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FAQs on Freshwater Fin-, Body-, Mouth- Rot

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

Related FAQs: Infectious FW Diseases 1, Dropsy/Dropsical Conditions, Aquarium Maintenance, FW Parasitic Diseases, African Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid Disease, Betta Disease 1,

Betta Finrot - 10/22/2012
Hi crew!
<Brittanie>
I have a Betta with a definite case of Finrot, caused by a forgotten water change.  I set him up in a hospital tank and treated with API's fungus meds because I had it on hand and they claimed it can fix Finrot. Sad to say it didn't.
<Finrot is generally bacterial, not fungal.>
He now really looks like a case of Finrot and has lost half his tail and now has the pink spots indicating blood vessel damage.
<Not surprised. Needs proper treatment immediately, and very clean water. 
Keep the ammonia levels low in that hospital tank with plants or zeolite crystals.>
 My question is, which medicine would work best? API E. M. Erythromycin ( I'm assuming the active ingredient is in the name). Mardel Maracyn with erythromycin as the active ingredient or T C Tetracycline with tetracycline hydrochloride as its main ingredient?
<Both are antibiotics, but I'd probably try the tetracycline first. Be aware that it will color the water.>
Id like to zap the bacterial infection this time instead of letting it get worse like it did last time.
I did look over the website but it seems to be a bit of this or that depending on who answers and everyone asks about MelaFix which I know to be worthless.
<There can be more than one effective treatment for certain ailments. 
Either antibiotic might work. Melafix is a naturopathic treatment and may work on mild cases, but I wouldn't try it with Finrot this severe. Hope that helps.>
thank you!!
<Welcome>
Brittanie
<Rick>
Re: Betta Finrot     10/25/12

Just wanted to say thanks to Rick for helping with my question!
<You are quite welcome.>
I bought the Tetracycline this afternoon and its been in the hospital tank for less then 8 hours and already the inflamed blood vessels are settling down.
<Excellent!>
Treatments going to take a full five days but I think this one is going to work.
<If it is not cured in 5 days, do read the instructions on how to properly do a second treatment.>
Thanks again for the wonderful advice and excellent site!
<Glad it's working. - Rick>
Brittanie 

Platy with weird skin issue going on. – 05/13/12
Hey guys at WWW. I have an interesting case for you that I am having trouble solving. I have a Platy that has a weird skin issue. It almost looks like the skin is peeling off.
<Yes. It's probably Finrot, despite being on the body.>
I'm tempted to call it fish psoriasis because that is what it looks like.
It is occurring on top of the fish in front of the dorsal fin, and then straight down vertically on both sides (not laterally along the sides). It almost looks like the scales have been rubbed the wrong way and they are sticking up and peeling off. It's not dropsy I know for sure as I've seen it first hand. It is not occurring all over and the fish is not bloated. I first noticed this skin thing a few months ago, when it started at the top and crept down a little on the left side. I didn't think much of it because I thought it had been scarring because the fish had gotten stuck in one of my decorations a little while ago and I had to pull him out. The spot was approximately where it had rubbed on the decor when he was stuck. He also didn't show any signs of distress; no flashing or rubbing.
Well after a couple of months it seemed to become more prominent and looked more like peeling so I thought maybe it wasn't scarring after all and maybe it was a developing disease so I thought I'd be conservative and try some Methylene Blue and salt dips. That almost seemed to make it worse, with the peeling now noticeable on the right side. I decided to quarantine him in a 10 gal cycled tank. All references to skin peeling and eroding on the web pointed to Hole-in-the-Head disease and Lateral Line Erosion, and the recommended treatment was Metronidazole. So I used some API General Cure (250mg Metronidazole, 75mg Praziquantel) with two doses, 48 hours apart. It did nothing. I then thought maybe it was bacterial or fungal so I thought I'd do a 1-2 punch with 300mg of Kanamycin and 2.5ml of Maroxy daily with 25% PWCs. For the first few days, it seemed to help, but unfortunately the Maroxy nuked the bio-filter and I ended up with an ammonia spike (which is not helping the situation!) I suspended treatment with the Maroxy so I could try to build up the bio-filter and continued with just the Kanamycin and the PWCs to deal with the ammonia. Free ammonia levels never made it above .25ppm and I've been using an ammonia neutralizer and Tetra's Safestart along with the daily PWCs, but the free ammonia will not drop below .05ppm. Total ammonia is between .25ppm and .50ppm.
Well the Kanamycin course is nearly complete, but it did not improve anything. Hard to know though if anything will work when the fish is stressed from the ammonia. I thought I'd give the Metronidazole one more shot in case it is stubborn case of Lateral Line Erosion, so I started adding just pure Metronidazole at 200mg every other day. I just did a second dose last night, but still no improvement. I ordered some Nitrofurazone because I thought that since the fish was showing improvement when I was using the Maroxy, maybe it is more fungal even though it's not fuzzy looking. The Nitrofurazone is also not supposed to harm the bio-filter, so maybe it would be a good next attempt. It is supposed to come on Monday.
The Platy has not shown signs of illness really. He's a little schitzy and hyperactive, but it's hard to tell if that is from the ammonia, illness, or the medications. I would like to do some Methylene Blue dips again to detoxify the affects of the ammonia, but I've been kind of waiting to get a hold of the ammonia problem first. Any clue as to what this could be or if I'm on the right track with treating it? I have some photos, but they don't really show the peeling effect very well, they just show up as white blotches. The areas are circled. Tank parameters: PH 8.2; KH 8; GH 10; NO2 0; NO3 <5; NH3 .05; NH3+NH4 .25-.50. Thank you in advance.
~Hannah~
<Treat as per Finrot. Ensure ammonia and nitrite levels are zero at all times. The Finrot infection (Aeromonas and Pseudomonas spp. infection) is likely caused by water quality issues. Most commonly seen on Platies in environments where the hardness isn't sufficiently high; adding some marine aquarium salt mix can be a helpful supplement to a good quality Finrot medication. The problem won't go away until water quality problems are fixed, so attend to both these issues, the tank and the fish, together.
Also remember to remove carbon, if used. Cheers, Neale.> 

Re: Platy with weird skin issue going on.    5/14/12
Thanks for the fast response! So fin rot on the body and not the fins, so... body rot? :)
<Heh, heh...>
Just a few quick follow up questions if you don't mind. So why marine salt mix?
<Because marine aquarium salt mix includes both salt (sodium chlorine) and lots of other minerals that raise carbonate and general hardness, and these other minerals raise the pH and keep it steady. Plain aquarium (or tonic) salt doesn't contain these, it's basically just cooking salt, so has zero effect on hardness and pH. Given how inexpensive marine aquarium salt is, and how convenient to use, using it is a no-brainer in situations where you want a bit of salinity *and* steady water chemistry.>
I was planning on putting in some plain rock salt since I had thought the GH was high enough. Should it be higher?
<The higher the better for livebearers, and if you're having trouble keeping them healthy, the addition of a little salt will help too. Use marine salt mix at 2-3 grammes/litre to start with and see how you go.>
Do you think that the Kanamycin was just not helping because of the stress of the ammonia spike, or do you think that the Kanamycin is not effective for this disease or is it just impossible to tell which?
<Both or either. But the reality is that medicines won't help if the underlying cause of infection remains.>
I just am a little puzzled with what would cause the fin rot, because fin rot is usually from poor water quality and when this had started, the fish was in a completely cycled 40 gallon tank. Parameters were Ph 8.0; KH 9; GH 8; NO2 0; NO3 20; NH3 0.
<Earlier message said you had non-zero levels of ammonia -- that's the problem.>

My phosphates were high around 8, could that have been the stressor?
<No, but high levels of phosphate will try to push pH down, which can be bad if the water lacks carbonate hardness to resist this.>
Or that the GH maybe needed to be higher? I finally got the phosphates down to 2 and am still trying to eliminate them. Anyways, I will continue to get my parameters in my quarantine tank under control. Maybe I'll put some gravel from my main tank in there to help with the ammonia, but it seems like whenever I do that, it causes my ammonia levels to raise instead. I also have some Tetracycline, which is suggested for fin rot, but I am hesitant to use it because I've heard it can damage the nitrifying bacteria. Is this true?
<It can be. Why not use something safer? Here in England, there's a medication called eSHa 2000 that I find works well, if that's any help to you.>
I think I will do what you have suggested, and continue with my plan to start the Furan2 when it arrives, and when all else fails, use the Tetracycline.
Thanks again,
~Hannah~
<Cheers, Neale.>

Severe Betta Fin Rot, Meds Not Working 8/2/11
Dear WWM Crew,
<Alana>
You are my last hope. I bought what appeared to be a healthy male Betta 5 months ago. He is a split tail variety. Water Parameters are as follows (per gallon): treated tap water, using 2 drops Dechlor,
<Not useful for Chloramine/s>
2 ml Betta spa, 1/2 tsp aquarium salt, 1/4 tsp baking soda (pH buffer - a trick a Betta breeder told me to try). His pH is about 7.5 and he lives in a 5 gallon Fluval chi with a filter baffle and a heater kept at 80 degrees F. Full water changes once a week.
Two Months ago, he developed a pinhole in his dorsal fin that was red around the edges. At the time, per the advice of the LFS, I was doing one to two gallon changes of water per week. I attempted a large water change, introduced aquarium salt, and tried Melafix.
<Decidedly not a fan>
That did not work, so I tried a more aggressive salt bath. Still nothing. I then nuked the entire tank and went to the store and was given Furan 2.
The baths they suggested didn't stop it. I tried a double dose, which halted it, but as soon as I stopped, it came back. The LFS then gave me tetracycline. That did not work. For the last two days, I've been doing strong baths of PolyGuard. Still no healing. In fact, the disease has progressed.
<What are you feeding this animal? What water quality tests/results do you have to share? Esp. Nitrate>
I understand that I have been using several different medicines, which may not be the best idea. However, at this point, he is going to die.
The fin rot, during all of this treatment, has progressed severely.
This morning, I noticed that it was starting to attack the scales under his dorsal fin (that is almost all gone) and has attacked one of his smaller fins. His tail edges are still red and a good portion of his anal fin is missing. I have taken him off the meds for several days at a time in order to let him recover, but during those times, he ends up getting worse. He is still eating and I have been soaking his food in garlic guard and giving him brine shrimp to boost his immune system.
<A good idea>
I truly don't know what to do at this point, and I am very fond of him.
Any thoughts?
<Mmm, please respond to my questions above. Bob Fenner>
Thank you,
Alana
Re: Severe Betta Fin Rot, Meds Not Working 8/3/11

Dear Bob,
<Alana>
Thank you for your prompt reply! To answer your questions:
The Dechlor, per the label, also handles chloramines.
I am feeding him 4-5 pellets of Hikari Betta bio gold soaked in garlic guard.
<I would not use this exclusively. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betfdgfaqs.htm>
Some days I substitute brine shrimp instead. His appetite is good, though no bubble nests as of late.
Parameters: The pH is higher than I thought at 8.4
<MUCH too high... why are you using sodium bicarbonate here? NOT necessary.
What is the pH, hardness of the source/tap water?>
(I only have the high pH test kit from our salt tank but it's turning out purple for sure.) Should I discontinue the baking soda buffer?
<Yes>
Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates are all reading 0.
Thank you!
Alana.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Severe Betta Fin Rot, Meds Not Working 8/3/11
Ok, I will try to slowly lower it to closer to 7. The reason for this is because I kept Bettas about 2 years ago and all 3 of them suffered from sudden, overnight fin damage.
<Environmental>
The breeder I got them from told me the Chicago tap water drops its kH in the summer, thereby causing pH crashes overnight and eating up their fins.
<Doubtful. B>
He was fine during the spring, so when I saw some deterioration around June, I started buffering since this cleared up the issues with my Bettas a few years ago. I'll avoid the buffer.
Thanks,
Alana

zebra danio mouth-eating fungus? 10/12/10
Hi Crew,
Thanks in advance for your help. I have a 20 gallon long freshwater tank holding 11 zebra Danios, 2 swordtails, about 10 red cherry shrimp and 3 zebra Nerite snails. The tank is heavily planted, temp stays around 74F, 20% water change every week, BioWheel filter - pretty simple set-up that's been going for about a year and a half.
About 6 months ago one of my older Danios came down with what I'll describe as looking like a white speck of salt on its chin. As I tried to learn about what was going on, one or two months passed. The condition did not seem to get worse, however... one day the danio picked up a small piece of algae wafer and the food became "stuck" in its mouth. Apparently the white spot was some sort of mouth-eating fungus(?) or bacteria(?). It looked like part of the mouth area had been eaten away and the food was lodged so that it couldn't be consumed. I didn't know what to do and the fish died a few days later.
A week ago I noticed this same condition on the "chin" of another danio. I don't know what causes this or what I can do to relieve it. Do you have any suggestions?
Thanks very much,
Janet
<Without a photo it's hard to say for sure, but Mouth Fungus -- actually a bacterial infection -- does seem probable. This infection is often known as Columnaris, so look for a medication that mentions either of these names.
Ideally, choose one that does Finrot as well. Don't go with tea-tree oil type things like Melafix, but serious, heavy-duty antibacterial or antibiotic medications. As for *why* the fish are becoming infected, Columnaris is primarily an opportunistic infection that sets in when conditions are poor, though fighting can sometimes be a triggering factor if the mouth is damaged. Start by checking the nitrite level is zero. Your
tank isn't overstocked, but it is heavily stocked, and adult Swordtails don't really belong in a 20 gallon tank. Filtration should be very robust given this stocking level, and rather than a filter rated for a 20 gallon
tank, I'd be looking at one for 30 or better still 40 gallons. Put another way, turnover rates should be brisk given the fact Swordtails, Danios and Nerites all appreciate cool, fairly fast-flowing water, so a turnover rate of 6 times the volume of the tank per hour will be required. So for a 20 gallon tank, the filter should be rated at 6 x 20 = 120 gallons/hour. Even the best filter won't do its job if you aren't caring for it properly; make sure it's stocked with the right type of media and that you're cleaning this media properly and as often as required. Usually, cleaning the media in a bucket of tank water every 6-8 weeks does the job nicely. Don't waste filter capacity with Zeolite or carbon, neither of which serve any useful purpose in your tank. Naturally, you also need to be sure you aren't overfeeding the fish as well. Cheers, Neale.>

Discus fin rot! 6/8/10
Hi crew,
One of my discus has what I think is fin rot just above what would be his forehead. Part of the fin looks like it is deteriorating and has something white on it (definitely not ich). I've quarantined him in a ten gallon tank. I've never
had a fish with fin rot, but I don't know how else to describe what I'm seeing, nor do I know how to treat. I've got eight discus total. The other seven seem fine. The sick one first got my attention because he wasn't eating.
Please help!
Thank you,
Pat
<Hello Pat. Without a photo it's difficult to diagnose this. Possibilities include Finrot, Mouth Fungus and Hexamita. Finrot typically begins on the fins as bloody swellings that eventually decay into the raggedy fins we associate with the disease. Mouth Fungus -- actually a bacterial infection also called Columnaris -- is more common around the mouth, as you'd expect.
Distinguishing it from Finrot isn't easy, but Mouth Fungus tends to look fibrous, hence the analogy with Fungus. Hexamita is a parasitic infection that may or may not be responsible for Hole-in-the-Head disease. Discus, like all cichlids, are prone to both straightforward Hexamita infections and Hole-in-the-Head, the latter appearing as white pits in the head that suppurate over time, releasing dead white goo. Does this help any? Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Discus fin rot!
Hi Neale,
<Hello Pat,>
I don't see anything around his mouth. I also don't see any holes anywhere (head or body). When I described the location as being above his "forehead", I was attempting to describe the location of the affected "fins". The affected fins are the ones that form what sort of look like "spikes" or "fingers". Having said that, the affected area is approximately in the middle of this "spike" area.
<Finrot should look very distinctive. The fin membrane decays from the outside edge inwards, so the profile of the fin becomes ragged. Usually, the fin rays stick out beyond the receding fin membrane. You usually see red or at least orange/white specks on the fins where blood vessels have become congested, especially near the base of the fin.>
Now, this morning, I got out my flashlight so that I could get a real good look at him, and to look for the red swelling you described. I no longer see any white "fungus" looking stuff at the base of the fins. The fins look a lot better although a little like part of them has "melted away" ?
<Fin membranes and eventually fin rays can, will fall away as the infection progresses. Given good water quality, a healthy diet, and if necessary medication, fins heal back very quickly.>
The fish seems to have improved in appearance. Is this possible.
<Sure.>
He's still not eating and I think one of the other seven isn't eating as well.
<Stress, including social stress through bullying, can make fish vulnerable to secondary infections. Finrot often follows on from aggression, though that's uncommon among Discus. But with that said, Discus can be bullies
sometimes, so keep an eye out for it.>
I had Hexamita in a couple of these guys on the 15th of last month. Do you think it might be a recurrence?
<Doesn't sound directly related. Hexamita typically manifests itself though white, stringy faeces, loss of overall condition, and in some cases the appearance of "weeping" pits on the head.>
Thank you for your help and patience with me
Pat
<Cheers, Neale.>

Treating Velvet and Mouth Fungus with Lace Synodontis in the tank -- 09/08/09
Hi there,
<Hello,>
My son pushed too fast to set up his tank and now has problems with velvet and mouth fungus, and possibly some ich. There are three Danios that definitely show signs of both the velvet and mouth fungus.
<I see.>
The problem is complicated by the fact that he also has a very sweet and lovely large lace Synodontis catfish who we have totally fallen in love with and she seems very sensitive to medication.
<Yes, this species (genus, family) can be. Removing to a quarantine tank would be one solution.>
The tank is 50 gallons and these are all the inhabitants: 5 small green tiger barbs, 3 large Danios, the lace Synodontis, a small bristle nose catfish, a small clown loach, an Ngara, a blue dwarf Gourami, and an algae
eating shark. It is a planted tank, but the plants can be replaced if they don't survive treatment.
<Bit of a mixed collection! Not entirely convinced this selection of fish will work in the long term. Ngara, for example, are Aulonocara cichlids, and semi-aggressive, as well as fussy about water chemistry. Clown Loaches don't stay small for long; adults are some 11 inches/27 cm long. And so on.>
Do you have any suggestions for how we can eliminate the mouth fungus and the velvet? We tried Rid Ich+, but the Synodontis seemed very bothered by it.
<Various catfish are indeed sensitive to copper and formalin, so that limits the range of options. Ordinarily, you'd treat Ick and Velvet using a salt/heat method (raise temperature to around 82-86 F, add 2-3 level
teaspoons of tonic salt per US gallon of water. Run thus for about two weeks. Keeping the tank dark (cover with a blanket) also helps, since the free-living stage needs light.>
We have also used Melafix, which keeps the mouth fungus down, but does not seem strong enough to totally cure it (and doesn't seem to do much, if anything, for the velvet).
<Mouth Fungus is bacterial, and Melafix is a weak bactericide, at best. Use a proper antibiotic such as Maracyn if you can, or else an antibacterial based on an organic dye if antibiotics aren't easily available in your region. I happen to like eSHa 2000, but there are numerous other brands, such as Seachem Paraguard that work well too. Read the instructions, and don't forget to remove carbon (if used) when necessary. Don't mix medications, although you can use *one* medication alongside salt without problems.>
Thanks very much for any help you can provide.
<While Velvet comes in with new fish, Mouth Fungus is triggered by environmental issues, and this is something you must review. You can keep treating the fish as much as you want, but if the underlying causes
(typically poor filtration, overfeeding, and/or overstocking) are present, the problem will keep coming back. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Treating Velvet and Mouth Fungus with Lace Synodontis in the tank 9/9/09
Neale,
<Constance,>
Thank you so very much for your advice and for responding so quickly.
<My pleasure.>
We'll get on it today. This is a fairly new project and my kid was not properly changing the water and filter at first, which is a big part of the problem we are dealing with now. We are on top of the water quality now.
<Good stuff.>
We'll start cycling a sick tank, but in the meantime we'll try the aquarium salt treatment and antibiotic. (And maybe we'll move Ngara into the second tank after it is cycled and when it isn't being used as a hospital because you are right that s/he is aggressive.)
<Indeed; a nice species, a very nice species in fact, but does need a Malawi community setting really, perhaps mixed with the superb Labidochromis caeruleus "Yellow Lab" for a nice contrast.>
I just want to double check that adding this much aquarium salt will likely be tolerated by the lace Synodontis and bristle nose catfish. I have read that some catfish cannot deal with salt.
<It's a misunderstanding about the salt. For a start, at least two families of catfish live in the sea! Several other families have species that enter brackish water. In any case, the amount of salt you are adding is trivially low. Let's say you add 3 level tsp of salt. It's a little under 0.25 oz per tsp, so that's about 0.75 tsp per US gallon. Normal seawater contains about 4.75 ounces of salt per US gallon, so what you're adding to your aquarium is actually about one-twentieth the salinity of normal seawater. There's probably more salt in a can of soda pop than that! It's really a very, very harmless dosage. While you wouldn't want to use this addition of salt on a permanent basis, for a couple of weeks it's a safer way to treat against Ick and Velvet that copper- and formalin-based medications.>
With gratitude,
Constance
<Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Treating Velvet and Mouth Fungus with Lace Synodontis in the tank 9/9/09
great! any place I can order the eSHa 2000 in the US? Or should I just settle for Seachem ParaGuard?
<So far as I know, eSHa products are exclusively sold in Europe. Seachem Paraguard is at least as good, and while it doesn't contain copper or formalin, it does contain malachite green, so if you do decide to use it,
watch your catfish carefully. Malachite green isn't copper (despite the name) but an organic dye, and while these should be harmless, you never know.
http://www.seachem.com/Products/product_pages/ParaGuard.html
eSHa 2000 contains a different organic dye, and while my Synodontis (and pufferfish) never complained, as always, your own mileage may vary. You might decide to opt for Maracyn or a similar antibiotic because of this.
Cheers, Neale.>

Fin Rot? Reading re Mollienesia 8/8/09
Hello,
My black molly has discoloration on his tail fin (looks almost yellow).
His tail fin is almost see through and he has a split in his fin. The tips of his fin are yellowish and ragged. I noticed his tail fin about a week ago but I was waiting to see if it progressed. Now I'm afraid I waited too
long. I think it is fin rot, but I wanted to ask your opinion and see what you would prescribe. He is still eating and swimming fine. I have one other fish in the tank (red wag platy) and he is fine.
Thank you so much
<... Mmm, you present nothing re water quality, the system... history of maintenance, testing... Have you searched our site? Mollies are often lost due to not understanding their needs. Read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollies.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Fin Rot... (Poecilia; health, behaviour?) 1/30/09 Hi there, I'm not sure where to start exactly, so I'll give you the set up and situation, then hopefully my question will be clearer. And please forgive the length of this question. The set up is: * 10 Fancy Guppies (8 females, 2 males) in a 29 G tank. * 2 sponge filters stacked and running on and air pump that's circulating 200 GPH * Water temp is 79.4 * Water chemistry is brackish with SG of 1.003 * Water Parameters are: NH3 = 0, NO2 = 0, NO3 = 20 (!!!This is part of my question) This is a fish only tank. By that I mean there have never been, nor are there now, live plants in the tank. Before you say anything, yes, I know that live plants keep nitrates down, but I've had trouble getting plants to live in this tank for some reason, so I gave up on it. But, more to the point, is up until about 3 or 4 weeks ago Nitrates were never more than 5. So part of my question is what may have caused the change? I faithfully test the water in the tank every Thursday. The parameters are always perfect with ammonia and nitrite at 0. I also faithfully gravel vac, and change 10 gallons of water every Friday. That's about a 30% change, which I would think to be sufficient to keep parameters in check. Yes, being guppies I get a litter or two of fry every couple of weeks. The fry are removed from the tank during the Friday water change and (forgive the harsh reality here) fed to my frogs. (Xenopus) So the first part of my question is do you have any guesses as to why Nitrates started rising? Which leads me the second part of my question/situation. Can Nitrates AT or BELOW 20 ppm cause Finrot? Because I can't figure out how this happened. One of the males has a clear case of Finrot. Two red spots on a frayed tail. I've removed him to a 10 gallon Q Tank, and have been treating him with a concurrent course of Maracyn and Maracyn II for the last four days. I'm not really seeing a lot of progress yet, but I'm hopeful. In the meantime, I've treated the 29 gallon tank with a course of API's Fungal Cure which says it cures tail and fin rot. The problem is I can't quite tell if the other 9 guppies need a more aggressive treatment. Some of the females have started to have a mild fading at the ends of their tails, but not all. No one has any noticeable red streaks/spots, or fraying. In addition, I'm not convinced there's a fungus present. There aren't any white spots or patches or whatever the fungus is supposed to look like. Obviously I'm trying to avoid having to treat the 29 gallon tank with antibiotics. But I don't have ten 10 -gallon tanks laying around to individually treat all the fish. But I'm also not interested in having my little friends suffer and die. So I'm at something of a loss as to how to proceed with treatment of this problem. Also, guppies are schooling fish, so does the stress of being alone in the Q Tank for 5 plus days sort of cause more problems than it solves for the poor little guy? Thanks for taking the time to read all of this. Any help or advice is greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Laura <Laura, the short answer is than 20 mg/l nitrate shouldn't cause any health problems at all. That's a very safe level of nitrate for a freshwater aquarium. So let's move on from there. Your maintenance regime seems fine. Finrot is often caused by water quality issues, but not always. The other common reason is physical damage. Now, I mention this because Guppies are not peaceful fish; indeed, the males are apt to be aggressive. They are not schooling fish as such, but rather the females congregate in groups while the males fight over access to the females. A dominant male will try and bully any other males that get close. Because Fancy Guppies have particularly long fins, they're less able to swim away from danger, but their front ends (their teeth and jaws) aren't any different. So it's still possible for them to bite one another, and quite possibly any damage caused will be more severe. In other words, my gut feeling is that this is a social behaviour issue. Livebearers generally do best in groups where the females outnumber the males by three to one, or more! For example, at the moment I'm keeping a single male Limia nigrofasciata in a tank alongside eight mature females and their fry. Although this species isn't especially aggressive, when kept in groups the males certainly do chase one another and try to assert their dominance. Put another way, removing some males and adding more females could fix the problem. In any event, treat Finrot in the main tank. Since it's not a contagious diseases as such (all tanks have the bacteria that cause Finrot present all the time) there's no need to isolate suffering fish, unless of course that fish can't feed or swim normally. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Fin Rot... (Poecilia; health, behaviour?) 1/30/09 Thanks so much Dr. Monks. Once again, you've helped a lot. Just one follow up. When you say, "treat the main tank", do you mean with Maracyn? And, if so, won't that crash the system? Laura <Hello Laura. Yes, treat the main aquarium with Maracyn (or Maracyn 2). No need for a quarantine tank. Maracyn (or Maracyn 2) used correctly should not harm the biological filter, bit do read the instructions CAREFULLY. I mention both drugs because they each treat one of two different subsets of bacteria, the so-called gram positive and gram negative bacteria. Both can cause Finrot and Finrot-like symptoms. Usually Maracyn works, which is why it's the drug of choice, but if after the completed course there's no improvement, do a big water change (25-50%) and then start with Maracyn 2. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Fin rot... (RMF, opinion please) 2/23/09 Hello crew: Recently, I emailed regarding what I thought to be Fin rot in my guppy tank. Dr. Monk's advised me to treat the tank with Maracyn and if that didn't work try Maracyn II, which I did. The one guppy that I'm pretty sure has fin rot, has not changed. He's eating, chasing girls, and otherwise normal. His color is even still brilliant. His tail is ragged with two red spots/patches. After several weeks, it hasn't gotten any worse, but it hasn't gotten any better. So, I'm not sure how to proceed with that tank. <If he's not getting worse, then that's a step in the right direction. Would tend to maintain good water conditions and observe. You're already adding marine salt mix, which will be helping too.> Then, tonight while performing regular maintenance on another tank I noticed that the Betta that is the tank's only resident also has fin rot. This is very distressing. Here are the set ups: The Betta tank is 10g, water temp is 81-82 degrees F, Lustar Hydra Sponge filter powered by a Rena Air 300 (40GPH), one ornament, and one live (I think it's called Banana) plant. The water parameters every week are zero for ammonia and nitrite, and nitrates between zero and 5 ppm. He's by himself in there, so this wasn't caused by nipping. I just added the first dose of Maracyn to his tank <Not much else to recommend here beyond what you're doing/have checked.> The guppy tank is 29g containing 10 Fancy Guppies (8 females, 2 males) in a 29G tank., and an Anubis plant, 2 sponge filters stacked and running on and air pump that's circulating 200GPH, water temp is 79.4 F, water chemistry is brackish with SG of 1.003, water parameters are: NH3 = 0, NO2 = 0, NO3 = 10. <Sounds good, though a trifle on the warm side by my reckoning.> I know that fin rot is usually caused by poor water conditions, but I'm incredibly diligent bordering on obsessive about tank maintenance and monitoring water quality. I faithfully test the water in all of my tanks every Thursday. The parameters are always perfect with ammonia and nitrite at 0. I also faithfully gravel vac, and do a 30% water change weekly. I track everything in a log book. I'm really kind of a freak about it. So why do I have an outbreak of fin rot? What am I doing wrong? Thanks for the insight. Laura <Laura, I'm actually wondering if you're not dealing with Finrot but something more uncommon, like Fish TB. Superficially, a variety of infections can resemble Finrot, but unlike Finrot (which is basically environmental) they are contagious, so can travel from tank to tank on your hands, nets, or really anything wet and/or not sterilized. Fish TB (Mycobacterium marinum) is mostly seen in marine aquaria but can occur in freshwater tanks, albeit much less often than used to be thought. Many of the supposed Fish TB cases on the freshwater side of the hobby turned out to be viral or other types of bacterial infections, Dwarf Gourami Disease being the classic example. Do see here (about one-third the way down): http://www.wetwebmedia.com/infectmardisfaq3.htm In any case, while viral and obscure bacterial infections may be to blame, for the time being, assuming you're dealing with something treatable can carry on with the Maracyn/Maracyn 2 and observing the fish. Photographs might help Bob or I come up with a firmer conclusion. Cheers, Neale.> <<Mmm, I would switch treatments... from the present Mardel products to a Furan compound... I too suspect this is not "fungal", but some bacterial issue... 250 mg./ten gallons, change a good part of the water... three treatments at three day intervals... Remove carbon... Please see here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/furancpdfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>>

Re: More: re: Fin rot... (RMF, opinion please) Furanace dosing?-- 2/24/09 Mr. Fenner, I checked the page where you sent me, but I want to be certain I understand your instructions. I'm to dissolve 250mg of Furanace per 10 gallons of water, once every three days for a total of three treatments. "change a good part of the water" Does this mean between treatments? <Yes... immediately before re-administering> And I can only find Furanace in 50mg tablets. I believe the instructions state 1 tab per 10 gallons. <Mmmm> I realize that many Aquarium Meds are frequently under-dosed but since this is a 5 fold increase over the manufacturer's directions, I wanted to be certain I understood. Thanks for clarifying. Laura <There is a broad range of efficacy for these compounds... an order of magnitude... 1.8 to 38 mg/gal... I have looked for some site to refer you to for more... Perhaps here to start: http://books.google.com/books?id=IPSCPpN2x3UC&pg=PA71&lpg=PA71&dq=furan+comp ound+dosage+aquarium&source=bl&ots=5Q26l833y4&sig=4WaXax57JllTfC74SQcI7vF1HR Q&hl=en&ei=lrykSan9A5HItQO9ivC0Ag&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=5&ct=result

F/U Pics...Re: Fin rot... (RMF, opinion please) 2/25/09 Gentlemen, I've attached the some pictures, one of each fish. It may not be readily apparent, but the spaces showing in the Betta's tail aren't supposed to be there. So, I've also attached a picture of what his tail looked like when he was healthy. I appreciate all of the advice. Mr. Fenner recommended I use a Furan compound and remove the carbon from my filter. This prompted a question I've actually had for some time. I only use sponge filters. When I treat a tank with medication, I usually do a 25-30% water change at the end of the treatment, and then resume the normal maintenance schedule. Most of the instructions state to replace the carbon, which I know will pull the remaining med out of the water. Am I overdosing the fish if I don't have some sort of carbon removal system after a treatment? Should I do a larger water change, since I'm only using sponges? Again, thanks for the help. Laura <Hello Laura. The short answer is no, you aren't overdosing medications if you don't use carbon afterwards. Most medications are metabolised by the bacteria in the aquarium within a day, which is why most require a series of doses across a period of several days. That's the only way to expose the fish to a continual amount of medication. When you've finished treating with one course of medications, doing a 25-50% water change is a good idea, but by the next day, you should be good to go with a new course of medications. Cheers, Neale.> <<Agreed. RMF>>

Re: F/U Pics...RE: Fin rot... (RMF, opinion please) 2/25/09 Thanks. Were the pictures helpful to you in trying to identify whatever's going on in my tanks? Laura <Nope. Sorry. The reality is that most viral, bacterial infections can only be identified under the microscope. Just as with humans: if your doctor thinks you have an infection other than one of the really common and obviously (and often, even then) blood tests, urine samples and so on will all be required. The same with fish. Most of the time I'm dealing with same infections that plague virtually all tanks at some time or another: Finrot, secondary Fungal infections, Lymphocystis, etc. But if the symptoms fall outside that range, it's out of what I can do. Cheers, Neale.> <<Nice pix, but indicated nothing to me (hence I did not post ayer). RMF>>

Re: Fin rot... (Bob, need your input re: Furanace)-- 02/28/09 Sorry to be a bother, Furanace says it will harm the bio-filter and a Q tank is recommended. <Have not used this so can't comment myself. Have asked Bob to chime in here.> <<Furan compounds can indeed interrupt nitrification... Ammonia et al. need to be monitored, freshwater prepped, stored for use... RMF>> So I've moved the guppies to a Q tank and I'm treating there. I only got the adults, not the fry. But I'm wondering if the "disease" is in the water of the display tank, and if I should assume the fry are infected? Because we think this spread from my guppy tank to my Betta tank on "something wet and unsterilized". Do I have to treat the main tank in order to make sure everyone gets and stays better? <I would imagine that this would be essential. <<Yes>>Treating the adult Guppies in a quarantine while maintaining a reserve of infectious bacteria in the fry in the display tank would defeat the object of the exercise.> I REALLY don't want to recycle this tank "fish in" if I can avoid it. Thanks again for all the advice. Laura <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Fin rot... (Bob, need your input re: Furanace) 2/28/09 Thanks. So, if I remove all fish from the display tank, I will remove the infectious bacteria while preserving the bio-filter? Laura <Hi Laura. I'd imagine that even if you treated the fish in a quarantine aquarium, there'd be no guarantees that the infection cycle would be broken in the display tank. The problem is that bacteria *aren't* like protozoan parasites. If you're treating Ick parasites and you remove the fish to another tank, then any free-living Ick parasite "juveniles" in the display tank will only have 24 hours (approximately) to find a host. If they fail to do so, they die. Within a few days, you'll break the infection/re-infection cycle. But bacteria are notoriously good at going dormant. That's good in some ways: it's how nitrification bacteria spores in the air and in water are able to land in a new aquarium, set up home, and get your filter running. But on the downside, disease-causing bacteria could potentially do the same thing, resting up in the gravel or water column until such time as a suitable host came along. So while treating your fish in a quarantine tank with a zeolite ("ammonia-remover") based filtration system would be wise, you'd still need to dose the main tank too. I'd keep adding a bit of food to the display tank, so that as it rotted, it would produce ammonia for the filter. If after X days of treatment (where X is the recommendation on the Furanace package) you found zero ammonia in the display tank, you would be safe to assume the filter survived the antibiotic treatment, and you could return your fish. Check the ammonia or nitrite levels every couple of days, and put the fish on half-rations. Essentially what you'd do if you were adding fish to a recently-cycled aquarium. As for the quarantine tank, all you'd need there is a box filter or similar filled with zeolite. If you have two filters on the display tank, you can use one of them here, emptying the biological media compartment and filling it with zeolite. Don't feed the fish while treating unless the course is 7+ days. Or if you must feed the fish, as you might in the case of fry, use vegetable foods exclusively, as these are much lower in protein. Sushi Nori would be ideal and is readily consumed by poeciliids (and likely much healthier than flake!)

Re: Fin rot... (Again Bob, comments appreciated) <Zip to say. RMF> 2/28/09 Got it. I was afraid of that. Any ideas on how this happened? You may remember, I'm the one who's fairly Obsessive Compulsive about regular tank maintenance. Thanks again. Laura <No idea. Could be bad luck: introducing new fish for example, or the infection could by a bacterium ubiquitous to aquaria (like Aeromonas and Pseudomonas spp.) that only causes problems under specific situations. Bacterial infections that resemble Fish-TB are almost a problem in freshwater tanks where inbred fancy fish are being kept: Guppies, Ram cichlids, Dwarf Gouramis, etc. So genetics probably plays a role. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Fin Rot still... 4/3/09
The "river rocks" were purchased at my local pet store in the section where you buy aquarium gravel. It's sold by TopFin brand.
<Another shot in the dark shot down... These should be fine>
These rocks were taken from the bottom of the frog tank and used to help cycle when the guppy and
Betta were first established. As for an Alkalinity test, I'm not sure is the short answer. I can tell you that KH in both tanks is 40ppm and GH is 300ppm in the guppy tank, and about 150ppm in the Betta tank.
<Fine as well...>
Not sure if that answered your question. I have a question about the PolyFilter pad.
My filters are in tank cylindrical sponges attached to lift tubes and powered by air pumps. Where should I place it? Under the sponge?
<These are very good filters for FW systems... I would eschew the use... not use the PolyFilter... We are back to the proverbial square one.>
Thanks again.
Laura
<Again... "it" may be that nothing is really "wrong" here... the split fins, red markings might be due to vigorous interaction twixt your guppies... The fact that they are reproducing on a regular basis is a very
good indication of good health... You have listed all the needed gear, good maintenance (I might feed twice daily though)... I would not continue to treat these systems. BobF>

Fin Rot on giant Gourami (the trouble with Melafix!) Hi Bob, Ii have written you before but not for a while. I gave up on Gourami's a year ago when I could not keep them alive. I finally have two big blue Gourami's that have lived quite well for 2 years. I have been treating one of them for fin rot for several weeks now with now improvement. I have been using Melafix in a 55 gallon tank, about 20 total fish. The other Gourami is fine. Water quality, nitrate 20ppm, nitrite 0, chlorine 0. I have been treating for 7 days then doing a water change with vacuum. Also have removed the carbon from the filters. I'm not sure what else to do. Pondering moving the fish to a hospital tank and continuing treatment. This all started with his front left fin starting to wear away a little bit, I noticed some flaking of his scales and what appeared to be some rot on his tail. His left fin almost entirely wore away, it appears to have healed slightly, but his color is off. He still feeds voraciously. Suggestions? Fungus perhaps? No other fish seem to be affected. Other treatments for fin rot? Thanks for your help. Jason <Jason, the short answer here is not to use Melafix. The problem with Melafix (and tea-tree oil generally) is that it is unreliable. While some aquarists have success with it, many don't. In my opinion, a useful medication is one that works consistently. So, stop with the Melafix. Switch to something else. In the UK, I'd recommend eSHa 2000, in the US, Maracyn seems to be the drug of choice for Finrot. But wherever you are, look for a medication that is either a relevant antibiotic (such as erythromycin) or proven antibacterial (typically copper and formalin). Remember to keep carbon out of the filter while treating, and when using copper/formalin medications especially, take care not to overdose. Giant Gouramis (Osphronemus spp.) grow rapidly, and at two years of age, they're going to be getting too big for the 55 gallon system. Water quality is likely less consistently good than you imagine, for example there may well be ammonia/nitrite peaks after feeding time. Adult Osphronemus are around 50 cm (20 inches) in length, plus or minus, depending on the species, and even singletons are extremely messy animals. Finrot tends to follow on from either poor water quality or physical damage. Since Osphronemus are territorial and potentially aggressive, I'd also be looking at how they interact, just in case one of them is damaging the other, allowing Finrot to get established. Either way, males rarely end up coexisting in home aquaria, so besides needing a bigger tank, you will in all probability need two tanks, unless by some miracle both of yours are females. Cheers, Neale.>

Mouth rot, Goldfish -- 1/20/09 Hi Sorry to trouble you with fishy woes. I have a comet goldfish that was in my coldwater aquarium with 2 other goldfish (20+ gallons), I removed it at the beginning of October and put in a separate hospital tank, as it was showing signs of mouth rot. I have been treating with aquarium salt, 3 tsp per gall, home-made Melafix (tea-tree) 5%, 1 ml in 4 galls, and FungiStop by Tetra Medica. Fish initially started improving, but then as I medicated less frequently signs of rot returned. I resumed treatment and have been treating continually ever since, now being January, and symptoms are spreading. Big gash in one side of mouth, nearly as far as below eye. Mouth very distorted. I have filter and air. I change 1/3 of water every few days and add new treatment. I am concerned as this fish is now not improving and I do not wish it to suffer. Should I be treating it differently -- any suggestions? Is it kinder to put it out of it's misery? If it survives will it ever be able to go back with the other fish - the intention was one day to release into my pond. Is this a fungus? Whole side of face seems to be white and fibrous. Any advice appreciated. Thanks Vanessa <Hello Vanessa. Your fish likely has Columnaris, a BACTERIAL infection despite being known as Mouth Fungus, alongside any other problems. As such, it needs to be treated with an antibiotic. Salt is useless for this type of infection, and indeed should only be used therapeutically for a very specific set of problems, and certainly not fungal or bacterial infections. Tea-tree oil remedies might have some marginal effect on fungal infections but they have zero impact on bacterial infections, and even in the best of moods, vets and doctors consider tea-tree oil an unreliable medication not worth relying on. You really need to be using an antibiotic such as Maracyn (or Maracyn 2 if the former doesn't work, the two treating different sets of bacteria) or else a reliable antibacterial such as eSHa 2000. Do remember to remove carbon from the filter while medicating. It is important to be able to tell Finrot, Fungus, and Mouth Fungus apart, but it's also important to realise that they can occur at the same time (and often do). Finrot typically reveals itself as red, bloody patches of skin and fin with white dead tissue. Fungus looks like cotton wool. Mouth Fungus is slimy and tends to develop on the face. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdistrbshtart.htm One last thing. Do understand that all three diseases come about either because of water quality issues or else because of physical trauma. We can discount trauma, since Goldfish are peaceful animals, but water quality in a 20 gallon tank could very easily be chronically poor. If you treat your fish but don't fix the water quality, they will never get better. Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish-Resistant Fin Rot? Mela-not-fix... getting to... identifying an treating root cause/s, not symptoms 7/13/08 Hi Crew, <Jennifer> Thank you in advance for your help! I have a beautiful 4-inch (body + tail) Shubunkin goldfish living in a 27-gal tank with a 40-gal Power filter and a large air stone. He is the only fish in the tank and it has been established for over 6 months. About 6 weeks ago, I noticed the beginning stages of what I think is fin rot on both caudal tail tips. I hate to admit it, but I'm afraid we neglected his tank cleaning a bit and I suspect the slight ammonia increase (0.25ppm when I first tested it after noticing the frayed fins) made his susceptible to infection. <Mmm, maybe... there should not be any ammonia present. Perhaps some other/redundant biological filtration> First, I tried vacuuming gravel along with 50% water change and adding Amquel+ in the recommended dose to detoxify any remaining ammonia. After about a week, the rot continued to get worse, so I tried what I thought would be a "gentle" approach and added Melafix <...> for the recommended 7-day treatment. This did absolutely nothing <What it does> and the rot only got worse because it became red along the frayed edges. I performed a 25% water change and replaced the activated carbon to get rid of the medication. <Not really a medication> I did nothing except monitor water quality for a few days. Ammonia fluctuated between 0 and 0.25ppm, Nitrite was always 0, and Nitrates stayed around 10-15ppm. As I said, this was a well-established tank, but the fact that I could not get the ammonia to stabilize at 0 made me think the Melafix destroyed by biological filtration. <Does this as well> It is important to mention that I was having to add a standard dose of Amquel+ every evening to keep the water quality at the levels I just mentioned. At this point, a fish-hobbyist friend told me to try Maracyn since the redness had not gone away and the rot was progressing. I followed the 5-day treatment and the redness was reduced, but not eliminated and the fins did not start growing back. <The environment...> Again, I did a 25% water change, replaced the carbon for a day, then started a treatment of Maracyn-Two. I thought maybe the bacterial infection was gram- rather than gram+. <Rather rare actually> After this 5-day treatment, there was no improvement at all, and all the while I'm having to still add Amquel+ every other day to keep the aforementioned levels. (I added a dose of Cycle <This Hagen product rarely works...> at the start of the Maracyn-Two treatment, which is I think why I was able to get away with less frequent doses of Amquel+.) At this point, I was really alarmed at the fin rot progression and resistance, so I went back to the only treatment that showed any signs of improvement, which was the Maracyn. On the advice of my friend, I treated with Maracyn concurrently with Maroxy, as he started to wonder if this was a fungal fin rot. <Not per accidens... not the immediate cause... the environment> I am currently on my third day of treatment with these medications, but I haven't seen much, if any, improvement. I will say it doesn't seem to be getting any worse at the moment. Today was the first day that the Nitrite level went above 0 to 0.25ppm, and the ammonia was zero. Perhaps this is my tank starting to re-cycle? <Seems so> I am just so upset that I've tried everything I can think of to help my fish, but nothing is really working. The only comfort I have is that he is behaving 100% normally and eating with a very healthy appetite. I am also purposely trying to feed less and vacuum his tank every other day. I test water quality 2 times per day. Whew! That was an earful, I know, but I wanted to make sure you had all the info. Do you think there is anything else going on with my poor fish instead of/in addition to the bacterial fin rot? <I don't think this is the actual problem here... "It" is the env.> The frays are now about 1/2 an inch long on his tail. What should I do once the Maracyn/Maroxy combo treatment is over in two more days? I have a bad feeling the infection will still be active. Is this at all normal? I'm desperate to stop the rot from reaching his body, because I've read that will at the very least mean his fin won't grow back and at the worst will kill him! Thank you, again, for you patience with a worried Mom. Sincerely, Jennifer <Again; some simple additional filtration that incorporates a mechanical media... that will act along with the hang on power filter... Perhaps a sponge filter, an inside power filter, some live plant material... even a simple small undergravel filter plate... The nitrogenous trouble was the real root cause here... All the treatments were attempts at treating symptoms, not the cause. Fix the environment, fix this fish. Bob Fenner>

Re: Goldfish-Resistant Fin Rot? - 07/13/08 Thank you for your advice, Bob. Honestly, I searched your site for many hours looking for specific info on resistant fin rot, <Mmm, likely because... there really isn't such a thing... Really> and although I didn't find much (perhaps I wasn't looking in the right spots), I did read a lot of info on goldfish systems and environment, which was very helpful. Tonight is the last dose of the Maracyn/Maroxy combo. I was thinking of vacuuming gravel and doing a 50% water change while replacing the carbon filter to clean the water. <Don't vacuum the bottom... too likely to impair the biological filter> Also, I have a spare hang-on filter I could add to the tank, as well. <Ah, great!> I was wondering what you thought about continuing with another round of Maracyn/Maroxy (the box says a second round of treatment is okay to use). <Not worthwhile. Good products, but don't address the real issue here> I understand completely that fixing the environment is a must, but until the tank is finished re-cycling, all I know to do is control the water chemistry with water changes, vacuuming and Amquel+. <I would stop using the Amquel as well... this fine Novalek product contains other chemicals you'd do best avoiding...> In the meantime, should I continue to treat my fish's symptoms with medication? <No> I'm afraid if I stop medication and the infection is still present with redness and everything, that the bacteria will become resistant and render further medication useless. My friend suggested, as a last resort, to dab some iodine solution directly on the fin damage without letting it get in the water or the fish's eyes. <Not worthwhile either> Have you heard of this being successful, or is it more of a gamble? My gut tells me just to keep doing water changes until the tank stabilizes, but I'm by no means any kind of expert and I would hate to think that my inaction will make my fish worse. I know you are very busy, and I really do appreciate your help. And I know my poor fish does, too! Sincerely, Jennifer <Best to just monitor ammonia, nitrite, not feed period if these are detectable... RMF> Re: Goldfish-Resistant Fin Rot? - 07/14/08 Once, again, thank you for your help. I actually just have one last question, not specifically related to the fin rot issue, but important none-the-less. Maybe other relatively new fish hobbyists like myself will also find it helpful. In all my fish tanks, I have always used a specific brand of natural spring water that I've found through chemical testing to have ideal water chemistry for my goldfish. <Interesting... most tap waters are fine for goldfish... provided they don't have too much sanitizer. I simply vac, drain about a quarter of my goldfish systems every week and replace with straight outdoor hose tap (nothing else)... perhaps with a pickle bucket (four or so gallons) of heated indoor water about the same time every week> It is also very convenient not to have to pre-treat the water other than letting the temperature equalize with that of the tank water. However, after this round of trouble with my Shubunkin, this method is becoming very expensive to keep up water changes! <Is there some aspect of your source/house water that you think/consider problematical?> I tested my tap water, and all water chemistry is very similar to the spring water (pH especially), but it contains 1.0 ppm of ammonia <!? Surprising> (and chlorine which I would obviously let evaporate). <This last "takes" about a week nowadays... chloramine, not chlorine> Is the only way to "condition" the water for use in my tank a product like Amquel+? <Mmm, no... the simplest is to let the water set for the duration interval twixt change-outs... or "take a/the risk" as I do, and only change part...> In the previous email, you mentioned I should discontinue use of this product, <Correct. I would NOT use daily... for the purpose of arresting ammonia presence... see WWM, elsewhere re... will forestall the establishment of nitrification (does this make sense?) among other things it is best to avoid while the fish is weakened> so I'm worried I shouldn't use it to condition the tap water. I should mention I also have API's Stress Coat on hand. <A very similar product. I also would not use daily> Would this be a better alternative, or would I encounter the same problem of extra unwanted chemicals? <Yes...> Hopefully this will be the last time I have to bug you so you can do your wonderful work with others in need. Thank you! Sincerely, Jennifer <I do hope I am being clear, complete-enough here Jennifer. You are an exemplary aquarist... conscientious beyond fault. I realize there is much conflicting information to be had via the Net, stores, even in-print books... Best to read good sources, like Goldfish Connection, WWM, and determine what is factual, useful for your situation yourself. Bob Fenner>

Re: Goldfish-Resistant Fin Rot? 7/27/08 Hi there, Bob (and Crew!) <Jennifer> I have just spent several hours researching your and other sites for information on pH in my ongoing saga to save my poor goldfish from a mysterious fin rot issue. All the local pet stores I've visited have been perplexed at why I can't seem to rid my fish of this problem. As a brief refresher, I have a 27-gal tank with a single 4-in Shubunkin who presented with bacterial fin rot 8 weeks ago. After incorrectly treating with *many*meds, I took Bob's much-appreciated advice and stopped all meds, focused on getting the tank re-cycled and keeping the water in pristine conditions. About a week ago, the tank finished cycling and the readings have been steady at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 5-10 nitrates. <Ah, good!> However, the fin rot STILL has not cleared up. <This will likely take weeks time> Since Bob's last reply, it actually got slightly worse, but since the tank has finished cycling, the redness on the edges of the frays has completely disappeared, which I'm taking as a good sign, yes? <Correct> However, there have been no signs of fin regrowth. <If not "too rotted back" they will regenerate in time> My continued efforts to understand the underlying problem in this tank led me to m y current question on pH. When the fin rot first appeared, the pH in the tank was testing at 7.4-7.6 range (hard to get a precise reading against a color chart). The spring water <Mmm... often this sort of water is inferior to simple dechloraminated tap use...> I use for partial water changes tests at 7.6-7.8. Oddly enough, however, the tank water now tests at 8.0-8.2. Looking back, the large doses of Amquel+ I was using could have lowered the tank pH to the 7.4-7.6 level, but I'm not certain. After my first round of research on Goldfish connection and Koko's goldfish site, I learned to try the test of letting some of the spring water sit in a cup for 24 hrs, then re-testing the pH. Oddly enough, after sitting out, it was testing at 8.2! This explains why my tank pH is high, but for the life of me, I can't find an explanation for how the pH of the plain water can go up by itself. <Mmm, likely a/the loss of oxygen...> Has anyone else seen this problem? <Oh yes... does happen. Again, a reason to just use tap...> If so, is there anything I can do to fix it or is it something I don't need to necessarily worry about? <... I'd use tap...> A post on Goldfish Connection stated that a goldfish will do fine in pH up to 8.4 and that he wouldn't bother taking action unless it goes above 9.0. <Mmm... as an upper limit> A pH of 8.2 just seems so high to me, though and I want to make sure it isn't the reason my fish hasn't healed. I've strongly considered switching to tap water, but there is so much chlorine, ammonia and chloramines in Tampa, FL tap water that I have to add 5-times the recommended dose of AmQuel+ just to get a 0 reading for ammonia. <Store it in a loose- fitting topped container for a week or more ahead of use...> LPS employees have told me I can just dump the untreated water directly in the tank and add a standard dose, but this didn't sound like a good idea to me (then again, what do I know?). <This is... actually what I do, have done for many years with my fancy goldfish systems in S. Cal.... mostly w/ no dechloraminator at all> I'd prefer to keep using the spring water (from Silver Springs in FL), but I'm willing to stop if you all think the pH is too high. <I wouldn't use because I'm cheap, and not necessary, better than tap> Thank you so much... my little guy would probably be dead from over-medication if I hadn't listened to your advice two weeks ago, so please know how truly grateful I am. With much respect, Jennifer <Thank you for sharing. BobF>

Re: Goldfish-Resistant Fin Rot? 8/12/08 Dear WWM Crew, <Jennifer> I have to say I'm on the verge of giving up hope. As you know, I've been battling a persistent fin rot issue for 10 weeks. Despite consistent good water quality since my last post on July 27 (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 5 nitrate, pH=8.2), my shubunkin goldfish became re-infected with the same fin rot infection he had before. In my last post, I had reported the redness surrounding the rot had completely cleared up. I was so excited! But, this was short lived as I noticed the redness was beginning to return on 8/7. I immediately began feeding a medicated food because I wanted to stop the infection before it got out of control, but to no avail. It is now a full-blown infection again with the rot progressing. Although the infection had previously cleared, his fins never did start to regrow. This will probably be my last post on the issue because I feel that I've done all that is humanly possible. I even removed the large cave that has been in his 27gal aquarium for 2 years "just in case" it was starting to leech toxins! My LFSs have given up on me as they say there is nothing left to try. I do regular maintenance on the filters, keep the tank clean and still perform an approx. 20% water change once per week to maintain excellent water conditions. The main reason for my post is to see if anyone can think of something I've overlooked. If not, I fear the worst may happen. It's so sad...he really is a trooper, because despite his persistent illness, he still eats and swims normally, although perhaps a little slower than in his healthier days. Please tell me, is there anything else I can do? Thank you for your time. With hope fading, Jennifer <Mmm, nothing more... only more patience. Do hang in there Jen. BobF>

Goldfish tail rot 4/5/08 Hi, WWM! About two months ago, my husband and 9-yr-old came home with -- surprise! -- three small (about 1-1.5² each) goldfish and an apple snail from our local Wal-Mart (much to my chagrin; we already have three dogs, a mouse, and five hermit crabs... most of whom eventually become my responsibility!). We put them in a ten-gallon tank with a power carbon filter that hangs on the side of the tank, splashing water back into the tank in a constant waterfall. A week ago we noticed that one of the fish had lost a substantial amount of her tail. She was spending much of her time near the top of the tank. She was also constipated (trailing long white poop strand). I did some research online and discovered all the WRONG things we¹ve been doing these couple of months ? no water changes, overfeeding with boring/starchy flakes only, etc. I diagnosed her with poor water conditions, constipation, and tail rot, got the water checked at the local pet store (not so bad, considering it had NEVER been changed ? Ph neutral, Nitrites/nitrates of 40 and ammonia of .25, all of which the store employee said were in the ³safe² range), and have treated the tank with Triple Sulfa for an entire course of treatment ? 5 days, changing 25% of water halfway through process and again last night, at end of process. I also did not feed for two days, then gave a little fresh spinach, and am now feeding small amount of dried krill; this seems to have cleared up her constipation. I should mention that I treated the ENTIRE tank, upon the recommendation of the store employee. I also added a live plant to the tank (something we didn¹t have before), after doing the water change and replacing the carbon filter last night. My question has to do with the tail rot. Although the fish is now very active and happy, eating and swimming well (or as well as can be expected without a tail!) and is not hovering near the top of the tank, she still has white fuzzy signs of tail rot on the stub of what was once her tail. Does this mean that she is still infected, or has a secondary fungal infection that I should be treating some other way? Or is it normal to still see the fuzzy white signs of the tail rot, even when she is ³all better?² I¹ve searched everywhere online for this info, and am still feeling clueless about how to know definitively if she¹s ok now... or not. I don¹t want to do another course of antibiotic treatment, unless it¹s necessary. Thanks so much from all of us! Susan <Hello Susan. Yes, it sounds like your fish has Fungus as well as Finrot. So use a medication that treats both. Treating the tank does no harm to the filter so don't be afraid of using one. Here in England I recommend eSHa 2000 for this, but elsewhere in the world you may need to use a different product. I don't recommend Melafix/Pimafix though. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/fwfishmeds.htm Fundamentally your problem is a tank that it is too small and likely under-filtered, see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm Cheers, Neale.>

Sick goldfish question... using WWM 3/30/08 Hi, I came across your web page a few minutes ago. <Ah, then you haven't read any of our articles on Goldfish. Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/goldfish101art.htm > I'm looking for some help regarding my two fantail goldfish. They live in a 20 gal. tank, <Too small in the long term.> I do regular water changes. One has fin rot. <You don't mention filtration. Finrot is almost always caused by poor water quality. So, when fish get Finrot, the first thing you do is check for Ammonia or Nitrite. Do this, and then get back to me.> I am treating with MelaFix and elevated the salt to one teaspoon/gallon of new water. <Melafix won't help here and neither will salt. Goldfish DO NOT NEED salt. The guys in the store sell you this stuff because they can. It's useless. Much better to provide good water quality through filtration and weekly 50% water changes.> The Finrot has not gone away yet, but I'm still hopeful, since I had forgotten to take the carbon filter out . . . <Carbon has zero effect on salt and Melafix. In any case, carbon is useless is this sort of tank. Again, it's mostly about getting money from fishkeepers than anything else. Instead go with a plain vanilla filter with sponges and/or ceramic noodles. Choose a filter that provides not less than 6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. You'll see the rating on the filter or the package it came in. So for a 20 gallon tank, you need a filter rated at no less than 120 gallons per hour. Anything smaller will be overwhelmed by the dirt these fish produce.> I'm new at this, and trying to learn all the tricks of keeping them healthy. <No tricks. Just science. Read, learn.> So one, does the above treatment plan seem like a good one? <Not really, no. Go for something like Maracyn (in the US) or a real antibacterial remedy such as eSHa 2000.> And two, what is a normal alkalinity for goldfish? According to the chart on my testing kit, their alkalinity is pretty high. <That's fine. Goldfish like hard, alkaline water. A pH around 7.5 to 8, general hardness around 10-20 dH, and carbonate hardness not less than 5 degrees KH will suit them well.> Thank you for your time! Genia <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Betta fin rot -03/28/08 I have a 5 gal filtered, heated tank with a Betta, a few Neons and an African dwarf frog. Ammonia & nitrites are both 0. I'm pretty sure the Betta has fin rot - raggedy fins, with whitish edge on tail. <Sounds likely. Do remember Neons have been reported as fin nippers towards Bettas, and they are NOT a recommended combination. In addition, 5 gallons is way too small for Neons.> I read a previous posting on this site to treat with Kanacyn. Is it okay to treat in the tank with the Neons & African dwarf frog, or do I need to separate him for treatment? <Neons should be fine. Kanacyn is not safe with amphibians though, so remove the frog.> I don't want to harm the others. Thanks! -Karen <Cheers, Neale.>

Infected plant, a casualty, and a mis-diagnosis? Mmm, mis-mix of FW lvstk., disease period 2/26/08 Good afternoon crew! Hope it's warmer where you are than here! <Was about to wish you the same!> As requested before submissions, here are my tank parameters. -30 gal tank w/ side mounted 30-60 gal waterfall filter (carbon, filter sponge, ammonia) -Nitrate 0, <Mmm, none, zip?> Nitrite 0, Hardness approx 120-150ppm, Chlorine 0, Alkalinity between 120&180ppm, pH 7.6, Ammonia 0.2-0.3 <Not good...> -tank temp avg 76-78F -20W tank light for plant growth & vibrant fish color -25% water changes with gravel siphoned once weekly. Here is my stock. -2 fantail goldfish. One the size of a quarter, one the size of a nickel -3 golden wonder killifish about 1 1/2 long -3 red wag platies size of a nickel -2 white skirt tetras quarter sized -1 iridescent shark 3 inches long <... quite a mix... am sure you've heard/read re Goldfish "like" for cooler (and harder, more alkaline) water than the tetras, killies...> -tank has been established for a very successfully with only 2 deaths (I don't believe this is overstocking and there is sufficient dwelling spots like fake coral, rocks, caves. Please correct me if I'm wrong) Here is my situation. I reluctantly & recently purchased 2 plants (a very small bunch of Anubias, and what I believe is fanworts) <The former are very tough... depending on what the latter are... not so much> for the purpose of providing more territory & safety for my recently turned aggressive killifish (only aggressive to the 3 of each other, not the other species). I read nightmare stories of people bringing in sick plants to their aquarium & all their livestock gets wiped out, <Rare, but happens. Much more often, the plants just die> but I felt it was necessary, and could provide some positive benefit. I think the negative side may be the case with me. I noticed 4 closely clumped white spots on the rear fin of my white skirt tetra. Over the course of 2 days the spots either all disappeared, were smaller, or on a different spot of the rear fin. No other fish were experiencing this. I treated the tank for ich because the white spots were ich sized, have had other ich experience, and I know how ich works & its life cycle. I used a Methylene Blue treatment for 3 days, 25% water change per day, removed carbon, and turned water temp to 80-82F. The problem did not get better with the treatment for the tetra, and in fact my 2 fantail goldfish seemed to have suffered from treatment, one gravely. <See above... don't like too-warm water... and the ammonia... trouble> Both goldfish developed frayed edges on their rear tails like a minor case of fin rot. The little guy seemed like he was "panting", and overnight he suddenly died. My waterfall filter provides plenty of oxygen bubbles, so I don't think it was from lack of oxygen. <Mmmm> The other goldfish still has a finely frayed rear tail, and the tips curl inward now like a woman's hair with rollers. His breathing looks normal. No other fish seem to be infected or reacting problematically at this time. My question is should I be treating for a fungus or parasite treatment instead of the ich? What am I doing wrong, please lead me down the path of success! Tim P USA <... Really... need at least two systems here. One for the goldfish, maybe with the platies... the other for the tropicals. IF this is a parasite, it may well be a trematode/fluke... Please see WWM re the System needs for all you list, how to treat for FW worm complaints... Bob Fenner> Re: Infected plant, a casualty, and a mis-diagnosis? 2/27/08 Thank you Bob for the info regarding the worm complaints. Just an update on my tank situation & to add to this distress, my iridescent shark now has something completely different than I've ever dealt with. The shark also has very white frayed edges on all his fins like fin rot. <Mmm, environmental... the treatment effects... perhaps the disruption of nitrification> Also his slime coat seems to be very over active, to the point where its making his black shiny body look like a velvety grayish to the point where it could look mossy (not to the extent of cotton fungus, and doesn't look like velvet disease). His gills seem to be a bit gasp. I will treat for flukes as you recommend but I don't see any worms. <The "spots" that keep recurring, moving... are "worms"... flukes/trematodes... See the Net, WWM re> I suppose I will treat it as a parasite, not a fungus. <See... WWM... re> Though reading the articles on this site are very informative, I'm afraid to choose a wrong diagnosis. I will isolate the Goldfish & the Platies in a different tank, however do you recommend this after treatment since they have all co- existed for more than a year together, and may share the same diseases? Again, thank you for all your help, it makes a difference. Tim P <And send along some clear, well-resolved pix if you can. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Infected plant, a casualty, and a mis-diagnosis? Bob, As you've requested, here are a few photos of my iridescent shark. Notice the white slimy frayed fin edges, and he's also glazed over with the white-slimy kind of bumpy mucus which actually looks fleshy & torn-like. This isn't fungus is it? He's even has mucus hanging off his whiskers. Normally he would hang out under the rock at the bottom of the tank in the dark, but now I find him normally swimming around up top or near the top below the tank light. His swimming does not seem to look labored, and he is not breathing heavy. I treated the tank with Binox, hopefully I'm not fighting a cause that's already in the grave. Goldfish seems to not be getting any worse, maybe even better. No other fish seem to be infected at this time, with the exception of the killi with the 1 white spot on its rear tail. The original problem tetra has no spots. Is the anti parasite medication still the course of treatment needed? Again, thanks so much. P.S. Please feel free to use these photos on your site for educational purposes. It's the least I can do for you educating me, and hopefully this can help others. New water parameters . . NO3-0 NO2-0 Chlorine-0 Hardness 150ppm Alkalinity-180ppm pH-7.8 Ammonia- .1 to .2 Thanks Tim <Hello Tim. This fish has Finrot and/or Fungus. It's in terrible shape. Both these diseases are more environmental than anything else, and the fact you have Ammonia in the aquarium clinches the deal as far as I'm concerned. Let's make this crystal clear: Pangasius sp. catfish are NOT AQUARIUM FISH. Do please see the Planet Catfish page on this species to see how big they get: http://www.planetcatfish.com/catalog/species.php?species_id=172 Never have been, and never will be, worth keeping. They just don't do well in aquaria, even if you can handle the fact they reach upwards of 1 m in length. You need lots of water movement and good water quality, since these are riverine fish. They're also schooling fish and tend to be extremely nervous when kept alone, thrashing about the tank when the lights go out or whatever. Your tank is loaded to the gunwales with rocks and such, and these are utterly incompatible with Pangasius: when the catfish swim, they bump into the rocks, get damaged, and then infection sets in. They are riverine catfish that need a tank that is basically composed of two things: [1] a huge box filled with water and [2] a massively powerful filter producing 8-10 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. They don't want plants, rocks, seashells, bogwood... nothing! As if to underline this point some more, scientists recently established that at least one species of Pangasius (P. krempfi) actually swims out of rivers and into the sea once it grows up! Finally, you appear to be keeping a notorious fin-nipper, Gymnocorymbus ternetzi. This species is precisely the kind of fish you wouldn't combine with these nervous catfish. These characins will nip the Pangasius, damaging the fins and sending the poor animal into paroxysms of fear. So, short term: treat with a combination Finrot/Fungus medication. I have found eSHa 2000 works excellently well with catfish and other sensitive species. Daily salt water dips might also be useful, but I fear they'd be too stressful for a catfish this nervous. Long term: needs rehoming. Wrong tank, wrong tankmates. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Cichlid Might Have Fin Rot 2/16/08 Hello, Not sure what kind of cichlid I have, but he is orange in color, and is about 3.5 years old. Just recently he became ill and isn't himself. Normally he eats the rocks and spits them out to make his own area in the tank, he is an only fish. Then he got sick, tank got very dirty very quick and he bloated. We cleaned the tank, he got better and bloating went away. Still seems to have a little under his mouth. Then we notice he has a circle sort of a cut below his left fin. It almost looks like something is eating away at it. Not sure if it is or not? He is still not behaving the same, but eats and seems a little better. What can I do to help him? Is this a parasite? I can't seem to find any answers with the same type of problem. His cut is now getting bigger and I'm afraid if we don't act quick we might lose him. Can you offer advice? Thanks so much. K. Matts < Sounds like you may have a Lake Malawi cichlid commonly called Mbuna. They eat mainly algae that they scrape off of the rocks. You fish is getting older and may not be able to fight off diseases like he use to do. These fish are really hardy if the right conditions are being met. First, keep the tank clean. Check the nitrates and keep them below 20 ppm. As nitrates increase the fish get weaker and the parasites that cause the disease get stronger. They like hard alkaline water at about 77 F. They eat mainly algae so feed him a diet high in vegetable matter. Your fish may have a bacterial infection called fin or tail rot. Ideally he could be placed in a hospital tank and treated with Nitrofurazone. You can treat the main tank but the antibiotic may harm the biological filtration so you will have to watch for ammonia spikes after the treatment. In extremely tough cases I have cut the infected fin back past the infection with fingernail clippers and wiped the infected area with a fish dip before treating. If the fin gets fungused or the disease grows into the meaty portion of the fish the fin may not grow back.-Chuck Sand beds in Freshwater tanks 2/16/08 Hi Bob, Amy here I have the Oscars with "HLLE" I have been writing you the last couple of days. So much information on this sight. It's really great. I haven't really seen that sand beds are that common for freshwater fish. <Mmm, no... for a few "reasons"... mainly just perceived as being too hard to maintain> I just yesterday cleaned all the rocks and sand in my upper aquarium 220 gal. I never told you I had a partial sand bed. I have very fine rocks and about 80 pounds of Moonlite sand total of about 4 inches deep. It seems to be enough sand to fill the gaps between my fine gravel. Maybe that's why I have those little white worms. I also see air bubbles in my rocks at times. That should be good. Maybe not now that I cleaned them, no more bubbles. My Aquarium has been set up for about 1.5 years now. I do clean my gravel bed in my upper tank, but not very often. Normally I just get the loose debris off the surface. The last couple of days, I really cleaned all my rocks because of my problem with "HLLE". Did I just remove all the good bacteria from my tank? <Mmm, assuredly not> The sand / gravel really wasn't that dirty, probably because it is so dense. I did not move my stationary rocks and caves to clean. They cover about half of my aquarium floor. So there should still be bacteria there. In the future how should I clean the sand / gravel in my upper tank? <... this is posted as well... Please learn to/use the indices and search tool on WWM> Is a sand bed beneficial to freshwater fish? <Can be if maintained adequately> When I set up I thought " more natural" is better, right. I know sand beds are great for saltwater and I may change over some day. I want to do the best for my fish. Thanks for all your advise. Amy <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsetupindex.htm the second tray, FW substrates, the linked files above...> Oh one more thing. I am going to feed my fish food with Metronidazole in it. I also think I'm going to start treating for fin rot today, with Pro Series Fungus Cure. Let me know if you think that might be a bad idea. When the fin rot treatment is completed I was going treat my water again with Metronidazole. <Please... read re on WWM. I would only treat once with Metronidazole...> Just so you know, I always remove the charcoal when I treat with medications. Thanks again for the help. I'm going to try feeding peas and crickets today. I hope they like it. Thanks again, Amy <Keep reading my young friend. BobF>

Re: ? Finrot 2/16/08 is it possible it is fin rot or some type of fungus? Or is it more likely a injury from aggression? <Finrot is distinctive: white patches on the fins, often with a pinkish edge. The pink comes from inflamed blood vessels and the white is dead tissue. Gradually the fin membrane decays away. Finrot is (sadly) very common in newly set up tanks and in overstocked tanks. It is almost always associated with poor water quality. So if you suspect Finrot, you must (A) treat the disease; and (B) review water conditions and make changes as required. De see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdistrbshtart.htm And also related articles. Cheers, Neale.>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Treating Reoccurring Mouth Rot - Hi, <Hello, JasonC here...> My male goldfish has been suffering from reoccurring mouth rot. I have done everything that I need to do. I quarantined him, medicated him, had water tested over and over again at home and at pet stores. Finally (after about 3 months), someone at the pet store said that I had done everything I could do, and it was ok to let "nature take its course." So I did. Well everything seemed fine for about 3-4 months. He didn't get any worse, and he seemed to be getting better. He was eating, and enjoying life, until Sunday. By yesterday morning he had a complete relapse, and it happened fast. So, I set up a separate tank (using some of the water from the main tank, and one of the filters) and medicated him. Well he is not doing well. His mouth is horrible looking, and he won't eat. He is hiding in the corner, and just hanging out at the bottom. I have read about topical treatments for this kind of stuff. Could you tell me a little about it? <These would just be water-proof salves that can be applied directly to the infected area. There are also some other liquid compounds which can be applied - Merbromin comes to mind. In either case, you take the fish out of the water for a minute or two to perform the application then place the fish back in quarantine - the fish will be fine for this brief period.> Is it safe for someone like me to do? <Sure.> And can it be used in conjunction with the medicine I am already using? <What medicine is that?> Also is medicated food another option? <It is an excellent option as it's one of the only ways to get the medicine inside a freshwater fish.> And is there anything else I can do? <Well, from a system standpoint, you might want to examine your filtration and overall husbandry. The problem you describe is most likely bacterial, and these bacteria almost always come about from water cleanliness issues. As far as the fish goes, you may well have done everything possible in this particular case, but I wouldn't give up until the very end. You can also try a short bath in a concentrated Furan solution, in an attempt to shock-treat the infected areas.> Also when will I know that nothing else can really be done and it is time to permanently ease his suffering? <Hmm... hard to say, fish tend to look ok until the very last moments and then take a precipitous dive off the end, often times discovered in the morning. I hope for you and your fish's sake that it will pull through.> Sorry for all the questions. And thanks for your help. Sincerely, Ana Zelia <Cheers, J -- >

- Treating Reoccurring Mouth Rot - Jason, <Good morning.> Thank you for your quick response. <My pleasure.> I have a few more questions. First of all to answer your question, the medicine that I have been using is Nitrofura-G. <Ahh, ok... good enough.> I do not understand what you mean when you said "you might want to examine your filtration and overall husbandry." <Well... this problem is tied closely to water quality. Could be something you haven't done which would affect this.> As far as filtration I have an underground filter and a Millennium 2000 wet-dry Multi-filter with biofiltering action. <Hmm... could be the undergravel filter. Do you ever vacuum the gravel? If you don't clean the gravel regularly, chances are quite good that this has become a small sewer and likewise turned into a bacteria breeding ground.> I do water quality checks and partial water changes regularly. <Unfortunately, many issues surrounding water quality can't be tested for easily.> I only have two goldfish and a bottom dweller in a 29 gallon tank. <This is sufficient life in this size tank to pollute the water very quickly... again, if you don't, start by vacuuming the gravel.> The tank has been in place for about 13 months and I have never done a full tank change but I was told not to. <Now might be the time... considering that you've removed the fish to treat and almost every time you put the fish back in the main tank, it develops mouth rot, it's a safe assumption that there's a systemic issue in the main tank. I'd give it a very thorough cleaning, vacuum the gravel, and replace at least 50% of the water.> Can you recommend any particular medicated food or a topical treatment. <I'd try Tetra Medica as it's meant to address bacterial issues.> for him? Thanks, Ana <Cheers, J -- >

Fin Rot/Fungus/Urgent (Please Punctuate) Hey Crew, I have a few questions! I have had a ten gallon tank set up for a few months now. I first had a five gallon tank with two guppies in it but the ammonia wouldn't stabilize so the pet supermarket people told me to up the size of my tank and the ammonia would be fine! < I really don't know how they came to that conclusion> i set up the ten gallon tank, put in the guppies and three days later added a Betta to the tank. A week after the Betta was added i put in three neon tetras. The day i put in the neon i noticed one of my guppies had fin rot (that is what the pet store people told me) and they gave me this medicine that turned my water yellow and my fish died anyway! so did the other guppy! Now, i have heard that the can get sick from being in pour water conditions and so i understand that when i had my five gallon tank and was new to all this fish stuff i had no idea what i was doing, had poor water conditions and my fish died soon after putting them in the ten gallon tank (within the next week)! After the guppies died i took out the Betta and Neons and cleaned out the fish tank and soaked it in hot water as i was told to do by pet store people. I soaked for about and hour and a half to make sure the hot water would kill the bacteria.< WOW> With my new i had a few water problems( once the ph was high, then low and ammonia was a tad high) but that was the first couple of weeks after i cleaned out my tank. but now i have fin rot again, what am i doing wrong. i keep that tank at a constant temp of 78+ degrees and treat my water with Amquel plus. i have done three major water changes(50% or more) and 3 or 4 small water changes(25-30% or less) in the past three or so months. Please, i need help. I have three neon tetras in my tank, i had two black mollies (one died today/ cause really unknown ( found him half sucked up in filter tube and all zombie looking)), two velvet twinbar tails (one mail on female). I noticed my male twinbar had fin rot last week and i bought Melafix to treat the water and i treated it for a week and it seemed to be working fine but then on the seventh day( today) I woke up and found what looked to be fungus( white fluffy cloudy stuff) on his tail. his tail is disappearing quickly!! i think he is going to die, i bought fungus clear medicine( tab that drops in water and fizzes up and turned water greenish). If my fish dies and i think he will what do i do about cleaning up the tank. None of the other fish are sick or show signs of fin rot or fungus but how do i prevent them from getting sick again? how do i clean the tank. before i put the fish in a container and soaked tank with the gravel in hot water for 1 1/2 hrs. do i do this again? i don't want to keep encountering this problem. Also, my Neons, at least two of them look lumpy on the bottom. i thought the could be pregnant but they haven't given birth to any fry, what could it be( it looks like two lumps on their bottom side). WHAT COULD IT be. Is the medicine making my fish mutate? Please help me with my problem and sorry for the long and drawn out email, just want to get the hole story out so u guys understand what i am going thru!!!! i really don't want have fin rot ever again. Also i don't have a heater in my tank, but that is because i figured my tank remains the same all the time so i didn't think i needed it! Thanks a lot guys. Natalia < Wow. What a story. It is reasons like this I got in to helping people by becoming one of the CREW. First of all I don't agree with any of the advice you got at that store. To me it seems like they have no idea how to keep fish but do know how to sell. First let's look at the basics. Your filter should be turning the water over at least 3 times per hour. 5 is better. The water should be between 78 and 80 degrees. Get a thermometer and check it a few times a day. Water temps. too low or too high can weaken your fish and make them susceptible to diseases. If they fluctuate too much then get a good heater. Don't over feed! Give them only enough food so that they will only eat it all in a couple of minutes! Get a good book. You have too much going on to be entirely answered in an email. I would recommend a general aquarium book by Barron's . They are cheap but well written. Get some water quality test kits. You should have no ammonia readings. The hot water treatment will kill all the good bacteria you are trying to establish. Keep ammonia levels under control by reduced feeding and water changes. Check the nitrite levels They should be zero. Once again control them with water changes. Check the nitrate levels. They should be less than 25 ppm. Any more an you should reduce them with water changes. Service the filter once a week. Vacuum the junk out of the gravel once every couple of weeks. Once you have clean healthy water you will have a health bacteria bed established. Routine maintenance will then keep your tank healthy and your fish healthy too. Medications tend to affect the bacteria bed and screw everything up so I try and Medicate in a separate aquarium. Don't buy any more fish until things settle down for at least a month. You are almost there. Try and be a little patient. I have 40 freshwater aquariums and almost never have to medicate. Get your tank straightened out first and write back when you are ready for more fish.-Chuck>

New Tank Syndrome and Mouth Rot My husband and I just recently bought our first fish tank - a 72 gallon tank in which we put a dozen or so fish. These include rosy barbs, tiger barbs, zebra Danios, bubblegum convicts, a Pleco, and a few gold dusted mollies. 1 Tiger barb and 1 rosy barb have developed a redness around there mouths which looks to have become infected. They no longer have the ability to open and close there mouths. They are constantly open and they cannot eat because of this. Is this a common problem among barbs? since as of yet none of my other fish seem to be infected). And if so is there a cure? I feel the worst will eventually happen. Any thoughts? As of the last water check all water levels of ph, hardness, etc. appear to be normal. <<Congrats on the new tank :) and yes, I have a bunch of thoughts to share with you. First, you should be testing for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. The first month or so means always testing these three things, ammonia and nitrite phases are quite toxic and need to be monitored so you don't lose anymore fish, by way of disease or death. Take a sample of your tank water to your LFS, the good ones will test for you. Ask them the levels, write em down if you need to. Keep track! Buying yourself test kits is an excellent idea, I am happy to say that Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Master Freshwater Test Kit now comes complete, you can purchase it for a reasonable price and it is worth it's weight in gold. Use it wisely :) As for your sick fish, they seem to have mouth rot, most likely due to the stress of being transferred, a new tank, possible aggression, high ammonia, or any combination of those things. They also could have been sick when you bought them. Check the dealers tanks to see if their fish are ill, also. Mouth rot needs to be treated with an antibiotic, ask your LFS what they sell to treat mouth rot. Always remove your carbon when you add a medication to your tank. Mollies usually get mouth rot first, by the way. Let me know if you have any other questions. Happy to help :) -Gwen>>

Mouth fungus I have been treating a 4 in Oscar for mouth fungus today is the last day of the MarOxy treatment. My question is should I do a water change and do another 5 day treatment because he has only healed about half the way.-------------Thank You Fred < Water changes are never a bad idea. Watch the open wound closely. It a tank with clean water the wound should completely heal. Watch for ammonia spikes because the treatment will affect the "good" bacteria" and you may get an ammonia spike. Retreat if the wound looks like it starts to grow.-Chuck>

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