betta's fin break off and float down, like a dried leaf crumbling. I do not think it is from attacks, and the fake plants I have in the tank I ran across pantyhose before putting them in the tank and they did not snag, so I was not sure why this would be happening. This morning I checked in on my Betta and his fin was much worse. An entire 4th of his fin was gone! I went to an exotic pet store in stead of Petsmart to ask if they knew why and what to do about the fin loss. I explained the tank and showed him pictures of the fin loss. He said it was probably a bacteria infection and to use API Pimafix for bacterial and fungal infections. I purchased it and used it right away. I removed the sponge filter that has carbon in it from the tank because carbon absorbs the  medicine he said. My Cory's were fine this morning and when I put the medicine in, but within about 4 hours one of my Cory's has died, and my other appears lethargic and about to go. He was swimming around and active when the other Cory passed, but now just 1.5 hours later he looks like he is on his way out. The directions said 1 teaspoon for 10 gallons, so that meant to me 1/2 teaspoon for 5 gallons, and I did just under-like 2/3rd's of a  1/2 teaspoon for my 3.5 gallon tank. My Betta seems fine, but I am very nervous. Did I use to much medicine and it became poison? I hope not but I cannot think of anything else!
 
Please give me any advice or past experiences. I do not want to kill my fish and I am really sad that I have already possibly done harm to them while trying to help my Betta. I loved them and now I think I lost both Cory's, for sure one Cory. Please help. I have attached pictures of the Betta's fin, the Cory =-( , and the API Medicine used. They may not be very clear but I hope it helps. Capture3.GIF Capture2.GIF Capture.GIF Thank you so much.
 

Munroco

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While its possible the medicine you put in has had a bad effect on your cories I think its unlikely. I don't have any ideas though as to why your fish are dying. Details of your water properties would help with finding out why I'm sure.
 
Meanwhile I think your tank is on the small side for that number of fish and I notice the gravel is very large which would allow food to slip down to where the cories couldn't get at it and it may be fouling the water in the tank
 
I'd suggest doing an immediate 50% water change.
 
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terrylc

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Thank you for your responses- I am happy to update the little guy has risen from the dead!!!!! I can't believe it because he was completely immobile last night, I was so worried, but when I woke this morning and went to fetch him from the tank, he was better and moving as usual! The other guy (I named them Roomba and The Shark) has also started moving normally again. I don't know what happened or why they looked so sluggish/appeared to be dead but I am so happy they are back!
 
I understand what you mean about the rocks being too big and therefore the food falling below and making the water bad. I will look into changing the gravel to something more dense. I changed 50% of the water about a week ago, since it had been over 2 months and I only do 25% weekly water changes. I am afraid to do the change again so soon since it won't have built back up the natural bacteria that is good for the tank ( I can't remember the terms right now for cycling and what not).
 
I know a bigger tank is better but I cannot do a larger tank. I have 2 Cory's and 1 Betta in the tank. I also know now that Cory's prefer more Cory's, which is why I had added a 3rd one (who didn't make it), but I jumped into fish ownership and did research after the fact- petsmart worker's really didn't tell me enough when I went to buy the fish, so I researched more and found out what should be done. The 3.5 gallon tank is the upgrade I did after buying them and is what I can afford right now. I wish I could give them more room, but unfortunately I cannot.
 
I do not know how to add a picture after I posted the original post (for a picture of the tank).
 
I will be asking more questions I'm sure as I make changes for their benefit. Thanks again for the responses.
 

Munroco

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Most of the bacteria will be in your filter and on the plants, gravel and decor, not in the actual water. Doing another water change won't do any harm.
 
Sand would be a far better substrate for your cories, easier for them sifting through to find food.
 
I'm glad your little guy is looking better. Keep asking questions its the best way to learn.
 
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terrylc

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Thanks again everyone. Sand sounds like a great choice. 
 
Yes, Roomba and The Shark are the cories, and Finn (short for Finnegan) is my Betta =-)

Munroco said:
Most of the bacteria will be in your filter and on the plants, gravel and decor, not in the actual water. Doing another water change won't do any harm.
 
Sand would be a far better substrate for your cories, easier for them sifting through to find food.
 
I'm glad your little guy is looking better. Keep asking questions its the best way to learn.
 
To change the gravel to sand, do I take some of the water from the tank and put it in another bowl, then put my fish friends in that water, then empty and redo the tank with sand, put treated water in it, then put the fish back in with some of the original water? I don't want to make a mistake after that dreadful scare from a couple days ago! 
 
Thanks for all the help I really appreciate it =-)
 

Munroco

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Yes, just as you said. As long as you don't wash out the filter. Just save as much water as you can. (You can treat if if you want, I personally don't bother but I'm quite lucky with the water quality where I live.). The once its filled you should be good to go.
 

fropuf

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Your tank is way too small for even one betta.  You should consider upgrading to a bigger tank, at least a 20 gallon.The fish may be too stressed from not enough room to roam, or territory to claim.
 

mark4785

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I would put money on the Betta's thin, that you say floated to the bottom, having killed the Corydoras. One of my Black Neon Tetras died and got sucked into the powerhead which caused its eyes and thins to detach. Some of my Corydoras eat these pieces and developed pop-eye and eventually died. I had not been able to treat this problem until it was too late as they had hidden amongst dense flora.
 
It would seem necrotising pieces can cause Corydoras to die as they are the first to come across it and perhaps filter it through their gills more than any other species of fish.
 
As for the Corydoras that didn't die, I would say it has had a lucky escape. Albino's are bread for their colours rather than vitality so you are lucky it hasn't suffered the same fate.
 

Blough

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fropuf said:
Your tank is way too small for even one betta.  You should consider upgrading to a bigger tank, at least a 20 gallon.The fish may be too stressed from not enough room to roam, or territory to claim.
I agree that 3.5 gallons is too small for a betta, but 5-10 gallons should be enough. Upgrading would be a good idea if possible.
 
I'm glad your fishes are doing better, your betta is beautiful by the way.
 

fropuf

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Blough said:
 
Your tank is way too small for even one betta.  You should consider upgrading to a bigger tank, at least a 20 gallon.The fish may be too stressed from not enough room to roam, or territory to claim.
I agree that 3.5 gallons is too small for a betta, but 5-10 gallons should be enough. Upgrading would be a good idea if possible.
 
I'm glad your fishes are doing better, your betta is beautiful by the way.

 
5-10 may be good for the betta, but with the other fish in there, It should be closer to 20 gallons.
 
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