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FAQs on Freshwater Infectious (bacterial, fungal) Diseases: Cures/Medications/Treatments

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

Related FAQs: Infectious (bacterial, fungal, viral) Disease 1, Infectious FW Diseases 2, Infectious FW Disease 3, Infectious FW Disease 4, Infectious FW Disease 5, & Infectious Disease: Identification/Diagnosis, Causes/Etiology/Prevention, Case Histories: Bacterial, True Fungal, & By Type/Organisms: Fin & Mouth Rot, Columnaris, Mycobacteria/Tuberculosis, Whirling Disease, Bettas w/ Infections,

"Fixes" made from leaf extracts are worse than worthless. They have almost no therapeutic value and give folks the impression they have actually added a medicine... Oh, and sometimes they interrupt bio-filtration

Salt for fungus?    11/19/12
Does aquarium salt effectively treat fungus?
<Not reliably, no.
Brackish water fish get fungus if they're kept in freshwater, and adding salt helps them recover, so to some degree, that gives the impression salt treats fungus. But in and of itself, no, salt isn't a reliable antifungal. Methylene blue is much more effective and normally harmless, even to fish eggs and fry.>
Is a dosing of 1 tbsp per gallon enough?
The pet store fish geek said he uses it all the time and that it's not as harsh. When I used an antifungal on the periwinkles (that I'll never purchase again)
<Periwinkles? Like the little marine snails? Or the plants?>
it made me feel dizzy to be around them.
I've never had to use it on a fish. Maybe it's not as awful as the plant kind? Really, if salt will probably work, it's preferable.
<The only thing salt has in its favour is that it is cheap, which is why many people desperately want it to be a cure-all. But it isn't. Salt basically treats just two things, Whitespot and Velvet; for virtually everything else, you need to choose another treatment. As Bob would say, Hmm… do read:
Hope this clears things up for you, Neale.>

Sick fish - How to treat without harming ADF and other invertebrates?   1/6/12
I have really tried to find a clear answer to this situation, but I am finding conflicting information, including that provided by the local fish store.
I have a 10 gallon planted tank. It contains 2 males guppies, 2 female platies, 1 African dwarf frog, 2 Nerite snails, and 2 cherry shrimp. Gravel substrate. I do a 25% to 30% water change once per week and gravel vacuum about half the tank at the same time. I change the filter regularly.
Today's water testing showed ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite readings all at 0%. I keep the tank at 79 degrees Fahrenheit. I feed the adf every other day. I vary between frog pellets and frozen brine shrimp or blood worms.
I've only been at this a year.
I noticed last week that both platies were a bit lethargic and hanging around on the bottom. Yesterday, I noticed that one had a cottony substance on her right fin. Today the cottony substance is gone and so is some of the fin. I attach a photograph.
<Thank you. I see this>
My research lead me to conclude that it is fin rot.
<The right pectoral fin...>
 The local fish store recommended Erythromycin. I purchased some. Each packet has 200 mgs. I am directed to remove my filters. Then I put a whole package into the water. Then I do it again 24 hours later. A further 24 hours later I change 25% of the water. Then I repeat the whole treatment a second time for a total of 4 doses. After the second 25% water change, I put new filters in.
I understand that the treatment will not harm my shrimp, but will harm my snails. I have obtained an in-tank container which is non permeable and hangs from the side. This should allow me to isolate the snails from the treatment but continue to keep them at the same temperature.
1. Will this treatment harm my frog?
<Not likely, but I'd move this to the impermeable container w/ the snails... overfill it with new water daily to keep it clean>
 If so, can I safely move the frog to the in-tank container and keep him there for the stretch of the treatment?
<Ah yes>
How do I deal with the waste during that time? How long would I have to keep him in the container?
<See above re both>
2. How long do I need to keep the snails in the container before it is safe to return them?
<The duration of the treatment>
Thank you for your generous help with this. I don't want to lose the frog.
<Would be better, rather than adding the Erythromycin directly to the water, to add it as a feed supplement. There are "antibacterial" foods made commercially that include this antibiotic, or you can make your own. A bit re this practice can be learned by reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/holedispd.htm
scroll down to the sidebar: "Feeding Antibiotics"... or search on the Net re... Putting topicals in solution for freshwater livestock is often not efficacious, as they drink very little of their environment (compared to marines)... Bob Fenner>


Sick Black Ghost Fish too much salt?    11/22/11
Hi! I have a sick Black Ghost Knife Fish and I have been doing research and speaking with a few Aquarium shops for the past few days with no help.
We have and angel fish who developed some fungus on it's tail. After a few water changes there was no improvement so we did a salt bath on the tank. I was not aware that Knife fish were so sensitive to the salt though now since he is sick I know he is. The major problem that I can identify is that not knowing I did a salt bath my boyfriend also did one. That next morning the ghost was laying on the bottom of the tank hardly breathing. We have a 55 gallon tank with an assortment of angels, clown loaches, tetra's, catfish, a Danio...everyone else seems OK though we have quarantined our angel in another tank and are doing treatments on him. We changed about half of the water in the tank to reduce salt levels but 2 days later the
Ghost is not eating and has been laying in the bottom of the log that he usually hides in. No spots or ragged fins he looks of other than that he is laying where he typically swims all day. Our water levels are all pretty much perfect and I'm not sure what else to do to help him???
I would love some ideas he is by far our favorite fish and I would hate to see him go!
<You shouldn't use salt at a higher concentration than 2 grammes/litre.
Contrary to popular misconception, salt isn't a cure-all. It's good for Whitespot and Velvet at the concentration stated above, but hopeless for Finrot and Fungus, and certainly not something to add to your aquarium without a very good reason. If you do think salt is the issue here, do a 50% water change now, and another 50% tomorrow. This should flush out most of the salt.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick Black Ghost Fish too much salt?    11/22/11

Thanks Neale! I will try that and see how he does.
<Good luck! Do also consider the presence of copper and low oxygen concentration -- both critical issues when keeping Apteronotus. Cheers, Neale.>

Need to know what type of API medicine I should buy for my fish 10/16/11
I bought the API brand Fungus Cure for my fish which seem to have fin and tail rot however it did not work. So when we went to our local fish store the lady said it sounds like it is a secondary infection that the fish have. It doesn't present like a typical fin and tail rot where the tails seems frayed and torn it looks more like just white around the edges and slowly disintegrating. The lady wasn't sure which medicine ingredient to recommend so she suggested we email you, rather then spend more money and treating the fish incorrectly. So I need to know which medicine do you think would work better ie tetracycline or erythromyosine etc. If you could help us that would be great. This is a freshwater tank and the angel fish, and cichlids have it and seems to be spreading. Please help.
Thank you
<Hello Josh. There are two things to consider. Firstly, it isn't always easy to tell Fungus and Finrot apart. Some medications will treat both, e.g., Seachem KanaPlex. Secondly, both Finrot and Fungus are caused by something in their environment. Commonly either fin-nipping or else poor environmental conditions. Check both of these. Make sure the tankmates aren't fighting or nippy. Check the water quality -- ammonia and nitrite must be zero, and water chemistry should be appropriate to the species being kept. Hard water fish kept in soft water chemistry are very prone to Finrot and Fungus. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Need to know what type of API medicine I should buy for my fish    10/18/11

Hi Neale,
Thank you for answering me back so quick. I've had my water tested several times and my water quality is good. There has definitely been some nipping and fighting going on in my tank. I know this can cause stress in the tank and then they get weaker immune systems.
<Yes and yes.>
Do you think that is the problem?
<Could easily be.>
If that is so then what do I do?
<Separate the nipper from the nippee.>
I don't want to get rid of any of my fish.
<And therein lies the tricky part.>
What medicine would you suggest if we don't know if it's fungus or Finrot?
I live in Canada and I've never heard of Seachem Kanaplex. Can you just tell me what actual medicinal ingredient is that I need to buy then the lady at the store can find that medicine in one of her packages. They carry the API brand name.
<I'm not aware of an API product that treats both fungus and Finrot. There is of course Melafix from API, but it's a fairly mild (some would say useless!) medication. Fungus and Finrot can be told apart; it just isn't easy. Fungus is white threads with a distinct cotton wool appearance.
Finrot is dead white tissue, often associated with reddish patches where the infection is starting, and regression of the fins as the fin membrane dies back. The bones remain for longer, producing the raggedy fin edge distinctive to the disease. There's also Mouth Fungus, a bacterial infection otherwise called Columnaris. This resembles fungus, hence the name, but is more off-white to grey, looks slimy rather than fluffy, and tends to start around the mouth or face. You may want to treat using an antibacterial and an anti-fungal at the same time, but check the manufacturer's instructions to make sure it is safe to do so. Cheers, Neale.>

Mycobacterium (RMF, my final paragraph, a second opinion?)<<>>  1/27/11
I am having some trouble with a few of my fish tanks. I am well versed in the hobby but everyone needs help at times. I am pretty sure I am dealing with a Mycobacterium infection.
<Oh dear'¦>
Of which type I am unsure of .
<And realistically, we can't tell you either.>
No means at this time to do or get a pathology report. My tanks are 20 gallon high, 30 gallon standard, 10 gallon standard. 5 gallon hex, one gallon I use as a quarantine tank with air driven filtration, one gallon beta tank with air driven filtration . All my main tanks run with at least two bio filters 30 gallon 2 power filters, lots of circulation and air wands, stones. water changes of 25%to 50% every second week. ph runs 7. 4-7. 6, high ph 7. 4-7. 8, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, KH 71. 6 ppm GH at 27. pH runs a little high but all with in range of fish being able to adapt.
<Hmm'¦ actually, the fact you have quite a lot carbonate hardness while also having quite a high pH is unusual and bears further investigation. Remember, pH doesn't matter -- hardness does. Fish "feel" hardness because it affects osmoregulation. By contrast, provided pH is somewhere within the range 6-8, it hardly matters at all, at least to fish. With that said, pH does affect biological filtration, so the "ideal" pH for most aquaria is around 7.5 because below 7, and certainly below 6, biological filtration slows down.>
Since I do water changes often and watch my parameters, I do not worry to much about nitrates. Also live plants in most of my tanks. So here's the problem. I have lost fish in the 20 gallon tetra tank, 3 Sepia Tetras, 2 Blood fin Tetras, 1 x-ray Tetra recently. Just so you know at one time I had 22 small neon tetras in this tank. I lost all but 2 .
<Neons dying for no apparently reason is not that uncommon'¦>
Those two still reside in the tank and school with my 5 glow-light tetras. My guess is they had either problems from inbreeding (bad gene's) or neon tetra disease, now I'm not so sure.
In my 30 gallon I have lost one (hybrid)rainbow fish recently. The symptoms:( this is all from my 20 gallon tank. ) Blood fin tetra #1: body turned a cloudy white. For about 2-3 weeks was still eating normally. Then started going to the back of the tank, 1 inch below water surface and would not eat. Soon after lost all color in the fins and at this time the fish started to twitch and swim erratically, keeping it's body almost diagonal with tail down and head up. At this time I removed him from the tank and quarantined him in a bare tank which I added meth. blue and Metronidazole too. Did water changes and had him at room temp for 4-5 days. He would not eat but showed some improvement. Then the fish died. Bloodfin tetra #2: On the same day after finding the first Bloodfin tetra dead in quarantine. I soon found in the main tank another Bloodfin that was eating and acting fine dead . This fish still had all the color in it's fins and it's body was of a normal color. Both fish were full-bodied not looking skinny at all. The x-ray tetra: Had been showing signs of a problem for about the same amount of time as the blood fin tetra. 2-3 weeks the fish tried to eat but would spit out the food. The fish's body was elongated (meaning not deep bodied as normal) Very thin and the fish swam weakly. This is the same as one of the septra tetras I lost about 2 months prior to this. As with the septra tetra fins were fully erect and no real loss of color in body or on fins (only with the x-ray tetra I could clearly see the back bone, it had a slight kink toward the tail fin). I quarantined him at the same time as the first Bloodfin . In separate tanks with the same treatment meth-blue and Metronidazole.
<As you're discovering, there are no medications for Mycobacterium infections.>
The tanks used to quarantine these fish are 1/2 litter, put in a quit area. After a few days at room temp (68-70 degrees). I decided to do a new tank, not knowing how long treatment would be and after no success with the blood fin at room temperature. So, I made a new tank 1/2 liter with new gravel A small amount of clean peat moss and an air driven filter I made (I make sure all materials used are fish safe). with only filter floss in it's chamber and an incandescent lamp light to keep tank warm at (74-76 degrees) at a constantly level temp. did water changes every day or at least every 30 hours. Fish looked better then developed a black spot on side just above the swim-bladder. Still would not eat, tried everything flake, frozen, and cleaned black worms. It tried but would not keep it down. I was still treating with same meds. But then tried an anti-parasite as well. One of those fizz tablet ones. Their low dose and well at this point what could it hurt. I Used the right amount for the tank size just so you don't think I put a full tablet in. Did only one treatment. No effect, so did a water change and keep going with the other treatments . 2 days later he finally succumbed to the illness and died. Today 01/25/2011: I found my bristle nose Pleco dead. Why I do not know no symptoms and yes he had plenty to eat. I feed my fish well, with many different foods flake, frozen brine/blood worms, live clean black worms, algae wafers and bok-choy or romaine lettuce. I washed them very well for the big apple snail and the Pleco. I also use incandescents for lighting that tank, for algae growth and subdued lighting. The tank temp runs from 72 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit. When I saw the Pleco upside down this morning I removed it form the tank immediately eyes were still clear. The underside was soft with a worm on it. I examined the fish buy cutting it open to see if there were more worms inside. WOW what a smell. I had seen him a day ago cleaning the apple snails shell. He must have died and got behind something. Inside I found nothing but soft liquefied organs my guess the worm is a left over lucky black worm, scavenging. Looked at temp (72 degrees) I did water tests. Ammonia 0, nitrites 0, PH 7. 4, high PH 7. 8. What ever this pathogen is it just killed a very hardy fish. Now I am worried. Also just so you know with every water change I always use a water conditioner. That removes chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals. On to the 30 gallon Tank: The rainbow fish: He looked a Little bullied buy other rainbows or giant Danios. So I put him in a tank net breeder to get his legs (so to say) back up. He was doing fine, so after a few day, I released him back in main tank. I started to shut down the lights at night to save on energy costs and the next day found him dead. I think it was from the bullying. Rainbow fish #2: (He died because of a dumb mistake by me). A long time ago he got fin rot. I treated it and he recovered, but the fish's fins never grew back to there one time glory. Even after 8 months . At this time he looked a little bullied as well, so I quarantined him and treated him with some meth blue. It went well, after a week I stopped treatment. I kept up water changes for another 4 days. Also at this time my wife was having trouble, she has MS and then the trouble with the fish from the 20 gallon started. I needed his little tank and also felt he was okay to go back in the main tank. Thinking the water temp was close and ph as well. I netted him and placed him in the net breeder, so other fish would not jump on him. I COULD SMACK MYSELF NOW!!!! I assumed wrong and found him dead the next morning. I did this at night not watching him long before going to bed. He most likely died from either temp or PH shock. WHAT WAS I THINKING. Not accumulating correctly. my only defense is I was worried about my wife (at least she's still kicking) and the new sick fish. I have lost many fish being in the hobby and try to learn from all my mistakes, but this problem in my 20 gallon has me stumped. So these are my questions. #1 : if it's a Mycobacterium infection would it be best to treat the fish in a separate bare bones tank with Kanamycin Sulfate for 30 days?
<Must admit, I'd euthanise.>
While doing this, break down the tank treating it with bleach. (this is from Wikipedia).
Chlorine bleach is another accepted liquid sterilizing agent. Household bleach consists of 5. 25% sodium hypochlorite. It is usually diluted to 1/10 immediately before use; however to kill Mycobacterium tuberculosis it should be diluted only 1/5, and 1/2. 5 (1 part bleach and 1. 5 parts water) to inactivate prions. The dilution factor must take into account the volume of any liquid waste that it is being used to sterilize. [23] Bleach will kill many organisms immediately, but for full sterilization it should be allowed to react for 20 minutes. Bleach will kill many, but not all spores. It is also highly corrosive. Bleach decomposes over time when exposed to air, so fresh solutions should be made daily. Will this damage any of my equipment ? How many times should I rinse or how long should I soak after to get out all the bleach? If I use bleach, like it says I should. Should I boil it after to help remove any remaining bacteria or bleach that avoided the rinse or treatment with bleach? What about porous rocks or bog-wood? Would this work on them and would they be safe after to use? #2: would it be safer to clean the equipment and tank inside and out with Hibiclens (chlorhexidine gluconate). Some sites say it works and others say it dose not against Mycobacterium. But the hibiclens site says it's effective against Mycobacterium bovis. (here's what they say).
<I would not use bleach myself; I'd use hydrogen peroxide, which kills bacteria well, but breaks down to harmless water and oxygen within a few hours.>
Mycobacterium bovis is a slow-growing (16 to 20 hour generation time), aerobic bacterium and the causative agent of tuberculosis in cattle (known as bovine TB). Related to M. tuberculosis--the bacteria which causes tuberculosis in humans--M. bovis can also jump the species barrier and cause tuberculosis in humans. Also sites say when dealing with this pathogen, to wash after using hibiclens. So, I would assume it kills this pathogen on hands hence it would be good to clean your fish tank with in this case? . I know, I know SOAP!!! But in this case only harsh methods work. After cleaning it with hibiclens and rinsing very well and maybe also after, boiling the gravel , rocks and bog-wood . Then setting up the tank and treating the tank and equipment and whatever go's in tank. Gravel, bog-wood, rocks with out fish in it of course, with Gentamycin Sulfate. Running filters and stirring gravel at times, for 10 days. Then breaking down the tank again, rinsing everything and resetting it up, and then recycling the tank for fish with bacteria additive to help quicken cycling time. Then after cycle time is over, adding fish. #3: I know antibacterial soap is very poisonous to fish, due to it's main active ingredient Triclosan. But in this case would it work? If used in A high concentration and rinsed very, very well. I know in low concentrations it has no effect and might even make bacteria resistant to medications.
<I would not do this.>
#4: The apple snail, are they carriers of this type bacteria? If quarantined how long should it last to rid it of this type of bacteria? Can they be reintroduced to the tank afterword and can I be sure they will not reintroduce the pathogen? Can the apple snail be treated with the same meds as fish(I know this is along shot just thought I ask)? Are there any treatments the snail could have if it is a carrier or is infected? Any suggestions would be helpful(please obi wan your my only hope). Thanks Jason
<Jason, if this was me, I'd isolate all fish and snails I currently have to one aquarium. Provide good conditions and see what happens to them. I'd euthanise any that got sick. Realistically, they won't get better. I'd then sterilise everything else, or better yet, throw out stuff like gravel, filter media, plants, etc. that are cheap to replace. I'd rebuild those tanks from as close to scratch as possible so that there's NO cross-contamination from whatever used to be in the old tanks. This includes buckets, hoses and nets, though these can usually be bleached quite safely because they're easily rinses and not in permanent contact with your fish or aquarium water. Once up and running, I'd cycled the remaining tanks using some sort of fish-less method, and then I'd stock them slowly just as if they're new tanks. Yes, this'll take a while, 4+ weeks realistically, but I suspect this'll be less time-consuming and a lot cheaper than messing about with medications. Cheers, Neale.><<I'd take a look/see approach, not so drastic at this point... Mycobacteria are a good deal more common than many folks realize... and unless very potent, present with weakened organisms, in "poor circumstances", not generally a problem. I would however wear gloves, keep all cuts out of the systems involved, not mouth-siphon their water. RMF>>
Re: Mycobacterium (RMF, my final paragraph, a second opinion?)   1/28/11

<<I'd take a look/see approach, not so drastic at this point...
Mycobacteria are a good deal more common than many folks realize... and unless very potent, present with weakened organisms, in "poor circumstances", not generally a problem. I would however wear gloves, keep all cuts out of the systems involved, not mouth-siphon their water. RMF>>
<<<Don't disagree Bob, but where there have been such massive losses of livestock, I'd tend to confine all existing to one tank, if possible, and assume they're all infected. Do think starting again from a clean tank would be useful here. Cheers, Neale.>>>
>Am of (obviously) a different mind. There is/was no definitive testing for "whatever" the real cause of losses were here. B<

Oscar cichlid diagnosis
Oscar with Bacterial Infection
Hi just wanted to see if you could help me out. I have studied your site and really appreciate all the information you provide. I have two Oscars, have had them about 6-8 months now. They live in a 100 gallon tank, with 2 emperor 400 filters. They live with one Pleco, and one Synodontis catfish. I noticed about 2 weeks ago, that one of my Oscars had a little hole forming on his head, freaked me out, went and researched hole in head disease, and took action. I checked my water parameters, and my pH 7.8 -- 8.0, Ammonia = 0, Nitrate = 0, Nitrate was 40 ppm. So I immediately started increasing my water changes from once a week, to every 2nd or 3rd day. I had also recently switched to some cichlid food that I bought on eBay, witch I immediately stopped feeding them, and went back to Hikari Cichlid Gold, frozen blood worms and some Krill. After every water change, I have started adding aquarium salt, and did dose them with one dose of Metronidazole, and removed my carbon. The Oscars look so much better, they are back to greeting me again, very active, eating great etc. The hole in his head grew a little larger, but now looks to be healing great. I thought I had it all under control, but now I notice these discolorations on one of my Oscars body. I really don't have any idea what it is, maybe a fungal infection? He is still eating, my Nitrates are now between 10 -- 20 ppm, and I am still doing water changes every 3 days. Should I be concerned about this, and if so what should I do? I have attached a few photos outlining areas where I am concerned. Thanks so much for having this website, the information is so valuable. Mike
< When the nitrates are high the bacteria become very active while the fish's immunity starts to become less effective. I think you have a bacterial infection that could be treated in a hospital tank with either a Furanace or Erythromycin type of antibiotics. Keep the nitrates under 20 ppm. Check your tap water too. You may have high nitrates in your tap water and will never get under the tap water nitrate levels while using that water.-Chuck>
Oscar Cichlids

Gymnarchus niloticus with white eyes - 6/12/10
Dear Crew,
Amazing website - the wealth of information has certainly helped so many of us to care for our fish better.
<Nice of you to say so.>
I purchased a young 14 cm Gymnarchus niloticus two months ago,
<Still a baby.>
and it has been housed in a 180 litre tank with plenty of cover and filtration. I know it grows to an enormous size and I'm making preparations for a much larger tank for it.
<These fish are gigantic and notoriously aggressive. They are not really suitable for home aquaria.>
However, it's eyes have recently turned white. Nitrites and Nitrates are at a low but not completely zero, which I fear may have been the cause of the disease.
<Correct. Chronically poor water quality will cause skin infections, including damage to the cornea, which is the issue here. But I suspect physical damage is the aggravating factor, e.g., by throwing itself into the glass walls of the tank. Also be aware that live feeder fish can introduce a variety of parasites and infections, including Eye Fluke, so
should never, ever be used. Other possible causes include exposure to chlorine (i.e., incorrect/no use of water conditioner) and poor diet (specifically, vitamin A deficiency).>
I first thought it was a cotton wool-like fungus that grew over its eyes, and I have added some medication for external fungal and bacteria.
<Unlikely to help without establishing the causes.>
But after a week of treatment, it has not shown signs of getting better.
After closer examination, it seems that the lens itself are white, and thus I now suspect that it could be Cloudy Eye Disease. I want to hear your opinion on it from the photos attached before I treat with different medication.
<You really do need an antibiotic -- not an antibacterial -- and you also need to optimise water quality. Zero ammonia, zero nitrite.>
If it is cloudy eye, I understand that I will have to use antibacterial medications. As Gymnarchus are similar to Mormyrids, do you think I will need to lower the amount of medication added?
<Avoid malachite green, formalin and copper. Antibiotics and methylene blue should be fine.>
The fish is still eating and moving around well.
<And will likely lose its eyes, unfortunately.>
Thank you for your comments,
<Cheers, Neale.>

help with my fish please... FW... Neotrop. Cichlid... hlth.  3/30/08 Hi. I tried to find information on your website, but my English is not so good so I had problem finding the answers to my questions. <Let's see if we can help then. If I say something that doesn't make sense, please write back and I will try and explain better!> I have an Oscar and a Jack Dempsey. We changed aquarium 5 months ago for a 50 gal. At first, the fish were fine, but 2 months ago, some brown dirt start to "growth" everywhere in the new aquarium (see on picture) <This is just Diatoms. A kind of algae. Harmless. Wipe away with a clean cloth or sponge. Fish won't eat it, so adding a catfish like a Plec is pointless.> and the fish start feeling bad. Oscar stars having a wound on his head. <Yes, I see. This is a bacterial infection. Essentially an ulcer. Sera Baktopur should help. But I personally prefer eSHa 2000, a Dutch medication that seems to work very well against bacterial infections. If you were in the US, then you would probably be using an antibiotic like Maracyn (Erythromycin). You may want to visit a veterinarian to get some of this medication if you are not in the US.> I treat the water with "Baktopur" twice. (I send you picture of before and after the treatment.) <Certainly helping, and there's some new skin growing back. But this infection is caused by physical damage (e.g., a bite) or poor water quality. Perhaps both. So: check the fish are getting along. Also make sure the water is clean. Nitrite = 0 mg/l, Ammonia = 0 mg/l. Ideally the Nitrate should be < 20 mg/l but certainly < 50 mg/l. The filter must have turnover of at least 6 times the volume of the tank in gallons per hour. In other words, your filter should be rated at about 300 gallons per hour (or about 1200 litres per hour). Do lots of water changes, 50% per week.> Now, 2 weeks after the treatment, both fish are still sick, the brown thing is staying even if we clean the aquarium and even if we change water. They stop eating, they are about to die and I don't now what to do. <Stop feeding the fish for a few days so that water quality stays good. Keep using medication. Do big water changes!> thank you for your help Stephanie, Oscar and Jack <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Treating illness with central filtration 3/28/09
I work at a retail store with fresh water tanks, where all the tanks share a large single sump filter.
I would like to know what the best way to treat ich and fungus in this situation are, because quarantining is a not an option for me unfortunately.
<Since the free-living Ick parasite moves for 24 hours or more through the water column, you can reliably assume all the other fish have been exposed to the parasite.>
Currently I turn the filter off
and treat each tank with ich medication
<If you want, assuming all the livestock are copper/formalin-tolerant; invertebrates and snails won't be, and some fish, particularly loaches, puffers and some catfish are also sensitive.>
aquarium salt
<Salt + heat can work.>
and Melafix for a while before turning the filter back on.
<You must leave the filter running. A dead filter will kill more fish more quickly than Ick! The only precaution here is to remove carbon prior to using medication.>
Would it be better to leave the filter on and add medication directly to the sump?
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale>

Fungus 1/24/09 Hello Neale, I'm back with a new issue this time. I have 1 Cory with fungus and 1 rosy tetra with a small white fungus on its mouth. Other fish in the tank don't show any evident sign of fungus. A couple of weeks ago I treated the entire tank with Melafix and it seems to have improved things a lot. However the fungus is not gone and today I noticed a lot of cotton like fungus on one of the Cory's fins. I'd appreciate if you could give me some advice on the following points: - Would you suggest isolating the affected fish in a hospital tank or treat the entire tank where the fish are now living with their friends? On one side I'm afraid that treating the big tank would affect the nitrifying bacteria, on the other side I think that if I don't treat a fish that seems to be fine but is instead hosting the fungus would re-start things from square 1 in a matter of time. - Is there any medication you would recommend? Anything that you tried or heard works well and possibly does not affect bacteria? Thank you, Giuseppe <Salutations! Hmm... Melafix... what you're observing is precisely why most of us here don't recommend this product. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Anyway, when treating Fungus, there's no point isolating fish because it isn't "contagious" as such. Fungal spores are in all aquaria, and mostly the fungi do good work breaking down organic material. Only when fish are damaged or stressed does the fungus attack the fish. The issue is this: a healthy fish has an immune system that kills fungal spores 100% of the time. When a fish is damaged or stressed by its environment, its immune system stops working properly, and the fungal infection becomes established. This is why when you see Fungus on a fish, you NOT ONLY treat the fish, but you ALSO think about why the Fungal infection happened at all. In terms of treating, I'd recommend eSHa 2000; this is a Dutch product widely sold in the EU. It's the product I use for Fungus and Finrot, and it's worked every single time, even on delicate species such as Puffers. Elsewhere in the world you'll need to find some other anti-Fungus medication based on copper and/or formalin. These tea-tree oil medications are too unreliable. Cheers, Neale.>

eSHa product info., link  7/23/08 Hi Bob & WWM crew, Just wondering if any of you have the composition for Isha2000; I cannot find it anywhere on the net. If you don't have the info do you think it would it be safe to use with Nerite snails? <Mmm, please see here: http://www.eshalabs.eu/pages_engels/faqs_engels.html> It would be used for columnaris & I am hoping my diagnosis is right: White lips, cottony growth from the mouth, fin rot. I introduced 5 Tanichthys linni into a quarantine tank 54L with 4 existing Tanichthys albonubes which had been there for 2 wks already - big mistake!. One linni mysteriously died & was found half eaten, another with a long stringy cotton substance hanging from it's swollen mouth was euthanized with clove oil & the remaining I took back to the shop annoyed after 8 weeks of waiting. One of them had Finrot - another mistake - triple check before purchase! The albonubes were hospitalized with Nifurpirinol for 4 days (repeating treatment on the 7th day) today they are back in the very clean quarantine tank which I dosed with Pimafix (pimenta 1.0%) 4 days ago. I stopped with this product after 2 days only because my Nerite snails seemed to be robbed of oxygen & I couldn't stand the smell; changed the water at least 4 times. I feel that something nasty is lurking about as I have just caught one of the albonubes banging into the driftwood. I don't know if it was a good idea to put them back before doing the second half of Nifurpirinol. I have just added 1 flat teaspoon of rock salt. Two of the albonubes have very pale white lips & one as I can make out red lips with white spots, very difficult to judge as they move so quickly. They are not eating very much either maybe because of the treatment. I don't think the Nifurpirinol as worked very much & over here ?France? they do not have medicated food. Not allowed apparently! Water parameters: fine Another thing I am worried about is that I may have contaminated the main tank 200L by using the same equipment for cleaning purposes. If you could advise me on the next steps to take and diagnosis that would be great. I'm already attached to these cute little guys! So sorry for this long letter. Cheers Jeanette <Bob Fenner, sending to Neale for further input>

Re: Tanichthys spp.; Columnaris   7/23/08 Hi Bob & WWM crew, Just wondering if any of you have the composition for Isha2000; I cannot find it anywhere on the net. If you don't have the info do you think it would it be safe to use with Nerite snails? <It's eSHa 2000, made by the Dutch company eSHa Labs: http://www.eshalabs.com/esha2000.htm > It would be used for columnaris & I am hoping my diagnosis is right: White lips, cottony growth from the mouth, fin rot. <Certainly sounds like it.> I introduced 5 Tanichthys linni into a quarantine tank 54L with 4 existing Tanichthys albonubes which had been there for 2 wks already - big mistake!. One linni mysteriously died & was found half eaten, another with a long stringy cotton substance hanging from it's swollen mouth was euthanized with clove oil & the remaining I took back to the shop annoyed after 8 weeks of waiting. One of them had Finrot - another mistake - triple check before purchase! <Oh dear!> The albonubes were hospitalized with Nifurpirinol for 4 days (repeating treatment on the 7th day) today they are back in the very clean quarantine tank which I dosed with Pimafix (pimenta 1.0%) 4 days ago. I stopped with this product after 2 days only because my Nerite snails seemed to be robbed of oxygen & I couldn't stand the smell; changed the water at least 4 times. <I'd probably remove Nerite snails while treating the tank. Put the snails in a large plastic carton or bucket, and put the lid on loosely to stop the snails escaping. If you change 50% the water daily, they should be fine during summer for a week like that.> I feel that something nasty is lurking about as I have just caught one of the albonubes banging into the driftwood. I don't know if it was a good idea to put them back before doing the second half of Nifurpirinol. <Diseases like Columnaris and Finrot don't "lurk" as such -- the bacteria are latent in all aquaria. Normally they do no harm provided the fish is healthy. Think of them as being like E. coli on humans. It is when the environment deteriorates for some reason they become trouble. So if you (or the pet shop) have problems with them, you (they) need to review issues such as nitrite, ammonia, and pH stability.> I have just added 1 flat teaspoon of rock salt. <Won't help at all, and could potentially stress these freshwater fish.> Two of the albonubes have very pale white lips & one as I can make out red lips with white spots, very difficult to judge as they move so quickly. They are not eating very much either maybe because of the treatment. I don't think the Nifurpirinol as worked very much & over here ?France? they do not have medicated food. Not allowed apparently! <Antibiotics for treating fish aren't available over-the-counter, i.e., from aquarium shops. But vets can supply them.> Water parameters: fine <Define "fine". It is really VERY rare for Columnaris to "come out of the blue" for no reason at all. So review conditions. It sounds like these fish were sick in the aquarium store though.> Another thing I am worried about is that I may have contaminated the main tank 200L by using the same equipment for cleaning purposes. <Possible, but as I say provided the 200 Litre tank contains healthy fish in a healthy environment, I'd be very surprised if they got sick.> If you could advise me on the next steps to take and diagnosis that would be great. I'm already attached to these cute little guys! So sorry for this long letter. Cheers Jeanette <Hope this helps! Bon chance, Neale.>

Re: Tanichthys spp.; Columnaris  7/24/08 Selon Dear Neale, Thank-you for your advice & indeed the grammar lessons!! <What grammar lesson? Nothing to do with me...> I have already looked at WWW.eshalabs.com. They state nowhere the composition for this product. I will contact them. <Likely a "trade secret" so I wouldn't be too hopeful!> Concerning the issue of antibiotics, sorry I did not make myself clear, I was referring to the antibiotic compounds readily available through the net and in the States e.g. Minocycline (Maracyn 2), tetracycline (Mardel) & Nitrofurazone (jungle labs) & maybe many many more. <These are ONLY readily available in the US; in the UK and France, and likely the European Union generally, they are not available (to the best of my knowledge anyway). The US has relatively lax rules on antibiotics compared with Europe, Canada and Australia. There are pros and cons to both sets of laws, outside the scope of this query!> These are prohibited in France for over-the-counter sales and through the net. Of course I can go to a vet to get these but I would be charged 50 Euros for the prescription. <Not different here in England, though much less expensive than 50 Euro. So I'd ring around your local vets. This is beside the point. The point is you can buy antibiotics over-the-counter! <No, I really can't!> Water parameters as follows: ph 8 GH 12°d KH 10°d No2 0 No3 13 Nh3 0 °C 26 <All sounds fine.> By the way "don't" is the correct informal spelling for "do not". <Indeed it is. This is apropos to what?> Thanks Jeanette <Cheers, Neale.>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Medications With Snails And Frogs  9/9/06 Dear WWM Crew, Want to first say what a great site you guys have, and the patience you have for all the numerous questions you guys answer! I have tried looking through the Google search and forums regarding my  question, and wasn't able to find my answer, so I am asking you. My first question is regarding my black mystery snail.  I recently  gave it a soft leaf vegetable (Chinese vegetable called Xiao bai cai  which literally means small white veggie) and it is consuming the  entire thing.  I was wondering if you can actually overfeed a  snail, or will they stop eating once they are full? < They are exposed to all kinds of veggies in the wild and I am sure they quite eating when they are full.> My second  question is regarding the medication I have been applying to my fish  tank for fin rot.  I checked the applesnail.net site, but their  link to fish pharmaceuticals led to a dead link.  I am using  Melafix (active ingredient is Melaleuca) from Aquarium Pharmaceutical  Inc., and was wondering if it will affect either my black mystery snail  or my African dwarf frog? Thanks a bunch!  And keep up with the awesome work! Anson < Invertebrates and amphibians really don't like medications. Melafix would not be my first choice to treat fin rot. Stronger medications may harm them. I would treat the sick fish in a hospital tank with Nitrofuranace of Kanamycin.-Chuck> I have a male Bristlenose catfish, two years old he is four and half inches long. He is in a 300 litre tank, he used to be kept with Neons, Glowlights and platies. He was very happy, I fed him on catfish pellets, algae wafers, bloodworms, brine shrimps and daphnia. Now he is living with tinfoil barbs. he's not as happy and hides under the filter, he is only getting the catfish pellets and algae wafers, as the tinfoil barbs eat everything else first, I have noticed that he is not cleaning the tank as well for the past week. And he has a lump on his snout in front of one eye, I have telephoned all my local aquatic shops, no one seems to have heard of this before, I'm very worried, to me is looks like a cyst, apart from this his colouring and general condition is very good. I hope you can help me, as the children are very fond of catty! Wait to hear from you, Sue < As your Pleco roots around for food he probably injured himself on a piece of wood or rock. The area may be infected. I would recommend treating him in a hospital tank with Nitrofuranace or Kanamycin as per the directions on the package.-Chuck>

Angel Fin Rot Hey, Rachel here, again. My two young angels have fin and tail rot. Nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia are all O.k. PH is 7.3. One of the angels has stopped eating. I need to treat them for fin and tail rot, but there is a baby fry in the tank. The brand of the medication is ALL NATURAL MELA FIX. Will this hurt the fry, or is there anything that treats the fins, without hurting the baby?? >>Hello again Rachel; do you know which species the fry are? Melafix shouldn't hurt any fish, but it might affect your biological filtration. Please make sure to keep testing your water! The fins should start to heal, but may take a week or so, assuming your water quality is good. If your fish are not eating, this isn't a good sign. Keep an eye on them for the next couple of days, and let us know if the fins are indeed healing. Also if they don't start eating, maybe the Melafix will need to be changed for another medication. It's also possible that another fish is bullying your angel to get its food. -Gwen<<  

Fungus(?) Emergency! Once again I come to you in need of help. I only wish that this time it were under better circumstances. We have a fully populated 29 gallon community tank. We just returned from running last-minute Halloween errands so I stopped to say hello to the fish. The majority of our fish are speckled with tiny white spots! They are small enough that at first glance I thought that they were air bubbles from the airstone. It looks as if someone splattered the fish with white paint. I'm not sure what it is, or what to do. If it's ich, it's unlike any ich that we have seen before. We immediately put some MelaFix into the tank. Please help us. We don't know what to do! < Most likely it is ich and needs to be treated. Check the heater and make sure it is working properly and is correctly adjusted. It should be around 80 degrees F. Use rid-ich by Kordon or another medication with a combination of formalin and malachite green. Watch for ammonia spikes because some medication may affect the good bacteria that break down the fish waste into less toxic substances.-Chuck> Thank you so much (again) - Ian

Ghost Knife with red spot on tail Hello again, I contacted you earlier with an Ich problem with my BGK (see below). He's been recovering beautifully thanks to your help and I've been lowering the tank temp down to 81 from the 86 it was at. However, for some reason, within the last 24 hours he has developed a red spot, like a blood spot on the white portion of his tail. It's not very large and doesn't span the width of his tail, only a small portion, but enough to notice clearly. I'd attach a picture but I'm unable to get a decent enough shot. His appetite is off a little also. He's eating the brine shrimp but not as voraciously as usual. Water is still testing same as listed below. Could he have hurt himself. <Yes. This is the most likely explanation> He has no tank mates at all and only items in tank are a large piece of wood and a ghost house (which he loves). He also spends a lot of time by the surface and seems to enjoy running up and down one of the powerhead tubes in the corner. <All normal behavior> I installed a bubble wall to increase oxygenation since we were upping the temp so much and have left it going full on even with the tank temp lower. <Good> Could that have anything to do with this? <Not likely> I'm also still treating with half doses of the Aquarisol but only every other day now.  Any suggestions? Thanks so very, very much!  Jennifer <Just to keep on doing what you're doing... all will likely be well. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ghost Knife with red spot on tail UPDATE - TAIL ROT I have an update to this last note - the red spot must have been the onset to tail rot. I'm completely at a loss on this one. We just got him over Ich and now this - I don't understand. The water levels are very good... pH 7.6 - ammonia was at 0 - Nitrates were very low - water hardness is 60. About 1/8th of his tail has disappeared since yesterday. I did a 30% water change, added 2 tbsp of salt, Pimafix and increasing the temp again. This tail rot problem didn't rear it's ugly head until the temp had gotten back down to 81. His appetite was good tonight - he loves bloodworms. Can I use an antibiotic like Maracyn or tetracycline with a BGK? What else can I do for him? Thank you! <You can use an antibiotic... I would go with the Maracyn/Erythromycin... is mixable with all else you're doing... and I would re-elevate the water temperature till this problem is gone. Bob Fenner>

Re: Inherited Tank - Fish Has Fungal Infection! 11/3/05 Hello again! I've been maintaining the 10-gallon freshwater tank for about 3 months and I've learned a lot more about the fish and the conditions have been kept constant. <Good> There are two bronze Cory cats and one white cloud mountain minnow. The white cloud is the one with the fungus, and he still has the fungus. Conditions have been good throughout the three months except for pH: - pH 8.0 (I sometimes use pH Down to decrease to low-to-mid 7) <Leave as is if it is not being consistently maintained otherwise... treat only new water...> - Ammonia 0ppm - Nitrite 0ppm - Nitrate 5.0ppm - Temp 72F I do water changes every other week and do testing on opposite weeks.  Feeding is daily in the morning. The white cloud still has the fungus... I believe the fungus was caused initially by the stress of the move; I don't know what else could be the cause. Could it be due to the higher pH? <Likely is a co-factor, yes> I've tried products called PimaFix (Aquarium Pharmaceuticals) and Fungus Clear (Jungle) on the entire tank which were recommended by my local fish shop, but after each treatment, the fungus has not changed and has been getting bigger over the months.  <I would not use these...> The white cloud is still feeding and swimming well. Behavior seems normal. The Cory cats are not affected at all and have not caught the fungus. I would like to get rid of the fungus but I'm not sure what else to do. Is there something else I should be testing for? The kit I got (Freshwater Master Test Kit by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals) only has the tests I've listed above. Am I doing anything wrong? ---Stella <Leave the pH as it is in the main tank, but do adjust the new water. I'd add a teaspoon per ten gallons of water of aquarium salt... and be patient. Likely will effect a cure over time. Cheers, Bob Fenner> 

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