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I have a real problem lately and maybe someone can help.

My 72 gal tank has been going along fine.  It is fully planted,and contains
a large number of rainbow fish, some apistos, kribs, cory, congos--a really
nice community tank. Water quality has been steady-pH 7.4, nitrates 20 ppm,
ammonia "zero" (poor test kit however), nitrites 0, KH 3-4.  Ammolock is
used for
chlorine/chloramine-I've been changing 10% water per week.  About three
weeks ago I added a few corys and smalls rams to the tank.

The rams died in a few days--I've never had any luck with them, and I don't
think the water conditions were good for them--it was an experiment.

A few days later one of my Congos developed cloudy exophthalmic (popeye)
eyes and died in a few hrs.  I didn't know what to make of it--the eyes were
quite swollen and I never saw anything like it.  Since then I've been
experiencing a good deal of fish loss.  The other Congo died, and looked
perfectly normal several hrs. before death although seemed to have a small
scale eruption half way back on one of its sides one day before death.  The
kribs died, and had looked normal at the time of death.  I noticed a
peculiar area on the side of on of my Praecox rainbows (slightly off color
below the dorsal fin half way back with slight swelling), and a short time
later it died.  The same thing is happening to a turquoise rainbow,
although the fish has not yet succumbed. Today I found one of my Apisto with
cloudy exophthalmic eyes.  What has been remarkable to me is that the
disease is affecting formerly healthy thriving fish.  The fish are not
exhibiting any respiratory symptoms, and the entire disease process from
health to death is only two to four days.

I'm not sure what is going on, and I don't have the depth of knowledge
needed to figure this out. I suspect this is bacterial, but I don't know
what kind of bacteria is behind it, and I therefore don't know what
antibiotic if any to treat with. It would be particularly important if this
were Mycobacterial (i.e. tuberculosis) because this can be infectious to man
(i.e. to me!!), although the rapid time course is, I think, not consistent
with this.

Any help would be appreciated.

Robert Sirota
Huntingdon Valley, Pa.