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  1. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Ok so I took a look at the pics you both posted. Bear with me because it is hard when trying to diagnose two seperate problems at the same time to not make the mistake of assuming the same thing is going on, especially when the symptoms are so similar like both of yours.

    First off let me again emphasize that I am fairly new to fishkeeping (within my first five years) and as such any advice I give you is purely based on the very limited experience that I have. I do read a LOT of articles so I will try to help the best I can. Hopefully if I steer either of you horribly wrong someone else will come here and correct me.

    We will start by trying to do something to pull out of the nosedive your tanks are in, and then after that we will try and narrow down more specifically what we can do to help the current issues and prevent them from happening again.

    So for starters I am going to say you should both prob be treating with a gram negative antibiotic. Buy erythromycin at any LFS or pet store. It sometimes comes under the brand names E-mycin or maracyn-two or something like that. Its fairly cheap and it will help or cure a broad spectrum of issues. The problem with it tho is that it will kill off your BB colony, so you are going to get ammonia spikes afterword and pretty much have to start your cycle over again. Because of this it is a good idea to use a QT tank or pull your filter media while using it, but if you do that remember to feed the bacterial colony with old tank water or ammonia or something every day while it is out.

    My guess is that the problem in the tank is so wide spread now that the entire community needs to be treated so I would prob go the route of removing the media. Also put in an extra bubble stone or something while treating the tank as the increased aeration is important when using meds for many reasons. Some meds lower o2 saturation, as does high temps which will help treat some diseases. Stressed fish also like the extra help breathing that higher o2 will facilitate.

    As i said, if this is indeed a columnaris outbreak the temp wont matter so much, but it also has very few downsides, so if your fish can all handle it you might raise the temp in the tank to ~82ish. This will speed up the life cycle of many diseases while also helping to strengthen the fishes immune system. This all hopefully equates to everyone healing faster.

    Follow the directions on the medication box EXACTLY. This is very important. If it says to do a large WC three days into the treatment and then dose at partial level, then just do it. Its easy sometimes to say "oh well i can dose the tank tomorrow a little stronger, or the tank is clean enough so it doesn't need a WC before the next dose". DO NOT DO THIS. it is very dangerous to not follow the exact instructions and can also render some meds completely ineffective which just leaves you thinking the meds did nothing when in fact they might have if used properly.

    The anti-biotic is a 3 day treatment I believe, and it recommends if the problem persists to follow up immediately with a second course of it. After the course is done follow it up with frequent small WC to keep water quality as pristine as possible. Frequent small changes will help more than sporadic large changes which can stress your already weakened bacterial colony.

    ok, now. Since that is kind of a catch all solution now we need to narrow down the problem.

    the white fuzzy stuff you saw on the latest fish was probably saprolegnia, which is a common fungus(kind of) that is present in every tank. That white stuff you see grow on food that isn't eaten or fish that have been dead in a tank for too long, that is saprolegnia. It isn't normally strong enough to take hold of a living fish, but if the fish is weak or stressed or injured it can sometimes start to grow on the injured spot. This is kind of a symptom of the larger problem rather than the main issue. It can kill a fish, but it is so minor that a simple dose of melafix is usually enough to clear it up if the fish is in decent health. The main issue is the splotchy white spots. Are there any other symptoms? Bent spines? Bloated bodies? Erratic behavior? So many diseases present with splotchy skin, or loss of color that we can only guess until we can match it up with other symptoms.

    The skin falling off your fish sounds like it COULD be columnaris. But again my first hand exposure to fish illness is pretty limited. Most of what I know is from articles and you just don't get the same knowledge without witnessing it firsthand. It may help to spend some time in the disease subforum here and see if you cant find some other posts about this symptom. Again after you get the issue resolved or after all your fish die (lets hope this doesn't happen) you will want to sterilize all of your equipment with a bleach solution or a long hot boil on the stove. Columnaris is spread by contact as is quite a few other illnesses, and you could reinfect the tank if you don't clean your equipment.

    What is the general feeding plan for both of you? Live foods? Bloodworms? Beefheart? Flake? How often? Some diseases can be caused or made worse by high protein foods, especially when over fed.

    I wish I could help both of you more but the anti-biotic should be a good first step. And when it comes to issues like this time matters, so the sooner you can start dosing the tank the better chance everyone should have. Also remember that the general "cure-all" rule when you are in doubt is clean water. Keep up on those WCs while everyone is sick. Be compulsive about it. The cleaner you can keep the tank the stronger everyones natural immune system will be, and hopefully they can do more to cure themselves than we ever could.
    "A grain of sand is all I ever wanted to be. Lay me down and let the water wash over me, wash over me." -Mickey Newbury
    ~-~-~ }~)){'> <}MocE{> }~)){'> ~-~-~
    Prove that size doesn't matter
    Painted fish belong on canvas, not in aquaria

  2. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    ok so the fish hide when they get sick, but I guess that's be expected. I have seen odd shaping on the fish like the belly looks lumpy etc. They seem to have trouble swimming properly or will lay on the bottom unless I tap the glass than freak out.
    It's hard to see in the photo I put up but his belly looked like part of it was swollen so it looked lumpy I guess. Hard to describe. Edited to add I'm going to go in a couple hours here to the local Petsmart and get some meds. I hope it works and thanks for the help.
    i feed my fish once a day with new life spectrum for small fish. Once in awhile they get frozen blood worms. Sometimes I give the algae eater a wafer.
    Last edited by Asherah; 11-14-2012 at 10:55 PM.

  3. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Ok your feeding regimen doesn't sound bad. The key is to give them as many different types of food as possible and the right types for the species. Sounds like you are doing a decent job of that.

    With the peeling skin thing I don't actually think its the skin that's coming off. I could be wrong but this kind of sounds like a fungus I read about that affects the protective slime coat of the fish causing it to slough off. It can make the fish look like it is shedding.

    Here is something I found about it. I did not write this. It is a cut and paste from a site I am not familiar with so I cannot vouch for its credibility. However hopefully it will give you a good place to start.

    "Body Slime Fungus (highly contagious)
    This deadly affliction can kill your fish in two days if not caught in time. The protective mucus coating grows white and starts peeling off as if the fish were shedding its skin. The fins are gradually covered as well. Eventually, the body becomes red with irritation.
    Do not hesitate to call your pet store immediately. Commercial remedies are available, but must be administered quickly. A salt bath with warm temperatures may be a temporary solution, as it should retard growth of the fungus. However, a cure must be found and a salt bath won't do it. Some have found that the severe salt treatments used as ich cures are effective."

    So check that out. I don't know what causes it but I assume it's most commonly spread by an infected item being added to the tank. Do you have a QT procedure? Have you added anything new to this tank in the last two weeks or so? Fish? Ornaments? Substrate? A new kind of food? Equipment?
    "A grain of sand is all I ever wanted to be. Lay me down and let the water wash over me, wash over me." -Mickey Newbury
    ~-~-~ }~)){'> <}MocE{> }~)){'> ~-~-~
    Prove that size doesn't matter
    Painted fish belong on canvas, not in aquaria

  4. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Ok well I just dosed the tank. Let's hope this works.

  5. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    So tomorrow I have to dose again and then change the water and repeat. The store only had one box of medicine so I'll have to check again or go to another store and hope they have some.
    Do I repeat the medicine doses again, or is that it ?

  6. #26


    0 Not allowed!
    Hey All
    First of all Neph ...thanks sooo much for spending all this time on us.!!! Very Much appreciated for sure!
    Picked up the meds...but the store i went too which is a very large independent fish only store.... told me to use Maracyn which has erythromycn as the ingrediant listed and the same as you have suggested.
    It does note gram positive though so i am a little confused but hey wont be the first time.......It does list columnaris as one of the diseases it will cure.

    Maracyn 2 has listed as the active ingrediant minocycline and for gram negative.

    So i'll stick to the erythromycn and I'll do a 50% water change right now though its late 11 pm ish and put in the medicine !!! News at 11 !! Good luck Ashley... I think we are gonna need it. Lost a cat fish today and my Angel looks worse...!!! I guess our two cases can serve as good case studies for everyone that may be following this thread. Why don't we keep this active so anyone interested can follow along with our results!

  7. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    I so hope this works ! I checked the tank and there was a dead fish. ugh. He looked fine so weird. =/

  8. #28


    0 Not allowed!
    I hear that....
    seems Ive been fighting one disease after another and losing fish.
    On the positive side I do have fish that have been with it since the beginning of this tank...about 6 months. more question. If our fish are successful in fighting all this off....will our filter systems just keep reinfecting the tank.....????

  9. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Absolutely. I hope something I said will at least help a little. Just trying to repay the debt I owe the members of this community. Its quite possible I had which one was gram- and which one was gram+ mixed up. Ive only used them a few times myself so as I said most of what I know is secondhand from reading about cases. The one I have is the Erythro, so the "marycin 2". Glad you were both able to find one tho.

    sorry to hear you lost another one. It isn't completely uncommon for sick fish to not be strong enough to make it through a course of meds. It is one of those situations where you are damned if you don't use them for sure, and possibly not damned if you do use them, so you pick the less dangerous road. I really hope that the treatment works to save some of them for you. And yes after the first 3 day course of anti-biotics you can immediately do a WC and follow it with a second 3 day course, but no more after that. If by the end of the second course no one has dramatically improved you will have to go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate which disease they actually have.

    Both of you keep us updated if there are any changes, and I will keep my fingers crossed for you.
    "A grain of sand is all I ever wanted to be. Lay me down and let the water wash over me, wash over me." -Mickey Newbury
    ~-~-~ }~)){'> <}MocE{> }~)){'> ~-~-~
    Prove that size doesn't matter
    Painted fish belong on canvas, not in aquaria

  10. #30


    0 Not allowed!
    Reporting In;
    Well have completed first 3 days...does not look like anything has changed much, sighhh.... but the instruction does call for 5 days straight so i will continue treatment. On the plus side no one else has died so...hey maybe thats progress. My Angel still looks bad, the Velvet Sword-tail still looks like a blotchy mess and my Creamsicle Lyre Tail molly looks real wobbly so will see what happens....

    In reading all this over a few times Ash and I may have something different going on. Her fish are hiding, have loss of appetite and have closed fins. My fish seem normally active, have strong appetite and do not have closed fins, so I think maybe by accident but fortunately we have the treatments right !

    I am using Maracyn and she is using Maracyn 2 (I believe) ...both seem to treat the different symptoms we are each describing correctly. Will continue to keep our fingers crossed.

    The Fish Place I visit called "The Fish Place" go figure...(been in business for over 30 years ...great knowledgeable committed fish keeping people !!!) made one additional suggestion which I have implemented. They suggested adding an additional simultaneous treatment to the Maracyn called Quick Cure. Its ingredients are Formalin and Malachite Green so i have also been doing this. I add the Maracyn at night then add the Quick cure in the morning just to space out the addition of these chemicals to the water.

    My water parameters are surprisingly stable.... Ammonia is between 0 and maybe 0.10 and that's a big maybe. Nitrite is a solid 0 and Nitrate is also 0.

    I haven't been able to find anything out about how to keep re-infection from re-occurring if we are successful curing the fish. Other than water changes will these parasites or fungus things keep growing and stay healthy in filters etc...???

    geeeshh !!!!!!!!!!!

    Ash hows it going for you?

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