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FAQs on the Rainbowfishes Health/Disease 1

Related Articles: Rainbowfishes, Fishes at the rainbow's end; An introduction to the Atheriniformes, the Rainbowfish and silversides by Neale Monks

Related FAQs: Rainbow Disease 2Rainbow Disease 3Rainbow Disease 4, Rainbowfishes 1, Rainbowfishes 2, & FAQs on: Rainbow Identification, Rainbow Behavior, Rainbow Compatibility, Rainbow Selection, Rainbow Systems, Rainbow Feeding, Rainbow Disease, Rainbow Reproduction,

White Patches/Swelling on Australian Rainbowfish's Eyes & Subsequent Blindness, BobF's go 8/21/10
<Hello Heather>
I have an Australian Rainbowfish that I thought would've died a long time ago because of the multiple health problems it has over the past year.
<This fish, most of the families labeled as Rainbows are generally quite hardy... given consideration of simple water quality needs, decent nutrition, members of their own kind to school with>
I originally asked for your advice back on January 9th of the year about open body sores this fish got after having gotten Popeye twice.
<Something is amiss here>
The newest issue is this poor fish's
eyes. They are both swollen, covered with nasty white patches that are really thick and lumpy. On one eye, the white of the eye looks brown (like dried blood) in certain areas.
<... nutritional deficiency? Flukes?>
The fish is definitely blind. He runs into everything, he hasn't eaten in probably 2+ weeks, so I'm not sure how he's even alive.
I've checked our water quality and our levels always come back on par.
<... need actual values to help you... Can't discern what folks mean by golf terms>
All of our other fish our completely healthy.
<What other species? This data can be very helpful...>
I don't know what to door for this poor guy. I feel like he's going to die soon, but this seems to be the fish that is incapable of death.
<Life strengthens life>
We have treated the whole tank (55 gallon) with a round of API Pharmaceuticals'
"Fungus Cure" and then we tried API Pharmaceuticals' "Triple Sulfa" and then we tried just leaving it alone. The fish has gotten really bad and it looked like it had clear bubbles on it, so tonight I moved it to a hospital tank with Tetra's "Fungus Guard," thinking that the patches on the eyes are fungus, and maybe the bubbles on the scales had to do with a fungus, too. Although, the more I looked at the fish in the hospital tank, I think he may have come down with a secondary Ick infestation.
<... yet the "other fishes" show nothing? Not likely>
Needless to say, this fish is not doing well at all.
What should we do?
<Unfortunately, I urge you consider euthanizing this one specimen... Something has gone terribly wrong here that is highly unlikely to be solved>
I hate that this poor fish is suffering like this. I truly think this fish may just be genetically predisposed to these health problems because it's not the water or the tank.
Thanks for any advice.
Heather Richardson
<Please read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/euthanasia.htm
Clove oil... painless.
Bob Fenner>

Boesemanni Rainbowfish finnage tipped/edged in Black is this normal? 5/30/2010
I've spend a lot of time searching the web, can't seem to find the answer to my question . I've had this fish for about 3 years seems healthy in everyway. except the bottom dorsal fin is edged in black instead of white.
the anal fin too. Is something wrong with him? I had not noticed this before. I recently lost to rainbows they were elderly past there life-span.
could this be stress because he lost he's buddies? Please help as I would hate to lose this guy.
<Hello Karyn. If what you're seeing are simply continuous black fringes to the anal and dorsal fins, them yes, these are probably normal. Melanotaenia boesemanni has a lifespan of more than 5 years, and is generally a very hardy species, but like most Rainbowfish it dislikes acidic conditions, so check the pH isn't below 7.0, and that the water isn't too soft, around 10 degrees dH is about right. Black marks can sometimes indicate ammonia burns or very rarely protozoan infections, but I don't think that's the case here; in those situations, the dark marks are irregular blotches on the fins and skin. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Boesemanni Rainbowfish finnage tipped/edged in Black is this normal?
Hi Neale,
Thank you soooo much for getting back to me I really appreciate it. I can relax now!
The water here in (east bay area, ca) is soft
<Not ideal for this species.>
The water has a high ph when it comes out of tap-fish stores have tested my water and have said my ph is low-those readings have to be wrong I contacted Kordon who's here in Hayward and he gets water report weekly .said it is impossible to do a water change and have a low ph using Hayward water.
<Do read here:
You might find it helpful to use the cheap, easy to make Rift Valley salt mix [Epsom salt, baking soda and marine salt mix] at one-quarter to one-half the recommended dose. This Rainbowfish species comes from a Lake where the water is basic and moderately hard, and it's life will be quite short in soft water. Aim for pH 7.5-8.5, 10 degrees dH.>
I will support your wonderful site that I recently discovered. Thanks again-Karyn
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Melanotaenia Praecox - dwarf neon rainbow fish with black dust on face. 3/8/10
Hello, I am looking for information on what this black/grey color might be on my Melanotaenia Praecox. The "dust" has no visible depth to it at all. Just a different coloration.
<This fish isn't diseased; it's damaged somehow. The nerves that control colour seem to be damaged, and that's why its got weird colours, like "stuck" pixels on an LCD screen (fish "think" their colours, which are controlled by special cells in the skin).>
We have 11 Melanotaenia Praecox. 6 males and 5 females. All around 2-3 inches (5.1-7.6cm) in size. Got them in late December and they looked great up until last week. The one in the picture is the worst off, but all of them are less bright than they should be. The males no longer flash their breeding stripe on their foreheads much at all. They all still have an excellent appetite. Tank is at 78-79F (25.5-26.1C), 7ph, no ammonia, no nitrite, 10ppm nitrate. Floating plants and underwater ferns.
<All sounds fine.>
Several years ago we had another small school of these fish. They got this "dust" on them one by one. A week or 2 later they would start to bloat and get a white belly. A week or 2 after that they would die. As the worst off would die, the next worst off would be beginning the bloating stage. We never did figure out what to do to fix this.
<Quite why all these fish are acquiring the same problem isn't obvious. Sometimes you see a single fish in a batch like this, and that's easy enough to put down to bad luck or bad genes. But if a whole bunch of them exhibit this symptom, that's something else again. Possibly something poisonous? Maybe copper in the water, or something in the air, like paint fumes? It could also be viral, and that would explain why it spreads. But really, I can't think of anything obvious.>
I don't think it's columnaris or velvet. There's no visible depth to the dust. Nor is it gold in any way.
<I agree, this isn't Velvet.>
Any suggestions you can provide would be greatly appreciated! Matt
<I'm afraid I can't offer anything more concrete than this. I've asked Bob to comment; perhaps he can say something more sensible. Cheers, Neale.> <<This appears to be a "classical case" of melanization related to nervous damage or congenital lack of development. There is no "treatment/cure". BobF>>

Re: Melanotaenia Praecox - dwarf neon rainbow fish with black dust on face. (RMF?) 3/8/10
You mean like when they are washed out due to stress?
<Not quite.>
But this *is* an overlay on top of the fishes scales.
<Odd. Is it mucous like? Costia is a dangerous disease that causes excessive mucous production, and that can make fish look darker or lighter than normal. But usually that's the whole fish, or at least patches across the fish, not something that only affects a neatly divided front half the fish.>
If it progresses like it did 2 years ago, they will get darker and darker until about half the fish is covered and then the bloating starts.
The water is 75 gallons of Reverse Osmosis. (The one gallon jugs fit nicely in the microwave to push the temp up to an instant 78F.) We have 5 teaspoons of API brand Aquarium Salt (made from evaporated sea water) in the 75 gallon tank. Not much, just enough for a small buffer without bothering the plants too much.
<Salt doesn't buffer the water. This may well be one thing you're doing wrong. RO water plus a few teaspoons of sodium chloride does not make anything remotely comparable to freshwater. All it makes is very weak brine. Sodium chloride doesn't raise carbonate hardness for thing, and we really don't know the extent to which fish absorb essential minerals from the water around them.>
2 years ago we treated the RO water with Electro Right and Kent PH stable.
Currently we use a bag of crushed coral in each filter. (about 2 small fistfuls in each mesh bag.)
<OK, this is certainly better than adding salt, but still. I'd much sooner you'd use a proper freshwater salt mix. In fact there's little/no reason to use just RO water in most freshwater tanks. Mixing RO water with hard tap water is much better, a 50/50 mix often being ideal. In any case, if you must use RO water, then African Rift Valley salt mix, perhaps at 25-50% the usual dose, should provide the right carbonate and general hardness, while automatically fixing the pH in the slightly basic range that Rainbowfish prefer.>
No known paint vapors, copper salts, etc. Short of a bad batch of gravel or drift wood, there are no known toxins to account for this.
<Except, perhaps, the odd water chemistry.>
Also the tank, decorations and gravel with this tank are different from the tank the last batch was in 2 years ago. All other symptoms are, so far, identical.
<Indeed. It does sound as if *you* are doing *something* that causes successive batches of Rainbowfish to develop these symptoms. My guess would be the water chemistry, but I'm asking Bob to chime in here. On the whole Rainbowfish do best in water with moderate general hardness, low to moderate carbonate hardness, and neutral to slightly basic pH; aim for 10 degrees dH, 3-5 degrees KH, and pH 7.5, and you won't go far wrong with most of them.>
If there is someone you might recommend me to, I would be glad to give up the school of fish to some University, etc. For dissection or whatever. We never figured it out last time, and so far it looks like it will progress the way it did 2 years ago. That was the last time we tried a batch of these fish. All 11 fish are still alive right now. I should have about 2 to 3 months before the final fish dies.
Thanks for any assistance you can provide!
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

More re: Melanotaenia Praecox - dwarf neon rainbow fish with black dust on face. (RMF?) 3/9/10
<<This appears to be a "classical case" of melanization related to nervous damage or congenital lack of development. There is no "treatment/cure". BobF>>
<Maybe so, Bob, but the fact this has happened to two batches of fish, several years apart, suggests to me that there's something else going on here, whether dietary deficiency, water quality issues, toxins in the air/water, etc. Cheers, Neale.>
>Mmm, possibly yes. Though could be summat genetically defective in both batches... had not seen the second posting before responding to the first. B<
<<It is quite the mystery, Bob. Thanks for commenting, Neale.>>
<Welcome. I have some strong/er sense of premonition that we are to learn more re this... some time soon. Cheers, B>

Open Body Sores/Striped Raphael Catfish culprit? Rainbowfish hlth./env. 1/10/10
<Hi there>
We have a 55 gallon tank with: 2 turquoise Rainbowfish, 2 zebra Danios, 2 emerald Cory cats, 2 praecox Rainbowfish, 1 Australian Rainbowfish, 1 Plecostomus, and 1 striped Raphael catfish.
<Mmm, the Rainbows are social species... should be kept in groups>
Recently we've had a problem with our Rainbowfish having open body sores and subsequently getting Popeye twice.
<Water quality? Measures?>
This has gone on for probably 4 months now and we've done treatments with: Lifeguard, Melafix, Tetracycline, and EM Erythromycin.
<Mmmm. Please read here:
and the linked files above>
Our last attempt at treatment was done by setting up a hospital tank and dosing only this fish with the Erythromycin. After several courses of treatment we had quite a bit of improvement, but the sores were still present. We placed the Australian back in the 55 gallon tank with the others about 6 weeks ago.
Now the sores are looking worse and the Popeye is back again. I also noticed that one of the praecox rainbows has a huge gash in it's side. I checked the water levels and they're all fine.
<Please send values, not subjective evaluations>
Four days ago I started dosing the entire 55 gallon with Melafix,
<Worse than worthless... see WWM re>
at the recommendation of pet store, because it is inexpensive
and supposed to treat the problems we are experiencing,
<... it will not. In fact, it forestalls folks seeking, using real cures;
sometimes disrupts nitrogen et al. cycling... is worse than a placebo>
but it doesn't seem to be doing much. Today I noticed that the praecox seems to be struggling and staying at the surface of the water, so I put both it and the Australian in the 10 gallon hospital tank, added aquarium salt, and started treatment with the Erythromycin and aeration with an air stone. Do you have any suggestions on what else I can do?
<Yes... water changes, the use of carbon et al. chemical filtration, the adjustment of water quality, determination of root cause/s here... There is something amiss with the environment... NO treatment/medicine is going to solve this>
I'm also wondering if you have any opinion on whether the Raphael cat may have caused the injuries to these fish with his hard and spiny exterior?
<It has not... Lives on the bottom...>
Heather Richardson
<Please send along water test data, history and make-up of this set-up, images of all including the livestock if you can. Bob Fenner>
Pictures Re: Open Body Sores/Striped Raphael Catfish culprit? 1/10/10
<Mmm, no. Unfortunately no pix attached. Please try again. BobF>
please find pictures of the Australian Rainbowfish that has Popeye and body sores as well as a picture of the praecox Rainbowfish that has the gash on its side. Please also note that where I said, "Recently we've had a problem with our Rainbowfish having open body sores and subsequently getting Popeye," I was referring to only the 1 Australian Rainbowfish that I've attached the pictures of.
Heather Richardson

Re: Open Body Sores/Striped Raphael Catfish culprit? 1/10/10
The pictures should be attached this time. Also attached are photos of the water chemistry as of this morning in the 55 gallon tank (which I replaced the carbon in yesterday after transferring the sick fish into the hospital tank). It seems the levels are off now.
<They are... do you agree that there is detectable ammonia and nitrite here? Toxic!>
The temperature hangs around 76.6F.
It was unclear as to whether you wanted pictures of the healthy fish, <Mmm, no>
so none are attached (I did try to take pictures of them, but they're too fast to catch.)
<The Praecox is Ich infested... the others...>
It may be of worth to mention that the reason we don't have several of each social fish is because we've had some problems in the past with a malfunctioning heater.
<?! Replace this>
Over the past couple of years, our heater has malfunctioned three times causing our tank temperature to soar to 90+ degrees,
which has killed off probably 10-15 of our fish. The last time this happened was during the time that the Australian was treating in the hospital tank, so I don't think it's related to the condition.
As far as the praecox with the gash in the side, it died overnight.
Should I continue to treat the Australian in the hospital tank with erythromycin until I figure out what is wrong in the 55 gallon tank?
Heather Richardson
<First and foremost, the water quality... whatever is subtending nitrification needs to be FIXED. Pronto... See WWM re:
the third tray down. The issue here is a priori environmental. Pouring in more med.s is counterproductive. BobF>

Re: Open Body Sores/Striped Raphael Catfish culprit? 1/11/10
Thanks for link as far as where to look for information, however, there are a lot of links and stories and I'm not sure what exactly it is that I'm looking for instruction on.
<Hello Heather. Platydoras-type catfish are generally extremely hardy, and the last fish to show signs of stress. So if your specimen is currently sick -- and I better make the point here they're social animals that don't thrive kept singly -- it's a good idea to review the reasons why. As Bob mentioned, a broken heater serves no purpose. When shopping for a new one, choose one that either has a clip-on heater guard, or else pick up a heater guard that can be fixed over whatever heater you buy. These catfish are notorious for burning themselves as they nestle against the heater. They like to hide, and switched off, a heater is mistaken for a plant root or something. By the time they feel the heat when the thing switches on, their skin is burned. Catfish don't have scales -- their armour is actually just thickened skin -- so unlike most other fish that can slough off damaged scales easily, catfish can be severely harmed by otherwise superficial burns and cuts. Optimal water conditions should ensure spontaneous healing of such wounds, but any trace of ammonia or nitrite, as well as excessive heat or cold, will stress the fish sufficiently to allow secondary infections. In any event, if you're getting a variety of sick/dead fish, it's a very good sign the aquarium environment is poor. Review tank size, filtration, diet, etc. and act accordingly. To recap, a community of talking catfish and Rainbowfish would need to be upwards of 180 litres in size and equipped with a robust filter rated at not less than 4 times the capacity of the tank in turnover per hour (e.g., a 200 litre tank would need a 4 x 200 = 800 litre/hour filter). Water chemistry should be neutral (pH 6.5-7.5) and the water slightly soft to moderately hard (8-15 degrees dH). Avoid extremely soft or extremely hard water, and don't add salt.
Ammonia and nitrite should both be at zero levels all the time; if they're not, then the filter is immature, the filter not properly maintained, the fish overfed, or the tank overstocked. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Open Body Sores/Striped Raphael Catfish culprit? 1/11/10
Thanks for the information, Neale. Fortunately, our Raphael catfish is not the one with the sores.
It is the Australian rainbow that is having the problems with the wounds that won't heal and the recurring Popeye.
<Almost certainly a water quality issue, perhaps aggravated by collisions with solid objects, fighting amongst themselves, or a vitamin-poor diet.
Check the Rainbows aren't throwing themselves into the glass because of sudden noises, lights coming on in the dark, etc.>
To recap my previous discussions, we have a 55 gallon tank with: 2 turquoise Rainbowfish, 2 zebra Danios, 2 emerald Cory cats, 2 praecox Rainbowfish, 1 Australian Rainbowfish, 1 Plecostomus, and 1 striped Raphael catfish.
<I see. I will make the observation an adult Plec, anything upwards of 20 cm, and up to 45 cm when fully grown, can overwhelm an aquarium this size, preventing good water quality. There is no obvious reason to keep a Plec in a tank this size, and you'd be much better with an Ancistrus Bristlenose.>
We use an Emperor 400 BioWheel filter (400 gallons per hour) in conjunction with a submersible bio filter. We should be getting a pretty good flow with these.
<In theory, yes. But even the best filter clogs up with time, and some designs waste precious filter media space on stuff like carbon and Zeolite you don't need.>
I'm not sure if you saw the photos of the sick fish or the water chemistry, so I have attached copies for your review.
As you see, our levels were a little high.
<I'll say! First check your tap water doesn't contain ammonia or nitrite. It shouldn't, but some supplies do. Water conditioners are available that neutralize (not remove) the ammonia that comes with tap water (no good for fixing ammonia produced by fish, though). If your water contains nitrite, that's a bigger deal, and you really should call your water supplier.>
In an attempt to solve this problem, I did some gravel vacuuming today and a huge water change.
<Gravel cleaning doesn't dramatically change much of anything, though it makes the fishkeeper feel a bit better I suppose. There really shouldn't be much organic matter in the gravel assuming the tank is properly filtered and you stir the gravel a bit each time you do a water change.>
The levels are still the same, though. I'm wondering if the fact that our tap water tests high for ammonia has anything to do with it?
<Yes, can do. Obviously a filter neutralizes ammonia at a fixed rate, and is designed to remove the ammonia produced by the fish. If you also have ammonia in the water, and this isn't neutralized first, then filter could be overwhelmed. The WHO recommend water for drinking contain less than 0.2 mg/l, and higher levels are often taken to imply a mix of dirty water (i.e., sewage or agricultural run-off) with potable water. If you're getting above 0.2 mg/l, pick up the phone and call your water supplier.
Such levels are potential health hazards to you and your family, let alone your fish.>
I've read online that although the results say it's ammonia (on the tap results), it may just be Chloramine that shows on the test as ammonia.
<Yes, this can happen. The interaction between Chloramine, dechlorinators, ammonia removers, and ammonia test kits is complex. See for example these explanations by manufacturers:
The bottom line is that using one or more products to condition your water (for Chloramine and ammonia) may be necessary, and at least initially, try doing small (10-20% water changes more frequently to avoid flooding the tank with extra ammonia. As an experiment, try skipping a water change one weekend, and see what happens. If you find ammonia and nitrite drop to zero after a couple of days and stay there for the next ten days, then the problem is the TAP WATER. If the ammonia and nitrite levels do not drop to zero, then the problem (in part at least) is THE AQUARIUM. Why? Because even a crummy filter should process the ammonia in your tap water. Once it's gone, it's gone. So if levels don't drop to zero, that means there's some other source of ammonia that keeps topping up the levels in the water.
This is, of course, the fish (either directly, or via the food you give them).>
Regardless, I don't think either are probably things I want in our tank.
We use AmQuel Plus when doing water changes. Any suggestions on what to do next?
<Cheers, Neale.>

Australian rainbow fish, hlth., env. 12/19/09
I am writing concerning one of my rainbows. I have 55 gal. freshwater aquarium with 15 fish 6 of which are rainbows.
<All one species, I hope. Australian Rainbowfish are not only schooling fish, but also prone to bullying one another if insufficient numbers. Keep at least six of each species, and don't mix species of radically different sizes. Make sure there are equal numbers of females and males (or better yet, more females than males).>
My perimeters are Ph-7.0-7.2, Ammon.-0, No2-0 and No3-10, with weekly water changes.
<Fine. But what about water hardness? Rainbowfish on the whole come from either soft water habitats or hard water habitats depending on the species.
A good all-around option would be medium hard water (~10 degrees dH) and neutral to slightly basic pH (7 to 7.5).>
Two days ago I noticed one the rainbows swimming almost vertical with head down and tail up. He is also using his whole body in a wiggly motion as he swims. There are no spots or marks on him and he is eating fine. At times
he looks like he doesn't know where he is swimming to because he almost bumps into other fish.
<Doesn't sound good. Review water chemistry and water quality. Check for potential sources of poisons: insect sprays, paint fumes, children doing stupid stuff like putting soda pop into the aquarium (happens). Make sure
the food you are offering is adequate. Flake, pellet and freeze-dried foods are fine up to a point, but they tend to cause constipation if used on their own, and in some cases this can lead to swimming problems (I guess the extra weight inside them messes up their buoyancy). A mix of quality flake with wet-frozen bloodworms and mosquito larvae, plus live brine shrimp and daphnia would be a good balanced diet. Live brine shrimp and daphnia are laxatives, so highly recommended for all small fish now and again.>
Is this cause for concern-something internal---parasite-etc.
<Most likely caused by the environment (i.e., the aquarium) rather than a mystery parasite; while there are Whirling Disease parasites, they have complex life cycles that can't be completed in aquaria, so usually affect only pond fish. Live Tubifex can introduce them though, but I don't think anyone uses live Tubifex anymore.>
Need for quarantine?
<Would likely kill a schooling fish like a Rainbowfish. Much better to identify the possible source of problems, and fix the aquarium. Even though you have zero ammonia and nitrite, be open minded about this aspect, and think about whether there could be other problems like unstable pH or inadequate oxygen distribution throughout the tank that could be to blame.>
I would appreciate any info you can give me.
Thank you for your time,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Are my rainbows too far gone? 06/29/09
Hi folks,
I have a 29G long tank. I have two questions but let me give you some background. First, unfortunately, in spite of my best intentions, my two Parkinson rainbows suffered through a week of toxic levels of ammonia and, obviously, the ensuing week of toxic levels of nitrites. The water has been good for about 10 days now. No chemical additives for 3 ½ weeks now. Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 30. I have very hard water. GH is steady at 180, KH 120, PH was holding at 7.5, but today has dropped to 6.5 for no explainable reason.
<To be honest, this isn't anything daily water changes couldn't handle. If all else fails, replacing 25% of the water each day through a crisis works well. This isn't so much water chemistry is drastically altered, but should be enough to take the edge off whatever problems you're experiencing. In the case of Rainbows and Gouramis, these are broadly hardy fish that should get through occasional problems, though I admit Dwarf Gouramis these days are pretty dire in terms of quality.>
When the ammonia spiked I removed what fish I could to my 10G but just could not squeeze these two or my Dwarf Gourami in. I placed the Parkinson's and a Dwarf Gourami in a 5G bucket with an aerator but no heater. It was a bad situation. After about 5 days the rainbows got Ich (no surprise there), the ammonia was still spiked at 6.0 or above regardless of the twice daily partial water changes and so I took a sample to my LFS (not one of those commercial pet stores but a true fish store with knowledgeable people).
<Jeez! Ammonia at 6.0 would kill most anything, and I have a hard time believing this is accurate. What's going on in your tank? Do you have a moose rotting in there somewhere? Seriously, assuming you're just adding flake food and stocking sensibly, there's no reason at all ammonia should get that high.>
My tank had been up for over 2 months at this point but he came to the conclusion I had over cleaned my tank and stopped the cycling process at some point and now the tank needed to recycle. On his recommendation I removed half of the gravel (apparently an inch and a half is too much),
<Unless an undergravel, you can replace 100% of the gravel and it'd make zero difference to water quality. Virtually all nitrogen cycle management goes on in the filter, and almost none in plain gravel or in the water column.>
did another 50% water change, reacclimated the rainbows and Gourami into the tank and �rode it out�. Since the Ich needs heat to be treated he said to treat if there were still Ich spots 24 hours after they were back in the tank.
The one Parkinson did show spots when I first put him back into the tank, but by next morning there were no spots on him or the other two fish. I did not treat for Ich. Since then the Gourami seems to be fine, but the Rainbows started showing signs of red under the side fins behind the gills after about a week. Now about 3 weeks later the one Parkinson in particular is still showing streaking and signs of bleeding, more obvious at some moments, then seeming almost healed at others. The other Parkinson looks healed most of the time but at moments appears very red in the same place as the other.
<I see.>
He seems OK. It's the other one showing signs of distress. He has become aggressive and chases everyone into the corners, he swims constantly in the current from the filter (suffocating), and the moments he �s not doing either of these he actually seems to be trying to mate with my male Dwarf Gourami.
<Actually, more likely either schooling behaviour or aggression... have seen this betwixt Rainbows and Mollies.>
Is this ammonia poisoning?
<Usually signs of this are heavy breathing, gasping at the surface, skittish/nervousness, lack of appetite, subdued/dark colours, and eventually sickness or death.>
Is there any hope he will recover or am I extending his misery?
<If he's swimming about, albeit in a peculiar way, I'd think he's basically fine.>
Is there anything I can do to help him? Still no signs of Ich, but disease is sure to follow and I'm afraid to treat my tank for fear of killing off the bacteria that is finally functioning.
<I'd honestly focus on water quality, and let the fish take their chances. Pull out anything that's obviously dying or dead, but otherwise observe rather than act.>
The other fish have also been moved back into the tank a couple at a time over the past 10 days. So I now have 1 Dwarf Gourami, 2 Parkinson Rainbows, 1 Boesemanni Rainbow, 3 Congo Tetras, and a pair of Mickey Mollies. At adult size this comes out to 28 inches max.
Am I overstocked considering the types of fish I have and the type/size tank?
<Proof is in the pudding. If you have a real hard time keeping zero ammonia and nitrite, and the filter is a generous size, then perhaps you are overstocked. Certainly Congo Tetras and non-dwarf Rainbows aren't good choices for 29 US gallons. In terms of filtration, aim for at least 4 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour, and quite possible 6 times; i.e., a filter rated at 4 x 29 = 116 gallons/hour would be my idea of the minimum filtration rate for your tank. That often comes out as the "next size up" with regard to what manufacturers recommended; if you see a filter recommended for a 30 gallon tank, it's best to buy the next model up in the range.>
I really appreciate your help. I have searched everywhere and can't find an answer to whether or not he can recover from this stage of poisoning. I will be purchasing a 5G hospital tank setup and heater as soon as I can in the next couple of weeks but really have no resources for that right now.
<Waste of money anyway. A hospital tank by definition needs to be BETTER than the tank your sick fish lives in; that's virtually impossible to guarantee with a mere 5 gallons. Save your money.>
Thank you.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Addition to Are my rainbows too far gone? 06/29/09
Hi again,
Sorry to bug you but I left out some important info regarding my Parkinson's. Appetites are fine, ravenous actually, and fins are open and often flared. Color remains good except for the red which also runs along the belly line. The one that I'm particularly concerned about also has a dark spot behind the fin. It's been there since shortly after he started showing signs of bleeding.
<Not sure the two things are connected.>
I have a mix of plastic and live plants all around the edge of the tank; live sword plant, Aponogeton, java moss, a mixed bunch of leafy plants, a little curly grass thing, and a bunch of water sprite floating on top. One tree trunk decoration and a white lace rock. I'd like to remove these and put in a nice leggy piece of driftwood. Will the driftwood change my water?
(other than the tannin which should filter out, right?) I have a 10,000K deep ocean bulb.
<Driftwood and bogwood will lower the pH over time, though how quickly depends on the carbonate hardness of your water. If you have a reasonable amount of carbonate hardness, say, 4-5 degrees KH, then water changes will offset any acidification caused by the bogwood, and the pH changes between water changes will be minimal. Still, even if the pH doesn't change, the water will be stained yellowy-brown.>
That's all. Thanks again.

Rainbowfish: Health\Disease 3/30/2009
Hello there,
<Hi Andrew>
I've been keeping fish on and off for many years. I currently have a 75Gal mixed reef and a 43Gal FW rainbow setup.
<Nice, I have a 75 Gal Rainbow setup myself.>
The marine tank, while it has had its ups and downs, is doing great at the moment, and until today, the rainbow tank has been doing very well too. The rainbow tank is 2 1/2 months old now, and was cycled using "Cycle" and some Platys (10 little ones to be exact). Once cycled 4 juvenile Boesemanni Rainbows were added ( they were about 1 1/2" when I got them). The tank ran beautifully, without any problems until I found a fish shop that stocked Dwarf Neon Rainbows (which is incidentally what this tank was set up for, but were nowhere to be found!).
<Not exactly easy to find here either.>
I traded back the Boesemanni Rainbows and Platys, and bought 2 Checkered Rainbows (Splendid I think) and a pair of Praecox Rainbows. Yesterday I bought the remaining Dwarf rainbows (Taking my total to 2 Checkered, and 10 Dwarf Rainbows). Having removed all but two of the original fish (two small sucking cats remained), I figured this was a fair load for the tank, and would not likely upset the filter.
<Hmm.... depends on the filter really, What are the details on the rest of your setup?>
The tank param.s are PH 7.0 (which I dropped to 6.8 this evening), Ammonia = 0, Nitrite = 0, and Nitrate unmeasured. I do a 50% water change weekly, as I read that Rainbows enjoy and benefit from this. Water temp is at a steady 26.5C.
<Sounds very good, though I would keep the pH in the 7 range, unless you were planning on breeding.>
Today I came home, and discovered that one of the male dwarf's was swimming listlessly at the surface with a opaque white "film" over the top of his head and eye's (but not gasping). I've added a pic in the hope that it might help (thought the quality is not great).
<I do see what you are talking about, but there isn't much detail to be helpful I'm afraid.>
None of these fish were quarantined as they were all going into the same tank together, but I have now setup a small spare tank with some water from the main tank, a small heater, and an air stone for the sick male. I expect he will not survive, as I have seen this before, and the outcome was not good.
On my first attempt at keeping rainbows (in a different tank, with different decor and plants), I experienced the same problem. At the time Bob was kind enough to offer some advice, but could not identify the fault as anything but "new tank syndrome". On that Occasion, I lost all 8 Bow's over the space of about a week.
<Hmm..... what is your source water and how does it test? Any copper in your source water perhaps?>
The fact this this tank has been well cycled, and had Rainbows in it up until the very same day (and doing very well) the new bows went in confuses me somewhat. As I mentioned earlier, today I lowered the tank PH from 7.0 to 6.8 as this is what the PH at the store was, but I didn't think this was enough of a PH difference to effect the fish so dramatically.
<Hmm, it can...especially if done rapidly. Generally a shift of more than 0.1 per day can cause stress and health issues.>
I'm hoping that you might be able to offer some help, as I have invested quite a bit of money and time getting this tank setup, and finally added the fish that I truly wanted, only to find that something has gone wrong.
<A little more detail is needed here: What kind of filtration, source water testing, etc. I would slowly raise the pH back up into the 7.0 range as well.>
I have noticed that all the Dwarf Bow's seem to have a tiny white patch on the very front of their top lip, as if the skin has been worn down from rubbing up against something. I noticed this in the first set of Boesemanni that I introduced to the tank, but it soon cleared up.
<Probably injury from shipping and should clear up in time.>
Once again, I hope you might be able to help, as I really don't want to see these beautiful little guy's suffer the same fate as my first rainbow attempt some months ago.
<lease get back with the questions I've answered. In the mean time, have you ready here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/rainbows.htm >
Thanks for your time.
<My Pleasure>

Re: Rainbowfish: Health\Disease 3/30/2009 ATTN NealeM, Any other input? 3/31/09
<Hi Andrew. I'm combining the two emails together, and asking Neale for his opinion.>
Just an additional update. After replying to your first email, I have now noticed another Male with the same symptoms as the first. Not as bad at this stage but I fear he will not survive the day.
<Hmm... Something amiss>
Thank you so much for your quick reply. The one Rainbow in question died last night, only hours after I got home. SO sad, I feel for the poor little guy. As far the additional info, I shall add it in point form below:-
*Source water is dechlorinated tap water, PH is about 8.0 (reduced to 7.0 using PH down).
<In the 7 range is fine.>
*Filtration is Provided by overhead wet/dry trickle filter
<Sounds fine>
*Copper Level untested - is this likely to be a big problem? If so I will need to get myself a test kit.
<Hmm... No, see below.>
I like to think I know a bit about fish keeping, but will also be the first to admit when I need help, and this is one of those occasions!
Thanks again Mike, your assistance is greatly appreciated.
<I am not a big fan of applying medication without cause, but in this case, something is clearly amiss. From the symptoms it almost sounds like Costia or Chilodonella. Please isolate these fish and treat with Formalin and\or
Malachite Green.>
Further Reading here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/fwfshparasites.htm >
<Best of Luck>

Re: Praecox Rainbow Problem 3/31/09
Hello Neale.
Would you mind having a look? It sounds like Costia or a similar protozoan. There should still be a picture in the emails with images folder.
Thank you
<Hello Mike. I'm not sure how to diagnose Costia positively, though it is probably one of the more common causes of "slime disease". I've only had to deal with an outbreak of "slime disease" once, on a pair of Carinotetraodon irrubesco puffers. My approach was this. Firstly, I dipped each fish in seawater. Puffers are very tolerant of seawater, even the freshwater species, but I'd fully expect Rainbows (being secondary freshwater fish) to tolerate seawater quite well. Certainly, the usual rule of dipping freshwater fish for 2-20 minutes, removing them as soon as the fish shows signs of distress (e.g., rolling over) would be applicable. This dip cleaned up the white slime overnight. I then treated the water with eSHa 2000, an anti-fungal/bacterial to deal with secondary infections. Between the two, this seemed to work very well, and after the second dip a week later, both fish were cured. Costia itself is vulnerable to formalin medications and apparently is killed by temperatures over 30 C, so either of these might be options. The problem with the high temperature approach is that Costia can enter a dormant cyst stage, coming back to life when conditions suit it. So not necessarily a perfect solution. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Rainbowfish: Health\Disease 4/1/2009 Update: Good news
Thanks again for your speedy reply.
<Hi Andrew, no problem at all.>
During the day, and before I was able to read your email, I popped into a fish shop while out and about on a service call and discussed the issues I and my little friends were having with the store manager. He came to the same conclusion that you have, and narrowed it down to a likely fungal/bacterial infection, as per the your hyperlink for suggested reading (thanks again, it was most helpful).
The fish shop manager suggested triple Sulfa, as a good place to start, so I purchased the product and administered it.
Going by your suggestion of Malachite Green or Formalin, I assume you considered this to be a Columnaris Fungal infection, which after reading more about its symptoms, looks to be exactly what my rainbows were suffering from. I was also pleased because your website along with the Malachite Green and Formalin, also suggested Sulfa based meds. I imagine that the stress of shipping added to the small worn patches on their top lips was enough to allow the infection to take hold.
<Most likely.>
I am pleases to say that none of the other fish appear to exhibit any symptoms any longer, although some of them did yesterday! I can only assume that the Tri Sulfa is doing some good work.
,Very Good.>
It may also be worth noting, that a small patch of white "fluff" (fungus) was growing on one of my pieces of driftwood. This was never present in the past (in this tank anyway) and has since disappeared. I do recall my first bad experience with Rainbows yielded the same catastrophic outcome, and at the time, the mysterious white fluff was also present in that tank on a piece of driftwood.
<Hmm... interesting, Is this the same driftwood as before? I wonder if it is the source...>
By this time I'm sure your wondering if I quarantined and treated the fish...... well due to timing, and work commitments, I was unable to set up a big enough QT for these guys so I medicated the main tank. I understand that this will kill of some if not most of the good bacteria in the filter, but at the time it was a race against the clock to medicate these guys, and it proved to be the only option while I continued the rest of my work day (after dropping the Sulfa home to my wife). So frequent testing, and water changes will be required here.
<Most definitely. Do make sure that you are not running any carbon in the filtration as well, as it will remove the medication before it can do its work.>
Your assistance is most appreciated, and I hope to never have to seek your advice again.... at least for the fishes sake!
<hehehe, I understand.>
Having said that, it is wonderful to have such a learned group of people offer assistance to others for no more than a "thank you"... I just wish I could offer more.
<Keep reading, learning, sharing with others.>

Re: Rainbowfish: Health\Disease 4/11/2009 Update: Good news
Hi Mike,
<Hi Andrew>
Just wanted to let you know that everything seems to have cleared up now (whatever it was!)
<Excellent News>
Going off the symptoms that were displayed (but no longer present) by the remaining living fish, I'm leaning towards a Cotton mouth, Columnaris outbreak. At any rate, I am now left with 6 beautiful females, and two very happy males! Of course the two checkered bow's are still in there as well as the two algae eater sucking cats. In addition to the fishies which I knew about, while doing a gravel vac and water change, I
was pleasantly surprised by 4 baby platies that must have been born just prior to me returning their parents!
<Hehehe, not surprised.>
They are such cute little fellows, that I just may keep them..... although I know that 4 platies won't stay 4 platies for long!!
Thanks again for your support, and all the best for the future.
<My pleasure, glad that everything worked out!.

Need to diagnose an illness... 11/04/2008 Hello! I have a fish with a puzzling "illness". I use the quotations because I don't know what it is. I have enclosed some pictures of the issue in hopes it will help. I will try to give you as much information as I can. This is, I believe, an Australian rainbow. I do not know the age of the fish as it was given to me. But, it's about four inches. I'm guessing it's fully grown. I got this fish from a friend. This friend works for one of the large fish wholesalers in Florida. This fish and what I believe is a female, were removed from one of the large sumps at the farm. My friend brought the fish home and gave to me about a week later. The fish already had the, for lack of a better description, lesion. The fish was rather thin when I got him but has since fattened up. He's eating well. He is not displaying any signs of being sick, other than the lesion. It's been there for at least six months, as this is how long I've had the fish. It does not affect any other fish. It does not appear to be contagious in any way. For several months, the lesion has appeared to be contained. It did not get any better or any worse. However, I have notice over the last month or two that it has progressively gotten larger and darker. It does seem to have some effect on the dorsal fin as there is a place where you can see the spine of the fin with no webbing. At first I did nothing because it kind of looked like latex paint had been spilled on him. I didn't really think this was the case but thought maybe just some TLC would make it go away. This didn't happen. When it didn't get any larger I thought maybe it was some sort of deformity. My friend has a soft spot for special needs fish and thought maybe this was just another one of those. But, with it getting larger I don't believe that is the case. I would like to treat this if at all possible. But, don't want to give medications that would be ineffective. I've posted this question, including pictures, on various fish forums, including here at WWM. No one seems to be able to tell me what it is. I've gotten everything from "your fish will die tomorrow", "it's a flesh eating bacteria" to "it's fish TB and all your fish will die". None of my other fish are sick. And this fish does not display any "sick" behavior. He doesn't flash, he doesn't hide, he eats well and stays with all the other fish in the tank. Any ideas on what this might be or how best to treat it? Details: 55 gallon tank, HOB Whisper filter for 60 gallons & HOT Magnum 250 Marineland filter Feed: Spectrum Thera A once a day no live foods Other inhabitants: 6 long finned black skirts, 6 Serpaes, one (female) Australian rainbow, 1 pearl Gourami, 1 chocolate albino Pleco, 1 common Pleco, one (small) red tail black shark, 3 green tiger barbs, and 3 olive Nerite snails, Water changes are 20-30% every two weeks. Some live plants but not many - Rotala, java fern, Ozelot sword, water sprite. This tank was well established when this fish was added. As I said, the fish had this issue when I got him. If I can give any other details please let me know. All other fish in this tank are healthy and have no problems at all. Thanks in advance. Tina <Tina, in all honesty I have absolutely no idea what this is. I have never seen anything like it. You should certainly treat with a suitable antibiotic. You might need to try both gram-positive and gram-negative antibiotics (e.g., Maracyn followed by Maracyn 2). If one course of treatment doesn't work, the other should. But that assumes it's a bacterial infection, and I have no idea if that's the case. It could be viral for all I know. This is really one of those times where advice from a vet would be helpful. Possibly Bob Fenner might have some thoughts, but he's away right now and won't be back for a couple weeks. Sorry can't offer much more help than that. Cheers, Neale.> <<Was this fish treated with... iodine or an iodine-containing solution? Looks to be a mechanical injury that became secondarily infected... than dyed with...? RMF>>

Re: Need to diagnose an illness... 11/5/08 Neale, Thank you for the quick reply. I will try the gram neg/pos treatment and see what happens. If they don't work, then I will try and email again when Mr. Fenner is back. Thanks so much for all your help. One last question, am I right in thinking this is an Australian rainbow of some sort? Tina <Hi Tina. The fish is absolutely some New Guinean or Australian species of Melanotaenia. The yellow fins with black edges remind me of Melanotaenia parkinsoni, but there are quite a few species in the genus. Most are very adaptable and easy to keep, and I'm not aware of any rainbow-specific diseases that might be causing this. You could get in touch with the people at ANGFA; these guys collect, keep and study native Australasian fishes and might have come across this disease before. Cheers, Neale.>

What would you do? Stocking 20 gal. 9/9/08
Hello Crew!
<Hello Audrey,>
I am in need of some guidance. We have recently upgraded our tank to a 20gal. We moved the plants and snails to the new tank. After a while, we decided to get some Pseudomugil Furcatus. We brought home 6 of them. All was well for the first 36 hours or so.
<Lovely little fish; hitherto very rare in the trade, but thankfully starting to appear a little more often.>
After about 36 hours I found fuzz on one of the males - not Ick, one big infection spot. The fish was still active and eating at that point so I moved him to a treatment tank and treated with what I had around (Furan - supposed to treat mouth fungus, cotton wool and infections so I thought it would work). I found him dead the next day. I examined the body and saw a big red zone, an injury under the fuzz, so I think he died as a result of a mechanical injury, either in transit or at the store (they're too small and fast to do a thorough exam at the store).
<I'd be treating with a combination Finrot/Fungus medication such as eSHa 2000 or Maracyn. This should handle the "big three" -- Fungus, Finrot, and Mouth Fungus -- all of which are possibilities here.>
The day I found the injured male dead, I also found a dead female in the main tank, this one with no visible sign of illness or injury.
<Do check other issues: water chemistry, oxygen, temperature. It is possible they simply travelled badly, but still, for the sake of your peace of mind, check the tank.>
Now I am left with only four fish. I think they would be much happier in a bigger group. I'm also worried because I have a trio and a solo, and, although the lone female comes out for food, I have a feeling she'd be more happy if the dominant fish had more fish to chase away.
It has barely been a week and, while the other 4 fish seem happy, I'm worried they'll die suddenly like my female.
<Always a concern when you're keeping an apparently delicate species for the first time.>
Now, this is my dilemma. This LFS where we bought or fish is the best close to us, they're the only serious, specialized fish store around, but we haven't been happy with the fish we've bought there so far. There is a pet store that has healthy-looking, vigorous fish, but their selection is limited, and they don't have any Furcatus. There is also a very new fish store a little further away who insists heavily on the virtues of wild-caught fish - I'm weary of them because the seller told me I was crazy to have a heater for my Betta (another tank), and was rambling on some nonsense about UV sterilization. I know this doesn't mean they have bad stock, but I don't know if I can trust their husbandry. I also don't know if they have Furcatus in stock.
<You pays your money and you takes your choice... In this case, I think you need to focus on the matter at hand, grabbing a few more female Blue Eyes. Get them from whichever store has them, or online if you prefer.>
So, do I wait a few weeks before I get new fish until I'm certain enough my current 4 are going to make it? But if I do that, should I worry about my lone female?
<Depends on the price. If getting another batch only sets you back a few dollars, then go for it. I'd be looking to see that my existing stock are settled in and feeding. I'd like them to have nice rounded bellies -- and just for once, I'd perhaps overfeed slightly with live daphnia or whatever just to be sure. If this was all in the positive, I'd order/buy some more Blue Eyes.>
If I do get more fish should I go back to our usual LFS and risk buying another half-dozen, and hope those make it?
<Ask if he can get a batch in just for you, and you pick them up when they arrive before they're unboxed. Otherwise, buy a decent size group, factoring in a certain amount of attrition. Maybe get twice as many females as males, just to be on the safe side.>
My other choice is mixing the Furcatus with long-fin rainbows (those are easy to find) - would they even interact, given they're not the same species?
<Not even the same family, so doubt they'd have any meaningful interaction.>
What would you do?
As usual, I appreciate your guidance. I have options, I just don't know where I should go from here...
Thank you,
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: What would you do? Stocking 20 gal. 9/10/08

Hello again,
I'm including the previous correspondence below for reference.
Well, things didn't work out. I lost another male a day after I wrote you, then yesterday night one of my remaining females pineconed (I euthanized her when she started swirling). I have two Furcatus left. I'm wondering if I should put my misfortunes down to bad stock or bad husbandry.
<Maybe both...?>
My tank is 20 gal standard, with Fluorite substrate, plants (Bacopa, Anubias, Amazon chain sword, Dwarf Hygrophila), two Coralife T5 bulbs. pH is steady around 7.4-7.5. Temperature was a bit high, hovered around 80 but is now going down with the cooler weather coming in, is now steady around 78 - this is with the heater set on low, if I remove it, it goes down to 70-72.
<In summer I have to confess I tend to switch the heaters off; leaving tanks to daily fluctuate slowly from 68-78 F is entirely in keeping with the wild, and nothing most tropical fish can't handle. Overheating, and the resulting loss of oxygen from the water, is more critical.>
No detectable ammonia, nitrite or nitrate (the algae must use it all). Filtered with two Aqua-Clear Minis (each rated up to 20 gallons), with sponge. One with added ceramic media, the other with carbon (I know what you think of carbon - I'll explain myself later). We were good in the last few weeks and did weekly water changes, about 25% each time. Not much vacuuming because the plants were new and there were only three snails in the tank. We had a problem with BGA these last few months, but with the new substrate, new plants and new lights it's slowing down radically. We still remove it manually.
<Very good.>
The first thing we tried keeping was Mollies, but they all died of Camallanus over the course of a few months. They were in brackish water too. We now know the tank was too small anyway.
<Ah, yes, Mollies can be sensitive. Camallanus is not common among the (Asian) fish I see in the UK; it seems to be more of a problem with (perhaps) the Mollies bred in Florida?>
The Amano shrimp lasted a long while (several months), and we used to have Cherries also. At some point, they started dying too. The only thing I changed was that I stopped using carbon, so I put it back. No luck. Our new batch of Cherries didn't make it past two weeks either. The Apple snail seemed to fare better, he's been with us for about 6 weeks and seems happy.
The Nerites, though, are with us since the beginning and growing at a steady rate. The beginning was when we got our Betta, over a year and a half ago. He's his usual increasingly-grumpy old self, in another filtered, heated tank of his own.
<Interesting; Nerites are quite good "bellwethers" and will climb out of the tank if oxygen drops or they get too warm. So if they're happy, the tank can't be seriously hostile.>
Basically, even if we know that Bettas are resilient, I'd be surprised we kept it this long (even neglected it at some point along the way) if our husbandry or water was this bad. And snails are sensitive to contaminants, or so I hear, but they seem to be doing fine. But we seem to be serial shrimp and fish killers.
<Well, shrimps are sensitive to copper. Snails are to a varying degree, but shrimps usually react immediately and fatally. But as you say, this mix of fatalities and survivors is interesting.>
What is our problem? Did we start with bad stock?
<Always possible. Fish are often bred to a price rather than a standard, and couple that with ropey husbandry in some stores, and the track record of many species is poor. None of the fish you're keeping is "delicate" by default, so poor stock is certainly something I'd consider.>
Or are we doing something wrong?
<Difficult to say; if you're doing things by the numbers, keeping on top of water quality and feeding issues especially, I can't imagine you're doing anything fatally wrong.>
Can you point us in the right direction?
<The first thing would be to leave the tank as it is for a couple weeks. Don't do water changes. Every 2-3 days, do nitrite and pH tests. Keep a record. Ditto water temperature. Try and develop a picture of how the aquarium is operating in terms of environment and stability. By the end of two weeks you can return to your normal maintenance schedule. Slight variation in pH over time is normal, but if it's great (e.g., from 7.0 to 6.0) then you may have a problem there. Carbonate hardness is often overlooked in this regard.>
What would be your absolutely easiest, sturdiest, non-plant-eating, compatible with inverts, non-aggressive, easily available fish for a 20 gal tank?
<Many options. Depends what you're after. At the moment in my 10-gallon tanks with shrimps and snails I have peacock gobies, Aspidoras pauciradiatus catfish, bumblebee gobies, and Limia nigrofasciata. Wrestling halfbeaks are also good, being able to adapt to a very wide range of water chemistry values.
Most of the smaller tetras should be good too, though they usually prefer soft water. If you have hard water, then the smaller livebearers are better choices. Endler's Guppies for example should be easy to obtain and tend to be quite robust. Don't overlook "feeder Guppies"; these are much hardier than fancy Guppies and have added benefit of more natural colours.>
I doubt we'll have the heart to try Furcatus again any time soon.
We're at the point where we barely glance at the aquarium anymore because we always expect to see some tragic event taking place. This is supposed to be a fun hobby...
<It IS fun... but sometimes it seems otherwise. Once a tank is stable and working, and provided you haven't added too many fish or the wrong type of fish, they're pretty much autopilot things that need little maintenance. Do be patient, and go slowly, leaving things to settle for a while before rushing out to buy some more livestock.>
Thank you for your guidance,
<Good luck, Neale.>

DWARF NEON RAINBOWFISH GILL PROBLEMS 9/1/08 Hi Crew, <Brian> I have a 125 gallon tropical tank containing 6 Dalmatian Mollies (2M 4F), 1 Swordtail (F), 1 Queen Arabesque Pleco (F), 1 Betta (M), 12 Pentazona Barbs and 8 Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish (2M 6F). There used to be 12 Rainbowfish but 4 have died. The inside of their gills looked red and swollen and they were gasping at the surface away from the shoal before finally dying after a few days. <Mmmm> All the other fish are fine. The mollies are characteristically breeding like rabbits! Ammonia = 0, Nitrite = 0, and Nitrate = 25ish, <A bit high... I'd keep this under 20 ppm> PH = 7.2 (It is "London tap" water), Temp 27 degrees Celsius but this has risen to 28.5 at times due to summer heat. I have an air curtain and lots of surface agitation to ensure plenty of oxygenisation I change 30% water every 2 weeks. I originally worried that the problem may be ammonia or nitrite related but it is not. I can't see it being gill flukes either as they are not flashing and other fish are unaffected. <Mmm, Flukes aren't always evidenced by such behavior> I know these fish have big mouths but small throats so I crush their flake food up into small pieces. I also feed them daphnia about once a week. I have treated the whole tank with eSHa Exit and eSHa 2000 but still I am losing fish one at a time. Almost as soon as one dies, another becomes ill. Could this be hierarchy related with one fish at a time in the group being bullied to death?? <Yes, could> I don't see signs of this but am often away from the tank and could be missing problems. I hate to helplessly sit by and watch these fish suffer. Any advise you may have to prevent further casualties would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks Brian <Is a mystery to me as well... this system is large enough to largely discount death by bullying... and I too don't think gas exchange is really an/the issue here either. Perhaps there is an unknown internal parasite issue (Melanotaeniids have shown these pandemics at times in the hobby over the years). At any length, I would abandon the stocking/use of this species going forward. Bob Fenner>

Advice, please! 05/23/08 Hey Bobster, <Jorie> How are you? Are you still traveling about in Egypt? I can't recall. Heck, I can't even keep my own schedule straight, let alone yours:-0 <Now in Germany> I wanted to "pick your brain" a little with regard to my newest fish drama. Long story short, I've got a 44 gal. planted FW tank, well-established, that's been home to 3 boesemanni rainbows for several years now. No new additions, regular water changes, etc. Temp = 77 degrees F, pH = 7.5. Tank also houses 2 emerald Corys, 4 platies, 2 Botia striata and 1 SAE. All have been with me for quite some time now; newest addition was 2 platies about 4 months ago (they were QT'd for a month!) Since the beginning, I've had issues with recurrent Lymphocystis on the largest of my male boesemanni. As I understand it, this is a virus, thus never truly goes away. At one point (this was several years back), the problems were recurring on a more frequent basis, and I invested in a UV sterilizer. That seemed to help. When we moved 2-ish years ago, I didn't set up the sterilizer again, as the bulb was broken. I do have a replacement for it, but never got around to setting it up again, as the problems seemed to be virtually non-existent. In any case, I got some new food for the boesemanni (3mm Spectrum New Life sinking pellets), thinking they would appreciate something a bit more substantial than their usual 1mm pellet meal. I think the boesemanni at issue ate 2 of the larger pellets stuck together, and injured his mouth. This was approx. 1 week ago. I noticed that he couldn't shut his mouth. I stepped up the water changes, changed the filter media, etc., to prevent any secondary infection. A few days later, the mouth was able to close more, but the Lymphocystis nodules were back in full force (the mouth area was always one of this fish's problem areas...seemed to be very susceptible to the virus). I am starting to worry, as it has been almost a week now. He's interested in food, but seems to be unable to swallow. I haven't used the larger pellets since this issue arose; the 1 mm pellets come right back out, as does the flaked food. I'm afraid the virus could be obstructing his throat, or that he really hurt himself with the large pellet. I can see into his mouth/throat - there doesn't appear to be any visible obstruction. What worries me is that the Bailey and Burgess book talks about this issue, and says it is "very important" to bring the affected fish to the vet for possible surgery. We don't have a "fish vet" in our area...so that doesn't appear to be an option. In fact, I've never encountered a vet that handles fish at all... <There are a few> Unfortunately, I broke our QT tank while cleaning it several months ago. I need to purchase a new one, which I plan to do today. I've got 15 gal. of RO/DI water made up, thank goodness for that. Aside from QTing this rainbow and keeping the water as clean as possible, what can I do? As I understand it, antibiotics will do nothing for Lymphocystis. Do you think there's benefit to treating for secondary infection? Or perhaps MelaFix (I know Chris thinks nothing of it, and I know you and I have talked about using it in conjunction with good husbandry...maybe it works, but maybe it's just the latter...) <I would NOT use the "fix"> Anything else I can/should try? Aquarium salt? In all my reading, it seems as though now the biggest problem is the potential of the fish starving to death. I did see him pooping today, so that's a good sign; I will say it was a small string of feces, though...much smaller than usual. Any advice you can give would be appreciated, as always! Looking forward to seeing you soon! Best, Jorie <You could try a bath (higher concentration) of a Furan compound... but I'd likely leave the fish in and as is... focusing on improving and sustaining the best water quality here. BobF> Jorie K. Johnson, J.D.

Rainbowfish update 5/26/08 Bob, Neale: Just wanted to let you both know that the boesemanni in question actually ate heartily last night; I fed the tank frozen, thawed bloodworms. He had previously been spitting out flakes and pellets, but happily consumed the worms. I am keeping water quality good (i.e., more water changes than usual) and hoping for the best. His mouth still doesn't look "normal", but hopefully in time it will. Still need to set up the UV sterilizer. Thanks again, and hope you are both well. Best, Jorie <Hi Jorie. Thanks for the update. Sounds as if the fish is on the mend! Good luck, Neale.>

Rainbow wounds 05/23/08 Hello, <Hi there> I am hoping you can help and give me some suggestions in regards to one of my rainbows. <Will do so if able> I first noticed this about three weeks ago. It was just a small wound and did not look infected to me. I suspected at the time it was due to trauma of some sort and so I decided to leave it and keep an eye on him. In fact at the time it looked like a wound a naughty loach might leave upon his victim. <Agreed> A couple of days ago, I noticed the missing scales above the larger wound. As you can see, his colour is actually quite pale on the damaged side and much darker where there are no wounds. This is my largest male. His behaviour is as it should be and he is eating. If in fact the original wound was a nip or trauma of some sort how come there are now more? Which leaves to me suspect from my reading on your site that I may have a TB infected rainbow or some other bacteria. <Hopefully not Mycobacteria...> When this occurred originally the nitrates in the tank were high, 40ppm. They were coming out of the tap that way. <I would NOT drink this water...> They are now down to 10ppm both in the tank and tap. The nitrites and ammonia have always been 0. I am wondering how you would suggest I proceed with this fellow. Thanks in advance Aileen <If it were mine, just good water quality and nutrition, time going by. Bob Fenner>

<nice pics! -Sara M.>
Re: Rainbow wounds -- 6/17/08 Hello again, <Aileen> I was hoping you would take another look at this fellow. Clearly there is more going on here then a loach nip. But what? He continues to be the only one showing any symptoms, however I have taken the precaution of adding a uv sterilizer at the lowest flow rate. I know it will not cure this guy but I was hoping to prevent any spread. Any suggestions you have would be most appreciated. Aileen <To me this "appears" to be some sort of (thank goodness somewhat limited) secondary bacterial involvement following mechanical damage (the loach?)... I say the qualifiers to emphasize the fact that in general Rainbowfishes literally "fall apart" if so damaged, infected. If it were me, mine, I might try antibiotic-laced foods (commercial or DIY, covered on WWM... see the search tool), but again, I would NOT move this fish, nor be "that" concerned re infecting other fish present. The specimen appears well-fleshed, healthy otherwise. Bob Fenner>

Boesemanni Rainbows in trouble. New tank syndrome... - 3/21/08 Hi guys, <Andrew> I've learned much from your website in the past, but so far have not been able to find any sort of real answer to my question. I have been keeping marines and corals for about three years now, with great success, but recently decided I'd like to go back to my roots and set up a small FW tank. In addition to my 75Gal deepwater reef setup (LPS and soft corals) I've had a 20Gal tank that was home to a nice BTA and clarkii clown, along with a yellow coral goby and Gold headed sleeper goby (who put on heaps of weight after purchase!). Anyway, the idea was to move what stock I could to my main display, and traded the BTA and clarkii back for store credit. I stripped and cleaned the tank THOROUGHLY and refilled it with new filter media, and substrate, and of course FRESH water. I ran the tank for three days and tested PH only and it was 7.2, with temp of about 78 (which fluctuates cause of the ambient air temp here in Aus) I got myself 6 neon tetras and popped them in, and they seemed to be quite happy despite the fact that they like slightly acidic water usually. <Mmmm... how was this new FW system cycled?> The whole idea behind this tank was to raise some juvenile Boesemanni Rainbow's and move them to a new home when big enough, so seeing that the tetras were doing fine I bought 8 X 1 - 1 1/2" rainbows. Now I know that this is a rather large load for a new filter, but was able to use a little filter media from another healthy FW system to get it started (this is starting to read like war and peace!). <Mmm, no... this is far more exciting> After about three days of happy swimming (and daily 15Gal water changes with dechlorinated tap water) the fish began developing white opaque patches on their bodies, one at first then the others day by day. It did not look like anything I've seen before, almost like slightly cooked flesh! and though I could not try it looked like it might rub of with your finger. I continued with the daily water changes as per plan to alleviate filter overload, but the fish continue to succumb to this white patch. after about a day, each fish moves to the surface where it breathes rapidly and dies almost hours later. Of course after seeing the first fish with the gasping symptoms, I cranked the Air bubble up to max to help with oxygen saturation in the water, but it had no effect, as I imagine their gills were likely coated in the same "substance". I also tried using Stress coat (with aloe vera) as I thought this might help, though I've never used the product before. <Is a good product... but not efficacious here... for what you have going on won't work> Strangely enough the Neon tetras seem to be unaffected, and none have any signs of disease. I have now lost 3 Rainbows in total, and expect to lose another over night. Now I know by now you neck must be sore from all the shaking with contempt, but any help would be much appreciated = ) Andrew <Is really very likely "just" new-tank syndrome... the Rainbowfishes being more sensitive than the Neons... I would either look for a real bacteria culture product like BioSpira or Dr. Tim's equivalent... or move the Melanotaeniids to a better-established setting. Bob Fenner>

Boesemanni Rainbow Losing Scales? 1-22-08 Hello folks, Thanks for keeping up such a great resource. I have searched throughout the site, but have had trouble finding any scenarios similar to mine. I have 4 Melanotaenia boesemanni in a 10 gallon tank that had been doing pretty well for about a year and a half now. There is a small Marineland BioWheel filter, and a 50 watt heater keeping the temp at 79-80 F. A few Anubias are currently the only plants. They can definitely stand to be in a bigger tank now, and as such, I have been getting a 55 gallon prepped for them. Within the past few weeks, one of them has developed a small patch by the base of one of its pectoral fins where the scales seem to be flaking off. It started off small, but has been gradually getting bigger and bigger. Please see the attached pics. I have never noticed any of them to nip one another, so I don't believe that is what has caused this. The behavior of this boesemanni doesn't seem to be affected: appetite is good, actively swimming and interacting with the others, etc. Color seems to be good otherwise as well. In addition, one of the others has developed a number of small red dots along its side, and what looks to be a small red sore area. Attached is a pic of this as well. I have been watching this one carefully, as I'm afraid it might develop into a condition similar to the other? Or is it something completely different?? Water quality is as follows: pH = 7.4, Ammonia and Nitrite = 0, Nitrates = 30-50. I have been doing 30% water changes plus gravel vacs every couple days for the past week to try and get the nitrates down. I regretfully admit that during the past 4-5 months tank maintenance had slipped. Water changes were not done as frequently as they should have, probably around 20% every 90 days. I'm sure nitrates skyrocketed during this period, and I feel certain that the drop in water quality was at least partly, if not completely responsible. Any ideas what either of these skin conditions may be, and what the best course of action is? I do not have a quarantine tank, but am scrambling to put one together. On another fish keeper's advice, I have begun adding very small amounts of Epsom salt to the tank (approximately 1/8 teaspoon Epsom salt per 5 gallons water). While I don't believe it will hurt, I'm not positive it is addressing the problem. Should I continue this, and/or change dosage? Thank you in advance, NS <Greetings. The problem here is almost certainly a bacterial infection of the sort we'd call Finrot if it was on the fins. In any case, it'll be Aeromonas bacteria at the root of the problem. So you need to use a suitable antibacterial or antibiotic medication, such as eSHa 2000 or Maracyn. Use as instructed on the package (taking care to remove the carbon from the filter, if you use it). Adding a small amount of tonic salt to the water (rather than Epsom salt) may help, but by itself salt is an unreliable cure for Fungus and Finrot. There's no real need to quarantine the fish, as Finrot isn't by itself "contagious" since the bacteria that cause it are in the tank already (and in all tanks, all the time). But something has happened to weaken or damage this fish, as that's how Finrot gets started. It's possible it jumped into something sharp: I've seen very similar damage on Hatchetfish that have jumped into the metal reflectors behind aquarium lights. You should also check that there aren't any opportunistically predatory fish in this aquarium. Chinese Algae Eaters (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri), Otocinclus spp., and Pufferfish can all cause this sort of damage. So look at your stock and see if anything might be to blame. Water quality is, nine times out of ten, the root cause of Finrot, but your water chemistry/quality seems good. Cheers, Neale.>

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

Sick Rainbows ><Ananda...whaaaaasssssup, er... I mean... How are YOU doing? >Anthony> Just got the splint taken off today, & my arm hurts w/o the support. Still using the sling. And the model name of the sling is "Encore" -- I keep hearing a commercial along the lines of "Go ahead! Break your arm again and we'll be just as useful next time!" Argh.... <<ouch! Do feel better soon!> >One of my neon rainbows has two bumps on his skin. ... >< ...You haven't added any wild caught fish or live plants recently have you (parasitic larvae/copepods)?> Um, yes, actually... just put a couple of new plants in about a week ago. <and the plants were quarantined like fish for 2-4 weeks first? or given a good rinse and alum bath first? That's OK... I usually don't either... although it does help to buy plants from fishless systems when possible> >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)> That's what I figured. ><reapply antibiotics... although this time use a product with both Nitrofurazone and Furazolidone That's why I'm using the Furan-2 (Aq. Pharm.); each capsule has 60mg Nitrofurazone & 25mg Furazolidone & 2mg Meth. blue. I've been using 1 capsule daily in a 10g hospital tank, & the silicone is now a nice pretty turquoise color. Should I change the dosage? <the dose you are giving is actually mild... however, the small scaled rainbows may not take a higher dose. Just increase the duration of the treatment in QT. kindly, Anthony> Thanks, Ananda

Praecox Rainbow <Ananda here today...> I want to let you all know how much I appreciate this site. Early last year I ventured back into Aquarium keeping with a small 10 gallon set up for my daughter. After 20+ years away I had a lot to re-learn. <Yep. A lot has changed in this hobby!> Bob helped me with an early disaster and since then I have been able solve most problems by reading from this site and other suggested sources I found here. <Good to hear> About 8 months ago I set up another aquarium (29 gallon) and it has been running very well. It does however seem to me, that the local fish stores, would rather have me kill my fish and come to buy more than to keep them well. Their advice often conflicts with WWM. Your site has kept me from needing to replace fish very often. <We have no commercial interest in selling you fish, so....> The Aquarium is a beautiful addition to our home. I do have a problem now with some Praecox Rainbowfish I have had for about 3 months. I started with 4, lost 1 with it's tail caught in the filter intake, and 1 more to what I believe to be some sort of internal nematode. The fish showed no signs of sickness but developed a dark spot near the tail which became swollen over a 10 day period, and then over night the fish had symptoms of dropsy. I quarantined, but the fish died in a few hours, before I had any idea how to treat it. After death, I dissected it and found a few (6) small (3mm) worms bright red and visible to the naked eye. Under 400X microscope, they seem to be a nematode of some variety (I need more experience with specific identification). <Do pick up Dieter Untergasser's book "Handbook of Fish Diseases". It has many, many photos of various nasties that make our fish less than healthy.> The remaining 2 Praecox seem healthy, eating fine, no signs of stress, but 1 has a swelling at the base of his tail. The swelling is similar to the swelling on the fish I just lost. I have quarantined, and I am treating with Nitrofurazone. The fish seems fine other than the swelling. Might it have the same worm? <Likely yes.> and if so how would you recommend I treat it? Is there some precautionary thing I should consider doing to the tank as a whole? No other fish in the tank show any signs of illness. <If you can find or make an anti-parasitic food, I would feed this to the tank for several days. Without being sure exactly what type of parasite this is, I can recommend only a general anti-parasitic medication. Do keep the remaining Praecox in a separate tank.> My water here is hard, 8.0 so I have checked Fishbase for fish that are tolerant. I have some brass (Hyphessobrycon bifasciatus) tetras, 2 Boesemann's, 2 lace Gourami's, 2 Corys, and a bushy nose Pleco. With 20% weekly water changes I never see a rise in Nitrite or Nitrate levels. I am finished stocking and expect to have about 33 inches of fish, if everyone reaches maximum size. I have about 25 inches now. <It sounds like you have been stocking your tank according to the outdated "one inch of fish length per gallon of water" rule -- it sort of works for slim-bodied fish like neon tetras, but you have several deep-bodied fish. If even some of your fish reach their maximum size, you will end up with an overstocked tank. I think a better measure to use is adding the height of the fish to the length of the fish (and the "thickness" of the fish for wide-bodied species) to get the total "fish length" to compare to your tank gallonage. And even then, this works better for tanks that are shorter and wider, with more surface area compared to their depth, than for tanks that are taller with less surface area compared to their depth.> Thank you again for the wealth of information you provide, Mark <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Picking Up from Here >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>

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>

Sores on Rainbowfish <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> It's happened before and now two of my mature Rainbowfish, one a Yellow and the other a Boesemanni, have open sores on their sides. In both cases the sores are, more or less oval in shape and leave an open wound of about 3/4 on an inch in length. In both cases, too, the wounds appear about an inch back from the base of the fish's pectoral fin. <This sounds sadly familiar. See if you can track down a copy of Dieter Untergasser's "Handbook of Fish Diseases" and take a look at the photo on page 22...it shows a Rainbowfish with something that sounds very much like what you are describing. Untergasser labels the photo as an example of "open tuberculosis", which is caused by a mycobacterium that is found somewhat frequently in fish tanks.> I don't know if this is something specific to Rainbowfish, but this has happened to Rainbowfish that I've had in the past and on a number of occasions, most recently... about six months ago I lost a Parkinson's Rainbowfish after the same kind of sore developed. <I have lost four neon rainbows, four Australian rainbows, and three turquoise rainbows to this before I knew what it was. If you check the forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk and do a search for posts by JKJ454 about her rainbows, you might find some useful information there, too.> Presently, none of the other fish in the tank, including a New Guinea Red Rainbowfish and a Melanotaenia trifasciata (Goyder) and an M. herbie, have this kind of sore. <Keep your water quality pristine... that can keep what may be an existing infection from taking over and becoming lethal. JKJ is using a UV system on her tank, and her Boesemann's are looking good.> Is this something that is particular to Rainbowfish? <No, but it seems sadly common in rainbows.> In any event, I haven't been able to find anything written on it and if you can identify the problem it would be appreciated. THANKS....Alan <There has been word that Mycobacteriosis, aka fish TB, can be treated with Kanamycin -- however, the cost of the treatment may be quite high. Much more info available at the links here: http://www.fishdisease.net/cgi-bin/search.cgi?ps=10&q=mycobacteriosis&t=&Submit=Search ... and check the WetWebMedia site, too. Now that you know what to search for, you should be able to find a fair bit of info. I do hope that this is *not* what your fish have, but fear that it might be. If it is, do wear full-arm-length aquatic gloves when you mess around in the tank. --Ananda>

Australian Rainbow Howdy Folks! <Hey, AJ! Please do forgive the delay; I've been in the middle of half a dozen computer crashes this past week/weekend> I've been reading up all night at your (lovely) site, and haven't found the answer I'm looking for. <Wow! Guess we'd better try and help out, then!> I have a 55 gal FW community-ish tank. Of my tank members, I have 2 Australian Rainbows (that's what PetSmart calls'em anyway). <Certainly covers a lot of fish.... check out this site: http://members.optushome.com.au/chelmon/Austrailian Rainbows if you're interested in identifying your fish and learning more about them.> I've had them for a least a month now and both have been doing great! <Good to hear.> I recently won a battle against a nasty low pH problem and have been testing my water regularly ever since. <Heh, I'm envious of your low pH!> So, when I came home tonight to see my large Rainbow swimming in circles (to the right) with two huge swollen eyes, I was baffled. I pay pretty close attention to my fish, and I don't recall having seen his eyes looking even slightly swollen before. As a matter of fact, everyone was fine when I left for work (9 hours earlier). To double check, I ran all of my tests... no ammonia, no nitrites/nitrates, pH 7.3, GH 7.5, KH 6, temp 77F... all of which are in good/acceptable ranges according to my test kit (it is right, isn't it?). <The only thing that I'm concerned on is "no nitrites/nitrates" - just wanted to make sure you understand these are two completely separate nitrogenous wastes that must be tested with separate kits.> The swollen parts of his eyes are also red from the front, like he has internal hemorrhaging, but its not his actual eye that is red. Are these symptoms of the dreaded bacterial Popeye? <Though there can be other causes (injury, for one), yes, this sounds like "Popeye" (exophthalmia).> If so, it is likely that my (many) other fish are in harm's way? <This is certainly possible. It'd be a good idea to isolate him in a quarantine/hospital tank, if at all possible.> His behavior is very erratic as sometimes he's acting normal, and sometimes he's spinning around, and sometimes he's being spastic at the surface (like he's trying to jump out). He didn't appear to be interested in food but he's not doing the typical 'twirling head down' pre-death dance. <The spinning is possibly of great concern.... please do check out the links on this page: http://www.fishdisease.net/cgi-bin/search.cgi?ps=10&q=whirling+disease&t= . Although it is (hopefully) more likely that he's just having trouble swimming from his illness(es), it would be good for you to understand more about Whirling Disease in case that is what you're looking at.> So, overall, I guess I just want to know what I can do to save him and, more importantly, the rest of my fish. Oh yeah (this may be important), I read on ONE little unprofessional site that a cause of Popeye is excessive aeration(?)! <Er, not really, no. It can be related to having too much dissolved gas in the water, but you'd probably be seeing other symptoms of "gas bubble disease" in that case, including bubbles in the fins of the fish and very heavy breathing.> Several days ago I purchased a 48" flexible bubble line so that my fish would have more bubbles to play in (the Corys LOVE them) and it is attached to the same air pump the 12" bubbler was attached to. Is the excessive aeration thing true or is all of that just an unlikely coincidence? <Coincidence, IMO. You could try removing the second airstone for a couple days and see if that helps. Right now, the best recommendation I can give you is to isolate the sick fish in a separate tank and add Epsom salt to the water at a rate of 1-2 tablespoons per ten gallons; this will help relieve the pressure in the eyes, possibly clear the issue up altogether. Do please watch for any other symptoms of illness, as well; it may be a good idea to get the fish on some antibacterial food (perhaps with Oxytetracycline, provided you can find it), in case it is a bacterial issue. Otherwise, it'd be a good idea to use a good, broad-spectrum antibiotic like Kanamycin in the water.> Thanks a million for any help (and for all the help you've given in the past simply by posting your replies to other people's questions!)!! AJ <Our pleasure, AJ! I do hope this reaches you in good time, again, I apologize sincerely for the delay. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Ailing Rainbowfish 5/14/06 Good afternoon, everyone! <Well hello there - this is Jorie> I have searched through your site but still have a few concerns... I appreciate any advice since I know you are all very busy answering questions. :) <I'll try my best to help - Rainbowfish are one of my all-time favorite FW fish - I've got several different species!> One week ago, I bought two Rainbowfish, a Boesemann's and a what I believe is a Lake Tebera. I have a 29 gallon community tank with two red platys, three zebra Danios, two young lemon tetras, two elderly black tetras, one mature Angelfish, and two sword tails. Also two common Plecs (the other one is recovering in this tank from a bad fin nipping - seems to be doing fine now, happy and active with beautifully healed fins!) and two small Corys. <Yikes! My friend, this is a lot of fish, some pretty sizeable (esp. the common Plecos, the angel, and the boesemanni). First of all, if there's any chance of returning the rainbows, I'd say that is your best bet. Rainbows are schooling fish, and do best (both health-wise and color-wise) when kept in groups. Obviously you don't have room to add any more rainbows to your tank, so if it's at all possible, I'd say find them another permanent home.> I do 10-15% water changes every week, <I'd be doing at least 25%, probably more like 50%...> use Stability each week, <...I am not familiar with this product...> sometimes using Amquel+ & NovAqua+ combo instead. <I assume this means you are using tap water? Many people think rainbows are super-easy beginner fish, but this just isn't so. In my experience, rainbows demand *pristine* water conditions; in fact, due to continuous problems with my boesemanni and ended up investing in a RO/DI water system and a UV sterilizer...> This tank is very stable, <...great...> never had any incidence of Ich except when I bought two clown loaches from Wal-Mart (very bad impulse buy, will never do again), <Hey, we've all learned this lesson the hard way. All you can do is take the knowledge, incorporate it, and move on, smarter and stronger. I hope you've now learned how big clown loaches can grow (i.e., min. of 12"!)...definitely too big for your tank, notwithstanding the fact that you are already overstocked...> and everyone in the tank is acting and looking perfectly normal, with good appetites and activity level. Water tests are as follows - ph 7.0, nitrite 0.5 ppm, somewhere between 250-425 ppm total hardness. (These Mardel starter test strips leave a lot of room for the imagination when it comes to hardness!) <Yes, test strips, in general, are notoriously inaccurate...I'd suggest investing in a good liquid test kit, like Tetra's Master Test Kit...everything you need is in there, and it's fairly reliable...> I live in Central Florida, so tap water is pretty hard. <Fish generally appreciate consistency more than exact precision, so that's the most important thing. However, as I mentioned above, I never had much success keeping rainbows in tap water. Check out www.airwaterice.com for good deals on RO/DI units...they are quality products with long life spans, and I think you'll see a great improvement in the rainbows, as well as the other fish.> This morning I found the Lake Tebera (I think) Rainbowfish hanging out above the powerhead, near the heater (temp is 78 F, and I'm using a Penguin 125 w/BioWheel, BTW), with his eyes looking red and cloudy and acting as though he were blind. He bobs along, bumps into fake plants, doesn't eat. His tail fin seems to have what looks like a tiny bite, but I am worried is maybe fin rot? Most distressing though are his red cloudy eyes. One eye is so badly clouded that his pupil is not even visible. <This sounds like Popeye - a bacterial infection usu. caused by poor water conditions. Based on your complete information, am I correct to presume you did not quarantine your new rainbows when you first got them? Quarantining all new livestock is truly the best plan, but is even more important when you are introducing wild-caught fish, like rainbows, into your community. They are notorious for bringing along various diseases and should be observed in QT for a min. of 3-4 weeks. Having said that, all you can do is learn from the experience. At present, you need to get the affected fish into his own hospital tank...> (Oh, and I say he, but I have no idea what sex this fish is.) <It can be difficult to tell with rainbows, esp. when they are juvies. Once they mature, the males and females have different colorations that make it a bit easier to know...> I have a Styrofoam cooler (holds maybe 3 gallons if filled to the brim), and I put him in there. I put in a new, never used Fluval 1 filter that I was planning on using for a turtle tank, so that the water stays clean and aerated. I put in 2 tsp of Epsom, since the tank is filled with 2 gallons of water -- half is tank water, other half is brand new dechlorinated tap water, as well as two .5L water bottles of Zephyrhills just to top it off, Heh) and also a few drops of Stress Coat and NovAqua+. Could this medication do any harm? <First off, distilled water is not generally great for fish - it is missing essential elements, minerals, etc. Also, you may have shocked him when you transferred him from straight tap water in your main tank to this setup. For now, consistency is key - keep the water clean and do not go back and forth between tap and distilled. I'd stick with tap. Also, in this QT, is there a heater? Make sure there aren't significant temperature fluctuations, as this can wreak havoc on a fish's immune system. I don't think the Stress Coat and NovAqua+ will do any harm, but I'm not generally a fan of adding all sorts of chemicals. Right now, you need to focus on keeping the water clean and stable. Also, you may want to try a broad-spectrum antibiotic, such as Maracyn I and/or II. Whatever you choose, dose according to instructions and keep a close eye on the fish...> I am very reluctant to try any OTC fish medication and thought maybe these conditioners would help. <I applaud you for not running out any buying every medication in town - that can many times make matters worse. Conditioners, however, won't generally help a sick fish, and in my opinion, nine times out of ten are unnecessarily used also. For you, if you stick with distilled water, you will need to look into additives like Electro Right and pH Adjust - as mentioned above, distilled water is lacking certain necessary elements for fish, and likely has a pH of 5.0 - way too low. And, if you go the route of a RO/DI filter, those products work nicely as well. If, however, you stick with your tap water, you will simply need a chlorine remover, as you have been using, and that should be sufficient. I cannot stress enough that stability is much more important that a precise pH, level of hardness, etc. Use your test kits regularly to ensure there isn't great fluctuation.> The CopperSafe I used for the clown Ich outbreak seemed to be so harsh! <Copper is a very harsh medicine, no doubt about it.> I also cut a plastic 1 gal water bottle in half so that he would have a little transparent "cave" for security, <Nice thought, but your fish might appreciate a non-transparent one...> and put a 120v incandescent bulb over the water. (It's a ceramic heater type lamp, which I was planning on using for the turtle tank, also.) I am hoping the plastic and Styrofoam will help keep the water warm without a heater, as I have no extra heaters at the moment. <Do keep an eye on the temperature of the water - you don't want it to fluctuate. If need be, you can purchase a 25watt heater for this 2-3 gal. tank. Do be sure there's a thermometer in the water.> I made sure to cut the plastic bottle very smoothly; I didn't want him to run into anything sharp in his blinded state. <Good idea.> Also, I know this was a bad idea, but I thought he might be hungry so about three hours after putting him in the makeshift hospital tank, I caught him with my hands (freshly & carefully washed with Dawn) and put him back in the main tank. <You are right - not a good idea. You can feed your sick fish sparingly while in QT...> He didn't eat anything, but I thought he looked worse. He seemed so pale, with a whitish cast over him and his eyes seemed a little redder (though maybe I'm imagining this.) The thought of salt on red irritated eyes sounds so painful, but I realize this is probably a secondary bacterial infection so I thought I'd try Epsom salt on my own before writing to you guys. <Epsom salt cannot hurt and may help. You need to stop moving this fish back and forth, though, as you are needlessly stressing him out. Also, when you do need to transfer him, please consider investing in a fish-safe net - this is much less traumatic on the fish. For now, keep him in QT, observe with the Epsom salt, keep the water clean and stable, and heated, if possible. If conditions don't improve or worsen, look into a broad spectrum antibiotic. Also, be sure to feed him quality nutritious food, esp. while he is ailing - bloodworms (frozen, then thawed), or Mysid shrimp, or a good quality pellet (such as Spectrum New Life) if he'll accept them.> Sorry for the wordiness of this e-mail. <It's helpful to have more, rather than less information - don't apologize!> If you could give me an idea of what else to do, I would be so grateful! <Hopefully I've done so.> I feel I have been irresponsible somehow and the death of this little guy might prompt me to start re-evaluating my skills as a fishkeeper, or for that matter, my worthiness as a human being... ;( <OK, don't do that, but do keep in mind QTing is very, very important, whenever you get new livestock. Also, with your current stocking list, you really shouldn't be looking to add any new fish. All you can do is learn from your mistakes - we've all made them, and ultimately, it makes us better fishkeepers!> You all do such terrific work! To think, it is purely in the volunteer spirit. If I ever hit it rich I'll contribute richly to the WWM!! <LOL! Thanks for the kind words...'tis a great group of folks here at WWM and they have and continue to help me immensely!> Thank you in advance, Nicole <You are welcome. BTW, how is the boesemanni doing? Jorie> P.S. Oh, forgot to mention that he is back in hospital tank now since he didn't seem hungry or sociable, and I wanted to treat him and quarantine him in case his condition is contagious. <Excellent - leave him there and monitor him closely. After he's improved, you'll still want to leave him for at least 2 weeks to ensure he is totally healed and doesn't relapse.>
Re: Ailing Rainbowfish
5/14/06 Hey Jorie! <Hi again, Nicole!> Thank you for the lightning-fast reply! I do realize my tank is overstocked right now. This is because these are two tanks -- a 20 and a 29 gallon -- consolidated into one. I know this seems very mean and careless to do! It's because I had to move, going from having my own 2 bedroom apartment to being somebody's roommate (long story, I'll spare you the details, just that I am having some financial difficulties right now). <I totally understand - financial difficulties are no fun for anyone. As long as you realize that your take is quite full, that's quite different that not knowing. I am sure you will do right by your fish and provide them with a bigger space once you are able. In the meantime, just be sure to do more, rather than less, water changes, to keep up with the extra bioload.> I am setting the 20 back up soon, but for right now I have one very busy tank. It seemed like things were ok because everyone gets along real well and seems to have found their own place in the tank, but I am getting to work on the 20 now that this poor guy has developed this crud. Popeye, you think? His eyes don't seem swollen, just cloudy and red. <He could have injured his eye, and this is a secondary bacterial infection...> I will continue to observe and treat him as I have been, if he doesn't improve I'll try the Maracyn. <Sounds like a good plan.> I have the established gravel and the old filter and filtration unit from the 20, but not the heater, I accidentally cracked it :(. <Been there, done that! Glad you realized before you put it in the tank!> When I set it back up I'll let it cycle -- fishless cycling for about 3 weeks -- maybe by then he will be looking and seeing better. <Sounds like a great plan.> Oh, I forgot to mention this, but I do get R/O water, about five gallons worth, from my LFS to do my weekly water changes. I just used tap water right now for the emergency W/C and 50% water for the quarantine tank. The 5 gallons is what I do my 15% change with, but I will buy another canister and up that to 10 gallons a week. <Got it. When you have some spare $$$, I'd suggest looking into your own RO/DI unit - it will definitely save you money (not to mention the hassle of lugging 5 gal. of water around!) in the long run. When you are ready, as I mentioned, www.airwaterice.com is a great site...very helpful folks.> My 20 gallon was my beginner aquarium, hence where my platys and Danios came from. Also the source of the other Pleco and the angelfish, who was such an adorable little baby - now grown up to the size of a moon pie!! Alas, what else could I have expected? <Hey, most of us have been there - this is how we learn. And, side bonus is having the larger fish to control the livebearer population - my rainbows must be eating all my platy fry, as I haven't seen a single one in about a year now!> I am sorry to say I did not quarantine the rainbows. I didn't realize they were wild caught fish, I just heard that they were very adaptable to hard water, easy beginner fish, etc. as you mentioned. <Many people will tell you they are an easy fish - I tend to disagree based on personal experience and second-hand stories from folks like you. I really don't know why so many LFS tell people how easy they are to keep. They definitely require stability more than anything - they just aren't as "forgiving" as platys, for instance.> My LFS seemed not to know much about them (they specialize in marine setups, although that to me seems like no excuse), since they were labeling them "rainbow tetras." <Uggh - perhaps you should politely educate them?!> The Boesemanni is doing just fine, beautiful color, eats everything. Except for glassworms, which the container said were a favorite of "rainbows, ram cichlids, etc." but nobody seems to like these. I do feed a variety of foods every day. For example (feel free to skim this part) <...no, this is helpful info!...> Freeze dried: Spirulina flakes, color flakes, Bio Blend granules, brine shrimp, Cichlid omni and Community formula flake food from Ocean Nutrition, Frozen: Bloodworms, Spirulina & vitamin enhanced brine shrimp, also the glassworms duds. <Sounds great. The only change I'd suggest is substituting Mysid shrimp for brine - much higher nutritional content. But, of course, use up what you already have!> For the bottom feeders: sinking pellets, algae tabs and blanched zucchini. The platys liked skinned peas but nobody else did, and what a mess! <LOL! At least you must have had very "regular" platys...> I know I shouldn't have gotten the Rainbows with the stocked conditions, but I had planned to have my 20 already set up by now. *sigh* It just seems so daunting to set up an aquarium, on my one day off a week! But with this new impetus I will be doing just that. <It is a lot of work at the beginning, but will pay off in the long run...> I also have been wanting to give the angel away, either trading him in or selling him since he has grown so large, but the LFS I got the rainbows from doesn't sell angelfish, and the other store is an all purpose pet store that doesn't take trade ins. Also the aforementioned LFS is not interested in any fish like Danios, platys, etc. They would probably take them for free as feeder fish, maybe! <I couldn't bring myself to do this, either. With regards to the angel, maybe try www.aquabid.com or even post on the forum at www.wetwebmedia.com Maybe someone local can/will help you out?> Any ideas? Besides giving back the rainbows, which I will do if I have to, but I sure do hope to find another alternative. They have really grown on me, probably my favorite fish... <Yes - me too! Play it by ear...I'm glad the boesemanni is doing well. Hopefully your other rainbow will recover as well. In the meantime, you can read up on your new "favorite" fish in Dr. Gerald R. Allen's "Rainbowfish: In Nature and in the Aquarium" (ISBN: 1-56465-149-5). I cannot wait to have a rainbow species dedicated 90 or 110 gal. tank one day:-)> A million thanks, Nicole <You're welcome...hope all goes well. Jorie> P.S. Thank you for the advice on the liquid test kit. I am going to look online for one. <Try www.drsfostersmith.com - good prices on dry aquarium goods, generally. Or www.bigalsonline.com> P.P.S. I have heard conflicting advice on netting fish. I do have a big and little net, those coarse green ones, but... Heh, my hand just seemed less harsh on red, irritated eyes than that mesh! I won't move him again, though - he is staying where he is for a couple of weeks until he is all the way better. <I am surprised you were able to catch him w/ your hands! Maybe b/c he isn't feeling well...my rainbows are impossible to catch! The green nets are just fine, but if you are truly concerned, you can always pick up one of the marine white ones that are softer, with less holes...truly not necessary though.>

Parasites Attacking The Rainbows - 05/10/2006 Hello! I seem to have encountered a problem that I cannot answer through the vast resources of this website, or even my home library on fish diseases. I have a 125 gallon tank set up primarily for Rainbowfish. There are 18 various Rainbows in there at the moment with a handful of Corydoras, loaches and a Pleco. This is an established aquarium that I have not added any new fish to in over six months. A couple of days ago I noticed one of my Rainbows (m. parkinsoni) had almost a perfect segmentation in its color, or rather, the complete absence of color starting at the tail and reaching halfway up the body. It is almost as if the latter half of the fish is not receiving proper circulation. I thought this may have been due to a change in diet, since I have been feeding more flake food than normal. These fish are accustomed to frozen treats like bloodworms and brine shrimp, which I resumed feeding. Now a second fish (g. Wanamensis) has this same half de-coloration. I ran the normal water tests, ammonia/nitrite read 0 and nitrates only came in at 10 ppm. The pH read 6.8 which is the same as fresh tap water where I live. To be safe, I moved the two fish to a hospital tank but I have not begun any treatment since I don't know what I may be treating them for. Any ideas? The Wanamensis is still eating. The Parkinson I'm afraid has stopped taking food. I seem to recall encountering something similar to this a few years back. Ironically, it too involved a Rainbow, m. Splendid I think, but I had the afflicted fish in quarantine and I returned it without learning what it was or the outcome for that particular group of fish. Any insight you could share would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Brook < I have found that these things turn out to be bacterial and respond well to Erythromycin. Watch for ammonia spikes because this medication will affect the good bacteria needed for biological filtration.-Chuck>

Response to Rainbow Fish Email - 1/6/06 Hello, I sent an e-mail about a weird lump on the underside of one of my rainbow fish, just in front of the bottom fin. The lump seems to be getting smaller but it still worries me to not know what it is. I hope it's not something my other fish can get. I thought I'd send you another e-mail to ask if there is a certain FAQ site I should be checking for the answer to my original e-mail, or do you reply in another e-mail? I look forward to hearing from someone. Thanks a bunch, Kris < We get lots of email everyday from all over the world. We answer everything eventually, usually not more than a couple of days. We do have computer/server issues from time to time and things just disappear. We try to figure it out as we go but sometimes we never know what happens to the emails. Go to the WWM homepage and do a Google search on rainbow fish. You should find a response there. Lumps a can be many things. If it was bacterial you would eventually see it burst into an open sore. I am guessing that it may be a parasitic worm that could be cure with Fluke-Tabs. This is more common with pond fish, or new fish that may have been imported after being raised in a pond.-Chuck>

Your notes about Rainbowfish 1/8/07 To Whom It May Concern: <Paul> I am a veterinarian conducting a major review of diseases of Rainbowfish and was interested in reading your notes on Rainbowfish at the following website: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/rainbows.htm <Ah, yes> Can I quote you for a project I am doing and if so who will I quote as the author of this material? <Certainly, and myself> Kind regards Paul Hardy-Smith <And to you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Your notes about Rainbowfish 1/8/07
Thank you Robert Another quick one - besides Mycobacteriosis have you had any other experience of significant infectious disease in Rainbowfish? <In commercial settings there have been what appears (unfortunately not confirmed by examination, culture...) Aeromonad-related losses. I suggest a querying of the various "Rainbow" groups BB's here... many fine folks, some quite sophisticated... that am sure will cooperate with you openly... I would definitely seek out Kent Webster on the U.S. West Coast... a breeder> Also - pardon my asking, but where do you come from (when I put in a "pers. Comm., I generally like to acknowledge where the person resides!) Cheers Paul <Oh! Am a Yank... out in Hawai'i' currently. Permanent residence in San Diego, S. California. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Re: Your notes about Rainbowfish - humble request for follow-up Attention Jorie Johnson - 1/22/07 Dear Jorie, I can indeed notify you and your team there when the review is complete. It will at some stage be released as a public document, so downloadable. <Sounds great - looking forward to it!> On another note, I was wondering whether you may be able to help me. <I'll sure try.> We are trying to get some idea of the trade in Rainbowfish in the US as we understand it is quite substantial. Do you have any idea what sort of numbers are traded each year over there and the most commonly traded species? If not, do you know of someone who may have this information? <This is not something I know, but perhaps Bob himself can shed some light...am copying him here. And, if he doesn't know, he certainly would be equipped to give you some alternative names within the industry...Bob?> <<Mmm... the biggest breeder/supplier I know is Kent Webster... in LA... Do you have contact with the Rainbowfish Study Group (www.rainbowfishes.org/), am hopeful they might have such data. RMF>> We are at this stage restricting our review to Rainbowfish in the family Melanotaeniidae. <Excellent.> Kind regards Paul Hardy-Smith <Thanks for responding - hopefully Bob will be able to help you further, or at least point you in the right direction! Best regards, Jorie>
Re: Your notes about Rainbowfish 1/8/07
Dear Paul, I am a part of the WWM Crew; I was reviewing Bob's reply to you, and I just wanted to ask if you would perhaps be so kind as to notify me/us when your review is complete? I am very interested in Rainbowfish myself, having kept boesemanni, threadfins, furcatas, Celebes, etc., and would love to read your findings on this subject. Many thanks! Jorie Johnson>

Gourami Swim Bladder Problem -- 06/14/07 Good evening, <Hello!> My name is Carol. I have a couple of (I hope) quick questions for you. I have a 75 gallon FW community tank. I went out of town for two days and came back to find out that my fish sitter didn't notice the filter had been turned off (guess she hit the power strip while grabbing food). The water quality was bad needless to say. I didn't even bother to test how bad just did a 50% water change. Of course I made sure ph was similar for water change. <Good... or even lower...> The next day one of my two large Gouramis was unable to keep himself righted in the water. Tail up, then tail down. He could swim just not stabilize himself. <Likely metabolite poisoning of some sort...> He ate what he could get to for two days. I did another 30% change two days after I got home. The same day I finished reading what I could about what his problem was and came up with swim bladder problems. <But what root cause/s?> I moved him to a 10 gallon hospital tank and treated with Epsom salt (1 tsp per 5 gal) two days ago. I've tried feeding him peas to no avail. I am confused on whether I should also try treating with an antibacterial food? <I would not> From what I can figure out the filter being off can cause swim bladder problems but the bad water quality could have caused an internal bacterial infection mimicking the same symptoms. <Yes> I don't want to start treating him with everything under the sun if I should wait some more time to see if the Epsom salt will work. <Yes, this is what I would do> Everything I've read and nobody had both aeration <Mmm, not this... these Anabantoids are facultative aerial respirators... can just go to the surface to breath...> and water quality issues together with swim bladder problems. Thank you so much for your time. I truly hope we can help save George and get him back to his buddies. All of my other fish in the main tank are fine. In fact, I need to find a good birth control method for my guppies. Thanks again. Carol <Heeee! So hard to get them to take those little pills, or... I'd like to repeat that I would NOT continue to treat this fish per se... but would likely return it to the main display... Recovery from such environmental insults can take weeks to resolve. Bob Fenner>

Re: Gourami Swim Bladder Problem -- 06/15/07 Bob, <Carol> Thank you so much for your quick reply. What ph would you recommend for him? <Mmm, "middling"... actually much more important to not have this shift than be much (like half or so a point) higher or lower than 7... The comment I made was in reference to nitrogenous waste anomalies. Turns out that ammonia and nitrite are MUCH more toxic at higher pHs...> My only concern with moving him back to the display tank is that he cannot compete for food. Is he not better off where he is so I can try to hand feed him? <Likely so...> Just a side note, you're next on my list to meet. I just started my first reef tank at Christmas (so much to learn) and have already had the good fortune to have both Kelly Jedlicki and Anthony Calfo come to town. <Ahh! Very nice folks, friends> Ask Anthony, Jeff and the rest of HRRC can throw a pretty good party for speakers. <Heeee! Ugh, am trying to recover from last nights regular Thurs. eve dinner party... did my bit stretching putting away the fancy wine glasses thus far... gots to sit down a while...> We would love to see you in Virginia Beach some time soon. <Oh! One of my sisters was born there (Dad was a lifer in the Navy...)> Thanks again for all of your help. You and the rest of the crew deserve many thanks for the countless fish you have saved and people you have kept from leaving the hobby. Carol <Ah, yes... one of our indirect intentions. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Gourami Swim Bladder Problem - attn: Bob Fenner -- 06/15/07 Bob, <Carol> Thanks for getting back to me again. I (of course) have a couple new questions. I still can't get him to eat anything. I can hold him in my hand and was thinking perhaps something out of a syringe. Kelly showed us how to tube feed but I don't think that's necessary and I'm too big of a chicken to do it anyway. <Mmm, don't be... think on how important the life of this animal is to you... the good you are trying to do it> Can you make any suggestions as to how and what to feed him? <Mmm, yes... my fave, a small piece blanched (or microwaved) zucchini... with a bit of the skin peeled off> Also, his fins and lower lip are getting really beat up from rubbing the rocks originally and now just the bare bottom of the QT. Should I use something along the lines of Melafix to help with that? <Mmm, not a fan. I would add nothing... too likely to upset bio-filtration, do more harm than good> Ok, one more little incentive for coming here. I can hook you up with the local beach hashers. <Oh! This IS a bonus... Heeeeee!> I won a few down-down challenges in my day. So, are you a runner with a drinking problem or a drinker with a running problem ? Thanks again, <A bit of both... On out, Dogfish/BobF>
Re: Gourami Swim Bladder Problem (new info) - Attn: Bob Fenner -- 06/15/07 Hi Bob, I know you haven't had a chance to reply to my last e-mail but I wanted you to know that George finally seems to be having some sort of bowel movement. He still hasn't eaten. The feces is long, stringy and almost colorless or whitish. What I have read says that it is usually internal parasites. I'm confused so I thought this new information would help you help me. Thanks again, Carol <Do see Neale (Monk) and my comments re the use of Flagyl/Metronidazole and Anabantoids... Bob Fenner>
Re: Gourami Swim Bladder Problem -PLEASE DON'T SHOOT ME - Attn: Bob Fenner -- 06/15/07 Bob, <Big C> Ok, I come to you with head hung low and hat in hand. You can use me as an example of not doing completely thorough research. A little history. The FW tank was my boyfriend's project until he said "oh, George is dying. I'll miss him but I guess I'll have to flush him". <Mmm... I don't "like" such cavalier stmt.s...> I told him to get out of my way and took over. However, he is innocent in the cause because he was out of town with me. My really dumb mistake was asking him what kind of fish George is. He told me Gourami and I bought it. When you sent me to the last link I noticed my fish was nowhere to be found. In fact, no Gouramis had horizontal stripes. I hope I get a little credit for realizing I hadn't actually researched the fish itself in images before I medicated him. So, I took pictures to the LFS and he is a Rainbowfish. From what I can find, he is an Eastern Rainbowfish. I am so sorry for wasting your time earlier (well, I do have two dwarf Gouramis I now know). This fish isn't even a facultative aerial respirator, is he? <Mmm, no my friend> Knowing all of the symptoms, is the cure still Flagyl/Metronidazole ? <Is the treatment of shotgun approach, yes> I guess I have a few new fish to ID, huh? Again, I am so sorry. <No worries. BobF>
Re: Gourami Swim Bladder Problem -PLEASE DON'T SHOOT ME - Attn: Bob Fenner -- 06/15/07 Bob, Oops, in my embarrassment I forgot to attach the photos of George. I don't want to be wrong again. Carol <Is a Melanotaeniid... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/rainbows.htm BobF>

Re: Gourami Swim Bladder Problem -PLEASE DON'T SHOOT ME - Attn: Bob Fenner -- 06/16/07 Bob, "Knowing all of the symptoms, is the cure still Flagyl/Metronidazole ? <Is the treatment of shotgun approach, yes>" I'm not trying to indiscriminately treat him. You had suggested that I should use Flagyl/Metronidazole when I wrote to you about the stringy, white feces. When I thought he was a Gourami. If I should just wait longer to see if he recovers I'm willing to do that. However, I don't want to leave him untreated if it is internal parasites. Please clarify your answer. I just really want to help this fish. Thanks again, Carol <I would treat sequentially with this and an Anthelminthic... as proscribed on WWM. RMF>

Re: Gourami Swim Bladder Problem -Answer not in Daily FAQs - Attn: Bob Fenner -- 06/17/07 Bob, Good morning. I checked the daily FAQs and the last post is not there. You know, the one you couldn't get to me in the e-mail. I know this is a pain but I still don't know exactly what to do for George. Since you read so many e-mails here's a recap of my last question. <Hasn't been posted yet... I would use the Flagyl and an Anthelminthic sequentially>

Lady boesemanni with a sore belly 4/15/07 Hey Crew. I have a school of seven boesemanni Rainbowfish in a 55 gallon tank. Over the last few days the female has taken ill. <Only one of the seven is female?> She's breathing heavily, and her belly is looking a little swollen. Also, the skin around her ventral area has turned slightly pinkish, and the ventral fins are extended (boesemanni almost always have their ventral fins held tight against the body). <Good observation... and the general "health" trend is indeed that freshwater fishes keep their fins retracted most all the time, marines extended...> She is still feeding and otherwise behaving normally. I'm fairly sure the cause is not environmental (ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate is always 5ppm or less, pH 8.0). As I write this, I'm about to isolate her in a 10g hospital tank, and I'll probably treat with aquarium salt. I don't really expect this will solve the problem, but I'm not sure what else to do. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks for your help! JM <I would add a course of Furan compound to this ten gallon treatment tank... 250 mg. every three days, changing out half the water for three periods. Please read on WWM re Melanotaeniid health, the use of this class of antimicrobials. Bob Fenner>

Boesemanni Rainbows, hlth. 7/19/07 Hello WWM crew, I have to tell you I have learned so much from your web site. You do a GREAT job. I have a problem with what I think is fungus on the mouths of my Boesemanni Rainbows. My tank is 55 gal with a Marineland c-360 canister filter which I used for bio filtration. I also use a AquaClear 70 for mechanical filtration and occasionally carbon. I have been doing 50% water changes every 4-5 days. The tank has 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 20-40 Nitrate, ph is 8.0, total hardness is 250, total alkalinity is 300 ppm and temp is at 79.Inhabitants include 12 Boesemanni Rainbow, 6 Turquoise Rainbow, 6 Corydoras, 2 Opaline Gourami and 1 L-137 Pleco. The tank has been up and running for 6 months, cycled with Bio-Spira. I have some live plants that grow slowly but look healthy, I don't know the varieties. I am religious about water changes and vacuuming the gravel. I admit that I over feed at times but am trying to curb this. No new fish have been added for 3 months. They are fed omnivore frozen foods once a day, live mosquito larvae a couple times a week and Spirulina flakes daily along with a few algae wafers at night. I keep noticing some white fluffy looking stuff on the Boesemann's mouths. It seems to be attached around their lips. I don't notice any on their bodies. It comes and goes, will be there a few days then gone a few then back again. Various other fish are scratching occasionally some days and not other days. I don't want to medicate but I also feel things aren't right. I thought I could correct it by increasing water changes but I've been doing that for over a month and nothing has changed. The fish eat good, have very good color and are active. What can I do to be rid of the occasional scratch and the tufts of white stuff on my fishes mouths? I appreciate the time it take you to reply and am so glad you are there to help and offer advice. Lynnette <Hello Lynette. The white stuff on their mouths is either plain fungus or mouth fungus (which, despite its name, is neither a fungus nor confined to mouths!). Either way, your retailer will have medication to treat the fish. Prompt action is essential because it is easy to cure early on but impossible to cure when it becomes severe. Be sure and remove any carbon from the filter before treating the tank. Mouth fungus is typically caused by water quality issues. Though your numbers look good to me, perhaps you're not keeping in the "safe zone" consistently. Overfeeding is definitely one way to mess up water quality. Double check you're doing things "by the numbers" -- reflect on whether you're using the right amount/type of dechlorinator (e.g., one with Chloramine remover if there's Chloramine in your water supply). Review your filter cleaning routine (are you doing anything that might kill off the bacteria, like rinsing under a tank). Just go through the basics and think about what might be amiss. Mouth fungus rarely comes out of nowhere. Good luck! Neale>

Question about injured scale on boesemanni rainbow 6/25/07 Dearest Bobster- How're you doing? What's new with you? We are gearing up for our trek out to HI at the end of next month...it's rapidly approaching - I'm very excited! <Fine, thanks and oh yessss> I wanted to ask you a quick question about scale damage on one of my beautiful boesemanni rainbows. I'm almost positive it was caused by an over-excited SAE, who generally goes berserk at feeding time and is quite aggressive to the larger fish in the tank (3 boesemanni, 2 boys and 1 girl). He's such a monster that he actually killed his companion SAEs many years ago. <Uncommon, but does happen> This over-aggressive behavior's been going on for years and perhaps I should have removed him before, but 1- I don't have anywhere else to put him, and 2- several years passed with no problems. Thus, I've let him continue to remain as the tank bully, as up to now, there haven't been any significant issues resulting from his poor behavior. As of late, my alpha male rainbow has a very obvious couple of damaged scales right in his midsection (the area where the SAE usually head-butts the others). I understand that secondary infections are always possible when a fish has a lesion, so I've been very careful to do extra water changes on this tank. Also, I've been adding MelaFix about once a week (who knows if it does anything, but it makes me feel better!). I understand that scales grow back in time (I should mention that the damaged scales are still present and haven't actually fallen off, but they are raised like a scab of sorts); generally how long does that take? <Quite a while with Melanotaeniids... weeks to months> Should I be using any sort of antibiotic or other medication, in your opinion, to speed healing/prevent infection? <Mmm, no, not a good idea in general to use antibiotics... I would use... two nets... to remove this Crossocheilus> Or just leave things alone? The good news is that the problem definitely hasn't gotten any worse over the past few months, but I do realize that the underlying issue is still present- this SAE just can't get along with any other fish. I'm going to start asking if any local fish stores would take him for their larger, aggressive display tanks. Probably not, but doesn't hurt to ask, right? Too bad he can't live in brackish with Puffy, the F8 - that may teach him a lesson. <Yikes> Just curious if you'd advocate any additional treatment for this Rainbowfish. Oh, and salt's not an option, since the tank's heavily planted. I could transfer the boesemanni to QT (well, after I replace the hospital tank I broke a couple of weeks ago!) - do you think that's warranted? <As you state... optimized water quality with water changes... perhaps soaking foods...> Your advice is always appreciated. Hope you are well. See you soon! Jorie <Looking forward to it. BobF>

Boesemanni fungus 8/8/07 Hi to the crew, <Hello Lynnette,> I want to thank Neal for his response to my earlier question/problems. (previous email included at bottom of page) I have evaluated my maintenance. I am making a conscientious effort to try to provide the best environment (other than nature) for my fish. <Very good.> After I received the response from Neal my fish did not display the white mouths again until this week. I have kept up with the water changes as previously noted. I have well water that I heat and aerate for a few days before each water change. <Ah, but do you add dechlorinator? This does more than remove chlorine. It also neutralises ambient ammonia (e.g., from agricultural run-off) and locks away metals like copper (e.g., from the pipes). Aerating won't do these things, so isn't a substitute.> My water parameters are the same as before. I have stepped up cleaning my canister filter in hopes that would help. I rinse the bio media in a bucket of tank water every two weeks. The hob filter media is rinsed at every water change. <Don't clean the filter too often. Once a month is probably too often, and I do mine a couple of times a year in some cases. You see, every time you take the filter apart, you stress the bacteria a bit, and you definitely run the risk of cleaning away the bacteria. The sign to clean a filter is when the flow of water is obviously less than before. Otherwise, leave it be.> Since the fungus symptoms have returned I am ready to medicate the fish. From my research it looks like sulfa meds are the med of choice? My local fish store is Petco and I don't trust them to recommend medications for my fish. Is there a drug that would be better suited? <Here in England I'd use Interpet combined Finrot/fungus, but in the US your options seem to include things like Seachem Sulfathiazole and Mardel Maracyn. Just don't either "tonic salt" or new-age cures like Melafix or Pimafix. None of these are consistently effective.> I also would like to know if I could treat the whole display tank since 14 of the Rainbows show varying degrees of small white tufts on their mouths? <Always always always treat the entire tank with something communicable like this. This holds true even if you have to remove a sick fish to a hospital tank.> I know this isn't the best choice but I don't have a quarantine tank large enough to treat all at once. I have quite a few plants in the main tank ,Corydoras and the Pleco. I considered moving out the Corydoras and the Pleco but I honestly don't know if I could catch them out without tearing the whole tank down. What's your opinion/recommendation? If I treat the main tank should I remove the plants? <The cats and the plants should be fine. Check the medications available against the information provided on the packaging or the company web site. I don't have experience of those American brands so can't speak personally. But generally, as long as you follow the instructions to the letter (and remove carbon from the filter) medications are safe and effective.> Trying to figure out how to do this so all fish that need treated are treated and the catfish aren't negatively affected. <With cats, it is specifically copper and formalin that are suspected to cause problems for them. I've never found that to be the case, but then playing Russian Roulette once and surviving doesn't mean its a safe game!> I appreciate all the time, patience and knowledge that is put into this web site and the responses to questions. I totally respect all of you. <Cool. And thanks for saying so; I'm sure we all appreciate it.> Thanks for helping, Lynnette <Good luck, Neale>
Re: Boesemanni fungus -- 08/08/07
Thanks to Neal for his help. I have another question for Neal or someone to help me with. After I medicate my 55 gal tank with the sulfa what kind of aftermath can I expect as far as cycling again. I have a full bio load now and fear what the ammonia and nitrite spikes will do to my fish. What can I do to make sure my fish make it thru till the tank is stable again after the medication? I appreciate your help.. many thanks. Lynnette <Hello Lynnette. While I can't verify this from experience (Sulfa drugs are not sold over the counter in the UK) my assumption is that provided you follow the directions on the package, your biological filter should not be harmed by aquarium-specific drugs. Having said that, I'd still remove 33% of the filter media and keep it alive in a bucket of untreated aquarium water by bubbling through some air via an air pump and airstone. That way, if something does go wrong, you can do a 90% water change and then restore the filter to near-normal output by putting the "saved" filter media back in. Regardless, visit the web site of the drug you intend to use, and read up any FAQs they have online. Most of the big aquarium drug companies have this information online. Cheers, Neale>
Re: Boesemanni fungus 8/10/07
Hello Crew, <Hello Lynnette.> Neale answered my last question and I really appreciate his efforts. My problem now is the color of my water. I'm treating my 55 gal display tank with triple sulfa manufactured by API. I did check their web site and sent an email to them asking questions about the effects on the bio filter. I did not receive a response and decided to go ahead and medicate according to the directions. <OK.> I administered the first dose last night and watched apprehensively to see how my fish reacted. They all seemed to tolerate the medication without any ill effects. Tonight when I came in from work I noticed the water looked like strong tea. I tested the water, but was unable to read the results clearly. The color in the water made the tests impossible to read. I used the dip stick tests and the test where you add the drops to the tubes of water. Just guessing by the intensity of the color results the ammonia and nitrite appeared negative and the nitrate looked darker. So I presume I had nitrate but not sure of the reading. I have 4 pieces of driftwood in the tank. Each piece is about 14 inches long and of various shapes. The tank also contains live plants and the substrate is natural colored river gravel of pea size and smaller. The drift wood has been in the tank for 4 months without causing any discoloration in the water. I purchased the wood from a pet store and the wood was specifically labeled for aquarium use and stated it was "ready to use". <Odd. Does sounds like the bogwood has coloured the water, though. Did you remove carbon from the filter? One thing carbon does is absorb the tannins from bogwood, so if you've removed the carbon recently, as you should have done before treating the fish, then the tannins will start to accumulate in the water. Result: tea-coloured water.> Will this discoloration in the water harm the fish or affect the effectiveness of the medication? How will I get accurate test readings so I can monitor the ammonia and nitrite? I don't know the effect of sulfa on the bio filter but am prepared for the worst. The fish are acting as usual, still with the tufts of white on their mouths. They are all feeding good including the Pleco and catfish. Actually the colors of the rainbows look really stunning in the dark water. I searched them for any signs of distress but couldn't find any. <The colour of the water is largely immaterial. Like cloudy water, tea-coloured water is something that annoys aquarists more than it troubles the fish. Provided water chemistry and water quality remain stable, don't worry about it. The main thing is to finish the course of medication. You can then do regular water changes to dilute the tannins. Many fish actually quite like "black water" and you'll notice that their colours will become more intense. This is most obvious with tetras and cichlids, but you might see it with rainbows, too.> Thanks for all your assistance. The knowledge and willingness to help of the WWM Crew is priceless. <Happy to help> Lynnette <Cheers, Neale>

Gasping Rainbow 1/3/08 Great site!! I think I have found a little piece of heaven here at WWW! I've read many articles but can't seem to find an answer for this problem. First. the specs: Tank 46g bowfront, moderately planted, Emp. 400 BioWheel filter (with ceramic rings), Rena 100W heater, Amm = 0, nitrIte = 0, nitrAte = around 20, temp = 78-80, oxygen saturation between 5 and 8 mg/l, pH 7.8, dKH = 3, GH = 89.5, phosphate 1.0 ppm, weekly water changes (20-25%) with half tap water/half RO water, weekly detritus vac (not a deep gravel vac due to plants), livestock: 2 pair Boesemanni, 2 pair Praecox, 2 flying foxes, 3 Otos, 5 Harlequin Rasboras, 4 Cardinal Tetras, 1 Skunk Botia. Tank has been set up and fine for a year. I feed flakes and Spectrum pellets once per day and maybe once per week a treat of Mysis shrimp, white mosquito larvae - all cleaned up within a matter of minutes. The only new addition is the Botia about 3 weeks ago - thought I had a snail/plant-eating problem. Approximately 5 days ago, I noticed the two male Praecox were gasping for air, not at the top of the tank, still eating/swimming/acting normal - except for the gasp. New Year's morning, the largest Praecox male dead, other one still gasping. All other fish are acting normal, no gasping, eating well. The remaining Praecox male is gasping, mouth area is dark blue, in fact his whole body is a little darker. No spots/wounds anywhere. He goes through the motions at feeding time, but doesn't seem to actually eat much. It's just weird that only these two seem to be affected. I've never noticed any fighting between these two or with any of the other fish. My other tanks (30g planted and 55g Oscar) are maintained in the same way and all is fine. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Michele <Hello Michele. Your aquarium water chemistry/quality stats sound pretty good, so the problem here doesn't seem to be a water chemistry/quality issue. I'd do a 50% water change today, and then another 50% tomorrow though... not so much for water quality, but in case there are toxins in the water. It's surprisingly easy to poison fish: tobacco smoke, paint fumes, and other chemicals can get into the water. People sometimes (accidentally or otherwise) add food or drink to tanks during holiday season parties, imagining the fish would somehow enjoy it, so that's another thing to think about. Big water changes will help. This said, if it's just the one species in distress, then there's a chance the issue isn't so much environmental as disease, some pathogen specific to Rainbowfish. Treating with an antibacterial or antibiotic medication could be worthwhile in this case. I don't know how old your fish are, but the lifespan of dwarf Rainbowfish is not long, likely well under 5 years. Finally, Skunk Botias are hardly what one would call peaceful fish. Though they usually mix well with rainbows, do look out for signs of chasing. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Gasping Rainbow
1/6/2008 Good to know. I do fret over water quality a bit. Although, I guess I could work a little harder to drop the phosphates! My tap water is pretty phosphate-high. <Shouldn't be a problem, especially if you do generous water changes. 50% water changes once a week couple with careful feeding should cure pretty much any nitrate/phosphate issues in freshwater community tanks.> A 50% change was done the day before the first fish died. I thought I totally stressed him. <Unlikely to be killed by a water change, unless the new water had a very different chemistry (pH, hardness) than the old water. Fish don't easily die from "stress" any more than people do. As a long term thing, yes, perhaps stress can weaken fish or allow pathogens to do more harm. But most fish don't get scared to death just by a water change!> This said, if it's just the one species in distress, then there's a chance the issue isn't so much environmental as disease, some pathogen specific to Rainbowfish This is what I am thinking and finding in research. <Ok.> All of the Rainbows were mature, except the two female Boesemanni. Could just be their time to check out. <Usually there are obvious signs that fish are life-expired, typically things like deformities or a certain slowness about repairing damage to scales and fins.> Finally, Skunk Botias are hardly what one would call peaceful fish. Though they usually mix well with rainbows, do look out for signs of chasing. I'll keep an eye out. I did notice a bit of chasing the first two days he/she was in the tank, but none since then. <Good. You may be fine.> Thank you so much, Neale. Michele <Happy to help. Neale.>

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