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FAQs on Freshwater Pathogenic Diseases
<caused by other organisms; Protozoans, Worms...>

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

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


Fish help please!     10/4/17
Hi! I'm coming to you for advice...
<Sure thing!>
I'm fairly new to fishkeeping... I have a 20 gallon tank that I set up in June, and it's been cycled since early July. It was stocked with 3 platys, 2 guppies, 5 Glo Danios, and one honey Gourami. (Stocked in that order. The honey Gourami was in the tank for a month.) Three days ago, the honey Gourami suddenly got big, clear bulges on both sides-- mostly abdomen, but two other little bulges on its side, too. She mostly flopped on her side on the bottom of the tank for a day, though she came up looking for food when I fed the fish. The following day the bulges were worse. I moved her to a fry tank to try feeding her a pea, but she could no longer eat, and died that night. I looked for signs of dropsy (pine-coning) and to be honest, I didn't see it, but I took a bunch of photos and someone else told me that she looked pine-coned. Maybe just slightly? Not like pictures I've seen online. After she died the bulges disappeared.
<Does sound like a systemic bacterial infection. Could be caused by environmental stress of some sort. Honey Gouramis are somewhat delicate fish. I'd not recommend them for beginners, or for use in tanks less than 6
months old.>
The following day-- yesterday-- I found one of my smaller Danios on its side on the bottom of the tank gasping. It moved around a few times, but it was clear it was dying, so I took it out and euthanized it. It body looked normal except for a blood spot on its lower abdomen. Definitely no pineconing, bent spine, etc. And none of the fish have ever had white or stringy poop.
<To make a general point here, because the symptoms are rather generic:
when different fish die in a relatively new tank, then environmental conditions and/or maintenance are likely to blame. While you could be unlucky and have bought sickly fish or introduced something with a particularly bad pathogen, these are less likely explanations.>
First I'll tell you the water conditions, then my current problem:
Very consistently good water conditions before and after the fish deaths. 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 10-20 nitrates, ph is somewhere between 7.2 and 7.8 (hard to tell exact color), temperature 78. I have a bunch of moss balls in
the tank, along with some silk and hiding rocks. The only recent change is that I added 1/3 bag of PhosGuard to the filter because I've been dealing with diatoms for about 6 weeks. I do a 20% water change every week (25%
after the Gourami died).
<All sounds fine.>
A couple of the Danios have always looked skinny to me (the one that died was one of them), but no signs of problems before this in any of the fish.
<The fact that some Danios are skinny suggests they might be suffering malnutrition, poor genes, or possibly Mycobacteriosis right from the get-go, in which case nothing you can do will likely improve things.
Mycobacterial infections aren't catchy as such, so while serious, and basically untreatable, if you humanely destroy infected fish quickly, there's no reason to assume the others will have caught the disease. On the other hand, Mycobacteriosis is symptomatic of environmental stress, so you certainly can deal with multiple fish that are infected with the Mycobacteria pathogen, one after the other. Genetics plays a role here -- GloFish are very inbred, and that does make them more likely to suffer from health issues.>
Now the other problem: losing one Danio has seemed to completely screw up the tank behaviors. The other four are now acting aggressive to each other and every other fish in the tank, and even the platys are turning on each
other. It was a completely peaceful tank before.
<This is not unusual. Danios males can be, and often are, aggressive in very small groups. Certainly keep no fewer than six.>
So I'm very torn about what to do: since I don't know what just killed two of my fish, I planned to wait several weeks to get any new fish-- BUT now I'm worried that if I don't add another Danio, they're just going to stress
everyone out until they die anyway!
<Understood. It's a toughie, and your predicament is one that can cause real problems. If this was me, I'd wait a day or two and see if things settle. Longer term, I'd add some more Danios. But I'd also keep an open mind on the environment. Could copper be an issue? Do you use dechlorinator appropriate to your situation? For example, getting a brand that neutralises copper, Chloramine and ammonia alongside chlorine is a very good idea.>
Would appreciate any advice. I can send photos, but wanted to check first before sending attachments.
<By all means, but please keep attachments reasonably small, less than 500 kB for example.>
Thank you,
<Welcome. Neale.>

Columnaris Denisonii Barb/Redwag Platy        9/30/16
I noticed one of my denisonii barbs, and Redwag Platy had lesions, which I assumed was columnaris.
<Mmm; maybe.... what re cause here? Such infections don't occur w/o environmental prompting>
I did a lot of research and the common theme, I found, in treatment for columnaris was reducing temperature, salt, KanaPlex, MetroPlex, and furan2.
I moved the barb and platy from my 75g to my 10g hospital tank, and began medicating the water with furan2, salt, and feeding KanaPlex/MetroPlex.
The platys dent/lesion has lost the white line in the dent, and seems to be doing fine. My barb, on the other hand, developed even more lesions, but is very active and eating well.
For the second round of medications, I medicated the water with furan2, salt, KanaPlex/MetroPlex (I did not dose food).
I repeated the first round of medication, making it 3 total rounds of medication.
My barb has not developed any new lesions for about 5 days, and my platy looks normal. My question is when do I know my barb and platy are healthy enough to go back into my main tank?
<I'd wait a good few weeks beyond when these "lesions" are gone>
I've had them in my hospital tank for 3 weeks, and I feel the barb (4.5inches) is getting a bit stressed in the 10gal, and without his school.
Thank you!
<Keep changing some (a few gallons) of water daily... From their main/display system. Bob Fenner>

Columnaris Denisonii Barb/Redwag Platy     /Neale       10/1/16
I noticed one of my denisonii barbs, and Redwag Platy had lesions, which I assumed was columnaris. I did a lot of research and the common theme, I found, in treatment for columnaris was reducing temperature, salt, KanaPlex, MetroPlex, and furan2.
I moved the barb and platy from my 75g to my 10g hospital tank, and began medicating the water with furan2, salt, and feeding KanaPlex/MetroPlex. The platys dent/lesion has lost the white line in the dent, and seems to be doing fine. My barb, on the other hand, developed even more lesions, but is very active and eating well.
For the second round of medications, I medicated the water with furan2, salt, KanaPlex/MetroPlex (I did not dose food).
I repeated the first round of medication, making it 3 total rounds of medication.
My barb has not developed any new lesions for about 5 days, and my platy looks normal. My question is when do I know my barb and platy are healthy enough to go back into my main tank?
I've had them in my hospital tank for 3 weeks, and I feel the barb (4.5inches) is getting a bit stressed in the 10gal, and without his school.
Thank you!
<Bob Fenner has covered the essentials here. But a couple extra comments if I may... For a start, do understand this species subtropical. At tropical temperatures it isn't entirely happy, and in particular low oxygen levels and high nitrate levels will stress them. If the tankmates are Platies, which are perfectly happy in cooler conditions, I'd be keeping this/these species around 22-24C/72-75F rather than anything warmer. Optimal conditions for Denison Barbs is likely a few degrees cooler than this. Let me have you read the Fishbase page on this species, here...
Certainly optimise water circulation and oxygenation, though I will state that Platies are still-water fish, and will not thrive in the brisk currents Denison Barbs need (though Swordtails, being stream-dwellers, would actually be pretty decent companions). Secondly, I'm not sure adding salt is terribly helpful. Barbs vary in their tolerance for salt, some actually inhabiting low-end brackish habitats, but these barbs are definitely inland fish, and I can't see any advantage to even trace
additions to salt unless you're dealing with something specific where salt is the cure (like Whitespot). Instead, I'd be coupling a general purpose antibiotic alongside an aggressive approach to optimising water conditions.
Denison Barbs have, overall, a poor to middling track record in captivity; relatively few reach their proper size and live anything close to a full lifespan. Read, review, and act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Columnaris Denisonii Barb/Redwag Platy      10/1/16

Thank you for the quick answers!
I am going to remove the platys (3) and move them to my 20g long because there is substantial water movement with an AquaClear 110, 520gph canister filter, and an 325gph hydroponic air pump.
<Sounds wise.>
The issue might have been temperature (I do two 50% water changes a week on the 75g), as summer just ended here and my tank has been at a constant 80F for 3 months.
Should I look into re-homing the barbs if I cannot consistently maintain a lower temperature throughout the entire year?
<Nope. Summertime highs are fine. The issue is year-round high temperatures. Basically, the ideal approach would be to allow the tank to warm up in summer, but during the winter make sure it cools down a bit, so there's some seasonality. This will be much closer to "the wild" and ensure your Denison Barbs stay healthy. Lows of 15 C/59 F are probably not
necessary, but something like 20-22 C/68-72 F would be beneficial, and still allow a wide variety of tankmates. Many barbs, danios and minnows, many loaches, numerous Loricariids, most Corydoras, and a few cichlids (like Acaras) and livebearers (such as Swordtails and virtually all Goodeids) prefer precisely these conditions. Bronze Corydoras and
Bristlenose Plecs are two examples of widely sold and inexpensive fish that would thrive in a riverine tank adapted to Denison Barbs.>
Thanks again!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Deadly Diseases: Lymphocystis, Glugea, and Henneguya. 02/09/09 Hello All! Just writing this bc I had an important question and maybe something you don't deal with often ... Before I start I have a 60 Gallon FW tank that has been running for about a year. My ammonia/nitrites are always 0 and my nitrates always 40ppm or less ... Anyways, about 1 month ago or so (maybe a little longer) I noticed one of my blue rams which I've had almost a year had white pimple looking bumps on the top of his head ... After researching I came to the conclusion that he had Lymphocystis so I left him in the tank. It would spread around his face, reappearing on a different spot on his head as another healed but never got any worse than when I first noticed it (he is still alive btw). Now, my question is this ... What is the chance that this isn't Lymphocystis and is Glugea or Henneguya? (I never took him out of the tank bc everything I've read said these diseases are even more rare than Lympho.) The reason why I ask is bc over the past 3 - 4 days I have lost 4 or 5 fish for unknown reasons ... And they all exhibit the same signs: Loss of color. They were all eating and active except for the color and it got to the point where I could look in the tank in the morning and know which fish were going to be dead by the time I got home from work based on the color. Glugea and Henneguya is the only reason I could think of bc I have not done anything different to my tank in a long time and I religiously keep my tank clean and maintained. So what is your opinion bc I truly believe that my whole tank will be dead in a month or less at this rate. (Which means I convert my tank into a dart frog tank and forget fish forever lol). Thanks for the insight. -Nick- <Nick, I think these are unrelated issues. Lympho is by far the most common viral disease among cichlids; or at least, the most common one aquarists can recognise. It isn't fatal, and as you've noticed, it comes and goes. It's a nuisance, but doesn't seem to harm the fish any, and eventually goes away. If you're losing a bunch of fish -- of different types -- in a short span of time, it's most probable there's an issue with water quality or chemistry. Also consider reviewing diet, temperature, and even the age of the fish. So: What are the fish? What is the water chemistry? Cheers, Neale.>

FW... disease, learning   2/15/08 Hi Guys. <John> In the last two days, 4 of my 13 fish have started flashing. <Mmm... have you "done" something recently to the tank? Added any new fish, live plants or foods?> Sterba's Cory Albino Cory Juvenile Black Molly <Mmm... a brackish water animal...> Juvenile Red Wag I've looked hard but at this point I do not know whether it is velvet or ich. <Or...?> I want to protect the other fish but I can't take the flashing fish out of my 30G as my 10G quarantine tank is being used right now. The only meds I know that treat both velvet and ich is CopperSafe but half my fish are Corys and I had a bad experience with CopperSafe before. <I would not use copper...> I feel like I should be doing something now but am I supposed to wait until I see obvious signs of what it is before I use any meds? The flashing is pretty regular so I know something is wrong but at what point would one normally use meds? <On more assurity of their need, usefulness> I'm still pretty new to this so please forgive my ignorance. I did try to find an answer to this by hitting a lot of the forums and Google searching but I couldn't find anything that was specific enough hence my bothering you guys. Thanks. John Murphy. <Raising temperature may be enough here to effect some relief... Read on WWM (again) re Ich... and re the Molly: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm  and http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollies.htm  and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Sudden FW angelfish death... & Epistylis/Protozoan f'  11/25/2007 Hi, <Hello.> I've been reading and reading your site looking for answers to the sudden death of one of my Leopard Angelfish. <Hmm... sudden deaths are always signals to check aquarium conditions: water chemistry, water quality, correct functioning of heaters, filters.> I've had these 5 Leopards ( none larger than half dollar size and most between half dollar and quarter in size) for about 4 weeks in a 12 gal QT. <Quite a small tank even for juvenile Angels, and small Angelfish do not, in my experience, always travel well. I recommend people buy them around half-size, say, 5-6 cm.> The fish arrived just after an outbreak of ich in my 55 gallon cycled tank and so I had to move the worst victims of ich into the hospital tank leaving the 12 as my only resource and not cycled. I have been doing twice weekly 25% water changes ever since to the 12 gal QT and checking the levels of ammonia, PH 7- 7.2 , nitrites and nitrates and all were kept at zero or nearly so. <When it comes to nitrite, "nearly zero" isn't good enough. Cichlids generally, and Angelfish especially, are sensitive to dissolved metabolites.> The nitrate being the only one ever over 0 and not over .25. <0.25 mg/l of nitrate is safe. But do you really mean this? Not many test kits are this accurate! Most seem to measure on a scale of 0-100 mg/l. Nitrite, on the other hand, is commonly measured between 0 and 1 mg/l.> Is this enough of percentage of a water change each time? <No. 50% per week, minimum.> This tank also has a Bio Wheel and I added a small pouch of charcoal- ammonia absorbent in addition to it's regular filter material. <Well, bin the charcoal for a start. If this is an uncycled tank, then you may as well use Zeolite (ammonia remover) exclusively. I'd personally skip any sort of fancy filter for this. Just go with a plain vanilla bubble-up box filter stuffed with Zeolite. Replace the Zeolite every week. You can usually recharge Zeolite, so get two "batches", and use one batch while recharging the other. There's absolutely no point cycling a tank with Angelfish -- they will die long before the filter bacteria come on-line.> They've been healthy and lively and voracious eaters, but not overfed I think. This morning I noticed one of the larger angels staying low in the water near the heater. Tank heat is kept at 80 degrees. I have just seen on your site that I should probably vary their diet more than I have been doing. They've mostly been on flakes and freeze dried worms. They ignored my attempts at adding an algae pellet though. <Angels will eat anything... if hungry enough. They are easily overfed. I'd use a mix of plain flake, Spirulina flake, and live/frozen/freeze-dried insect larvae. Because they willingly gorge themselves, you have to be careful not to put too much food in the tank. One or two flakes per day is plenty for Angelfish this size. Since they're young, feed perhaps twice per day. Do watch the nitrates though, and try to keep below 20 mg/l and certainly no more than 50 mg/l.> I went ahead did my regular 20-25% water change this morning, and by this evening the lethargic angel was worse, lying or hovering near the bottom seeming to gasp for air. The other fish were fine, acting normally and active except for one other large angel that seemed to be chasing the other three away from the sick fish. <Indeed. Angelfish are schooling animals when young, but become territorial as they mature. All too often people end up with a single big Angel that rules the tank.> I did another water test and the levels were the same, Ammonia 0, Ph around 7- 7.2 and the nitrates and nitrites 0. At about midnight my poor angelfish died. <Oh.> There were no signs of any battering, discoloration in fins, skin, not a mark, but I did notice a tiny speck of red near the outer edge of the eyeball on both eyes, but in different placements. I'm totally baffled as these fish were tank raised and extremely healthy from the minute they arrived and showed no signs of any distress or illness whatsoever. I've grown quite attached to them to the extent that I don't even want to put them into the now healthy 55 community tank and would like to upgrade to a 30 gallon tank for just them. I considered them so "pristine" and didn't want to take any chances on them being exposed to diseases. <Quarantining new stock is always a good idea.> What do you think happened? The only thing I can think of after all the reading I've done is water quality and ammonia, nitrate or nitrite poisoning, but that doesn't make sense with the readings I took. The kit is fairly new, but I'm not exactly sure of the expiration date since it was marked on the covering of the kit which I threw out a while ago. I hope this is enough information. <To be honest, I have no idea what precisely happened here. Sometimes very young fish don't travel well, and one or two in the batch will die. This is less of a problem with big fish because people tend to bag them up sensibly. Profit margins on big fish are proportionally smaller, so everyone along the distribution chain takes more care. But small fish are often overcrowded. Individually each fish makes a proportionally larger profit, so if a few die, it doesn't matter. Mass-produced fish also tend to be produced for a quick sale rather than quality, and there's free use of antibiotics by the farmers and wholesalers, and by the time they arrive at your house these drugs have worn off and the results of overcrowding become apparent. For now, I'd not blame yourself, but simply focus on water quality and correct diet.> Thanks for your wonderful site. It has the best tips, help and advice I've found anywhere on the internet. <Thanks!> Thanks you in advance for any insight you can give me. Polly <Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Sudden angelfish death 11/25/2007 Neale, <Polly,> thanks for some answers to water quality, tank size and feeding. Good advise. <Cool.> This morning the remaining 4 Leopards are still fine and looking unaffected by whatever killed the other one. These fish came from a very small breeder in Michigan and I was worried about them travelling when I bought them via Aquabid, but they were well packed, double bagged and in Styrofoam qt. size cups, with oxygen, a mild sedative and an ammonia blocker and when I acclimated them to the QT they moved in and bounced back like champs almost immediately. I think I was very lucky there. The breeder/seller communicated with me and wanted to know how they arrived, talked me through any questions about acclimation and general appearance, behavior, etc. A good man who was into his fish, which he bred himself, rather than the moola, I think. <This is indeed the best way to buy Angels, and it sounds like you've dealt with a very decent supplier. My comments were really more about the mass produced fish farmed in Florida and Southeast Asia, primarily for the low end of the market.> So you think a 50% WC once a week is better than 25% twice a week? <Yes.> Not to sound dumb here, but why is it better? <Many reasons. Primarily a question of dilution and reducing the effect of acidification. So, your filter removes certain pollutants, but does nothing about nitrate, phosphate, organic acids. These accumulate. Nitrate is a known toxin to cichlids generally, being at least one of the factors behind hole-in-the-head as well as a general lack of vigour. Diluting by 50% each week is the cheapest, easiest way to get good water quality. Works better than carbon for a fraction of the cost. Acidification is something that happens in all aquaria. The longer the interval between water changes, and the smaller those water changes are, the more acidification takes place. This is one of the reasons why new fishes put into an old tank sometimes fail: the existing fish have adapted to the sub-optimal conditions, but the new livestock are shocked. Again, water changes are the cheapest, easiest way to maintain a steady pH.> I never intended to use the angelfish to cycle the QT tank, just got stuck because of the Ich in the 55. I've been looking around for a good price on a 30 gal for them, but since I'm running a 30 with 7 female Bettas and 5 Corys, the 55 community and two 10 gal with guppies in one and 6 baby Pearl Gouramis in the other and three 5 gals with single male Bettas I have to tread softly with my husband who is strictly a dog person! lol <Indeed! Perhaps keep Dogfish, so you'll both be happy. (Note to Americans: a Dogfish is British vernacular for small sharks, particularly Scyliorhinus spp., which for some bizarre reason Americans called Cat-sharks!> Also, do you think I should switch over to a sponge filter in the 12 QT instead of the Bio Wheel? I have one spare hanging around. <If both are being used as purely biological filters, then stick with the one that is most mature. But in quarantine tanks, using a box filter filled with Zeolite is invariably easier, cheaper, and more reliable than any biological filter. You have a zero run-in time, and you can sterilise it between uses.> Thanks again, Polly <Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Sudden angelfish death 11/25/2007 Neale, <Polly,> all makes perfectly good sense to me and thanks for the answers to my questions. <Good-oh.> We always called those small sharks, Dogfish around here in Maine too and they are nasty guys. Like to go for the bait in the lobster traps and will follow the traps up while they are being hauled. Just hoping for the bait or a nice fat Lobster to fall out I suspect. VBG <Ah, I guess that's why they call New England 'New England'... because you speak English rather than Americanese! And yes, ours steal food from Lobster Pots too. They're actually pretty amazing animals. Live for at least 30 years, and perhaps as many as 100 years. The eggs take 2 years to hatch. Not something for the impatient aquarist!> I will switch to a 50% WC in my tanks once a week from now on and just rotate the days when each tank is scheduled, add to the diet for the angels and follow your advise. <Sounds good.> I'm going to look into the Zeolite too. <Yes, Zeolite is definitely a good idea in temporary tanks or any sort of tank where you don't have time to mature the filter. Cheap and effective, provided you start off with enough to deal with the ammonia produced by your livestock.> Thanks, Polly <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sudden angelfish death  11/26/07 Neale, <Paula,> when it rains, it pours! <Indeed?> The Leopard Angelfish are still fine, but when I was doing the WC in the Betta/Cory tank, I noticed that my largest Cory had some spots on him, def. not ich or velvet. They appear to be oval-ish and are concentrated on his spine and the base of the dorsal fin and tip of dorsal. <Hmm... sure this isn't Ick? Do also cross off silt particles and air bubbles. Both of these can stick to fish and be mistaken for parasites.> I QT'ed him in the hospital/baby tank, promptly discovered that the Gold Platy was starting to give birth, moved her into a breeding/bearing net hung over the side of the community tank where she lives and went to do some research on the internet to see what was up with the Cory. <Not a great fan of breeding traps, so do take care not to stress her. I prefer to use floating plants, and then remove the fry as they're discovered hidden among the plants, either to a trap or to another tank.> It sounds like Epistylis from the descriptions given. Can't seem to find any pictures that show it though. I went back and took a magnifying glass and flashlight and checked him out and the spots are not ich-like in appearance at all, not moving and one spot, near the end of the dorsal fin, is tufted a bit. The other spots are oval, greyish-white in color as well and as I said, concentrated in two or three areas. He has a space missing on his tail fin, but no growth or spots on that area. <Does indeed sound like Epistylis.> If indeed it is Epistylis, do I treat him in the 2.5 gal tank with something like Jungle fungus meds? <I'd treat the tank with the anti-fungus medication of your choice. Corydoras generally tolerate these medications well.> Do I treat the Betta/Cory tank as well or just keep and eye on the others and see if something develops? <Treat the tank.> I did noticed that some of the other Corys have a few ragged fins! <Fins sometimes get ragged when Corydoras are mixed with aggressive or nippy fish; otherwise can be a prelude to Finrot.> I try and spend time each day sitting and closely looking over each fish to see if there is anything different in their physical appearance or behavior. Yesterday this sick Cory was just a tad underactive. Think it's a female from the size and width of the body, but not positive. I didn't notice any ragged fins on the others until today either. You must think I'm a bad fish mamma at this point. Sorry to keep bothering you. <Don't worry about that.> thanks, Polly <You're welcome, Neale.> BTW, the Platy has had three babies since I moved her and then stopped giving birth. Stress from the move most likely. Babies look good. <Good-oh.>

Re: Sudden angelfish death -11/27/2007 Neale, <Paula,> Just went and looked at the Cory in the QT and the lesions/spots have reduced in number, but some are still present. Are they going into another reproductive phase, something like the ich spores do? <No, I don't think so. Epistylis is a ciliate protozoan that mostly just sits there on a fish. It's not a parasite as such; as I understand it, it's more a fouling organism than anything else (i.e., like barnacles on a boat).> That brings up lots of questions in my mind, secondary infections etc. but .... I then checked the Betta/Cory tank and three of the Corys have no signs of fin damage, color good, very active and looking for food. The fourth is looking a little lethargic, fins ragged and no spots or lesions, nada, just out of sorts and not active or looking for food, similar to how it started with the sick Cory. Should I haul him out into the QT with the sick Cory and still treat the Betta/Cory tank as well as the QT tank? <Definitely treat both tanks with anti-Fungus/anti-Finrot. Trying to target one particular fish is probably a waste of time here because the pathogens are in the aquaria generally.> BTW, Bettas are fine and active, eating, clear of anything on their skin. <Good.> As of midnight last night, I did another 25% WC on the Betta/Cory tank, bringing the total WC for yesterday to 50% on that tank. There was some uneaten stuff and crud underneath an aquarium decoration and around the roots of some of the heavier planted sections of the tank .  I removed the large decoration and tried to really clean up the crud, for lack of a better description, and left the decoration out afterward to make it easier to do WC in the event of doing treatments to the tank for any length of time. Did a 50% WC to the QT tank as well. <Good.> As for the weapon of choice in treatment. Here's what I have in house right this minute. Will any of these do any good? I have been trying to buy meds every time I go to the LFS to have them on hand, but as you can see I am still way under stocked on what I imagine are all the basics. Ich Attack by Kordon, for ich, fungus, Protozoans, and Dinoflagellates <Might work; Epistylis is apparently sensitive to Formalin and Malachite Green.> Ick Guard II by Jungle <Ditto.> Fungus Clear Tank Buddies by Jungle (tablets, 1 tab per 10 gallons) <Won't fix the Epistylis, but will help with the ragged fins.> Pimafix <Useless.> Melafix <Useless.> BettaFix <Useless.> Aquarium Salt <Might help if used in the same way as for treating Ick, but not my weapon of choice here.> Erythromycin and another antibiotic...it's downstairs at the moment and I forget, but I tried to get one gram positive and one gram negative when I bought them. <Useless. Antibiotics are for bacterial infections only.> I do live on an actual island. No bridge, and therefore can't just pop into town willy nilly. My husband is going to go over to the mainland this afternoon and if there is anything he could pick up this would be a good time. What meds should I have him get if none on hand are appropriate? <See above; you may already have the tools required. Check the ingredients lists on the medications, or simply test them out. Epistylis isn't doing the fish any direct harm -- the problem is that they open a wound that can become infected, and furthermore that they occur at all is a sign of middling to poor water quality.> To sum up, still treat the Betta/Cory tank as well as the QT with a fungus med? Move the second Cory exhibiting signs of Epistylis to the QT , OR treat him in the Betta/Cory tank? <Treat both tanks. There's no mileage in isolating diseases caused by environmental issues, since all fish are likely subject. So treat all fish up front to prevent further infections.> Much thanks once again. You are very patient with all the questions and problems I've thrown at you in just two days time. Let's hope the rain stops pouring ASAP. <It will.> BTW Angelfish still fine. <Double-plus good.> Thanks, Polly <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sudden angelfish death  11/28/2007 Hi Neale, <Polly,> well, I lost the first sick Cory in the QT . <Too bad.> I had started treating both tanks with the Jungle Tank Buddies for Fungus as I hadn't heard from you and I thought I needed to do something quick. (The time difference between us. ) I didn't go with the Kordon Ich Attack as it doesn't contain anything but botanicals, no chemicals like formalin or malachite green. <This is a somewhat unwelcome trend: eschewing proven pharmaceuticals in favour of ingredients that may be safer and less toxic if overdosed, but are of questionable usefulness in some cases.> I probably waited too long for the first sick Cory or he was traumatized by the move and being alone as well. You know how Corys are. They look like little tanks that can take anything, but they are so social. <Indeed. With schooling fish it is normally best to treat the tank rather than individual fish. Lone Corydoras don't necessarily die, but it is one more stress factor on an already sick fish.> I did a water test before I did anything to treat the 30 gal tank or do the WC that brought me up to the 50% WC total, forgot to mention this last post. Everything read as it should. Ph was between 7.2 and 7.6, I have high PH normally from the well water, the ammonia was 0, nitrites and nitrate 0 as well. <All sounds fine. Corydoras are relatively indifferent to water chemistry, and tolerate hard, alkaline water just as readily as soft, acidic water. What matters to them is stability and quality more than anything else.> That didn't make sense to me since the problem is an environmental one, so I did a test on the 55 and got the same results except the PH being different from the 30. The 55 gal was at PH 7-7.2 and nitrate and nitrite 0. Could the test kit be getting old and need to be replaced? <Possibly. But it also important to remember that aquaria have a background acidification process. So as soon as you put water into any aquarium, it gradually becomes more acidic unless something acts to stop that. The key factor is decay of organic material, which produces organic acids, and these lower the pH. The speed with which the tank acidifies depends on its size, its loading of fish, the amount of organic matter (including plants and algae), the presence of alkaline buffers such as Tufa rock, the nitrate level, the ammonia level, the amount of carbon dioxide, aeration, and the frequency of water changes. In other words, no two fish tanks will acidify at the same rate, so it is entirely possible that these two tanks will have very different environmental conditions despite receiving the same type of "new" water each water change.> I bought it within the last month, but it was the last one for FW on the shelf at the LFS and didn't know about expiration dates for tests. Didn't check to see what the date might be and it was apparently on the outer clear packaging cause I can't find it anywhere in the actual test kit. <Test kits can and do go "bad", but this is rare unless the kit is extremely old. The chemicals are largely inert, and provided they are stored somewhere cool and dark they should be stable for many years.> Since I wasn't sure of the test kit's accuracy, I did a 50% WC on all the other tanks that hadn't been done over the weekend, except the guppy and baby tank (did 20% on that ) because that tank seems to always be fine, totally knackered me, but done. I'm so completely paranoid now about the other tanks that I see cilia and parasites in my sleep. lol <Ah, the joys of fishkeeping.> Obviously, my problems are directly linked to poor water quality and my husbandry. My question ( will they ever stop you think?) is... are water parameters not always linked with cleanliness, are the two not one and the same? <Interesting question. Most disease is directly or indirectly linked to water quality and water chemistry. Provided those two factors are appropriate to the fish being kept, the incidence of disease should be very low. While disease can sometimes happen for other reasons, such as genetics or the introduction of unquarantined livestock, at a first-pass there's a lot of wisdom in assuming any unexplainable sickness was caused by water quality and/or chemistry issues. Now, cleanliness can be looked at two ways. Oddly enough, visible waste tends not to be a major problem. Yes, decaying plant material and fish faeces contribute to acidification, but "the wild" is full of decaying material that the fish don't seem to be harmed by. Indeed, many fish, such as catfish and loaches and cichlids, positively revel in the stuff, extracting significant parts of their diet from the decaying material or micro-organisms living therein. Invisible waste, on the other hand, is the killer: nitrite and ammonia in the first league of dangers, and then nitrate somewhere below them. On the other hand, regular water changes undertaken to remove solid wastes in the tank invariably dilute the invisible wastes, and a good mechanical filter with plenty of current will not only remove solid wastes but like have plenty of space for a good biological filter as well. So while the two things are not identical, they do tend to go hand-in-hand as far as practicalities are concerned. It's too simplistic to say a clean tank is a healthy tank: after all, a brand new aquarium may look spotless and yet have high levels of ammonia and nitrite because the filter isn't mature. But established aquaria that are kept clean through water changes and adequate filtration tend to have zero/low levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate as well.> Can there be too much goop or pollution in the bottom of the tank that never show up on a test kit's results and should water from testing be from the lower regions of the tank? (why the Corys were the first affected?) <Not normally, no. But if the sediment at the bottom of the tank becomes anoxic because it isn't regularly cleaned somehow, it can house bacteria that can, in theory, cause problems. In practise this is an easy fix. If you're using sand, for example, keep it thin and install some burrowing snails (such as Malayan Livebearing snails) which will aerate the sand in the same way as earthworms on land. Catfish and loaches generally like to dig and will keep sand very clean anyway. Gravel can be more of a problem to keep clean (surprisingly to some) but when stirred once a week at water change time cleaning gravel shouldn't be too difficult.> Hypothetical question.....say the second sick Cory makes it and has some open wounds from the Epistylis. Should I then treat the tank for possible secondary bacterial infection problems? <Yes.> What would be the med of choice? If antibiotics, gram positive or negative? <I can't really answer this from experience, since antibiotics aren't available to aquarists in the UK. But my expectation would be a product such as Maracyn would be appropriate. Really anything to treat Finrot, as that will get the Aeromonas/Pseudomonas bacteria likely the problem here.> The more I write, the more questions I have and the guiltier, to the fish and you I feel. Is there a book you can recommend that I should buy that you consider the best reference for fish disease and treatment? <Many, many choices. I happen to like the 'Manual of Fish Health' by Chris Andrews et al.> Thanks Neale, You Da' Man, Polly <You're welcome.> Angel fish fine, mother Platy ate the 3 babies, you are right about breeding nets! <Indeed. Trust me: floating plants work much better. Simply check the tank once or twice a day and scoop out the babies as you see them. Any floating plants will do. Even bunches of pondweed or algae. Plastic plants even. The baby fish instinctively go into them, and the parents tend not to notice them.>

Re: Sudden angelfish death 11/28/07 Once again, thank you Neale for the detailed answers to my questions.  They are extremely helpful and make me want to do more reading on water chemistry, acidification, substrates, different types of filtrations systems, aeration, etc. Lots more reading! VBG <Very good! Once you understand the basics of water management, everything else in fishkeeping is easy. But if you're muddled about water management, then things become more dicey. An hour or two spent reading around this topic is time very well spent.> The second Cory is still with us and shows improvement. He never developed the full blown growths on his body and after spending most of yesterday on the bottom hiding in some plants, came out in the early evening to hang out with the other three and actually start to actively ferret around on the gravel for food. <Good stuff. I find that once a sick fish starts feeding again, you're almost always home free.> On further examination of the hype on the Jungle Fungus Tank Buddies box, it states that it also contains something to fight secondary bacterial infections, but I will probably also treat with something else for the fin damage that he displays. The other three Corys still seem unaffected. <I have never used that medication so can't speak from experience.> The substrate in this tank is a combination of an under layer of Fluorite with some gravel over it to keep the fluorite in place and make cleaning easier. The fluorite is great for the plants, but I've found it hard to deeply vacuum without causing major cloudiness. <A problem with sand. The trick is not to vacuum. Instead, let the catfish and plants and Malayan Livebearing snails do the hard work for you. Also lower the sand on one corner so detritus collects there. You can then siphon or even pipette waste as required. Much easier.> There is probably an inch of Fluorite and a 1/2" of gravel over it. In our LFS it's is very hard to find small/ medium uncoated gravel for our FW tanks. <I sympathise. I tend to buy my substrates from garden centres. Easier and cheaper, provided you choose smooth, lime-free sand or gravel rather than, say, sharp sand.> I like the Fluorite for the plants, but am not too sure I like the substrate for the fish. I have just Fluorite in the 55 gal tank , about 1" deep. The Betta/Cory tank is running a Bio Wheel filter, minus the media right now. I will be adding Zeolite, which my husband found for me on his mainland trip the other day, to all the tanks. <Zeolite is completely redundant on tanks that have biological filters. Serves no purpose whatsoever other than wasting your money in these cases. Zeolite is exclusively for tanks with no biological filter, e.g., quarantine tanks or tanks with strongly acid pH.> I love planted tanks, but have decided that too many decorations such as rocks, caves, artificial tree trunks, etc. are too hard to clean around if not lifted at least every other time I do a WC, so have removed quite a bit of the aquascaping add ons and will try letting the plants and maybe one cave for the shy fish, suffice. If you're finding too much silt and detritus, it is likely you have insufficient water movements and/or mechanical filtration. In a tank with complete circulation, there shouldn't be any solid waste on the plants or gravel. Well, maybe a bit, but not enough to be unsightly. So, do check water currents around the tank, and if required, add another filter. If the bottom of the tank has poor water flow, this will mean higher levels of ammonia and nitrite down there, and this could be a factor for your catfish's ill health.> I went to amazon.com to see if the Manual of Fish Health was available and found there seems to be a revised edition. The Interpet Manual of Fish Health by Andrews! I assume it is a revised edition anyway, and will order it. <My copy is from '88. It's a good book. Good level of science, but lots of photos and charts explaining what's going on.> As for snails......I had one hitchhiker on a plant and now have what seems to be a million in the Baby/guppy tank, Yikes! No sure I want to introduce them on purpose as I'm sure they will appear, as if by magic in due time in the tanks they haven't yet. LOL <Snails can be a mixed blessing, but do remember they turn waste into snails. In a clean tank, their numbers tend to be very steady, and removing them by hand works fine. Snail plagues almost always follow over-feeding and under-cleaning.> I'm cultivating a Java Moss like type plant in the baby tank and will move some of it into a birthing tank. Will save those breeding traps for brief isolation and examination purposes. VBG <Enjoy the babies! Best bit of the hobby, I think.> Thanks again, Polly <Bon chance, Neale.>

Gravel washers, dis. transmission  -- 4/10/07 Greetings, I recently purchased a gravel washer and believe it's the best thing since sliced bread for water changes!  I do water changes and gravel washing at least every two weeks. <Wow, you're a better person than I... water changes weekly, gravel cleaning once or twice a year!> I am wondering though, should the gravel washer be soaked in any kind of disinfectant between washes? <If you have more than one aquarium, it is a good idea to clean things between moving them from one tank to another. You'll see retailers nowadays often keep their nets in jugs of disinfectant so that any diseases in one tank can't hitchhike to another. But realistically, cleaning the gravel washer every two weeks is probably overkill. If you want, sit it in a bucket of strong (at least 70 grammes/litre) salt solution. That'll kill most bacteria and parasites, while at the same time not being toxic to the aquarium fish if any gets left behind on the device.> I realize that the water is chlorinated going through the tubing back into the tank but trapped water does lay in the tubing between washes. <Store things dry. Most bacteria and aquatic parasites cannot tolerate exposure to air or sunshine (UV light) for very long.> Could that be a potential source of any kind of disease for the fish? <Potentially, yes, but the risk is trivially small compared with live foods (esp. Tubifex) and new aquarium fish.> Just wondering what you might recommend.  Thanks in advance! <Cheers, Neale> Linda Ritchie
Gravel washers
& Value of "Quarantine", aka Isolating new livestock... FW here  -- 4/10/07 Morning Neale, Thanks for the quick response. <No problem.> I'm slowly getting it through my head that the best way to protect your existing healthy fish is to use an iso tank for the newbies. <Yes it is. Also, when breeding fish, nothing beats having another tank to cosset pregnant females or rear the babies.> I've taken many fine suggestions from your crew and website.  Most of our LFS in this area are large chain stores that don't do much to isolate or even recognize a problem with their stock so it's vital that I take every precaution to prevent infestation in my tanks.  It's very relaxing to me to watch my livebearers go about their daily chores happy and healthy and to watch the fry grow into adults.  I've been keeping fish off and on for almost 30 years and much has changed in husbandry techniques since I started.   <Cool. One thing I forgot to mention in your original question -- is chlorinated water going into the tank when the fish are there? It shouldn't be. The chlorine is quite nasty as far as the fish are concerned. So always use a dechlorinator on any water that is in the tank when the fish are there.> Linda <Cheers, Neale>
Re: Gravel washers
& Value of "Quarantine", aka Isolating new livestock... FW here  -- 4/10/07 Yes, the water is chlorinated but I add the dechlorinator in conjunction with the water.  I put some water in a pitcher and add the dechlorinator to prime the filters.  So far this has worked great. I wash the filters and filter packs with the water that comes out of the aquarium into the sink during the water change.   <Cool.> I don't try and adjust the pH to much for the livebearer tank. <Always wise. Easiest to get fish that like your water, rather than try to fiddle the water to suit your fish.> I just added some crushed coral to work on the KH, it's a little low at 4. <Agreed, and the solution sounds good. Be sure and deep clean the coral sand though: once covered in bacteria and algae (i.e., after a few weeks) it is isolated from the water, and doesn't do any buffering.> GH is right about 7-8 which should be okay.  Ph is very stable at about 7.4. <Both fine for Platies.> Found out the hard way that the pH neutralizer does a number on the live plants! <Odd. Some plants like acid water, some alkaline, so that may be the thing. Many of the hardier plants, such as Vallis, like hard, alkaline water. If you soften the water too much, they get unhappy very quickly. Done this myself and watch hundreds of Vallis die overnight! Not pretty. Again, best to choose plants for your local water. There are lots of species that love hard, alkaline water: Vallis, Egeria, some Amazon swords (e.g. E. bleheri), some Crypts (e.g. C. wendtii and C. ciliata), Java fern, Java moss, etc.> I bring down the pH to around 7.2 for in the tetra tank.  As long as it remains stable the fish are okay. <Most tetras shouldn't mind even pH 7.4, so I'd not bother with the pH adjustment. The difference between 7.2 and 7.4 is not that important. Fish don't really "feel" pH anyway; they feel the total dissolved solids, which the acidifying agent isn't doing anything about. I personally wouldn't bother with the pH adjuster -- I'd sooner do more water changes to keep the quality high. Cheers, Neale>

Re: Bacterial sickness? 11/2/05 My question that was no answered was, can something be living in the live rock that is killing the fish... <Not likely... something is toxic though...> I thought that if you removed the fish that the disease would be removed also...is this incorrect???? <Yes, depending on the type... please... keep reading... perhaps a good "all in one" marine aquarium reference book... the situation you describe has many, MANY loose possibilities in terms of causes of trouble... By the time we "go back and forth" trying to address these, you will be burned out and broke... Imagine a person trying to "do their taxes" in this sort of mode... Bob Fenner> 
Re:... Not bacterial infection, poor examples... 11/2/05
Bob, Trust me I have done taxes this way, you have to keep your clients happy correct??? <Clients?... We have none> I think ill remove the live rock and start over. Thank you for your help <... keep reading... BobF> 

White Stringy Feces, disease? Hi, My aquarium is a very unhappy place right now, and I need some advice. I started up a 25 gal. tank in December with 3 platies and 6 cardinal tetras (& a lot of plants and some driftwood).  During the cycling process, one of the platies had 5 fry, but died a week or so later. I assumed she died from the stress of the new tank and giving birth, but now realize I was wrong. After the cycling was complete, and all the other fish seemed healthy, I added 2 Otos to combat a really pronounced algae problem. Two weeks later, one OTO died. I'd noticed no signs of illness -- just found him at the bottom one afternoon. Then the platies started acting sick with the same symptoms that affected the first poor platy, listlessness, and white stringy feces. They spend their time either resting on the bottom in a covered area or floating at the surface. They eat only a miniscule amount. There are no other visible signs of illness (i.e. no spots or red streaks, fins & eyes look fine). I started a course of Maracyn 2. I'm on day four, but it doesn't seem to be helping. In the past 4 days, I've lost the other OTO and 3 fry, and the remaining platies seem quite ill. (Fortunately, the cardinals seem perfectly happy). Is there a different medication I should try? Should I do another round of Maracyn 2? Did I medicate too late? Is it likely the cardinals will eventually be affected too? Also, due to the loss of the Otos, the algae is out of control. I'm afraid I'll lose all the plants too (its not quite as heartbreaking, but it is expensive!). Once I either a) get everyone healthy again or b) lose the rest of the platies, what should I do to make it a safe environment for a new algae eater? Is a big water change enough, or do I have to do some sterilizing? How long must I wait before adding a new critter? In case its relevant, my water quality has always been pretty good.  Currently, pH=6.8, ammonia=0, nitrites=0, and nitrates <10. Even during cycling, the ammonia & nitrites never got much above 0.5. Thanks in advance for your help! Amanda <The white stringy feces points towards an internal infection. It could be bacterial or a protozoa. Best treated with medicated flake food. Since the Maracyn 2 did not help it is most likely a protozoa. Treat with Metronidazole. You can get the medicated food here http://flguppiesplus.safeshopper.com/26/cat26.htm?122. You will only need a small package. Do not add any more fish until your current charges stay healthy without medicine for a month. I would stop the Meds after completing the first round and start doing several large water changes until you get the Metronidazole. Continue to test and watch for spikes. The Maracyn can kill your bio filter. I would not worry too much about the algae right now. You can wipe off the glass and such for now. Otos are great for algae control, but very hard to introduce into a new set up. And very sensitive to meds. His dying may be unrelated to the platy problem. Look for a Bristlenose Pleco. They only get about 4 inches and are much easier to keep. Stay away from the Common Pleco, gets too large at 12+ inches. One last thing. Unless you were doing daily water changes during the cycling period you should have had higher spikes than .5. You may want to take a sample to your LFS and have them confirm your readings. Don>

Effects of surviving Fish TB Hi there, A few months ago my husband fed our fish some goldfish, against my advice based on what I've heard about goldfish having a lot of diseases. Anyways, our Frontosa, Bay Snook, and clown knives ate them and were fine, but our 12 inch Gar got really sick. He got a filmy coat to him and his eyes popped out. He swelled up really bad and just sat at the bottom of the tank. Then his spine got really crooked. We medicated the tank with anti-fungal and bacterial meds and also Melafix. He was sick for about a month but now he seems to be OK, he eats and swims around fine, except he is still crooked and his back end seems almost like it's paralyzed and just drags behind. Is he still sick or can there be lasting effects from fish illnesses? We were told he had Fish TB but I thought it was always fatal. My husband gets very upset when his fish die! He was depressed for a week when his water cow jumped out the day after we bought it.  Any help is appreciated! <Could be internal parasites from the gold fish have affected the gar. I would try to separate the gar and treat him with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package. It may help but at this point it is just a guess. The Metronidazole is effective against anaerobic bacteria.-Chuck.>

Dead clown loach - 'skinny disease', or worms? me again.... <Sabrina, here> answers to your questions....I do a 20%-30% water change once a month...ph 6.6, no ammonia, no nitrites, <Excellent.> I feed them a variety of things...zooplankton, Tubifex worms, <Tubifex - live, frozen, or freeze-dried?  Live Tubifex are pretty well known for their tendency to transmit disease; probably not the best option....> shrimp pellets, tropical flake food, Gammarus...frozen shrimp....a good mix of things I thought. <Yes.> Like I said in my previous email...everyone seems to think it was skinny disease....a parasite that they say can be in the loach already and 6 months to a year or more kill them.... <I've found some conflicting information on this - some sources say 'skinny disease' is a bacteria, as Jason said previously, and some say it's a Microsporidean - a protozoan parasite - and is difficult to treat.  However....  As I read this, I'm rather certain that, whichever way it is, you're not looking at this 'skinny disease', but at an internal large-type parasite (rather than a protozoa or a bacteria), like nematodes.  This is common in wild fish.> because they come from the wild....I had read that you can treat  prophylactically with Levamisole hydrochloride to keep this from happening...but did not find out where to get it or how much..... is this true? <I would agree with this advice - Levamisole or Piperazine are the route to take for internal wormies.  Look into "Discomed" or, if you can find it, "Dewormer", both by Aquatronics.  The former is administered via food, and contains Levamisole.  The former is already *in* food, and contains Piperazine.  Either route should do the trick.> You had mentioned medicated pellets with erythromycin....I have medicated pellets but it is tetracycline...for bacteria...would that be sufficient if this happens again?     <I'm rather convinced that you're dealing with a parasite, not a bacteria.  I'd suggest, if you're considering getting in more wild-caught fish, first and foremost set up a quarantine tank so you can nail illnesses before they get into the main system.  Secondly, keep good antibacterial meds on hand, as well as anthelminthic (worm killin') meds on hand.  Medicated food is probably the best route.> In regards to that, I read that loaches with skinny disease do not always eat and by feeding with the pellets it might do more harm than good by damaging bacteria in filter and gravel... throwing ammonia and nitrites up therefore hurting other fish........ <Unlikely.  If the loaches don't eat the food, the other fish will, most likely.  I don't see much likelihood at all of causing harm to the tank going this route.> Sorry so many questions... <Don't apologies - it's totally understandable.> I always find conflicting info on the net....& never know what to believe.... <Conflicting info - yes, indeed.  And there are many ways to skin a cat - and everyone you talk to will give you a different way.  -Sabrina> any help would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance,  Monica     

FW Fish Disease Dear WWM Crew: Thanks to all for your invaluable help and support up to this point.   >>We do what we can, though my efforts are new. Here's the deal: >I've got a 44 gal. freshwater tank that housed the following fish: 2 Boesemanni rainbows 3 male threadfin rainbows 5 balloon-bellied mollies 3 green Cory cats.   >The tank's parameters are all normal, no nitrites, ammonia, pH = 7.5; I haven't tested for nitrates yet, but will do tonight. Unfortunately, through an error of mine, there was introduced to my tank something horrible and insidious last week.  I did not fully understand the benefits of QTing *all* new tank members, but believe you me, it's a mistake I'll not make again.  Anyway, I introduced four dwarf neon rainbowfish w/out QTing, and within forty-eight hours, two had died and the other two looked *horrible*.  Symptoms included lethargic behavior, not eating, grayish/whitish patches with some red underneath, and fin/tail rot.  I immediately pulled the two remaining dwarf Neons and put them in a hospital tank, and based on the symptoms I saw at the time (and with much help from the chat forum!), began treating these guys w/ Maracyn-Two.  Well, within another 24-48 hours, they had also died.  Again, through my posting on the chat forum, I discovered that very possible I had stumbled across "rainbowfish disease", or fish tuberculosis.  So, I began researching that, and everything I've seen thus far leads me to believe that this disease is virtually impossible to treat. Yesterday, I noticed one of the Boesemann's not looking very good, so he was put into a hospital immediately.  His outward symptoms did not look like what had affected the dwarf Neons - the Boesemanni appeared to have "true fungus".  As such, I chose to treat his hospital tank w/ Maracyn-Two and MarOxy.  Well, this morning I woke up and he was gone too.   >>Oh dear, my heart is breaking for you! In doing even more research today, I've decided that if another rainbow exhibits disease symptoms, I'm going to treat him in a hospital tank w/ erythromycin...I believe that sometimes that works against fish TB...please confirm if that's the case. >>IIRC, it is, however, you would do well to have several medications on hand, I would add Melafix and Spectrogram to the list of meds you already have on hand. >I'm *very* concerned about my remaining fish, and so far, here's what actions I've taken and/or plan to take: increase water changes from 10-15% to 20% weekly, I've ordered a UV sterilizer (scheduled to arrive next week...hopefully soon!) to kill any free-floating bacteria in the water, and, in general, will try to keep the stress level (for both the fishes sake and mine) at a minimum.  Is there anything else I can/should do?   >>Truthfully, you're doing everything I would do, the only advice I can add is to use salt (ratio of 1tsp./gal) while medicating and q/t'ing.  You cannot use this in the display with the plants. >If we are truly dealing with rainbowfish disease (fish TB) - can it be contracted by the mollies and/or Corys? >>It may, but I must apologize for not having better answers at this time.  I do not think fish TB is specific to any genus or species, treat everyone the same right now. >At what point do I need to completely break down the tank?  In the event I do need to break down the tank, do I need to toss the plants (Aponogetons and Anubias)?   >>I don't think that you need to break the tank down, though putting everyone in q/t for a minimum of one month and letting the tank lie fallow may be helpful.  Remember not to use the salt with the plants.  I don't know that plants can act as carriers for disease, Google has provided me with nothing helpful. >Please help- I do realize that I made a mistake by not using proper fish-introduction techniques (i.e., quarantining), but what can I do from here? Thanking you in advance, Jorie >>You are doing everything you can at this point, with the exception of the salt.  I cannot say, "You should do this, that, or the other thing", because you're doing what I would.  My suggestion is to stay the course right now, and we'll keep our fingers crossed that you lick this!  Best of luck, Jolie!  Marina>

Unknown Disease Killing Fish I have been stumped by this unknown disease that is killing some of my aquarium fish. The first fish to come down with symptoms was my Siamese fighting fish. The fish's abdomen became enlarged as if it had eaten too much and stayed that way. Then a tumor or blister popped up on one side of its head under the eye but went away after a few days. A few days after that the fish died. All during this time which took, from the beginnings of the symptoms to its demise, about two weeks the fish displayed no unusual behavior. The beta continued to behave normally until its sudden death. About a week or so after my beta died my Danios, both zebra and leopard long-fined, began to waste away. They would lose weight rapidly, refuse to eat and then die one at a time. Now I am down to one Danio, a once hearty female. She has started to lose weight and sometimes has an irregular bump on the underside of her belly. The Danio still exhibits normal behavior but is losing condition. All my other fish are fine; I have four neon tetras, a Siamese algae eater and a sucking loach. <Sounds as if this may be Flukes. Information and recommended treatments are at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm and related FAQ's> I have a ten gallon tank with a few live plants in it. I keep it fairly bright for the plants but there is cover for the fish. <This is fine although it sounds like there may have been a lot of fish in this small system.> My tank PH is 6.5, ammonia levels are usually about a .5 or less, nitrite 0, carbonate hardness 53.7 and general hardness 6. I keep the temperature a steady 74 degrees and feed the fish small amounts of different types of dry food twice a day. <Ammonia should *always* be at 0ppm. Anything above this is harmful to your fish. Make sure you aren't overfeeding. Also, for these fish, a bit warmer temperature is recommended. Try getting it up to around 78.> I hope you can help me out with this; it's driving me nuts trying to figure out what to do! Thank you for your time, Joyce <See the above article and FAQ's and also check out all of the FW articles and FAQ's at www.wetwebmedia.com Ronni>

Lymphocystis on Angelfish and Other Questions Hello--we inherited a 55-gal aquarium with a house we bought, and we're just learning about fish-keeping for the first time ever.  Just before we moved in, the owner noticed a pink growth just above the angelfish's mouth.  It's gotten bigger, but the angelfish is still eating--swimming at a slight list, but still eating, and it's been about 3 weeks.  It looks like the growth has spread to the lower 'lip' as well. A local fish store owner said (without being able to look at it) <The rest of this was cut off but I'm guessing he said it sounded like Lymphocystis due to your subject line. But I really don't think this is Lymphocystis. The characteristics of that are grey or white growths, often with a cauliflower appearance. I'm guessing instead that this is an external bacterial infection. I'd recommend isolating it and treating with a medication designed for bacterial problems. One of the Maracyns would be my first choice, read the box to determine which one.> Today we noticed it bleeding around the edge for a bit, then the blood calming down.  Is it possible it was bitten?  We have (and we've learned that these fish should not be mixed, but we inherited it so here we are) a black moor, a platy, a few tetras, a Plecostomus, a gourami, a Hatchetfish, an eel we never see, a ghost knife we never see, <Get a piece of clear plastic pipe of some sort and put it in your tank for him to hide in. He'll feel secure and you'll still be able to see him.> some little African frogs, and a snail.  (We plan to get some more Hatchetfish and a couple of female platys when we figure out what's up with this aquarium) The black moor has been aggressing on the angelfish a bit but had apparently calmed down; the angel fish had always been able to escape. <Before you add any more fish of any kind I would recommend getting a good book and researching compatibility. I would also like to suggest that you trade in the ones you currently have that aren't compatible with the ones you'd like to keep. (I'm sure you know which ones but I'm going to list it anyway since some of our future readers may find the info helpful) The Gourami, the Eel, the Ghost Knife, and the frogs can all be at least moderately aggressive and shouldn't be kept with your others that are non-aggressive. And the Black Moor is a goldfish so it needs cooler water temps that the others can't handle as well.> A pregnant platy and a tetra have died in the past week--another fish store person thinks because of the drastic temperature change from when the owner turned the heat down after she left to when we came in and turned the heat back up.  (in the house, not the aquarium)  There was a BIG change.   <This is possible, especially with the Tetra.> And for some unknown reason, the pH changed too, from around 6.8 when we watched the owner change the water and clean the tank, to around 7.0-7.1 when I took it a few days ago. <Ph does generally rise a bit once you've added the water to the tank. My Ph from my tap is 7.6 and within a day or so of being put in a tank, the Ph will be up around 7.8-8.0.> No discernible ammonia. <Good> We don't have a quarantine aquarium in which to put the angelfish--what can we do?  Is it possible that the growth was bitten by another fish?  If another fish eats it (ICH) will it get the virus too? <I'd highly recommend getting a QT tank. Even a 5 or 10 gallon would work and it doesn't have to be fancy. It may be very possible for your other fish to get this. It's unlikely that someone bit it but not entirely impossible, especially with the mix of fish you have in there.> Thanks--we're new and hate to see this kind of stuff happening--we've just been doing what the owner had been doing and our 5-y.o. daughter has suffered enough heartache.  The loss of the pregnant platy just devastated her.  We were very excited to watch the birth and such. <Just remember, what works for one person doesn't always work for another, even with the same fish and the slightest change can throw the whole thing out of whack. I once kept a tank very similar to yours and didn't have any problems for 3 years. Then I moved tank to the other side of the room and everything went haywire. The setup and fish were exactly the same but the temperaments changed completely. In a matter of weeks I went from the one tank to several because I had to separate all of the fish.> Please advise! Thanks, Carolyn  <Hope this info helps! Ronni>

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