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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. I have an adult OB/Red Zebra, about 3.5" long, in my 55g all mbuna tank. The pH is 8.1, and Nitrates are under 15ppm.

Very quickly, over the last few days, it has developed the following symptoms:

1. Disintegration of fins, especially dorsal and tail.
2. Whitish/iridescent sheen on surface of body.
3. Apparent loss of movement of pectoral fin on one side of body (it's not using it and it is listing)
4. Sunken stomach, as if it hasn't been eating (not previously detected)

There are no other fish showing any signs of problems.

Wondering, what it is? How should I treat it? Should I treat the entire tank as a precaution?)

The only recent change to the tank is that about 2 weeks ago I added 4 small snails from an LFS cichlid tank (on their recommendation) to help cope with algae. I have had no other illness in this tank, except for a case of bloat about a year ago. The tank has been established for just over a year, and I have had this fish for the entire year - it was an adult when I got it, so I have no idea of its age - conceivably, it could be old - it's the largest fish in the tank.

Thanks!
 

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Sounds like bacterial but not positive. Could be that the fish has been in a fight with one of the other fish. Even if they've always gotten along fine--that can change without warning.

Has the fish in fact stopped eating?

I would start out with a 30% partial water change using a good quality dechlorinator and siphon the gravel.
Then I think I would remove this fish to a hospital tank for closer observation and perhaps start treating with melafix. If the fins/tail are disappearing fast then you should probably treat with something like Kanaplex or a combo of Maracyn and Maracyn-two.

Robin

The addition of some aquarium salt at the rate of 1 tablespoon per five gallons may also help. Dissolve it first and add it gradually
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I wanted to follow up on the thread.

Within a few hours of my post the other day, we transferred it to a hospital tank and started it on Maracyn. But I think it was much too late. Within 1 day, the fish was oriented vertically and listing, and began to show what looked like blood colored streaks in its fins.

We decided to euthanize. In hindsight, I am thinking this must have been an old fish. I received it as an adult from a community tank, about a year ago, and had no knowledge of the fish, other than that it was full grown. So it's entirely possible that it was very old.

There are no other fish showing signs of issues. I do weekly water changes (50%) and biweekly gravel vacuum. And the nitrates are kept between 10-20ppm. pH typically 8.0 - 8.2, and kH around 12 - 15.
 

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Hard to conclude too much from symptoms a fish has just hours before it dies but red streaks in the fins can sometimes mean ammonia poisoning.

You might test the main tank for ammonia and also check the filter(s). You want to make sure there's a good strong flow coming out of the filter return and also that there's no build up of waste on the media itself.

With weekly, 50% water changes and no other fish showing symptoms it's unlikely a water quality issue, but I would check just the same.

Sorry you lost the fish.

Robin

One more thought: large water changes are great, especially if they are done frequently, however if your source water has chloramines added to it or a high level of chlorine then it's very important to be using a dechlorinator that can handle these two situations--not all dechlorinators can. A older/weaker fish will have a more difficult time with water quality that 'bounces' with a large water change that doesn't have the proper dechlorinator.
 
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