Logo
Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on Freshwater Costia, "Slime Disease"

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

Related FAQs: Freshwater Protozoan Parasite Diseases, Diagnosing/Identifying FW Protozoan Diseases, FW Ich 1, FW Ich 2, FW Ich 3, & FAQs on:  FW Ich Causes, Etiology, Diagnosis, Ich Remedies That Work, Phony Ich Remedies That Don't Work, Ich Remedy Sensitive Livestock, Ich Medicines, Ich Cases, & Aquarium MaintenanceFreshwater MedicationsFreshwater Infectious Disease, Freshwater Fish ParasitesAfrican Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid Disease

Maybe Not Really Algae; Misgurnis dis.      9/3/17
Hello WWM Crew!
<Hello Renee,>
This is Renee, in Idaho with the human remains in the water!
<Eh?>
Haven’t written to you for a while, and I hope you are all well, but everything here is going great! The BGK is healthy, happy, and almost 6 inches long now! The Elephant Nose has filled out nicely, is eating well, and has turned out to be a gregarious little charmer!
<All sounds like good news.>
I even “inherited” a Baby Whale (completely separate tanks from both the Elephant Nose and the BGK {who are also in separate tanks from each other}) who is turning out to be a really fun little fish! We had a little “bump in the road” in the loach tank earlier this week (see attached picture), but I took this same picture down to my aquarium store, they sold me some Kanaplex which took care of the problem completely in 24 hours (I still have one more treatment to give, but the fish were clear 24 hours after the first dose). But something unforeseen happened after the first treatment and it is that event I wanted to ask you about.
This all took place in my 125 gallon which houses 7 Weather Loaches and 6 SAE’s (the SAE’s did not get whatever this white stuff was – just the loaches).
<It looks like Slime Disease, also known as Costia.>
Its been up and cycled for 2 years now. That is significant because this tank was in operation before I found out about the .5 – 1 ppm of ammonia and the human remains in my tap water. I changed the substrate when I switched to the RO water, but the tank, ornaments, filter, and powerheads, were all exposed to the creepy, nasty, water from my well. When I changed over to the RO/DI water, I did it incrementally so as not to destroy the biological filter in the tank. Regardless, for the last year, I have been battling a nasty algae that sprung up and covered the ornaments and the back wall (and only the back wall) of the tank. Originally, it was the long black hairy looking algae, hence the SAE’s who took care of that promptly. But a blackish green algae remained (you can kind of see it in the background of the picture of the sick fish), again, only on the ornaments and back wall. But the SAE’s wouldn’t touch it. I tried putting one of my Bristlenose in for a while, but I never saw it go near that back wall.
<Black slime on an aquarium is almost certainly algae. If it has a distinctive musty smell, chances are that it's Cyanobacteria. If you have a hand lens or microscope, you can look at it, and often see it has a fine, matted, thread-like texture even though it looks glossy and sheet-like. Red algae, which can be black, turns red when left in clear alcohol (hence the same, and yes, vodka should work) has a coarser tufty texture in most cases and other than a watery smell, doesn't normally smell of anything.>
So I’ve been scrubbing that stuff weekly ever since without much success. I mean, this stuff is tough – I scrub with a fairly aggressive plastic pad as well as an algae scraper from my aquarium store and I have to scrub very hard for what seems like forever to even put a dent in this stuff. Well, the Kanaplex that I used to treat the loaches is killing this stuff (I don’t call it algae, even though that’s what it looked like, because I no longer believe that’s what it was).
<Antibiotics can, do kill Cyanobacteria.>
After the first dose, ¾’s of it was gone. After the second treatment, all that’s left is a few patches here and there. And it’s NOT floating loose and creating a green cloud in the water like it does when I try to scrub it, it’s just gone (YEAY!)! I’ve been researching and the stuff that comes closest to what I had was the Cyanobacteria – but still not quite the same. The pictures I saw of the Cyano showed the stuff covering ONLY the floor and ornaments in the tank, not the glass walls at all.
<There are of course various kinds. In my experience Cyanobacteria tends to be promoted by a number of things: slow water movement, direct sunlight, high temperature spikes during the day, and infrequent water changes that allow nitrate to stay consistently high.>
The stuff I had covered the back wall harder than cement, but only the back wall and the ornaments. Maybe that means nothing, I don’t know.
<Oh, it often is significant. Sand and gravel may be at places where water flow is slower, and ornaments will certainly reduce water flow.>
So I guess what I’m asking is can you identify this stuff, could it be responsible for the sick fish, and will it come back?
<I think the loach has Costiasis, which is unrelated, and while somewhat difficult to treat, there are medications available that do deal with it effectively.>
I take care of both of my elderly parents and my father had a health crisis three days before I noticed the sick fish (he’s ok now), so they could have been suffering with this during that time.
<Possibly, but might simply be bad luck.>
The day I realized what was going on also happened to be the day of their scheduled water change and their monthly filter cleaning. Ammonia and nitrite were zero, but the nitrate test was a fairly dark orange, but no red, which I interpreted as 20 – 30 ppm (which is a little higher than normal). The tank has an E-heim 2217 canister filter and a powerhead (on the opposite side of the filter spray bar to keep the water moving on that end).
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Maybe Not Really Algae  9/4/17
It helps tremendously, thank you!
<Most welcome! Neale.>

Costia on Bandit Cory(s), invert safe treatments?          5/27/15
Hi, I have a planted 65 gal tank 4 years+ running with honey gouramis, kuhli loaches, Hengle's Rasboras, bandit Cory's, Amano shrimp, Nerite snails, Oto cats. I think the Oto cats brought in disease and I had some loses of livestock and then things seemed to stabilize with no more dying fish. Some of the Cory cats, one in particular, have gray slime on them that seems to be 'Costia'.
<Costia, now called Ichthyobodo, is an awkward parasite for sure. It's one of the causes of Slime Disease, though not the only one, so do be aware of that. Curiously, but significantly, Costia is harmlessly present in most tanks, and only becomes problematic when the fish become stressed. So it's important to try and think of why that might be the case. In any case, there are various proprietary treatments out there, such as eSHa 2000 (no formalin or copper), QuickCure (has formalin in it though) and Interpet Anti Slime and Velvet (this latter also contains formalin). Otherwise, apart from formalin (which does indeed work well against Costia) any metrifonate-based medication should work well.>
I have gradually turned the heat up from 77 F to 83 F. The slime seems less on the worst Cory but still there. I can't net them out of the tank, too many obstacles. The invertebrates make using most of the medications recommended for Costia not safe to use.
<Indeed. Anything with copper or formalin in it may be toxic to shrimps, snails, and potentially sensitive fish including loaches and catfish. So you've got problems.>
Is there anything else that I can/should be doing? Does Paraguard have any effect on Costia?
<Paraguard has a chemical similar to formaldehyde in it, so wouldn't be an obvious choice for use with your community of species.>
Prazi-pro did not help at all.
<Obviously not. It's a dewormer.>
Thanks,
Jeff
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Costia on Bandit Cory(s), invert safe treatments?      5/28/15

I'm not sure if I can get eSHa 2000 here in Canada. I'll look around.
<Or order online, via eBay, etc.>
The inverts in this tank have been through Paraguard treatment before without losses. I've never had it obviously cure anything, but if you think it would have a chance at Costia I'm willing to try it. I have a bottle handy. Should I adjust the dose for the Cory cats or Otto's?
<Adjusting doses down is fairly pointless. Generally the dose stated on the bottle is the dose needed to kill the parasite. Half doses might work, but then again, they might not. You could consult with the manufacturer for
guidance. SeaChem do have an FAQ, here:
http://www.seachem.com/support/FAQs/ParaGuard.html
They don't sell this product as "reef safe" as you can see, which means it might be toxic to invertebrates... but then again, it might not! That's probably about as sure a reply as you're going to get on this product.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Costia on Bandit Cory(s), invert safe treatments?      5/29/15

I tried the Prazi-pro first because I thought it might be skin flukes. I'll try the Paraguard after I do a water change on the weekend and see if that helps. If I go much higher with the water temps I am going to lose some plants.
I'll let you know if it seems to do anything.
Thanks, Jeff
<You're welcome, Neale.>
Costia on Bandit Cory(s), invert safe treatments?          5/27/15

Hi, I have a planted 65 gal tank 4 years+ running with honey gouramis, kuhli loaches, Hengle's Rasboras, bandit Cory's, Amano shrimp, Nerite snails, Oto cats. I think the Oto cats brought in disease and I had some loses of livestock and then things seemed to stabilize with no more dying fish. Some of the Cory cats, one in particular, have gray slime on them that seems to be 'Costia'.
<Costia, now called Ichthyobodo, is an awkward parasite for sure. It's one of the causes of Slime Disease, though not the only one, so do be aware of that. Curiously, but significantly, Costia is harmlessly present in most tanks, and only becomes problematic when the fish become stressed. So it's important to try and think of why that might be the case. In any case, there are various proprietary treatments out there, such as eSHa 2000 (no formalin or copper), QuickCure (has formalin in it though) and Interpet Anti Slime and Velvet (this latter also contains formalin). Otherwise, apart from formalin (which does indeed work well against Costia) any metrifonate-based medication should work well.>
I have gradually turned the heat up from 77 F to 83 F. The slime seems less on the worst Cory but still there. I can't net them out of the tank, too many obstacles. The invertebrates make using most of the medications recommended for Costia not safe to use.
<Indeed. Anything with copper or formalin in it may be toxic to shrimps, snails, and potentially sensitive fish including loaches and catfish. So you've got problems.>
Is there anything else that I can/should be doing? Does Paraguard have any effect on Costia?
<Paraguard has a chemical similar to formaldehyde in it, so wouldn't be an obvious choice for use with your community of species.>
Prazi-pro did not help at all.
<Obviously not. It's a dewormer.>
Thanks,
Jeff
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Costia on Bandit Cory(s), invert safe treatments?      5/28/15

I'm not sure if I can get eSHa 2000 here in Canada. I'll look around.
<Or order online, via eBay, etc.>
The inverts in this tank have been through Paraguard treatment before without losses. I've never had it obviously cure anything, but if you think it would have a chance at Costia I'm willing to try it. I have a bottle handy. Should I adjust the dose for the Cory cats or Otto's?
<Adjusting doses down is fairly pointless. Generally the dose stated on the bottle is the dose needed to kill the parasite. Half doses might work, but then again, they might not. You could consult with the manufacturer for
guidance. SeaChem do have an FAQ, here:
http://www.seachem.com/support/FAQs/ParaGuard.html
They don't sell this product as "reef safe" as you can see, which means it might be toxic to invertebrates... but then again, it might not! That's probably about as sure a reply as you're going to get on this product.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Costia on Bandit Cory(s), invert safe treatments?      5/29/15

I tried the Prazi-pro first because I thought it might be skin flukes. I'll try the Paraguard after I do a water change on the weekend and see if that helps. If I go much higher with the water temps I am going to lose some plants.
I'll let you know if it seems to do anything.
Thanks, Jeff
<You're welcome, Neale.>
Re: Costia on Bandit Cory(s), invert safe treatments?        8/15/15

Hi Neale,
<Jeffrey,>
Is been awhile but I thought that I would let you know that the ParaGuard did not do anything. However, I had some PolyGuard and that cleared up the problem with 2 doses, maybe 3, I can't remember exactly.
<Cool.>
I have another question. I switched my tank to Fluorite black sand substrate about 5-6 months ago because I thought the eco-complete was too sharp on Cory cat and other bottom feeders barbels.
<Ah... not the best idea.>
Frustratingly, Cory cats I have put in there since have still developed eroded barbels.
<Yes. Fluorite sand is, as I understand it, manufactured, not a natural product. It isn't a natural substrate and remains sharp enough to cause problems for bottom dwelling fish. An excellent choice for Amano-style tanks with midwater fish (tetras for example) but not for catfish, loaches and so on.>
I know bacteria is another possible cause of this but the question is how to avoid it.
<The erosion of the catfish barbels is a two-step process. The sand creates scratches in the skin tissue, and bacteria (similar to Finrot) can get in. Whether there's a threshold of dirtiness required for this second step I do not know, but I'd assume not because catfish whiskers are just fine in silica sand tanks with lots of organic detritus, which would seem to have more bacteria than clean fluorite sand.>
I do a 30 percent water change every week and the tank is not heavily stocked. It is a planted tank, so I do not vacuum the bottom during water changes.
<Generally no need.>
There are two AquaClear filters and a circulation pump, so there are no noticeable dead spots with piles of waste building up in them.
Thanks,
Jeff
<It's the sand, Jeff. Swap it out for plain vanilla smooth silica sand from a garden centre or pool filter sand supplier. Will look hideously bright at first, but over time the grains darken (algae and bacteria, I guess) and you'll find it much more agreeable. Alternatively, replace the Corydoras with a midwater catfish species such as Dianema spp., Asian Glass Cats,
African Glass Cats, or even Dwarf Upside Down Cats. Cheers, Neale.>

Fungus on some fish /RMF    11/3/14
Hi I wrote to you a few months ago about my large Silver Dollar who suddenly developed pop eye & fungus patches. Despite my best efforts he died.
<Am jumping in here; though Neale likely was corresponding with you. He'll see this when the sun comes up in Europe>
Within the past few weeks I noticed fungus appearing on at least 4 other fish and I am beside myself as I have beautiful large, expensive fish in this community tank. Went to a local guy who gave me a white powder to put in (unfortunately I didn't get the name but was told to keep it refrigerated).
<? What is this I wonder>
It is now 10 days later & I don't see much of a change & the tank is overdue for a water change. I keep the temp at 78 & check the Ph regularly & maintain it at approx 6.8.
<.... Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate? RedOx?>
Anything you could suggest would be greatly appreciated.
Rita~
<When, where in doubt, serial water changes... Send pix and data. Bob Fenner>
Fungus on some fish /Neale    11/4/14

Hi I wrote to you a few months ago about my large Silver Dollar who suddenly developed pop eye & fungus patches. Despite my best efforts he died.
<Oh dear.>
Within the past few weeks I noticed fungus appearing on at least 4 other fish and I am beside myself as I have beautiful large, expensive fish in this community tank.
<As Bob F stated, without information about the aquarium hard to make useful suggestions. As always with freshwater aquaria, check nitrite first of all (as a test of water quality). Most fungal and Finrot infections are
opportunistic. Physical damage (e.g., from rough handling or fighting) plus non-zero ammonia and nitrite levels is (overwhelmingly) the commonest scenario.>
Went to a local guy who gave me a white powder to put in (unfortunately I didn't get the name but was told to keep it refrigerated).
<Presumably an antifungal. Methylene Blue is the oldest remedy for fungal infections, but there are many (some better/safer). But invariably remove carbon from the filter, if used, otherwise medications generally won't work.>
It is now 10 days later & I don't see much of a change & the tank is overdue for a water change. I keep the temp at 78 & check the Ph regularly & maintain it at approx 6.8.
<Do of course review the pH, hardness and temperature are appropriate to the species being kept. Rainbowfish and livebearers, for example, will get fungus infections in acidic conditions.>
Anything you could suggest would be greatly appreciated.
Rita~
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Fungus on some fish     11/5/14

Neale and Bob ...thanks so much for your responses & Bob it was you I corresponded w/ about the SD back in early July this year.
What are "serial water changes?"
<A quick succession of water changes; not so much temperature and water chemistry are dramatically changed, but enough to rapidly dilute any problems. Typically, 20% once or twice a day works well,
certainly leave a few hours between water changes. If you can keep water chemistry and temperature steady, then changing 50% at once is worthwhile. Basically, the idea is to change as much of the water as possible, as frequently as possible, so that any stress factors (such as ammonia, nitrite or nitrate) are diluted away.>
The med I was given sounds like lovosmel phosphate (sp?) & the 1st round we did not remove the carbon but have done so now.
<Good. Almost always, if you leave (viable, fresh) carbon in the filter, then medications have reduced/no effect.>
Don't have a nitrite test kit (never needed it) but will get one now.
<Together with pH, nitrite is the key beginner's chemical test kit, and arguably the one every (freshwater) fishkeeper should have even if they don't own any others. Less confusing than ammonia (because false positives thanks to chloramine are common) and more immediately relevant to health than nitrate (which can largely be ignored if you stock moderately, feed moderately, and do regular water changes).>
A friend suggested we strip the tank, tossing the plastic plants & bleach the decos, what do you think of that??
<Possibly, and won't do any harm, provided you don't strip the filter.
Leave the filter running, remove rocks and ornaments so you can give them a good clean under a hot tap (bleaching isn't really necessary though), then stir the gravel so you can siphon out more of the dirt than otherwise. Deep cleaning a tank rarely/never fixes diseases, but can help reveal problems such as dead/rotting cadavers that are causing excessive water pollution.>
Attached are 2 pics of the most affected fish (lavender gourami). I have a few baby clown loaches & see them after the fungus.
Many thanks,
Rita~
<Would actually wonder about Costia being the problem here. Sometimes called "Slime Disease" because affected fish develop larger than usual amounts of grey slime on their bodies. Various commercial medications are available, usually containing formalin. Use very carefully as directed because some fish (e.g., Loaches) respond poorly to these formalin. Look out for signs of stress such as gasping at the surface. Alternatives are
available. In the UK, I've found a medication called eSHa EXIT works quite well on Costia, especially alongside seawater dips. Conversely, avoid "cure-alls" such as Melafix that generally don't cure anything. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Fungus on some fish     11/6/14
Neale, thank you so much for your detailed response. When I began fishkeeping 30 yrs ago I did have all the test kits but never had an issue w/anything other than pH.
<Indeed?>
Because I am disabled and need help doing stuff, typically 50% of the water gets changed every 4 weeks but because of the meds we're about 2 weeks overdue!
<Ah, well, best get on it this weekend!>
I will keep you posted. Thank you again.
Rita~
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Fungus on some fish      11/7/14
Ok got the test kits, no nitrites but nitrates were a bit high, pH perfect.
<Good.>
Did a 50% water change (nitrates better), deep cleaned tank, threw out all old plants, washed & put in new decos & will do smaller water changes every other day for the next week & basically hope for the best.
<Sometimes all you can do/need to do.>
Thank you again.
Rita~
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Sick Betta, need advice (RMF, I'm going with Costia; you?) <A good guess. RMF>       4/11/14
Hello!
I was given your email by Timbra Newbury. She has been helping me with my Betta, Eugene and is out of ideas. She suggested that I email you guys and tell you what has been going on and see if you have any ideas or advice. I guess I'll start with the basics first...
I have Eugene in a 10 gallon tank with Mopani driftwood and fake plants (until the summer when I have time to actually learn how to do real plants). I started out with the Marineland 10 gallon setup. Back in October or November I noticed 2 white spots on Eugene's side. I'm sad to say that it took me until about early December to figure out what the cause was. I finally realized the spots matched where Eugene was sleeping against the heater. He was acting completely normal and I had asked someone at one of the local fish stores about it and they told me the pigment had probable just been burned and he would be fine. In the middle of December, I was away for about a month and my roommate was taking care of Eugene. When I got back in January, there were 2 small lumps on the white spots (one lump per spot). He was still acting normal, so I just figured he had been burned even more. So I bought some plants to cover the heater and a Betta hammock for him to sleep on. Neither of those worked, so I searched the internet for other solutions and for what to do for heater burns. The only thing I could find was that heaters should not burn a fish, even if they are sleeping against it. I then figured the heater was malfunctioning somehow, so I bought a Fluval. He no longer sleeps on the heater, so that's good.
Then a few of his scales turned black, so I decided I should show a picture to my local fish store and see what they suggested. They suggested I use Melafix, so I did. I think I had about 1 more treatment of that and it still didn't look any better, so I posted a picture of Eugene on a fish group on Facebook asking for suggestions, and that's how Timbra got involved.
Timbra told me the Melafix was bad for Anabantoids, so I immediately stopped using that and I gradually did a 100% water change that night.
Timbra suggested I use Furan 2, so I got some of that and did a full course of treatment of it. The appearance of the infection did not change, but he started to act like he was feeling a lot better (I hadn't realized how different he was acting until he started to feel better). Anyhow, Timbra said the appearance may not change right away since the medicine was getting rid of the infection so that his body could begin to heal. Fast forward 2 weeks and the white lumps were getting bigger and it looked like one of his scales was falling off. This time Timbra recommended that I use a combination of Furan 2 and Kanamycin. Last night was the last does of the Furan 2 and tonight will be the last dose of the Kanamycin, and the lumps have not changed and he's still getting tossed around by the filter current. I know Bettas typically have trouble with filter currents, but his favorite thing to do is swim through the current (he's also a half-moon plakat, so he doesn't have the long fins). He used to hover just in front of the current and build up some speed and then shoot through the current and turn around and do it again, he'd repeat this about 4 or 5 times until he got tired out. Now, when he swims through the current he gets pushed forward by it and he tries to avoid the strongest spot as much as possible.
His appetite has never decreased though, he's actually a giant piggy and would eat an endless amount of bloodworms if I let him.
I'm going to send you another email after this with some pictures attached to it. Unfortunately the pictures that I have are all on my iPod touch and I'm not very tech savvy, so I can't figure out how to get them on my laptop. I normally would have just sent an email from the iPod, but this is a book and would have taken me forever to write on that. So, I'm sorry for sending you 2 emails rather than 1. And thank you for any advice you might have.
-Jen
<Hello Jennifer. My gut reaction here is the disease commonly called Costia or Slime Disease, caused by ciliate parasites such as Chilodonella and Ichthyobodo spp. Costia manifests itself as accumulating patches of slime on the flanks, sometimes alongside obvious inflammation, with secondary bacterial infections (effectively, Finrot) setting into the wounds. It's a tough disease to treat. In some cases, transferring fish to half-strength to full-strength saltwater for extended periods (days, weeks) will do the trick on its own since the parasites come in either seawater or freshwater strains and can't adapt to the "wrong" salinity. But this is only an option with seawater-tolerant things like Mollies and certain cichlids. Dipping in seawater (effectively 35 gram salt dissolved in 1 litre of aquarium water) still makes a useful dip though, for 2-20 minutes depending on the tolerance of your fish. This helps to clear the slime and weaken the parasites. Bettas have low tolerance, so shorter periods of time would be used there. Longer periods work with salt-tolerant things like puffers and livebearers. If you're doing dips though you'll need a medication as well.
Very often, anti-Whitespot/Ick medications work well against Costia, but you may need to use two or three "rounds" of treatment to finally beat it, and if a bacterial infection has set in as well, a suitable anti-Finrot antibacterial medication of your choice. If the disease is really well entrenched, Whitespot medication might not work, in which case you'll need to use Formalin, but this is very nasty stuff, both for you and the fish, so is a last-ditch option. It's a good sign your fish is still eating, and while Costia looks pretty nasty, it doesn't seem to cause rapid decline in  the health of the fish, giving you sufficient time to fix things. A while  back I wrote a piece for FishChannel that might offer some more insight  into Costia and its management; see here:
http://www.fishchannel.com/fish-health/freshwater-conditions/slime-disease.a spx
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick Betta, need advice (RMF, I'm going with Costia; you?)      4/15/14
Hi Neale-
<Jennifer,>
Thank you so much for getting right back to me. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you. My weekends are pretty crazy because I work 20 hours between Saturday and Sunday and have school work on top of that. At any rate, I just want to make sure I completely understand everything you've told me before I do any treatments just in case. I tried to click
the link to the Fish Channel article, the site said it didn't exist. I did however, find a list of all the articles you wrote for them and read the one you wrote about slime disease (which is what I'm assuming the link was supposed to take me to).
<Yes, when pasted across to the Daily FAQ page there was an error, which I've now fixed.>
Now as for treatment products... I bought Rid-Ich Plus by Kordon for Ich.
I'm a little worried about it though, as it has Formaldehyde in it and I didn't see that until I got home. Will that be okay to use?
<Formaldehyde is safe to use if used precisely as directed. But some fish, especially oddballs, catfish and loaches, react badly to it. Most community fish (barbs, tetras, gouramis, etc.) are fine though. Just observe the fish carefully, read the instructions before use, and if necessary, remove sensitive fish to another aquarium.>
I also got some Instant Ocean sea salt rather than aquarium salt because from what I gathered, the water needs the be of marine quality. Although, I am not sure if there is a difference between aquarium salt and sea salt, I just figured I should get what you use for saltwater aquariums.
<Well, there is a big difference. Marine aquarium salt is a mix of sodium chloride (what we call "table salt") and other chemicals that harden the water, raise the pH, and provide important trace elements for the corals.
Tonic or freshwater salt is simply sodium chloride, much like you'd put on food, but without the iodine added. You can actually use non-iodised cooking salts (such as kosher salt) to treat fish. In all probability you can use marine salt without problems, but if your water was very soft and acidic before, you may find the pH and hardness go up, and if by a large
amount, that's a potential stress on your fish.>
The actual treatment portion is where I may have gotten a bit confused and want to make 100% sure on. If I understand correctly, I am to do 2 minute (at most anyhow) salt dips, with 35 grams of salt per 1 liter of water and 2-3 courses of Ich treatment.
<Yes; add the Ick treatment to the aquarium, but winkle out the sick Betta, dip him into the salty water, and keep him there for a couple of minutes before putting him back into his aquarium.>
I'm unsure of the antibiotics though since I just completed a course of Furan 2 and Kanamycin. Should I still use erythromycin and how can I tell if there is an infection?
<You really can't. But if you use a general purpose antibiotic and your fish gets better, then probably the fish did have a bacterial infection of some sort.>
You mentioned fin rot as a potential infection, but his fins do not look like they have fin rot and I don't know what it would look like on other parts of his body, or if they can get it anywhere else other than their fins.
<Absolutely. Finrot is simply called that because it's an infection of the fins. But the bacteria that cause it -- Aeromonas and Pseudomonas spp for the most part -- can affect all parts of the body of your fish, inside and out.>
Also, how many salt dips do I do?
<I'd do one first, then observe the fish for the next couple of days. If all is good, you can dip again, leaving 2-3 days before each dip. Unlikely you'd need to do more than 1-3 dips if the medicine is helping.>
Should I expect an obvious sign of this clearing up, such as the white patches and lumps going away?
<Yes; the dip should shift a lot of the cloudiness quickly. Thereafter you should find over the successive days that the underlying oddness of the skin clears up too.>
Or will it be more subtle? If it is subtle, what should I expect or keep an eye out for? Thank you so much for all of your help, I truly appreciate it.
Sorry for all of the questions as well, I am fairly new to all of this and this is the first real health issue I have ever dealt with.
<Glad to hear it! Must be keeping your fish well.>
-Jen
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick Betta, need advice (RMF, I'm going with Costia; you?)     4/15/14
Thank you so much. I will start the treatment right away.
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Postmortem opinion, Costiasis?   1/29/11
Hey Crew,
<R>
Do you recall that angelfish I had that claimed the entire tank as his territory?
<Somewhat>
Two days after eliminating the last attempt at a same-species tankmate, he developed a white coating over the dorsal third of his body, including fogged eyes.
<!?>
His behavior changed also. Formerly, the fish shimmied at the glass begging for food whenever I approached the tank, but after developing this, the fish became a hider. After spending some quality time with Manual of Fish Health (Andrews, Excell and Carrington) I deduced that this was sliminess of the skin.
<But from what cause/s?>
The book recommended treatment akin to treating white spot, which I followed.
<Could be Costia>
After 4 days treatment I saw little or no improvement and the fish started bumping into the glass, though not into opaque objects. At that point, I decided that I must have guessed wrong on the ailment and would change tactics to an antibiotic treatment.
<Mmm, of no use here>
I performed a 75% water change to remove as much of the white spot meds as possible and put the activated carbon back into the filter to get the rest.
A few hours later, the fish behaved as if completely blind and had tightened its caudal, dorsal, and anal fins around themselves. I want to use the word clamped but these fins were not against the body and the pectoral fins were fine. I think he was trying to swim to wherever the light was, maybe interpreting his near blindness as night.
With these symptoms, I decided I didn't have the option of waiting, and added tetracycline, which I chose over erythromycin because the package described the tetracycline as treating the symptoms. The fish continued to degrade until I found it on the substrate the next morning.
I'm assuming the disease came from the last fish he killed, though I didn't see any sign of cannibalizing.
Any ideas on what I might have been battling?
--
Rick Novy
<Do you have other fishes present? Symptoms? Do read on the Net re Costiasis.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Postmortem opinion   1/30/11

Hi Bob.
<Rick>
The book I referenced did suggest it was probably Costia, for which my initial treatment seems to have been the correct one. No idea why the treatment was ineffective.
<Unfortunately this does happen>
I had no other fish present but I did restock with two new angels after an additional 50% water change.
<I see>
Since these are the only animals in the tank I'm quarantining them in the permanent tank. My plan is to allow them to acclimate for a couple days then sequentially give a prophylactic parasite, bacterial, and fungus treatments (in that order) through what would normally be the quarantine month.
<Wow! Good to be cautious though>
On the brighter side, my Endler and Betta tanks are humming along splendidly.
Rick
<Ah, good. BobF>
Re: Postmortem opinion, FW Angel, Costiasis    1/30/11

Hi Bob,
<R>
Thanks for the response. Unfortunately, it seems that some of the information I dug up on the net was incorrect--specifically, that Costia cannot survive without a host for more than a couple of hours.
<... agreed. This parasite can live for days, likely weeks under propitious circumstances>
Lost one of the new additions already. Still trying to save the other but I'm not hopeful. I intend to try a salt water dip tomorrow per Neale's write up.
If he passes, I want to get the tank cleaned up before trying again to restock.
Do I need to tear it down to bare bones and sterilize everything with pool chlorine solution like I did with the Camallanus worm tank, or can I just run an empty tank with some Rid Ich+ for a few days? (It's an old tank and the silicone is already stained, so no problem with staining.)
I particularly want to save the substrate since it's planted substrate.
<Mmmm... You/I'd try the more lenient approach here for now. B>
Re: Postmortem opinion   1/31/11
Lenient approach meaning empty tank with Rid Ich+? Or if the tank is vacant maybe crank up the temperature and salinity for a week?
<Or two>
Rick
Re: Postmortem opinion...     1/31/11

Tank is now empty. I'm putting the heater to max and upping the salinity.
Probably won't attempt to restock until March.
I seem to have the worst luck when it comes to buying fish with complimentary diseases thrown in as a bonus.
Rick
<Asi es la vida. B>

What does my pictus catfish have? & Costia/Protozoan FW dis f'  3/1/10
Hi Guys! I love your site...lots of good information. I have a well established 55 gallon freshwater community tank (1 giant Pleco, Danios, 3 Goramis, 1 upside down catfish, 2 clown loaches and 2 pictus catfish) Everybody seems very content, but I have noticed in just the past two days that one of my pictus is not doing too well. His typical shiny skin has become dull and his markings are not as vivid.
<Do check he isn't bullied, and that the aquarium conditions are optimal for the species. They can become a little duller with age, but should always look silvery and alert. Excessive slime production can dull their colours, and this is often a sign of stress, whether social or environmental. Diet needs to be sufficiently varied too, with particular importance placed on balance. Pimelodus pictus is a predator, but this doesn't mean live fish should be used. Feeder fish are a great way to introduce all sorts of bacterial and parasite problems. Thiaminase is another issue with predators, and if you've used too many prawns and mussels, and not enough foods that don't have thiaminase, you can create problems in the long term with vitamin B1 deficiency. It seems fairly apparent that this is a big problem with predatory fish.>
I have been looking carefully for any kind of fuzziness or "soft" look, thinking it may possibly be a fungal infection, but his skin appears to be smooth, just cloudy and dull looking.
<Difficult to say, though I'd be aware of Costia ("Slime Disease") as this tends to cause excessive mucous production. It's contagious and difficult to cure once established. But still, I'd nudge my thoughts towards stress, particularly if this fish is otherwise in good health.>
I am very hesitant to use any kind of medication in the tank for fear it will do more harm than good. Do you have any recommendations? As much as I would hate to do it, I would rather euthanize this fish than jeopardize the rest of my tank (many of these fish are 7+ years old). This tank has good aeration (bubbler, 60G filter, and a powerhead), temp runs @ 79 degrees, nitrate less than 10ppm, nitrite 0, hardness (GH) 75 ppm, alkalinity and pH chronically run a tad low..KH 60ppm and pH about 6.5.
Any advice you have would be great!
Thanks
Heather
<The low pH and low hardness, does make me worry that instability with regard to water chemistry might be a factor. Your tank is also far too warm for this species. Like most Pimelodidae, Pimelodus pictus prefers fairly cool water, around 22-24 C/72-75 F, much like things like Neons and Corydoras. This is a general issue with South American fish, far too many people overheating them, and in the long term, this can cause problems. So, without a photo can't say anything specific, but hope there are a few things for you to think about. Cheers, Neale.> 
Re: What does my pictus catfish have?  3/1/10
Thanks so much for your quick reply!
<Happy to help.>
This pictus seems to otherwise be healthy...eating well with no abnormal behavior.
<Good.>
I think you are right; this probably is due to the water pH and hardness being a bit low.
<Okay.>
I am currently treating the tank to bring those up a bit and he is already looking a little better.
<Good.>
As far as the Costia, what are the preferred methods to try to treat it? I know that scaleless fish like the pictus and loaches are super sensitive, and if I ever had to treat for it I would like to know how to go about it.
<Either salt (a combination of dips and constant exposure in the aquarium) or some proprietary medication. The former is perhaps best with catfish.>
Also, in regard to food, what foods do you recommend to prevent the B1 deficiency?
<Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_1/thiaminase.htm
In general, if your catfish is mostly eating pellets and wet-frozen bloodworms, this isn't going to be an issue. But predatory fish that just eat seafood and fish need to be handled with a bit more care.>
I am so glad your website is out there...it is astounding how hard it is to get the right information for maintaining healthy tanks...even the companies that manufacture the goods don't seem to be sure about what is actually good for fish!
Thanks again
Heather
<You're welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: