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FAQs on Characoids/Tetras & Relatives Parasitic Disease

FAQs on Characoid Disease: Characoid Disease 1, Characoid Disease 2, Characoid Disease 3,
FAQs on Characoid Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Infectious, Social, Treatments

Related Articles: Characoids/Tetras & Relatives,

Related FAQs:  Characoids/Tetras & Relatives, Characoid Identification, Characoid Behavior, Characoid Compatibility, Characoid Selection, Characoid Systems, Characoid Feeding, Characoid Reproduction,

Characoids are subject to the regular spread of parasites, and particularly susceptible to Microsporideans


Dark patches in X Ray Tetra      10/6/16
Dear WWM,
<Hey Dev>
Hope you all are doing fine. Thank you for the excellent site. My tank is in its 6th year and it owes a lot to your site and things I learnt (and still learning) from it.
<Ahh; deeply satisfying to realize we have helped>
Question: The attached images are of one of my 8 X Ray Tetras (*Pristella maxillaris*). They have been in this 29 gallon for a little over 2 years.
It is schooling, active, eating but I am worried about the dark patches.
Are they signs of NTD?
<Mmm; perhaps something else... but not good. This looks to me (signs wise) like some sort of Sporozoan.... as far as I'm aware, still not treat-able... You can/could sacrifice the animal, cut it up (sectioning, embedding and staining as in histological study would be even better) and look under a medium power 'scope.... but.... I would NOW remove and destroy (see Neale's coverage re euthanasia on WWM) this specimen. There IS a chance of whatever the problem here spreading to your other fishes>
Still no classical pale discoloration or deformation but one of my Black Neons showed similar patches in the past and on your suggestion (and my decision) I euthanized it.
Tank mates are other tetras, Cory cats, pair of Bristle Nose Plecos, a Whiptail L010, a Pearl Gourami. No fish added in months, nor diseases or deaths. Tank is heavily planted. Filtered by three 500 lph HOB filters packed with sponge, bioballs, ceramic rings and Seachem Denitrate. No Ammonia and Nitrite. NO3 40, 35% weekly water change, pH 6.9, TDS about 200 ppm, temp avg 27C. Fed Ocean Nutrition, Hikari and Tetra flakes and pellets, occasionally freeze dried Blood, Tubifex worms and parboiled kitchen veggie cuts.
Request you for some guidance on the possible course/s of action.
Isolating is bit difficult as my other tank has a leak and I would need to keep in plastic tub.
Thanks again. You people are too good.
<Am going to share w/ Neale here for his separate input. Bob Fenner>
*quis custodiet ipsos custodes?*
<Who indeed>
Re: Dark patches in X Ray Tetra /Back to Bob         10/7/16

Dear Bob,
<Yes Dev>
Thank you for the clarifying reply. I shall await Neale's input as well.
Two more questions if you don't mind:
Is this fish a threat to others even when alive?
<Mmm; much less so. It's thought that micro-Sporidean/sporozoans pass through the consumption of flesh of an infested specimen... >
I mean can the infection spread to others or is it usually passed on when other fishes consume the remains of an infected fish?
<Ahh; the latter>
If it can be helped I would like to delay the euthanizing till the fish is more affected, as it is a depressing thought and it is so difficult to catch one in a heavily planted tank. I shall employ the 2 net method.
<You're spot on here>
Secondly how did the protozoa, assuming it is so, get into the system?
<Through another fish likely>
No other fish is seemingly affected, I have not introduced any fishes, esp. Characids in months (only a pair of Apistogramma agassizii few months back)
and do not feed live foods. Can plants or snails carry them?
<I don't think so; but the imported fishes... do act as long/er term carriers for sure>
Or can it lay latent as I had to 'put out' a Black Neon with suspected NTD more than a year ago?
<I do think you're correct here>
I am just trying to understand the issue better.
<A pleasure to communicate w/ a sharp, curious mind>
Have a great day.
<And you, BobF>

Dark patches in X Ray Tetra /Neale         10/7/16
Dear WWM,
Hope you all are doing fine. Thank you for the excellent site. My tank is in its 6th year and it owes a lot to your site and things I learnt (and still learning) from it.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
Question: The attached images are of one of my 8 X Ray Tetras (*Pristella maxillaris*). They have been in this 29 gallon for a little over 2 years.
It is schooling, active, eating but I am worried about the dark patches.
Are they signs of NTD?
<Possibly; but there's some discussion that many examples of Neon Tetra Disease are actually "False" Neon Tetra Disease, a catch-all name for bacterial infections of various kinds. Sometimes sick Neon Tetras recover when treated with antibiotics, which supports the idea that some, though not all, examples of Neon Tetra Disease are bacterial rather than caused by the protozoan parasite Pleistophora. I've written about NTD for FishChannel, and rather than going through it all again there, let me direct you to this article:
Most aquarium healthcare books cover it too, and yes, the prognosis is usually poor.>
Still no classical pale discoloration or deformation but one of my Black Neons showed similar patches in the past and on your suggestion (and my decision) I euthanized it.
<Agreed; doesn't look like classic NTD, but certainly a sick fish of some sort. Worth treating with a general purpose antibiotic or antibacterial, for example Kanaplex, to see if that helps. Costia is another disease worth considering. It is fairly common, and typical symptoms include stress colouration (often oddly dark or pale compared to normal) and patches of white or grey (excess mucous) on the body. Also known as Ichthyobodo and Slime Disease.
Difficult to treat, but I've had fairly reliable success over the years using eSHa 2000. Other products targeting Costia, such as Sera Costapur, are out there too.>
Tank mates are other tetras, Cory cats, pair of Bristle Nose Plecos, a Whiptail L010, a Pearl Gourami. No fish added in months, nor diseases or deaths. Tank is heavily planted. Filtered by three 500 lph HOB filters packed with sponge, bioballs, ceramic rings and Seachem Denitrate. No Ammonia and Nitrite. NO3 40, 35% weekly water change, pH 6.9, TDS about 200 ppm, temp avg 27C. Fed Ocean Nutrition, Hikari and Tetra flakes and pellets, occasionally freeze dried Blood, Tubifex worms and parboiled kitchen veggie cuts.
<All sounds fine.>
Request you for some guidance on the possible course/s of action. Isolating is bit difficult as my other tank has a leak and I would need to keep in plastic tub.
Thanks again. You people are too good.
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Re: Dark patches in X Ray Tetra     /Back to Neale       10/8/16
Dear Neale,
Thank you so much for the detailed response.
<Most welcome, Devakalpa.>
After inputs from experts like Bob and you I have a much clearer idea of the road ahead. I plan to observe for a couple of more days and keep offering optimized conditions as the fish is otherwise very normal in sense of activity, shoaling and feeding. Then with indications of worsening if any, shall isolate, treat with Kanaplex and hope for the best.
<Sounds good; personally, I might actually treat the whole tank. If it is Neon Tetra Disease, you may as well prevent cross-infection. I've not used Kanaplex myself (it isn't sold in the UK) but Seachem state it won't affect the filter bacteria, and being an antibiotic, it shouldn't irritate or harm sensitive fish. Isolating characins for treatment is always a bit risky because they don't like being alone, but if you do have a small, mature tank, then X-Ray Tetras are pretty tough little fish, and for a few days a singleton should be fine. So treating the tank or just the one fish should be okay!>
By the way though the links didn't work in Google Chrome, I could navigate to the said pages at the FishChannel site and read them.
<I wonder if the e-mail "snapped" the links in two, so they were on two separate lines. Indeed, the links were merely typed in as URLs, not active links.>
Lucid, informative and helpful articles as always.
<Ah, glad to know you enjoyed them.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Neon tetra disease?       8/10/15
Hello, again!
Thanks for everything the other day!
I guess a follow up on our previous conversation would be good.
I now have the African cichlids living in the fridge case i told you earlier, arranged some rocks and sand and two small powerheads making water turbulence, Ph is 7.7 and water quality tests are good so far.
I didn't get the Acara; clerk at the lfs (the one i told you has severe issues) knows me and knows what i have in my tanks and when i told him what i wanted the Acara for told me that it would be too risky, as it would probably bully the glass catfish and stress everyone while looking for a territory. Just then when evaluating i noticed they had ... boesemanni rainbows! They had just arrived yesterday so i got 5 of them; A safer option i guess.
They are now being quarantined in a 10 gal, they are very small and have not developed their brightest colors (that or they are heavily stressed, cant tell).
I also noticed a sale on neon, cardinal and black neon tetras. There were actually just 5 neons, 3 cardinals and 2 black neons, and i actually have seen these guys sit in their tanks for about 3 weeks without anyone taking them. I got all of them.
Since my temperature range is in the meeting points of the upper for neons and lower for cardinals i guessed that maybe i could keep them together, am i right?
<Yes; with a "middling" range of temperature... the mid to upper seventies F.>
now, i searched for black neons but haven't found much.
these guys are all in my second quarantine (i have a few empty small tanks i got very cheaply just in case haha).
This quarantine, however, has a few hardy plants i can remove whenever i need to medicate (ferns, Anubias and hornwort). It is an 8 gallon with ph 7.1, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are 0,0,5, wasn't running with a filter but i took an extra sponge from the catfish tank and an air pump thing into an air diffuser.
Its been a day and all the fish seemed fine, however, noticed today that the cardinals aren't eating, and whats more one of the neons is hiding in an upper corner, hidden by hornwort and just blankly staring at the glass without eating or moving much. The rest of the neons, black neons and cardinals are hanging together and feeding well (except for the cardinals, which don't show interest in food).
First thing that comes to mind is neon tetra diseases for the neon, but these guys have been at the lfs for about 3 weeks, shouldn't he have died already if he does have NTD?
<Likely the "odd behavior" is simply from being moved to a new setting>
shouldn't the other fish be infected and displaying symptoms as well? Im a bit puzzled here, all the fish seem well fed and display normal coloration. Also thought about stress but im very paranoid about diseases.
I sincerely hope you can help me, thank you very much in advance for your time!
<I'd "do nothing" at this point. Bob Fenner>

marks on Black Neon tetra       8/10/15
Dear WWM Masters,
<Howdy Dev!>
Thanks a ton for the incredible service you provide to let us take better care of our charges. Much appreciated.
<Glad we can share>
The attached picture is of one of my shoal of 8 Black Neons. Any idea what the markings might mean? Others do not have anything similar. They are 4 months in the tank, no change in appetite or behaviour.
<Yikes.... Remove and isolate (or... destroy) the affected fish.... This appears to be an incidence of "Neon Tetra Disease" (Pleistophora, a Microsporidean)... yes, does infests other fishes.... Not curable (at this point)>
This 'warm water' tank is 30X15X12(H), about a year old, filtered by a 500l/hr HOB packed with ceramic and bioballs and a similar flow internal power similarly packed. NH3, NO2, NO3 0,0,<10; pH 7.3, kH 3, TDS 150, tankmates 6 Sterbai Cory, 4 each of Rummynose and Cardinal tetras, 1 male Pearl Gourami and a Red Lizard Plec. Crypts, Anubias, Java Fern, floating
pennywort and duckweed, Indian Almond leaves, submerged roots, river stones, caves, sand substrate. Temp is now above 30C from an Indian summer.
It has a laminar flow fan blowing across the surface, no artificial lights.
20% weekly water change, feeding from Hikari Micro pellets, sinking wafers, Ocean Nutrition Brine Shrimp plus and Spirulina flakes and Tetra bits.
Freeze dried bloodworms occasionally. I dose K2SO4 as per EI and Seachem Flourish Comprehensive and Iron.
Should I be concerned?
<Yes; and sorry to be the bearer of such bad news. DO search re the terms above... this could be another Microsporidean, Protozoan, even some worms.... As usual/always I (and I'd go far to say many other WWM Crew)
state simply what we would do given similar/same circumstances. NOT worth waiting... isolate or euthanize this black Neon>
Thanks again.
Devakalpa (India)
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: marks on Black Neon tetra         8/11/15
Dear Bob,
Thanks for the inputs. I shall act accordingly.
<Ah, good. Please keep us informed; send along your observations. BobF>

Re: marks on Black Neon tetra         8/17/15
Dear Bob,
Apologies for the delay in updating. I went the clove oil route the day I heard from you, it seemed to be the safest (but tough) option.
Since then no signs of contamination yet; the remaining Black Neons, Cardinals and Rummy Noses are doing fine.
<Glad to read>
Thanks again
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Payara help - parasites        2/3/13
Hi Crew, How are you?
<Fine; but you've surpassed (way) our limit for file size>
My name is Daniel and I'm facing a strange problem with my characins fishes.
It seems like a parasite problem but I'm not sure of which kind.
The symptoms are: 1- Little white spots in fins and eyes. 2- Eyes sometimes clouded but not the entire eye! Just a portion of the cornea. 3-Some thin "things" like a baby's hair attached to the fish.
My fishes are eating well. They aren't rubbing against nothing. All symptoms seems to be cyclic and the cycle seems to be fast (days to weeks).
I took that pics from the eye of my H. tatauaia yesterday, today that eye is almost completely normal...but the other one turned cloudy today.
<Mmmm... something going on here. IF only one fish, perhaps just a physical trauma>
Pics attached.
*Note that besides the "large eye spot" there is some small too.
*Note the "thin hair thing" in the back of the A. falcirostris.
<Have magnified... is this a crustacean parasite? Is it some sort of artifactual material?>
My water parameters: no ammonia, nitrates..
<I take it you mean nitrites (with an 'i'). What are your nitrates?>

I really don't know, temp 28-29 Celsius, Ph 6.0, WC every week, they eat frozen fish (entire fish not just fillet).
What is this? How can I treat?
<Can't tell from the data provided... I wouldn't "treat" at all; but advance the maintenance (water and media change outs)... and stay observant>
Thank you and sorry for my bad English.
<No worries; I understand you and that/this is all that is important. Bob Fenner>

Looks like an embedded fin spine to me.
Re: Payara help - parasites        2/3/13
Hi Bob, thank you for your reply!
I donĀ“t have any trace of nitrites right now.
<Good... and the NitrAte? [NO3]?>

The problem is happening in at least 5 of my fishes. It seems to be very cyclic. In 48 hours patches appear in the eyes of the fishes.
<Most likely environmental then; not pathogenic>

 First they appear as cloud eyes and after sometime they turn white "concentrated". After a day you can see very "thin things" (thinner than a hair) leaving the eyes or fins of the fishes and the eyes became clear for 2 or 3 days and when you think that everything is ok, it happens again. It is absolutely weird.
The Payara picture represents the concentrated phase (white).
I will resend you a picture with less pixels.
Thank you
<The usual massive, consecutive days water changes; use of activated carbon, PolyFilter or equivalent. BobF>
Re: Payara help - parasites        2/3/13

I'll check my nitrates tomorrow, my test is "out of date". Normally I do 50% WC every 7 days. I 'll follow your advice and do it more frequently.
<I encourage you to add a few tablespoons of baking soda (Sodium bicarbonate) each change as well... to aid nitrification, add a bit of alkaline reserve. See Neale's article on same on WWM>
By the way, I'm running this system (140 gallon tank) with PolyFilter, carbon and 40 liters of Siporax
<Ah yes; the Siporax might well remove most all NO3>
My fauna: 1. Hydrolycus tatauaia, 3 Acestrorhynchus falcirostris, 3 Boulengerella maculata, 1 Crenicichla tapajos II and 1 Potamotrygon hystrix
Thank you again Bob!
<Welcome. B>

Sick Tetras?      8/27/13
Hi guys,
Starting out with details and parameters:  I have a 30 gallon tank that I set up almost three months ago.  A month and a half a go, I got 3 Neon Tetras and a Ghost Shrimp.  Two of the Tetras died very shortly, so I waited two weeks, checking parameters, and then got two more Tetras.  They have been fine until about four days ago.
<I see. Well, the quality of most farmed Neons is not good, and "Neon Tetra Disease" (or diseases plural, there's some debate on this) can be particularly difficult to deal with. Once sick from this disease, Neons are highly contagious but difficult (usually impossible) to treat. That said, not all Neons die from Neon Tetra Disease, so be open minded, and do all the usual things you do when fish get sick, in case there's another reason they're ailing.>
My Nitrates and Nitrites are at 0, but my ammonia is at .25ppm. My tap water reads for over 1ppm straight out of the tap, so I have been using Prime and I get false readings for my ammonia concentrates.
<Possibly, but be open minded and review filter capacity, feeding, stocking, etc.>

I did a 25% water change two days ago, and before that, the ammonia read at 0ppm.
I am having trouble identifying a disease that my Tetras seem to have.  It started out with one Tetra hiding instead of schooling with the others.
<Is what Neons do when stressed, though is often associated with "Neon Tetra Disease". Such fish should be promptly removed, and to be honest, euthanised (I recommend the Clove Oil method as cheap, easy and humane).
You see, Neon Tetra Disease is extremely contagious, and medicating isn't possible. If you suspect there may be another explanation, you could isolate the Neon in a hospital tank and treat for Whitespot, Finrot or whatever, but unless you're 100% sure that your fish doesn't have Neon Tetra Disease, I'd always medicate in a hospital tank, not in the display tank.>
When he came out of hiding to eat, I noticed a white spot on his lip.  I got some Jungle "Ick Guard" and have been using it per the directions, as well as adding aquarium salt to my tank.  Over the next day or so, the sick fish got worse and the two others began to come down with the same symptoms.  I have been using the Ick Guard for 4 days now, and the fish are
not getting better.
<Oh dear.>
Today, I noticed that my Ghost Shrimp had white spots on him, as well (he disappeared for 3 days and I almost thought he was dead).  I Googled to see if invertebrates can get fish parasites, and the general consensus was that they cannot.
<Correct, but many fish medications are lethal to shrimps, particularly anti-Whitespot and similar medications that contain either copper or formalin. Always remove shrimps when medicating, or else remove the sick fish to a hospital tank.>
(Btw, he molted about a week ago, and one site said spots could be a sign of molting - would he do it again so quickly?)
<May well do.>
Between the shrimp getting spots and my fish getting worse instead of better, could the disease not actually be Ich?
<The photos are too blurry to be sure, but the fish look to me like they might have either Finrot or Whitespot/Ick, it's just not clear to me.
Whitespot looks like the fish fins and body have had salt grains stuck to them. It's very distinctive. Finrot erodes the fins usually from their edges inwards, and the fins often go cloudy, sometimes pinkish, as the fin membranes die. Again, quite easy to identify. It's possible for a fish to have both, by the way, and they're both common problems in newish tanks
when un-quarantined fish have been recently added and/or existing fish exposed to poor water quality.>
Is there another disease that they might have, or is it just a coincidence that the shrimp also has white spots?
<The latter; shrimps can't get Whitespot. For sure they might suffer in some way from poor water quality, but Finrot as such isn't going to happen.
Shrimps usually just die when stressed.>
I have included pictures, but they aren't terribly great because everyone in the aquarium moves so fast.
<Quite so. Try using a net to gently hold a fish against the glass. Use a tripod (or a friend with steady hands) to hold the camera.>
In the pictures, I have tried to point out spots where you might be able to see the white spots. Thanks in advance for any help, you guys are an amazing source of knowledge, and I have learned so much from your site.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Lump on cardinal tetra.       4/25/13
Hello WWM crew,
I need your expert advice with one of my cardinal tetras. It has what looks like a lump on the area under its gills. I attached two pictures I hope you can see them.
<No photos attached.>
It started as a white patch a few days ago and now it looks almost transparent with what it looks like a white worm inside. I have not tried any medication yet.
<Could be several things. Is the "white worm" moving? How has it developed in the past 24 hours?>
He is eating ok and schooling with the others. I have 5 other cardinals and 1 Amano shrimp in the tank which are all looking good. The tank is a 12 gal planted with water parameters of: ph 7.5, kH 6, gH 7, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5, temp 82. I use RO water buffering with baking soda to 6 kH and adding some SeaChem flourish for the plants once a week when I do the 30% water change. I also have a diy co2 system.
I've had the tank set up for about 3 months. I did the fishless cycle successfully thanks to some great advice from the awesome Bob Fenner. And added the fishes and shrimp about 2 months ago. No problems so far except for this issue now. If you know what it is and how to treat it if there is any treatment for it. Any comments and advice will be appreciated.
<Without the photos it's dangerous to guess at treatment. It matters a lot if the "white worm" is a parasite or just something that looks like a worm but is not. That is to say, is there a parasite involved? What I will say is that this tetra should be quarantined ASAP to minimize the chance of spreading it to other inhabitants.>
Thank you Fremi.
<I'm afraid not much help at the moment, but do try to attach the photos again. The will be very helpful. - Rick>
Re: Lump on cardinal tetra.     4/25/13
Hello Rick, 
<Hi Fremi>
I attached two pictures, I hope they come through. 
<Yes, and the photos show the lump as clearly as can be expected.>
There has been no change in the past 24 hrs it is still the same. The worm is not moving it just looks like a s shape white worm almost like a hair inside a water blister.
<It's very strange indeed.  I haven't encountered a problem like this.
Nothing similar appears in my manual of fish health either, which leaves us still guessing.  My guess is that it is either parasitic or bacterial similar to a lesion, but of the two I am inclined to think parasitic. I would definitely quarantine this fish, which helps prevent spreading to other tankmates. It's also easier to medicate in a small tank.  I've had success against parasites with API General Cure and also with Prazi-Pro,
but they don't treat exactly the same things.  If it were me, I'd be inclined to give General Cure a try, but let's see if anyone else recognizes this. Taking blind shots with meds is stressful for the fish. 
Bob and/or Neale, have either of you seen this before? - Rick><<I have; many times... Sporozoan/Microsporidean likely; not treatable... and yes, catching to conspecifics. Might be of use to have a read here:

Re: Lump on cardinal tetra.      4/26/13
<<<<I have; many times... Sporozoan/Microsporidean likely; not treatable...
and yes, catching to conspecifics. Might be of use to have a read here:
<Bob, thanks for the input and link. Fremi, there we are. Please read the link Bob provided (as I shall), and do quarantine that fish before you have more of this problem You can still take a stab at treatment but as indicated, success is doubtful.  - Rick>

Mystery ember tetra illness     8/25/12
<Eight megs of poor pix... why don't people follow directions?>
Dear Wet Web Media Crew,
I'm a long time fish keeper, and run a small maintenance service business.
So I've seen my share of illness and have my own tools for dissection etc on hand and can usually pin down most common illnesses and pests.
<Ah yes>
Yet, I've an issue with my ember tetras in my home display tank that has me baffled.  I have 9 embers, 3 panda Cory, 2 albino Cory and 4 three-line Cory in a 60L (15G) planted tank.  It's been running years with zero issues and great plant growth.
However, i seem to loose <lose>  an ember every few months. I've lost 3 so far.  As they are somewhat transparent, I've notices the occasional tetra with black masses in various points around the internal organs.  They sometimes occur behind the gill, sometimes above the swim bladder, sometimes near the kidney etc, and once there seem to spread slowly in the body.  The affected fish is quite fine, active, eats well, good colour for 2-3 months, and finally looses colour, begins breathing rapidly, and at last keels over in about a week or so.  It seems like some sort of internal parasite which causes little trouble until the load becomes too much, and then the fish succumbs.  Most of the other fish are disease free, and it seems usually one is affected at a time.
I've tried catching infected animals to remove them (and hopefully the disease) from the tank, but in a heavily planted set up it's near impossible.
I've not tried anything for treatment save excellent diet and water quality as i dislike treating with meds unless I'm certain what I'm dealing with, and often I've found good care often helps most fish resolve problems themselves.  Tank parameters are: nitrates at 10-20ppm, 0ppm ammonia & nitrate, pH 7.2, GH 4 degrees, KH 3 degrees.  Weekly 30% water changes.
Tank is dosed daily with Flourish Excel, and every 2nd day with liquid ferts (Aquamaster brand).
I've attached a few pics of the latest case.  They don't seem to be nodules, flukes etc, so not sure if a very tiny helminth, bacterial or protozoal mass.
Any help is greatly appreciated.
Kind regards
<Sounds/reads like one of the many "mysterious" Microsporozoan, Microsporidean infections; quite common w/ imported Characins from the wild. Do see Ed Noga (the second ed. if you can... avail. as an e-book am given to understand) re.
Bob Fenner>
Acumen Aquatics - Premium Fin Safe decor, aquarium installation, aquascaping, assistance & service.
Canberra, Australia

both cropped

Re: Mystery ember tetra illness 8/25/12
Hello Bob,
Thank you for the very speedy reply - been researching around as just found that book last night!  I've got the worst case caught and now in quarantine.  When it passes (it's looking past the point of no return) i will check it under the microscope and refer to the book. I have The Manual of Fish Health by Chris Andrews et al and a few others, but not too much
info on Microsporozoans etc.
<I wish I had more, better news to report. As far as I'm aware there is/are no cure/s for...>

Thanks for the good book reference.
Kind regards
<And you, BobF>
Re: Mystery ember tetra illness 8/26/12

Hi Bob
<Salve Lea>
That's sad news, but again appreciate your expertise.  I did find one site pertaining to microsporidia which suggested possibly Metronidazole - though not specifically for fish.
Here's the link if you are interested, it's from Stanford.
<I thank you for this; these infestations can be... persistent, and heartbreaking... in slowly killing off all specimens. Providing "Ideal Circumstances" environmentally, nutritionally... seems to help, slow down the rate of incidence, attrition>
I will continue to keep water quality and diet excellent, and i can only hope the shoal shakes it with their own immunity in time.  I will try adding garlic to boost immunity, and have also given a treatment of a combo formalin, malachite green & Acriflavine to maybe assist in interfering with any water-borne spores (i consider this combo a good broad-spectrum against various gram positive, negative, Protozoans and fungi, which Microsporideans are in the same family). A long shot but i feel it can't hurt too much at this stage.  I will see how this goes after a week, and if no improvement i will discontinue and try Metronidazole in a week or two after the former meds have cleared.  I am always wary of over-medicating and stressing my fish.
<You are wise here>
Thanks again
<Certainly welcome. BobF>
Re: Mystery ember tetra illness     8/27/12

My pleasure Bob - i hope it is of some use.  I was a biologist in my former iteration, and i enjoy research and problem solving to this end.
Speaking of which, i euthanised my ill tetra last night and performed an immediate autopsy.  I found a large infestation of very tiny black particles approx 0.5 mm (barely visible) which seemed slightly oval under my 5x lit magnifying glass. They were not within nodules (like presentations of nodular disease images shown in the Chris Andrews book), but rather simply clustered together.  They were present in the stomach, around the liver, in the kidney, and up behind the brain to the extent that pop-eye was a final symptom. I'm picking up a microscope next week to investigate further and have saved samples of some of the heavily infected sections in water in the freezer (hopefully the main structures will not be ruined when i thaw).
<Better to use a preservative...>
 I'm am wondering what else they could be, as they seem to infect like Microsporideans, but these black specs are far to large (given i can see them just with the naked eye).  Maybe some internal protozoal infection, or a very small internal fluke? I guess it may also be possible that these are simply actual fish cells which have turned black by engorgement of smaller parasites.
If you wish I'll keep you posted and send some images once i collect my microscope.
<I thank you for this>
As you say, it is heart-breaking as that last thing i wish to do is tear down this beautiful planted tank.  Several of the tetras seem unaffected, but that's not to say they are not latent carriers.  Will monitor and let you know.  Also just found that Metronidazole is not available in Australia unless you seek out a vet, so it may take a little time to find a specialist i can obtain some from.
<Yes; the case there is common around the world>
Have you much experience or success with mixing Metronidazole and food?
<A great deal. For freshwater this is by far the better application mode>
 I feel given it's an internal problem, that may be the way to go.  Of course,
will yield to greater experience.
Thank you again
<Glad to share. BobF>

Disappearing tumor?    4/24/12
Hello, I apologize in advance for the lack of photographic evidence. Four months ago I bought 6 X-ray tetras to start my 20 gallon tank. The tank was fishless-cycled with ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 10, temp. 77F. Three weeks ago one of the tetras developed an inclusion in its back---a pale sphere, about 1.5 mm in diameter, above the spine and below the dorsal fin but attached to neither. There was no external sore or swelling (if the fish weren't transparent, I wouldn't have been able to see the thing.) The fish behaved and ate normally and showed good coloration. Now, three weeks later, the "tumor" has shrunk and looks like a grain of sand suspended in its back. The fish still seems healthy and none of the others show any sign of this thing. Is this a parasite? Have you seen or heard of this before?
Thank you for any insight you can give! -Julie
<Does read like a Microsporidean, Microsporozoan (colony) by colour, size, shape... as far as I know there are no specific "treatments" for such. Just good care, appropriate foods, water quality... Bob Fenner>

parasitic worm infecting cardinal tetras? (RMF, other ideas?)<<Sporozoans, Microsporideans?>> 2/19/11
Dear Crew,
Hoping you can help me - I've scoured the site and can't find anything that accurately describes the situation we currently have. Last night I noticed that one of my cardinal tetras had a fluid filed sac protruding from just underneath the gills on one side,
<Do occasionally happen, for no obvious reason I'm aware of, though the usual culprits such as physical damage, stress, and parasites of various sorts can be considered.>
the fish doesn't seem to be in any discomfort and we observed it feeding ok, however on closer inspection of the other cardinals we've noticed that three of them appear to be affected by some form of worm - the fish are each showing one large 'blister' of around 3mm on their sides which appear to have a thin white worm inside, no more than 1mm in diameter. We tried unsuccessfully to remove the affected individuals from the tank last night, when examining the fish this morning one of the blisters appears to have ruptured as it now resembles a wound rather than a blister, and I noticed one of the worms attached to another tetra, but without the surrounding blister.
<Indeed. My guess would be that the blister rather than the "worm" will be the healthcare issue, because most worm-like infections can't actually complete their life cycle under aquarium conditions. They need intermediate hosts like birds or snails for that to happen.>
The tank is a 500l (134 US gallons, or 110 UK gallons) tropical freshwater system, heavily planted and is maintained at 25-26 Celsius (77-78.8 F). Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are all undetectable, and we do 15% water changes weekly (including gravel siphoning). The current stock are:
shoal of mixed tetras (15 cardinal,
<Angelfish food.>
5 lemon, 5 Pristellas, 3 Congo)
10 juvenile angelfish (1.5 inch body length)
6 Corydoras catfish
6 Bristlenose catfish
So far the only fish that seem affected are the cardinals but I suspect if it is a parasite without a specific host then it will spread to the other fish in the tank.
Currently, the plan is to increase the number of water changes to reduce parasite load in the tank
<Water changes are a good idea for other reasons, but won't really dilute the concentration of parasites in any meaningful way.>
however am not sure whether we should also treat the tank with an anti-parasitic medication as well, and if so what would be best? We've not been able to get a photo of the affected fish but hoping you might be able to offer some advice without one
Here's hoping,
<Would recommend nothing more than acting as per physical damage for now: observe the fish, and if they show signs of their wounds not healing, medicate with something like the excellent eSHa 2000 Finrot/Fungus medication. Without a positive ID on the parasite, medicating further would likely be pointless and could well stress the fish still further. Cheers, Neale.>

Re Rosy Tetra Following - Please Help (RMF, any better guesses?)<<Mmm, no>> 11/28/09
Hi again,
<Hello Chris,>
Please see photo of my rosy tetra, attached. As a follow up to my last email (below), I'd been having concerns about my Rosy Tetras. Since then I've been watching and have seen no bullying, the three have been hanging out together and eating well, though still their colouring was lighter than usual.
<Usually a bad sign with these fish. Like a lot of South American tetras, Rosy Tetras have colours that can change with mood and health.>
Last night all 3 seemed okay, all ate and were swimming fine. This morning one was dead, with a thick white band on its body. I looked at my other two and am upset to find that a second looks like he is in bad shape. He has a white band as well (see photo). It is also protruding but that is hard to tell in the photo. He is swimming but didn't eat today.
<Likely sick.>
I am also starting to see what looks like the start of a white patch on my third though not as advanced. He is eating and swimming fine. My other fish are showing no signs of this thankfully.
<May be specific to the Rosy Tetras, e.g., a virus or protozoan parasite.
A parallel could be made with Pleistophora hyphessobryconis, what we call Neon Tetra Disease although it can affect related small characins as well.>
I have a 4 gallon quarantine...should I move both fish to it using cycled water and filter medium, and if so, is there anything you can suggest I do to help them (temperature, medication?).
<If this is something analogous to Pleistophora hyphessobryconis, there's no real cure beyond removing (and euthanising) sick fish to prevent cross-infection. Typically Pleistophora hyphessobryconis works its way through all the Neons (or whatever) in the system, and then dies out without harming unrelated fish (catfish, livebearers, etc.).>
Any idea what this is? And should I move both of the tetras (concerned about bullying in such close quarters by the healthier one).
<I'd destroy any sick fish that aren't feeding; they're unlikely to get better.
I do weekly water changes, Nitrite and Ammonia are 0 and Nitrates are between 8 and 10. As below, it is a 20 gallon tank.
Thanks so much! Chris
P.S. One thing I noticed is that my tank temperature has gone from the usual 78 to 75, though I would have thought this might help since they like cooler water. I am trying to regulate the temperature now, as this fluctuation has never happened before.
<Can't see relatively small temperature changes like this causing problems.
Sorry can't offer anything more helpful. Cheers, Neale.>

Follow up - It's wide-spread now - Please Help 12/2/09
Hi Neale/Crew:
Well, things have gone from bad to worse. Since writing the email below on Saturday, I've lost all 3 of my Rosy Tetras but it doesn't stop there.
<Oh dear. This really does sound like some type of highly contagious pathogen akin to Pleistophora hyphessobryconis.>
When I came home yesterday one of my red phantom tetras seemed to have pop eye in his right eye, just starting. I watched every fish closely last night and everyone ate and was full of energy, even him.
When I came home tonight I went to check on the red phantom with pop eye and found another red phantom had died (had no pop eye, no visible symptoms). He had appeared 100% normal last night. I was then shocked to
also find a dead swordtail - again, 100% normal and pushing his way around to get food last night as usual - very active and nothing unusual on his body.
<Oh dear.>
Now two of the four remaining tetras appears to have pop eye. The other two seem okay. I have two remaining black skirt tetras that appear okay.
<Oddly, Pleistophora hyphessobryconis doesn't affect all tetras, even while it *can* infect distantly related fish such as Angels and Goldfish. So you can get some very odd situations were Cardinal tetras don't get Pleistophora hyphessobryconis, but Neons do. It may well be that your Black Widows are resistant, unlike the Rosy tetras. I'm not 100% sure that you're dealing with Pleistophora hyphessobryconis -- though the loss of colours, swelling, and then death are consistent -- but there may be some other, highly contagious Sporozoan at work here.>
Six Cory catfish appear fine, one (Elegans) is appearing sluggish tonight.
My Farlowella and 5 little Oto cats seem okay.
<I would be surprised if your catfish succumb to the same thing, but as stated above, distantly related species have been infected with Pleistophora hyphessobryconis even though it's normally considered a disease of Neons. That said, I've found Corydoras elegans to be one of the more delicate species in its genus.>
I did my weekly water change last night because I was concerned about the pop eye, tested water levels an hour later and they are still great.
Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrates around 8. That is constant for my tank.
Water temperature did not change, and I used chlorine remover in the water as always.
It hit me that a while ago I introduced 2 elegans Corys to my tank. One was lethargic from the get-go, the other was very active but died two days later. I had assumed at the time they died from the stress of travel. I think what I've learned is a very painful lesson in not quarantining, unless there is something else in my water that I should test for. I also introduced a plant about two weeks ago but not sure if that can cause problems?
<Right... this may well be the issue. My experience of Corydoras elegans was not dissimilar, having "rescued" two lonely looking specimens sitting in a tank at my local garden centre. A few days after buying them, they were both dead. I do wonder if this species is a host for some type of microbe that, under certain circumstances, can cause problems. I will add though that even though they shared a tank with some Peppered Corydoras, those Corydoras remained perfectly healthy; indeed, I still have them and every year they present me with another batch of baby catfish. So whatever it is that Corydoras elegans may or may not carry, it doesn't necessarily affect other catfish. As you say, quarantining is always important.>
Please help...I know that I will likely loose more fish by tomorrow if not sooner. Should I medicate the tank, and if so with what? I am very concerned that medication will hurt or kill my catfish (Corys and Farlowella).
<So far as I know, Sporozoans are very difficult to cure. Your best bet is to remove any infected fish on sight, and humanely destroy them. Done ruthlessly, this can sometimes stop the cycle of reinfection.>
Thanks as always for any help you can provide - I am at a loss.
<These sorts of infections are rare but always frustrating. I can't begin to tell you how many Neons I've lost (or seen others lose) because of Pleistophora hyphessobryconis. For all my (supposed) skills at fishkeeping, Neons are the one species I've never been able to maintain. In other words, usually what happens is you let the infection burn itself out, removing any infected fish and adopting a wait-and-see approach towards the others.
Typically, the fish that survive are resistant, so no medicating is required. It's debatable whether the pathogen can remain dormant in a tank with no suitable hosts, and if it can, for how long. But I'd tend to err on the side of caution and not add any more specimens of any species that succumbed in the past.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Follow up - It's wide-spread now - Please Help 12/2/09

Sorry, a bit more info if this will help.
<Fire away.>
I checked PH just now and it is right where it has always been (in the "ideal" range).
<Which is? For most community fish, around 7 to 7.5 is the ideal. Below pH 7.5, biological filtration works less effectively, and below pH 6.0 it doesn't work at all. So I tend to recommend people keep the pH just above
7, even in situations where acid-loving species are being kept *unless* acidic pH levels are critical to their health (as with Ram cichlids for example).>
I don't know what else to test - everything is fine. I think my Elegans is okay, as he is active now. I might have caught him during a rest.
My two red phantoms definitely have pop eye but are active. I have noticed the one who had pop eye last night seems to have it a bit worse today.
<Would isolate these in another tank, and realistically, euthanise them.>
I've just examined every single fish and there is not a single symptom I can see. No loss of colour, fins are not clamped or torn, no white spots, no fungus. Nothing is visible other than the two with pop eye. All are active and eating.
<For Pleistophora, and perhaps other Sporozoans, the main transmission mode is when healthy fish peck at weak/dead fish, so it's important to isolate sick fish from the healthy ones.>
That is also how it was last night which is why I'm shocked that my sword and tetra, who appeared in perfect condition and were active and feeding were dead today.
I should also mention that none of my fish was dead for very long, in fact most of them that had died in a breeding trap.
<Would not use a trap. When isolating these fish, you absolutely should isolate them: another tank, and with nothing moving between this tank and the display tank. Euthanasia is often more practical.>
If one looked bad in the evening I would place him in the trap so the others couldn't consume the body in the event he died overnight. I had hoped this precaution would prevent any further contamination.
<It won't; circulation of water through the trap into the tank will allow pathogens to spread.>
Finally, my tank is well established and I have had no real problems with water quality or fish loss in the 2+ years it has been running.
I hope this additional can help you help me! Thanks again for your thoughts.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Follow up - It's wide-spread now - Please Help 12/2/09

Hi Neale,
Thanks very much for the prompt response.
<Not a problem.>
As expected, when I checked the tank first thing this morning I could barely tell apart the 4 remaining red phantoms from the 2 black skirted because all have lost all colour. They are essentially transparent now. I have moved them to another tank.
<Sad news.>
I've noticed that the tail of my remaining sword has a tiny little bit of raggedness on the tip (barely visible) which wasn't visible last night so I'm watching him closely.
<Do so; while I'd be surprised if he caught the same pathogen as the tetras, it's not impossible. The symptom you describe sounds more like physical damage, or possibly Finrot, though this latter isn't common in well run tanks.>
Otherwise he was happily devouring a catfish pellet this morning and was active.
Thankfully all Corys, the Farlowella and the Oto cats seem great, in fact they seem to be enjoying the new-found space.
<Also good news.>
The only positive in this is that the fish seem to be succumbing very quickly - it doesn't appear to be a slow decline so hopefully they aren't suffering too much.
<This is actually a typical characteristic of Sporozoan infections: by the time symptoms are visible, the fish is days away from death.>
One question - should I be doing 10% water changes more frequently than once/week to try to remove the pathogens, or keep to the weekly schedule?
<You aren't going to "dilute" the pathogens, so for the sake of simplicity, I'd stick with the usual 25% water changes per week.>
Thanks again, Neale!
<Sorry I can't offer anything more helpful. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Follow up - It's wide-spread now - Please Help
Thanks again, Neale.
Even though the news isn't great, your support is very helpful. I'll focus now on hoping the remaining fish survive.
<Good luck with it! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Follow up - It's wide-spread now - Please Help 12/3/09

Hi Neale/Crew:
I am probably taking a shot in the dark here but I'll ask anyway, regarding my ongoing saga of fish dying (see below and recent emails with Neale).
My six remaining tetras are still translucent with no colour whatsoever but they are eating and otherwise seem okay. They are in a separate tank. I don't hold out much hope but I see no signs of distress at the moment.
But I just witnessed something in my 20 gallon tank (which was the source of the significant fish loss recently - see past email thread). I have 5 Oto cats in that tank that have been there for roughly 4 weeks...not too long after I introduced them did I discovered the rosy tetras starting to decline.
I have never seen them bother with the other fish...however just now I put an algae wafer on the bottom and the Corys scurried over to eat. I saw two of the Otos also go to the wafer. Then one of the Otos tried to suction on to one of the Corys and was successful for a moment! He then tried to do the same with my sword who swam away. This is the first time I've ever seen one of the Otos interact with the other fish. The other fish seemed scared and went to hide.
<Unfortunately, this is very common behaviour. I have seen it myself, and I've mentioned it repeatedly here at WWM. The problem is that Otocinclus view the mucous on the flanks of fish as potential food. Whether they do this only when starving, or do it regardless, is not clear to me. But slow moving fish are targets, and this is one reason I keep telling people to shy away from Otocinclus, despite the sales pitch that they're "ideal small algae eaters". They are nothing of the sort!>
Wondering if this behaviour was just competition over the algae tablet...or is it possibly that my fish have been dying because of this?
<It can cause physical damage, and that should be obvious. I my case, the poor Awaous flavus goby had its flanks torn up, and a bacterial infection set in similar to Finrot.>
I know that there can be confusion between certain algae eaters, some being more aggressive than others, but I didn't expect that from Otos and hope they weren't the cause of my fish loss!
<I wouldn't expect Otocinclus to parasitise tetras.>
Again, a shot in the dark, I know, but thought I would ask.
Thanks again!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Neon Tetra with Ich and Pop/Cloudy eyes 8/30/08
I have a neon tetra with 1-2 spots of Ich and pop and cloudy eyes.
<Treat promptly for Whitespot and Finrot/Fungus. Here in England I'd be using eSHa 2000 and eSHa EXIT, medications for these complaints that are safe to use together. In your country the range of options may be different.>
I can also see white extended patches on his body.
<Well, if this is Neon Tetra Disease (Pleistophora) there isn't much you can do, but a combination Finrot/Fungus medication like eSHa 2000 would be if something less else.>
The fish is pretty strong, eats normally, swims normally and does not rub against rocks or plants. I isolated the fish in a hospital tank, but I'm wondering how I should treat it. I bought Melafix and a remedy for Ich,
<Melafix... largely useless.>
but I'm not sure which one I should use first. I'm also planning to buy food with antibiotics so that I can treat the intestines too. What do you suggest?
Thank you,
<Not a big fan of randomly treating for internal parasites unless there's evidence the fish is genuinely sick from them, and that's very difficult to judge. Antibiotics obviously have ZERO effect on the internal parasites that aren't bacteria, such as Pleistophora (a protozoan) and Camallanus (a helminth) so again, you need to know what you're dealing with rather than randomly pulling stuff from the shelves and hoping for the best. Cheers, Neale.>

Ick/Whitespot 7/22/08 Hi Guys, I added five new baby neon tetra's to my tank recently - it seems the neon's have all developed Ick/Whitespot. I already had 6 Neon's 2 guppies and a Sailfin Molly - these all appear to be fine. <So far at least... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollies.htm Do review the needs of Mollies, and also be warned Neons may nip the fins of fancy male Guppies.> I have read your articles regarding ICK and just wanted to confirm your recommendation for best way to treat. <Promptly!> I was just going to buy meds and treat the tank with meds and regular water changes. However from reading through your site would you recommend increasing temperature and treating with Salt instead? <Makes no odds either way. I tend to use commercial medications such as eSHa EXIT (a brand I find works well even with sensitive species like puffers) because it's easier. But if you want to use salt/temperature, go ahead.> I have added salt before but never with the neon's only with mollies/guppies can my neon's tolerate salt? also my temp is at 80f already is it safe to increase the temp further? <Neons should tolerate the very low salt concentration required, particularly if you build up the salinity across a few days. As for raising the temperature, I wouldn't. Temperature is about speeding up the life cycle of the parasite; in itself it isn't a "treatment" as such. The idea is that the salt only kills the free living parasite, so the sooner that phase begins, the better.> Thanks in advance Scott <Cheers, Neale.>

Cardinal with blister/worm? -05/07/08 Hello WWM Crew! First, I have to thank you for the invaluable resource that you provide to all aquarists. Your website is brilliant: a veritable mine of information! That being said, I (of course) have a problem. <Thanks for the kind words.> One of my cardinal tetras has me stumped. At first, I thought he/she had mechanical damage from running into something in their habitat. Later, a sizable white spot developed inside of a large, clear blister. Additionally, on this individual only, a large swatch of black has developed beneath the eyes bilaterally, stretching from the mouth towards his/her gills. The black "stripe" lies beneath the iridescent blue scales that cover the cardinals body. For the time being (and since the "blister" started to develop some time ago) the cardinal is acting entirely normal, schooling with the 29 others, eating extremely well, full cardinal colour, no scratching or abnormal behaviour. A second cardinal has begun to show the lighter/clear patch of discolouration that preceded the "blister." <Ah, given the "syndrome" is spreading, I'm obviously thinking about Pleistophora as a possible cause. Whilst Cardinals do not seem quite as susceptible as Neons, they can still catch the so-called "Neon Tetra Disease". There's no known cure, beyond breaking the cycle of infection, which seems to be sick/dead fish releasing infective stages that get into healthy fish. Isolating symptomatic fish is the preferred first step.> Tank specs: ammonia, nitrite, 0. Nitrate, less than 5, more than 0. Soft water, pH 6.8, mixed treated tap and RO. Fluorite substrate, heavily planted. Tankmates: 30 cardinals (two symptomatic), four M. altispinosus (asymptomatic), one SAE (asymptomatic). The tank has been fully cycled for about 6 months (fishlessly, so much easier! Why doesn't everyone do it this way?). The tank is kept at 82 degrees F. Partial water changes are done at least weekly (often times more often there is still sediment on all of the plants from the Fluorite!) and the gravel is vacuumed each time (around the plants). <All sounds ideal for tetras.> I found a reference on WWM to worms growing in blisters on a Raphael Cat. Is this one and the same? <Blisters can of course be caused by a variety of things. People get blisters from things as diverse as badly fitting shoes and Bubonic plague. So one should be very careful about assigning causes to just one symptom of this type. What's more specific to Pleistophora is changes in colouration, loss of appetite, shyness, and then eventually death. Infected fish, particularly species other than Neons, can last for many weeks even months before death.> I found the reference here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/catfshdisfaqs.htm . However, the same individual got two different answers from two different experts (you guys really are): "This is likely some sort of "worm" parasite (more likely a digenean trematode/fluke but maybe a nematode) The Paragon might help... there are other vermicides... Levamisole, Fenbendazole, Piperazine... that might be tried" and "The blisters are really bacterial infections eating away the flesh of the fish. Treat with Nitrofuranace after you do a 30% water change and serviced the filter." <Blisters can indeed be caused by both these things. Unless you're a microbiologist, it is really impossible to know what the problem is. So the best you can do is run through the likely causes one at a time, trying different treatments.> There was also a reference to Dieter Untergasser's "Handbook of Fish Diseases": "There is one treatment method suggested in there that sounds like it should work (method C6)." I am afraid that I do not have this book, as I have never had any trouble with disease in any of my tanks (well, I rehomed African Cichlids for someone else that had been horribly abused, but that required nothing more than better husbandry and a larger tank). I checked local libraries with no success. I will purchase it now, but I'm afraid it will be a couple weeks to arrive. May I enquire as to this "method C6"? <No idea I'm afraid. In any case, with very small fish, the fish often doesn't last long enough for the treatment to work. It's simply a size issue. So while I'd certainly consider isolating and treating infected fish as best as I could, in this case if it *does* seem to be "catchy", I'd perhaps painlessly destroy both fish to stop the problem spreading.> If this is what is mal-affecting my cardinal(s), how should I treat? Should I treat everyone in situ or should I remove the affected individuals to the hospital tank? Do I need to tear down the tank to stop everyone getting infected if this is a parasite? Would they best be treated orally or as a bath? If I have to treat in situ, is there a medication that is plant safe, or do I have to remove the plants? I have attached a photograph of the cardinal (and learned that cardinals are camera shy, and move fast!) that shows the blister, white spot, and black under his/her eyes. I just noticed that the photo makes the cardinal look like it has Popeye, but I can assure you that it is only a trick of the light. <Isolate the infected fish for sure; perhaps maintain them for 2-3 weeks simply by providing good food and water and see what happens. Treat with an antibiotic or antibacterial if you want. It is possible the blister is nothing worse than a secondary infection caused by (for example) fighting. In this case, you should see some signs of improvement. But if the fish continue to deteriorate, get back in touch. At worst, you've isolated the potential source of infection and your other tetras should be fine. I have long since given up keeping Neons because of the plethora of mystery diseases they seem to come supplied with. Cardinals, though more expensive, are tougher and better value in my experience. But even so, you might be unlucky.> Sorry for the novel of an email, but I wanted to provide you with all of the information I could. Thank you for all of your help, and the excellent resource you have compiled for all of us (it is becoming harder and harder to resist that reef tank). <So they tell me.> To you and yours, a wonderful day and weekend. Thanks, <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: FW Cardinal with blister/worm? 05/08/08 Hello Neale, Thank you for your advice on my cardinal issue. I have isolated him/her in a separate tank, and am working on catching the second. I hadn't even thought of NTD! Urg! The possibility didn't even cross my mind, since the fish is just as active as the rest of the school, and still the first to food. <Which all sounds positive, so fingers crossed the blisters heal by themselves.> There is also no white necrotic tissue present- only a clear blister (still with regular, bright colouration beneath, despite how the picture appears), with an Ich like spot inside. <Odd.> But...alarm bells ringing! When I took the cardinal out of the tank, I noticed that it does have a "lumpy" appearance. I hadn't noticed, because it is so subtle that you can't see it except when looking at the cardinal from above. <Well, keep an eye on things. Do provide the isolated fish with shade and good clean water so it isn't too unhappy.> As far as an anti-parasitic, do you have a recommendation that may work? <Wish there was. So far as I know, nothing works reliably, or even half the time.> I figure that if it is NTD, an anti-parasitic won't do any more harm. I would rather not sacrifice the fish if I do not have to, but in the event that they do begin to suffer, I will certainly break out the microscope. <I certainly hope the boffins at the "fish medication" labs come up with something for Pleistophora; it's a real plague and so depressing to watch. But breaking the cycle of infection/re-infection is essential, which is what you've done.> Thanks again, Tianna <Good luck, and keep us posted. Neale.>
Re: Cardinal with blister/worm? 5/10/08
Hello again Neale, I hope you are enjoying your weekend! <Indeed I am! A lovely summery sort of day here in England.> I think the mystery of the white-sphere-filled-blisters on the cardinals has been solved. I went to perform a water change on the hospital tank, and ARGH! What appeared to be nematodes, of all different lengths, free swimming in the tank. The white spot (which, I guess, is a mass of subcutaneous parasites) in one of the cardinals had shrunk considerably. <Never seen this, or even heard of it. Sounds quite nasty. In any case, I'd immediately use some sort of antibacterial/antibiotic to prevent secondary infections caused by the burst cyst. An anti-helminth drug such as Prazi Pro should deal with the nematodes. But that said, most worms have complex life cycles that can't be completed under aquarium conditions (for example, they need to go through a bird or snail before they can back into a fish). So provided there were no secondary infections and the Cardinal otherwise recovers, I'd actually be cautiously optimistic.> This brings up another question that I will beg your help with. <Indeed?> Since removing the two symptomatic cardinals from the display tank, the "mystery illness" had gone wild. Nearly half of the cardinals are now showing symptoms. Clearly, there are nematodes in the tank that I can neither see, nor remove. Would it be more beneficial to just treat the entire display tank, and stop torturing the poor fish in a "naked", uncycled hospital tank (especially if there are parasites living in the display that will simply reinfect the fish again)? <In an uncycled tank, you can use Zeolite to remove the ammonia directly, and that's cost effective and reliable with very small fish like Cardinals.> As my hospital tank is only 10 gal, I cannot realistically move all 30 cardinals plus the other inhabitants to tear down the display to disinfect. I could be wrong, but I think this would do more harm than good. <Agreed.> Before the "big break" in this mystery, I had purchased some of Seachem's Cupramine as a shot in the dark. Would this be effective against the subcutaneous nematodes, or would I be better served by exchanging it for something like Praziquantel (if I can find it)? <Cupramine is certainly worth a shot before trying anything else.> I always quarantine new livestock, so seeing this now, after several months in the tank and having been quarantined for a month prior to moving to this display is mind numbing. I guess nothing is fool-proof! <Quite. As I say, this disease is something I've never encountered. Possibly Bob Fenner can offer more advice.><<Sorry to say, RMF is out traveling and without sufficient internet access. -S.M.>> Thank you so very much for all of your help (both on this mystery, and the rest of this website!) <We appreciate your kind words.> Have a great weekend, Tianna <Enjoy your weekend, too. Cheers, Neale.>
Tetra illness question Oct 22, 2007 Crew, <David> As I was feeding my son's fish yesterday, I noticed one of his day Glo tetras was missing from the action. I found it in the back of the tank and it looked awful. It was bloated, opaque, had white spots on its sides, its face was yellowish, and its tail fin was looking ragged. Any idea what is wrong. <Mmm, yes... Likely the protozoan called "Ich"... though could be some other... e.g. Chilodonella...> Tank specifics 10 gallon tank 4 day Glo tetras 2 swordtails 1 male guppy The tank has fully cycled and has been running for 5 months. The guppy and one tetra were recently added (2 weeks ago), <Likely the vector/s here> but had gone through a full 28 day quarantine with no signs of disease. <Oh! Good for you> Tank also has a 15watt compact fluorescent bulb and 3 plants as well as some algae eating shrimp who like spectrum fish food and freeze-dried Tubifex worms a lot more than algae. Water parameters Ammonia = 0 Nitrite = 0 Nitrate = ??? (can't find my kit....Grrrr) <Maybe a factor, but not a definitive one. That is, the infesting agent had to be borne from somewhere> Temp = 80C General Hardness = 13 pH => 7.6 (top of scale) Any ideas as to what might be happening? Thanks for you help! David <I would treat as if this were Ich... unfortunately the temperature cannot be manipulated upward... as the livebearers don't tolerate this well. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm  and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Tetras with Ich 09/17/07 Dear crew, <<Hello, Evan. Tom with you.>> I have a 10 gallon tank with 4 Glowlight tetras and 3 neon tetras (I had 5 Neons originally but 2 died soon after arriving home from the LFS). That raises a question; one of the dead Neons was completely colorless when I found it. Could the cause of death been NTD? <<Could be, Evan, but not very likely. Your other Neon Tetras would have almost certainly contracted NTD by now and I cant guarantee that the Glowlights wouldn't have been affected, as well.>> If so: how long before any of my other fish exhibit symptoms? Its been over 2 weeks and I haven't noticed the fish acting sick. <<They have shown signs by now, Evan.>> Sorry for the digression, back to my original question. <<No problem.>> My tank has 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrites and less than 20 ppm Nitrates, temp 84F, pH 7.8. <<The pH levels are high for the Neons in particular, Evan. Not necessarily a problem but might account for some stress in these fish.>> 10 days ago I noticed the start of Ich on a couple of the Glowlights and I started a treatment of Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Super Ick Cure (Benzaldehyde Green and Povidone/Colloid mixture). I have been treating at half dose but following Doug Thamms recommendations found here: http://fins.actwin.com/articles/disease/ick2.php. I have the temperature at 84F and have performed 2 full administrations (5 mL initial dose followed by 5mL more 48 hours later, followed by WC after another 48 hours, and repeat) and I am in the middle of the 3rd administration (10th day). I have done 50% WC in between each. The treatment appeared to be working as the Glowlights had lost all of their white spots. <<Glad to hear this. Nice description of your regimen, by the way.>> Yesterday evening I noticed one of my Neons with Ich spots on its tailfin and body. Is it normal for the Ich to re-emerge during treatment? <<Not necessarily normal but certainly possible. Difficult to determine the resistance the parasites may have to the medication particularly at partial dosages.>> Should I increase the dosage strength to 100% doses? <<I wouldn't do this unless the problem looks like its getting the better of you and the fish. As I alluded to earlier, your Neons prefer water that's soft/acidic. Their preferred pH levels top out at about 7.0 which means your water is much higher in pH than they really like. This alone can contribute to diminished resistance to infestations such as Ich. Since medications also lead to stress, the least effective dosage that you can treat at will be far better in the long run.>> Should I just continue my treatment until no spots are left? <<Yes.>> Should I change medication to something like Quick Cure with Malachite Green/Formaldehyde? <<Not unless the API medication just doesn't do the job for you. The Malachite Green is highly effective but isn't without problems of its own. Highly toxic and has been described as a potential carcinogen. Not a treatment protocol to take lightly.>> Besides the Ich, the fish seem healthy, they are active and eat well. <<Very good signs, Evan.>> Thank you for your help. -Evan <<Happy to be of assistance to you. Good luck to you. Tom>>

Treating Discus with Ich - 8/14/07 Hi Crew, <Hi Greg, Pufferpunk here> I apologise for the long email up front. <It's ok, we need to know what's going on & how you've been treating.> I am having a bit of a problem getting rid of White Spot (Ich) from my well planted low-tech 6x2x2 Discus & community aquarium. The tank has been up and running for seven months and was fully cycled after three months. From day 1 the temp was set at 30C (approx 86F) and I didn't have any problems at all with disease etc, but Ich must have been in the tank somewhere as when I recently lowered the temp down to 28C (approx 82F) to help the plants grow I suddenly had an outbreak of Ich that I am having problems getting rid of it. <That's your problem right there. Discus' immune systems are compromised at lower temps. Never mind the fact that Ich dies off mush faster at higher temps (86-88 F).> So far I've had four 'attacks' against the Ich as follows: 1st Attack - I used 'Rapid Ich Remedy' which contained Formalin and Malachite Green, followed instructions as per the bottle (5mL per 20L = approx 150mL per dose) on days 1, 4 and 7 which cleared the Ich for about a week, then it came back. 2nd Attack - I again used 'Rapid Ich Remedy' following instructions as per the bottle (5mL per 20L = approx 150mL per dose) in terms of dose rate but I dosed on days 1, 4, 7, 10 and 13 which again cleared the Ich for about a week, then it came back. 3rd Attack - I used Waterlife's 'Protozin' (the double strength version) which I assume also contains Formalin and Malachite green as it looks & smells the same as the 'Rapid Ich Remedy' medication, followed instructions on the bottle (2.5mL per 75L = approx 25mL per dose) on days 1, 2, 3 and 6. This again cleared the Ich for about a week, then it came back yet again. 4th Attack (currently I'm on day 4 of this 'attack' & I'm getting desperate)... I'm again using Waterlife's 'Protozin' in combination with an Anti-Parasite medication for fish ponds (made by Interpet) which contains Formalin. I'm dosing as follows (don't freak out): A 13 day attack plan, where I'm dosing the Pond Anti-Parasite medication (25mL per 1,100L = approx 15mL per dose) on days 1,2,3,4,5,6 and 7 at 7:00AM and I'm also dosing Protozin (2.5mL per 75L = approx 25mLs per dose) on days 1,2,3,4,5,7,9,11 and 13 at 7:00PM i.e. each medication for the first 7 days is 12 hours apart. Note: I'm not performing any water changes during treatment but I usually change 20% of the water twice per week. Bad idea! Discus need 90% weekly water changes. During Ich outbreaks, 80% every other day is necessary to remove the free-swimming parasite from the water column. It shouldn't be necessary to treat Ich with any meds at all. High temps & 2tbsp salt/10gallong should be sufficient, along with large bi-daily water changes. Using all those different meds are just making the Ich stronger & the discus weaker.> I figure the 4th attack will either kill the Ich, and/or kill (and probably permanently preserve) the fish with all that formaldehyde, or perhaps the Ich and the Fish will survive and I'll likely give up and accept that I am stuck with Ich for the rest of this tanks life. I guess I could get rid of all the plants and fish except the Discus and then raise the temp up to 31 or 32 degrees C (approx 89F), as I figure the Ich will not cause too many problems at this temp for Discus. However I really don't want to go back to running my tank above 30 degrees C (approx 86F) as the plants (mostly Amazon swords, Ambulia and Water Sprite) don't like the higher temps at all, as everything looks and grows much better at 28C. I really like having a planted Discus aquarium and since all the fish get along so well its a shame to have to give into this single celled monster! <I have a fully planted discus tank. I don't use any of the plants you have listed. All my plants are also low-light species. Right now, I have many species of Crypts, Anubias, Java fern & Crinum. See: http://www.aquariumplants.com/Warm_Water_Discus_Plants_s/20.htm Many plants require CO2 supplementation (which I don't use). In addition, I add Yamato Green weekly (www.yamatogreen.com) & poke Jobe's Spikes under their roots, every 6 months.> Now you may be wondering how everything has held up through these multiple attacks against the Ich? Well during all the treatments so far I have not noticed any effect whatsoever on my biological filtration (no measurable NH3 or NO2) but then again the plants may well be taking care of NH3, NO2 and NO3 as they are still growing just fine through all of this. <Anti-parasitic meds do not harm biological filtration.><<Mmm, I would NOT make this statement. Many compounds sold as such definitely WILL affect, stall nitrification... directly and/or indirectly. RMF>> Even all the fish (including the supposedly fragile Cardinal & Rummy Nose Tetras) don't even seem to notice that they are being medicated at all, which makes me wonder if the medications are being negated by the plants or perhaps by something else? Like I said my 4th attack is quite brutal and I'm likely to suffer losses but I'm prepared to do almost anything to get rid of this stubborn Ich once and for all. Maybe I need to increase the dose rate? Maybe I need to try NaCl and raise the temp? <Now you're thinking in the right direction!> I have an 80L quarantine tank that I use for all new fish but it is not big enough to move all the fish in there for separate treatment. The QT is usually set at 30C and all fish that go through it get nuked by Multi-Cure (basically Methylene Blue, Malachite Green and Formalin) and then I watch them for a minimum of two weeks (total of a 3 week stay in QT) before fish are transferred into the main 6x2x2 display tank. I've never lost any fish apart from the odd Cardinal or Rummy nose using this method but I find them rather delicate at the best of times when purchased from the LFS - they always look starved! In case you need to know the tank is setup as follows: 6x2x2 glass aquarium with approx 600L of water 1x Eheim 2228 canister filter 1x Aqua One 2450 canister filter (UV-C is off during treatment) 1x air stone running 24/7 Temp at 28C (approx 82-83F) pH = 7.4 Hard tap water (treated with a double dose of Prime during each WC) 10 healthy young Discus (see attached photos) 5 Black Neon Tetras 12 Cardinal Tetras 15 Rummy Nose Tetras 5 SAEs 3 BNs 2 Sterbai Cory Catfish 4 Kuhlii Loaches Well planted (actually the plants are growing really well even throughout the treatment - see attached photos taken 3 days ago for reference) <Sounds/looks like a lovely tank! Lighting?> Any suggestions on what I'm doing wrong or what I can do to win this battle would be appreciated... thanks Crew! <Try my suggestions above. The plants may not be strong enough at this point to handle the treatment but I think the fish are worth the risk. ~PP> Regards, Greg Simpson Perth, Western Australia

Re: Treating Discus with Ich (or Neons in this case)... actually Cardinals...  Poor Advice... 8/15/07 Thanks for your quick reply Pufferpunk! <Sure!> It's actually not the Discus that seem to be effected by the Ich, it's the Cardinals! <That's what I get for assuming...> After a few weeks it's like they are slowly being sprinkled with salt and they 'flick' against the stems of plants (classic Ich symptoms in my opinion). I guess the poor Cardinals are feeling poorly from the anti-parasite medications and thus cannot resist the Ich as much as the stronger fish. <Yes, I believe so many meds will actually weaken the fish's immune system.> What about Copper based treatments? I hear copper can be quite effective too. <Copper is very effective but extremely dangerous, especially on weakened fish or used incorrectly. You could try a saltwater dip on them but they are so tiny!><<RMF would NOT SW dip small S. American Characins>> I guess after round 4 of my 'attacks' I'll try the higher temp & salt combination as round 5. <I think this is your best bet. Don't forget to do huge water changes every other day, trying to clean the substrate (as best you can with the plants), to remove the free-swimming parasites.> If that fails Copper based meds might be round 6. I hope this does not turn out to be a 12 round fight! I've kept tropical fish for 24 years and have never had such an issue with disease as I have this time around. I've had Ich before in smaller/less planted tanks and usually after a basic Ich treatment it's resolved for good. I must have a bad/resistant strain of it!!!! <Add Melafix to heal the wounds from the parasite boring into the fish. Good luck, let me know how it goes. I'm sure there is tons of info on Ich treatment at WWM. You can also read this: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/hospital/fwich/ ~PP><<This citation has NOTHING to do w/ FW Ich treatment... RMF>> Regards, Greg


Black neon tetra black spot?   3/4/07 Hi there... first of all, love this forum!  So informative. I'll give you a bit of background first.  I have got a 20gal freshwater tank.  Before Xmas had Neons, black Neons, guppies and zebra Danios...a few of each, we were gone for about 11days and I used one of those 12day feeder pucks... <Yikes... not nutritious at all... mostly a chalky mass. I would rather have risked leaving pre-measured foods out and a helpful neighbour... or purchased an automated (electric) fish feeder...> Not sure why it didn't work very well, could've been temperature of the house (we always turn it down when we're away) or lack of light?  (although in a well lit home lots of windows but made sure no direct sunlight so some blinds closed to be sure) When we came back I found the food puck was furry and guppies and Neons were all dead and decaying and stuck by the filter intake...quite a mess to come home to.  Is there any other way, or any suggestions why that process didn't work? <Yes... please see WWM re "Vacations"...> Anyway, since then I have tried to have an Oto for cleaning, and lost both, the last one had a string of clear poop and shortly thereafter died, and when I wrote to you found out that was probably a parasite.  I just recently got a Pleco, was holding off as they grow so big <Some species not so much...> and I have a few zebra Danios and black neon tetras left, was thinking of getting a couple of guppies and I was concerned w/Pleco taking after the fish. <This is rare... most don't chase, consume fish flesh unless they are dead...> Everything seems ok, he is doing an incredible job with the tank and since reading a few blogs have noticed that he too has a few 'lighter colored patches', that could be either an issue or just damage from being caught and transferred about (he came here that way) but acts good and eats well. <Good, and they are tough, and heal well> One of my black neon tetras has black spots, like pepper (although some are more like a dash - than a dot) on the upper side on the white part and just 2 spots on the white on lower part. Hopefully you can see it in the pic. <I do see them> I have found many places that say if it's black spot its easy to treat, however, if it's a tetra family using something like 'quick cure' with malachite green and formalin can be deadly and not good for the Pleco. <Correct. I would not use this, these compounds here> If this is a parasite that lives in the rocks (a fluke I think they called it) then wouldn't the Pleco probably be infected as well and just difficult to see with his coloring? <Mmm, if this were a trematode, it is highly likely it would be more species-specific, not "catching" across family lines...> I wasn't sure and kind of scared of treating the whole tank with quick cure as its quite noxious from what I've found... <Yes. Toxic> so I have a small 1/2gal fishbowl, moved the black neon into that and put an airstone in it and put about 1/3tsp aquarium salt in. <Mmm, I would not do this either... Characins of this sort don't "like" salts... and need a more stable environment...>   What now?  Is that right?  Is that enough to help him?  How long will it take?  I've also heard that the spots may not go away even though the parasite is...so how would I know when it's gone?  He's not flashing or anything, seems to eat well.  Also heard that salt dangerous for Pleco and the quick cure for both could be a problem too.....would love any and all feedback!  Thank you so much!!! Tamara <I would return this Black Neon to the twenty and not treat it actually at all. The spotted-ness is likely protozoan in nature... a Microsporidean... and neither really treatable nor that deleterious... I would leave this fish as is and not worry. Bob Fenner>
Re: black neon tetra black spot?  3/5/07 so...it's not black spot then? <?... many possibilities... granulomas, embedded Metacercariae...> Is that because some of them are dashes - instead of spots? <Is impossible to state for sure (w/o sacrificing the fish, examining microscopically), but this is a rather commonly occurring event...> What if we're wrong and it goes untreated? <Likely the same... nothing or death...> should it not be treated if its Microsporidean? Would it help if I increased water changes? <Mmm, in the case/possibility that this is a trematode... I would treat the system with Praziquantel... Is relatively non-toxic and specific to worm diseases. Bob Fenner>

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>

What are these things! FW Neons, Ich...    3/27/06 Dear WWM Crew, I have recently had all my neon tetras die. The first one to go (thing 1) had dropsy and was really sad because he had been a part of my aquarium for over a year. I went to the local aquarium to get two replacements to keep my second neon company. Within 2 days both of the new guys died. I tested my water and everything was fine. <Can't tell from here> The following day I bought another neon tetra and named in speckles (It had white dots sprinkled over its body and fins). <Perhaps if you named them after prophets...> This one soon died too, followed by my second neon tetra (thing 2). I noticed my other fish began having white dots as well. <Oops... likely not related... but Ich> (I have a flame tetra, two Gouramis, a Serpae tetra) Doing my research, I assumed Ich and began treating the tank with CopperSafe, as recommended by the aquarium store. <... I would NOT treat small characins/Tetras with Copper products... but half doses of Malachite Green, elevated temperature... posted on WWM> Paying closer attention to the tank, I can see many tiny white bugs moving on the glass and floating in the water that were not there before. <These also are very likely unrelated...> Can these white bugs be what is on my fish? Are they parasites hurting my fish? Thank you for your time, Jackie <The initial losses were probably due to simple differences in your store/sources water quality, acclimation and your system... the Ich was likely imported on some of the new fish... the bugs are likely living on the nutrients, food... You need to "step up" your maintenance, treat the Ich with something less toxic (likely clean the tank a bit first, or better, treat the fish elsewhere...), and not worry re the apparent "bugs". Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Rummy Nose Tetra with worm?  12/20/2005 I could sure use some help!  I have a rummy nose tetra that has a worm in his front right fin and I have treated him with Fluke Tabs and Aquari Sol (my tank had Ick) and the worm is still in the fin (must be internal).
<Might be> I have taken the fish out and put him in a hospital tank and  under a microscope to make sure the worm is in the fin and sure enough it is!  I have taken him to a fish store and chatted with a woman that has worked a lot of science when it comes to sick fish but even she was unsure what to do She told me she would look further for more information but could find nothing.  The fish is breathing heavy and flapping his fins.  I am very good with a scalpel and was thinking on cutting part of the fin off to remove the worm (clove oil to anesthetize??) <Mmm, possibly, but hard to do on such a small specimen...> and then treat with an antibiotic.  Under the scope I also found a very very light dusting of black dots that can only be seen under a scope.  I am thinking on doing the removal of the fin as a last resort.  I would appreciate any information you could give me as time is running out. Sincerely, I. Garrett <I would use an anthelminthic here. Please use this term in the Google search tool on WWM... Bob Fenner>

Characid Parasitology help sought Dear Sir, I feel most enthused in your marvelous efforts in elucidating parasites of Fish to the students all over the world. I have in my attachment an appeal onto where my research work lies. School of postgraduate Studies  Faculty of Biological Sciences Department of Zoology  University of Nigeria, Nsukka. 14- 05- 04.  Dear Sir, I praise your academic prowess, especially, in the area of fisheries parasitology. May your efforts and strength never waver in your imbued march towards bettering nature. I am a postgraduate research student in the above department and University, working on the parasites of Characidae in the Anambra River Basin, Nigeria.  The following are the objectives of this research work:  à There is scanty relevant parasitological information on fisheries development and management in Nigeria. An informed reason to fill the gap. à Fish are the most readily available animal protein both in the hinterland areas and cosmopolitan areas of Nigeria. Our over 120 Million population is the largest consumer of fish in Africa. So, there is burning desire to ensure availability of fish in our meals thereby ridding them of these parasites.  Sir, I am in great need of your assistance, which is inevitable to the accomplishment of this Research work. Such assistance is needed in the following areas:  The latest scientific methods, materials on the parasitic investigations on Characidae.  ü The parasites of the Characidae.  The aforementioned are fulcrums that will pilot the research to a logical success.  I would be grateful if my request is delivered.  Thank you.  Your sincerely,  ECHI, PAUL CHINEDU  paul_echi@yahoo.com Thank you. <Paul, will post your request for others response. We don't "do" research per se (but relate others experiences), but am hopeful your message will be found. Have you contacted the Smithsonian asking for reference help? I would. Bob Fenner>

Neon tetras that change colour... Hi. I have found your information about neon tetra very useful, but I am confused about "neon tetra disease".  I first got a fish tank two years ago and have kept neon tetras in this time.  It didn't take me long to notice that when they changed colour that this is bad, but the fish did not always die but change back and remain healthy. <Mmm, Neons do change color sometimes due to "mood", time of day, interactions with each other... not always indicative of disease> (I have had one particular neon tetra for 2 years now).  Is this colour changing due to "neon tetra disease" or is it just stress or bad water? <This Sporozoan infection is almost always fatal, and quite distinctive (loss of blue coloring distally): http://freshaquarium.about.com/cs/disease/p/neondisease.htm I don't think your fish have this ailment> I really like my neon tetras and hope that there is something I can do about this phenomenon. Thanks Dani. <Read on. Bob Fenner>

Cardinal problem Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2005 Hey there, I was wondering if you'd be able to help me with something. I have had FW tanks for a long time but have not had any real luck with setting up a school of either Neons or cardinals. My current "failure" is a discus planted tank. It is a 46 gallon bowfront tank with 6 discus and 3 clown loaches. <Too crowded... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/discusfish.htm > The water conditions are NO3 is 20ppm, NO2 is 0, hardness is 120, alkalinity is close to 0 and pH of 6.4ish. Temp is 85F. The discus are doing fine and I do daily water changes of 5-10 gallons using RO water mixed with 1/2 gallon of regular non-RO water (for the plants).  <Good practice!> Discus show no signs of stress and live normally. I brought home 11 cardinals about a week ago which I bought at a LFS. They all seemed fairly ok even though a lot of them had skinny stomachs (due to lack of food I'd guess). <Yes, common> I first placed them in a quarantine tank, losing about 4 in a few days. After 5 days, and the rest of the cardinals looking ok, I moved them to my discus tank hoping for some survival. few days later, I am looking at 3 fish left (which do eat) but are covered in Ich. <Yikes... should keep quarantined... for a few weeks> none of the other fish show any kind of Ich or other diseases. The temp is high (for discus) and I was thinking ICH wouldn't live, but these cardinals are covered. <Likely will die there> I am at a loss here. Please help if you can see what I am doing wrong. Thanks, DK (P.S. I'd even go to Neons if that meant they would live better, but I read somewhere that cardinals take the high temp better.) <This is correct... I would try again, with a new batch of Cardinals.... but quarantine them longer... slowly raise the water temperature (am sure the store did not have them in the 80's F) to the Discus water conditions, fatten them up first. Bob Fenner> 

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