sick/injured? kuhli loach (now dead) :-(
One of my seven kuhli loaches just died. I am not sure why and would like your insights. Here is what I wrote to post as I first observed the problem about an hour ago (sorry for the length; it's an amalgamation of three shorter posts I wrote on a local aquarium forum):
A short while ago I noticed that one of my loaches was writhing around in a manner distinctly different from the "happy kuhli dance." It then draped itself passively a few places in the tank, panting heavily, and was fairly easy to catch when I removed it.
It has a whitish-grey area on its side -- more on the right side than the other, and it looks like a circular spot on its back where the paler spot spreads out from. It's belly seems swollen and there seemed to be some substance peeling off from its underside. I'm wondering if that circular spot is a bite mark. The tank has been a bit more aggressive in the last two days as the new female GBRs settle in. This loach was hanging out in the upper greenery where two of the new fish were hiding.
If it's not injury, then likely it's a parasite or bacterial infection of some sort. I have maracyn, maracyn 2, and maracide available. If any of the other loaches show similar symptoms, which of the meds should I use? Do I cut the dosage for loaches or is that just when treating with salt?
- planted with a sand substrate
- river rocks and driftwood but no other decor
- 50% water change last night
- water parameters are currently: pH 6.6, ammonia 0, no2 0, no3 5, 80F (There was a bump in the ammonia to 0.25 or a bit higher prior to the water change. I added three female German Blue Rams on Friday last week.)
- 25 gallons
- two filters: Aquaclear 50 and Aquaclear 20; the 20 was added to the tank setup with new media when I added the three new fish, so it's been running only a few days.
- tank has been cycled with the Aquaclear 50 since mid-November.
- two pearl gouramis, four GBRs, and seven (now six) kuhli loaches (2 striped).
I've been trying to inspect all the remaining loaches in the tank, but have only been able to see five so far. One of them has very red gills and is red around the anus area; two of them have redder than usual gills. All of the other fish look fine.
I have a 5.5 gallon hospital tank set up with heater and filter but have not put any meds in yet.
I'd appreciate any advice you have to offer.
photo of the loach that died while it was stil in the main tank:
photo of one of the black kuhlis with very red gills:
of two striped kuhli loaches with red gills.
I should add that this is the same tank that I referred to in this post about the broken thermometer -- don't know if that situation would be part of the problem.
so to clarify.
in your 25 gallon tank you have:
2 pearl gouramis
4 german blue rams
over stocking a tank (which you have done massively) causes issues. not only are the fish cramped, but they are stressed because they are cramped and cannot swim.
when you stress fish this way, you make them get sick easier. which could be a strong possibility of this loach and your fish in the very near future.
ammonia spikes don't just happen unless you do things to cause that.
i.e adding 4 rams to a small tank.
spikes in ammonia burn gills, stress fish and repeat what i stated prior. and the red gills you see are more than likely their gills burning/burned from the ammonia spike in the tank.
i'm sorry for your loss, but it looks to me to be some bacterial/fungal issue. it was more than likely brought in by your rams, or caused by the stress of an overstocked tank.
+1 to Mizzoutank
You're definitely overstocked there. Especially on the bottom. These fish all enjoy the lower levels of the tank. The Gouramis will be all over the place, probably utilizing the entire tank, your GBRs will be very territorial over the lower level, and I'm sure your loaches are probably the more timid of the stocking.
There could be territorial disputes going on, which is stressing your loaches out, making them more susceptible to disease. I'm guessing your Gouramis are still fairly young, since they're not fighting yet. But they will end up fighting each other, unless you have enough visual separation between them, in the form of plants/rocks/driftwood/etc. The spike in ammonia isn't helping anything, either, because the most toxic area of the water is the lower level.
Like Mizzou said, the redness around the gills is probably due to ammonia burns. Adding 4 fish to a 25gal tank is a pretty big change. That's going to increase the bioload quite a bit, resulting in more ammonia than your bio filter is capable of dealing with.
That being said, the paleness of the loach that died could be any number of diseases (fungus/parasite/bacteria) brought about by stress.
Tank 1: 20gal Long Planted Freshwater - 1 Crowntail Betta + 8 Oto Cats + 1 Horned Nerite Snail + 2 Orange Rabbit Snail + 5 Amano Shrimp
Tank 2: 75gal Planted Freshwater - 6 Serpaes + 1 Black Phantom + 3 Golden Wonder Killies + 1 Opaline Gourami + 2 Striped Raphael Cat + 4 SAEs + 5 Assassin Snails
Tank 3: 10gal Planted Brackish Water - 4 Nerite Snails
Tank 4: 10gal Planted Freshwater - 5 Rabbit Snails + RCS
My 75 Gal Journal
My Snail Breeding Journal
Thanks for the responses. To clarify, I added 3 fish, not 4. The tank is 30 inches in length and at 90% capacity according to aqadvisor (and yes I am aware of some of the limitations in the algorithm it uses). The pearl gourami get along quite well, and as of today, the rams are quite peaceful, too. The loaches are almost always out in the open, swimming up the sides, or lounging on rocks or in plants; their usual behaviour continued even after the addition of the three rams.
The ammonia was elevated to just over 0.25 for less than 24 hours (the time that passed between water tests). It's been zero since the last water change. Will ammonia poisoning kill that quickly?
The loach that died did not have red gills.
I'd be interested if someone could address the question I asked about meds.
3 vs 4 fish does not matter in a tank this small.
those fish being added all at once can and will cause an ammonia spike for a 25gallon tank.
aqadvisor should be used as a reference. i.e can i put 15 tetras in or 20tetras and how your filtration compares.
the interaction between the fish/space requirements/zone they swim in/temperaments...that all is up to the owner to research and ask about.
as kevin pointed out. your bottom half is just crammed.
it doesn't really matter that the tank is 30inches long. that just means it is very narrow and not tall.
your fish get along now b/c it is a new environment and they haven't grown into their normal selves.
I had 2 rams and 1 gourami in my tank that is near 2x the size of yours
the 1 gourami near killed my rams and the rams near killed each other. and you are putting 2 gouramis and 4 rams into a 25gallon.
so from experience, i know it wont work out. trust me. it started off all dandy, but it turned very very quickly and it'll get ugly.
ammonia poisoning can kill within an hour if your fish are stressed, or it can kill in a week if they aren't. just varies on the health/stress of the fish.
and meds, if all you see are red gills, then clean water, and getting your ammonia to 0 is all you can really do.