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Ailing neon tetras



A while back someone reported that their neon tetras had developed a bent 
back. The general response was that it was probably neon tetra disease, which 
could be treated successfully with Naladixic acid. However, the writer 
reported that the fish were otherwise healthy.

I have a new plague in the tank with cardinal and neon tetras. They are being 
picked off, one by one, slowly. The cardinals seem not to be affected. It 
began a few months ago, when I noticed 1 developed the bent back look, and 
color began to fade. He seemed to deteriorate over time, and after a bout of 
ick in the tank, and treatment with copper, he, another very skinny one, and 
one missing an eye, all died. I figured they were weaker and couldn't handle 
either the ick, or the copper treatment.

Shortly after, another one appeared to stop eating and got very skinny. He'd 
swim right past a morsel of food, and not even attempt to eat, at all. He 
eventually expired. I've got another developing a bent back, with fading 
color. Last week, I lost one that always had a pop-eyed look (which is hard 
to tell with these little guys, but had a hammer-head shark appearance when 
looking straight on). Last night, I lost one that seemed apparently healthy, 
a female (with a good development of roe). I noticed that she was getting 
more and more swollen where the eggs were, where it appeared that the gills 
were even separating somewhat from the body and the bottom of the belly 
seemed almost bursting. She was stuck to the filter this morning. Another one 
is developing the same swollen look.

So, the question is--could this all be due to the same illness--neon tetra 
disease? This is caused by a gram-negative bacteria, I read, so would another 
antibiotic, say, a broad-spectrum antibiotic treat this? And which of these 
would be safe in a planted tank. (My plants are still trying to come back 
following the Aquarisol treatment). I'm wondering if some are generally 
weaker due to massive breeding, and one should expect losses along the way.

I thought originally that only the weaker ones were dying, but there seems to 
be something else going on. A few seemed to develop a fungal look on the eye, 
again hard to see on these little fish, but there is a white spot on the eyes 
of some. I thought maybe the DIY CO2 puts out more than CO2. Does the 
fermentation give off  another byproduct, or maybe some yeast come through, 
affecting water quality? I entertained the idea that a plant fastener I used 
in there was dissolving, leaching lead into the water, especially because of 
acidic conditions. I don't know what the effects of this would be, but 
probably not conducive to good health.

Any ideas on the above? The problem is that there are different symptoms . . 
. I'm beginning to think once you've treated a tank for a plague, it's best 
not to introduce new neons in. I cured a plague in the past, and they all did 
well--until I brought in new fish. They seem to be very difficult, even 
moreso than cardinals.

My fish and I are thankful in advance, for any advice.

Sylvia