Jump to content

Neon Tetra Disease, next steps


Recommended Posts

I wasn't able to find information about 'next steps'. Apologies for any bad spelling etc. I took far too long writing this and just needed to give up looking for spellings of medications/diseases just because they had the red squiggle...

Background: I believe I have a tank pretty heavily infected with Neon Tetra Disease. I had been treating as if some had cotton mouth, but it has clearly spread and gotten worse. Thanks to a previous post on here with pictures I finally realized it's more systemic and that is why medications didn't help. (maracyn, paracleanse, salt, methylene blue dips, kanaplex, pima fix...might have missed one or two)

This is a 20 long. I've had it set up with these fish for about a year. I lost a couple guppies along the way but figured that was just from inbreeding/random illness. I've never had ammonia issues and honestly I barely had the tank "cycled" about a month ago for the first time, it is heavily planted enough and has a light enough load that it honestly may have just been from the easy green the week before. (20 gallon, canister, air stone, variety of foods. Stocked with 2 male endlers, 2 male guppies, 11 neon tetras, ~6 ottos...they're great at hiding so I may have lost one but I don't THINK so.)

I am now treating this as a hospice tank. I am going to let the fish in there live out their lives until they look ill enough (and slow down enough) for me to catch and euthanize. Several tetras appear to have cotton mouth that can't be treated so I'm guessing it isn't from columnaris. One started flopping on his side. One has the full body fungus/shedding/rot look but they are all still fast as lightning and I don't want to over stress all of them if they're all likely to pass regardless.

(Corey's video says it's caused by bacteria, Aquarium Nexus says protozoan parasite*...I've tried to put both terms in below because either way I just need to know how to not spread it)


  1. How long can the parasite/bacteria live without a host? Once all the fish have passed, can the tank be run to keep the plants alive and have the parasite/bacteria die off with hosts then be restocked? (I remove fish as soon as I find them, I've never noticed one that looked like it had been eaten so it is spreading in the water somehow)
  2. Can the parasite/bacteria spread by gravel vac? Would rinsing it between tanks help? Does bleach help? What about other supplies like nets?
  3. If I need to move plants/decor/etc to another tank would treating with hydrogen peroxide help? Bleach? Letting it thoroughly dry out? Steaming? Nothing is worth the risk? (I have to assume that like ich it will eventually die on its own, I just don't know what it would take to get to that point).
  4. Anything else I didn't think of or any other advice?

Thank you for being such an amazing community that I'm not really knowledgeable enough to contribute information to. Hopefully I can help someone with similar questions down the road by posting this for them to find!

*Pleistophora hyphessobryconis is a species of microsporidian, a group of single-celled parasites closely related to fungi. This species is commonly known to cause a disease in freshwater fish called “Neon Tetra Disease” (NTD). https://www.aquariumnexus.com/neon-tetra-disease/?unapproved=21617&moderation-hash=187643f3e498e0788e6093b393e64b94#comment-21617

Edited by Ramplo
Tried to move out of general discussion into diseases...don't see an option. Sorry Mods!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Ramplo, I'm sorry there haven't been any replies from people who know--if there are any--the answers to your very sound questions.

I also have a hospice tank of neon tetra disease and share your interest in making sure it does not spread to my other tanks or anyone else's. My plan is to discard the plants and substrate, filter etc after the fish have all passed away, just to be on the safe side, but mine is also a small tank and these losses don't add up to much, even with planning to retire the tank itself. I already had a "quarantine only" extra gravel vac so it has become the vac for this tank only. It's such a grim disease.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

From what I have read neon tetra disease can survive for months without a host in your aquarium it can infect Rasboras danios barbs guppies angelfish goldfish other Tetra species It's best to bin all the substrate and plants any hardscape  that can't be disinfected and disinfect the tank and equipment with a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution leave it to dry then I would repeat the process again then I would fill the tank add a filter add hydrogen peroxide solution to the tank and leave it 24 HR then  it will turn into H20 and oxygen just to make sure there's no chance of reinfecting any new fish you add to the tank in the future @Ramplo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...