Single Gourami Discovered Dead: Avoidable? Or Just Bad Luck?

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Nov 7, 2012
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Baden-Wuerttemburg, Germany
Tank Stats:
Young, but Fully Cycled
Twice-weekly 20% water changes (with a manual gravel vac siphon)
54L Capacity
Planted with 6 Varieties of Live Plants
Gravel Substrate with buried Fertilizer Substrate (only under planted regions)
Temperature: 79 Degrees
Chemicals used:
Sera Aquatan Wasseraufbereiter
(added to Tap water before standing period of 48+ Hours prior to WC)
(never added directly to live tank)
Sera Toxivec Sofort-Schutz
(added to Conditioned Tap Water 1+ hour after Aquatan during standing period)
(never added directly to live tank, with single exception noted below)

Water analysis at time of discovery of dead fish:
Method: Test Strips
NO3: 0 mg/l
NO2: 0 mg/l
GH: 14 oD
KH: 6 oD
pH: 7.2
Cl2: 0< <0.8 (i.e. immediate read revealed color between the two values, 30 sec later color resembled 0)

12 x Neon Tetras
1 x Male Blue Dwarf Gourami
1 x Female Blue Dwarf Gourami
1 x Female Red Honey Gourami
2 x Ghost Shrimp
2 x Cleaner Fish (don't recall the name, sorry)
3 x Zebra Nerite Snails
A few Pest Snails that came as a bonus on a live plant

Situation of Discovery:
Red Honey Gourami lying on a shrimp shell at the base of the heater. Eyes were Clear, scale/skin color was normal, but the fish was unresponsive and gills were not moving. Fish was netted and gently (and slowly) swept through the water to see if some response could be stimulated. Fish was removed (with shrimp shell) and a death certificate was drawn up.

Unfortunately, I neither photographed her, nor thought to look into her mouth/throat for evidence of choking...

All other fish in the aquarium are behaving as normal, though the other Red Honey appeared very interested in the removal process of her friend (instead of doing the usual "evasion of the giant hand from above"). They are all swimming strongly and are not staying clear of any particular region of the tank.

Noting that I had changed 20% the water yesterday: I treated the tank directly with dechlorinator and retested. Being new to the practice of maintaining an aquarium, it's possible that I messed up the conditioning of the water... The tap water was treated, but not tested, prior to the change.

I suppose I'm asking for insight as to what might have gone wrong. Could the Cl2 level be the cause without affecting any other fish? Could it have been that the poor fish simply choked on a piece of gravel (since they're constantly picking at the substrate)? Could it have been that she tried a mouthful of the shrimp shell and it didn't agree with her? Are there any other ideas for how I can avoid this in the future?

Thank you in advance for your Help and Knowledge.
Perhaps this is unrelated, but I noticed a "bubble" in the tail of my remaining Red Honey Gourami... Initial Searching online talks about possible bacterial infection being the cause of this feature.

Though, I didn't detect any swelling in the already deceased Honey, I suppose that the two fish could have shared this condition...

It's in the lower half of the tail, with the top boundary following the visible dark curved line in this photograph:

If it's an infection, I'm assuming Quarantine is necessary to ensure the health of my other fish. Does anyone have ideas of what may have caused this? I got these fish within the past 14 days... is this likely something they had before I purchased them?
I never had any luck with honey gourami either. There very prone to bacterial infections.
Sorry for your loss.

How big is the bubble?
Is the bubble on top of the fin?
Do you run and airstone?
How big is the bubble?

It's perhaps 5 to 7mm along major axis and 1.5mm vertically

Is the bubble on top of the fin?
It is located directly above the distal end of anal fin, midline, in the "meat" of the tail, below the spine. The picture above is about as clear as I could manage... look for the grey-ish elongated oval just below the curved dark/black line just in front of the tail fin.

Do you run and airstone?
No. I have a filter pump that aerates via surface agitation, or an optional air vent to introduce bubbles... I removed the vent after the fish were in the tank for 5 days... I read about the possible issues of "over aeration" and bubbles forming in fish as a result; but with so many conflicting scientific and non-scientific opinions out there, I went with my gut and removed the vent. Oxygen levels have maintained well without the bubbling.
Just make sure you can't see anything inside the bubble.
With already losing one fish I think I would isolate the fish and use an internal bacteria med.

Reason for the death of the 1st fish can really say to be honest. Not much to go on.
The bubble appears completely clear to they eye (in the photo it looks grey).

Isolation seems to be a reasonable approach... Since i am in Central Europe, the little guys are sleeping at present... do you recommend waking her now for the transfer, or waiting until the morning (shortly before the lights turn on)?

I wish i had more information on the death of the other little one... unfortunately, it was a case of "everything was going fine until..." I suppose that experiences like this one will tune me into the subtleties that I probably missed this time around.

Thank you for your help.

P.S. - To anyone else browsing this thread: Please feel free to chime in with suggestions/ideas/confirmation/anything... The more informed I am when getting help with medications, etc. the better the chances of keeping my little fishy alive.
I think I would isolate the sick fish now and start treatment.

Good Luck.

About 5 years ago I bought six honey gouramis and lost the lot. They all died one by one. Even added an internal bacteria medication. The only symptom they showed was sometimes they looked abit pale in colour.
Update: Red Honey Gourami has been isolated for treatment. The bubble in her tail remains unchanged (completely clear, same size, same location, etc.). I noticed yesterday (but didn't mention it for some reason), her swimming is almost entirely driven by her pectoral fins unless she REALLY wants to move. There's very little movement being generated by her tail fin... I suppose that this is evidence of pain and/or physical limitation of her muscles by the bubble.

I'm looking for input as to best available internal bacteria medications for this situation. Thank you!
Thank you for the update.
What your location please. Need to know to recommend a medication.

Does it look like the tail is weighing her down in the water?
I am in Germany. I tried accessing the part of my profile that would allow me to set my location, but an error popped up... must try again later.

Her tail actually seems to be quite neutrally buoyant... It does hang a little lower than her head, but I'm talking about a difference of a few millimeters. My feeling is that this is more of a side effect of her using her pectorals to hold position than it being significantly heavy. For now, she's pretty balanced.

I noticed that her poop turned a little white in sections for a couple of hours today. It's back to a reddish-brown (her food is red) now... not sure if that's significant to the diagnosis, or if it's more of an indication of initial stress with being moved to isolation.

Otherwise, she seems pretty relaxed about the process... no gasping, not rubbing herself, nor being skittish/frenzied movement, nor assuming odd swimming positions... if anything, I would say she appears to be resting. I'm hoping this is good news for the curability of whatever ails her.
Not to sure on medication in German, .
There JBL Furanol 2, but it will wipe the good bacteria out in your filter.

Check to see if you can see any bubbles beneath the skin., or lumps?
She's completely unchanged at this point... doing well in quarantine and still just as lively... I cannot see any additional lumps/bubbles/marks anywhere on her.

I'll take a look for the JBL Furanol 2.

Thank you.
Thank you for the up date.
Good Luck.
Thank you for the up date.
Good Luck.
It's now day three of treatment. She seems to be quite active and appears to be more mobile with her tail. She definitely responds to my presence with interest when I am nearby (if that's any indicator).

I don't think that the bubble has shrunk much/at all... should i expect that to disappear over time or do you think that she might be stuck with it forever?

I'll be reintroducing her to the main tank in couple of days... I want to give her some more time to relax after the treatment is completed.

Is there any advice to add at this stage?
You don't come across bubbles on fish much so can't offer much advice.
Bubbles beneath the skin can be gas bubble disease.
Small tiny bubbles on fish can sometimes mean the fish is about to break out in whitespot. Or to much aeration.

If the bubbles hasn't disappeared in a few days don't hesitate to post back on your thread.

Good Luck.

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