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FAQs on Characoids/Tetras & Relatives Infectious Disease

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Tetras with white mouths (and a bit about rosy barbs)       3/19/15
Hi Crew,
I'd like to thank you once more for your previous advice, last time I wrote about a suspected case of Ich which is now resolved. I've had no more fish deaths since losing the last of the extra rosy barbs that I bought from the LFS, sadly Pinkie succumbed to his saddle ulcer in the end. I had him quarantined for the last week or so of his time, and whatever he had does not seem to have affected the rest of my fish. I still see the occasional white or clear stringy droppings from the rosy barbs but I am starting to suspect this is a result of them accidentally ingesting sand then excreting it in mucus as there are plenty of green and brown droppings too and they all seem healthy otherwise.
<Mmmm; what re water quality, foods/feeding, maintenance practices?>
Currently my 30gal tank has one head and tail light tetra, three adult rosy barbs, and all 16 of the barb offspring (ranging from 1cm to 2.5cm). I'm aware that this will be far too many rosy barbs when they grow up so I'm hoping to find a home for them in the big aquarium at work which currently only has a single small fancy (ugly) goldfish.
<Should be moved elsewhere>
I'm not sure that this will be a compatible mix though since even if 5+ barbs are added to keep them well behaved and not nippy, I think they might dominate at feeding time due to being more able-bodied and they might starve out the goldfish. Thoughts?
<All should get along w/ the GF removed>
The other option I have in mind is to set up better filtering in the backyard pond and to put some back out there. A lone
stray barb fry survived 2 weeks out there during the hottest part of summer, he was too good at hiding and got left behind when I brought the others that had hatched out there inside, so I think the pond does get enough shade to
keep the temperature down. Winters here are mild too.
<Good... barbs might live there; but not the Tetras likely in the winter>
With the threat of ich and columnaris gone I have bought four more head and tail light tetras to keep my singleton Mr. Beacon company.
<Good name>
I've been trialing different plants in the main tank and do intend to keep it heavily planted (despite the best efforts of the barbs to eat/uproot everything, I've been finding this constant battle part of the fun of keeping fish) so I am hoping the HATL tetras will be happy in the environment. The LFS does not stock these tetras so I bought them online and besides, I hoped to
avoid a known source of diseased fish. When they got here, two of them had white coloured patches on their mouths, and one of them was very sickly, limp and skinny looking.
<I see this in your excellent pix>
My initial thoughts were that they may have scuffed their mouths against the plastic bag in transit, or gotten feisty with each other since they were all together in the one small bag, and gotten injured while fighting. The bag wasn't a breather bag and the skinny fish did perk up once out of the bag and in quarantine, he hides a bit but his appetite seems okay and his belly is filling out a bit more; he could have been underfed or oxygen starved maybe but I'm a little suspicious that he could have fish TB or some other disease that could cause skinniness. I've treated them with Praziquantel so far just in case they were skinny due to worms.
<Mmm; possibly>
I'm using the tank that the baby fish used to be in, the tetras have been in quarantine for a week now and I think that in two of them the white mark has gotten smaller but noticed today that a third one has a white mouth too. I'm a little worried it could be columnaris not a wound, or a wound that got infected with columnaris.
<Maybe>
I've attached some pictures, and also a picture of one of the friends I got for the false penguin tetra (they have their own tank now due to being too rough!) who has a similar mark. I don't know if it is just that these tetras fight or swim into things a lot; the quarantine tank that the four HATL tetras are in is too small and I know they aren't happy with the amount of space they have. I'm wary of treating with anything beyond a little bit of salt for now
<Good>
and I'm just hoping after another week or two in quarantine nothing will have worsened and I can get them into the bigger tank. Anyway I just don't have the experience to tell whether these white mouthed fish are injured or diseased or both. Hope you can help.
<Not w/ the data (or lack of it) provided>
I did end up getting a RO/filter system which has a mixer tap and a TDS inline meter allowing adjustment for both drinking water and aquarium water. I still don't quite have my head around converting TDS ppm to general hardness degrees - I did read somewhere that dividing ppm by 10 will loosely approximate French degrees but then I don't know whether French or German degrees are more commonly used.
<German... the D in these measures is for "Deutschen">
I haven't had any further shrimp deaths due to failed moults since I've started using 50-70ppm water for my shrimp tank so it's definitely helping. I'm wondering whether I should still be letting my RO-mix change water stand before I use it;
<Yes I would... at least a day; better, a week>

I haven't been, because I thought that it was only necessary to allow time for water treatment chemicals to do their work but is letting water stand useful for other reasons?
<Mmm; yes.... settling, combination.... of metals, non-metals... outgassing of undesirable gasses>
I have a 20lt plastic jerry can which I store the water in, this doesn't allow much exposure to atmosphere so should this
water be agitated? Or just tipped into buckets?
<Tipped is fine, aeration/circulation better>
Ok sorry this got to be a lot longer than I originally intended! I really appreciate the time you take with educating new hobbyists like me and reading our rambling emails.
<We appreciate the opportunity to interchange w/ intelligent, sensitive folk like you>
I've still got a lot of reading that I want to do regarding Corydoras as I have decided I'd like a biotope tank rather
than putting them in the community and making them compete with greedy barbs, and I think it would be easier to manage water softness and ph if I start again and do things differently in a new tank.
Thanks once again and I hope you have a great day.
Bronwen
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>



 

Re: Tetras with white mouths (and a bit about rosy barbs)      3/20/15    /Neale
With regards to the barbs occasional odd dropping, they are fed once daily or twice if I don't have time to watch them in the morning. If I am in a hurry they get a quick pinch of flake and then I take a bit more time in the evening feed to watch how much they are eating.
<Fine. Barbs are omnivores that will eat algae, some plant matter between "proper" meals.>
I have some frozen community blocks which contain both meaty and plant materials, I usually give this two to three times a week (slicing off a small amount and feeding little by little trying to avoid over feeding). I have some Spirulina sinking pellets (also contains other ingredients) that I bought for the shrimp but proved to be very popular with the barbs, they will carry the pellets around spitting them out and sucking them up again, gradually working on them until they soften up.
<Quite so, and an excellent staple for your fish... good nutrition, plenty of exercise, economical. My Cherry Barbs are fed these alongside the Limia they cohabit with.>
I crush some up for the younger fish but they seem to manage okay on full sized pellets, worrying at them until they break into smaller bits. I have some meatier pellets, with a higher protein content but they are not as popular so I don't feed those very often.
<Indeed. These fish are omnivores, and plant material is a significant part of the diet of most/all barbs in the wild.>
They get smushed up frozen peas, thawed and peeled, every few days which they love. If I find a patch of snail eggs I will knock it off the glass and the female adult barb in particular loves munching on those.
Occasionally I net some mosquito larva from either the pond or the snail tub and these make a popular snack.
<Sure.>
I believe they have eaten some of the Ramshorn snails that were in their tank, there are a growing number of empty shells visible on the bottom, and they definitely rip at the Java moss, Hydrilla, Rotala, and Hydrocotyle plants constantly. I'm pretty sure they ate 90% of the fissidens moss I added too, and almost all of the hair grass is gone too now that I think
about it. I was worried at first that they were doing this because I wasn't feeding them enough but they were still doing it when I tried feeding them twice a day which I decided was too much. I think if they like eating fresh plants then they should be allowed to eat fresh plants so I've been growing more Hydrilla in a tank outside for them since that's the one they stripped to bare stems first of all.
<Indeed. Try floating Indian Fern and Amazon Frogbit, two favourites with many barbs.>
I don't often see the tetra eat, he hangs back while the barbs feed so I always attempt to get a pinch of flake to his part of the tank. He doesn't like me scrutinising him though and moves front on so that he's hard to see. He does get interested in the frozen food and will test and spit out various particles of it until he finds one that he likes, I'm hoping he gets a bit more confidence once his fellow tetras join him, I've been feeding them a small amount of flake daily and they get quite excited at feeding time so I think in a group his instincts will kick in if he sees a lot of feeding action going on around him.
<Tetras are frequently more carnivorous, especially the smaller ones Neons, Penguins, various Hyphessobrycon species and so on. They often enjoy Daphnia and the like. On the other hand, do bear in mind some tetras are much more retiring than Barbs. Put another way, many South American tetras come from blackwater streams with very little productivity. They've evolved to expend as little energy as possible between meals. Barbs typically come from ponds and streams with much more productivity and a lot more for them to eat. They've evolved to be more "busy" and expend their energy in all sorts of foraging and social behaviours. In other words, tetras wait for food to come to them, while barbs seek it out and if necessary push competitors away. Funnily enough, those barbs from blackwater streams (like Pentazona Barbs) are much more like Neons and other tetras in personality.
In any event, if you understand the environment the barb or tetra species come from, cohabiting different species from among them will work better.
Tiger Barbs are bolshy, so mixing with pushy characins like Black Widows makes sense. Rosy Barbs are subtropical to boot, so you'd choose only low-end tropical tetras for life with them, perhaps Buenos Aires Tetras.
Does this make sense?>
I haven't measured my water parameters for a while but for a long time I was getting pH steady at 8 (despite driftwood and almond leafs) ammonia 0, nitrite 0 and nitrate 5-10. I do weekly water changes and fortnightly rinses of the gunk from the filter. I try weekly to vacuum the gravel in the gravelly parts of the tank and skim the surface of the sand in the sandy parts of the tank but I don't know how effective a job I do. I always see gunk being sucked up the tube but everything looks even messier than when I started once I've tipped the new water in.
<Sounds good. Cheers, Neale.>

Tetras with white mouths (and a bit about rosy barbs)    /Neale        3/21/15
Hi Crew,
I'd like to thank you once more for your previous advice, last time I wrote about a suspected case of Ich which is now resolved. I've had no more fish deaths since losing the last of the extra rosy barbs that I bought from the LFS, sadly Pinkie succumbed to his saddle ulcer in the end. I had him quarantined for the last week or so of his time, and whatever he had does not seem to have affected the rest of my fish. I still see the occasional white or clear stringy droppings from the rosy barbs but I am starting to suspect this is a result of them accidentally ingesting sand then excreting it in mucus as there are plenty of green and brown droppings too and they all seem healthy otherwise.
<Smooth silica sand should be fine... but anything abrasive or sharp, like some of the glass-byproduct sands (Tahitian Moon Sand for example) could be risky.>
Currently my 30gal tank has one head and tail light tetra, three adult rosy barbs, and all 16 of the barb offspring (ranging from 1cm to 2.5cm). I'm aware that this will be far too many rosy barbs when they grow up so I'm hoping to find a home for them in the big aquarium at work which currently only has a single small fancy (ugly) goldfish. I'm not sure that this will
be a compatible mix though since even if 5+ barbs are added to keep them well behaved and not nippy, I think they might dominate at feeding time due to being more able-bodied and they might starve out the goldfish. Thoughts?
<It can work, in big tanks with robust Comet-type Goldfish and decent sized schools of Rosy Barbs. But fancy Goldfish are less able to keep out of trouble. It really isn't predictable. Worth trying but keep a Plan B in case it doesn't work out.>
The other option I have in mind is to set up better filtering in the backyard pond and to put some back out there. A lone stray barb fry survived 2 weeks out there during the hottest part of summer, he was too good at hiding and got left behind when I brought the others that had hatched out there inside, so I think the pond does get enough shade to keep the temperature down. Winters here are mild too.
<Rosy Barbs are subtropical and could thrive down to about 15 C, but below that would be risky.>
With the threat of ich and columnaris gone I have bought four more head and tail light tetras to keep my singleton Mr. Beacon company. I've been trialing different plants in the main tank and do intend to keep it heavily planted (despite the best efforts of the barbs to eat/uproot everything, I've been finding this constant battle part of the fun of keeping fish) so I am hoping the HATL tetras will be happy in the environment. The LFS does not stock these tetras so I bought them online
and besides, I hoped to avoid a known source of diseased fish. When they got here, two of them had white coloured patches on their mouths, and one of them was very sickly, limp and skinny looking. My initial thoughts were that they may have scuffed their mouths against the plastic bag in transit, or gotten feisty with each other since they were all together in the one
small bag, and gotten injured while fighting. The bag wasn't a breather bag and the skinny fish did perk up once out of the bag and in quarantine, he hides a bit but his appetite seems okay and his belly is filling out a bit more; he could have been underfed or oxygen starved maybe but I'm a little suspicious that he could have fish TB or some other disease that could
cause skinniness. I've treated them with Praziquantel so far just in case they were skinny due to worms.
<Fish TB is difficult to diagnose and impossible to treat. It's less contagious and more like an epidemic that breaks out when fish get stressed (diet, poor water quality, lack of oxygen, etc.). So I tend not to worry about Fish TB but instead focus on optimising living conditions for the fish. Usually "mystery deaths" either sort themselves out or else all the vulnerable fish die. Adding medications randomly is a bit hit and miss, and while PraziPro isn't particularly risky, do be careful about medicating
without diagnosis.>
I'm using the tank that the baby fish used to be in, the tetras have been in quarantine for a week now and I think that in two of them the white mark has gotten smaller but noticed today that a third one has a white mouth too. I'm a little worried it could be columnaris not a wound, or a wound that got infected with columnaris. I've attached some pictures, and also a picture of one of the friends I got for the false penguin tetra (they have their own tank now due to being too rough!) who has a similar mark. I don't know if it is just that these tetras fight or swim into things a lot; the quarantine tank that the four HATL tetras are in is too small and I know they aren't happy with the amount of space they have. I'm wary of treating
with anything beyond a little bit of salt for now and I'm just hoping after another week or two in quarantine nothing will have worsened and I can get them into the bigger tank. Anyway I just don't have the experience to tell whether these white mouthed fish are injured or diseased or both. Hope you can help.
<Well, the photos look more like fighting damage, perhaps a bit of Finrot or Columnaris thrown in. Another option: swimming into solid objects (like the glass) when alarmed. So for this one turn the lights on more carefully and see what happens. So far as fighting goes, watch your fish, add more of each species to dilute aggression (if an option) and medicate as per Finrot
and Columnaris.>
I did end up getting a RO/filter system which has a mixer tap and a TDS inline meter allowing adjustment for both drinking water and aquarium water. I still don't quite have my head around converting TDS ppm to general hardness degrees - I did read somewhere that dividing ppm by 10 will loosely approximate French degrees but then I don't know whether French or German degrees are more commonly used. I haven't had any further shrimp deaths due to failed moults since I've started using 50-70ppm water for my shrimp tank so it's definitely helping. I'm wondering whether I should still be letting my RO-mix change water stand before I use it; I haven't been, because I thought that it was only necessary to allow time for water treatment chemicals to do their work but is letting water stand useful for other reasons? I have a 20lt plastic jerry can which I store the water in, this doesn't allow much exposure to atmosphere so should this water be agitated? Or just tipped into buckets?
<Bob's a big fan of overnight "resting" of water, ideally with an airstone, but not essential. I'm less fussed, and just avoid changing huge amounts of water. Basically, if you just change 20-25% of the water at a time, and use a water conditioner, you shouldn't need to worry too much about resting the tap water. Freshwater fish are very much more adaptable than marine fish. Think about rain falling into a pond.>
Ok sorry this got to be a lot longer than I originally intended! I really appreciate the time you take with educating new hobbyists like me and reading our rambling emails. I've still got a lot of reading that I want to do regarding Corydoras as I have decided I'd like a biotope tank rather than putting them in the community and making them compete with greedy
barbs, and I think it would be easier to manage water softness and ph if I start again and do things differently in a new tank.
<Possibly. I'm a big fan of sticking with the water chemistry you have, and choosing your fish accordingly. That said, a 50/50 mix of RO water and liquid rock tap water should produce a happy medium that suits most community fish.>
Thanks once again and I hope you have a great day.
Bronwen
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Tetras with white mouths (and a bit about rosy barbs)       3/21/15

Hi again Crew!
Thank you for your replies Bob and Neale. My heart says that I should move the head and tail light tetras into the main tank to give them space and stop them from squabbling or bumping into things, but my head says to give them another week of quarantine to see how their mouth lesions develop.
<Agreed.>
I slept on this idea and this morning while one HATL tetra is still without mouth issues, two of the other three look worse and the white patches seem to be protruding more than they were yesterday. Although, having said that, I did use a brighter light so that I could see them better, maybe the lesions were like that all along and I just didn't see - normally they have half the tank in shade c/o a black plastic garbage bag and the other half lit by a strip of dim LEDs. I don't really think the lesions look fluffy, more so a bit ragged like the edge of some peeled skin in places, and warty in others. However this fluff free finding doesn't relax me at all, as Pinky's back ulcer was never fluffy either and that evolved from a small lesion to a large fatal ulcer over the Christmas/New Year break (I didn't have anything available except topical treatments until it was too late). I
don't really want to give infection a chance to set in again, but I am mindful also that these are different fish, from a different supplier, in a different tank, with different looking lesions that are in a different location on the fish, so I shouldn't expect a similar outcome to last time!
I want to wait a bit longer and observe them tomorrow with the same bright light so that I can get a real idea if there is any progression. I do have tetracycline (Bio-tet) or Metronidazole (generic looking yellow tablets) available now for if the lesions worsen, although I'm not sure if I want to treat all the fish, or only the ones that are showing visible lesions.
<I do think these mouth lesions are either plain vanilla dead tissue from fighting or crashes into solid objects, or else incipient Columnaris.
Either way, treat with a suitable antibiotic, while also review conditions in the tank.>
An observation on a different front, I would be hard pressed right now to pick out which of these fish was the skinny sickly one from a week ago. All of them have good colour and healthy looking bellies now. I am really looking forward to seeing them school together in the big tank once they are done in quarantine! I have discovered that my dad's compost heap has
Whiteworms in it as well as the big pink compost worms so I want to set up a new clean worm culture for some tasty occasional snacks for the fish, which I hope the tetras will like.
<Sounds a great idea.>
Speaking of which, the other fish haven't been eating my Ramshorn snails at all! I found three snails fatally jammed in the filter inlet grille today.
I am guessing as the grille becomes more clogged with plant matter it becomes a tempting place to graze for the snails but the increased suction as they clear a blockage pulls them in to the inlet pipe and traps them there, where they die since their shells can't follow. I have seen snails "hanging around" the inlet pipe before but didn't realise this was happening. The filter pipe has probably been slurping snails out of their shells all along as the barbs seem content to bite their eyestalks off then
go back to ripping at the plants. I've adjusted the sponge that I put over the grille so that only the most suicidal snails will be able to force their way in there, and I will just have to remember to rinse the debris out more often.
<Hmm... some folks would endorse a filter with snail-killing properties...>
I've decided that it will probably be more humane to leave the fancy goldfish in peace in the aquarium at work and to get a nice pond filter going to allow rehoming the excess rosy barbs outside, I probably wouldn't be able to provide adequate supervision to stop any possible mayhem that could occur with the work goldfish. It does get a smidge under 15 deg C here over winter, but the pond should get winter sun.
<Definitely worth trying, I reckon.>
If I can't work something out using either a solar pond cover or something similar to harness solar warmth, I can always bring everyone back inside in a temporary plastic crate for the coldest months.
<Both approaches make sense. Cutting down wind chill in winter with, say, a bamboo cover of some sort might work nicely. On the other hand, bringing in some or all of the Rosy Barbs before the coldest months start can work great, too. Have known many aquarists do this, even in places like Ohio where the summers are nice and hot but the winters rather severe. They had fish that bred prolifically during the summer, but snuggled up indoors for the winter. It's an ideal approach if you're careful, and I found Corydoras for example easily bred this way.>
Thanks again for helping me sort through these problems!
Cheers,
Bronwen
<Cheers, Neale.>

Minor Serpae Tetra fin rot?     11/2/14
Greetings. I have a 55-gallon aquarium that we set up 2 years ago & has been stable and disease-free. Water parameters are: ammonia = 0, nitrite = 0, nitrate = 30, phosphorous = 0. I do a water change every week. We have live plants (water sprite wisteria). The inhabitants are 2 Bristlenose Plecos, 8 black-skirt tetras, 8 white-skirt tetras, 11 minor Serpae tetras, and about 6 apple snails. The Serpae tetras were introduced about 2 weeks ago and my quarantine tank currently is housing some baby Gold Gouramis, so
I chose not to quarantine them. I know I should have, but I have never had any problem with the tetras from this source. A bad decision on my part, but anyway, may I explain the problem to you...?
<Fire away.>
Oddly enough, the other fish in the tank seem to be still healthy and unaffected by this disease bothering the serape tetras. It is the strangest thing I have ever seen. The first sign is a very pale area where the dorsal
fin meets their body. It's very clearly delineated and easy to see against their red-orange background. Soon after that, the dorsal fin degenerates and the fish seems to die within a day or two after they reach that stage.
They don't seem swollen and neither do they show any other signs of illness. I have never seen fin rot behave like this or fin rot that just affects one species of tetra. Today, I got some API Triple Sulfa and am
planning on giving them the entire course of treatment as directed by the manufacturer. Do you think that I am on the right track here? Please advise and thank you so much for your time and any comments you may have for me.
<Serpae Tetras are notorious fin-nippers, so one explanation is that they're fighting within the group (which they do, especially when feeding) and damaging one another. When feeding they have a feeding frenzy
behaviour, but will also bully weaker specimens, even killing them. Usually they attack other fish too, but the Black/White Skirt Tetras (both Gymnocorymbus ternetzi) are pretty pushy, fast-moving little fish
themselves, and may be holding their own just fine. Gouramis, though, are easy targets so I wouldn't mix them. This said, it is rare for Finrot to kill fish within a couple days. Adding more Serpae tetras might help, by
spreading out any aggression, but before doing that you'd want to observe the Serpae Tetras and see if they're chasing or nipping each other. If they are fighting, adding a few more could be a good move. Alternatively, you might simply have a "bad batch" of Serpae Tetras, in which case medicating for Finrot might stabilise things, giving you time to see if they can be saved. If the fish get better, then no harm done. If they eventually all die, I'd recommend not buying Serpae Tetras again. Although cheap and usually extremely hardy, they aren't well behaved fish, and there are better alternatives such as Red Phantom Tetras out there.>
Riobhcah
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Minor Serpae Tetra fin rot?    11/15/14

Greetings. Well, I treated the entire aquarium with API Triple Sulfa for four days and then observed the aquarium for several days and the mysterious problem of the bacterial infection with the Serpae Tetras seems to have been eradicated. All the fish look very healthy.
<Good.>
I have been watching them closely for fin nipping and have only seen a limited amount of chasing amongst the Serpaes and a few isolated incidents of them bothering the black & white skirt tetras who, as you previously
stated, can give it back to them even better than the Serpaes can dish it out.
<Often the case. Both species are "fin nippers" but Serpae Tetras tend to be more persistent and vicious, whereas Black Widows generally behave themselves if there's enough of them.>
I haven't seen them bothering the gold gouramis, who can be rather pugnacious also if they choose to do so.
<Males, yes; females less so, if at all. Also, as they age, they slow down a lot, making them easier targets, so do keep an eye out for them.>
I will watch the gouramis closely and move them to another aquarium if necessary. I will keep watching the Serpaes for aggression. I have not found anyone yet who has any idea exactly what this strange infection was,
but the guy at PetSmart said that the others that came in in that particular group had to be treated with antibiotics as well. Anyway, just to let you know what the outcome was with this incident. Thanks for the heads-up on Serpae aggression. I did notice that they are on nippy fish.net where they seem to be known as the culprit in many a fin-nipping incident.
<Indeed. Excellent fish in terms of colour, size, and usually hardiness.
They were extremely common fish in the aquarium hobby during its earlier phase. But nowadays are not as popular. Unfortunately some retailers give them alternate names, making it easy to buy them by mistake. Red Minor Tetra, Jewel Tetra, Hyphessobrycon eques, Hyphessobrycon calistus and Hyphessobrycon serpae are some of the names you'll see.>
Thanks again for your advice.
Rivqah
<Welcome. Neale.>

Treatment options for fungus in Jellybean Tetra (wild caught)    7/22/12
Hello again, crew!
<Chesh>
You may remember me writing in a short time ago seeing advice on how to care for wild-caught Jellybean Tetra (Ladigesia roloffi).
I've had them (they're lovely) since Friday the 13th (O.o), and thus far things have been going well - I thought - unfortunately, this morning I noticed a cottony growth by the gill of one of them. I didn't want to stress them further, but felt it was important to show you what I see, so I'm attaching 3 images of the same fish, in the hopes that it will help you help me!
(link to photo:
http://i677.photobucket.com/albums/vv135/HuginnMuninnandMe/SickJellyBean.jpg 
)
This is the only obviously affected tetra at this time, though one of the others *may* have it on his top fin (which appears to have been damaged or nipped)
<Yes>
These two are among the smallest in a shoal of 20 - only about 1/2 inch long, if that.
Here is more info on the tank:
This is a 20g long QT tank that I set up just for them. There are more floaters now than there was when this image was taken (the day before they arrived). Most of the plants are real, except for the 'bamboo' floating - I didn't have enough floaters to provide adequate coverage, so I added some plastic ones in the hopes of easing any stress on the fish. Everything in this tank except the wood and plastic was taken from my original QT/plant grow-out tank, which was only a 10g. I didn't want to risk any fluctuation in the parameters, so moved everything over, including the substrate, plants, and filter. Also put in a 20g filter that has been on another tank for quite some time to ensure as stable of an environment for them, considering the new set up.
Ph 7.4 (a little bit high for Jellybeans)
<Yes; I'd keep under 7.0; do you have some water of lower pH to blend in? Peat or its extract to add?>

KH 2gtts
GH 6gtts
Nh4 - 0
No2 - 0
No3 - 5
Po43 - 0
Temp: 78-79 (also on the high side)
I've been trying to keep the temp low - I've read that 77 is their optimum temperature, with 79 being the max. I can't keep the tank under 78-79ish - it's just where my room temperature gets the water. I've been testing the water daily, and have seen no fluctuation in parameters since adding these fish. They are under a 10g hood lamp, which I've slowly been increasing in duration to reach 8 hours, with the intent of slowly switching to the standard size hood lamp for this tank.
<Leave this off by day, on at night... to discount it as a heat source>
The idea is to slowly get them used to conditions in my 29g community, which is where I hope they'll go eventually.
I've been doing a small water change and siphon the sand every 2-3 days.
I'm afraid to let them go a week because of the waste created by feeding them, as they won't touch food if it lands on the substrate,
<Floating small pellets, and/or flake... a few times daily>
and it's been a learning period for all of us. I've been feeding them lightly every day (I think - it's hard to tell because they're so small and so MANY of them - I'm new at this!), and have been skipping every 3rd day.
At first, they stayed on the opposite side of the tank as I siphoned (very gently and slowly, so as not to disturb them), but now they seem to have gotten used to it, and confuse it with the syringe that I feed them with and TRY to get to the siphon - so I kind of don't think I'm stressing them out with water changes, though I could be wrong.
<Better this than pollution>
I've actually never dealt with any type of fungus (if that's even what this is) in my tank(s) before, and am especially leery as they're very small and wild-caught. I sincerely appreciate any information and insight you can offer me in order to get my tank healthy again, and my little Jellybeans safely through this!
Let me know if there is any other information that might help. . . thank you very much!
Sincerely,
Jes
<Your water quality reads as otherwise excellent. I would not treat the system for this one fish, nor remove it to treat elsewhere. I too think this may be an opportunistic infection (bacterial but possibly fungal) w/ the one fish being physically traumatized; and will heal of its own accord w/ just good care, time going by. Bob Fenner>

Congo Tetra with red spot on his head. 4/17/09
Howdy, y'all rock!
<Modest forbids...>
I have a problem, well I have a bunch of them but that is a different story :)
<Oh.>
My Congo Tetra has a red spot on his head, right at the top of the gill.
Pictures are worth a thousand words so check out the attached pictures. You can find the full size images at.
http://william1034.smugmug.com/gallery/7924389_EZwgy/1/514088658_phZj7
You really need to look at the full size images, the images I attached don't have all the detail you need. I figured you didn't want me sending multi-megabyte pictures.
<Correct.>
Oh boy, this history on this fish is too long. He has survived cotton mouth and various other ailments in his 4 year life. Some of our other fish were not so lucky with the cotton mouth. We found some red spots on our Congo Tetras shortly after the cotton mouth cleared up. It killed our other Congo Tetra. It spent over 2 weeks in a 10g quarantine tank before it got better.
We tried Maracyn, parasite killer and some food laced with antibiotics (I can't remember the names of the treatments). That was about 3 months ago.
Since then the tank has been stable and no problems.
<OK.>
Yesterday we found the spot. Any ideas?
<Very difficult to say; most likely physical damage and/or secondary infection. An antibacterial treatment should help, but double check water quality and relationships with other fish. Congo Tetras are quite nervous animals, and apart from being nipped, they can jump into the glass or hood when alarmed. Anyway, assuming the water quality is good (0 ammonia/nitrite) and water chemistry within the range for the species (pH 6-7.5, 5-15 degrees dH) I'd treat as you would Finrot, and hope for the best.>
I am hesitant to move him to the quarantine tank, he just darts around and beats himself up on the glass and we don't want to get a bigger QT tank right now.
<Don't quarantine a single Tetra; as you say, he's not going to like it.>
He is exhibiting no odd behaviors, his eating and activity are normal. The other fish don't have any signs of damage. We have just used some Melafix in the tank, our Yellow Spiny Eel dug himself into a hole and lost some skin, used the Melafix as preventative measure.
<Melafix pretty unreliable.>
The eel was 100% better after only a few days.
<Unfortunately these small Spiny Eels (Macrognathus spp.) do get damaged by gravel, and in my opinion, should only be kept in tanks with a soft, sand substrate.>
What the heck do we have, and don't tell me a tank full of fish:) And what do we do about it.
<Some type of antibiotic or antibacterial; Maracyn is as good as any place to start, but anything that combats Finrot should work.>
Details:
Levels are good. Nitrate 0, Nitrite 0, Ammonia 0, Phosphate trace.
CO2 is controlled at 7
Temp is a 79 degrees
Lots of plants
Lots of fish.
2 Eheim 2213 filters
1 UV Sterilizer.
Lots of lights.
2 cubes of blood worms every night.
There are no leftovers.
Thanks for any, and all help.
William
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Black Skirt Tetra Infection? Help! 2/29/08 Hi, I have a 75 gallon well-established planted aquarium. The water parameters are good and all the fish have been healthy for about 5 years now. Today I noticed that a black-skirt tetra is ill. It is swimming abnormally - it's tail keeps falling and it makes brief jolts forward to right himself. It looks stressed and on closer inspection, it's torso area behind the operculum is red and swollen. I will try to catch him and put him in a quarantine tank tomorrow (not so easy in a planted aquarium) but what is wrong with him? An infection? What is the best way to treat him? Are the other fish in danger? Any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance. Kim <Hello Kim. Difficult to say precisely what's happening here, but it is certainly possible it has a bacterial infection of some sort. I'd try something like Maracyn and see how things go. Do remember to remove carbon from the filter, if you're using it. There are some parasitic infections that cause the gills to inflame, most notably Velvet, so do check for that (typically an off-white powder on the body). But parasites don't normally get into tanks unless you've added new fish. A photo might help pin things down. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Glowlight Tetra? 7/9/07 Hello. <Hi there> One of my Glowlight tetras seems to have a swimming problem. He's been swimming in place at a 45 degree angle with the tail fin pointing downward. He'll still swim up to the surface when it's feeding time, but usually he stays about 6" from the water surface in one spot. He has just recently developed this problem and I have not been able to find any definite answers on the wet web media site. Could it be a swim bladder problem or some sort of disease? If it is a disease, could the other fish in my tank "catch" it? <Is very likely an internal bacterial complaint... the thinness, bent-spine..., and yes, can be very "catching"... I do hope I won't appear too brusque, cruel, but I would sacrifice this animal... Place it in a small amount of water in a plastic bag and freeze it...> Tank info: 55 gal freshwater community tank 10 Platies 6 bleeding heart tetras 3 Glowlight tetras 1 x-ray tetra 3 Cory cats 2 zebra Danios Temp: 74 F pH: 7.8 NO2-: 0 ppm NO3-: 5 ppm NH3/NH4+: 0 ppm I do about a 15% water change every 7 - 10 days and treat with AmQuel+. Attached is a picture showing the fish in question. Note his relative vertical position with the horizontal platy also in the pic. Thanks, Aaron <Should this fish die, dissolve... this problem could spread. There are "key diagnostic tools and indications" that point elsewhere, but precious little time here, and no economic means of doing much else. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick Glowlight Tetra? 7/9/07 Thank you for the quick response. I'll be sure to euthanize the fish as humanely as possible. <This is what I would do> On another note, is this condition a result of something I'm doing wrong with either water conditions or feeding? <Mmm, no... not only are these situations idiopathic, the fact that the other fishes you list are symptom free indicates that there is not some common-impinging factor here> I feed the fish tetra flakes every morning, sometimes substituting with freeze-dried blood worms. Is there a way to prevent such problems? -Aaron <Mmm, no my friend... None that I'm aware of. Picking out apparently "good" livestock, providing adequate environment and nutrition, reducing the chances of introduction of pathogens, insults... is about all one can do. Bob Fenner>

Mouth disease on tetras  6/4/07 > Hi Guys, <Hello.> > I have a 80lt f/w tank with a few tetras, a bristle nose sucker fish, two clown loaches, some dwarf Gourami's and a couple of mollies. <All sounds fine except the mollies probably want brackish water, not freshwater, and the clown loaches grow very big (admittedly slowly) and even a tank twice the size of yours will be too small for them in the long run.> > Recently the tank started smelling like dirt and one of the tetras died with a white growth that looked like it had grown over its mouth. <The white growth was almost certainly "mouth fungus", which is a bacterial infection almost always brought on by poor water quality.> > We cleaned out the canister filter as it had started to become noisy due to a build up of gunk. <OK. But cleaning a filter should not mean wiping out the bacteria in the filter media -- so only ever clean the media in buckets of aquarium water.> > A week later another tetra was found with this growth. <So, the problem wasn't fixed.> > I removed the fish, did a 40% water change and started using a Aquarium Pharmaceuticals 'Melafix' of 10ml per day with a 30% water change every 7 days as directed. <Melafix will have no effect at all on mouth fungus. Melafix is the aquarium equivalent of antiseptic cream -- it helps keep cuts and wounds from being infected, but don't expect too much from it. Your need anti-mouth fungus (a.k.a. anti-Columnaris) medication.> > This was about 2 weeks ago. <Mollies are nitrate intolerant when kept in freshwater aquaria. If I had a penny for every molly that died from being kept in a freshwater rather than brackish water tank I'd be richer than Bill Gates. Needless to say, none of your other fish are salt-tolerant. Yet again, an example of choosing fish before researching them.> > Since then two mollies have died, with no signs of disease and last week I noticed one of the Gourami's turned from a red color to black. We did a water change and soon after this it returned to its normal red color. <Fish sometimes change colour when stressed, including by deteriorating conditions. It sounds as if you have water quality/chemistry issues.> > Ph is about 7, at the start of the issues it was around 6. <Mollies need a pH of AT LEAST 7.5. All your other fish want a pH around 6.5 to 7.0. Any time the pH of an aquarium drops from 7 to 6 quickly, it means you have major problems with the aquarium. We need more data here: what is the hardness? What is the pH/hardness of the water straight from the tap (faucet)? What are the nitrite or ammonia levels?> > Do you have any ideas?? <Sounds to me as if your tank is inherently unstable. Likely a combination of acidification through decaying organic matter in the tank (overfeeding, under cleaning) and not enough buffering capacity in the water. Various solutions depending on the specific problems. But we need more data to pin down precisely the causes. In the meantime, reflect on the stocking density, your maintenance regime, what (if any) buffering exists in the aquarium.> > Cheers and hello from Oz, <Cheers, Neale>
Re: Mouth disease on tetras  6/4/07
> Thanks for the quick reply Neale. <No problems.> > I did have my students feeding the fish, and I did suspect they were over feeding. They backed off the feeding about a week ago. I've ordered an anti-mouth fungus too. I vacuum the gravel every 2 - 3 months should I increase this to monthly? I also do a water change of about 30% monthly. <Cleaning the gravel is a function of how dirty it gets. In a regular community tank with small fishes, what you're doing is fine. In the tank with messy fishes and a lot of detritus in the gravel, step the cleaning up. When you siphon the water out during water changes, it's always a good idea to "Hoover" the gravel as well, and suck up faeces, decaying plant material, uneaten food, etc.> > Can you please explain buffering capacity? <Very simply, buffering is the ability water has to resist chemical change thanks to the water containing certain dissolved chemicals. Not all chemicals are buffers though. Table salt NaCl (sold to aquarists as "tonic salt") has no buffering capacity at all. It is essentially things like calcium carbonate (lime) that buffers water to an alkaline pH, or organic acids (commonly from peat) that buffer water to an acidic pH. Typically, aquarists buffer to a slightly alkaline pH because this works well for the widest variety of fishes while remaining chemically quite stable. Acidic pH systems tend to be unstable, becoming increasingly acidic over time unless carefully monitored. Anyway, provided you have a "medium hardness" on whatever hardness scale your test kits measure (say, 10-15 degrees General Hardness) you don't need to worry about buffering. It'll all happen in the background, and regular water changes will top up the buffering capacity of the aquarium without any further work from you. If the hardness is lower than this, i.e., you have soft water, then you may need to do some work. There are multiple solutions. You could keep brackish or hard water fish, for example. By adding marine salt to a brackish water system, or Malawi/Tanganyikan salts to a livebearer or African cichlid system, the buffering would again happen in the background all by itself. If you have soft water and want to stick with the soft water fish, such as Neons, barbs, Corydoras, etc., you need to monitor the pH on a weekly basis until you get a feel for the trend in pH changes that happen in your tank. Large water changes weekly should prevent drastic pH swings. There are pH 6.5 buffering solutions available. You simply add them to the water with each water change. Alternatively, you could do what I do with my soft water tanks, and that is mix 1 to 3 parts soft water to 1 part hard water. Most good freshwater aquarium books should go into the water chemistry issues in depth.> > Cheers and thank you for your advice. > Mike <Hope this helps. Neale>

Seemingly Incurable Mouth Fungus   3/11/07 Hello,   <Hi there Theresa>   I was hoping to find some advice to treat an apparent case of mouth fungus on one of my neon tetras.  My tank is 30 gals with a 7" Pleco, 2 Serpae tetras, 2 emerald eye tetras, 3 high fin black tetras and 5 Neons. <Mmm, with such a nice mix, I do hope your water quality sides on the warmer, more soft and acidic side> About three weeks ago, one of my Neons developed what I think is mouth fungus on one side of his mouth. <Mmm, actually funguses are rare... more likely bacterial in nature, and resultant (if only one specimen afflicted) from a physical trauma...> I treated it with MelaFix <Worthless> as per the instructions removed carbon and daily treatment for 7 days (I can tell from your site MelaFix is not one of your favourites!) <For me, you are correct>   No results,  so I treated once again after a 7 gal water change.  I still had no improvement in this fish but no other fish seemed to get sick.  I know (also from your site) that I should have a quarantine tank but unfortunately space does not allow for me to have 2 tanks!  I spoke with my LFS and they recommended the Maracyn. <I do as well.... Erythromycin otherwise known as> I have treated twice with this medicine over the period of about 2 weeks and still no improvement.  I have now noticed that one other neon has a small white spot near his mouth.  Is there another medicine or technique that you could suggest? <Mmm... the next most likely effective, and safe... Maracyn II, Minocycline> Along with the Maracyn, the LFS recommended that I raise the temp in the tank (it is now about 80) <I also agree here> and I also added some salt <Mmm, no... Definitely not. None of the fish species you list has much tolerance for this> which I was unaware was needed in a freshwater tank.  I am not sure what to do next so I was hoping for some insight from your website.      Thanks in advance for your help in this matter.  I know these are only Neons and I would really like to see them get better but I don't want to lose my tank population either.      Theresa <Do raise the temperature, to the mid eighties F., and try the Maracyn II... Bob Fenner>
Re: Seemingly Incurable Mouth Fungus II
  3/11/07 Thank you for the info and most of all the quick response! <<Bob answered your original query'¦a "you're welcome" on his behalf. Lisa Brown here.>> It is greatly appreciated by me and the tank.  I have started to raise the temperature to the mid80s and I am now on my way to try and find the Maracyn II.  I really hope this will save the affected fish.   <<Likely will.  Be sure to keep pristine water conditions as well.>>    Just a few more questions - should I do a water change before I begin the next treatment and if I cannot find the Maracyn II should I try another treatment with the regular Maracyn? <<Yes to the water change (~25%).  You should have no trouble finding Maracyn II. Either at your LFS, or online from a number of vendors.>> Thanks again, Theresa <<Glad to help Theresa. Lisa Brown.>>
Re: Seemingly Incurable Mouth Fungus II  -- 03/15/07
So, I am on the 4th of the 5th day of treatment with the Maracyn II and there is no improvement in the fish.  My water has become quite cloudy (I did remove the carbon prior to the treatment) and it seems to have a yellowish tinge for some reason. <Medication effects> One of the other Neons has a small spot on its mouth also.  I did a few tests on the water quality and the ph is about 7.2 and it tested as being on the hard side.      Do you have any more advice for me as I am not sure where to go from here? <A microscope, reference works...> Do a water change and start another treatment with something else or should I keep with the Maracyn II as the fish has been sick for awhile and maybe it will take 2 treatments?  As you can tell I am grasping at straws!      Thanks again.   Theresa <I would continue to monitor water quality... finish the Antibiotic treatments... and read. Bob Fenner>
My Tetra's mouth has moved   3/11/07
I have a 10 gal tank with 3 black skirt tetras 1 white skirt and an Otocinclus. The white skirt is the oldest member and her mouth seems to have moved from the point of her face up her face toward the top of her head. The bottom Jaw flesh seems to have gotten bigger and the top lip receded so that it looks like she cannot really close her mouth totally. I suspected maybe mouth rot, but there is no white fuzz on her. <Mmm... much more likely "something" developmental (like acromegaly in humans) or resultant from an injury (jumping...)> I had one other white skirt go this way until he started swimming on his side in vertical circles and doing stupid stuff so I euthanized him. Any ideas what I am dealing with? Could it just be an old age issue? <Yes> Her right eye seems to have eye pop also, but her left one is okay. I have been changing the water weekly, but the water temp is a little high due to treatment for suspected Ich. <Mmm, not likely too high... can tolerate temperatures into the low nineties F.> Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks <What is your water quality overall? Hardness, pH... do you have appreciable nitrate? Bob Fenner>
 
Re: My Tetra's mouth has moved (follow-up)
 - 3/12/07 <<Hello. Tom covering for Bob this time.>> Water quality:  Nitrites 0, ammonia 0. Don't have hardness or nitrate tester. But this may be an issue, my pH reads 7.6 but this is the max the tester will register so it may be higher. Could this be the issue? <<Not 'the' issue, as such, but could definitely be 'an' issue, as you suggest. A high pH level isn't the problem it was once seen to be as long as it remains stable. Fish acclimate to pH ranges outside of the 'ideal' quite readily, for the most part, and the consensus is that it's better to keep our fish in water that's readily available from the tap rather than 'toying' with it where pH is concerned. Bob's reference to water hardness was meant to get a sense of the buffering capability of your water, i.e. the ability of the water to resist changes in pH. The higher the buffering capacity, the less likely you will experience a dangerous, potentially catastrophic, drop in pH. To address your question more specifically, White Skirt Tetras have a pretty wide pH-tolerance range with the high end being around 8.5. There aren't many fish in the freshwater arena that 'prefer' pH levels this high even among the Cichlids, which are known for thriving in alkaline water.>> How do I lower it on a permanent basis?   <<Rather than saying you can't, I'd prefer to tell you not to try. First, it may be totally unnecessary and, second, you may be setting yourself up for problems. The saltwater folks have a leg up on most of us FW hobbyists as there are substrate materials, aragonite in particular, that constantly provide calcium carbonate (among other trace elements) to the water, raising pH to levels their aquariums require on what might be deemed a 'permanent' basis. Lowering pH is more problematic and, unfortunately, temporary over the long haul. Just not a good idea with play with it.>> I will try to get the other testers but we live in a small community and may not be able to quickly. <<As you've probably surmised, I don't think this is necessarily an urgent matter but I agree that it's one that should be looked into soon. You need to have a feel for the buffering capacity of your water to ensure there are no sudden plunges in your pH levels. If there's an issue here, this is it in my opinion. My best to you. Tom>>

Diseased Flame Tetra  6/20/06 WWM Crew, <Hello - this is Jorie> First, I would like to thank you for such an amazing website. <Bob's the best - we all agree!> I have read many of your extensive FAQs and find them to be invaluable. <Me too!> Unfortunately, I found this flame tetra on his side on the bottom of my 50g tank two days ago.  I moved him to a QT tank and added aquarium salt and QuickCure (Formalin + Malachite Green). <QuickCure is a *very* harsh medication - what prompted you to use this? To the best of my knowledge, it is an anti-parasitic medication, and based on your attached picture and description, I don't see where you are concerned about parasites.  let's start at the beginning - what behavioral/physical symptoms have you noticed with your flame tetra and how long have these symptoms been going on?>   He is able to swim freely but he spends most of his time on the bottom of the tank.  He seems to prefer lying on the "front side" (see attached picture), but sometimes struggles, and succeeds, to sit upright.  For a sick fish, he's really active.  He's lost a lot of his color, has a kink in his spine near the end of his tail, and is missing some fin.  The "back side" seems to have a few red spots but this may just be residual color.  He is refusing food.  All other fish in the main tank seem to be healthy. <I'm glad you isolated this fish.  Could be a couple of things.  The crooked spine could be indicative of piscine tuberculosis - for which there is no known cure as far as I know.  Also, the fish could be suffering from a swim/air bladder problem, which could be bacterial in nature.> I'm wondering if this is tuberculosis. <Could be - see above.>   Should I try tetracycline or erythromycin? <First off, I'd suggest getting the QuickCure out of the water.  Do water changes and put in fresh carbon or other filter media.  Then, I would recommend using a broad spectrum antibiotic, such as tetracycline or erythromycin, or even Maracyn I or II.  At the very least, an antibiotic such as this will prevent secondary infections in the torn fins; best case scenario, it may in fact alleviate the primary problem of a swim bladder disease (if it is indeed that).   Something else?  Can antibiotics put in the water (as opposed to medicated food) help with internal infections? <You are very astute in pointing out that internal ingestion of the medication is the best way to deal with internal infections.  However, many fish refuse to eat medicated food like this.  There are a couple of brands out there - one is called "Pepso", and the other I am aware of can be found at www.floridaguppiesplus.com.  If you don't have the medicated food on hand, the powdered antibiotics in the water are your second best option.  Based on the fact that I can't give you a 100% certain diagnosis and we are simply trying a broad spectrum antibiotic, I'd say you're OK to just use medication in the water.> I haven't been QTing fish when I get them, but I will in the future.   <Yes - most of us have learned this lesson the hard way.> Aren't there a lot of diseases that are often unnoticeable for a long time, though (such as TB)?  Is 2-4 weeks really a long enough QT period? <I tend to keep my fish in QT for around a month and have found this to be sufficient.  This is typically long enough to allow a close observation of the fish to see if any parasites, diseases, etc. are present.> Main Tank Parameters: pH: 7.0 Ammonia: 0ppm Nitrate: 0ppm Nitrate: 10ppm <All good> Main Tank Inhabitants: 1 other flame tetra 1 neon tetra 2 lemon tetras 2 blue tetras a few snails that materialized out of nowhere (no additions of plants for 3-4 months before appearance).  They are flat on one side, any ideas on what they are? <Do you mean a flat spiral? If so, possibly Ramshorn snails?> The tank has been running for 6-7 months. <Good - seems as though your tank is cycled and everything has been going well.  Again, I'm very glad you took the affected fish out of the main system.  Do keep up with your water changes on the main tank, just in case something was introduced prior to your moving the fish in question.  With regard to the QT, as mentioned above, I'd recommend removing the QuickCure and medicating with a broad spectrum antibiotic.  If you still can't get the fish to eat, you could soak food in Kent's Garlic Extreme (or even McCormick's pure garlic oil), which can stimulate interest in feeding.  Aside from that, I'm curious to know when you first saw the affected fish acting different, and what, more specifically, you noticed.  This might help in a proper diagnosis - right now, it seems as though there's a lot of different issues happening at the same time.> Thank you so much! <I hope I've helped.  Jorie>

Diseased Flame Tetra PART 2  6/21/06 Jorie, Thank you so much for your reply! <You're welcome.> Bad news.  This evening I noticed that both of my blue tetras in the main tank were ill.  One of them is darting around in circle like patterns.  It seems like he can't stop moving.  The other one is behaving more like the sick flame tetra... he has trouble controlling his swimming and spends a lot of time on his side or in other awkward positions, although he is quite able to move around.  Both may have one or two very small red spots on their bodies but otherwise look fine.   I've quarantined them together separately from the flame tetra.  Neither show any interest in food.  I was concerned that perhaps the flame had been sick for a while and I had simply failed to notice it.  The blues were acting normally, however, when I wrote to you yesterday morning, so it seems that onset of acute symptoms occurs suddenly with whatever is affecting my fish. <In reviewing the info. from your previous post, I believe these fish, which were likely wild caught, were infected with something when you purchased them.  Also, in looking again at the picture you provided previously, it seems as though there is some spinal deformity present, which supports our previous diagnosis of fish TB.  Unfortunately, the damage is likely done even before symptoms present themselves.  Basically, your best bet is to take the "wait and see" approach, and in the meantime, keep your tank as clean as possible.  Here's a helpful article I found on fish TB:   http://www.aquarticles.com/articles/management/Keefer_FishTB.html.  I know you have learned your lesson, but for others out there as well, I do want to re-emphasize the importance of quarantining newly acquired fish...> As per your advice, I discontinued the QuickCure and started tetracycline.  So, currently, the flame tetra and the two blues are being treated with aquarium salt (at 1tbsp/2.5gal) and tetracycline (at Mardel's prescribed rate). <This is probably all you can do.> All the other fish in the main tank (now down to 2 lemon tetras, 1 flame tetra, and 1 neon tetra) seem to be doing fine.  I'm wondering if I should quarantine them, too?  Perhaps I should treat them with the tetracycline as a prophylactic?  Break down the main tank? <I'm not a fan of medicating w/o good cause, especially when talking about antibiotics.  Just like people, fish can develop resistance to antibiotics, so it is best to save the medication for when you are fairly certain it's needed.  If indeed these fish have TB, in all honesty, there isn't much you can do.  If you want to be super-precautious, you could break down the main tank, bleach it out and start from scratch, but that usually is a last resort, for many obvious reasons!  You may also want to look into a UV sterilizer - there's conflicting information about the usefulness of this device, but I can say from personal experience when I was combating a mysterious Rainbowfish disease, it seemed to help (in conjunction with other more traditional remedies/preventions such as good husbandry, etc.)> Ramshorn looks like a reasonable ID for the snails I asked about -- I'll have to wait for them to get a little bigger to be sure. Thanks, Jonathan <Sorry I don't have better news for you.  Do as you are doing and keep a watchful eye on everyone.  If you have a good relationship with the fish store you purchased these fish from, I'd suggest calling and asking if they've had problems with the batch of fish...can't guarantee you'll get an honest answer, but you might, especially if you know the folks...Jorie>
Diseased Flame Tetra - Necropsy
 6/21/06 Jorie, More bad news.  This morning I found that the blue tetra that was having trouble staying upright has died.  The other one that is swimming rapidly in  strange patterns is still doing so. <Oh, I'm sorry.  And, it doesn't sound good for the other one.> I'm interested in performing an autopsy of sorts on the fish that died to see if there are growths on the internal organs which might confirm TB. Do you have any links to information on technique for doing this? Fortunately, I don't get the opportunity to do this very often, and I've found that it is hard to avoid damaging the insides beyond analysis.  I assume that there is a proper way to do this. <Some helpful sites: http://aquanic.org/real/necropsy/intro_fish.html http://www.koivet.com/handouts/akcanecropsy.doc http://ag.ansc.purdue.edu/courses/aq448/diseases/necropsy.htm Can't say as though I've done this myself, so I really can't offer you any more specific advice! If you have a good veterinarian, you may want to ask if he or she will assist you, or in the alternative, provide you with another contact person who may be able to help.  Best of luck, and sorry for your loss.> Thanks again, Jonathan <Jorie>

Neon Tetra help needed  - 03/28/06 Hi. <Hello>  I have 5 neon tetras, 3 Zebra Danios and now 3 Fancy Guppies (1 female and 2 male) with about 7 fry hiding (mom died)<Sorry to hear that>.  When I bought my Tetras they were all fine until the next morning.  1 had lost its color from midway on back and was swimming funny (like it was drunk).  It has now regained its coloring and swims better.  However, it goes in fits of twirling about (fast circular movement; head down) and other times I can't tell which one it is in the school.  What is wrong with it (maybe got injured on the way home)?  I grew up (25 years) with Tetras (as well as the other types) and have never seen anything like this.  Do I need to remove it from the tank or is it ok to leave it in there?  Thank you, Karen in Georgia. <First, remove the Neon to another tank. What you describe, to a large degree, mimics "Neon Tetra Disease"; loss of coloration, erratic swimming behavior. I've not come across any information that describes the return of color to a fish once it's been infected, though, which makes me wonder, to be honest with you. There is a "false" version of the disease which is bacterial rather that Sporozoan in its cause but it would be virtually impossible, outside of a laboratory, for you (or I) to discern the difference. Since NTD is spread to other fish so quickly and with such fatal results, you should treat this as a "worst case" to protect your other pets. Unfortunately, there is no known treatment for NTD although some claims of success have been offered; none conclusively, I'm afraid. Maintain your water parameters in the main tank to protect against any spreading of whatever this may be. Best of luck to you, Karen. Tom>

Black Phantom Tetra, Webmail Issues - 12/19/2005 Hello crew, <Hello, Camille!> I sent an email to you on December 1st regarding my Black Phantom tetra that had not eaten much at all for a few weeks (since being moved into a new tank).  There was apparently an issue with replying to my mail, but Don was kind enough to track me down in the 911 forum where I had also posted a message.   <Our apologies - our Webmail system does occasionally lose (don't know how) the "tray" for responding to a message.  I'm not sure what the combination of settings is, but my laptop seems to be the only system that doesn't lose this "tray"....  So, fortunately, I have the ability to reply to you.> At that time, the fish was showing no outward signs of illness; his color was good, no clamped fins or weird scale discolorations, etc'¦.  All water parameters were fine, and all other fish in the tank were doing very well. He has continued to ignore food.  I did get him to take a few nibbles at some live brine shrimp last week, but he certainly wasn't showing the same interest as the rest of the fish.   <Disturbing.> I generally feed a combination of flake and frozen foods and I never see him show interest in any of that (although he used to eat well in the old 20 gallon tank'¦).  I added 2 additional Black Phantoms to the tank yesterday hoping that more of his own kind would help him feel more secure (bringing the number of Black Phantoms from 2 to 4 in the tank).  This morning, the fish in question is hanging out at the top of the tank and seems to be breathing more rapidly than normal.  He may also have a light patch of scales under his chin (in the gill area), but its been hard to get a real good look at him; whenever I closely approach the tank he turns and swims away from me, but I've caught several glimpses of what may be a light skin patch'¦.  All other fish in the tank continue to do well; everyone eats and displays a normal activity level.  The Black Phantom is the only one at the top of the tank with an increased respiration rate.   <So frustrating!!  There really are quite a number of possibilities at this point; I would be more likely to think he may have an internal bacterial infection than anything....> Tank specs are as follows: 55 gallon Live plants (Anubias, crypts, java fern, Ludwigia) Eco-complete substrate No Co2 or fertilizers used Inhabitants: 6 Neons 4 Black Phantoms 3 Pristellas 6 Panda Corys miscellaneous snails that hitched in on the plants Water parameters as of this morning: Temp 79 F Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 5 ppm Hardness 5 deg KH, 10 deg GH pH 7.4 A small water change (~10%) was performed last night. <All sounds great....  nothing at all that catches my eye here.> Is there anything I can do for this fish?  I do have a quarantine tank I can move him to if needed.   <I would, most certainly - if not to help the sick fish, then to protect your other livestock from contracting what he's got (if anything).  I would consider feeding him an antibacterial flake food, but if he's not eating, this is obviously going to be difficult at best.  Food medicated with Oxytetracycline would be my choice, if you can get him to eat anything.> Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!!  If this email can't be replied to (which was the issue with my original query), can someone post a reply in the 911 forum??  My post there is entitled 'Black Phantom tetra won't eat (a little long'¦)' and was originally posted on December 2nd under the name CMERRELL.  Thanks for reading and I hope someone can help.   <I'll take a look there, as well, and see if there's anything else that catches my eye.> I really hate to see the little guy in distress!   <I do very much understand....  My sympathies to you, and to him - I hope he can pull through for you.> Best regards,  -Camille Merrell <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>
Black Phantom Tetra, Webmail Issues - II - 12/25/2005
Hi Sabrina, <Camille, my apologies for the delay in this reply.> Thanks so much for responding to my email!   <Of course.> I really appreciate the service you and your colleagues provide.   <Thank you for these kind words - we are glad to be of service.> Unfortunately, my little Black Phantom did not pull through.  He died on Sunday night.   <I am so sorry to hear this!> I sent a follow-up email after this initial message that you responded to <I fear I/we did not see this follow-up - blast this webmail!> which mentioned he had started to excrete what looked like a thick whitish string of fecal material.   <A possible indication of internal parasites....  other possibilities.> This was trailing from him for several hours and his anal vent area looked a bit red and irritated to me.  Eventually, the string apparently had exited his body and he actually appeared to be breathing easier.  I was hoping against hope that maybe he still had a fighting chance, but when I checked on him an hour later he had died.   <So sorry....> I really hope he didn't have anything going on that has put my other fish at risk, but I suppose only time will tell.   <Agreed.  Be keeping a close eye on your livestock.> Thanks again for the response.  I am new to fish keeping and the information on your website has been very helpful to me.   <I really am glad to hear this....  It's comments like these that really keep us going.  Thank you.> Best regards and holiday wishes, <And happy holidays to you!> Camille Merrell <All the best,  -Sabrina>

Tetras with sores Hi there, I have several black high skirt tetras of different ages.  The problem is as they get older and larger, 2 of them developed a sore around their mouths. <Sores around the mouth are often times due to mouth fungus.  Which is a treatable disease, I have found that medicines from the Mardel company have worked exceptionally well.> The largest one died and I am worried this will continue until I find the problem.  They share the tank with red serapes and a 5-6 inch Pleco. <There doesn't seem to be any sort of tank mates that would be nipping or bothering the Black Skirts.> Any suggestions would be great. <Make sure that the filtration is good on your tank, keep up on the water changes.  This will help keep the fish's immune system working well, and it will also offer a better environment so that fungus and bacteria won't be able to thrive.  It's best for you to set up a quarantine tank, so in the case that your fish do come down with more sores around their mouth then you will be able to remove them from the tank and medicate them.  Look at medicines like Maracyn, and even a broader based medicine like Maracide from Mardel for a good treatment for the problem.> Thanks, Belinda <Good Luck. -Magnus>

Black Skirt Tetra Issue Hi. I'm new to having fish and need help. I set up my tank at the beginning of October (30 gallon). I have 3 Black Skirt Tetra, 3 Zebra Danios, and 1 algae eater (sorry I don't know his real name - it starts with a P). <Pleco works> Earlier today one of the tetra died. I had noticed some erratic behavior and sluggish swimming over the last day or so.  He also looked as though he had bubbles on him. When I removed him from the water the bubbles were white spots, particularly on his tail. The other two tetras are now acting oddly, they are not schooling, both are staying near the top, which is odd for them, they normally swim near the bottom. What do I do? I did a water change about 2 weeks ago - the fish had been overfed while we were out of town on vacation and the tank was covered with algae. This is when I added my algae eater. All has been well until the last 24 hours or so. HELP!   Thank you, Allison <The white spots are a pretty sure sign of Ich. Treat with salt. Read here for it's proper use. http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showquestion.php?faq=2&fldAuto=32 You should also be doing more water changes. Use a gravel vac to remove the old food and fish waste. This is very important when treating for Ich. Don>
Re: Black Skirt Tetra Issue
Thank you for your response!  Today the white spots look more like fluffy stuff - on the tail and fins.  It almost appears to be fungal.    Thanks for any help you can offer. Allison <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwinfectdisfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Tetra Too fat Hi, I have tried to find some info on the net regarding this but none of what I have found matches up. I have 6 x-ray tetras in a large community tank. They have been very happy for the last 3-4 months, only now one of them has got very fat all of a sudden and seems to me breathing a lot more rapidly than the others. It also is not really interested in food and just hangs around the bottom on her own. Is it likely to be pregnant or does it seem more like an internal parasite? If it is an internal parasite is it likely the other fish will get it too? I have had no more additions to the tank for almost a month so I don't know how it would have caught a parasite. It has been like this for a few days that I have noticed. Hope you can help! Thanks Clare < You tetra sounds like it has an internal bacterial infection called bloat or dropsy. It is usually caused by stress. Do a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Then treat with Metronidazole.-chuck>

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