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Dead kuhli and mystery snail


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IMG_05321827.jpg.2372f673a4506022b66d1cb4f44e8614.jpgThis morning I woke up to a dead kuhli loach and a mystery snail. Help

The snail has been lethargic and flipping onto her back for a couple of days, Ive turned her over several times but would find her on her back again. Ive had her for 7 months. She has laid several clutches but I removed them. I rescued last clutch that was floating and it looked like some had hatched so I gently crumbled the eggs and now have about 15 of her babies in a snail nursery and so far they are active and growing. Hazelnut was quite large so dont think one assassin snail could kill her but I could be wrong.

I havent noticed any changes with the kuhlis but found a dead one this morning. Ive had them for about 8 months. The dead kuhli had a tiny white almost shrimp like thing attached to its belly plus some tiny blobs on her head that I think were baby rh snails. Am wondering if this is a parasite? What do you all think?

The aquarium is planted 32 G, has been set up for about 10 months. Occupants are 5 kuhli, ramshorn snails, 1 assassin snail, 7 dwarf neon rainbow fish and 5 amano shrimp. 4 of the rainbow fish were added a week ago . I treated this aquarium late may and early June with Expel P and then Para cleanse after I had fish with dropsy, pop eye and wasting. The survivors seemed better so I added some new fish last week. The new guys might be rubbing against plants but they are so fast its hard for me to be sure. Temp 78-80, ph 7.2, ammonia .25, nitrite 0, nitrate 5. I did a 40% water change 3 days ago and the parameters were the same as todays. I did add ammonia filter back to HOB then also. I was experimenting to see if new filter made a difference and it did.


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Not sure what an 'ammonia filter back' is but i'd be concern the ammonia isn't 0. I'd be even more concern if it is spiking between measurements. In all my 'mature' aquariums ammonia always measure 0; and I consider 0.25 the bottom end of toxic (not deadly for a short period but definitely unhealthy). kuhli are fairly sensitive to bacteria and ammonia. Also you said you did a 40% water change - is there ammonia in your water or did you do something to the filter that damaged the 'cycle' like clean it ?

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thankyou, Yes, you are right the ammonia level is concerning and its been a chronic problem in all my aquariums since I started keeping fish again, almost a year ago. My tap water does indeed have ammonia, its increased from .25 to .5 so when I do a water change Im just replacing amonia with more ammonia. Its been a balancing act trying to have enough food available for the kuhlis,  mystery snail and shrimp  (which were all out competed by an explosion of ramshorn snails) and not over feeding.. Adding an assasssin snail has helped with snail controll.  Any way Ive tried lots of differnt things to lower the ammonia, nothing made any difference. Ive been just using sponge filters but recently added a HOB filter (was able to find one that fit the Fluval lid) containing carbon and ammonia filters which helped somewhat. Then I tried removing the carbon filter and replacing it with another peice of ammonia filter and my ammonia level dropped to 0. So I stopped using the ammonia filters for a week to see if really still needed to continue to use them and the answer is yes, so this has been my experiment. Ive continued to use old sponge filter so I dont think my cycle crashed.

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The kuhli loach looks suspiciously like he's removed some of his scales when you zoom in on that pic. Which could be because the ammonia irritated him or it could be a post-mortem effect of your baby ramshorns chowing down on his body. (They are doing what you put them in the tank to do, after all). I don't think that's an open wound or puss filled sore, I think he's just showing skin you'd normally see covered in scales. He might be a bit bloated, but he's also dead. Again, if snails are cleaning up the body, that's normal. Check the healthy kuhli loaches and see if any of them are also showing signs of scale loss and bloat. While you're looking at the kuhlis... check the gill covers for redness. Red gills are a sign of ammonia burn.

In any other fish, I'd also tell you to watch for glass surfing... but these are kuhli loaches. I have black kuhli or java loaches. They're always glass surfing. It's because a storm is rolling in, or I changed the water and they like it. Maybe I just fed them. I've taken to collectively referring to the four of them as "Beavis", so that I can just tell the tank: "Uhhhh. Settle down, Beavis," whenever they do it. So, I'd ignore any advice about glass surfing you find online about ammonia levels. They don't apply to these particular fish. Stick with checking the gill covers for a bright red, inflamed look. Pink is okay, red is bad. If you're not seeing signs of distress, then you may not need to do more than you're already doing. The rainbow fish behave normally in regards to glass surfing, IIRC, so seeing that behavior in them would be a reason to worry. They'd also have the reddened and inflamed gills, though.

Ammonia can get into your tap water from a naturally occurring source, but it can also be added as a way to enhance the chlorine treatment your water company is using. Removes some of the carcinogen effects of the chlorine additives. EPA doesn't really regulate it tightly, and your water company is trying to provide you with water that is safe to drink/bathe, not safe for fish to breathe. I'm guessing at this point you've already tried AmmoLock or similar products. You've probably got an Aqueon/Tetra filter with the ammonia insert in the little blue tray? That's what I use when I need to drop ammonia. It's fairly cheap, but then I don't have ammonia naturally occurring in my water. If this is going to be a longer term problem, then I'd start looking into an RO water system for just the tap that you do your water changes from. A single tap system will seem a bit expensive at first, but you're looking at removing a problem over several years at least. Although, if it is a natural part of the water, then your fish could be adapting to it over time. Might not want to stress them out right after you change the water, but that new water might be fine. I mean, on my API test kit 0.5ppm is the first column next to 0.

Beyond that... try increasing your plantings. Things like Pothos planted in the filter or mangrove saplings dangling into the tank can help take out more ammonia and nitrate. Floating plants will also do that if you cull them regularly, but they would require more light. If you can solve the issue with plants and filter inserts, that might be the way to go over an RO system. You might also be able to solve it long term by using a filter designed for a slightly bigger aquarium. Your bigger filter would be converting more ammonia into nitrite, and then nitrate. Which the plants would then use up. So, you'd be water changing mostly to remove nitrate, salt, and heavy metal buildup; and just doing spot gravel vac cleanings in between. It'd be a cost of inserts to the current filter vs. cost of a bigger HOB decision. Which would both potentially be cheaper than RO.

If your fish have say gill flukes and are scratching, it's often very obvious that they're scratching. They'll suddenly dart at the hardscape or gravel and glance off of it. It's a burst of movement you can't really miss. If you don't see that, then the Para cleanse probably did its job. Since both the snail and the loach died after you treated, it's possible they both just succumbed to wounds from the parasites you just cleared out. They might've lingered on for a bit and then just not quite made it. The problem could already be solved. That's why I'm telling you to check out the survivors carefully. Their symptoms would tell you which steps you need to take next.

As for your assassin snail. He will eat whatever is roughly his size or smaller. Fully grown mystery snails and nerites are generally safe. Both often move faster than he does anyway. Might want to raise up your babies somewhere else, but once they get bigger than he is they're probably safe to reintroduce to the tank. He will also go for carrion, though. If you find him on something in the morning it's less likely that he killed it so much as he decided not to turn down a free meal. Assassins sometimes get a bad rap from new fish keepers because they think it killed their fish. What happened was the fish died and your assassin snail isn't going to turn down a perfectly good buffet. Same deal with your ramshorns, they're scavengers not killers.

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On 7/24/2023 at 4:16 PM, Chick-In-Of-TheSea said:

Maybe a scud?

Could be, I thought a scud would be smaller and I didnt realize they were scavengers. but this a major relief. Thankyou!                                                                                      So perhaps my unexpected fish fry could eventually eat them? That would be great.


On 7/24/2023 at 1:57 PM, anewbie said:

If you set the water out overnight in a pail does the ammonia drop to 0 ?

I will check, thankyou.

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On 7/24/2023 at 3:14 PM, Comradovich said:

cleaning up the body, that's normal. Check the healthy kuhli loaches and see if any of them are also showing signs of scale loss and bloat. While you're looking at the kuhlis... check the gill covers for redness. Red gills are a sign of ammonia burn.

I did check the fish again this evening and yes there were problems. One of the kuhlis was newly red around its gills and face, and yellow body stripes were pinkish. I also noted that a RBF was erratically zooming like it was trying to escape from something in the water. RBF had no redness.  Parameters were same as 2 days ago except ph rose from 7.2 to 7.6 which is odd because the ph has consistently  been 7.2 for almost a year. I started to think maybe something toxic was in the water. I had done some cleaning using something different in kitchen (fish are also in kitchen) and also had ceiling fans running So IDK maybe some ended up in their water? Any way I did 50% water changes in all  5 aquariums and snail nursery. The kuhli looks better and RBF was calmer and acting normal again. 

I did have crushed coral in the aquarium but most of it has either dissolved or is buried in the sand. However I did find some crushed coral in the bottom of the cave they hide in and removed it tonight. I feel bad and I hope that didnt cause the scale loss but perhaps it did.

 I'm guessing at this point you've already tried AmmoLock or similar products. You've probably got an Aqueon/Tetra filter with the ammonia insert in the little blue tray? then I'd start looking into an RO water system for just the tap that you do your water changes from. 

I have not tried Ammolock, Ive been using Prime or Fritz complete with water changes and they seem to work about the same. Im using a Tidal 35 with ACO ammonia and carbon filters. I dont have space for a RO system under the kitchen sink. I did add a filter to the faucet. It does not remove ammonia but does chlorine, cholarmine and other things. The one time I forgot to change to the filter when refilling is when I lost 3 harlequin rasboras the next day, They were at top, gasping for air after the water change. So yes, there is definitely bad stuff in the water here.

Beyond that... try increasing your plantings. 

My aquariums are covered with floaters and other plants are thriving.  Id love to add pothos etc, I think they look really cool but I have 2 very mischevious kiities that like to bring me gifts. Id probably find the plants on my bed.

IThank you for helping me.


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That is good info to know, thankyou. 

I dont have RO water, there is no room here for an RO system. I use tap water. I added the crushed coral about a year ago to stabilize ph. which has been stable at 7.2 . It was dropping from 7 ish down to 6 over night. Fortunately there were no fish in the aquarium during that time.

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