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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi I have a bunch of fish that have been living in a 55 gallon tank together without any issue for a few months and out of nowhere two of my peacocks cichlids have become ill. The only change I have made is adding some live plants about a month ago and one of the fish who is now ill had just released her third brood a few weeks ago. First, My sunshine peacock (tank runt) looked like the other fish were attacking him last Thursday so I moved him to a hospital tank and added some aquarium salt. He appeared to have bite marks all over him and so I thought it was just general bullying. He died the following day in the HT. Then, yesterday, my red peacock was acting lethargic, floating bear the surface of my 55gal and looked like she had bites/frayed fins. I cleaned the hospital tank and then put her in with some melafix this morning. I just checked on her and she looks really bad - see photos one of the sunshine peacock after death, one of red Peacock before moving her to hospital tank, and 2 of red today in the HT). Red's fins are frayed and the tail is now a bloody stub. She is not eating, stays at bottom of the tank.

Could this be fish TB? Columnaris??

I have not added any new fish since May (and those fish - a female kenyi and 2 BPs - were quarantined since March before going into the 55gal). Water parameters are ok (80 degrees F, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 20 nitrate). Nitrate has always been a problem for my tank so 20ppm is pretty good. Please help! I don't want to lose any more of my fish if I can help it! Thanks in advance.
 

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Columnaris has the symptom of white patches...you don't mention that so I don't think columnaris.

Fish TB is wasting and you don't mention that.

Sounds like purely aggression. Why do you think that is not it? It is common for aggression to develop as the fish mature...around 9 months for me.

What is the complete stock list? I would take the kenyi out of the tank with the peaocks for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks so much for your response. Sorry for the missing details, I've been in a frenzy about this sudden decline.

I didn't mention the white patches on the sunshine peacock but they were in the photos (first assumed they were bite marks but then they continued to aggressively spread and grow while he was in the hospital tank). Both the sunshine and red peacock got really skinny, so I'm interpreting that as wasting (again, failed to mention and that's probably not terribly clear in the photos). Both of their heads looked huge in comparison to their bodies, which I think might be another possible symptom of the TB from what I read online.. would you agree?

The red peacock died in the hospital tank overnight. Yesterday evening, I picked up Paraguard and half-dosed the 55g community tank after another 20% water change. So far the fish are eating and fine - except for some big tears in the fins, which (showed up before I started Paraguard, and) are sudden developments that don't seem to be associated with fighting (I keep an eye on the tanks while working from home).

The reason I think it's a disease or parasite is that the conditions decline greatly even after I separate the fish in a hospital tank with 50% water from the 55g and 50% conditioned. I know the move can stress a fish, but usually not to the level that their symptoms more than double. When I got back from the LFS yesterday, there were red streaks running through the red peacock's body and at the gils, and even more of the poor girl's fins were dissolved. None of those red marks were there when I moved her to the HT on Sunday. As shown in the previously uploaded photo, she's was only emaciated with some minor fin damage before things took a turn. One variable to her decline may have been that she had 3 broods of babies in recent months, taking only 2-3 wks off between mouthbrooding again. Maybe that added to her weight deficit and weakened the immune system.

I'm really worried about the 9 remaining adults and 7 fry in the 55gal (her other 30+ fry are in a separate tank). Stocking list is below. No new fish (other than fry). I know i have too many males technically, but luckily some of the fry are female.

9 adults in 55gal:
2 blood parrots (might rehome, as it's not a good fit in the community tank)
1 female Kenyi
1 male Kenyi
1 female OB red zebra
1 male obliquidens
1 female venustus hap
1 male blue peacock
1 female jewel cichlid
~7 fry in 55g (parents are the now deceased female red peacock and living male Kenyi).

In separate 20gal:
30+ fry from 2nd brood of same parents mentioned above. Before the fry came along, this is where I quarantine new fish - typically for about 2 months before they go into the 55gal.

Hospital tank is a 5gal that I sanitize in between fish deaths to use again.

In addition to the Paraguard, I also bought Furan-2, and additionally have prazipro and copperpower green in my arsenal.

Any suggestions are welcome and very much appreciated.. I feel so helpless watching my cichlids die off one by one. Thank you again.
 

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I would separate the kenyi from the others and my thought is that this is still caused by aggression but now the fish may be too far gone to recover.

I did have columnaris one time and it started by having a fish with bites all over his body (aggression). My fish did not recover although he got better with each med I tried...the lesions always came back.

My fish that died from aggression ended up with bloat and there was usually no bloating...rather wasting due to lack of eating. Metronidazole is good for this, but if they are eating and/or don't have thready clear/white feces, you are not dealing with bloat.

Are the living fish eating? What do the feces look like?

Paraguard is parasites...this does not sound like parasites to me. Columnaris does move very fast and is often fatal but you want kanamycin to treat it...none of the meds you mention will have an impact IME.

As far as I know there is no treatment for fish TB. I have no experience with it.

I assume you plan to rehome the venustus as well once there is a clean bill of health?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks again for the reply. I moved the fry to my 55gal and the Kenyi pair to my 20gal because the Kenyi were both being really aggressive. I'm watching the venustus to see if she's OK, and letting the BPs stay a bit to see if they calm down (they absolutely hated the Kenyi!) If the aggression keeps up I'll consider surrendering both the BPs and Kenyi to the store.

My OB red zebra is the only original surviving fish since I started keeping fish last year, so I'll do anything I can to keep her safe.

As for the ailments, for now I'll just manage water quality carefully and hope for no more deaths.. My LFS is a big fan of mixed cichlid tanks but now that I know better, I won't let them push me into that going forward. Thank you again for sharing your experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh, and to answer your question, the surviving fish are all eating and have regular looking poops. The red peacock that died had a grayish long stringy poop a day before dying, so something got her but maybe it won't affect the others since I moved her into the hospital tank as soon as I saw distress. I've been soaking the surviving cichlids' pellets in a garlic vitamin supplement in hopes that it keeps their immune systems strong. Fingers crossed..
 
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