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Panda Corydora’s tail fin crumbled off!?


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Hi everyone,

First, I am new to the hobby (exactly two weeks) and to this forum (discovered yesterday) and have learned that I am making tons of mistakes at the expense of my amazing new fish pets.

Right away, I started a Betta sorority with 10 gorgeous girls who are getting along beautifully, 10 neon tetras that are now down to 6 - mysteriously disappearing from the tank (not in filter) -, 6 panda Corydoras, a Nerite snail, two African dwarf frogs and one hillstream loach (plan to add two more as soon as I have a stable environment). These were all intended to live together in a 75 gallon community tank (along with many more fish in the future).

As you can imagine, I didn’t cycle before adding the fish. This was about two weeks ago (Dec 20).

*Main display tank started cycling a couple days ago though - yay!!! And, I’m testing water several times a day with strips and master kit and changing 30-50% of water depending on ammonia level. Nitrates are ~20; nitrites have remained very low, and ammonia has been coming in at 1 or less when checked. I am struggling with PH though, even used Ph tabs and added distilled water and still cannot seem to bring it down under 8. And I do have soft water, so what gives!? I’m thinking my fish will have to learn to live with a high Ph? Which I’ve heard is doable??*

Anyway, after learning about cycling and quarantining a week into the hobby, I immediately ran out and bought a 10 gal hospital tank (Dec 27) and began cycling it with no fish, to be ready to take on new fish in the future. 

The next day (Dec 28) is when I bought the six pandas and loach, and added them to my main display tank since all of the fish were purchased within 7 days of each other, and decided I would treat the lot safely at once while waiting for the tank to cycle. I thought I knew so much more than I actually did 🙁

I hadn’t heard about the quarantine meds yet, but had heard a lot about aquarium salt as a “general” remedy to a litany of things for “most” fish - including ich which I understood to be the only real worry *at the time* 🤦🏽‍♀️ Also, because of cycling process, I didn’t want to risk progress by using other meds that required the removal of the filter. Thus, salt.

Please hag with me, I know this is getting long.

So, last Monday, after adding my pandas and loach to the 75 gal main display tank, I treated the whole thing with aquarium salt (per package instructions) and cranked up the heat by two degrees to 80.

The pandas seemed like they were having an amazing time in the main tank last Monday. Then, Tuesday (Dec 29), I noticed that a couple pandas didn’t look so good, and they were all motionless. I furiously began researching and learned that I had really messed this up - in SO MANY WAYS. But, most importantly, what I found was that I needed to get my pandas and loach out of that salty main tank immediately. So, I transferred them to the even newer hospital tank with clean water, comfortable temp (which I brought down over a series of days), and slightly lower ph (much easier to manage that in a 10 gal). I figured the brand new tank was the lesser of two evils.

They seem to be doing a gazillion times better and the really sick one that had white stuff on it has clear skin now. HOWEVER, his tail is missing!! It was half gone when I transferred them on Tuesday and as of today ... well, look at the photo 🥺 I also have two others with slightly damaged tail fins but their injuries are not nearly as severe (just a couple of jagged edges) and have not progressed at all this week. Just this poor little guy.

He has been hiding, only occasionally joining the group, but he still has an appetite. 

I love these pandas and am devastated by what I’ve done to them. I’m working so hard to keep them all alive. And, believe me, I’m running on about 12 hrs sleep since this past Tuesday, reading and researching anything I can find about how to handle this situation. I don’t think I’m at a point yet that this one needs to be euthanized, am I?

The hospital tank with pandas and loach also began cycling two days ago and I’m watching it very carefully. The pandas seem to be tolerating it fine so far, but I know they are a more sensitive type. The one thing I’m really struggling with is a consistent water temp with changes happening 2x/day. This has to be a stressor for them, but their behavior is normal based on what I’ve been learning about them this week and what I’ve seen in other people’s videos. 

Please, does anyone have any advice about these pandas? Anymore more I can do at this point? 

(My plan for the tanks: allow them to finish cycling and, barring no additional/noticeable distress, treat both with med trio after cycle when I can remove filter pads. After meds complete, add pandas and loach to the salt free main tank and treat with paracleanse two weeks later.)

I am so incredibly grateful for this resource and already appreciate this community. I have watched hours of Aquarium Co-op videos in the past two weeks and am obsessed with absorbing every bit of knowledge that I can from Aquarists/hobbyists like you 🙂 Thank you in advance for your advice and encouragement!


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