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FAQs on the Rainbowfishes Health/Disease 3

Related Articles: Rainbowfishes, Fishes at the rainbow's end; An introduction to the Atheriniformes, the Rainbowfish and silversides by Neale Monks

Related FAQs: Rainbow Disease 1, Rainbow Disease 2Rainbow Disease 4, Rainbowfishes 1, Rainbowfishes 2, & FAQs on: Rainbow Identification, Rainbow Behavior, Rainbow Compatibility, Rainbow Selection, Rainbow Systems, Rainbow Feeding, Rainbow Disease, Rainbow Reproduction,


re: New rainbow fish won't eat... more fish sickness     10/18/19
Hi again Neale!
<Hello again,>
Thanks for your reply.
Good news. So the fish weren't improving and the pet store offered a refund and allowed me to return the 5 sick fish. They also replaced the 4 Otos.
Recently my friend gave my Rummynose back only his rams had bad ich and now the Rummynose has 2 ich spots and mild what looks like fin rot.
<Sounds like his/her tank has some underlying problems, with both Ick and Finrot being opportunistic. But in any case, caught early, both should be easily treated.>
So I caught it and QT it in a 15 liter container with a heater and filter thing. Working on putting temp up to 32 to cure the ich. Is that a good idea?
<It can work, but it isn't my favourite approach. I prefer to include salt (non-iodised cooking salt is fine) at 2 gram per litre. At 28-30 C, this should work nicely. The heat is about speeding up the life cycle, such that the mobile form (which the salt kills) emerge from the fish within a day or two. Additional aeration is usually essential, since warmer water holds less oxygen.>
What should I use to treat the mild fin rot?
<A good antibacterial medication is the default. Antibiotics are ideal, else reputable Finrot medications such as eSHa 2000 or Waterlife Myxazin.
Avoid anything marketed as "mild" or "natural" as these usually include tea-tree oil or some other vaguely antibacterial product that have proven to be unreliable in aquaria.>
Oh also this is a vid of the tank now. You can't rly notice the ich on the 1 fish in this tho. I put Praziquantel in main tank due to some fish scratching. I think they may have gill flukes possibly.
<Looks a lovely tank. Nice to see the Anubias flowering! Cheers, Neale.>

re: New rainbow fish won't eat... rechatting re FW ich      10/21/19
Hi again thanks Neale. I'm starting to question if it is in fact ich at all.
It looks a bit too large to be but unsure.
<Ick tends to look like salt grains. Velvet more like powdered sugar.
Anything bigger than these is likely dead tissue, whether bacteria-caused or otherwise.>
At the moment the 15 liter is at 32 degrees and has seachem ParaGaurd in it. I also medication soaked the food in metronidazole, Praziquantel and Levamisole.
<That should do the trick! Quite the cocktail.>
The main tank has been treated with Praziquantel because some guppies were doing scratching. 1 guppy has some clear poop. Unsure what to do with that, the food may fix it unsure.
<Good luck, Neale.>
re: New rainbow fish won't eat      10/21/19

Hi again Neale,
Thanks for your reply.
I wasn't sure if it was ich or a small fungal infection since it didn't change in days (maybe a week) and ich should of so I turned temp in QT tank down to 26.
<Fungal infections typically look like cotton wool. They are very distinctive. 'Mouth Fungus', which is a bacterial infection also known as Columnaris, is different. It forms dead white patches, often on the face,
but also on the gills, and the sick fish will quickly become lethargic and lose weight. Since it isn't a fungus but a bacterial infection, it requires medication as per Finrot.>
I also added blue planet fungus cure in the dose recommended for tetras.
<Fungal infections usually clear up quickly, but do remember that carbon removes medications from the water. Sometimes when medications don't seem to work, it's because the carbon neutralised them.>
I think the bubbles may of been from a supplement I added possibly. Maybe the Hoffa by continuum (fats) or from something else I added. Unsure. Will water change of 30% improve it?
<Water changes rarely a bad idea! But wait 24 hours after dosing the tank with any medicine, otherwise you'll just dilute the medicine.>
Or should I be using something like Purigen or Polyfilter (removes organics)?
<See above re: carbon; any chemical medium is likely to interfere with medication.>
Thanks again
<Cheers, Neale.>

re: New rainbow fish won't eat; dis.       10/22/19
Hi again Neale thanks for your reply. Oh yeah the main tank is not where the QT tetra is. The infection is like a dot but slightly fussy I think I dont know if its ich. Kinda doubt it. Could it be neon tetra disease.
<Possibly, though I think some sort of bruise or scratch looks more likely from the photo. If you've medicated as per Finrot and Fungus, and he's not getting any worse, I'd stop treating and simply observe for now.>
I think he's hating it in the QT tank. Could I put him back in main tank?
<Yes, I agree that this would be kinder.>
Should I swab treat with Methylene blue?
<No real point unless it's a fungal infection. Best to just avoid stressing the fish and see what happens. If he's swimming and feeding normally, I'd not do too much beyond that. Cheers, Neale.>

re: New rainbow fish won't eat; dis.       10/24/19
Hi again Neale, Thanks for your reply.
The Rummynose didn't improve and looks very white after moving it. Do you think it will improve? I assume the dot must be a scale damaged from move.
<Perhaps. Hard to say. White slime patches can be a disease called Costia.
Quite difficult to treat. Look up some pictures and see if that looks plausible.>
The Kutubu has 1 white dot on its tail so thinking I will add more ParaGaurd. As it may be early ich. Or is something better I can use on whole tank?
<If Costia, worth treating the whole tank.>
My friends guppy that Im borrowing has a split in its tail from being moved I think. Do you think it will get better?
<If the tear is clean, and stays uninfected, yes, it'll heal.>
The froth persists so Im using Polyfilter (chemical filtration to try and remove organics). Hopefully I dont have to get a hob protein skimmer.
<Skimmers don't do much in freshwater.>
Planning on doing a water change soon
<Always a plus. Good luck, Neale.>

re: New rainbow fish won't eat (RMF any ideas?)<<>>... dis., ongoing       10/25/19
<<W/o sampling, can only guess at the probable cause here. I would proceed as you've outlined. RMF>>
Hi Neale, thanks for your reply
The Rummynose looks much better and normal now. The guppy split persists. The dot is still on the Kutubu so I added more ParaGaurd and removed Polyfilter. If that doesn't work what else should I add?
<I'm against medicating unless you have a diagnosis. Often watching the fish carefully, optimising living conditions, and removing sources of stress, will allow the fish to heal itself naturally. Or at least, worsen
slowly enough than you can start to see obvious symptoms, and then medicate, more precisely, in time.>
Im slowly raising temp up to be 32 degrees so to kill any possible ich is that a good idea?
<For short term, won't do any harm -- most tropicals can handle 28-30 C for a while. 32 is overkill, I think, but follow your instincts, and be sure to observe the fish, providing extra aeration at high temperatures. The other option is to "black out" the tank for a few days, which alongside small amounts of salt (2g/l) and heat, will exterminate Velvet as well as Ick. The tank needs to be pitch black, so a heavy blanket is the order of the day! Do this for a few days, and surprisingly enough, your fish and
plants will be just fine -- but the Velvet parasite will not.>
The guppy split is still there also and so is foam so the Polyfilter didn't help. Must be protein as you said and needs cleaning.
<Let's hope! Cheers, Neale.>
re: New rainbow fish won't eat      10/25/19

Hi Neale, Terrible news. So I was looking at my tank and couldn't find my favorite guppy. Then I finally find him and he's laying on reads breathing heavy. I panic and do 35% water change and gravel vacuum thinking it was from the ParaGaurd or 27C.
Then when I look at him closer I see a long reddish worm hanging out of his butt by about 6mm. Seems he has Callamanus. He is looking real bad I actually thought he was dead because he got stuck to intake at one point.
Is the heavy breathing from Callamanus or something else?
<Could easily be stress at this point. Camallanus worms are quite common in farmed livebearers.>
So I medicated whole tank with 13 tablets of Avitrol+ (Levamisole). And blacked the tank out and covered it with towels. Other fish seem fine but some a bit bloated/fatter than what they should (some guppies) so they probably have worms. Intending on feeding pea later tonight and tomorrow to help pass worms
<Epsom Salt can help too, but the Levamisole is really the main treatment here. Sometimes multiple courses are needed, as some worms are more resistant than others.>
I tested water and it was: 6.6ph, about 0.25 ammonia (always has trace ammonia unless tanks are cleaned way excessively), 0 nitrite, 0.5 nitrate, 0.25 phosphate.
<This pH is really too low for Guppies, which prefer hard, alkaline conditions.>
I added seachem Alk to bump ph/kh a bit.
Am I doing the right thing?
<See above; I'd be thinking about water chemistry as much as anything else.
Whatever else, livebearers won't live long in soft, acidic conditions, and the wrong water chemistry will make them more prone to diseases of all sorts. Cheers, Neale.>
re: New rainbow fish won't eat      10/25/19

Hi Neale, more terrible news. The guppy died and there seems to be non-moving worms in its net.
<Sorry to hear this, and yikes!>
I took a picture and did a mild dissection of the fish. I think some worms left before the fish died and some after. Thats worms isnt it? Is his gills bleeding or is that an after death thing?
<Hard to say. Dead fish will have bright cardinal red gills immediately after death, but these turn red-brown very quickly. Now, Velvet in particular will damage gills quite badly, but really, spotting this without a microscope will not be easy. Cheers, Neale.>

re: New rainbow fish won't eat      10/25/19
Hi Neale, Thanks for your reply.
<You're welcome.>
I moved all the snails out of the tank and into a QT mini container.
My friend is going to keep or mind them for me. Also intending on giving a Siamese algae eater away to lessen bioload.
<Wise, and might be interesting to see if things improve for the fish without him. Sometimes SAEs are misidentified, and the aquarist ends up with slightly more aggressive species (like the Flying Fox) or the
sometimes very nasty Chinese Algae Eater.>
The Rummynose seem to take the medication a bit harder than the rest .Is there any way to more safely worm the fish more routinely?
<Not really, and used correctly they shouldn't cause harm -- indeed, they're widely used on 'sensitive' species like Discus as a matter of course. That said, if a certain fish isn't well to begin with, predicting
the effect of a given drug is hard.>
I think the guppy may of gotten the worm from possibly left over eggs from those sick rainbows. Since he was fine for ages.
What Ph and KH should guppies have?
<Farmed Guppies need hard, alkaline conditions: 10-25 degrees dH, pH7.5-8.5.>
Kinda thinking of adding a small amount of crushed coral because the ph just drops and drops so fast.
<Yes, but once algae and bacteria cover the coral, the benefit will be reduced. So you need to plan a way to keep the crushed coral clean, e.g., by rinsing under a hot tap every couple weeks. Furthermore, if your water is very soft, or at least lacks any kind of pH buffering capacity, then using an appropriate aquarium buffer may be necessary. All fish tanks acidify between water changes, unless something prevents that.>
Its like Id have to be adding seachem Alk almost daily to maintain it
<Used correctly, and in sufficient quantity, these should really only be used with each water change. Something is amiss here if the pH is dropping dramatically across a few days. Let me have you do some reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwsoftness.htm
Cheers, Neale.>

re: New rainbow fish won't eat; dis, H20 qual., no rdg.      10/26/19
Hi again Neale, Thanks for your reply,
I think it is because I have a lot of wood. I noticed that even with less plants it was acidic but I expect that the nitrifying process of all the fish and mass of snails was also making it acidic.
<Yes, wood will lower the pH because it releases tannins and other organic acids. In hard water the impact is trivial, but in very soft water without any sort of chemical buffering, yes, the pH will drop.>
Is aragonite better than crushed coral?
<Much the same.>
I was having trouble keeping it above 6.6 just dosing alone.
<Sounds like your water is way too soft. Is this drinking water? From a domestic water softener perhaps?>
My friend has the snails and a Siamese algae eater now. The ph drops by about 0.5 after about 2 weeks it seems.
Wow that's soo high seems aragonite is way to go?
<Do read the article linked earlier today; do also read here:
Without buffering capacity (whether a salt mix, or commercial pH buffer) very soft water will change in pH rapidly. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat

Hi again Neale, I was wondering if this is suitable? Or if it should be larger pieces? I was thinking of putting maybe 1/2 cup of it in the HOB filter.
My tank has a HOB filter it came with usually empty though, plus a Nautilus 800 plus a small 300L/hr pump
<Do see, read the previous articles and correspondence. The addition of coral sand and other such substrates to your filter will provide buffering, but the effect can be unpredictable. Questions like how much to use, and how often to clean, are completely unanswerable, and end up being a 'suck
it and see' type situation where the aquarist has to establish what works best in their situation. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      10/26/19

Hi again Neale, Thanks for your reply.
I'm getting new guppies of high quality tomorrow as I already had it planned for a few weeks before this disaster. Am I better off putting the 7 new fish (3 yellow-red mosaic and 3 blue grass + 1 Dumbo ear female) in the same tank for the rest of the worm treatment or in a 70L uncycled newly set up tank?
<Never put new fish, especially not expensive ones, in an un-cycled tank.
There are situations where you might have to cycle a tank with a few hardy fish, such as Danios, but this can stress the fish if you don't know what you're doing. On the other hand, de-worming new livestock is actually a good idea, and many aquarists do this as a matter of course.>
Also the fish being treated with Levamisole (2nd day) seem to have reddish gills and be breathing more heavily. Is this normal or do they have some other disease?
<Levamisole shouldn't have any effect on the gills. But hard to say for sure. It is regarded as a safe and reliable medication for most fish though, so I wouldn't be overly concerned. Of course, if fish are breathing heavily, check water quality and chemistry, and supplement oxygen levels with an airstone or increased filtration. Remember, if the pH is very low, hard water fish such as Guppies will be stressed, and heavy breathing is a standard symptom of that. Low pH levels generally aren't a good idea for
most community tanks because biological filtration works better above pH 7, and hardly at all below pH 6, so unless you're keeping blackwater species that need soft, acid conditions to survive, it's best to aim for middling conditions, around 10 degrees dH, pH 7-7.5 being ideal for a mix of soft and hard water community species (i.e., Corydoras, Angels, Danios, Guppies, Rainbowfish, etc.)>
I'm thinking of adding a few teaspoons per day to raise ph to 7.6. And a bit of crushed coral in-between. Is that a good idea? Is that high enough for my strains?
<See previous messages re: water chemistry. Have gone into this already.
Would just be repeating myself, I fear! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      10/26/19

Hi again Neale,
<Good morning, Sarah.>
I just found out the fancy guppy breeders guppy tank has ph 7.6 and they add salt.
<As do most Guppy and Molly breeders. Under such conditions these fish are much less disease-prone.>
My tank ph is about 6.6-6.8. Should I just add them to a newly set up but uncycled 70L tank with a ph 7.6?
<See earlier message.>
Rather than stress them by having them in low ph?
<Sticking Guppies from hard/saline conditions into a tank with soft, acid water will, at best, make them prone to disease. At worst, they'll simply die from shock or acidosis.>
I have seachem prime and am guard to protect from ammonia.
<Neither of which are relevant to water chemistry.>
What's your thoughts?
<I think I've made them clear in previous messages and links to articles.
Hope that they help, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat     10/27/19
Hi again Neale, Thanks for your reply.
Is it safe for my Rummynose and my rainbow fish?
<What, the Rift Valley Salt mix? Rainbowfish will love it. Rummynoses are soft water fish, so less happy about it. But provided you use it in
moderate amounts and aim for no more than 10-12 degrees dH, pH 7.5, you should be fine.>
Where can I buy it from?
<The whole point of the mix is that you can buy Epsom salt and baking soda pretty much anywhere on the High Street, since both are used domestically.
Marine salt mix can be substituted with non-iodised sea salt, or simply left out completely, as the case may be. What does matter is that you check the water chemistry carefully using appropriate test kits. You can of course buy 'cichlid salts' from many aquarium shops, but don't confuse these with 'aquarium salt' or 'livebearer salt' which is just overpriced sea salt (sodium chloride) and does nothing for hardness or pH. Cichlid salts will state that they contain magnesium sulphate, sodium carbonate, and other minerals found in the waters of Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika.
They're more expensive than aquarium salt, but the amounts used in freshwater tanks is trivial, so a small package will last years. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat     10/27/19

Hi again Neale, So I got the new guppies they look great
Though they made me realise the guppies I already have are breathing harder than they should be.
What do you think it is?
<Have stated this already: Poecilia spp. will not be happy in acidic conditions, and simple acidosis can explain heavy breathing and stress.>
Could it be Oodinium or gill flukes or something?
<Unless you have other symptoms, and the water is still acidic, then I would not jump to these conclusions.>
How do I treat it?
<See above; don't.>
Would aquarium salt alone treat it?
<Aquarium salt treats Whitespot, and sometimes Velvet, and while salt is helpful to Guppies in soft water, used at the required amounts to create slightly brackish conditions you'd start stressing your tetras and plants.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat     10/27/19

Hi again Neale, I think I figured out what the guppies have I think it is Trichodina or some other gill parasite.
Since I have treated for gill flukes and it didn't improve. I watched a YouTube video of a guppy with Trichodina and my guppies I already have breath in the same way.
What should I medicate with? Thanks
<I am skeptical of any such diagnosis while Guppies are being maintained in soft, acidic water conditions. If they're in hard, alkaline conditions, then sure, start reading up on parasites and pathogens. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat     10/27/19

Hi again Neale So I was researching and was thinking I should try Protozin by Waterlife for the gill parasite?
Though it could take 2 weeks to arrive and that seems less than ideal. Also seems like a very hardcore medicine.
I have some meds here already and apparently ParaGaurd kills them though it didn't seem to stop it before? Hmm unsure what to do. I guess Ill use the ParaGaurd and fingers crossed.
Though last time I used that a guppy died but I dont know if related.
Or should I use something purely copper based? Im unsure
<Fix the water chemistry first, and if the fish remain stressed, then go all Dr. Kildare; not before. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat          10/28/19
Thanks Neale for your reply.
The aquarium should have ph 7.2-7.4 now. As it was 7.2 earlier today.
<This is better. Closer to what Guppies want. But can we start testing hardness? To stress this point, it is hardness rather than pH that fish care about the most.>
If the heavy breathing is from just the water how long will it take to fix?
<Could be due to stress, and once water chemistry is better, your Guppies may well behave normally; only time will tell.>
Also it seems like the Siamese algae eater is also breathing more heavy.
If I were to treat it what is safest yet effective?
<As have stated repeatedly, while the aquarium is unstable, and you're having to diddle about with water chemistry, I would assume symptoms of stress are simply that, and not randomly medicate the fish. Only medicate when you can positively identify a disease, never "just in case". Be like your own doctor. Does he/she randomly give you drugs?>
Im just waiting on the crushed coral to arrive and thinking of ordering that rift salt mix. Though how do I know how much to add that's safe?
<As have also stated before: while the Rift Valley salt mix, used at 25-50% the recommended dose should be fine for a mixed tropical fish community, you will want to use some sort of water chemistry test kit to confirm. Make up a bucket of hardened water, test, and if it's good, write that recipe down and re-use each water change. If the water chemistry is wrong, then reduce or increase the minerals accordingly, i.e., more/less Epsom salt for general hardness changes, and more/less bicarbonate of soda for carbonate hardness changes. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat          10/28/19

Hi Neale thanks for your reply
The guppies aren't breathing as heavy today so I think it may of been from medication or stress
Do you mean kh?
<KH and pH are different things. KH is an abbreviation for carbonate hardness in German, and widely used to indicate the 'degrees of carbonate hardness' in the same way as C is used for Celsius or m for metres. For Guppies, something upwards of 5 degrees KH is the aim. The higher the KH, the more stable the pH will because carbonate hardness provides alkalinity, i.e., the ability the water has to neutralise acids. pH is a measure of how acidic or basic the water is. A pH below 7 is called acid, a pH above 7 is called basic, and a pH of exactly 7 is neutral. While the scale runs from 1 to 14, aquarists are mostly concerned with a range of 6 to 8, with 7 being good for general community tanks, but 7.5 better for communities that have hard water fish such as Livebearers and Rainbowfish. If the carbonate
hardness is at least moderately high, say, 5-10 degrees KH>
Oh so you are saying to make my own mix and not use a premade mix?
<Use whichever suits your budget. Mixing your own is more fiddly but cheap, while a commercial mix will be easier to use but you'll pay a premium for the convenience. They're very similar in usage, and the same warnings about using a simple test kit to check the results will hold true. Dip-strips like these are easy to use, and will test pH, KH and general hardness (GH) all at the same time, so are well worth using if you don't have the time or budget to buy separate test kits:
While not especially accurate, they work well enough for community fish tanks.>
My general hardness tester doesn't seem to work it never changes color not even for tap water and its not an "old" tester either
<See above for an alternative approach. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      10/29/19
Hi again Neale thanks for your reply I will try to test gh like that then
<Good oh.>
Oh I was wondering if my Siamese algae eater looks healthy? He jumped into the female enclosure last night then jumped out
<His head looks a bit scuffed, but other than that, yep, looks fine. If he's swimming about and feeding normally, I'd not be too bothered. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat     10/31/19
Hi again Neale
So later today (now)The female guppies are acting a bit odd. Clamping their tail?
<Classic signs of stress in virtually all freshwater fish.>
And kinda swimming slowly?
<Known as 'shimmying'. Again, a classic stress symptom in livebearers especially, usually linked to water chemistry problems.>

The other fish are acting fine only the females are acting weird.
<If by "other fish" you mean other than Guppies, again, I'd refer you to our previous conversations about water chemistry. Livebearers need hard, alkaline water conditions and quickly become stressed in anything else. The degree with which they react varies from fish to fish, some breeds of Mollies being notoriously quick to get stressed. But beyond that, this looks more like stress than a specific disease, so review living conditions and act accordingly.>
Any ideas what it could be? This is a video of them. I turned the light off early incase they are tired.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat     10/31/19

Thanks for your reply Neale,
Why is it only the female guppies that are affected? All the other guppies are fine
Or are they more sensitive?
<As I said before, some fish react more quickly than otherwise. Trapping females in breeding traps increases their stress levels too, and contrary to how they're sold, they are really only safe for trapping the fry, not the adults. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat     10/31/19

Hi Neale, Thanks for your reply
Oh I see. I added some kh up. I will test it today.
My friends male guppy and maybe 1 other is breathing kinda hard and has inflamed gills what could that be? Could it be a gill parasite?
One of his guppies had that before it died, so I think whatever it was this guppy has
<It's impossible to answer this, Sarah. While water chemistry is wrong, laboured breathing is entirely possible, indeed, expected. Guppies will not be happy in soft, acid water; end of story. But as/when water chemistry is improved, if they are still behaving oddly, then certainly start thinking
about other possible explanations. Velvet for example is a common parasite that damages the gills, causing heavy breathing and death of gill tissue.
It's fairly easily treated once caught early on, and has other symptoms to look out for, so shouldn't be too difficult to diagnose. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat     10/31/19

Hi again Neale, I think Im about 95% sure some of the fish have gill mites so Im thinking of doing a water change then treating with API general cure
<Never even heard of "gill mites" before, and going online I'm struggling to find anything close to a meaningful summary of what they are. To be 95% sure of anything like this, you'd need to have had some gill tissue removed and observed under a microscope by a trained fish parasitologist or equivalent. There are literally dozens of diseases and syndromes that cause heavy breathing and damage to gill tissue.>
Is that a good idea?
<Not especially. About the only halfway useful page I can find on "gill mites" is on the Tetra website, where they recommend Praziquantel, here:
General Cure contains Metronidazole, which may or may not be helpful; I just don't know, without actually knowing what the pathogen involved is.>
Will also increase KH a little.
<And as/when you have a carbonate hardness above 5 degrees KH, a general hardness above 10 degrees dH, and a pH between 7 and 8, then you'll have water chemistry appropriate for Guppies -- and not before! I cannot stress this too much. Fish have an immune system like us, and many diseases in
fish ONLY become serious once the fish itself is weakened, for example by exposure to the wrong water chemistry. It's virtually impossible to diagnose a fish from vague symptoms like heavy breathing in much the same way that a cough in humans can mean anything from a sore throat to TB.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat     11/1/19
Hi again Neale, Thanks for your reply
<Most welcome.>
A few days ago the ph was 7.4 so it should be around that still. I just added more kh up today and yesterday. Ill check kh soon and pH. I ordered the rift lake salt and well as crushed coral.
Also treated with API general cure.
I was thinking since the ph is so close to what is ideal it doesn't make much sense that they seem to be irritated unless they have gill flukes or gill mites.
<Yes, it's possible, but you simply cannot be 95% sure of anything in diagnosing fish diseases from commonplace symptoms like heavy breathing.
There are probabilities, of course. So a fish in a new aquarium with eroding fins almost certainly has Finrot simply because that's easily the most probable outcome.>
I read the symptoms is similar to what they have. At first I thought it was hardness related but as hardness improved the symptoms didn't. I have a theory that a lot of pet store guppies have gill mites or flukes and it is what causes the deaths of some guppies at the store that have it most advanced.
<Gill mites (whatever they are) and Gill flukes (rather more well attested) are possibilities, but pet store Guppies are hopelessly inbred, handled with very little care throughout their lives, primarily because these are fish bred to a price rather than a standard. Antibiotics are used widely in the fish farms (and I dare say by some wholesalers) so that by the time they arrive in your tank, they're starting to lose the benefits of the antibiotics and now exposed to all the different bacteria in their world.
End result is cheap, colourful fish that inexplicably get sick a couple weeks after purchase. Some retailers are so fed up with Guppies they don't really like stocking them, but have to buy them in because people want them. A good number die in the retailer's tank, but he hopes he'll sell enough of them to offset that and turn a profit.>
Their water also tests fine for ammonia so I do think the fish get stressed and come down with gill mites or flukes then the ones with it worst die. It may be in part why my other guppy died.
I feel bad for the females but they came as part of a trio deal and it was too risky putting them in the uncycled tank. The 70L is just started cycling now and Id like it to be planted out and finished cycling before they go in. Im doing a fishless cycle with ammonia. I ordered a bigger net so maybe the females will like that more. But i think they are irritated due to water kh/gh/salt or from gill mites or flukes.
<I'm going to save myself some repetition here and direct you to some reading:

Follow the links at top to the Disease FAQs; you will find these sorts of problems with Guppies are hardly unusual. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/8/19
<Please (simply) search these topics and READ on WWM for complete answers.
READ don't write. BobF>
Hi Neale, Thanks for your reply.
One thing I notice when I gravel vac is every time loads of bubbles come out of the substrate. The substrate isnt even deep I think 3cm but I think it must be not a good shape to allow movement of water.
Is it possible these bubbles released was somehow toxic to the fish?
It happens every time I gravel vac which is once every week or 2.
Im treating with blue planet fungus cure. Do you think that will help?
Yes the nitrate is always virtually 0. I have been dosing quite a lot of nitrate for the plants but even that doesn't seem to be raising it much. I guess the plants do require it a lot.
I dosed enough Ultimate Aquacare nitrate for it to be 5ppm and within a week it was virtually 0.
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/8/19

Thanks for your reply but I tried searching bubbles coming out of substrate and nothing is coming up?
<Ummm; did for me:
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/8/19

Hi Neale, Thanks for your reply.
One thing I notice when I gravel vac is every time loads of bubbles come out of the substrate. The substrate isnt even deep I think 3cm but I think it must be not a good shape to allow movement of water.
Is it possible these bubbles released was somehow toxic to the fish?
<Yes and no. In a properly set-up aquarium, some decomposition in the substrate will happen, and any gases produced will either be harmless (nitrogen) or in such small amounts they react quickly enough with oxygen in the water column to be rendered harmless (hydrogen sulphide). However, to get either gas requires anaerobic conditions that are not likely in a properly set-up tank with less than a 8-10 cm depth of substrate. Even then, the amounts of gas will be small. If you're seeing a lot of bubbles, and they're quickly produced, this isn't normal. It might be nothing, and some plants will transport oxygen into the soil via their roots, but it might also mean the substrate is wrong somehow. Unless the tank is
well-planted with roots throughout the substrate, it's a good idea to keep substrates shallow (2-3 cm is fine if there are no plants or epiphytes only) or maybe 6-8 cm if you have plants. Either way, stir the areas without roots periodically if you must, but otherwise leave the substrate alone>
It happens every time I gravel vac which is once every week or 2.
Im treating with blue planet fungus cure. Do you think that will help?
<Not with bubbles in the substrate, no.>
Yes the nitrate is always virtually 0. I have been dosing quite a lot of nitrate for the plants but even that doesn't seem to be raising it much. I guess the plants do require it a lot.
<If you're removing literally armfuls of leaves a week, then sure, that's where the nitrate is going. But otherwise I'd be suspicious of the test kit or the way it's being used. It's rather like a car exhaust containing no carbon dioxide at all. You'd be very skeptical, I'm sure! Since nitrate is the end point of biological filtration, it accumulates between water changes, and should measurable go up from whatever nitrate level is in a bucket of new water (i.e., you tap water nitrate reading).>
I dosed enough Ultimate Aquacare nitrate for it to be 5ppm and within a week it was virtually 0.
<Weird. I guess nitrate reduction might be happening, but at an astonishingly unique level for a generic community tank. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/8/19

Hi Neale thanks so much for your reply.
Yes the substrate is only 1-2cm deep at front. The plants have it about 2 inches with aquarium pebbles and Oliver Knott Aquasoil and Palagonite.
<If the aquarium substrate is dubious, one thing I'd suggest is this: remove the substrate. Leave the plants in pots (either the aquarium shop sort, or with. bit of substrate in small clay pots). But otherwise bare glass. Why? This removes a variable. The fish won't mind, and you can scatter a few pebbles over the substrate to block upwelling light.
Double-check the pebbles are aquarium-safe by dripping acid on them (lemon juice or vinegar) and seeing if they fizz. If they do, they're not safe.>
Even the plants have signs of nitrate deficiency despite my desperate dosing schedule lol.
<If there's something amiss with the tank, they may simply be stressed, much like the fish. To recap: most plants dislike strongly acidic water, and few handle very soft water well.>
Some have yellowing.
<See above.>
This is my tank from today with my surviving fish.1 Kutubu, 2 boesemani, 3 Rummynose, 6 guppies, 2-3 Oto.
The 2 females are elsewhere for fungal treatment. Dead: 6 Otos over time (some from prawn I suspect and some may of had disease as bodies were found for some recently), 1 Rummynose, 5 guppies, 1 SAE. Rummynose, guppies and SAE all died within last 1-2 weeks.
My tank today: https://youtu.be/egcBiXd7IEQ
Does anything look drastically wrong from this video?
<Hard to say with a video. If this was me, I would be stripping the tank down, while leaving the filter running and the fish in place (I'd put them in a bucket while doing the stripping down, mind). So it's basically a hospital tank (all glass) with a few hiding places (clay pots for example).
Move the plants to another tank (even a bucket somewhere warm is fine, even better if you can point a light over them). Ensure the water in the tank is as it should be in terms of temperature, pH and hardness. With the substrate removed, you've simplified things. If things seem better now, and the fish show signs of improvement, you can then start thinking about adding the decorations back. I'd suggest plain gravel substrate, and while the plants will be ticked off about being unrooted, if you stick a few fish
nutrient tablets into the substrate after a couple of weeks, they'll grow back. They'll likely die back a bit though, hence no need to add the fertiliser tablets for a couple weeks at least.>
Thanks so much again. I really appreciate it
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/2/19
Hi Neale, Terrible news Two of the female guppies just died this morning.
<Sorry to hear this.>
They are super fat and their gills were red and kinda pointing outward. The one on the right only just died.
<I'm on holiday at the moment and don't have my fish health books to hand.
But the photos don't look especially diagnostic of anything. Bloating can indicate a range of problems.>
I don't know if it was from what was already irritating them or if I somehow overdosed with the General cure. Or if they had internal parasites (they were huge).I think the other females look alright though. Unsure. It said 1 pack per 10 gallon so I did 3.5.
<Which for a 35-40 gallon tank should be fine. That said, medicating fish randomly, as we've discussed, can have unpredictable results.>
Not sure what to do, just did a close to 40% water change. I think some males look fat, what is that from?
<Can't really say without seeing the fish. But generally, if the fish are looking stressed, the safest steps are these:
(1) Do a decent water change, 25-50%, ensuring new water has approximately the same temperature and water chemistry as the outgoing water, so as not to stress the fish.
(2) Up the aeration
(3) Check thermometer, and if necessary, adjust the temperature up or down depending on the species being kept. For Guppies, around 25C/77F is ideal.
(4) Double check ammonia and/or nitrite levels to ensure filter is working properly.
Unfortunately, sometimes we just have to accept a given species (or at least batch of fish) just isn't working in the tank we have. If it's an option, returning any remaining fish can work well, allowing time for the aquarium to settle down. Don't add anything new for at least two weeks, and ideally a month. Then, reflect carefully on the water chemistry of the aquarium, and choose a species ideally suited to those conditions.
Livebearers are increasingly disease-ridden and unreliable, and you may prefer to select species, such as X-Ray Tetras, that generally present few health problems. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/2/19
Hi again Neale,
I checked the water and it seems like there was an ammonia spike.
<Oh dear.>
Also a rummy nose is missing. I think it may of died and caused that in part.
<Certainly possible, but if one little fish dying causes an ammonia spike, it may mean your aquarium filter is either under-sized or wrongly used. As a reminder, on a community of small fish, your filter should be offering a turnover rate of 6 times the volume of the tank per hour. So for example, a 100-litre aquarium needs a filter rated at 6 x 100 = 600 litres per hour.
As for using a filter, it needs to be stocked with biological media, such as sponges or ceramic noodles, but generally not chemical media like Zeolite or carbon.>
The ammonia: 0.25-0.5.
<This is indeed bad, lethal in the long term.>
Kh: 5
Nitrite: 0
Gh 0-25
<Is this 0 to 25 degrees dH, which is so broad as to be meaningless, or 0 to 25 mg/l, which is extremely low?>
My SAE seems pretty stressed and his head still has that white stuff.
Unsure if an infection or a graze.
<Could be either, given the ammonia level.>
Something was reeeeally stressing the fish.
Unsure if it was the med or maybe adding kh too much. I think it was the medicine tbh.
The females were fin clamping for days. The other females stopped fin clamping now so maybe the medication did help. Of the two that died I saw one die just before. It was breathing somewhat heavily and was like it couldn't swim.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/2/19

For some reason water always has ammonia in trace amounts from the aquarium.
<Does your tap water? If your tap water has no ammonia, but your aquarium always has some, then the tank is overstocked or under-filtered, or at best, has more food put into the tank than necessary.>
The filter has Biohome ultimate and seachem matrix and a few 35ppi sponges.
<By default the Nautilus filter comes with a black sponge that contains carbon. This will remove any medicine put in the aquarium. It is very common for people to find their fish constantly die, despite medication, because they have left the carbon filter in place.>
Its AquaOne nautilus 800.
<800/6 = 133, so at best this filter is suitable for tanks up to 133 litres. Realistically, no filter performs at its peak rate of turnover once filter media is added and starting to get clogged with detritus, so a more
cautious rating might be to suggest an aquarium up 100-120 litres. If your tank is bigger than that, then your filter is too small.>
I read that Levamisole could of killed all the worms in tank and may of in part caused it.
<Seems unlikely, unless there were truly millions of worms all over the aquarium.>
Or maybe I need to clean filter.
<Aquarium filters should be maintained, yes, but always remember not to over-clean the media and so kill the bacteria: safest approach is to rinse media in buckets of aquarium water.>
The shark was fine before the medicine so I think it was that.
The females had issues before that though.
<Apparently so.>
How can I make the ammonia 0? It is never 0
<See above. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/2/19

Thanks so much for your reply Neale. I guess all I can do is see what tomorrow brings.
<Que Sera, Sera...>
Maybe try to improve my filter because the fact that ammonia is never 0 bugs me.
<See previous message.>
I had the same issue in my two old tanks as well. My friend also has the same issue. Any idea what's causing it?
<Not without data, no; and realistically, it's hard to diagnose vague, general aquarium problems without actually being in the room looking at them! But as a reminder, the majority of generic aquarium failures come down to water quality and/or water chemistry, so nailing these first is always a good step. Poor quality livestock, maintenance mistakes, and just plain bad luck account for some problems, but they're that bit less likely.>
I definitely won't get more females till their tank is ready and everything has stabilized i.e. no deaths for 2-3 months.
<Wise. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/2/19

Hi again Neale,
I think it was because the GH is so low the test strip wasn't reading it.
<So it's the 0-25 ppm or mg/l reading, then?>
I added some seachem equilibrium.
<May help, but rather than just chunking some in, put some into a bucket of water, then after it's fully dissolved, do a water test on that bucket of water. Find out what you are making. Any aquarist (or website) that throws around "teaspoon per gallon" amounts is giving, at best, incomplete advice.
It's not the amount of these products that matters -- it's the water chemistry produced!>
The female guppies still seem irritated and the new males. 1 female in particular is shimmying. I also saw 1 scratching.
I put in some seachem ParaGaurd half dose so far as well.
<See above.>
Some of the males are very fat so Im not sure what that is.
<Nor I.>
I intend on feeding Fluval veggie flakes soaked in metronidazole and Praziquantel (maybe Sulfaplex) and some garlic. Then tomorrow adding some Epsom salt to the soak. Hope that helps
<These are rather harsh medicines, and while I can see your reasoning, I'm not wild about random medications where water chemistry or quality may be more significant. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat       11/2/19

Hi again Neale,
Thanks for your reply. The tank also has a HOB it came with but I use that for chemical filtration.
Tap water has no ammonia.
<So any ammonia detected is being produced by the fish or decay of organic material. This, in turn, by definition means the biological filtration is inadequate. Ensure all filters are optimised for biological filtration.
Remove anything providing chemical filtration of any kind, whether carbon, Zeolite, peat, or whatever. Replace with more biological media.>
My tank is 130 liters.
Is it possible its over feeding or do I need more filter media? Like another whole filter?
<Perhaps, but it may be the filters are not maintained properly, not being used correctly, or the aquarium is overstocked. Lack of oxygen can cause biological media not to perform well, and finally, the filter bacteria work best in hard, alkaline water and work more slowly in soft, acidic conditions. Supposedly they all but stop working below pH 6 and in very, very soft water. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/5/19
Hi again Neale,
Just a quick update
1 more female died after exhibiting signs of TB. Back arching and hanging around at top. The blue grass male is doing the same and probably on the way out.
<Does seem likely.>
I'm convinced these 2 have fish TB and the others also but a strain that causes bloating.
<It is certainly possible, but Mycobacteria infections can look very similar to a range of other diseases. So while certainly worth considering -- and not uncommon among farmed Guppies -- I don't think you can be sure.>
I think the other fish will be ok. The rift lake salt arrived, do I do a quarter of the Victorian dose?
<Yep. But to remind you, again, make up a bucket of water using the appropriate amount of salt for that bucket, and THEN do a water chemistry test. Make sure the values seem appropriate for the fish being kept. But I agree, by default, one-quarter the dosage for a Rift Valley tank should be sufficient.>
Or do I just do the Victorian dose? Or do I do something else? Is it safe for plants?
My friends fish have similar symptoms. May be possible my fish got it from bringing a guppy from his here. 2 of his guppies died with bloat and 1 is on way out.
<More likely the fundamental problem was with the batch of fish you/they bought. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat       11/5/19
Hi again Neale Forgot to add I ordered an 8 watt UV to try and get rid of this disease.
<Unlikely to do so.>
Sunsun 8 watt 800L/hr UV steriliser.
<To be clear: UV filtration is very good at killing the motile phases (free-swimming forms) of parasites such as Whitespot and Velvet. These, as you know, have a life cycle that's split between a free-swimming stage and a parasitic stage. When the Whitespot or Velvet cysts burst, they release free-living stages that try to infect another fish. As water goes through the UV filter, the UV radiation kills these free-living stages. This, in turn, slows down or stops outbreaks of these kinds of parasitic infections.
What UV doesn't do is kill bacteria or viruses that either lay dormant in the tank, come in from the air, or infect fish directly, one to another. So something like Mycobacteria certainly won't be much/at all reduced by UV filtration because it passes from fish to fish, and nor will something like Finrot, because that's caused by bacteria that are ambient in the environment.>
Hope it comes soon. The coral sand hasn't come yet
<Good luck, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat (Perhaps an overall fish/health/aquarium book? RMF)      11/6/19
Hi Neale thanks for your reply
Terrible news My big Siamese algae eater just died :(
Feeling devastated atm
<I would imagine. When many fish from different species die, you can be VERY confident the problem is with the tank, not disease (and any symptoms of disease are caused by environmental stress, rather than anything more species specific). Review tank conditions, including temperature, pH, hardness, and water quality; then act accordingly. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/6/19

Hi again Neale,
More bad news, my friends guppy I was lent is dying.
Its cork screwing and breathing pretty hard.
<Oh dear. Doesn't sound promising, I admit.>
Is it possible the infection is waterborne because the females in the QT net weren't near any of the other fish yet 4 of them died.
<You can rule this out! A breeding net won't stop pathogens getting between fish.>
And outside of the net a Rummynose died an Oto, my sae, and 2 guppies
<See previous message. Something is wrong with the tank. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/7/19
Hi again Neale,
Thanks for your reply
Nothing is wrong with the tank parameters.
They are all the same as the other day
<Something is evidently wrong if multiple fish all die within days of each other. A disease can sometimes affect a succession of fish, but usually this is a slow process over weeks or months. Neon Tetra Disease for example will eliminate all your Neons, yes, but not overnight. Similarly, while
Whitespot or whatever can affect many species of fish, each species will be more or less resistant. So while one species might quickly become infected (Clown Loaches are the classic example of a fish that exhibits Whitespot almost at once) other species are affected very slowly (fish with thick slime coats for example). But if you lose a bunch of unrelated fish all of a sudden, it's unlikely a disease is, in itself, causing the problem.
There's something causing the fish to be severely stressed, and this in turn is causing them to become vulnerable to whatever pathogens are knocking about. Put another way: you need an open mind here. Something IS wrong, the question is what! You'll get more help from me if you can report back to me the exact parameters, rather than "nothing is wrong". The numbers, alongside the list of remaining fish species, will be helpful.
Cheers, Neale>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat <RMF tries to encourage an overall education>      11/7/19

<Might I suggest you read a good book (or two) re general aquarium set up, operation? Please see Neale's shortlist here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bksfwbrneale.htm
Your problems you've detailed over and over are iatrogenic... You'd do well to "start at the beginning" in discovering, studying. Bob Fenner>
Hi Neale, thanks for your reply.
Ill test the water again but I doubt much changed
I even did a 30-40% water change 1-2 days ago incase it was a toxin.
Everything was fine last time i.e. 1-2 days ago when I did water change: Kh 4.Ammonia: 0Ph: 7.6Nitrate: 0-1 (low as plants r eating it, i even dose nitrate in plant ferts and its still low)Temp: steady 25.Phosphate: 0.50
After these parameters 4 fish died in 2 days. First female guppy (was on way out). Then blue grass male on second day. Both TB signs of arching back and surface swimming and clamped tail. Not eating and wasting. Then my shark had some small white skin defects for days and swimming up and down at
certain times. Was bloated Found dead about 5am yesterday with red areas on ventral. Yesterday friends guppy was corkscrewing and breathing heavy. I gave it back to him but told him specifically not to put in his tank.
Later today Ill check again for parameters and see if more died.
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/7/19

Hi Neale just an update
<Hello, Sarah,>
I have been keeping an eye on the 2 female guppies. One seems to of come down with something nasty. Skin defects and looks like fuzz or infection is bursting out of scales. Also has lumpy areas on body. Is this TB?
<This could be anything. The white fuzz might be excess mucous, a common reaction to improper environmental conditions and some types of protozoan parasites, such as Costia. Might be dead skin tissue, as per Finrot or Columnaris. Really difficult to say without doing microscope work. It's generally a process of elimination here, looking at other factors and symptoms, alongside what you're seeing here. Now, my gut reaction, given some experience at keeping Livebearers, is that this is Costia or some
other bacterial infection; I would treat as per Costia, while also trying to establish what the issue is. From (bitter) personal experience, I've found two extra factors with Livebearers you need to keep tabs on, beyond the usual: the first is nitrate level, and the second is oxygenation.
Stuffy tanks with limited water changes will tend to cause this sort of problem with Livebearers. Of course they're also sensitive to Costia if it's about, doubly so if the tank is experiencing 'new tank syndrome' or the water chemistry is wrong. So we've been going around and around this a bit, but something *is* amiss with your tank. You shouldn't be losing fish after fish. A balanced tank is normally very easy to keep, and compared with most pets, fish are usually pretty undemanding.>
Got a video of it here. Should I remove and try to treat the fish or euthanise it or just leave it? I think the other female is also infected
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat      11/7/19

Hi again Neale
Thanks for your reply
Yea it doesn't seem as severely life threatening as the other diseases the fish had.
<Yet; but I have seen this sort of cloudy covering on livebearers that I keep (such as Limia) and while it takes some weeks, these fish do eventually die without treatment. Even with treatment, they seem to be
sickly compared to the others.>
The nitrate is at close to 0.
<I'm skeptical about this. Zero nitrate means that not only is the filter turning ammonia into nitrite and then nitrate, but that nitrate is either absorbed by very fast-growing plants or else turned into nitrogen gas in an anaerobic environment. Such conditions are rare, and almost never exist in home aquaria.>
I didn't get to check other parameters today because I was moving and medicating the females. I hope they pull through. I wanted to put them in the other tank but its doing a fishless cycle atm and the ammonia and nitrite is too high so couldn't.
Is it possible that increasing kh/ph too fast caused the mass outbreak of disease?
<Over rapid changes in pH and hardness can be stress factors, but the fish usually recover within a few hours or days, assuming the change was from worse to better conditions.>
Or could it be related to something else?
<Indeed; see previous messages.>

The aquarium has a lot of aeration and surface agitation. Its also heavily planted
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: New rainbow fish won't eat       11/14/19
Hi again Neale thanks for your reply.
I was thinking about it and think maybe adding too many fish so fast stressed the system and caused some sort of downward spiral. Plus adding the API general cure maybe depleted oxygen. Today I noticed a big fat white poop out of one guppy and was wondering if I should treat with Praziquantel?
<If you suspect worms, then sure, treating with Praziquantel should do no harm and perhaps some good.>
The poop is like this
<That photos doesn't seem to show anything diagnostic, so I can't really help here.>
No other fish seemed to of died now except 1 of the sick females that were in QT.
This is a summary of what happened:
So I have a 130L tank. Set up since mid year with 2 SAE. Then neon rainbows that were sick and got returned.
It had 2SAE, about 14 guppies, 4 Rummynose tetras, many snails and 2 mystery snails, 2 boesemanni rainbows, 1 Kutubu, 5 Oto. Left after: 2 boesemanni, 1 Kutubu, 3 Rummynose, 5 guppies, 3 Oto
Week 1: 1 dead Week 2: 4 dead, total 5 dead Week 3: 7 dead: total 12 dead Order of events: Week 1, mon 23rd Oct: 1 guppy dead, tank treated with Levamisole incase of worms. Week 1, sun 27th Oct: added 7 new guppies (2m, 6f). Treated with general cure then stuff was massively down hill. Week 2, thur 31st Oct: 2 female guppies dead bloated and had been breathing hard. Other fish seemed stressed. Week 2, Fri 1st nov: 2 female blue grass guppies dead with fin clamping and heavy breathing. Gave 1 SAE to friend, its doing well. Also gave them all snails. Week 3 tue 5th Nov: new blue grass male dead after back arching and being at surface (gasping) female had same thing, also dead. Big SAE dead after having white like scuff looking mark (since 29th)and up and down swimming, found dead.oto dead and a Rummynose. Friends guppy also corkscrewing and I gave it back to them and it died. Week 3, thur 7th nov: 2 female guppies look ill. One showing signs of fungus/skin defects. Put in QT. 1 female died. Week 4: no more deaths. 1 Guppy in QT seems alive, unsure if infected.
<Yep, I agree, seems a very hard ride for you and your fish. I think sitting back and letting the tank run for a few weeks without adding any more fish must be your priority. I'd go so far as to let nature take its
course if some of your livestock were sickly from the get-go. Medicate if you can be 90% sure you've identified the problem, but don't randomly medicate, and focus more on good water quality than medicine. Once the tank has been disease-free for 4-6 weeks, then we can discuss tankmates and what
to do next. Fishkeeping shouldn't be a slog, and honestly, if a tank is set up slowly, and the right fish are added, they're virtually maintenance-free. The fact you've had all these battles suggests you did indeed try to do too much, too soon. Lesson learned, hopefully. Meantime, as Bob F has suggested, sit back and read some books of fishkeeping, and reflect on what happened and think about what might have been the causative factors. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New rainbow fish won't eat

Thanks Neale
The uv filter arrived and the crushed coral will come soon.
<Do read up on these, and use carefully. UV filters only help in specific ways, and need regularly (likely monthly) cleaning or dirt will block the UV from hitting the water. Once that happens, they're just a waste of electricity.>
Yeah I have researched a lot for years so I guess it just came down to being overconfident and adding to many non-quarantined fish in one go or from the general cure or even the sick rainbows at the beginning. Hard to say.
I think less changes at a time should help.
I've never had something like this happen before.
I have a QT tank set up and almost cycled for any future fish.
Hoping things will not go bad like that again :)
<I would hope not, too. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Unwell Otocinclus; now Rainbowfish concern       8/3/18
Hey Neale
Have you ever used a product called Paraguard?
<Yes; the Seachem product? It's basically an old school aldehyde product, though not formaldehyde, which was really nasty stuff -- carcinogenic, even. Paraguard is fairly effective, but not tolerated especially well by some fish, so use with caution, in particular, upping aeration and maybe adding half the dose at first, and then the remainder some hours later, if the fish all look happy enough. It's reasonably well regarded as effective, and a viable alternative to antibiotics, though it's more a preventative-type medication, or something you'd use when a fish shows early signs of infection, than something you'd depend upon in a crisis once the fish has become riddled with bacteria or fungus.>
That Otocinclus didn’t make it but now I have one with it same thing on its tail
Do you know what’s on my red rainbow lip?
<Rainbowfish males can squabble, so it might simply be physical damage. But it might also be Columnaris, sometimes called Mouth Fungus, despite being a bacterial infection. Your Paraguard should be a good treatment here.>
Cheers mate
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pseudomugil luminatus (C.f. Paksai) quarantine issues     8/27/17
Tank setup is a 10G for breeding and a 5.5 for quarantine. The 10 is heavily planted and has 4 species of moss, runs sponge and bio wheel and has been established around a year. Ph is 7 +- .2. I run liquid ferts and co2 for the plants parameters are good otherwise 0 nh, no2, and no3 TDS is 275 no fluctuations really at all temp 76. Breeder is stocked with 2 males and 4 females, they share with a Crowntail Betta and a cherry shrimp colony. I have 2 other males in a 40 G community nano tank waiting for their females to arrive. Problem occurs when I get in new stock. 3 orders now, within 48 hours of arrival I lose 50%~ of the stock and cant figure the why especially when I get in other Pseudomugils (I currently also have Furcatus and Gertrudea) and they have 90-100% survival.
<Very disturbing. The first thing is to see how similar your water is to the retailer/shipper. Set up a quarantine tank with essentially identical water chemistry and temperature. I will note that Pseudomugil species may often be found across a broad range of habitats, but particular populations may come from places with quite specific water chemistry. So a given species might be found in rivers, slightly brackish swamps, or blackwater streams -- and the preferences for a given breeding population would reflect the conditions they were originally collected from (or their
parents, anyway). So check with the breeder or shipper, and act accordingly. Once the fish are settled and surviving, you can then think about adapting some/all of them to your main tank chemistry parameters, presumably over the longest practical time-frame.>
The Q tank takes water directly from the 10G daily through WC along with aged water from my holding tank it has floating plants and 2 sponge filters, it runs 0 nh, 0 no2, and maybe 10 no3 ph again is right around 7 and TDS is steady 275. The only symptoms I can really see is that a few hours before passing they start to hover at the surface and stop eating, I feed quarantine the same as the 10, crushed flake and baby brine if I have any.
<Does sound like stress.>
They will eat up until a few hours before passing just fine but then stop accepting and just hover. Pseudomugils will spar for dominance and that seems to be my culprit due to the other physical sign I see on the dead fish which is small bite marks about the belly. I have yet to witness the actual biting though so I am still unsure and I am definitely unsure how to stop it. Once past the 48 hour mark they have a 90% survival rate and seem to do well but I have battled this issue for the better part of a year now.
Once in my display tanks they thrive and are breeding currently.
<Sounds great!>
I am getting these fish in from wholesalers via my LFS at $15 usd a pop. I cannot in good conscience order a 4th batch until I have my mortality issue figured.
<Other than water chemistry changes, do also run a copper test kit on your water in case there's some copper in your plumbing that's shocking the fish. Shouldn't be an issue with RO or rainwater, but certainly a risk with
tap water. Do the surviving specimens give any clues, such as evidence of Velvet or Whitespot?>
Any experiences or help here would be greatly appreciated. I keep heavily planted and stocked tanks with little to no mortality because I watch parameters closely and use quarantine as a tool but my tool is failing me at the moment. HALP!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Rainbowfish disease     8/11/17
Read a post on your website by bob Fenner referring to the treatment of 'Rainbowfish disease'
In 1996 I submitted article to FAMA using Ceftin to treat this disease
It is 21 years later. I still keep rainbows
The treatment of choice is Kanamycin
Disease is gram negative Aeromonas or Aerobactor
Don't have any way to let bob Fenner or others know this
Perhaps you can pass on info
Anyone can contact me for details
Harvey Hammer, M.D.
<Thank you for sharing Harvey. Will post, Bob Fenner>
Subject: Rainbowfish disease    8/11/17

Inclusive of your email. B

Rainbowfish with fuzzy lips...      1/28/17
Hi guys, hope all is well. I have an issue with my Marcii rainbows and I've spent countless hours searching WWM and other sites and can't really find an answer. 2 or 3 of them have a sort of white patch on their upper lip sometimes the bottom. Its not Columnaris because they've always had it to a certain extent for the year I've had them. My water parameters are good, I do bi-weekly pwc and they are in with emerald Corys and Glowlight tetras. I also always use the same gravel vac, nets, etc. between all of my tanks and never seen it anywhere but on these 3 fish. There are 8 other
Marcii's in the same tank that don't get it. There is no odd behavior from these fish, they eat normally. Sometimes the white patch looks like it has a little string or tuft floating off. There is no gill irritation, no spots or ulcers on their bodies, they are just healthy looking and acting fish. I'm not sure what to make of it. I was in the process of rehoming
them but the guy didn't want to take them because he was sure it was Columnaris and wouldn't believe they've been that way pretty much since I got them. Im attaching photos. Can you offer me any suggestions? I prefer not to use medications, but I will if you think its important for the health of the fish. Thanks.
<I'm fairly certain this is physical damage, and the white tissue that comes and goes is simply dead skin sloughing away. The question now is how they get damaged. One explanation is fighting. Rainbows normally fighting by swooshing water at each other while lining up side to side, but if they're snapping at each other or wrestling with their jaws, then their
mouths might be damaged. Alternatively, they're ramming into something, and precisely this sort of damage is seen on active or nervous fish when kept in glass boxes. A lot depends on the size of the tank, how clearly defined the edges of the tank are with rocks or plants, and how often the fish get spooked. The famous situation is the lights suddenly coming on in the morning. Old school fishkeepers recommend turning the room lights on first, then after a certain period of time, say 10 minutes, turning the tank lights on. Make sense? Do the reverse when turning the lights off.
Aggressive or nippy fish can cause the same fright reaction, and in turn the same trauma damage. Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Rainbowfish with fuzzy lips...      1/28/17

Thanks Neale! All of that makes absolute perfect sense and is completely right on. There are 11 of them in a 55gal with both ends pretty much uncovered. I just recently trimmed back 2 massive Amazon swords. They never lock lips but they are very active eaters so maybe some bumping into things. Although they aren't timid around me, I do get lazy with the
lights. I'll work on that. Thanks again, you guys are the best!
<Glad to have helped, and good luck! Neale.>

Rainbowfish; sick
My Australian rainbow fish have large white bumps or clumps on fins. Fin is almost gone. One fish with the worst bumps now swimming vertical most of the time. Not sure what it is.
<Mmm; a few possibilities; none of them "good". "Micro" Sporidean likely... an as yet incurable protozoan issue. Rainbows and a few other groups of fishes are especially susceptible... CAN only be avoided; by "good genetic background", suitable environment, "good nutrition. I would destroy/euthanize this specimen... NOT allow it at least to be housed with other Melanotaeniids. Please see Neale's piece here on WWM:
Bob Fenner>

Dwarf Rainbowfish wart     9/25/16
Hello, crew, I hope you are doing well.
<Thank you Robert>
Along with this email I have included three pictures of a female (?) dwarf Rainbowfish with a strange growth on its side. It started as a small red point a few days ago and has growth about 4x since then and also has a small white patch in the center (not very visible in the pics). at the other side, it has a small white growth which makes me believe it is some kind of worm... while the other wart-like growth reminds me of having read of Lymphocystis... The fish is 1.5 years old (or at least the times its been with me).
I hope you can help me identify this problem. The fish is eating and its behavior doesn't seem to have changed at all.
<Have encountered similar growths on Rainbows over the years; mostly anomalous as to cause/etiology. Many times rapid onset; with the loss of the specimen. Melanotaeniids appear/are more sensitive to environmental stressors that many other families of freshwater fishes.>
Tank is a 150 gal community, ph of 7.4, dGH of 10 and dKH of 9. Temp is 28 C. Tested for nitrogen, readings are 0,0,0 (heavily planted tank, high tech.. no water dosing only substrate so the tank stays pretty much nitrate free).
Thank you, for your time. I hope you can help me. I have isolated her to a 5 gal with cycled filter media, temp is 25 C, dGH and dKH are the same, but ph is 7.9 (the high tech has co2 injection, which reduces the ph a bit).
<I would remove this one individual, treat elsewhere... with? Perhaps an Anthelminthic like Prazi... but also w/ Metronidazole/Flagyl, per the S.O.P. archived on WWM. IF the specimen perishes, I'd preserve it, or seek out help in dissecting it to try and disclose the issue here. Bob Fenner>

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