I have two black skirted tetras that I took in from my brother about a year ago when he changed apartments and didn't have room for an aquarium. Originally, there were three, about a month ago, I noticed that tara had developed black lips and about a week later she passed. Now one of the other two Sarah has devoloped black lips, blacker markings on her sides, and yesterday I noticed her chin was also swelling.

Sarah and Farrah live in the same 20 gallon tank they've always lived in. Over the months I've kind of converted into a hospital tank Don't tell my brother. I have a few mollies that have always been there and have stayed well, I have a few platy/sword and molly fry that were having trouble in my fry tank, and a few mollies that I have suspected of having TB for no other reason in that they looked anorectic. There is also a very strong snail population.

I did check my ammonia and nitrite, 1.0 ammonia and I think 1.0 Nitrite. I admit it's bad, but we recently had an 8 day power out age when a tree uprooted during a tornado and tore our connectiion to the grid. I hoped it would have been better since I had done a water change yesterday and it's the least crowded tropical fish tank. I didn't bother with the nitrate since I couldn't find the instructions and the other ppms were bad enough to warrant another 50% water change .

The PH is 6. I don't have a water hardness kit. The water here between the Mississippi and the Missouri is generally onthe hard side. I use Prime for my water changes and tsp of fine aquarium salt. Since the power failure, I;ve set my temp down to the low 70s as I noticed a couple of my TB-ish fish did better with the cooler temps.

The thing that baffles me is this particular issue are the symptoms them selves. What the hell is this? When Tara had her black lips I was dealing with a low ammonia spike -.25 to .5, but the other parameters were OK. Unfortunately, over the past 6 years, I've seen other symptoms of water issues - spikes in dropsy and signs of TB, and other illnesse breathing at the top, irritated gills, lethargy, stillborn molly fry (not all the time!), but I have not seen this before! I can't seem to find a good match for it in my disease books. Cichlids have the monopoly on black chin disease and columnaris doesn't seem to go with the darker spots on her sides. I'll do what I can about the water, but if there is anything extra I should do for this particular condition, I'd like to know.

Thanks
S