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FAQs on Freshwater Disease Diagnosis

Related Articles: Freshwater DiseasesToxic Situations, FW Disease Troubleshooting, Ich/White Spot Disease, Choose Your Weapon: Freshwater Fish Disease Treatment Options by Neale Monks,

FAQs on Freshwater Disease: Freshwater Disease 1, Freshwater Disease 2, Freshwater Disease 3, FW Disease 4, FW Disease 5, FW Disease 6,
FAQs on Freshwater Disease by Category:
Environmental, Nutritional,
Social, Trauma, Genetic, Pathogenic (plus see Infectious and Parasitic categories below), Treatments 

& Aquarium MaintenanceFreshwater MedicationsFreshwater Infectious Disease, Freshwater Fish ParasitesIch/White Spot DiseaseNutritional Disease, African Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid Disease

Freshwater tropical parrotfish; HITH      9/10/17
Hi
Could you tell me of something called Hith my fish has a tiny white spot on top of its head and someone on another website says it looks like hith but I've never heard of it
<HITH is an abbreviation standing for "Hole in the Head" disease. The "holes" go into the head of the fish, as opposed to the white pimples characteristic of Whitespot (Ick) so it is generally easy enough to tell the two diseases apart. HITH is a difficult disease to treat unless you use Metronidazole, which is the best medication available for the disease. HITH may be related to a parasitic organism called Hexamita, which infects and destroys the sensory pores in the skin, but the trigger is invariably environmental stress. In the case of cichlids -- which are more prone to HITH than any other freshwater fish -- low oxygen, high nitrate, and a poor diet (no fresh greens) seem to be the "holy trinity" of causal factors.
Prevention is better than cure, but in its early stages, HITH can be treated with Metronidazole, as mentioned earlier. Follow the instructions carefully, including removing carbon from the filter during medication.
Cheers, Neale.>

Help....!      8/16/17
I had high ammonia levels, and have been treating this fish in a 40lt hospital tank.
I don't want to loose him.
Been using prime and also API MelaFix.
<... the latter is of no help. I would cease using it>

Tank just has a heater 25.4 c and a air stone in it. Changing water every day and adding more API MelaFix.
Any ideas what I am dealing with?
<Appears to be an infected area resultant from some sort of physical trauma... Need a list of species, spec's on the system, water quality tests, foods/feeding... to render better (useful, accurate) guess/es>
Suggestions?
<Data please>
Thanks
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>


Some kind of gill disease.... (RMF? Anything to add?)<Nada mas>     4/3/17
I have a 54 gallon female Betta community. I added some new fish about 6 months ago...and it began with mollies. The parameters are 0 ammo,0nitrite,20 nitrate. My water comes out hard so I soften it with peat and driftwood. About a month ago, one molly died from apparent swim bladder. One zebra Danio was looking extra skinny so I moved him to another tank with my king Betta because i thought his companions were out competing him for food. I've since lost 2 neons. Last week I noticed a molly with a bruised gill so I took him out and QT'd. He's also growing fungus on it a week later. The king Betta and skinny Danio are also exhibiting signs so I threw the molly in with them and have begun treating with maracyn 2 for the gills and maracyn oxy for the fungus. I checked out the other tank inhabitants and it's hard to tell because the Bettas are mostly red or dark, but I did noticed red gills one of the lighter ones. I also have snails, shrimp, and cories in the tank...I'm hoping you
can help me with possible diagnoses and treatment.
Thanks so much,
Ivy
<Ivy, my golden rule to diagnosing fish is this: one or two fish getting sick, might be a parasite or pathogen; whole succession of different fish getting sick, it's the environment. So the fact you've got soft water is one red flag -- Mollies will not (usually) live in soft water for long, and if the water is very soft, the pH can drop between water changes, causing serious health problems for all fish. You don't mention water chemistry, so I'd be getting the hardness and pH tested ASAP. If you don't have any test kits for this, many shops will do this for you, but I'd still recommend any fishkeeper grabbing, at the very least, those easy to use dip-strip all-in-one water chemistry testers. They aren't 100% accurate, but they're good value and easy to use. Random medication is a bad idea anyway, but given many medications are toxic to snails and shrimps, you need to be super-careful what you do. Basically, try and figure out what's wrong with the tank before you do anything else. Large, frequent water changes (say, 25% a day for the next week) should stabilise things, but I'd also be removing the peat and driftwood to ensure background acidification is prevented. Using a fresh batch of carbon in the filter for a few days isn't a bad idea either, as carbon will remove acid-causing chemicals like tannins quite effectively. Dispose of the carbon after a week or so.
Cheers, Neale.>

Community (FW) tank issues... Mystery losses   /RMF   3/3/17
Hi,
I wonder if you can help me. I have something going on in my community tank. It is a 240 litre tank. Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 40
<Mmm; I'd use this measure as a general indication of your overall water quality
. Would endeavour to keep it less than 20 ppm. There are a few approaches to this; all gone over on WWM; but regular partial water changes; gravel vacuuming, careful feeding... perhaps some use of live plants, should keep it in range>
and Ph 7.6. A third of the water is changed weekly.
<Good>
For a couple of weeks I have had a few of my hardier fish, Rosy Tetra, Harlequins and Honey Gourami die. I first noticed their poop was odd. It was white and fluffy. Then I noticed my gourami were starting to look very stocky and then bloated and die. Their colour towards the back of their body is losing colour and going pale.
<Something/s amiss here environmentally.
Have you added a rock, wood recently? Had spraying done in the garden? Perhaps a toxin from someone's hands...>
They have recently been treated with both ESHa 2000 and ESHa Hexamita.
Then a few of the fish had Whitespot so treated with ESHa Exit and have seen no signs of Whitespot since the three day course was up. I have medication for internal bacteria due on Saturday and Furan 2, Tetracycline, Kanaplex and PraziPro on order from America (not sure when they will arrive). In the last 3-4 weeks I have lost 2 dwarf gourami, 2 Harlequins, 1 Honey gourami, 1 red honey gourami, 1 black Phantom Tetra, 3 Rosy Tetra and a Cory Catfish. Four weeks ago I had a bad batch of frozen food that killed off 2 of my Bettas and made some others sick but they died within a couple of days so I don't think the food would be the culprit in my community. I was wondering whether it was an internal bacteria causing the issues or whether a parasite. I don't want to medicate wrongly so any advice would be
greatly appreciated.
Many thanks
Sammie
<Nothing stated jumps out as trouble Sammie. Am given to suggest a massive water change out and use of chemical filtrant (like Chemipure and/or Polyfilter) in your filter flow path. The last may change color in the presence of too much of some chemicals; granting us clues. I don't suspect a pathogen (biol. agent) here; as the mix of species lost doesn't fit such a pattern. Bob Fenner, who will ask Neale to respond independently>
Re: Community (FW) tank issues... Mystery losses      3/3/17
For some reason I cannot get the nitrates to go any lower even with frequent water changes
<Strange... should go down like half w/ half the water changed. Am wondering if your test gear is off?>
and I cannot physically fit in any more plants.
<Ooooh, a plug here for my fave: Watersprite, Ceratopteris... you can just float a bit...>
I had a problem last year where I had used liquid carbon and my nitrates went off the charts and it took two weeks of daily 60-80% water changes to get a reading under 160 ppm. It has been at 40 for months now. I have approximately 20 various tanks at the moment and this is the only tank with this problem.
<Ahh! I would definitely MOVE your remaining livestock elsewhere then; tear this tank down, bleach all and re-set up>
I don't share nets, jugs or siphons. I make a point of my hands being clean and rinsed before putting them in the tank.
<You are wise here>
I have never seen poop that looks like cotton wool before. I am completely stumped at what is happening.
<Mmm; do you have access to a microscope (w/ USB hook up) of a few hundred power? I'd like to see some shots of this poo. Bob Fenner>
Re: Community (FW) tank issues... Mystery losses      3/3/17
I have ordered new substrate and a USB microscope to be delivered tomorrow.
<Yay! I've got one w/in arm's reach right here>
If I gut and bleach the tank what do I do about my filter?
<I'd nuke/bleach it too>
Do I keep it or use half the media from another tank or run a fish in cycle? Also I have hundreds of pounds of plants in my tank. Can they be dipped in potassium permanganate so that they don't go to waste?
<Oh! IF wanting to save them (I would); I'd drain the tank down, refill and just let run w/o fish livestock for a month or longer... Try some test fish after this. Bob Fenner>
Re: Community (FW) tank issues... Mystery losses      3/3/17
Can I just check I have everything clear?
<Certainly>
I have an empty 200 litre tank. I can set it up for the fish. I run a spare basket of filter media (in case of emergencies) in my Betta sorority.
<Ah, outstanding>
If I use that on my new filter then the fish from the existing community will have some good bacteria. Is that right?
<Yes>
My 240 litre I will break down and bleach. I will dip the plants in potassium permanganate replant them in the 240 litre in new substrate.
<DO take great care w/ the use of KMnO3; a dangerous oxidizer... Do you have access to Alum? MUCH safer and about as effective>
Can I clean out the filter, add new media and run that in the tank or do I need a whole new filter?
<The filter can be re-used after bleaching, rinsing...>
I will run that tank empty for 4 weeks. Add tester fish. If all is ok move the fish back to the larger tank.
<Yes>
Hopefully then I will have happy, healthy fish. Would you medicate the fish?
<No; I would not. Medication/s at this juncture would just further weaken the fishes>
Many thanks
Sammie
<As many welcomes. Bob Fenner>
Mysterious FW losses; Neale        3/4/17

Hi,
I wonder if you can help me. I have something going on in my community tank. It is a 240 litre tank. Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 40 and Ph 7.6.
A third of the water is changed weekly. For a couple of weeks I have had a few of my hardier fish, Rosy Tetra, Harlequins and Honey Gourami die. I first noticed their poop was odd. It was white and fluffy. Then I noticed
my gourami were starting to look very stocky and then bloated and die.
Their colour towards the back of their body is losing colour and going pale. They have recently been treated with both ESHa 2000 and ESHa Hexamita. Then a few of the fish had Whitespot so treated with ESHa Exit and have seen no signs of Whitespot since the three day course was up. I have medication for internal bacteria due on Saturday and Furan 2,
Tetracycline, Kanaplex and PraziPro on order from America (not sure when they will arrive). In the last 3-4 weeks I have lost 2 dwarf gourami, 2 Harlequins, 1 Honey gourami, 1 red honey gourami, 1 black Phantom Tetra, 3 Rosy Tetra and a Cory Catfish. Four weeks ago I had a bad batch of frozen food that killed off 2 of my Bettas and made some others sick but they died within a couple of days so I don't think the food would be the culprit in my community. I was wondering whether it was an internal bacteria causing the issues or whether a parasite. I don't want to medicate wrongly so any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Many thanks
Sammie
<<I would agree with BobF has already said about this. But this was me, from the perspective of someone in the UK for whom antibiotics are not an option, I would do the following: Remove the fish to a bucket, put a towel over it to keep them warm, and then set about deep-cleaning the tank. I'd thoroughly rinse the gravel (in case there's something buried in there causing severe pollution, whether a dead animal or something metallic/toxic) and I'd chuck out anything un-cleanable and inexpensive (such as cheap but usually non-aquatic plants prone to dying/decaying after a few weeks or months). I'd look at the rocks to double check there's no seams of metal visible, and again, remove anything I wasn't 100% sure isn't aquarium-safe (for example coconut shells that have started to go rotten or ornaments of dubious origin, such as seashells). Although I'd handle the biological media reasonably carefully, I'd otherwise deep clean the other
types of media, chucking out any carbon that was in the tank. I'd then rebuild the tank using as close to completely new water as possible, properly dechlorinated (using, I'd suggest, new water conditioner if your existing bottle was more than a year old). I'd acclimatise the fish back to the new tank as if they were fresh from the shop, letting them adapt to the
water chemistry in stages rather than simply dropping them straight back in. I'd not medicate unless anything was positively identified, though I do find eSHa 2000 to be a good general purpose antibacterial that works in many cases where the exact cause cannot be identified. I wouldn't add any new fish until at least a month had passed from the last fatality.
Sometimes "time is the best healer" and letting the tank settle down does the trick. Eventually the disease-causing organism either wipes out everything in the tank, or simply kills off only those species unable to resist it, and either way, you're left with species and specimens somehow able to fight off the infection. As mentioned, wait a while before adding anything new, and personally, I'd avoid buying any species partly or completely wiped out, sticking with those species demonstrably able to tolerate whatever you were dealing with before. Cheers, Neale.>>
re: Mysterious FW losses; Neale        3/4/17

Thank you for your input Neale,
I have just received new soil substrate so will throw away the sand. I don't have non aquatic plants. I learnt the hard way after keep buying plants that died what was aquatic and non aquatic.
<I would not use soil in tanks without plants. You will likely get algae problems galore! Soil substrates contain various nutrients that stimulate plant growth, but stimulate algal growth too! If you have fast-growing plants (Hygrophila for example) these will out-compete the algae given bright light, so this isn't an issue. But if you have no plants, or only
slow growing species (Crypts, Java Fern, Anubias, etc.) then the algae can and probably will take over. Been there, done that! In tanks without plants, you need to minimise substrate so far as practical. Even deep gravel or sand beds can accumulate wastes, slowing "digesting" them into nutrients algae can use. Thin substrates are much easier to keep clean, so water changes will remove any nutrients before the algae has a chance to get started.>
I do have a very large piece of Mopani wood in the tank. Do you think that it may possibly have absorbed toxins that are leeching back into the water?
I will throw away all the wood just incase.
<It is certainly possible for wood to absorb chemicals, though soaking for a few weeks should remove them. An old trick is to place in the cistern of the loo. With each flush, the cistern refills with new water, removing tannins and chemicals from the wood. Doing this for a few months was standard practise when people collected their own wood and cured it at home. Commercial collectors normally do this for bogwood, so we hobbyists don't bother any more. But if you suspect the wood, giving it another soak for a few weeks will do no harm.>
I only have a cave, Mopani wood and many plants in the tank, no ornaments, seashells, rocks or coconut caves etc.
I do have maracyn 2 antibiotics and I have other antibiotics that I am waiting to be delivered. I didn't want to use antibiotics if the fish cannot cope with them but if you hank they might help then I do have them available. I did try ESHa 2000 and although it is excellent it did not help.
<Understood. It isn't an antibiotic, so isn't as good as things like Maracyn once fish become really sick. But it's a very good first choice for EU aquarists when fish start looking off-colour with the start of Finrot or whatever.>
The water conditioner is new. Never lasts more than a couple of months before it is run out.
I will definitely take your advice on acclimatising the fish. I won't restock until I know the tank is healthy again.
With regards to the filter I don't use carbon, I have new sponges and filter wool I can use but should I keep the bio rings or use a spare basket of bio balls that I keep in the filter of my Betta sorority?
<I probably wouldn't put anything from this tank into another, no. Simply placing live media in bowls of room temperature water will keep it alive for days, so there's no need for anything more complex.>
Thank you.
<Welcome. Neale.>

re:      3/5/17
Hi Bob,
<Sam>
The microscope turned up and the fish decided to be modest and be discreet about their toilet habits. This is the best I could manage to get. Hope it helps.
Sammie
<What magnification is this? Am wondering if some of the white twisty blobs are Nematodes?
Bob Fenner>

re: Less than Mysterious losses       3/6/17
Was just about to re-message you when I saw your message. I was just about to start my tank change over when I noticed two black phantom tetras pooping what looks to be worms. Red and threadlike. I have read up Camallanus worms and this looks very similar to this. Could this be the source of the deaths?
<Yes; could be>
I have tried to read how to treat and get rid of them and the information is very confusing.
As for the Nitrates I have tested my tap water and this is 40ppm Nitrates,
<... VERY disconcerting
. I would NOT personally drink this water. I take it you have some sort of water conditioning system for your potable uses. IF not I would (and do) use a reverse osmosis device for such. ALSO I would take care to reduce this NO3 in your system and NOT change more than a quarter volume out at any given time w/ this source water>
0.25 ammonia
<?! You need to treat your new water before it is used.
I would have you read through SeaChem's site re: http://seachem.com/conditioners.php
and 0 nitrite. I removed a very large piece of Mopani wood from my tank
<Good; saw that you had mentioned its presence to Neale. Likely a source of trouble here
>
as I have had it for months and with it still leeching tannins in the water I thought it might be possible it is also leeching something nasty. Two hours after the water change I tested the water and the reading was identical to the tap water reading. Retested the water 12 hours later and the nitrates are registering at approximately 30ppm
<Ah good. Bob Fenner>

disease help; FW myst.        9/27/16
Hello-
<Ter>
I cannot figure out what to do about our tank. The shop I use says we are doing everything right but yet we keep losing fish.
<Let's see... there are a few categories of "anomalous/mysterious losses" in terms of cause, appearance>
1) We test water every day. One a month it gets serviced. It gets freshened every week. We use aquarium salt.
<Test results please... what is included in this "service"? Do you change water weekly? How much? Why do you use "aquarium salt"?>
2)We have something in the tank as this started a year ago and takes out a fish every one at a time.
<.... something?>
3) It starts with a totally healthy fish slowing down. Swimming oddly, tilting, then will suddenly swim fast and "crash" into things. Stop eating. Stay near bottom. Then their body "deforms" and gets skeleton like and bends in half. Then it dies and it breaks our heart. Their tail and fins clamp in and look like they start to shrink.
<Good description>
4) I am now removing them from tank and separating them. Once removed they seem to improve.
<A good clue>
I am treat them with the parasite med and revive. They eat, but not much.
They have a large white potty that I am told is the parasite.
<Maybe... do you have a loupe, or low power microscope; esp. one you can connect via USB to take a pic to send?>
And one would think the fish would them improve. But no, then they start bending in half and die. And it takes them awhile and nothing we do helps which makes you feel horrible.
5) No one else sees it, but I swear half their body looks like it is not as shiny(back half). Like it has a very dusting of grey. But it is not super obvious and others say it is just my eyes.
<Mmm; could you send along a well-resolved photo of one of these fish?>
6) I have fed the food I was supposed to(medicated for three weeks now. I treated the tank as I was told. And yet it strikes yet another after a few weeks.
Can anyone please help me get whatever this is out of our tank?
<Could be that this is "something" pathogenic (involving a disease causing organism); but I suspect there is something in the tank itself... a decoration, substrate contaminant... that is poisoning your fishes. We/you could remove all items, experiment by putting each one in a separate system w/ some "test fish".... Myself, I'd place a pad of PolyFilter in your filter/circulation path and note what (if any) color the pad changes to.
Need the above questions answered, the test results shown>
Thank you,
Teresia
<Glad to help. Bob Fenner>
disease help. Panic in Detroit... whoo, whoo, whoo whoo!       9/28/16

Hello-
<Ter>
I cannot figure out what to do about our tank. The shop I use says we are doing everything right but yet we keep losing fish.
<Let's see... there are a few categories of "anomalous/mysterious losses" in terms of cause, appearance>
1) We test water every day. One a month it gets serviced. It gets freshened every week. We use aquarium salt.
<Test results please... what is included in this "service"? Do you change water weekly? How much? Why do you use "aquarium salt"?>
>The filter change, the cleaning, the water, the works. I do a small change weekly and test daily. We were told the platies like a tad of salt in their water.<
<<Ok>>
2)We have something in the tank as this started a year ago and takes out a fish every one at a time.
<.... something?>
>That something I think after a ton of reading is Mycobacteriosis<
3) It starts with a totally healthy fish slowing down. Swimming oddly, tilting, then will suddenly swim fast and "crash" into things. Stop eating. Stay near bottom. Then their body "deforms" and gets skeleton like and bends in half. Then it dies and it breaks our heart. Their tail and fins clamp in and look like they start to shrink.
<Good description>
4) I am now removing them from tank and separating them. Once removed they seem to improve.
<A good clue>
I am treat them with the parasite med and revive. They eat, but not much.
They have a large white potty that I am told is the parasite.
<Maybe... do you have a loupe, or low power microscope; esp. one you can connect via USB to take a pic to send?>
>No. I am a mom who tries to take the best care of the fish I can. I have no microscope. I can't get a photo because my camera cannot pick it up. And by the time someone would show up who might have that the string is gone.
And one would think the fish would them improve. But no, then they start bending in half and die. And it takes them awhile and nothing we do helps which makes you feel horrible.<
5) No one else sees it, but I swear half their body looks like it is not as shiny(back half). Like it has a very dusting of grey. But it is not super obvious and others say it is just my eyes.
<Mmm; could you send along a well-resolved photo of one of these fish?>
Most say they can't see it at all with their eyeballs. No way any camera is going to get this as it is just me knowing the fish. Most are babies that I ended up raising as the fish seem to think I am a fish breeder.
6) I have fed the food I was supposed to(medicated for three weeks now. I treated the tank as I was told. And yet it strikes yet another after a few weeks.
Can anyone please help me get whatever this is out of our tank?
<Could be that this is "something" pathogenic (involving a disease causing organism); but I suspect there is something in the tank itself... a decoration, substrate contaminant... that is poisoning your fishes. We/you could remove all items, experiment by putting each one in a separate system w/ some "test fish".... Myself, I'd place a pad of PolyFilter in your
filter/circulation path and note what (if any) color the pad changes to.
Need the above questions answered, the test results shown>
>The description of Mycobacteriosis is dead on what is going on here. After reading a very large article it appears there is no preventative, no treatment and no way to kill it. It also sounds like this brand new very expensive 26 gallon tank we got because of all the babies is garbage as it says disinfecting doesn't do the job. They call it fish TB and it can be
transmitted to humans.
I am in over my head.<
<<Mycobacteria are omnipresent... and rarely/never act alone as causes of mortality. Again; I suspect there is/are environmental factor/s at work here>>
If you know a fish vet or someone who has dealt with this who can be hired we are outside of Boston in Sudbury, MA. I will try because we feel awful but I see no options in this article at all.
I will ask the place I use to see if they can drop off a PolyFilter and get those results to you. We have an appointment next month.
Thank you for trying to help me. I honestly could cry. What a disaster this has turned out to be and I did everything I was told :(
<<Don't "catastrophize"; a solution may be near at hand. A useful clue would be what sort of life IS persisting here. B>>
Thank you,
Teresia
<Glad to help. Bob Fenner>
Re: disease help.... Platies      9/28/16

I don't know how to figure this out.
<Take your time.... of what IS known re fish diseases; most all is easy to understand w/ a bit of study>
In way over my head. The shop is bringing me a new med tomorrow.
<.... not likely to be of use. NOT a pathogen involvement here>
2 more fish sick now and one showing a tiny white spot on its back(no others have this). That makes one deformed and sideways, 2 sluggish, 1 deforming before my eyes. All platies.
<READ here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/platydisf5.htm
and the linked files above

If you know anyone near me who does know what he hell they are doing and how to tackle this by all means tell them I will pay for help.
Sorry I am having a hard time telling our conversations below apart as they color I added to my reply is now gone for some reason...
Teresia
<Read for now... for comprehension, not reply. Bob Fenner>
Re: disease help        9/29/16

Thank you.
<Welcome>
I will read through this and hope that something is similar to what is going on here.
<Am hopeful "something" will become clear/er to your conscious thus>
The shop came by today. They have not seen a thing like this.
It seems platies are having all kinds of problems. Perhaps a hardier fish in the future for my kids.
<Agreed. Mainstream livebearers (mollies, platies, guppies, swordtails) are rubbish compared w/ decades back. Consider small danios, Rasboras, barbs.... See/read on WWM re FW livestocking. B>
Re: disease help        9/29/16

Thank you very much. I just wish I knew exactly what this horrible issue was exactly.
<Stop "saying no" to yourself... Closes off your mind to infinite possibilities. Study and learn, be satisfied that you ARE DOING your best to become yourself.
B>

Community tank; hlth. concern     8/30/15
2 days ago I inherited a friends 75 gal with 2 Bala sharks (under 5 inches), 3 clown loaches( under 2 inches), 2 red fin rainbow sharks ( under 2 inches), 5 long fin zebra danios (about an inch each), and 2 Madagascan rainbow fish.
<Rainbows are social, shoaling species>
He brought the water they have been in for about a month, with the same substrate and filters. So its not quite a new tank. It was not cleaned, just taken apart, brought over and put back together. The water test shows ammonia 0, nitrate and nitrite 0,
<Zero nitrate? Unusual>
pH 7.1, hardness 100(closest), alkalinity 130. Water temp at 75°F. Waterfall filtration system handles up to 100 gal and is set at a med flow rate. Has 2 aeration stones.
This morning a clown loach, and both Madagascan rainbow fish died. The loach was super skinny, like it was not eating. The rainbow fish seemed fine last night. Early the rainbows seemed listless and not swimming.
Within 30 min of noticing they were both dead. Watching the other fish there seems to be no issues, no flashing, bloated bellies, spots of any color, no extra slime, poops all look normal.
<Something awry environmentally here... perhaps transient ammonia>
The fish in this tank are fed flake, crisps and shrimp pellets with occasional cucumber and zucchini.
I am stumped as to what happened. Any ideas?
<Can only guess; direct you to read HERE: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdistrbshtart.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
re: Community tank       8/31/15

Thanks. I re tested the tank this morn. The only difference was nitrate was 20.
<Ahh; that's more like it>
I probably messed up the first test. Its the first time I used anything other than strips.
<See WWM re... strips are neither accurate nor precise>
I did a lot if digging last night and found what probably happened to the clown loach. Wasting disease?
<No.... reading>
It's the only thing that fits. The remaining 2 clown loaches seem skinny too.. One is in bad shape, hanging at the tip of tank with mouth open. He's not gasping, just skimming just under the surface. The other came out to eat the shrimp I ran out to buy at 1 am..
I'm looking at the only picture of the rainbows and on one is a little white spot with what looks like slime trailing off it. I asked my friend about when he set everyone up in the tank. The rainbows were bought 2 days before he brought the tank over. (Tank was against his lease agreement and landlord found out..) He's had all the other fish about a month, he cycled
the tank empty for 3 weeks before adding any fish.(I think 4 weeks with a feeder fish would have been better) I'm thinking the rainbows were sick before he bought them. Should I call the store and let them know about possible illness?
Bre
<You should read. BobF>
re: Community tank       8/31/15

Hullo again, I'm starting to feel like a pest! ;) update on the sick clown loach. I went to storage and dug out my 20 gal and heater used the water from the main tank, I used one of the filter deals from main tank in the "new" system.
<Good>
I'm trying to recreate the main tank as much as possible. I don't have time to cycle this "sick" tank. I picked up some parasite/de wormer.. Quite hard to find. I had to drive over an hour to get to the only closest place that has both Levamisole hydrochloride AND Metronidazole. I have now placed both clown loaches in the "sick" tank and have medicated. I did remove the carbon.. Both loaches have eaten, but the poor guy with the open mouth is struggling. His mouth is open and never closes.
<Not good>
I have searched, read through link after link here, and talked to the guy at the specialty fish store. He didn't have a clue. As I netted him(the fish) to move him into the "sick tank" I checked carefully to see if something was lodged in his jaw, I just can't tell. These guys are not even 2 inches long. He did manage to eat a tiny bit of cucumber. I'm glad I decided to treat both as the "healthy" guy is skinner that I originally thought. He's eating well, but his poop is not looking right. Its thin, whitish and clear. Hopefully this treatment will work. My hubby will be a little ticked at the money spent today on this fish if they both die. Any other tips, links, info would be extremely welcome. Thank you for your time and expertise!
Bre
<The treatment, hope and time going by. BobF>
re: Community tank       8/31/15

Second update.. Regarding the Madagascan rainbows. My friend took them back to the store he bought them from. Turns out the whole lot of freshwater tropicals are under quarantine and no longer for sale.
<Mmmm?>
The store refunded the money, but the sales guy refused to say what they were treating for. My friend said it looked like it could possibly be ICH but didn't have much chance to get a good look. I thought places like Petco or PetSmart had a setup that kept all the tanks clean from wide spread disease?
<No; assuredly not. I was not a, but the aquatics buyer for PetCo 91-94... talked them into (finally) putting up their own livestock distribution (in DC100, San Diego), but they (foolishly) gave this up.... the mass-merchandisers have HUGE health issues with their aquatics departments.>
I'm not sure about getting fish there in the future. Would it be better to order online and do next day air?
<Depends on from where. LiveAquaria (now; yes; owned by PetCo) is a consistent source for quality livestock>
And how likely am I to receive a sick fish?
<Some chance always>
Like I said in previous emails, I'm incredibly new to the warm water fishes. I am darn near an expert in Koi and Goldfish! I've had my own 55 gal with warm water fish for about a month, only days with the bigger 75 gal. Its been quite a challenge to learn about all these fish is such a short amount of time.
<Yes; tis so. I've worked in the field; been a content provider as well... for more than half a century; still learning>
Last question, if I get a larger tank, say a 150 gal could I put the Bala sharks, clown loaches and angels together?
<Mmm; yes; possible>
That's a total of 8 fish, all if which are currently under 4 inches.. I would like to have maybe 2 more of each. (Down the road a bit)
Thanks again;
Bre
<Thank goodness for your clear, curious, discerning mind. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

freshwater fish problem?       8/24/15
Hello!
I'm an aquaponics enthusiast, who does not eat her fish, I love my fish as they are providing wonderful meals for us!
<How do they provide meals if you don't eat them...? You mean they produce ammonia that the plants absorb to grow...? Neat!>
I have raised bluegill from 3/4" minnows to the 5" one I'm having a concern with. A week ago, I went down and checked their 3, 250 gallon tanks,
<3 different 250 gallon tanks, or multiple 3,250 gallon tanks? I'd love one of the latter!>
one was laying on his side. I was fearful he was dead, but when I netted him, he was strong and had an eye injury.
<If just the one eye, usually physical trauma, either fighting or misadventure (swam into the walls of the tank, jumped against the hood, that sort of thing). Do review possible reasons for either. Bluegills are mildly territorial, becoming more so when spawning, so younger or weaker fish can be damaged either by being attacked or by trying to swim away in a hurry and colliding with something.>
Not sure of the cause, I quarantined, and treated the eye injury . . . and started a desperate search for help. It's a week and 2 days now, his eye is healing but he is still a bit "sideways."
<Fish have a complex system of balance different to ours. Partly they orient themselves with bright light above them. Partly they orient themselves with the pull of gravity. If one or other sense is "off" somehow, they'll try and find a happy medium. For example, in labs if you shine the light from the side rather than above, the fish will swim leaning over, trying to compromise what their gravity sense is telling them with what their eyes are telling them. So, you could imagine that if a fish has damaged one or both eyes, its sense of "up" and "down" might not be exactly right. If this fish is otherwise healthy, feeding normally but simply leans over to one side, I'd do nothing but wait and see what happens, in the full expectation it'll make a recovery.>
No alcohol causing this, I am positive! ;)
I did a "force feed" of a couple of mashed peas, using a syringe, hoping that he had some undigested food causing his problem, and it would work to loosen things up. I had read where this can happen and it can affect the swim bladder if not dealt with.
<The swim bladder is almost never the issue, it's simply an idea aquarists throw around whenever a fish isn't swimming normally. Constipation is a common problem in aquarium fish, and fixed using a combination of Epsom Salt and high fibre foods (peas and cheap aquarium plants are ideal for herbivores and omnivores, but brine shrimps and daphnia work well for predators). Constipation causes problems by changing the centre of mass in the fish, so that the swim bladder is no longer in the right position to ensure optimal poise. In fact many fish are inherently unstable so far as buoyancy is concerned: they only stay the right way up by making tiny movements with their fins all the time. This approach sounds like hard work but actually allows them to execute tight turns much more easily than if they were perfectly stable (like a hot air balloon) and had bodies that naturally tended to resist changes in angle or direction. So, to cut a long story short, when a fish is sick or constipated or even physically damaged, buoyancy can be one of the first things to go wrong because it's now a lot harder for the fish to maintain all those micro-movements that kept it stable. Hence "swim bladder disease" is more of a set of symptoms than an
actual disease.>
I've kept him away from the other fish, but have him well aerated, and separately filtered. The water temp is 84 degrees F. The other fish are loving the warm weather and producing lots of great vegetables for us.
At this time I have him "upright," as he has propped himself between the filter and the side of his quarantine shelter.
<Unlike lower fish groups (tetras, carps, etc.) which gulp air to fill their swim bladders (or burp out excess air), bluegills and other advanced fish groups have to pump up their swim bladders using gas secreted from the blood. It's fascinating stuff, but for now, the key thing to understand is that getting the buoyancy right takes time.>
Any, and I mean ANY ideas? I really don't want to lose him.
Thanks!
Rosalind
<Would treat as per constipation (harmless to healthy fish) and review social behaviour in the tank, but otherwise would merely let things be for now. Chances are that if this fish is otherwise healthy he'll recover in time. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: freshwater fish problem?       8/25/15

Thank you. Very helpful!
R
<You're welcome. Neale.>

Multiple freshwater health issues 4/6/12
Dear Crew,
first of all, I would like to thank you for this invaluable source of knowledge you are contributing to the readers and your patience answering the same old questions again and again! Secondly, I apologize in advance for my English, I´m not a native speaker though.
<I understand you>
I did research on WWM for many hours over the last weeks, but although I´m sure that I´m not the only one having similar tank problems, I didn´t find FAQs exactly matching my situation and as I´m quite new to the hobby, I´m fairly worried.
Last June, I planned to start my first tropical tank (54l set complete with lid, heater and filter), read a book, put gravel and plants in, bought a test kit, waited for 6 weeks until it had finally cycled (fishless). The first inhabitants were two ADFs and a few weeks later I started adding 6 more ADFs by and by as well as 10 cherry shrimps. I kept measuring and did about 25-30% water changes once a week. Except for the high pH, my readings were fine (0 nitrites, 0-5 mg nitrates/l, KH 10°dH, GH 12°dH, pH close to 8, temp. 24°C). All went well for several weeks, and although I never was too much into fish (might sound strange, but amphibians are my main interest), I fell for a trio of Betta splendens when I went to a LFS in November (pink and blue male veiltail plus two wild type females), and after doing some reading (that´s when I got to know WWM by the way), I decided that they should do fine with the frogs given a slightly raised temperature (25-26C). I introduced the fishes and soon I had to realize that one of the females was in fact a short finned male. Fortunately, I was able to return him to the LSF.
<Good>
In short, the male kept chasing the remaining female all the time.
<Ah yes>
Not surprising, I know; but as my tank was densely planted, I thought it was possible to keep more than one Betta (I was frantically encouraged by the LFS staff of course).
<Mmm, not unless there is a good deal of room>
Besides the ones preaching to keep Bettas alone, there are still many resources arguing for a trio, including my book. The main problem here was my male constantly hurting his own ridiculously long fins; the female could easily escape him, but was stressed of course. First the male´s fins were healing pretty fast, but the more often he got hurt, the longer it took. I didn´t think much of it though, just tried to keep their water clean.
In December, I was able to set up a 160l tank. I planned on having a nicely planted tank, a few small fishes and some more frogs along with the ones from my 54l. The Bettas should stay in the smaller tank on their own with a divider to prevent further damage and stress (the male was annoyed at getting body checked by the frogs anyway).
So I spend a lot of money for smooth sand, plants, roots and a CO2-unit to promote plant growth as well as getting the pH to a stable 7.1. I used an Eheim Aquaball filter with some old filter media, no charcoal. It´s rated for 130l, the water is only about 30 cm deep. Then I tested the water, waited until the tank had cycled Since the nitrite peak is over, the readings of this tank are:
No2: 0,
NO3: <5 mg/l
KH: 10°dH
GH: 12° dH
pH: 7.1
Temp.: 24-25°C.
Feeding: Glassworms, Tubifex, enchytrae, blackworms, daphnia, brine shrimp, Mysis, earthworms (live or wet frozen). The frogs are fed with tweezers to avoid the fishes from stealing their food.
<Good technique>
The fishes get different kinds of flake food once or twice a week instead of the frozen food. I supplement the food with vitamins once a week.
Cucumber, Spirulina flakes and Pleco tabs for the Otocinclus.
I fast them one or two days per week depending on their appearance.
<Also a good practice>
First of all I got a group of six lively, medium sized Corydoras panda (not for eating leftovers, they´re just too cute). One week later, I introduced my frogs- that´s when the real trouble began. I noticed that one of the last ones I bought had a rather big lump between its hind legs. I did some reading and found out that Hymenochirus can get tumors, and as there were no signs of inflammation and the animal´s behavior was normal, I decided to let him alone monitoring this growth.
The next animals I added to the tank were three Otocinclus sp. (not for eating those few green algae growing in my tank, I just happen to like catfishes ;-) Actually I was planning to enlarge the group as they are schooling fishes, but now I have to get things under control first) and 11 Danio margaritatus- that´s when things got worse. I did the big mistake not to quarantine the new fish, and soon the Corydoras as well as the Danios started to scrub occasionally. I couldn´t see any outer signs for fungus, parasites etc. first (i.e. no changes in coloration, no fluffy growths, nada), but after a few days, I spotted something like a worm hanging near the pectoral fin of a Danio, approx. 8mm long and thin. The area were the parasite was attached to the fish was slightly red. First I thought it was an anchor worm, so I went to the LFS and talked to the staff. They sold me something against Gyrodactylus, Dactylogyrus, Cestoda, Lernaea and fish lice, which I used according to what is said on the bottle. It was impossible to catch the sick Danio, but looking on that wormlike thing, I wasn´t sure whether it was an anchor worm or not, because that thing was twitching and coiling up just like a real worm (I couldn´t find something similar online- did you ever hear of that?).
<Yes>
Nonetheless, I started to treat the tank with the medicine mentioned above and the next day, the worm was gone and no fish showed signs of a bacterial infection. Just before I did the second medication recommended for egg laying parasites, I witnessed the same parasite near the caudal fin of a Danio, but it also disappeared quickly.
In the meanwhile, the fins of my Betta in the other tank didn´t seem to heal and instead there was a slight milky edge, so I treated him for Finrot using JBL Furanol 2.
After a few calm days, I noticed that two other frogs had developed bumps and I really got concerned. I separated them from the others and put them in a very small tank (about 3 l).
I assured they were warm enough and changed the water every day with aged temperated water (my tap water isn't chlorinated, so I don´t use water conditioner). I couldn´t find much information on the internet, but to rule out it was some kind of bacterial infection, I treated them with Furanol 2- no effect. They were still eating, but the stress of the daily water changes seemed to take its toll on them and they got very shy. After about 10 days, the first one was bloated and stopped eating. In my despair, I called my vet hoping I could at least save the other two. Unfortunately, there isn´t an amphibian expert near me, but she also treats Koi and reptiles, so I gave it a try. She was just as clueless as I was, nothing was found in a skin scrape under the microscope and she gave me Baytril against bacterial infections/ bloating hoping for the best. As dosing is quite difficult in those small animals, I was told to add it to the water instead of oral application. To put it short: Two days later the second frog was bloated, they still weren´t eating and I decided to euthanize them.
The Betta also didn´t cheer me up, his fins were still ragged and milky, but not getting shorter either (I have to mention that the water still tested 0 nitrite, I changed about 20% of their water weekly an vacuumed the gravel every two weeks). So I continued keeping his water clean, hoping the slow healing was just a sign of old age.
Otherwise he was fine, eating, swimming as usual, although I thought the hind part of his body were the caudal fin begins (I don´t know the right term, I´m sorry) was a bit thinner than when I first got him.
In order to reduce any possible stress factors on the remaining frogs, I moved the fishes to a cycled 54l hospital tank I finally got- just to see that two of the Corys had first signs of Finrot (again, I vacuum the sand twice a month, so I thought I was providing them a healthy environment). I immediately started another Furanol 2 treatment. Shortly after, one of the Danios had a big sore near his caudal fin- it occurred over night, so I´m not sure if this was also related to bacterial infections or if he got accidentally clamped when I moved the decor in the evening. As I didn´t want to risk any spreading of whatever my problem here is and as the fish couldn´t use its caudal fin properly, I euthanized it as well.
I monitored the fishes in the hospital tank for three weeks without further abnormalities. I gave the Danios to someone else (of course I informed him about the problems I had and that I don´t want to risk spreading diseases) who wanted to keep them in their own tank. I hoped reducing livestock would make the tank more stable.
A few days before I went on holidays for two weeks, another frog got sick. He had a red swelling inside his throat. Again, I separated this one from the others and tried to treat him with another antibacterial, but he also bloated and died while I was away (a friend of mine was looking after my tanks). When I got back, the frogs had spawned, but the next one had two bumps on his skin. This time I decided to do nothing but watch. He is in that condition since three weeks now. No behavioral changes, he´s just his curious, greedy little self.
The Corydoras didn´t seem to be happy on the (rounded) gravel in the hospital tank, so I put them back to the frogs. One Corydoras has a rather severe case of Finrot with affected barbels as well (the barbels didn´t melt, but they have turned gray). He is still active though and the others look ok. I´m treating the tank with eSHa 2000 since three days, but it doesn´t seem to help much. This morning, I found one of my Otocinclus with a red, swollen belly
Unfortunately the male Betta
died in a filter accident, so I cannot tell if he would have recovered.
To put this long story to an end, I´m rather confused what´s going on in my tanks and I would greatly appreciate any suggestions. Am I stressing them too much?
<Perhaps... but the root cause/s? Do other aquarists using the same mains water have similar issues? This reads like something viral was introduced, spread... but across so much disparate life?>
None of the antibacterial medicaments seems to help- again, I´m not using charcoal. Is the tank under filtered (very little flow at the bottom which I read yesterday is bad for the Corys)?
<Can be... I would use carbon in your systems, filter/flow path>
Did I catch something nasty (like Mycobacteria which are known to cause granuloma in Xenopus)?
<Could be... such bacteria are almost always present in our systems... Become pathogenic, hyper-infective in challenging circumstances...>
Thank you so much for reading this long
text! Happy Easter to everyone, Julia
<Am going to place your query in Neale Monk's in-folder... He's out till Monday; but would like his input here. Bob Fenner>

Multiple freshwater health issues /Neale 4/6/12
Dear Crew,
first of all, I would like to thank you for this invaluable source of knowledge you are contributing to the readers and your patience answering the same old questions again and again!
<Most welcome.>
Secondly, I apologize in advance for my English, I´m not a native speaker though. I did research on WWM for many hours over the last weeks, but although I´m sure that I´m not the only one having similar tank problems, I didn´t find FAQs exactly matching my situation and as I´m quite new to the hobby, I´m fairly worried.
<Fire away, and forgive any duplication here with Bob's message.>
Last June, I planned to start my first tropical tank (54 l set complete with lid, heater and filter),
<A relatively small aquarium, around 13 US gallons, so needs to be stocked very carefully.>
read a book, put gravel and plants in, bought a test kit, waited for 6 weeks until it had finally cycled (fishless). The first inhabitants were two ADFs and a few weeks later I started adding 6 more ADFs by and by as well as 10 cherry shrimps.
<So far, so good. These are very compatible animals.>
I kept measuring and did about 25-30% water changes once a week. Except for the high pH, my readings were fine (0 nitrites, 0-5 mg nitrates/l, KH 10°dH, GH 12°dH, pH close to 8, temp. 24°C).
<All sounds fine. Do not worry about the pH; your hardness levels are fine, and the frogs/shrimps won't care about the pH value.>
All went well for several weeks, and although I never was too much into fish (might sound strange, but amphibians are my main interest), I fell for a trio of Betta splendens when I went to a LFS in November (pink and blue male veiltail plus two wild type females), and after doing some reading (that´s when I got to know WWM by the way), I decided that they should do fine with the frogs given a slightly raised temperature (25-26C).
<Can do okay, but Bettas do sometimes eat shrimps, so there's a degree of risk.>
I introduced the fishes and soon I had to realize that one of the females was in fact a short finned male.
<Oh dear!>
Fortunately, I was able to return him to the LFS. In short, the male kept chasing the remaining female all the time. Not surprising, I know; but as my tank was densely planted, I thought it was possible to keep more than one Betta (I was frantically encouraged by the LFS staff of course).
<It can work. Around about 1985 I had a tropical community tank about 20 gallons in size that contained two female Bettas and one male Betta. It worked fine. But often they don't get along, and it's a good idea to try this out only as an experiment. Be prepared to move the male or the females out to another aquarium if needs be!>
Besides the ones preaching to keep Bettas alone, there are still many resources arguing for a trio, including my book.
<Yes. I do wonder if things were easier 20, 30, 40 years ago. Have male Bettas become more aggressive? Or the females less able at living with males? Because fish farms almost NEVER keep the sexes together, the evolutionary pressure to ensure "good behaviour" isn't there. So over time, it's possible they're becoming less and less compatible.>
The main problem here was my male constantly hurting his own ridiculously long fins; the female could easily escape him, but was stressed of course. First the male´s fins were healing pretty fast, but the more often he got hurt, the longer it took.
<Yes.>
I didn´t think much of it though, just tried to keep their water clean. In December, I was able to set up a 160 l tank.
<About 42 US gallons -- should be enough space for all three Bettas, especially if there are lots of floating plants.>
I planned on having a nicely planted tank, a few small fishes and some more frogs along with the ones from my 54 l. The Bettas should stay in the smaller tank on their own with a divider to prevent further damage and stress (the male was annoyed at getting body-checked by the frogs anyway). So I spend a lot of money for smooth sand, plants, roots and a CO2-unit to promote plant growth as well as getting the pH to a stable 7.1.
<Ah now, do be VERY careful using CO2 to control pH. To be honest, unless you ABSOLUTELY must have the tastes plant growth, I wouldn't bother. I'd sooner have slower-growing but otherwise happy plants in STABLE water chemistry. This would be easier to maintain, and pose fewer risks to your fish.>
I used an Eheim Aquaball filter with some old filter media, no charcoal. It´s rated for 130 l, the water is only about 30 cm deep.
<The Aquaball filters are excellent but I find they clog up quite quickly (specifically, that blue sponge at the top).>
Then I tested the water, waited until the tank had cycled Since the nitrite peak is over, the readings of this tank are: No2: 0, NO3: <5 mg/l KH: 10°dH GH: 12° dH pH: 7.1 Temp.: 24-25°C.
<Sounds perfect.>
Feeding: Glassworms, Tubifex, enchytrae, blackworms, daphnia, brine shrimp, Mysis, earthworms (live or wet frozen). The frogs are fed with tweezers to avoid the fishes from stealing their food.
<Again, sounds good. Some aquarists are warning against using bloodworms and Tubifex, even the frozen ones, so you might want to be careful with these. Brine shrimp are 100% safe though because of the environments they come from, so they're a great addition to a diet otherwise based around flake foods. They provide useful roughage that prevents bloating.>
The fishes get different kinds of flake food once or twice a week instead of the frozen food. I supplement the food with vitamins once a week. Cucumber, Spirulina flakes and Pleco tabs for the Otocinclus.
<Excellent. Do watch the Otocinclus. They need LOTS of oxygen, and in my opinion, aren't idea companions for Bettas.>
I fast them one or two days per week depending on their appearance. First of all I got a group of six lively, medium sized Corydoras panda (not for eating leftovers, they´re just too cute).
<Nice fish, but don't keep them too warm! Apart from the Bettas, everyone here prefers coolish conditions around 22-24 C/72-75 F.>
One week later, I introduced my frogs- that´s when the real trouble began. I noticed that one of the last ones I bought had a rather big lump between its hind legs. I did some reading and found out that Hymenochirus can get tumors, and as there were no signs of inflammation and the animal´s behavior was normal, I decided to let him alone monitoring this growth. The next animals I added to the tank were three Otocinclus sp. (not for eating those few green algae growing in my tank, I just happen to like catfishes ;-) Actually I was planning to enlarge the group as they are schooling fishes, but now I have to get things under control first) and 11 Danio margaritatus- that´s when things got worse.
<Ah now, these really do dislike very warm water, so be careful.>
I did the big mistake not to quarantine the new fish, and soon the Corydoras as well as the Danios started to scrub occasionally.
<Would assume Whitespot and/or Velvet. Treat using salt/heat for 2 weeks. Shouldn't stress anyone keeping them at, say, 28 C/82 F for 2 weeks, even though these fish prefer cooler water in the long term.>
I couldn´t see any outer signs for fungus, parasites etc. first (i.e. no changes in coloration, no fluffy growths, nada), but after a few days, I spotted something like a white worm hanging near the pectoral fin of a Danio, approx. 8mm long and thin. The area were the parasite was attached to the fish was slightly red.
<Whitespot and Velvet can, do cause secondary infections through the wounds they make. Such infections will be pink or red. Dead skin and tissue can appear white. Did this fish not have the "parasite" when you bought it? It would be unusual for a "louse" or "worm" to suddenly appear overnight. Not impossible, but unlikely. In any event, treatable, ideally with a dip of some sort, as anything that kills this sort of parasite would kill your shrimps.>
First I thought it was an anchor worm, so I went to the LFS and talked to the staff. They sold me something against Gyrodactylus, Dactylogyrus, Cestoda, Lernaea and fish lice, which I used according to what is said on the bottle. It was impossible to catch the sick Danio, but looking on that wormlike thing, I wasn´t sure whether it was an anchor worm or not, because that thing was twitching and coiling up just like a real worm (I couldn´t find something similar online- did you ever hear of that?).
<Nope. Anchor worms don't move about much, but Nematodes or Leeches might. If this was me, I'd risk a 50% or 100% seawater dip (i.e., 15-30 grammes/litre salt/water solution) for a minute or two. With luck, the parasite might detach. Dip the fish for as long as you can, though be prepared to remove the fish if it shows signs of severe distress, like rolling over (it will be pretty unhappy when you dip it, but for 1-2 minutes even a Danio should be fine). Failing that, dip into a commercial worm/crustacean treatment.>
Nonetheless, I started to treat the tank with the medicine mentioned above and the next day, the worm was gone and no fish showed signs of a bacterial infection.
<Ah, excellent. Most of these external parasites find it hard to complete their life cycle in aquaria. In ponds, they have no problems, but in aquaria, they lack the intermediate hosts (often snails or birds). So you could take a chance and do nothing for now, and simply watch for trouble. Anchor worm is an exception though, and can persist in aquaria.>
Just before I did the second medication recommended for egg laying parasites, I witnessed the same parasite near the caudal fin of a Danio, but it also disappeared quickly.
<Oh dear.>
In the meanwhile, the fins of my Betta in the other tank didn´t seem to heal and instead there was a slight milky edge, so I treated him for Finrot using JBL Furanol 2. After a few calm days, I noticed that two other frogs had developed bumps and I really got concerned. I separated them from the others and put them in a very small tank (about 3 l). I assured they were warm enough and changed the water every day with aged temperated water (my tap water isn´t chlorinated, so I don´t use water conditioner). I couldn´t find much information on the internet, but to rule out it was some kind of bacterial infection, I treated them with Furanol 2- no effect.
<Ah, now, the problem with "just in case" treatments is that not all bacteria can be killed by any one single medication. Plus, random medicating can cause bigger problems -- e.g., killing off filter bacteria.>
They were still eating, but the stress of the daily water changes seemed to take its toll on them and they got very shy. After about 10 days, the first one was bloated and stopped eating. In my despair, I called my vet hoping I could at least save the other two. Unfortunately, there isn´t an amphibian expert near me, but she also treats Koi and reptiles, so I gave it a try. She was just as clueless as I was, nothing was found in a skin scrape under the microscope and she gave me Baytril against bacterial infections/ bloating hoping for the best.
<Baytril is actually a pretty standard medication for frogs.>
As dosing is quite difficult in those small animals, I was told to add it to the water instead of oral application.
<Perhaps, but not in the main tank. I'd isolate the frogs into their own tank so you can use the medication more economically and ensure the right concentration.>
To put it short: Two days later the second frog was bloated, they still weren´t eating and I decided to euthanize them.
<I see.>
The Betta also didn´t cheer me up, his fins were still ragged and milky, but not getting shorter either (I have to mention that the water still tested 0 nitrite, I changed about 20% of their water weekly an vacuumed the gravel every two weeks). So I continued keeping his water clean, hoping the slow healing was just a sign of old age. Otherwise he was fine, eating, swimming as usual, although I thought the hind part of his body were the caudal fin begins (I don´t know the right term, I´m sorry) was a bit thinner than when I first got him. In order to reduce any possible stress factors on the remaining frogs, I moved the fishes to a cycled 54 l hospital tank I finally got- just to see that two of the Corys had first signs of Finrot (again, I vacuum the sand twice a month, so I thought I was providing them a healthy environment).
<Oh dear. Now, one thing I'd do is stop moving fish about. All you're doing is stressing the fish and possible infecting each aquarium with the other aquarium's pathogens.>
I immediately started another Furanol 2 treatment. Shortly after, one of the Danios had a big sore near his caudal fin- it occurred over night, so I´m not sure if this was also related to bacterial infections or if he got accidentally clamped when I moved the decor in the evening. As I didn´t want to risk any spreading of whatever my problem here is and as the fish couldn´t use its caudal fin properly, I euthanized it as well. I monitored the fishes in the hospital tank for three weeks without further abnormalities. I gave the Danios to someone else (of course I informed him about the problems I had and that I don´t want to risk spreading diseases) who wanted to keep them in their own tank. I hoped reducing livestock would make the tank more stable.
<Will certainly help.>
A few days before I went on holidays for two weeks, another frog got sick. He had a red swelling inside his throat. Again, I separated this one from the others and tried to treat him with another antibacterial, but he also bloated and died while I was away (a friend of mine was looking after my tanks).
<Do worry that the use of medications might be part of this. ALL medicines are poisons, so you have to be careful when using them.>
When I got back, the frogs had spawned, but the next one had two bumps on his skin. This time I decided to do nothing but watch.
<Wise.>
He is in that condition since three weeks now. No behavioral changes, he´s just his curious, greedy little self.
<Great.>
The Corydoras didn´t seem to be happy on the (rounded) gravel in the hospital tank, so I put them back to the frogs. One Corydoras has a rather severe case of Finrot with affected barbels as well (the barbels didn´t melt, but they have turned gray). He is still active though and the others look ok. I´m treating the tank with eSHa 2000 since three days, but it doesn´t seem to help much.
<This is a good medicine for Finrot and Finrot, but not much else. Do remember to remove carbon, and do ensure the aquarium is as clean as possible (if you can remove rocks, bogwood, etc as these reduce circulation of the medicine, allowing "bad" bacteria to survive in the tank). More importantly, optimise conditions for the fish: adjust temperature and ensure pH is as steady as possible.>
This morning, I found one of my Otocinclus with a red, swollen belly Unfortunately the male Betta died in a filter accident, so I cannot tell if he would have recovered. To put this long story to an end, I´m rather confused what´s going on in my tanks and I would greatly appreciate any suggestions. Am I stressing them too much? None of the antibacterial medicaments seems to help- again, I´m not using charcoal.
<Most of these medicines are excellent, but they can't work if the aquarium is somehow unstable. My gut feeling here is that the CO2 is messing around with the pH -- do understand that pH will rise during the day (when CO2 is used up) and fall at night (when plants stop using up CO2) -- and variations in pH can cause severe stress to your fish. I'd MUCH SOONER have a high but steady pH, even 8.0, than a pH that bounces between 6.5 and 7.5 across a 24-hour cycle.>
Is the tank under filtered (very little flow at the bottom which I read yesterday is bad for the Corys)?
<The Aquaball is a small filter for small tanks. Even the big Eheim Aquaball 180 model is, in my opinion, adequate for tanks up to about 100 litres in size. It has a maximum turnover of 650 litres/hour, so for a 100 litre aquarium that's a turnover rate of only 6.5 times. By my reckoning, that's quite a "weak" filter (albeit a very well designed and durable one). In any event, flow rate drops dramatically once the blue sponge gets clogged, so I'd recommend having a second filter of some sort in this aquarium to provide additional water turnover. If you think the water at the bottom of the tank isn't moving around much, a second filter will help. Even an airstone could make all the difference. Yes, Corydoras are VERY sensitive to poor water movement, and reddish patches on their belly and missing whiskers are clues that the substrate isn't as clean as it should be.>
Did I catch something nasty (like Mycobacteria which are known to cause granuloma in Xenopus)?
<Unlikely. Mycobacteria probably exist in ALL aquaria, but whether they become a problem DEPENDS on how healthy the aquarium is.>
Thank you so much for reading this long text! Happy Easter to everyone, Julia
<My gut feelings here: Add a second filter (or at least an airstone) to move the water at the bottom more, and switch off the CO2 for a few weeks and see what happens. I think the problems here are caused by the environment. Fix that, and things should improve. Do hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.> Re: Multiple freshwater health issues, Neale, your input please 4/7/12
Dear Mr. Fenner,
thank you so much for your quick response!
The tap water in my city is said to be very good for use in aquaria. I have another tank with Chinese firebelly newts and they're doing perfectly fine- I never heard of someone having troubles with the tap water here. Do you think I should still use water conditioner?
<I actually do not use such... Keep my water changes to 30-35% maximum... Have livestock that likes just straight tap>
Neale already sent me an answer too and he thinks my problems are environmental (I too often rehoused the fish, unstable pH due to the CO2 etc.). My vet said that the bumps on my frogs reminded her of Koi pox, so she also thought of a possible viral disease. I think adding a second filter with carbon wouldn't hurt. I will try not to further disturb my system and wait.
Again, thank you for your time,
Julia
<Welcome. Again, I don't know the primary reasons for the health issues... but wish I did. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Multiple freshwater health issues (RMF, thoughts?)<<>> 4/8/12
Dear Mr. Monks,
wow, that was fast, thank you!
<Glad to help.>
When I talked to retailers, I was often warned of keeping that species at pH 8- but I do understand that frequent fluctuations will harm them more.
<Indeed so. Fish don't "feel" pH. A lot of aquarists (and retailers) focus on pH because it's easy to understand. It's a simple number. But it isn't terribly informative. If you stop by a site like Fishbase that collects scientific information about fish, you'll see that something like a Corydoras catfish will be reported coming from streams and rivers with pH values between 6 and 8. That's a big range! But in any one locality the catfish will be exposed to a much smaller range of pH values. In other words, the species can tolerate a wide range, but a particular specimen will do better given a fixed pH value within that range. Does that make sense? Once adapted to a given pH, whether 6 or 8, the catfish will be perfectly happy there, just so long as the pH value doesn't suddenly bounce to another value.>
Do you recommend to completely stop the CO2 after reducing it over a few days?
<Either should be fine, but ideally, across a couple days.>
As soon as animals are concerned, the plants are secondary to me- I already have many plants that will do without CO2.
<A wise approach.>
As for the Bettas: I left them in the small tank with a divider because I know that they like warmer temperatures than the others. I can imagine that the breeding practices altered their aggressive behavior. Plus, in Asia they are bred for fighting anyway, so "good behavior" shouldn't be a desired character trait here.
<Ah yes, but the fish we keep as pets have been bred for their fins -- not fighting ability -- for a hundred years if not longer. Remember, German Shepherds and Chihuahuas are both the same species, the dog, but bred in different ways, and with different temperaments. Just because a fighting Betta and a "pretty" aquarium Betta are both Betta splendens doesn't mean they have all that much in common.>
My female seems to be much more happy since she is kept alone, so I won't try to keep several Bettas in the same tank again.
<Wise.>
I don´t feed bloodworms because they are suspected to promote dropsy in ADFs by many owners, but you´re right about the Tubifex. On the package it´s said that they are farm raised, but I could easily drop them from their diet.
<For sure.>
The Otocinclus did fine until this morning, I never noticed any labored breathing etc.- but I´m really concerned about the swollen one, he looks worse than in the morning. I hope he´ll make it.
<Wouldn't bank on it. They're not a species I recommend at all. At a guess, I think fewer than 50% make it 6 months in captivity.>
You´re right that my random treatment might have caused more harm than good. I just didn´t know what to do, resources about frog diseases are quite scarce and I panicked when I realized that more animals were affected. It´s absolutely possible that the medicine/ stress during the treatment actually killed them.
<Perhaps.>
The eSHa 2000 is the first medicine I use in the main tank (for the Finrot), and until now the nitrites are still at 0, but I will monitor that. I did separate the animals that were treated with Furanol 2 and Baytril, respectively. Do you think I should continue the treatment for the Corydoras on the photo or should I just give the system time to settle down?
<Finish the treatment you're on, then don't add anything new for a week or two.>
I know I have stressed my fish by frequently moving them, but although I spent much time on reading, this obviously didn´t prevent me from freaking out. I don´t have much experience after all, but I´ve learned my lesson and won´t keep disturbing them that much anymore. Yes, the Aquaball needs a frequent cleaning; I have to rinse the sponges about every two weeks when the flow is reduced (I just rinse them in old water from the aquarium, so the beneficial bacteria don´t die off). I could add a second small Eheim filter until I can afford something better- do you think that will do for now?
<Likely so.>
Bob recommended me to use carbon to remove possible pollutants.
<Wise, but don't expect miracles. Carbon is good for some organic compounds, but most medicines will break down in a few days anyway, and inorganic compounds like copper salts won't be removed by carbon at all.>
I think I could try this as soon as I stop medicating. Also, he suspects some viral involvement weakening the animals.
<Possible. Hard to say. But because you've had such a random collection of problems, my gut feeling is the fish are stressed by their environment.><<Could well be. RMF>>
Either way, I think improving their world by stabilizing the environment is the only thing I can do to help them.
I thank you so much for your help!
Julia
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Mrs. misinformed... reactionary rambling re leaping before looking FW mistakes 1/8/12
Hello, I'm having issues with my main tank and because I'm new to certain types of fish I've gotten myself into a bit of trouble. I have 2 tanks... one is a 20 gallon and housed <houses?> just tetra and guppies. They lived a long time and had <'nt?> trouble until just recently. I also have a 40 gallon tall. I don't know all the technical names but I have the filtration system that filters through your gravel. in this tank I have 2 peacocks which I was told are OB Peacocks. After reading countless questions on your site I figure these are the fish you said are a hybrid and don't naturally occur. Since I'm not sure of the name perhaps a description will help?
One... which is definitely the male has grown leaps and bounds in a short time period is orange and blue. He's a beauty... also he has black spots through his orange fins.. maybe dark blue spots now that I think of it. The female hasn't hardly grown a bit. She's pale peach with a small bit or orange coloring. Her tail and fins are still softly shaped with no long points or anything yet. I know this is the female because she's carried 3 sets of fry. Which leads me to problem number one. She has spit her eggs or eaten them the first two times.
<Happens...>
This last time I put her in the tank upstairs in a breeding net with a live plant *per owner of the fish stores instructions*
<Mmm, really should be "stripped"... at time of development, release... not continued to be kept or moved with the mouthbrooding female>
this tank upstairs now has two angels that I moved in with the guppies to protect them from the horrible beatings they were taking in the big tanks by the peacocks.
<?! Incompatible>
So I moved her into her breeding net with 2 neon tetra 2 guppies and 2 different types of angels... oh and a small Plecos. She didn't much care for her small quarters and spit her eggs. I removed her and let her stay in that tank to eat and get her strength back before returning her to the hostile tank. I asked the fish store if I should tumble the eggs and was told not to tumble cichlid eggs and since they were dark peach and already cone shaped they were getting tails and would hatch by themselves.. that I should just lift the container they were in so the water didn't become stagnant several times a day. Not sure what happened as it happened while no one was around but the eggs were gone the next day as were my 2 beautiful blue guppies and one neon tetra was dead... never found the guppies. Can they die eating the eggs?
<Not likely, no. But pollution from their decomposition...>
I assumed that was all that happened but I knew too the peacock was probably capable of eating them. I moved her back to her tank *40 gallon tall* and the rest of the fish in the 20 are fine.. leaving 2 angels one tetra and the Plecos. Will my angels eat the neon?
<In time, yes>
Should I restock it with the tetra and guppies to keep the last lone neon safe?
<What other type of "Tetra" are you talking about. Neons are Tetras...>
Moving on to the more serious trouble of tank 2... the 40 gallon tall. I have a few fake plants and one live.. well what's left of it. The peacocks ate all live plants
<There are varieties that Aulonocaras can be kept with...>
I've put in. In this tank I currently have a Plecos that's approx. 8 inches in length.
<Needs more room.>
I have a tin foil that's about 10 inches
<It too>
in length and the 2 peacocks.
It used to be barbs and the tinfoil... some mollies and guppies... and an angel. Little did I know as the tinfoil grew it would eat everything that it could fit into its mouth. Gone were the guppies and mollies so fast I hadn't time to set up a new tank! Left with the barbs and angels life in the tank settled. As the tin foil grew so did its appetite and the barbs became large dinner entrees. I asked the fish store what to put in there that could hold its own... a few iridescent sharks
<Get huge>
came and went *will never buy those again they swim so crazy and knock themselves out I almost threw them away about 6 times before they actually really died* btw I had my water checked thousands of times while this was going on and all was great. Back to the topic. I was advised to purchase OB peacocks. So I bought a male and a female brought them home and again life in the tank was alright.... until the male grew. As he grew so did his attitude. The angel got beat up so bad she was laying in the rocks *or he.. I haven't a clue*. I put it up in the mild mannered tank with the tiny fish and the other angel who got beat up. Its since healed and thrived. So left with the Plecos.. the female peacock and the tinfoil I figured everything would be ok. Wrong.... the male peacock has attacked and practically descaled my tinfoil who trumps him in size easily 3 times over. The Plecos rarely has full sets of fins and recently has had a missing piece of flesh on its head.
<... being killed by being kept in too small a world...>
The tin foil besides being descaled has some meaty bites that all heal but are happening more frequently. I've already decided the next time the female is carrying I will make a tank divider and keep her settled and calm in her own tank... yet away from danger.. but I am worried about the balance of the remaining fish. I'd like to calm them all down before she carries and I cut they're tank size down to even less. I can't imagine what the peacock will do to the tin foil and Plecos then! Can you please offer advice to fix this tank situation?
<Yes... reading. Borrow, buy some standard works on FW aquarium keeping, learn to keep good notes and read on the Net re what you're doing, keeping here. The mistakes you list are all iatrogenic, borne of your lack of knowledge. If/when you have a more specific question, feel free to write us again. Bob Fenner>

Mysterious Deaths (RMF, anything else?)<<Zip>> 3/6/11
Dear Neale
<Patrick,>
I was somehow hoping to report good news - instead, my two neon tetras that had been showing signs of a little mouth fungus were dead this morning having moved them to the hospital tank with some medication.
<Oh dear.>
Worst still, in the large tank I took them from, I just found one of the male guppies lifeless on the bottom, just about alive but his tail (normally a beautiful orange and yellow) is now showing little colour almost as if it has been stripped, with lots of shredding in it as if it was torn.
<Unfortunately, both Neons and Fancy Guppies are low down on the durability scale. Their wild ancestors were actually pretty tough, Guppies notoriously so. But inbreeding and free use of antibiotics at farms means that the quality of what's shipped out to retailers isn't very high. Bottom line, you will see that I consistently advise against buying these two species, along with Dwarf Gouramis and, to a lesser degree, Mollies.>
I have put him into a spare tank with fresh water but I somehow think he will not survive. Oddly. there is a slight rise in my nitrites (to about 0.1ppm) so I performed a good 25% water change.
<The nitrite could simply be because of the dead fish decaying, but keep an open mind.>
The only thing I can think of that I might have done differently is to feed them on a little bit of blanched cucumber yesterday and used a net in the tank which had previously been disinfected to get the tetras out (although I am sure it was absolutely washed over and over along with a de-chlorinator to eliminate all traces of chemicals as I usually do).
Could this be something that you recognise?
<Not really. Mycobacteria is one possibility, and Guppies also have to deal with Tetrahymena, the so-called Guppy Disease. Neons of course have Pleistophora infections as well as Finrot, Columnaris, etc. I will make the point that Neons and Guppies require completely different water chemistry and temperature conditions, so they're unlikely to do well in the same tank. Neons have a minimal lifespan in hard water, while Guppies won't last long in soft water or (in the case of fancy Guppies at least) the coolish temperatures Neons need. When you don't keep fish in the climates they require, they're far more likely to succumb to random infections.>
I've never experienced three sudden incidents like this within 12 hours - something must be going on. Ammonia levels 0ppm. You help/advice is always much appreciated.
<Well, there's not much I can offer here. I'd remove, euthanise sickly fish pronto, and do my best to remove any other fish that show signs of sickness. I'd be waiting for things to pan out under their own steam. Then take stock of what fish have thrived, and what haven't, and gradually restock accordingly. Among tetras, the excellent X-Ray Tetra (Pristella maxillaris) is a reliable, hardy species that thrives in hard water (it even occurs in slightly brackish waters in the wild!) and makes an outstanding choice for aquarists in the Southeast of England where the liquid rock is much too hard for most other South American tetras.>
kindest regards
Patrick
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Mysterious Deaths (RMF, anything else?)

Thank you so much, I shall indeed try restocking with fish more suited to our hard water.
regards, Patrick
<Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwhardness.htm
There are many, many options of good community species for hard water aquaria, from cichlids like Julidochromis ornatus through to Ender guppies, Limia, dwarf Rainbowfish, Celebes rainbowfish and more. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Mysterious Deaths (RMF, anything else?)

Funny - I was just reading that article actually. Really interesting and very happy to see glassfish on the list.
Enjoy your weekend
Pat
<Glassfish are indeed neat! Wildwoods in Enfield often gets these very neat Ambassis agrammus as well as Parambassis spp. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Mysterious Deaths (RMF, anything else?) 3/6/11

Thanks Neale - I will take a visit once the tank has had a few days to settle but your suggestions look great - I'd love to get more Platies - they are so lovely - is that wise?
<Platies can be a good choice for community tanks. Like other Central American livebearers, they prefer hard water, and London tap suits them very well. Wildwoods regularly carries other oddball Poeciliids including Limia nigrofasciata -- one of my favourite fishes -- a fish that combines the size of the Platy with the Sailfin of the Molly. Nice colours, too.
Other Poeciliids I've seen there in the last few weeks include Phalloceros caudimaculatus, Limia vittatus, Alfaro cultratus, Phallichthys amates and others. The nice thing about these rarer livebearers is that they *still* have the hardiness that made the livebearer group so popular during the early years of the hobby.>
I'm guessing all will be fine with my current three flame red Colisa lalia (cherry dwarf Gourami) who, although being quite aggressive with each other over territory, appear fine with other fish albeit the odd chase.
<Indeed.>
The guppy did die. It looks like he was attacked and his tail badly nipped poor thing. The other four male guppies are quite lively with each other and often gang up on just one (currently in 100 litre tank). I guess there is nothing I can do apart from distract them with females (I have five, three are heavily pregnant) in another 100 litre tank) - which I'd rather not whilst they are dealing with their pregnancies.
<Agreed.>
thanks
Pat
<Cheers, Neale.>

Question about disease/illness in FW 5/6/08 Hello, <Hi> What is the most likely diagnosis for a fish that breathes rapidly and stays on the bottom of the tank. There are no physical signs on an illness on the fish's body. I have had this happen a few times and find it hard to diagnose and treat in quarantine. Both times it happened was when the fish was in my quarantine tank after purchase. Thanks for your help. Zach <By far the most common cause of these symptoms is water quality issues.> <Chris>

Various issues with guppies, Gourami, molly and giant Danio- Itching, not eating, fungus, White "poo" the list goes on- Please help! Iatrogenic issues...  -- 03/10/08 There are so many different possibilities on what's wrong with my fish the 100's that I have read are doing nothing but confusing me more- So, I turn to you and Thank you in advance for your assistance and your extremely useful/informative site- Now, where do I begin? Yesterday I had one of my male FT guppies die- this was in my 10 gallon tank <Hard to keep such small volumes stable, optimized...> and about 1 week prior a piece of his tale came missing- then a few days later he started "shimmying" then a day before he died his back tail got "clamped" and yesterday he succumbed...I had just bought a used 20 gallon (so I can convert my 10 to a hospital/quarantine tank) and after his death I moved all the fishies, gravel, fake plants, and filter media only to the 20 gallon. <Good> The light is much better in there and I saw that on my other male guppy he has 2 fairly large scaleless patches on both of his front side fins and its white where the scales used to be. my sm/med Molly and guppy are noticed to be scratching on everything- but no other visible symptoms Just scratching seems pretty vague- No white spots, and still eating- but I do assume that this is related to the death of my other male guppy <Likely so> and possibly the male Betta that I just took out of the tank yesterday (thinking maybe he was the one who caused the missing piece of fin, <Could well be> but he's still healthy)- One big problems is I went to the LFS store today and they gave me Organi Cure <Uhh, don't use this... too toxic> and said to use it and it was safe- dumb me put it right in and then noticed that it was for MARINE FISH-- ugh...So about a half hour after putting it in I re-inserted the carbon and am now about to change half of the water....is it safe after this to put quick cure for FRESHWATER fish in after this?? <NOT safe to use formalin period...> And is it safe to add aquarium salt to this tank to aid in the medicine with neon tetras in there? <Mmm, Neons don't "like" much salt...> My next issue is in my 100 gallon- this as of yesterday is now completely cycled- the day before my Nitrites were still reading about 1.0ppm but now its gone completely and my Ammonia has been gone for at least a week- One of my dwarf Gouramis is acting "ill"- <... it wasn't present during the nitrite...?> and I have a Giant Danio that has had a white spot on his lower lip (maybe "fuzzy") for at least a week but no other symptoms (still swimming and eating like crazy!) Gourami (100 gal)- "hiding" either on ground or upper back corner of tank- not eating or moving much- going on for at least a day and I did notice that him and one of my other blue dwarf Gourami's have "white stringy fecal matter" (haven't noticed anyone else though) <The species of Dwarf Gourami, Colisa lalia is notorious for ill health issues... see WWM re> pH: 8.2 in both (has remained stable) ammonia: 0 in 100 gal (20 isn't really anything since all new water today 2 days ago it was around 1) nitrite: 0 in 100gal (20 now irrelevant 2 days ago around .5) <Any present is toxic> tank temp: 78 in both now but before I changed the 10 gal to 20 I realized the heater was broke in 10 and the water temp was about 70-72 Volume and Frequency of water changes: 100 gal about a week ago 25% 20 gallon all of it yesterday (when moving everyone from 10) and about to do half since I think it might be over medicated Chemical Additives or Media in your tank: Charcoal in both- (double dose Prime with all water changes In 100- Aquarium salt (about 15 tablespoons), aquarium fertilizer for plants (safe for fish) but only half dose, Bio-Spira about a weeks ago In 20- While everyone was in 10 gal I had 2 tablespoons of salt (is it safe for tetras?) and in the 10 gallon yesterday morning(?) I did put one of those Lifeguard tablets in for about 20 min (about half dissolved) then took it out put in the charcoal and my husband then put a "fungus tablet" by jungle in there (it was only in there for about a hour and half before I found out and put the charcoal filter back in- Since yesterday after changing everyone into the 20 gallon (with all new water) and just added the Organi Cure (which contains formaldehyde and Copper) <Yes... both toxic...> It was in there for about an hour that not only was it for marine fish but I gave the marine fish dose (1 drop per gallon) so I put the charcoal filter back in- Tank inhabitants:100 Gal- 3 male Gouramis, 5 Mickey Platies, 3 Bala sharks, 2 mollys,2 giant Danios, 3 Bloodfin tetras, 2 med/lrg angelfish- 1 rainbow shark and 1 albino rainbow shark 20 gallon- 5 neon tetras, 4 molly fry, 1 sm/med molly, 4 FT guppies 2 male (1just got today(oops)) <Ummm... see below> 2 female Recent additions to your tank: 100 gallon - plants- always rinsing and adding more plants but I do take out ones that look anywhere near bad and added the albino rainbow today and new bubble wand 20- just added replacement male guppy today and new tank/filter/heater/water yesterday I finally ask how should I treat these itchy fish that are scratching their scales off?? Should I QT them and/or treat the whole tank and with what and Should I treat the old tank prior to putting anyone else in there (could it be in the gravel that's left) (whatever "it" is) What should I do about my Gourami- I want to put him in my hospital tank but I am afraid that there is something still in there from yesterday....AND should I worry about the Giant Danio? Maybe QT and treat him also? Thank you so much for following all this and I am sorry about the length I just wanted to make sure I had everything covered in order to get the most accurate advice....I am ever so grateful to all and any assistance I receive...Thanks again!! V/R a newbie that needs to stay away from the meds and stop buying and stocking so many tanks!!! (but I just don't want my fishies to suffer by being in cramped quarters or being ill and want to help ASAP!!) <We, you, need to skip back a few steps... a very good deal, okay, all of the problems presented could/should be avoided through simple use of isolation/quarantine of new specimens... Posted on WWM... the sudden loss of your Guppies... may well be infectious... see the Net re Chondrococcus columnaris... the treatment you list (OrganiCure) ingredients are dangerous to use, should NOT be placed in main/display tanks (only in controlled treatment ones)... and the mixes of livestock... Neons and some of the livebearers (e.g. Mollies) are poor... too wide-differences in temperature and water quality... I strongly encourage you to stop buying livestock (for a few months) and instead going to the public library or online and buying/borrowing a few standard books on freshwater aquariums, reading them at your leisure, taking down good notes... The many and grievous errors you are making will just kill more livestock... Bob Fenner>

Re: Various issues with guppies, Gourami, molly and giant Danio- Itching, not eating, fungus, White "poo" the list goes on- Please help! -- 03/18/08 Your advice about stopping the increase of my fish load and educating myself on aquarium care and each species requirements is perfect and I honestly have been trying to do just that. <Very good.> I don't plan on having the mollies in with the Neons much longer- only until they are big enough to not get eaten in my main tank (they are 4 fry and its taking forever for them to grow) <Fry should take 3-4 months to get big enough to return to a community tank.> My husband and Dad both seem to think all this carefulness is a bunch of "bull" and it was my dad that started this whole thing in the first place by buying my 5 month old son a 1 gallon quickly followed by a 10 gallon fish tank and overstocked them with inappropriate fish, which in turn guilted me into buying a 100 gallon (used) tank so they could spread out- (and then a 20gallon so I could use the 10 for a "hospital" or QT tank and have a tank for the non aggressive fish). <I'm sure your Dad has many wonderful character traits and personal skills, but when keeping animals of any sort, you DO need to be careful. It's like raising kids: some people make very little effort to raise their kids, and the kids turn out nice as pie. But often times when people are neglectful parents, the kids get ruined. If you want to raise great kids with the most chance of success, you need to make an effort. Same with fish: some people have great fish tanks but do nothing more than change the water once a month. But most folks who take this approach end up with dead fish. So here at WWM we advocate a "best practise" approach that delivers the highest likelihood of success.> Dad has had a 55 gallon for quite sometime now and has never paid attention or attempted to learn anything about the Cycle process, water quality, compatibility, or health of fish- His method of fishkeeping is buy em put em in the tank feed 4 times a day and when one dies flush then get a replacement. <Flushing fish down the loo may well be breaking a law in your state. In any case, his approach is about comparable to parents who say children should be beaten on a regular basis. Might have been acceptable in Victorian times, but not any more.> I am trying to take a more educated approach- even though fish don't have "nerves" (according to him) and cant "feel" I still find it important to take the best care of them I can providing my resources. <Your Dad is out of step with the science; there's increasing evidence that fish can feel pain, though perhaps not in quite the same way as mammals. At least some of the argument against fish feeling pain is a way of rationalising fishing: if we discover that fish do feel having a hook placed in their mouth and then dragged by it out of the water, can we really treat fishing as a harmless sport? I say this as someone who quite enjoys angling.> Luckily I've finally got both men to stop stocking the tanks for now ( it took a while there have been quite a few additions since my last email) and taking care of what I have is what the majority of my time has turned into- Of course with a 5 month old the only time I can do anything is when he's sleeping which leaves me no time to sleep myself :). I am trying to educate myself as quickly as possible and I have even tried to return some of the fish but the places they bought them from won't take them back. <Very good.> I have initiated the use of the QT tank and have treated a couple of my fish with great success thus far- My only ongoing problems - not surprisingly to you I am sure- Is my dwarf Gouramis. <Total waste of space, these fish.> My first one finally passed and I can't help but think it was only because he wouldn't eat- I didn't see him eat a thing for well over a month...after treating him with Fungus clear (I thought it was worth a try because he was swimming and "resting" on his side and/or upside down and it treated swim bladder) he became right side up within 24 hours and no longer seemed ill aside from the not eating (when I fed him he always appeared to try to get the food but couldn't aim right or something) At any rate he passed a few days ago and my 2nd one (a reminder I have 3) started not eating and seemed to have a bubble in his belly. My husband put him into QT but we haven't done any sort of treatment except trying to get him to eat (peas included). My 3rd still seems fine however I did move him from the 100 gallon to the 20 because I noticed today that my Angels were nipping and chasing him away from the food (and as soon as I put him in the 20 gallon he pigged out) <Angels can be bullies at the best of times. Anyway, re: Dwarf Gouramis, see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dwfgdis.htm > Anyways- my new questions are solely related to DGD- I have read that this disease stays in tanks after the sick is gone- now, is this only if the infected actually dies in the tank or if they show symptoms in it? <It's a viral disease, and no-one really knows whether it "stays" in tanks. Some viruses can lie dormant for ages, other viruses die quickly if they have no hosts. No-one really knows how it is transferred between fish, either. I'd tend to avoid Dwarf Gouramis anyway, hence for me it's an academic question, not a practical one.> Also, the one symptom none of my Gouramis have had is the skin lesions. I've looked very carefully at all 3 and did not see any abnormalities at all. Does this mean that they do not have DGD or is this not a necessary symptom to classify it as such. <May be other things. Dwarf Gouramis do get sick from Finrot, constipation, and all the other things aquarium fish can suffer from. It's just that in my experience here in England, most of the sick Dwarf Gouramis I see in shops have symptoms of the viral disease, so when I hear/read stories about sick Dwarf Gouramis, I tend to put the viral disease at the top of the list of suspects.> I guess that's not my only problem because I have noticed that almost all of my fish have had the white sometimes even clear and/or tape-like segmented feces. Does this mean I should be treating them all for parasites? <Unless you actually see worms (tapeworms or thread-like worms poking out of the anus) likely not; constipation or lack of fibre is a more likely problem. Hexamita and Hole-in-the-Head will also cause similar symptoms, though this disease is most often seen (in FW tanks) with cichlids. Do see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwwormdisfaqs.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfoods,fdg,nutr.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm  > Its a come and go thing and other than these issues they seem perfectly healthy. Thank you so much for your extremely informative and helpful website and your time and dedication you give to us new hobbyists. I am sure its frustrating when so many people jump into these things feet first without any previous education or forethought and then have to come to you when the inevitable problems begin to arise. <Ah, you "get it"! Yes indeed, if people researched before they bought their fish, we'd get a lot fewer messages! But even if people do make mistakes, what matters is that they learn from them. I've done some really stupid things in my time... for example putting a too-small male halfbeak with a female (she ate him!). When stuff happens, figure out what went wrong, come up with a better plan, and move on.> Thank you again for your time and this amazing resource. Very Respectfully, A dedicated student. <Good luck! Neale.>

Freshwater Aquarium Issue, dis... env.?  1/27/08 Hello, <Ave.> Your site is a great resource. I read the FAQs nearly everyday and have learned a lot. I have a problem with one of my aquariums that has me pretty much stumped. <Hmm...?> The aquarium is a 55 gallon that has been set up for about 6 months. It has a Marineland HOB filter (rated at 350 gph) and a new Fluval 305 Canister filter. <Sounds good.> Its inhabitants are 3 Congo Tetras, 2 Geophagus Surinamensis, 1 gold Severum and a Rainbow Shark (all less than 3 inches). I do weekly water changes of about 25%. Ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates around .20, pH 7.6, temperature 76. <All sounds fine. G. surinamensis is a superb fish, though notoriously sensitive to nitrate, so keep an eye on that.> Now, to the problem: The canister filter was added about 3 days ago (replacing an old Marineland HOB (200 gph)). All was well until about a day later when I noticed slightly clamped fins on one of the Surinamensis. I then noticed the Severum had some redness above its mouth. Within hours, everybody (except the shark) was breathing heavier than normal and generally were listless. <Uh-oh.> I tested for water quality problems but all tests came back as normal, just as previously noted. I started suspecting that somehow something toxic might have been introduced with the new filter (I had rinsed out the inside of the filter and all media before installing), since there have been no other recent changes (fish, diet, hardware, etc.). I changed 50% of the water and added Quick Cure (I know I am medicating without knowing exactly what is wrong but I have had success treating unknown maladies with this product on more than one occasion and have never had any negative consequences). <OK. You seem to know what you're doing, so I'll let this slide...!> I followed-up 24 hours later with another 50% water change, more Quick Cure and rinsed the canister and its entire media with very hot water. I am now seeing some improvement. The redness has disappeared from the Severum and most of the fish have started to behave normally, albeit, they all seem to be breathing a little more rapidly than normal. <Does sound as if there was something in the water. Did you clean anything with soap before running it in the tank?> The most worrisome problem is the Surinamensis, who continue mostly to just sit on the substrate instead of doing their normal foraging throughout the sand. <This is what they do when water isn't 100% perfect. They are among *the* most sensitive cichlids out there. All the Geophagines are. They're better than Tanganyikan goby cichlids I suppose, but not by much.> I am not sure what else, if anything, I should do at this point. <Do consider whether water chemistry changed; pH is often overlooked. The absolute value is relatively unimportant, but changes can be dangerous. Do also think if anything might have got into the water, e.g., paint fumes, beverages.> I feel like the situation has improved overall and I am tempted to just let things sit and see if the improvement continues. <Agreed. Provided water chemistry is sound, you should just leave things be. Water changes are always a good idea when things like this happen, so feel free to do another 25-50% each day for the next 2-3 days just to make sure anything nasty has been flushed out. Adding some carbon to a bubble-up box filter might help, and can be removed after a week. A left-field thought is Velvet, which often attacks the gills before anything else. Perhaps you had an outbreak of that, and the QuickCure helped, and now things are better. Velvet often irritates the gills sufficiently you see distressed breathing long before you see the cysts.> Any thoughts/advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Michael <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Freshwater Aquarium Issue 1/27/08
Neale, Thanks for your very quick response. In the few hours that have elapsed since I first wrote, ALL of the fish look much better. <Good news.> The Surinamensis are out and about and I would like to declare victory, except, I've been fish keeping for about 45 years and know it's a bit premature. <As you say. But I suspect you're over this problem at least, and things should settle down.> Thanks to you and WWM I knew that dilution (since I've seen parasitic, bacterial-type problems, etc., in the past), via big water changes, was a key element to resolving this particular problem. It should be noted that your advice concerning awareness of soap residue (or any foreign chemical) on aquarium equipment and external toxicity issues are imperatives and we all need to be vigilant concerning these. <Agreed. I confess to using soap from time to time to clean things, but that's always followed by serious rinsing and soaking of said ceramic ornament or whatever. An "Old School" trick after soaping or bleaching items is to stick them in the cistern of the loo. With each flush, it gets rinsed a bit more! The safe alternatives are lemon juice/vinegar (great for removing lime scale from things, while being harmless to fish; brine (great for generally killing algae and bacteria, also non-toxic); and hydrogen peroxide (for serious grime removal and disinfecting, but breaks down so quickly as to be harmless after a quick rinse and dry).> In hindsight, I would have to blame something with the new filter (every time I've checked the pH it's been about the same) and in the future, I'll be even more aggressive in rinsing/cleaning anything I add to my tanks. <OK.> Thanks again for your quick response and dedication to helping others in our hobby. <We're happy to help. Enjoy your fishkeeping!> Michael <Cheers, Neale.>

Curved Spine TB?   9/11/07  Hi WWM Crew, I've read and read and now have become confused. Is a curved spine a definite telltale sign of TB or could it be a symptom of swim bladder disease or something else? I have a convict cichlid. She is very tiny 2 inches at most. She's about 3 years old. She was fine and a spunky little fish. There is another adult pink convict (a male about 4 inches) in the tank who is sometimes a bully. Most times they are compatible. They are in a 10 Gal. tank with water changes every week. Yesterday I saw her floating on her side in a curled up position. Her fins were moving and it seemed she was trying very hard to right herself. When I noticed this I put her into a breeding net to keep the male away from her. I didn't notice any visible signs of trauma. No bloating or bleeding or missing scales/fins. I did a 75% water change and cleaned out the filter and treated the water with Epsom salt. I didn't know fish could get TB until I visited your site. She is very thin, no appetite and curling up as if in pain. I feel really bad for her and want to ease her suffering. The male isn't showing any signs of illness (yet). He keeps swimming past her outside the breeding net though and she tries to move toward him. It's very sad. I am hoping you can help me try to diagnose my little girl. Do you think it may be contagious and is it possible the male will be infected too? Please help! Thanks, Maureen <Hello Maureen. Just as in humans, physical deformities can be caused by any number of reasons, and it's important not to assume that because something is symptomatic of a particular diseases, that it's ONLY caused by that disease. Also, Fish TB isn't the same thing as the TB humans get. Fish TB is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium marinum, whereas human TB is caused by a number of closely related species including the appropriately named Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Fish TB is very uncommon in freshwater aquaria, and almost always when freshwater aquarists blame fish deaths on Fish TB they're really making it up and have no idea what killed their fish. A bit like those "internal parasites" people mention for similar reasons, citing Fish TB amounts to nothing more than a scapegoat alternative to actually admitting their tank was overstocked, they used live feeder fishes, they didn't quarantine new stock, and so on. In your case, you have a couple of problems that are likely factors. To start with, a 10 gallon tank is not nearly big enough for convicts. I'm assuming you're talking 10 US gallons (= 8 UK gallons, 38 litres). Even for a matched pair of convicts you wouldn't be able to keep them in a tank that small. While you might consider them to be small specimens, the fish don't know that, and adults in the wild are anything up to around 15 cm long and defend territories something of the order of 1-2 metres in diameter. Males are notoriously belligerent to unreceptive females when kept under aquarium conditions. You have to remember that evolution hasn't needed to come up with a "play nice" gene; in the wild, if a female enters a male's territory but she doesn't want to breed, she just swims away. In the aquarium, she has nowhere to go, and the male's natural territoriality (which, in the wild, is a good thing by making him a reliable father) ends up becoming destructive. It is entirely possible she's received internal damage from being attacked by the male. You don't say anything about water chemistry or quality either. Convicts need moderately hard to hard water with a pH somewhere in the slightly alkaline range; pH 7.5-8, 10-20 degrees dH is what you're aiming for. Water quality needs to be excellent, as just like any other cichlid, dissolved metabolites in the water do harm over the long term. Water changes must be of the order of 50% weekly, and given your tank is so tiny, I'd be doing two such water changes a week. Regardless, you're after 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and nitrates ideally 20 mg/l or less and certainly not more than 50 mg/l. Finally, diet is an issue. Convicts are omnivores, and that means you need to include green foods in their diet as well as flake or frozen. Algae pellets and flakes are probably the easiest things to use, but tinned peas, Sushi Nori, spinach, blanched lettuce, and so on can all be tried. Very few cichlids don't eat greens in the wild, and for many it provides important vitamins as well as fibre. You may want to send along a photo so we can better diagnose your sick fish, but in the meantime, I'd encourage you to review some of the factors mentioned above and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale>

3 dead 1 left... FW trbleshtg...   9/3/07 Hello, <<Hello, Lxxx. (Interesting name, by the way. :) ) Tom here.>> We bought some fish about a month ago. <<What type of fish?>> We've treated the water for a week before we bought them and had the water tested by the pet store. <<Treated the water how? The vast majority of 'cycling' products found in stores are of questionable effectiveness at best. (There's some evidence that, contrary to what we've believed in the past, there are bacteria (Nitrospira) contained in these products that do, in fact, deal with nitrites, as well as those dealing with ammonia, but only because these are 'naturally occurring' bacteria and are contained in the product far more by accident than by design. By bacterial standards, these bacteria reproduce extremely slowly, however, and the populations of the bacteria can't be guaranteed from one container to the next.) Recognize, too, that early in the cycling process ammonia may be undetectable with our common test kits. This may give the false impression/indication that all is well when, in fact, the process has yet to really begin.>> I Hoover the tank every week, but still we've lost 3 fish. Each one's dorsal fin has gotten flat then they become sluggish and die. <<Too little information for me to be very specific on the cause for this other than to suggest to you that the behavior is indicative of poor water conditions and/or quality. This doesn't necessarily mean that the water's 'bad' but it may not be right for your fish.>> We have three real plants in the tank. I can't see any spots or fungus on the fish. There is also a shoal of the little fish in the tank!!! <<Well, now you've given me a little to work with. Almost certainly you've got livebearers of some type (Platys, Swordtails, Mollies, Guppies, et. al., fall into this category) at least one of which is/was a female. Fish in this group require relatively hard, alkaline water conditions. (Mollies are a brackish water species requiring still a different environment.) Without knowing what the current ammonia/nitrite, nitrate and pH levels are (hardness would be another good reading to have), nothing I can offer to you would be more than a wild guess on my part.>> Please help. I don't want this one to die and its fin is starting to deflate!!! <<The best generic approach I can suggest is to stay on top of water changes. From what I can gather, the problem is largely, if not completely, environmental which can be addressed with these changes. Change out at least 50% of the water a couple of times each week. In the meantime, get yourself a test kit so that you know -- without relying on the sometimes questionable results that the pet store may give you -- exactly what's going on in your tank. I understand that you're very concerned here and likely wrote to us in a hurry but we need some detailed information the next time. Type of fish, tank size, type of filtration, heater (if any), water temperature, type(s) of food you're providing and, most especially, the exact water parameters. I specify 'exact' here because 'good', 'fine', 'safe', 'within limits', etc., are too subjective to be of any real use to us. What certain fish may be able to tolerate over a brief period of time might kill others in short order.>> Many thanks Lxxx <<Well, I don't think I've been able to give you much more than a place to start but if you'd like to write back with the information I've suggested, perhaps I can be of more assistance. Cheers. Tom>>

Fish rubbing on rocks - a sign of something other than disease?   7/25/07 Hello WWM, <Didi...> I have another question, unrelated to the fish disappearances :) The question is about the same fish - molly, 2 swordtails and a guppy in the 3 gallon tank. I've had them since February, and they haven't been sick yet (except the latch-on worms that the molly came with from the store... but we got rid of those early with CopperSafe). <Mmm, Lernaea? Not treatable with such> Anyway, so my fish have been healthy and happy and I've never seen them rub on rocks for any reason. However, recently I decided to make their life a bit more interesting and changed the decoration. I took them out, cleaned the tank <Describe this process... Not too thoroughly I hope> and put in new rocks, shells and plants, organized in a different way. I put the fish back in (with a portion of the old water, to keep the bacteria and everything). At first the fish looked confused, not recognizing their home. Then they started exploring the new decorations, and vigorously rubbing themselves against everything - rocks, shells, even the plants. All of the fish did that for a while. They would approach an object, look at it for a moment and with a swift motion rub the side of their body against it. They weren't exhibiting any signs of illness - no white spots or patches on their skin, no worms, etc. They did the rubbing for a while that evening, and by morning the next day they were fine again. That was several weeks ago. They haven't rubbed since, and none of them has gotten ill. They look as healthy, active and stupid as always :D <Trouble with all the too much, too soon changes here... Very likely you've lost bio-cycling...> My question: is rubbing a sign of anything else, that is not a disease? <Can be indicative of a few challenges... though some rubbing is "natural"> If those were cats, I'd assume they're marking a new territory, hehe, but who knows what fish mean with it... The marking is the only thing I can think of. Please let me know. Thanks, Didi <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Fish rubbing on rocks - a sign of something other than disease? Wasting time...   7/28/07
Hi Bob, <Didi> I've mixed in my replies with the previous message: >I have another question, unrelated to the fish disappearances :) The question is about the same fish - molly, 2 swordtails and a guppy in the 3 gallon tank. I've had them since February, and they haven't been sick yet (except the latch-on worms that the molly came with from the store... but we got rid of those early with CopperSafe). ><Mmm, Lernaea? Not treatable with such> --> no, ours were tiny, fat white worms. Lernaea are long and thin, and darker in color. Anyway, one of the fish experts at our PetCo has 30+ years of experience and knows a lot; <I built their program in the early nineties before the first time the co. went public...> he looked at the fish and said CopperSafe would kill the worms it had (CopperSafe should kill anything that's invertebrate). <... no... Please... don't waste our time writing... Read a reference book or two... You attend college? They have a life science dept. I take it...> The latch-on worms never came back. I occasionally see Planaria worms crawling on the glass, but that's all. > Anyway, so my fish have been healthy and happy and I've never seen them rub on rocks >for any reason. However, recently I decided to make their life a bit >more interesting and changed the decoration. I took them out, cleaned the tank ><Describe this process... Not too thoroughly I hope> --> Okay, the process. With this small tank, I do 1/3 water changes every week. Then once a month I take everything out, rinse the tank, gravel and shells with just water (scrubbing the nasty layer of algae off the walls and washing the mountain of crap out of the gravel), reassemble and let the fish back in with about half of the old water + half fresh water with conditioner, plant enhancer drops and a bit of salt. With the bigger tank hopefully I won't have to take everything out, but this small one gets very dirty very fast. I got a "gravel vacuumer" hoping to be able to suck the waste out of the gravel instead of taking the gravel out and rinsing it, but it doesn't work with such a small tank. By the time I've vacuumed a third of the bottom, I've already sucked almost all the water out of the tank. With the large tank there's more water and I'll have more time to clean the entire area, so I won't have to take the gravel out. <Please see WWM re... FW maint... I would not switch out this much water...> > and put in new rocks, shells and plants, organized in a >different way. I put the fish back in (with a portion of the old water, >to keep the bacteria and everything). At first the fish looked confused, >not recognizing their home. Then they started exploring the new >decorations, and vigorously rubbing themselves against everything - >rocks, shells, even the plants. All of the fish did that for a while. >They would approach an object, look at it for a moment and with a swift >motion rub the side of their body against it. They weren't exhibiting >any signs of illness - no white spots or patches on their skin, no worms, etc. They did the rubbing for a while that evening, and by >morning the next day they were fine again. That was several weeks ago. >They haven't rubbed since, and none of them has gotten ill. They look as >healthy, active and stupid as always :D ><Trouble with all the too much, too soon changes here... Very likely you've lost bio-cycling...> --> I cleaned the tank just as I had done every month, and as I described above. The fish never reacted this way before though. The only difference now was that I had new shells and two new plants (same gravel). The fish never rubbed after cleaning sessions before. <Tapwater is not a consistent product... could be that your livestock were poisoned with sanitizer...> Seems like they were reacting to the new decoration itself. What I noticed before is that they were aware of the particular decoration I had in the tank before, and after putting them back in after cleaning, they recognized the tank as the same space (I put the decoration back exactly as it had been) and knew they were at home. They would return to their usual sleeping places, feeding places, etc. What threw them off was the change of setting - the familiar rocks were gone, so now it looked like they were in a new space. That's how I explain it. The parts of the tank that are in the same locations, like the filter tube and cascading water, they recognized right away. I used to always feed them right in front of the cascade (so the water can spread the food around), and when I leaned over the tank after the big move-around, they all swam up to the cascade in a cluster and started vacuuming the surface in search of food. Anyway, my point is that fish have a memory for landmarks as they need to navigate in the water in the wild, so in this case they must have interpreted the change of landmarks as a change of location altogether, and acted confused because they were in unfamiliar territory. <Possibly got used to it though, and now they're not rubbing anymore. With that in mind, I still wonder if the rubbing was indeed a response to the change of scenery, and if, behaviorally speaking, the rubbing has a particular message and purpose. Let's assume that it's not a matter of health, because none of them have gotten sick or exhibited any signs of weakness or dullness. Is there a behavioral explanation? <Interesting... but I know naught> >My question: is rubbing a sign of anything else, that is not a disease? ><Can be indicative of a few challenges... though some rubbing is "natural"> >If those were cats, I'd assume they're marking a new territory, hehe, but who knows what fish mean with it... The marking is the only thing I can think of. >Please let me know. >Thanks, >Didi ><Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm >and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> --> I read the article, thanks. I am in the process of establishing the environment in the big tank now, by using the old shells and gravel from the small tank + a small school of zebra fish for a start. It's been cycling for more than a week now. The small tank was already established though, and whenever I had to clean the walls and rinse the mountain of crap out of the gravel, I put at least half of the old water back after that. <Good> Including in the case of the new decorations when the fish did the rubbing... <Ok! RMF>

Several diseases??? I'm clueless!!   7/26/06 Hi, my name is Kathryn and I live in Texas. I recently began keeping fish and thought I had done pretty well on researching species and diseases and water treatments and so forth, but apparently not!   This may be hard for me  to explain but I will try to keep it short. I have a 72 gallon bowfront aquarium that has been in use since May 20ish.   Livestock is: 5 gold Gouramis 4 blue Gouramis 5 zebra Danios 3 Kribensis cichlids 3 Dalmatian mollies 4 sunburst? mollies 6 gold barbs 6 cherry barbs 1 pictus catfish 2 albino Corys 1 dojo loach 1 flying fox 1 spotted catfish 6 small guppies 1 male Betta     I know this is a lot of fish, but they are all  young and still fairly small, the largest being a gold Gourami at 3 1/2 in., as  they grow I will move some to another tank accordingly.     I have an undergravel filter set on low and a  Emperor bio-wheel for filtration, and have always kept the water treated with  stress coat and aquarium salt (1 tbs. per 5 gal.) About a month ago I  successfully treated a severe ich outbreak by slowly raising the salt levels over a period of three days and maintaining that for a little over a  week. Since then I have continued to keep a bit more salt than recommended in  the tank. (about an extra 1/2 cup for the entire tank). Well now it seems I have a few problems.... <Mmm, yes... the salt... will not "treat" indefinitely... has its own drawbacks> I noticed that both the loach and fox began glancing rather severely a couple weeks ago. a few other fish have glanced slightly, but not much. Now several of my other fish, the Dalmatians and the pictus <This catfish is quite sensitive to most dye and metal medications> and a couple  Gourami have bulging eyes. Then the loach <Ditto> and fox pretty much slowed down  on the glancing after a filter change, but my fox has what appear to be nicks or  tiny wounds on his back, about 3 or 4 of them. (possibly bites????, <Possibly> maybe  bacteria?) <Doubtful, but possible> and when he rests his dorsal fin stays clamped. And just a few days  ago I noticed the loach has what appears to be a brown mole on his underside,  about an inch past his mouth on his stomach. also little brown spots on his  body, but I don't know if those were already there or not. Could any of this be  salt burn?   <Of a sort, yes... osmotic stress...> I bought some tetracycline but am hesitating to use it since I  don't know for sure what is best for my fish!!!!     <Is not> All fish are eating and breathing normally. PLEASE HELP I'M SO LOST!!!! I appreciate your time and patience so much!!! Kathryn G. <"When, where in doubt; water changes"... Please read here re FW Ich: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm the linked files above, and elsewhere on WWM re salt use... You have a mix of organisms that are not entirely "very" compatible in terms of temperament and water quality type... Much to relate re... You would do well to read up re each of the listed (and future purchases) requirements, compatibility. Bob Fenner>
Re: Several diseases??? I'm clueless!!   7/27/06
I just wanted to thank you for the quick response! I am very relieved that it does not appear to be any illness I was unaware of. I will lower the salt levels <Good> and bump up my water change from 10% weekly to 20% and see what happens. <Even better> I'm very glad I checked with you before ignorantly dumping medications into my  aquarium. <I as well> This web site has been a great help to me as a beginner in fish keeping (occasionally it is a bit hard to navigate, the archives can be daunting) <And will become more so with time... I'm a feared... Perhaps the intuitive software that's a-coming will make all this less so... Do wish I could do something akin to a/the "Vulcan mind-meld" with folks... in time...> but  the most informative I have found so far. <Ahhh!> Thank you again for your time and for providing a link to make my search much easier. Kathryn G. <We become one my friend. Thank you. BobF>

Boatloads of problems, trying to cope! Guppy disease/s, Neon Bloating, Imported fishes and Flagyl  - 05/22/2006 Hello, <Hi there> Wonderful site you have here.  Thank you for the resource.  I have combed it thoroughly over the last little while and have had some successful results with other problems, but now I am facing a few fish troubles I can't resolve and desperately need some help. Unfortunately, this may be a big one as  I have two tanks; one 96 Litre and one 54 Litre tank.  Both are planted.  The relevant parameters for both tanks are: 96L: pH 7.5 NitrItes: 0 ppm NitrAtes: 12 ppm KH: 6 dH GH: 9 dH Temp: 24 C 54L: pH 7.5 NitrItes: 0.3 ppm NitrAtes: 12 ppm KH: 6 dH GH 10 dH temperature: 26 C <No ammonia in either/both I take it> I'll discuss the large tank first.   In the 96L tank I keep guppies, platys, Corys and apple snails (Pomacea bridgesii).  I have noticed that the guppies have started flashing.  It is more than the "once per second" rule.  This has continued for about a week now.  I have not treated with malachite green (snails in the tank) nor have I added aquarium salt.  I have been observing the behaviour, as I mentioned, for about a week.  As of yet, I have seen no sign of ich, velvet or any visible "hangers-on" parasites.   <Might be environmental...> First question: I am wondering what the flashing could be about?  I think the water parameters are quite alright and I have no visible evidence of parasites. <For what you list test wise and can see, yes>   Consequently I am baffled.  Also, if needed, could I add aquarium salt to the tank even though it contains snails and Corys?  If so, at what concentration? <Mmm, not much salt... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/saltusefaqs.htm> Second issue: I purchased 3 brilliant yellow guppies to attempt to "rescue" them as they were a little under the weather at the fish shop. Guppy #1 swims in one position at the top of the tank and exhibits white stringy faeces.  Fins are not really clamped per-se, but maybe a little.  He will swim for hours in the same position at the top of the water, other than that, there is no visible sign of problems with him.  Abdomen does not look particularly bloated.  He will not take food.  Wondering if this is simple constipation or something more sinister in the works? <Is possible there is a problem here... perhaps protozoal... that might call for a one-time treatment with Flagyl/Metronidazole...> Guppy #2 has improved over the last day.  He has what looks like a tiny red blood blister on his tail.  There is also a split in his tailfin.  He is now swimming with the other guppies in the tank and eating a little bit.  He also had what looked like an abrasion on his head.  I treated him with Sera Baktopur for this (30 minute dip upon arrival and a couple of successive 30 min dips).  Should I be doing something further for this guy? <Not at this juncture. More such exposure may be more harm than beneficial> Guppy #3 I am the most concerned about.  He has what looks like blood under his scales near his head.  He hangs out on the bottom of the tank quite a lot - he actually "rests" on the bottom.  Occasionally he will swim up near the top of the surface and stay there for 20 min.s or so.  Will not take food.  In all cases, he looks like he is gasping, not super-heavy gasping, but I can tell this is what he is doing through comparison with other fish.  I think over the last 24 hours the red spot has decreased in size (hard to tell exactly), but he still maintains the laying on the bottom posture.  Wondering if this is hemorrhagic septicemia?  If so, what do you advise treatment with?  I am in Switzerland, so if you can suggest a Sera brand product that would be great (seems to be all they have here), otherwise I will need a chemical name. <How to make this known... Poecilia raised in the orient (where the majority originate now-a-years, are often plagued with such complaints... Quarantine, some prophylactic measures are absolutely required... and should be S.O.P. by the trade/wholesaler-importers... but are rarely done... There are seasonal huge guppy die-offs on import, distribution... in the Spring, Fall...> On to the 54 litre tank.   In this tank, I keep a Betta, 11 neon tetras (the Betta does not bother or interact with them), 2 cherry barbs, two albino Corys, a small Pleco (was labeled "silure bleu" in the store) <Unfamiliar with this> and two freshwater shrimps.  The problem in this tank is with the tetras.  When I feed them flake (Tetra brand) their abdomen bloats up considerably.  Three tetras in particular develop swimming troubles.  They angle downwards about 50 degrees and swim towards the bottom. <Do switch to non-dried food for a few weeks...> They seem to "float up" and repeat this type of bobbing behaviour.  It is clear that the fish have buoyancy problems. <A bit more than this...> After about 4-5 hours the bloating goes down and they return to normal.  This has been going on for about 5 days now.  Feedings are done more than once per day and in very tiny quantities.  They may get some excess bloodworms that the Betta does not consume, but I am careful about over-feeding.  NitrItes are elevated in this tank because initially I thought the tetras may have had an internal infection and treated the tank with Baktopur. <See below> I suspect it impacted the biological filter resulting in the nitrIte rise.   <You are correct here> I am doing water changes to keep these down and have added a product called "Nitrivec".  The best I can seem to do at this point (70-75% water change) is to get them to 0.3 ppm. My question would thus be: what is going on with the tetras?   Could this be a food issue or is it an internal anatomy problem? <Both> They were having this problem before the elevated nitrIte levels, so it is seemingly unrelated to that. A whole host of problems, I know.  If you can shed some light on even a few of them I would be most grateful! Regards to the entire WWM crew and thanks in advance for any help! <Am wanting to relate sufficient information to assist you here in aiding your livestock. Both systems do likely have a protozoal complaint. I would read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/metranidazole.htm and utilize this powerful compound in these fishes foods... and be very careful re quarantining all new livestock to avoid re-infestation. Bob Fenner>
Re: Boatloads of problems continue... FW dis.   5/28/06
Hi Bob, <John> I have the 96L and 54L tanks with the guppy and tetra problems. I treated the tetras with Flagyl for two doses and I believe there has been some improvement.  I have not witnessed the severe bloating accompanied by swimming difficulty.  Perhaps I have a handle on this problem now. <I hope so> Unfortunately, I have a nitrIte problem in this tank now.  I have been doing consistent (twice daily) 50% water changes and I can't seem to get them down. <The very large changes are highly likely forestalling the establishment of cycling... I'd reduce feeding extremely, use BioSpira, other means of urging this along> Tank temperature is 78F and I vacuum the substrate and add some concoction of "helpful bacteria" daily, but the nitrItes won't seem to disappear. <Most such concoctions are farces... ineffectual>   This has been going on for a little over a week now.  I guess patience is all I can resort to at this point? <Mmm, not just this> I am getting a little concerned because there is a Betta in the tank and his fins are starting to get a little ragged. <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above> The 96L guppy tank is still having troubles.  I have just lost a guppy today and there is another one with a very swollen abdomen.  I will give you a description about the guppy I lost as I believe that there is a common disease that is killing my stock, but I cannot seem to identify it.  Water parameters are: Temperature: 24 C pH: 7.5 KH: 6 GH: 9 NitrIte: 0 ppm NitrAte: 12 ppm Tank is planted and well aerated. (Can't test for ammonia, presumed 0 given other parameters) It starts out that the abdomen of the fish gets gradually swollen.  Either preceding or accompanying this are stringy, white faeces (I did try Flagyl on this group of guppies, but either the sick fish were too advanced in their condition for it to be helpful or it is not working).  Following the initial bloating, somewhere up to 5-7 days elapse before the condition gets even worse.  The scales on the belly start to raise (dropsy, I presume). <Mmm, yes... but from what cause?> Then the fish will hang out at the surface a lot, sometimes surface breathing.  Following this period they move away from the surface and begin to hide in plants.  They will not take food.  Soon after - maybe 1 to 2 days later - I observe them having swimming difficulties.  For example, they move about with their head pointed to the top of the tank and their tail to the bottom of the tank.  Movement is carried out using the front fins more than the tail at this point.  Not long after, it becomes clear that the fish is very sick.  Death usually results with much hemorrhaging, "raw spots" on the skin/scales and tail rot; evidenced by red/disintegrating areas on the tail fin.  I have tried treating with Acriflavine, but to no avail.  At this point I think treatment is a futile exercise because the condition is too advanced and/or secondary to what is really going on with the fish. <You are wise here. Do read a bit re the use of Neomycin (sulfate)... or, if you can secure this there, Chloromycetin/Chloramphenicol....> This tank also has the flashing problem I talked about before.  Is there any possibility that the flashing and the subsequent conditions are related? <Yes, though not necessarily... sigh...> Still no sign of Ick, anchor worms, velvet, or any visible type of parasite. I am getting concerned that this may pass to all the fish in the tank and it will be a total massacre.  I am also noticing that some of my otherwise normal fish are starting to display "odd behaviour".  Nothing concrete, just small things that give pause for concern...swimming patterns, subtle behaviours, increased hiding, etc... <Could be resultant from "medicine/treatment" exposure alone...> Anything, even the smallest suggestion for preventative treatment/some course of action, would be most welcome at this point. Thanks. <Do read re the antibiotics mentioned above... this last livebearer trouble smacks of "Columnaris"... we can chat this up, or it is likely more advantageous/timely for you to search WWM, the Net re. Bob Fenner>
Re: Boatloads of problems continue...
 5/29/06 Hi Bob, <<Tom with you this time, John. I'll try to give the Boss a well-deserved break. :)>> Thanks for the reply.  My thinking was along the same lines.  I don't want to bother you with unnecessary questions, but I had suspected columnaris myself.  However, doesn't columnaris present with either "cottony-like" growths and/or pale areas on the fish?   <<This is typical and, usually, the "easy" way to identify the disease.>> I had inspected the guppies that I lost quite carefully for signs of this and did not notice any symptoms of this sort.  Nothing around the mouth, no white lesions or pale areas on the dorsal area. <<Okay.>> That being said - the rest of the symptoms seem to be consistent with columnaris - many fish affected, difficulty with successful treatment, fin damage, etc... <<Also consistent with Neon Tetra Disease (Pleistophora hyphessobryconis). In fact, Columnaris is often suspected when NTD is the actual culprit. Might explain much here.>> Can columnaris present like this (i.e.: the absence of the white lesions)? <<John, each fish can display a little differently. For example, a strong, healthy fish contracting this may display all of the "classic" signs while fighting the disease while a weaker one may succumb before all signs develop.>> I will look into your suggestions regarding medications and more information.  Thanks. <<Please defer to Bob's advice here, John. I'm only throwing my "two-cents worth" in to offer a possible alternative for the problems you're experiencing.>> Currently the remaining fish in the tank look healthy.  I will continue to observe over the next few days and see what happens. <<Sadly, there's no known cure for NTD and, just as sadly, it's not restricted to its 'namesake' fish. Don't like to bet against myself but, in this case, I hope I'm very wrong. ;) Best of luck. Tom>> <Tom's answers and follow-ups are so good I'm thinking of changing my name! RMF>

Re: Boatloads of problems continue...
 5/31/06 Hi Tom - <<Hello, John.>> Thanks for the follow up.   <<Glad to help.>> Tonight I have another problem starting with a guppy from the same tank.  I am beginning to fear the onset of an epidemic and/or total massacre of my stock.  Water parameters are unchanged since last time: pH: 7.5 NitrItes: 0 ppm NitrAtes: 12 ppm Ammonia: 0 ppm (cannot test, chemicals are prohibited here, but presumed 0) <<I "presume" you're right but let's leave this one on the "back burner".>> Temp 24 C KH: 6 GH: 9 No big fluctuations in temp. or pH.  Nothing new added to the tank. <<Sounds good.>> I have had one guppy that has had an enlarged abdomen for about a week now. It has neither gotten larger nor smaller so I had presumed it natural.  He has had stringy white stool so I have treated with Flagyl twice (to make sure the food was eaten) and fed skinless peas.   <<The order of this should be reversed, John. Clear the tract first and, then, treat with the medication. Let's continue...>> No change in abdomen size, but possible normal stool (hard to tell sometimes).   <<Indeed...from personal experience. :)>> He is active and taking food.  Looks healthy, swims normally and with the group.  However, just tonight I noticed his tail fin has red edges and is no longer a straight line.  That is in small localized areas some of the fin edge has been destroyed.  This has occurred in the last 24 hours.  I have now quarantined him and am treating with Acriflavine (all I have at the moment to combat fin rot).   <<May be secondary, John. Can also be associated with Ammonia burning; that "back burner" issue. Can't discount too much here. Not likely, however.>> I am concerned, however, because these signs are consistent with what I observed in the fatal conditions of the three previous guppies I have lost.  This fish does seem somewhat "robust" but in the past that was irrelevant.   <<Okay.>> Out of the (now five total) fish affected by this, three have died, one small yellow fish has seemingly survived (fins healing, more active, eating...) and now this fish is the latest to develop this insidious condition.  I am working on the assumption that he has contracted (or incubated) what the other fish had. <<A fair assumption...>> Understand your concern re: NTD, but I think this is quite rare so I will discount this at the moment.  I hope we are both wrong on this count! <<Ditto. Don Quixote and windmills. Unfortunately, a hopeless effort with NTD.>> Will continue to observe this fish and see how he progresses.  I am sure you will be hearing from me! <<Look forward to it with, hopefully, good news.>> Thanks for all the advice along the way here.  The going has been a bit rough... <<Indeed. One thought and, admittedly, overly simplistic but, have you considered adding aquarium salt as a therapeutic/preventive measure? Not the usual "Guppy treatment" for what you describe but I'd rather not over-think the problem, either. Good luck. Tom>>

Re: Boatloads of problems continue...
  6/1/06 Hi Tom - <<How goes it, John?>> The time difference makes this convenient!  Just as you answer I am home to respond... <<Timing is everything!>> The update on the 96L (25 gallon) tank: Tank parameters identical to yesterday.  I am pretty sure there is no ammonia in this tank.  It has been established for quite some time. Water is crystal clear (some yellowing from driftwood), and water parameters have not deviated from those I quoted in over a month now.  There have been no temperature shocks or pH changes.  I did add some plants, but rinsed thoroughly with tap water.  The plants were from a local fish shop that keeps plants in a separate system from their fish stock, so I think cross-contamination may not be an issue here.  I had sick fish before the plant addition. <<Wise decision on the plants.>> Anyways, the latest on the fish: The guppy with the bacterial infection of the fin is worsening.  Medication (Acriflavine/Methylene blue combination) has seemed to slow this up a little but has failed to stop it completely.  Curiously, the fish is acting quite normally, active and taking food.   <<I find this "curious" as well.>> Have observed normal stool, but his abdomen is still swollen.  Has been treated with Flagyl (twice) and boiled peas.  The tail is in not so good shape, however.   I must admit I am getting a little discouraged with all this - seems like a bit of a mystery disease.  Not to mention it's not so pleasant to lose fish every few days or to wake up to a new tragedy in progress in the tank! <<Wish I could say I haven't been there, John. We all have, though.>> The yellow guppy that I had assumed survived successfully is starting to look a little bit rough.  It almost appears like he is "wasting" slowly. Scales are protruding slightly and not just localized to the abdomen - I can observe this all the way to the tail fin.  I would not say this is dropsy - if anything, he looks a little too thin and there is certainly no abdominal swelling.  It's a little hard to tell if it's occurring on his head because there is constant movement, but I don't think it is.  He is quite active and eating, but like I said - looks less than healthy.  It could be that he is also exhibiting the small startings of some tail fin rot.  (Sigh...) <<Research 'Camallanus', John. Not a "given" certainly but...>> On a positive note, all the other fish still seem quite fine.  I have four platys, a few other guppies, three Corys, two freshwater shrimp and 3 apple snails (Pomacea bridgesii).  I have put about 1 teaspoon aquarium salt per 5 gallons (25 gallon tank) as I have the shrimp, snails and Corys in there and they are sensitive to it but at this level they seem to tolerate it. <<Haven't met a fish yet that won't tolerate this level.>> Should I be restricting food?   <<Under different circumstances, I'd recommend this but I don't see the need here.>> Should I raise the temp (currently 24C)?   <<Wouldn't be a bad idea to raise to 26C. A higher metabolic rate wouldn't do any harm and could prove beneficial for the fish.>> Not sure what else to do at the moment. <<The "upshot" here is that you may be dealing with pets that are 'susceptible'. You've other Guppies that are, seemingly, unaffected nor are the other fish that share the tank. There's a "pattern" but not one that can be nailed down. One's bloated, one's 'wasting' and neither behaves in a "stressed" manner, i.e. not feeding, not schooling, not hiding. <<Conventional medications aren't completely effective. We're missing something here.>> I'm hoping to (somehow) get a handle on this soon so my tank isn't wiped out.   <<I don't think this will happen, for what it's worth. Seems isolated.>> I have had some of these fish for quite some time and am fond of them and their individual personalities.   <<We all understand...>> My only consolation is my 54 L tank that seems to be doing well! <<For this, I'm glad, John.>> Thanks again! <<You're welcome and, please, keep us posted. Tom>>

The Three Sets of Factors That Determine Livestock Health    3/24/06 Mr. Fenner, You e-mailed me back the other day about my 75 gal tank.  I am sure you don't remember since you have probably thousands of e-mails.   However,  you told me to wait, change water, and add some more live  rock.  I am a woman and patients isn't always in our vocabulary <Perhaps if you were a nurse?>   LOL  So it is killing me.  Nonetheless, I have one last question, what  makes the fish sink to the bottom of the tank and hang out there until there  death?  Thank you Shelly <Mmm, can be a few things... none of them good. But an overall weakened state due to unsuitable water quality, simple exhaustion due to harassment, chasing... fatigue brought on by parasitism, infectious agents/pathogens, low/no oxygen and/or too much CO2... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm Bob Fenner>

Disease, Lack Of Input - 08/26/2005 I had a molly with rainbow fish, guppies and platies. The molly died, turning from orange to light yellow with his stomach open.  What happened? <No idea....  Nowhere near enough information to even begin to diagnose.  Try here, under "Disease": http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaintindex.htm .  -Sabrina>

Mysterious freshwater fish losses 28 Jun 2005 Hello again, you have been so helpful to me in the past, I'm hoping you can advise me once again.  In 2 days I have lost a total of 3 fish suddenly and don't have a clue what's going on.  I have a 64 gal community tank. 1 dojo 3 Kuhlis 1 clown Pleco 1 common Pleco 1 black ghost knife 1 Burmese Botia 2 Botia striata In the 2 days I have lost a Red Pleco, a black kuhli and a reg kuhli.  They were all swimming happily 2 days ago, the next morning I found the kuhli stiff on the bottom of the tank.  This morning I found my red Pleco (who was feeding eagerly last night) stuck to the strainer of filter, white as a ghost   Came home from work a and found the black kuhli, pale and stiff (it was dancing back and forth along the glass this morning).   I do regular water changes, 5-8 gals every other day. <I would curtail these too-frequent changes... go with once a week...> And I add about a half teaspoon of Hawaiian rock salt with every water change. <Hmm, the Plecos don't like salt, but this isn't much>   I haven't done anything different in the past days and I've had the tank for at over 3 months now.   Can you tell me what may be happening? Thank you for your time Shell <Don't know from what is offered here. Have you tested for nitrogenous wastes? Bob Fenner>

Mysterious FW Deaths Hello. I have a 55 gallon freshwater aquarium that's been set up for about a year now. We have a canister filter and a penguin bio-wheel filter. About a month ago we had our blue "lobster" die and then 3 of our fish. We were doing regular water changes, changing the filter media, vacuuming the gravel, and everything else that needs done. We tested the water quite frequently and all read fine. Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 20, and PH 6.8. We never did find out what happened to our fish, it was a sudden and very fast fate for the poor things. Now, one of my red Irian rainbows is going around in slow steady circles, is not interested in food, and it's color has deepened to a very dark maroon color. This has happened over night. Yesterday, it was swimming around just fine and would eat. Do you have any suggestions of what I could do to keep it from also passing away? It doesn't appear to have any markings of any sort that would help with determining what's going on. Any recommendations for medicines that could help an invisible problem? Just a few moments ago I did put him in a q-tank so that I could hopefully help the poor thing! Please, any suggestions to save him would be appreciated! Thanks! <With the lobster dying first this would make me think that there might be a copper problem. If you recently had any plumbing work done with any new piping being replaced then this might be a cause. Internal bacterial infection may be another. Try treating with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package.-Chuck>

Mystery White Stuff on Fish Hello, this is a really great site, I am so glad you all are here! I tried to search and tried several wordings, so I hope I am not repeating a common question. First off, tank facts: The tank is maintained 78*. Has a sump filtration. Several fish coexist quite happily: 1 Oscar 2 Plecos 3 (true) parrots 1 blue Severum (?) 1 kissing Gourami (sp?) 1 African blue (?) A few days ago I began to notice white spots on the top of one Pleco and the blue Severum, (none on fins). I treated the tank for ich for a couple days to no result. I noticed the same white spots floating at the top of the tank, so definitely not ich. This all seemed to occur after a power outage, so I thought somehow something had stirred, dried up, re-entered the tank. The fish do not seem upset, have appetite, normal activity. One more reason I thought it was sediment, these are my two laziest fish, so maybe "dust" hasn't fallen off because of inactivity. Now, tonight one of the parrots has the white "dust all over his body. Of course I am very worried and do not know what to do. Sorry if I sound ignorant, please help anyway. Thanks so much. Tracy < These white spots are not a disease. I think that some filter media may accumulate some minerals that around the impeller. The impeller grinds them up and you get a dusting all over the tank and sticks to the protective slime on the fish.-Chuck>

Ill Tropical Aquarium I recently upgraded my aquarium from a twenty gallon to a fifty-five gallon.  I was having problems with the twenty gallon; A battle with Ich, mollies standing on their heads, and seemingly healthy fish dying without any signs of illness. I would test my water every month, between cleanings. My water was always in the "safe" zones. But even with the sanitation and addition of the new aquarium, these, and new problems, are again arising.  <Is it your water? Some aspect of the maintenance?> In my fifty-five gallon aquarium I have: 5 African dwarf frogs, 3 lyre tail mollies, 2 potbelly mollies, 2 Mickey mouse platys, 1 red wag platys, 1 high-fined painted platy, and 1 dwarf gold dust platy. The aquarium is cycled. I use AquaSafe Water Conditioner, and a little over a tablespoon of Doc Wellfish's Aquarium Salt per five gallons of water. <I'd cut this back to one per ten gallons> I feed my fish Tetra Tropical Flakes, with the occasional algae wafer, and the frogs Wardley's Shrimp Pellets. I clean the gravel about twice a month, removing only five gallons of water at a time.  <Better to do with (with the 55) every week> The frogs do not eat all of their food, and the fish are messy. My water changes are efficient, but not traumatic. <Good, well-stated> When I first set up the fifty-five gallon tank, I had two calico platies - The best of friends. One died, and a few days later, so did his friend.   Recently, for over a week, my red wag platy has been in hiding, only coming out to eat. She has a large white spot on her side. It looks concave, rather then fuzzy or protruding. She is very thin. And now, one of my pregnant lyre tail mollies is having difficulty swimming, and sometimes stands on her head.   I have had pregnant mollies before, and have never seen them do this. I have had fish die, however, shortly after showing their symptoms. All other fish seem to be fine.  I am worried about my fish. I hope I have provided enough information for you, and hope to hear from you soon. I would hate to lose another fish. Mandi Brooke. <I too am concerned... re root cause/s here. Am wondering if you have a source of poisoning in/outside the system... a toxic ornament, rock... Perhaps an errant window cleaner at work here... Bob Fenner> 

Not So Mysterious Mystery Disease <Hi, Mike D here> We have a 20 gallon tropical freshwater tank which we set up around 3 weeks ago.<At only 3 weeks, the tank hasn't completely cycled, thus ammonia and nitrites in the water will adversely affect ALL your fish, with new additions being particularly hard hit>  Once we got the water stabilized we put in 3 Zebra Danios and 2 Rosy Barbs.  All of the fish seemed to be healthy and active.  3 days ago we put in a Red Wag Platy and a Red Platy.  They both looked fine the first 2 days.  Today we noticed the Red Platy had a white pimple on its chin area and another less noticeable white dot on its left pectoral fin.  It also had a half-inch long white threadlike thing which seemed to be trailing off of its anal fin.<it's possible that this is early ick, although that's referring to the spots only. Since A) it's a new tank that hasn't completely cycled yet (normal time is 4-6 weeks), all fish are being severely stressed, and B) since your fish aren't being quarantined before being added, it may well be something it came in with>  We were worried that it was infected with something, we have no hospital tank, so we removed the Red Platy and euthanized it.  However, as we were removing the Platy, the white thread fell off and disappeared into the tank.  Do you have any ideas on what it was and could it still be harmful to the rest of the tank?<It's possible it was a fungus thread, but more likely was just fish droppings from a diarrhea like condition due to stress. Are you using aquarium salt at the rate of 1 tspn/gal? This is a great way to cut down on fungus infections and is tolerated by almost all normal aquarium fish>  Thank you...

Fish in distress Hi ,I have 3 cherry barbs in a 37 gallon tank with 4 C. melini and 3 Otos. One of the cherry barbs is a big full grown female. When I got home today, the cherry barbs were all in the top right corner but not packed in, they were in there own spaces. The male and female seem to be okay, but the big female is swimming against the glass and up toward the top, staying within the top six inches, but not going to the surface. When I fed them freeze dried shrimp, which they usually love, she didn't eat but a couple then kept up her weird behavior. There are also 6 Amano shrimp in the tank. The Corys and Otos seem fine. The male cherry seems to chase the other two sometimes. She almost looks as if she's trying to swim past the glass. I have no clue if this is bad or not, but it looks like she is in distress. Any ideas? Any help would be most appreciated. Thanks in advance, Marc >>Hello Marc :D How often to you do partial water changes? Erratic swimming could mean many things, anything from spawning to illness. Do any of the fish have white spots on them? Split fins, or fungus? Also, do you test your water? It would be most helpful if you could tell us your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate readings. Do you add any products, and if so, which ones? Is this a newly set-up tank? If so, for how long? -Gwen <<
Fish In Distress
Gwen, Sorry to leave out the details...My ammonia and nitrites were at zero. I tested it when I noticed the swimming. She did that for about 4 hours, and she was swimming directly against the current from the filter water. I have not noticed any white spots...in fact there are none. The only thing I can think is that she is hungry, because that's where I usually feed her. The male has been chasing the other fish, even the Corys. I fed them earlier, though. This is pretty strange behavior and the water quality seems to be fine. The substrate is Eco-Complete, there are several plants, and I don't know what could make her act this way. The only explanation I can come up with is that they want some bloodworms. I just added the Corys and Otos last week. I forgot to mention that I added Bio-Spira when I added the new fish. The cherry barbs were the first fish and in the tank for three weeks. Marc >>Okay, good. What about nitrates? You need to start measuring those, also. I assume you have fed them by now, how is she looking? My advice is to just keep an eye on her, watch closely for any spots, fungus, flashing behavior, etc. Hope everything works out. -Gwen<<

Fish Cancer? Hi....attached is a picture of my 5 year old Shubunkin, she has what appears to be a tumor just next to the top of her left gill. It is whitish-yellow in color, is not symmetrical, it appeared when she was about 2 years old, and I've always told myself that it is a fat deposit. It continues to grow larger, and today I noticed it has small grey dots on it.  <first I would like to say that the fish is beautiful colors, I'm sorry to see a fish like that with medical problems. I would guess that the fish does have a tumor, and the problem with tumors is that after a while as it becomes quite large, and secondary skin infections happen.>  Are tumors common?  <Sadly they seem more common in goldfish than many other fish.>  Are they commonly cancerous?  <Most are, but I've known many fish to live quite a long life with seemingly painful tumors.>  I lost a Shubunkin with a tumor last summer. But hers was different, it simply appeared to be a very round, symmetrical bump under her skin. It was on the top of her head, and she died within a year after it appeared. It continued to grow, and then in the last week of her life, it appeared to break open and the flesh turned grey and dead looking.  <That is what often times happens with goldfish tumors. the fish lives fine until the tumor should rupture. at which point the fish either the fish dies from the damage or due to secondary bacterial or fungal infections.>  Is there anything I can do to prolong this fish's life?  Diane Virginia, USA  <If you wish to keep it, then you can add medicines to the water to prevent secondary infections from getting to the fish. Use Maracyn-Two, Maracyn, Tetracycline or TriSulfa to prevent secondary infections from bacteria. Good luck -Magnus.>

Freshwater Fish Missing - 8/20/03 Hello,  <Sorry for the delay>  My name is Tara and I have had a 10 gallon freshwater tank for 3 weeks now, with 3 neon's, 2 sliver mollies, 1 male guppy, 1 gold dusted molly, and I had 2 sunset fire platy's but one disappeared. <Tara, you have a quite a few fish for a newly set up tank. I suspect there might be some problems with water quality.>  I believe the other fish ate her.  <Only after the fish died would these type of fish likely consume another fish and even then it is very unlikely. It might be best to do a thorough check of the tank which may include moving stuff around.> For what reason I do not know but I searched for the fish inside and outside the tank and she is still missing.  <Maybe the filter?>  My other sunset fire platy fish I believe is pregnant but I'm not sure because I don't know much about fish.  <Could be a sign of disease.>  When I first got her she was small and thin. Now on my 3 week of having this fish tank my fish has become longer and her belly is very round and low. Could she be pregnant or is she just one fat fish? <Maybe pregnant as this is not unheard of but could also be a sign of problems.>  Plus my male guppy has been by her side all the time and he's been nipping at her back-end.  <Well, possibly pregnant>  I feed all my fish 2 times a day. (I read in a fresh water tank book that you should feed about 2 times a day is that too much?)  <No, just enough for all fish to eat with little to no waste, two times a day is fine>  All my fish seem to be very happy.  <Very well>  I went out today and bought a breeder trap and put the pregnant fish in it.  <Should be fine> Although she doesn't seem too happy and neither is my guppy. I believe she has 2 weeks to go.  <Not sure myself>  Should I leave her there until she has the babies or take her out and put her back in the trap in few days before she has the babies?  <No need to move her again as this might stress her out and she might lose the clutch. Leave her be. Please read through the freshwater section on our site. So much knowledge to be gained. Keep us posted. -Paul>  It would be a really big help in hand of what to do with my fish that would be great.  Sincerely,  Tara

Seeing Red (Bloody Spots On Fish) Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today> I have a 10 gallon tank, it housed 1 male black molly and 1 female silver molly and a small little fish ( I am not sure of the name of this fish). I have had the little fish for a good while now and brought the mollies home about 3 months ago. My silver molly had a batch of fry they are doing well. About 3 weeks after the fry were born my black molly was not himself, he laid on the bottom and did not do much ( no signs of spots etc.) Then my silver molly was acting the same way, I lost the both of them yesterday. I still could not see anything on my black molly, but my silver molly had blood spots on her body, they were not open wounds. Last night my little fish was swimming and acting his normal way, and when I got home this morning he had died.  Never saw blood spots before, I do not have many problems with keeping fish so I am not sure what happened. Hope you can help, Thanks. Christine <Well, Christine- I'm afraid that I'm at a bit of a loss to diagnose the exact cause of the spots. Usually, these types of symptoms are traced to either some form of parasitic infection (or the aftermath!), Bacterial Hemorrhagic Septicemia (easily knocked out with an antibiotic, like Maracyn) or perhaps an environmental problem (like measurable ammonia, etc.). I'd do a full check on all basic water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, pH, alkalinity) and see if there are any anomalous readings. Look for other potential disease symptoms, such as white spots, frayed fins, or other obviously abnormal things. I'd recommend a good look at the WWM disease resources (FW) to see if you can find any illnesses that resemble what you're seeing! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Molly troubles This really isn't a question, but I'd like your comments anyway (please. lol)  Ok, a couple of months ago I bought a black molly and was told she was pregnant. I took her home and within a week or so, noticed that she had a large (pea size) swelling on the left side of her tail. It was so swollen that the scales were sticking out. So, i called the pet store near  were that the man there said that she had dropsy, there wasn't anything to do and the best thing would be to put her out of her misery, <that would have been correct at best if she actually had dropsy... but she didn't. Dropsy is a swelling of the abdominal cavity that forcibly distends the body of the fish such that scales protrude like a pine cone. It is symmetrical symptomatically... no left side tail action here. Your fish had a large parasite, or a growth of some kind> which i  did by euthanizing her with a table spoon of baking soda in a glass of water.  (weird, i know, but that was what i was told to do). <WOW! the LFS is giving out some scary advice. Ahhh... the quick humane method of euthanasia they meant to tell you was to use seltzer water (it can be used briefly as an anesthetic or longer for euthanasia). Baking soda simply shocked the fish to death... took some minutes I suspect? Seltzer water takes seconds> I was just wondering if there had been anything i could have done about her. Thanks! <definitely... get a second opinion before heeding this LFS store's advice <G>. In all seriousness though, the affliction was likely a growth... incurable, although not necessarily malignant. Best regards>

Help! (freshwater wipe-out overnight) I went to bed last night and my fish were ok. I get up this morning and everyone is dead. Even my frog who lived through a brutal transferal (the lady removing him from the tank where we bought him cut off his right front flipper) he had lived 4 months this way. The tank did not turn color nothing seemed different the only thing different is we changed the filter we washed it (rinsed in well water) and this has always been the same. Now every one is gone but Gus a overly large tiger barb, and a Chinese cleaning fish. Any thoughts? <No ideas with the information given. I would definitely check pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, temperature, and anything else you can. If you reply, please include specific numbers instead of everything was ok.> As I am baffled and pretty upset. I have put a lot of time and care into my fish and they even had names. Thanks, Renee <Sorry about your fish. -Steven Pro>

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