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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had a ton of tank issues going on lately, so forgive me for posting this here even though I believe it's a simple fix. I just want a second opinion:

My orangeheads just started clamping and flashing. It's mostly one female, but the others aren't 100% and look like they're considering clamping.

Chronology:

This is three breeding pairs - they breed like clockwork - that live in a 120 with 9 Discus. Temperature is usually 86.

One of the Discus looked sick so on the advice of some discus experts we did a round of Formalin then switched to Furan-2. The temperature was reduced to 80 for these. No salt with the Formalin, but salt at 2tbsp/10g with the Furan. No food. Sand was removed.

The 120 needed to be disinfected (and I wanted to buff it - what a disaster that has been, but a story for another time) so I broke it down and set up my 220. Some holding tank. I intended to continue to treat the Discus but separate the Orangeheads out so they could eat, as they were never affected and even looked like they were trying to breed on the bare bottom of the 120 during the Furan treatment.

In a nightmarish haze, my brain shut off and I forgot to add Prime to the Discus holding tank and I killed one of them from Chlorine Toxicity. The others, out of necessity, were dumped into the 220.

No treatment has happened in 2 days since then, as I want them to get a break.

The 220 is bare bottom and with an empty sterile FX5 in charge of circulating water. Last night I fed them, knowing I'd be doing a water change today (single-python 50% changes on 220s take forever!) and this morning the one female was clamping and hiding in the corner. Now since the morning the others seem to be getting worse too.

They still come to the glass and want food and they're still active, but the one is flashing a lot and flirty/breeding activity has ceased. Their heads are still orange but the fins aren't at 100%.

My test kit shows me trace ammonia, but not even .25. I think my tap water has that much in it, actually. But there's no bacteria in this tank. I am doing a 50% water change. Still, the discus are unaffected so I don't think it's ammonia.

A bigger problem, I think, is that the heater is only holding 79-80 degrees. I didn't think that was an issue, since that was the temperature for treatment too, but it can't be good. With the exception of this last week of treatment I have never kept these fish below 84.

For now, I added another heater and a pound of salt. The salt is dissolving as I type.

This is a clean, bare-bottom tank with 220 gallons of fresh water 48 hours ago and a 110g change just now. They were fine until this morning and now suddenly are acting like there's a toxin in the water. What could this be?

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Update: The difficulty of heating and changing water in the 220 caused me to move them to a fresh 30g. I put a divider in between the other 5 and the one female that's clamping, just in case it was her husband getting mad at her for not putting out. Wouldn't be the first time. This tank is warmer and has some salt. The 220 is now a giant discus paradise. (Except not really, since it's empty and doesn't give them any cover...)

The speed with which they went from breeding-ready to clamping/flashing makes me think toxin. But if that was the case, the Discus, who are always more sensitive, would've declined. They didn't.

Will just keep a constant watch on them today, in between layers of acrylic sanding. Hopefully it's nothing. Still, it's a bit of a mystery. I'm at a loss for a good explanation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Holy ****.

I just heard a crash and splash. So I ran downstairs.

The female had crashed through the egg crate divider. She was upside down, gills convulsing, all fins at 100% rigid attention... the opposite of clamped.

And then she died. Right in front of me.

Strangest thing I have ever seen. And now I'm totally puzzled. What on earth would cause that? Something neurological?

This fish spawned for me 10 days ago and was perfectly healthy. And in 8 hours it went from normal to dead. In perfectly clean water with other healthy fish.

It is the warmest day of the year and the big Chicago blizzard has melted in the last 48 hours... could there be additives in the water? If so, why would the Discus not be bothered by it?

I have used the chloramine-killing amount of prime in my last several tank fills, FWIW.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Oh no... it just happened again, to a male. Exact same thing. I heard three quick crashing noises and he was upside down, jolted, and taking his last breaths.

Another male has a wound on his forehead. The female that died earlier may not have been the one that woke up clamping this morning.

I removed the heater. I can't think of anything else that it could be after reading that other thread about strange geo deaths.

I am freaking out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Death #3 came while I was down there testing the water for everything I can think of (fwiw, all is normal). The biggest male slowly just rolled over, gave one last gasp, and that was that.

This has to be a toxin of some kind. But what? What toxin doesn't bother discus but does bother my resilient and healthy orangeheads?

I'm 90% to just dropping them into an established tank with other SA fish. But since there are other geos in there I'm terrified that it could be the worst decision possible. There's really no indication at all that this is a contagious disease though.
 
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