Hey guys,

I just purchased 7 Serpae Tetras from PetSmart the other day, stocking my tank for the first time. 7 Serpaes (+3 from my 10gal) and 10 Black Phantoms.

I've already had 4 deaths (of unknown causes). I returned two to get replacements and I have 2 others in my freezer - I'm just waiting for the casualty count to increase, as I expect this is bad stock.

However, if I can help prevent deaths I would love to. Unfortunately, my camera is with my wife, so I can't provide any pictures, but please let me know if you can help me out here.

Another of my Serpaes looks like it's sick or stressed. I just noticed today that there's a discoloration in the tail (from the dorsal fin back to where the caudal fin begins). The color is more grayish... and I'm not sure if it's a growth or it's just lack of pigmentation. I don't see any raised scales, but this fish is hiding in the foliage in the background. I can't get a real close look, because every time I approach the tank, he/she (looks larger, so I assume it's probably a female) returns to its' hiding place. While it turns, I can see that both sides of the tail are grayish.

Has anyone noticed this among Serpaes before? Do you know what could cause this and if it's an infection?

I have a QT tank at the ready, but if it's extremely contagious I'll probably have to dose the whole tank anyway, as a precaution.

Unfortunately I only have big-box stores to choose from, so I assume their stock is sickly and I expect that the first 4 deaths won't be the end... BUT if I can prevent it, I'd love to do so.

Thanks! I should be able to get a picture (hopefully) later tonight or tomorrow, but in the meantime, I'm not sure if she'll make it through the night. It seems every death in the tank occurs overnight.