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FAQs on Freshwater Medications

Related Articles: 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., FW Disease Troubleshooting, Freshwater DiseasesNutritional Disease, Ich/White Spot DiseaseMethylene Blue, Metronidazole/Flagyl, Formalin/Formaldehyde, Malachite Green, Organophosphate Use,

Related FAQs: Phony Cures, Quarantine/Treatment Tanks, Treatments, Salt/Use, FW Antibiotic Use, Aquarium Maintenance, Ich/White Spot DiseaseAfrican Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid Disease

A nice Convict Cichlid pic sent in by Dave McNaught.

Absorption of Medication... the general spiel re fresh vs. salt water organisms          2/5/16
I have a question about a tropical fish tank. I have always thought that putting anything, good or bad, in a tank would be absorbed by the fish in the tank.
<Mmm; differentially... not much in freshwater actually; and variably in marine>
If the fish are sick, then putting medication in the tank would be absorbed either through the skin, or water going through the gills.
<No; not really. Marines do "drink" their environment; but very little gets into fishes via their skin, gills>
Same thing with putting vitamins in a tank. Would they not be absorbed by the fish through the skin and/or gills?
<Not much at all; no.>
I've sort of had an argument with someone on this issue. This other person continues to say that freshwater fish do not "drink" water.
<Tis so; they are more highly solute laden inside their bodies; fighting if you will, the osmotic tendency for water to "leak in">
And even if that's true, I would think that medication or other treatments would enter the fishes system one way or another,
<Almost entirely by ingestion... or injection if/where used>
but I've been told that unless it goes into their digestive system, nothing will be effective. I was hoping you could explain to me how a medication works if it's not given through the food, if it does at all?
<Mmm; same as in humans, us... some medications are not changed much/at all taken orally, and pass through the G.I. tract's absorptive layers, processes into the blood stream; hence moved throughout the vascular body>
I just think it's silly to say that fish do not "drink" water ....
<Please read here for a better, more thorough explanation:
because if I put copper into the water, it's going to kill my fish by being absorbed through the skin.
I mostly keep puffer fish, so that's mainly what I'm concerned with. I just fail to understand why something would not work unless it's taken through the digestive system.
<Work? Oh, there are materials, like copper compounds, that do exert effects, though they may not get into the blood system>
This issue came up because I wanted to dose my tanks with aquatic vitamins.
I already soak my bloodworm in vitamins, but not all of my puffers eat bloodworm.
<Try soaking other foods?>
So I was thinking if I dosed the tank, the vitamins would be absorbed by the puffers through their skin and/or as passing through the gills.
<Well; vitamins do effect the overall health of a freshwater system, via their influence of microscopic life mostly.>
Thank you for your time to answer my question.
PS - Let Neale Monks know that I still have my mudskippers and that they are doing fine.
Kind Regards,
Suzanne Bateman
<Real good. Bob Fenner>

MediGold and MetroMeds     10/12/15
For many years I have been receiving MediGold and MetroMeds from Goldfish Connection and have had great success in treating various conditions in my goldfish. I was disappointed when I recently learned that Goldfish Connection was going out of business and that I would no longer be able to purchase these lifesaving meds. Are you aware of any medicated foods that are somewhat comparable? Thanks! Laurie
<Mmm; you can/could buy commercially laced foods that are similar (look for the active ingredient/s; e.g. Metronidazole)... or just make them yourself by mixing the med.s in with flake or pelleted foods. There's a bit re making your own foods in this fashion archived on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Re: Numerous medicinal treatments, fish still ill    5/8/12
Hello Neale,
Thank you to you and Bob for your responses.  I really appreciate your time and expertise.
<Most welcome.>
This is where I am at;  everyone is still alive (Honey Gourami, 2 albino Corys).  I actually threw away the BioWheel to the filter about a month before emailing you last.  I didn't know the wheel could contribute to nitrate production though.
<Pretty much any oxygen-using (aerobic) biological filter will add to nitrate production as time progresses. By their very nature, they convert ammonia to nitrite then to nitrate, but as they become more and more dirty, a whole other ecosystem develops inside the filter that adds further to this nitrate production. Provided you regularly clean a filter, this nitrate issue is, for most freshwater fish, irrelevant. Keep nitrate below 40-50 mg/l and you'll be fine; for more sensitive fish like Dwarf Cichlids, and you need to keep below 20 mg/l. Still not an onerous task compared to marines. I find stocking generously with floating plants (which absorb nitrate rapidly) is an easy way to manage nitrate.>
What happened was, I replaced the HOB for a short while with a Fluval U2 internal filter.  I really liked the design but the current was too strong for the 10 gal tank.
<Current drops with time as the media becomes clogged, rarely a problem after a few days of use! Failing that, use a spray bar to spread out water flow, and also try directing the current at the glass or some big tall rock -- this will dissipate some of the energy.>
One time when the Gourami came up for food, I saw her slowly careen to the other side of the tank.  Knowing that a high current could also be stressful, I decided to remove and return this filter and put the HOB back on, without the wheel since it was in the garbage at that point.  I do not use the cartridges made for the filter.  I put Fluval plain sponges in the box, and I also have AquaClear BioMax sitting on the bottom of the box (I don't know how efficient this set-up really is though.  Before I used polyfiber and BioMax inside a media bag and I think that may have been better).
<Have you tried a plain vanilla sponge filter driven by an air pump? Something like the Interpet Airstream? Good value, and work well. Ideal for use with fish that dislike strong currents. Very easy to maintain, too.>
I have increased filtration since your email.  I installed a Hydro Sponge Pro II.  It's been in for 5 days and I installed it without an airstone.  I wonder, should I still have an airstone installed separately for the Corys?
<No need if they aren't repeatedly and frequently diving up to the surface for air; Corydoras are facultative air breathers, and will gulp air if needs be, but otherwise aren't demanding in this regard.>
Also, will I be able to remove the HOB entirely and just rely on the sponge filter?
<In time, yes; I'd allow a 4-6 weeks "handover" so any new filter can be fully cycled.>
I've noticed that the water seems clearer; not that it was cloudy before, but there seems to be more clarity now.  I've also considered removing the HOB and installing a second, maybe smaller, sponge filter, if you think that's a good plan?  I'm not looking to purchase an external canister filter, but I would purchase a new HOB to use with the sponge filter or a new internal filter if you think that would be better.  I need to do more research about filtration because I don't know what chemical filtration is.
<Ah, do read here:
In most cases, chemical filtration is not necessary.>
I believe biological means the good bacteria, but I wonder, do sponge filters provide for chemical filtration?  Now on to water changes.  Since I live in an apartment, I don't store water since I have limited space, but I will find a way to do this if you believe letting water sit is a better way to go.
<Or else, do frequent small water changes using freshly drawn water. Try this: do two 10% water changes a week, each time adding water conditioner and stirring well. I find this approach works fine.>
What I do now is this; I take temperate water from the tap, treat it with water conditioner, let in sit for 3-4 minutes, then add.
Now that the nitrates have been under control, I am doing 25% weekly water changes.  Do you think my procedures are okay?
<For sure.>
Also, I use Tetra AquaSafe Plus water conditioner, and I've recently been wondering if it's any good; any thoughts?
<Yes, a good product.>
It's hard to calculate the amount of conditioner to use for such small water volumes, and I realized that in the past I wasn't using enough, which I'm sure has confounded my problems, especially since there is a lot of chlorine in my city water.
<Within reason, water conditioner is forgiving, so don't be worried about overdosing. Any excess is quickly metabolised by the filter bacteria.>
Now I believe I am using the correct amounts (I use 3 drops for every quart of water).  Also, according to my lease, I can't have a tank larger than 10 gal, so that's that for now.  As far as their health; the Gourami now sits under the sponge filter.  She eats and is probably 50% active, 50% sitting.
<What they do, especially as they age. Some become notoriously lazy!>
The 1 Cory, that only has a sliver of a fin left due to fin rot; he swims around, then stops for a bit and breathes hard.  I thought maybe this was because of the extra effort it takes for him to swim, but of course I'm worried it could mean something tragic as well?  I guess the fins can grow back, it'll just take a long time?
<Can do, but do look for potential fin-nippers that are preventing new growth. Ordinarily, they should have signs of fin growth within a week or two, and a whole new fin within a couple months.>
I feel bad for him, but he is getting food, so that's good at least, and what's left of his fin has remained constant.  It seems the other Cory guides him a bit; maybe its my imagination, but he seems to be helping him out a little.
<Yes, are social.>
Oh, well he also has an eye problem; it's white on his eye.  You can slightly see red from the actual eye.  The white went away a little bit, but now what's left has remained constant.
<Damage to the cornea; again, look for signs of fighting, fin-nipping, etc that might be causing problems.>
That eye looks smaller too but maybe I'm mistaken; it's hard to tell.
<The eye itself shouldn't shrink.>
I'm not sure what is going on with the eye but I don't believe he can see out of it.  I just figured with continued improved water quality, that maybe it would get better, but I really don't know.  The other Cory is doing well.  I guess that's it for right now.  Thanks again!  Your insight and help has been tremendous support! 
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Numerous medicinal treatments, fish still ill- Missed Something!    5/8/12

I was just re-reading my last email to you from April, and in that I stated the albino Cory had a front fin and a sliver left of the other front fin.  Which means the fin rot has progressed!  That front fin is now gone!  It only has the sliver left and that is it.  What was left of the tail is gone too.  I thought once the nitrates were under control, the fin rot would stop.  Should I do anything?
<If the Finrot is right down to the bone, the fin may never regenerate.>
I have a 2.5 gal tank that I can move him too, but of course medicines would be too hard to treat in that.  Maybe move him there and try salt?  Or just leave him alone?
<Unless you have a better idea, yes, leave him in the main tank. I'd medicate as per Finrot with something reliable, like Seachem ParaGuard or the ever popular Maracyn 1 and 2 combination.>
As a side note, I believe the medications were the actual cause of the Peppered Corys dying.  I can't say I've ever successfully medicated my fish.
<Many reasons for why this might be the case. Do remember to remove carbon (otherwise the medicine is neutralised). Do dose as required, and use on the stated days. Do clean the tank before use if possible (more organic "gunk" in tank and filter will reduce efficacy). Do ensure aquarium is basically sound (zero ammonia, zero nitrite) else fish won't recover. Do use a trusted medication rather than tea-tree oil and other new-agey meds.>
I was wondering too, in your last email you mentioned aquarium sterilizer. 
Is this an actual product you can purchase?  Or did you mean something like peroxide?
<It's a device to minimise spread between tanks or between fish; typically UV and/or ozone. Not a cure, and not economical and/or practical for most home users.>
Well obviously the water is still not where it should be.  Please advise. 
Thank you, Lorie       
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Is it Columnaris? Likely NO3, Melafix poisoning      4/25/13
Hi all, I need your help/reassurance please. I have a 250 litre planted tank with 11 danios, 7 penguin tetras, 6 platys (+handful of fry), 2 Opaline gouramis, 2 gold gouramis, 2 Bristlenose Plecos (juvenile) and an assortment of hitch hiking snails. Yesterday I saw one of the danios had a huge fluffy white patch on its back. Immediately I removed him into a tub and checked the water. After many weeks of pristine water, I found my nitrates were through the roof (red on the api master test kit so between 40-80). Changed 50% of the water, dosed with prime, and MelaFix
<This product can be much more trouble than anything of value. See WWM re>

which was the only medication I had to hand. Poor Danio didn't make it. Today, one of my platys has the same 'fuzz' growing on one eyeball. It completely covers the eye surface. Another 2 danios are behaving strangely, swimming erratically and have 'floppy' torn fins (one seems to tend to use the pectoral fin only on one side and has trouble remaining upright - tends to roll sideways or tail down if she stops moving). I tested the water today and my ph has dropped some (from 7.6 to 7.2 - from meds?),
<Could be... the tea... leaf extract>

 and my nitrates are much better - 10-20). Did a further 25% water change and redosed the MelaFix.  Is this Columnaris? A fungus? Something else?
<Can't tell from the images alone... but you're right to be worried. I'd change the water out again now and tomorrow and leave off w/ the phony API product>

I include a photo of the Danio who died and the platy with the fuzzy eye.
Any help would be massively appreciated.
Thank you in advance!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Great pix!
Re: Is it Columnaris?     4/26/13
Thank you for your response. Seems no-one is getting sicker (the fuzz on the eye is almost gone) and apart from the Danio which looks like it's having some swim bladder issues (rolling a little - not maintaining an upright position unless actively swimming),
<... likely mainly environmental in origin>

 all is beginning to look calm and peaceful once more. No-one else seems affected in any way. My nitrates are down to healthy levels again. I really wonder what happened. I'll be back in touch with any new developments
should they arise. Thanks again!
<Cheers, BobF>

potassium permanganate... Too dangerous; use more specific alternatives – 02/13/13
Hi Crew,
My discus importer suggested the use of potassium permanganate to rid my discus of gill flukes and any other external parasites that might be going on with them, based on my description to him of their eating habits.
<Mmm, very dangerous actually... too strong an oxidizer... Years (decades) back KMnO3 was a quite common sanitizer, general "it will likely kill the problem before killing the livestock" treatment for quite a few external biological issues... But I wouldn't endorse it now for hobbyists' use>
He also explained the treatment in detail, it's duration, what behaviors to watch for, and how to neutralize when done. He has been using this treatment for years to condition his monthly incoming shipments, before he sends the livestock out to his customers.
<Well, this person likely is well-aware of the dangers... knows his water (the amount of easily oxidizable material is an important consideration...
Else the permanganate will burn your fishes>
The discus are housed in a 240 gallon aquarium with a freshwater ray and 5 large clown loaches. Do you know if the ray or the loaches will handle the treatment?
<I do not. I would NOT use it here>
 Or would it be better to set up a separate 55 gallon treatment tank, and treat 4 or 5 discus at a time?
Please advise,
<Better instead to treat the flukes et al. w/ more specific, less-generally toxic medicines. See WWM re Anthelminthics for Trematodes, and whatever else you are listing as  "other external parasites"... Bob Fenner>

Medication question, unavailability in Australia... vet.    7/11/10
I have a sick Texas cichlid, I note on your website that you mention to use Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace. Unfortunately in Australia I have been unable to find these medications, in the local pet shops as well as
aquariums. Can you please advise if there is any alternatives or where you can recommend that these medications can be purchased from.
Regards Scott
<Hello Scott. Unfortunately no, in situations where those medications are required, then there's really no alternative. It's the same situation in the UK where antibiotics are, I think rightly, prescription-only drugs.
Anyway, your vet will be able to supply them, sometimes after seeing the fish, but oftentimes not, if you visit with the vet and explain the symptoms. It's a little more expensive buying them this way, but trust me, using anything else will be a total waste of money. An exception might be made for eSHa Hexamita, an over-the-counter medication for use against Hexamita and Hole-in-the-Head. But otherwise general purpose "anti bacteria" medications are far inferior to Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace when it comes to treating Hexamita, HITH, Malawi Bloat, Pop-eye, and other such diseases. Cheers, Neale.>

Question re. eSHa 2000 and dechlorinator for goldfish 3/31/10
Hello WetWeb Crew,
Many thanks as always for this site, and all the help I have gained from it in the past. I've used the search function as usual, but couldn't find the answers I was after, so apologies if I missed them.
I have a brief question - based on Neale's recommendations on WWM, I am about to use eSHa 2000 to treat my goldfish's fungus/Finrot.
<Very good.>
However, the instructions are unclear on whether it is safe to use eSHa alongside dechlorinator (I currently use Interpet Fresh Start, though unfortunately I haven't been able to find any actual name for the chemical(s) on the box). The eSHa instructions say not to use other treatments alongside it, but if this applies to dechlorinator then I have to do a huge water change and dump in a load of untreated water, which I'm really not happy with. Hopefully Neale, or someone else who has used eSHa 2000, can let me know whether it is safe to use the two alongside each other.
<Yes, should be safe.>
One additional question, as I'm writing in anyway - the instructions for the eSHa only say that the medication should be added over three days, nothing about how long to leave it there afterwards. Should the water be
changed immediately afterwards, or should I just change it on my regular schedule a few days later?
<I think it's on the leaflet somewhere. Maybe do a water change 7 days from the last dose?>
Many, many thanks as always for your time and help,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Question re. eSHa 2000 and dechlorinator for goldfish 3/31/10
Dear Neale,
Thank you very much for the quick response; it's really appreciated. I'll let you know how things went in a few days, so someone else with the same question in the future can find their answer.
All the best,
<Glad to have helped. Good luck! Neale.>

Re: Irrubesco Puffer dorsal fin turning white 6/7/09
The only I'm worried about now is that i live in the United States and I've never seen eSHa here.
<Seemingly only sold in the EU; nothing really remarkable about it in terms of ingredients: contains Rivanol, Proflavin and copper. Medications available in the US that should work include Seachem NeoPlex, Seachem Sulfathiazole, Seachem ParaGuard and Seachem PolyGuard. Most/all of these need to have carbon removed before use. Follow the instructions carefully, and be aware that puffers often reacted badly to medications, so be sure and up aeration/circulation before use, and keep an eye out for negative
reactions such as gasping. That said, the medications listed here are safe for marine fish, which include many species at least as sensitive as puffers.>
what would be a good backup or where can i get something like what you're talking about.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Praziquantel - help! 05/14/08 hello, <Hiya Hanna, Darrel here tonight> With the help of WWM, we were able to identify the problem with our dwarf Gourami as Camallanus worms, and so we went out and bought a medicine containing Praziquantel as this seems to be what's recommended. We followed the packet instructions, which are 1ml of the stuff (the brand name is Tremazol) per 10ml of water, and then to do an 80% water change 6 hours later. It then says that you can optionally repeat the treatment seven days later. It's now been 5 of the six hours, and I can still see the worms spiking out of the Gourami. Is this normal? <It could very well be> How would one tell if the treatment has/is going to work? An 80% water change is pretty drastic for us (we usually do about 1/3 every 7-10 days). Would you advise we change the water and repeat the treatment? (if yes when to repeat, how often?), not change the water yet?.... Sorry to bombard with questions in this manner - I guess I was expecting the worm would shrivel up and disappear or fall out and now it hasn't I don't know what to do! <Praziquantel is a common drug in the veterinary world for treat a number of different flatworms. The way it works is to damage the worm's protective layer in it's skin so that the animal's natural immune system can now attack the parasite and eventually defeat it. The two problems you face are getting enough concentration of the compound into the water to do any real damage to the worm and then .... and this is the hardest part .... giving the dose- able long enough to work and then giving the fish's immune system long enough ... to eventually defeat the worm.> <Sadly, this is not like tossing water on the Wicked Worm of the West (bad "Wizard of OZ" reference) and watching it melt.> Thanks very much, Hannah, a concerned Gourami keeper in France! UPDATE: just wanted to let you know that we went ahead and did the water change thinking it was the safer course of action. Look forward to hearing whether/when you think we should retreat and how to tell if we've had success. Thanks, H <From the information available I'd say that the damage to the worms from that 6 hour dosage has been done and now you have to observe the effects of the fish's own system fighting them off. If the worms are still visible in 6 days, retreat according to directions>

Re: Praziquantel - help! [situation worsening :( ] 05/20/08 Hello again, <BobF stepping in here> Thanks for your response, it's good to know how these medications are supposed to work (and I liked the Wicked worm of the West). Unfortunately, my poor little gourami is showing no signs of improvement, in fact, he's looking very skinny, and although he can still swim normally he's now spending most of his time at the top of the tank with his head at the surface and his tail down. <Mmmm, this condition may not be worm-related... Anabantoids often have such symptoms from protozoan complaints... hence my S.O.P. of dual treatment with a vermifuge such as Prazi and Metronidazole/Flagyl> When we feed them he comes to where the food is but often doesn't eat much and even when he gets a piece in his mouth he spits it out again a lot of the time. Also his feces are coming out as a series of little lumps joined by stringier bits rather than the normal even-diametred tube (sorry to be so descriptive :s). Finally there are still the two spikes/worms coming out of his anus. <Could be two types of parasites at work here> Other information that might be helpful before I ask my questions: My co-fishkeeper tested the water this morning (when we noticed the floating behavior) and apparently the results were "fine", (I assume that means nitrites 0 and nitrates under 15). Since my last email we've mixed some of the Praziquantel in with their flake food on alternate days. I've also been breeding Artemia and fed that a couple of times as I heard it would help prevent bits of dead worm being left in the digestive system(alas, I fear the worms are not dead). Today we're treating the whole tank again and I'm just about to do another massive water change and vacuum.  So my further questions are as follows, hope you'll be able to help us out. 1. Is it likely that all of the symptoms above are from the worms (I'm wondering why worms would cause him to stay at the top of the tank). I know that the Camallanus would make him more susceptible to secondary bacterial infections etc. so was wondering if there is any other treatment we could/should be providing. <Pain/distress... perhaps some gas production in the lumen... damage to the gas bladder itself... wanting to be near the air to respire> 2. In your previous response (from Darrel, below) you said that Praziquantel is for the treatment of flatworms, is that exclusively flatworms? <No... many worm groups, including Nematodes...> Further research leads me to believe that Camallanus are round worms, so are we using the wrong product all together here? The only other thing I have seen recommended is Levamisole, but I suspect it may not be available fro purchase here in France (I could try a vet's, as apparently farmers can get it, so why not I. I'd have to figure out the dosage of course. Also, am I correct in believing that Levamisole works by causing the host's digestive system to spasm - could this possibly be harmful to the fish as well as the worm? <Can be... actually all Vermifuges... if the resident parasite fauna is large> In general, is there anything else we can do for him - either to treat the worms or to provide the most favourable conditions possible for his immune system? <The use of the protozoacide mentioned above> Thank you so much for your help, I look forward to hearing, Hannah <Please do scan (the search tool on WWM) Metronidazole use. Bob Fenner>

Question re: anti-parasitic medicated fish food for Platys   2/24/08 Hello Crew, I have spent hours reading the FAQ's and your responses (my favourite being the one with the lady and her boyfriend having issues with breeding and Don spitting out his coffee) and have found them entertaining and informative. Now I have a question, which I hope you will answer. I have a 35 gallon tank, which has been in operation for about 3 years, so is well-cycled. I do regular water changes and periodically test the levels of nitrates, ph, and ammonia. All seem to be consistently within acceptable ranges. This tank is planted with a large number of artificial (plastic) plants, as well as live plants. There is 1 to 2" of gravel, 3 ornamental logs for hiding places, an undergravel filter, an outside 3 stage power filter, and a bubble bar. 6 weeks ago, my son helped me by bringing over his gravel vacuum and vacuuming the gravel in this tank. This resulted in a 50% water change. The livestock in this tank includes one elderly Pleco, whom I inherited with the tank, about 7 inches in length, 2 pearl Danios, 3 blacklight tetras, one of which is very large (platy sized), 2 Glowlight tetras, and my favourites, 2 adult male platys, and currently only 1 adult female platy. There have been no new introductions of fish for the past year, although there are about 15 juvenile platys of ages varying from 2 to 5 months. I feed twice a day, with premium flake food and supplement with blanched romaine lettuce which seems to go over very well with the platys, old and young. This past week, I lost an adult female Mickey Mouse Platy. She was one of the original introductions, so I was sorry to lose her. Her history includes being placed in a nursery net within the main tank, when I was quite sure she was about to give birth. She had the gravid spot, and I could see the dark eyes of the babies. She was very unhappy in the nursery net, so after 4 days with no results, I released her into the main tank. That was probably a year ago, and while she never lost the gravid spot, the dark eyes disappeared and there never were any babies. The one male platy who is always 'on the make' seemed to know she was of no use to him, and would chase her away. For several weeks before her demise, she did have what I have seen described on your site as 'whitish stringy poop'. Up until 2 days before she went, she was still eating, and swimming normally. During those last 2 days, she was hiding, and not coming out to eat. Today I noticed this 'whitish stringy poop' from the second, less aggressive adult male Sunset Platy. My question is, should I be concerned about a parasitic infection, and should I start feeding the anti-parasitic medicated fish food? Is it safe for the juvenile platys and the rest of the fish? Should I abstain from feeding the blanched romaine lettuce while feeding the medicated food? I do realize my current ratio of 2 adult male platys to 1 adult female is not ideal, but the 2nd male is not particularly amorous, although by their colouring, I do believe some of the juveniles are his descendants. I also have a 2nd tank, populated with a school of Cardinal Tetras, and one small, skittish Pleco. My intention is to move some of the juvenile platys to this tank as they mature. Thank you, for having such an informative site, and for your anticipated response to my long-winded email. Aprilwine <Anti-parasite food is usually safe for juvenile fish. In this instance I wouldn't bother unless I saw any other fish producing abnormal faeces. Do also switch to high-fibre foods for a while -- algae, daphnia, brine shrimps, tinned peas, etc. Won't do the other fish any harm. Anyway, this'll help clear out the insides. But if you do see other fish with odd faeces and/or signs of emaciation, then by all means switch to something anti-parasitic. While constipation is rather more common in livebearers, parasitic infections do happen, and are worth bearing in mind when fish start looking off-colour. Camallanus worms are probably the most commonly found intestinal parasites in livebearing fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Question re: anti-parasitic medicated fish food for Platys 03/04/2008 Thanks Neale, I have been feeding supplementary peas (frozen, slightly cooked, skinned) and they seem to go over very well. The adult Sunset Platy seems to be back to normal, and all seem to be doing fine. I appreciate your advice. <Greetings. It's good to hear everything is working fine! Platies certainly benefit from a "green" diet, and I think you'll find that over the long term you'll have Platies that are more active and have brighter colours than would be otherwise. Thanks for letting me know the good news; it's rare we hear that our little "patients" have got better! Cheers, Neale.>

Fungus... FW Hypochondria... incipient costs   4/9/07 Hi there...this is hopefully a quick question for you. <Have to read slow Tam. Am not quite awake as yet> I have a 20gal tank, cycled 8mos ago, guppies, tetra (black neon and phantom), Pleco <Mmm, which species? May get too large, starve in this small volume> , dwarf frogs.  I made a hideaway spot for the frogs using clay pot, putting the dish down and pot upside down and slightly offset to let them into the dish.  Had 2 large female guppies, one of which tried to stick her nose in the hole at bottom of pot and got stuck, got her out, however she had some rubbing on scales so ended up getting fungus, <Mmm, actually very likely bacterial> isolated her and added MelaFix <... a placebo> and a bit of salt, but she passed anyway.  Was hoping that the fungus wasn't throughout the tank and did a 5gal water change and cleaned the rocks (took them out and used hot water and rinsed and mixed to get them cleaner).  Now I noticed there is a lifted scale or two on top of the other large female guppy.  It's on top of her head but further back than the gills.  I added stress coat right away to hopefully help her avoid any infection etc.  She was doing ok, but now flashes a bit trying to rub her rear side, or so it looks, but only once in a while, not consistently. (I think she is preg too, but cannot tell for sure on her).  Cannot see anything, on her hook worm <?> etc for where she is rubbing, but noticed a bit of fuzz on the raised scale.  We don't have a 'real' LFS here, they carry very little, but happened to go to the bigger center yesterday (couple hrs away) and got stuff to have on hand... Jungle Ick, Jungle Fungus cure and Jungle Parasite...all fizz tabs, and have the MelaFix and quick cure drops. <I would use... none of these.>    Now that she has the bit of fuzz on top, I thought this being the 2nd fish I had better treat the tank, <... "treatitis"... a common Western Trend> also have 1 for sure preg guppy and thought this better get handled if there is a tank prob, <Is not a "tank prob."... But an overreaction on your part... and the products you mention will either cause more potential trouble (the Junkle) or do nothing (the Melaleuca tea)> before they arrive.  I was told that I could use the fungus and parasite with everyone I have in the tank, frogs included. <This is NOT so... some of the ingredients are toxic to Hymenochirus, your Tetras, will kill your nitrifying (biofiltration) microbes...> I added the 2 tablets the package suggests for tank size and also added 1tbsp aquarium salt (because of tetras etc don't like salt too much I was told to 1/4 the regular dosage). <This is correct>   I can't find anywhere how long to leave treatment in water, when do I do next water change. <Should be on the packaging>   Should the cotton fall off, or should I rub it off (seen that mentioned a few places) but how do I know tank is ok again? <Rub? As on the fish? No> It says on pkg if I need to do a second treatment to change out 25% water before treating again after 4 days.  That's all I can find for instruction. <May be all there is... however, I would NOT use...> Was also told that it wouldn't hurt to do the parasite one as well, to be sure. <...> Don't know how I feel about that...what do you think.  BTW it's been 14hrs and still cotton bits and flash a bit....help pls!!! Thanks so much... You guys (and gals ;) ) are awesome!!! Tamara <Please READ on WWM re FW disease, re the active ingredients listed on the packaging of what you've been applying... There is too much to list here... Mainly start reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaintindex.htm Bob Fenner>

Belly-Up Oscar Recommended Medication Not Available  03/26/07 Hello Crew, I am a constant reader of your site to try and ward off any problems with my fish. I have a Tiger Oscar, Capt. Quint, I bought as a baby in January. He is now about 7 inches long. I have him in a 72 gallon tank with a Fluval 304 filter. I also have a 7 inch red eared slider turtle and 4 medium Bala sharks in the tank. The pH is at 7 to 7.2 and the temp is 78-80 degrees. Nitrate levels at 0 and water is soft.   Alkalinity is low. Quint is currently upside down still alive and moving around the tank. I thought he might have an internal bacterial infection from reading your site. I have called LPS and they don't seem to have Metronidazole as you recommended. They offered  Erythromycin as an alternative, but I haven't seen this mentioned on your site. I will do a 30% water change and vacuum as you suggested as all the other kids are fine. Any help would be greatly appreciated as I don't want him to die. Thank you so much in  advance. < Go to Drsfostersmith.com to get the right medications. Blindly treating your fish with anything usually does more harm then good. Thanks for checking the site first before asking the question.-Chuck>

Crayfish Concerns, Medication - 01/23/2007 I've been scouring the internet and asking local fish store owners how I might treat my blue fresh water lobster. I noticed two weeks ago it wasn't eating and has some sort of growths on its large pincers and now it's developing around its mouth.  Looks like fuzzy semi transparent growths. I've been changing the water on a regular basis but admit I was behind on this right before he became ill....  and I know they are very sensitive to water conditions. <What are your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate readings on this tank?  How big is the tank?  How big is the crayfish?  What else is living with it?> I don't have a clue how to treat something with an exoskeleton like this. <The typical rule of thumb is "don't".  Currently, there is very little known about diseases and treatments of freshwater invertebrates.  Adding medications to water with invertebrates is asking for trouble.  Unless the animal is going to die otherwise, it's best not to play with medications and inverts.> Is it bacterial? fungal? <Without a much more detailed description and preferably an image, I do not know.  I can tell you some Males of some Macrobrachium species shrimps develop fluffy growths on their claws naturally; it looks like "fur" of a sort, and may be part of attracting a mate.  Algae can grow on the carapace of a crayfish or shrimp; though this is not desirable, it's usually harmless.  My point here is that, since you have no idea what it is as yet, medicating is a bad idea.> I've tried PimaFix, MelaFix and it didn't seem to help. <In my opinion, these are worthless, and may even be harmful to invertebrates.> Now using Rally (Acriflavine) for two days and waiting till tomorrow to see if it is working. <This may prove fatal to your crayfish - medicating a crayfish is risky business at best.  If the animal seems no worse for wear tomorrow, you might consider continuing with this, but if it were me, I wouldn't.  I can't tell you for certain that it will be harmful to him, but I can also tell you were it me/my pet, I wouldn't be risking it.> Any ideas what it is and if there is a better treatment that won't kill it? <Pristine water quality, iodine supplements (if you're not using iodine, maybe now is a good time to start - I use Kent marine iodine at a VERY low dose, one drop per ten gallons every week, NOT the marine dose recommended on the bottle), and patience....  If the animal appears to be in distress from these growths, you might even try taking the critter out of the water and gently rubbing them off with a finger or wet paper towel if you are quite certain that they are not "normal" parts of him.  Use extreme caution not to harm him if you try this.> Thanks for your help,  -Brad Bennett <Best of luck to you with him, and please do try to get some pictures of this if you can; this may help in trying to find out what is wrong and how to fix it.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Tank Crashed After Ich Treatment   12/21/06 Hello. I hope you can help me. I have a 55 gallon aquarium that recently came down with Ich. Originally, it contained mollies, platies, guppies, Neons, other assorted tetras, and one Pleco that is about 12" long. Since we had the tetras, we were told we had to use a chemical known as Rid-Ich Plus to treat the tank because they could not handle anything stronger. After 8 days of treatments with this, they all died along with a good majority of the tank. We switched to Quick Cure. It was at this point that our levels in the water sky rocketed. Our nitrites actually were at toxic levels. We took a sample to an aquarium shop and they told us they had no idea how anything was alive in the tank. :( While treating with the Quick Cure, we were doing 50% water changes daily to attempt to fix the water levels. Which brings me to the new tragedy in a very long road for this poor guy. We have tested his levels daily and they are fine. He has developed a film over his eyes. I am told this was a protective layer his body created during the Ich cycle which has scarred him for life and he will never see again. (It reminds me of cataracts.) I have also been told that this could be a bacteria infection. He has blood under one of the capsules. I am guessing it is from him hitting his head when he would try to jump from the tank and hit his face on the hood of the tank. He also has red spots right above his dorsal fins that almost look raw. As if he needs anything further... he has white spots on him that would make me think he had Ich, but the remaining 2 mollies in the tank do not show any signs of it and with everything else he is displaying... I am not sure that it is not fungus. Can you please tell me what is wrong with him and what is the best thing to do for him? Also, with the holiday we will be out of town for two days so I am not sure how that would affect any treatments that we would need to administer. This tank is a month and a half old. It was originally set up as a pond, but we started the cycle over again when we changed the gravel. I thought you may need that information as well. I appreciate any help you can give me. Have a wonderful holiday! Michaela < The prolonged treatments affected the biological filtration and created deadly ammonia and nitrite spikes. Most of the fish were killed off directly with the fish that are left have been stressed by the treatments and the spikes. Unfortunately the Pleco has come down with a bacterial infection too. Let start by getting the tank stabilized. Do a 50% water change , vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. It would be best to place the Pleco in a separate 20 gallon hospital tank. Either way then, make sure the water temp is up to 83 F. Increase the aeration. Add a tablespoon of rock salt or aquarium salt per 5 gallons of water. The mollies will love this and it will make the Pleco develop a protective slime to fight the Ich. Treat the tank with Nitrofurazone as per the directions on the package and the Rid-Ich II. The next day do a 50% water change and treat again. Do not feed the sick fish. They will not eat and the food will rot and cause the spikes you had before. Do this for three days. If you are leaving then on the last day just do a water change. When you get back check on the fish. If everyone is alive and the infection has cleared up then add some high quality carbon for the filter to remove any left over medication. When the tank is cleared of any medication you can add Bio-Spira from Marineland and you tank will be cycled very soon. Then you can start to feed your fish again. New fish need to be quarantined before placing them in the main tank or this will happen all over again.-Chuck>

Pimafix, Melafix: not a cure-all, has limited benefits when used in conjunction with common sense, good husbandry. Hello Crew, <Hello Eric> I am a little confused about Pimafix  and Melafix. Bob often writes that they are useless while other members of the crew have prescribed them. Are they garbage or are they useful? <This is largely a matter of personal preference.  While I have not personally used PimaFix, I have used MelaFix, in the past, and continue to use it in limited circumstances (e.g., if a fish is injured, to help speed fin re-growth).  What I can tell you is that neither of these is a "cure all" or "miracle remedy", as some reviews tend to indicate, but rather, *may* help, in conjunction with good husbandry.  The latter is what is truly paramount, and perhaps in a controlled experiment, it may be shown that it's really the water changes, antibiotics, etc., that are in fact helping the fish.  I do tend to caution people against using these remedies in the main tank - I know the directions say that this is OK, but I choose not to do so, if for no other reason than an affected fish should be quarantined. All in all, my opinion is that when MelaFix or PimaFix is used along with research, good common sense, etc., they may help, but perhaps not.  I certainly don't think they are essential, by any means, but do believe they have limited use.  Hope this helps - best to use your own judgment here, after doing your homework (as you appear to be doing!) Jorie> Thanks, Eric Trichodina spreading rapidly in my Gourami tank   11/25/06 Hi everyone. <<Hello, Sara. Tom here.>> First I'd like to express gratitude to you guys for sharing your time and knowledge. Your website is truly fish lifesaving. Thanks. <<Were happy to help and your kind words are very much appreciated.>>   I have a 29 gal. tank with 2 adult gold gouramis, 1 adolescent pearl Gourami, 1 young blue Gourami, 1 young gold Gourami and 11 aeneus catfish of all ages who are constantly reproducing.  Earlier this evening I noticed Jeb, my blue Gourami, slightly rocking back and forth. I immediately went to your website for info on treating Trichodina infestation. <<A conclusive determination of this would require a microscopic examination, Sara. Probably as good a guess as anything else but without visible evidence its still a guess. I mention this because, obviously, we first want to be sure of what were treating for or, as close to it as a reasonable person could conclude. Second, there are parasitic infestations that don't respond at all to certain medications which could leave us with a three-fold problem, i.e. we've incorrectly medicated our fish (never good), we've lost valuable time in a virtually worthless regimen and we've still got the original problem.>> Merely four hours later and all of my gouramis are rocking back and forth and flicking against the filter intake. It's 2:00 am and the only thing I have on hand is "Tank Buddies - Parasite Clear Fizz Tabs" by Jungle Labs. Are you familiar with this remedy? <<The latest generation of this product contains Praziquantel, Metronidazole and Acriflavine. Sort of a shotgun-approach medication. Praziquantel may be toxic to Corys and, reportedly, isn't advised as a treatment regimen with young/juvenile fish. Personally, I wouldn't risk using it.>> If so, should I use it or wait until I can get something else? The box indicates usage for both external and internal parasites. The ingredients are based on dimenthyl phosphonate and Metronidazole. If you have time to respond, it would be greatly appreciated. <<Since healthy fish normally deal with Trichodina at tolerable levels with no ill effects, an outbreak has some root cause that must be corrected before any treatment will be truly successful. I don't consider over-crowding to be the problem so Id turn to water quality as the source of the stress in your fish the reason for the population boom in the parasites. Change out 25%-30% of your tanks water and premix 4-5 tablespoons of aquarium salt to the new water before adding this back to the aquarium. While Corys aren't particularly tolerant of salt, this level shouldn't prove an issue with them and is safer, in the long run, than many medications would be. Of course, you'll want to monitor your fish closely for both the effectiveness of this regimen and for signs of stress in the Corys, specifically. Again, I don't consider salt at this low level to be a problem but fish have an amazing talent for surprising me.>> Thanks again, Sara <<There are more aggressive measures that could be taken here, Sara, but lets not go after the fly with a sledgehammer just now. If the infestation is, in fact, Trichodina, its probably the least of the common parasitic problems that our fish may have to face. Nothing to disregard, certainly, as the added stress can lead to bigger problems but, in itself, doesn't scream out for aggressive treatment. With a little luck, your pets should be back to normal soon. Best regards. Tom>>

Re: Trichodina and "Fizz Tabs" II   11/26/07 Hi. <<Hi, Sara. Tom again.>> Sorry to bother you guys again. <<No bother...>> I just read the article on DTHP which answered my question. So, I will go ahead with the Fizz Tabs. <<Keep a close eye on the Corys, Sara. Still need to find/eliminate the root cause as well.>> Thank you. Sara <<You're welcome. Tom>>

Re: Trichodina spreading rapidly in my Gourami tank III   11/26/07 Thanks so much, Tom. <<Happy to help, Sara. (Guess my response caught up with you, eh?)>> I won't use the Fizz Tabs but instead I'll try changing the water and adding the salt. I'll let you know how it turns out. <<I'd appreciate that, Sara. The Corys are still likely to be the "weak link" as they would with just about any treatment but I consider this the wiser way to go right now. For what it's worth, I use this concentration of salt in my community tank in conjunction with my regular water changes and my Emerald Green Corys (Brochis, actually) are fine with it. Please, do keep me posted.>> Sara <<Tom>>

The Right Medication For the Right Parasite  11/12/06 OK.  In a previous email you recommended Clout and Rid-Ich for scratching/flashing fish (no spots).  I have CopperSafe already at home, will this be effective?  I don't want to buy another med when I already have one.  Is this one ok?  I have Aquarisol also, which is more effective? Thanks again < When you ask for a recommendation for a particular problem I always recommend what has worked best for me for a similar problem. These other medications may work, it is just that I have not tried them. I would recommend that you try the CopperSafe at the recommended dosage. If that does not work then do a 50% water change run carbon in the filter to remove any medication and then try the Aquarisol. Medicate as per the directions on the bottle. If that doesn't work then do a 50% water change, replace the carbon in the filter. The problem with these copper medications is the dosage needed to kill the parasite is very toxic to the fish too. These parasites are probably Protozoans and may also respond to high temps around 82+ F. The trouble is that Lake Malawian cichlids sometimes get stressed out and start to bloat up at these high temps, especially the wild ones.-Chuck>

Fluke Tabs Safe   10/29/06 Are these "fluke tabs" absolutely safe for the fish? Thanks. < If used as directed they are deadly to invertebrates such as snails. If the snails are very numerous their decomposing bodies start a very strong ammonia spike that will affect the fish. Many people use this to treat Malaysian Burrowing snails. The snails are livebearers and make up most of the gravel. Then the tank is treated and the snails are all killed. Their bodies are high in protein. Buried under the gravel the bodies are being broken down by bacteria. The bacteria use oxygen and generate ammonia as waste. The combination is very bad for fish and when they have problems they blame the medications. I would recommend that you check for ammonia spikes when using any medications.-Chuck>

Treating Fish With Human Metronidazole   9/30/06 Dear Bob. I would appreciate your advice. My fish he has been off his food for 3 weeks and in the last week has stopped eating altogether. A once friendly fish, he is now withdrawn and hiding. Before he stopped eating he was passing stringy white pooh. He has not passed any pooh for 1 week since stopped eating. I would like to ask your advice on using Metronidazole 200mg tablets the type we take. I have read so much which is the correct way to treat my fish without harming the other healthy fish. Would Metronidazole be effective in the water if the fish is not eating as I understand tropical fish do not drink the water as marine do?. Would appreciate your advice my tank is 125 litres my other fish are rainbows, giant Danio, 2 pearl catfish and a rosy barb. Thank you Tina   < Use 500 mg of Metronidazole per 10 gallons of aquarium water. Treat every other day while doing a 50% water in-between treatments. After three treatments you should start to see some improvement. A hospital tank is best but it seems pretty harmless in a general community tank. Some aquarists add Nitrofurazone to the water too. This medication will harm your biological filtration.-Chuck> Re: Lumpy Angelfish, meds. avail.  9/26/06 Chuck, Thanks for the advice, Any idea where I can purchase Clout or Fluke-tabs (The UK doesn't seem to sell them!) < Do a Google search on these medications to find the active ingredient. Then check for the ingredient with the medications available in the UK.-Chuck>

Quick Cure... or quick death  8/25/06 I have a very important question. I am using Quick Cure to treat Ick . <Malachite Green and Formalin... very dangerous> I have my fish in a 10 gallon QT and the Quick Cure has been working great. The dose for Quick Cure is 1 drop per gallon for 5 days. Say I do a 100% water change on the 4th day because of high nitrites and because I wanted to move them to a new 10 gallon setup do I put 40 drops in the new tank or is that too much? <Is way too much...> Do I just put in 10? <Never more than one drop per actual gallon> Please help, I do not want the 40 drops to be to concentrated and kill the fish. Another way to put it is if I do a 50% water change on the 3rd day do I just put in 10 for that day or do I have to put in more to compensate the drops I put in for days 1 and 2? Thanks <... one drop per gallon as changed, replaced, time going by... Bob Fenner>

Oops!  My Fish Ate the Medicine Tablet! - 8/9/2006 Hi Crew, <Cin> My Yellow Lab Cichlid (Labidochromis caeruleus) is being treated in a hospital tank for a deep internal jaw infection brought on by aggressive cichlid lip locking. <So common...>   My lab swims to the surface and catches his food at mealtime.  I didn't give this any thought before I tossed in an undissolved tablet of Maracyn-Two (Minocycline), per the instructions.    My lab caught the tablet and ate it! <Yikes>    I kept waiting for him to spit it out, but he didn't.  I'm happy to report he's doing fine 24 hours later, but I realize that had this been some other type of medication it possibly could have killed him.     Cindy   <Luckily not this time, with this antibiotic. I would smash up, swirl, dissolve med.s out of tank in future. Bob Fenner> Re: Oops!  My Fish Ate the Medicine Tablet! - 8/10/2006 Hi Bob, <Cindy> I posted this message in the hope others might read it and realize adding whole tablets can be dangerous.  I save the spent micron mesh resin bags from products like Seachem's Purigen.  I discard the resins and disinfect the bags for use for a variety of things, including rinsing and draining frozen foods like daphnia, or straining baby brine shrimp.  I decided to place the next dose of the time release tablet in one of those bags last night and clipped it to an air line hose which solved the problem. <Great idea. Thanks for passing on this tip. Bob Fenner> Dead Three-spot Gourami (Bob Fenner) Hey, I'm still alive!    5/28/06 Thank you for the quick response, Mr. Fenner! <Welcome> From what I understand then, instead of trying to 'treat' my fish that look sick, I should first make sure I know what's wrong with them? Because that's excellent advice and I feel like an idiot! <Not an idiotic statement at all... Au contraire! Yes to the very important steps of careful observation and patience> I do have another question though: If I had left him alone to adjust, would it have been likely he would have survived? <Not able to state/guess... many such problems do resolve themselves on their own. It is my estimation that much more livestock is "bumped off" than dies, by "mis-medication", treatments by well-meaning aquarists, than by "natural causes". Bob Fenner>

Uncertainty on Whether to Medicate FW system ... Credit to the "Nuge"... "When in doubt, I count it out... It's a free for all" Hi Crew.  I have a FW tank and suspect (fear) that something untoward may be brewing with one of my guppies.  I read your site and FAQs daily but I still can't quite get a read on what might be going on or, more importantly, whether I should take any action at this time based upon what I am observing with this fish.   My set up is: 20 gal FW, java moss and plastic plants, strong aeration, two hang on-filters:  30 gal Marineland w/BioWheel and 20 gal Top Fin, water temp usually kept at 76-78 range, tank has been fully cycled since last November.  The readings this morning were 0 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrites and 10 ppm nitrates, ph is between 7.4 and 7.8.    Fish:  8 adult guppies, about 8-10 half-grown guppies, and probably another 10 guppy fry, 3 reticulated Corys, 1 dwarf Pleco (Peckoltia sp.).  I sell/give guppies regularly back to the LFS because they breed as fast as, well, guppies. <Know what you mean>   Originally, I started with only three guppies (2 female, one male) and all the guppies in the tank now have come from those fish, with one exception.  I purchased a red diamond male guppy about two months ago and he is the only fish from this tank I have had to euthanize (or lost).  I did so because he began to exhibit symptoms of what I believed was whirling fish disease based upon my research, or at least some type of nervous disorder.  He would swim normally and then go into violent spins and seizures.  This occurred well after tank was cycled and the water parameters were all excellent so it was not any type of water quality issue.    I was worried about my other fish but have had no other fish with remotely similar problems since.  I am explaining this because I believe the guppy I have concerns about now is the offspring of the euthanized red diamond guppy as it has similar markings.   I do a 30% to 35% water change (6-8 gallons)  weekly to keep the nitrates down which will spike up to 40 ppm at the end of the week but then drop to 10 ppm or less with the change.      <You may want to read re, do something/s to keep under 20 ppm on a constant basis> Now to my concern.  I have observed the guppy in question recently, and again this morning (one day after a 30% water change), rubbing his side on the gravel bottom in a single twisting motion.  I have observed this fish at length and I have only seen him do this on a couple of occasions when he comes near the bottom to feed on the Pleco's pellet. I know from your site that this could be a number of things:  a first sign of Ich, velvet, parasite, or even a sensitivity to nitrates.   <Yes> The fish's appearance is what is puzzling to me and complicated by his strange markings.  He has the orange and white from the red diamond parent with bluish brown and some yellow from his mother.  He is probably around six to eight weeks old and has always had a sort of iridescent sheen (very beautiful fish).  He shows none of the visual symptoms on his body of Ich.  I can't really see signs of velvet but that is uncertain because of his markings (some of which are a kind of light yellow iridescence).  If I was forced to guess that he had some disease, I guess I would have to pick velvet because of the yellow. <Mmm, if this then you would very likely experience quick mortality... I doubt this is this algal complaint>   However, he seems very content and active at this stage with no real sign of discomfort and, as I said,  I have been watching him closely for some time and have observed the rubbing only a couple of times.  The only other visual issue is seems to have a small discoloration just in front of his dorsal fin where it is lighter than the rest of the surrounding coloration.  This could be a rub mark or it may just be a function of his maturing coloration.  So I am uncertain whether the fish is diseased but obviously concerned about the entire system.   Additionally, all fish in the system appear happy content and with good appetites.    <A good sign> I know this equivocal information is probably insufficient for any kind of precise diagnosis, but my question is really the best way to proceed based upon this uncertainty. <"Do no harm"... I'd keep all under observation at this point> I am hesitant to bombard my tank with chemicals or treatment at this point, because I don't really know what I am treating, if anything, and I don't want to destroy my biological filter unnecessarily.  It seems my options are (1) to simply monitor, (2) remove the fish in question and observe, (3) remove the fish in question and provide some treatment individually, (4) treat the entire system.  The fish is too healthy to even give consideration to euthanizing.   The only thing I have done at this point is to increase the temperature to about 80 degrees.  What would you do? <1)> I note from reading you site regularly that Sabrina seems to get most of the guppy questions, but I would really welcome opinions from any of you.  I apologize for being unable to arrive at a course of action from the information on your site (which I have been otherwise able to do throughout almost every turn in this hobby), but I am just unclear on exactly what to do here and I don't want to jeopardize a system I have worked so hard to get established. Thanks so much for your time and assistance.  Phil         <Thank you for writing... and so clearly, completely. I would not treat this system, fish per se, but strive to improve the environment here. Bob Fenner> Starter FW Questions...  - 3/1/2006 Good Afternoon, <And to you> I purchased a 20 gal tank for myself for Christmas. Just a couple months later, I have a 5 gal at work (guppies), and started another 10 gal tank at home that I will use as a quarantine/hospital if necessary. Amazing how addictive this hobby can be. <Ah, yes> Being new, I was wondering if you could help me with a couple of questions. <Go ahead> 1. I use a dechlorinator that I add to my bucket for water changes. Then add the water to my tank when doing my water changes. Should I be letting the water sit with the dechlorinator in it, or is it ok to add to the tank right away. So far, I have not had any issues, but I want to make sure I'm doing the best I can. <Better by far to treat your new water as detailed here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/taptrtmnt.htm> 2. My fish recently caught ick (hence the new quarantine tank). I have 3 clown loaches, a L136 Pleco, and 2 dwarf gouramis. I've been using Jungle Ick Guard II as it was recommended because it's more sensitive to scaleless fish. The directions state, " Second dose may be added in 24 hours." All the reading I've seen says to keep medicating until days after all ick is not visible (up to 16 days) as their life cycle still goes on. I've been treating daily as directed for 4 days but I'm not sure how long to go with the medication. The white spots are almost gone, but I don't want to hurt the fish. <You are wise here... one really needs to measure the active ingredient/s in such "medicines" (most are non-selective biocides)... I would rely on elevated temperature and time going by to assure a complete cure here. Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm> 3. My local fish store told my the L136 would be good for eating algae off the tank walls. But, he doesn't seem to like algae a bit. <Mmm, a common myth/mistake... Please see: http://www.planetcatfish.com/catelog/loricari/INDEX.PHP> What's the best type of food I should be feeding him? He doesn't seem to be eating the algae wafers I put it, and they leave quite the mess. Thanks for any help you can provide. Adam <Isn't the Net wonderful? Bob Fenner>

Using Aquarisol    2/17/06 Hello,   I've read some articles that are posted about using Aquarisol which have been helpful, but I still have some questions. I have a 10 gallon tank with Corydoras paleatus, Corydoras pandas, and 1 flame tetra in it. One of my Corydoras paleatus has a white fuzzy growth on its tail that I think is fungus. Before it had that growth, I think they had ick on their body's too. In the past I used Jungle's brand of medication but it never seemed to work and a fish or two always died. Now I am trying Aquarisol. I've raised the temperature to 82F so far. I turned the thermometer up a little more so it should reach a temp. of 85F by the end of today. I'm also keeping my light off because it might raise the temp too high. <Not likely with the use of a thermostatic heater... unless your setting air temp. is in the nineties F.> I have a hang on the back filter so I took out the activated carbon and left the white mesh part in. After that I added half a dose(6 drops) of Aquarisol because of my tetra. Does everything sound ok so far? <Yes> I don't want these fish to die. With the filter running should I still change 30% of the water every day? <Mmm, no> Also, on the directions, it says that you could use it once a week as a disease preventative and whenever new fish are added. Do you have to take the carbon out of your filter every time? <I would not use this material ongoing. It is now copper-based (used to be a silver salt)... too toxic> Do you recommend using Aquari-Sol or is there another medication that works better? Thank you. Wayne <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> About MelaFix and PimaFix   2/13/06 Why do you say these are toxic if their (sic) made from plants? <Mmm, not (very) toxic, just not very effective... mild antimicrobial activity at best> Penicillin is from plants too. <Not correct... http://cc.msnscache.com/cache.aspx?q=2844191042360&lang=en-US&mkt=en-US&FORM=CVRE is made from a mold, a fungus. Bob Fenner>

FW Ich... Malachite and Formalin exposure to non-fishes   1/26/06 I have a ten gallon tank that houses some female beta's an Asian floating frog, African dwarf frog and a fire belly newt.  My question is last night I saw a couple spots on two of my females that looks like Ich but I am worried about the other creatures, will they be alright if I treat the fish with Quick cure. <You are wise here. This "medicine" is way too toxic...> I think I may have used it once before when I had the newt in the tank but I can't remember for sure. <I would only expose the fish to this material. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Michelle Re: FW Ich... Malachite and Formalin exposure to non-fishes   1/30/06 How long should I actually treat the tank the medication says two days but I have read (and this varies) you should do it for up to two weeks? <Two weeks for most regimens, remedies> Also since I was stuck I bought a one gallon tank and gravel from wall-mart.  I rinsed the gravel for at least a half hour but I noticed last night that the water smells really strange.  I have figured out that it's the gravel that smells (almost reminds me of super glue) and now my Asian floating frog isn't eating (it's been two days since he ate last) although my ADF seems happy. What should I do? <... please read WWM re setting up a freshwater system... You need to make means of removing/cycling wastes...> rip it apart and start over without any gravel until I can get more from my LFS that I trust. I took the newt out and put him in a container I have for my crickets but it's kind of small for the newt and the two frogs. I am so mad I thought I was doing the smart thing by separating them and now I feel like the are in more danger then they were in the "ichy" tank! Michelle <Have you read our posted piece and Related FAQs re FW Ich? Please do, and soon. Bob Fenner>

Re: FW Ich... Malachite and Formalin exposure to non-fishes   1/31/06 I should have mentioned I purchased not just the tank but a tank kit.  I removed all the gravel (after speaking with the manufacturer who said the smell can result from the paint they use sometimes but they do test it with fish before it goes for sale? I removed it and tossed it anyhow.) and replaced it with safe gravel from my tank at work. Since doing so everyone is eating and doing well. <Ah, good> Any other time I have let the tank cycle for about a month before putting fish or anything in it but I was stuck this time. btw the treatment for Ich seems to be working thus far. Thanks for the help. <Thank you for this update, clarification. Bob Fenner> CopperSafe... copper use period   1/20/06 We have been dealing with Ich since we put up our tank, we were treating with CopperSafe.  The first set of fish all died. We emptied, cleaned, and changed everything on our tank.  Now our new fish have it.  We are treating with the CopperSafe, which says to add 1tsp. / 4gal. <Mmm, with testing...> And this treats for one month.  It has been almost three weeks and it is still there.  It says the treatment lasts for one month.  Does this mean that I only need to add the solution to the water once a month. <Negative>   I am confused.  And my Bala Shark, an Guppies seem to be dying once again. I would really appreciate any suggestions, since I have already spent over 100.00 buying and replacing my sons pets in the last three months.                 Thank You <One should only use copper products while simultaneously utilizing test kits... to assure therapeutic levels... for either chelated (as here) or free cupric ion formats... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/copperprodfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Toxicity of Formalin Hi Crew-- Thanks for the advice but sadly, my Danio's both died.  It seems that the "lump" was really a growth that seemed to push through my Danio's skin!  Also, they both became really aggressive with the other fish.  The fungus or whatever it was has cleared up on the my molly so it seems that the Quick Cure was the answer for him but for future reference, what other fish could Quick Cure be harmful to (besides tetras)?  Keep up the good work! Jennifer <... this product is a combination of malachite green and formalin... the latter is a biocide... "kills life", by cross-linking peptides... amino acids... the building blocks of life on this planet. BobF>

Medications to Keep on Hand  12/26/05 Hi, first of all I would like to say thank you for the incredible website. < Thanks for you kind words.> I have been reading through it for a couple of months now and have learned a lot!  So far I have found the answers to all of my questions, except for one basic one, and I hope I didn't just miss it somewhere.  I have learned the importance of setting up a separate hospital/quarantine tank and I am in the process of doing this before buying any more fish.  My problem is none of the stores in my area carry a very good selection of medications.  Most of them only carry Ich medications, so if I want medications for other diseases I have to order it.  I was wondering if you guys have a list of good medications to keep on hand.  I would rather buy a medication and never need it than to need a medication and have to wait a week to order it.  I also know different fish have different medicine tolerances so if it helps here is a list of the fish I have and ones I would like to have: tetras, convict cichlids, angel fish, mollies, goldfish, Bettas, and a few different species of Plecos.  Of course these fish are not together in the same tank, another thing I learned from this website.  I have several tanks.  Thank you for your time, and I apologize if this question has already been answered.  I did spend several days reading through anything that mentioned setting up a hospital tank.  Tracy and her many finned friends. < I have 40 FW aquariums and I hardly use any medications at all. Fortunately most of my tanks are full of cichlids and they are a pretty hardy lot. For Ich medications I like to use Rid-Ich by Kordon. Any formalin/malachite green combination will do. Scaleless fishes are sensitive to the malachite so read the directions. For an antibiotic I like Nitrofurazone. It is a shotgun type that cure almost anything if the water is right and the fish has any fight left in them. Once in awhile I will use Kanamycin if the disease doesn't respond to the Nitrofurazone. For internal bacterial infections like bloat and pop-eye I use Metronidazole. That's it! I get fish in and out all the time. I quarantine my fish for two weeks, sometimes longer when I forget. I usually catch the Ich and other diseases in the QT tank so I use very little medication. I do occasionally use  rock salt. Once in a great while I will use Clout on protozoan infections with wild Tanganyikan cichlids.-Chuck>

Getting Medications Online  11/16/05 Hi Chuck, Thanks so much for getting back to me. I have been trying to locate those medications, Nitrofuranace or Kanamycin. I called Dr. Foster Smith's and had them check with the pharmacy. I was told that the company who made those two products is no longer in business. They suggested either Furan-2 or Furanace. What do you think? < Either one of these will work fine.> And one more question. Until I am able to get these products should I go ahead and use the Maracyn Plus? < I don't think it is as effective as the others but if you got it you could give it a try.-Chuck>

Combining Medications 10/18/05 Can I treat for a bacterial infection at the same time of treating for Ich or Velvet? I am currently treating with formalin and malachite green, can I mix the med used for a bacterial infection with these? < Do a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Remove any carbon. Raising the water temp to 82 F will take care of the Ich so you can add an antibiotic for the bacterial infection.-Chuck> 

Oscar Needs Medication  9/22/05 My Oscar has hole-in-the-head. I went to my local fish store to try and get Nitrofuranace and they said that company is no longer in business.  I can't get that med. for him. Now what? <Go to DrsFosterSmith.com. You can order 100 tablets of Furanace (#PC-210282) for $12.99 plus shipping. They carry the Metronidazole too, (#PC-18879). You get 100 tablets for $19.99 plus shipping.-Chuck> Aquatic Arsenal - 09/01/2005 Hi Guys, <Hello - Sabrina with you, today> I live in Australia and recently set up a 30L BiOrb with 2 small (1 inch) goldfish - one Red Cap Oranda and one black Bubble-Eye.  I have been doing lots of research on the web (particularly your website), and I (now) realize that my fish will soon outgrow the BiOrb, <Yup.> however....I am planning an outdoor water feature with pond that I am hoping transfer them to at a later date :-). <Ahhhh!  Goooood!> The first thing your website taught me was to never underestimate the importance of water quality.  As a result, I am now the owner of a comprehensive water testing kit - ammonia, nitrate, nitrite and pH.   <Wonderful!  You HAVE been reading, haven't you?> Out of interest, I have been trying to research the different requirements of / symptoms and diseases that can affect, goldfish, so I can get together a basic and effective "care kit" of essentials/treatments/medicines.  From what I have read, the following seem to be quite useful if not essential): * Water quality test kit <Absolutely essential, you are quite correct> * Water conditioner - to get rid of Chlorine in water (some of these contain Aloe to help repair damage to scales, etc); <Essential as well; also try to find out if "chloramine" is used in your tapwater, and be sure your conditioner treats for this as well.> * Salt - for salt baths (first line of defense); <Good to have on hand.> * Fungal treatment - containing Acriflavine and malachite green; and, <Good to have on hand.> * Antibiotic. <Also good to have on hand....  Err....  I should mention, I'm a nut when it comes to foods and fish meds; I have a closet that looks like a fish store.> I notice that you guys recommend the broad spectrum antibiotic Maracyn for the treatment of bacterial infections like fin rot, etc. <Actually, I do not recommend this particular drug (erythromycin) unless you know beyond most doubt that you are treating for gram-positive bacteria.  Most bacterial infections in fish are caused by gram-negative bacteria.  Though, I do have a box or two of this on hand....> Unfortunately, this product (and many of the others you recommend on your website) is not available in Australia. The only antibiotic treatments available in Australia are: * Tri-Sulfa - sulfadiazine 153.3mg, Sulfadimidine 154.7mg and Sulfamerazine 154.1mg; and, <Good.> * Aquaricycline - tetracycline hydrochloride 375mg. <Also good.> Can you please tell me which one of these would be the better? <Both are good broad-spectrum antibiotics.  Personally, if I had to make a choice, I'd probably go with the tetracycline.> And, if you can think of anything else that you think might be useful it would be much appreciated. <Sounds like you're getting your bases covered!  Some other things I like to keep on hand are Metronidazole (for internal protozoan parasites), Praziquantel (internal Protozoans and also wormy-type-nasties), Levamisole or Piperazine (for worms), Methylene blue (many uses....  including Ich), malachite green or a malachite green/formalin product such as "Rid-Ich+", Kanamycin sulfate (my #1 antibiotic choice), Nitrofurazone (my #2 choice), and quite a bit more....  Uh, of those, I'd suggest (if you can find them, and it matters to you) Metronidazole/Flagyl, Praziquantel, and Methylene blue.  But also, keep in mind, your "arsenal" will grow as your hobby does....  you probably won't have need of most of this stuff now, but it might come in useful in the future.  Oh, blunt forceps are a good tool, too.> Regards,  Sharon. <Wishing you and your Goldies well,  -Sabrina>

Getting Meds for Sick Fish 8/4/05 Thank you so much for the info. Can you possibly tell me where I can acquire some of the Metronidazole? <DrsFosterSmith.com>  I called the local pet store, and they did not have anything that had that ingredient in it. He is still alive, but not doing well.  And can you tell me why one got this infection, and the other two did not? Karen < Usually stress. Being the smallest fish and being pushed around by the others or even too much food.-Chuck> Fire eel, copper use 7/22/05 Dear Robert: <Linda>     I have had my fire eel about 10 years and he is about 18-19 inches and very well rounded. <How nice... great pets, very intelligent>   He is very aggressive and spooks easily and has had several injuries to his body over the years.  Only on one occasion did I almost lose him - my local aquarium shop said it sounded like an infection in his gills - heavy breathing - not eating or swimming.  I treated the tank with Maracyns I and II  and CopperSafe and he recovered.  I have used these products ever since, and having read on your webpage that eels are sensitive to copper I wonder if I should stop. <Mmm, no... just "be careful"... not to over-expose> I recently moved ( and the fire eel) to a new home which is on well water and I regularly treat the water with StressCoat and CopperSafe.  May I have your opinion on this treatment plan.  Thank you.                                    Linda Itoh <Mmm, I would get, use a copper (ion) test kit... and know that StressCoat will remove/precipitate copper. Bob Fenner>

Effect of Medication on Nitrates 7/22/05 Could you please tell me if medication (Jungle Brand- Parasite Clear and Fungal Clear) added to a freshwater tank would increase the nitrates? <Mmm, don't think so... at least not directly... the principal ingredient in these products is "salt"... which, if anything would subtend the metabolism of all microbes... including nitrifiers. Bob Fenner>

Medicating a tank after aggression - 6/3/05 Hi, <Hi Lina> I have a question about my cichlids. <What kind of cichlids do you have?> Bigger cichlids killed one of my little brown ones.  They ate part of it. <Actually not unheard of and somewhat natural order of things> I am very concerned about the health of other cichlids. <Why is that?> Should I medicate the rest of the fish? <Why would you do this? I am not sure I have enough information to establish a concern or condone the use of medication. Let me just say that if you are concerned because they ate half of another fish, I would not medicate the tank. Use medication only after proper diagnosis of symptoms. Not as a general anesthetic for anything that could be/go wrong. Take medicating seriously. Now, I would do a water change after pulling out what is left of the deceased fish, that is what I do in the case of death. This is in addition to my regular weekly water change schedule. No need to be too concerned about the after affects but I would be concerned about the aggression in the tank. Thanks for being part of it all and let me know if I can be of anymore help. ~Paul> Thanks for you help Lina

Sick silver dollar... "Treatment" Poison-a-thon! A week ago I brought home two silver dollars. By the time they got into the tank the larger of the two already had showed signs of frayed fins. When I called the store and asked what to do she said he should be fine but to watch for white fuzz, until then do not treat. <Good advice... often these fins get torn, challenged in new systems, moves> 2 days later he seemed to look a white haze, new to this I was still looking for fuzz. I did call back though convinced he needed something. They said it sounds like Ich so I started the treatment. Within 24 hours the spots broke out everywhere!! A couple dozen either side. I also started Mela-fix by their guidance. <Dismal> In a few days the haze was gone to be replaced by some white blotches on one side. <Poisoning...> I went to another store and was advised to treat with Melacin, <Likely Maracyn, the antibiotic Erythromycin, sold/re-packaged by Mardel Corp.> along with the other 2 things I was already giving him. On the 4th day now he still has his white spots on one side and now seems to be blackish on the other side, the black isn't a defined area though, just seems to spread. He is on his 8th day of Quick cure <Stop...> and still has his spots all over. Today I got a quarantine tank because the show tank was becoming a mess, I just don't know what to do now though. I would so appreciate any guidance. He also is not wanting food unless it happens to land near his mouth. Thank you!! Rebecca <Stop pouring in toxic chemicals, and READ re Ich, the care of this species. On WWM, elsewhere. Bob Fenner> 

Re: Sick silver dollar Thank you for responding, I'm not sure I understand what you are telling me. I'm poisoning him with what? Is it the Mela-fix? <All the "medications" you're tossing in... They are not miscible... some are outright toxic by themselves> Did you say to completely stop the quick cure? <All.. until you understand what you're doing> You were right, it is the Maracyn, I stop that also? In his new small tank I am able to see the white spots actually or where the skin is gone. Everyone has told me how great Mela-fix is, is this not really true? <Might I ask you... do you reach for tree leaf extracts when you're ill? I don't> Thank you again! Rebecca <Please... read, use the Google search tool on WWM... with the names of all involved. Much that you need/should know before acting. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick silver dollar, Umbrage Taken With Delivery of Information? I agree there is much that I need to know which is why when I stumbled onto your website after days of reading I decided to ask advice. What I didn't expect was to feel like an idiot for not knowing everything when I have been under guidance of "professionals". I haven't just went to a store and pulled everything off a shelf and dumped it in, I have medicated according to what I was advised. <... Maracyn, Melafix and QuickCure...> I can only read and learn what I am able to find and then still there is a lot of mixed messages. <Me, us, WWM?> You obviously know a lot more than I and most people but it seems you may have forgotten that this is why we are writing, for help, not to feel like fools. Rebecca <Please take your advice from no one but yourself... Learn the facts, don't listen to anyone, including me/us here... Read the labels on the compounds you're using... apply yourself. Bob Fenner> 

What's in Fluke Tabs? Hi Chuck! I bought the Fluke tabs. Do you know what are the active ingredients? It's not written on the product. Thanks! Dominique <The active ingredients are Mebendazole and Trichlorfon.-Chuck> 

Mixing CopperSafe and PraziPro (Praziquantel) Hi Crew! <Jonah> Thanks for your wonderful website and great advice. I've got a question about mixing medications. Is it safe to mix CopperSafe and PraziPro? I've been treating the tank with CopperSafe to treat a mean outbreak of Ich. Now that seems better, but the mollies are presenting with stringy white poop. PraziPro has worked before, but I wasn't sure if that would conflict with the current meds. <Should work fine to mix these two together... given the fish/es are in good enough initial health. Bob Fenner> Velvet and Sensitive fish Dear Crew, <Erica> Thanks for a fabulous site.  It's great to get polite, professional and accurate help.  Currently our tank has a persistent case of Velvet. Our tank inhabitants include: 1 Striped Peacock Eel, 1 South American Dragon Fish (Violet Gobi), 1 Bala Shark, 2 Algae Eaters, 2 Red Glass Barbs, 2 Glass Catfish, 3 Pineapple Swordtails, 5 Neon Tetra's and 6 Black Neon Tetra's. The tank is salted.   <I hope/trust not very salted... as the Tetra's really don't like this> On the web and even in your own site postings I have found conflicting info.  I read that all of these are unsafe for our sensitive fish: formalin, Acriflavine, copper, all dyes like: malachite green, Victoria green, and Methylene blue.   However all treatment options recommend one of these. <Both correct, and yes, conflicting> Half doses of formalin have been tried, bio filter was ruined, between constant water changes and the harsh medication the fish became stressed and ended up with several other problems.  All have been corrected and we are down to only velvet again.  Less traumatic treatment would be greatly appreciated. Appreciate All Your Help Erica <I would go the Acriflavine route here... possibly with turning the lights out, covering the aquarium with dark paper as well. Here's Novalek's go at describing this use: http://www.petsforum.com/novalek/kpd29.htm Likely you don't need to worry re the below 7.0 pH issue, but I would monitor this and ammonia. Bob Fenner>

Can't Get the Right Medication Hi Chuck, I really appreciate your replies on this. I get what you're saying about how nasty these things are to get rid of. I'm in the UK so Fluke tabs and 'Clout' aren't available here as far as I  know. Have you any idea what's in them? < To treat these worms the Fluke tabs have Trichlorofon and I am not sure what the ingredients are in Clout. The next step I would try would be copper. Be very careful, usually the dosage required to kill parasite is very close to the same dosage required to kill a fish. There are suppose to be some newer less toxic forms on the market here in the US but I have not personally used them.-Chuck> 

Malachite green vs. Methylene blue, Battle of the Colors! I have two Oscars who are showing signs of fungal infection. They have small, cottony growths on their fins (four in number, between the two), although their bodies and actions remain normal. There are two other inhabitants in the tank that do not appear to be effected. <What is the root cause here?> It is a 75 gallon tank, now with an algae imbalance because the pet store owner advised me to use erythromycin (spelling?)... <This is it, and a poor idea> ...for three days. It did not clear up the problem, but like I said, the natural balance is definitely OFF. I don't want to continue use of antibiotic if I don't have to, it scares me. <Me too> So, the question is, do I use malachite green or Methylene blue? I have read on WetWeb that Methylene blue is good for fungal use when dipping and I've read most elsewhere to use green. The stuff also scares me, I worked in a bio lab, I don't want to give it to my fish. I don't understand what dipping is all about. Any help? Thank you! <I would use the Methylene Blue, not the Malachite... and add a teaspoon of salt per ten gallons of water... and monitor water quality, do ten-fifteen percent water changes daily for a week or two... Oscars are tough and yours should recover. Bob Fenner> 

Re: FW: Malachite green vs. Methylene blue And to answer your question about how the Oscars contracted the fungus, I suspect it came from the goldfish I fed them a month or so back. I will never feed live food I didn't raise again. Stupid, stupid, stupid. <Ah, but intelligent to realize the root cause here. Bob Fenner> 

FW disease city, hypochondria Hi, my name is Brandi and I have a few problems (I think) with my fish. I have an orange and white fantail in my ten gallon tank and his dorsal fin is laying down. He stays at the top of the water a little, but he's not gasping or flopping or anything. I can see no other signs of sickness, and my other goldfish (in the same tank) is healthy and active. My water seems to be okay, except not quite as acidic as it might should be.   <Mmm, actually, better to keep goldfish in slightly alkaline water... 7.2-7.5 or so is ideal. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm > Should I add aquarium salt or any kind of acid-upper? <... not for this purpose, but some salt addition may be a good idea. As stated, you may be confused re what pH is... Please read WWM re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwph,alk.htm > Also, I have a female Betta who has had her dorsal fin ripped off. She's swimming fine, and eats well, and recognizes me when I come to the tank. I'm treating her by herself in a 2.5 gallon tank with Melafix. <I would NOT use this product... or herbal remedies period> Her wound seems grave, but she seems okay. Is there anything else I should be doing for her? <Please read WWM re...> Finally, I'm treating my mollies for some kind of weird shimmy/clamped fins combo with Quick Cure.  They seem all better now, but how long should I continue the treatment? <Please see...> How do I clean their tank (it's got snails in it and how they got there, I have no idea but I like them)?  <Please...> Any help would be very much appreciated, and I apologize if these questions have already been answered, but I couldn't find anything with the search tool that quite fit my situation. Thank you again! <Umm, see the list of suggestions re querying us? Please use the materials archived on WetWebMedia... the search tool, indices... Bob Fenner...>

Looking for meds Do you know where I can purchase Kanamycin, Spectrogram, Neomycin, Super Fungus, and Bio-Med (the refrigerated bacteria starter) online? <Please see the etailers, links here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/general_links_pg.htm - BobF>

Clown loach FAQ, actually petfish hypochondria Hi, I have a 75 gallon tank with 5 clown loaches (approx. 5 inches long), 2 catfishes, and 2 discus.  After cleaning the filter in my Fluval 304, I noticed 1 of my clownloaches developed partial eye cloudiness in one eye and another clown loach developed what started looking like a small 1mm x 5mm whitish bump turned into a round pimple-like bump. <Good observations> They have a great appetite.   What can I use to treat them? <Mmm, I prescribe nothing... just time going by... the markings are/were due to abrupt chemical changes in your system... not a pathogen... and besides, even mild medications will harm your other fishes> Do they need to be separated in a "sick" tank? <No> You have mentioned for other internal bacteria diseases or infections to use Flagyl, but how much ? <None> Let say I have Flagyl 500 mg tablet form.   <... this material, Metronidazole is quite toxic... kills the kidneys of fishes easily... Do NOT use it in this instance> Would I go by the approximate weight of the fish ?  What is the weight of a 6 inch 15 year old clown loach ?  Can I crush up the Flagyl tablet and dilute it with tank water then soak it in Tubifex worms ?  Will it further harm the rest of the healthy fish or will the antibiotic make the other fishes bigger and healthier ?  I've heard of using Methylene blue approximately 6 drops per gallon on the entire tank.  What is your feelings on this and where would I buy Methylene blue ?  15 years ago, when I bought the tiny little babies, one of them would not eat and was wasting away.  At that time I didn't have my heart and soul invested in them because I just bought them.   So I figured I would experiment.  I had left over amoxicillin (from my sick cat).  If memories serves me correctly, I crushed up a tablet, separated it to approximately 1 mg, dilute it with water, soaked it with Tubifex (the worms died instantly), then fed it to the sick fish, which was in a breeder tank inside the 75 gallon tank.  So the sick wasting fish would accidentally have to suck and antibiotic soaked worm.  A week later, he was swimming with the rest of the fishes.  The rest of the other fishes ate whatever antibiotic soaked worms floated out of the breeder tank.  And they all lived !! 15 years later they are XXL and were healthy until now.  But now I don't want to experiment.  Please advise.  Thank you for your time.   Tammy <Tam... don't fall prey to the "pill" mentality... these are not "safe" to just add... and there is no need to generally add any of them to otherwise well-maintained systems. I would add nothing here. Bob Fenner> Melafix has a rather strong odor! F/W System Hello! Your web site is phenomenal! I am just getting into this hobby and I have found countless articles to be of interest. I have 16 small tropical freshwater community fishes and a small variety of plants in my 44 gallon pentagon tank that I set up a month ago. I used TurboStart 700 (The live Refrigerated bacteria) to "instantly" cycle the tank and I have tested my water parameters every other day and it seems to have done the job. On any given day: Ph - 7.5; Ammonia - 0; Nitrite 0-.25ppm; Nitrate 10-20ppm). Anyway, I have a Head and Tail Light Tetra that has two tiny white/clear globules on each corner of his mouth. I was told by my local aquarium that it is most likely mouth fungus and, because I just set up my tank a month ago and it is still maturing, they recommend using the mild anti-bacterial Melafix. I removed the carbon from my filter, and have been using it for three days now. (FYI - Melafix has a rather strong odor!) <It's just "boiled leaves"... I would discontinue its use> I have not noticed any change in the fish, but the directions say to treat for 7 days so I assume I should not give up hope. <No reason to abandon hope ever. I VERY strongly suspect this is NOT some sort of fungus, infectious disease period, but likely an internal parasite (likely a Microsporidean) that is not treatable, likely not really a "problem", going to spread... I'd not "treat it" period> However, I have read up on other fish diseases and it sounds like it could be Lymphocystis. <No, not likely... rare in tetras...> I am thinking this because the infection does not cover his mouth and the white/clear globules are most certainly external growths. However, they are only on the corners of his mouth and nowhere else on his body. Does anyone have any advice? The fish seems perfectly healthy, and I can live with growths, I just do not want him to infect the entire tank. Thanks. <You are FAR more likely to cause troubles by dumping in "treatments" than doing your best to keep your system optimized and stable, your fishes well fed... Think this over... I would NOT use ..."Fix" for anything. Bob Fenner>

Bad reaction to Melafix? Hi, I just recently bought a male Betta fish, Odysseus, from a local store; I've only had him for a little more than a week. He lives in a very clean, one-gallon bowl (with a constant temperature of around 70 degrees, due to a stuck college dorm radiator that turns our room tropical). <Actually... would be better if it were stuck a bit higher... the upper seventies are better for your Betta> I know that it's better for a Betta to have a bigger tank, (and he will once I save up for one) but I figured that anything would be better than the dirty little cup he was living in at the store. When I first brought him home, he was blowing bubble nests and exploring his bowl, but then I notice that his fins were getting raggy and that he was clamping and spending more time just floating around. I realized that Odysseus had fin rot, <But, from what cause?> ...so I did some research and bought MelaFix and Maracyn II. The Maracyn II seems to have worked. The rot has disappeared and my fish is looking a lot better. Then I added the Melafix to the bowl so that the fins and tail would mend faster. But Odysseus seems to clamp up when I add the Melafix. Is it possible that he's having a bad reaction to it? <Yes... know that I am NOT a fan of this and other "herbal" "remedies"> I've discontinued its use, but I hate to see him looking so ragged and unhealthy. Is there anything else that I can give my little fishy to help fix him up? Is there anything I should feed him to encourage fin re-growth? Thank you for your time. <You might add a bit of salt... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betdisfaqs.htm  and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Malachite green Perma-stains Does anyone know of a stain remover for malachite green on aqua. deco ? <I wish... you can bleach off most of it... the actual action here is the removal of surface material (like acid etching)... Do follow this sort of protocol: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnornart.htm  to assure the removal of cleaner... Bob Fenner, who has had blue stains on hands, clothing, carpet... silicone... for most his long life.> 

Methylene blue, harm, internal worm diseases In my freshwater aquarium I have internal worms in the sail fin mollies. I am going to treat with Methylene blue 1mg/litre. Will this harm my apple snails, African dwarf frogs and plants? <Will not harm these other organisms, but will do nothing directly to eradicate the worms either... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm sort through re parasitic disease, mollies. Bob Fenner>

White slime coat What is a very fine white sheen that seems to be in the slime coat and seems to only cover portions of body? <Possibly a bacterial infection, perhaps a reaction to poor water quality... rarely a true fungus> I know Ich and it is not that. I lost 20 cichlids in my 150 gallon tank with sump and gravel filtration. It was stocked with electric blue, a variety of peacocks, and red empress which were over a year old that I had raised together since they were 1" fry. One day I noticed a white spot on the eye of a female red empress. It grew larger the next day, so I checked with the LFS and they gave me Amoxicillin for Popeye. I gave four treatments every other day over seven days. The eye cleared up at the end of treatment, but most of my cichlids developed a very fine white sheen over parts of the body, mostly on the side of the body and some had it around the head also. Ph was 8.0, Ammonia was .5 ... <This is definitely a problem... toxic by itself at this concentration... the antibiotic killed off your nitrifying/biological filter> ...and the fish were hanging at the top of the tank and had a very poor appetite. I put my carbon filter back, did a 30% water change and added Amquel to remove ammonia. The next day the fish began eating and acting fine again, but the white sheen continued. Two days later the Ammonia went up to 1.0  <... yes, the fishes continued to produce/excrete ammonia...> and the pH dropped from 8.0 to 7.8. I vacuumed the gravel and added stress coat. The next morning all 20 of my 3-4" beautiful cichlids were dead on the bottom of the tank. I checked the ph and it was 7.4 with ammonia at .5. My tap water is 7.6 from a well. I'm sure the pH change and obvious crash of the tank killed the fish... <Yes, I agree> ...but I don't quite understand what caused such a drastic pH change and would love to know what the fine white sheen was? <All likely related... the pH drop was consequent to general decomposition of the dying filter biota, fishes... the sheen a chemical reaction of your fishes to the high ammonia, drop in pH... bought on mainly by the antibiotic killing off your bio-filter> Side note: They did extremely well all year with many females reproducing. I cleaned out all the dead fish, rocks and plastic plants; surprise of all there was one little peacock fry swimming at the surface. He is now in another tank with all the fry produced from this tank of cichlids.  <Am sure you see the logic now of not treating ones livestock in their main/display tanks, and the meaning of the word "anti" (against) "biotic" (life). Bob Fenner> Med. source Thank you so much for your help. I have been trying to find help all over and no one seems to know much about fish...I will get right to it...thank you again... Also. where can I find Metronidazole ? < If you can't find it at your local fish store then look online at Drsfostersmith.com.-Chuck> Teri Bloody tumor Hey Chuck,        I don't know if you remember me emailing you a little while back but It was about my fish and its "tumor" well now the tumor looks bloody, white and peeling, it hasn't died yet, and still looks ok except for the big lump ha-ha. I gave it some food called antibacterial medicated fish food. It said it was for internal and external bacterial infections. I've been giving it that food for about 2 weeks now and no improvement. I looked for the other stuff you told me to try um...Nitrofuranace and Metronidazole. but I couldn't find it. Do you know where to look? < If it is still growing then it may indeed be a true tumor and is probably untreatable using any over the counter medications. The professional help of a veterinarian that can treat this problem is probably cost prohibitive. The medications I recommended can be found at DrsFosterSmith.com. I would still try them as a last resort.-Chuck>                        Thank you                                Jenny

Re: red spots on my lionhead What is Furanace? < This is another term for Nitrofurazone.>   I have Jungle brand Fungus Clear which contains Nitrofurazone, Furazolidone and potassium dichromate. (fizz tabs) And Furan-2 which has 60mg Nitrofurazone, 25mg Furazolidone and 2mg Methylene Blue Trihydrate. (capsules) How often should I do a 30% water change?  Although we have only had the 5 fish for 3 days, I have normally changed the water (always with a gravel vac to clear out the excess waste) every 3-4 days. < The medication will affect the good bacteria that you are trying to establish. If the tank develops any small or cloudiness then the water needs to be changed. Organics in the water affect the medication so the cleaner you keep the water the better. There should have been some recommendations on changing water with the medication. Normally I do a 30% water change just before I add any medication.-Chuck> Re: a question from a hobbyist from India Hi chuck, Thank you for the reply. I do not have a separate tank for medication. so what else can I do .Will the fish survive even if the tail does not grow back?. Once again I thank you for your reply. Thanking you, Rohan < At least separate him from the other fish with a tank divider to see if the tail starts to grow back. If not he will still survive, he just won't be too pretty to look at.-Chuck>

Medicine Compatibilities - 08/22/2004 I would like to know if there is a medication for cotton mouth that is compatible with Piperazine or if I should just wait until I'm done with the Piperazine to treat the fish with cotton mouth? <Cottonmouth/Columnaris is best treated with Oxytetracycline, in my experience.  Though I don't *believe* there would be any complications with this and Piperazine, I cannot find any information one way or the other.  It would be safest to treat these at separate times, but if it's a life-and-death situation, there's not much to lose.  If possible, hold off; if not, try - but I really, really am not certain if there would be complications.> Please Help. <I'm sorry I'm not much better of a help than that; at the very least, I do wish you and your fish(es) well,  -Sabrina>

Death Tank? <Hi, MikeD here> Firstly thank you all so much for your help over the last week your advice is greatly appreciated. Now I was down to my last three guppies, one was good and two were in isolation looking pretty sick. They were either sitting on the top or upside down on the bottom. Your advice suggested regular water changes, adding salt and a higher temperature. This worked well and these two fish were soon swimming around looking well <Excellent>. I left them isolated for a few days to make sure then I released them back into the tank. Within 24hrs the healthy guppy was upside down on the bottom and the 'once sick' two were fine. So now he's been separated and the advice that worked so well before has not worked so well now, as he's getting worse. What has happened here? <I suspect that your main tank has either high ammonia and nitrites or else it's been accidentally contaminated, such as with an insecticide or such, and would do 5 gal. daily water changes WOF> Also my sick angel, lying on the bottom of his isolation tank doesn't seem to be improving, I have no way of getting him medication as the nearest pet shop is an hour away <Medications are often not the answer, and rarely is haste that important>. What can I do? Sorry for the long letter, one last question, what raises the ph, apart from ph up? <This is a worrisome question, as angelfish require soft, neutral to acid water, although guppies often do best in hard alkaline water. ANY change of this sort should ALWAYS be made very gradually, and I suspect isn't really needed> To Treat or Not To Treat, That Is the Question <Hi, MikeD here> I have a 29 gallon tank that has been up and running for over 5 months.<In other words cycled but still new>  It has only 5 gourami's in it<Interesting. 5 of the same species, or a mix? Many gouramis tend to get hostile if crowded>. They have been doing well until this past week. One of the fish has white strands running horizontally along the sides and up onto the fins. At first I thought it was ICH, but every other time I have seen that, it has been as isolated spots all over the fish.<This is generally the appearance, although earlier symptoms are often "flashing" and reddened gills>  I took the fish to the fish store and they diagnosed parasites<They don't have a clue, thus tried to "dazzle you with BS>, although I don't actually see any.  They gave me something called CLOUT and I have treated the tank twice<Ouch! The trade name, Clout means just what it sounds like a BIG bang to the system>, with all fish included in case they are all infected. I did a 25% water change in between each treatment as suggested by the box and the store.  The fish looks the same now as when I started.<Not surprising, as this certainly doesn't sound like any parasitic disease I've heard of in 40 some years> Is this really a parasite?<Probably not, although a photo would be a big help>  I have searched websites for pictures of what I am seeing and I can't find anything similar.  I am starting to wonder if I should clean the tank<YES! I'd suggest 5 gal/day water change and run carbon in the hopes the tank can be saved from the medicine. What has likely been "clouted" is your beneficial bacteria> and treat for Ich or perhaps a bacterial infection<I'd hold off treating for anything at present. NEVER treat your main tank proper (a 5 gal. hospital tank with a sponge bubble filter is all that's needed), and likewise never treat unless you KNOW what you're treating. ALL medications are poisons designed to kill things smaller than your fish, but are always harmful anyway, being the lesser of two evils>, but I hate to over treat the tank and kill all the fish.<Which is EXACTLY the direction in which you are heading. Never treat just to treat...they simply sold you SOMETHING for the sale and did you a real dis-service> Any ideas?<Yes....learn to be patient and observe, and try not to automatically "TREAT" everything. Treatments are for when clean water fails, and only to be used as a last resort. Medicine is NOT the answer to everything, no matter what the drugstore tell you> Thanks a ton!<You're welcome, and good luck> Brenda Oscar Cichlid sick? 7/28/04 Hello, I have an albino Oscar.  Last week I noticed the edges of his bottom fins were black and also a little on the edge of his tail.  I called the local pet store where I normally go to get his feeders and asked them what could be wrong and they stated that he probably had a fungus.  I went to askjeeves.com and asked a question about what could be wrong and found your site.  I have to say I am very pleased as there is lots of information but nothing that exactly pertained to my problem.  I did a 30% water change and for the last 5 days I have been adding Tetracycline tablets to the tank as the pet store advised to try to clear up the fungus they thought he probably had.  Now this evening when I came home, my Oscar is kind of floating on his side at the top of the water in the aquarium and really acting lifeless. Could you please tell me what could be wrong with my Oscar and how I can try to help him and cure whatever is wrong with him.  I don't want to lose him, as he was a birthday present to me.  I have had him for 4 months and truly have gotten attached to him.  I have watched him grow and hate the thought that he might die although I do realize that this may be an option.  Do you think you know what the problem is? < You actually had fin rot which is a bacterial infection. The tetracycline will work if the water is acidic. Unfortunately the medication has probably killed off the good bacteria that converts the deadly ammonia to nitrite and eventually nitrate. So what you have now is new tank syndrome with high ammonia levels. The red coloration of the medication has masked the cloudy appearance of the water from the ammonia. You need to do a 30% water change right now!. Service the filter and replace the carbon. When the water is clear add some Amquel plus to absorb the ammonia. Change 30% of the water every day and check the ammonia levels. They should be zero and the nitrite should also be zero. The nitrate should be under 0.25ppm.-Chuck>

Maracide? I have a little Honeycomb Tatia that seems to have Ich.  And I don't know what I'm doing!!  Please bear with me here... I have other fish, they're all fine.  I put her in a 2.5G hospital tank, removed the charcoal filter.  Tried aquarium salt treatment for a few days (a couple teaspoons a day).  After that, I was going to start partial water changes.  Well, I came home from work the third day and thought she was dead. So I started dumping out the water into the toilet. Come to find she was just sleeping.  Upside down.  On the bottom of the tank and not moving or appearing to breathe.  Not dead.  Just the stress she needed!  It's not that I don't love her, but she really did look dead. At this point, almost all the water's gone.  So I cleaned out the tank again real good and filled it with some aged water and got the temp back up to normal (about 82F).  Put her back in and tried the Maracide, since she was still covered in "salty granules" from the Ich.  I read that I should get the temp up really high so now it's at 88F.  And yes, I realize I'm probably dong EVERYTHING wrong, but I've read about 100 different versions of what to do. And I'm very confused because I've read that I should treat her from 3 days to a week.  And yet my Mardel Maracide bottle says NOTHING about duration.  It says it treats the fish, not the water.  Helpful.  Do I only use it once???  Do I use it every day until she looks better? And. How do I tell if it's working?  Will I be able to tell when the parasites become free swimming?  If it treats the fish and not the water, but Ich is impossible to kill when it's in the fish, then what's the point???  Should I be treating the water and not the fish? And to confound me further, I've read that Malachite is dangerous and I should only use 1/2 dosages of it.  I've also read that catfish are harder to treat (which would imply a fall does to me).   I've also read that while "Maracide" is pretty safe, "Malachite" is dangerously toxic.  The bottle of Maracide says that the ingredients are Malachite Green and Chitosan. Please help me.  I have read so many posts but I'm just more confused than ever.  These fish always astound me with how tough they are but it is a learning curve for me. < Some fish always seem more prone to Ich than others. First keep the fish in the hospital tank. Keep the water temp at about 82 degrees F. Do not use a filter just an airstone. Do a 50% water change and add the dosage of rid-Ich  by Kordon recommended on the bottle. Usually it will be 1/2 of the dosage for catfish than for other fish. At this temperature the Ich parasite will metabolize quickly, leave the host fish in a few days. The minimum would be three days, at lower temps it may take up to a week for cool water fish like goldfish. Since you do have not filter in your tank you will need to siphon the water out of the tank to keep it clean every day. A third will work. Get the junk off the bottom too. Look closely at the main tank for signs of Ich too.-Chuck>

Re: Maracide? Thank you.  I've been keeping an eye on the other tank.  Is it still okay to use Rid-Ich even though I've treated her with Maracide? <Since you already have the Maracide then continue with that treatment until the Ich is cured. If it does not seem to work after a week then I would change medications. Do a water change use the rid-Ich when you are suppose to treat with the Maracide. The rid-Ich has formalin and malachite greed . These are suppose to be the best when used together.-Chuck> ~Bethel

Epsom Salt and a Regular Tank I just send this email but after thoroughly looking at your site I found the answer. One other question though...The fish I have has a bubble behind his eye not quite exactly Popeye. Is this the same as "Popeye"? Thanks again Melissa  I read all the post about Popeye and it being cured with Epsom Salt but what I didn't see was is it ok to use Epsom Salt in a fish only tank? will that harm the other fish? I would like to treat him in the original tank without having to take him out if I can. Thank you for your advice. Melissa < The problem with treating fish in the main tank is that any medications or salts may affect the good bacteria that help reduce the toxicity of fish wastes. You can treat in the main tank but watch for ammonia spikes. -Chuck>

Healing Torn Fins with Salt 4/24/04  Hi.  <Hi, Pufferpunk here>  I'm fairly new to caring for fish and would like to know how often I should add salt to my freshwater tank and how much.  <Welcome to the wonderful hobby of fishkeeping! I generally don't use salt, unless my fish carry a parasite called Ich (white spot disease). I never use it as a regular maintenance for any of my tanks. There are actually many tropical fish that don't like salt in their water at all & It really isn't necessary.>  I just started using the salt. The instructions tells me how much to add per gallon initially but not how much to add with water changes. My tank is a 29 or 30 gallon tank with a Triad 2000 filter. Currently I have 4 sunset platys, 4 Serpae tetras, 1 white molly, 2 hi-fin tetras and 2 Chinese algae eaters (not fully grown at this point). The 2 hi-fin tetras have been nipped badly by my Serpae Tetras (the pet store person told me that I could put any community fish together).  <You should never rely (solely RMF) on the advice of any fish store employee.>  One of them was nipped quite badly before I was able to separate him from the rest of his tank mates. Both of the hi-fins are now separated in a breeder net until the 10 gallon I just purchased is suitable for fish. Can they recover from the fin damage? Is my tank overstocked?  <Your tank sounds fine, except for the algae eaters. They only eat algae when young & turn into mean fish as adults. You'd be better off with a dwarf Pleco, like a nice Bristlenose. For torn fins, Melafix works great. ~PP> 

CopperSafe to fight Ich Dear Sir, <<Hello. Gwen here.>> We have a large community of freshwater fish in a 60 gallon tank.  The fish are mostly live breeders (mollies, platys, guppies, swordtails) mixed in with a few Columbian catfish, Corys, Plecos, tetras and a few other little guys.  I would definitely not think that the tank was overcrowded.  However, we are having a real problem with parasites invading the tank and I have treated for Ich so many times that I fear it is just pointless.  Therefore, I felt trying something like CopperSafe just in case this is a velvet attack as opposed to Ich.  My question is, how often can you treat with the CopperSafe?  When can I do a water change?  If I do a 50 % water change (I'm also having crazy ammonia spikes on this less than one month old tank) will I need to retreat? Any ideas would be most appreciated. Kindest regards, Rev Shannon Symons <<If your fish are stressed, they will become sick. You need to find the cause of the stress, or the Ich WILL keep coming back. Stress can come from many things, overstocking being one of them. In order to know if your tank is overcrowded, you need to test your water. Water testing is the MOST important part of keeping fish. You need to test your tank regularly for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. If you do not already own these test kits, I highly recommend buying them at your LFS. Ammonia is waste produced by the fish, and is changed nitrite by the biological bacteria, and then into nitrate, in a well-kept tank. Therefore, even though you should test all three, just to be sure there is no problem with your biological bacteria (good guys), you should be using the nitrate test kit to ascertain if your tank is overstocked. You should keep the nitrate level relatively low, say 20-60ppm for most community fish, and even lower for sensitive species, like neon tetras, etc. If you find that you cannot get your nitrate levels low enough by doing regular partial water changes, then you are overstocked! Overstocking leads to high levels, and your fish will definitely be stressed. Other stressors include pH changes, (do not change your pH while your fish are sick) and temperature fluctuations, please make sure the temp is stable! The heater should be good quality, and you should keep a thermometer on the tank so you can make sure the temp is exactly the same each day. When you do water changes, the incoming new water must be the exact same temp as the tank water (use the same thermometer). Temp stability is important, especially when you are fighting Ich. First, for the duration of your Ich treatment, make sure your water is between 80-84 degrees F. If need be, you can raise the temp by a couple of degrees each day. Warm water speeds up the lifecycle of the parasite, giving you a better window of time to kill the free swimming parasites. Once they attach to the fish, they are hard to kill. Second, remove all carbon from your filter(s), and treat with a good Ich medication, like Quick Cure or Super Ich Cure. Treat for the duration on the package, at half dose for tetras and catfish. If you still see the parasites on the fish after the treatment, you may continue for another day. When the treatment is done, do a water change, and replace the carbon into the filter. If you really feel the need to use copper, use Cupramine instead. You will find it in the saltwater section of most fish stores. I would not use it at full dose with the fish you have. Copper is extremely toxic. Even one quarter dose should help without harming the fish, assuming this is a normal Ich problem...it is also possible your Ich is a secondary infestation, caused by the stress of an internal parasite/bacterial infection. If the above steps do not help your fish, please write me again, as you may need an antibiotic to cure a primary infection. But try the above first, since antibiotics are expensive, will kill your biological filtration, and are a last resort. -Gwen>>

Melafix with Ghost Knife Hello Crew, This is my first time asking a question on www.wetwebmedia.com. I have a 120 gallon tank with 4 Silver Dollars, 1 Distichodus noboli, and an 8 inch Ghost Knifefish. I purchased these fish about 4 days ago, and 2 days ago I noticed that 3 of the Silver Dollars have their fins nipped and their are black and grey marks( not spots) on their tail. I think it's because of the nipping. I'm not sure if the Distichodus was the culprit or the other Silver Dollars. My question is can I treat my tank with Melafix without the Knifefish being harmed? How much Melafix should I add if I can treat the tank? Thank you, Greg >>Dear Greg; Follow the instructions on the package. Also, you should get your water tested at your LFS for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates. Is this a new set-up? Either way, your water quality may be the culprit, followed by the Distichodus. Silver dollars will not beat each other up enough for you to need to treat their tank. Look into the other potential problems. -Gwen<<

Dwarf frog and Ich meds! Hi there!   <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I have two Dwarf frogs, and I had them in a tank with a goldfish and a black moor.  The black moor came down with Ich and died.  So, I moved my goldfish (Herbie) to a quarantine tank w/meds.  Then, I cleaned out the other tank, removed all the decor, to remove the Ich from it, and put meds in that water as well.  After putting my frogs in the water, about half hour later, I realized one of my frogs turned pale!!!  Can you tell me what is wrong?  Or am I just freaking out over nothing?   <It is entirely possible that your frogs cannot tolerate the medication at the strength you're using it. I would quarantine the frogs in their own bare tank, with no medication.> I really appreciate your help!! <You're welcome.... --Ananda>

Epsom salt treatment 9/2/03 Good morning. Another follow-up on our Oscar. Since my first email below, we gratefully took your awesome advice (as it turns out) and treated Oscar with the Epsom salt twice along with a water change. The good news is that he's had a couple successful (and quite healthy) bowel movements and the swelling on his belly is more or less gone. <excellent and as hoped/expected> Naturally, we are thrilled. The only problem now is that he is now laying on the bottom of tank. <very common with even healthy Oscars at times... in time will improve> That is, he's not upside down, but flat on his side (his poor eyeball!). <Heehee... truly not uncommon at all> However, with what seems like a ton of effort he will swim to the top of the tank to get food (no more hand feeding with wooden skewers), but as soon as he gives up trying he sinks.   <stress or damage to swim bladder... may heal in time.> Any thoughts on this?  Can they lose their ability to swim if either the swim bladder was affected for too long or haven't been swimming? If so, will he ever swim again or will he be doomed to the bottom of the tank for the rest of his life?   Thanks in advance for your help. I look forward to hearing from you.   <we cannot say for certain... but Oscars are amazingly resilient. I think it is more likely he will recover in time. Wishing you the best, Anthony>

Re: swim bladder problems in golden Orfe Dear Bob Fenner, My extreme thanks for your suggestion of Epsom Salts in the water to cure the problem. This certainly seems, after only two days, to have worked.  I have been recommending you to all my friends. <Ahh, good... magnesium sulfate is a good general cathartic for many fish ills. Bob Fenner> Gratefully yours, Ken Drewitt. 

- Freshwater Ich - Hi Robert, <Hello, JasonC here today instead...> I am a beginner in aquarium set up and already had burned my finger trying to treat a goldfish. I saw the white Ich parasite in one of my Black Moors and took it out in another 10 gallon tank from my 30 gallon main tank. I set out to treat it with Methylene blue and went as per the instructions on the medication, but in three hours I found it dead. Now though I don't see anything unhealthy in six of my goldfishes in the main tank, I am very much worried, what if ICH appears in them. I have raised the salt level to 0.6% in the main tank. Also I have bought Kick-Ick Ruby Reef. But I am paranoid of using any medication.  <I don't blame you... in this case, I would really wait until you see some symptoms before you take action.>  I want your suggestion on the correct dose of Kick-Ick.  <Personally, I have zero confidence in the efficacy of this 'medication'.>  The instruction on the medication suggests that use- 2.0 oz per 25 gallon on the 1st day and repeat it on 4th day and so on. But it has not been indicated how much water changes should be made between the 1st and 4th day or how often.  <Depends on where the problem is being treated. Ideally, you should treat sick fish in a separate quarantine tank, away from the main tank. Because Kick-Ich isn't copper based, you don't have to worry so much about stalling the biological filter, but copper-based medications require daily water changes and then re-dosing of copper to keep the level sufficient to kill the parasites. But again, Kick-Ich is a pepper-based solution which to date has no scientific data to prove it's effectiveness against Ich - I wouldn't bother with it.>  Since I was not sure I used the recommended dose and made a water change after 2 hours changing 50% of the water.  <You just reduced your dose by 50%...>  The goldfishes did pretty well. But I wanted to know what should the duration for which the medication be in the water to be effective against the Ich.  <Again... I would hold off treating anything until you observe symptoms.>  Your advice in this regard would be greatly appreciated. <Cheers, J -- >

Pacu Snout Sore Hi guys, <Hi, Andrew, Sabrina with you today> How's it going? <Not bad at all, thanks!> I have a six foot tank housing 2 juvenile Pacus and one small black shark.  The larger of the 2 Pacus has some injury around it's snout area, it looks similar to hole in the head but I don't know exactly what is wrong with the fish.  He is feeding well and actively swimming around the tank, plus he is exhibiting remarkable growth.  I am concerned about his snout though.  I bought him at the shop having inspected the injury, which seemed minor at the time.   <Minor or not, it's always best to try to get only healthy, uninjured fish, as I'm sure you now know> Do you know what is affecting his snout ? <Well, with the pics you sent, it does indeed look like hole-in-the-head/HLLE.  This illness typically affects large predators (usually cichlids) and can be brought about or exacerbated by constant poor environmental conditions or sometimes improper feeding.  It can be a protozoan infection (Hexamita) and may also be worsened by systemic bacterial infection on top of that.> How should I go about treating him ? <Well, first off, absolutely keep his conditions pristine, for starters.  Good water quality is a must.  Moreover, I'd recommend to put him in a hospital tank for treatment with Metronidazole, which does seem to have some effect on this illness.  His face does look pretty bad; he may never heal completely, even if you can kick the problem.  Hopefully, though, you can at least get it to stop progressing, which will surely kill him eventually. I suspect maintaining a healthy environment and letting time go by will be your best advice, yet I would appreciate your opinion as the snout looks quite serious - the flesh is exposed to the extent that the top dentition is clearly visible.  I enclose some pictures to assist your speculation. <Definitely good advice to keep his environment healthy ;)  but in his case, I do recommend treating in a hospital tank.  It does look quite serious at this point.> Thanks for your time in advance,  Andrew Hough <Any time!>

Info Not on WWM... Or is it? Like Ragu... - 8/13/03 Hi, this isn't really a question but I didn't know how to contact you guys any other way. My angel fish recently had a parasite and not finding it on your site I went to all the fish stores I could find.  They too didn't know what it was and said they had never seen it before and I have been to these stores numerous times.  Knowing that these people knew what they were doing, some with over 25 years worth of experience I went to one last store.  I brought my fish with me and showed the people there.  They too were stumped because the fish had no eating problems behavior problems and in all respects was perfectly healthy except for small black dots that looked as if someone has poked the fish all over with a pencil.  The fresh water fish expert there said to give it Jungle Parasite Guard.  This cleared the fish of all dots within 4 hours.  I would just like u to post this somewhere for people with angel fish, discus, and cichlids as they expert there said this parasite can probably get in these fish as well.  Melafix will not work as I tried the 7 days and then 3 extra days of medication.  However to achieve the 4 hour fix add the recommended amount of aquarium salt for your aquarium and repeat medication in 6 days with a 25% water change before adding. Hopes this helps you guys and the people who have fish with pencil like black dots. <FWIW.. Melafix I swear is a marketing joke. But regarding your black spots, are you sure that you are not dealing with Paravortex (AKA Black spot disease) Turbellarian worms. Usually seen on tangs, they can afflict other fishes [see more here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fshwrmdisfaqs.htm (scan archives for black spot FAQs).  best regards, Anthony>

Sick Goldfish with Odd Behavior >I hope I am addressing my question to the correct place. >>We hope so, too. ;)  Marina today. >I think my goldfish has some sort of disease, but the symptoms don't exactly match anything that I've found in my many hours of searching the web.  Ok,  the fish is young--about 1 year old.  It was a fairly pale orange and seemingly healthy and active.   Then I noticed that only his head was turning a milky white color.  The white color is becoming whiter by the day.  It spends most of it's time down on the bottom corner of the tank pushing itself between the side and the air tube like it's trying to swim right through the glass.   >>This is very odd... >It has done this so much, it is wearing the scales off of that side that it is rubbing.  Its respiration is also faster than the other two goldfish that are in the tank with it.  The other two fish are perfectly healthy, active, and hungry.  The sick fish is not eating and it kinda looks like it cannot open its mouth.  About 1 week ago,  I tried separating the sick fish and treating it with salt.  This did not help---I put it back in the main tank. The sick fish is beginning to look emaciated in the head area.   The rest of it's body and fins look fine. >>Decidedly strange. >Do you have any ideas?    Thank you very much for any help you may be able to give me.     Jody Louis >>This is SO odd that I'm putting my money on a parasitic infection.  I would suggest putting it in a separate system and treating with Hexamit, see if that garners any results.  This sounds like NOTHING I have ever encountered, though, so I am sort of shooting in the dark.  I think we can easily rule out the more common diseases; Ich, Furunculosis/ulcers, or the usual internal parasites that tend to lodge in the gut.  This is why I'm suggesting the Hexamit first.  If anyone else on the crew has any ideas and reads this, PLEASE chime in!  Sorry to hear of this, Jody, and let's hope this treatment works.  Marina

- New Freshwater Tank Issues, Follow-up - Hi, <Hello again.> Thank YOU SO MUCH... <My pleasure.> I feel I am now doing the right thing!  My poor fish, their tails are looking so gross.  I sincerely hope they get better, one more question, what do you think of Maracyn II?  Is it a good medication? <It's a good medication when it is used to treat the problems it is made for, if you know what I mean. It is another antibiotic, so works best on bacteria.> Marie <Cheers, J -- >

- New Freshwater Tank Issues, More Follow-up - Hi, <Hello again.> Pleased to tell you one of my fish is improving greatly.. <Ahh good.> The other, on top of his problems, now has dropsy, though he eats like a vacuum cleaner... I improvised and found a Rubbermaid storage 18 gallon container, which I cleaned out thoroughly and put them in there with an air stone.. <Good deal.> I really hope the other one pulls through.. I hope my tank will finish cycling this week-end so I can put the Oranda in there.. I will clean it a little before putting him in.. Thanks again, Marie <Cheers, J -- >

Quick Cure- Faster Kill! Alright guys.  I could use a little help here.  Thanks in advance for the response.  You guys have a huge selection of FAQ's , and I find it very useful. <Glad you enjoy 'em! Scott F. with you today!> I have a 55 gal. freshwater, with tank top carbon filter, 2 40W lights low on the blue spectrum.  It is a very natural tank design, so none of the extra filters or special equipment.  It's been set up now for about8 months. My fish stock is: 1 M/1 F P. Pulcher  (Krib) 3 Aust. Rainbow 2 Gouramis 1 Black molly 1 Chinese Catfish (not the type that suck on other fish) 1 neon tetra 5 white cloud tetra 1 zebra Danio several Amano shrimp a few remaining small Kribs <Sounds like a neat mix of fishes!> It's very well stocked with live plants, as I have modeled this specific tank after one of Takashi Amano's tank in his Nature Aquarium World book. <Must have books for all serious planted tank enthusiasts...And for reef hobbyists, for that matter, as the design and composition elements can translate over to saltwater quite well> Here is my situation: I got home this evening, and found that a few of my fish (rainbows, white clouds, and 1 Krib) had pop-eye.  I looked at the rest of the fish, and they seemed to be stressed out, each in their own way. Something's wrong. <I should say> I check water quality, and nothing has changed. Temp is about 82, ph is it's normal 6.6 (I can never seem to raise it any, but the fish don't seem to mind it) no ammonia/nitrate levels, hardness, etc.. you get the drill.  I decided to turn out the lights to lower stress, and add a little extra salt (as I didn't add any at my last water change Saturday) and put a single dose of "quick cure" in the tank "just in case".  Well, as I grab the bottle of quick cure, it was empty.  After asking my 4 year old daughter, she had put the ENTIRE bottle of quick cure in the tank on Saturday. <Yikes!> My zebra Danio was on the bottom. gone.  As well, my Kribs had paired off a few months ago, and I wasn't able to remove all of the lil' ones.  1 is already gone, and another is not able to be removed from the tank (he hides in a cave I can't access.  I have since removed all the remaining tetra from the tank to a "safe" tank, and they seem to be recovering already. <Glad to hear that> I am worried about my remaining fish, and how much water change can I do to remove any extra quick cure that is still present in the water. <I'd execute daily 10% water changes for about a week...I've done that in emergency situations in FW tanks, and it did the trick...Better than massive changes, IME> Will a water change at this point, several days later, even help any? <I think so> I've already done another 10% change this eve.  I know the carbon removes some of it, but I can't see it removing an almost full 3/4 ounce bottle of quick cure in 2 days. I ran out of Maracyn-II and will have to retrieve some in the morning to treat the pop-eye, but I'm quite concerned about the quick cure.  Please tell me there's hope for the remaining fish, as I believe my Kribs have already laid eggs again, and are defending their cave. <That's definitely cause for hope! I'm sure that they will be okay! I'd keep up the 10% changes> Thanks again everyone for all the help. <Any time! Hang in there- keep doing what you're doing, and all should work out! Regards, Scott F> Jeremy Tanner

Goldfish problems - 4 fish and a shoehorn 7/10/03 - (AKA- my goldfish has a shoeprint on its face) Hi there <Howdy> I have 4 goldfish, approx. 6-7 inches in length each, living in a 10 gallon tank with an underwater filter. <good heavens... that is overstocked!!! Really sad to hear. The tank can barely hold one at this size responsibly> I have tested all my water levels (nitrate ammonia etc) and the water quality seems to be within limits. <Ahhh... no comment> I do not know the sex of any of my goldfish but they are all 7 years old and  were bought when they were approx. 1 inch <interesting> 1 of my fish is bloated but is not showing symptoms of dropsy and has now developed a mouth condition. <water quality (bacterial count, other un-testables) is a challenge here I'm sure> It looks like the skin is shredding from its lips and they are swollen. It also has what looks like a bubble of air or fluid at the tip of 1 of its fins. I would be grateful if u could advise me as to exactly what might be wrong with it and how to treat it. Thank you Dawn <these fish really need a larger aquarium to be held properly if not ethically. The sickness is no surprise considering the living conditions. Yikes... Imagine living in an elevator for 7 years with 3 people... who ate beans all day long... and sang campfire songs... off key. Quality of life issues here have manifested into a real issue of pathology. My advice is to remove the other 3 fishes (sell, trade or upgrade to a larger aquarium) and treat the afflicted one in the 10 gallon tank as if it was a QT vessel. Use a Furazolidone and Nitrofurazone mixed drug. Best regards, Anthony>

Treating Parasites with Scaleless fishes 7/10/03 I just recently e-mailed you guys (and gals) about the feeding of a freshwater moray eel (I found this in fact, it is Gymnothorax tile).  Now, I have another problem.  My tank came down with ICH.  But, I don't want my moray to die or have a reaction to the medication I use, so which of the following would be better for me to use: QUICK Cure, Ingredients: 25% Formaldehyde, 75% Malachite Green or Maracide (ingredients: Tisaninomethane, Dibromohydroxymercurifluorescein, Aniline green)?  Or something else that I don't have? <Neither are wholly safe for this eel... it would be best to separate the eel from other fishes with a hospital tank and treat accordingly> On your website, you said that organic dyes were poisonous to morays, so is Malachite Green an organic dye?  What about Aniline green?  Is that an organic dye too? <yes to both> Thanks So much for your help, Adam <use straight Formalin in a bare-bottomed tank if you must treat the eel. Best regards, Anthony>

High Ammonia in established tank (06/28/03) <Hi! Ananda here today....> I have a 48 gallon freshwater aquarium that I've had for 6 months.  My tiger barbs came down with a case of Ich, so I treated tank with Quick Cure for 2 days then did a 25% water change on the 3rd day.  Still noticed some Ich so I treated the tank again for 2 more days. <QuickCure does kill all the beneficial bacteria in the filtration system....> Prior to this outbreak of Ich I made the mistake of washing my foam filter under the tap water, now I have an ammonia spike and I'm not sure what action to take as I am supposed to do a water change tomorrow and add my carbon back in my filter.   <Water changes, and lots of them. Look for Bio-Spira -- if you can find it, it will help jump-start your tank's bio-filter.> Do I do the water change to try and bring ammonia down?   <Most definitely. A couple of big water changes may be needed.> If so do I clean the gravel to get out the dead cysts from the Ich outbreak?   <Yes. Use a gravel vac or good siphon tube.> Do I continue to feed my fish? <Since they are stressed, I would continue to feed them, even though that will produce more ammonia. You will need to be vigilant about testing your water and doing frequent water changes for a while.> Your help would be appreciated. <You're welcome.> My tank is stocked as follows: 3-5" Blood Parrots 2-1" Blood Parrots 8-1" Tiger Barbs 5-2" Buenos Aries Tetras 1-6" Pictus Catfish 2-5" Bristlenose Pleco 2-3" Cory cats Thanks...Irene <This tank is very overstocked...which is contributing to the problems with the tank. Do consider another larger system. --Ananda>

What can be left in the filter when medicating? Hi Kevin- Thanks for the prompt and thorough reply.  One follow up question...when you say that we really should have a filter on the QT, I was under the impression that you shouldn't filter when medicating, as it would pull out all the meds.  Is this not true?  Are there some medications where this is the case and others were it isn't?  Actually, I'm currently treating two male boesemanni rainbows in a 5 gal. FW tank with Quick Cure, and I have removed the filter from that tank as well.  Should I not have done that? <The only thing you need to remove from the filter is activated carbon and any other chemical resin. You can (and need!) to leave in the bio-material and/or filter pads and sponges. If you take off the entire filter, now it's just a big saltwater goldfish bowl and the oxygen levels will drop very quickly (which would explain the heavy breathing). So if it's not already on there, toss that filter back on and get it running w/out the carbon (hint: if you use a cartridge that combines the carbon inside a filter pad, cut it and dump out the carbon.) -Kevin> Thanks so much, Jorie

Medicating a Large Plant Tank Hi, <Howdy> I have a 100 G community setup that is moderately planted and  becomes more so every day.  It is also fairly well stocked with various small tetras (Amber, Cardinal, Rummynose, Costello, Green Fire, Dwarf Pencils etc), Corys (sterbai, panda, habrosus), a pair of whiptail cats, a large Farlowella, a gold nugget Pleco, and a few freshwater shrimp.  It is currently filtered by a Eheim 2217, a Magnum 350, and two Penguin 550 powerheads with sponge filters. <Sounds Nice, I love the Corydoras sterbai, great choice> I also do 10-20% water changes every 7-10 days.   My problem is a few of the fish have a what appears to be a case of mild Ich.  It affects mainly the Rummynose and the rainbow and emperor tetra pair. <Rummy Nose  Tetras are a great indicator of developing problems.  Sounds like you have a good water change regime, keep an eye on the test kits, make sure nothing is out of whack.> A few of the cardinals have it and if you look you can spot a dot here and there on a few other sp.  The fish seem unaffected and are quite active, feeding, and no one has died.  I have tried QuickCure with minimal results.  I've used copper before with good results but never in a planted tank.  Realizing that the shrimp will unfortunately die, I am also worried about the plants as I know some are copper sensitive, such as some sword plants.  Below is a list of what I currently have in this tank.  Can you tell me which ones are or are not copper sensitive? Thanks <I am really not sure which species are less sensitive to copper, I would not recommend using copper in the main tank at all.  Keep an eye on the fish with the spots, if they start to get worse start thinking about a small quarantine tank and brushing up on your fish catching skills.  Meds in the main tank can destroy your biological filtration, kill your plants and shrimp, it will cost a lot more to medicate 100 gallons as apposed to 10-20gallons.  You can use our Google search to search for more specific information on the plants below, AquaBotanic is also a nice plant site.  Best Regards, Gage> Anubias gigantea Aponogeton rigidifolius Barclaya longifolia Bolbitis heteroclita Crinum thaianum Cryptocoryne usteriana Egeria najas Hydrocotyle leucocephala Limnophila aquatica Marsilea crenata Nuphar japonicum Nymphaea maculata Nymphaea stellata Vallisneria gigantea Vallisneria spiralis Re: Bloodworm Infestation (HELP!!) Whoa, that was quick! I didn't get the stuff yet ( It's Sunday night ), but I was hoping for a bit more information ( the info you sent me was great! ). I think the frogs would like the glassworms, but if the glassworms hatch...? <This won't happen... or you can just try them as frozen/defrosted...> There is a small chance that they will grow into flies, right? And if they're flies, they aren't parasitic...? <No my friend... the world is comprised of much more than hosts and parasites... these are "free-living" organisms> Or do they just swim around? <The do wiggle quite a bit> If given the chance, do they multiply rapidly? <Mmm, no... please use your search engine and the words "glassworm" or "chironomid"... The adults lay eggs, which hatch into larvae... You won't have adults> Do they smell ( like brine shrimp )? Will they carry disease/irritate fish? <None of the above> Or will fish enjoy them as well? <Likely very much so> Please answer as many as you can ( don't feel pressed; I'm just a kid ). Also, about Pip. and Praz. We don't have a regular vet ( but we can find one ). How is the medication administered? Are there needles (shudder)? <As powders in the food. 10 mg of Piperazine sulfate/kg for three days... the equivalent of 0.10% Piperazine at a rate of 1% body weight/day. Praziquantel can be administered via baths of differing strengths, durations or orally at 50 mg/kg of fish... or 0.50% fed at a rate of 1% body weight per day> Is it a dissolvent? Will I have to force feed the frog ( their mouths just won't open! )? <It is necessary that the animals ingest the food-laced with chemical, or that they be immersed (about 2 mg Praziquantel/l or 7.6 mg/gallon for 24 hours> And last, what should I ask for ( kid at counter, embarrassed, doesn't know which medication out of dozens to choose )? <Please consult with your parents/guardians here (do show them our correspondence). It will likely be necessary to purchase one or both of these compounds from a veterinarian source> Again, don't feel pressed. Thank you sooo much for your help and time!!! <You are certainly welcome. Bob Fenner>                                                                                                                                               - "Worm Picker-Outer"( that might be SAVED!! )

Fuzzy Sharks & Dying Glassfish Hello and thanks in advance.  In February I purchased a 35 gal hex tank and set it up as a freshwater aquarium.  I was told 1 tablespoon of salt per gallon but was reading on your site that it should be 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons, is this true?  In addition, I have a salt hydrometer and would like to know what is an acceptable salinity level for a freshwater tank? <A lot depends on the species of fish you have. 1tbsp per 5 gallons is the correct measurement for most fish though.> My tank is stocked with 3 tiger barbs, 2 rosy barbs, 2 Gouramis, 1 Pleco, 2 iridescent shark catfish and 1 glassfish (the other 3 died yesterday and today -- they were only in the tank for 4 days).   <These fish all do fine with no salt in their tank.> I noticed last week that the 'sharks' looked fuzzy and we weren't exactly sure what it was since the other fish seemed healthy.  Last night I ran to Petco and read about different diseases and found that the 'sharks' have a fungus.  The medicine came in capsules that had to be opened and released into the water, turning the water green (unfortunately, I do not remember the brand name).  I am suppose to repeat this tomorrow and then wait another 2 days and replace 25% of the water.  After putting this medicine in the water, the 3 glassfish died within 6 hours.  Will fungus medicine kill the fish or is it more likely that the fish were not healthy to begin with and this was the 'icing on the cake' for them?   <Unfortunately, the medication probably killed the glassfish. They don't have scales and the medication is absorbed into their system much faster than a normal fish so in essence, they overdosed on the medication. Unless a medication is specifically made for small scaled or scaleless fish, it should only be used at half strength.> FYI, I run a Fluval 300 and test the PH every other day to make sure the levels are good.  I keep the temp around 78 degrees and do water changes of approximate 6-10 gallons every 3 weeks.  Am I doing something wrong?  Can this fungus be transferred to the other fish or would they have shown signs by now? <This all sounds good. Yes, the fungus can be transferred to the other fish. I would still recommend isolating the sharks and medicating them and just watching the main tank closely for symptoms.> Again, I appreciate any help you may be able to provided because my daughter is very upset that her fish are dying. <You're very welcome. Ronni>

Will Melafix harm crabs or frogs? >>To the best of my knowledge, no, it won't.  Another good broad spectrum antibiotic (the one used at the LBAOP) is Spectrogram.  It's even used for invertebrates (since it's "The Aquarium of the Pacific it's dedicated to saltwater only, but still, good stuff to know).  Marina

Meds and UV Sterilizers I recently wrote about the amazing results I have had with a Coralife Turbo-Twist UV Sterilizer in eliminating a long, persistent and deadly ick outbreak. After about 3 weeks of ick-free life in the tank, I decided to try once again to add clown loaches. Surprise, surprise, they are now showing signs of ick, after about 4 days in the tank.  Earlier, a platy had shown white spots but those went away after two days on their own, the UV seemed to take care of it. <Operative words here are "seemed to"> My question is this: should I just let things be and hope the UV controls the parasite? <I wouldn't. I'd at least raise the tank temperature to the mid-80's F (which by itself will likely kill the trophonts/feeding stages on the fish/es>   Or should I medicate the tank?  If the latter, is there any medication I can safely use in conjunction with the UV? <Yes. Look for "other than" malachite, formalin based ones... Specifically, there are some based on silver salts that are fine for use  here, like Aquarisol> Or must I turn the UV off?  If the latter, what med would you recommend to help my clown loaches, and for how long should I use it before re-starting the UV? <See above> Prior to adding the UV, over a period of about 6 months I had lost I think 9 clown loaches (3 on 3 separate occasions, all to ick).  I have had horrible luck, but they are among my favorite fishes and I really want to keep them. Thanks. Joel <A good idea to put a quarantine procedure into place for all new livestock. Bob Fenner>

Re: Meds and UV Sterilizers Thanks for the reply.  As for Aquarisol: my bottle says copper zycosin, as does their website.  Nothing about silver. <Yes... used to be silver based... now copper>   The word copper makes me think you can't use it with the UV on. <Depends on chelation, sequestering... Easy enough to do an experiment... with and w/o the UV on and testing for free copper> I just want to confirm it is ok to do so before trying it.  Whaddya think?  If not, what about Clear Ick by Aquatronics, which is quinine monohydrochloride and gentian violet, whatever that is? <Another good choice... or as stated previously just raising the temperature will do it...>   Just want to be sure my UV doesn't turn the meds into something that will kill everything in the tank. <Mmm, no, this won't happen. Bob Fenner> Thanks again!

Re: Meds and UV Sterilizers You have said twice that just raising the temperature will kill the ick. My understanding was always that raising the temp would speed up the life cycle, so the meds could more quickly work during the free-swimming stage.  But if I am only running a UV, won't that just lead to rapid proliferation of the parasite? Why do you suggest a high temp will actually destroy the parasite? <Because... it does. Study a bit more.> I have been advised by the manufacturers against using Aquarisol or Clear Ick with a UV running.  One said quinine is super-light-sensitive, the other said the Aquarisol bond will break down and leave copper in the tank.  :( It will... but not so quickly as to allow these medications to have a positive/therapeutic effect. If you're concerned re this photodegradation, I'd just turn off the UV during treatment. Bob Fenner>

Re: Meds and UV Sterilizers Bob: sorry, didn't mean for it to come out that way.  What I meant was, can you point me to a study that explains this? <What are you referring to? What does "this" infer? The temperature effects on Ichthyophthirius multifilius? Do you have access to a good deal of (historical) pet-fish magazines? Maybe a large library near you? Try Edward J. Noga's Fish Disease, Diagnosis and Treatment> I'm going to try the temp first before messing with meds while UV is running.  Thanks for the help! <I would turn off the UV and treat with a non-malachite or formalin-based medicant, with the temperature elevated. Bob Fenner>

Re: salt as a freshwater curative Dear crew, I set up a 110 gallon freshwater tank for my Oscar and Pleco. I recently bought a Pacu as well.  My Pacu cut his side on a rock and I was wondering if I could add salt to help him heal 1tbs per 10 gallons.  Is this harmful to my Pleco or Oscar? <A small amount of salt wont hurt the Pleco or Oscar but the wound should heal on its own without the addition of salt.> How long do Plecos live and how large do they get in the aquaria.  I have seen one at the public aquarium that is nearly 3 feet long!   <They are supposed to only reach sizes of about 20 but I bought one that was only a year old and was already larger than that so its hard to say for sure. With proper care, you should count on him coming close to 2 feet. And Your Pacu can reach nearly 4 feet!> I am building a plywood tank for my Pacu and Oscar and the dimensions are 8ft by 4ft by 2 ft tall.  If I built it 30 inches tall would it make that much of a difference or would it just be harder to filter?   <It would probably be much better for your Pleco if you can go the 30 inches. Its not entirely necessary, he'd just like it better.> If I used one of those dimensions would I be able to add another Pacu and Oscar?   <Maybe another Oscar. I wouldn't go with another Pacu though just because of their size.> Possibly a channel catfish instead?   <Definitely not, these guys can reach sizes of up to 6 feet long!> If I am unable to build that large of an aquarium will a tank 6ft long by 40inches wide by 30 inches high suitable for my Pacu Oscar and Pleco?   <This might work as long as you didn't add any more fish. It could still be pretty tight quarters for the Pacu though.> Thanks for all the help. Holden   <You're welcome! Ronni>

Re: using Neomycin now Hello, I am getting frustrated here!  I have some kind of problem in my tank, bacterial, parasitic...I don't know.  A rosy barb died in my hospital tank yesterday after a week of treating with Maracyn II. It had Popeye from the looks of it. <This won't treat exophthalmia>   It didn't respond to Maracyn at all. <This is a different compound> Just before it died it swelled up and its scales stuck out and it looked awful.  So today I have a tiger barb standing on its nose and its turned all whitish and its fins, when not clamped look frayed.  Some of the other tigers are looking dusty. A few are hovering near the bottom.  It all started with flicking or rubbing.  So I treated with Jungle Ick Guard II because I have Corys. <... why are you using all these treatments?> The local fish store has me using Neomycin now. I have just started treatment and all the fish seem stressed by it.  I have tried raising the temp and adding salt (tsp/5 gal). There is one peculiar thing: white flaky deposits growing on my fake driftwood for some time now. And I recently added some Java fern. Any of this sound suspicious? <Yes... your not investigating what you're doing> My water quality dose not seem to be the problem. Starting to get worried now folks. I am having nightmarish visions of every fish going belly up one by one (or all at once!).  Can you offer advice please? Steve <Time to study what you're about here... really. What do you mean by "water quality dose not seem to be the problem"? Please read through the freshwater section of our root web: WetWebMedia.com and look into a standard reference work on freshwater aquarium keeping.... and look into doing business at another fish store. Bob Fenner>

Re: what  I am about (too many pet-fish inputs?> Bob, sorry about the last panicky e-mail with all the bad spelling and miss naming of things. I was upset and in a hurry and I didn't know who to turn to. I meant to say "Water quality DOES NOT seem to be the problem", meaning I change the water regularly and clean the filter. Nitrite and ammonia are stable though pH is a little high here in our water. I was just trying to say that I don't understand why my fish are getting sick. <I understand this last, but am (always) looking for "raw data", that is, actual testing numbers... that give us an idea of what your water quality is, what you've been testing...> I hope that buying a Java fern and rinsing it well before putting it in my tank is good enough. Isn't it? <Good enough for what? And why are you placing this plant? I would not put in any plant (or fish or invertebrate) with the mixed chemical treatments in your system> What did you say the white flaky stuff might be? <Likely just calcium deposits, perhaps a flocculent from the different "medicines" applied> About the medications: I used Maracyn-Two in the HOSPITAL TANK ONLY on the rosy barb with bulging eyes--nothing else. I used Ick Guard II In the Main tank to treat the scratching fish. After I was done with that I saw the tiger barb looking bad and was advised to try Neomycin. <... neomycin sulfate being used for specifically "what" re a tiger barb? Believe me, I am not trying to confuse you, but to get to the bottom, understand what you know, how to aid you... Most fish disease problems are about water quality... secondarily about the accidental introduction of pathogens... Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm Unfortunately we live in an advert./Madison Avenue driven economy, and the folks at LFS's want to "sell you something"... perhaps they believe that all the materials you have bought would do your livestock good... but I assure you, going on what little you've stated, there is not much chance they will have. You should strive to understand the basics of aquatic husbandry... stability and optimization of the environment en toto, buying initially healthy livestock that are compatible, regular maintenance...> What I am ABOUT is trying to keep these fish alive, that's all. I am inexperienced and don¹t have a biology degree. If I had experience and a biology degree I wouldn't have to ask for your help. <I have a couple of such degrees... and am not too ashamed to tell you they have very (very) little to do with practical matters like keeping aquariums... Though this is a huge field, it is not hard to be "successful" at in doing a few basic things. You show intelligence and compassion/caring in your writing, and will do fine understanding that people's "opinions", experiences, "facts" vary a great deal in this interest. Strive to understand these varying inputs in terms of their underlying principles... be cautious, even a bit cynical... you'll do fine.> Actually, The biggest mistake I seem to be making is asking too many people for advice. And all the fish stores just tell you to try different products. You ARE right about studying though. THAT I should do more of. However, studying doesn¹t take the place of experience. I just haven¹t been looking at fish long enough to identify problems and to know what to do. I am sorry to have bothered you sir. <Mmm, no bother. We're very glad to help... the very reason these tools exist, are maintained. Describe what you observe re your fishes apparent health, the history of what you've done, your system, the rationale behind your actions and we will gladly offer our input. Bob Fenner>

Salt treatment for African cichlids I have some African cichlids that are scraping against rocks, have been for some time.  I can't convert the salt bath recipe on fishdoc.com  to tspn/Tbspn per gallon.  Do you have recipe handy? Thanks Daniel Heller <Hello Daniel, I could not get the fishdoc.com page to load.  Salt is usually added at around 1Tbspn per 10gal, depending upon what you are using it for.  Are there any noticeable spots on these fish?  You may be dealing with some parasites, in which case I would treat with more than just salt. -Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm  >

Re: Aquari-sol/dead fish Well, today I came home from work and found one out of three Otocinclus laying pale on the bottom of the tank, a Rosy barb nibbling at his lifeless corpse. This is my first fish death. It's strange though, my first reaction was to un-emotionally get that dead fish out of the tank! <Not strange (as in odd, to me), but the thing to do> I do not know if the medication killed it or if it was just that his number was up. After all, there are still two Otos swimming around in there. Anyway, I did water tests--every thing is normal.  I did a water change and put the carbon back in the filter just in case it was the Aquari-sol. I don't know what to do next. I asked a different fish store guy about it and he said he thought the Elodea plant or pH drop due to adding RO water was making the Rosies flash and not Ich (no spots). <Not the plant, but possibly water chemistry> He said I probably did the right thing by stopping the medication. He said the medication probably depleted the oxygen causing the Otos to dart around. <Mmm, no> He recommended Quick Cure at half strength or Ick Guard II for scaleless fish (jungle brand) if I started seeing spots. Anyone heard of this? (contains 37% formalin, Victoria green Nitromersol and Acriflavine). <Very toxic. I would treat for Ich (white spot disease) or other similar appearing illness, by simply raising the water temperature. Please see here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm and the linked FAQs page. Bob Fenner>

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