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one mysterious dead kuhli loach. How should I treat the tank?

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After lights out last night, I spotted a kuhli loach in java moss using a flashlight. If didn't flinch, which seemed odd, so I reach in and took it out. it was dead, but looked fine. Not a scratch on it, no discoloration or swelling. (This did not look like it was the one with the spots from a few weeks ago.)

I put loach outside and took all the java moss out of the tank to see if there were any other signs of death.  I gathered roughly 6 or more cups of java moss and put it in a bucket with tank water and an air stone for overnight (air stone because it was full of tiny rams horns). As the water cleared and settled. I inspectice every inch of the tank. I didn't find any other fish acting strange at all. I have seen several other loaches moving around.  

When I went out later to more closely examine the loach, it was gone. Probably a mouse of some other creature had it for a snack.

Today the fish are acting normal. a few kuhli loaches are zooming around. Everything looks very healthy and busy. Water parms are normal and good.

I will do a big water change and return some of the java moss to increase hiding areas etc.

Any other recommendations? @Colu

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Any signs of disease, odd behaviors in any of the fish…

at this point there has been one fish that died… with no obvious sign of disease…


I would be carefully observing a few times a day for any hiding, lethargy, panting, hanging out in odd areas of the tank, skin lesions, fin clamping, flashing etc…

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@Pepere yes, I am trying to watch for those things. It is hard:

1) The tank started as a Walstad, so I can not vacuum the bottom, just pick up what comes up when I swirl above the substrate. There was a lot of random bits of stuff under the java moss that was all over the bottom of the tank.

2) The tank has a few adult tetras, a few adult kuhli loaches, 3 young hillstream loaches and way more than I can count of little cory fry of different ages, growing out. They dart around and look for food on the bottom, keeping everything stirred up for an inch above the bottom. They also dart to the top for air and drive to the bottom. I added 3 HOB filters one at a time as the corys kept kicking up the stuff on the bottom that was supposed to sink down to the roots of the plants. The java moss grew like crazy and out competed a lot of rooted plants.

3) The tank has a ton of ramshorn snails of different ages and some breeding mystery snails.

I am watching closely, but It is hard to see everything that is going on.

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As a general rule on a tank that has been running well with no new additions for a few months, I am not quick to medicate if a single fish dies unless I am seeing clear signs other fish are affected and especially like to see specific signs of what I would be treating for…


new fish get treated ina separate quarantine tank with med trio and are kept in quarantine for 6 weeks after last loss of life and or signs of symptoms before transferring to a display tank.  As such I dont worry much if a single occupant passes in an established tank if none of the other inhabitants are not showing any signs of disease or distress…


A few months ago a single Green Neon Tetra developed swim bladder disorder and was transferred to a quarantine tank amd treated and never recovered.  I watched main display tank carefully for two weeks with no sign of distress noted in any of the other fish..


You might want to use a turkey baster to elevate detritus mulm on bottom of tank and pull out with a syphon, though that may risk some cory fry…


I had a tank that initially did not have cories and the mulm on the bottom of the tank was irritating to me…. Coarse black sand…. I added 8 cories to it, 29 gallon tank and a few powered internal filters and cleaned them out weekly… The coarse black sand looks much better… The adult cories work well stirring up the mulm…

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