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FAQs on Silver Dollars Health/Disease

Related Articles: Serrasalmine Fishes, Piranhas, Characoids/Tetras & Relatives

FAQs on: Silver Dollars (Metynnis, Mylossoma, Myleus...spp.) 1, Silver Dollars 2,
FAQs on: Silver Dollar Identification, Silver Dollar Behaviour, Silver Dollar Compatibility, Silver Dollar Stocking/Selection, Silver Dollar Systems, Silver Dollar Feeding, Silver Dollar Reproduction, Related FAQs:  Serrasalmine Fishes, PiranhasPacus,


Black spots on silver dollar      3/20/20
Hey I have noticed black raised dots on 2 or the 4 silver dollars. They seem fine though. I’m worried about medication because I have a Mbu puffer as well. Is this normal or should I treat?
<Yeah; apparently these are Cercariae, (larval) stage of Flukes/Trematodes... Can be treated for... though are not likely (very) deleterious now that the fish is in captivity. No determinant host to pass on, complete the life cycle. Do read re Trematoda...
If I were the aquarist, I might well do nothing treatment-wise here. Bob Fenner>

Silver Dollar with single white spot on eye and hole in dorsal     8/5/16
Good afternoon. Hoping for some assistance with one of my silver dollars:
<Let's see>
55 Gal
4 Silver Dollars
4 BN Plecos
4 Neon Tetras
3 Cory Cats
1 Betta
<The Betta and Neons aren't getting bothered by the Dollars? The latter must be small now. Will very likely have to be separated going forward>
Sand substrate
Artificial plants
pH 7.5

Ammonia 0
Nitrate 0
Nitrite 0
<Zip? Odd>
Weekly water changes (approximately 50%)
<Mmm; I do hope/trust you're storing this water ahead of use. Otherwise I'd change out a quarter at a time max. See WWM re the rationale here>
Temperature set at 75, but with ambient temp. in the room, usually stays closer to 76.5-77.
Wafer crisps
Algae Wafers
Fresh cucumber and romaine lettuce (cucumber 2-3 times weekly and lettuce once every couple weeks). They don't really eat the cucumber, but my Plecos LOVE it. They will munch on the lettuce, sometimes more than other times.
All fish doing great, behaviorally. However, I have 1 silver dollar who, when purchased, had the VERY slightest fin irregularity on his dorsal...I can't even really call it a ragged fin. It was, rather, just not as perfect as the other 3. I do a head count each evening and each morning. This morning, I noted a small hole (tiny, maybe 1/32" in diameter) and a single white dot on his left eyeball.
<Mmm; not to worry Re... one dot is not a parasite likely>
The spot is white, as you would see in "ich" but there are no other spots or damaged areas on the fish. None of my other fish have a single spot either. I fed everyone and this silver dollar didn't really show an interest in his breakfast, but still as active as normal.
Would like head off any disease if possible. I did treat the water with Seachem Kanaplex, for fin rot. Any ideas/suggestions?
<I'd just check water quality and leave as is>
I will try for a photo of the little guy, but the white spot is almost impossible to view unless he is facing me directly head-on. Slightly raised spot.
Thanks in advance for any help!
<Don't panic here. Much more trouble in overreacting potentially. Bob Fenner>
Re: Silver Dollar with single white spot on eye and hole in dorsal     8/5/16

Bob, see my responses below......here are the pics, such as they are. Gosh, they're hard to photograph.
<Oh yes. Perhaps a Microsporidean... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/Silver$HlthF.htm
and the linked files above. BobF>

Silver Dollar with single white spot on eye and hole in dorsal Neale's go      8/5/16
Good afternoon. Hoping for some assistance with one of my silver dollars:
55 Gal
4 Silver Dollars
4 BN Plecos
4 Neon Tetras
3 Cory Cats
1 Betta
Sand substrate
Artificial plants
pH 7.5
Ammonia 0
Nitrate 0
Nitrite 0
Weekly water changes (approximately 50%)
Temperature set at 75, but with ambient temp. in the room, usually stays closer to 76.5-77.
Wafer crisps
Algae Wafers
Fresh cucumber and romaine lettuce (cucumber 2-3 times weekly and lettuce once every couple weeks). They don't really eat the cucumber, but my Plecos LOVE it. They will munch on the lettuce, sometimes more than other times.
All fish doing great, behaviorally. However, I have 1 silver dollar who, when purchased, had the VERY slightest fin irregularity on his dorsal...I can't even really call it a ragged fin. It was, rather, just not as perfect as the other 3. I do a head count each evening and each morning. This morning, I noted a small hole (tiny, maybe 1/32" in diameter) and a single white dot on his left eyeball. The spot is white, as you would see in "ich" but there are no other spots or damaged areas on the fish. None of my other fish have a single spot either. I fed everyone and this silver dollar didn't really show an interest in his breakfast, but still as active as normal.
Would like head off any disease if possible. I did treat the water with Seachem Kanaplex, for fin rot. Any ideas/suggestions? I will try for a photo of the little guy, but the white spot is almost impossible to view unless he is facing me directly head-on. Slightly raised spot.
Thanks in advance for any help!
<I would certainly not medicate at this point. It is quite common for characins of all types to take bites out of each other during social interactions. The problem is that they are highly social animals, but that doesn't mean they're friendly. It means they have a need to socialise for protection, but within that group need to compete over access to food and
mates. So the reality is that these animals might need to be kept in groups but they're also at risk of damaging one another if there aren't enough of them to "spread out" the aggression. I suspect your group is too small, and one of them is being picked on by the dominant specimen. Try adding additional specimens to dilute aggression. Odd numbered groups work best, and I'd never recommend keeping Silver Dollars (or their relatives, the Piranhas) in groups of fewer than six. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Silver Dollar with single white spot on eye and hole in dorsal     8/5/16

Thanks, Neale. I did manage to get a pic. Attached with the area of concern circled. I did read where groups of at least six are best and had planned on adding a few more. Let me know if my pic indicates any worries.....such as they are.
<I do believe this is physical injury. In good water conditions should heal properly. Do use an antibiotic if you want to, but probably not necessarily if the wounds are clean and healing nicely already. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Silver Dollar with single white spot on eye and hole in dorsal       8/6/16
Thanks, Neale. I will follow your direction. Should I be concerned about appetite. Did not eat yesterday or this morning....
<If he's being bullied or otherwise stressed, appetite will be down. I wouldn't worry too much for a few days, but do certainly check water quality is right, temperature is where it should be, and perhaps offer something especially tasty, like live brine shrimp. Let me know what happens. Cheers, Neale.>
RE: Silver Dollar with single white spot on eye and hole in dorsal       8/6/16

<Most welcome.>

Re: Silver Dollar with single white spot on eye and hole in dorsal       8/9/16
Good morning, Neale! Happy to report that my silver dollar with the dorsal tear and eye "spot" is better....eating like a champ again and with my weekly water change yesterday evening, enjoying a freshened up tank. The little bump on his eye appears to have reduced in size and the fin tear is no worse.
<Ah, this is good news!>
I did, however, notice that while all 4 of my SD's eat with each other and swim as a group, the injured guy tends to rest separately.
Now, I don't know if this is a recent change or not a change at all and he's been doing it all along. I do a morning and evening head count, but have never really studied the resting habits of these guys. I checked my LFS where I bought the SD's and, frustratingly, they haven't had a stock of SD's for months!
Any suggestion of a reputable online source for SD's?
<In the US? Afraid not; here in the UK I could suggest one or two places.
I'd suggest getting in touch with a local city/state tropical fish club... these people often have a good sense of which stores are best. With that said, Silver Dollars ship reasonably well, and if you see robust-looking specimens in stock even at a chain pet store, chances are these are worth the investment. One issue though is that there are multiple species sold as Silver Dollars, and different species might not school together.>
I'm anxious to get a few more and accomplish that "odd number" you suggested to alleviate some of the possible bullying/aggression that can happen.
Thanks again!
<Welcome. Neale.>
Re: Silver Dollar with single white spot on eye and hole in dorsal       8/9/16

<Most welcome! Neale>

Silver Dollar with White Wart on his Nose Redacted---Now Has No Nose?!      3/22/16
Dear Wet Web Media Crew,
Hi again...so it is my spring break now and I am back at my parents' house for a week before I head back to grad school. The fish all look healthy (and the Geophagus is now really big and matured into his adult blue and red colors---the lateral line scars have completely disappeared)...with the exception of the silver dollar who I mentioned last time I emailed you about a white wart on his nose.
The thing is, that white wart on his nose has been there for years, but it grew larger last time I emailed you and I got worried, but nothing came of it. At least, until now...because now the silver dollar's nose is...gone.
I've never seen anything like it.
I don't know quite how to describe it. There's no red, nor any fuzz like fungus/columnaris, but where the tip of his upper jaw was is now a large cavity, like if you chopped a person's nose off leaving the nose hole behind. The inside is white-ish, depending on the angle you look at it.
It looks like that white wart he had for years somehow burst open or went away, and left behind the hole. I'm not sure what that was---an abscess?
Lymphocystis? Something like that?
My father thinks the Geophagus bit his nose off since the geo chases the silver dollars every so often, but this seems unlikely to me given he has never done any real damage to the other fish before.
Any advice beyond making sure diet and water quality are good, and waiting for it to heal?
P.S. I do have some pictures I could send you later, but they don't capture the 3D structure of the cavity well.
Thank you for all that you've done (my Geo and Shortgill thank you btw!!)
<Pictures would help, Lynnie, but at first reading this is sounding like the nares (the "nostrils" of a fish) became infected and eroded away to nothing. That isn't unheard of, but I hesitate to use the word normal for things like this. In any case, it is possible for fish to survive this sort of infection, but at the same time, it's obviously a potential site for subsequent reinfection. If the fish is otherwise behaving normally, an antibiotic or antibacterial should be used to keep any wound clean while it heals over, but once that's done, there's not a lot you can realistically do. Silver Dollars and Geophagines normally cohabit well, and Geophagines aren't typically biters because their jaws are so profoundly modified for sifting that biting other cichlids isn't an easy option for them. I'd me more inclined to look at water quality problems, or aggression between the Silver Dollars themselves, or simple physical damage combined with bad luck. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Silver Dollar with White Wart on his Nose Redacted---Now Has No Nose?!    3/24/16
Okay perhaps I should have been more specific. By "nose" I meant the tip of the snout, between the nares. The nares themselves are intact. I attached a few pictures. The first two are of the affected silver dollar. You can see
that the tip of the snout has been caved in.
<Correct; looks like collision damage, as you suggest.>
Upon closer observation, many of the other silver dollars have pale discoloration of their snout tips, but none of the other fish show anything else. This is how the silver dollar started out many years ago, and then of course it evolved into this recently. The Geophagus may not be able to bite a fish's nose off, but he does chase after them a lot specifically.
<Yes; is he a singleton? Geophagines do vary in behaviour, but can be quite territorial when kept singly. This chap looks to be a Geophagus altifrons or Geophagus surinamensis type thing. Geophagus altifrons at least is fairly gregarious, and in the UK at least you usually see them kept in groups of 6-8 specimens, where they'll cohabit quite nicely even with quite small tetras (Cardinals, Rummynose, that sort of thing). That said, they are hierarchical (like all social fishes) and the fewer you keep, the less "normal" their behaviour will tend to be. Singletons can be unpredictable, either very shy, or else hyper-aggressive (though perhaps paradoxically, because they're poorly equipped in terms of jaw muscles, they're easily damaged by truly aggressive, but less specialised, cichlids if mixed with them).>
I am beginning to wonder if perhaps the silver dollars are injuring their snouts when they get chased and bump into something while I am not there.
Note: I also attached a pic of the Geophagus just to show you how he has matured.
<Nice looking fish.>
Is there anything I can do to alleviate the aggression between the geo and the dollars? I don't want to have to choose one or the other...
<Understood. How big's the tank? That's the key factor. More Silver Dollars and more swimming space could help -- assuming the tank's reasonably big, neither species needs anything other than sand at the bottom and water above, and you could limit decor to suitable pots and caves that wouldn't get in the way of the Silver Dollars. Adding tall plants like Vallisneria around the edges would give Silver Dollars "cues" to the edges of their world, making impacts with the glass less frequent. Adding more Silver Dollars would lend them more confidence, while adding extra Geophagus could give a singleton more appropriate social interactions instead of this vaguely unnatural aggression. Of course Geophagines are notoriously sensitive to nitrate, so you can't add extra specimens willy-nilly, so reflect, and act accordingly. Sometimes a dissimilar, but bold, fish can provide something for the cichlids to interact with; Loiselle calls these "target fish" and they tend to be things like Shark Minnows, Anostomines, Distichodus, etc. that have enough confidence about them to get up close and personal, but enough speed to avoid any serious trouble. A Red-Tail Black Shark, for example, might work nicely, though it isn't a South American species. Anostomus anostomus is beautiful and very hardy, but some specimens are fin-nippers, though I suspect that's often when they're hungry (they're herbivores to a large extent, and mine grazes all day long on floating Indian Fern). Marbled Headstanders might work, or even something like a day-active midwater catfish, such as Hoplosternum. An L-number of some sort might be worth trying, but not if it hides all day long!>
Also what antibiotics do you recommend I use, if I must, in this situation?
<If the wound is clean, I'd not medicate and let it heal normally.
Otherwise, whatever Finrot medication is available in your area should be fine. Fish recover from impact damage reasonably well if the water is clean and they're feeding well. Their immune system is truly astonishingly good
given half a chance! Cheers, Neale.>


Silver Dollar With White Wart on Nose...and Blue Acara with Protruding Anus       12/20/15
Dear WetWebMedia Crew,
Hey, long time no see! It's me Lynnie.
In my absence, my parents have been taking care of the fish. They have been feeding them New Life Spectrum cichlid pellets, Omega One veggie rounds, Hikari Seaweed Extreme and Algae Wafers, dried seaweed, and fresh vegetables once a week. They also have been doing 50-70% water changes weekly
<I'd cut this back to no more than a quarter, 25%>

and the service still comes to clean the canister filter and under gravel filter monthly.
The fish have been doing well for the most part, as my Geophagus has completely healed up and grown a lot in size and color. So has my clown loach. (Though the second one seems to have vanished since I saw him healthy and big during Thanksgiving...I suspect the service might have buried him again). However there is something up.
One of my decade-old silver dollars has had a white wart on his nose for years. But lately, it seems to have grown larger, and he seems unable to open his mouth to eat.
There is also the fact that the blue Acara still have protruding anuses, as they did when I first bought them and put them in quarantine. I have been feeding them green beans and brine shrimp and it seems to be somewhat better but their anus still protrudes. They also look somewhat bloated...I am not sure why they are constipated while none of the other fish are. They
seem just as enthusiastic about vegetables as the other fish. I am not sure what to do about these issues now that I am in Houston for Christmas break. My parents only are able to care for their basic needs thanks to instructions I wrote up for them.
Thank you,
<I would do nothing out of regular maintenance. Bob Fenner>
Re: Silver Dollar With White Wart on Nose...and Blue Acara with Protruding Anus       12/20/15

I am concerned that just 25% might be too little, given the delicate nature of the Geophagus. I can't really maintain plants in the setup, given the six silver dollars, so water changes are my only real outlet for nitrates.
Would 50% be okay, or still too stressful?
<Search and READ first: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pondsubwebindex/pdh2ochgs.htm\
Silver Dollar With White Wart on Nose...and Blue Acara with Protruding Anus        /Neale       12/20/15

Dear WetWebMedia Crew,
Hey, long time no see! It's me Lynnie.
In my absence, my parents have been taking care of the fish. They have been feeding them New Life Spectrum cichlid pellets, Omega One veggie rounds, Hikari Seaweed Extreme and Algae Wafers, dried seaweed, and fresh vegetables once a week. They also have been doing 50-70% water changes weekly and the service still comes to clean the canister filter and under gravel filter monthly.
The fish have been doing well for the most part, as my Geophagus has completely healed up and grown a lot in size and color. So has my clown loach. (Though the second one seems to have vanished since I saw him healthy and big during Thanksgiving...I suspect the service might have buried him again). However there is something up.
One of my decade-old silver dollars has had a white wart on his nose for years. But lately, it seems to have grown larger, and he seems unable to open his mouth to eat.
There is also the fact that the blue Acara still have protruding anuses, as they did when I first bought them and put them in quarantine. I have been feeding them green beans and brine shrimp and it seems to be somewhat better but their anus still protrudes. They also look somewhat bloated...I am not sure why they are constipated while none of the other fish are. They
seem just as enthusiastic about vegetables as the other fish.
I am not sure what to do about these issues now that I am in Houston for Christmas break. My parents only are able to care for their basic needs thanks to instructions I wrote up for them.
Thank you,
<I would optimise environmental conditions (do recall that like Corydoras and Neons, Acara generally prefer cooler, oxygen-rich conditions so maintain accordingly, 22-25 C being ideal for them) and make sure the diet has plenty of fibre in it (green foods, brine shrimps and daphnia all good; avoid flake/pellets entirely). Prolapse anuses are fairly common on cichlids, and while there are various causes, opportunistic bacterial and protozoan infections are most likely. If you can treat with Metronidazole, that'd help. Alongside this, the use of Epsom Salt may be helpful if the fish are constipated. Use of both Metronidazole and Epsom Salt are described elsewhere on WWM. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Silver Dollar With White Wart on Nose...and Blue Acara with Protruding Anus        12/22/15

Dear Wet Web Media Crew,
When Neale says avoid flakes and pellets entirely, does he mean until the prolapsed anus problem is cured, or forever?
<Until cured. Think about flake food as the opposite of a laxative.>
Because it will be difficult to give the Acaras a nutritionally complete diet without using them at least some of the time.
Thank you,
<I do agree. But with these cichlids, flakes or pellets can be used sparingly, alongside a good variety of foods from the kitchen. Cooked peas, softened vegetables, minced white fish fillet and seafood, hard boiled egg yolks... all sorts, really. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Silver Dollar With White Wart on Nose...and Blue Acara with Protruding Anus        12/24/15

I bought a frozen food medicated with Metronidazole as per Neale's suggestion. However it also contains Kanamycin. I would prefer to use the food over the bath formula, as the blue Acara are eager to eat food from my hand and so I could easily make sure they get it and not the other fish.
But I also know that when I used Kanamycin in a newly cycled quarantine tank, it totally wiped the bio filter.
I have been told for a large, mature bio filter this is unlikely to happen.
Is this correct?
<Pretty much. And bear in mind the food is being eaten. By the time it's been through the digestive tract of a fish it won't be in much state to affect the filter bacteria. Also, used as instructed, aquarium antibiotics shouldn't normally affect filter bacteria. Antibiotics are fairly specific and don't kill every single type of bacteria. If you're concerned though, remove some of the filter media, up to half is fine, place in a bowl so it's just covered with aquarium water, and put somewhere it won't dry out but gets some air too. A piece of cloth for example over the top would be great, or some cling film/saran wrap with some holes stuck in it. Now, if anything happens to the filter during treatment, you'll have a generous reserve of healthy media to stick back into the filter afterwards, thereby avoiding the cycling process! Cheers, Neale.>

Unexpected Demise of a Silver Dollar     6/24/15
Dear Wet Web Media Crew,
I was originally setting out to ask you some questions about stocking my 105 gallon semi-aggressive tank (i.e. which fish to remove/add, etc.)
Unfortunately, when I arrived home today, I found that one of my silver dollars who had been with me for about 10 years was shivering, looping around vertically in the water, and flopping onto the substrate. He swam to the back of the tank, wedged himself behind a rock, and is no longer moving. I think he just died all of a sudden.
I'm not sure what could have caused this. He showed no signs of illness yesterday, and I could see nothing wrong on his body aside from a couple of minor nicks on his fins, however all my fish have them, and they heal right up. They weren't infected or anything like that. Nitrates are between 10-20 ppm (it's about time to change the water again), ammonia and nitrite are zero.
<Have seen such "anomalous" losses... and speculated, read and heard speculations that "something" internal, even in the CNS (central nervous system) might account... That and "eating an insect/bug" that got into the system>
I have a couple of thoughts:
1. I found out last week the heater had come unplugged, but I hadn't noticed this because the temperature in the tank was still reading 78 degrees Fahrenheit. I plugged it back in last week, and checked the temperature today, and it seems to have climbed to 82 degrees, but it is odd this caused his death because a) why is it now, and not earlier, b) none of the other fish show any signs of illness, c) the thermometer I used tends to run a few degrees higher than other thermometers I have tried and d) silver dollars are more tolerant of warm water than some of my other fish.
<More b than anything else>
2. I mentioned this all the way back last year, but when I got this tank a decade ago, the sellers (not informing me beforehand) handed it to me with a mix of Malawi Mbuna and other incompatible fish along with the silver dollars. I gave away the Mbuna long ago, and only three of the silver dollars from the original set up survived, but they sustained some damage during that time. The one that just died has been missing opercula for a long time--they got BITTEN OFF by the Mbuna.
<Perhaps the ill-effects of accumulated stress?>
I suppose the injury could have at last killed him, but it seems strange that it took so long. This was a decade ago, I remind you.
3. Looking up the lifespan of a silver dollar it is 10-15 years. When I first got him 10 years ago, he was already quite large, so he was probably even older than that. Could it be he just couldn't take it much longer?
Thank you,
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Re: Unexpected Demise of a Silver Dollar     6/24/15

Edit: He's still alive, but he is still hiding away in the back with his face buried in plants, otherwise not moving. I'm not sure what I can do here.
<Hope. BobF> 
Re: Unexpected Demise of a Silver Dollar       6/25/15

He is still alive today, but it seems during the night the other fish took advantage of his inability to swim and started nibbling on his fins. Should I transfer him to my hospital/quarantine tank or just euthanize him?
<I would do the former... moving at least of the water from the present tank>
If the latter, how?
I think I know what caused this. I still get that monthly service I mentioned last year, but lately the guy they've been sending me isn't that good. Last week he trapped a silver dollar, and it took him a while to get it out. It is possible he gave it some sort of concussion in the process.
Something similar happened many years ago with another unskilled service person, though in this case he buried a fish in the gravel and violently yanked it out. The fish seemed okay for a week, but then got very sick all of a sudden and died. When I examined its body I found its gills had been shredded internally.
I thought about dropping the service at the time but then they hired a new guy who was good.
Now they send me bad people again.
<Call them. You are the customer>

I need to drop this service.
I don't know if you have anything of those "all you do is feed the fish" services in the U.K. But they lie about that.
<Am going to ask Neale Monks (who lives there) for input. Bob Fenner>
Re: Unexpected Demise of a Silver Dollar       6/25/15

Oh, no I don't live in the U.K. I just thought both you and Neale Monks did.
<Oh; am mostly in S. Cal.>
Sorry. That was just a rhetorical question. I just wanted to have you be informed about these services and their misleading marketing. The one I have (Aquarium Environments) says "All You Do Is Feed the Fish." I got them thinking this was true...but I was very very wrong...
<At least you realize this now. B>
Re: Unexpected Demise of a Silver Dollar     6/26/15

So I put the silver dollar in the 12 gallon tank. Because it had been sitting in the garage for a while, even though I cleaned out the dust inside I still felt it would be a good idea to use carbon in the filter for now to help remove any chemicals. I am using zeolite. I set the temperature to 79 degrees Fahrenheit ...
I was wrong about him being unable to move: he can swim but he twitches uncontrollably and cannot maintain an orientation. His fins are somewhat ragged from the other fish nibbling them but I cannot tell if it is infected. I could send you a picture but I shaded the aquarium with a dark background to calm him down...the main aquarium has a dark background and
substrate so I wanted the quarantine tank to not be too much of a change.
I am not sure what to do at this point. Anything I could treat won't fix the ultimate issue.
I guess I am just really sad because he went through a lot a decade ago and it seems like an ignominious end for him. He looks straight at me...it's heartbreaking.
<I am not hopeful. 10 years is a reasonable age for a Silver Dollar, and while they can live longer, that does depend on ideal conditions. If this fish has been stressed or damaged, it might lack the energy to recover. That said, a quiet, dark aquarium with lots of oxygen but moderate water current could work out for him. 12 gallons isn't ideal though for a large specimen, even for a few days. Do keep tight control on water quality -- no fish will improve if nitrite and ammonia aren't zero. Do check temperature is correct using a thermometer (don't trust the dial on the heater -- these
are hopelessly inaccurate). Silver Dollars don't appreciate low temperatures, they're hothouse flowers really, so 25 C/77 F is about right, possibly a degree or two higher but do recall warmer water holds less oxygen, and low oxygen levels are lethal to Silver Dollars. Good luck,
Re: Unexpected Demise of a Silver Dollar     6/26/15

I am using a thermometer. The temperature is between 78-82 degrees, centered on 80. Should I make it a tad lower?
<Unlikely this is an issue; your temperature range sounds fine.>
Should I add air stones to the tank?
<Yes, I would do so.>
Their power sources make a lot of noise so I am reluctant to do it (they tend to drive my parents nuts).
<Understood. Then at least make sure filtration is brisk with some ruffling of the surface of the water. Whether done with filtration or a column of air bubbles, the key aim is to keep the bottom level of water being pulled up to the top where it can absorb oxygen better.>
Already the water current is quite high. If anything he seems to prefer sheltering from it behind the plastic plant I put inside. He can't really swim, so I think a higher current is a bad idea.
<Makes sense.>
I know 12 gallons is not ideal but I am hoping to be able to keep ammonia zero using zeolite and water changes.
Pretty much the sole space in my parents house for an aquarium is taken up by the main tank...so I don't think I can go much larger than 12 gallons.
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Unexpected Demise of a Silver Dollar; trauma      6/26/15

Edit: The silver dollar rose up and swam haphazardly for a bit, and I realized his head has been bent to the right side (as in it is misaligned with his body!). I think my suspicion that it was a concussion is correct...he must have sustained spinal damage. I am very mad now. I definitely will have to complain to the service.
<Sounds like a plan. Do stress to them that your tank has some skittish fish that won't appreciate a "wham, bam, thank you ma'am" approach to tank care. If you look at the sorts of tanks professionals set up in hotels, shops and so on, these are usually phlegmatic species (damsels, tangs, Mbuna, goldfish) that don't need molly-coddling provided filtration and water changes are sufficient. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Unexpected Demise of a Silver Dollar     6/27/15
Whoops. Was getting so emotional I forgot the picture. (I call him Short gill because he is missing part of his opercula from when the service gave me him with cichlids ten years ago, and they ripped part of his opercula off. Those guys were vicious---they managed to tear a Pleco into
three pieces...)
<Hmm... is a wonder they're still in business/licensed to work with
animals. Cheers, Neale.>


Re: Unexpected Demise of a Silver Dollar     6/27/15
Dear Wet Web Media Crew,
So the silver dollar in the 12 gallon tank is still about the same as yesterday. The water current is as how Neale Monks described it should be, so I think it is high enough. Ammonia is zero. Temperature is the same. I was wondering how I should determine how often to change the zeolite. The instructions on the box claim every 2 weeks, but I feel it might be more
frequent than that.
<Agreed. Depends entirely on how much zeolite you use. A large quantity will take longer to be "used up" than a small handful.>
I could just wait to see how long it takes ammonia to reach non-zero levels, but I hate that idea because I am basically letting the fish get damaged.
<Quite so. Test daily, and once ammonia is detected, that's a good time to change; if it took 7 days to get there, then change/recharge the zeolite every 6 days.>
Do you have any recommendations? I plan to recharge it with salt water, but I still want to know how often to switch batches out.
I attached a picture (adjusted for the dimness of the tank---it is nowhere near that bright inside), because he has a dark ragged edge to his tail fin that may be fin rot infecting where the loaches nibbled on his fins at night. I'm not sure if I should medicate him though given the severity of his other problems. (This picture is from when he saw me and tried to swim to meet me...he breaks my heart.)
So...I promise that once I go off to grad school you can be free of all my crazy debacles. Allow me to explain: as Neale Monks described, my 105 gallon was a tank set up and serviced by a group of these "professionals" that set up tanks in hospitals and malls. My family and I thought this was a great idea, because I liked fish, but we had trouble caring for them
ourselves, and the company (Aquarium Environments Inc) claimed that they would do all the necessary maintenance for us.
<That would seem to be the idea of these companies. On the other hand, if you know a trustworthy teenager or college student who has kept fish themselves, often such people appreciate the job more, and do a better job for less money. Certainly while I was at university servicing fish tanks was a useful extra source of cash.>
However, it turned out to be completely misleading---they set it up with incompatible fish that killed each other, and then when I replaced them less aggressive fish, they kept getting sick and dying. It wasn't until I had had enough!-and visited your site-that I realized the services they provided were simply not enough, and I had to take a stand and maintain the tank when they weren't.
I was starting to get down to the bottom of these issues this year, and my fish were now very healthy. The Geophagus had an incident for a while, but I've been able to clear that up as well---his lateral line erosion is being recovered with iridescent blue scales! So I was very disappointed when this silver dollar all of a sudden developed CNS issues.
<May simply be old age, in part or in toto.>
I definitely agree with Neale that silver dollars are more skittish than other fish. One of my other older dollars actually has a crooked tail from when he was startled by something and slammed hard into the glass---I heard the bones snap. He healed and is otherwise healthy, but his tail is offset a little.
<Oh dear.>
I must confess that perhaps the service people are inexperienced with skittish fish as what Neale said about their usual fish choices is correct.
I have been repeatedly told by them that my fish tank is weird--most people they service have Malawi cichlid tanks, and a few have small fish communities, but nothing like the weird collection of semi-aggressive things I have. And the store that they manage focuses primarily on cichlids, tangs, and damselfish. I have had a hard time getting less aggressive species from them, but the only other stores in my area are big chain stores that typically have terribly unhealthy fish. These guys take
good care of their fish for the most part...they just botch it when it comes to mine, it seems.
<A not uncommon scenario. There's a similar retailer in London that combines tropical fish sales with servicing fish tanks in hotels and suchlike. It's a good store, with decent prices and good quality livestock.
But the expertise of some of their staff is a bit biased in the sort of direction you mention. At the end of the day you pays your money and you takes your choice. If maintaining a tank is difficult for you, and you need it serviced, the choosing livestock they can work around quickly and without risk is probably the way forward. Angels, suitable tetras and
Corydoras/Brochis would work out fine for an Amazonian theme tank.>
I had been hoping to ask for advice from you as to what to finalize as far as this community setup is concerned before I leave, but unfortunately this happened. Maybe I will start one final thread about this subject.
Thank you for everything despite my problems. You have been a real eye-opener for me, and I have the utmost respect for what you guys do. It disgusts me to see how awful fish are treated, more so than any other pet, and yet I feel up until recently I was part of the problem, and didn't realize it.
<If you think there are problems in the fishkeeping side of pet ownership, check out reptiles, especially turtles. Even less information out there, and the demands they place on their owners make fishkeeping look easy!>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Unexpected Demise of a Silver Dollar     6/27/15

You didn't quite answer my question about the silver dollar's fin condition. Does it look like I should give him some antibiotics?
<Hmm... didn't download the picture. Distracted by the comment about your service company. Have now done so. Looks more like a young Pacu to be honest! Really big eyes for a Silver Dollar. Anyway: handsome fish.>
He was apparently swimming around normally this morning,(a good sign?) but he isn't able to keep doing it for long.
<Time, proper diet, quiet/calm environment will help.>
Should I give him anything to eat? He hasn't eaten in several days. I could give him low nitrogen foods like vegetables. He loves all kinds.
<Cool. Would go for it. A small amount of peas or whatever will be worthwhile.>
I am kind of reluctant to get rid of the other silver dollars and replace them with small tetras as they are also a decade old and otherwise healthy.
<Quite so. Merely commenting on ideas for the future.>
The thing is it is one guy at the service who is constantly trapping the silver dollars. The other people currently working there aren't this bad but this particular employee keeps getting sent to me. I know the manager personally; perhaps I could bring this up with him.
<Uh, yes. "Look Mr. Manager guy, send anyone but Bob - he's damaged/killed a number of fish through his approach to handling my livestock. The other guys are great. Send one of them". Job done! Neale.>

Re: Unexpected Demise of a Silver Dollar       6/28/15
Thanks for the compliments! I have had other people comment on how my silver dollars look more like Pacu or piranha than other silver dollars
they've seen.
<I wonder what they are?>
That's honestly why I like them because they put on the appearance of being fierce while actually being mostly docile and cute.
<To stress to other readers: Silver Dollars, Pacu and Piranhas belong to the same family, and all eat the same things -- just in different proportions! Silver Dollars can and do eat bite-sized fish, Pacu can take down an Oscar, and Piranhas eat fruits and seeds infinitely more often than they skeletonise cows, despite what Hollywood tells you!>
(This is also why I like the eel-like weather loaches, the Geophagus...and my black Chihuahua, who resembles a hyena but is very sweet)
Should I send you a picture with a more detailed look of his tail fin?
<By all means.>
I still am wondering whether I should treat him for fin rot. It's injured, but I cannot really tell if the black fin edging is infection or normal.
<Normal. Many of the Serrasalmidae have this feature. Look at photos of Metynnis lippincottianus for example.>
Also, even though I can keep ammonia low with zeolite, I need to remove other metabolites with water changes, but I can't test for those (in the main tank I can track nitrate, but that isn't an option here). How often should I do the changes?
<I'd be taking 10-20% out daily. Quick and easy to do, and should pre-empt any problems. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Unexpected Demise of a Silver Dollar        6/30/15
So over the weekend severe weather struck Houston (where my parents' house is.) There was nonstop lightning, and one bolt struck close to home. The resulting flash and boom startled my injured silver dollar, causing him to bolt...straight into the wall of the tank. There was a loud thump...
Needless to say his condition has deteriorated markedly. I think that accident set me back a lot.
<Sounds like it. Try putting a heavy blanket over the tank to deaden the noise/keep out flashing light.>
The silver dollars in the main tank were okay because they are in a school, but this guy is alone, making him very upset. I know it is a stretch to call a fish "depressed" but that is what he looks like. He reminds me of this Mbu puffer who is the mascot of the fish store that helps service the tank, that was very playful until they had to move him to a smaller, emptier tank for renovation purposes, at which point he just sat on the bottom and sulked, even though he had room to swim.
<Quite so. Depression is a clinical thing that fish probably don't experience. But they can certainly be unsettled in their environment, listless through lack of stimulation, disinterested in food because something is stressing them... any of which can manifest itself as an unhappy fish.>
As for the silver dollar, I waved his favorite foods (peas and seaweed) in front of his mouth with tongs, and he refuses to eat. He can swim, but he refuses to do that either. As I type this more lightning is striking. I fear he will snap his neck to pieces if that happens again. I guess I am just wondering whether I need to euthanize him because he is miserable and
I don't know if he will ever recover...
<As/when required, do read elsewhere on WWM; in brief, 20-30 drops of clove oil in/per 1 litre of aquarium water does the job painlessly and quickly.
Fish unconscious within a couple of minutes, and clinical death is 10 minutes after last gill movement (half an hour from start to finish usually does the trick).>
Sorry to say,
I totally relate to what Neale Monks said about Pacu. I used to have a red bellied one named Samke (Arabic for fish). She was very sweet and adorable, but she had a very strong bite and would use it even on things she couldn't eat. I had to give her to someone else when she crushed a loach's skull in.
<Yikes! But your point is well made. Despite being described as herbivores by many, they're omnivores, and while less overtly predatory than piranhas, perfectly capable of killing smaller fish should the opportunity arise.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Unexpected Demise of a Silver Dollar        6/30/15

Yeah... I am a big fan of the less predatory Serrassalmids as fish for large tanks because of their comical antics, large eyes, relative docility to fish of a similar size and willingness to eat anything...but there is definitely an emphasis on the anything. They also will try to eat inedible things (plastic, wood, etc) but they generally learn after a few bites it isn't food. They also will catch themselves in nets if there is food inside, which makes it easy to move them.
I guess they're kind of adorably stupid that way.
<Quite so. Someone once called Pacu "aquatic sheep" because they're large, constantly grazing herbivores; but I think "aquatic goats" is probably closer to the mark.>
Just wanted to share this...not sure where I was going with it. Are there any forums on Wet Web Media where we can share little experiences like this?
<Not as such. There are numerous forums out there. Many magazines have one (for example Practical Fishkeeping has quite a good one) as well as independent forums (the last one I was active on was aquaticquotient.com, but I used to like fishforums.net).>
Maybe that most animals people think are herbivores or carnivores often don't fit into neat categories? (This isn't just a fish thing. You should see all the people trying to tell me am making my dog sick by not feeding her a raw meat and bone diet...silly humans)
<Given humans in the Western World cause more health problems for themselves via inappropriate diet than any other cause, you're quite right, our species probably shouldn't be preaching too strongly what other species should be eating! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Unexpected Demise of a Silver Dollar       7/1/15
Dear Wet Web Media Crew,
So yesterday evening ammonia in the silver dollar's quarantine tank was 0.25 ppm, so I changed the zeolite and 20% of the aquarium water and added Seachem Prime. Ammonia tonight is zero again.
I must confess I didn't test for ammonia or do water changes this weekend because of the severe weather (kind of reluctant to stick my hand in electrically powered aquariums when lightning is striking nearby...) so I don't know for sure how long the new zeolite batch will last when I do daily water changes. I'll continue testing daily to make sure. I couldn't find any information on your website about the specific concentration of saltwater for soaking zeolite into in order to recharge it. I am using about 1/4-1/3 of a cup of the stuff per batch, and was planning to soak it for a day in a 2 gallon bucket. Is there a way to tell if it is done recharging? (i.e. testing for ammonia that has been released back in the bucket of water I'm soaking it in?)
<None that I'm aware of; read the instructions on the packaging/consult
with the manufacturer.>
I have still a lot of zeolite left but I'm kind of reluctant to toss it just after a single use, y'know?
(I definitely am grateful that people discovered how to grow nitrifying bacteria...can you imagine how much harder fishkeeping would be if we didn't have biofilters????...I can't imagine having to do this zeolite stuff for the main tank!)
<Quite so. I don't use it.>
Also I tried feeding him again (sinking algae pellets this time) but he still won't eat. Should I try frozen food?
Thank you,
<Possibly, but remove if not eaten within a few minutes, otherwise uneaten frozen food will negatively affect water quality. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Unexpected Demise of a Silver Dollar       7/14/15
Dear Wet Web Media Crew,
The silver dollar is basically the same still. But I have a problem: I literally cannot get him to eat anything: flakes, pellets, peas, frozen algae/seafood mix...nothing!
I tried even putting the food directly in his mouth with tongs, and he spit it right back out.
<Likely so. Force feeding fish is tricky, and really is the last resort. As a general rule: if fish are healthy, they'll feed on any appropriate foods; if they refuse such food, it means they're either sick or in a stressful environment. Review, and act accordingly.>
My silver dollars have always been eager to eat anything (plants, fish, crustaceans, dry and freeze-dried food...inedible things even!) so something is very very wrong.
I am not sure what to do here.
<Time; reflection; is the tank of appropriate size and water quality/chemistry? Is there sufficient water movement and oxygenation?>
He's taken to swimming in place vertically in the water and banging against the sides of the tank. He clearly is not liking the quarantine tank but I have no clue what to do. I cannot put him back with his school in the main tank because he isn't able to swim properly.
<Do try returning him, but with a tank divider of some sort; plastic egg crate is cheap and works well.>

Thank you,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Unexpected Demise of a Silver Dollar       7/14/15

Update: While changing the water today I was able to observe him more closely, and he actually has improved markedly. He is now hovering level in the water and swimming around, and the bite wounds on his tail are healing up.
<Nice to hear.>
I have to wonder how long it will take him to heal well enough to go back in the main tank. I will try to feed him again. I think maybe now he will be willing to eat.
<Worth a shot; but at the same time, excess food in a small hospital tank can result in non-zero ammonia/nitrite levels.>
One issue I have been having is my liquid test kit has the colors for 0 and 0.25 ppm ammonia very similar so I am having trouble telling. What should I do in this situation?
<Consider obtaining a second test kit. But as a rule, I don't use ammonia test kits because they're so ambiguous (false positives from neutralised Chloramine for example). I much prefer nitrite test kits. Old school, but generally foolproof and just as useful in terms of detecting "poor" water quality. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Unexpected Demise of a Silver Dollar       7/14/15

But won't a nitrite test kit not show anything? I have been using Zeolite to remove the ammonia, so I don't think there will be any bacteria converting ammonia to nitrite.
<Indeed yes, in this situation, wouldn't be helpful. But I never rely on Zeolite, so hasn't come up! More generally: test your tap water. Make sure your non-zero ammonia isn't a false positive for neutralised Chloramine or chlorine. Increase amount of Zeolite (or frequency of its replacement) if you suspect ammonia isn't being completely removed by Zeolite. Or else ignore the ammonia reading discrepancy, use some common sense to minimise ammonia input (amount of food, physical removal of uneaten, etc.) and see what happens. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Unexpected Demise of a Silver Dollar       7/18/15

I did what you said and tested tap water freshly treated with SeaChem Prime. There might be some residual ammonia signal, but it is hard to tell.
<Often is. Generally, I go with what the tank tells me: if the fish are swimming about, engaging in normal behaviour, and disease isn't a problem, I will dismiss very low (trace) ammonia levels as "false positives" -- assuming the result is no higher than what I find if I add water conditioner to a glass of tap water. In other words, if I get the same, very low ammonia reading on a glass of tap water as I get for the aquarium water, it would be safe to assume that the ammonia test kit is merely detecting the residual neutralised ammonia from my tap water source. On the other hand, if the ammonia reading is higher for the tank than it is for the tap water, then there's ammonia added by the livestock, and that would suggest a problem with filtration. Make sense?>
I still am unable to feed the silver dollar but he is continuing to improve so hopefully I will be able to put him back in the main tank soon, where he would be more comfortable.
(Also one of my giant Danios vanished for no apparent reason. I hope it isn't for the same reason the silver dollar got sick all of a sudden...)
<Indeed. Cheers, Neale.>

Silver dollar        2/19/15
Hi, I'm looking for some advice about one of my large silver dollars. It has a sore on its top lip and is hardly moving in the tank, is this bad...?
<Could be>
Is this an infection?
<Not yet>
could advise me on this?
What to do etc?
<Uh huh>
Thanks so much.
Ross from Glasgow.
<Reads like this Dollar likely jumped or swam into something hard... Naught to do right now other than try to keep the system stable and hope for the best. No med.s, no changes. Bob Fenner>
Re: Silver dollar
Thanks for getting back to me.
Changes...? Water??
<Depends on... what your test gear is telling you...>
I am a beginner, I was giving the tank by a friend. There are 24 fish in the tank.
<?! How large a system, what are the other livestock?>

I think the big dollar ate one on my smaller fish too, is this possible??
Thanks again for the advice.
<I/we don't "give advice"... I would be looking for some local help; quick.

Silver dollar has sore on side. No data, rdg.      12/10/14
<Seven megs of pix files; you're an order of magnitude over our limit>
I noticed today that one of our silver dollars has a sore on his side.
<I see this... highly likely an infected wound>

I do not know if the other fish in the tank are bothering him or if it is a disease.
<As stated, high potential it's both>
Our 55 gallon tank is about 14 months old with all adult fish. There are 2 tinfoil barbs, 2 tiger barbs, 3 red lines, 3 green Severums, 2 pink gouramis, 6 silver dollars, 3 catfish and a Pleco.
<Need more room than this>
Please see attached photos below of the sick fish.
<What re the system filtration, water quality tests, maintenance regimen? I'd isolate the one fish, monitor water, possibly add an antibiotic. Go back to where you found how to write us and see how to use WWM; the search tool, indices... Maybe start with our coverage on Silver Dollars: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/Silver$HlthF.htm
and the linked files above.
Write back after reading with data. Bob Fenner>


Silver dollar swimming upside down and erratically     9/1/14
Hi all,
<Hello Emily,>
Six weeks ago I was given a freshwater tank with one surviving fish left, which it have identified as a Silver Dollar. The previous owner has had it for about seven years (she thinks...) It has been fine, and now has sword tails, red caps, goldfish and a recently added catfish. I noticed that it was quite jumpy with loud noises, and yesterday I dropped the lid and it went nuts.
<Oh dear.>
Just got back from work and it had wedged itself under a plastic plant (difficult to get freshwater plants in Tanzania)
<Hmm... you can't go get some plants out of a local pond? Tanzania would be ideal for that!>
so I got it out and it started swimming in crazy circle loop the loops and is now upside down in the plant, wiggling slowly.
<Not good.>
I have never seen it eat, and the only difference I can see today is it is quite red at the base of the dorsal fin. Seems to breathing ok, not gasping.
<I see.>
The tank is about 120 litres, which I have been removing half each week and replacing with fresh water, and moving the plants around to keep it interesting.
<One issue might be the size of the tank. 120 litres is about half what I'd expect/recommend for Silver Dollars. But that aside, since this fish is maybe seven years old (about late middle aged, in Silver Dollar terms, which should get to a dozen or so years) then maybe this isn't the immediate problem. I'd be reviewing water quality first, as well as aeration/oxygenation (often a problem during unusually hot weather but also if the filter flow rate has dropped). I'd also think about expose to copper and other toxins. How do you treat tap water before use? Adding a dechlorinator is important, but try and use one that neutralises copper and ammonia as well. I have no idea what options are available to you. Even here in the UK the brands we use here aren't ones Americans use, and vice versa. If you aren't 100% sure the dechlorinator deals with copper and ammonia, then do two things. Firstly, let the water stand before use, 24 hours is good. Secondly, do smallish water changes at any one time, 10-15%, and obviously counter this to a degree by minimising stocking and avoiding overfeeding. Finally, do review "extrinsic" sources of stress, such as airborne toxins (paints for example) or naughty children (overfeeding,
dropping things into tanks, etc.).>
There were snails, but the goldfish ate those in about a day and a half....!
Any advise will be gratefully received!
All the best,
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Silver dollar swimming upside down and erratically     9/1/14

Hi Neale,
Thanks for your reply. The water here is from a borehole and not treated with anything, and "Survivor" has lived in this for his whole life.
<I see.>
I have asked a Neighbour with a pond if I can do a raid this afternoon, so that may help.
<Approach with care though. If the pond has fish in it, it potentially has parasites that can infect your fish (a fish-free pond should be safe in this regard). Also, ponds can play host to things we don't want in aquaria, such as snails and even potential predators like dragonfly larvae. You can dip plants in a weak (dark pink; 10-20 mg/l) potassium permanganate solution for 20 minutes to kill snails and other pests. Alternatively, just look them over carefully, removing any critters you're dubious about (midge larvae etc will be fish food, so don't worry too much about them).>
He is still going this morning, although I did put him in quarantine, and to stop the other fish from beating him up. I will see if I can find a
testing kit for the water though as it can change and become slightly brackish on occasion. If not will try and grab one next time I come to the UK.
Great web site too and thanks again for helping out.
All this best,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Silver dollar swimming upside down and erratically     9/1/14

Thanks so much! I will put the plants in a separate tank and watch for a while before putting them in and do the pink treatment!! Will do some research on Dragon Fly larvae as I'm not sure I could pick one out in a line up with mozzie larvae.
<Dramatically bigger, much more scary-looking... inch or more in length, equipped with huge jaws, big eyes... supposedly inspired the "Alien" of that film.>
All part of the learning curve!
All the best,
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: Silver dollar swimming upside down and erratically      9/3/14

So, Survivor didn't survive...
<Oh dear.>
Went to the pond, and the plants were all leaves out the water and roots in, so not really ideal!
<Ah, you learned something today. The underwater gardens aquarists like to create almost never exist in the wild! What we usually do is force an amphibious plant (one with roots in the water but leaves in the air) to stay small and under the waterline. Hygrophila, Cryptocoryne and Amazon Swords are all such plants. Very few plants we grow are truly aquatic in the sense of staying underwater or they die. Vallisneria and the various "Elodea" type plants are the only ones that spring to mind.>
Onto plan B, which is a lake up the mountain on a trout stream that may have something more appropriate...
Will definitely watch out for scary Alien larvae!!! Thanks for the heads up.
<Welcome. Neale.>
Re: Silver dollar swimming upside down and erratically    9/7/14

Hi Neale,
You were right, it is a joselimaianus.
Thanks for the link, the site is amazing.
<Is indeed.>
Also found a lady in town who grows aquaria plants, and well have some in a couple of weeks.
<Cool. Do bear in mind Pterygoplichthys species are fairly destructive around plants. Don't eat them, but will uproot them, so choose robust varieties like Giant Vallis, Java Fern and Amazon Swords if you can.>
Thank you again for all your help.
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Silver Dollar; injury        7/2/14
Help, I have a large SD who I recently noticed has a bulging eye & what looks like fungus (white matter) that appears to be eroding his nose.
<A, as in one, not both... Likely a physical trauma... an injury from?
Swimming into something, or another fish>

He's in a well established 60 gal community tank
<Mmm; silver dollar species aren't really community fishes... live in schools; need much larger quarters>
 and no other fish appear to be affected. He's fat & otherwise healthy but seems to have stopped eating.
Is there anything I can do to try & save him??
<Optimized conditions and nutrition; time going by; patience on your side>

Thank you,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Silver Dollar      7/3/14

Thank you for giving me hope .b
<Glad to share... SDs are schooling, social species... that live better in larger systems. I encourage you to read what we have on WWM re: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/silver$f.htm
the linked files above. BobF>
Re: Silver Dollar     7/4/14

I will ..thank you very much!
<Ah welcome>

Silver Dollar skin disease     1/4/13
I have a 33 gallon freshwater tank. I have had two Silver Dollars for about 4 weeks. They have both been fine, however both suddenly, almost overnight, developed a white coating over the body. Water temp= 76 degrees, 20% water change about 2 weeks ago, no other fish [tetras, platys, angels] affected or infected. They are both eating well and acting normally at present.
Any ideas, help greatly appreciated.
Thank you , in advance,
PS Sorry about the poor quality of the photo.
<Yikes! Let's assume that this isn't simply silt caught in their mucous, though even that would presuppose a high quantity of mucous on their flanks, and that indicates some sort of skin irritation, whether a chemical toxin or a external parasite. When multiple fish develop this sort of thing very quickly, then there's something amiss with the environment. It's like if one person in a room faints, you think they might be unwell; but if two or three people faint, then there's something in the air. Do a nitrite (with an "i", rather than nitrate with an "a") test, at minimum. Ideally, do an ammonia test and a nitrate test as well, but these are less informative for a variety of reasons. Anyway, act quickly, and in the very short term, change 25% of the water now, and 25% in another 6-8 hours. Try to keep water temperature and water chemistry the same. 20% water changes every two weeks are pretty low, especially for a small tank, and your tank will soon be too small for Silver Dollars (which, above 8 cm/3 inches will need 55 gallons, minimum). Silver Dollars are hardy fish, but they do demand space, good water quality, lots of oxygen, and a greens-based diet.
Hope this helps, Neale.>


Sick Silver Dollar -- 10/22/11
Howdy from Dallas, again.
<Howdy from San Diego>
My favorite silver dollar is ill and I cannot figure it out. Neither can the expert I respect at our LFS.
First the specifics of the tank:
30 gal.
<Mmm, too small... all Silver Dollar species are schooling, need to be kept in groups to be happy, healthy... in larger spaces>
Oceanic filter on the back
<These systems are generally bunk... not able to be maintained>
77 degrees
Nitrate: about 50 (where it has been for months)
<... toxic. Should be kept under 20 ppm>
Nitrite: has spiked from 0 to about 5, first spike since set up

General Hardness: 280 (just a tad harder than usual)
Alkalinity: a little over 100
pH: 6.8
Tank issues:
Obviously the Nitrite concerns me. I don't know the sudden cause. It was find last Saturday.
<...? The filter...>
I do have one other tank issue: very green water!
<... also>
Visibility is so poor I cannot see from the nose of a silver dollar to its tail. I have placed a polisher in the filter in the hopes of improving visibility enough to see what is going on. I'm resigned to a long-term solution -- nutrients will be consumed eventually and the single cell algae will die off. Could that be the cause of the high nitrite???
<What be the cause? The algae?>
Unlikely maybe, but I'm reaching.
At the recommendation of my LFS, I put both salt (1-1/2 teaspoon per gallon) and Melafix

(1-1/2 cap full) in the tank. Melafix is not my preferred choice, but I am in the middle of moving and living on a fixed income, so my resources are unusually low. Also, we cannot identify the problem and, therefore, don't know what else to do. I have Maroxy on hand and half a packet of Maracyn.
Other tank mates:
4 Black skirt tetras
3 or 4 Van Rio Tetras (cannot see in tank well enough to count confidently)
3 Adult Silver Dollars
3 Albino Corys
1 Adult, fairly small angel
Background on ill silver dollar:
This adult male was given to me in late winter with the other silver dollars. At that time, it suffered from various infections where, three years
ago, its tail had been eaten off by the other male and never treated.
After several months, it has mostly recovered and grown about 3/4 of its tail back so far. It is my favorite fish because it has been so determined and overcome so much. Now it is ill.
No visible marks or discolorations except for a few tail bites by the other male when the ill fish started acting oddly. I have isolated it. For the past three days it has been very weak, unable to resist the current from the bubble stone and drifting back by it. When it tries to swim, it "flutters" instead and appears not to have control over where it goes. It has not eaten in three days. It mainly lays on the bottom and occasionally flutters a short distance over the bottom. When it tries to swim, it breathes fast, but not when it is still.
Any ideas? What do I do about the nitrite spike that will not harm the ill fish? Shouldn't the algae be helping with that?
<The issues are obvious and I've highlighted them; see WWM re all the above. Bob Fenner>
Nancy in Dallas

Who "nose"? (I love puns), Silver Dollar hlth.   6/28/09
Good evening!
I came across your website and I am very pleased with what I have found!
This site is VERY informative with great tips for keeping/breeding fish! I made an attempt at the flow-chart for diagnosing a diseased fish and that is where I hit a road block.
We have a silver dollar fish who eats normally, acts normally, gets along well with the other fish, but it looks like his nose is growing outward. I thought it was a parasite, but to me it just seemed very odd for a parasite to live in a fish for 2+ years that only affects its "nose". From the side, it looks like he (or she) has a really bad over-bite.
Do you have any suggestions as to what this is, how it got there, and how I can treat it? It doesn't seem to bother the fish, I just feel bad because he's like Pinocchio while the other silver dollar fish is just fine.
Thank you so much!
<Cathy, without a photo, it's impossible to be sure what's going on here.
Yes, it may simply be a genetic abnormality, one jaw being bigger than the other. This would certainly be consistent with a fish having these symptoms but otherwise living a long and happy life. Columnaris infections
(sometimes called, misleading, Mouth Fungus, despite being caused by bacteria) can also produce lumps and lesions around the mouth, hence the common name. These usually look like grey to off-white masses of mould, so should be fairly obvious, and they're generally fatal within a period of a few weeks, tops. So while Columnaris might be an explanation if this suddenly came out of nowhere, if your fish has been like this for years, Columnaris probably isn't to blame. Fish Pox (which looks like candle wax) and Lymphocystis (coffee-coloured textured lumps) are two outside options, but neither are common among characins. Cheers, Neale.>

Silver Dollar Getting Pretty Old  - 09/13/06 Have you ever heard of a silver dollar fish living as long as 40 years?? < That's an old fish.> I have one and has Popeye only in one eye.   I have had this since 1976 and was given to me by someone that claimed to have had this fish for 10 years before me. What is the lifespan of a silver dollar it must be more than 7 years?? < Sounds like you have the record.> I must hold the Guinness book of records with this fish. The fish developed Popeye over a month ago.  I have tried fungus medicine and tetracycline but neither seems to help?   Haven't tried the Epsom salts yet. Please advise. < Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter.  Treat with Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace in a hospital tank if you can. If you can't find the medications then try Clout.-Chuck>

Silver Dollar with one cloudy eye    6/6/06 Hello Crew <Jasmine> One of my Silver Dollars (I have 5 in total) has one cloudy eye. Water seems to be fine (ammonia=0, nitrite=0, nitrate=10ppm). Being on one eye only, what could be the cause? Is it bacterial or a result of an injury? Thanks Jasmine <Most likely originally the latter, possibly secondarily the former... If this is just "new" I would hold off on actual "treatment"... In all likelihood it will cure of its own accord. Bob Fenner>

Silver Dollar dis.?   10/4/06 I have read several of your pages on fish diseases and still have some questions. <Me too> I have a 25 gallon tank which I recently had to drain due to a leak in the top.  I moved all of my fish temporarily into a smaller tank.  I used water drained from my 25 gallon and one of the same filters hoping not to stress anyone too majorly. <Good> I have a 6yr old Silver Dollar about 4inches and 2 smaller ones.  I have 4 Black Skirt Tetra, 3 Rasboras, 2 algae eaters and 2 Longfin zebra Danios.  Everyone seemed fine except the Silver Dollar who seemed to develop a lump on his side which now resembles a small air bubble. <Likely resultant from a physical injury in the move> His tail fin and upper fin then appeared to be torn badly. <Ditto>   I treated the tank with Maracyn and Maracide, as well as Stress coat.  The fins seemed to repair themselves a bit and the swelling on his side went down a little. <Takes time> Then I noticed a small white spot on his upper fin and have started treating the tank again.  This time with Maracyn TC.  I have done frequent water changes.  My ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels are fine.   <Thus far... do monitor ammonia... the Tetracycline can/will kill off your nitrifiers> This fish eats as well as it ever did.  I would hate to lose him if there is something I can do to save him  Any help you can give is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Sandy <Mmm, the best thing would be to repair (Silastic) the larger tank, move all back there, and wait and see. Should self-repair with good water quality, time going by. Bob Fenner> Re: Silver Dollar   10/5/06 Thanks so much for the response.   I did forget to mention everyone is back at home in the larger tank.  No more leaks..... Now hopefully I can let nature do it's thing, and not over react at ever little spot.....for my fishes sake. Thanks again +) <Ah, yes. Welcome. BobF>

Bacterial Hemorrhagic Septicemia / fin and tail rot  6/30/07 Hello, <Hi there> I have a 16 year old Silver Dollar that has the following conditions. Left pectoral fin is gone; the flap is there and flaps like crazy, but there is no fin attached. <Mmmm, might grow back if not too far gone...> Both pelvic fins are completely gone. The caudal fin is badly frayed (3 weeks ago was almost completely gone) and is strangely red at the base close to the fish body. <Something amiss here...> History; up until 6 weeks or so ago, I had the silver dollar in the tank with a Pacu. <Ohhh> The Pacu was huge and out sized the dollar by ten times at least. One day I noticed that the silver dollar was missing most of its caudal fin and what was there was badly frayed. The pelvic fins were gone as well as was the pectoral. I assumed it was fin and tail rot and treated the tank with Mardel Maracyn Two. The caudal fin began to get better for about a week then went to worse again. <... stress, bullying...> I then thought that it was the Pacu. Although the Pacu never picked on the dollar in my presence I thought it was happening when I was not around. I wanted to get rid of the Pacu any way since it was so big and messy to take care of. I found a home for the Pacu at a LFS adoption tank and that left my dollar to her self. The caudal fin healed from almost nothing to about one-half but then quit and will not heal further. The other fins have not changed at all. I am patient and though that in time all would be well again so went out and bought 3 more silver dollars to keep the old one company. Before getting the new dollars the old one ate well, but now the feeding frenzy and competition is causing the old dollar to swim faster to get her share, but with out the control of all her rudders she cannot aim correctly at the food and misses it. <Provide more bulky food items... greenery that the impaired one can eat easily... Like blanched zucchini> Also, she cannot maneuver well enough to keep up with the other dollars who are younger and smaller. This is causing me to revisit medication or some form of treatment before the dollar winds up dying. <... Medication not advised here> My tank is 75 gallon, Ph - 6.8, nitrite - 0, ammonia - 0, Nitrate 20-40, GH 3d, KH <1d, total dissolved solids 300ppm, RO water conditioned with Kent RO right, <I'd use less, let the TDS hover around 100 ppm> Ph buffered with Kent Ph 6 and 7 (phosphates), and the temp is 25.5c. My 1st question is this- I read that the redness near the base of the fins could be Bacterial Hemorrhagic Septicemia. Does it sound like it to you? <This... is a condition... Need to seek out, address root cause/s... the trauma, "dirtiness" from the Colossoma... Takes time to heal...> 2nd, Can the pectoral and pelvic fins come back if I treat the fish correctly, or are they gone for good? <Can regenerate> 3rd, what/how would you recommend treating the condition(s) with and should the treatment be carried out in a separate tank, or is the condition contagious, requiring that the entire tank be treated. Many thanks! Scott S <I would try the change to foods with more bulk, lowering the TDS, soaking the food/s in a vitamin and HUFA mix like Selcon to boost this animal's immune system... Bob Fenner> Re: Bacterial Hemorrhagic Septicemia / fin and tail rot   6/30/07 Hi Bob, Thanks for the quick reply. <Welcome!> I'll take your advice and not medicate. How do I lower the TDS? <Mmm, either start with "cleaner" water or not add to it...> I add chemicals when I do water changes as follows. To 15 gal I add 1.5 tsp Kent RO Right, <Leave most of this out... this should do it> 1 tsp Kent Ph Precise 6.0, 0.5 tsp Ph Precise 7.0, and 15ml Tetra Black Water Extract. That brings my TDS in the new water to 235. Still even then my GH is very low, between 2-3 dH, and the KH is so low I cannot measure it. Would you add different quantities/products? Thanks again, SL <Try cutting back on the RO product... try a level teaspoon of baking soda (Sodium bicarbonate) instead...>
Re: Bacterial Hemorrhagic Septicemia / fin and tail rot, Silver dollar...  6/30/07
Hi Bob, You must have forgotten that I am using RO water, or I doubt that you would recommend that I only add 1 tsp of baking soda to 15 gal of it. <I did not forget anything...> On the label of the RO Right, it recommends 1 tsp per 10 gal for soft water. That is what I am currently adding. Also, on the Ph Precise I am following the label as well. Since my fish has out-lived my dog, I must be doing something right with respect to water chemistry and husbandry. <... what is your point?> My quandary is in treating an old fish which has lost much of its finnage, and over an 8 week period has not shown much improvement despite a great deal of effort. Your suggestion of more bulky food was a good one. The silver dollar seems to really like green beans, and since none of the other dollars pay any attention to them, the wounded one has them to herself and once again has a full belly. Also, I have taken your advice on supplementing vitamins. I have no experience with mixing food, so I am adding freshwater essentials to the water to add vitamins. Hope this works in lieu of. Thanks for your help, SL <Please... just use the indices, search tool. RMF>
Re: Bacterial Hemorrhagic Septicemia / fin and tail rot -- 07/01/07
Bob, <SSL> What is my point you ask? Most of what I do with respect to maintaining my fish tank is based on information gleaned from posts on your web site and from your direct responses to my previous questions over the past 2 years. I.e., RO water instead of tap, frequent water changes, softer water, discontinuing fish-slime additives, etc. <I am in agreement with all of this> Then, in this most recent volley of correspondence you suggest that I go to pure RO water without any additive other than baking soda <Sorry for the lack of clarity... I would try decreasing the RO Right product by half ml.s per time/maintenance interval, and in addition, add the level tsp. of bicarb> which would leave my tank with out any major or minor elements, no GH, and enough alkalinity to bring my Ph back up to 8.0. Why would you suggest this? It makes no sense to me in light of the other comments and suggestion on your site. SL <Do try this in a separate container... and measure the resultant chemistry... a day later. B>

Silver dollars don't look normal Ph 7.6 Ammonia 0 ppm Nitrate 10 ppm or less Temp 77 72 gal bow front aqua clear 300 and two bio wheels The spots on the dorsal fin do not seem normal. There are also larger spots on the skin. These silver dollars approx 4 or 5 inches long. They also appear to be mating. (swimming side by side and fanning their tails rapidly) The attached photo is the same fish full frame if you want to enlarge for a better view. <The parameters you mention may well point to the mis-coloring of the specimens... these fishes prefer acidic water, of no detectable nitrate, and elevated temperatures (the low to mid 80's). Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/serrasalminae1.htm I would address the water quality issues... You should see the "redness" disappear with more suitable environment. Bob Fenner> Mike Williams


Silver dollar problems Hi there, I have a question.  I have a 150 gallon tank with 5 silver dollars in it (among others).  One of the silver dollars is very large (6"-7") and very old (7 yrs?), another is just as large and around 5 yrs old, and the others are around 3" and 1 yr old.  Not too long ago I noticed a bump on the side of the oldest one.  It doesn't seem like a swelling or bloating, but more like a small protrusion outward (about the size of a pencil eraser). It is on the lower rear portion of the fish, possibly near the digestive tract.  It grew and grew until it punctured through the side of the silver dollar leaving a decent sized hole, with hard light brown matter coming out every once and a while (not like fecal matter).  It eventually cleared up with no treatment and he looked fine.<probably an infection of some sort... maybe due to poor water quality/nutrition?? Now, the same thing is happening, only to the 5 yr old silver dollar.<would check water quality ASAP. What do you feed your fish?>  I don't want this to keep happening because it sure doesn't look too healthy.<I agree!> Could this be some sort of bacterial infection of the digestive system, or something else like constipation.<Could be an infection of some sort normally they are caused by diminishing water conditions/ or nutrition deficiency> And how do I treat this if I should.<A picture would help greatly since different people observe things differently>I have been feeding them the same food since day one (Tetra Min tropical)<This food is OK>, and have never had this problem.  Thanks for your help and knowledge.<Please try to send a pic...would help greatly and make sure to give me the readings of pH, nitrate, nitrite and ammonia in your aquarium...IanB> -Ryan-

Silver Dollars with torn fins >Hi Bob/crew >>Greetings, Marina for you today. >I currently have 6 Silver Dollars, a Plec, a Bristlenose, a Synodontis eupterus and 2 Pimelodella Pictus in my 125 gal tropical tank.  All the fish get on fine, are eating well and water parameters are correct. However, over the last few months the Silver Dollars have all developed torn fins to varying extents. All the fins are affected on the fish. >>These fish can tend to abrade the heck out of themselves and each other, though the size tank you have them in should be sufficient to avoid this. >The fins actually have pieces missing so I believe the Silver Dollars themselves are doing the damage (it doesn't look like Fin Rot). I have never seen any aggression however. >>It doesn't have to be via aggression, just skittishness.  Have you any rough rockwork in the tank?  Also, set up an infrared light and spy on them at night, you could find a culprit making trouble at night. >My main concern is to repair/heal the damage ASAP but am unsure how to do this other than to continue to feed a quality diet and ensure high water quality. I am also currently using a product containing Tea Tree Oil. None of these measures seems to be having any effect though. >>I would stop using the Tea tree oil, myself.  Until/unless it's proven to do ANYTHING for the fish it's a waste of good money, in my book.  High quality feed will keep them from succumbing to any stress, and my guess is you're spot on about them doing this to themselves.  I find them to often be like high-strung horses, and often wont to bang themselves about.  If you're using any rough rocks, try removing them.  If you feed no live food, offer them some daphnia and mosquito larvae if you can (just about all other freshwater live foods EXCEPT brine shrimp would be good).  Other than that, I would ensure that a full 2/3 of the tank is planted thickly. >Any advice on this would be much appreciated (the Silver Dollars are currently 3.5" approx and growing fast).   Thank you.  Ian Allen >>You're welcome, I do hope this helps.  Good luck!  (Yes, they'll grow quite quickly in such generous housing!)  Marina

Cloudy Eyed Silver Dollar I have a Silver Dollar and her eyes became white, what does it mean? What can I do? Is there something I can buy? <It could mean any number of things. Are the eyes pure white now, mostly cloudy, or just a little cloudy? Causes could be water conditions, external or internal injury, or disease. If it's from poor water conditions then water changes should help. If it's an injury then Melafix may help, if it's from a disease there are commercial medications that your LFS will carry that should help. Please see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm and the FAQ's related to diseases, injuries, and Silver Dollars for more info.>

Silver Dollars with Popeye Dear WWM Crew (and Mr. Fenner if you're out there) First, Thanks for the help on my first problem which resulted in the deaths of my 10+ year companion silver dollar fish Now I have taken your previous advice and have been aging water and refilling the 55 Gal tank from that. My newest arrivals (5 silver dollars) have been constantly plagued with on problem after another. First - my water here is hard!!, but my previous silver dollar fish lived long - until my water softener changed salt mixes on me which I believe resulted in the "snow storm" that killed off all my fish but the angels. Here's the history: 55 gal tank with hard but clean and regularly changed aged water. 5 Silver dollars, 2 clown Plecos and 3 neon tetras added to tank with 4 gold angels - that had survived the previous 'snow storm'. The silver dollars and neon tetras got Ich shortly after being added to the new tank. Treated with elevated Temp. and salt. No more Ich, but Silver dollars had a white sheen and two of the five silver dollars began bumping along the bottom of the tank and running into things like they were blind. I treated the tank with Pimafix - all the silver dollars recovered. Within a couple of days the silver dollars eyes began to cloud and bulge (pop eye). This has afflicted most or all of the 5 silver dollars. The other fish seem to be unbothered by this affliction, but one neon died and the others were stressed when I added both PimaFix and MelaFix ( I thought I read they could be used together). Pimafix seems to work the best - clearing the eye cloud issue, but the eye bulge continues (several of the silver dollars show the skin area around the eye where it is stretched). This problem seems to go on and on. I read on line that Medi-gold was good for this, but I couldn't find it in my area, so I settled on the next recommended thing (Maracyn-two). While it would be nice to get medicated food, I should state that the Silvers continue to be very active - eating everything in sight - including the pieces of Maracyn-Two tablets that flake off as the tablets dissolve! Do I really need to soak their food in this medication if they are willing to eat it straight? Anyway, I've had these guys since February and they've grown from the size of a US quarter to larger than the top of a soda can. I would hate to lose them now because I'm kind'a getting attached to them. Any suggestions would be appreciated (again). Thanks for all your help. MY previous email (and your response) follows. < South American fish come from soft acidic waters. Many have a difficult time adjusting to the aquarium and to the change in water chemistry. If they don't die outright from the hard water they usually are stressed and are vulnerable to catch all kind of diseases. The later sound like the current problem you are having. Pop-eye is a disease where bacteria build up behind the eye socket. as the bacteria grow and multiply they put pressure on the back of the eye and push it out. I would recommend a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Then I would treat the tank with Metronidazole. It is effective on anaerobic bacteria.-Chuck> 

Silver Dollars, Environmental Disease - 10/12/05 My silver dollar fish have had on-going fungus that I can't get rid of. It eats up their fins and spreads across their body. I have tried all different Meds for this, and have since stopped treating them to keep from poisoning the tank with many different Meds. The various Meds would seem to cure the fungus, but it comes right back when I stop treating them.  <I imagine this is environmental, not pathogenic.... Let's read on about your system....> I have a 55 Gal with 5 fairly large silver dollars, 4 fairly large angels, 2 clown Plecos, and 2 neon tetras with a knack for survival.  <Tooo many big fish for this tank.> My water is very hard and I've been using peat moss to soften it in a storage container. I'm concerned because my nitrate level has climbed quite high (160), <Disturbing, and toxic if not deadly at this level.> hardness was at 115ppm, ph 7.6, ammonia=0 and nitrite=0. The submersible transfer pump from the storage tank is turned off until I'm ready to transfer water to the fish tank, I first run the water for a short time to clear the pump of the standing water in the pump and tubes so as to run only fresh water into the tank. The storage tank is circulated by an external Emperor filter that I put the peat into. The peat I bought at a Lowe's garden department, doesn't list any additives that I thought would add to Nitrate increase. The 55 Gal. fish tank also uses an Emperor filter for general filtration (but no peat added), and an undergravel filter.  <Consider removing the undergravel filtration - often this is a MAJOR contributor to very high nitrate due to accumulated organic material under the filter plate(s).> All the fish seem to be doing ok except for the silver dollars, although I'm guessing they all may be uncomfortable with the high nitrate level.  <Yes, this level is absolutely staggering. Should be maintained below 20ppm. All the fishes will be affected with time and exposure. This must be rectified.> Very high algae growth also.  <Another bad side affect of high nitrate, overstocking....> I guess I'm questioning if my problems are related to my water storage tank, transfer set-up, or softening process, or something else. <As above, I fear the UGF is the culprit. Test your make-up water storage tank; always be sure to aerate and/or circulate your make-up water if you store it for any length of time (hours, even).> Thanks, John Rogers <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Silver Dollars with Fin Damage 8/21/05 I asked for help a while ago with my Silver Dollars looking extremely poorly. Ich causing large sores on their sides, and fin rot, you suggested a Furan based medicine and the continued use of Rid-Ich+. I'm now using Furazone-green (contains: Methylene Blue: 2.5mg, Nitrofurazone (Monofuracin): 122mg, and Furazolidone: 24.4 mg.) and I've doubled the dosage to one capsule twice a day as directed on the package as well as the Rid-Ich+. I've been treating one silver dollar in a ten gallon tank setup with no substrate under my 90 gallon for 10 days now. Figured this was a good location as this is a large, stressful fish and its inside a cabinet. I've noticed the major loss of Ich, and the slowly shrinking sores, but the fins, though no longer discolored, have not seemed to have grown whatsoever. I was wondering what other practices I could take to speed this process, perhaps lowering the ph and adding softer water (distilled percentage)? <After the sores are gone then the disease is practically cured. Now the fish needs to heal. Sometimes the fins get fungused too. These fungused fins to not regenerate. You will need to remove the fish from the water and clip the fins back to past the damaged area. they will then regrow but not as nice as if they were never damaged. Fins diseased back into the caudal peduncle usually do not regenerate.> The ten gallon does have a large filter, in fact its an old, fully cultured penguin 330 Bio-wheel, I shut this down for about 45 minutes every time I add medicine. I'm only changing water when the fish seems to be breathing harder than normal, should I be changing it more often? Any specific help is greatly appreciated. Thanks again!!! < Check the nitrates. The disease causing bacteria continue to thrive when nitrogenous wastes are present.-Chuck>

Silver Dollar Problems 8/21/05 Ok, this makes sense, the silver dollars never had good fins from the day I got them with my used tank purchase, from what I understand they are quite old fish, around 5 years old. But no matter, I'm not too much worried about the way the fins look, as long as the sores close up. How do you suggest restraining the fish out of water? Under a towel, and I imagine this should be done in intervals of just a few seconds. Thanks for replying!!! < If you want to take them out to clip the fins then you take a large soft net and catch them. In a shallow dish you place a clean bath towel that has been soaked in the aquarium water. Catch the fish and place him on the towel and cover him up with only the section you want to work on exposed. Use fingernail clippers to trim the fins back past the damage. Silver dollars have very fine delicate scales that are easily damaged. If the areas get damaged then you might be back to square one.-Chuck>

Silver Dollar Question 8/23/05 One more question please: after the sores are cleared, and their fins are clipped back, do I still have to quarantine them? Or can they go back in the 80 gal? < Put them back into the quarantine tank until the fins start to grow back.-Chuck>

Pop Eye on a Silver Dollar 8/3/05 Hi, I am Janet. I have a 55 gal fresh with 10 white clouds, 4 black tetra, 2 spotted Cory cats, 2 dwarf Gouramis, 1 blue magic dwarf Gourami (the other died in this heyday I have been having) , one goldfish, one black moor, 2 scissortail Rasbora and 2 six or seven year old Silver Dollars that were given to me by a friend when his wife died. They were her babies. Hi Oh Silver came down with Popeye then a god awful case of dropsy. I put in Melafix for the seven day prescribed and Hi Oh didn't really improve much. I changed out 25% of the tank, put in Stress Coat and Stress Zyme and some Methylene Blue. Hi Oh looked bad yet. I went searching on the internet and found your site with salt treatments for these diseases. I didn't have Aquarium Salts but another site said Kosher Salt would do too. So I mixed up the salt (one gal to 4 teasp Kosher salt) popped Hi in and watched him for distress. After 3 min.s (of the 5, unless distressed) I thought he looked like he wanted out. So I put him in the tank. Next morning HE LOST ALL THE POPEYE AND MOST OF THE SWELLING!! I did a test and found my nitrates were 160 so I did another water change out of nearly 50%. Put in Stress Coat and Stress Zyme and Meth blue. My test today shows PH 6.0, Ammonia 0ppm, Nitrite 0ppm and finally, Nitrate 0ppm. It seems Hi Oh is getting Popeye again and I think his pal, Long John Silver is too. Oh, I put in new carbon filters in case of something in the water affected the old new filters I had in. Hi looks great other then that. A very small swelling on his cap (above his eyes/face), looks somewhat silver in most places, eating, swimming all about and with his buddy. My question is should I start over and put the two in a hospital tank and treat with Melafix again or just do salt dips again? How many times can I salt dip a fish and at what frequency.... daily, every other day, ???? Salt seems to best work to bring down swelling. I have been fighting this for 3 weeks now and Hi is still here. He does sit stationary a bit crooked but he swims great. I think he can see yet out of his eyes. So far Long John is puffy in one eye.   This whole mess started with fish from PetSmart and putting their water in my tank. I didn't know not too since I read to do it in a dumb book, only to find out NEVER put water in another tank. I have NEVER tested water before so that is all new to me too but I desperately want to save the boys. Please help me : ( < The high nitrates are stressing your silver dollars. Keeping them down to under 25 ppm will be very beneficial. I have found that salt dose reduce the swelling and some fish do recover enough to be cured from this internal bacterial infection but just don't seem to be cured. I would recommend Metronidazole to treat the infected fish in a hospital tank so it won't affect the good bacteria needed to break down the fish waste.-Chuck>

Silver Dollars Getting Better 8/4/05 Thanks Chuck for the response you gave. I could not figure for the life of me what was causing the problem!! I do have the nitrates (never tested water till all of this happened..... last time I had a fish tank was 1977, didn't test water back then and didn't seem to have any trouble but we would bleed off the tank some every week and change water.) down to 0ppm (Yellow) and Hi Oh and Long John are Popeye free. Hi Oh is over his case of dropsy and is swimming around with Long John and eating food like a vacuum eats dirt. The biggest improvement was always seen after a salt dip and all disappeared after I calmed my nitrates. I REALLY am GRATEFUL that I found your site and read what you said on salt dips and Silver Dollars.  Hi doesn't look quite the same as he did but he is healthy and eating good again. He still is not quite as active as LJ and he is not fully silver anymore but he has had a monstrous 3 weeks and, believe it or not, Long John pesters him till he swims with him. It is the funniest thing I have ever seen a fish do. Thanks again SO MUCH, Janet < Glad things worked out. Thank you for your kind words.-Chuck>

Silver Dollars Looking Poorly 7/16/05 I have four full grown silver dollars that came with my 80 gallon tank when I bought it used. I let the previous dilrod owner  bucket them with the three huge balsa. Well, when I took them out of the bucket, they were beat to hell and back. Ever since they've had body rot, fin rot, lateral line disease, and Ich. I've been dumping medicine in there like crazy (Melafix, PimaFix, and RidIch) as well as keeping the tank as clean as possible. These fish are the only ones with the problem, nobody else in the tank has any disease at all. So I was wondering if this is what they call Neon Tetra disease. or something like that. If so, should I put them down? Or give them away to someone who could rehabilitate them. keeping a fish from getting ill is one thing, but rehabilitating them is another, especially when they are seriously ill. Polara_Blues < Fine scaled characins like silver dollars really get beat up every time they are moved. Use the Rid-Ich to get rid of the Ich as per the directions on the bottle. This is a very good product but needs a little time to work. Once the Ich is gone use a water conditioner that has an additive specifically for wound control. There are many out there. I like Bio-Coat by Marineland. I don't like using the MelaFix and PimaFix to treat diseases because they really seem ineffective and you will need to use antibiotics anyway. If there are signs of bacterial infection like fin rot and open sore on the body then you need to treat. I would recommend using a Furanace type product-Chuck>
Sick Silver Dollars II 7/17/05
Ok, sounds like I was going to wrong way with the medicine. Although I have noticed a considerable drop in fin rot with the MelaFix, it hasn't gone away. < At best this stuff is a bacterial inhibitor.> I'll take your advice seriously. Thanks! <Good Luck.-Chuck>

Parasitized Metynnis - 06/27/07 Hello, Wet Ones! <In England, "Wet Ones" are moist towel things used to wipe babies' bottoms when changing their nappies (diapers). So, not normally something you call someone.> I have a silver dollar, Metynnis argenteus, that I think is parasitized. He was in quarantine (30 gal w/ air stones and Whisper III OTB filter) for 2 months, along with several rainbows, some hatchet fish, and some neon tetras. All appeared well in quarantine. We moved these fish to our 150 gal show tank about 4 weeks ago. After about 3 days we lost one of the hatchet fish to causes unknown. Four days ago we noticed a whitish spot on the side of the silver dollar and a similar one on one of the hatchets. The hatchet passed the next day. The silver dollar is still feeding well and swimming just fine! The white spot is diminished, but this dark spot just showed up. I've included three pictures. What is it!!! <Well, I can't see anything particularly worrying in the photo. Treating the tank with anti-Whitespot would probably be wise though, just in case. Hatchetfish are uncommonly sensitive fish, especially when recently imported. Once settled, they become a bit more robust, but the smaller species (Carnegiella spp.) never really become "hardy". Do bear in mind hatchets seem to need a lot of food to stay healthy, while silver dollars require at least some greens in their diet. Observing these two guidelines should help in the long term.> <Cheers, Neale>


hi. <Hello!> my oldest silver dollar has gone mad! - 6/7/07 <Oh dear.> he swims frantically around our tank & has hurt himself badly <Odd. Usually, this means the fish is unhappy for some reason. Can be water quality, but other factors to consider are: Noises (such as loud TVs or doors banging). Aggressive tankmates. Fin-nippers.> he has taken off his lips & fore head <Not sure what you mean by this. Is he damaged? If so, treat with anti-Finrot/anti-fungus medication to stop things becoming septic.> he does it at least twice a day <Try and establish if there is a routine. Are there children banging around the house when this happens? Characins are very sensitive to vibrations and sound. These are open water fish, and their response to alarm is to swim rapidly away from danger. In the confines of an aquarium, this can cause problems.> what's wrong with him? <No idea. Does he have friends of his own species? Silver dollars are very sociable, and won't really settled down if kept alone. A group of 6 or more is best.> our tank is huge & all checks are fine <Define "huge". At the very least, check there is plenty of swimming space and strong water current.> what do we do? <Not sure. How many silver dollars? What are the tankmates? How big is the aquarium?> thanks Donna <Cheers, Neale>
Re: silver dollar has gone mad! - 6/7/07
We have 3 silver dollars. His original friends died of old age. His new friends are only about 6 months old (had them about 3) but this behavior is new only about 2 weeks that he been acting weird, he took to the new babies straight away & hangs around with them all the time. <Very good.> Our tank is a huge corner one & we have a few female guppies & black & red shark & 2 Plecs. They have all lived happy for ages. The Water is clean, with filter & pump. He is about 7-9 years old & I have noticed him 'jump' before when I turned the Hoover on but in the past 2 weeks he has started dashing around our tank for no reason, he has hurt himself now. <Very odd indeed. He's a fair age though, so you've obviously been looking after him pretty well.> all the skin is missing from his lips & forehead. we are worried now & we don't know whether it is better to put him out of his misery. he's like one of the family though, we've had him years. <If he's otherwise fine, schooling with his pals and eating properly, then I personally wouldn't destroy him. I'd treat the tank with anti-Finrot/anti-fungus so that his skin heals properly. You could also add some Melafix as well. Give things a few weeks to see if he settles down. You might want to remove anything rough and spiky in the aquarium, just to make sure he can't damage himself further. You could also add some cheap floating plants, such as hornwort or Canadian pondweed, to see if the extra shade helps him settle down. A lot of fish enjoy floating plants. If things still don't improve in 3-4 weeks, then maybe then you might need to destroy him.> please help us <Cheers, Neale>

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