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FAQs on Freshwater Infectious (bacterial, fungal) Diseases 3

Related Articles: Freshwater Fish Diseases, Freshwater DiseasesFW Disease Troubleshooting, Choose Your Weapon: Freshwater Fish Disease Treatment Options by Neale Monks, Understanding Bacterial Disease in Aquarium Fish; With a gallery of bacterial infections, a discussion of Fish TB, and a listing of major antimicrobial medications with examples available to fishkeepers By Myron Roth, Ph.D.,

Related FAQs: Infectious FW Diseases 1, Infectious FW Diseases 2, Infectious FW Disease 4, Infectious FW Disease 5, & Finrot, Dropsy/Dropsical Conditions, Aquarium Maintenance, FW Parasitic DiseasesAfrican Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid DiseaseBetta Disease 1

Fungus -03/28/08 Hello, I have a Betta named Merlin living in a 16 gallon tank with fake driftwood and 2 fake plants. <Sounds lovely!> My water is 0 across the board for ammonia, nitrates, and nitrates; I believe it is cycled but check ammonia frequently to be safe. <Good.> It's a 50/50 mix of spring/distilled water. <Probably overkill; Bettas are perfectly happy in dechlorinated tap water. The only thing they won't like is excessively soft water (less than 3 degrees dH) or water that has passed through a domestic water softener (too much sodium). But if what you're doing works for you and is cost effective, by all means stick with it.> PH is between 7.0 and 7.2. Water is heated to about 80 degrees and I alternate 1 pellet per day with either brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, or Spirulina brine shrimp. For a while I was getting scum on the top of the water, but not since I made the filter flow into "waterfall style." <Indeed; splashing water helps to get rid of certain types of protein or oil films that can cover aquaria.> I'd noticed algae looking stuff on the wood and plants for some time, and then it ended up on the edge of Merlin's fins. <If it's green or black, it's algae; if off-white, then Fungus.> The first time was in February, but it seemed to fall off by morning. He has had some episodes with fin rot in the past. What I now assume is Fungus has come back a few times, seeming to be more of a problem each time (growing larger, taking pieces of fin each time), but there has been no shredding (the fin loss is even across). <Regardless, you need to treat with anti-Fungal medication. Not a fan of Melafix though. Standard issue medications should be fine. In addition, consider where this fungus is coming from: if you're seeing it on rocks and wood, then you likely have A LOT of organic material in that aquarium. Unlike algae, which use light and minerals for "food", fungus needs to "eat" organic matter, i.e., decaying stuff. By rights, you should be removing organic material with its water change by siphoning it from the substrate. Wiping off ornaments if they get dirty isn't a bad idea either.> I really don't want to lose my good water (it has taken much time to get it cycled), <Irrelevant, so don't worry about it. Filtration occurs in the FILTER not the water. You can change 100% of the water if you want, and so long as the filter is kept wet between water changes, the bacteria will be perfectly happy. I'd recommend at least 25% water changes per week, and I personally go with 50% water changes.> and Merlin doesn't like meds at all, but the fungus isn't going away this time. It's come back now for about a week (every time a piece sheds off with fin, another piece of fungus is back by morning). Merlin has had a bad reaction to Melafix, so I can't use that. What would you recommend as a fungus med? <Depends where you are. Here in England I recommend eSHa 2000, a very effective anti-bacterial/anti-fungal medication. But I'm told by my American colleagues that things like Maroxy are the drug of choice for fungal infections. Neither Bob F nor myself rate Melafix all that highly, but some do I know.> I have Maroxy but was wondering if that would be bad to use, since I'm not using a chlorine remover (bottled water) and it seems to have some sort of chlorine agent? <Don't worry about it. Also, I'd recommend using plain tap water plus dechlorinator rather than fussing with bottled water. I suspect you'll find this A LOT cheaper in the long run, and because water changes will be cheap and easy, your Betta will be happier too. Most fish don't care about water chemistry _per se_, what they want is stability. So I'd recommend doing some 10-20% water changes every other day for the next couple weeks to convert the Betta to tap water chemistry, and after than doing 25% weekly changes.> I would like to do whatever would be the least affecting; Merlin doesn't seem to be acting strangely, more irritated when his fin shreds, than anything else. <Sounds like he's doing OK, and if you act fast, he'll be fine!> I also was wondering if this means I have to part with my water? <Yes. Don't get attached to the water! Once it's in an aquarium, it "goes bad" as far as the fish are concerned. The more water you change, the happier the fish. Or put another way: the fish are living in their lavatory, and you're pulling the chain!> I have a quarantine tank, but wonder if I have excess fungus in my original water that I have to fix? I know all water has some fungus, but it (or algae) seems to grow on all my decorations very quickly. I've read that the fungus could be a result of excess protein from the frozen food, but I only feed about 1 shrimp on alternate days. I don't want to kill my good bacteria, but do I need to get rid of everything to stop this fungus? <Cleaning the ornaments and changing the water have no impact at all on water quality. The filter is all you need to worry about. So when you do water changes, make sure the filter media (the sponge or whatever) don't dry out. Every month (or sooner, if you prefer) take the filter media and dump in a bucket of aquarium water. Give it a good squeeze and clean to remove silt, and then pop back into the filter. Do this, and you'll have great water quality and a happy filter bacteria population!> Thank you, Patricia <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Fungus  3/30/08 Neale, Thank you very much for the quick response :) I was wondering if it would it be better to put Merlin in a quarantine tank for his treatment or to leave him in his original tank? I'm thinking he would need to be in the quarantine tank to avoid the medication killing the good bacteria in the filter of the original tank? But at the same time maybe the meds in the original tank would be good to kill the fungus in there? Lastly, do I likely have fungus in my filter media or should I not be worried about that? Thank you again :), Patricia <Happy to help, Patricia! Treat your fish in its home aquarium. Moving it to a quarantine tank wouldn't serve much purpose either way. The fungi that cause fish infections are in all aquaria, just as all aquaria contain the Aeromonas bacteria that cause Finrot. When everything is healthy in the tank, these fungi and bacteria do good work helping to convert organic material into the stuff the filter bacteria can use up. It's when fish become stressed or damage that they cause harm. It's exactly like E. coli and other bacteria we have on our bodies. In their place, they're harmless and may even serve a useful function; in the wrong place and when our immune systems are run down, they can cause problems. So: whenever you get Fungus or Finrot, you AUTOMATICALLY must ask Why? Yes, you must treat the infection, but you must also prevent another outbreak -- because you WILL get another outbreak unless you remedy the situation. Just as giving someone a cure for a stomach infection until they got better and then feeding them rotten food would make that person sick again. Cheers, Neale.>

White fuzz on/in their eyesFW AquariaNot enough detail 3-24-08 Dear Crew, <<Hi.>> We have a 55 gallon freshwater fish tank and a few of our fish have a white fuzz on/in their eyes; they look like they have cataracts. What could it be? and how can we treat it? <<Mmmis difficult to diagnose with the detail given. What you describe could be a number of things. However, one of the pieces of evidence that does help me a bit is that it appears to be a community infection and not just in one specimen. This leads me to believe it is environmental (water quality), specifically an organic level problem (i.e. dissolved organics, nitrates...). What type of fish do you have, what size are they, how many? What is your filtration? What is your water change regime? What are your water parameter readings? How often and what do you feed? All of these things will help me to point you in the right direction. In the meantime do skim through our FAQs re; disease. Good luck; - ADAMJ.>>

Maracyn medication and scaleless fish   2/3/08 Hiya, I have a 100 gallon tank with a jaguar cichlid who recently got fin rot and body fungus. I was going to treat it with Maracyn (powder form) And I wanted to know if it was a effective medication. However I have loaches and scaleless fishes and I didn't know if I could use it so I wanted to check with you before using it. Does Maracyn contain any copper or harmful materials to scaleless fish? Please help. Thanks a ton. <Maracyn is generally safe with most types of fish. It's an antibiotic, essentially a repackaged version of the Erythromycin widely used in human medicine. Now, the bigger question is *why* your Jaguar Cichlid (Parachromis managuensis) has Finrot at all. Finrot is almost always associated with either physical damage or poor/varying water quality. It very rarely comes out of the blue. If you don't identify the cause, and remedy it, then treating the cichlid will become a bit pointless -- the fish will likely get sick again. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Maracyn medication and scaleless fish   2/3/08 Yeah, I usually do 50 percent water changes every week, but I had to skip a week because I was too busy with my work and everything. I will be constant from now on. Thanks Neale an everybody!!!! <So long as you know the problem, and won't let it happen again, that's fine. Cichlids are strangely sensitive to nitrate, and missed water changes cause all kinds of problems. Compared with 'hole in the head' you got off lightly this time. If you are busy, turn the temperature down a tiny bit towards the low end of the tolerances of your given species, and the feed half rations. This will slow down metabolism and reduce the amount of ammonia in the system. Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Maracyn medication and scale less fish   2-4-08 Hi again Neale, sorry to bother you. I just got home from work and I my tank was cloudy. I did a water change yesterday and I wasn't sure if the medication is supposed to make the water cloudy. So my question is is Maracyn supposed to make your water cloudy or is it not normal? Thanks for your time. <I haven't personally used Maracyn (it isn't sold in the UK) so can't comment from experience. But I have read that this is sometimes a temporary side effect. Provided the water quality remains good (do a quick nitrite test) and the fish seem healthy (no gasping or heavy breathing), there's not too much to worry about. Cheers, Neale.>

Two general questions... Fish-TB, and "easy fish" 2/1/08 Hello all, <Neale> Two quick questions, germane to some FAQs I've done tonight. (1) Fish-TB. For real, or a myth? <Mycobacteriosis in piscines? Real> My books seem to suggest it's more an issue with marine fish, which is probably why I've never seen it in the flesh. The old Fish-TB suspect in gouramis turned out to be the Dwarf Gourami Disease Iridovirus. <Yes> (2) What are the easiest freshwater fish to recommend to people? I plumped for peppered Corydoras and zebra Danios. Any others? <Mmm, for "most" general water conditions about the world... likely the small Danios, Rasboras and barbs... Perhaps Platies would score high... given local acclimation... The more "cultured" Corydoras I'd agree with as well... C. aeneus, paleatus as you mention... Given the proviso of numbers/keeping in groups... BobF> Cheers, Neale

Is fungus infectious?  2/1/08 Thank you so much for providing such a great website! I have a relatively new 30 gallon freshwater tank, I use API Tap water conditioner and Jungle pH Buddy regularly. I cycled the tank using Bio Spira, and all the readings were optimal before I slowly added fish and plants over a couple of weeks - I continued adding bio Spira each time I added new fish to help ensure the tank could cope with the new bio load. I have an emperor 400 bio wheel filter, and the temperature is a constant 75F. My tank community consists of 2 3-spot gouramis (added first), then 2 dwarf gouramis, one spotted Pim, one red tail shark (I read up on compatibility (water and temperament!) plus adult size so the tank wouldn't be crowded), plus several spiral Val.s, baby ruffle swords and sword plants. Everything was fine, and I test the water every day and readings were all within desirable parameters. However, yesterday morning I noticed a small bump on the top of the head of one of the dwarf gouramis, it was white and fuzzy, and I think from reading your site it could either be fungus or columnaris. I didn't have a quarantine tank and had to get to work, thinking I could rush home, jump in the car, buy a small tank etc and medication to set-up quarantine when I got home. Alas, when I got home, the fungus-like fuzz had spread over almost all the head and one eye, and my little fish died within minutes. Really very upsetting, and I feel awful. I tested the water with my API master kit and readings are as follows: pH 7.5, Nitrite 2.0, Nitrate 40, Ammonia 1; temperature still 75F. After removing the dead fish I added a shot of Bio Spira to boost the bacteria, and my remaining 5 fish all seem perfectly happy, although I didn't feed them as I was conscious of the fact the nitrite and ammonia was a little high. Sorry to be so long winded - but my questions are: will the fungus affect the other fish? Should I treat the water with some sort of medication to ensure it won't come back? Because whatever it was killed my Gourami so quickly, I'm really paranoid that the other fish will suffer the same fate. What should I do to prevent this? Thank you so much for your help, I really appreciate your time and expertise, and apologise again for the long message. All the best, AJ <Greetings. The short answer is that fungal infections are not directly infectious. However, because fungal infections are commonly associated with environmental issues such as poor water quality, if you see one fish with fungus, there's every reason to imagine that the others are at risk as well. Hence the need to treat all the fish, not just the one with obvious cotton wool-like threads (which is what Fish Fungus looks like). I would eschew Melafix-type things in favour of standard anti-fungal medications of which there are many. Now, all this said, there are some issues for you. Your ammonia and nitrite levels are insanely high. Too many fish in too immature an aquarium. While I respect the fact you used BioSpira, that isn't carte blanche to just add a whole bunch of fish without thinking any more than simply passing your driving test makes you a good driver. What you SHOULD have done was add one or two very hardy fish, such as one or two female Trichogaster trichopterus (the males are very aggressive and not worth keeping in small community tanks). You'd then let the tank run for the next few weeks, testing the nitrite and ammonia levels every few days. If things stayed good, i.e., those tests came out at zero, you'd add a couple more fish, and so on across a two or three month period. A two-week period for adding everything simply isn't acceptable, and certainly not if you have an ammonia reading of 1 mg/l -- that's basically lethal to fish, and your stock will soon be dead. What else? Colisa lalia is a fish I cannot recommend anyone keeping, and the specimen you had with a blister on its head could quite easily have died from the dreaded Dwarf Gourami Disease, a virus with no known cure. The virus is found in over 20% of the Colisa lalia exported from Singapore and is incredibly infectious, meaning that practically every Dwarf Gourami on the market is likely to be infected by the time you go shopping for them. Buying these fish is a waste of money, frankly. Next up, there is not much chance that your Epalzeorhynchos bicolor is going to be a good idea in a 30-gallon tank. These fish are very aggressive and territorial, and at minimum they need a tank 100 cm in length before they become even close to tolerant of tankmates. So, to summarise, I suspect you have too many fish in a tank that is too immature and/or are chronically overfeeding. I wouldn't put any money on the Colisa lalia living long, and the Epalzeorhynchos bicolor will gradually become more annoying as it matures (that's if it doesn't jump out, of course). I suppose I should make the point Pimelodus pictus is a *schooling* fish that should be kept in groups of at least three specimens, but your tank is not a good place for this species right now and I'd not expect your specimen to last for much longer. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Is fungus infectious?  2/1/08 Thanks for the candid feedback; there is just so much conflicting information in books and on the web, that it's really difficult to know what to do. I'll treat the tank for fungus, and do my best - so far there are no signs of distress from the fish, but your advice is well heeded and I'll keep you posted. <Ave! Glad the information was useful. Good luck to you and your fish, and please get in touch if things don't improve. Cheers, Neale.>

Tuberculosis, FW bacterial and goldfish dis. f's   1/25/08 Hello there, I'm hoping that you can help me with a problem I've been having with my fish tank. I have been keeping a fairly good diary of everything over the past 2 years that I have had the tank so can give you pretty thorough information. <OK.> The tank is 60 gallons with a 60 gallon filter in it. <What in heaven's name is a "60 gallon filter"? If you mean, the manufacturer states the tank is suitable for up to 60 gallons, that's fine. But I will make this point: manufacturers universally give "best case" scenarios when selling filters, for the same reason motor manufacturers quote glowing fuel consumption rates you'll never see in real life. As soon as you put media in a filter, or worse, put the filter under the tank so it has to pump against gravity, your filter's turnover drops. So if you have a 60 gallon tank, you need to be careful. I'd always recommend getting *at least* the next size up in a filter range for a tank of any given size, rather than trying to scrape by on the *absolute upper limit* of one particular filter. In other words, get a filter with not less than 4 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. I'd recommend 6x for dirty fish like Goldfish, Plecs and cichlids.> H20 measurements have always been good. <Meaning what? Please give us NUMBERS... lots of people thing their water quality or water chemistry is good, and then it turns out it's rubbish. For example: Goldfish need hard, alkaline water, yet lots of people don't know that, and wonder why their little Goldies keep getting sick in apparently clean but soft/acid water!> 25% H20 changes once a week. <Good. More would be better though!> Average number of fish in the tank at any give time is 5 fancy goldfish (average length is about 1.5-2 inches not counting the tail), 3 Cory's and a Pleco. <Odd mix, but what the heck! If they get along, great.> There is also quite a bit of plant life in the tank which all the fish love. <I bet. Goldfish tend to be herbivores when given the chance.> Tried a couple of Apple snails but they didn't do too well - I think the water was a bit too hard for them maybe... they are harder to diagnose than fish. <No, this wasn't the situation here. For a start, Apple Snails want water that is as hard as possible, like snails generally. Usually Apples fail because they get harassed, and can't eat or get damaged in the process. Many fish will nibble on their tentacles, scrape on the shell, or whatever. Best kept in their own tanks, where they're great fun.> I feed the fish almost exclusively peas, and occasionally some soaked fish flakes. <Sounds good, though the Corydoras would doubtless like a bit of protein every day rather than just vegetables. Corydoras do indeed eat a lot of algae and decaying plant matter in the wild, but they're also micro-carnivores, taking insect larvae and worms of various types. Vegetarian flake food (sold for livebearers) and algae wafers (sold for Plecs) would work great for ALL your fish.> Temperature is about 78 degrees. <Slightly warmer than I'd go for this collection. Does depend on the Corydoras species being kept though. The genus Corydoras ranges across subtropical to tropical environments. Peppered and Bearded Corydoras for example prefer cooler conditions than most tropical fish, around 20C/68F being just right for them. I'd tend towards the 24C/75F level if keeping Fancy Goldfish with low-end tropicals just to balance warmth and oxygen within a safe zone for all the fish.> Other than that I have had some goldfish live for the whole 2+years I've had the tank with not much in the way of any symptoms, and some live for only a week. before showing distress. I always use the salt quarantine method with in conjunction with Melafix before adding new fish. <Not a big fan of Melafix.> After the quarantine period, I add them to the main tank. Some survive, some die quickly, some last a couple of months. In general, the more exotic the variety, the more unwieldy the body type, the sooner they die... though Plecos and catfish are susceptible as well. <This really isn't normal. If you're losing even 10% of the new fish you're buying, that's a far greater mortality than normal. Goldfish should have, easily, a 95% survival rate within the first year, and Plecs about the same, maybe even better. All else being equal, if you're seeing dramatic losses in fish, then you have to check two things: water chemistry and water quality.> Some will start spending all their time at the top going for the oxygen-rich air; some will hide behind plants or in a corner or sit on the bottom having a hard time breathing; some will develop a fungus or ich or septicemia. <All consistent with poor water quality.> Some have never shown any symptoms in the 2 years. Many will develop a bent spine in the latter stages of their decline. I used to think that all of these symptoms were the problem and have concentrated on curing these, which is easy enough but the fish themselves never really recovered and eventually died for no outward signs. About a month ago however, one of the fish I've had for 2 years started developing bumps under his scales. He is my biggest fish at 2.5 inches and some of the bumps were as large as a small pea! I would look at him the next day however, and the bump would be gone, but another one or two would have appeared somewhere else! It was very disconcerting to see a rotating series of bumps on him every day when I checked in on him. I have since seen these bumps open up with a type of... I'll say it looks like yellow processed cheese. After the cheesy stuff squishes out at detaches itself (takes about an hour or 2), you would never know there was a problem, though a new bump will quickly start forming if it hasn't before the other one burst. I am able to keep these bumps at bay by feeding all the fish (I no longer bother taking this fish out of the tank into quarantine) an erythromycin based gel that I mix in with their peas. I can feed this to them for 2 weeks, but a day after I stop, the bumps return for the one fish and some of the other fish start showing signs of sickness - breathing at the surface or sitting on the bottom. The fish with the cheesy blisters never seems to be suffering too much - he has always been pretty hardy but you can tell it is getting harder for him to swim and he isn't quite as energetic... though always ready to eat! <Sounds like some sort of systemic bacterial infection... Aeromonas or something similar. That's why the erythromycin is helping. But the bottom line is that these things almost only ever happen in tanks with chronic problems, typically poor, or at least variable, water quality.> After spending a lot of time reading on the net - your site and others - I have decided that it is probably tuberculosis and that treating individual fish is probably not the answer anymore - I have to treat the whole tank. <Unlikely Fish TB; Fish TB is almost entirely an issue in marine aquaria rather than freshwater aquaria, and even then it isn't common. Most of the time people *think* it's Fish TB, it's actually something much more prosaic. Regardless, identifying bacterial infections is virtually impossible for the home aquarist, unless you happen to be a microbiologist as well, in which case take a swab and ID the bacteria under a microscope.> I live in Canada and I know that some medications for fish are no longer available here... I'm not sure which, however. <Can't speak for Canada, but in the UK at least, pet owners can only get antibiotics from the Vet. Not expensive, but it is another step in the chain. In the US, antibiotics have traditionally been more readily available to pet owners under brand names such as Maracyn.> I was hoping you could give me some feedback - do you think that tuberculosis is the problem. <No.> How should I treat the tank? <First tell me something about the water quality and water chemistry. Not what you think the results are (so don't tell me "fine" or "good") but tell me precisely what your test kits report, i.e., the pH, the hardness in degrees dH or KH, the nitrite in mg/l, and (ideally) the ammonia in mg/l as well. Tell me the turnover of the filter in litres/gallons per hour -- this'll be written on the pump somewhere ("gph" or "LPH" usually).> Oh, one important note may be that there are only 6 goldfish and 2 Cory's currently in the tank. Thanks, Matt <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Tuberculosis (RMF, feel free to comment)  1/25/08 Wow! You guys are fast! <One tries...> I feel like a bad fish keeper now. <We all make mistakes and we all go wrong. What matters is learning and changing.> Here is some more specific data on the aquarium: The filter is an Aquaclear 70 that can filter 300 gallons per hour and hangs on to the back of the tank. I don't have it cranked though as the goldfish are so small that if they swim to near where the water comes in it can throw them to the front of the tank. There are 3 inserts in it - Aquaclear Foam, Biomax, and Ammonia remover. <Not a big fan of Ammonia Remover (i.e., Zeolite). In a proper aquarium, biological filtration is altogether more effective and reliable. Zeolite needs to be replaced as often as once a week! Few people do that, and often tanks with Zeolite in the filter have unsafe levels of ammonia because of it. Mostly, Zeolite is a marketing gimmick: it sounds useful, but outside of a certain set of situations (e.g., hospital tanks) it really isn't useful.> Upon checking my fish diary and in-tank thermometer again the temperature in the tank is actually at 76 degrees. This is the lowest temperature the heater will keep the water. I have the heater set to 72 degrees, which is it's lowest setting, but it doesn't correspond to that temperature in the tank which is always at 76 degrees. It has been stable at that setting since I purchased the heater about 2 years ago. Before that the temperature of the tank always fluctuated and we had constantly spawning goldfish. <OK.> As for the water measurements, here they are and they haven't really fluctuated much from these norms in the past 2 years: pH is 7.6 (though will vary between 7.4 and 7.8 over time) KH is 120mg/L <A little less KH than I'd like with Goldfish, and explains somewhat the fluctuations in pH.> GH is 180 mg/L Ammonia is 0.1-0.2 mg/L Nitrite is less that 0.1 mg/L <Here's your problem: Ammonia and nitrite should both be zero, all the time. "Less than 0.1 mg/l" isn't acceptable. It HAS TO BE zero. No deviations. If it's like this all the time, that's why your fish are so unhealthy. Too many fish, too much food, or inadequate filtration. Pick and choose from those, because they're what's on the table as far as explanation goes. Do read Bob's article on establishing proper Bio filtration, because that's your next job: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm I'd streamline the filter by chunking out any media other than medium to fine sponges or ceramics. What you want is optimal bio filtration.> These are all the measurements I have the ability to take with the test kit I have. I await your further instructions on how to make my fish happier! Cheers, Matt <Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Tuberculosis (RMF, feel free to comment)  1/25/08 OK, so I can do more frequent or larger H2O changes and maybe feed the fish a little bit less and add a smaller, 2nd filter perhaps to increase the water quality. <Likely need to do ALL those things. Try them out and see if the nitrite and ammonia drop to zero. If they do, BINGO! You've cracked fishkeeping.> Should I not worry about treating the tank as far as the apparent bacterial infection goes because it should disappear with better water quality? <Need to do both. Without better water quality, the fish won't stay healthy, regardless of how often you treat. Even if you fix the water quality, the bacteria are in your fish now, and need to be dealt with.> Thanks again, Matt <Cheers, Neale.>

Fungused clown loach   1/25/08 Hi I have two Clown Loaches and today I saw they seem to have white mold growing on them am not Sure what's happening but they still seem to be active like usual. I was wondering if its the water or do they have an infection. thank you <Mold on fish is extremely bad. It's likely a Fungal infection if it looks like fluffy white threads, or Finrot if the white stuff is dead tissue and you (usually) see some bloody tissue nearby. In either case, early treatment is ESSENTIAL. Furthermore, both of these diseases are 99% of the time related to either poor water quality or physical damage. So you need to check the living conditions of your Loaches before doing anything else. Two Clowns will need a tank well in excess of 200 litres/55 gallons after they are anything more than pups, given that this species is both [a] big and [b] sensitive to poor water quality. Secondly, they are very intolerant of dissolved metabolites in the water. At the very least, check the nitrite level. If you detect any nitrite at all, that's too much, and it means you have insufficient filtration, an overstocked tank, or are drastically overfeeding the fish. Now, treating Clown loaches is complicated by the fact that many off-the-shelf medications will kill them as easily as they'll cure them, so you have to do your research before dumping any old potion into the fish tank. Do read the FAQs on the Clown Loach disease, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/clnlchdis.htm Cheers, Neale.>

Fallow tank, Dropsy, FW, Infectious Dis.  11/25/2007 Hi Crew, <Hello Rachel,> Here I am writing in yet again! About a month ago I lost both the Betta and the African Dwarf frog in my freshwater tank to bacterial infection. The frog had mildly injured its nose and one of its hands, probably by diving into the gravel at high speed the way he was fond of doing. I'm guessing one or both wounds got infected. He developed dropsy, and he died despite quarantine and treatment with hydrogen peroxide, Neosporin on the wounds, and even a needle aspiration to help take the pressure off his internal organs (all of which I researched before trying, of course--and the needle aspiration, while a little drastic, did seem to help him perk up and fight a few days longer). I did my best to keep the tank extra-clean to keep the Betta healthy, but I suspect he'd already been infected internally for awhile--he got dropsy too, and by that time I'd gotten my hands on some antibiotics (the local pet store closed, and as I'm a university student with no car, it took awhile to get any from further away). But, despite those in combination with aquarium salt, he died too. <Oh dear.> It's my understanding that it's pretty hard to nurse a creature back to health once it's developed dropsy, so although I'm sad they didn't make it, I tried my best. <With small animals, yes, this does tend to be true. By the time dropsy is apparent in them, the internal organs have been damaged beyond repair.> (The Betta was two and a half years old, too, which I hear is not too shabby a lifespan.) <In the wild they are basically annuals. In captivity, some people get the odd Betta to last 3 or 4 years even.> If you see anywhere that I went wrong with in trying, please let me know! My end point in writing is to ask about the tank now. It's been fallow for three or four weeks, just live plants and probably some limpets still left in there. Would this have been a bacteria that would've died with no host, or is it still floating around in the water? <To some extent the bacteria will still be there. Secondary infection-causing bacteria are largely bacteria that potter about harmlessly at all times, and only become a problem when wounds allow them to enter the fish. Think about things like E. coli in humans: absolutely harmless and indeed essential where they live in the lower intestine. But if they happen to get somewhere else, like the urinary tract, they cause potentially harmful infections. It's the same with the Finrot bacterium Aeromonas hydrophila (which causes Red-leg in amphibians and stomach upsets in humans). Normally it does its thing in the water, feeding on whatever organic matter it finds. On a healthy animal, the immune system has no problems killing it off. But when an animal is weakened, e.g., by the damage caused by ammonia in the water, the immune system cannot function 100%, and the Aeromonas hydrophila overwhelm exposed tissues where they feed on proteins, particularly haemoglobin. In other words, assuming your new livestock are happy and healthy, then the bacteria likely won't cause any major problems. Disinfecting the tank is certainly one option, but you would have to cycle the biological filter again. Even in this case, bacteria will get in eventually anyway. They just do, and trying to fight against bacteria is usually a waste of time because they run this planet, not us, whatever we might like to think. So far better to accept the bacteria for what they are -- opportunists that will take advantage of any situation they can -- and simply focus on keeping healthy livestock that can deal with the bacteria naturally.> I'd gladly scrub the tank down, but haven't yet as I was hoping to keep the beneficial bacteria going. I didn't want to put anything else in there if there's a chance of a latent bacterial population lurking around. <The bacteria will certainly be laying around in the water and substrate and filter media. Running a course of anti-Finrot/anti-Fungus medication won't do any harm, and might be worth a shot in this instance. Do also bear in mind the filter bacteria will have died back in the interim because of the reduction in ammonia for them to "eat". So before adding new livestock, you may want to add an ammonia source for a week or two first, to get them back into fighting fettle. Adding a pinch of flake per day, or leaving a bit of seafood to decay at the bottom of the tank, should do the trick. The bacteria don't care where the ammonia comes from, and if its from bacterial decay of uneaten food, that's fine with them. Obviously test for ammonia or nitrite afterwards to make sure everything is working before you add new fish.> Thanks for being there as always, Rachel <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Sick fish... Guppies, Columnaris?   11/6/07 Ok I have a 75 gallon fish tank perfect ammonia ph Everything! <... Punctuation...> However I have lost many female guppies to this weird disease, it only happens to females and it comes over there belly like over there gravid spot up to their back and its their scales that sort of puff up and lift off their body yet don't fall out. <Yikes!> Eventually I separate them and then after a while they die. I have given them a bit of salt everyday and some quick cure <Toxic> I lost about 5 to 7 guppies and for a while it went away, they had a billion babies ,and then all of the sudden it came back I don't get it. I thought for a while it was ich because they would flick themselves off rocks and stuff, but why would it only happen to the girls and it isn't how the books describe it. also I have one female that has been with me since the beginning and about 2 to 3 weeks ago she got this round golden thing under her skin on her back. It's so odd and now it's like starting to bulge out of her back. please help I have searched every here nobody can tell what it is. I love my guppies and don't want anymore to die. thank you. <Your situation sounds very much like "Columnaris" disease... see the Net, WWM re Chondrococcus... likely Neomycin sulfate... Bob Fenner> Re: sick fish. Guppies, Columnaris? Child?   11/07/07 Thank you I Have kept the most recent sick guppy and the scales have stopped protruding yet they are still white and a bit weird looking. I have not given her any salt for a while and she looks better, <See WWM re salt use> I was starting to think it was dropsy but I have never seen a guppy with dropsy or only happening to females? <No> but I'll keep searching. As for the fish that had the golden bulge on her back I checked her out today and it was red and it looked like it exploded in her back you can see a blood streak in her back stretching to her belly, what happened! was it a sea tick or something ? <... no... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppydisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

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>

Pleco L260 w/ Fungus... real "Fix"es    10/21/07 Hello, I have a Queen Arabesque Pleco, my daughter has named Darling, in a 44 gal planted tank. All of the Nitrates, Nitrites, Ph Levels are where they should be. The temp of the tank is 79ish. There are a School of Tetra (15 members), Rasboras (5 members), 2 shrimp, and a Clown Pleco also in residence in the tank. Everyone else seems to be ok. I noticed a couple of small non-symmetrical whitish fuzzy spots on one side (only on her right side) of the Queen (located at the tip of her tail, on the shaft of her tail and on her side). I talked to a couple of fish guys, to get ideas on treatment. I was told that is sounds like Fungus and told me to use MelaFix and PimaFix (they would not hurt the other tank mates). The tank has been in treatment for 6 days (as of 10/20/07). I also got on the web to see what I could find. My conclusion is that she has fungus. These do not seem to be working. Her fuzzy spots seem to be getting larger and now she seems to have a film covering a portion of her side. She is still active and her belly looks like she is eating. What types of cures are there to use. I do not have a quarantine/treatment tank to put her in. So I will have to treat the whole tank. I also have "Ich Attack" by kordon, which is 100% organic and treats diseased caused by Ich, Fungus, Protozoans and Dinoflagellates. Which I have yet to use out of fear of killing the others. Ich Attack does not speak to its use on Plecos or scaleless fish. MelaFix and PimaFix say they are safe for Plecos. Can you help me please! Sincerely Steve <Steve, most of us here at WWM consider Melafix and Pimafix a waste of time. They may have some value against minor infections or as prophylactics where fish are slightly damaged but not infected with Finrot or fungus. But as a treatment against established Finrot and fungus, they have limited and very variable usefulness. For treating fungus I would be using a standard anti-fungal medication. I happen to like eSHa 2000, a Dutch medication widely sold here in the UK and in my experienced perfectly safe with sensitive fish. I have used in several times in tanks containing things like pufferfish as well as numerous different types of catfish (Corydoras, Synodontis, and Panaque, in this case a Royal Plec, but the same genus as your Clown Plec). If you can get this medication in your country, then definitely try it out. One thing I like about eSHa 2000 is that it treats Finrot, Fungus, and Mouth Fungus simultaneously, removing the need to diagnose these different but easily confused infections. There are other medications that will also work against all three (Interpet Anti-Fungus and Finrot, Seachem ParaGuard etc.). Ask your retailer. If you stick with Melafix and Pimafix, I'm concerned (read: certain) your catfish will simply die. The whole "medications are bad for catfish" discussion seems to be very ambiguous, and largely based on old fashioned medications less commonly used. Many brands of medication will specifically say "safe on sensitive fish" or similar, and these are worth using. I can only speak from experience, which is that used properly, medications don't seem to have harmed any catfish I've looked after. Do remove carbon from the filter, and don't forget to increase aeration. Have a read of the catfish disease FAQs: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/catfshdisfaqs.htm . Cheers, Neale>

Re: Pleco L260 w/ Fungus 10/21/07 Neale, Thanks for the info. I am running out this morning to try to obtain some new Meds. She has even got worse since I sent my original email. I will update you either way on the outcome. Lets hope it is a good one. She is a beautiful fish and a member of the family. Thanks again and Cheers, Steve <Steve, catfish are basically tough, so you have a wide window of opportunity to turn things around. Treat swiftly, keep tabs on the water quality, increase aeration, and pray to the Fish Gods. Yes, these big Loricariid catfish can become "one of the family". My Panaque has been with me since I graduated, which is substantially longer than any of my girlfriends! And in their own way, they do become tame and even friendly. So it's worth making an effort with them. Good luck, Neale>

Moving Betta Fish to a Bigger Tank/Fin rot   10/21/07 Hello, <Hello!> I got a Betta fish about a month ago- my college had an event and they gave away Bettas for free. The bowl he came in seemed "too small" so I got him a larger (half gallon) bowl, which he's been living in since then. However, reading on your site (I know, I should have done my research *first* but I assumed that since people in my dorm in previous years had Bettas in those little bowls that it was okay for them) I got him a 2.5 gallon tank with a heater and filter (it's a charcoal filter type, rather than a sponge...is that okay?) and some largish cloth plants. <Carbon isn't really useful in this aquarium. You're going to need to change 50% of the water weekly (at least) and doing that will remove the dissolved organic wastes through dilution. Since carbon is used to remove those wastes, the carbon is rendered obsolete. Carbon also removes medications: you cannot use fish medicine in an aquarium with carbon. So, replace the carbon with *biological* filter media instead. Sponge would be ideal, but ceramic hoops or filter wool will work too.> My question is, from what I've seen you're supposed to cycle the tank before putting the fish in, but that can take up to 6 weeks. <Yes.> But it seems like even an uncycled heated and larger tank would be better for Kappa (my Betta) than his small cold bowl. <Correct.> Is it safe to put him in now, and just change the water often (I'm thinking every 3 days with a 50% change- in his old bowl I was doing 100% changes every 3 days), or is it better to wait for the new tank to cycle? <Your plan sounds ideal. Move the fish, do water changes regularly, and test the nitrite levels periodically to check things are OK. When fish are exposed to high ammonia and nitrite levels, they are prone to fungus and Finrot, so you want to keep them as low as possible, preferably zero.> Also, I put the plastic plant and the gravel from his old bowl in, with new gravel and a couple larger fabric plants- will that help the tank cycle faster? <Marginally, if at all.> (I don't know if there was anything beneficial on them, in order to get the waste off the gravel I'd been swishing it in tap water when I did his water changes, and rinsing off the plant <Arggghh! Never wash anything under the tap you want bacteria to live on. Always wash biologically active filter media in a bucket or bowl of water taken from the aquarium.> I did notice some sort of stringy whitish stuff on the plant though, is that good or bad growth?) <Likely algae (if green) or bacteria (if grey/white). Either way, harmless though perhaps unsightly.> I don't have any tests for ammonia/nitrates/nitrites yet, but I am getting some as soon as I can find them (the store I went to was out of a lot of stuff). <Get the simple combination dip-sticks. They're cheap (here around £10 for 25 tests) and you can slice them down the middle to make twice as many tests. Each dip-stick has nitrite, ammonia, nitrate, pH and hardness (at least) making them extremely useful for quickly judging the conditions in the tank.> I'm especially concerned about leaving Kappa in the old bowl because he's had a chronic case of fin rot since about a week after I got him. At first he lost about a quarter inch of the 'webbing' on his tail, and I got him some aquarium salt and tetracycline gel-food medicine. <The salt detoxifies nitrite, which is useful when a tank is immature. I'm not convinced Tetracycline food is beneficial, given it is an antibiotic for internal infections, and Finrot is an external infection. I think you need to add a Finrot medication to the water.> The medicine said to give him 5 drops per serving (2x a day) but I could never get him to eat more than 2 drops (the brand was "aquarium products gel-Tek tetracycline", for what it's worth). It seemed to stop the fin rot, and it started growing back but as soon as the medication period (3 days) ended, within a day the tail had rotted back to about where it was the first time. <Curing the symptoms -- Finrot -- while not fixing the cause -- poor water quality -- locks you into a cycle where every time you cure the fish, it gets sick again soon after.> I tried the tetracycline again and this time he'd hardly eat it (I think he just doesn't like it, he loves the Hikari pellets and frozen bloodworms that are his normal food). The rot didn't really get any better, so I stopped for a couple of days then switched to Jungle Fungus buddies (which said they also treat fin rot). That has helped more, but by this time his tail is about half the length it used to be. <Oh.> Anyway, the tail has been stable for a couple of days but after I switched Kappa into the 2.5 tank, and he swam around for an hour or so, the webbing that had been regrowing has fallen out again. Will the better conditions help him (he's still on the Jungle medication), or do I need to do something else to get this cleared up? <I think at the moment you're "running to stand still" because high levels of ammonia and nitrite in the aquarium are putting immense stress on the fish.> (I've been trying to find Maracyn (2) since that seems to be highly recommended on your site, but I can't find it in either of the pet stores here.) Other than that he seems healthy and active- he was very curious about everything in the new tank and comes over to me every time I get near. Also, pretty much every time I changed his bowl water, he would make a bubble nest, so he couldn't have been too unhappy...? <In other words: when water quality improves, he's happy; when water gets bad again, he stops being happy.> Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to give as much detail as possible. Thanks for your time, --Kyra <Do water tests, replace carbon with true biological filter media, ensure ammonia and nitrite settle down to zero levels. Don't overfeed, and do regular water changes. Keep treating the Finrot. Once the water is good, you'll see the Finrot won't come back. Do read the articles here at WWM about Bettas. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Moving Betta Fish to a Bigger Tank/Fin rot 10/22/07 Dear Neale, Thanks so much for your help and the quick response. I'll be looking for a new filter and ammonia/nitrite/nitrate tests for Kappa's tank. You guys run an amazing site, and I'm sure I'll be referencing it a lot in the future. Thanks again, --Kyra <Kyra, thanks for the kind words, which I'll be sure and pass on to the Crew. Good luck with your Betta! Neale>

Albino Cory and fin rot 10/18/07 Hi Bob-- <Well, it's Neale right now; hope that'll do.> I hope you are doing great. As always, let me please start with thanking you for the WWM web site and opportunity to share my concerns / problems / questions with other aquarists. <Cheers!> I do have a question about and a problem with fin rot in Albino Cory. <Ah, Finrot... almost always an issue with water quality. If it ever gets caused by other stuff, that's news to me. So, always review water quality while treating Finrot.> Few months ago my little Albino got that disease. In the aftermath of that fin rot my Albino lost its dorsal and pectoral fins... ;--( I acknowledge I was afraid to medicate the fish assuming that changing water will be much more beneficial than dropping medication... Perhaps, I was wrong. <Indeed you were wrong. It's a 2-step process. Water changes are essential to maintaining good water quality. No question. 50% weekly is my recommendation. BUT, while using a medication, you can't do water changes. Water changes would (obviously) dilute the medication, reducing its efficacy. This is also why you remove carbon from the filter (if you're using it, and you shouldn't be in my opinion). Carbon removes medication, reducing its efficacy as well. Regardless, it's not an "either/or" situation -- you do water changes to prevent problems, and use medications (stopping water changes) when problems arise. When the medication course is finished, resume water changes.> On a regular basis, every Wednesday and Saturday, I change 30% of my 25-gallon tank water... The pH range reads between 6.8 and 7.0. The water temperature is ca. 76 F. The ammonia level is 0. <All sounds reasonable. I personally find Nitrite more informative than Ammonia though; ammonia can come from inorganic sources (e.g., tap water) and its absence tells you nothing about the Nitrifying bacteria that turn Nitrite into Nitrate.> I keep lots of plants (Cabomba & banana) and make sure the water circulation is quite fast (I have one Emperor filter + one small Hagen filter for 10-gallon tank and 2 oxygen stones). <10 gallons a little on the small side for Corydoras paleatus (which is likely what you have).> I am not sure what I am doing wrong, but there must be something I do not get right... I noticed that my Albino started loosing its caudal fins (I observed the fin became quite ragged and 1/2 "eaten"). <How often do you clean the substrate? It's often said that dirty substrates can promote secondary infections on benthic fish. No idea if this is true or not, but stirring the gravel every few weeks before doing a water change can't do any harm, so long as you don't uproot the plants.> At this point I have to acknowledge that I am clueless ;--( and desperately looking for help, before the entire caudal disappears. <I see.> Do you think that I should place Albino in a hospital tank and treat it for the fin rot? <No, Corys like to be in groups, and keeping them alone will stress the fish in question. Besides, you may as well treat the tank.> If so, what is the best medication (least harmful) I could offer to that little fish. <Corys are fairly tolerant of medications compared with more sensitive catfish. So any combination Finrot/Fungus medication will work here. Ideally, get something safe with sensitive fish and/or invertebrates, but it really doesn't matter too much. I happen to find eSHa 2000 very good with sensitive fish, but as far as I know it's only sold here in Europe. Mardel Maracyn is one alternative you might consider.> Sorry to "bother" you with my question... I hope you will be able to guide me toward the right answer. Thanks much in advance for your feedback. Anna <Hope this helps, Neale>

Re: Albino Cory and fin rot 10/18/07 Thanks much, Neale. I will try the medication on my display tank... Though, I am bit worried about my plants ;--( and beneficial bacterias if I do the process in the main tank. <Used properly, modern medications won't harm filter or plants. Just read the instructions carefully, and follow them to the letter.> I forgot to mention that I do clean gravel 2 x a week -- along with water changes (first gravel, than water). I noticed that my pH changes with - or + 0.2 value. That looks like a lot. <Hmm... that's not a dangerous change in itself, but it's the rate of change that matters more. Is this across one week, or six weeks, or what? If on a weekly basis, I'd be slightly concerned, but if over six weeks or more, I wouldn't be too bothered. All aquaria become acidic over time. Water changes reverse the pH drop, and increasing carbonate hardness (KH) slows the pH drop down. For a standard aquarium, a hardness of 5-10 degrees KH should keep the water chemistry stable between water changes. 50% water changes weekly should reverse any pH drops before they become serious.> Maybe I feed the fish too much ;--( <Always a possibility. Review the articles on feeding fish here at WWM or in your aquarium book. As a rule, one or two pinches of food per day are fine, and each pinch should be so small that all the food is eaten in 2 minutes. Catfish should be given their own portion of food, preferably at night. For a small school of Corydoras, a small pinch of sinking pellets or a single Pleco algae wafer per night will be fine.> Perhaps, this may be a reason why my Albino got sick ;--( <Overfeeding compromises water quality; poor water quality causes fish to get sick.> Anyway, I will try Maracyn. Hopefully it will help. <Yes I hope so too; good luck!> Again, thanks much for your help. I greatly appreciate your insights. Greetings from NYC, Anna <Cheers, Neale>

Re: Albino Cory and fin rot  10/20/07 Thanks much, Neale. I got the answer -- I feed my fish too much ;--( The pH changes occur within a week! The cycle becomes apparent -- too much food increases acidity. Water changes drop that factor, which increases again over the course of a week due too increased amount of food in the gravel. I am going to read more about proper feeding. Thanks much for your help. ;--) ANNA <Ah, yes, overfeeding can cause acidification. But also check other factors. Bogwood is a notorious acidifier of aquaria, especially if it hasn't been "cured" properly before use. Anyway, do try halving the amount of food you use, and see how that changes the pH. You might consider adding a chemical buffer to the system to prevent pH changes. Small amounts of crushed coral or crushed oyster shell places in the filter will do the trick nicely. As these dissolve, they raise the carbonate hardness (measured in degrees KH). For a standard community aquarium, you want a KH around 5-10 degrees. In a small aquarium, half a cup of crushed coral should do the trick, perhaps even less. You don't need masses, since you're not after a hard water aquarium like you'd use for a Tanganyikan cichlid tank. But a little extra carbonate hardness, just enough to inhibit rapid pH changes, would be a cheap and effective "insurance policy". Cheers, Neale.>

Sick guppies. Columnaris?  10/17/07 Hi, We have had quite a few guppies over the past few months. We recently introduced some new guppy fish and ever since they have been dying, most have developed a white velvety/moldy substance on their sides. At first we thought it could have been velvet disease however upon further reading we have come to doubt this as velvet is described to be yellowish in colour and this is pure white, we have also used velvet control treatment, however to no avail. Also one of the females has developed large white rings around her eyes which look like they could be some sort of fungal infection. <Mmm, much more likely bacterial> I have searched the internet and cannot find anything relating to this. <Look for the term "Columnaris"... or the genus Chondrococcus... and "fish disease"> We have a catfish, a spotted Plec and three black harlequins in our tank which we have had sense the tank was first set up which have remained unaffected. We have done tests on our ammonia levels, PH, nitrate which have all been fine. Can you think of anything which this could be and what is causing it? <Was likely either introduced with some livestock... and/or favored by "stress", some sort of deficiency...> We are going to completely change the water tonight and clean the tank which we are hoping will get rid of any infection in the water. Any advice would be much appreciated, Best regards Emily and John P.S they have also had more babies recently, will they be affected do you know? <Please see this piece: http://aem.asm.org/cgi/reprint/17/2/333.pdf re Neomycin, Polymixin use... Needs to be addressed ASAP. Bob Fenner>

Life after fin rot 10/14/07 Hello Guys, I just had a fish with fin rot which I removed from my tank. My nitrate is 0 and there is a drop of ammonia that I am working on. The tank is pretty clean and I have two questions. Is it possible that the fin rot came from stress alone (he was being chased a little by the other fish)? Also do I have to worry the other fish can catch fin rot even after I removed him? Thanks, David <David, Finrot is almost always associated with water quality issues. So assuming you get the Ammonia down to Zero, you won't have to worry about Finrot. Fish don't "catch" Finrot; changes (deterioration) in water quality brings it on. Cheers, Neale>

Betta Fin Rot    8/26/07 Tom- <<Hi, Mark.>> You helped me out with my Betta before and you're advice was very helpful. <<Glad to hear it. Thanks.>> Unfortunately, my fish is getting fin rot. I have tried Melafix and it doesn't seem to be helping. <<Not likely to, Mark. Might help the healing process but wont provide a cure.>> I change my 10 gallon tank (filtered) once a week. I do about a 60% to 70% water change. <<Excellent regimen, Mark, but Im going to ask you to up the frequency in this case. Do the same water change every three or four days.>> I add about two tspns of aquarium salt. <<I might have mentioned the last time that Bettas are one of the very few FW species of fish that I do recommend aquarium salt for. Increase your dosage to one tablespoon per five gallons of water. We can cut back on this once things are under control again.>> I also treat the water with Aqua Plus. I have a siphon device that sucks dirt and debris from the gravel. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks. My Betta, other than fin rot, has not displayed any other symptoms. He is very active and eating just fine. Thanks. <<As youve probably seen for yourself, Mark, Bettas will do exactly what wed prefer they didnt do which is to lounge around on plants and/or the bottom of the tank. Since their finnage seems to come with a built-in bulls-eye for bacteria, hanging out where bacteria are most concentrated is an invitation for problems. Clean water something youre handling very well is of the utmost importance. Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, its not enough, though. Give your Betta a second water change each week (same percentage of water exchange) and increase the salt as Ive mentioned. Put the Melafix on hold in the meantime. Id be surprised if you didnt see some real improvement in a short period of time. A final note here is that keeping the water temperature up at around 80-82 degrees F. will assist the fish's immune system. If you've already got a heater, this is where I'd suggest you keep it set. If not, I'd highly recommend one.>> Mark <<Keep up the good work, Mark, and best of luck to you. Tom>>

Re: Betta Fin Rot  10/3/07 Hi Tom. <<Hello, Mark.>> Thanks again for your help. The good news is, the fin rot hasn't gotten worse. The bad new is, my Betta now has a (for lack of a better word) bubble right behind his front side fin. It looks almost like he has a tumor. He is not using this fin. <<Glad to hear about the fin rot, Mark. (I confess that Id have rather you told me that the fins are regenerating nicely but Ill take the good news, regardless.) The bubble doesnt sound particularly good on the face of things but neither is it something, at this point, to be overly alarmed about.>> He is eating normally and is active. I have the tank around 80 to 82 degrees. Doing water changes at about 80% twice a week. If you have any suggestions, it would be much appreciated. <<Mark, I can tell you right now that what youre currently doing is about all that can be done, i.e. maintaining a good tank temperature and staying well exceptionally well on top of the water changes. This is one of those situations that falls into the wait-and-see category. Frequently, lumps, bubbles or other tumor-like projections are self-limiting in nature and can/will remiss on their own. Your pets immune system is going to do the work here and, again, what youre already doing is going to ensure its best chances. Sick fish stop eating or, at the very least, pick at food rather than eat actively. (Bettas are great for pick-and-spit eating habits when they're "off their feed".) This doesnt sound to be the case with your Betta. Likewise, they can be expected to become lethargic (Bettas almost invariably lay on the bottom of the tank, as we spoke of before, and all but refuse to be prodded away from their spot when ill). Once again, this doesnt appear to be your situation. From a hands-on perspective, youre there. Any kind of medicating would almost certainly be fruitless and, likely counterproductive, since we have no idea what the bubble is or, its cause. Stick with your current regimen.>> -Mark <<Thanks for the update, Mark. Wish it was all good news but an active Betta thats feeding well isnt at all bad. Just have to sit this one out and hope for the best. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. Tom>>

Missing fin please help! FW Finrot, infectious dis.  Gen. and goldfish   9/23/07 Hi, I hope you can help. I have 2 goldfish, from carnivals, so I don't know what kind. I've had them for 4 & 6 months. They seem to be very active, good eaters that get along pretty good. I noticed tonight that my older fish seems to have an extension on his one fin. Almost like it grew much longer and skinnier then the other. His eyes are kind of big, but he was this way for months, so I don't think it's an issue. I also noticed that my other fish seems to have that Nemo stubby fin thing going on. I just noticed this, it looks like the fin is gone except when he swims I can see the stub moving too. I don't know when or how this happened. I watch, and look at my fish daily & often, so this jumped right out at me as not being right. What is really weird is that both the growth and fin lose seemed to happen recently. Can you shed any light on this? I would appreciate any advice you have. Thanks, Becky <Becky, disappearing fin membranes (the clear bits) and protruding fin rays (the spiny bits) are classic symptoms of Finrot. This is a degenerative disease where bacteria eat away at healthy tissue. Potentially, it can kill the fish. It is very VERY common in tanks that are not properly filtered (or not filtered at all, like bowls). It is also common in tanks that are overstocked. So, the first things to do are confirm the basic conditions in the tank. Goldfish need an aquarium containing not less than 110 litres/30 US gallons. A filter needs to be provided, ideally rated at a turnover of 4-6 times the volume of the tank. For example, if the tank contains 30 gallons, the filter needs to have a turnover of 30 x 4 to 30 x 6 = 120 to 180 gallons per hour. You'll normally find this number either on the filter pump itself or else on the packaging it came with. Goldfish are hardwater fish, so you need an aquarium with water that has a general hardness of at least 10 degrees GH and a pH around 7.5-8.0. Other than these modest requirements, the only other thing you need to make sure of is water changes. These should be around 50% per week, with all new water treated with dechlorinator. You'll find plenty more articles on goldfish elsewhere on this site, so do have a read of them. Hope this helps, Neale>

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

Betta Fin Rot    8/26/07 Tom- <<Hi, Mark.>> You helped me out with my Betta before and you're advice was very helpful. <<Glad to hear it. Thanks.>> Unfortunately, my fish is getting fin rot. I have tried Melafix and it doesn't seem to be helping. <<Not likely to, Mark. Might help the healing process but wont provide a cure.>> I change my 10 gallon tank (filtered) once a week. I do about a 60% to 70% water change. <<Excellent regimen, Mark, but Im going to ask you to up the frequency in this case. Do the same water change every three or four days.>> I add about two tspns of aquarium salt. <<I might have mentioned the last time that Bettas are one of the very few FW species of fish that I do recommend aquarium salt for. Increase your dosage to one tablespoon per five gallons of water. We can cut back on this once things are under control again.>> I also treat the water with Aqua Plus. I have a siphon device that sucks dirt and debris from the gravel. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks. My Betta, other than fin rot, has not displayed any other symptoms. He is very active and eating just fine. Thanks. <<As youve probably seen for yourself, Mark, Bettas will do exactly what wed prefer they didnt do which is to lounge around on plants and/or the bottom of the tank. Since their finnage seems to come with a built-in bulls-eye for bacteria, hanging out where bacteria are most concentrated is an invitation for problems. Clean water something youre handling very well is of the utmost importance. Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, its not enough, though. Give your Betta a second water change each week (same percentage of water exchange) and increase the salt as Ive mentioned. Put the Melafix on hold in the meantime. Id be surprised if you didnt see some real improvement in a short period of time. A final note here is that keeping the water temperature up at around 80-82 degrees F. will assist the fish's immune system. If you've already got a heater, this is where I'd suggest you keep it set. If not, I'd highly recommend one.>> Mark <<Keep up the good work, Mark, and best of luck to you. Tom>>

Tail/fin rot, guppies    8/26/07 Hello. I just stumbled upon your website and noticed it is very helpful. I have had a fishtank for a while but just got a new one with new fish. It is only a ten gallon. I have a guppy who developed tail/fin rot, and it seems to be spreading to my favorite guppy. I don't know if it is though. I'm just trying to confirm my observations when i ask: is it contagious to my other fish besides the guppies? Thanks a lot. -Adam <Hello Adam. Thanks for the kind words. There's two ways of looking at your question. If you're asking will Finrot jump from one fish to another the way a cold jumps between people, no, not really. The bacteria that cause Finrot are (probably) present in all aquaria at all times, and only under certain circumstances do they actually become a problem. However, if your question is "one of my fish is sick, will the others get sick too?" then the answer to that is yes, most likely. Finrot bacteria become problematic when the immune systems of your various fish become compromised in some way. Two factors are usually at work, poor water quality and physical damage. They can work independently or together. With guppies for example Finrot can start when they're kept with nippy fishes such as serpae tetras or black widow tetras, both of which view guppy tails as food. Or alternatively (and more usually) water conditions in the aquarium have dropped below a certain threshold, and the guppies no longer have the strength to stave off infection. In the case of guppies, ammonia and nitrite are dangerous, but so too is a low pH (anything below 7.0) and a low hardness (basically you want "moderately hard" to "very hard" water chemistry). So, if you have multiple fish showing signs of Finrot, and can rule out fin-nipping, then study the conditions in the aquarium. Do water tests for ammonia, nitrite, pH, and hardness (ideally KH but GH will do). Oh, and if the water conditions are so bad the guppies are getting sick, the other species are likely be stressed to some degree, too. Hope this helps, Neale>

Re: tail/fin rot 08/26/07 It turns out that my water is too soft. Thanks for the advice. -Adam <Cool. Bump up the carbonate hardness especially. That's the bit livebearers appreciate. Adding "tonic salt" -- whatever the retailer might say -- won't help. Cheers, Neale>

Black lumps on tetra body and fins  8/23/07 Please, can you help me diagnose my tetras? <We'll see> I have looked everywhere and can't find anything to match the appearance of these fish. Something that came close during my research was "lip fibroma", most common in angelfish and other "kissing" fish. 2 of my tetra (now in quarantine for 4 weeks) have lumpy growths first on their lips, then appearing on their fins and tail bases. It's spreading for sure. Both fish are eating and lively, but obviously something is very wrong with their bodies. The lumps are raised, and grey/black in color. I hope the photos I took help. (Image links:) http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b360/Meechity/fishy1.jpg http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b360/Meechity/fishy2.jpg http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b360/Meechity/fishy3.jpg Your site is invaluable. I would not bother to write you if I hadn't searched all I could elsewhere. Thank you so much :) ~M <Does appear tumorous... Perhaps there is a bacterial or protozoan involvement here... I would try one course/treatment with Metronidazole/Flagyl AND feeding of antibiotic (the "usual" broad-spectrum, gram-negative varieties commercially available) like Tetra's/Sera's as attempts at cure.... otherwise, careful isolation... euthanization. Bob Fenner>

Boesemanni fungus   8/8/07 Hi to the crew, <Hello Lynnette,> I want to thank Neal for his response to my earlier question/problems. (previous email included at bottom of page) I have evaluated my maintenance. I am making a conscientious effort to try to provide the best environment (other than nature) for my fish. <Very good.> After I received the response from Neal my fish did not display the white mouths again until this week. I have kept up with the water changes as previously noted. I have well water that I heat and aerate for a few days before each water change. <Ah, but do you add dechlorinator? This does more than remove chlorine. It also neutralises ambient ammonia (e.g., from agricultural run-off) and locks away metals like copper (e.g., from the pipes). Aerating won't do these things, so isn't a substitute.> My water parameters are the same as before. I have stepped up cleaning my canister filter in hopes that would help. I rinse the bio media in a bucket of tank water every two weeks. The hob filter media is rinsed at every water change. <Don't clean the filter too often. Once a month is probably too often, and I do mine a couple of times a year in some cases. You see, every time you take the filter apart, you stress the bacteria a bit, and you definitely run the risk of cleaning away the bacteria. The sign to clean a filter is when the flow of water is obviously less than before. Otherwise, leave it be.> Since the fungus symptoms have returned I am ready to medicate the fish. From my research it looks like sulfa meds are the med of choice? My local fish store is Petco and I don't trust them to recommend medications for my fish. Is there a drug that would be better suited? <Here in England I'd use Interpet combined Finrot/fungus, but in the US your options seem to include things like Seachem Sulfathiazole and Mardel Maracyn. Just don't either "tonic salt" or new-age cures like Melafix or Pimafix. None of these are consistently effective.> I also would like to know if I could treat the whole display tank since 14 of the Rainbows show varying degrees of small white tufts on their mouths? <Always always always treat the entire tank with something communicable like this. This holds true even if you have to remove a sick fish to a hospital tank.> I know this isn't the best choice but I don't have a quarantine tank large enough to treat all at once. I have quite a few plants in the main tank ,Corydoras and the Pleco. I considered moving out the Corydoras and the Pleco but I honestly don't know if I could catch them out without tearing the whole tank down. What's your opinion/recommendation? If I treat the main tank should I remove the plants? <The cats and the plants should be fine. Check the medications available against the information provided on the packaging or the company web site. I don't have experience of those American brands so can't speak personally. But generally, as long as you follow the instructions to the letter (and remove carbon from the filter) medications are safe and effective.> Trying to figure out how to do this so all fish that need treated are treated and the catfish aren't negatively affected. <With cats, it is specifically copper and formalin that are suspected to cause problems for them. I've never found that to be the case, but then playing Russian Roulette once and surviving doesn't mean its a safe game!> I appreciate all the time, patience and knowledge that is put into this web site and the responses to questions. I totally respect all of you. <Cool. And thanks for saying so; I'm sure we all appreciate it.> Thanks for helping, Lynnette <Good luck, Neale>

Re: Boesemanni fungus 08/08/07 Thanks to Neal for his help. I have another question for Neal or someone to help me with. After I medicate my 55 gal tank with the sulfa what kind of aftermath can I expect as far as cycling again. I have a full bio load now and fear what the ammonia and nitrite spikes will do to my fish. What can I do to make sure my fish make it thru till the tank is stable again after the medication? I appreciate your help.. many thanks. Lynnette <Hello Lynnette. While I can't verify this from experience (sulphur drugs are not sold over the counter in the UK) my assumption is that provided you follow the directions on the package, your biological filter should not be harmed by aquarium-specific drugs. Having said that, I'd still remove 33% of the filter media and keep it alive in a bucket of untreated aquarium water by bubbling through some air via an air pump and airstone. That way, if something does go wrong, you can do a 90% water change and then restore the filter to near-normal output by putting the "saved" filter media back in. Regardless, visit the web site of the drug you intend to use, and read up any FAQs they have online. Most of the big aquarium drug companies have this information online. Cheers, Neale>

Sick fish?? FW, infectious?  - 7/23/07 Hi, I hope you can assist me with a few concerns I have regarding my fish. I have a 55 gallon freshwater fish tank. I Have a Marine 350 penguin filter for a 75 gallon tank (with 2 bio-wheels for better filtration ) and a basic tetra filter which came with the tank. I have 1 red flame dwarf male Gourami, 4 mollies, and 5 Mickey mouse platy fish. I had a case of fin rot which was treated for 6 days as instructed and a water change was done at the end of the treatment, however, 1 Mickey mouse platy seems very sick. I have removed him from the tank and placed him solo in another tank with a lot of plants. He seems to be dissolving away. He has what looks like red horns protruding out of the nape region of his body, and his scales seem as if they are turning into slime. I have been trying to feed him medicated food for internal and external treatment....but he doesn't seem to eat it. Do you know what my fish may have. All of the other fish are very healthy and active and show no signs of dropsy disease or any other 'sick' signs. <Hello Melissa. The precise sickness you describe doesn't obviously "shout out" one particular thing, though I'm assuming what you are describing is rotting skin and fungus of some sort. I'd definitely be treating with combination Finrot/fungus medication, and since this is a severe case, I'd step up my game and also do saltwater dips on a daily basis to clean up the infection. All these are is a 1 litre tub of aquarium water with 35 grammes of non-iodised cooking salt (a.k.a. "tonic salt") dissolved into it. Then the fish is dipped into it for anything from 1-20 minutes. The idea is to dip the fish long enough to dehydrate the external pathogens without killing the Platy. Given Platies are salt-tolerant, you probably will manage at least 5 or 10 minutes at a time. Dip the fish, and when it seems to lose its balance, that's when you take it out. Repeat on a daily basis. I've found this method very effective for cleaning wounds (it is, after all, one of the basic first aid ways to clean wounds on people, too).> Also, how do I know when my platies and mollies are going to give birth??? I spotted my male molly and my red Gourami eating some baby fish about a month ago. One molly looks like she is going to explode!! <You don't know. They'll come when they're ready. With most livebearers batches of fry are delivered around a month. It's a very VERY good idea to stuff the tank with floating plants like Hornwort (which you can buy from garden centres as a pond plant even if your aquarium store doesn't have it). Baby fish hide there away from the other fish in the tank. This'll give you time to do a check every day for babies and then remove them to a breeding net or second tank.> Thank you some much for your time. Cordially, Melissa Cisnero <Good luck, Neale>

Fin rot - water changes | summer heat | Melafix and Furan  7/21/07 Hello Crew-- This is Anna. At first I would like to thank you for the WetWebMedia site. It's resourceful and very useful - simply, awesome. Through that website, you guys have helped me solve many of my problems, incl. new-tank syndrome, aquarium set up, new fish introduction, and many more. <Ah, good> I own a 25-gallon tank filled with community fish - 8 tetras, 2 red swords, 1 Pleco and 1 albinos (bottom dweller). Basically, they are all fine. At this point I learned how to keep the tank's environment at "0" ammonia level, stable pH (6.8 - 7.0), and "0" nitrate. Following the school of Bob Fenner <Heeee!> I treat some diseases by massive water changes, temperature increase, and better nutrition. The problem I have now is called "fin rot," and I suspect that it appeared on my 2 fishes due to the temperature differences :--( My tank is small (25 gallons), hence susceptible to significant temp. fluctuations. I recently ordered small water chiller (very, very expensive gadget). <Yes> Now I am hoping I will be able to minimize, or eliminate, those drastic temp. changes (up to 6 degrees). <Mmm, you had tried changing the lighting regimen, fan/s blowing across the surface...?> I searched through the WetWebMedia and noticed you recommended to treat fin rot with Furan-2 or Furan. You also mentioned MELAFIX. <There are folks here on both ends of the spectrum re the use of this "tea"> I have a separate 10-gallon hospital tank ready to accept the 2 sick fish (albinos almost lost the upper fin | tetra has a white "clustered spot" on its tail), but with the crazy summer temperature changes I can't put my already sick fish into a small tank that heats up to 90 degrees :--( On the other hand, in my main tank I have established a nice and stable environment with plants and do not want to mess up that system with a medicine. I read that "MELAFIX" might be an okay solution. What do you think of it? <I think/know it's a sham... worse than worthless "tonic" that leads people to believe they're actually "medicating" their system, livestock... The best thing that can be said about the "fixes" is that they have not much effect period> I also got a "Medicated Fish Food." I just am not sure if I can use that stuff in my display tank...How about Furan-2? <How about it?> What are your thoughts? Shall I use any of those medicines in my display tank, or should I continue massive water changes on a daily basis? Please, help, if possible. In between I am waiting for the chiller.. P.S. I have an emperor filter. Much thanks. ANNA <I would treat the malaffected fish/es elsewhere... like the ten gallon you mention... Possibly with a/the Furan compound... and a modicum of aquarium salt... and the medicated food... for "Finrot". Bob Fenner>

Re: Fin rot - water changes | summer heat | Melafix and Furan 07/22/07 Thanks, Bob. I am really lucky ;--) <A good trait, sensation> I will keep observing the fish. I noticed that water changes and good food helped "curb" the disease a little (does not transmit to other fish). Though, I assume my albinos will never get its upper fin back (will not regrow) :--\ <Mmm, not necessarily. May well regrow if not "bitten too far back"> Yesterday I got the chiller and set it up for my tank. It works really great. <Ah, good> I hope all those things (environment, food, and chiller) will help me keep the fish healthy. <Yes> Thanks for that MELAFIX warning. I will not use it. As for the Furan - I will wait 1-2 weeks before. In between, I will continue changing water. <Good> Again, thanks much for such a prompt response. <Welcome> Anna Bob Fenner's aquatic follower ;--) <We walk along together as friends. BobF>

Bacterial Hemorrhagic Septicemia / fin and tail rot  6/30/07 Hello, <Hi there> I have a 16 year old Silver Dollar that has the following conditions. Left pectoral fin is gone; the flap is there and flaps like crazy, but there is no fin attached. <Mmmm, might grow back if not too far gone...> Both pelvic fins are completely gone. The caudal fin is badly frayed (3 weeks ago was almost completely gone) and is strangely red at the base close to the fish body. <Something amiss here...> History; up until 6 weeks or so ago, I had the silver dollar in the tank with a Pacu. <Ohhh> The Pacu was huge and out sized the dollar by ten times at least. One day I noticed that the silver dollar was missing most of its caudal fin and what was there was badly frayed. The pelvic fins were gone as well as was the pectoral. I assumed it was fin and tail rot and treated the tank with Mardel Maracyn Two. The caudal fin began to get better for about a week then went to worse again. <... stress, bullying...> I then thought that it was the Pacu. Although the Pacu never picked on the dollar in my presence I thought it was happening when I was not around. I wanted to get rid of the Pacu any way since it was so big and messy to take care of. I found a home for the Pacu at a LFS adoption tank and that left my dollar to her self. The caudal fin healed from almost nothing to about one-half but then quit and will not heal further. The other fins have not changed at all. I am patient and though that in time all would be well again so went out and bought 3 more silver dollars to keep the old one company. Before getting the new dollars the old one ate well, but now the feeding frenzy and competition is causing the old dollar to swim faster to get her share, but with out the control of all her rudders she cannot aim correctly at the food and misses it. <Provide more bulky food items... greenery that the impaired one can eat easily... Like blanched zucchini> Also, she cannot maneuver well enough to keep up with the other dollars who are younger and smaller. This is causing me to revisit medication or some form of treatment before the dollar winds up dying. <... Medication not advised here> My tank is 75 gallon, Ph - 6.8, nitrite - 0, ammonia - 0, Nitrate 20-40, GH 3d, KH <1d, total dissolved solids 300ppm, RO water conditioned with Kent RO right, <I'd use less, let the TDS hover around 100 ppm> Ph buffered with Kent Ph 6 and 7 (phosphates), and the temp is 25.5c. My 1st question is this- I read that the redness near the base of the fins could be Bacterial Hemorrhagic Septicemia. Does it sound like it to you? <This... is a condition... Need to seek out, address root cause/s... the trauma, "dirtiness" from the Colossoma... Takes time to heal...> 2nd, Can the pectoral and pelvic fins come back if I treat the fish correctly, or are they gone for good? <Can regenerate> 3rd, what/how would you recommend treating the condition(s) with and should the treatment be carried out in a separate tank, or is the condition contagious, requiring that the entire tank be treated. Many thanks! Scott S <I would try the change to foods with more bulk, lowering the TDS, soaking the food/s in a vitamin and HUFA mix like Selcon to boost this animal's immune system... Bob Fenner> Re: Bacterial Hemorrhagic Septicemia / fin and tail rot   6/30/07 Hi Bob, Thanks for the quick reply. <Welcome!> I'll take your advice and not medicate. How do I lower the TDS? <Mmm, either start with "cleaner" water or not add to it...> I add chemicals when I do water changes as follows. To 15 gal I add 1.5 tsp Kent RO Right, <Leave most of this out... this should do it> 1 tsp Kent Ph Precise 6.0, 0.5 tsp Ph Precise 7.0, and 15ml Tetra Black Water Extract. That brings my TDS in the new water to 235. Still even then my GH is very low, between 2-3 dH, and the KH is so low I cannot measure it. Would you add different quantities/products? Thanks again, SL <Try cutting back on the RO product... try a level teaspoon of baking soda (Sodium bicarbonate) instead... BobF>

Re: Bacterial Hemorrhagic Septicemia / fin and tail rot, Silver dollar...  6/30/07 Hi Bob, You must have forgotten that I am using RO water, or I doubt that you would recommend that I only add 1 tsp of baking soda to 15 gal of it. <I did not forget anything...> On the label of the RO Right, it recommends 1 tsp per 10 gal for soft water. That is what I am currently adding. Also, on the Ph Precise I am following the label as well. Since my fish has out-lived my dog, I must be doing something right with respect to water chemistry and husbandry. <... what is your point?> My quandary is in treating an old fish which has lost much of its finnage, and over an 8 week period has not shown much improvement despite a great deal of effort. Your suggestion of more bulky food was a good one. The silver dollar seems to really like green beans, and since none of the other dollars pay any attention to them, the wounded one has them to herself and once again has a full belly. Also, I have taken your advice on supplementing vitamins. I have no experience with mixing food, so I am adding freshwater essentials to the water to add vitamins. Hope this works in lieu of. Thanks for your help, SL <Please... just use the indices, search tool. RMF>

Re: Bacterial Hemorrhagic Septicemia / fin and tail rot 07/01/07 Bob, <SSL> What is my point you ask? Most of what I do with respect to maintaining my fish tank is based on information gleaned from posts on your web site and from your direct responses to my previous questions over the past 2 years. I.e., RO water instead of tap, frequent water changes, softer water, discontinuing fish-slime additives, etc. <I am in agreement with all of this> Then, in this most recent volley of correspondence you suggest that I go to pure RO water without any additive other than baking soda <Sorry for the lack of clarity... I would try decreasing the RO Right product by half ml.s per time/maintenance interval, and in addition, add the level tsp. of bicarb> which would leave my tank with out any major or minor elements, no GH, and enough alkalinity to bring my Ph back up to 8.0. Why would you suggest this? It makes no sense to me in light of the other comments and suggestion on your site. SL <Do try this in a separate container... and measure the resultant chemistry... a day later. B>

Baby Whale & Fish-Tail Rot Medication - 06/27/07 Neale, <Hello Michelle,> Thank you for your wonderful advice regarding the baby whale. Maracide is a 5-day treatment (today will be day 4), so far the baby whale and the snails are fine and the ick vanished. Every night I siphon-up about 3 gallons of water (38 gallon tank) from just above the gravel, where I read ick parasites inhabit. I thought about moving the baby whale, but he seems to have made a home for himself under driftwood and our hospital tank is now housing my one remaining Gourami... who seems to be doing ok. <Very good. Siphoning up the baby whitespot parasites sounds a bit unlikely to work to me, but it can't do any harm I suppose.> Also, we have a new challenge; it seems that the lovely rainbow fish contributed not only ick but fin-tail rot. The Betta finnage was devastated seemingly overnight. Next in line are the Panda Corys (primarily the dorsal fins). I am a bit concerned because about a year back I had one Panda Cory be consumed by some kind of fin-tail rot bacteria that seemed resistant to everything, and in the end there were no fins left... It was the saddest thing I've seen happen to any of my fish, doubly so because I'm particularly fond of Corys (there about 3 years old). <Now, Finrot is almost always caused by water or fin-nipping issues. Sometimes it does come in with new fish, but only very rarely. 99 times out of 100, it's either the environment or persistent nipping by other fish in the tank. Given the baby whale is OK, water quality is likely to be good, but water chemistry might not be. Mormyrids aren't fussy about water chemistry (they're found in habitats as varied as blackwater streams and Rift Valley lakes). But rainbows like neutral to slightly alkaline, moderately hard water. That the dorsal fins of the Corydoras are rotting immediately suggests fin nipping though. I've seen this when keeping Corydoras with pufferfish (not a good combo!). Ditto with the Betta; these fish are notorious targets for fin nippers. So, what's in the tank? Anything likely to be nippy?> I've started treating with Maracyn II (although, I've never had much success with this medication). Today will be the third day. The fin-tail rot doesn't seem to be progressing... I think, but I can't detect re-growth either. Would you suggest I continue, or stop treatment with Maracyn II. <Unless there are compelling reasons not to *always* finish off medications.> On hand I have, Mardel's TriSulfa and Maracyn Plus. I've never tried a sulfa-based medication before. I could also go & buy whatever you suggest. Again a concern is the baby whale (who seems fine.. still slurping up worms). <Like you, I'm pleased the baby whale is happy, and that strongly suggests the basic conditions in the tank are sound. I'd personally be spot-treating the fish with Finrot by dipping them into baths of some sort. Even saltwater (marine salt mix or uniodized cooking salt added to a litre of aquarium water) dips can work to slow down mild Finrot (seawater strength, for 2-20 minutes depending on the size and species involved). An adult Corydoras, for example, would probably be safe dipped for around 3-5 minutes. They are not very salt tolerant. Freshwater livebearers and cichlids, on the other hand, are often much more salt tolerant so you can be more aggressive with the dips. The idea is to dehydrate the external parasites and clean the wounds while not harming the fish. Provided the fish being dipped stays upright and stable, you're fine, but if it loses balance or starts thrashing about wildly, pull it out. Repeat daily until things are better. Finrot is an exceedingly aggressive disease, and untreated spreads to the body, resulting in septicaemia, which is basically untreatable (and fatal).> Cheers, Michelle <Hope this helps, Neale>

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