Ok so really, this should have been posted days ago, but for some reason, the forums weren't working AT ALL for me.
Anyways. I more or less want to double check my diagnosis with others. Because I am more familiar with this forum and the advice people give here, so I feel like I trust it more than simply researching fish diseases and asking as a newb on random forums I had to join.
So some of you may know, I have (had?) a successful tank with a male betta, and four female guppies. I also bought a new snail after an algae bloom recently, and this one's living! Hooray!
Unfortunately, no one else seems to be faring well lately.
pH close to 8, normal for the area.
Ammonia, Nitrates, and Nitrites were ALL Zero. (actually Ammonia showed as yellow, the lowest on the scale at the pet store).
That didn't make sense to me. My tank is cycled. I had done a 30% water change two days before getting it tested. I got it tested yesterday morning. Three times to eliminate chance of error. With the bottle test kit, not test strips. (I now live really close to a great pet store).
I got it tested because yesterday morning, two of my guppies had died. They had glazed looking eyes, were stiff as a board, and showed no lesions or anything on their bodies. I believe their gills looked a little puffy, and their bodies more cylindrical than usual, but I didn't look too closely.
Of the betta and two remaining guppies, one proceeded to get sick and died in the evening. The sickness appears to have symptoms like this:
- first, clamped fins
- then heavy breathing
- then swimming with their tails drooped down, not straight, near the surface of the tank (their usual level of the tank).
- then swimming in a pattern, usually circles, occasionally deviating from the pattern (all previous symptoms still occurring btw)
- then they turn stiff, like they're planking. Tiana who died yesterday moved at this point to the bottom of the tank and mostly lied there breathing heavy. Ariel who is currently at this point, is swimming at the surface mostly still, but not swimming per se... more wobbling back and forth. She looks more cylindrical than usual. Like swollen on her sides? and she does have use of her tail and fins, but they're all clamped, and she's not using them much.
- I also find they're constantly opening and closing their mouths.
- And they refuse to eat.
Beau on the other hand has been sitting or laying against the base of an ornament, shielded from absolutely any current, and very close to the heater. He lays there panting. Sometimes I think he's dead, and then look veeeery closely and he's still breathing. Barely. Occasionally he goes to the surface for air. He doesn't look stiff or swollen, gills are their normal colour, and he actually looks pretty normal, he just isn't acting it. He appears to have little to no energy. His eyes are also glazed, and I wonder if he can still see or not (I feel he must be able to see a little to keep going to the top and returning to the base of that ornament...)
Now, to give a recent history of the tank.
Temperature recently increased from about 75* to 79* when I bought a new heater. The new heater is accurate to +/- 1*, and I chose to set the temperature there, right in the middle of that "sweet spot" of 78 - 80
There was an algae bloom recently. All the algae that was green turned brown a few days ago.
The other fish who died, died suddenly. I saw some symptoms of lethargy and one refused to eat the evening before, but the pet store was already closed by this time. The next morning they were dead. I pay close attention to my fish, am home quite a bit, and feed them regularly. This came on fast and unexpectedly.
The day before I also noticed an oily layer on the top of the tank. I've never seen something like this. Google & The pet store both suggested absorbing it with paper towels. I did this best I could. It returned again yesterday, and today.
I thought there was a deficiency of dissolved O2 in the tank at first... I'm still unsure about this. I have turned up the filtration, and I manually am agitating the surface of the water every 3 - 60 minutes. They suggested I buy a bubbler.. I personally prefer the idea of buying a plant, but the pet store won't sell me a plant until I get the nutrient levels up in my tank, enough to support it they said. Or I need to buy bacteria in a bottle. Something like that they said. Plus I'd need new lights etc... and I am currently keeping the tank lights off so I don't stress them.
I believe the real problem however is bacterial or viral. As there are no outward symptoms of any fungus, this makes the most sense to me. I've narrowed it down to three possibilities: acute dropsy, fish TB, or gill fluke. All of these have similar symptoms. Personally I think it's acute dropsy, as it began killing so fast... and some of the symptoms of the other diseases don't really fit.
And I am medicating (perhaps too late) with melafix. I know there's a LOT of people who don't recognize this as a good option, but it was that or aquarium salt, and salt would kill the snail. I did try a hospital tank btw, but everyone was affected, so I got to it too late, and I don't understand how. Tbh, I think they're going to die no matter what I do. Ariel is getting progressively worse, and Beau appears to be toughing it out, but he's not faring much better.
Note: In the past hour, Ariel has gone from wobbling, to sort of barrel rolling...
But does anyone have any suggestions on what else I can do for them? Or any other ideas in regards to diagnosis?
Oh and I feed them on a rotation of betta pellets, freeze dried bloodworms, brine shrimp, and guppy flakes mixed with tubifex worms.
EDIT: I'm pretty sure Ariel is dying/about to any minute... She keeps rolling onto her back and just laying like that... and then she starts swimming again a little while after. Every time she lays belly up I go and examine her gills to see if she's still breathing...
I also forgot to mention, the carbon has been removed from my filter, so it won't interfere with medicating.