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FAQs on Freshwater Fish Parasite Diseases 2

Related Articles: Freshwater Fish Diseases, Freshwater DiseasesFW Disease Troubleshooting, Ich/White Spot Disease, Choose Your Weapon: Freshwater Fish Disease Treatment Options by Neale Monks, Formalin/Formaldehyde, Malachite Green,

Related FAQs: FW Fish Parasitic Disease 1, & FAQs on: Diagnosis/Identification of Parasites, Internal Parasites, FW Parasite Treatments, Freshwater Protozoan Parasite Diseases, Diagnosing/Identifying FW Protozoan Diseases, ( Ich/White Spot Disease, Freshwater Velvet, Sporozoan Parasites, Whirling DiseaseHexamita/Octomita in Freshwater Systems,) Worm Diseases, Cichlid Disease, African Cichlid Disease, Aquarium Maintenance, FW Infectious DiseaseFreshwater MedicationsAfrican Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid DiseaseBetta Disease 1

Parasites      7/18/19
Hello, great site, I am treating dwarf gourami for internal parasite,
<Which one? There are several different types! Each requires specific treatment. What works for worms won't work with Hexamita, for example.>
lost three fish, using tetra all in one treatment, been treating 8-9 days now,
<Anything sold as "all-in-one" isn't likely to be entirely reliable, anymore than a medicine sold at your local drugstore that promised to be a cure-all probably won't be much use.>
have malachite green but don't want to use in tank, maybe a dip if possible?
<Dips of any/all kinds are for treating external parasites. Of no value at all if you are genuinely dealing with internal parasites.>
Added salt,
<Again, useful for treating external infections in specific situations (Whitespot comes to mind) but otherwise either useless or even harmful.>
did a big water change
<Always useful, provided not diluting any medication: would recommend only changing water (at least) 24 hours after dosing tank, so that each dose of medicine has time to work.>
two days ago and continued using tetra , help is needed, I get bad info from Petco specialist.
<I'm sure there's variation, but on the whole, the big pet store chains tend to have sales clerks rather than actual experts, so unless the clerk you're speaking to is a genuinely experienced hobbyist -- and some are -- I'd tend to "trust, but verify" any information shared by most of their staff.>
Thank you so much, I'm Ray, hope to hear from you soon.
<Let's return to the sick fish, the Dwarf Gourami, what was called Colisa lalia for many years, but is apparently Trichogaster lalius. This originally lovely fish has been mass produced and inbred over decades, and the resulting specimens are very poor quality. Viral infections ("DGIV" or Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus) that cause wasting and lesions are extremely common, nearly universal in some cases (the ones exported from Singapore are notorious). There's no treatment. Furthermore, when stressed, these
fish appear to be extremely prone to Mycobacteria infections. Again, there's no treatment. Symptoms including wasting, lethargy, spinal deformities, loss of colour, and eventually death. Nothing you dose the
tank with will help. Now, you haven't told me what symptoms your fish has, nor what you suspect the fish to be suffering from, so I can't really offer any advice. But as a general observation, Dwarf Gouramis (unless locally bred) are best avoided in lieu of much hardier, but similar-looking, species such as the Thick Lipped Gourami and the Banded Gourami. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Parasites      7/20/19

Hello, thanks so much for your help,
I have a powder blue dwarf gourami left, my fire just died, my honey died, and my neon died...
<These are all varieties of Colisa lalia, or at least hybrids between that species and Colisa chuna. Either way, not much to choose between them in terms of healthiness. All best avoided, really.>
I have an opal and another type I forget, but two are not dwarf, and a Cory catfish.,....
<Opaline Gourami is a different species, Trichopodus trichopterus, that is usually hardy but sometimes aggressive.>
They had clear poop lines, long, didn't eat..hid... Acted old and crippled.
<See previous emails re: this symptom. Cheers, Neale.>

Can freeze dried worms retain parasite spores?      7/11/19
Dear WWM,
Thank you for being there, the immense knowledge available here is priceless.
<A pleasure, honor, indeed calling to share, help others>
Question: can freeze dried Tubifex worms retain latent spores of the whirling disease parasite?
<Mmm; I doubt that Myxosoma can/do persist through the process of freeze drying. My answer: No>
I was wondering as I lost couple of established tetras to disease with symptoms of lack of balance and rolling over. May be they were due to other causes, but a rare feeding of freeze dried worms just a day before the onset is prompting me to cross check, correlated or coincidence?
What about freeze dried bloodworms? Can they retain latent spores of parasites they are vectors of when alive?
<Again, I think that the freeze drying process eliminates such Myxosporeans et al. Am not a fan of "sewer fly larvae" bloodworm use other than by a few processors (San Francisco Bay Brand, Hikari) as have seen suspicious troubles from their use.>
Thanks in advance.
Warm regards
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Can freeze dried worms retain parasite spores? /RMF

Dear Bob,
Thank you for a prompt and detailed response. It will help me take an informed decision going ahead.
<Ah, good>
Keep well.
<And you, BobF>
Can freeze dried worms retain parasite spores? /Neale

Dear WWM,
<Hello Devakalpa,>
Thank you for being there, the immense knowledge available here is priceless.
<Thanks for these kind words.>
Question: can freeze dried Tubifex worms retain latent spores of the whirling disease parasite? I was wondering as I lost couple of established tetras to disease with symptoms of lack of balance and rolling over. May be they were due to other causes, but a rare feeding of freeze dried worms just a day before the onset is prompting me to cross check, correlated or coincidence?
<I would suspect the latter. It seems unlikely that any but the most specialised organisms could survive the freeze-drying process. Bacteria probably can survive freeze-drying, at least in some cases. But desiccation is often part of their natural life cycle. For more complex organisms -- I just don't know. I suspect not, unless you know the parasite is able to survive dormant on dry riverbeds for months or years (as, say, brine shrimp eggs can). When it comes to Neon Tetras, for example, there are so many
other reasons why they get sick -- Pleistophora, generally opportunistic Mycobacteria infections, even heat stress (they need water around 22-24 C).>
What about freeze dried bloodworms? Can they retain latent spores of parasites they are vectors of when alive?
<This has been discussed by aquarists at various times, both with regard to freeze-dried and plain frozen bloodworms. While parasites probably don't survive either, the often rather grim environments used to rear these bloodworms can expose them to things like heavy metals, and these will be in the food items produced from the worms. Bloodworms are to be used cautiously, especially if you're keeping delicate or disease-prone fish.>
Thanks in advance.
Warm regards
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Can freeze dried worms retain parasite spores?

Dear Neale,
Thank you for the detailed reply, your inputs are valuable.
<Most welcome.>
The fish I lost was not a neon tetra but a Diamond Tetra and though I am aware that even they (or for that matter non tetras also) are susceptible to NTD, the symptom onset was overnight, the fish lost balance completely and was dead in a day. In fact I wrote to you for guidance.
<Diamond Tetras are lovely fish. So good choice there! But they are a little sensitive to water chemistry. They do best in soft water, and may be disease-prone in harder water conditions.>
I have added some Bolivian Rams and was thinking if I could add some 'safe' 'once-alive' food to bring some variety to their and their tankmates' diet.
<Understood. But really, not necessary. Modern flake and pellet foods (like the brands you mention below) are perfectly adequate for small community fish such as tetras and barbs. No real need to add anything else. If you want to offer some variety, green foods are the best, such as cooked peas and spinach. Indeed, it's worth experimenting with vegetables and fruit, in small quantities, to see if they're eaten. Some fish will also eat cooked rice, which like vegetables, is perfectly safe. Another good extra is hard boiled egg yolk. Tiny, tiny amounts at a time because it mostly gets spread out in the water, but the grains are perfect for small fish like tetras. As well as these, seafood is a good choice. Few, if any, parasites from seawater fish and invertebrates can infect freshwater fish. While freshwater fish should be safe if sold for humans, there's always a risk of parasites that don't affect us being present in the fish, and these could, if you were unlucky, infect your tropical fish. Still, I've used defrosted slivers of tilapia many times without problems.>
Their standard spread consists of pellets and flakes from Hikari, NLS, Tetra, Ocean Nutrition, etc. I have come to suspect live sewer worms for reasons much elaborated in your website.
I guess personally culturing live food is the safest option. It is rather unfortunate that in a tropical country like India, we hardly get any commercially vetted frozen foods like daphnia, Whiteworms, blackworms, and like.
<In theory, if you place a bucket of water outdoors, it'll become populated with mosquito larvae very quickly, and your fish will eat these very readily! But culturing mosquito larvae in a country where Malaria is present will not be popular with your neighbours. So while do-able, I wouldn't bother.>
Keep well.
<You too!>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Can freeze dried worms retain parasite spores?

Dear Neale,
Thank you yet again for all the helpful inputs.
I just love tetras, the Diamonds, Lemons, Pristellas, Emperors.. among my favourites!
<Ah, Pristella tetras definitely mine. Robust, adaptable, and impeccably well behaved. A perfect all-rounder for virtually all community tanks. The Emperor is another species with much to recommend it; exotic in appearance, but almost bullet-proof in terms of care.>
I regularly feed my fish parboiled spinach and other veggie tidbits and my Cories, Bristlenose and Whiptails just love them.
<Good to hear!>
I shall try the seafood, rice and hard boiled egg suggestions, thank you.
And indeed, not only neighbors' wrath, I shall attract the municipality health authorities' ire if I plan to culture mosquito larvae :).
<Precisely so. You could try Brine Shrimp though. Brine Shrimp tolerate a higher salinity than even mosquito larvae could handle, which would make this a safe choice. On a small scale you can use old 2-litre soda bottles for this, placing them on a windowsill to get the water green, and then adding the Artemia eggs. Outdoors you'd need some sort of salt-tolerant container, probably plastic or ceramic, since most metal would quickly corrode.>
Take care, and keep up the great work.
<Will try!>
<Best wishes, Neale.>

Nerite snails in isolation tank; resisting parasite transfer        1/27/19
is there a way to medicate snails in an isolation tank to make sure they are disease and parasite free?
<Not really. Isolating snails for 4-6 weeks is a good way to ensure they're not carrying waterborne parasites (such as Whitespot) that might affect fish rather than the snails themselves. Since those parasites will complete their life cycle within such a time period, in the absence of a fish host, such snails should be "free" of the waterborne stages that might be stuck to their shells. But if you're talking about parasites that live within the snails, parasitising them, and then potentially infecting fish, there aren't any available medications to help here. Those snail-borne parasites of economic concern (such as Bilharzia) are preventing by exterminating snails rather than treating them. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Lice - Solve      6/13/18
I used Lice – Solve last night on my happy active fish and this morning 16 of my fish are dead leaving only 5 left alive. I am heartbroken that despite using the correct amount and following instructions to the letter that I have inadvertently killed my beautiful fish with this product.
<Hello Jay. Lice-Solve is a product for killing off Argulus, Anchor Worms, and other (external) crustacean parasites. It's basically an insecticide, and should have low toxicity to vertebrates such as fish. Consequently the chemical inside Lice-Solve, Emamectin, has been used on fish farms where the food produced ends up on our dinner plates. With that said, insecticides can cause problems for fish if used at the wrong dosage (so double-check that) and can also cause problems to 'sensitive' fish species. If we're talking about pond fish, that's going to mean things like Orfe and Sturgeons, and possibly other species as well. Goldfish and Koi should be fine though. One problem with using any sort of poison is that if other things in the pond die as well, such as insects in the pond, and there's enough 'dying' going on to reduce water quality, then the fish may suffer as oxygen levels drop. It's often recommended that aeration be increased when medicating, which in a pond situation might include using a fountain or air bubbler. In a pond without filtration or aeration, it's entirely possible that even irritation to the gill membranes caused by the medication can be sufficient to stress, or even kill, your fish. I'd certainly reach out to the manufacturers to see if they can offer some insight, but I agree with you that this is a very unfortunate outcome. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Undiagnosed disease.      5/17/18
Hello crew, i hope you are doing well, as always.
<Hi Roberto,>
With the coming of winter, and slightly colder temperatures, i started using heaters in my tanks. (it was getting below 22 C).
One day i woke up to a Columbian tetra caught between the heater and the glass. I dislodged him and he went onto normal, except that he had an horrible vertical searing wound. It looked pretty horrible. I observed the fish for the following days and he looked to be healing pretty well. When everything looked good, he developed white, round growths on his wounds. It started slow, and i tried to net him many times out, but netting him out of a 150 gallon heavily planted tank is... hard. I decided to just keep on water changes daily and keep clean filters, etc.
The growths disappeared, and he seemed to heal completely. a week after the growths came back more aggressively, but still advancing slowly. Maybe a new growth every 2 days or so. I finally netted him out and put him on quarantine. I am concerned between three different ailments which are listed on your website: Lymphocystis, fungus or Columnaris.
<It doesn't look like Lymphocystis from the photographs of the Mollies and the Siamese Algae Eater. Conceivably Whitespot, but more likely Fungus, Columnaris, or perhaps Costia.>
i treated him with tetracycline and Methylene blue (correct me if im wrong, this has formalin right?).
<Formalin may be an ingredient in commercial medications, but these two chemicals are specific things, and in themselves, not formalin.>
Not sure if the treatment worked, as it jumped out overnight...
Fast forwarding a couple days, both fish pictures, a black molly and a SAE, developed the same growths. They don't have any wounds, they just started developing the growths. It seemed as first that single scales were popping out, then in the place of the pooped out scale appeared the growths. Some growths have disappeared, but they have left red open wounds.
<Not good.>
I have the molly in a 5 gal and treated with tetracycline, Methylene blue.
<Methylene Blue is effective against fungal infections, but will have little/no impact on Costia or Columnaris (also known as Mouth Fungus). Fungal infections often set in alongside other types of disease, which can be why Methylene Blue seems to help a bit, even where the actual problem is a protozoan or bacterium species.>
It seems to be working, albeit slowly. I am keeping on water changes on both the main tank and the quarantine, but what do you think is a correct diagnose?
<See above. Costia is typically associated with off-white to grey smears (hence 'Slime Disease') and can develop extremely rapidly. It usually respond best to anti-Whitespot medications, albeit slowly enough 2-3 rounds of treatment may be required. Columnaris (or Mouth Fungus) is bacterial in nature, so antibiotics are ideal, but failing that, some type of antibacterial medication used for external infections such as Finrot. I'd perhaps be looking at something like eSHa 2000 in the first instance, as it's fairly broad acting, dealing with a range of external bacteria and fungal infections. It also works well (and safely) alongside eSHa EXIT, which is a very good against external Protozoans. Since both these medications are cheap and widely sold, they're my favoured combination for use against difficult to identify, though obviously external, diseases.>
I went out and bought an API medicine that is supposedly for fungus. It is Victoria green (malachite green?) and Acriflavine. I can get Acriflavine separately for cheaper. Should i add, this sickness doesn't seem to be stressing them, they are eating normally, even the Columbian was doing so, even when heavily infested, it is developing, albeit very slowly.
I will be waiting input, so far no other fish have developed the growths, but it has shown it doesn't need an open wound to do so.
As always, thanks, WWM.
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Stringy white poop, many deaths     1/15/18
I've been having a bit of a problem with my Dwarf Neon Rainbows and I'm at a loss at this point. I'll start the story by stating that through the whole ordeal ammonia and nitrite were zero, nitrate was less than 5, water
changes were done weekly at least and whenever else I thought they were needed. I ordered 9 online nearly 2 months ago; 3 males and 6 females all came alive but covered in ich. I was expecting ich, so they went straight
into a 10 gallon quarantine tank equipped with a cycled filter off an established tank. I raised the temperature to 86-87 and after 2 days all ich was gone but I left the temperature up for a week or week and a half just to be safe.
All fish initially ate well. I fed almost exclusively frozen foods (brine shrimp, Spirulina brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, etc. I had over 10 varieties) with New Life Spectrum, Hikari Micron, and Sera Onip fed on mornings when I was running late. After a week the male that got picked on a bit developed dropsy overnight and died within a couple days. Now, after having a bad experience at a local fish store with internal parasites I automatically treat all the fish I get. I treated with General Cure first (has never proven effective at treating internal parasites for me but it's proved useful for other things, so I use it before PraziPro) and during
that treatment, one of the males stopped eating and developed white stringy poop. He was like this for a few days before he began breathing very heavily then died. I researched and researched and everything came up as
internal parasites. I used PraziPro and at some point fed Hex-Shield (which I had forgotten I had) and the remaining 7 all had nice red poop. Yay! Or so I thought.
Some number of days later a female got white stringy poop, stopped eating, began breathing heavily, then died. Down to 1 male and 5 females. More research and forum exploration led to Hexamita or Malawi bloat. A Hexamita recommendation was to feed food soaked in Epsom salt. Everyone but one female ate. The recommendation for one that doesn't eat was to squirt the Epsom salt mixture down her throat. I figured since she would die as soon as she got to the heaving breathing stage anyway there was nothing left to lose. I filed the tip off a syringe I got from the vet, gave her some Epsom salt mixture, and the white poops stopped. Yay! Other recommendations were to use metro, so I ordered that just in case. I did it once more and then it was time to pack the fish up for a move across the state.
All rainbows survived the initial trip but the one female died the next day. They were kept in the ten gallon QT for a few days but since the remaining ones all appeared healthy and I really needed the tank off the floor, they went into a 20 high. One male and four females left. None of my frozen food made the trip. A relative lent me a cooler she swore was incredible, yet all my food turned to mush. Everyone got stuck with Repashy and pellets since finding pet stores here is hard, but at least that made looking for healthy red poop easy. The remaining 5 fish were all healthy in the new place for 3 weeks until the other day. One day a female was suddenly breathing heavily and bloated with white stringy poop. She didn't stop eating before then and none of the other fish, minus the initial dropsy case, had bloated before death. Now, I had been feeding pretty heavily because it kept them from decimating the shrimp population while the plants grew back (a bit of melt since they got packed up days before the move), so I fasted them. I was gone the entire next day and didn't look at my fish at all. Yesterday I counted 3 females and 1 male. The shrimp were picking at a small piece of white meat, the Hypancistrus was part way out of his cave (very rare). Clearly, the female was turned into a meal.
I'm at a loss as to what to try next. Your key leads to Malawi Bloat since there's no fungus or wounds appearing on the fish, but they aren't cichlids. They've been treated for internal parasites and every time I think everyone is healthy another comes down ill. What is there left for me to try? I have one male and 3 females left. They look healthy and the poop is healthy but I've learned that can change overnight.
Please help!
<Hello Sabrina. Like you, my gut reaction here (if you pardon the pun) is that we're looking at Hexamita or some similar intestinal parasite. While you have used Hex-Shield, this is a "good" food rather than a medicine.
While it contains vitamins and minerals essential to good health, it doesn't contain Metronidazole, which is the medication you want here. So that's where I'd be going. Something like Seachem MetroPlex, for example.
Epsom Salt is often used alongside Metronidazole because it does help to reduce swelling and constipation, but it isn't a medicine _per se_, so I wouldn't expect it to treat this problem as it is. Squirting Epsom salt into a Rainbowfish sound like a non-runner to me, more than likely causing severe osmotic stress even if the experience doesn't harm the fish psychologically. Ideally, use Metronidazole alongside a reliable antibiotic, Nitrofurazone being particularly popular among aquarists. If you have some other antibiotic kicking about, I dare say it'd be fine
though. At the same time, do ensure a number of other things. Firstly, lots of oxygen; secondly, appropriate water chemistry; thirdly, a varied diet with some fresh greenery (gut-loaded brine shrimp are handy); and fourthly, keep nitrate levels as low as practical. Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Stringy white poop, many deaths     1/17/18

Thank you for your help!
<Most welcome.>
I have a small bag of Metronidazole. The tank is full of snails and shrimp and I can't set up the quarantine tank right now, so do you recommend mixing the Metro into some Repashy or bloodworms?
<Getting medicine into fish via their food is usually more effective than adding to the water. But dosing can be tricky if the fish spit out some of the food. I'd tend to follow the instructions on the package, or advice from the vet, rather than simply improvising.>
In terms of feeding greenery, I used to have Spirulina brine shrimp and emerald entre but they went bad during the move and I can't find any around here. Tiny town problems.
Would crushed algae wafers, cucumber, zucchini, lettuce, or broccoli suffice?
<The algae wafers are a useful staple for any community fish, and should be part of their regular diet. Spirulina flake food (sold for livebearers) is also an excellent staple. The other green foods, if eaten, are all good additions to their diet.>
I also have some Cobalt pellets with Spirulina and probiotics. In terms of antibiotics, I have Kanaplex, Furan 2, ParaGuard, and Fungus Cure (says it treats secondary bacterial infections). I've always been partial to Kanaplex, but which do you recommend?
<Kanaplex would also be my first recommendation here. The others are more or less antimicrobials rather than true antibiotics.>
The tank does have an air stone. In terms of water chemistry, ammonia and nitrites are always zero, nitrates less than 5 (usually zero. I dose a little for the plants), pH around 7.5, 10 dGH, 11dKh.
<All sounds fine.>
Thank you again,
Sabrina H
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Stringy white poop, many deaths      1/18/18

The directions that came with my Metro recommend 2 teaspoons per pound of food.
<That's a lot of fish food!>
I did the math and I need approximately 0.014 tsp per cube of bloodworms, which is just slightly less than 1/64, which is the smallest teaspoon measurement I have. I'll just add a little less than 1/64 tsp and be generous with the Garlic Guard.
<What's the garlic for? I would not be adding random 'cure all' chemicals alongside specific treatments.>
The math for Kanaplex will have to be done later and hopefully the fish will eat it. Perhaps they just need to be starved for a day or two as encouragement.
Alternatively, I could mix it with daphnia (only other frozen food I could find) but I think the hypan is more likely to eat the bloodworms, since eating the last dead fish more than likely infected him too. Do you have a preferred brand of Spirulina flakes?
<Not really; they're all good!>
New Life Spectrum is my go-to brand but they don't make them and neither does my second favorite, Omega One.
<Understood. I've used the Tetra brand, but pretty much any should work a treat.>
I hope you're having a wonderful day!
- Sabrina
<Off to donate blood now, so wonderful isn't quite the word, but hopefully useful! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Stringy white poop, many deaths     1/20/18

I hope donating blood went well! At least as well as it can go anyway.
Personally, I despise needles.
<I think most people do. The burden of being O-neg... constant demands to be sucked by medical vampires!>
Frankly, I'm too lazy to deal with fresh garlic and without it, I find the Pleco won't eat anything medicated.
<Really? Fair enough.>
Thus far the remaining 4 rainbows are alive and still eating, though one female has begun hiding a bit. Should she, or any other infected fish, stop eating how do you recommend I treat it? All forums and sites online say if the fish are to the point of refusing food the medication should basically be squirted down its throat.
<Whilst viable with large fish, with very small fish there's more risk of either stress, handling, or the pressure from the nozzle doing serious damage. I'd be extremely cautious before doing this sort of thing. Many medications can be added to the water. Less effective, but less
I'll do it if I must, but is there another alternative?
<See above.>
The consensus seems to be that treating the water will do no good.
<It's less effective, but not ineffective. Fish do drink, and in freshwater, they can't help but absorb things from their environment.
Dosing is important, but also is removing carbon from the filter -- a common oversight that causes "false negatives" where people use a medication and find the fish stay sick. High oxygen levels and rapid turnover will cause medicine to be broken down by the biological filter, and simply high levels of biological activity, such as algae, let alone the fish, can have a similar effective. So yes, getting the food into a fish is better. But many medicines work reasonably well added to the water. My books recommend 50 mg Metronidazole per 4.5 litres (about 1.2 US gallons) -- so a single 200 mg label would be a bit under 5 US gallons. Furthermore, it is recommended doing 3 treatments, the first on day 1, the second on day 3, the third on day 5, with a 25% water change before the next dose. Make sense?>
Do you personally do any medicating or treatment of new fish? Does it differ whether the fish are captive bred or wild caught?
<Funnily enough, farmed fish are actually more risky! Wild fish tend to be in very good shape, though external parasites like flukes are not uncommon in a few cases (such as Bichirs). Farmed fish tend to be maintained in high numbers in small ponds or tanks, so cross contamination is very common.
Drug use is ubiquitous on farms, too. Of course once you mix the fish in the retailer's tank all bets are off, but no, I don't routinely medicate new fish, but I may well quarantine if that's a possibility. That said, I'm pretty ruthless about not buying fish from dodgy shops, and I avoid delicate species like the plague! Really, fish are actually astonishingly disease resistant, all things considered -- they're swimming about in what are effectively bacteria-laden Petri dishes! It's either bad luck, bad genes, or bad housekeeping that leads to problems. I haven't bought new fish in six years now, and can't remember the last time I medicated them.>
Oh and also, you said Hex-Shield is just a good food. What do you recommend its use be? I spend a fortune on it so I'm definitely using it one way or another, but is it actually helpful with ill fish or just a decent addition to their usual food rotation?
<I'd go with the latter. Hexamita -- or at least Hole-in-the-Head -- probably has some relation to diet, the lack of fresh greens being widely discussed. So, any food laden with greens or supplemented with vitamins has the potential to "shield" against Hexamita. That said, any number of ways to achieve the same thing -- good quality flake, slivers of various fish meats and seafoods, periodic offerings of Spirulina-loaded brine shrimp, cooked peas now and again -- all these things, if used together, should provide a good, balanced diet without the expense. It's much the same as vitamin supplements with humans: sure, we need what they supply, but if you're eating salads and fruits and oily fish and all the rest of it, you'll be getting those vitamins anyways, and it's not like your body can store them, so having extras doesn't help.>
Thank you for all your help!
- Sabrina
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Re: Stringy white poop, many deaths     1/23/18

The length of time to feed the medicated foods differed greatly between the Kanaplex and Metro so i went with the shorter duration, but now one female is bloated and breathing heavily. There's a small chance she is full of
eggs because there has been some spawning activity in the tank, but im leaning towards needing to medicate a bit longer.
<Indeed; seems reasonable.>
Your books recommend far higher dosages than my medication or what I've read online. May I ask what the books are?
<"A-Z of Tropical Fish Diseases and Health Problems" -- an oldie but goodie.>
Can they be purchased online?
<Oh, I'm quite sure they can.>
Maybe the dosage I mixed with the food is too low.
<Possibly. I double checked, and yes, it's 50 mg per Imperial gallon (about 42 gram per US gallon, by my reckoning).>
Would it be reasonable to expect the fish were sent to me already with Hexamita?
<Absolutely. There is some belief that Hexamita is ubiquitous in the aquarium hobby. It's more about asking "what's happened to these fish that's made them unable to resist the Hexamita" in which case we look at
things like poor diet, high nitrate, etc.>
They got a wide variety of frozen foods nightly, including Spirulina brine which was fed usually twice a week.
<A very useful fish food.>
Morning feedings are always New Life Spectrum, Hikari, Sera, or if I had time crushed Cobalt with Spirulina and probiotics or crushed Omega One shrimp pellets. I don't have time to crush things often. They also have always gotten Repashy Community, sometimes Grub Pie if I forgot to make more Community. If i got out too much fish for the Hypan they got flounder, clams, shrimp. All my tanks got peas and green beans a couple times a week,
though the green beans don't seem to be a favorite. I would think this is enough of a variety even if I wasn't feeding Spirulina flakes themselves.
<This all sounds fine.>
On another note about food, I recently saw freeze dried peas with a grinder lid being sold as a fish food supplement. Thoughts? Would it be any good soaked in water before feeding?
<If the fish weren't getting any greens, then sure; but your fish are getting such a good diet, this seems like a needless expense. Besides, fresh greens and Spirulina probably trump dried peas when it comes to vitamin content.>
Sent from my Galaxy Tab A
<Sent from my computer! Neale.>
Re: Stringy white poop, many deaths

Oh my I forgot to change my signature! I really must get around to fixing that!
I ordered a used copy of the book from Amazon for just under $12. I'm very excited!
<It's a brilliant yet frustrating book. Lots of info. It's really my go-to for fish healthcare. Masses of text. Very little filler. But the layout of the book is insane. Three chapters subdivided alphabetically using a system I still don't understand. Luckily, it's written by some very expert aquarists who are very well known in the UK, so it's well worth the effort.>
I can't find much direction for mixing Metro with food online, other than stumbling upon one WetWebMedia article saying to use a 1% mixture. That's too much math for me. Once I finished Calculus my brain checked out. Now all I get to think about is various sciences. Since one scoop didn't seem to cut it I'll try two, mixed with the directed amount of Kanaplex. The one female is looking really bloated. Would it be ok to mix a bit of Epsom salt
in? I'll be using daphnia instead of bloodworms to help in case it's constipation also.
<I would not add Epsom salt. Epsom salt will exert an osmotic effect on the fish that could be dangerous. It'd be similar to having someone eat a bowl of table salt.>
All the transport would definitely be what made them unable to resist Hexamita. They were shipped to me covered in ich, which started the whole ordeal, then I moved and the heat packs failed. All the fish definitely got
cold but not freezing. The only deaths were the female Rainbowfish that had white stringy poop already and my last Rummynose tetra from a fish store who's quality had gone way down. Every fish I bought from that store died
almost instantly, but the group of wild caught rummies I got from a new store were, and still are, in excellent shape.
<This is starting to sound like a very plausible explanation. Stress, bad luck, and the latent Hexamita infection could easily interact in the way you suggest.>
- Sabrina
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Stringy white poop, many deaths     1/30/18

Unfortunately, the female is not improving.
<This is a Rainbowfish, right?>
She's still breathing heavily, still bloated, and has refused to eat for a few days now. I can't set up a quarantine because my spare heater died and there's absolutely no money for a new one, but I do have a small (1/2 gallon I think) container that I can sit in the tank with an air stone.
<0.5 US gal in l.9 litres, pretty much. 50 mg per 4.5 litres is what's recommended. To be clear: that's 51 milligrams, i.e., 50 thousandths of a gram per 4.5 litres. So by my maths that's 21 milligrams per 1.9 litres. So
if you have a single, say, 100 milligram tablet, then you want about one-fifth of that per 1.9 litre/0.5 US gallon. If the tablet was a 200 mg tablet, you'd want one-tenth. Make sense?>
Based on your book (mine has yet to be delivered. Everything takes longer in this dang town), I believe I need to use 21 grams of metro for half a gallon?
<Not 21 grams; 21 milligrams! That's a thousandth of that 21 grams!>
I don't have a scale so admittedly it would be guesstimated. Would you recommend following that or using the instructions that came on the package?
<If all else fails, use the manufacturers instructions.>
It calls for using far less.
<I would imagine! See above.>
One tiny scoop (maybe 1/32 tsp?) per 2.5 gallons.
<Without knowing the concentration of Metronidazole in the powder you have, or the size of the scoop supplied, it's hard to say what 'a scoop' might represent.>
Thanks a bunch!
<Welcome. Neale.>

Parasites in my tank with other illnesses...please help! I'm desperate!  9/30/11
Hello! I have been reading through your website for a few days now and have tried to find answers on my own but its just not working. The help you give fish lovers is amazing and I know a lot of people appreciate it! Anyhow'¦here is my problem'¦I have always loved fish but just got a 10 gal. tank a couple months ago so I'm pretty new to all of this. I didn't even know about the PH levels and I'm sure that is an issue in itself so I will go to the store tonight and get the test strips and other items you have mentioned in your articles in order to get my levels where they need to be. So my 10 gal tank has an AQUA TECH filter with a blue pad that has black rocks in it and a smaller white pad (I don't know the right words to explain it any other way'¦lol) I have a bubble curtain going across the bottom of the back of the tank. I don't have a heater but I don't think its necessary since with the lamp in the lid the tank stays at 80 degrees on its own and I've read that's a good temp for molly's. In my tank I HAD 4 molly's (1 male and 3 females) one of which has already had babies that all died but she was in a separate 1 gal tank that I set up for her to have the babies. Anyway, after she had the babies I put her back in the 10 gal tank along with the other Molly's, 1 Dalmatian Molly, 2 Gold Gouramis (that I have recently read shouldn't go in the same tank but they haven't had any problems), 1 golddust Platy and one of those sucker fish (I cant remember the name of it but it starts with a P and it's the black kind). My male Molly and the female Dalmatian Molly developed what we found out to be anchor worms, we treated with meds for about 2 weeks and the couple that were on the Dalmatian Molly died and fell off but the male Molly's stayed and was still there as of a couple days ago until I read you could pick them off with tweezers and medicate again. So I put him in a separate tank (since he now had an open wound and didn't want other bacteria to get in there) and he seems to be doing fine. I forgot to mention'¦when I first noticed the worms I also noticed Ick and all the fish except for the Gouramis were moving in a weird way as if they were shaking their heads 'no' and some of them have swollen bellies...tapeworms possibly??? So I know they have some kind of disease and I have been medicating with Ick meds, parasite meds and another medicine that says its just to promote healing but they are NOT getting any better. Except for the male Molly that is still in a separate tank and seems to be doing well. The day I first noticed the illnesses I had just gotten back from the store with some new balloon Molly's and when I saw the illnesses I was afraid to put them together and get the balloon Molly's sick so I took all the fish out of the 10 gal tank, emptied it completely, cleaned it extremely thoroughly to try to get rid of the parasites and other illnesses, put in new water, conditioned it and put in the new balloon Molly's and that's the only fish that are in the 10 gal tank now. The other sick fish are in a 1 gal tank which I know is WAY overcrowded but I didn't have another place for them and I was only supposed to be using it as a 'hospital tank' and the male Molly is in a separate 1 gal tank alone since he has an open wound from pulling out the worm. So after giving you all the information here is my question'¦how do I get rid of the Ick and the 'head shaking disease' (don't know what it is) since all the meds don't seem to be working so I can return all the fish to the 10 gal tank where they can all live happily and make babies? The 10 gal tank is clean now and doing very well...if I put the sick fish in it I will more than likely infect the healthy fish and get the illnesses and parasites into the tank! Also, the anchor worm that I pulled out of the male Molly, I'm afraid to put him back in any tank with any other fish cause even though I pulled out the worm how do I know its completely gone and he is free of parasites? I read the anchor worm lives in the fish for a month or 2 before it starts to grow out of him and becomes visible so I don't want to infect the other fish, especially not the brand new Balloon Molly's in the brand new tank!! All I want is one 10gal tank with happy, healthy fish! Not 2 small hospital tanks with no end of illness in sight! Thank you sooo much in advance for any advice you can offer! It is more appreciated than you will ever know! I'm very concerned for my fishes.
<Melissa, the "head shaking" is very likely what aquarists call the Shimmies, a neurological disease common to Mollies when they're kept in the wrong environmental conditions. If you'd read an aquarium book before buying them, you'd realise the Mollies aren't easy fish to keep, and among other things, they often (some would say usually) do better kept in slightly brackish water. A dosage of 5 grammes of marine aquarium salt per litre (about two-thirds of an ounce per US gallon) makes a huge difference, maintaining a specific gravity of about SG 1.002. This dramatically improves their health, but is too much salt for most tropical fish, which is why Mollies are best kept among their own kind or with other salt-tolerant fish. Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Parasites in my tank with other illnesses...please help! I'm desperate!    10/2/11

Thanks for writing me back.
<You are most welcome.>
I had no idea fish needed so many things to stay healthy
<Not actually all that much, compared to, say, a cat or dog. But there are some minimums they require, and people often underestimate these, assuming that fish are basically happy in glass boxes with water.>
and I feel bad that I didn't do more research before I got an aquarium.
Most of the fish that I had that were sick have died.
<Oh dear.>
The fish that I have left are all nursed back to health after reading info on your site and others from morning to night learning what I should have from the beginning. I am confident that I am doing a good job now.
I have all the proper supplies for testing the water for nitrates, nitrites, ammonia etc...... I got aquarium salt and a few other things. Now my tank has nothing but balloon Mollies (which I've had since the beginning, I haven't bought anything new) and 1 male Betta that has become very good friends with the Mollies :) I have learned to do frequent water changes and got a gravel vacuum. Me and my babies are a lot happier now that I've been learning how they like to live. Thank you for your site and all the info you have to offer to those of us out there that love fish and want to share their home with them :)
<Glad to help, and do read up on Mollies. I'd strongly recommend skipping the Betta tankmate, and concentrating just on the Mollies. These colourful fish do extremely well kept in slightly brackish water, and kept thus, can be very hardy and durable. Keeping them alone also makes it easier to feed them the algae-based flake food that is best for them, regular tropical flake being okay but not ideal. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Swordtail (Gill Disease/ Flukes) 7/9/09
I have a red Swordtail in a 30 gallon tank, which is lightly planted, that has a white mucus coming from it's gills with quickened breathing.
<Could be flukes, but perhaps other things too, such as Velvet, that irritate the gills.>
The Swordtail still eats a little, but with a less ravenous appetite than usual. He still swims around most the time yet in a more relax and slower manner than usual, but also spends some time resting at both the bottom and top of the tank. The tank is cycled and been running for years with a stable pH of 7.6, zero ammonia/nitrite, and a temperature of 76 degrees Fahrenheit. The other tank inhabitants include 2 female Swordtails, 3 Flame tetras, 3 X-ray tetras, 5 Zebra Danios, 1 (temporary) baby Dojo Loach, 1 Amano shrimp, and 2 (1 1/2 in.) clams which all show no signs of being sick.
<Doubt the clams will live long, to be honest; they take a long time to die, but unless you're adding plankton for them to eat most days of the week, then dying they are. Contrary to what pet stores might say, they ARE NOT SCAVENGERS and there isn't enough stuff in the water for them to survive. They're animals, they're not getting anything to eat, therefore they are starving to death.>
Them most recent inhabitants are the clams and shrimp which were introduced about 5-6 weeks ago and had been at an LFS for at least several months before purchasing. The swordtail showed symptoms about 3 weeks ago and has been treated with a second round of Maracyn TC evidently having no effect at eliminating the problem, but has seemingly kept it from getting much worse than when it started.
<Interesting. What type of "clams" are these? If they're the small Asian Freshwater Clam (Corbicula fluminea) then these are relatively harmless, apart from when they die and pollute the water. But the (usually coldwater) Swan Mussels, primarily species of Unionidae, produce parasitic larvae that attach themselves to the gills of fish. This allows the larvae to be carried away from wherever their parents live. In the wild this seems to cause little harm, but within the confines of an aquarium, such parasitic infestations may cause problems, specifically by allowing secondary infections to set in via damaged gill membranes.>
The swordtail was "adopted" at a Petco about 3-4 months ago so I have no idea of its past exposure. I believed it to be gill disease which is why I used the Maracyn TC as I thought parasites would be unlikely, but I do not know how to tell between whether it is gill flukes or a bacteria.
<You really can't tell without looking at the gills directly; if sedating (e.g., with clove oil) and opening the gill covers is an option, then you may wish to do so. Otherwise rotating through different medications in a hospital tank could also be used. Don't use anti-parasite medications in your community tank: these will kill your snails, shrimps and clams.
Perhaps start with a fluke medication first, and then after a couple of 50% water changes across two days, an anti-velvet/ick medication.>
The other thing I was unsure of is if it is gill disease is it gram negative or gram positive because the TC works on gram negative. Any help would be greatly appreciated and if more information is needed just ask.
Sincerely, Mack
<Cheers, Neale.>

Disease/s of Fish, FW...   06/03/09
Good Day Crew,
<Bob, Pat... it's... BobF>
I'm hoping someone can help before any more of my fish die.
<Me too>
I have a 55gal. fw aquarium with an Aqua-Clear "70" power filter and use Bio-Max, Foam & Carbon also Aqua-Clear.
Power Stone & Temp. 76 ( for a year & half.)
Clean, dechlorinate, aquarium salt (1 tbsp-every 5 gals.)
& 15% water changes every week faithfully.
Ph-7.2 Dh-75 (soft)
I use API testing chemicals which I prefer over strips.
<Me too>
Dh & KH I have to use
Ammon.-0 Kh-0 (low)
strips because I cannot locate chemicals for this testing.
(All my fish are quarantined 3 wks)
I started with 6 Danios in a fully cycled tank (1 mo. later 1 died & 1disappeared - found sev. Mos. later in propeller)
1 mo. later added 3 swordtails (1 male & 2 females) & 1 pearl Gourami
(3mos. later Gourami died)
(only 1 female sword had babies but all were eaten)
1 mo. later added 6 Australian Rainbows (? Sex no babies)
<Need special care... spawning mops, cultured food/s generally>
3 mos. later added 3 marigold swordtails (1 male & 2 females)
This past April added 6 Mickey mouse platies (2 males & 4 females)
Since the Gourami died I've lost 2 male & 1 female swordtails.
This past week I noticed my original female sword (1 yr. old) seemed a little sluggish and staying among the plants. (artificial)
I kept a watch on her and she ate well and would occasionally come out of plants and swim around but sluggishly. I thought I noticed a whitish look to the sides of her body and her fins were clamped so I put
her my 10gal. quarantine tank, covered it and increased temp. to 80 degrees.
She was still eating fine. Next day she started swimming with head up & tail down but still eating ok. I didn't treat her because I didn't know what she had and the big tank appeared to be fine. (all parameters were
good & fish eating & frolicking as usual). Yesterday she appeared lethargic, weak, white stringy feces
<Mmm... sometimes evidence of internal infestation>
& not eating and often hiding in a pvc tube I have in the tank. Last night I found her sucked against the intake tube of the filter and of course she had died. I examined her closely and did not see the whitish look to the sides of her body, I thought I saw before or anything else that might look like a disease. I am so saddened by this.
I now have one of my rainbows with a raggedy-looking tail fin and swimming with a list and sometimes almost rolling over. He/she is still eating fine.
There is one other rainbow that keeps nudging this rainbow and it nudges it back. Noted white stringy feces on this other rainbow but not the one that is listing.
I also have 1 Danio that has a greenish iridescent look to its lower body & tail fin which just appeared 3 days ago.
What could be going on? I am faithful about cleaning, water & filter changes. It's obvious something is going on but I don't know what and with what appears to be different symptoms do I treat my main tank?
My quarantine tank isn't ready for any fish due to the fact that I threw out the sponge because tank wasn't treated. I didn't want to pass anything on to the to the other fish. I always keep a sponge in my main
tank for times of sickness and new fish. Please help if you can (asap)I would so appreciate it and thank you in advance.
Ps: Can I use my dishwasher (without soap) to sterilize my q-tank equipment? I heard this before
<I would not... for fear of some bit of contamination just the same. I would likely go ahead here... Using a microscope to autopsy/necropsy some of the dead if you have such... and treat for both Flukes and internal
parasites... Likely the best single treatment with be with Levamisole...
barring this, Metronidazole and Praziquantel... See WWM re (the search tool). Bob Fenner>

Velvet! No... not reading, yes  3-4-09 Hi, <Sheri> I can't seem to find anything about fish that are already sick, really sick, <?!> and so i am hoping you can answer my question. I have a 25 gallon tank with mostly fake plants except one. It contains 6 guppies and 6 tetras, 3 diamond and 3 serpae, <Oooh, these can be hard on the guppies... quite nippy> and one algae eater. <Mmm, not a Chinese/Gyrinocheilus I hope/trust... see the Net, WWM re...> They have velvet and/or ich. <?> A couple tetra have some white specks like salt and a couple guppies have yellowish dust on them and are acting lethargic. One im particular is really sick. He is a blue and white phantom but his color is fading, his fins are frayed and he just sits at the top of the tank with his back half dangling. He still eats but there is just not much to him anymore, frankly I'm shocked he's still alive. The PH is 7.2, temp is turned up to 81-82, <I'd raise this up a bit more...> nitrites, nitrates, ammonia is 0. I have added some aquarium salt and also treated the parasite with Coppersafe. <Not my first choice...> My question is will he get better or should I completely remove him? <...? I'd leave all in> They are all sick so I am treating the whole tank but I'm wondering if he should be taken out or would the stress of moving him make him more stressed? Is there something I should be doing to treat the fish for the disease or do they just kind of have to go through the process or does the Coppersafe work directly on the fish? Thank you for any information you can give me :) Sheri <Please help yourself... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaintindex.htm the tray toward the bottom... Parasitic Diseases... Bob Fenner>

Re: Velvet!  03/04/09 Thank you for the link. I'm wondering why my local pet store advised me to use copper if it's so toxic? <Mmm... is an effective remedy for quite a few parasitic complaints... but has a "narrow range of efficacy" unfortunately... One needs to be very careful (with daily or more frequent test kit use) to not under (which one do any good) or over-dose (which will kill all livestock) with copper> I'm new at this and have been working with one of the employees whom helped me pick out my fish and has been helping with the disease....or not helping I guess. Yes it is a Chinese algae eater. Is there anything I can do now to help them or is it too late? Thanks again <Yikes... I'd be looking to trade in the CAE when all is better disease-wise. BobF>

Re: Velvet! Now Loricariid ID?   03/04/09 Sorry, I looked up about the Chinese algae eaters and that's not what I have. He called it that but it looks WAAAYYY different. It looks like the common sucker fish you see stuck to everyone's tanks, black, about 2 inches long, wide head. <Maybe a Plecostomus of some sort/species... again, you'd do well to read, learn to use the indices, search tool on WWM. B>

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

Question re: anti-parasitic medicated fish food for Platys   2/24/08 Hello Crew, I have spent hours reading the FAQ's and your responses (my favourite being the one with the lady and her boyfriend having issues with breeding and Don spitting out his coffee) and have found them entertaining and informative. Now I have a question, which I hope you will answer. I have a 35 gallon tank, which has been in operation for about 3 years, so is well-cycled. I do regular water changes and periodically test the levels of nitrates, ph, and ammonia. All seem to be consistently within acceptable ranges. This tank is planted with a large number of artificial (plastic) plants, as well as live plants. There is 1 to 2" of gravel, 3 ornamental logs for hiding places, an undergravel filter, an outside 3 stage power filter, and a bubble bar. 6 weeks ago, my son helped me by bringing over his gravel vacuum and vacuuming the gravel in this tank. This resulted in a 50% water change. The livestock in this tank includes one elderly Pleco, whom I inherited with the tank, about 7 inches in length, 2 pearl Danios, 3 blacklight tetras, one of which is very large (platy sized), 2 Glowlight tetras, and my favourites, 2 adult male platys, and currently only 1 adult female platy. There have been no new introductions of fish for the past year, although there are about 15 juvenile platys of ages varying from 2 to 5 months. I feed twice a day, with premium flake food and supplement with blanched romaine lettuce which seems to go over very well with the platys, old and young. This past week, I lost an adult female Mickey Mouse Platy. She was one of the original introductions, so I was sorry to lose her. Her history includes being placed in a nursery net within the main tank, when I was quite sure she was about to give birth. She had the gravid spot, and I could see the dark eyes of the babies. She was very unhappy in the nursery net, so after 4 days with no results, I released her into the main tank. That was probably a year ago, and while she never lost the gravid spot, the dark eyes disappeared and there never were any babies. The one male platy who is always 'on the make' seemed to know she was of no use to him, and would chase her away. For several weeks before her demise, she did have what I have seen described on your site as 'whitish stringy poop'. Up until 2 days before she went, she was still eating, and swimming normally. During those last 2 days, she was hiding, and not coming out to eat. Today I noticed this 'whitish stringy poop' from the second, less aggressive adult male Sunset Platy. My question is, should I be concerned about a parasitic infection, and should I start feeding the anti-parasitic medicated fish food? Is it safe for the juvenile platys and the rest of the fish? Should I abstain from feeding the blanched romaine lettuce while feeding the medicated food? I do realize my current ratio of 2 adult male platys to 1 adult female is not ideal, but the 2nd male is not particularly amorous, although by their colouring, I do believe some of the juveniles are his descendants. I also have a 2nd tank, populated with a school of Cardinal Tetras, and one small, skittish Pleco. My intention is to move some of the juvenile platys to this tank as they mature. Thank you, for having such an informative site, and for your anticipated response to my long-winded email. Aprilwine <Anti-parasite food is usually safe for juvenile fish. In this instance I wouldn't bother unless I saw any other fish producing abnormal faeces. Do also switch to high-fibre foods for a while -- algae, daphnia, brine shrimps, tinned peas, etc. Won't do the other fish any harm. Anyway, this'll help clear out the insides. But if you do see other fish with odd faeces and/or signs of emaciation, then by all means switch to something anti-parasitic. While constipation is rather more common in livebearers, parasitic infections do happen, and are worth bearing in mind when fish start looking off-colour. Camallanus worms are probably the most commonly found intestinal parasites in livebearing fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Question re: anti-parasitic medicated fish food for Platys 03/04/2008 Thanks Neale, I have been feeding supplementary peas (frozen, slightly cooked, skinned) and they seem to go over very well. The adult Sunset Platy seems to be back to normal, and all seem to be doing fine. I appreciate your advice. <Greetings. It's good to hear everything is working fine! Platies certainly benefit from a "green" diet, and I think you'll find that over the long term you'll have Platies that are more active and have brighter colours than would be otherwise. Thanks for letting me know the good news; it's rare we hear that our little "patients" have got better! Cheers, Neale.>

Question re: anti-parasitic medicated fish food for Platys   2/24/08 Hello Crew, I have spent hours reading the FAQ's and your responses (my favourite being the one with the lady and her boyfriend having issues with breeding and Don spitting out his coffee) and have found them entertaining and informative. Now I have a question, which I hope you will answer. I have a 35 gallon tank, which has been in operation for about 3 years, so is well-cycled. I do regular water changes and periodically test the levels of nitrates, ph, and ammonia. All seem to be consistently within acceptable ranges. This tank is planted with a large number of artificial (plastic) plants, as well as live plants. There is 1 to 2" of gravel, 3 ornamental logs for hiding places, an undergravel filter, an outside 3 stage power filter, and a bubble bar. 6 weeks ago, my son helped me by bringing over his gravel vacuum and vacuuming the gravel in this tank. This resulted in a 50% water change. The livestock in this tank includes one elderly Pleco, whom I inherited with the tank, about 7 inches in length, 2 pearl Danios, 3 blacklight tetras, one of which is very large (platy sized), 2 Glowlight tetras, and my favourites, 2 adult male platys, and currently only 1 adult female platy. There have been no new introductions of fish for the past year, although there are about 15 juvenile platys of ages varying from 2 to 5 months. I feed twice a day, with premium flake food and supplement with blanched romaine lettuce which seems to go over very well with the platys, old and young. This past week, I lost an adult female Mickey Mouse Platy. She was one of the original introductions, so I was sorry to lose her. Her history includes being placed in a nursery net within the main tank, when I was quite sure she was about to give birth. She had the gravid spot, and I could see the dark eyes of the babies. She was very unhappy in the nursery net, so after 4 days with no results, I released her into the main tank. That was probably a year ago, and while she never lost the gravid spot, the dark eyes disappeared and there never were any babies. The one male platy who is always 'on the make' seemed to know she was of no use to him, and would chase her away. For several weeks before her demise, she did have what I have seen described on your site as 'whitish stringy poop'. Up until 2 days before she went, she was still eating, and swimming normally. During those last 2 days, she was hiding, and not coming out to eat. Today I noticed this 'whitish stringy poop' from the second, less aggressive adult male Sunset Platy. My question is, should I be concerned about a parasitic infection, and should I start feeding the anti-parasitic medicated fish food? Is it safe for the juvenile platys and the rest of the fish? Should I abstain from feeding the blanched romaine lettuce while feeding the medicated food? I do realize my current ratio of 2 adult male platys to 1 adult female is not ideal, but the 2nd male is not particularly amorous, although by their colouring, I do believe some of the juveniles are his descendants. I also have a 2nd tank, populated with a school of Cardinal Tetras, and one small, skittish Pleco. My intention is to move some of the juvenile platys to this tank as they mature. Thank you, for having such an informative site, and for your anticipated response to my long-winded email. Aprilwine <Anti-parasite food is usually safe for juvenile fish. In this instance I wouldn't bother unless I saw any other fish producing abnormal faeces. Do also switch to high-fibre foods for a while -- algae, daphnia, brine shrimps, tinned peas, etc. Won't do the other fish any harm. Anyway, this'll help clear out the insides. But if you do see other fish with odd faeces and/or signs of emaciation, then by all means switch to something anti-parasitic. While constipation is rather more common in livebearers, parasitic infections do happen, and are worth bearing in mind when fish start looking off-colour. Camallanus worms are probably the most commonly found intestinal parasites in livebearing fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Large Tropical Community with Ich (White Spot)????  1/16/08 Please Help. I have a 30g tank with a biofilter and airstones. Tank established for 6 months. NO2+=:0, NO3=:0, pH=:6.8, KH=:80, GH=:120. The temperature is at a steady 82% with the heater. Substrate=: Shallow Fine Gravel. Occupants are: 1 Black Ghost Knife, <Needs more room than this> 2 Platys, 2 Guppies, 2 Angels, 3 mollies, <... brackish water animals... Incompatible water quality wise here> 6 Tetras, 2 golden Dojo Loaches, 1 Dwarf Gourami and 1 Cory cat. All were doing well until I added a 4th molly a week ago. I only quarantined him for two days because my other 2 male mollies were harassing my female molly, so I put him in the 30g prematurely!! <Oh oh...> Now most fish, with the exception of my beautiful Black Ghost and the Tetras have several tiny white spots all over their body! It must be new. I just noticed last night. I have many medications, Melafix, Pimafix, <These "fixes" are worthless... worse than worthless> Rid Ich, Fungus Cure, aquarium salt, etc'¦ and have never used them, because I believe if it ain't broke, don't fix it! <We are in agreement here re this "philosophy"> I pride myself on pristine tank conditions with 30% H20 change weekly. Please, what should I do? <... Raise temperature... read... move the mollies elsewhere... remove carbon, maybe try half dosing the Rid Ich... read first> I love all my fish, but my Black Ghost and 2 Loaches are my pride and joy! I will not do anything to hurt them! My quarantine tank is only 10g and does not have a heater. <Too late for quarantine...> The temp in that tank is only 76-78%. It is cycled for over a year and currently empty. The pH is 6.8. Please don't tell me that I have overstocked my aquarium, as I already know and feel bad enough. Despite everything I read, I did not resist the temptation to keep adding beautiful fish and now I, or I should say, the fish are paying the price. Can u help me? Sincerely Yours: Kristen <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollies.htm and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>

Parasites..? in pond fish, Gambusia to be precise -12/14/07 Hello Crew, <Nicole> I am writing this in a bit of a hurry, so my apologies if this sounds disjointed. I'm at work and it's just about time to lock up. <Okay... similarly, please make allowance for my incoherency... am just waking up> I was visiting my friend today, and he pointed out something very odd in his pond. Three fish were covered with what looked like tumors at first. The affected fish were mosquitofish. Upon netting one and observing it more closely, by putting it in a glass and holding it up to the window, it became apparent that these fleshy growths were not subcutaneous but loosely attached to the skin. Some of them fell right off while the fish was swimming in the glass. I don't know how to describe the growths, except to say that they are light brown gelatinous blobs, slimy and mucus like, oval shaped, and they appear to cover the fish from head to tail, including near the gill area. The affected fish are moving slowly and seem emaciated, perhaps just from being too slow to get food amongst all of the competition. <Good descriptions> This pond is stocked with native FL fish that he's collected from various bodies of water and populated his pond with over the years. Mosquitofish primarily, but it seems some minnows and killifish too. More recently, a few bass and the fry of what appear to be bluegills, have been discovered in there. <I see... possibility of contamination from vectors> This is a very basic round pond, maybe 15-20 feet in diameter, which started as a hole dug in the clay and filled with water with plants of all sorts added over the years. It's about 10 years old, in case that matters. Recently he let it "go wild" and it became overrun with cattails, duck potato, pickerel weed, etc. Finally this winter, he drained it, moved all of the fish to other ponds (he has 3-4 other small ponds, which he digs himself with a backhoe) and removed most of the plants, leaving only a few huge root balls in the mud which will probably take hold again. I just thought I would mention this in case this gives any clue as to why these parasites (I am assuming that's what these are?) would suddenly appear, after 10 years of having small pond fish without any signs of such trouble. <Many possibilities... could even have been "something" brought in via waterfowl...> Incidentally, I don't have any idea what the water quality is like in the pond, except the water does seem very tannic (lots of acorns falling in and such) and is unfiltered, but regularly topped off. Lately the water has turned green sometimes, but it seems to come and go. The clay soil around the pond makes the water rather turbid anyhow. I'm sorry, I wish I could be more scientific, but I know next to nothing about ponds! I'm just trying to help him find out more about this, as he is sort of a backwoods guy and not computer literate. <No worries> I know this is almost impossible to comment upon without a picture ID, and next time I see him I will bring my digital camera. However, in the meantime, is there anything you can recommend? <Mmm, yes... some water changes mostly... perhaps even just water addition; if the system is "percolating" as many such ponds do in FLA... adding a slow running hose pipe to dilute the acorn et al. effects> Any clue as to what this might be? <Likely "just" environmental in cause... the result of "dead sea effect"... cumulative metabolic accumulation... Though could be pathogenic (trematodes, other possibilities), even idiopathic tumour...> Or perhaps you could point me to a resource, either online or in print (as I work at a library, and could probably have a book interlibrary loaned if need be) that could show me pictures of diseased fish to compare to? <There are several Ed Noga, "Fish Disease, Diagnosis and Treatment" I especially like...> I have looked a bit online and have found excellent websites with lots of written description, but the pictures, if any, are microscopic images. What I was hoping to find was pictures of diseased fish, or a picture of the parasites as they are seen by the naked eye. If there is anything obvious that I am missing here or failing to see? <Mmm, not likely. There are no good to great works of this kind online as far as I'm aware> Sorry, this email did get a bid wordy after all. In any case, if anyone could help, I would be most grateful! Thanks so much, Nicole <For now, the simple water changes... Is what I would do. Testing for quality next... Bob Fenner>

Unwelcome Hitchers (External Parasites?), FW  11/9/07 I found what sounds exactly like what seems to be my issue. However, I do not see a clear answer. The question was named Unwelcome Hitchers (External Parasites?). I found it here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fshwrmdisfaq2.htm FAQs on Parasitic Worm Diseases 2 Just wondering what it could be. I have noticed these things for some time. Like the previous person said, it does not seem to bother the fish. They must fall off in after feeding because when I am cleaning the tank I find these little thingies. <... a drawing, photo?> Normally just one or two. The last time I found several. I just want to get rid of them. I do recall once that it may have been just attaching itself to the fish and it was like a clear round small bubble? (best way to describe it right now). I treated it with Quick cure and it kind of released itself soon after (not sure if it was the med or the life cycle). <The former... has formaldehyde in it... just get the open bottle near your eyes... wait, don't!> I saw it floating through the water and it appeared to have a tiny red dot in the center. A few days later, I was cleaning the tank and found this little disc, but hardened. Like a contact lens. Please, help. You may not have the answer, but seeing how this seems to be common in my tank for right now, if I find a treatment that gets rid of it (and it stays away for longer than a few weeks). I will let you know. <Sounds like Flukes... I'd try a dewormer... Prazi-Pro, Praziquantel... Bob Fenner>

Sick fish and some sort of parasites 10/25/07 Hello. How is everything? I am once again, in need of your guidance. I have a 55 gallon tank with 2 great filters. I have 3 adult mollies, (5) 3 month old mollies, 2 dwarf gouramis (male and female), and 7 adult mm platies and (2) 3 month mm platies. My tank is 6 months old and is well established. On Saturday 10/20/07 I cleaned the tank out and scrubbed the walls of it. There was some sort of white almost microscopic worms all over it. Where could this come from??? I use algae tablets and clean the walls every Saturday. I noticed last night my molly with a beautiful tail has fin rot, so I began treatment last night with some medicine. Maracyn. I removed carbon from filters. This morning the white skurmmyworm things are BACK....and are everywhere. Any advise. and 2 of my mm platies are covered in slime...so they going to die Melissa <Hi Melissa. The worms are either free-living nematodes (thread worms) or free-living planarians (flatworms). In either case, they're harmless. But they are an indication that your tank has a lot of organic material lying about, because that's what they eat. In a clean tank, these worms are simply not a problem. So, given your other problems, I'd worry less about the worms and more about the water quality. Mollies and Platys are both sensitive to water quality, and Finrot and Fungus, the problems you have, are caused directly by poor water quality. Have you checked the nitrite and ammonia levels in your aquarium? These need to be zero. Furthermore, Mollies have very little tolerance for nitrate, so nitrate needs to be less than 20 mg/l. Regardless, "cleaning" an aquarium has very little to do with scrubbing the glass. Indeed, tanks that are covered in algae and look messy can have superb water quality. Conversely, plenty of superficially clean aquaria have terrible water quality. So, make sure you are doing all the basics: Don't clean the filter too often, and when you do (maybe once every 2-3 months) do no more than rinse the media in a bucket of aquarium water. Don't waste your filter space with carbon; instead, fill it with biological media. Sponge, filter wool and ceramic media all work great. Make sure you do regular water changes. 25-50% per week is a good amount. You tank isn't heavily stocked, so you should be fine keeping these fish. One last thing: Mollies do much better in brackish or salt water than they do in freshwater. Adding 4-6 grammes of marine salt mix per litre makes all the difference. If you absolutely must keep your Mollies in freshwater, it is ESSENTIAL that the water is spotlessly clean (zero ammonia and nitrite, and minimal nitrate) and that the carbonate hardness is very high (at least 8-10 degrees KH). Otherwise, keeping Mollies becomes an uphill struggle against disease. Platies tolerate slightly brackish water very well, as will most other livebearers. But Dwarf Gouramis not so much. For now, you need to treat your fish with a combination Finrot/Fungus medication; Maracyn should do the trick. Do make sure you remove carbon before using it though. Lots of people forget this critical step, and wonder why their fish medications never work! Once you're done, remember: Fish are basically very healthy and trouble-free animals -- provided you give them the water conditions they want! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick fish and some sort of parasites 10/25/07 I should have mentioned that everything is reading PERFECT. Zero ammonia and zero nitrate. The pH is 7.0....I really don't know what is wrong. I am using Maracyn powder packets with carbon removed. How do I get rid of these little white worm things. They are really grossin' me out and are very unattractive. They have multiplied very fast. Also.....my mollies had a ton of babies......they are doing well it seems.....and have been in the tank for about 4 days. Thank you so so much for all your time <Well, for a start, pH 7 is way too low for livebearers, so that's likely a problem. What this pH says is that your water likely lacks mineral content. When keeping livebearers, the general hardness (dH) and carbonate hardness (KH) are the keys to good health. Test the water and find out. You want at least 5 degrees KH, 12 degrees dH, and ideally above 10 degrees KH, 20 degrees dH if you want your Mollies to do well. Nice and hard water should have a pH around 7.5-8.0. There are two approaches here. Firstly, you can add Malawi salts to the water each time you do a water change. Malawi salts are NOT tonic salts. Malawi salts are added to the water like tonic salts though, and once dissolved into the bucket of water will raise the hardness very effectively. A 50% dose relative to what you need for Malawi cichlids should be fine, so if the box says it'll treat 100 litres, it'll do 200 litres in your aquarium. Alternatively, you add crushed coral to a filter. As the water washes past the crushed coral it will absorb hardness minerals. Likely every month you'll need to clean this crushed coral because bacterial slime makes it ineffective over time. So compared with adding Malawi salts this is "cheap and cheerful" but a little more work. It goes without saying that while all livebearers like "rock hard" water, not all other tropical fish do, so you need to choose tankmates with care. This is why you have to research fish before buying them. But please understand this: if your water chemistry is too soft and acidic for livebearers (which it seems to be) they will never stay healthy. Simple as that. Do you know anything about gardening? It's like trying to grow heather in an alkaline soil: the plant wants an acid soil, so however much you try to help the heather, it'll just die. As for the worms -- their numbers are directly proportional to the food in the tank available to eat. Cut back on the food you give your fish, and remove uneaten food at once, and Mother Nature will take care of their numbers! They'll die back gradually. Really, these worms aren't a problem, and in a stable, properly maintained aquarium you hardly ever see them. Cheers, Neale>

Help me with my goldfish... Error in placing "feeders" in a tank...    10/24/07 Hi, my nephew won these fish at a carnival and I just so happened to have started a tank about a month prior with only a algae eater in it <I hope not a CAE... please see the Net, WWM re Gyrinocheilus aymonieri> and he asked if I could add these two fish to my tank. So I did, <A mistake... such "feeder, comets" are notoriously unhealthy... invariably infested with a few types of parasites, infectious agents... now your system is as well> and now the one fish has black spots on him and is losing all of his fins, they are deteriorating. And as of this morning, he is getting a white egg textured film on top of his head and off the back of his tail. I am new to the whole goldfish thing, so could you help me find a cure. thanks so much!! Amber <Much to relate to you re developing a course of treatment here... As stated, your whole tank, all the fishes there... are subject to a myriad of pathogens... Best for you to start reading... Here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm and the linked files above... till you understand what you've done, what you're up against... You will need to sequentially treat the system, all fishes for bacterial, protozoan, worm et al. diseases... Bob Fenner>

Help with internal parasites, again...  Mollies   9/1/07 Hello Crew! <Greetings.> I've had a few long chats with Tom about my Mollies with internal parasites. This has proven as hard to get rid of as ich and killed many fish. <Curious. My first question when people have problems with mollies is whether they are keeping them in freshwater or in brackish/marine conditions. In the former case they seem to me to be irredeemably delicate, and successful maintenance requires excellent (i.e., zero nitrate) water quality. In brackish/marine conditions mollies are basically indestructible. For me, it's a no-brainer: if you want to keep mollies with the minimum fuss, keep them at 25-100% seawater salinity (~SG 1.005-1.018). Ich/whitespot cannot survive under such conditions, Finrot and fungal infections are extremely rare, and internal parasite "spores" (or whatever) cannot survive the saltwater conditions so cannot infect healthy fish.> It all started when we lost one small black balloon Molly, and then realized that her companion was getting way too thin and had the red worm-thing sticking out her anus. We tried Metronidazole and a variety of other medicines, but she died despite our frantic attempts at a cure. <Why did you use Metronidazole? That's a drug primarily for internal bacteria and to a less extent protozoan parasites. As far as I know, it has no effect on multicellular parasites such as worms. For those, you need something worm-specific (i.e., an anti-helminth drug) such as PraziPro or Sterazin.> So, when we got two new balloon Mollies, we treated them in the quarantine tank with PraziPro (which is supposed to be effective) before we let them join the two remaining healthy fish. We added them to our apparently unaffected two remaining bigger Mollies, who came from a different dealer (one orange male and one spotted female). We lost the male two weeks ago (within three days he stopped chasing the females, then one morning was lying at the bottom of the tank gasping, then he was dead, no symptoms of anything). My boyfriend just called to tell me the spotted female died today, and apparently she has this red worm-thing again. What's worse, one of the two living Mollies has a distended anus with some white tube-like stuff protruding. <This is a dumb question perhaps, but are you sure the problem here is worms? Parasitic worms generally don't cause quick deaths. What you tend to see is a gradual loss of condition or a failure to grow or put on weight. By their nature, most of these intestinal parasites have evolved not to kill the host outright, since they die when the host dies. Wild fish commonly carry a parasite load, but otherwise aren't harmed. Nine times out of ten, mollies die from nitrate poisoning, Finrot, fungal infections, or acidosis. This is especially true when the die "quickly". Gasping, for example, is a good sign of respiratory distress, which can be caused by poor water quality and a too-low pH. Just a reminder, mollies in freshwater conditions (if you're foolish enough to keep them thus) need three specific things: zero nitrate, pH 7.5-8.2, and hardness not less than 20 degrees dH. In brackish/marine conditions, the sodium chloride will detoxify the nitrate so that isn't an issue, and the other salts in the marine salt mix will raise the pH and hardness automatically. Please note that "tonic salt" or "aquarium salt" won't do anything other than mitigate the nitrate, so are a greatly inferior product when keeping mollies.> He's moving them to our quarantine/treatment tank as we speak and will start treating with PraziPro again. Should I also give them Metronidazole? I know they can be mixed, but it's not supposed to be super effective against those kinds of parasites. In any case, I'll follow your advice. <PraziPro yes, Metronidazole no. As a rule, unless a qualified animal healthcare professional has said otherwise, you should NEVER mix medications. The synergies between two or more drugs are unknown, and potentially lethal. But more importantly, sit down and review your water conditions and chemistry. If you're keeping your mollies in freshwater, please understand that you will always be fighting to keep them healthy. It's just the way it is with mollies. While they are certainly freshwater fish in the wild, in aquaria they just don't do well kept thus. Spend any time reviewing the livebearer e-mails here, or postings on fish forums, and you'll see that there are always bucket-loads of messages about sick mollies.> Now, the only remaining animals in the tank are a Nerite snail and two Amano shrimp (maybe a few Cherry shrimp too but we haven't seen them in a while). <Ah, now the good news here is both Amano shrimps and Nerite snails are salt-tolerant, so you can raise the salinity of the tank to SG 1.003-1.005 without problems, should you choose to do so.> Do I need to treat the main tank to ensure that all parasites are gone? The fish are apparently reinfecting each other, and I want to ensure that they don't get sick again when I put them in the main tank. Do I need to leave the aquarium fallow? If so, how long? Do I hunt the shrimp and move them out, then treat the whole tank? Help! <Yes, you need to treat the tank. Yes, you will probably need to remove the shrimps, as they tend to be sensitive to medications.> Do I need to treat the Betta and his Eclipse III too? He used to be in the same aquarium as the Mollies, he might have been exposed... <Probably not, unless you see some symptoms.> I know many people say that healthy fish "strike a balance" with their internal parasites and live in apparent health for years with them. This hasn't proven true for me, those are nasty little bugs (and tough too, after a week of PraziPro the worm was still hanging on) and I'd be extremely glad to be rid of them, once and for all. <My suspicion is that you're dealing with mollies that are fundamentally stressed, and the worms are at best an "excuse" for them to wave a little white flag and give up.> Those have to be from the LFS, and they must have lived for months with the things in their digestive systems without showing any signs, since we haven't given them anything else but Nori, flakes, sinking pellets and bits of corn for about a month. They also get frozen bloodworms, and occasionally brine shrimp, but they're both Hikari brand that's supposed to be well sterilized. <The foods you list should be fine. Do bear in mind mollies are primarily herbivores, and the ratio of green to meaty foods should be of the order 80% to 20%. In fact, feeding them exclusively on vegetable-based fish foods (livebearer flake, Spirulina flake, algae pellets) would be entirely acceptable.> I really don't want to battle internal parasites AGAIN!!! <If you want healthy mollies, keep them in brackish/marine conditions. If you want to have to deal with "disease of the month" with your mollies, keep them in freshwater. That's Neale's sage advice for the day.> Thank you so much for your advice... once again! Merci beaucoup! <You're welcome.> Audrey <Neale>

Re: Help with internal parasites, again... -- 09/01/07 Hi again, Neale! <Hello Audrey,> Thank you for such a detailed answer. It did make me feel slightly like I was a bad fish owner, but maybe I deserve it for waiting so long to do what I know I should be doing.... > <Curious. My first question when people have problems with mollies is whether they are keeping them in freshwater or in brackish/marine conditions. *blushing*... I know, I know... All right... I won't ask any questions again until I do the switch to brackish... I've been planning on it for ages, but I was waiting until after we got the new apartment more or less organized so we could move everyone to a brand new 30 gallons... Looks like this is the signal to get a move on... Incidentally, we never detect any nitrates. We have plants and a healthy dose of algae so I suspect they get used up before our test kit can detect them. We also had a light fish load, four very small Mollies (balloon variety, they never grew) in 10 gallons (I know, too small, we'll wait until we get the 30 gal we're planning on before we get any more fish, but with the move we've had to buy essential furniture before we can think of a new aquarium). The LFS tells us we can put 10 Mollies in a 10 gallons... (!?!?!?!?!?!) Let's just say we have learned very quickly to take their advice with a big grain of salt :-) pH was always at least 7.5 and climbed very slightly during the winter, high enough that I didn't want to risk most of the fish they sell in the LFS, who need neutral or slightly acidic water. I guess the big problem is with (hardness? alkalinity?), I need to learn what scale it is measured in but the water here is a steady 9. You're going to say too low, I know. We used to add livebearer salt, but after reading your advice (worthless, waste of money, etc. unless used for a specific problem), we stopped adding it to the tank a few months ago. We'll drop by the marine LFS this afternoon and pick up some marine salt. <Ah, you seem to understand what's going on, so there's not really much more to add. Mollies just aren't as easy as everyone thinks, with the result that lots of them (most?) get sick and die rather quickly. I'd compare them to goldfish in this regard -- they seem easy, but they're not. For aquarists who want to stick with freshwater, I always recommend platies or swordtails instead. On the topic of pH and hardness, it's almost always safe not to worry about these (within reason). Most common freshwater fish (as opposed to brackish water ones!) can adapt to a wide range of values, so Neons, for example, may *prefer* pH 5.5, near-zero hardness, but they'll *thrive* at pH 8, 20 degrees dH if acclimated to it carefully and otherwise looked after properly. What matters isn't so much the values as the *stability* -- what most fish hate is pH and hardness levels that bounce around. In other words, get fish that are already thriving at the retailer, keep them in your local water conditions, and use good filtration and regular water changes to optimise water quality while diluting the background water chemistry changes that happen in freshwater tanks anyway.> See... sometimes it takes fish dying so that we learn. Another red flag should have been that they've never bred... we thought our male was sterile because try as he may, he could never get one of them pregnant. In retrospect, maybe they were just in the wrong conditions to breed. <Quite possibly. But just as likely the fry got eaten or sucked up the filter or whatever.> > <Why did you use Metronidazole? Ah, well, because the only symptom we had was one dead emaciated fish and one very thin, formerly very plump, fish and we didn't know what she had, and this was recommended by the marine LFS and was the only thing we could find FAST! The local LFS have never heard of a cure for internal parasites. They just let them be. We did our best on short notice. And then we did more research, and found out about Praziquantel and other medicines, and tried to get some locally but *nobody* sells it around here, we called about 6 places, so I tried to mail-order it, but the two Canadian mail-order stores I know of didn't have it in stock, so we ordered Jungle Labs medicated food, which they wouldn't eat, and then we ordered Gel-Tek, which does contain some Prazi, but that didn't work, and finally the mail-order place got some PraziPro in stock, but by the time we tried that I think it was too late and the fish died, with three very visible red tails sticking out of her anus. But at least we'd finally got to the right medicine - I think. <I see. Sounds rather bad luck.> > <This is a dumb question perhaps, but are you sure the problem here is worms? Parasitic worms generally don't cause quick deaths. What you tend to see is a gradual loss of condition or a failure to grow or put on weight. I think this is exactly what we were seeing, but didn't recognize it in time. We've had some of those fish for six months and they haven't grown. It's just so gradual that we don't notice until the fish are too feeble to function properly. They seem fine, and then one morning they're not quite right, and a week later, they're dying. They never get to the not eating stage. I'm not saying their death can't be due to something else, and it might be more than one factor, but my test kit tells me the pH is steady at 7.5 and that there are no nitrates. What I see is fish that won't grow, and that after a few months just stop functioning. When the male died he hadn't chased the females for about a week, maybe more, we just didn't notice at first... I feel bad for not noticing those things, but they happen so gradually... and when we did notice something wasn't quite right we didn't know what the problem was. <OK. Again, you seem to have a sense of what's going on already, so all I can add here is a second opinion. Often, fish deaths come about from multiple small factors acting in concert. Much as with sickness in humans. So you need to watch for the small signs and act swiftly. Odd behaviour is often one of the very best clues, and a lot of experienced fishkeepers will hardly ever need to use test kits because they can spot when things aren't right in established tanks because the fish aren't doing what they should be doing. I don't recommend that approach for beginners of course!> > <PraziPro yes, Metronidazole no. As a rule, unless a qualified animal healthcare professional has said otherwise, you should NEVER mix  medications. Ah, but in this case, we know they can be mixed safely because most general anti-parasite medicines contain at least those two, and sometimes other medicines too. But if you say Metro is worthless in this case, I won't use it. This is my understanding as well, but sometimes we bow to people of superior knowledge, so I was asking just in case, because I have some in my fish medicine cabinet... <I'm not an expert on antibiotics for fish -- they're essentially prescription-only in the UK, so when you get them, the vet will tell you exactly how to use them. I'm happy to let others give you relevant advice here. But me, I prefer to use medications sequentially. It's also important to identify the problem before using the medication; scattergun approaches are risky because many medications can stress the fish, and if they aren't fixing one problem, they could end up causing another. Mollies should be fine, but things like loaches and pufferfish often react badly to medicines, and stingrays and invertebrates can be killed outright. So you need to treat medications with respect. Identify the disease, choose your drug, and look out for side effects.> > <Ah, now the good news here is both Amano shrimps and Nerite snails are salt-tolerant, so you can raise the salinity of the tank to SG 1.003-1.005 without problems, should you choose to do so.> Yup, that's exactly what I was planning on when we got the 30 gal. I didn't want to do it with the Cherries in there, because from what I read they're not salt-tolerant at all, and I can't put them with the Betta because he'd rip them apart (he did it before, so we tried some cheap Ghost shrimp, and only found shrimp bits...). I was also trying to find a supplier of Bumblebee Gobies, for the future, and I have lists and lists of salt-tolerant plants, and know the ones we have now *should* make the switch (Bacopa, Anubias, Java fern, and Vallisneria in "quarantine" so we can screen for snails). We're all ready. We just haven't done it yet. <Very good. I'm not sure whether Cherry shrimps are good in brackish or not. I'd personally risk it, at least to SG 1.003. Shrimps tend to be salt tolerant (many, though not Cherries) have a marine stage in their life cycle, as is the case with Amano shrimps. Acclimating slowly is perhaps the key. I keep (and inevitably breed!) Cherry shrimps and have found them to be rather robust animals, for their size. All your plants are good brackish water denizens, and assuming you have enough light and good substrate for them, will adapt readily. You've also got a nice mix there. When people rely solely on slow-growers like Java fern and Java moss, they end up with algae problems. Throwing in some Bacopa and Vallis should help a great deal. Indian fern is another good algae-beater that tolerates low-end brackish.> > <My suspicion is that you're dealing with mollies that are fundamentally stressed, and the worms are at best an "excuse" for them to wave a little white flag and give up.> Then I'll work under this assumption. I promise not to bother you again with my Mollie troubles until they're safely in brackish water. Then, if I'm still having problems, I'll let you have a go at it :-) <Heh! Brackish water doesn't fix everything, and it certainly won't cure infected mollies of things like intestinal worms. But what it does do is make them orders of magnitude more robust, and the salinity also suppresses many external parasites as well as the infective stages of certain internal parasites. This is why brackish water fishes have a reputation for being so hardy.> > <The foods you list should be fine. Do bear in mind mollies are primarily herbivores, and the ratio of green to meaty foods should be of the order 80% to 20%. In fact, feeding them exclusively on vegetable-based fish foods (livebearer flake, Spirulina flake, algae pellets) would be entirely acceptable.> Yes, they've been getting Nori at least a day out of two. I tried peas but they don't eat it, but they do like corn. I'll try broccoli next. Can you believe I haven't ever seen a vegetable-based flake around? Sometimes I feel aquarium shops around here are 20 years behind the times... Even the sinking "algae" pellets have fish flour in them, sometimes even as the first ingredient, so they're not really vegetarian... I've been looking for something called "Spirulina flake" but haven't seen it, just regular flakes with Spirulina among the other ingredients. *sigh*. Maybe I'm simply not looking in the right places. In the meantime, we got some Nori for free at the local sushi place, we just ask for a sheet when we pick up some takeout and with only four small fish, it lasts a long time... and the Amano love it too. <Interesting. I picked up Spirulina in a grocery store called Hy-Vee in Lincoln, Nebraska over Christmas. So I suspect it's a case of looking out for the stuff while you're on your travels. It isn't critical though. You might even grow your own: a plastic goldfish bowl placed outdoors and filled with water will quickly develop a nice flora and fauna including insect larvae and thread algae. Yum, yum! I love taking this approach, because my "live food ponds" become interesting aquaria in their own right.> Interesting unrelated tidbit, our Betta eats everything, either floating, sinking or lying at the bottom of the tank (flake, sinking pellets, Betta food, live shrimp, dead shrimp, bloodworms and brine shrimp, peas, corn, everything we ever put in his tank). He even tried Nori. Well... he tried it the first time we gave it to him, but stubbornly refused to taste it ever again :-) I guess even the most wide-ranging tastes have their limit :-) <Indeed! But that's the right approach to feeding fish. Let them have a little of everything.> Thank you again, and sorry to be such a bother :-) Audrey <Not a problem. Good luck, Neale>

Re: Help with internal parasites, again...  9/7/07 Hi again, everyone! I hope you're having a good week! I'm not - my Mollies are sick. <Oh dear.> I'm leaving the previous correspondence below so you can refer to it, but here are the latest problems. I treated the tank with PraziPro as Neal recommended. On the bottle, it says it may have to be repeated, but not to go over two treatments (3 to 5 days each). <Yes.> After about 6 days of treatment, one of the Mollies that previously looked fine started producing very large poo (more than twice the usual diameter), and then we noticed her anus is very enlarged, as if she's missing some tissue down there. And there's the usual red tail of the Callamanus worm (unconfirmed, but it looks exactly like every picture of Callamanus I've ever seen, so I'm pretty sure of the diagnosis). <OK.> The treatment is now reaching its end. The manufacturers say not to treat more than twice, but the worms are still there, and it's obvious she's not feeling right (who would, with such an injury?). <Indeed. You may want to treat a second time, after doing a couple of 50% water changes across a space of one week.> I've also started increasing the salinity of the water, I'm using real saltwater aquarium salt, not the livebearer salt. The density is probably around .002 now, and I'll keep increasing it over the next few days until it's around .005. <Very good. Monitor the ammonia/nitrite levels if you can, just to make sure the filter is happy. Normally, going up to SG 1.005 causes no problems. But I always recommend going to SG 1.003, and staying there for a week to two. If everything looks fine, you can raise the salinity further. For all practical purposes, most fish happy at SG 1.005 will be happy at SG 1.003.> So, what should I do? Can the fish be saved? <Perhaps.> She doesn't look like she's suffering, even if she's not exactly her usual self. She still eats, she'll be in brackish water soon, I've increased the water changes and she's undergone two PraziPro treatments that everybody tells me should work, but she's still infested. <Brackish water won't do much about internal parasites, that much should be obvious. But it'll help the all-round health.> Any ideas? Should I try PraziPro again? It doesn't seem to be working (and no, there is no carbon in the tank at the moment). Should I just let her be? <I'd certainly give her a "breather" for a couple of weeks before running any more medications. But yes, I'd run the Prazi Pro another time.> We've lost many fish to these worms and I'm starting to get really discouraged. <I've never once had fish with them. Odd. Not sure why you've had such bad luck.> Thank you, once again, Audrey <Good luck, Neale>


Aftermath of parasites, FW   7/5/07 Hello all, <<Hello, Eric. Tom here.>> First, I'd like to thank you so much for this wonderful service, and for the wealth of information one can find here! <<Thank you for the kind words, Eric. Much appreciated by all, I'm sure.>> I'm writing about a recently set up 130g aquarium. It came down with a ich infestation about a month ago when we introduced two young jack Dempseys without quarantine (a mistake I will *never* make again, I assure you!). <<Good man! Sorry it was a hard lesson learned, though.>> It seemed like the problem had been mated after a week and a half of high temperature and malachite green treatments, but 2 or 3 days after we stopped medicating, one of the jacks and a Severum came down with signs of Chilodonella (constantly staying near the surface in spite of abundant aeration -- one air pump and ample water-return disturbance at the surface -- and bluish/white patches just over the eyes and around the gill area). That's when I decided I had had it with paying a fortune to medicate the display tank, bought a quarantine tank, and moved everyone to it (the Severum and the two jacks. The 4 Corydoras and 2 clown loaches we had unfortunately all succumbed during treatment). <<So far, Eric, this response is writing itself. Bob's going to thank you for helping me keep my mouth shut.>> The QT is a 20g with basic filtration and heating. I'm medicating with Seachem Paraguard at 1ml/8L (recommended dosage). I also gave daily salt baths to all fishes so long as they looked infected. They have been in the QT for two weeks now. They are all doing much better now, and unless something pops back up, I will discontinue medication tomorrow. <<Glad to hear things are on the upswing for you and your pets!>> The Severum actually made an impressive recovery: he passed from extremely laboured to completely normal breathing, and his minor case of (what I take to have been) stress-induced fin rot has all but disappeared. Everyone is eating as well. <<Excellent.>> Now my question is the following: what do I do with the main tank? It's been running empty for 2 weeks now, and I changed about 60% of the water. I intend on keeping the fishes in observation in the QT for another week at least, but in the meantime, should I medicate the display tank in any way, or is it safe to assume that parasites will have all died out without hosts? <<Keep the temperature up and add carbon to your filter, if you haven't already done so, to remove any remaining med's. Water changes will assist in this as well. Given a time frame of, at least, three weeks of elevated temperatures and no host fish, if there's a parasite left (even at this point) you'll have presented the hobby a whole new ball game where Ick is concerned. (There are known strains of Ick that have survived temperatures to 90 degrees F. but there is no dormancy involved with this pest so you should be 'golden', even now.)>> Also, will it have to re-cycle, after having been fish-less for this long? <<Very little question about it, Eric. Supply and demand. Count on re-cycling before re-introducing your fish. I'd give you my patented 'BIO-Spira' pep talk but noted above that your spelling of 'labored' is 'laboured' which leads me to believe that it probably isn't available where you live. In fact, I know it isn't. (Been through this with another "friend" from Montreal.) You know the cycling 'drill' already though and there are other methods of 'jump starting' the process.>> Thanks a lot in advance! Best, Eric <<Best to you as well, Eric. Sorry for your losses but I'm relieved to hear that things have gone well, in a manner of speaking, for your Cichlids. Continued good luck. Tom>>

Re: Aftermath of parasites, FW     7/7/07 Thanks Tom for your reply! <<Sure thing, Eric.>> I just have one other quick question: > have all died out without hosts? <<Keep the temperature up and add carbon to your filter, if you haven't already done so, to remove any remaining med's. Water changes will assist in this as well. Given a time frame of, at least, three weeks of elevated temperatures and no host fish, if there's a parasite left (even at this point) you'll have presented the hobby a whole new ball game where Ick is concerned. (There are known strains of Ick that have survived temperatures to 90 degrees F. but there is no dormancy involved with this pest so you should be "golden", even now.)>> Actually, it's the Chilodonella I was the most worried about. <<Ahhh, and my apologies for skipping over this.>> I remember reading somewhere that it's temperature resistant, and that it could survive in dormancy in filter media, substrate, plants, etc. Is there any truth to that? <<Yes, there is, on both counts.>> If so, what's the best way to make sure the aquarium is safe to accommodate the fishes again? Massive dose of medication, standard medication over several days, salt? <<Actually, the good news is that there are a variety of treatments at your disposal. Salt for a couple of weeks will do well but I don't recommend this because of the plants. A combination of malachite green and formalin, copper (Aquarisol, for instance), Acriflavine or methylene blue are all recommended/suggested. A single treatment should do it but since you're currently 'fishless' and will be re-cycling anyway, I wouldn't be reluctant to provide a couple of treatments with water changes between each.>> In any case, I'm probably going to re-cycle the tank fishless with ammonia, so whatever I end up doing will involve a 70%-ish water change at the end to remove nitrates anyway. I just want to make sure I'm not under treating the problem. <<I don't think you'll be under-treating at all with two treatments of any of the products mentioned earlier, Eric.>> Thanks so much again! <<You're quite welcome.>> Best, Eric <<Best to you, Eric. Tom>>

UV filtration with 2 filters, and parasitic FW sys. f'   7/26/07 Hello again! I'm the one who recently asked about treating a 130g tank that had gone through a nasty outbreak of Chilodonella, before reintroducing the then cured fishes. I followed the advice I received, and treated with Malachite green/formalin for a few days, coupled with massive water changes. I cycled the tank, and have since successfully transferred all afflicted fishes back (and some more) and so far, everyone is doing very well. No signs of ill-health at all. Thanks again for the advice! <Congrats!> My question this time has to do with the set up itself, especially filtration. The tank is 72 x 24 x 16 inches and filtration is provided by an Eheim Pro II 2028. I've come to realise that I'm probably under filtering: the Eheim is rated for 277 GPH, which I hear corresponds to the flow-rate without any media in the box. This means that in actual practice I'm probably getting my volume turned over at most 1.5x an hour. <Yes> So I figured I probably should get another filter, and in any case, it certainly can't hurt. Wouldn't you agree? <I do> I'm especially leaning towards the Filstar XP4, since I can get one on sale for rather cheap. Flow rate seems a bit high to me (450GPH), but I suppose with a spray bar turned in towards the glass, the fishes (Severums, Geophagus and jack Dempseys) wouldn't mind the flow. <Not at all> Now, I also wanted to add a turbo-twist (Coralife) UV steriliser, but was wondering what the most efficient way to set it up would be. Does it make a difference which filter I mount the lamp on? <In this case... not really... both will/would provide adequate circulation... both magnetic driven pumps will be about the same mal-influenced...> I figured the one with the higher flow rate would be preferable, since the water would get to meet the light more often. <Mmm... oh, I see you address this below> So, I figured the best option would be to get the 36W model, for flow-rates between 400 and a 1000 GPH, and mount it on the Filstar. <Yes... these would be well-matched> Then again, I was worried that once loaded with media, the actual performance of the filter could fall below this. <You are correct> How damaging would that be in practice? <Mmm, not enough to be overly concerned> Would I be better off getting the lower powered lamp (18W) and reducing the flow-rate to below 400GPH? <Yes... IMO this would be fine> That would put me on the higher-end of the scale and, I fear, would reduce efficiency due to decreased exposition time. What would you recommend I do? <I'd go with the 18 watt unit... and hook it up to the new filter> I'll set up the filter first, to test the actual flow rate, but should I find it to be below 400GPH, which of the two filters should I mount the lamp on? Ideally, I'd have one on each but, well, one's funds are never unlimited... Thanks again for this truly wonderful service you are providing. Best, Eric <Welcome! Bob Fenner>


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.> Branon <Cheers, Neale> <Mmm, an anomalous "Sporozoan" incident methinks. RMF>

Re: pH and Bio Wheel filter (parasites are gone)   3/8/07 Hello Bob: Here is Anna, again :--) Before I start another topic, let me give you a brief update on my fish health condition. On Feb. 24th I moved my fishy crew (tetras, sword, and butterfly - Pleco) to a hospital tank. As recommended I let the 10-gallon home tank go "fallow." With partial daily water changes & bottom vacuuming + some Maracyn 2 (for 5 days)  + excellent food + vitamins I was able to bring all hospitalized fish to stability.  The hospital tank reads stable parameters - ammonia = 0, nitrate = 0, pH = 6.8. Visibly fish looks better, eats well and swims all over the place. None has any white patches, or heavy breathing, or white spots. <Good> In between, I also bought Emperor 280 Bio-Wheel filter (as discussed last time) and installed it on the home tank (along with an "old" filter). For the 1st week the parameters in the home tank mirrored the ones in the hospital tank (amm.=0, Nitr.. = 0, pH=6.8). Few days ago I added additional carbon to the media container in Bio-Wheel filter. The water got unnaturally crispy, clean,  and transparent. <Good carbon will do this> Yesterday,  I checked the water condition in the display tank and noticed that pH jumped to the 7.6. I assume, however, that this number could actually increase further (the water as per API pH kit is very dark blue),  because 7.6 is the highest indicator on the API pH kit test. Today I checked my tap water - pH read 6.8. Then, I checked my hospital tank, pH read 6.8. I did ca. 30% water change in the display tank and measured pH an  hour later - I got 7.6 and really dark blue color in a test tube. I went through other people's responses on your fantastic web site - but could not find anybody who complained about empty display tank pH problems ;--) Luckily for me, ammonia and parasite problems are gone... for now ;--) Do you think that Emperor's carbon activity could distort the pH level in my 10-gallon display tank? <Yes... can... by removing compounds that hold the pH down... alkalinity/acidity... buffering works in both directions... "It's" just that most all are familiar only with "reductive" situations... with pH dropping...> I was thinking of turning off that filter to see if that raises an issue. is that a good idea? <Mmm, not really... I would leave all going... trade out only an ounce or two of carbon on a regular basis... maybe once a month or so> I plan to move my fish back to the "home" tank in about a month, but I am afraid that after months of struggles with ammonia and hard work on parasites and keeping my precious fish healthy and alive I could lose all of them due to the pH shock.... <Mmm, not likely... do test the water in a month or so... use some from the main tank for water changes in the treatment one...> Would you be able to give me hint(s) on what and why happened? Should I "feed" the display tank? <I would maybe "give it a pinch" of food every week or so...> Should I continue doing partial (weekly) water changes there? <Yes... with the "new water" for the treatment tank coming from the old one... once you think communicable problems have lapsed> Should I take out the carbon? <I would not. I'd leave it in> I hope I do not ask too many questions :--) <Me too> Indeed, keeping my fish save become my personal crusade :--) <Ah, good> Thanks for any insights, Bob. <Welcome> And thanks for that great web site - thanks to information you posted I learned a lot and was able to overcome many "first-tank" owner problems... Anna <Outstanding. Excelsior! (Onward and upward). BobF>

Re: Internal parasites (again), FW   3/11/07 Hello crew, <John> Surely you are sick of hearing from me by now.  I wrote to you some time ago about a guppy that had an internal parasite problem.  I had treated the aquarium with an anti-parasitic medication, but things went horribly wrong.  I suspect an ingredient in the tablets had wreaked havoc on my tank and killed many of my Corydoras and other fish. <Easily done unfortunately... Some "med." ingredients are outright toxic, many will forestall or kill off nitrification... indirectly stressing to killing livestock> The problem eventually resolved but only after I had transferred the fish from the treated tank into another untreated tank.  I had thought the problem gone, but yesterday I mysteriously lost a cherry barb from the tank that had housed all the fish at one time.  Today, while cleaning this tank, I observed that some of the other cherry barbs had what appeared to be worms extending from their anal area.  So it looks like the problems are just beginning.  I do not know if this is Camallanus or another type of parasite.  They look like red threads (in some cases they are white) extending 3-4 mm outside the fish.  I am not sure how to treat. <I am... I would administer Praziquantel (relatively safe, and very effective) for now... and in a week or so, "Fluke-Tabs" (in case this is actually, or additionally a crustacean parasite, e.g. Anchorworm... These should do it>   I have a UV sterilizing unit, but I understand this will be ineffective. <Correct>   Thus, the question, is: do I treat with Levamisole HCL or Praziquantel? <The latter is my choice here as an anthelminthic/vermifuge>   I believe Praziquantel is ineffective against Camallanus, <Mmm, generally is efficacious> but unfortunately I cannot identify the parasite so I am not sure what approach to take.  Any suggestions would be welcome. <The use of an inexpensive (I have a QX-3 on my desk... simple to use... can be plugged into a USB port...) microscope with one of the fishs should it perish...> The other problem is that to obtain either "pure" Levamisole (as last time the tablets were a disaster) or Prazi, I have to mail order from the US as it is not possible to find these medications in Switzerland. <Ohh... yes... Perhaps... yes, am advocating this... a friend can buy and ship this cross-border. I understand the intent and spirit of such laws... but there is more harm from internal combustion/gasoline use... For others...just don't self-administer such compounds.> I am also concerned about the length of time it will take for me to locate a company willing to ship to Europe and the shipping time itself.  A preliminary search has revealed that not many companies are willing to ship these items to Europe. <The Net...> Thanks in advance for any help.  I can't believe I'm writing yet again.  Ug. <Sorry to hear/read of your trials... Can be fixed... Bob Fenner>

Question on white spots   12/16/06 Hello sir, I'm brand new to owning fish and have bought a Red Swordtail female and a  Red Platy male. I've had the fish for about 2 weeks, and the night I bought them the Female gave birth to several fry. Well tonight I was watching the fish swim around as I was feeding them and I noticed that the Female had 2 White Spots on her. I've been searching sites looking for diseases and most point to ICH, but with the pictures I've seen of ICH it doesn't look like it. The 2 spots are approx. the size of the head of a nail. I'd say maybe 1/8th of an inch or so in diameter. Any suggestions would be wonderful. <Mmm... well, there are other such appearances other than parasites that this might be... and the presence of the young fish makes any sort of chemical treatment impractical... And two weeks is a good long time if indeed this were something pathogenic to evidence itself... If it were me, mine, I'd hold off at this point, and just keep a close eye on your livestock... Perhaps making preparation to isolate one, some, if indeed this does become an infectious issue. Bob Fenner>

Trichodina spreading rapidly in my Gourami tank   11/25/06 Hi everyone. <<Hello, Sara. Tom here.>> First I'd like to express gratitude to you guys for sharing your time and knowledge. Your website is truly fish lifesaving. Thanks. <<We're happy to help and your kind words are very much appreciated.>>   I have a 29 gal. tank with 2 adult gold gouramis, 1 adolescent pearl Gourami, 1 young blue Gourami, 1 young gold Gourami and 11 aeneus catfish of all ages who are constantly reproducing.  Earlier this evening I noticed Jeb, my blue Gourami, slightly rocking back and forth. I immediately went to your website for info on treating Trichodina infestation. <<A conclusive determination of this would require a microscopic examination, Sara. Probably as good a 'guess' as anything else but without visible evidence it's still a guess. I mention this because, obviously, we first want to be sure of what we're treating for or, as close to it as a reasonable person could conclude. Second, there are parasitic infestations that don't respond at all to certain medications which could leave us with a three-fold problem, i.e. we've incorrectly medicated our fish (never good), we've lost valuable time in a virtually worthless regimen and we've still got the original problem.>> Merely four hours later and all of my gouramis are rocking back and forth and flicking against the filter intake. It's 2:00 am and the only thing I have on hand is "Tank Buddies - Parasite Clear Fizz Tabs" by Jungle Labs. Are you familiar with this remedy? <<The latest generation of this product contains Praziquantel, Metronidazole and acriflavine. Sort of a 'shotgun-approach' medication. Praziquantel may be toxic to Corys and, reportedly, isn't advised as a treatment regimen with young/juvenile fish. Personally, I wouldn't risk using it.>> If so, should I use it or wait until I can get something else? The box indicates usage for both external and internal parasites. The ingredients are based on dimenthyl phosphonate and Metronidazole. If you have time to respond, it would be greatly appreciated. <<Since healthy fish normally deal with Trichodina at tolerable levels with no ill effects, an 'outbreak' has some root cause that must be corrected before any treatment will be truly successful. I don't consider over-crowding to be the problem so I'd turn to water quality as the source of the stress in your fish -- the reason for the 'population boom' in the parasites. Change out 25%-30% of your tank's water and premix 4-5 tablespoons of aquarium salt to the new water before adding this back to the aquarium. While Corys aren't particularly tolerant of salt, this level shouldn't prove an issue with them and is safer, in the long run, than many medications would be. Of course, you'll want to monitor your fish closely for both the effectiveness of this regimen and for signs of stress in the Corys, specifically. Again, I don't consider salt at this low level to be a problem but fish have an amazing talent for surprising me.>> Thanks again, Sara <<There are more aggressive measures that could be taken here, Sara, but let's not go after the 'fly' with a sledgehammer just now. If the infestation is, in fact, Trichodina, it's probably the least of the common parasitic problems that our fish may have to face. Nothing to disregard, certainly, as the added stress can lead to bigger problems but, in itself, doesn't scream out for aggressive treatment. With a little luck, your pets should be back to normal soon. Best regards. Tom>>

Re: Trichodina and "Fizz Tabs" II   11/26/07 Hi. <<Hi, Sara. Tom again.>> Sorry to bother you guys again. <<No bother...>> I just read the article on DTHP which answered my question. So, I will go ahead with the Fizz Tabs. <<Keep a close eye on the Corys, Sara. Still need to find/eliminate the root cause as well.>> Thank you. Sara <<You're welcome. Tom>>

Re: Trichodina spreading rapidly in my Gourami tank III   11/26/07 Thanks so much, Tom. <<Happy to help, Sara. (Guess my response caught up with you, eh?)>> I won't use the Fizz Tabs but instead I'll try changing the water and adding the salt. I'll let you know how it turns out. <<I'd appreciate that, Sara. The Corys are still likely to be the "weak link" as they would with just about any treatment but I consider this the wiser way to go right now. For what it's worth, I use this concentration of salt in my community tank in conjunction with my regular water changes and my Emerald Green Corys (Brochis, actually) are fine with it. Please, do keep me posted.>> Sara <<Tom>>

The Right Medication For the Right Parasite  11/12/06 OK.  In a previous email you recommended Clout and Rid-ich for scratching/flashing fish (no spots).  I have Coppersafe already at home, will this be effective?  I don't want to buy another med when I already have one.  Is this one ok?  I have Aquarisol also, which is more effective? Thanks again < When you ask for a recommendation for a particular problem I always recommend what has worked best for me for a similar problem. These other medications may work, it is just that I have not tried them. I would recommend that you try the Coppersafe at the recommended dosage. If that does not work then do a 50% water change run carbon in the filter to remove any medication and then try the Aquarisol. Medicate as per the directions on the bottle. If that doesn't work then do a 50% water change, replace the carbon in the filter. The problem with these copper medications is the dosage needed to kill the parasite is very toxic to the fish too. These parasites are probably protozoans and may also respond to high temps around 82+ F. The trouble is that Lake Malawian cichlids sometimes get stressed out and start to bloat up at these high temps, especially the wild ones.-Chuck>

Is there any real way to rid a 10 gallon system of Ich or Velvet?   9/5/06 <Yes>   The more I read the more confused I become.  Everything seams  geared towards a very large system.  I am not sure how this started, but I  noticed tiny white spots on my two clown loaches 24 hours after treating  the tank (sans Kuhlis-they got moved into a temporary 3 gallon quarantine) with  Maracyn for a danio with "cotton mouth". <Mmm, I would have treated all in place... the system itself is infested> Is there any correlation between  the 2 diseases? <Quite possibly yes> Did the E-mycin treatment cause the Ich to get out of hand  and start munching my fish?   <Mmm, much less likely> So far I see no other inhabitants with any  spots, but I am not sure how to treat, or what to treat with. <Elevated temperature and... Posted... Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files above> I am waiting  on a 55 gallon to cycle, and was hoping to move everyone in there, but not with  an outbreak of Ich.  My water parameters have all been stable and ideal, so  I am not sure how this all got started unless I got an infected fish to begin  with, <Initially, yes> and the 10 gallon being the only system cycled, there was no where to  quarantine. <No need to quarantine... need to treat...> I also am feeling stupid right now for placing part of my  biofilter from the outside power filter into the new system to help it cycle,  and am fearful I just infected it with Ich.  The biofilter chunk was the  only thing transferred to the new system.   I am hoping this will be OK  because the cysts are in the gravel, and the tomites don't live for more than a  few days at 78 degrees.  Should I raise the uninhabited 55 gallon to 86  degrees? <Yes, I would> Mostly I want to know how and if I can rid my small system of Ich  without killing the fish, and if I have possibly infected the new system.   I really don't want to start over after taking this hobby up again after 20  years! Sarah W. <Mmm, do read... silver salt, other medications (read re dosing with loaches... likely half concentration) and elevated temperature, careful monitoring of water quality/changes... should do it. Bob Fenner> High Mortality Rate, FW, poss. Hexamita/Octomita    7/1/06 My daughter has had her Eclipse 12 aquarium for a little over a year. We have a high death rate. <Not good> In 13 months we have had about 18 out of 25 fish die.  We test our water regularly at the local fish store and it always test at normal levels. <Mmm, you might want to invest in some simple test gear for your own, at-home use. Many important parameters can/do change in just the short trip to the store... And these tests, testing can be a useful element of education, sharing as well> Deaths include about 6-9 platies, 3 dwarf gouramis, 2 albino catfish, 1 skirt tetra and 2 rasboras. <A broad mix of tolerant species...>   Our original skirt tetra is alive after 1 year and 3 of the 5 rasboras we bought are still alive after 6 months.  Many of the fish wasted away. Also some mainly the gouramis had a hair-like excrement. <... trouble. This could well be indicative of a persistent protozoan parasite (Octomita/Hexamita...)> We finally treated for internal parasites.  We bought our first 2 fish from one of those large chains and believe it might have brought a parasite with it. <Given what you present here, I concur> We did two treatments ( 2 doses each I think) a week or two apart.   <With what medication?> Two fish died after that.  We did not add any fish for at least 2 month after that.  When we did add 3 guppies and 1 dwarf Gourami, the male guppy died after 2 days.  The Gourami died after we added 3 more guppies 2 days later.  I realize we added fish to quickly, but we were given the second batch.  I am wondering if these last two deaths are likely due to stress or are there other things we should try. <Possibly>   The male bloated before dying, the Gourami just died.  I am getting really frustrated and my daughter is getting very discouraged.  Can you give me some suggestions on how to reduce the death rate.   <A few things, yes. For one, if this problem is Hexamitiasis and unless it was eradicated through treatment... it's still there (a very common cause of continuing high losses from and through fish stores). I would treat your system with Metronidazole/Flagyl to be sure. Please see WWM re this anti-protozoal, its careful use, and Hexamita... and particularly here re Gouramis: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GouramiDisFAQs.htm and the next FAQ file linked above. Bob Fenner>

Possible FW Parasite?  5/31/06 I need some serious help? <Yikes!> I often find myself turning to your site and have always found it helpful but I have searched your entire website under parasites internal and external and found a lot of useful info on treatment but still don't know what exactly I would treat. Since what I think might be a parasite or lice is too small to truly tell exactly what it may be to treat. I have a 55 gal FW tank that I have had now for 9 months. As of a month ago I had a Pleco, 5 neon tetras, 3 zebra danios, 3 diamond tetras, 2 pineapple swordtails, 4 various platys, 2 black mollies and 9 fry in breeder (about 2 months old/ inside same tank).  I have also noticed now a couple of snails in there shortly after I had added a couple of the female platys.  In the last 1 1/2 weeks I have had 1 platy, 1 molly and 2 fry die on me.  The black molly that died looked like he had a worm coming from the gills (not moving) but since it took me about a day to notice he was missing I figured he was just decomposing.  A female platy did not show any signs of stress before she passed and the fry got bloated bellies and became really lethargic.  My remaining black molly has had a cloudy looking film on her left eye and mouth that is subsiding on it s own. <Mmm, well mollies do "like" hard, alkaline water... often people put salt in their water... but your other fishes don't all like this...> I tested the water and ammonia, nitrate and nitrite levels were zero or what appeared  as zero since the test kit I own is not strips but droplets and compare tubes to a color chart.  pH is consistent and staying at 7.4 and did a 30% water change 2 weeks ago,  I added a small container with 2 oz of aquarium salt and gravel on top to slowly disseminate through out the tank 2 days ago.  I sat and examined the fish behavior (eating and social) when I noticed a lot of what appeared to look like lint (very thin and poss. white in color) about 1/8 inch long in my tank but upon a closer look at those on the glass I noticed they were moving (slowly like worms). From most of the articles I have read on your postings I still don't know if these are flukes, internal/external parasites looking to attach, lice or what. <Most likely either worms of some sort...> Did these come from those snails? <Not unlikely>   I have seen some slimy patches with white dots on my plants but are gone by the next day and have also cleaned it off the breeder the fry are in. <Mmm, maybe snail eggs> Please help! I don't know how to treat if I don't know what I'm treating before the rest go fatal.  There was so much in regard to so many kinds of remedies for different parasites. I'm sorry to have given such a lengthy explanation but knew from reading prior postings too little information is not very helpful.  Especially when explaining something like this in such a distant forum.  Thanks in advance for any help you may be able to offer!!!! Angie <The only assured way to "tell" what you might have here is microscopic examination... of the affected (live or freshly dead) fish... There are some "general" treatments folks can try... If it were me/mine here I'd start with Praziquantel (sold under a few names)... and see if this brings relief. Bob Fenner> Re: Jungle Medicated Goldfish Food   5/28/06 Hello, Tom. <<Greetings, Alfredo.>> I have given the Jungle Antiparasite food to Mimi and Lucy for three days now but their feces remain the same (transparent, long segments that seem to be filled with air). Is it strange that they don't show an improvement?   <<Not really. Note that the directions call for three days on the medicated food followed by four days of regular food. This regimen is to be repeated over a four-week period according to the manufacturer. In my case, my Angelfish both showed an improvement after about one week. In fact, it wasn't until they were both on "regular" food that their feces started to return to normal. It's still early yet, Alfredo. >> Mimi has been having trouble with swimming into deeper levels of the tank again today. She is mostly staying near the top and seems to be making an effort balancing herself. Last time this happened she got better with Epsom salts, so I have given her a half a table spoon( plus another tablespoon that has been in the tank for 3 days now). Is this the right thing to do with her? Should I be giving them the Jungle antibacterial medicated food instead? <<The Epsom salts will help with constipation/gas but won't treat the infection. My concern here is that in cleaning out their systems, as it were, we're also purging them of the medication. I'd give the medicine some more time to do its job.>> As always, I appreciate your kindness and look forward to your reply. Thanks, Alfredo <<Hang in there, my friend. Tom>>

Fish lice?   4/1/06 Hello. <Hi. Tom with you> About a week ago a purchased 2 Fantail Goldfish and 1 Platy. I have all of these fish in a tank together. <Not a good plan, Savanna. The Goldfish require very different water conditions than the Platy does which may have led to stressing this particular fish.> The other day I started to notice on my Platy white bumps all over it's tail. Then yesterday I noticed 1 huge bump on the back of the fish. Today I found 4 new bumps on the left side of the fish. These bumps are white and about 1-3mm wide. I have no clue what is going on, but I did take the Platy out of my tank and put him in a separate one by himself. Tell me what's going on; is it fish lice? <Your Platy almost certainly has Ich. Fish lice are quite a bit larger than you describe (visible to the naked eye) and are dark (brown or green) in coloration. Frankly, that's not all bad since Ich is much easier to treat. You do want to be prompt with the treatment, however. Lots of information here in WWM on the course of treatment. I'd highly recommend heat and aquarium salt as your Platy will be very tolerant of both. Tom> Neon Tetra help needed  - 03/28/06 Hi. <Hello>  I have 5 neon tetras, 3 Zebra Danios and now 3 Fancy Guppies (1 female and 2 male) with about 7 fry hiding (mom died)<Sorry to hear that>.  When I bought my Tetras they were all fine until the next morning.  1 had lost its color from midway on back and was swimming funny (like it was drunk).  It has now regained its coloring and swims better.  However, it goes in fits of twirling about (fast circular movement; head down) and other times I can't tell which one it is in the school.  What is wrong with it (maybe got injured on the way home)?  I grew up (25 years) with Tetras (as well as the other types) and have never seen anything like this.  Do I need to remove it from the tank or is it ok to leave it in there?  Thank you, Karen in Georgia. <First, remove the Neon to another tank. What you describe, to a large degree, mimics "Neon Tetra Disease"; loss of coloration, erratic swimming behavior. I've not come across any information that describes the return of color to a fish once it's been infected, though, which makes me wonder, to be honest with you. There is a "false" version of the disease which is bacterial rather that sporozoan in its cause but it would be virtually impossible, outside of a laboratory, for you (or I) to discern the difference. Since NTD is spread to other fish so quickly and with such fatal results, you should treat this as a "worst case" to protect your other pets. Unfortunately, there is no known treatment for NTD although some claims of success have been offered; none conclusively, I'm afraid. Maintain your water parameters in the main tank to protect against any spreading of whatever this may be. Best of luck to you, Karen. Tom> Myxosporea?  Myxosporidians? - 03/14/2005 Hi Bob, <Actually, Sabrina with you today.> I have read/searched through WWM and have been unable to find much regarding Myxosporea. <Mm, try "Myxosporea", "Myxosporidea", "Myxosporidian"....  And try via Google, as well.  And, especially, try here:  http://www.fishdisease.net/ .> I had 3 black phantom tetras, 3 cardinal tetras, a male Betta and a Pleco in a 10 gallon tank.  (probably slightly overcrowded but frequent (25% 5-6 days) water changes has kept the water quality very good. <Can't attest to bioload, as I don't know the tank size.> Anyway last week  I had a fish (bp tetra) start showing all of the swimming signs of Myxosporea but none of the other symptoms.   <Myxosporea are simply a group of Sporozoans, protozoan parasites of fish....  I wonder if you're thinking of the Myxosporidean Myxosoma cerebralis, or "whirling disease"?  I'm not certain that tetras are susceptible to this....  Uh, in any case, what were the symptoms you saw?> He succumbed to wounds sustained in an attack by the Betta which I happened to witness (lost an eye, severe fin damage).   I was not quick enough to get my net and rescue the poor fish.  Anyway now that I have carried on for a while I was wondering how I should deal with this so as not to start an epidemic and lose all of my fish to this slow but fatal disease.   <Are you seeing any symptoms of any sort in any of your other fish?> I have a 3 gallon "hospital tank" plus another 1 gallon jar that could hold the Betta if need be.  I am fairly new at this hobby and do not want to fail miserably within the first year.  Thank you in advance for the help and keep up the good work on your site.   <And thank you for your kind words.  Hopefully a little more information will shed some necessary light, here.> Scott (Ottawa, Canada) <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Paying for my hasty decision: FW Ich or Velvet  - 01/24/06 Dear WWM Crew,   I have a 10G QT with one Killi and some plants. They have been in there for 1 weeks and have 3 more left. All was fine except for some green water that was solved by performing 2 X 50% water changes and cutting back on the lighting.   Being the impatient idiot that I am, I somehow convinced myself I can get a Betta and add it to the QT, since they are held in individual bowls and are probably free of parasites. Wrong! He has Velvet now! I've had lots of FW and Marine Ich outbreaks before and this is definitely different. Rather than a few .5mm spots, it started out with a very fine dusting on the Betta. After 36 hours, the killie shows no symptoms and the Betta doesn't seem to be phased by the dusting, and hence I question my diagnosis, but I'm 100% sure he has parasites on his skin. <Not an uncommon parasite on both species/groups> I'm planning to treat the Betta by elevating the temp to 85F and dosing malachite green. <This is what I would do as well>   I just purchased a second tank for a second QT. I was planning to put the plants there and just let them go fallow for a few weeks while I treated the fish alone. Plus I'm not sure if I should move the killie with the plants and just adopt a wait and see attitude with him while I treat the Betta. <I would treat both fishes, not the plants> I don't have enough equipment to give him a 3rd QT, but I can always move the plants to the display and let it go fallow for a months while I treat the Betta and just observe the killie in the 2 QTs... Just wanted to get your opinion. Thank you for your time and help, Narayan <Sorry to read of your travails. Bob Fenner>

Velvet   1/21/06 Hey there! It's me again!      The blue crown tail that I previously asked about has an update!      Remember I said he was listless? well... a few days ago, I noticed he had this fine golden dust-y looking stuff on him. Now, growing up with fish, I knew EXACTLY what my Betta (and the Betta next to it, unfortunately) had. VELVET!!!    <Mmmm>   so, I put some Meth Blue in the water... (don't worry, I followed directions!) and gave them a PROMPT water change.      my questions are this:   1) How long does/will Velvet last? <Days to a couple weeks... if treated properly> 2) Is Meth Blue okay to use on my fish? <Yes> 3) My red Betta that has Velvet is peeling. It looks like he is shedding a few scales. Is this normal? What is this?    <Mucus, body slime>   THANKS A LOT!!!    <No such word as a lot. Bob Fenner>

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