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FAQs on Freshwater Infectious (bacterial, fungal) Diseases 1

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

Related FAQs: Infectious FW Diseases 2, Infectious FW Disease 3, Infectious FW Disease 4, Infectious FW Disease 5, & Finrot, Dropsy/Dropsical Conditions, Aquarium Maintenance, FW Parasitic Diseases, African Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid Disease, Betta Disease 1,

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

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

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

Discus pH shock/Columnaris Bob, I have a 75-gallon tank, containing nine 2" to 5" discus, several pairs of various Amazonian dwarf cichlids, a few Cory cats, a 7" diameter Guyana stingray (humerosa), and several other small dither fishes. All were doing well together, besides the stingray occasionally eating one of the smaller fishes, until I recently ordered online four (of the nine) young 2" to 3" discus, which quickly developed Columnaris. I do at least a 25% water change twice a week. I use a Fluval 304 and an AquaClear 500 for filtration. I have about 15 plants (mostly swords and Anubias), which I supplement with a small CO2 system. I must have taken my previously good, stable water conditions for granted, for a day after adding the new discus I tested my pH: it was about 5 (the test didn't go any lower). The ammonia and nitrites remained at zero, while the nitrates hovered around .12 mg/L. The first night using 7.4 pH tap water, conditioned of course for chlorine and whatnot, I managed to raise the pH up to 6. The next day the older, larger discus also developed Columnaris; I've heard it can be quite contagious to other tankmates, or perhaps they developed it on their own as a result of pH shock. I believe that my original mistake was not correctly measuring the proper amount of discus buffer (to lower pH), which sent my normal 6.5 pH plummeting. For the first five days I treated the tank with tetracycline/hydrochloride, but the fish showed little recovery and one of the new ones died (a red spot green). I don't think they liked sitting in the dark all day and night long, due to tetracycline being photo sensitive, so after three treatments-I believe it was 200 mg (1 pill) for every 5 gallons (I added about 13-15 pills every 1.5 to 2 days) I switched to using erythromycin, particularly Maracyn. They are all eating frozen bloodworms, which I provide them a feast twice a day (the stingray is a bottomless pit that I refer to as a vacuum cleaner). After two days of treatment using erythromycin three of the discus seem much better, and I know they appreciate the light. The rest still look pretty ragged. My pH is back at a stable 6.5, and I've added more Epsom salt than I normally use and also aeration to aid in their respiration. I'm wondering how long Columnaris typically lasts, and when I can expect my discus to fully recover. I also am curious about the 5-day treatment Maracyn recommends, particularly whether I should do partial water changes between daily treatments. Surprisingly the stingray could care less about the medicated water and is his same mischievous self. The other fish also appear unaffected. . . . I'd like to know your opinion of my set-up and my predicament. I hope I provided enough information. < You first mistake was in not quarantining your new discus. If they had been placed in a small clean aquarium the medicating would have cheaper and more effective. The erythromycin is a good choice for this disease, but the water changes help your fish recover. In about a week you fish should be better. Watch out for ammonia spikes because the medication may affect the good bacteria that breaks down the fish waste into less toxic nitrites and nitrates.-Chuck>

Re: Discus pH shock/Columnaris Thanks, Chuck. One more thing: After treating my tank with tetracycline for 5 days and erythromycin for another 8 days two of my eight remaining discus that had already seemed on the road to full recovery are now resting at the bottom of the tank. Their colors have darkened only slightly, and they don't appear to have anything new wrong with them. Are there complications for extended use of erythromycin? I've removed the medication, but they've now stopped eating (they were eating during the medication). Also I've been adding salt at a rate of about 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons, maybe even a little more, which I heard may aid in their recovery. This has gone on for a couple months. Could the salt be the reason why the discus are behaving strangely? Something's up, my pH is 6.8, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate .6 mg/L. I don't know what the hardness is. I have some plants in the tank as well, which seem fine. Do the fish simply need to rest for a couple days? I've had discus refuse food for weeks and then act normal like nothing ever happened. Any ideas? (Tank specs: 8 discus, 1 stingray, 6 Irian Jaya red rainbowfish, several bottom feeders, 100 lbs. of sand, 2 96-watt power compacts, 15 plants, CO2 yeast thingy [not cylinder], no aeration, except current from AquaClear 500 and Fluval 304). Adam Michels < Nothing brings discus back faster than water changes. I would do water changes as often as I could with soft acidic water. Offer a variety of foods and clean the filter often. They should be back at it in no time.-Chuck>

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>

Re: White slime coat, FW - Update I got the answer to the fine white sheen. Chilodonella. <Maybe> I took a dead fish to a local wholesale fish breeder and he checked it out. I also read where Amquel can produce a rapid drop in pH. <Yes, in marginally, poorly buffered water> I had added some the night of the crash. Yes, I learned a few hard lessons, hopefully the next generation of fry from their departed parents will not suffer from my ignorance. Thanks for the response. <Thank you for your update. Bob Fenner>

Lumpy Loach Mycobacterium Infection? 01/11/2005 Hi, <Hello!> I have a 75-gallon tank with three 14 year-old clown loaches and two large green kissing fish. <Must be some pretty large loaches, at that age! It wouldnt be a terrible idea to try for a larger tank, if possible.> One of the loaches has large lumps all over his body under the skin, appears to be very swollen even his eyes appear to be bulging. He is hiding in the back of the tank and will not come out to eat; he just stays in the same place breathing very rapidly, in an upright position, leaning on tubing. He has been like this for about a month and I really didnt expect him to be alive this long since I just noticed his illness right before I went out of town. I assumed that he had an age related problem since a couple of his tank mates have passed on over the past couple of years. I havent been able to find out anything about this particular illness. <To be quite honest, this sounds to me like a very good indication of mycobacteriosis. The swelling, pop-eye, and lumps/tumors/granulomas are very strong symptoms of this myxosporidian bacterial infection. Its really quite a good thing that the critter did not die while you were gone a dead fish can release literally millions of spores that can infect other fish in the tank!> The nitrates in this tank stay fairly high even with frequent water changes and Poly-filters in the filters. <Yes.... These are very large fish in a (comparatively) small tank; increased water volume would really be a good idea.> There are no indications (redness, etc) on his outward appearance that would suggest a bacterial or fungal condition. I would try to treat him in a separate tank if I knew what to try, or at this point would it be better to euthanize him? <Sadly, mycobacteriosis is essentially incurable. There is some indication that Kanamycin sulfate may have some effect, but recovery is unlikely, Im so sorry to say. Either way, should you choose to medicate or not, definitely remove the fish as soon as possible from the healthy animals I can assure you, you do not want this to spread, if that is, in fact, what it is. Also, PLEASE read the following link, so you can understand what risk this illness might pose to you: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-07/sp/feature/index.htm . Do please understand that without seeing the fish for myself, I cannot guarantee that this is an accurate diagnosis but based on the symptoms you describe, it is my best guess. Gah, I hate being the bearer of bad news.> I appreciate your consideration. Thank you, Karen Chaney <Wishing you and your loach the best, -Sabrina>

UV STERILIZER and FW disease Hi Bob. Have a problem and need a little advice as it involves more than just changing water. :) <Okay> My largest tank, a 55, right now has 3 Big Spot Plec's (all around 5 inches), 1 Bristlenose at 4", 4 Cory sterbae and about 15 smaller dither fish. (Do I need to state my readings? OK. 0,0,15. I do lots of water changes!) <You know you and I like those> I keep losing the dithers with the bent spine of fish TB. Couple of Zebra Danios, a few White Clouds, one Cardinal Tetra. I also have 6 Rosey Barbs (2M, 4F) in there. The female Rosey have looked like they're gravid since I got them 8 months ago. Now all the females are starting to show the bent spine. The males both look normal and healthy. <... not good... can be a few things... I'm fearful it's Myxosoma, not nutritional, environmental... given the fact that the cats appear unaffected. Are you familiar with whirling disease?> I know I should break down the tank, put down all the fish and start over, but frankly with my prize Big Spots in there it's just not going to happen. In speaking with Sabrina about this she mentioned she knows of no report of catfish getting TB. (Can you add anything to this?) So the plan is to put down all the dithers, healthy looking or not, and add a UV Sterilizer. <Siluiiforms can indeed "get", perish from Mycobacterial infections... but these would be long gone by now if this were the causative agent.> Does this seem like a good plan of attack to you? My thoughts are that the catfish, being bottom dwelling, mud sucking scavengers have been provided one hell of an immune system. Nature is good that way. By ridding the tank of the reservoir of infection in the dithers and running the UV I hope to clear the bacteria. <Maybe... do you have any such problems with similar groups (Cypriniiform/minnows) in other of your systems... using the same water?> Right now I have two tanks running. The 55 and a 10 with my breeding Bristlenose. I have 35 two week old fry in the 10 right now along with the parents. So I have to do something soon. Plan is to get a 29 and/or 20 and set up the Big Spots for a breeding attempt. Then use the 55 as the grow out tank. Would greatly prefer not to have to break it all down and recycle, but must have a healthy, cycled tank for all these fry. So I'm leaning towards the Sterilizer. <I am not such a big fan of UV's for home, even breeding systems. Not that much to gain. If bacterial in origin, the microbes will be passed in the system by the fishes eating other dead, dying fishes> If you think I'm on the right track, can you recommend a brand, size. I think the 55 is the biggest tank I'll have. Would also want it to be able to go on a 20. The dream tank of Zebra Plecos would be next after getting the Big Spots settled in a 29. Can't/won't even think about the Zebras until I'm sure I'm healthy, tank wise. Don <If it were me, I'd spend the money on another or larger tank, another trashcan/carboy to store pre-mixed water, or a reverse osmosis unit for making water, and hope that if this is indeed a biological vector, that its virulence dies out. Bob Fenner>

Fin Decay in New Tank Hello. One of my new platy fish has fin rot, which I am currently treating with MelaFix. I was told to remove the carbon filter while treating (one week) and replace the filter with carbonless polyester fiber. I have done that, but am wondering if I can put the same carbon filter back in once treatment is completed or do I have to buy a new one? The tank is currently cycling (two weeks old). Thanks in advance for your help, LittleTank in Louisiana <Hi LT in L, Don here. Nope, you'll need fresh carbon. Activated carbon "fills up" and becomes inactive carbon very quickly. Within a day or two. I'm just wondering if you have a bacterial fin rot or poor water conditions since the tank is so new. I would discontinue the Melafix and just do large daily water changes. Ammonia can build up in a new tank causing the fins to "burn". Testing for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate would reveal the answer. If you do not have a test kit, I strongly suggest you pick one up. Your LFS could also do a test for you>

Dorm Room Betta What are other signs of fish TB? One site told me that a curved spine (which Jack's straightened out) is a sign of swim bladder issues? Thanks. Ann <Wasting away, getting very thin along with the curved spine. In some cases the fish will bloat. In extreme cases you may see a sore or blister with red edges. It is always fatal to the fish. The only known treatment involves a three drug cocktail with only a 10% survival rate. Swim bladder problems are also very difficult to treat. If he is improving I suspect he was constipated to the point he was becoming bloated. Try to feed a pea or add some Epsom salt to treat. Don>

FW disease question Hello again. I have a jewel cichlid that appears to have fungus on his top fin. it is a puffy white ball. I have quarantined him and treated with jungle fungus medication for four days, but had no success. I then switched to Maracyn and it has been three days with that and no difference. Could it be something else? Can this just be cut off with scissors? There now seems to be another fish in the main tank with the same problem, which I'll be moving to QT, so I'd like to know what to treat them with. Also, would a UV light prevent things like this in the future? Thanks, as always, for the help and advice, < Fungus usually attacks diseased or damaged tissues. With the rough and tough jewelfish this isn't that uncommon. Remove the fish from the water and take some cotton balls and wipe as much as the fungus away as you can and treat the tank with Nitrofuranace. Make sure you do a 30% water change and clean the filter before you medicate and follow the directions on the package.-Chuck> Jim g

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

Rainbow Shark problem I have a rainbow shark that was in my 10 gallon (and was one of the few fish to survive that mistake) and is now in a 29 gallon. Lately it seems to be thrashing around a lot for no apparent reason, but my real concern is it's back up around the top fin. It looks like it is loosing scales, although I thought sharks didn't really have scales. My test strip (Jungle) says the nitrate is just above 20mg/L, nitrate-0, very hard water and a ph right at 7. I hope this is enough information. < You probably have a bacterial infection. I would recommend a 30% water change to reduce the nitrates. Service the filter to reduce the organic load in the system. Treat with Nitrofuranace to eliminate the scale /flesh eating bacteria.-Chuck> -Jackie

More Bent Spines I currently have a dozen Platy fry and I'm wondering about some physical deformities. We had 11 babies from 2 females just days after getting them from the pet store (so obviously not from my male). I raised them in a 2g tank, and then found a new fry about 5 weeks later in the big tank and moved him in as well (he was newborn... the rest of his batch got eaten or sucked into the filter). I had a new female in a QT tank for a few weeks, and as soon as she was moved to the main tank I separated my babies into 2 tanks (both 2g). I thought maybe they'd grow faster. The first 11 are approx. 9 weeks old now, and still seem pretty small (too small to trust with my adults in the main tank). So my first question is am I stunting their growth somehow? Is the tank too small for all of them?
<If I understand this correctly you have a total of 12 fry in two, 2 gallon tanks. That should be fine for now. Even if they are all in one 2 gallon tank you should be OK. Just move them as soon as they are big enough not to be eaten. Test the water and watch for ammonia and nitrite build up. Both must be at zero. Nitrates below 20ppm.> 2nd question - and of much more concern - is about some of them with very bent spines. There are 2 in particular that are pretty bad and it makes them swim in a very wobbly fashion. One of them seems to rest on things all the time because he has such difficulty swimming. But he does get up to the top to eat, and he's been behaving this way for a week now. I feel bad for him and wonder if I should put him out of his misery? There are some with less pronounced bent spines, and most of them are beautiful and look perfectly fine. Is this a product of water quality or environment? or is it just genetic? The bent spines weren't evident right away, but have been noticeable for about a month now. My kids have gotten so attached to them that I hate to lose any right now, but I also hate to see them miserable. Also, if I need to, um, "get rid of" any of them, what is the most humane way? <Let me first say you are not alone with this problem. Not only are we seeing a lot of questions about bent spines, but I have the same thing going on in my tank. Although it is possible for this to be genetic in your fry, it is most likely TB. I'm sorry to say that the only treatment has about a 10% success rate. Also, it is caused by a bacteria that can be transmitted to humans through breaks in the skin. Some say that the bacteria is always present and keeping your tank and water pristine will allow the fish's own immune system to keep it at bay. Others suggest sterilizing the entire system and starting over. Personally, I would suggest to you to go the sterilization route. At very least, remove the bent fish and keep the water clean and fresh. This is what I am doing since I have some nice catfish that seem to be unaffected. Make sure you and the kids do not put your hands in the tank if you have any cuts in the skin. Another point is that no bacteria can spontaneously generate in your tank. It came in somehow. Maybe with Mom. Watch all your tanks. I don't want to scare you into thinking an aquarium is dangerous to the family, they are not generally, but I need to make you aware of the potential problem. In our forum you will find a thread titled "Hunchback Danios". Please read. The best way to put down a fish is to add a few drops of clove oil to a cup or so of water and add the fish. Freezing is another option. Chill the water to the point of "skim ice", then add the fry to the cold water. Do not flush them, living or dead. Bury or put in trash. Don> Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks. Jennifer

More Bent Spines Thank you for your quick response. TB in the tank is quite scary! <Please, not my intent to scare, just make you aware.> I put 2 of the worst to sleep because they were really struggling. <OK> Right now I have 8 fry that look just fine, and 2 with slightly bent spines. <Remove them> I test the water regularly and have had both ammonia and nitrite at 0 since I cycled the tanks. On my larger tank I do water changes weekly, but the smaller 2g tanks I do 2x a week (approx 30% each time). And I use a gravel vac when I do the changes. <All good, great in fact> The adult fish are fine and healthy (at least they appear to be). Are there any other signs of TB? <Red or bloody wounds, advanced stage> Also, I stopped by the pet store where I bought the pregnant females (had to pick up fish food), and in the Platy tank they have a... well.. "stubby" looking male. He looks like his spine is bent just enough to make his body look short and a bit strange. I didn't notice if this fish was in the tank before, but it very well could have been.. and maybe I'm getting it's offspring? <Unlikely they bred in the store> They look very similar in body shape. <Could also have TB> Maybe I'm looking for an excuse for this to be genetic. <Understood> And I'm having a hard time getting myself to put the other 2 fry down, since they seem healthy enough and can swim ok. Should I put them to sleep or let them go to see if they get worse? <If they are showing the bent spine, I'd remove them at once> Thanks again, Jennifer

More Bent Spins, Again Okay, now I'm a little nervous after running through the FAQ's and reading about "hunch back Danios" having TB, transmittable to humans. I've had some Danios die over a period of the last year, but never noticed a hunchback problem. <Good> I'm now down to two (from a start of 6) in my 55 gal tank. I've had several 3'rd generation mollies develop problems, usually their spine assumes an "S" shape, and swimming becomes erratic. <This could be TB, but mollies are very inbred. Could be genetic in nature.> I've put several of them down in the last few months due to this, the victims usually being about half grown. A couple were in the 55 gal. tank, but most were in a 29 gal tank containing only mollies. I thought this might be a genetic flaw from some inbreeding, but now I wonder. In a separate 15 gal. tank with Swords & Platys, I've had similar instances occur with a couple platys. <If this is happening with adult fish then it is TB. Most genetic problems will show from an early age.> My other tanks seem fine, but I'm watching all ten of them closer now. <Then we have done our job here.> I do frequent testing, and change water frequently, whenever the nitrate levels start getting too high. <Great> The ph is just on the high side, LFS advises that since our aquifer contains massive limestone it would be never-ending battle to try to lower it, and the yo-yo effect would be far worse for the livestock than leaving it as is. <Agreed. Very, very good advice> Please clarify this possibility of TB before my wife decides I need a safer hobby! <I'd pass on skydiving> Any input, or advise, as usual is much appreciated! Jess <Hi Jess, Don here, trying hard not to scare the hell out of everyone. TB is something to be aware of, but not overly feared. Some say that it is always present in our tanks and is kept at bay by the fish's immune system. If this is true then transmission to humans seems pretty rare. But I did just suggest to another person to sterilize her fry tank. She had young children in the house and I would hate to advise otherwise when kids are involved. It can enter through cuts in the skin, and kids tend to have more cuts than adults. Your excellent tank maintenance will help a lot. It could be that the high pH stressed some of your fish just enough to weaken their immune system and allowed the bacteria to get a foot hold. But there are many very well respected people here that suggest sterilizing whenever TB is found. That is a very hard call, but harder to argue against. I would at least remove any bent fish before they die in the tank. Also watch for red or bloody wounds on the fish. Another sign of TB. Remove those fish at once. I would not give up the hobby over this potential problem. Just be aware, wear gloves if you have any breaks in your skin.>

Wooly Cotton, I think, and Ongoing Problems I have done an extensive search about Columnaris and have learned a lot. However, my specific problems have not been discussed. I will try to be brief, and appreciate any help you may be able to offer. I have a 29 gal community tank, established about a year ago without significant problems. The fish are: Betta, 3 barbs, 7 mollies (2 adult, 5 babies) 4 small Danios, a Pleco and catfish. I had the Betta in the tank the entire time. He had always done well. One day I discovered a tiny spot of white fuzz, kept an eye on it, and concluded he needed help because it was getting bigger daily. I hospitalized him, did major Internet searches and went to my fish dealer - and he suggested BettaFix. After using BettaFix (Melaleuca) for one day I noticed a HUGE amount of fuzz floating throughout the entire bowl. I continued medication; but after several days I decided I was doing something wrong (I could hardly see through the water by now, just full of what can best be described as LINT). I did a water change with most of his water (using the tank water, I didn't want to shock him). I went to the dealer again, explained the problem and he said to continue using the BettaFix - I had not given it enough time. Highly skeptical I continued the treatment and did a daily water change of about 25% using FRESH tap water with a couple drops of TLC live bacteria and Stress Coat. The fuzz in the water was reduced - but obviously controlled, not cured. My Betta was hanging in there, as long as I continued the treatment exactly as I described. After 2-3 weeks he just couldn't hang on anymore. I waited over a month, and did weekly 10% water changes in my tank. Purchased another Betta. He developed the white fuzz over the entire main part of his body within 48 hours, and was dead only a few hours later! My tank maintains a steady temp around 75, the nitrates are in the high-but-safe range, nitrites 0 - hard to tell with the color strips but definitely under .5, my tap is very hard water - around 300, alkalinity is blue - and I don't know what that means because the bottle only shows 'high 300' at green - but I'm certain it's above 300, and the ph level is around 8.4 (normal for this area). I know that is high, but it is steady; I've been looking into ways to lower it (I saw something about rainwater, what is your opinion?) My other fish have been absolutely unaffected in any way - even the babies - I have stable & happy fish! So in conclusion two questions: 1.) Was it Columnaris and how would have been the RIGHT way to treat it (your suggestions in the site were spectrogram or fungus eliminator, right?); 2.) Do I need to treat my tank for it if I'm to put another Betta in it? < Bettas with other fish don't always work. The long flowing fins on the Betta wiggle back and forth and become too tempting for many fish like the barbs to leave alone. Typically I don't like to treat an entire tank if I don't have too. Medications affect the beneficial bacteria that reduce the toxic ammonia to less toxic nitrites and then to nitrates. First you need to determine what kind of infection you had. A true fungus does not attack healthy tissue. Damaged areas of the fish that may have been bitten or scraped sometimes developed fungus if the tank is not clean. So a body fungus as you describe sounds like a bacterial infection and not like a true fungus at all. It could have been Columnaris or some other bacteria. I have heard mixed results with BettaFix and personally don't use the stuff. Some aquarists have had favorable results but I am not aware on how the medication works and have seen any scientific data on in. I assume that it is a bacterial inhibiter but that is only a guess. I stick with antibiotics that I know work. I like Furanace to use on bacterial infections or erythromycin. Medications usually work better in softer water. Bettas come from soft acidic still pools in southeast Asia. If the conditions aren't right your Betta will become weak and have no immunity to diseases. That's why the Betta will get sick while the others seem unaffected. For info on changing water chemistry I would recommend you to Marineland.com and go to Dr. Tim's Library and check out the articles.-Chuck>

Re: Gourami dwarf red sunset fishes turning white colour Thanks for your wonderful web site and service to all of us out here. Sometime ago I was reading somewhere about these fish on your chat pages, someone mentioned that this happened to their fish and I cannot recall the rest of info or even if there was an answer for it. Well it has happened to my two little fish I've had for about a year now. Please could you advise me where to get info if possible. < A whitish or cottony growth could be the result of a bacterial attack followed up by a secondary fungal infection. Try treating with Furanace. -Chuck> Many Thanks and again you have a great website.--mm

Mollies and Frogs Hi, My daughter has a 10g tank with 1 male and 2 female balloon belly mollies. 1 dwarf frog and 2 fancy tail guppies. Oh and 1 molly fry (Lucky) whose mom is now in fishy heaven. Lucky was the only one to survive, hence the name and he is now in a breeder box. This morning, one female bb molly (Sara) started acting strange, moving her head side to side quite a bit and has some sort of white things on the sides of her body. The white stuff looks almost soft and flowing. Is this Ick? if so what do I do? Now the frog (Squishy)- we think it laid eggs on the underside of the sponge bob statue. It's a clear sack with white dots. Are these in fact eggs from Squishy? Will they hatch out and live? Thank you for your help. As you can tell we are novices here. Sherry <<Dear Sherry; Sounds more like fungal infection than ich. You can get a fungus medication at your LFS. Also, how often do you vacuum your gravel and do partial water changes? It may be a good idea to get your water tested at your LFS, ask them to test your ammonia (should be zero), nitrites (should be zero), and nitrate levels (should be low, say 20-40ppm). If any of these are higher than the specified levels, please do some water changes to bring them down to the acceptable range. You could have frog eggs, I cannot tell without seeing them. -Gwen>>

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

BW Tank? 6/5/04 <Hi Eric, Pufferpunk here. Sorry I took so long to get back to you.> Please, help me determine a possible cause of illness in my Sailfin mollies. I have a 55 gallon tank that is brackish. The contents of the tank are 2 Gourami, 2 red-eye tetra, 4 black Neons, 3 black-skirt tetra, 3 lemon tetra, 2 adult red velvet platies, 1 plecostomus, 1 rainbow shark, 4 adult silver mollies, 1 adult Dalmatian molly (lyre-tail) and approx. 15 molly fry. <Oh my goodness! The only fish in your tank that would appreciate any salt, will be the mollies. All your other fish come from soft water, which is the opposite of BW. How much salt is in there? Just adding some salt to your tank, does not make it a brackish tank. Read about BW here: http://www.aquarticles.com/articles/management/Pearce_Brackish.2.html & http://badmanstropicalfish.com/brackish/brackish.html .> All parameters of the tank are stable, all other fish are healthy....except the adult Dalmatian molly. I have had a total of 4 (including this one) Dalmatian mollies in the past 6 months and at least 2 of them have suffered similar fates. It starts with patchy loss of scales/color and progresses to weight loss until their ultimate demise. They still eat and swim normally. The first one that developed this illness had me so concerned about cross-contamination and looked so pitiful, that I euthanized him. The first time I've had to do that! Then the other adult Dalmatian started developing the same symptoms. None of the other fish in the tank show any signs of illness, and are breeding well. I'm concerned about fish T.B. That is why I didn't want the first sick fish to die in the tank. I read the other fish ingesting the dead sick fish is sometimes the way it is transmitted. This is a very slowly progressing process. It takes weeks or months before they reach the full extent of the illness. What is the lifespan of a molly? Could these fish just be old? Why don't any of the other fish display symptoms of illness? I have treated the tank in the past with antibiotics, Methylene blue or malachite green, and MelaFix. I can't figure out if it is a parasite or other disease, why it takes so long for it to affect the fish and why other fish aren't simultaneously ill. What should I do? <This does not resemble the symptoms of TB. Generally, with TB their spine would be bent. It could be a bacterial infection. The stock you have, may have a congenital problem with their immune systems if none of your other mollies are getting it. As far as eating normally & loosing weight, this is a symptom of internal parasites, which isn't very common in tank-bred fish. You can read up on diseases here: http://www.fishdoc.co.uk/disease/clinicalsigns.htm & http://www.fishyfarmacy.com/ . Always quarantine your sick fish, so you don't have to treat the whole tank, disturbing the biological filtration in the main tank. Also, this prevents spreading diseases further to the rest of the tank. You need to consider if you want BW fish or FW fish & only keep one kind. Keeping either in less than optimum conditions, can compromise their immune systems. ~PP>>

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

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

Bent fish I have had 2 fish die in the last week that are bent into a u-shape at death. Is this a disease of some sort? I have a 30 gallon tank with 4 serpae tetras, 4 platys, 1 molly and a Chinese algae eater. The water has been tested and levels are normal. The tank gets a 20 percent water change weekly. Any ideas? <If the fish just plain die without warning and all the other water parameters are normal then I would start looking at diet. I am thinking of vitamin deficiencies. Try some live or frozen food for a while and see if it makes any difference. Sometimes flake or pellet foods sit on the shelf for a long time and lose some vitamins over time. This is less likely to happen with frozen food. -Chuck>

Chuck Counsels the Blind The speck and cloudiness is entirely within the lens of the eye, with nothing protruding or oozing out, but it is slightly enlarged. This fish hasn't been removed from the tank or handled in any way since I got. I do 25% water changes every 2-3 weeks and add Aqua Clear Plus and Cycle. I also add the proper amount of rock salt each week, ammonia is very very low, and I keep my ph above 6.8, but how would I go about measuring nitrates? < There are nitrate test kits available at your local fish store, just ask. > In the mean time the albino and other fish are fine, but if the eye worsens and starts to affect this fish, what medicines would you recommend? < Unfortunately an infection within the eye is probably impossible to treat. Initially the eyes are affected on the outside by rough handling. This is not the case with your fish. I think the eye will eventually go blind. A shot gun approach would be to treat with Metronidazole for Protozoans and Kanamycin for bacteria problems. I would do this in a quarantine tank.-Chuck>
Again thank you for your help. -Bobbi

Cottony strands I'm a novice. <We've all been there. Have to start someplace.> I don't know the Latin names of my fish. I have 2 mostly black angelfish, 1 that's mostly silver, 3 zebra Danios, a beta, a plecostomus, or however you spell it and a "whatchamacallit" catfish all in a 55 gallon tank. <"Whatchamacallits are hard to find this time of year. (humor attempted in that last sentence). You might have a problem with you angelfish picking at your Betta as they become older. Angels will be very aggressive in adulthood. Many kill their tankmates.> Now the silver angelfish has cottony, beaded strands attached to it. Most of the strands appear to be around the gills. <The white cottony strands are a fish fungus, and is often times referred to columnaris. It usually forms on areas were there is damage from nipping or rubbing on objects in the tank. It only effects fish that have been injured or weakened in some way. If an attack appears to occur spontaneously, it is probably a secondary infection, for instance gill flukes. Fungus, if untreated, will spread across the fish.> It seems healthy but I know this must be treated and I'm not sure what treatment I should use. These are very fine strands that are about a half inch to 2 inches long and hard to notice and may have been there for some time. Any help would be greatly appreciated. In your debt, Randy Davis <You will have to make sure that the water conditions are okay. I find that the fungus happens predominately in tanks with less than perfect water conditions. You can treat with Mardel's Maracyn. This quickly cures the fungal infection. Good luck. -Magnus>

Sailfin Molly Illness (02/27/04) Please, help me determine a possible cause of illness in my Sailfin mollies. <Ananda here to help try, with Sabrina helping out...> I have a 55 gallon tank that is brackish. The contents of the tank are 2 Gourami, 2 red-eye tetra, 4 black Neons, 3 black-skirt tetra, 3 lemon tetra, 2 adult red velvet platies, 1 Plecostomus, 1 rainbow shark, 4 adult silver mollies, 1 adult Dalmatian molly (lyre-tail) and approx. 15 molly fry. <Uh... the only fish in that whole list that are brackish are the mollies. Platies can tolerate some salt. But the rest of them should not have any salt at all, except perhaps a "tonic" dosage of about 1 tbsp of salt per 10 gallons of tank water. (Which doesn't qualify regarding making the tank brackish.) What's your specific gravity?> All parameters of the tank are stable, all other fish are healthy....except the adult Dalmatian molly. I have had a total of 4 (including this one) Dalmatian mollies in the past 6 months and at least 2 of them have suffered similar fates. It starts with patchy loss of scales/color, fins become translucent and there is progressive weight loss. They still eat and swim normally. The first one that developed this illness had me so concerned about cross-contamination and looked so pitiful, that I euthanized him. The first time I've had to do that! Then the other adult Dalmatian started developing the same symptoms. None of the other fish in the tank show any signs of illness, and are breeding well. I'm concerned about fish T.B. <Sabrina and I agree that it does sound like mycobacteriosis.> That is why I didn't want the first sick fish to die in the tank. I read the other fish ingesting the dead sick fish is sometimes the way it is transmitted. <I have read the same thing. You were wise to remove the affected fish from the tank.> This is a very slowly progressing process. It takes weeks or months before they reach the full extent of the illness. What is the lifespan of a molly? <About four years.> Could these fish just be old? <Most mollies I've seen at stores are 6-10 months old.> Why don't any of the other fish display symptoms of illness? <Mycobacteriosis, aka fish TB, is a funky thing. You can have fish that are infected that display *no* symptoms. Meanwhile, other fish exhibit slowly degenerating health. Sometimes, things progress fairly quickly. And the list of possible symptoms is staggering.> I have treated the tank in the past with antibiotics, Methylene blue or malachite green, and MelaFix. I can't figure out if it is a parasite or other disease, why it takes so long for it to affect the fish and why other fish aren't simultaneously ill. What should I do? Debbie Bronson <The best thing to do is try to prevent any more fish from becoming sick. The way to do that is to maintain impeccable water quality; a UV sterilizer *may* help. For you, always wear long-sleeved aquatic gloves while working in the tank and see your physician if you develop any funky bumps on your hands/arms (and do mention the possibility of TB to the physician). The one possibility Sabrina's read about that may possibly cure the disease is Kanamycin, administered in food. However, this does not always work, and can be expensive to boot. If you have fish that exhibit symptoms, it is best to remove them from the main tank. Then, you can either keep them in isolation (possibly attempting to treat them), or euthanize them (I use clove oil; do a search both on the WWM site and at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk for more info). I wish I had better news for you. Fortunately, even though your mollies may be affected, the rest of your fish seem healthy, and you could raise the fry in a different tank. --Ananda>

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

Aggressive Fungal Infection Hi WWM crew, I know that you are extremely busy and will keep this short. I have 46 gallon freshwater tank, canister and open filtration systems. I do regular water changes and treat each time with Brite and clear. One week ago I added two small freshwater clams. Two days later a nasty "fungus" appeared. In one day I lost three banjo cats. Their skin looked like it simply sloughed off. They showed no symptoms the day before and were as active as they normally are and were eating just fine. Note this "fungus Did Not attack my 8 year old Plecostomus. two days later it appeared on the head of one of my glass cats he was dead by nightfall. On the glass cat it showed up as a white patch on his head and he did not exhibit the same sloughing problem. It has not effected any of the other scaleless fish but I am worried about the rest of the tank. What do you recommend? Thanks for your help. Mike Healy >>Dear Mike; I recommend you test your water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrates. The clams will cause an ammonia problem if they have died. Or they just added to an already high bioload, again, test your water to find out. Bad water quality will lead to bacterial and fungal infections. Please test your water and let me know the results. You may need to do more frequent partial water changes if the levels are high, but make sure you do not disturb the nitrifying bacteria in your media by over-cleaning your filters. Do you have live plants? How often do you vacuum your substrate? -Gwen<<

Re: Aggressive fungal infection Dear Gwen, Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. I tested the water for the ammonia, nitrite and nitrates. The nitrates were a little high all else was in the normal range. Ph slightly low at 6.8. I have since lost two more fish, done a partial water change and I am treating the tank with Melafix which I am hoping will take care of the problem. I will let you know how I make out. Oh, no I don't have any live plants. Thanks again, Mike Healy >>Dear Mike, good luck with your fishies. Do not hesitate to ask us for help if any other problems arise! -Gwen<<

Stubborn Columnaris! Hi, A few days ago I sent a question regarding a stubborn case of Columnaris I seem to be having. I didn't receive a reply, so maybe you didn't get it. Anywho, what is the best/strongest med to treat this with? I picked up some Ampicillex, which was expensive, but was hesitant to use it because it was very expensive, and other medications such as fungus clear tank buddies, MelaFix, Aquarisol, and Kanacyn have not worked. It is a 55 gallon brackish tank, with 2 GSP's, 1 figure 8, 2 bumblebee gobies, 1 knight goby, and 1 green scat. All inhabitants except for the BB's are still juveniles. 1 bumblebee has white slime on the edge of his fins, and they are fraying, the scat and the knight goby have a white sore on their upper lip. The scat has a dot in the center of his eye, and a couple tiny holes in his tail fin. ammonia and nitrite are 0, nitrate 20 or less, ph7.5, SG. 1.005. I started using Ampicillex on Sunday, have seen some improvement with the scat's eye, and increased activity with the rest of the inhabitants, they seem happier, but the sores aren't going away. Does this sound like Columnaris? If this fails to work, is there a point where I should give up on meds? If so, what else should I try? thanks, Dave >>Hello :) Ampicillex, I assume is the same as Ampicillin, which I have used with great success on bacterial and fungal infections. It will kill your biofiltration, so take care to test your tank daily for any traces of ammonia and/or nitrite, and do water changes as needed. Re-treat every second day (following any necessary water changes). You started treating on Sunday January 25th? Three days is not a long time, you will need to keep medicating until you see signs that the disease is clearing up. This can be a slow process, I have treated stubborn cases that have taken minimum 2 weeks before improvement is seen. Treat for at least 5 doses, in other words, approximately 10 days, since you will be adding the Ampicillin every second day. Be patient and test your water! -Gwen

White Furry Growth on Black Ghost Knife Hello Web Wet Media Crews, Happy New Year. "Houston", we have a problem! My 16cm Black Ghost Knife is covered with furry white "slim/growth" all over its body, including its eyes. At first I thought it was body fungus <You are right it is fungus. It's a true fungus that attacks the outer layers of the fish. Fungus prefers cool temperatures, acidic conditions, so check the temp of the tank and what the pH levels are at.> used "OCEAN FREE" medication. I have no idea what it contains but it turned the water really green. <Not sure what actually does turn it green, but it's suppose to do that.> I did a partial water change. I increased the water temperature from around 26 or so to 32 Degree Celsius. <Make sure you medicate the exact way the package tells you to do so, doing water changes during treatment simply removes the medicine already in the tank.> My BKG fish stopped fishing and rest on the bottom of the tank for the whole 3 days. When I used an object to lightly scrape its body, the whiter furry things is easily peeled off. <It's best not to physically scrape the fish, you run the risk of scraping the fish, damaging it skin, or bothering what's left of it's protective slime coating. If you should scrape the fish, the bacteria can get deeper into the fishes skin causing more problems.> This happened quite often. What seems to be the problem? Is it a fungus growth, water conditions or other ailments? <The fish has true body, mouth and eye fungus, a fungus infection -- treat with MarOxy. Use Maracyn-Two or Maracyn or Tetracycline or TriSulfa to prevent secondary infections.> You guys have provided me with many valuable tips that keep my fish surviving till now. I hope you can help me with this again. Many thanks. <Hope that helps. I hope your knife gets better! -Magnus>

Re: White Furry Growth on Black Ghost Knife. Passed Away Hey Magnus. Just a few minutes I sent you a reply, my fish passed away. <I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. It is a very sad thing when we lose pets we cared for.> Nevertheless, I would like to thank you and the whole crew for the help. <I'm just sad that I was unable to help you save your fish. But remember we are hear to help you, so ask a question anytime.> 1 more question.... can I bury my fish in my flowerpots? Is it safe to do that? <You would need to have a large flowerpot, and you run the risk of having loads of bugs and such coming into you flowerpots after the body of the fish.> Will the disease be spread to the plants? <Fungus can spread to the roots of certain plants provided the soil is acidic and moist. I really would worry that the decomposition will affect the pH of the soil and hurt the plants. I would probably dispose of the body in a different way.> What is the best moral ethnical way to dispose one's beloved died sick fish? <With large fish I have actually buried them in the back yard. Please don't take offense to third, if you have no yard, you could always seal it in a multiple bags and simply deposit it in the trash. some people became far to attached to do that to the fish, and would hate to "throw them away". I would try and find a place to bury it if you want, rather than throwing it away. A park or some other area would be better than your flowerpots. I'm sorry to hear of your fishes passing, I do hope that you know that you had done your best to care for it. -Magnus>

Sick swordtail and neon tetra Dear crew, I would like to thank you very much for your help previously (it was very useful and I have recommended you to my friends) but now I have two more problems. To begin with, my male swordtail has a torn fin with some fluffy stuff on the wound and is not eating well. <The fluffy stuff is fungus... which is not good at all. The fish has a true body fungus infection (not Columnaris, this is true fungus) -- I suggest you look at the Mardel list of medicines to help the fish. Treat with MarOxy, read the package carefully and do as the directions say. Use Maracyn-Two or Maracyn or Tetracycline or TriSulfa to prevent secondary infections. I would start medicating so the fungus does not spread. I have found that Mardel Products work the best for livebearers such as swordtails.> My neon tetra is not eating, not swimming well and is looking "pale". <Neon Tetras are schooling fish and feel more comfortable in large groups. A single neon will get sick due to stress. I'm not saying that you should go and buy more Neons, just keep this in mind down the road if you want to expand your tank. Neons like mature tanks. Typically having a tank up and running for a minimum of 6 months before adding them to the tank. If the neon is in the same tank as the swordtail then the medicines listed above should help it. But keep a closer look at the neon, when they start to turn pale it's not a good sign at all. Check you water parameters, and make sure that they ammonia, no3, and no2 are all zero. The sad fact with Neons is that sometimes they just waste away for no reason. Keep the water fresh, and make sure the temp and filtration are all okay. hopefully he will come back around.> What's wrong with them? I've isolated them and put them in a container filled with nice, new, clean water and put in some fish medicine labeled "General Aid". <Look over WetWebMedia's disease area on the site. You will be able to learn what you need to care for your fish. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdis3setsfactors.htm There are many other pages which are linked on the top of the page, I suggest looking them all over.> It's been 3 days and nothing's happening. Is there anything else I should do? <I would switch to a more aggressive medicines like the ones given above> Thank you so much for your help.

Marble Angel with White Spots Hello! My name is Ava and I am a 17 year old owner of a Marble Angelfish called "Howard". I think he has white spot, he has a white gunky lump over his eye and two tiny little white spots on his mouth. I can honestly say I didn't see this until this morning and he was perfectly fine the night before because I was playing with him. <It does indeed sound like "ich", "white spot disease", though there are other possibilities, as well. Do these spots look almost like a grain of sugar? As in, very small? If so, yes, it's most likely ich/white spot.> I have put something in the water called AquaSafe and some other White Spot treatment. That's all I have done. I haven't a clue what to do now. <Please read this article, it will give you an understanding of this parasite, how best to treat it, etc. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm There is a great deal of information there, it should help you understand how best to proceed.> Please help me!, What can I do to help him?, <Right now, it will be urgent that you maintain the best of water quality. Please be checking for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate during treatment, and be sure to continue treating until the parasites are eradicated (again, you'll learn about that in the article). If you show any traces of ammonia or nitrite, do water changes to correct it. Another thing that will help during this time is to raise the temperature in the aquarium, to about 82 F, or even up to 86 F, provided all of the fish that are in with the angel (if any) can handle temps that high.> is there any chance I could save him from dying as he is a VERY special fish to me, he is my best friend, very clever for a fish too! <I understand.... angels are so full of personality, and so very easy to get attached to.> I am so frightened he will die, please help me, what should I do? <Well, it sounds like you caught it early (just a couple spots, yes?), so with all due luck, everything will work out okay. Just be diligent about water quality, watch your fish for any stress, and check out that article for a better understanding of ich and how to treat it.> I hope you can get back to me regarding my problem. <Feel free to ask if you have any questions, or if there's anything in the article you don't understand. We're here to help!> Thank you very much, Ava <You're quite welcome. Wishing you and Howard well, -Sabrina>

Marble Angel with White Spots - II Hello Sabrina! <Hello again, Ava!> I emailed you regarding my Marble Angelfish "Howard" with white spot. <Yup> When I saw him he has a gunky cloudy eye and a few that looked like grains of sugar on his nose or mouth. The one on his eye is very different looking to the one on his nose or mouth. <It is possible this is something different - also, clouded eyes are often a sign of water quality problems, so please be sure to check your water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, or take a water sample to your local fish store to have them check if you don't have test kits.> I have been putting white spot treatment in the water and my father is cleaning the tank and changing the filter. <Ah, good - again, keep an eye on ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. It would be a good idea to get test kits for them, if you can, so you and your dad can check if anything goes wrong - problems can often be traced to ammonia or nitrite being high.> I can honestly say he looks better and he hasn't changed in personality. <Good to hear!> The gunky bit on his eye has nearly gone now, you can hardly notice it and the tiny ones on his nose look like they are disappearing. <This may actually be something other than white spot; without seeing the fish myself, it is hard to say anything for sure; in any case, please continue treatment and keep the water clean - and check out the article I linked you to before, as that will help you understand when it is safe to stop treating. Even when there are no spots left on the fish, the ich parasites may still be in the water, since they can only be killed at a certain stage in their life cycle. Raised temperature (82*F or above) will speed up their life cycle so you can kill 'em quicker.> He is a strong fish and unfortunately Howard lost his mate through White Spot <Sorry to hear that :( > and about 1 month later he has got it or he is getting over it now I think. He is a wonderful fish, you can play little games with him, sometimes I hide under the tank and slowly pear up the bottom of the it and he notices me and tries to go for me and in doing so knocks his nose on the glass *bless him*. He only does things like that with me, my dad does it and he doesn't flinch. I never knew a fish could be like that <Many fish have a surprising amount of personality - angelfish are definitely one of them!> and I never knew I could have a fish for a friend, that is what he is to me and to lose him would be like losing a member of the family. <I understand. They are wonderful fish, indeed.> Just wondering, do you know how long they live for??. <That is a really tough question. The best answer I can give you is "several years", but I can't be much more accurate than that; be it five years or ten, or more, or less - it mostly all depends on water quality, health, tank size, etc. They can die in just a few months, as well, if they are not given proper care.> Thank you for your help!, I really appreciate it. <Of course, glad to be of service.> All the best for Christmas, Ava Louise Goddard <And happy holidays to you and yours, as well, Ava. Wishing Howard a strong and fast recovery, -Sabrina>

Whirling Disease? I have a school of shiners from Mississippi River in my 10 gallon tank. Two of the fish started to show signs of spinal deformations and they twist and whirl when swimming. <Yikes.... Not a good sign, at all. Use strong caution, here - do *not* return any of these fish to the wild - if they have a contagious disease (and it sounds like they do), it could impact other wild fish very negatively. As you describe this, the first thing that pops into mind is "whirling disease". This illness is caused by a myxosporidian parasite known as Myxobolus cerebralis. It's usually seen in salmonids (like salmon and trout), but has been seen in other fish as well, even goldfish and livebearers. The parasites infect the tissues around the inner ear and the cartilage of the skull. It causes the fish to swim in circles, sometimes frantically, or to swim nose-down tail-up, spinning like a top. It is usually fatal, though some fish will survive and thereafter always have spinal/skeletal deformities. It is also untreatable, I'm sorry to say. If this is what your fish are exhibiting, I would strongly recommend euthanizing the sick fish, or at the least remove them to a separate tank to prevent spread of the disease to your other fish. If the fish die in the tank of healthy fish, the healthy fish run an *enormous* risk of catching the illness - hundreds of thousands of M. cerebralis parasites may be released by an infected dead fish. Also, if the fish die, do *not* flush them, for the same reasons. Perhaps bury them at the roots of a favorite plant, so they can "live on" as life given to the plant.... or maybe I'm just sappy and sentimental. anyhow, I know this is a huge amount of bad news, and I am sorry to be the bearer of it....> Other fish (guppy, neon, Danio and other four shiners) seem to be fine. The fish had been in my tank since September and had been given general tropical fish flakes. <They may never catch it, either, if you act now and remove the infected fish.> I also noticed that the shells of snails started turning whitish and have some abbesses, just don't look healthy. do I have some nutrient deficiency in my tank? <Ahh, this is a much easier, and happier answer. You are probably lacking calcium or some other mineral that the snails need for healthy shells. You can buffer the water with a calcium carbonate solution, but this may increase your pH, as well, so do so only with caution. I'd also like to mention, since dosing my tanks with iodine for my freshwater shrimps, I have noticed AMAZING changes in the snails, as well - the went from pitted, white, eroding shells to rich, brown, faster-growing shells. The change is very obvious on the larger ones, you can actually see the cutoff point where their shells began to grow healthy. I use one drop of Kent Iodine (this is marketed for saltwater tanks) per every ten gallons of water in all my freshwater tanks containing shrimp. The snails get it by default.> What to do? <Just as above.... and do further research on "whirling disease", especially here: http://www.fishdisease.net/cgi-bin/search.cgi?ps=10&q=whirling+disease&t=&Submit=Search . Again, I'm sorry I don't have better news for you.> Thanks for your help, Claudine <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Boiled Eel.. >Hi, >>Hello. >Wow incredible site. >>Thank you. >My sister has a tire track eel and it's sick, it has boils (?) on its back. That's how she described it to me. >>Sounds like ulcers, an open sore is my take on it. This isn't good, though. >What might it be and how can we fix it? >>We see ulcers of this type most commonly on goldfish. It's called septicemia (see here: http://www.fishbase.org/Diseases/DiseasesSummary2.cfm?discode=809 ) >Do you have any good references for info on curing disease/sick tire track eels? >>Not specific to tire track eels, but you can also search for treatments for SCALELESS fishes. >I read on your site that if it has sores it's likely to die soon? >>Maybe not so soon, but these afflictions can be very difficult to deal with. It should NOT be treated in the main display, however. >She's very found of this eel as she says it has a lot of personality! >>I'm sure it does, and if you can, search further on http://www.fishdisease.net/ as well as looking for freshwater fish forums and sites. Because these infections can by caused by many bacteria, treatment is rather like "blasting" with antibiotics. Marina >Thanks, Cindy

Clown loaches 'n' columnaris Hi - I purchased 3 clown loaches about 3 or 4 weeks ago. They've seemed fine until about 3 days ago. 1 of them has white around his mouth. Could it be cotton mouth? How would I treat this? <This sounds like columnaris (mouth fungus, mouth rot, other names). I would treat with a broad spectrum antibiotic like Oxytetracycline, preferably in a medicated food, if possible.> I had something similar about a year ago that started with a Dojo and 14 of my 19 fish perished. I treated it with Penicillin upon advice from a local fish store. I have a 29 gal tank. Testing yesterday showed everything was fine. <What were your test results? Usually this bacterial illness is brought on by high nitrates, perhaps a pH other than what the fish prefer, low oxygen concentrations, etc.> Thanks SG <Wishing your fish a swift recovery, -Sabrina>

Withering Fins 11/04/03 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I have two Green Terrors in a 55gal tank along with 3 small convicts, 1 Kenyi cichlid, and a Pleco. I do a water change about every week or a week and a half. <How much water? I do 50% water changes ever 7-10 days.> My Ph is neutral but the Green Terrors' fins are not healthy. They appear to be withering away. What can I do to help? <Either high ammonia is eating them away, or your fish are picking on each other. Check the water parameters. Are they a pair? I would add Melafix to the water the help them heal. Keep an eye on aggression.> Thanks in advance, K. Hawkins <You're welcome--Pufferpunk>

Fungused Guppies Hi, <Hello.> I have just discovered that my guppies have fungus. I have also noticed the largest female has very red gills on one side and it seems to be protruding compared to the other side and the other fish. Is this caused by a bacterial infection from the fungus? <Probably not. I would assume this is a minor genetic deformity.> If so, what treatment should I be using? <If it *is* genetic, there's probably nothing to do about it; believe it or not, some angelfish are actually bred to have inadequate gill covers, so their gills are visible or exposed. Often seen in goldfish, too.> I have done a 50% water change and am using a treatment for fungus, have removed the charcoal from my filters (running two while the new ones sets up its biological filter). <Wonderful. What are you treating with?> I have added a new plant and am wondering if that has contributed to the problem. <Although it is *possible* to bring in illnesses with plants, it is usually external protozoan parasites that this happens with. I highly doubt the plant brought the fungus.> I have two Plecos in the tank who seem to be doing fine. <Check to see if the fungus treatment has special instructions for scaleless fish; Plecs are scaleless.> My only problem is that they don't seem to like the algae discs I have been feeding them and it is difficult to remove all the remaining food without disturbing the plants and tunnels that the Plecos like to hide in. <What kind of Plecs are they? Some are strictly carnivorous. The 'generic' plecostomus usually only takes algae wafers as a last resort; try sliced, blanched zucchini (to blanch, boil very briefly - like 10 seconds or so). Weigh it down with a plant weight or a rock, and you'll be all set. They should absolutely love this. I also like to feed my 'veggie' Plecs frozen Formula Two cubes, made by Ocean Nutrition.> I realize that the food remains have probably caused the problem of the fungus in the guppies <Uhm, might possibly have contributed, but water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH) should also be suspect; please test these levels, fix if necessary. Keep up with regular water changes, too.> so have cut down the amount I am feeding the Plecos. <I think a change in diet will please all.> Is there anything else I should/could be doing? <Other than testing/fixing the water and changing the Plecs' food, it sounds like you're on the right track. Wishing you well, -Sabrina> Regards Dawn (NZ)

Testing for dropsy? <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I (We) are semi new at this fish hobby and have recently discovered new information, I was wondering with a 10 gallon tank, would it benefit to always wash your hands prior to touching the water for testing or cleaning to help keep it a healthy environment for the fish? <Yes, definitely! Better yet to get a set of aquarium gloves to keep the gunk from your hands out of the tank.> And secondly, One of our sunset fire platy's got a bought of dropsy (which as new owners didn't discover this until it was too late, because we thought it was pregnant at first) <A completely understandable mistake when you've never seen dropsy before...> what and how did this happen, whenever we tested the water it came out fine, is there a test for bacteria? <There will always be some bacteria in your tank, as there is beneficial bacteria that converts ammonia to nitrites and then to nitrates... so no, there isn't anything to test for that.> or perhaps our kit isn't sufficient to test everything? <There's no real way to test "everything" in the tank... the usual things to test are ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, pH...> It was devastating to the other platy to loose his mate/companion and stuck by it till the end, but is healthy as ever though. <Hopefully, yes...> Thanks, Karen K. Meano <You're welcome. Apologies for the delay in getting back to you; this email bounced around a bit before landing in my box. --Ananda>

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

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

Bubble Eye Goldfish - Bacterial Infection 7/11/03 I need some help immediately. My goldfish, a bubble eye, appears to have an infection with its bubble. One of the bubble seems to be congested with orange stuff. Please help me identify this disease and guide me on what to do. My other bubble eye have already died due to the same illness. Thank you. <if it is a pathological concern, it will almost certainly be bacterial in nature. Use a Furazolidone and Nitrofurazone (mixed) based medication like Jungle brand "Fungus Eliminator" (ignore the name). It would also be best to treat it as with all fishes, in a proper and separate bare-bottomed hospital tank. Best regards, Anthony>

Please help- fw rainbow fish problem Help...don't know what's wrong with new rainbowfish Posted: May 16, 2003 8:25 PM Reply : I am positively freaking out...please help. I just did a 10-15% water change in my 44 gal. freshwater tank, and after finishing, only then did I notice something odd looking with 2 dwarf neon rainbows. It doesn't look like the pictures of any diseases I've seen, but maybe someone can help identify: these guys are normally blue in color, and on two of them, both sides, there is a white-ish spot about 1/2 a dime in size. Maybe it's fungus, but it doesn't appear to be on top of the fishes' scales, but rather part of them? And I should mention that I originally bought four dwarf Neons on Tuesday - one died and I just removed it prior to today's water change, and I can't find the last one anywhere in the tank. Granted, it is a planted tank with several rocks, driftwood pieces, etc., but still...it makes me nervous that I can't find him at all. And I should mention upfront that I didn't QT these new fish- very stupid on my part. Won't ever happen again. Right now I'm filling up the QT tank (6 gal. Eclipse)...I'll have to heat it, etc., but as soon as it's ready, I'll put the dwarf rainbows in there to take a closer look. (On that note, do most people leave their QT tanks up and running? I would imagine that you should totally break it down after treating sick fish, but should I have immediately set it up again, or do you just do that on an as-needed basis?) Sorry for the length of this post...I'm just a little rattled right now. Any suggestions??? Thanks so much, -JKJ As you can see, I did post this on the 911 Emergency forum, so I apologize if it isn't proper "netiquette" to e-mail you also...I'm relatively new to this hobby and haven't had to deal with fish disease before! Thanks in advance for your help, Jorie <Im sorry I didnt get back with you faster but I see that you had lots of help on the 911 forum at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=31&thread=9603&tstart=0&trange=15 One possibility that wasnt discussed and definitely may have been the problem was Neon Tetra Disease (also affects other species). Take a look at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm for a description of it. There is no known cure. Im sorry for your losses and do hope you have better success in the future. Ronni>

Mouth Fungus? Or paranoid? Hi. Bought a Goyder River Rainbow today. It is about 3" right now. Brightly colored, gorgeous fish. Been in the tank about 6 hrs. I got a real close look at him through the glass and there is a tiny tiny patch of white on his lips. Looked at my Boesemani and turquoise I have (1 of each, both male). They sort of kind of maybe, maybe not have the same, hard to tell. It may be normal but the Goiter's is slightly off center on the bottom lip. Otherwise, no signs of any problem on any of them. Question: is this mouth fungus? If so what if anything can I do? If the answer is watch and see what am I watching for and what would be the course of treatment if it is? <I would just watch and see at this point. Watch for an enlarging of that spot, rapid breathing, other symptoms of distress. You can take a look at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm for info on fungus and the recommended treatments.> Others in tank: 3 clown loaches, 6 cardinal tetras, 3 each of albino Pristella and green fire tetras, 1 Spotted albino Pleco, 1 oto, 1 clown Pleco, 1 blue Gourami. Also Coralife Turbo-Twist UV sterilizer with pump pushing water at about 50GHP so I get parasite kill (no ick problems since I've been running it) -- but this may affect med suggestions. <OK> 30G tank (I know, lots of fish but I water change and vac weekly, parameters all ideal on ammo, nitrite/ate, pH, temp 80.) <Yes, definitely a lot of fish. Your weekly cleaning does help with the water quality problems associated with over crowding but what about the health problems from being physically crowded?> Thanks for advice ... I've never run into fungus problems and maybe this is nothing to worry about. <I doubt that it is but do read the above page. Ronni>

Re: mouth rot I am sorry if this is a repetitive question. I have searched Google like you asked and read your previous comments on mouth rot, but I still feel the need to ask you a question. <No needs to apologize, your efforts to find the answer are greatly appreciated!> I have two goldfish and a platy in a 29 gallon tank. <The platy isnt the best tankmate here since it likes warmer water than Goldfish.> I do partial water changes weekly as well as testing ammonia and ph levels. Everything always comes out fine. <Very good> On Wednesday I noticed that one of the fish looked like he had a sore on his mouth, like his lip was being eaten away. I need some reading on the internet, but didn't have time to go to the pet store until Thursday. At the pet store I told the salesperson what was wrong and she gave me Nitrofura-G for the tank. Although she said that I should separate him and put him in a separate tank, it was not necessary. So I didn't (kicking myself now). <Yes, he should have been separated for treatment.> I have given them two cycles of the medicine (with one more to go on Monday). I can't really tell if he is getting better but he is swimming around violently shaking his head. He is still eating and otherwise doing well. <Ack, I worry a bit about the head shaking as it would normally be considered a distress symptom but if hes still eating then it may be nothing to worry about.> Should I go ahead and move him into a new tank, or is he going to be all right? <Yes, he should be separated just to be on the safe side.> If the damage is irreversible how do I know if he is ok or if he is suffering? <Even with the head shaking, I doubt he is suffering since hes acting pretty much normal. It will become pretty obvious if he does start suffering.> I feel like I am powerlessness to help him. Is there anything else I should be doing? <Not really. Youre doing the best you can at this point. Do take a look at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm to see if it gives you any more ideas though.> Sorry for all this rambling, but I do not want to see him suffer needlessly and I am really attached to my fish. Sincerely, Ana Zelia <Not a problem at all. Good luck! Ronni>

Re: fast killer fresh water fungus? Help I have encountered a fast and lethal white/cream fungus type film on fish, first introduced to tank on dwarf Gourami. Local aqua shops at a loss to what it is and experienced same thing killing fish in a matter of hours. Spores even invest silicone in tank and the only product that seems to kill it as well as everything else is chloromide. Water quality perfect, community tank of tetras and catfish, have tried everything on the market that shop has suggested. The cycle seems to run around 21 days. Starts on tail. fish seem ok feeding, normal swimming patterns and then on tail a white line on upper and lower fin appears not fluffy looks like the inside if a banana skin within hours tail covered and fungus creeping up fish body. Death rate 100%. Fish stop eating and are distressed, body rubbing, fast swimming, usually within hours death occurs. Have been told that it is a introduced fungus that first was seen on dwarf Gourami and now is appearing on a large range of fish. This is not ich or velvet. <What you are (too) likely describing is "Columnaris" disease (causative agent Chondrococcus columnaris). A seasonal contagion... real bummer in the hobby and business dealing with freshwater tropical fishes. Please use your search engines with the above scientific name or "Flexibacter". Bob Fenner>

fish tank dilemma I have a 55 gallon tank for almost 12 years and have not had any problems with it over the last couple of years. I had a pictus catfish and one Pleco that had gotten huge, so they were the only occupants of my tank for the last two years because they were eating the new fish. Recently, I needed to move my tank and had to take a great deal of water out of it and the pictus died ( I really felt bad.) So with that unfortunate event occurring, I decided I would add some colorful fish once I moved my tank back to it's location. I purchased a mixture of fish - a pictus, 2 blue dwarfs, 2 mollies, 4 Danios, 4 platies and 2 kissing Gouramis. Within 24 hours they started dying. A white fuzz would be surrounding the whole body of the fish. I ended up losing all the fish but 3 within 4-5 days. Then my big Pleco started getting the white cottony looking growth in several Pleco on it's back. I treated the tank with an antibiotic for 7 days, changed 25% of the water and then added a fungus medication. After 4 days, I changed 25% of the water and added the fungus med again. It has been one day since I have done that. The Pleco looks better, but the sores have eaten through his skin and still have the white growth on them. Also, one molly that survived I found swimming around in circle last night and I didn't see him at all this morning. << Im assuming you didnt quarantine any of the new arrivals before you added them to your tank. They were probably infected with a disease when you bought them and it hadnt yet reached the stages where it was visible. All new fish should be quarantined in a tank other than your main one for at least 3-4 weeks to prevent the introduction of any diseases. I would keep treating with the fungus medicine and then possibly follow-up with the antibiotic if the sores are still there after the fungus is gone.>> I did notice that when I went back to one of the fish stores where I had purchased the Gouramis, other fish had the fuzz growing on them and had ick really bad. I did not see this when I originally purchased the fish or I would have passed on them. Can new fish introduced to a tank bring bacteria with them like that? I hate to have invested all that money and lost them all. <<Most definitely! Talk to your LFS about this and see if they will at least give you a partial credit since all of the ones you bought died. Some places will, some wont, it depends on the owner/manager.>> Can you give me any advice as to what happened, if I treated it properly, and what I should do now. I really want to save my Pleco if possible. Help! Thanks! Joan <<You might have been better to reverse the order of the medications but all in all, you treated them fine. Do try to avoid problems like this in the future by using a quarantine tank for all new arrivals. Do a search at www.wetwebmedia.com for info on how to setup a QT tank. Ronni>>

Re: Disease of my Dwarf Gourami Hi, I was wondering if you would be able to help me diagnose what my dwarf Gourami died of half an hour ago. I have a 10 gallon tank with: 5 - Neon Tetra 5 - Fancy Guppies 1 - Male Dwarf Gourami Two days ago I noticed a small whitey patch, irregular in shape on the side of my Gourami's head. The patch wasn't smooth, more like cotton wool in water; waving in the current. I decided to put him in a breeding cage that you can put in the aquarium, just so that he wouldn't come in contact with my other fish. Yesterday (a day later) he looked worse. The white patch had increased in size slightly and there was a tiny bit of it on the top of one fin. I quarantined him in another tank that day. <<It sounds like fungus. Im sorry to hear that he died. For future reference, one of the Mardel products (Maracyn, Maroxy, Maracide, etc) treats this but I cant remember which one exactly. Fungus Guard by Jungle will also treat this. Ive had the best luck with the one by Jungle.>> This morning the white patch was larger and looked like a scab: I could see a little red patch in the middle of it. The white stuff was about 0.5 cm in diameter. The fin that previously had the white patch on it was completely opaque and shredded. His other fin was perfectly functional and clear. Over part of his body was a mucusy white, not quite as white as the initial patch. He no longer made that crest on his back stand up and it was coated thinly will mucus. His colour was duller and he mostly stayed sunken on the bottom of the tank, apart from making quick dashes to the surface now and then. In the end he lay horizontally on the bottom. The white patch protruded from his scale approx 1/3 of a centimeter and was a cloudy white. <<Definitely sounds like fungus.>> Well, that's everything. I know that i sound very concerned, it's just that i would like to know what i did wrong and hopefully save my other fish, so it won't happen again. <<Watch your other fish very closely and if they show any symptoms, immediately quarantine them and treat with a medication for fungus. Sometimes they will get it, other times they wont so its hard to say.>> Thanks Jess <<Youre welcome. Ronni>>

Re: freshwater problem - fungus? Happy New Year - <Same to you my friend> I have read through your fish disease faq and did not find any questions similar to this. A fungus like disease has wiped out my tank, and I am asking for your help in restarting it. I also read a couple of articles on your site about fish diseases, but still am not sure what is going on. I have set up an 80 gal FW tank at my office, for the purpose of holding one or two Oscars and possibly a Severum. <Messy fish> I used tapwater to fill the tank, treated it with stress coat <does the stress coat remove both chlorine and chloramines?> ,and decorated the tank with clay pots, and gravel, jasper rock, and a type of Asian sinking driftwood all purchased from a major online aquaria retailer. This 48" wide tank is made by TAAM and has a built in filter, with powerhead in the tank, and a hood with five 24" fluorescent bulbs in it. In order to get the biological cycle started, I introduced two pictus cat and a gold-spot Pleco (MISTAKE - to introduce a wild-caught, fragile fish in a non-cycled tank.) The first problem I found was that the temperature of the tank skyrocketed (to 84 degrees), I think because of the lights and the motor on the filter and the heater in the tank. I turned off the heater, and shortened the lighting cycle to 8 rather than twelve hours/day, which seems to have mostly stabilized the temperature. <8 is good> But after the temp went up, I noticed what appeared to be a fungus growing on one piece of the driftwood. It was not growing on either of the other pieces of wood in the tank, even though one of them was leaning against the infested piece. At this point, it did not seem that the fish were adversely affected. I took the bad piece of dw home, and treated it with alternating baths of strong salt and soda solutions in very hot water, then dried it completely. (2nd mistake - I should have just chucked it) I reintroduced it to the tank, and within a day noticed that the fungus was visible all over the wood. I also saw that there were pieces of food or feces in the tank and on the dw that were encased in white cloudy mass, which I presumed to be the fungus. The fish appeared OK except the pictus were swimming all day in a stream of air bubbles from an 18" bubble wand rather than typical pictus behaviour of hiding under something. And the Pleco seemed lifeless, was hanging out by the intake of the filter, hard to tell with Pleco though as they are inactive anyway. I threw away the infested piece of wood. During this whole period, pH remained neutral and ammonia remained undetectable. Today my colleague called from the office to say that all three fish were dead, surrounded by what appeared to be a cocoon (which sounds like what I'd seen before on the bits of food or feces) and that the water was cloudy. Leaving aside the possibility that the aquarium's beginning its cycle may account for the cloudy water, can you tell me: 1) Do you know what this is? Is it a fungus? Is it common? <Its a fungus, but it does not attack fishes its presence indicates a lapse in water quality (overfeeding and/or lack of water changes). It is the latter that kills the fishes. > 2) There are no fish left in the tank. Should I treat with medication? I plan on doing a 100% water change, and am hoping that the dw remaining in the tank won't carry the problem. What would you suggest? <100% water change, start over with no fish, the tank will still cycle. add 1 tablespoon of aquarium salt per 10 gal. Watch it closely, if all appears to be well after a few weeks, start adding fish slowly. Best Regards, Gage> Thank You, Daniel Heller

Fish Illness I breed angelfish and recently a couple of juvies developed redness around the mouth between the eyes. They were in a cichlid tank (they were fish I was culling) with two cichlids and a handful of feeder fish, Rosies. I removed the juvies because of the redness thinking the angels were too big for the cichlids to consume. I put them in with approx. 50 other juvies who are now getting the same symptoms redness, not active, sometimes staying at the top and within two days are dying. At a closer look at the Rosies, a few were "bent" looking. Not having straight bodies. The only thing I've found online that maybe wrong is fish tank granuloma. <careful here... the possibility of mycobacterium too. Contagious to you (bent spine symptoms... Fish TB)> Is it possible this is what's wrong? <does not seem likely to be granuloma at all> Thank you for your time, Stacey <alas... still too difficult to diagnose here without seeing the fish/symptoms. Let me suggest for a good general reference, Untergasser's "Handbook of Fish Diseases" or for something much more involved, the new work by Noga. Plenty of pictures therein both to help with the diagnosis. Best regards, Anthony>

Dropsy? Hello WWM. Thank you for being here. In my high-tech planted discus tank I have a pair of Golden Dojo Loaches. They have been doing great for 3+ years now, both are 8" long and happy. One now suddenly has "dropsy" and can't seem to maintain proper buoyancy, has paled from his usual deep school bus yellow to an pale sick color, his body is looking bloated and has scales beginning to protrude. When he reaches the surface and gulps air (as he always has), the air immediately passes through and exits his vent (yuck) also the vent seems swollen and palish red. I'm going to euthanize him. Too bad- those loaches were the most interesting, joyful fish in there, even more favorite than those fancy discus. The tank is extremely healthy, well planted for years now. Lots of light, Co2, cables, etc. No parameters have changed to my knowledge. I don't know how it got sick, or what contagious implications it may have. What is your guess as to the possibility of future impacts of this sick fish in my system? I feel that any attempts at preventative medication (which I don't believe in, anyway, in a healthy tank such as this) would be absorbed by the plants biomass. In a nutshell, how worried would you be about the health of my expensive discus? Thank you. Erik Nelson <Sorry to hear about your loach. Usually, dropsical conditions are the internal infections, and the symptoms that manifest as a result are usually the result of some massive system failure, such as kidney failure, etc. Hard to say what could have been the cause of this malady. It's good that you're looking at the implications for your other fishes. I think that, in the absence of obvious disease symptoms in this well-established tank, I'd continue to maintain stable environmental conditions, good food, and intensive observation of your fish. I agree that "preventatively" medicating the tank is not a good idea. Be prepared to take action as necessary. Good luck! Scott F>>

Freshwater skin problem Hello a fish health question I hope you can help me with. <We'll give it a shot!> I have a female guppy, she has a red line on her side following the line of her scales about 5mm long surrounded by skin that is turning white. She is kept in a community tank with good water conditions, the other fish do not show aggression towards her, could you please enlighten me on what it is. Also it has only showed up in the last day or so and she does scratch herself on occasion. <Hmm, could be ick (indicated by scratching) or it could be a fungus/bacteria depending on what it looks like. Small dots or lots of them is likely ick and patches are usually fungus/bacteria. When you determine this then go to the freshwater section of WetWebMedia.com for treatments. Hope this helps you out! Craig>

Platy Question Hi. I have looked around your website and the other fish related sites for an answer to what I am seeing in my pets, however I have not seen anyone with similar conditions. I have about 15 platies that have been healthy and well taken care of for the pass year. Recently I had one die which looked like it was due to natural causes. No sign of visible disease. All levels are normal in the tank and nothing has really changed with the tank over this period. I follow normal tank cleaning and water changes. Feed them once a day as directed by the pet store. However about the same time as this fish died two other fish started to show what appeared to be getting pregnant. Their belly increased in size and I was not really to worried. But now they appear to be "blowing up" pass anything I have seen before. They are getting so big that their scales are sticking out. They looked sick but remained near the bottom as if they were getting ready to give birth. One of the two died today. I am now worried that whatever killed the first will kill the second and may in fact wipe out my tank. The second one is showing the same signs. Do you know what this is? If you do is there anything I can do the save the second fish and the rest of my fish? Thank you for your time, Don <Hey Don, sorry to hear about your losses. It sounds like your fish may have dropsy. This is not an easy one to fix, but it is possible. Check out the link below for more information, and please let us know if you have any further questions. Good luck, Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/fishdisho.htm>

Popeye Mr. Fenner: would like your advice on the best way to medicate my 7" Green Severum for Popeye. Came home last night and both of his eyes were popped. He is in a 135gal cichlid tank. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks in advance. <Both eyes? This fast? I would check your water quality and do a massive water change (if your tapwater is okay to do so)... maybe fifty percent... Any other fishes affected? If not, the Severum may have just been brutalized... I would (in addition to the water change) move this specimen to a separate system (no light) of low eighties F., semi-soft, acidic water (upper 6.'s) and wait on any specific medication at this point. Please inform me of your and its progress. Bob Fenner> Shirley

Re: Popeye (involvement, Central American Cichlid) thanks........water quality is as noted: Po4 - 2.5, No3-5, NH3 - 0.1, PH - 7.6, NO2 - 0.1, <Mmm, well, the phosphate's high... I try to keep such systems below 1.0 ppm... and no detectable ammonia or nitrite is strongly advised (do you have sufficient, dependable biological filtration?)... and I would start a slow, steady campaign (if this is to the liking of your other livestock) to lower the pH to near neutral (7 or so)... and use make-up water that has been adjusted to this for water changes...> tank has been set up for about 1.5 years now. No other fish seem to even bother with this fish. I did remove and place in another tank. No other fish are affected. Did about a 33% H20 change. Both eyes are even more protruding today......started medicating the hospital tank with Maracyn-Two by Mardel Labs. What do you think??? <A good choice. What do you feed your fishes? There is some possibility that the condition (bilateral exophthalmia) is nutritional-deficiency related. Bob Fenner> Shirley

possible fin and tail rot? shredded tail Bob, What is the appropriate course of action to treat a Betta whose tail is fine one day and the next is shredded? <if the fish is alone (no fin nipping) then we might assume a pathogenic infection. If limited to the extremities... the fins can be swabbed with iodine or Merthiolate. Else, look for a broad spectrum antibiotic like Furan-2 or Fungus Eliminator (Jungle brand). Water changes and slightly salted water will help too. Best regards, Anthony.> Many thanks Anthea

Re: best thing to use for bacterial pop-eye? Hi guys, One of my big rainbows has pop-eye....again. What's the best anti-bacterial medication to use for this?? Thanks, Ananda <a broad-spectrum antibiotic in QT is the best bet, but if it happened recently and is simply swollen (may not be infected yet/at all) then one Tablespoon of Epson salt per five gallons may alleviate the water buildup behind the eye. Do consider especially if removal to QT is not convenient or possible. Kindly, Anthony>

Septicemia <You actually have reached Steven Pro. Bob is away for awhile and Anthony Calfo and I are trying to fill his rather large shoes.> A client whose tank I maintain has told me he thinks he has an albino Oscar with septicemia. I haven't seen the fish yet, so I can't confirm. 150g tank with two Fluval 404's. <Is this all the filtration? Oscars are pollution machines that require massive filtration and frequent large water changes.> It has only been set up a month, but I did "seed" the Fluvals with a large amount of biological medium from a well-establish existing tank. Two weeks ago, the water conditions were fine, Ph = 7.0, zero readings on the ammonia, nitrites/nitrates. <Double check all four of the above. These things are usually brought on by high levels of dissolved organic solids which can be inferred by lower pH readings and high nitrates.> I know I'm not giving you much info. I'll stop by and check water parameters tomorrow and examine the Oscar. (it was introduced into the tank about 10 days ago.) Assuming the Oscar is indeed septicemia, what is your recommended course of action? I planned to due a regular 10% water change <How often? 10% per week?> at tomorrows visit, and will change more if the quality readings are off. I've never had a fish with septicemia in over 25 years in the hobby. Any advice you can provide with what little info I've provided you would be appreciated! Regards, Jay

fungus disease Hi Bob! Is it true that fungus will die off if the aquarium is left alone without fishes? And how long is the period? Thanks. Regards, Arise. >> True funguses are most everywhere in aquatic environments. Pathogenic (disease inducing) types in captive systems are rare, and without impugned host flesh to consume, disappear to low virulence within a few days. Bob Fenner

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