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FAQs on Freshwater Diseases 1

Related Articles: Freshwater DiseasesToxic Situations, FW Disease Troubleshooting, Ich/White Spot Disease, Choose Your Weapon: Freshwater Fish Disease Treatment Options by Neale Monks,

FAQs on Freshwater Disease: Freshwater Disease 1, Freshwater Disease 2, Freshwater Disease 3, FW Disease 4, FW Disease 5, FW Disease 6,
FAQs on Freshwater Disease by Category:
Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional,
Social, Trauma, Genetic, Pathogenic (plus see Infectious and Parasitic categories below), Treatments 

& Aquarium MaintenanceFreshwater MedicationsFreshwater Infectious Disease, Freshwater Fish ParasitesIch/White Spot DiseaseNutritional Disease, African Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid Disease


Tetra injury or ...? Dear Crew, As you may recall, I've written in a few times with long-winded questions about the 55-gallon freshwater community tank we have, and its progression from fake plants to all real plants and DIY CO2. We've added a 20 gallon tank to receive all of our livebearing fishes from the big tank, using water and a Bio-wheel from the big tank. Everything is going well on that front, and we're in the process of gradually lowering the pH in the big tank down into the 6.5 range for the remaining denizens. We bought a pair of Golden Rams (Microgeophagus ramirezi) earlier this week, which make the last two fish in the community tank. Ammonia and nitrites are always zero, and the plants and water change regimen keep the nitrates well below 10ppm - if they go much lower, I'm going to have to start supplementing nitrates for the plants (which seems really backwards...) I got home last night to find my wife and daughter looking closely at one of our Black Neon Tetras in a small glass bowl. He had a strange-looking patch at the front of his underside, and was obviously heavily distressed. My wife said he didn't even try to get away when she netted him. With the distortion of the glass, we couldn't tell what the heck the patch was. He continued to decline, and I euthanized him (I always knew I'd find a use for the zillion-year-old vodka, though in reviewing the FAQs today I see I misremembered and should have gone with the freezer method - dang!) After finding my reading glasses (darn these short arms!) I discovered that he had a big swatch of skin gone from the belly area, starting just behind the gill covers. In a 22mm fish, the patch was an easy 3x5mm - no wonder he was hurting! I took a series of pictures of what I perceived to be a physical injury, in case it'll help with the analysis. The flesh underneath the wound was smooth and what I considered to be a "healthy-looking" pink, with two tiny scratch-type marks, each about 2mm long. The skin around the wound was a bit tattered in areas, with no non-fish-skin-looking growths or attachments. There wasn't any real apparent swelling, or any out-of-the-ordinary marks elsewhere on his body. We spent the next hour or so scrutinizing the remaining fish, and none of us saw anything wrong with any other fish. My daughter dissected the victim, and his internal organs didn't exhibit any obvious problems (wow, the swim bladder was tiny, not to mention the heart!) Based on the description, and without benefit of pictures, would you guess he'd been attacked by someone? (Seems pretty obvious, but as opposed to some strange skin-patch-disappearing disease, that is. (Maybe he tripped and fell...) < Your fish may have been nipped but more likely it was a bacterial infection.> The Rams have only been in the tank a couple of days, and as of lunchtime today still haven't established an obvious territory. Other occupants are Tetras (Black Neons, Lemons, Glowlights, and Cardinals), a couple of male Dwarf Gouramis, a few Corydoras, a trio of Otos, and a trio of small Siamese Algae Eaters, so nobody has a solid reputation for being belligerent. Other than one of the Lemon Tetras (who chases two others for an hour or so every morning), everyone has been pretty serene. We all spend quite a bit of time staring at the tanks' occupants, and I'm certain the fish was fine yesterday morning (and probably at lunchtime, too). Also, with that kind of injury, was there much chance of his surviving?  Guess I'm looking for reassurance that I did the right thing in euthanizing him...  As always, thanks for the help you give me and all the rest of us. Tomorrow is payday, and my wife said I can contribute to the site's Amazon Honor System link this weekend.  Glen < These gram negative bacteria are pretty bad. If there was no fungus on the wound and the infection never got to the internal organs then with treatment it may have survived. In the future I would recommend getting a quarantine tank to treat any new fish before they have a chance to infect your established tank.-Chuck>

Fish tank problem Good afternoon. <Hi Lisa, MacL here with you tonight.>   I'm hoping you might be able to help me figure out what's going wrong with my tank. I have a 29 gallon freshwater setup at the office. Somehow, when we decided to get the fish tank, I ended up being the person responsible for it <Sounds like fun, fish tanks are great>  (except for the stocking -- no matter what I tell the bosses, they seem to think they have absolute control over what fish go in the tank. I have to threaten them to keep fish from magically appearing over the weekend). We have a Whisper Power Filter 30, thermometer set for about 78-ish (with the hot weather we've been having, the actual temp is more around 80-82) and an aeration stone.  We have only fake plants with two grotto-like structures for all of the pretty, expensive fish to go hide in. <Sounds lovely> The system has been running for approx. 6 months now. After a rough cycling period (learning the hard way JUST how rough it can get'¦), the ammonia and nitrite levels have remained at 0.  We gradually began stocking the tank.  Through the process, we've lost some fish due to one reason or another, perhaps at the rate of about one fish a month.   I change about 3-4 gallons of water once every week or two.  I only recently learned of the wonder of the gravel vacuum, which I've done twice now. <The secret to that is doing part of that tank at a time. For instance doing about half at a time.> The only thing I add is some tap water conditioner and about ½ aquarium salt 1-2 times per month. <I would stop with the salt, it can truly irritate some  fish. > As of two weeks ago, our tank looked like this:   3 Harlequins 2 Pristellas 6 neon tetras (which survived the cycle) 2 rainbow tetras 1 small Pleco (a real trooper) 2 Cory cats 1 medium angel 1 small angel 1 Betta 1 tiny African frog (he survived the cycling, too) 1 gourami 1 loach of some kind (don't remember which one exactly, but labeled by the LFS as a community one) 1 Dalmatian molly (LFS said he would be fine in normal fresh-water salinity, and so far seems to be doing well enough) <You are adding salt pretty frequently so he's probably happier than the rest of the fish> 1 platy I've tried to maintain the fish inch/gallon rule. <You have to use that rule thinking about the ultimate size of the fish. The angels will eventually outgrow the tank. The gourami will as well unless its one of the dwarf gourami types.>  This is a bit difficult considering the bosses and their attempts at weekly fieldtrips. <Why not sit down with the bosses and create a plan.> I realize that we have quite a few fish, but it is a decently-sized tank and most of the fish barely make an inch and I'm told most of them shouldn't get any bigger than they are now. One of the Harlequins has lost an eye. <That could have been the loach or one of the angels>  He seems okay though, considering he's now blind on one side. We think it might be the larger angel, as he appears to be the only one even remotely aggressive. About two weeks after the addition of the molly, gourami, and loach, things seemed to start going downhill. The loach promptly went into hiding and we haven't seen anything of him since about day two of adding him. I've tried gently rocking the grotto in which he was last seen, with no sign of him. <If he's a Kuhli loach he's probably buried in the rocks>  He is assumed dead.  About two weeks after the introduction, the gourami died.  When I found him, he was covered in fuzz (he died over the weekend. I don't know if the fuzz was pre- or post-mortem). <More than likely after death.>  When I arrived at work yesterday, two of the Neons were missing. <If they were small enough they could have been eaten>  No bodies have yet turned up. And then this morning my Pleco died. <With the Pleco, did you by any chance look at his belly? Pleco's can starve without algae to eat. If so they get a sunken in belly> Water quality as of yesterday morning (and it's really stayed pretty steady for the past 4 months or so -- I keep track in a notebook):  Using a Mardel test strip kit  pH 7.2, Alkalinity 80, Hardness 120, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 40 <Nitrates are way to high>  and Ammonia (with an Aquarium Pharmaceuticals test kit) is 0. Nobody appears to be ill.  The Pleco was ecstatic yesterday to be fed, and quickly became lethargic this morning.  He didn't appear to be missing any fins or have any scars/wounds, so I don't think someone beat him up. <If I had to guess without algae which is their natural food he's starved, hard to tell without actually seeing the fish and/or the tank. Pleco's also get irritated by salt added to the water.>  Any thoughts as to what might be causing the death? <Most of what you have talked about is pretty normal with the mix of fish you have and the adjustment of a new tank. I'd suggest several things. My first thought is that you are probably over feeding your tank with nitrates that high. Once a day and tiny amounts is important. Now you are probably thinking, overfeeding? and she thinks the Pleco starved? Its pretty simple, Pleco's eat algae and without it they generally starve. Certain fish require certain foods. Is it possible that other people are feeding the tank as well?> Any help you can give is greatly appreciated! <Lots of people overfeed especially new people to the hobby. The fish always look hungry. One way to tell is if when you vacuum you find lots of yucky stuff in the gravel, if so there is too much food going into the tank. solution is simple on the bright side though, just cut back on the food. Don't feed on weekends for sure. They will be fine. Hope this helps, MacL> --Lisa.

I Didn't Mean to Call You a Bichir!  Another lesson in how Not to Punctuate Sorry to bother you but I don't know who else to ask.. I have this Bichir who looks very swollen.. from bellow the head to the mid fin.. it has been swollen for weeks now, I have 3 more Bichirs in the tank that are doing  fine.. I have a 55 gal thank.. it seems to be ok except for the swelling.. it seems to have gone bigger too in the last couple of days.. I've had that Bichir for more than a year now, at least 1.5 years.. I attached a picture so you can see what I mean.. thanks for your help.  < You need to get some Metronidazole ASAP! This bloat situation can be cured if it is caught early. It usually happens in cichlids mainly Tropheus and some lake Malawian fish.  I think it is stress related. Big fish are messy eaters and generate a lot of waste. It is easy to let the wastes build up in the tank and get out of hand unless you do some water changes. If your fish is still alive you need to do a 30% water change now and treat the water for ich. A Formalin-malachite green medication will work. Add a hand full of rock salt too. Look for the Metronidazole at your local store. Check the ingredients for it. It may not be labeled as such. Treat the entire tank with 250 mg per 10 gallons. Use a little extra and use 6 tablets. Remove any carbon from your filters and if you have a Marineland filter with a BioWheel then remove it and place it in a plastic bag with some aquarium water in it. Leave it open and don't let it dry out. Do not treat on the second day and repeat day number one on the third day and every other day until the fish is cured. If the fish dies then watch the others closely in case they don't eat. If they don't it means that they are sick too and need treating. I got this cure a few months ago from another website. The website is called JDTropheus.com. They deal strictly with cichlids in the genus Tropheus and this cure does work. Good Luck.-Chuck>

Fish Cancer? Hi....attached is a picture of my 5 year old Shubunkin, she has what appears to be a tumor just next to the top of her left gill. It is whitish-yellow in color, is not symmetrical, it appeared when she was about 2 years old, and I've always told myself that it is a fat deposit. It continues to grow larger, and today I noticed it has small grey dots on it.  <first I would like to say that the fish is beautiful colors, I'm sorry to see a fish like that with medical problems. I would guess that the fish does have a tumor, and the problem with tumors is that after a while as it becomes quite large, and secondary skin infections happen.>  Are tumors common?  <Sadly they seem more common in goldfish than many other fish.>  Are they commonly cancerous?  <Most are, but I've known many fish to live quite a long life with seemingly painful tumors.>  I lost a Shubunkin with a tumor last summer. But hers was different, it simply appeared to be a very round, symmetrical bump under her skin. It was on the top of her head, and she died within a year after it appeared. It continued to grow, and then in the last week of her life, it appeared to break open and the flesh turned grey and dead looking.  <That is what often times happens with goldfish tumors. the fish lives fine until the tumor should rupture. at which point the fish either the fish dies from the damage or due to secondary bacterial or fungal infections.>  Is there anything I can do to prolong this fish's life?  Diane Virginia, USA  <If you wish to keep it, then you can add medicines to the water to prevent secondary infections from getting to the fish. Use Maracyn-Two, Maracyn, Tetracycline or TriSulfa to prevent secondary infections from bacteria. Good luck -Magnus.>

White patches: ich, velvet, both, neither? Before I start, here's the background: Two 5-6" Oscars, one 5" Pleco, 39 g tank (which I now know is wayyyy too small and am diligently saving toward obtaining a 120 g tank ASAP).  Two HOB filters (Penguin 125 w/BioWheel & a Millennium 1000).  Biweekly 25-50% water changes depending on the amount of crud. Try to keep Ph no higher than 7.0 and ammonia is at a "safe" level according to the ammonia alert card in the tank (can those be trusted?).  I put in 1 Tbls of aquarium salt for every 5 gallons of water I add during water changes. I use tap water treated with aqua safe & try to get it as close to the tank temp as possible.  1 or 2x daily feedings of Oscar pellets, dried brine shrimp &/or occasional live earthworms (rinsed).   Please see the attached pics of my Lilo's spots and tell me if this looks more like ich or velvet or just injuries from fighting. <After reviewing the photo it looks like wounds from fighting> It doesn't look fluffy like velvet or pinpointy like ich.  Stitch has recently started ramming Lilo's sides and I noted a scale pop off yesterday.  Obviously I need to get a much bigger tank ASAP.  In the meantime, I put a plastic screen in to separate them, which unfortunately only makes the habitat smaller for each, but at least they aren't tormenting each other at the moment. The pic has a greenish tint because I added 3 tabs of Tank Buddies Fungus Clear (Nitrofurazone, Furazolidone, potassium dichromate) and per the instructions, took out the carbon cartridges from the filters. < You should have removed the BioWheel from the penguin filter too. Medications can kill the bacteria on the wheel sometimes.>   How soon before I can put them back in?  The box says do another treatment and 25% water change in four days if it hasn't cleared up. Does that mean the cartridges stay out for that long? I don't want to poison them!  They are each quite lethargic right now & didn't swim up to greet me at feeding but did each eat a red wiggler this morning.  Thanks in advance for your assistance. < Do a partial water change and try using a conditioner with some wound control in it. The Oscars will recover from the wounds since they don't look too serious and Oscars are pretty tough customers to begin with. I would not remedicate if the fungus does not reappear. The fungus likes to live on dead tissue. Watch you ammonia levels since the bacteria may have been harmed by the medication. Add the carbon back after 24 hours to clear things up and get you tank back on track.-Chuck>

Fish in distress Hi ,I have 3 cherry barbs in a 37 gallon tank with 4 C. melini and 3 Otos. One of the cherry barbs is a big full grown female. When I got home today, the cherry barbs were all in the top right corner but not packed in, they were in there own spaces. The male and female seem to be okay, but the big female is swimming against the glass and up toward the top, staying within the top six inches, but not going to the surface. When I fed them freeze dried shrimp, which they usually love, she didn't eat but a couple then kept up her weird behavior. There are also 6 Amano shrimp in the tank. The Corys and Otos seem fine. The male cherry seems to chase the other two sometimes. She almost looks as if she's trying to swim past the glass. I have no clue if this is bad or not, but it looks like she is in distress. Any ideas? Any help would be most appreciated. Thanks in advance, Marc >>Hello Marc :D How often to you do partial water changes? Erratic swimming could mean many things, anything from spawning to illness. Do any of the fish have white spots on them? Split fins, or fungus? Also, do you test your water? It would be most helpful if you could tell us your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate readings. Do you add any products, and if so, which ones? Is this a newly set-up tank? If so, for how long? -Gwen <<
Fish In Distress
Gwen, Sorry to leave out the details...My ammonia and nitrites were at zero. I tested it when I noticed the swimming. She did that for about 4 hours, and she was swimming directly against the current from the filter water. I have not noticed any white spots...in fact there are none. The only thing I can think is that she is hungry, because that's where I usually feed her. The male has been chasing the other fish, even the Corys. I fed them earlier, though. This is pretty strange behavior and the water quality seems to be fine. The substrate is Eco-Complete, there are several plants, and I don't know what could make her act this way. The only explanation I can come up with is that they want some bloodworms. I just added the Corys and Otos last week. I forgot to mention that I added Bio-Spira when I added the new fish. The cherry barbs were the first fish and in the tank for three weeks. Marc >>Okay, good. What about nitrates? You need to start measuring those, also. I assume you have fed them by now, how is she looking? My advice is to just keep an eye on her, watch closely for any spots, fungus, flashing behavior, etc. Hope everything works out. -Gwen<<

New tank, Bio-Spira, and fungus problem - II Thanks Gwen, I appreciate your help. I didn't use the old media because for the new tank because the old tanks were 5 gallon hex's with the carbon/floss cartridges and bio-wheels incorporated in the top. I can't really think of a way to use the old media's with the Fluval, unless I just suspend the whole filtration unit above the tank somehow. I vacuumed, and am now treating an ick outbreak on two of my fish, using aquarium salt. :^( Will do water changes, and try to bump the salt up to .3% over the next 24 hrs. I hate to use the chemical ick products as my filtration biology is on shaky ground as it is. The ick reared it's awful head today....had never seen it before this at all. Thanks! Any other ideas or suggestions would be very appreciated. I hope you all had a great weekend. Laura Swenson >>Ah, I understand! Sorry to hear about the ich, Laura...what a pain! Okay, I guess all you can do at this point is keep testing the water and performing the water changes necessary to keep your levels low. What is the tank temp? Since you have goldfish, I hesitate to advise raising the temperature, so I guess you will have to battle the ich with salt. Best of luck to you. -Gwen<<

Nuking Components Form An Infected System Hi guys! <Hi there! Scott F. here tonight> Got this nasty in my tank and eventually had to destroy my remaining stock.  The tank is 125 gallon fresh with undergravel filter, two mechanical filters and a wet/dry filter.  Please advise as to the best way to clean my tank to insure that my new fish do not become infected.  My husband was all for throwing some bleach in but I don't want to do something that will mess up my wet/dry filter for life. HELP! Kim <Actually, your husband is correct. I'd use some bleach, then rinse very, very thoroughly, with baking soda. Then, rinse again, fill the sump with Dechlor, and let it sit, Wash it thoroughly again. That should do the trick. Make sure that there is no residual chlorine smell before using again. That's what I'd do! Have fun! Regards, Scott F>

Sick Fish Hi, great website you have here, it is so helpful! So I'm hoping you'll be able to help me with my problem. I have a 46 Gal. Freshwater tank, two long aeration sticks connected to an air pump, Aqua Clear 500 filtration with carbon and foam. I'm new at this hobby so I've made and learned from some mistakes already. I had a huge ich outbreak due to buying sick fish from a large chain store, bad choice I will not be buying my fish from there anymore. <The moral here:  Quarantine Tank!  So many, many problems can be prevented with a simple quarantine method.> So I was treating them for 8 days with Kordon's Ich treatment. (Carbon filter out). I did a small water change, as I try to do them weekly, yesterday.  My fish were getting better before my water change, all of them clear of ich. <More info on ich here, please read:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm .> 3 Bala sharks, 1 Guppy, 1 Swordtail, 2 Mollies, 1 Silver Dollar, 1 Rainbow, 1 Glass fish. <Yikes!  A very incompatible mix, I'm sorry to say; the mollies and glassfish are brackish animals (though mollies will thrive in anything from saltwater to freshwater), and the glassfish are schoolers, really do better in groups; the rainbow is a schooler, as well; the silver dollar will one day be large enough (and aggressive enough!) to eat the guppies, glassfish, and whatever else it decides is food (and it's a schooling fish, as well)....  It would definitely benefit you greatly to research your fish prior to purchase, and decide what kind of tank you want (fresh, brackish, large predators, small, colorful fish, etc.), and go from there.  20/20 hindsight, I know.  On to the problem at hand.> Well the day before my water change I noticed my Bala's took a nosedive and broke out in ich all over. I thought this odd so I checked my water levels and noticed my nitrite level was quite high. <Many meds will kill your nitrifying bacteria; it's a good idea to do hefty water changes while medicating/re-cycling the tank.> I decided to stop treatment and put my carbon filter back in that night. The next day I made a small water change. <Larger water changes will serve you well in this time of illness; test your water (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH) and do water changes as needed to keep ammonia and nitrite at zero, and nitrate low.> Here is what may be one of my problems. I was having my mother save gallon milk jugs for me so I could use them to store water. The very first jug she saved she cleaned out with soapy water. I know, I know, bad move. I guess my brother, who keeps fish as well, told her this was a no-no. Trying to rectify the situation she used very hot water and cleaned out the jug many times, thinking this would clean out any residue left by the soap. <Although there is the ghost of a chance that there was some residue left, I would not think this was the source of your problem, to be honest.  Though, I do strongly recommend purchasing a couple of new, clean buckets for aquarium use; label them as such and never use them for anything else.> Without knowing I used that jug, along with some others. They had been sitting for at least two weeks. Well after my water change yesterday my fish seemed fine, a few of them a little on edge, but I figured this was from my nitrite levels, not knowing about the milk jug. <I would suspect the elevated nitrite - nitrite is very toxic to fish.> One of my Bala's was completely covered in ich and not moving around and not eating so I was keeping a close eye on him. I got up this morning same situation, everyone ate breakfast except the one Bala, and everyone seemed to be ok considering. Well upon my return home this evening sure enough the one Bala was dead. Since then I have been watching my other fish closely and they are very active. I know I have poisoned them, one way or another, and I can't express how awful I feel about this. <We all make mistakes; as long as you learn and grow from them, that is what matters.  But again, I do not believe the milk jug caused this; rather, I suspect the elevated nitrite (and likely ammonia, as well).> Most of my fish have nips in their tails, not caused from one another, and they are in a frenzy darting about the tank. This is behavior from all of them something I've never seen, and so I'm wondering if it was from the milk jug. <All of this as you have described is classic reaction to ammonia and/or nitrite in the water - some big water changes may be in order, please test your water, change as necessary; that should help the issue a lot.> I have a feeling I will wake up in the morning and have no fish. I have turned my aerator pump up all the way, hoping this may be of some help to them. <It should, good move.> Do you think this is soap poisoning? Or a combination of that and my toxic nitrite level? <The toxic nitrite level alone will cause everything you have described, but again, I suspect there is ammonia present, as well.> And if it is soap poisoning how do I clean my tank of this? <Water changes, in either case.> I wish I had a QT tank, but I do not, but am getting one shortly as I see how important it is to have one. <Ahh, good!  I'm *very* glad to hear this!> What suggestions can you give for my surviving fish ,if any, tomorrow? <Water changes, water changes, water changes, until there is zero ammonia and zero nitrite.  This should help tremendously, if not resolve the problem altogether.> Thanks so much!  Stacie Lawrence <You're quite welcome, Stacie!  Thank you for being so attentive to your fishes' needs, please enjoy the road ahead, learning more about your fish!  -Sabrina>

Dead clown loach - 'skinny disease', or worms? me again.... <Sabrina, here> answers to your questions....I do a 20%-30% water change once a month...ph 6.6, no ammonia, no nitrites, <Excellent.> I feed them a variety of things...zooplankton, Tubifex worms, <Tubifex - live, frozen, or freeze-dried?  Live Tubifex are pretty well known for their tendency to transmit disease; probably not the best option....> shrimp pellets, tropical flake food, Gammarus...frozen shrimp....a good mix of things I thought. <Yes.> Like I said in my previous email...everyone seems to think it was skinny disease....a parasite that they say can be in the loach already and 6 months to a year or more kill them.... <I've found some conflicting information on this - some sources say 'skinny disease' is a bacteria, as Jason said previously, and some say it's a Microsporidean - a protozoan parasite - and is difficult to treat.  However....  As I read this, I'm rather certain that, whichever way it is, you're not looking at this 'skinny disease', but at an internal large-type parasite (rather than a protozoa or a bacteria), like nematodes.  This is common in wild fish.> because they come from the wild....I had read that you can treat  prophylactically with Levamisole hydrochloride to keep this from happening...but did not find out where to get it or how much..... is this true? <I would agree with this advice - Levamisole or Piperazine are the route to take for internal wormies.  Look into "Discomed" or, if you can find it, "Dewormer", both by Aquatronics.  The former is administered via food, and contains Levamisole.  The former is already *in* food, and contains Piperazine.  Either route should do the trick.> You had mentioned medicated pellets with erythromycin....I have medicated pellets but it is tetracycline...for bacteria...would that be sufficient if this happens again?     <I'm rather convinced that you're dealing with a parasite, not a bacteria.  I'd suggest, if you're considering getting in more wild-caught fish, first and foremost set up a quarantine tank so you can nail illnesses before they get into the main system.  Secondly, keep good antibacterial meds on hand, as well as anthelminthic (worm killin') meds on hand.  Medicated food is probably the best route.> In regards to that, I read that loaches with skinny disease do not always eat and by feeding with the pellets it might do more harm than good by damaging bacteria in filter and gravel... throwing ammonia and nitrites up therefore hurting other fish........ <Unlikely.  If the loaches don't eat the food, the other fish will, most likely.  I don't see much likelihood at all of causing harm to the tank going this route.> Sorry so many questions... <Don't apologies - it's totally understandable.> I always find conflicting info on the net....& never know what to believe.... <Conflicting info - yes, indeed.  And there are many ways to skin a cat - and everyone you talk to will give you a different way.  -Sabrina> any help would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance,  Monica     

Follow Up: Dying Fish in Freshwater System >Thank you very much Marina for the information.   >>Quite welcome.  Another crewmember, Ananda, was kind enough to send me a link to a discussion on our board, as well, with even more.  It is specific to Amquel. >I didn't think it was enough information, but had I provided more at the time, I would have been lying, as I didn't know specifics. >>No worries. >I will attempt to answer the questions you asked me to clarify and give you specific information.  I also did some more checking on what I *ADD* to my water when making changes, and I think that is where my problem is.  Problem is I have asked several people and out of ignorance (my story, I'm sticking to it), combined some things that I actually only need one of. >>Heh.. don't be sorry for not automatically knowing who's got the good information and who doesn't. Here are the details:  The water filter system I use is a tank model (hangs off the back), a TetraTec PF300.  Uses 4 filters at a time which are cycled (2 removed and 2 new per month).  The type of carbon I am using in the filters is Ammo Carb.  Most people I talked to stated that undergravel filters were more trouble than they were worth and so I never put one in.   >>That's actually a matter of opinion, you can run a tank with 'em, or without 'em. >I am not sure how they work, but after seeing your FAQ pages, it appears that most people are using both undergravel and hanging filters.  Can you confirm if this is best?   >>I'm sorry, but I can't.  Honestly, my own best tank was run with a canister (Fluval 403) and a hang-on filter.  The issue is providing a substrate for nitrifying bacteria (there are two species that oxidize ammonia to nitrite and then nitrate--remember those last two!), not as much how you achieve it.  I know of one person with an OUTRAGEOUS planted tank who uses a sump. >I don't want a ton of fish, although I like variety and want more than what I currently have. >>Understood! >My test kit is from Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, it is the Master Test Kit.  It allows me to test Ammonia, Nitrite, General Hardness, Alkalinity, and pH.   >>Odd that it doesn't test the full ammonia oxidation cycle.  Hrm.  In any event, it's a fairly decent test kit, though not my favorite.   >I ran my tests last night and this is what I came up with. pH: 7.1 Ammonia: 0 Nitrites: 0 GH: 30 KH: 6 >Some people recommended that I use two kits to test the hardness, so I went out and bought a Jungle Hardness/Alkalinity Quick Dip strips.   >>Strips = BAD (cheap, poor quality).  Also, please!  STOP worrying and messing about with your hardness.  If you're experiencing pH bounce, *then* you have reason to, but otherwise leave it be.  Your fish will be much happier for it! >According to this strip, my water is HARD and the alkalinity is LOW, which according to the card is not ideal.  Alkalinity shows about 0-1, and the recommended is 120 to 300 for freshwater.  (Not sure what that means, can you help me understand?).   >>Truthfully, I have a hard time wrapping my own brain around having HARD water with a poor buffering capacity.  Must find old books!  In any event, hard water simply means that you have a relatively high amount of dissolved minerals in the water.  USUALLY they're calcium (lime leach), magnesium, and iron (lots more, too many to list).  Alkalinity speaks to the buffering capacity of the water.  Basically, alkalinity means that the water either is or isn't resistant to pH change.  Low alkalinity means that the water will very easily change pH.  This could very easily explain your fish deaths.   >I would think that low alkalinity would be best.   >>Alkalinity has two different meanings, one is regarding high pH (not necessarily a bad thing, either), the other is in regards to the buffering capacity of the water I spoke of above. >How do I kick the alkalinity up? >>A common method in freshwater is baking soda, but that is temporary.  Another common method is to place a bag (or pantyhose) of crushed coral in the tank, usually under the gravel somewhere, or in a filter.  This is the method I would use.  Do know that your pH will be bumped up, as well.  This is NOT a problem for the fish, just let it happen.  However, know that your source water will bring the alkalinity back down, and along with it the pH.  One method to deal with this is to use a trash can, place either a hang-on or canister filter filled with the coral and let it circulate for a day.  Or, you can just fill it with water and a bag/pantyhose full of the crushed coral, and make sure it's circulating well. >I also went and got a NITRATE tester as the LFS people said that NITRITES are only when the tank is new.   >>No offense, but these people are doing a piss-poor job of explaining things to you.  No WONDER you're becoming so frustrated.  If you need, I can link to you a site with a brief synopsis of the nitrification/nitrogen cycle.  Though it's written in regards to marine systems, it is just as applicable to fresh. >Since my tank has been established for some time, to test the NITRATES.  So, I got a Hagen NO3 Test Kit.  According to the test kit, Nitrates are between 50 and 110 mg/L.  The card states that this is supposed to be good.  Can you confirm? >>No, this is relatively high, but not so high as to explain the fish DEATHS.  It can, however, promote disease.  Water changes are the best way to get this under control, but do be sure to test your source water, first.  Nitrate levels as high as 40ppm are acceptable for potable water in many water districts.  Also, when it comes time to replace the kit, try getting the same brand as what you're using for the other tests (Aquarium Pharm.). >That all being said, I may have left something important out.  On the outside of the tank (on the light hood and tank cover) there has been a constant buildup of what I think is salt or scaling like the buildup I get on my faucets.  I attribute this to the water hardness.  Is that correct? >>Absolutely.  A vinegar solution will quickly and easily clean this up. >What is the best way to soften the water?  I saw something about Water Softener Pillows.  Do you recommend those? >>They can work, but are expensive.  I personally prefer a combination of peat moss and carbon to remove the tea-colored stain it tends to impart.  However, I would strongly suggest you DON'T do this, let it be. >OKAY. here is where the problems MAY be:  When I change water, here are the things that I am adding to the water and the quantities.   Amquel - 3 tsp Stress Coat - 3 tsp Stress Zyme - 3 tsp Ammo Lock - 3 tsp Dr Wells Salt - 3 tbls Tap Water Conditioner (Aquarium Pharmaceuticals) 1 drop per gal of tap H2O, typically 5 drops for 5 gals. >>Oh good lord, my dear, talk about redundancy!  Did you know that if your water source is only using chlorine you can eliminate ALL of these products and simply let it sit overnight to allow the chlorine to dissipate?  Stop with the salt (this is another reason for the "scale", we call it salt creep, too), stop with the Ammo Lock, the Amquel.. all of it.  Here is the link the kind Ananda sent me, too -- http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=31&thread=12025 >I hope that gives you more ideas about my water and what may be causing the fish to die.  I didn't know what kind of fish, I only asked if they were compatible with each other and bought ones that looked good.   >>And they couldn't even give you a better combination.  Shame on them. >Not knowing much about fish, I have tried different species: platys, mollies, and such, all of which have died.  I have resorted to finding fish that I think are hardy and not really looking at types.  Which is why I asked for a good mix after the water problem is cleared up.  Since I don't know the specifics, I am sending photos.  I don't think the "goldfish" are really goldfish, but I chose that name as it is the only one that fits.  There are actually two. >>Alright.  The orange fish is DEFINITELY a goldfish. >So that you know, I did a 25% water change today and will start with a water change every 2 weeks.  Hope that will help.  Since I am there (I have to admit that while I looked, I was trying to find other answers first, so did not specifically look this up) can you give me the straight scoop on water changes and gravel cleaning?  Again, when I bought the tank, I was told to clean the gravel at the same time I do the water change, once a month.  I have been following that rule.  Is there a better way?  What do YOU recommend? >>Just be sure to vacuum only 1/3 - 1/2 the gravel with each change.  This is the best way to ensure you don't disturb your nitrifying bacteria too much. >I saw your reference to "Nessler's reagent" but after doing a Google search on this, see that there are a ton of things that are associated with this.  Can you be more specific?  Is this the name of the test kit that I should use?  Do you have a known source where I can get this? >>No, I'm afraid I don't, and it's something you DON'T want. It's a type of reagent that is easily skewed by the products you're using, so it's in truth something you'd be better off avoiding like the plague.  j/k, but still, avoid those test kits that use it.  If it's not listed, then contact the manufacturer. >I won't address the messing with pH, as everything that I have done probably has.  Maybe nerds (I'm a programmer) should only be allowed to have fish screensavers and leave the real fish to others. :) >>Not at all!  I'm progressing even further into nerddom, as I'm a hardcore fish geek (yes, we DO exist), and I've got a bf who's a computer geek and has me with a partitioned drive for "Winblows", Red Hat 9 (a custom kernel install), and a shared partition for both.  Wheee!!!  However, do know that by addressing the alkalinity (buffering capac.) of the water, the pH very well may be affected.  But!  Don't worry about it. >Hope you can help with the new information I have provided.  I await your post. >>Do read that thread (it's a shorty), and I am SO pleased that you're making such good use of the information we have on this site!  I'm having trouble opening up some of the pics, but the first one is DEFINITELY a gold fish, I saw a Cory cat, and a platy, with what appeared to be a couple of gouramis.  A decent mix if the goldie were left out. >Thank you again for the great source of information and the wealth of information that is on your site.  Iley >>You are MOST welcome, Iley.  When you get things under control please feel free to come a-knocking and we'll sort out a good group of stock for you, too. Marina  
Follow Up: Dying Fish in Freshwater System
>Thank you ALL very much for all your help.   >>You're very welcome, Iley. >I checked the links that you provided and they helped a lot, although I am sure that there will be more questions later on. >>Most assuredly. >Just a couple more things, after reading your reply online.  I went out and bought some crushed coral and a large trash can to run the water through.  I happen to have an old pump that will work great for this.  You [Ananda] state that the test kit I have is not the best.  It still has a bit to go before I will need to replace it, but when I do, what is your recommendation?  At this point, replacing fish is costing me more than I think the test kit will.  Might as well get one that the PROs recommend. >>Whoa there!  I don't know about Ananda, but even while I've earned something resembling a living with this "stuff", I am hardly a pro..  but thanks anyway.  I happen to like SeaChem's kits, but I can't remember right now if they either put one out for freshwater, or if their salt kits "swing both ways", so to speak.  I'll suggest you sign up for our forum, though, and put it to the many users who are current in the latest/newest.   http://www.wetwebfotos.com/talk >That way, should there ever be trouble, we will know that I am giving you readings that are consistent with what you would expect. Let me see if I comprehend everything that you have told me.  I should forget about everything except pushing my changing water through the crushed coral.  I should change my water twice monthly and clean 1/3 to 1/2 the gravel monthly.  (Something else that they told me wrong at the LFS.  They instructed me to clean up all the mess in the gravel.  Have to admit it was rough to do and still keep the majority of the water.) >>You CAN do the gravel vac with each water change, but in a new, unstable system I wouldn't. >Is that the down and dirty version of all our messages?  I just want to make sure that I am not leaving something out or forgetting an important detail. >>Pretty much.  That, and READ everything you can get your hands/eyes on. >The other bad thing about being a programmer...need some method of debugging my daily communications. >>Heh, gotcha. >If I got it all correctly, then my next message will be to see what a good combination of fish will be.  So that you know, I lost both guppies.  The goldfish and the unknown yellow fish went to my grandson and so he is happy and maybe they will be better off there.  They have a goldfish tank. >>Sounds good.  Just to let you know, I am currently FIGHTING a problem with Furunculosis with my mother's koi.  We ALL have problems, no matter how long we've been at it. >THANK YOU very much for all the help.  Your words of encouragement and wisdom will make things much easier on me and my wallet (those chemicals the LFS says I need are expensive).  To the whole crew, THANK YOU for your great service.  Iley Pullen >>You are MOST welcome, again.  It can indeed get expensive.  For instance, I can get a 5lb. bucket of sodium thiosulfate (dechlorinator--Google it!) from an online chemical retailer for just a few dollars, and this is in its granular/most pure form.  Yet if I go to my local I'll pay that, plus possibly a few dollars more for the same thing in its dilute form (probably going to get the bucket since my koi q/t is 100gals.).  Waiting for more (but may steer you towards Sabrina or Ananda, depending), Marina.
Follow Up: Dying Fish in Freshwater System
>Thank you ALL very much for all your help.   >>You're very welcome, Iley. >I checked the links that you provided and they helped a lot, although I am sure that there will be more questions later on. >>Most assuredly. >Just a couple more things, after reading your reply online.  I went out and bought some crushed coral and a large trash can to run the water through.  I happen to have an old pump that will work great for this.  You [Ananda] state that the test kit I have is not the best.  It still has a bit to go before I will need to replace it, but when I do, what is your recommendation?  At this point, replacing fish is costing me more than I think the test kit will.  Might as well get one that the PROs recommend. >>Whoa there!  I don't know about Ananda, but even while I've earned something resembling a living with this "stuff", I am hardly a pro..  but thanks anyway.  I happen to like SeaChem's kits, but I can't remember right now if they either put one out for freshwater, or if their salt kits "swing both ways", so to speak.  I'll suggest you sign up for our forum, though, and put it to the many users who are current in the latest/newest.   http://www.wetwebfotos.com/talk >That way, should there ever be trouble, we will know that I am giving you readings that are consistent with what you would expect. Let me see if I comprehend everything that you have told me.  I should forget about everything except pushing my changing water through the crushed coral.  I should change my water twice monthly and clean 1/3 to 1/2 the gravel monthly.  (Something else that they told me wrong at the LFS.  They instructed me to clean up all the mess in the gravel.  Have to admit it was rough to do and still keep the majority of the water.) >>You CAN do the gravel vac with each water change, but in a new, unstable system I wouldn't. >Is that the down and dirty version of all our messages?  I just want to make sure that I am not leaving something out or forgetting an important detail. >>Pretty much.  That, and READ everything you can get your hands/eyes on. >The other bad thing about being a programmer...need some method of debugging my daily communications. >>Heh, gotcha. >If I got it all correctly, then my next message will be to see what a good combination of fish will be.  So that you know, I lost both guppies.  The goldfish and the unknown yellow fish went to my grandson and so he is happy and maybe they will be better off there.  They have a goldfish tank. >>Sounds good.  Just to let you know, I am currently FIGHTING a problem with Furunculosis with my mother's koi.  We ALL have problems, no matter how long we've been at it. >THANK YOU very much for all the help.  Your words of encouragement and wisdom will make things much easier on me and my wallet (those chemicals the LFS says I need are expensive).  To the whole crew, THANK YOU for your great service.  Iley Pullen >>You are MOST welcome, again.  It can indeed get expensive.  For instance, I can get a 5lb. bucket of sodium thiosulfate (dechlorinator--Google it!) from an online chemical retailer for just a few dollars, and this is in its granular/most pure form.  Yet if I go to my local I'll pay that, plus possibly a few dollars more for the same thing in its dilute form (probably going to get the bucket since my koi q/t is 100gals.).  Waiting for more (but may steer you towards Sabrina or Ananda, depending), Marina.
Thanks For Help With Dying Fish
>Hello All, >>Hello Iley. >I don't really have a question.  The subject line is what I had asked earlier, about 3 weeks ago.   >>That helps those of us placing queries. >Since then, I have been following what several people had responded with and my tank is doing well.   >>Excellent! >I know that most people writing are asking questions.  Me, I just wanted to thank you for helping me get my tank in order.   >>You are very welcome.  We want folks to succeed, and for their animals to live. >Following [Ananda's, I think] recommendation, I started to run my hard water through crushed coral.   >>That was me, but no worries. >I have been running it through for 48 hours before my water changes.  I changed the cycle I was using to changing water every two weeks, and change 20% per change.  At the end of two cycles, I change half the filters in my hang-off-the-back TetraTec and do a vacuum of 1/2 the sand.  Since following this regime, my water has been great, except that I have a low pH. >>Very odd, since you're running the crushed coral.  I suggest, if the pH is too low for your fishes' liking, you place a bag of it in the tank, too. >Nitrates = < .5 pH=6.6 Ammonia=0 KH=7 Nitrites=0 Alkalinity=120 (Kit says that is ideal) >>And, while your pH is on the low end, it's certainly nothing the animals can't deal with. >I did lose all my guppies, 1 skirted tetra, and found a family for my goldfish (that I didn't know were goldfish) before all this took effect. >>Sorry to hear it, but now you have a clean slate with which to start. >Right now the tank is doing great and all the fish are active and thriving. >>Perfect!   >Just wanted to give you all my heartfelt THANKS for providing such an invaluable service to the fish-keeping community.  Iley Pullen >>Again, most welcome, Iley.  Your success is our reward.  Marina

Freshwater Fish Missing - 8/20/03 Hello,  <Sorry for the delay>  My name is Tara and I have had a 10 gallon freshwater tank for 3 weeks now, with 3 neon's, 2 sliver mollies, 1 male guppy, 1 gold dusted molly, and I had 2 sunset fire platy's but one disappeared. <Tara, you have a quite a few fish for a newly set up tank. I suspect there might be some problems with water quality.>  I believe the other fish ate her.  <Only after the fish died would these type of fish likely consume another fish and even then it is very unlikely. It might be best to do a thorough check of the tank which may include moving stuff around.> For what reason I do not know but I searched for the fish inside and outside the tank and she is still missing.  <Maybe the filter?>  My other sunset fire platy fish I believe is pregnant but I'm not sure because I don't know much about fish.  <Could be a sign of disease.>  When I first got her she was small and thin. Now on my 3 week of having this fish tank my fish has become longer and her belly is very round and low. Could she be pregnant or is she just one fat fish? <Maybe pregnant as this is not unheard of but could also be a sign of problems.>  Plus my male guppy has been by her side all the time and he's been nipping at her back-end.  <Well, possibly pregnant>  I feed all my fish 2 times a day. (I read in a fresh water tank book that you should feed about 2 times a day is that too much?)  <No, just enough for all fish to eat with little to no waste, two times a day is fine>  All my fish seem to be very happy.  <Very well>  I went out today and bought a breeder trap and put the pregnant fish in it.  <Should be fine> Although she doesn't seem too happy and neither is my guppy. I believe she has 2 weeks to go.  <Not sure myself>  Should I leave her there until she has the babies or take her out and put her back in the trap in few days before she has the babies?  <No need to move her again as this might stress her out and she might lose the clutch. Leave her be. Please read through the freshwater section on our site. So much knowledge to be gained. Keep us posted. -Paul>  It would be a really big help in hand of what to do with my fish that would be great.  Sincerely,  Tara

I need help fast for my zebra Danio I'm not really sure what the problem is. <Sabrina here, to try and help> He or she, I can't tell, has just over the past few days shown any of the listed symptoms. swollen belly, hunchback tail, head pointed upward, won't eat, but he swims normal hangs out at the top with the rest of the zebras. <Hmm, this isn't a lot to go off.... Can you give us some more specs about your tank?  How big is the tank?  What other fish are in with the Danio?  Do you test your water for pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate?  If so, can you let us know the values?  What you describe could be a number of things, but what sticks out most to me is the swollen belly - are his scales sticking out, pinecone fashion?  I'm afraid you *might* be dealing with dropsy, which is extremely difficult to cure at best, but perhaps there are other possibilities, too.  Let us know more about your tank, and we'll be more able to help you figure out what's wrong.> Thank you for your time. <No problem - I wish you the best.>

FW environmental disease >Hi my names Cora I've been doing tanks for years and until recently I've never had any trouble.   >>Hello Cora, Marina here. >A lady contacted me because I take in unwanted fish.  Due to her moving from Ohio to Maryland she needed a home for her fish (black mollies).  She told me to come get tank and all so I did.  Needless to say when I got there the water was black! >>Ack!  (And uh oh.) >I felt bad for the fish caught them drained the tank and loaded it all up into my car and brought it home.  I gave that tank a good cleaning no chemicals used of course and used water from my 55 gallon tank that had just had a partial water change the night before. >>Personal experience: mistake #1.  (Groaning, because I learned my mistake with a customer's fish.) >I let the fish float for 15 minutes and then released them.  Needless to say a little while later I notice the fish were starting to act really funny.  I checked the temperature it was a little high so I lowered it the water then started to get a milky white. >>Free floating bacteria found plenty of nutrients--new tank syndrome. >And the fish were still acting funny and 2 died.  I pulled the fish from that tank and floated them in my 55 gallon released them and they did fine. >>I wouldn't have done that, but you saved the rest.  My concern is the very real risk to your well-established tank by introducing the new fishes with no quarantine whatsoever, coming out of a foul-looking (but apparently healthy) tank. >I left them in the 55 over night and by morning the other tank had turned clear (no chemicals were used at any point of my set up ) so I put in 2 clown loaches and a few mollies needless to say they started to fly through the tank and act as though they were going to die I immediately put them back into my 55 and now they are fine but the other tank is milky white again.  Can you give me any ideas as to what might be going on?  I've worked in pet shops and have had tanks for years and never experienced anything to this effect.  Any information would be greatly appreciated!   Totally Confused,    Cora                                                                 >>Again, this sounds like new tank syndrome, though it usually takes a few hours for the bacteria to get a good foothold.  You never mentioned the size of this new tank, and I cannot recommend adding so many fish so quickly unless we're talking about a 75 gallon or larger set up.  At this point you MUST remove everything from the tank and fill it with water, then add bleach at a ratio of 1Cup/5 gallons.  Let it sit like this a few hours, then drain and allow to dry.  I would do this with everything that was associated with that tank as well.  If you're very worried about the tank, do this procedure twice, and then when ready to set it up again start with feeder gups first.  Beyond that it's difficult to say what to do, I'm assuming you know to match temperature and pH when transferring fishes, and to never introduce water from one system into another.  I hope this has helped answer your questions.  Best of luck with your new wards, Marina 

QT Lesson Learned Crew: <Morning! Ryan with you> The recent post from a FW aquarist who did QT for the first time and dodged an ich outbreak in the main tank prompts me to share a sad story from my pre-WWM FW days. I had never done QT before. I bought some seemingly healthy Neons from the local Petco. Within two days of putting them into my display tank, they and all the other fish were covered with Ich. My precious Hatchetfish that I had had for three years died. The Neons survived. Petco-like all fish stores--uses a filtration system that links adjacent columns of tanks together. I went back and checked-sure enough, there was ich in one of the other tanks on that circuit. Of course, I got no refund, because it was only fish I already had that died, not the ones I bought. I seldom buy fish at that particular store anymore because there always seems to be sick fish (fresh or salt) and the employees seem oblivious. When I do buy fish from them, I check all of the linked tanks for diseased fish. I only buy if they all look good, and I always quarantine. Steve Allen. <A lesson that far too many learn the hard way...Thank you for sharing! Ryan>

Seeing Red (Bloody Spots On Fish) Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today> I have a 10 gallon tank, it housed 1 male black molly and 1 female silver molly and a small little fish ( I am not sure of the name of this fish). I have had the little fish for a good while now and brought the mollies home about 3 months ago. My silver molly had a batch of fry they are doing well. About 3 weeks after the fry were born my black molly was not himself, he laid on the bottom and did not do much ( no signs of spots etc.) Then my silver molly was acting the same way, I lost the both of them yesterday. I still could not see anything on my black molly, but my silver molly had blood spots on her body, they were not open wounds. Last night my little fish was swimming and acting his normal way, and when I got home this morning he had died.  Never saw blood spots before, I do not have many problems with keeping fish so I am not sure what happened. Hope you can help, Thanks. Christine <Well, Christine- I'm afraid that I'm at a bit of a loss to diagnose the exact cause of the spots. Usually, these types of symptoms are traced to either some form of parasitic infection (or the aftermath!), Bacterial Hemorrhagic Septicemia (easily knocked out with an antibiotic, like Maracyn) or perhaps an environmental problem (like measurable ammonia, etc.). I'd do a full check on all basic water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, pH, alkalinity) and see if there are any anomalous readings. Look for other potential disease symptoms, such as white spots, frayed fins, or other obviously abnormal things. I'd recommend a good look at the WWM disease resources (FW) to see if you can find any illnesses that resemble what you're seeing! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Protruding Scales Hi, thanks for getting back to me, I appreciate it.  I am sending a picture of the fish in question, top of picture large yellow fish.  It's body also appears to be swollen some what.  I will get the fish out of the pond tomorrow and get a good picture of the scales, thanks again.   Jeff <Hi Jeff, the pictures do look like Dropsy, not easy to treat, but it is possible.  I would remove them from the pond and treat with Epsom Salt and antibiotics.  The links below have more information on the disease.  Best of Luck, Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/fishdisho.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisfaqs.htm http://www.fishdoc.co.uk/koi/koimiscell.htm  >

Broken Thermometer >Hi, >>Hi, and sorry this response is a week late, I only just got it in my inbox! >I have a 55 gallon tank with five clown loaches, three red tail sharks, a male neon blue dwarf Gourami, a male coral sea Gourami, two female dwarf Gouramis, and three pearl Gouramis. An electric thermometer I had fell into the tank while I was on vacation, and the battery in it burst open, and possibly poisoned the tank. The fish seem to be fine, but the tank is a dark brownish color. I am worried the thermometer contains some heavy metals that could kill the fish, should I just do a drastic 50% water change? >>Yes!  More than one, too.  I would also add carbon to the filtration (assuming you don't have it), or, if you do, change it several times over the next couple of weeks.  Again, so sorry this is late!  Marina thanks!

- How Much Epsom Salt? - Hello there, <And hello to you, JasonC here...> I have a 36G fresh water planted cichlid tank.  One of my male Cyprichromis leptosoma is looking a little weak (gaunt, thin, loss of color, not eating very well, etc.)..  Without jumping to conclusions if anything more serious is wrong, I thought I would give the tank a little pick-me-up with some Epsom salt as just a precaution and see if it helps.  The thing is, I have never added any kind of salt to my tank.  How much salt should I add to a 36 gallon fresh water tank? <One tablespoon per five gallons.> Thank you, Jay <Cheers, J -- >

Piranha with gill curl I know Arowanas get this. I have bought a rare piranha. (Pygocentrus piraya) And it has gill curl. I know it is not from me. The fish was 2 inches in size when I gotten him, So I did not notice the gill curl in time. It is pretty advanced now being that 1/3rd of the hard part is affected. What surgical procedure do you recommend? If I cut all of it off it will show a good deal of his gills. Or do I make relief cuts in the gill toward the head? Or a little of both? <Actually, neither of these. I would leave this animal as is. "Gill curling" is almost always either a manifestation of genetic disposition or a developmental anomaly. The last due to "poor water conditions", lack of dissolved oxygen, nutritional deficiency... Not "correctable", and likely more dangerous to cut the existing structure in hopes that it will regenerate "properly" than the possibility of damaging, killing the specimen> As him being a piranha. A feisty one at that. What tranqs are easy for a hobbyist to obtain? <tranqs?> I have never done any surgery. So if you could give me a step by step instructions that would be great. Thank you very much. <Bob Fenner who would "live" with the curled gill cover.>

FW Fish Disease Dear WWM Crew: Thanks to all for your invaluable help and support up to this point.   >>We do what we can, though my efforts are new. Here's the deal: >I've got a 44 gal. freshwater tank that housed the following fish: 2 Boesemanni rainbows 3 male threadfin rainbows 5 balloon-bellied mollies 3 green Cory cats.   >The tank's parameters are all normal, no nitrites, ammonia, pH = 7.5; I haven't tested for nitrates yet, but will do tonight. Unfortunately, through an error of mine, there was introduced to my tank something horrible and insidious last week.  I did not fully understand the benefits of QTing *all* new tank members, but believe you me, it's a mistake I'll not make again.  Anyway, I introduced four dwarf neon rainbowfish w/out QTing, and within forty-eight hours, two had died and the other two looked *horrible*.  Symptoms included lethargic behavior, not eating, grayish/whitish patches with some red underneath, and fin/tail rot.  I immediately pulled the two remaining dwarf Neons and put them in a hospital tank, and based on the symptoms I saw at the time (and with much help from the chat forum!), began treating these guys w/ Maracyn-Two.  Well, within another 24-48 hours, they had also died.  Again, through my posting on the chat forum, I discovered that very possible I had stumbled across "rainbowfish disease", or fish tuberculosis.  So, I began researching that, and everything I've seen thus far leads me to believe that this disease is virtually impossible to treat. Yesterday, I noticed one of the Boesemann's not looking very good, so he was put into a hospital immediately.  His outward symptoms did not look like what had affected the dwarf Neons - the Boesemanni appeared to have "true fungus".  As such, I chose to treat his hospital tank w/ Maracyn-Two and MarOxy.  Well, this morning I woke up and he was gone too.   >>Oh dear, my heart is breaking for you! In doing even more research today, I've decided that if another rainbow exhibits disease symptoms, I'm going to treat him in a hospital tank w/ erythromycin...I believe that sometimes that works against fish TB...please confirm if that's the case. >>IIRC, it is, however, you would do well to have several medications on hand, I would add Melafix and Spectrogram to the list of meds you already have on hand. >I'm *very* concerned about my remaining fish, and so far, here's what actions I've taken and/or plan to take: increase water changes from 10-15% to 20% weekly, I've ordered a UV sterilizer (scheduled to arrive next week...hopefully soon!) to kill any free-floating bacteria in the water, and, in general, will try to keep the stress level (for both the fishes sake and mine) at a minimum.  Is there anything else I can/should do?   >>Truthfully, you're doing everything I would do, the only advice I can add is to use salt (ratio of 1tsp./gal) while medicating and q/t'ing.  You cannot use this in the display with the plants. >If we are truly dealing with rainbowfish disease (fish TB) - can it be contracted by the mollies and/or Corys? >>It may, but I must apologize for not having better answers at this time.  I do not think fish TB is specific to any genus or species, treat everyone the same right now. >At what point do I need to completely break down the tank?  In the event I do need to break down the tank, do I need to toss the plants (Aponogetons and Anubias)?   >>I don't think that you need to break the tank down, though putting everyone in q/t for a minimum of one month and letting the tank lie fallow may be helpful.  Remember not to use the salt with the plants.  I don't know that plants can act as carriers for disease, Google has provided me with nothing helpful. >Please help- I do realize that I made a mistake by not using proper fish-introduction techniques (i.e., quarantining), but what can I do from here? Thanking you in advance, Jorie >>You are doing everything you can at this point, with the exception of the salt.  I cannot say, "You should do this, that, or the other thing", because you're doing what I would.  My suggestion is to stay the course right now, and we'll keep our fingers crossed that you lick this!  Best of luck, Jolie!  Marina>

Disappearing Fish Yesterday I came home from the LFS with 7 jumbo neons.  After acclimating them to the water, I released them and they immediately joined the other tank mates.   <Hmm'¦ they really should have been quarantined for several weeks to prevent the risk of disease introduction.> The next morning there were only six.  I searched the tank for a floater, a filter finder and even the bottom but to no avail.  Where do the fish go? <Most likely, one of your other fish ate it. It may have died and then been eaten or may have just been a slower swimmer and gotten eaten.> Is it the sock syndrome in a washing machine?  Where do they go?......... <LOL! Sometimes it seems this way, especially when it's the largest fish in the tank that disappears without a trace! Ronni> Kevin, NY

Question? 25 Apr 2003  Hello there! I'm writing a paper on the parasitism of freshwater ornamentals for a class I'm taking, and I was wondering if you could give me your name (Fenner Robert, or Robert Fenner?), so I may give credit (properly) where credit is due. Thank you for your time! <Robert or Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Raina

Re: Info on "community 10 gal. tank" please You may cringe a bit as you read: <I'll try not to!> Last November I got a 10 gal. fish tank from my dad that had been left in a house he had just purchased. Living in it (in extremely POOR water conditions) were a spotted Cory, albino Cory, black skirt tetra, a type of angel (silver with black stripes) and a gold colored koi. After getting the tank home I did a complete water change but did not rinse off the gravel, plastic plants or decorations so that there would be some algae and stuff left from the original water, refilled the tank and put the fish back in after acclimating them to the temp of the new water. All was well for about three to four days and then I lost the angel...found it floating dead one morning. I figured it was shock from the move and the drastic change in water. <Probably> I cleaned the tank again and put fresh water in and then all the fish. About one month later I bought another tetra, an all silver koi (looks sooooo sharp) and a Pleco. (( Here I will state that I found out a little later after buying the second koi that tropicals are not supposed to be mixed with goldfish/koi )) <OK, I won't lecture on the fact that they need different water parameters. *G* Do try to move them to separate tanks ASAP though.> All of the fish were doing well when about a week or so later I noticed that both tetras had cottony growth on their fins...and only their fins. I at first thought it was "ick" and got this stuff called "Tank Buddies Ick Clear". It didn't work. Then I found out that it could be either a fungus or parasite. So, back to the store I went and got "Tank Buddies Fungus Clear" and "Tank Buddies Parasite Clear". I tried the fungus clear first. After a few days nothing. I did a partial water change and then tried the parasite clear. Again, nothing. This cottony growth is only affecting the tetras and is not going away. All my water levels are good and I have a Penguin Mini and an under-gravel filtration system in the tank, so keeping the levels good is pretty easy. <It does sound like a fungus and I would recommend the product made by Jungle called Fungus Guard or Fungus Eliminator (I can't remember which name is correct!). I've had good success with it. Just remember that your tetras are small scaled so should only be treated with a half dose of any medication.> Oh, I did lose the gold koi in January. He had this like "wart" on him for a day or so and then it went away. But then, I came home to find him dead with blood coming from the area where the wart had been. After I pulled him out I did a complete water change. <Hmm'¦ take a look at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm and the related FAQ's> Anyways, back to where I was...The tetras don't really seem to be affected by this growth too much that I can tell. The do swim around the tank a good bit and are not "lifeless". They eat well. Although, they have lost some color in their black stripes and tail fins and their tail fins look all ratty. Is there anything you can suggest I try? <That's good. Try the above medication and also look at the above URL to see if any of the descriptions fit.> The silver koi is getting rather big (about 5-6 inches) and I will be removing him when I can afford another tank and all the filters and stuff. They all seem to be living well together. No fighting, occasionally one tetra will chase the other. About three to four days ago I got two "Tequila Sunrise Guppies" (I was wanting some color in the tank) that are very small...but all is well with them also...they are eating well and staying to themselves...and the other fish pretty much don't know they are there. As far as the problem with the tetras, what advice can you offer? <This all sounds good> Something else I thought of...in my tank lid I have two "blue colored" tank lights. They heat up the tank water and I end up shutting it off after about 2-3 hours after turning it on. A guy in the fish store told me to try to keep the water temp between 70-80 degrees F. But, the lights get it up to between 82-84 within the first 2-3 hours. Should these lights be doing this? Will the temp being above 80 be bad for the fish? <The recommended temps for tropicals is 78-80 and for the Koi it should be 68-72 so it's not really good for any of them. If the bulbs are heating the tank that much I would recommend changing to a different bulb.> Any reply would be WONDERFUL! Thank you, Michelle   <You're welcome! Ronni>

Dying Fish - Why??? Hello good fish people, <Hello> I have some questions for you. I own a 29-gallon tank operating on a Fluval 304. after letting the initial setup run for 2 days I added 6 single sword plants, 3 zebra Danios, 2 leopard (I think) Plecos an inch long, and one mystery fish. <This is probably too much too soon. You should only have one Pleco and he shouldn't have been added until there was green algae growing unless you are supplementing him with algae wafers.> This mystery fish greatly resembles a pictus catfish, but instead of spots it has a single black stripe running down its whole body. He is approx 2" long. <Check http://www.fishbase.org and see if you can find him) This may seem like a lot of fish to setup, but for 2 weeks they were fine (my first fish died yesterday). <Have you been doing regular water changes? If not, the ammonia and nitrites have probably risen over this time to the point that they killed this fish.> I know my plants helped speed the cycling process by absorbing some ammonia and nitrite (I also added the pet store water the fish came in, knowing it might have some bacteria in it). <The plants may have helped a little but not a whole lot. Adding the water the fish came in was not a good thing to do. This water wouldn't have had any of the beneficial bacteria in it but it most likely did have a lot of ammonia in it.> My substrate is sand (I know it's not great for plants but I like the way it looks) and the plants are fine. They haven't grown at all, but they aren't dying either.   <Sand should be fine for them but that's really not a good way to look at it. You should strive to do everything possible to make them flourish, not just keep them alive.> After the 3rd week I added 3 more zebra Danios, a male and female guppy, and a Cory. <Ouch, these should have been added gradually over several weeks once your tank was fully cycled and then only after a proper quarantine period.> Since the tank setup, I have added liquid plant fertilizer twice (once a week) for the plants. I hear the carbon in my filter might lessen the effect; should I remove the carbon when I add the fertilizer, and how long before I can put the carbon back? <Opinions on the length of time vary between a few hours and 24 hours.> I read that Danios are supposed to be peaceful schooling fish... well I have the bullies of the species and it sucks. Since the beginning they constantly chase after one another, and also after my male guppy. The 2 guppies have isolated themselves to the upper corner of my tank because of the pestering Danios. I had 6 Danios, one disappeared (I attribute that to my mystery catfish), and I removed another one which happened to be substantially larger than the rest, and the one that bothered all the others the most. So now I have 4 Danios, but they still bother one another and my guppies.  My male guppy had a beautiful tail, which is totally destroyed now. It actually looks like he doesn't even have a tail! Was it the Danios? And what should I do to chill them out? <This isn't uncommon behavior for Danios. They are a very active fish and will often pester other fish in the same tank, especially fish with longer fins like your Guppy or Bettas. There's not a lot that can be done to calm them down. The best place for these fish is in with their own kind.> My main question though is about the fish that died yesterday. It is the 3rd week of tank operation and it was one of my Pleco fish that died. They are the same size, but one was slightly smaller than the other, and it was he who died. He appeared healthy, blackish brown with his dark spots, no sign of ich, or parasites or fungus. why do you think he died?...underfeeding maybe?, since a have a very clean tank (it definitely wasn't overfeeding being that I only feed them once a day for now) I thought the other one was going to die as well because he seemed very inactive, but then I saw him at night and he was quite chipper, scanning the whole tank for food. I feel bad that one of them died as my two Plecos were very pleasant, and didn't bother anyone. Can I do anything to prevent the death of the other one, if in fact he might be in danger? <Plecos are sensitive to water quality so it could have been from ammonia/nitrites but even more likely is that he starved to death if you aren't supplementing with algae wafers. Test your water to make sure the ammonia and nitrites are at zero and begin feeding the remaining Pleco an algae wafer either daily or at least every other day.> In my filter I have 6 compartments for filter material. I have the foam screen first. The bottom 3 compartments hold the carbon, and the upper 3 hold the ceramic rings.  Other available media is Zeo carb, wool, peat moss (not interested in this one because it will make my water brownish), and another type peat (I believe granular peat is what it is called). What do you think should be the best combination of media for an optimal setup consisting of: one Betta male, my mystery catfish, 3 Corys, 3 glass catfish not painted as this is unnatural), 2 male guppies, 3 female guppies, my Pleco, one swordtail male, and 2 swordtail females. <First, eliminate the Betta. He won't mix well with these other fish. Then, just carbon and the ceramic rings will be good for filtration.> I will also be adding some java ferns and some driftwood for my Pleco. Thanks for your time, and your help is greatly appreciated. Jean-Pierre Luque <You're welcome! Ronni>

Re: Fish swimming vertical I have a 30 gallon freshwater aquarium and one of my rainbow guppies is swimming vertical.  He hangs at the top of the water line and was swimming at an angle, now he is more vertical.  This happened just in the last few days.  Is there anything I can do to help him? Thanks, Stephanie <Unfortunately, this sounds like a swim bladder problem. There is no definite cure for this. Some people have had success with Epsom salts though, Go to http://www.wetwebmedia.com and use the Google search box to search for Epsom Salts to find the correct procedure. Ronni>

Unknown Disease Killing Fish I have been stumped by this unknown disease that is killing some of my aquarium fish. The first fish to come down with symptoms was my Siamese fighting fish. The fish's abdomen became enlarged as if it had eaten too much and stayed that way. Then a tumor or blister popped up on one side of its head under the eye but went away after a few days. A few days after that the fish died. All during this time which took, from the beginnings of the symptoms to its demise, about two weeks the fish displayed no unusual behavior. The beta continued to behave normally until its sudden death. About a week or so after my beta died my Danios, both zebra and leopard long-fined, began to waste away. They would lose weight rapidly, refuse to eat and then die one at a time. Now I am down to one Danio, a once hearty female. She has started to lose weight and sometimes has an irregular bump on the underside of her belly. The Danio still exhibits normal behavior but is losing condition. All my other fish are fine; I have four neon tetras, a Siamese algae eater and a sucking loach. <Sounds as if this may be Flukes. Information and recommended treatments are at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm and related FAQ's> I have a ten gallon tank with a few live plants in it. I keep it fairly bright for the plants but there is cover for the fish. <This is fine although it sounds like there may have been a lot of fish in this small system.> My tank PH is 6.5, ammonia levels are usually about a .5 or less, nitrite 0, carbonate hardness 53.7 and general hardness 6. I keep the temperature a steady 74 degrees and feed the fish small amounts of different types of dry food twice a day. <Ammonia should *always* be at 0ppm. Anything above this is harmful to your fish. Make sure you aren't overfeeding. Also, for these fish, a bit warmer temperature is recommended. Try getting it up to around 78.> I hope you can help me out with this; it's driving me nuts trying to figure out what to do! Thank you for your time, Joyce <See the above article and FAQ's and also check out all of the FW articles and FAQ's at www.wetwebmedia.com Ronni>

Lymphocystis on Angelfish and Other Questions Hello--we inherited a 55-gal aquarium with a house we bought, and we're just learning about fish-keeping for the first time ever.  Just before we moved in, the owner noticed a pink growth just above the angelfish's mouth.  It's gotten bigger, but the angelfish is still eating--swimming at a slight list, but still eating, and it's been about 3 weeks.  It looks like the growth has spread to the lower 'lip' as well. A local fish store owner said (without being able to look at it) <The rest of this was cut off but I'm guessing he said it sounded like Lymphocystis due to your subject line. But I really don't think this is Lymphocystis. The characteristics of that are grey or white growths, often with a cauliflower appearance. I'm guessing instead that this is an external bacterial infection. I'd recommend isolating it and treating with a medication designed for bacterial problems. One of the Maracyns would be my first choice, read the box to determine which one.> Today we noticed it bleeding around the edge for a bit, then the blood calming down.  Is it possible it was bitten?  We have (and we've learned that these fish should not be mixed, but we inherited it so here we are) a black moor, a platy, a few tetras, a Plecostomus, a gourami, a Hatchetfish, an eel we never see, a ghost knife we never see, <Get a piece of clear plastic pipe of some sort and put it in your tank for him to hide in. He'll feel secure and you'll still be able to see him.> some little African frogs, and a snail.  (We plan to get some more Hatchetfish and a couple of female platys when we figure out what's up with this aquarium) The black moor has been aggressing on the angelfish a bit but had apparently calmed down; the angel fish had always been able to escape. <Before you add any more fish of any kind I would recommend getting a good book and researching compatibility. I would also like to suggest that you trade in the ones you currently have that aren't compatible with the ones you'd like to keep. (I'm sure you know which ones but I'm going to list it anyway since some of our future readers may find the info helpful) The Gourami, the Eel, the Ghost Knife, and the frogs can all be at least moderately aggressive and shouldn't be kept with your others that are non-aggressive. And the Black Moor is a goldfish so it needs cooler water temps that the others can't handle as well.> A pregnant platy and a tetra have died in the past week--another fish store person thinks because of the drastic temperature change from when the owner turned the heat down after she left to when we came in and turned the heat back up.  (in the house, not the aquarium)  There was a BIG change.   <This is possible, especially with the Tetra.> And for some unknown reason, the pH changed too, from around 6.8 when we watched the owner change the water and clean the tank, to around 7.0-7.1 when I took it a few days ago. <Ph does generally rise a bit once you've added the water to the tank. My Ph from my tap is 7.6 and within a day or so of being put in a tank, the Ph will be up around 7.8-8.0.> No discernible ammonia. <Good> We don't have a quarantine aquarium in which to put the angelfish--what can we do?  Is it possible that the growth was bitten by another fish?  If another fish eats it (ICH) will it get the virus too? <I'd highly recommend getting a QT tank. Even a 5 or 10 gallon would work and it doesn't have to be fancy. It may be very possible for your other fish to get this. It's unlikely that someone bit it but not entirely impossible, especially with the mix of fish you have in there.> Thanks--we're new and hate to see this kind of stuff happening--we've just been doing what the owner had been doing and our 5-y.o. daughter has suffered enough heartache.  The loss of the pregnant platy just devastated her.  We were very excited to watch the birth and such. <Just remember, what works for one person doesn't always work for another, even with the same fish and the slightest change can throw the whole thing out of whack. I once kept a tank very similar to yours and didn't have any problems for 3 years. Then I moved tank to the other side of the room and everything went haywire. The setup and fish were exactly the same but the temperaments changed completely. In a matter of weeks I went from the one tank to several because I had to separate all of the fish.> Please advise! Thanks, Carolyn  <Hope this info helps! Ronni>

Bogus Fish Medication/Advice If anyone can help me, then that would be you guys!   <OK... Banzai!!!!!!!!!!!!!!> I have a question for you guys, I have a 55 gallon planted tank.  135 watts of light, 125 and 170 penguin BioWheels and a hot magnum.  My PH is 6.4, my general hardness is 5 degrees and my nitrites and ammonia are zero.  I bought a couple of discuss a week and a half ago, and they both came down with what seems almost immediately upon introduction to the tank with some sort of ailment.   <and you've learned a very hard lesson that too many do... the need to quarantine all new fish in a separate hospital tank first. Never add new fish directly to a display... especially sensitive and disease prone species like discus. Please read through our articles and archives on how to properly run QT. 4 weeks minimum, please> They are a dark dark brown or black, with cloudy eyes and like a powdery covering of white on the body.   <many possibilities here... but they likely need to be treated as if for parasites. Formalin baths and salt in a bare-bottomed QT tank. You cannot medicate the main tank. It will run fallow while fish are in QT for a month. Bare bottomed QT with daily siphoning of tank bottom to reduce parasites and larvae needed> They will not eat, and initially I started treating them with Melafix, but it must have striped the oxygen from the tank and all of the fish were hanging at the top.   <it is a bogus product and at best cannot be used as a primary medicant. We get a tremendous amount of negative feedback on such holistic products... yet I cannot recall hearing one good comment for every 100 bad ones. Makes you wonder if the one percent success rate isn't just coincidence anyway> So the LFS recommended Maracyn (ungodly expensive) for treatment. <grossly ignorant if not irresponsible of your LFS. Maracyn is a gram positive antibiotic... less than 20% of all bacterial infections are gram positive, and of them only a tiny fraction respond to Maracyn ( which is common and outdated Erythromycin). To add insult to injury in your case... there is nothing to suggest that this infection is even remotely bacterial in nature. There is a pretty sweet profit margin on medications though :) > After three days the discus are still very dark in color, <Oh, ya...> inactive and not eating the white powdery film on the their bodies may have somewhat gone away, <sloughing of mucus... natural response> but their eyes are still cloudy.  Is there any way that I can coax them into eating, that would only help them heal faster, you would think.   <higher, stable temperatures with extremely vigorous aeration. Target 84-86F> If this is not the correct treatment for these fish, <no kidding... this wasn't even a treatment at all... you were given very poor advice> what would the proper treatment be?   <as per above... Formalin (Aquarium Products and several others brands available) and isolation in QT> I would really hate to lose these two fish, I have very high expectations of them.   <I suspect that they have high expectations for life too> There is no Plecos to harass them, and only peaceful smaller fish in the tank.  All of the other fish are perfectly normal and healthy.  I appreciate your time.  Thank you Dave McCorkell <Dave... please invest in a good diagnostic book on diseases (low end but very good: Handbook of Fish Diseases by Untergasser... and high end, the Noga reference). Also buy a good discus book. Worthwhile investments before you buy any more fishes. Best regards, Anthony>

Molly troubles This really isn't a question, but I'd like your comments anyway (please. lol)  Ok, a couple of months ago I bought a black molly and was told she was pregnant. I took her home and within a week or so, noticed that she had a large (pea size) swelling on the left side of her tail. It was so swollen that the scales were sticking out. So, i called the pet store near  were that the man there said that she had dropsy, there wasn't anything to do and the best thing would be to put her out of her misery, <that would have been correct at best if she actually had dropsy... but she didn't. Dropsy is a swelling of the abdominal cavity that forcibly distends the body of the fish such that scales protrude like a pine cone. It is symmetrical symptomatically... no left side tail action here. Your fish had a large parasite, or a growth of some kind> which i  did by euthanizing her with a table spoon of baking soda in a glass of water.  (weird, i know, but that was what i was told to do). <WOW! the LFS is giving out some scary advice. Ahhh... the quick humane method of euthanasia they meant to tell you was to use seltzer water (it can be used briefly as an anesthetic or longer for euthanasia). Baking soda simply shocked the fish to death... took some minutes I suspect? Seltzer water takes seconds> I was just wondering if there had been anything i could have done about her. Thanks! <definitely... get a second opinion before heeding this LFS store's advice <G>. In all seriousness though, the affliction was likely a growth... incurable, although not necessarily malignant. Best regards>

Freshwater Fish Death I received a 29 gallon aquarium setup last Fathers Day. Operated it for 3 months with only minor problems (made most dumb mistakes), but fish survived okay. Wife decided to surprise me with a couple of fish, brought them home, and son dumped them in tank.... water and all. The two swordtails didn't look to good, but damage was done. Fish were listless, soon died. Then rest of tank got same symptoms and started dying off one by one. Red gills, red fins, stringy feces, heavy gilling, staying in one spot while resting on bottom. Treated with Furan 2 and tetracycline but when Danios started dying off, I decided to tear apart tank, disinfect with bleach and start over with new rock, fish etc.. Soaked everything in bleach water, then cycled tank for a week before adding a couple of mollies (5 week old) from my tank at work. Did fine for a few days, then same type of sickness followed by death. My question is how do I disinfect everything so I can start over properly? And what would be proper treatment if other tanks start showing symptoms? Thanks in advance, Steve <Bleach is pretty potent stuff, I hope it was heavily diluted and everything was rinsed really well.  I would first test my water to see if could discover any problems with water quality.  Test your water for PH, Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate.  What type of filtration are you running on the tank?  The symptoms described above are usually caused by stress and/or poor water quality.  Test your water and let us know how it turns out.  The article below has some good information on fish disease. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/fishdisho.htm Best Regards, Gage>

Black Moor, Cloudy Eye Hi Bob, <Hi Angela, Gage here this evening.> I am sorry if this is not the way to ask a question, but I have a black moor who has a cloudy eye. <Well that was a statement, but I will let it slide. :-)> He is swimming and eating fine. I have a filter in the tank and change the water weekly and test the pH at each water change. I have tried bacterial and parasite medication, but it is still cloudy. Please help me, everyone I talk to says something different. Also my fantail likes to sit in the corner, it has been doing this for a about a day now, could it be sick, when it wants to it will go for a swim and eat, but i am worried. Thanks for you help, Angela <For as cute as they are, goldfish sure are messy. Most goldfish ailments are directly related to water quality, specifically PH and Ammonia. What size tank are these fellas in, and what type of filtration. If you do not have test kits, take a sample of water down to your local fish store and have them test it for you. Also, if you are not already adding salt, Aquarium salt at 1 Tablespoon per 5 gallons. Are both eyes cloudy? Get your water tested and get back to us with the results, until then keep up on water changes and feel free to check out our goldfish FAQS http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/goldfishfaqs.htm Best Regards, Gage>

Betta with Popeye Hi, <Hello> I bought a Betta in a vase with water lilies and thought it was cruel, so I bought it an eclipse 2 gallon tank with filter. I only use spring water and change his tank every two weeks. I feed him flakes in the morning then a treat in the evening of dried blood worms. For some reason yesterday I noticed that she was acting strange. Just sitting on the bottom of the tank and only coming up to the surface and then right back down. Then I noticed last night that her eye looked bigger. So I went on the web and discovered Popeye. It said that the fish will get this when there was is dirty, but the water is always changed. I tested the water and everything is normal. Anyway I couldn't treat it last night because all the pet shops are closed and aren't open again till today around noon. I read one of your advices on Popeye and just put in a 1/2 teaspoon of Epsom salt. I will go out today and get Ampicillex or Maracyn-two. Should I give her any of these today seeing as how I gave her Epsom salt? Any how long will it take for this to clear up? Do I need to change her tank before I start giving her the medication? And during the medication?? Any questions answered would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Tina <When you change the Betta's water are you changing all of it or just some? It is going to be less stressful for the fish if you only do a partial water change. I would continue with the Epsom salt and if does not improve in a week or so then I would consider medication. I would continue to do partial water changes every couple of days, adding the salt back in with the new water. Best Regards, Gage>

PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!! (freshwater worry w/o cause) DEAR BOB, <Fellow Oscar lover Gage, at your service.> I NEED YOUR INFO CAUSE I'VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING QUITE LIKE IT...I HAVE 2 OSCAR'S AND THEY ARE VERY ACTIVE, BUT THIS MORNING I WOKE UP AND NOTICED TINY WHITE OR CLEAR WORM'S/PARASITES OF SOME SORT STICKING TO THE GLASS OF MY TANK. THEY ALSO APPEARED TO BE GROUPS OF THEM TOO. THE FISH MEAN A LOT TO ME BUT MORE TO MY 1 YEAR OLD SON AND WHEN SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENS IT SCARES ME CAUSE I DON'T WANT ANY THING TO HAPPEN TO MY FISH PLEASE HELP ME <The worms themselves are harmless, but are usually a sign of aquariums that have excess food, too little circulation/filtration. I would keep up on water changes (be sure to siphon the gravel) and test your water to make sure the ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates are not too high. Please let us know if you have any more questions. More info on these worms can be found on the link below. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwinvertfaqs.htm Good luck, Gage>

Freshwater Popeye I think perhaps I have navigational problems. I've hunted every which water to find information on treating freshwater fish for pop eye and cant find it. <Most of the information, anecdotes we have for this condition are posted here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/popeyefaqs.htm under marines, though the causes, cures, contributing factors are the same as with fresh. And there is a bit more on the freshwater subweb along with general disease.>  So here I am pestering you for information:) <Not a bother. Please try the Google Search tool on each index and the homepage (at the bottom of each) with the term "Popeye" (or whatever you might be looking for) as well> This morning I noticed one of my African cichlids has a extremely bulging eye. I've checked out all the other fish and none of them appear to have it, yet. I wouldn't call the one with Popeye perky, but he is still swimming about and eating so I think I have time to save him. <Yes, very hardy fishes... and one-sided cases of Popeye are typically from mechanical injuries... easy to cure> He is now in a QT tank with 1tbs aquarium salt per gal. From what I have read in the marine section a fungus medication is needed in order to treat this problem. Can you recommend a type/brand that will do well with a fw fish? <Mmm, actually, if you want to use an antibiotic (for bacteria) I suggest Mardel Labs Maracyn (erythromycin)... safe, effective> And also do I need to treat the entire tank he was in? <I would not> Im going to perform a water change on it this morning, its due tomorrow anyway:) And one last thing, is there anything I can do to ensure this will never happen again? <Not much... other than keeping the system optimized and stable water quality wise, and reasonably lightly populated (the more swimming about, tussling with each other, the more likely to be bangs and scrapes> Like all people I hate to see my fish ill, and Im rather overly fond of them so it breaks my heart to have to send one to the big swirly. Thanks ever so much, Fellow Fish Geek <Thanks so much for your note. Good luck, life. Bob Fenner>

Fish Problems (crowded 20 gal. freshwater tank... sans bottom fishes) Hello, At the business where I work, we have a 20-gallon freshwater fish tank, containing both live and plastic plants, a full filtration system, heating coil, etc. We've hired a maintenance person who comes in once a month to clean out the tank, but we're having a hard time keeping fish alive and he doesn't know why. <Ok...> There are currently four small fish (1.5-3 inches) that have been relatively stable for a few months now, but others keep dying. We had five standard algae-eaters who all died within about a week in the tank, after which the fish guy brought in another 5-6 catfish plus 9 Chinese algae-eaters. <That is an awful lot of scavengers for such a small tank.> Those were brought in last Friday, the 13th, and all the catfish died within the 3rd, 4th, and 5th days in the tank, but all the Chinese algae-eaters seem just fine. I've ruled out the possibility of over-feeding, the possibility of cleaning chemicals getting in the tank from our janitorial service, and the possibility of a pH problem. From what I can tell, there's no bully-ing going on from other fish. What could be the problem? <I am not completely sure myself. It does not sound like a disease problem as current stock lives while new additions perish. It would seem like some aspect of water quality is off. A slow degradation that the old fish adapted to over a long time, but new fish cannot tolerate. You said, though, that you have ruled out a pH problem. I would test more thoroughly; pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, look for temperature fluctuations, dissolved oxygen, etc. Basically anything and everything.> If you have any information to share, please let me know. Thanks very much! <Sorry I could not be of more assistance. -Steven Pro>

Neon Dwarf Gourami Help My male Neon Dwarf Gourami seems sick. I have had him for maybe five weeks now he did fine and was really hardy ( I cycled my tank with him, my two female Gouramis, and a red tailed shark) but now he is just hanging out in the corner by my heater (the temp is fine its at 79 degrees) and doesn't get excited like he used to at feeding time (used to take Tubifex worms from my hand... also feed flake). Now he looks really skinny but his colors aren't fading or anything so im assuming he's not totally given up eating. What could be the matter with my fish? any ideas? Could it be my other fish I have 2 2.5' female gourami's, 2' red tail shark, a 4.5' Black Ghost Knife, 2 1.5' clown loaches (which im treating for ich... but none of the other fish have the white spots that would suggest ich), and a 6' zig zag eel. <Ah ha! Either the medication (they're toxic to a degree to fishes) and/or a latent infestation of ich (the white spots are visible only in advanced cases... a reaction, mucus to irritation by the ich organism) is likely the root cause/s here. Please consult with the fine folks on our Chatforum as to how you might proceed: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/ For me, I'd go with elevating the temperature of your system and leave off with any "medication" to treat your system. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your help, Kevin

Freshwater, Fish Dying Hello: <<Greetings, John,>> Have some questions for you regarding my tank. I am fairly new at this hobby and like a lot of people have said on your website there IS TOO much info out there for new fish hobbyists. At any rate, I feel you know what you are talking about and you won't confuse the most of us that keeping getting different answers. So here is my story. I bought a 20 gallon tank, with 100watt heater, whisper 20 power filter with the filter bags, air pump with the air bars, came with full hood and light, etc, etc. I did everything right as far as cycling the tank for 24 hours, put 25 pd.s of gravel at bottom with a few fake plants and some big rocks and misc. ornaments. Used Amquel to treat water during that 24 hours and had a pet store check the water and everything was ok, ammonia levels, nitrite, nitrate, etc., before I put fish in. Then bought 5 fish, which was about the max for a 20 gallon new tank I am finding out. 1-was a Dalmatian molly I think, 1-just regular molly I guess, 1-swordtail, and 2-high fin platys and all are under 3inch in length. Everything was fine for the first 5-days, I was using the stress-Zyme and stress-coat, along with adding a little aquarium salt after the a few days. On the six day one of my platies, was not eating or really moving for that matter and stayed at the bottom of the tank by the aeration. He was breathing very rapidly. On the 8th day of the this new tank he was dead at the bottom. (Which of coarse, trying to be a good aquarist, immediately took my water in to the pet store for testing). Found that the ammonia levels were Extremely high. So did what they said and first bought some new filters for the whisper 20 along with some ammo-carb to add with the carbon that came with it and changed the filter as such. At the same time did a 25% water change with the gravel siphon per the store keeper. And used bottled water this time and still treated with the Amquel or however you spell it. Added a little more stress-Zyme and stress coat with the water change The water before the change was really cloudy and still is, but not quite as bad after the water change, but still cloudy so bought some water clear tablets and put them in the next day. The store keeper also informed me that I was probably overfeeding, and I think I was, so I am only feeding 1 time a day right now. Ok now 2-days after the water change the other platy was acting the same way. Yesterday or 3-days after the water change on this tank that has been set up for 12-days now, the other platy died. The weird part is that the other 3 fish are fine and healthy as far as I can see. But the water is still cloudy but not as bad and is slowly getting better. The last part of this story is: the water where I live is really hard and the ph is 7.6- 7.9. In which the store keeper told me not to even worry about ph or hardness since the fish were born and living in the same kind of water when I got them (also why I just bottled water when I did the water change. And lastly I added some plant butts on the 8th day and they are rooting and sprouting ok. Ok NOW MY questions. Sorry for the long story-line. 1-what else can I do about the cloudiness? <<Don't be so generous with all those additives. I mean... you're making quite the soup by constantly adding this and that to a 20g tank, which isn't really a lot of water.>> 2-am I doing anything wrong? <<I think so... first, you put in too many fish in there way too soon. The Nitrogen Cycle, takes many weeks to develop so that waiting 24 hours really wasn't enough. The mollies are tough customers, and are more able to live through the cycling of a new tank. The platies are pretty tough too, but perhaps more sensitive to ammonia.>> 3-when can I add more fish and how many? <<I would hold off for at least a couple of weeks and let this tank stabilize. Then perhaps one fish, but as you already stated you really can't have more than four fish in a 20g tank.>> 4-what would be your suggestion on the type of fish? <<Perhaps another platy? Keep in mind these can grow to the size of your forearm so... perhaps plan on a larger tank.>> 5-what else can I do to prevent anymore fish from dying that I am not already doing (note the 3-mollies I mentioned above seem to be ok and that is all that is in the tank now)? <<Well, the mollies are known for being especially tolerant of poor water conditions. If I were you, I'd slow down some, and try to take your time with this new tank. Good things come to those who wait.>> 6-How many fish can this tank finally hold with proper oxygen? <<Three or four - they need room to grow.>> And lastly can I leave the florescent light on for about 12 hours per day or is that bad. <<Shouldn't be a huge problem, but it will promote algae growth.>> And any other advise you can give please. So I thank you very much for your patients, reading and answering this. I know I can trust your advise and thank you once again in advance for your help. <<Yes, please check out this article on WetWebMedia, I think you will find it helpful: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwtips4beginners.htm >> Sincerely ~John <<Cheers, J -- >>

Help! (freshwater wipe-out overnight) I went to bed last night and my fish were ok. I get up this morning and everyone is dead. Even my frog who lived through a brutal transferal (the lady removing him from the tank where we bought him cut off his right front flipper) he had lived 4 months this way. The tank did not turn color nothing seemed different the only thing different is we changed the filter we washed it (rinsed in well water) and this has always been the same. Now every one is gone but Gus a overly large tiger barb, and a Chinese cleaning fish. Any thoughts? <No ideas with the information given. I would definitely check pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, temperature, and anything else you can. If you reply, please include specific numbers instead of everything was ok.> As I am baffled and pretty upset. I have put a lot of time and care into my fish and they even had names. Thanks, Renee <Sorry about your fish. -Steven Pro>

Betta w/Popeye Hello Bob, I really hope you can help me with my Betta....He seems to have Popeye in just one eye... <asymmetrical exophthalmia... usually caused by blunt force trauma: a good bump into the glass or rockscape will do it> he is feeling fine and eating. But, my problem is that I have searched all over for a medication for this disease that will be able to be put into a 1 gallon bowl.  <may not even be a disease yet... bacterial if it is. At this point likely just a build up of fluid behind the eye. Add 1/2 teaspoon of Epsom salt and repeat in three days. Do water changes as usual (daily?)> All of the med's I have come across are for 10 gallon tanks... <use 1/10th of the dose. If one drop per ten gallons, then add the drop into a cup of water to dilute the medication and then only use one tenth of this solution> is there any thing that I can do? Could I crush the tablets up and add just a little to the tank without hurting my fish? I am a Newbie when it comes to Betta's but I have to say that this is the first fish that I have ever loved!  <understood my friend... I can empathize with your sweet empathy. Do try the Epsom salt (from pharmacy for soaking and laxative for people) first... a gentle tonic. Meds by third day if necessary> He's great and I would hate to lose him. Thanks so much, Cheryl <this ailment is easily remedied. Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Eclipsed Hi <Cheers> My friend has a 10 gallon fresh water eclipse system, and she has been have some problems with it. Firstly of all every thing keeps dying she has been doing frequent water tests and everything is all ways off the charts.  <this tank can hold 4-7 small fishes. Food should never fall and hit the bottom before fishes consume it. Overstocking and overfeeding are the two most common problems> All I know is this small amount of info that she gave me, she has had it for 1 year, all that has survived is one apple snail and one neon tetra, she has performed multiple 60% water changes is that the problem?), <nope...water changes if properly conducted are quite beneficial. New water must be temp adjusted (never cooler) and dechlorinated... a bit more to read up on> she also says that she has a "light", but I don't know what kind it is, and is feeding 1 every 2 days, lastly she is adding "Melafix anti-bacterial liquid" every water change.  <the Melafix shouldn't help or hurt much in this case> If you could please give me and her some advice we would really appreciate it. Thanks a bunch, Ryan <hmmm... there are so many things that it could be. Have her try water changes with another source water (water from another house... spring (but not distilled), use different test kits to confirm crazy readings... see if there is a cloudiness or odor to the water when readings are high... read through basic set-up and husbandry in WWM archives here for extra guidance. Best regards, Anthony>

Medication Question Anthony, do these treatments hold true for freshwater aquariums or are there different medications to use?  <same for fresh and saltwater... just sometimes stronger doses in seawater are necessary> I'm asking because I want to make sure that I don't make any fatal missteps in the future. I have Bettas, mollies and red wag platies and a couple of Ramshorn snails (one of which is blue in colour!) <as a rule you need to be careful with scale less and small scaled fishes (catfish, tetras, silver dollars, etc) and invertebrates (snails, shrimp, crabs, etc). MFG directions usually warn of such problems. Never medicate the invertebrates.> Many thanks <kindly, Anthony> Anthea

Fish Die ...hi...I have a 20 gal long tank with a large airstone, Penguin BioWheel filter, light and heater...I had it set up and it was cycled with exotic goldfish (all of which eventually died from fin rot to pine coning)... <For a good choice for such a small tank.> I was very discouraged and took the tank down for some time...it is now back up and running (it hasn't cycled yet but ammonia is at 0 and nitrites/nitrates are very low, ph is fine, temp is fine) and we are starting with 2 guppies...they have developed fin rot...my question is why am I having so much trouble? <Most new tanks experience trouble in the beginning.> I have used Stress zyme and am beginning to wonder if it has harmful bacteria in it... <Not likely.> I am treating the guppies with tetracycline medicated food, have aquarium salt in the water and water quality is good, temp is good...help! should I empty it and start all over again? <No, best to allow the cycling process to complete.> is there anything I should put in the water? <Look for either Fungus Eliminator from Jungle of Furan-2 by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals.> I have copper safe and several other treatments but haven't used them...I am beginning to become very discouraged...I just want to have a healthy tank/fish...thanks, Kim. <Do not become too discouraged. The goldfish were a bad choice and the guppies may not be much better. They are the appropriate size, but fancy guppies are no longer as hardy as they used to be. Semi-fancy are still pretty tough, though. It depends on which you have, but either way one of the two above meds should help you get yourself and your tank back on track. -Steven Pro>
Fish Die II
thanks for your response...so if the guppies are still a bad choice, what would be a good one? <Guppies are not necessarily bad, but a not as hardy as they once were, many different theories (in-breeding, some sort of virus, etc.). Most of the other livebearers are considerably hardier and are attractive too, swordtails, platies, mollies. These all like a higher pH and salt (at least 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons). There are many other wonderful fish though; barbs, Danios, tetras, etc. Please read through several of the beginner type articles at this link http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm Do wait to add anything else until this current problem is under control. -Steven Pro> thanks again, Kim. (they are fancy goldfish and I don't want catfish...I'd rather have an attractive fish, to be superficial)

Please help me save my fish. Hello, I am in dire need of help. Last week I did a 25% water change in my 120 gal partly brackish tank. All of my fish have been doing so well up to this point. This tank has been set up like this over a year. Anyway later that day some of my Australian Rainbowfish got pop-eye and died later that night. I added a antibiotic to the tank because all of the fish were dark and/ or acting funny. The medication was Ampicillin ( spelling may be off). <not a good choice of med... weakly effective on common fish diseases. Use a more broad spectrum antibiotic when called for> The next day 3 more fish died. Some had bleeding gills, pop-eye, bloody side wounds and lifted scales. <wow... an aggressive infection...unusual. Has it been a bit long since the last water change (accumulated organics, degraded water quality, greater pathogenic risk?> Some with no visible signs of sickness. The next day a discus and angelfish died. Many more fish have died including another discus. The discus died with no visible trauma. I keep medication my tank and I believe the die off has almost stopped. What kind of bacteria/disease do they have? I have lost around 15 fish total. <I do not even know where to being diagnosing this one. But your fish selection sounds like is was misguided. Angels, Discus, archers, rainbows, brackish species... everything in one system is just not possible with hopes of the community not being stressed and suffering in time. Such things catch up to you and manifest in cases like this. You have a mix of species that run the gamut from needing very soft, acidic unsalted water through neutral conditions to brackish and alkaline. This would partly explain why some suffer and others seem fine. There is no possible water quality to compromise them all in> Now all the fish look better all but a archerfish that I have had for way over a year. He is pointing his head toward the top of the tank and is just wagging back and forth. His head is bobbing up and down and in and out of the water. It looks like his swim bladder is messed up. Yesterday I tried to catch him and add him to a saltwater hospital tank thinking that the salt may make him heal faster. Well he freaked and started to swim crazily around the tank. Upside-down and sideways he swam all around. So I left him in the tank. Please help me in any manner you can. <my advice would be to evaluate the livestock and see what fishes categorically can be grouped best and remove all others. Basically decide if you want a tank of brackish estuarine species, or a tank of soft water Amazonian species, etc. Then we can begin to address what is proper and ideal water quality for tank and how to address these obstacles. Because of the mix, I cannot even say what kind of water changes to do. As far as medications, browse or buy a good book on fish diseases to narrow down the causative agents... too hard for us to tell here from the general symptoms and known stressors> Thanks Chad <kind regards, Anthony>

Mystery Disappearance Hi Bob, <Steven Pro answering questions while Bob is traveling the world.> I have a bit of a mystery that has been bothering me for the past few days. I have a 10 gallon freshwater in addition to my 55 gallon brackish. In the 10 gallon I have 2 dwarf Gouramis and I had brought home 3 baby angelfish. Water conditions in the tank were great. A few nights after I got the angelfish one of them wasn't looking too hot. It almost looked like a sudden swim bladder problem. He/She was just floating around with the current. I tested the water, it was fine, everyone else in the tank was fine. So I went to bed. When I woke up the next morning, I found the poor soul had died. At a quick scan of the tank I noticed that only one angel was left. The angel that died was the one that looked fine the night before. The ill one had disappeared. I mean disappeared. I inspected the tank, it's only 10 gallons, so not much space to lose a fish. Looked under some of the decorative items, no where to be found. I figured it may have been somehow sucked up into the filter, not likely, but figured best to check. To no avail. It was gone. Without a trace. Only left were the two dwarf Gouramis, and the last angel. All hanging around together happily. So I'm left with the question. Who Dunnit? My boyfriend couldn't believe it either, he looked in the tank/filter/floor, surrounding areas as well, nothing, not even a trace. The Gouramis are about 2 inches in size, the angels bodies were about the size of a silver dollar. Any ideas? Cannibalism? Gouramis? Would they even have been able to consume and one of the angels completely in that short amount of time? They don't even have teeth? do they? Have you ever heard of anything like this? Do I have some type of killer Gouramis on my hands? <Dwarf Gouramis are not generally aggressive, but all fish will pick at and scavenge a dead one. The body could also be up inside some decoration or something. You may find the skeletal remains when you clean the tank next. Also, small angelfish are notoriously frail. I have seen entire shipments die in stores.> Any help would be great Bob, thanks so much. I'm hoping you can help me to solve this strange mystery. Regards, Amy <Have a nice day. -Steven Pro>

bugs in my freshwater tank Its' the only way to explain it really they look like little bugs their white and very small and they appeared after I introduced live plants into my tank. I've lost three of my fish afterwards is there something I can add to the tank for this? <Without knowing what these "bugs" are I do not consider them likely responsible for your fishes loss. There are animals that might eat them, types of filters, chemicals that may cause their death, but if it were my system, I would just wait a few weeks and see if they "disappear" on their own with regular aquarium maintenance. Bob Fenner>

How long should I wait? Hello and Good morning to whichever "fountain of knowledge" reads this- <Anthony Calfo... and this fountain is running at a trickle... which reminds me... I think I drank to much tea (back in a minute)> I was wondering if you could give me some guidance with a freshwater tank I have.  <yep, back already> Back in Nov. I wrote to Bob about my sick Albino Jack Dempsey. Here is part of that letter "... It started like 8 months ago when I notice what looked like something growing inside the tissue at the base of his dorsal fin and his tail fin. It looked to me like some kind of egg cases or something INSIDE his fins." Bob figured it was a trematode or nematode infestation (you can find the whole email here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/neotropcichfaqs.htm)... <I would not argue with that... Bob has traveled extensively and really knows a lot about diseases...er, whatever> Well, the Dempsey didn't live much longer and the tank has been sitting "empty" for 5 or 6 weeks now. It is a 50 gallon tank and it is not "really" empty. There are many snails and 2 Kuhli (spelling?) loaches in there. (Somehow they have all survived some heavy medication) My question is how much longer should I wait before "restocking" the tank?  <alas... a moot point/question. The tank has not been kept "empty" without a viable host (you have the loach). Although the loach may not show symptoms, it can still be a carrier. Still... after four weeks you are pretty safe> Is there anything I should do to prevent whatever was affecting my Dempsey from affecting the future tank residents? I am hoping to re-stock the tank with a few Texas Cichlids.  <beautiful fish> Thank you for your time and knowledge! Ann <best of luck to you. Anthony Calfo>

Assorted Questions on Assorted Problems Posed to Fellows with Both Hi guys... <Ananda...whaaaaasssssup, er... I mean... How are YOU doing? Anthony> My copy of Dieter Untergasser's _Handbook of Fish Diseases_ went AWOL, so I'm emailing for help... <maybe it just missed home and is visiting another book by Helmut Debelius in a neighboring library> One of my neon rainbows has two bumps on his skin. The smaller one is between the two dorsal fins and off to the side a bit. It's about 1/16" to 1/8" in diameter, mostly flat, and looks greyish-whitish. The other bump is *much* larger -- maybe 3/16" to 1/4" in diameter and height -- and is at the base of one of his pectoral fins. It looks like the fin is growing out of the bump. The bump is a very pale orange color. What's causing this and how should I treat it? < for starters, I can tell you how not to treat it: rule out parasites (almost exclusively). Way to big short of lice or Anchorworm (also unlikely). You haven't added any wild caught fish or live plants recently have you (parasitic larvae/copepods)?> One of the gold mollies has little black spots on her back. They're the size of Fry Bites granules. Her eyes are looking like they might be developing pop-eye. <starting to sound like bacteria are at least part of it (exopthalmia (eye-popping)> I'm putting her on Tetra's anti-parasite & anti-bacterial foods. What else should I do for her? < a good move on both counts for help at least with secondary risks> I just took the three big Rainbowfish out of the hospital tank after using Furan-2 to treat them for an outbreak of body fungus. I put them in the tank they came from, and now some of the mollies seem to be eating something off of the sides of the rainbows. The rainbows do not appreciate this. What could the mollies be doing or eating, and is it dangerous for either the rainbows or the mollies? <although less common... fungus can also express symptoms like "pimples" of varying sizes. Both fungus and bacteria are likely to respond to the following: You may need to reapply antibiotics... although this time use a product with both Nitrofurazone and Furazolidone (like Jungle brand, Fungus Eliminator. I am not entirely clear on why the mollies are grazing but will be interested to find out! Anthony> Thanks! --Ananda <di niente>

fish disease is there a spot on the web that show pictures of fish disease I have something and have tested the water and seems ok . the symptoms are as follow most noticeably is the fins are discolored and ragged and on my Sailfin Mollies I notice her tail section next to fin seems discolored , and they are near the bottom and not very active. other than that they seem fine any idea and what is the treatment . <Mmm, not any "picture" fish disease sites as far as I'm aware... what you describe is very likely "columnaris disease"... caused ultimately by a bacterium of the genus Chondrococcus... the treatment depends on the predisposing "causes"... many folks use neomycin sulfate... 25 mg/ten gallons... there's much more to this. Bob Fenner> Joe Kamer

Blindness in Sailfin Molly Hello Sir, <Howdy> Have enjoyed your articles immensely. I have a large male Sailfin Molly that recently became listless and would not show up for normal feedings. His respiration also appears rapid. For the past two weeks, he has been hovering pretty much motionless in upper level of the tank near a heater. At feeding time, when all other fish rush to the corner of the tank I normally feed in, he seems unaware of what is going on. <Not good signs> Once in awhile, he seems to get some sense of what is happening, and cautiously makes his way to the food, but by that time, there is little left for him, and he seems to have difficulty locating it. Feces have not been normal, I assume due to lack of food. <Maybe... but the non-feeding, symptomology of the same are secondary to what is causing your molly to act diffidently> Prior to this change in behavior, he was extremely active, rarely giving the female mollies in the tank a moments rest. He also dominated the floating feeding ring I use. I did have one female Platy die mysteriously during this period, but there seems to be no connection. After monitoring this fish for some period, I suspect he may be blind. He seems to bump into things in the tank, and again, has difficulty locating food. <Mmm... good descriptions, clues.> The tank is 55 gallon with 25 or so live plants. Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate all clear. ph is stable at 8.2 (I realize this is high, but it has not fluctuated. High ph of my water supply is the reason I have primarily went with livebearers) I conduct all water tests weekly or more frequently. I did change the tank lighting during this period. I replaced two 40 watt strip lights with a 130 watt CFL fixture. The other residents of this tank include: 3 female Sailfin Mollies, 5 Zebra Danios, 3 male Platys, and 3 female Platys. All appear healthy and are eating well. Fearing illness, I've increased aeration, increased frequency of water changes. (Generally 10 - 15 percent weekly, increased to 10 percent change 3 times this week), and have added 1 teaspoon of aquarium salt per 5 gl.  <All good changes, additions... what I would have done as well> I've not been able to detect any signs of parasites or bacterial infection on any of the fish, including the male Sailfin. I've avoided any chemical treatments as there doesn't appear to be anything to treat. <You are wise here> Since it appears that this fish will starve to death, I have set up a 5 gl hospital tank and moved him to it today. Once he has adjusted, I hope to get him to eat. He did spend the first hour or so in this tank bumping into the heater, filter tube, substrate etc. which would seem to confirm a diagnosis of blindness. Is blindness common, or am I missing something? Also, any recommendations on getting this Molly back into society would be greatly appreciated. ps I've avoided using salt in the large tank up to this point as I was unsure how it would affect the Danios or other non-livebearers that I would like to add. (Cory cats and Clown Loaches). I am planning to increase the salt level in the hospital tank to 1 Tbs / 5 gl over the next few days. Bob Jensen <The amounts of salts listed are no problem with the livestock you have, or your filter systems. Other than what you've done, are doing I suggest two things: adding liquid vitamins to the fish's foods (and the tank water once a week), and adding a bit of blanched vegetable food to their diet. A bit of boiled zucchini, chard or bit of sheet of Nori, Kombu (oriental food store/section) algae sheet might provide necessary nutritional input. This and/or do try another brand (Spectrum, HBH...) fish food on your next purchase. I do agree that considering your other fish life, water tests... that this is not likely a case of infectious or parasitic disease... most likely a nutritional deficiency-caused "blindness"... that is very likely reversible at this point. Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>

malachite green and Synodontis eupterus Mr. Fenner, My freshwater African cichlid tank has caught ich. I also keep a Synodontis Eupterus catfish in the tank as well as the cichlids. I have some Malachite green and would like to treat the tank. Would my Syno be better off in a bucket with a heater and air bubbler for five days or in the tank with the malachite green? <I would elevate the temperature (to 84 F. or so...), make sure there's enough aeration... and use just a standard dose per gallon (same ole deal, compute the gallonage for real, L times W times height, divide by 231 (for cubic inches per gallon) deduct for displacement on the rock, gravel... Re-medicate probably every three days (per instructions)... and keep your eyes on all... The Mochokid cat should do fine with this protocol. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Everett

Tetra & Molly Surface Breathing Hi Robert, I'm looking for some advice about my new aquarium (20 gallon tank). I have the following fish: - 6 neon Tetras - 4 other Tetras (not sure of exact name, they're silver with some black on the body and red eyebrows) - 2 Painted Fish - 2 Black Mollies (14 surprise babies in a separate "nursery" tank because of meds for other fish) - 2 Sunfire Platy - 2 Albino Cory The Painted Fish developed what appeared to be a cotton-like fungus and tail-rot. <Not uncommon... the "painting" is very stressful, and if this is a/the Glassfish, Parambassis ranga (see fishbase.org for image/id), it's not exactly a freshwater fish (more brackish) and needs live foods to do well...> It came about quickly and one of the Platy fish appeared to be developing the tail-rot, too. So, I began treating the tank with Greenex (an Anti-Protozoan Agent) as recommended by my local Fish Store. I was told that this was gentle enough so that it would not adversely affect the fry. <No. Very toxic... especially to your small scaled fishes, the Tetras...> Anyway, it didn't really seem to be working... so I went to the local PetSmart and bought some Maracyn (for Body Fungus, Fin & Tail Rot, Popeye, Gill Disease and secondary infections). <Much safer> I put 2 of those tablets in today and my fish started acting a little weird... The black female Molly freaked out for a little bit, then she hid behind the pump and stayed very close to the surface. I read that this was not a good thing, so I moved her to the "nursery tank" and she appears to be doing better, but not liking the confined quarters. My main concern now are the Tetras. One of the larger silver ones has been hiding in the back behind a plant. There are no visible signs of infection, but he gets aggressive when other fish try to enter his area. After I removed the female Molly, he took up residence behind the filter and assumed the surface breathing position. AND... of the 6 neon Tetras, one is still unaccounted for, I last saw him hiding in the castle (12 hours ago) and a second one is hiding in the tall grass (fake) with a sore looking gill. On one side only, his gill is either missing or incredibly swollen and red. It looks raw. He did come out for some food, but otherwise he remains hidden and everyone seems to be leaving him alone. Am I panicking for nothing... or is there something I've neglected to do? I bought just about every chemical under the sun, but I afraid of overdosing. <You should be... many "pet fish" remedies are easily poisonous on their own, real trouble in some combinations.> I could really use some direction or advice. Please help, Cindy <Without more information, actually seeing your livestock it's difficult to gauge the root cause/s of your difficulties here... Issues like how long the tank has been set up, the gear employed, your maintenance procedures/protocol, water testing parameters provide useful clues. Could you send along this data?  One difficulty I hinted about exists: you have an incongruous mix of fishes. The tetras and catfish prefer softer, more acidic, warmer water conditions... the mollies and painted fish more hard, alkaline, cooler... Plants likewise have ranges, tolerances to types/aspects of water quality.  In all likelihood something to do with your water is at play/blame here, not so much a parasitic or infectious agent. Please do read through our website (www.WetWebMedia.com) here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm and the tank troubleshooting piece and FAQs beyond and get back to me with the requested information.  Bob Fenner>

HLLE on Oscars, cause, treatments Hi, I have read over much of your site, and find huge amounts of useful information in regards to HLLE. However, it all seems to pertain to saltwater tanks/fish. I have a freshwater 150 gallon tank, that houses: 1 tiger Oscar 3 red/cobalt zebras 1 fire eel several small Corey cats <Yikes... hope your Oscar can resist swallowing any of these Corydoras... too common cause of death...> 1 Jack Dempsey 1 random cichlid [about the size of a convict] 1 black convict and two young albino Oscars [about 7 months old, not true albinos, having lots of darkness on their fins] <Yes, "Gold" (xanthic) varieties> The two albinos have HLLE. It developed about 6 weeks ago. I didn't ID it until today, as I thought at first they were bites from the Zebras. They are from the same clutch, bought at a local fish store. They were billed as blue Oscars and seemed as if they were dyed, the bluing having disappeared as they got older. <Sadly these were very likely dyed> I bought them when they were about an inch long. They have switched tanks three times, as they grew [I have five tanks ranging from six gallons to 150]. I run a magnum and an over the back with carbon [Oscars are messy eaters:)]. I have rocks, mostly store bought volcanic type rock, the kind that Cichlids favor. No live plants, they seem to hate plants and destroy them regularly, plastic or other. <Hmm do read over this (marine) piece on HLLE... and its cure... can be done with vitamin and iodide adjunct to their foods: http://wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm> I will 'ground' my tank, but am curious as to food, vitamins, etc, especially in regards to such a large community tank. Is there any medication that will help, but not be detrimental to the other fish? <Not necessary... please read through the above FAQs file> The babies are about six inches long now, and I could shuffle them to a 20 gallon if need be. But if the issue is one of water, electricity, nitrate or whatever, then I don't see the shuffle as working real well other than curing them. It seems better to fix the problem that causes this, and treat them in the same tank they live in. But I have several real concerns. The first being the other fish. I understand that the Cichlids are very susceptible to this disease, and the whole tank is Cichlids. The second concern is a slow and painful death for my two babies. <You are correct about the susceptibility... not to worry much about the latter concern...> What can you suggest to minimize the risk to the other fish, yet help to cure the babies? cj. <Let's discuss this issue to the point of clarity for you... and maybe we'll generate a definitive article on freshwater HLLE problems>. Be chatting. Bob Fenner> cj. Moody 
HLLE, Oscars, Etiology, Cures
Hi Robert... <Hello> I am sure with the volume of mail that you receive, you don't recall who I am. I had the two gold Oscars that had HLLE. <I recall> Though I followed everything that was explained to do, tonight I lost one of them. For some reason, this one just did not respond to anything I did. The other seems to be at least remaining the same, if not slowly healing, it is difficult to tell. I have some generic questions that I have found no answer to. Is HLLE an actual disease, a skin condition, a bacteria, or most importantly, contagious? <There are a few theories as to root causes of HLLE... most favor nutritional deficiency syndromes (mainly vitamins, iodide/ine)... some suggest protozoan involvement (esp. Hexamita spp.), others stray electrical potential (sellers of grounding probes), general "poor water quality"... Myself? I believe the first is a principal cause with all others being contributory. Please read through "the three sets of factors that determine health" piece here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm For a "more rounded" view/glance of what goes on in the real universe> Everything I've read says that it cropped up about 15 years or so ago, and the likely hood of the causative action being Hexamita is slim. <Was about way before this time... know because I was there...> As this is what killed one of my Oscars, I would like to know more about what it actually is. <I understand your provocation... treatments more often kill off livestock...> You spent a great deal of time working with me on fixing this problem, and I truly do appreciate it. <An honor to help> One just didn't have it in him to make it though. I still have hope for the second one. Thank you again cj. <Please do read over the HLLE FAQs and environmental disease sections on the Marine Index part of our site (WetWebMedia.com) as well. The same etiology/ies for marine fishes pre-dispose them to this "disease". Bob Fenner> C.J. Moody

My poor Goldfish, I'm so stupid!!! Hello. Not to be lengthy here, but I hope you can assist me and ease my mind. <I'll try> I have 3 basic goldfish, one is a Comet and the other two look like huge sunfish. Anyhow, I have had them all for one year now. They have been living together the whole time. They are so cool, because they swim in fast circles, all over the tank-20 gallon- in a line, chasing each other. They actually know when I come into the room... and they used to beg for food... <Yes, some folks think Goldfish aren't too bright... but they've put up with humans for at least centuries...> I digress, but I do this so you will "see" how they were before. The other day I bought BioZyme at the pet store, referred to me by the fish guy. I used it- and didn't follow the directions, and put in too much, obviously, because now the poor things are like "floating" and not at all like they were. They won't eat, they are moving their fins, but just laying on the bottom, on the rocks. Every now and again one will dart up to the top of the tank and open it's mouth really big. <Yikes... I'll read below before responding...> They have had numerous water changes, as I had hoped it would clear it out of them. I actually have moved them into a new tank w/ nothing but their air and filter. <Good ideas all the way around... do keep up aeration...> On a more freaky note, they were only in the BioZyme about 20 minutes, before I noticed they were "sinking" and looking weird. I moved them out and then I swear to you, their eyeballs started "popping" out! I called a pet store they said it was Pop eye. <Hmm, so much for "descriptive diseases"...> Sorry, long story short- Have I paralyzed my fish? Will their eyes become normal? Will they pass this BioZyme out of their body's? I feel so bad! <They will recover or no... only time can/will tell...> WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE? WHAT DO I DO NOW? Help, please. <Nothing more to be done at this point other than what you have... Please try to be patient> Also, they look sad. Do fish "feel?" <In some senses, yes.> Thank You~ Sincerely, Jeana M. Swanson <My thoughts are with you my friend. Bob Fenner>
Re: My poor Goldfish, I'm so stupid!!!
Thank You so much. Your reply alone has eased me. I keep talking to them <I am of the distinct opinion that this does help... you and they.> and I think they are getting better. Again, thank you, thank you~ Jeana M. Swanson <You're welcome my friend, anima bona fac, "be of good life". Bob Fenner>

The DUMB goldfish lady Hi there! It is Jeana again. I wrote you yesterday re: my 3 goldfish that I overdosed w/ BioZyme? <Oh yes, certainly> Well, they are better. :) <Ah, good> However, I truly believe they are blind now. Am I crazy to think this? Oh my God, what have I done? They are a lot more energetic, but they keep bumping into the walls, ETC. I put my hand in there and they let me touch them. What do you think? <Not to be overly concerned at this point... likely this blindness is temporary... and your fish will do fine, eat... in the meantime.> Thank you for you time and concern. Sincerely, Jeana M. Swanson <Be chatting. Bob Fenner> =^..^= PS~ On a positive note their eyeballs seem normal size now. Do you think they are blind? <Can't tell for now my friend, patience, peace.>

Re: my new fish hobby troubles <FW ich, differing opinions on treatments) Thank you for your time, in advance, I have read your posts and I am amazed at the amount of time and help you take to give to folks in this hobby, I for one applaud the effort and hope what you pass around comes around, I am sure you need a good mechanic every so often. :-) or technical support with the new computer hard disk. <Of a certainty, yes.> My dilemma is outlined below. I have received different opinions which has thoroughly confused the issue, I suppose I should buy that new digital magnifier, more stuff in my already tiny work spot. I trust you will put this questions dilemma to rest. The following paragraph is a question I wanted to ask while the dilemma outlined in the two internet question below it are but to rest. I can not justify an ich treatment based on the information to this point: another question I have is also: This paragraph was added because I have this question too. "I am now setting up a small aquarium and it has cycled and I am treating the various stress related diseases that have inflicted the Gourami dwarf neon blue, Redtail black shark, I have used to begin with, Ph fine nitrites fine salt 1 tsp, since I have seen the agonies of fish having the need for medicines and the like, my question is I am building a 100+ gal neo-angle tank, freshwater it will also be a planted tank, before I put any fish in I have decided to quarantine them and want to know how powerful a medication I can use that will eradicate everything on them and ensure healthy sterile fish enter the new tank, the 10gal plus a very small octagon tank, the 10 gal will be for keeping the new fish to observe for a week or so, the octagon for dipping them if need be, but how powerful a dip and how long for dipping and should I medicate the 10gal when screening new fish. The 100+gal is going to be the home for the fish after testing."; <Hmm... well, there are no one hundred percent dips/baths that will make all fishes "specific disease free"...> Thank you again M.P. O'Connor Below are the posted questions to these helpers and there opinions and expert advice. #1 Ask any question! Allexperts.com is the oldest & largest free Q&A service on the Internet Volunteer Rob Tashian (Rob T.) Answers Subject Red tail black shark has white triangle spot forming on dorsal Question ------------------------- Follow-up To Question - My red-tail shark dorsal fin on the top has a very small white triangle that has appeared, it is hard to get a side view but I believe it may be stringy I thought it was getting longer, but it is just on the tip. I have treated with Melafix, and Life bearer, two days now, LFS person of unknown knowledge said it was a worm. It is hard to tell and it is triangle shaped looks like the color has just gone out of the top fin. Tank cycled fine ph fine 7.0 nitrites fine, temp 78- 82. 10gal 1 Gourami 1 Redtail, UGF, and emperor 280 bio wheel. 1/4 teaspoon salt (aquarium). two plants floater, and Amazon sword small. Answer - Pat, I'd stop the medications for the time being and see if the fin continues to rot away. If so then the "MelaFix" would be a good choice. If the shark continues eating and otherwise acting normal then I'd also be on the look out for "white-worms" in the gravel bed (generally from overfeeding). If everything checks fine then odds are the condition will clear on its own. Let know if it gets worse or if I can help anymore. Best of luck and Happy Phishing Rob T. Also I noticed hundreds if not thousands of little white dots swarming in the tank I thought they were from over oxygenating a 280gph bio wheel and the bubble wand with a UGF but now I am not to sure has anyone seen this also Pat Answer Pat, Those little white spots sound like Ich spores. Go with a standard Ich treatment and you should be fine. Best of luck Happy Phishing Rob T. Happy Phishing Rob T. <Well... one can't actually see such "ich spores"... the "dots" on fish hosts are manifestations (the irritation on the skin cause a considerable amount of mucus production... they're Protozoans... too small to be seen with just the naked eye> #2 Genuine All Experts Expert Ask any question! Allexperts.com is the oldest & largest free Q&A service on the Internet Volunteer Jason P. Holland Answers [] Subject Red tail black shark has white triangle spot forming on dorsal Question ------------------------- Follow-up To Question - My red-tail shark dorsal fin on the top has a very small white triangle that has appeared, it is hard to get a side view but I believe it may be stringy I thought it was getting longer, but it is just on the tip. I have treated with MelaFix, and Life bearer, two days now, LFS person of unknown knowledge said it was a worm. It is hard to tell and it is triangle shaped looks like the color has just gone out of the top fin. Tank cycled fine ph fine 7.0 nitrites fine, temp 78- 82. 10gal 1 Gourami 1 Redtail, UGF, and emperor 280 bio wheel. 1/4 teaspoon salt (aquarium). two plants floater, and Amazon sword small. Answer - Hello M.P., It does sound like a worm, probably a fluke. Treat with a parasite medication. I don't recommend any one in particular, as the one I recommend almost always is the one your store doesn't have. If I had to pick though, I would say Clout <Likely they mean "Clout"... another product containing the organophosphate DTHP... an article on this compound is posted on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com on the "Pond Index"> . Also, treat with a medicated fish food designed for the treatment of parasitic infection. Another thing you can do is dab the affected fin with something called Wound Control from the petstore, or Mercurochrome from the drugstore. Be careful not to get this stuff near the gills, eyes, or mouth, as it is highly toxic. But, is effective in weakening parasites as well as preventing secondary infection due to the parasite. If you have any more questions, just let me know. Sincerely, Jason P. Holland <An involved response, but would cover/cure most any infectious, parasitic agent or simple trauma/wound...> Also I noticed hundreds if not thousands of little white dots swarming in the tank I thought they were from over oxygenating a 280gph bio wheel and the bubble wand with a UGF but now I am not to sure has anyone seen this also Pat Answer Look at them closely through a magnifying glass, if they look like little dust particles, then they are dissolved oxygen. If they look like tiny little worms, then they are white worms. These are a harmless but common problem in aquariums. They are hard to get rid of sometimes, but maintaining a good routine of tank maintenance will eliminate them. If you have any more questions, just let me know. Sincerely, Jason P. Holland <I do like, though don't totally agree with this last bit... likely these are just "air bubbles" floating about... and very likely nothing to worry about... Don't know if I follow the whole of what you are asking here... the quarantine of new livestock is a good idea period... ahead of placement in a large planted system especially... I would not specifically dip any/all of the new livestock ahead or during this transition... but the parts on the Marine Index on the WWM site called "Acclimation", "Dips/Baths"... and associated FAQs may be of use to you... similar protocols, materials apply to freshwater as well as salt. Bob Fenner>
Re: my new fish hobby troubles
Thank you for your response, I have found a LFS manager, (young 18, my where was I at 18, hmm) who has a house with 17 fish tanks one 240 gal, he is going to college learning Japanese translating for business companies, he likes keeping most tanks in the Amano style :) Anyways his answers seemed trustworthy and your help also was along the same lines. So I will trust myself to his care at this time. Really why am I doing this anyways, not like I do not have enough to do! Kids, fish, a business, and my chess club, <Sounds like a very full life> (and to think I used to do volunteer work). You have been a nice help and we make our selves available if you ever need advice in our tiny portion of the universe. Thank you, again Maurice P. O'Connor <Thank you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Diseases of Tropical Fish Dear Mr. Fenner, I am relatively new to fish keeping (about 5 years) and therefore have only books and Fish stockists to assist me in ensuring that I have a healthy tank. <I only have thirty five or so years, and the other tools you list to help as well!> I have recently come up against a discrepancy that I would be grateful if you could answer. I recently refurbished my entire tank (underwater heater, filter, pump, gravel, plants etc and after leaving it a couple of weeks put back my longstanding existing fish (that were in a nursery tank) and they were fine. Two weeks later I purchased additional fish, however on getting the fish home I noticed that one fish was displaying signs of tuberculosis and phoned the fish supplier who informed me that "tb" is inherent in all fish and to leave it in the tank and with a varied diet it would be ok... <You know, I've heard other people relate this same sort of anecdote in recent years... "All fishes carry Mycobacteria/TB"... I don't agree with this statement or sentiment...> .this fish died. A week after that fish started to die; displaying classic white spot symptoms once again I told the stockist who once again told me that all fish carry white spot  <I'm even possibly to be admonished for this one though... I do believe that most, many freshwater fishes are carriers of ich/Ichthyophthirius multifilius... with its expression coming out through "stress" of its host...> and when distressed (i.e. being put into a new tank or one with poor water conditions) this becomes more apparent. This is in contradiction to what I have read and I am wondering if this is the stockists way of avoiding due compensation or if he is in fact right. <Likely... economically as well as to save face> Any assistance that you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Regards, Deb <I encourage a "pro-active" approach to quarantining, or at least closely observing all new freshwater livestock for possible infectious, parasitic (environmental, nutritional, social...) diseases. Am very sorry to hear/read of your losses, and would at this point, elevate the water temperature (to the limits of the plants, maybe low eighties F. for a good two weeks... and if possible, place new livestock in quarantine in a separate system for a good two weeks before introduction to your main/display system. Please do read over the "Three Sets of Factors That Determine Livestock Health" (a very useful model, way of looking at health/disease) and "Quarantine/Acclimation" sections posted on the website: www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>
Tropical Fish Diseases - please ignore previous memo (if received)
Dear Mr. Fenner, I am relatively new to fish keeping (about 5 years) and therefore have only books and Fish stockists to assist me in ensuring that I have a healthy tank. I have recently come up against a discrepancy that I would be grateful if you could answer. I recently refurbished my entire tank (underwater heater, filter, pump, gravel, plants etc and after leaving it a couple of weeks put back my longstanding existing fish (that were in a nursery tank) and they were fine. Two weeks later I purchased additional fish, however on getting the fish home I noticed that one fish was displaying signs of tuberculosis and phoned the fish supplier who informed me that "TB" is inherent in all fish and to leave it in the tank and with a varied diet it would be ok... <Perhaps this is a semantical difference somehow, but Mycobacteria (the causative organism for tubercular infections of humans and fishes) is not "inherent in all fish"> .this fish died. A week after that fish started to die; displaying classic white spot symptoms once again I told the stockist who once again told me that all fish carry white spot and when distressed (i.e. being put into a new tank or one with poor water conditions) this becomes more apparent. This is in contradiction to what I have read and I am wondering if this is the stockists way of avoiding due compensation or if he is in fact right. Any assistance that you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Regards Deb <I am of the opinion that the protozoan, Ichthyophthirius multifilius is almost omnipresent on freshwater fishes... but if it were me I'd be looking for another "stockist", and being careful to at least quarantine all new fishes. Please read the parts of the site www.wetwebmedia.com on disease, quarantine, the three sets of factors that determine livestock health. Bob Fenner> (apologies if you received this before from a Compaq e-mail address - teenage daughter likes to change settings etc)<I understand, no worries>
Re: Tropical Fish Diseases - please ignore previous memo (if received)
Dear Mr. Fenner, Many thanks for your response; it has certainly clarified what was starting to become a very confusing issue. Deb <Ah, very good. Clarity is pleasurable. Bob Fenner>

piranha i have 6 piranha and some of them have a little knot on their chin. what is it and is it normal <Very likely these are just sores from rubbing their faces on... bags, tank fronts, running into things when they get spooked... Par for the course for these toothy Characoids in captivity... Nothing to be worried about. Bob Fenner>

ick in a freshwater tank We have had someone servicing our 150 gallon freshwater tank that includes a freshwater eel, 5 Pacus, cichlids and loaches.  <Yikes, glad I don't have your fish food bills!> Goldfish were introduced to the tank for the eel and we as a result got ick in the tank.  <All too typical...> The person servicing our tank put some treatment into the tank, but when we looked at the bottle he was using it specified for saltwater tanks only. Now we have many dead fish in the tank and I'm wondering if the saltwater solution added to the problem. Can you please let me know? Thanks. <Possibly... would have to know the product/contents, how much was used, what else was done... Many remedies for parasite problems (there's a related ich in both fresh and salt) are similar in make up... though I would have proscribed elevating the system temperature and a simple malachite-based remedy in your case... Bob Fenner, who's articles concerning fish disease and the use of feeder goldfish may be found archived on the site: www.wetwebmedia.com for you and your servicing agents perusal>

Goldfish Bloat Problem Hi Dr. Fenner, My goldfish is puffed up like a puffer fish. It's scales are jutting out, away from its body, like how a bird would puff up its feathers. What is wrong with it? Thanks in advance. Regards, Jeremy <This dropsical condition is called many things around the world, Ascites, bloat, pinecone disease... And is very serious. Some folks consider that the problem's root cause is environmental... mainly nutritional (too much, exclusive dry-food feeding... not enough "greens"), others that it's purely to mostly bacterial (internal)... and various "remedies" are proposed... from broad-spectrum gram-negative antibiotic baths, applications... to placement of same in foods... to abandonment of prepared foods entirely, replacing them with cooked rice, blanched terrestrial vegetable fare... to temporary immersion in Epsom Salt (magnesium sulfate) baths (about a teaspoon per gallon for ten-fifteen minutes)... Almost always the "patient dies"... doesn't seem to be very contagious... and have rarely seen this condition in well-tended systems of hobbyists or commercial breeders (plenty of water changes, adequate circulation, aeration, varying foods...). Bob Fenner, who will post this on the site: www.wetwebmedia.com>

Swim bladder problem Dear Dr. Fenner, I think my goldfish, a Ryukin, has a swim bladder problem. It has difficulty maintaining it's balance and is usually belly-up. Sometimes it would be ok and swim normally but recently it's condition deteriorated. I enquired at my neighborhood pet store and the owner said that there wasn't anything to be done. However, reading some books, I found a treatment for it. I shifted it to another tank and treated it with an anti internal bacteria solution. It's been 4 days now and there's no sign of recovery. Am I missing out something or does it take longer to recover? Thanks for your valuable time. Regards, Jeremy <These gas bladder anomalies are all too common in many lines of fancy goldfishes... and are almost never related to infectious or parasitic disease... but more to the breed and diets of these sports... At this point, if the fish can/is still feeding, give up offering anything in the way of dried foods (pellets, flakes...) and have it only ingest fresh and frozen/defrosted foods... in an attempt to shift it's percentage body fat and overall body density and orientation... If it can't stay upright, consider lowering the water to a few inches in depth (enough to cover it), and lastly, if it is taking little, no food otherwise, do gently administer treatments of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) at about a level teaspoon per gallon of system water as baths for fifteen minutes (outside the main system)... lifting the fish with a damp hand (not a net)... And do stay focused. This fish can be saved. Bob Fenner>
Re: Swim bladder problem
Thank you so much for your help, advice and prompt reply. I still have some questions regarding some of your instructions that I hope you can clarify for me. <I will try> When you say that it's not caused by infectious or parasitic diseases, that means I should stop adding the anti internal bacteria medication to the water right? <Yes, this addition will likely not help, and is too likely to hurt... these gas bladder anomalies in fancy goldfishes are "environmental diseases"... a product of these hybrids genetic disposition and too frequent history of mis-feeding> In terms of fresh and frozen/defrosted food, would freeze dried Tubifex count as dried food, which I'm not supposed to feed it, or as frozen food? Would live Tubifex worms/blood worms be safe? Because they are said to carry a certain element of risk in carrying some disease or bacteria. <Yes, the FD Tubifex is not a good idea on a few counts... too much protein, too easily converted/stored as fats, too hard to digest... I would leave off with the live as well, but occasional feedings of blood worms (actually chironomid fly larvae) is fine... Neither really are causes/carriers of infectious or parasitic disease... In general.> Till now, I've been feeding it dried pellets in a reduced amount. I see no signs of it excreting. It normal? <No, not a good idea as previously stated to use much in the way of pelleted or otherwise dry foods... and a very bad sign to not be "excreting"... Not normal... I refer you back to our previous correspondence, and encourage the administration of the Epsom salt baths to encourage elimination> Lastly, how long is it supposed to take to upright itself again? And how do I keep it from having this problem again when I return it back to the main tank with the other fishes? Do I have to stop feeding the rest of the fishes dried food and pellets to prevent it and the rest of the fishes from encountering this problem again? <This return to upright orientation may never occur or perhaps be corrected in a few to several weeks... many fancy goldfish die from complications of these air bladder anomalies> Thanks again for taking the trouble and the encouragement. Regards, Jeremy <At your service, Bob Fenner>
Re: Swim bladder problem
Dear Dr. Fenner, Thanks for the clarification and sorry to trouble you yet again. Besides the 15 minutes duration, how often am I supposed to administer the Epsom salt bath? <About every day for three days in a row if there is no discernible improvement... then a days rest... the animal will hopefully start eliminating, righting itself...> I found it this morning with traces of blood on or under) its scales. Has it to do with the water quality or is it possible that it bumped itself against the glass wall? Is it considered an external wound? How do I treat it and would the salt bath aggravate it? <The salt bath will help... no to using other medicants> If it's not too much trouble, could you please enlighten how reducing the amount of water, to just the level of covering it, help it right itself? Given the low level, how often do I need to change water to prevent pollution (even though there's still no signs of elimination)? <Allows the fish easier access to food, to right itself, less likely to injure, and higher dissolved oxygen... Do make large water changes, even daily, while administering Epsom baths, with pre-treated, conditioned system water... and replace it there...> I have be stringent on the ph level too right? Can I double-check with you the suitable ph for goldfishes? Because I've been changing water every 2 days and the ph has dropped to abt 7(neutral). <This pH is fine... do the water changes and keep the water aerated... this will do all you need to keep this and other important parameters about right> Thank you once again for taking the trouble. Your help is greatly appreciated and has enlightened me a great deal. Regards, Jeremy <A pleasure, and honor. I wish you and your aquatic pet life. Bob Fenner>

Disease of fish Dear Bob, I recently lost an old fish that was given to me about four years ago.  It swam erratically for a few days, then died. At death, there was a large red sore on its side. What is it and are my other fish at risk? Joannes >> Hmm, hard to say... there are such "sores" (emarginated or no) in marine and freshwater fishes that are traceable/identified with bacterial, parasitic, environmental complaints... What sort of fish species-wise? Unless you see definite signs of other fishes involvement, I wouldn't be overly concerned that the cause in this case was "catching"... But do look to checking, improving water quality. Bob Fenner
Re: Disease of fish
Thanks for the information. The local fish store suggested treating the tank with an antibiotic. As for as the fish type, I think it was a tetra. There were originally 6 of them and they were very health and fun to watch, but died off slowly over the past four years. The sore on the fish had a dark red center with a ragged pink outline. I change about 20 % of the water every 10 or so days. I monitor for nitrites and pH. js  >> Hmm, thanks for the further input... I'm not a big fan of pouring in antibiotics into aquariums... especially with freshwater (they don't "drink like a fish") there's little benefit unless the material gets inside the animals. Your fishes might have had a Sporozoan infestation... perhaps latent... or, as many small tetras (Characoids) go, went the route of "cumulative genetic breakdown"... aka "old age"... most only live a few years. Be chatting, Bob Fenner

Hope for some fresh water help Dear Bob, I have always come to your for help with my saltwater system, I know you are  a saltwater guy but my father is having problems with his fresh water tank  and could use some help. One of his prized, very large goldfish has been just  laying on the bottom of the tank for about two weeks now. He comes up to eat,  but other than that just lays like a beached whale. I have no way of running  any tests on the water (my father lives in a different state than me), but  the water is changed regularly and has very little algae. The only problems I  can think of is that he doesn't keep a very regular light schedule. Different  hours at different times. Also he has used an algaecide, I guess he doesn't  how bad chemicals can be!! Any advice would be welcome. Thank you, Ryan >> Do get your father to give up on the algicide use... toxic and not really the only way to go... To address the issue at hand, the fish in question likely has a gas bladder (the hydrostatic mechanism of a bag of air inside most fishes that help them "float" in midwater) disorder... very common in fancy goldfish of size... and generally the result of poor nutrition, specifically diets composed exclusively of dried prepared foods... Do have your father do the following: 1) make up a bath of the fishes water, plus a level teaspoon of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) and have the fish placed in this mix for ten-fifteen minutes... a good muscle relaxer and more... 2) Have him supplement (daily) the fish's foods with some steamed, par-boiled, or microwaved greens (zucchini, cruciferous vegetables, Nori algae from the oriental food store, peas...) A little messy at this juncture, but necessary... If the fish has a hard time finding, feeding on these foods, consider lowering the water level of the tank to accommodate it. 3) In a week or so, start adding some fresh, frozen/defrosted meaty foods to the animals diet (brine shrimp, krill...) 4) Going forward from there, some freeze-dried foods may be supplemented, but never just dried prepared (pellets and flakes) in any given day. Bob "the all aquatics Fish Man" Fenner

sick fish hello again! my friend i have a problem that i need to ask you about. I have a red velvet sword that is having a problem, and i don't know what is wrong. she is staying at the top of the water, and can't swim any deeper than the middle of the tank, and she does it with extreme difficulty. it is like a balloon full of air, she floats back to the top. she can't get to the bottom of the tank. other than that, she is lively, appetite is good, she just can't get away from the top of the water. can you tell me what is wrong? and if it will be ok? thank you. >> Hmm, sounds like a sort of swim bladder disorder... most likely brought on by a diet exclusively made up of flake foods... Do change this to include some fresh and/or frozen/defrosted foods... like brine shrimp, live greens like Anacharis... and your fish will "self-cure". Bob Fenner

goldfish... Hello Bob,  I don't have a saltwater Q, I think that saltwater talks are too difficult and time consuming to take care of. Anyway, I just wanted to know if it's okay to use aquarium salt in a gold fish tank. I use it in all the other tanks that i take care of, but i rarely get to clean gold fish. I like the effects that salt has on an aquarium and i just wanted to make sure it wouldn't be harmful to them. Thanks very much for your time. Sincerely, Keith (Keifer) >> Agree with you that marine tanks are more challenging... in fact, that's part of the reason so many folks take them on... And yes to the salt use on goldfish. As you state, a good general cathartic all the way around. Bob Fenner, who believes "people start with goldfish, and if they live well enough, and long enough, go through freshwater/oddballs/cichlids/saltwater/reefs... get back to goldfish"

I have three goldfish, all fairly large. One of these was just introduced to the tank a few days ago. Since the new arrival has settled in he has developed white spots, possibly ich, on his fins and other parts of his body. He, or she I'm not sure, sometimes sits on the bottom of the tank in a corner near the back. My other two fish have begun to join the new one sitting on the bottom for a period of time. They also like to hide behind the rocks and sit on the bottom there. They then get up and swim around as though nothing were wrong. They are eating normally.  What is going on here? I don't know how fish mate, perhaps that's what they are doing, or perhaps they're sick. They also have been almost frantic at times, darting around and swimming on their sides. I'm getting worried, any advice would be most appreciated.  Thank you, Angie Dickinson >> There are a few parasitic possibilities here... and a need for action on your part. If these "spots" are seen to get bigger, cause red entry marks, "grow tails" you will need to treat the whole tank for one of a type of crustacean ectoparasite (called Anchorworm, fish lice)... There are medicines sold for this purpose. Follow their directions carefully. For right now, in the likelihood that your new goldfish (and the whole tank) is infected with a protozoan like the ich you mention (this is the most likely), I would get and use a malachite based ich remedy ASAP... and if the directions don't mention this: add a teaspoon per five gallons of water of non-iodized salt (kosher, ice-cream, water softener...) and remove any carbon/charcoal from your filters (this will remove the medication). Additionally, please be careful that in this process you don't "wipe out" the beneficial microbes that live in your tank (they really help keep the environment stable and positive by cycling wastes). If the water turns cloudy or your fish start breathing rapidly, be ready to execute a large (25%) water change... using a water conditioner to remove chlorine/chloramine sanitizer. If any of this is unclear, "ring me back". Bob Fenner hello friend. i need your advise again. I just lost my favorite catfish last night. I had the water analyzed today, and they said it had a high ammonia level. so i did a 30% water change, also added tank salt lightly, cleaned the rocks with a rock pump the best i could, and added 10 drops of ich medicine also, did i do it right? i was advised by a friend in California, he has owned a pet store, but i trust your judgment more. the ammonia level was .4 when the water was tested today's have a 20 gallon tank. I also took the sea shells i had in the tank out because he told me that they could raise the ph balance of the tank. have i done all i needed to do? once again, I thank you for your time. jhtolsonjr. >> Don't know enough about your system, livestock and situation to follow what you've done... but I would stay on top of the ammonia (get your own test kit, they're cheap), and use an ammonia absorbing chemical filtrant to absorb that toxin... and not use an "ich remedy" unless you're very sure your fishes have that parasite... but instead raise the temperature of the system to 82 F. (now) and wait. Good move on putting the salt in... and removing the seashells. Bob Fenner

 Stringy stuff Hey Bob, Below are some of replies. Please read on ... > Hi Bob, > My red sword-tails have been behaving sickly for the last 3 weeks: > barely feeding and are resting all the time. There were white spots on > their bodies. > They were on Maroxy and Maracide for 1 week each. They seem to recover > slightly > and then went back to square one. The white spots disappeared but ... > Now, there are more symptoms. There are while stringy stuffs hanging > off from inside their gills. I cannot tell if these are true fungus or > bacteria infection or it was a left over > the previous white spots infection. > What do you think it is and how do I treat it? > Thanks. >> > Wow, sounds like more than infectious/parasitic disease going on here... I > would like to start at the beginning and know more about your set-up... it's > not optimized nor stable I'd wager. How big a tank, what sort of filtration, > what's your feeding, maintenance regimens? Do you have any live plant > material in the system? You should... let's get a dialogue going here (quick) > and solve the root cause of your swordtail problems... rather than treating > the symptoms with fish medicines. > Bob Fenner Tank size: 10 gallons Filtration: undergravel Feeding: Tetra Min 3-4 times of light feedings (depending of how hungry they are) Cleaning: siphoning 3/4 tank --- so far, once per month Live plants: Amazon Swords Fish: red and yellow sword-fish Symptoms: on closer examination, it looked like white colored dead gill tissues -- definitely not cotton-like >> Okay! Well, I would step up the water changes to 1/4 of the tank every week... add some frozen brine shrimp to the diet... and a sprig or two of some sort of floating plant...my fave would be Water Sprite (Ceratopteris), but Parrot Feather (Myriophyllum), Hornwort/Coontail (Ceratophyllum), or Anacharis (Elodea) will be fine as well. Lastly do add a tablespoon of salt for every five gallons as you change the water every week (non-iodized, like ice-cream, water-softener, kosher...) Bob Fenner

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