Unhappy Tetras? 2/11/16
Hello! I am hoping you can offer some advice!
I like to think I am a new, but fairly well researched newbie hobbyist. I
finally convinced the husband to let me add an aquarium to our zoo and I love
watching my fish!
I have a 20 gallon aquarium that I cycled with fish (4 black
phantom tetras), doing daily small water changes etc and the whole time they
seemed happy and healthy. *I *read as much as I could re: the nitrogen cycle and
Once the water was testing well I began to add new fish (after about a month), a
few per week at a time. I am finally at full stock, with now a
total of 6 black phantom tetras (3 males, 3 females), 2 cories and 4
guppies (3 females, 1 male). We are soon setting up a fry tank for the
inevitable guppy babies (if any survive) so as not to overwhelm this tank.
I do not have live plants as I was told my lights could not support them but I
have lots of fake plants and have tried to recreate as natural looking
environment as possible. I have a MarineLand Penguin filter 150 with BioWheel,
the water temp is 78.
<All sounds fine, except I'd personally have opted for more of the Tetras and
Corydoras... I think your tank can handle a couple more of each, at least.>
The cories were the last addition as I read they could be a bit sensitive and
should be the last fish to add.
<Not really. They're unhappy kept in small groups, and don't work with bullying
or nippy fish, which perhaps gives rise to the idea they're nervous. But
otherwise they're pretty robust animals.>
The guppies are doing their usual curious exploring (they really are quite
fearless!) and the cories have added a really fun element to the tank, swimming
all over, snuggling up together. I am considering adding a 3rd as I know 3 would
be a better number for them but I am not wanting to overstock. They don't seem
shy, they have lots of hiding places but are usually out and about and being
<Indeed. With a soft sandy substrate they're a while lot funner, but meantime,
make sure the gravel is smooth as silk. Rough or sharp gravel can/will cause
erosion of the barbels.>
My problem is ever since I added the cories a few days ago my tetras have been
acting totally freaked out - spending all their time together in a bunch hiding
behind a clump of (fake) plants. They only come out when it's feeding time. (I
feed a combination of flakes, Micropellets and sinking shrimp pellets (the last
ones mostly for the cories but everyone seems to
enjoy sharing them as well). I have recently cut down on feeding for a bit as I
have experienced a bit of a slight algae bloom I am getting under control - I
think I might have been over feeding a bit.)
I am stumped as they had no issue at all with the guppies who often bulldoze
right through their school but the cories seem to fit in very well personality
wise with everyone else I am not sure what's going on! The cories like I
mentioned are a bit silly but certainly no sillier than the guppies so I didn't
think the tetras would mind.
Is this normal?
How long should I wait before I decide they just aren't going to adjust (it's
been 4 days). I have a friend with a very healthy and long (2 years) established
100 gallon community tank who I might be able to rehome them to (his school of
neons among other fish seem quite happy so I am sure mine would do well) but I
would like to avoid it if possible as I am quite attached to these little guys
as they've been with me from the beginning and I worked so hard to make sure I
didn't lose a single one in the early days.
Any ideas? I would really appreciate any advice you can give :) Thanks so much!
<I would add more Phantom Tetras... yes, they'll be nervous in small groups, and
this species is so much better kept in groups of 8 or more. Be aggressive at
rehoming surplus Guppy fry and your tank won't be overpopulated. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Unhappy Tetras? 2/12/16
Thank you so much!
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: Unhappy Tetras? 2/16/16
Hi Neale (or whoever gets this), I'm afraid I have another question for you!
You're site is absolutely wonderful but I'll admit to getting a bit lost in all
the information at times!
My tetras have finally come out of hiding, I guess they were just adjusting to
the rather boisterous newcomers (2 agassizii Corydoras - soon to be 4 - truly
unique and wonderful little creatures). But today I noticed the bottom fin on
one of my female black phantoms is looking a bit ragged, almost as though a
small piece has been torn off. No sign of the white edge
of fin rot but it's not a clean "bite" either.
<Like a tear of some sort...>
It was my understanding and so far my experience with black phantoms that they
aren't known to be nippy and they other than the males displaying at each other
they are very peaceful.
<True, but no schooling fish behaves properly if you don't keep enough. How many
do you have? Keep at least six, and whenever tetras and other schooling fish
misbehave, add more. I'd be keeping 8-10 specimens, at least, in 20 gallons. Try
and outnumber males with females.>
Just in case I did about a 30% water change (20 gallon tank, to refresh your
memory). I don't have a test kit (I know), but I get my water tested weekly at
my lfs. After the first cycling month my water parameters have been stable.
Should I be worried about this tetra? Should I be doing anything more than
upping the water changes? I'm hesitant to treat if it's not actually rot and
disrupt my tanks bacteria balance. All other fish are fine (so far).
<Provided the wound is clean it should heal without the use of medications.>
You're expert advice would be greatly appreciated. I want to provide well for
these sweet little fish. (Also: are black phantoms big enough to eat guppy fry?
I've 4 guppies along with them - 1 male, 3 females and 2 of them look ready to
drop any day. I'm hoping for some "natural" population control lol). Again,
thank you for your time and patience! One day I hope
to be an expert but I'm no where near yet.
<Be sure to buy a good aquarium book... many out there, but the Baensch Aquarium
Atlas no. 1 was my bible.>
Re: Unhappy Tetras? 2/18/16
Thank you again for the speedy reply! I very much appreciate it. I do
have 6 of the tetras, although they are an equal ratio males/females, so perhaps
I need another couple of females!
<Never a bad idea.>
And thank you for the book recommendation!
<Glad to help. Neale.>
Plea for help/advice concerning Black Phantom Tetras with
kinked spines (RMF, any ideas?) <Agree w/ your sugg. of poss. causes...
Hello and thank you for reading my email.
My name is Rachel and I have a 45 gallon planted freshwater aquarium. I
treat the water with Prime and nothing else.
My ammonia and nitrIte levels read 0 and nitrAte reads between 10 and 20
before each 25% weekly water change/partial gravel siphoning. The pH is
and the temp is maintained at 78F.
<All sounds fine.>
The GH and KH are both around 120 due to the source water being
<But likely not a problem with most community fish. Avoid the really
fussy species like Cardinals and you shouldn't have a problem.>
The tank has been running about 6 months without obvious issue until
about 1 month ago. All current inhabitants have been there for at least
I've written earlier regarding the deaths of my 7 Corydoras paleatus and
now I just please specifically need advice about my remaining
Hyphessobrycon megalopterus, now 5 female and 3 male.
<Hyphessobrycon megalopterus is not a fussy species, and can do well in
even fairly hard water, 2-20 degrees dH, pH 6-8.>
Roughly a week ago I noticed one female Black Phantom Tetra being
harassed by a male and the next day I noticed the beginnings of
"z" shaped kinks in her caudal spine area that appeared to get worse
over the next few days.
<I see. Now, sometimes farmed fish come with bent spines already because
of genetics, and there's nothing you can do about that. Often the fish
are fine, but wouldn't make good breeding stock for obvious reasons! But
as pets, there's nothing wrong with keeping them, and some might say
they add character to the tank! On the other hand, if the fish had
normal spines when you bought them, but months later their spines
started going crooked, that's less likely to be genes. The reasons for
spine damage or deformity are multiple, with possibilities including
poor diet/lack of vitamins; exposure to certain toxins; physical damage
(typically when big or active fish are kept in too-small tanks); and
certain infections including Mycobacteria. Telling which of these is the
cause is difficult, so the best approach is to consider them all, and
She was still feeding, swimming normally, schooling and whatnot. A male,
not the dominant male, then came down with the same symptom of a kinked
spine. I euthanized both after spending hours reading about TB, Neon
Tetra Disease and False Neon Tetra Disease., I now wish I had just
<Possibly, but if you suspect Mycobacteria infections, then cure isn't
likely, and you may as well minimise the risk of further infection of
your healthy fish.>
A few days ago another male developed a kink in his spine but was
otherwise acting normally, he's now in my 10 gallon quarantine, and
today I came home to a previously seemingly asymptomatic female dead on
the filter. The kinks in my isolated male and the two previous fish
are/were only obvious when the fish is/was viewed from above. At first I
thought that the kinked areas of the fish were also paler but it really
just seems to look different because the body is now bent and not smooth
like the others. The only other tank inhabitants are 9 ghost shrimp and
a handful of freshwater snails that came in with the live plants. I'm
perplexed about what I'm facing with these fish.
<So am I. Normally, when a bunch of different fish become sick and die,
you suspect the aquarium is wrong, and check things like water quality,
water chemistry, circulation, etc. But if only one species becomes sick,
then you have the added possibility of a species-specific pathogen
or problem. That said, if Black Phantoms are more sensitive to
environmental (aquarium) problems than the other fish, then the fact
it's only them getting sick isn't a surprise. Confused? I am! That's the
problem here. My gut feeling is that you're dealing with a combination
of low-quality livestock and an opportunistic Mycobacterial infection,
so I'd tend to do nothing more than optimising living conditions (see
above re: diet, water circulation, etc.) and seeing what happens. There
are some species (Neons, Guppies, Dwarf Gouramis and Ram Cichlids) that
are so unreliable nowadays I simply don't recommend them. While Black
Phantoms are usually considered good fish, quality may be less good than
in the past, so if they all die off, then just don't buy them again (or
at least, not from the same retailer).>
Some source of stress must be bringing this on but the water parameters
haven't changed. I know it must seem blatantly obvious to some but I've
just become confused because, honestly, the only symptom I see are the
kinked spines and I've read info about so many diseases, none of which
fit their symptoms exactly. I've successfully kept Harlequin Rasboras,
Corydoras, Otocinclus and Lemon Tetras in the same tank for years back
when I had tanks in my early 20's.
<Black Phantoms are comparable to Lemon Tetras and Otocinclus in terms
of demands and if anything a little less fussy re: water chemistry and
quality; so if you could keep those species, then Black Phantoms should
I'd hate to think that I'm not seeing something else that's out of the
ordinary with these Black Phantoms. I do feed mostly TertraMin Tropical
Crisps (it had the highest protein content from what was currently
<Not necessarily a plus. I do recommend a mix of foods. A good quality
flake is a fine staple, but try adding some micro pellets (the Hikari
ones are great) or if you can't get those, try smashing up larger
cichlids pellets, especially quality brands like Hikari Cichlid Gold (a
very economical approach this!). Raid the kitchen periodically, for
things like cooked peas, seafood, even hard boiled egg yolks. The more
variety, the less risk of vitamin deficiency.>
small meals twice a day, occasional thawed out frozen bloodworms and on
rare occasion thawed out brine shrimp.
<Some folks are leery of bloodworms given their source, but brine
shrimps should be 100% safe because of they way they're reared.>
I fast them one day a week and have fed peas once when the Corydoras
were acting abnormally after a bloodworm feeding and water change. I
would really like to get additional fish at some point since this is a
larger tank but not if I can't get to the bottom of what's ailing the
tetras and if it is TB or Neon Tetra Disease I don't know what I'll do.
To be fair, the Black Phantom Tetras and their previous Peppered
Corydoras tank mates did come from a big box fish store so that may be
my whole problem.
<Quite so. I'd probably avoid buying from any store that didn't
specialise in tropical fish or at least exotic pets.>
I'm now willing to drive hours to buy from a reputable live fish store
if my tank is salvageable or suitable for whatever type of fish that
wouldn't be adversely effected by the current contaminants.
<Local/city aquarium clubs can be extremely good places to start your
search, so perhaps a trip in such a direction would help.>
I also promise to stock it with hardwater loving fish this time.
<Hmm... less of an issue than you'd think. Penguin, X-Ray and Emperor
Tetras will all do perfectly well in hard water, as will Cherry Barbs,
even though all would "prefer" soft/acid water. Relatively few fish are
harmed by hard water, even if they won't breed in it. But yes, there are
some species to avoid, like Cardinals. But basically, the aim is to get
good quality, healthy livestock and ensure optimal water quality rather
than to worry about water chemistry too much.>
If I do have to tear down the tank to sanitize, will I be able to
reintroduce the Ghost Shrimp after they've lived in the quarantine tank
for the time being or would that be a bad idea?
<I don't think sterilising the tank will achieve anything at all.>
Is there any way to sterilize plants and driftwood?
<Not really, no. Mycobacteria, Aeromonas, Pseudomonas and other
"problem" bacteria are latent in most/all aquaria, so sterilising an
aquarium isn't going to prevent them coming back the moment you add new
livestock and plants. Just as with bacteria in our human world, healthy
people don't have anything to worry about -- it's when the fish are
stressed or damaged that these latent bacteria cause problems. It's no
coincidence that these genera of bacteria *also* cause many human health
problems where people have been injured, weakened, starved, etc.>
Have I missed articles about such things here? I'll look again. Either
way, I'll do what's best, I just hate to get the tank somewhat
established only to have to start from scratch again. I truly admire the
work out into this site and appreciate the time your team dedicates to
helping helpless and seemingly hapless tank enthusiasts like myself.
Thank you for your time,
<And thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Plea for help/advice concerning Black Phantom Tetras with kinked
spines (RMF, any ideas?)<<>> 10/27/13
Thank you so much for your advice and support.
There haven't been anymore sudden casualties since I wrote but I did
euthanize the one male in quarantine and I'm warily watching a couple of
the female Black Phantoms that just seem a little off, slightly
discolored, not as rowdy and robust. I'm more and more convinced that I
probably have a collection of genetically "weaker" fish that are
possibly succumbing to opportunistic bacteria like you suggested, but I
have begun varying up the diet a bit more simply because I can and
should. I did find Hikari micro pellets (yay!), discarded the
bloodworms, added more cooked peas to the rotation and even tried egg
yolk from a boiled egg yesterday. Some, maybe most, of it ended up for
the shrimp but the several tetras that were brave enough to try it
seemed to enjoy it.
<Great. And do remember that some shrimps (especially Cherry Shrimps)
will breed like mad in the right tanks, and their offspring can be
useful live food for many fish, so in the right sort of aquarium you can
have an ecological balance of sorts where uneaten food goes into shrimps
and then (via baby shrimps) into those fussy fish that missed the food
first time round!>
Maybe the trick to feeding new foods is to get them good and hungry
I hate that there are so many horror stories about Mycobacterium
<Yes, but since 99% of the time it's not confirmed merely suspected,
it's hard to know which mystery fish deaths are down to Mycobacteria,
some other pathogen, poor genes, and most likely of all, poor
maintenance. I'd put money on a combination of factors being to blame,
even where Mycobacteria are proven -- in other words, had the fish been
kept better/differently, the Mycobacteria wouldn't have caused any
It's tricky, the dimensions of my 45 gallon are 36" long (91.5 cm), 24"
tall (61cm), and 12" wide (31cm) which means my arm is pretty well
submerged when I'm vacuuming the gravel but as a fortunately healthy
human I suppose a good hand and arm washing should suffice.
<Ah, yes; and do understand that the "Fish TB" stories are very, very
rare, and when they do happen, the bacteria seem to get into open wounds
and sores rather than healthy skin. It's not something I worry about, I
have to confess. Consult with a doctor if you are worried though; I'm
not a doctor (well, not a medical doctor anyway).>
I don't know where I'd find those whole arm gloves, I'll look online.
I'm okay with euthanizing the Black Phantom Tetras with obvious symptoms
for the greater good of the tank. I'm nervous about adding anything else
while they're still around, even if the tetras seem healthy,
<Wise; I would wait 4-6 weeks, at least, after the last fish death
before adding anything new.>
but I also don't want my tank to be so under stocked that my cycle
stalls since I don't think the shrimp and snails put out enough waste to
keep it up. Am I wrong to think it would stall?
<I would not worry about this. Provided you have at least a few fish in
the tank, the filter will tick over nicely. But if all the fish die,
then you can keep the filter healthy by adding quantities of flake or
pellets proportional to a small group of fish every 1-2 days. For sure
there's no fish to eat that food, just the shrimps and snails, but the
filter bacteria don't care whether the food rots directly, passes
through the gut of snail, or is eaten by a fish and excreted as ammonia.
It's all waste to the bacteria!>
I have located a reputable, well-established live fish store that's been
around for decades and has many followers. Even with all the stress and
upset I can't help but get excited about what to get next. I plan on
visiting a few times first to get a feel for what they have and what
might work. I might return with a couple stocking questions if that's
Now, I have a different sort of question about adding iodine to the tank
for the shrimp. I've seen the reef fish foods with iodine content and
I've seen the Kent Marine Iodine as a water additive. Would either be
safe or recommended for a freshwater tank with Ghost Shrimp?
<Safe, yes; necessary, not really. While iodine supplement seems to be
essential for the larger freshwater crustaceans like crayfish, it isn't
so important for little shrimps. Occasional strips of Sushi Nori and
bits of frozen seafood will probably supply more than enough.>
Is the amount of iodine in cooked egg yolk sufficient?
<Could well be.>
I obtained the Ghost Shrimp from a friend that has them breeding nonstop
in his tank so they were all adorably tiny and very young when I got
Four of them became opaque white within the "tail portion" of the body,
I lost two of those but the other two are still around and are
indistinguishable from the other except that they are not clear. I know
they're not old so I can rule out old age as a reason. I haven't yet
been able to locate an answer online as to why this happens but I see
many questions about it and recommendations that iodine is vital for
successful molting. Any advice would be appreciated. I don't even want
to think about parasites or worms but I'll listen if you mention it,
<For sure try it out, but I have a gazillion Cherry Shrimps breeding
away in my kitchen aquarium, and they don't get anything beyond algae
and bits of fish food.>
Thank you again and again for your time and advice. I've begun
recommending Wet Web Media to anyone that will listen. Your help is much
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Hyphessobrycon megalopterus (Black Phantom Tetra) physical
Sorry to bother you at this time of the year and season's greetings to
you all, I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and Santa was good to
<I finally met Bob Fenner in person over the holidays.>
I tried to have a search around before I sent this but couldn't find
anything specific on what course of action, if any, to take. I have a
male Black Phantom Tetra (Hyphessobrycon megalopterus) that got itself
into a spot of bother today. I found it upside down between the Fluval
U2 filter and the glass. When I got it freed it had a clear "mashed"
grey patch on its side, which I took to be scales ripped free during its
struggles. I've never experienced a fish with a physical injury so I am
unsure what steps to take.
<Well, long term you need to take steps to make sure there is no repeat.
Immediately, if you think this is a serious injury then the fish needs
to be isolated and treated with an antibiotic. If there is no indication
of infection, my own inclination would be to use something mild like
It swam out when I pulled the filter back and seemed OK at first. That
was about three hours ago. It is now hiding in the plants at the
surface, breathing rapidly and definitely not behaving as it should.
<In a world of hurt, no doubt.>
I've put the lights out to calm everyone else down and prevent the fish
from being disturbed. I also bunged in some Stress Coat, for all the
good I think it will do, but I didn't think it would do any harm anyway.
<Not likely harm. Lights out was a good idea.>
Is there anything I can/should do here to help him? I have a cycled QT
available but I'm not sure if netting would just add to the stress and
achieve nothing. He certainly doesn't want to be part of the shoal
at the moment, so I'm not worried about isolation. In fact, the rest of
the shoal seem to chase him if he is disturbed by a heterospecific and
flushed out of hiding.
<I'd try to grab him with a Dip'n'pour if you have one available
(plastic box like they use at the fish store before bagging.) Not always
easy but better than netting if you can manage it. Short term it will
add stress of course, but treating in a more controlled environment is a
big enough positive to justify moving the fish away from the others
The medicine cabinet has eSHa 2000 only. I'm not going to rush to
medicate unless told to, I mention it just so you know I have it, in
case prophylactic medication against infection might be necessary.
<Might as well use it if it's already on hand.>
The aquarium was given a 50% water change three days ago
(fertilizer-driven algae problem but that is another story) and is
mature. Should I increase the standard 20-25% per week water changes to
improve conditions? I'm worried about kicking fecal matter etc. up into
the water column and causing infection.
<Again, I'd be inclined to isolate the injured fish and leave the main
tank as a separate matter.>
Since I had a female of the same species trapped in the same place a
couple of weeks ago that, thankfully, was freed unharmed, I'm going to
stuff filter wool behind the offending article to prevent anything like
this happening again.
<Have to do something if this is a repeat incident. It's bound to happen
I *think* my best course of action is "wait-and-see" but since I'm not
100% sure I thought I'd better ask.
<For a minor injury, sure. Sounds like this might be a bit more severe
than minor, in which case I think you want to be proactive or risk
something you can't reverse.>
Again, I'm really sorry to bother you at this time of the year and would
appreciate any advice you can give.
<Oh, we get bored without questions!>
<Good luck - Rick>
Re: Hyphessobrycon megalopterus (Black Phantom Tetra)
physical injury 12/27/12 1/3/13
Hope you had a great Christmas and New Year. Sorry for the late reply, I
was back home to see my folks for the holidays.
<Was nice, yes. Spent much of it in San Diego with the family and had
pizza with Bob Fenner.>
I had forgotten one significant detail - I "borrowed" my QT tank heater
for another aquarium some time ago, so I couldn't move him the day I
wrote to you. On inspection the next day, the wound didn't look anywhere
near as bad as it did when I first seen it and the fish seemed to be
behaving normally, so I decided to leave him in place, feeling it was
more of a minor than a major injury.
<Easier to tell for the person on site,>
It's strange, because I know I saw something there. Can fish scales sort
of "ruck up", like a back-comb, without becoming detached and return to
<I suppose it's possible, but probably painful like bending back a
fingernail. I've never witnessed it, nor have I experimented with this
for obvious ethical reasons.>
On my return from holiday, I can't even pick out the fish that was stuck
from the rest of the males. I think I might have panicked a bit, sorry.
<This is good news.>
Thanks for your help, all the same. I'll keep hold of your email,
since I have a feeling that a more serious physical injury is eventually
going to happen to at least one of my aquatic menagerie and I'll replace
that heater on the QT tank ASAP!
<Great. Best wishes.>
Black Phantom Tetra - Help Needed
Hoping someone can shed some light on a problem I'm having with one
of my Black Phantom Tetras. I'm afraid I'm losing him.
Here's my set-up:
20 gallon aquarium, live plants
3 black phantom tetras
6 red phantom tetras
<Does prefer fairly cool conditions... not really a very good
community fish above 23 degrees C.>
I just tested my water levels:
Ammonia - 0
Nitrites - 0
Nitrates - 8
Temperature 78 degrees
I noticed a few days ago he was hiding underneath a plant and
wouldn't come out when I was feeding them. He seems to be resting
at first glance, but his black markings are fading and his top fin is a
little more limp than the other fish. I haven't seen him eat in a
few days. He seems to be able to swim fine if he is swimming along the
bottom, though I've only seen him swim a few inches at a time, and
About an hour ago I was watching him. He had emerged out from hiding
and was at the bottom, in the middle of the tank. He suddenly took off
like a shot upwards - I thought he was going after some food. But
instead of swimming in a straight line, his body was rolling and
tumbling at top speed as he swam upwards. It happened so fast that I
couldn't really tell quite what his body was doing. He is now back
at his resting spot under the plant.
<Variety of possibilities, but bullying is the one I'd think
should be in groups of 6+, and in smaller groups, bullying will lead to
stress, and stress can cause the symptoms you're seeing.>
When he is resting his body appears normal, no "u' shape,
bloating, or moving in circles or going upside down.
<Stress, starvation, secondary infections all possibilities.>
Any idea what could be wrong? I was concerned about whirling but
I've never fed live food, and his back half is not darker, in fact
it is lighter since he's lost much of his black markings. I see no
lesions or anything else odd about him.
All other fish appear fine.
I do have a 10 gallon quarantine tank though it is not set up...should
I transfer some water from the larger tank so it will be cycled, and
then transfer him into that tank? Is there anything I can do to help
<Maybe add a bunch more, and see what happens.>
Thanks so much for your time.
Black Phantom Tetra -Additional Info
I've been reading up on Whirling, and I saw that it can be caused
by eating a dead fish (?). Just wanted to mention that I lost a fish
last week, and suspect that it had been dead a couple of days before I
found it (I usually do a daily head count but didn't for a couple
of days). It looked like the fins had been nibbled.
This was one of my red phantom tetras. Approx. 8 months ago it
developed a tiny black dot inside it's body and over the last many
months this growth has slowly spread. Right up until the end he was
schooling and eating and energetic, but I guess the growth/disease took
its toll. He did not show any symptoms that the black phantom is
Just thought I would mention that, in case it was relevant.
Also, in doing further reading, I came across Neon Tetra Disease,
and False Neon Tetra Disease. Does the black phantom's
condition sound like either of these, and if so, can you explain the
<Not likely Pleistophora... but quite likely a
Sporozoan/Microsporidean manifestation... common in wild-collected
Characoids of S. America... as small, discrete, black shiny dots,
raised against sides... Not usually fatal, unless other stressors are
I also read that one of the first symptoms is whitish patches, which I
don't see in my fish.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Black Phantom Tetra -Additional Info
This morning I saw a new symptom...periodically the fish is in a
vertical position, with nose to the gravel and tail skyward. He is not
doing well at all.
Could you please expand on your note below - if it is
Sporozoan/Microsporidean as you suggest it could be below, what do I
do? I assume he should be quarantined. Is there any medication that can
Note that I haven't seen any black shiny dots on him at all, he is
very pale and his formerly black markings are now very light grey.
<There are no known medications for such...>
Is Sporozoan/Microsporidean the same as Neon Tetra disease?
<"All newts are salamanders... not vice versa"... NTD is
in the same organismal class...>
Should I be concerned for my other tetras?
<Only if they ingest the present afflicted one (i.e. if it
If you could provide more info, or direct me to a link, that would be
Thank you so much for your time.
Sick Phantom - 10/21/2006 Hello,
<Hi, Camille. First, I apologize for the delay of this
reply. It was not easily accessible by our mail system,
unfortunately.> I have a sick Black Phantom tetra and I'm not
sure how to help her. She has a rapid respiration rate, and
is having difficulty keeping herself upright; she tends to flop over on
to her side, or her head points down towards the gravel and her tail
points up towards the water surface. She's still eating, and I
don't see other visible signs of disease (no discolorations, bumps,
fungus, parasites, ragged fins, etc'¦). She
displayed similar symptoms a few months ago and I was not sure what to
do for her, so I moved her to a quarantine tank with a little aquarium
salt added, <This was an excellent move - though I would have used
Epsom salt (Magnesium Sulfate) instead or in addition to the aquarium
salt.> included a little bit of Aquari-sol (although I admittedly
had no idea if this was the best idea or not'¦), <I would
not have recommended this.> and fed her sparingly for a
week. Her condition improved greatly and I put her back in
the main tank. <Great!> A few weeks ago, I noticed
she was starting to list to the side a bit again. Her
condition has gradually worsened, and I now have her back in the
quarantine tank. I have not started any kind of treatment
yet, and would surely welcome some good, expert advice!
<I'd add Epsom salt (Magnesium Sulfate) at a rate of 1-2
tablespoons per ten gallons. Aquarium salt certainly
won't hurt, and may help. I'd recommend strongly
that you look very closely for any other symptoms - gray/filmy skin,
any other abnormalities.... And perhaps also try giving her
some foods of high roughage content - shelled peas or adult brine
shrimp, perhaps. These along with the Epsom salt will help
to pass any gut blockage that may be affecting her
swimming. Withhold all other foods for a time.> My main
tank is 55 gallons, planted with low-light plants (no CO2
added). The tank has been set up for about one
year. Water conditions have been stable for a long time: pH
7.3 Nitrate 20 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Temp 80 I do a 10 to 15% water
change every one to two weeks. I use AquaSafe to remove
Chlorine/Chloramines. I add Seachem's Flourish once a
week and Excel 2 or 3 times weekly for the plants.
<Sounds great, though you may want to do larger water changes; the
Nitrate's just at the edge of "okay".> Tank
inhabitants: 4 Black Phantom tetras (2 males, 2 females) 5 Pristella
tetras 6 Neon tetras 6 Panda Corys 3 Otocinclus All other fish seem to
be fine. What course of action would you recommend I follow
to help my tetra? <Just as above.> Any advice or
suggestions will be greatly appreciated! Thank you for your
time. Best regards, Camille <All the best to
Black Phantom Tetra, Webmail Issues - 12/19/2005 Hello crew,
<Hello, Camille!> I sent an email to you on December 1st
regarding my Black Phantom tetra that had not eaten much at all for a
few weeks (since being moved into a new tank). There was
apparently an issue with replying to my mail, but Don was kind enough
to track me down in the 911 forum where I had also posted a
message. <Our apologies - our Webmail system does
occasionally lose (don't know how) the "tray" for
responding to a message. I'm not sure what the
combination of settings is, but my laptop seems to be the only system
that doesn't lose this "tray".... So,
fortunately, I have the ability to reply to you.> At that time, the
fish was showing no outward signs of illness; his color was good, no
clamped fins or weird scale discolorations,
etc'¦. All water parameters were fine, and all
other fish in the tank were doing very well. He has continued to ignore
food. I did get him to take a few nibbles at some live brine
shrimp last week, but he certainly wasn't showing the same interest
as the rest of the fish. <Disturbing.> I generally
feed a combination of flake and frozen foods and I never see him show
interest in any of that (although he used to eat well in the old 20
gallon tank'¦). I added 2 additional Black Phantoms
to the tank yesterday hoping that more of his own kind would help him
feel more secure (bringing the number of Black Phantoms from 2 to 4 in
the tank). This morning, the fish in question is hanging out
at the top of the tank and seems to be breathing more rapidly than
normal. He may also have a light patch of scales under his
chin (in the gill area), but its been hard to get a real good look at
him; whenever I closely approach the tank he turns and swims away from
me, but I've caught several glimpses of what may be a light skin
patch'¦. All other fish in the tank continue to do
well; everyone eats and displays a normal activity
level. The Black Phantom is the only one at the top of the
tank with an increased respiration rate. <So
frustrating!! There really are quite a number of
possibilities at this point; I would be more likely to think he may
have an internal bacterial infection than anything....> Tank specs
are as follows: 55 gallon Live plants (Anubias, crypts, java fern,
Ludwigia) Eco-complete substrate No Co2 or fertilizers used
Inhabitants: 6 Neons 4 Black Phantoms 3 Pristellas 6 Panda Corys
miscellaneous snails that hitched in on the plants Water parameters as
of this morning: Temp 79 F Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 5 ppm Hardness 5
deg KH, 10 deg GH pH 7.4 A small water change (~10%) was performed last
night. <All sounds great.... nothing at all that catches
my eye here.> Is there anything I can do for this fish? I
do have a quarantine tank I can move him to if needed.
<I would, most certainly - if not to help the sick fish, then to
protect your other livestock from contracting what he's got (if
anything). I would consider feeding him an antibacterial
flake food, but if he's not eating, this is obviously going to be
difficult at best. Food medicated with Oxytetracycline would
be my choice, if you can get him to eat anything.> Any suggestions
are greatly appreciated!! If this email can't be replied
to (which was the issue with my original query), can someone post a
reply in the 911 forum?? My post there is entitled
'Black Phantom tetra won't eat (a little long'¦)'
and was originally posted on December 2nd under the name
CMERRELL. Thanks for reading and I hope someone can
help. <I'll take a look there, as well, and see if
there's anything else that catches my eye.> I really hate to see
the little guy in distress! <I do very much
understand.... My sympathies to you, and to him - I hope he
can pull through for you.> Best regards, -Camille Merrell
<Wishing you well, -Sabrina>
Black Phantom Tetra, Webmail Issues - II - 12/25/2005 Hi
Sabrina, <Camille, my apologies for the delay in this reply.>
Thanks so much for responding to my email! <Of
course.> I really appreciate the service you and your colleagues
provide. <Thank you for these kind words - we are glad
to be of service.> Unfortunately, my little Black Phantom did not
pull through. He died on Sunday night. <I am
so sorry to hear this!> I sent a follow-up email after this initial
message that you responded to <I fear I/we did not see this
follow-up - blast this webmail!> which mentioned he had started to
excrete what looked like a thick whitish string of fecal
material. <A possible indication of internal
parasites.... other possibilities.> This was trailing
from him for several hours and his anal vent area looked a bit red and
irritated to me. Eventually, the string apparently had
exited his body and he actually appeared to be breathing
easier. I was hoping against hope that maybe he still had a
fighting chance, but when I checked on him an hour later he had
died. <So sorry....> I really hope he didn't have
anything going on that has put my other fish at risk, but I suppose
only time will tell. <Agreed. Be keeping a
close eye on your livestock.> Thanks again for the
response. I am new to fish keeping and the information on
your website has been very helpful to me. <I really am
glad to hear this.... It's comments like these that
really keep us going. Thank you.> Best regards and
holiday wishes, <And happy holidays to you!> Camille Merrell
<All the best, -Sabrina>