Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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beetlebz 06-17-2008 09:44 PM

Possible Fungus?
Yesterday I had 2 young spotted cory cats die, and a couple weeks ago I had an almost full grown rainbow shark die, all in my 110g.

now im seeing unusual symptoms in my other fish.

the barbs are eating (except one) and look ALRIGHT, however at rest the rest aiming straight down. they all swim fine. the cory cats look alright but are lethargic. I have a 7" or so pleco that seems perfectly fine.

heres a couple shots of the unusual behavior of the tiger barbs...

and these two shots highlight an unusual white.. blob lookin thing on my severum. all 3 severum have what LOOk like ich spots but they are not necessarily round, and this particular severum has these two big spots... one on his forhead and one below his left eye

I need to know what this is and the most effective way to stop it before it kills anymore fish!!

thanks in advance.

tank specs
10 tiger barbs
2 blue gourami (seemingly unaffected)
1 pleco
3 green severum
10 spotted cory cats

I change the water and vaccum the gravel sectionally once a week approx 20%. rinse the filter pads once a month.

feed 1x a day cichlid gold, tetracolor crisps, algae wafers, tropical wafers, and i sometimes throw in dried bloodworms and tubifex worms.

i do NOT have water params but the ammonia has never been an issue, always been 0. Im out of the ammonia test solution :\ nitrite 0, nitrates 20ish

Pasfur 06-18-2008 06:08 AM

I will let someone else handle the diagnosis, but it look like a viral infection to me. Fungus are extremely rare in aquariums, so the simple odds point to viral. Without a microscope, you will probably never know the exact type.

To find the cause, i would check a couple of tests which you normally do not run. First, double check your Nitrate. Your reading is very low given the small size of your water changes. Check the expiration date on your test kit.

I would also test hardness and pH. Very often when disease presents itself in an aquarium, it is the result of pH swings caused by an inadequate buffer system.

Finally, this could be aggression related. A viral infection will often begin at the spot of another wound, however small.

Just some random thoughts to consider.

beetlebz 06-18-2008 05:01 PM

well, it was originally meant to be a semi aggressive community.. so theyre always bruising each other up... especially the severums. nothing dramatic though, just the occasional minor battle wound.

the barbs look like they might have a small touch of fin rot though. until I hear otherwise ill start doing 20% daily changes until I hear otherwise.

and ill rerun the Ph and Nitrate test... havnt run a nitrate test in a while.

thanks for the thoughts..

okiemavis 06-18-2008 05:42 PM

Um, I'm not sure I'd rule out fungus. Fungal infections definitely happen in the aquarium, particularly eggs. Perhaps Pasfur is thinking of a salt aquarium? I know that external fungal infections are extremely rare in marine aquariums. However, most fish sicknesses we think of as fungal, such as fin rot and 'mouth fungus' are actually bacterial.

I can't really tell from the picture, but do they look like cottony white tufts? That would indicate either cotton-wool disease or fish fungus. I lean towards fish fungus as cotton-wool is pretty much around the mouth.

It makes sense that a fungal infection would occur in a semi-aggressive tank. Normally the slime coat on a fish protects it, but the fish in your tank are probably roughed around a bit so fungus has an easier time grabbing hold.

This isn't a diagnosis- I have no explanation for the odd swimming of the barbs. However, if the white bits are as I previously described, I would recommend isolating those fish and treating them with an anti-fungal.

beetlebz 06-20-2008 02:18 AM

it almost looks like the skin is flaking or peeling a little bit, in the case of the severums. in the barbs its more like finrot. I dont think it IS fin rot, but there is some fin deterioration with white spots confined to the fins.

in the second barb pic, the barb in the dead center, facing to the left, has a tiny spot on his tail. its not really visible in the pics but almost all the barbs had the spots, and prolly 1/4 of them have SOME fin deterioration.

what do you guys think about 20% water change followed by a dose of pimafix and melafix every day for a week?

Pasfur 06-20-2008 05:31 AM


Originally Posted by okiemavis
Um, I'm not sure I'd rule out fungus. Fungal infections definitely happen in the aquarium, particularly eggs. Perhaps Pasfur is thinking of a salt aquarium? I know that external fungal infections are extremely rare in marine aquariums. However, most fish sicknesses we think of as fungal, such as fin rot and 'mouth fungus' are actually bacterial.

Naturally, fungal infections on eggs are common. Which is why they don't occur as often in marine systems. :wink:

However, in looking at the picture i do not see anything that makes me leap to a fungal infection. Lets say this is fungal. Then i would have expected a post previously, asking about an open wound on the body or an area of exposed skin. Generally a bacteria infection sets in, or a parasitical infection due to stress, and then the fungal infection shows up later as a secondary infection. We don't have any evidence yet that this has occurred.

I don't have a diagnosis yet. I would want more pictures from different angles. But from what i see, we could just as easily have some skin beginning to rot from stress factors in the aquarium. We have evidence that the aquarium is stressed, due to recent deaths of established fish.

In order to really be helpful, we need some water tests. Especially pH, alkalinity or hardness, ammonia, nitrite, and Nitrate. All of these readings are necessary to accurately access the situation.

beetlebz 06-20-2008 03:07 PM

alright heres the skinny so far. still havnt picked up an ammonia test because I was out at a rescue call late last night into the wee hours of this morning.

the severums seem to be doing just fine. although the one that had the two white spots have demonstrated the following;
1) the white spots seem to be getting better
2) the fin deterioration seems to be staying the same.

I use the term deterioration and not rot because besides the white patches there is no obvious signs of fin rot. the fins just seem to be pulling apart. in one instance of one of my tiger barbs part of the tail fin seems to actually be missing, but not all of it and it has not yet gotten any worse.

as for the white spots on the tiger barbs... the two that looked the worst seem to be looking worse. the behavior has not changed however the white patches (just looks like the scales or skin is turning white) have become a bit more wide spread. there is no real change in the remainder of the tiger barbs.

the cory cats seem to be going about like nothing is wrong, and i cant see (doesnt mean it isnt there) any white patches on them, although one was swimming in a very disoriented matter just now when I did a water change. I have done 2 water changes in 2 days and VERY thoroughly vaccumed the gravel, and got LOTS of junk out of the gravel. every time i dumped the bucket out it was BROWN. dark brown. that, and there were a few air bubbles that came up when I was vaccuming, so im starting to wonder if the problem was caused by or exacerbated by methylethyl bad#$%^ growing under there. I even removed the giant driftwood and vaccumed up what looked like mud underneath it down in the gravel.

assuming this was viral or bacterial, and caused by general poor house keeping via mis-vaccuming, what do you guys think my next steps should be?

Flashygrrl 06-20-2008 05:33 PM

Ew. Test your parameters again now that you stirred stuff up.

beetlebz 06-30-2008 02:54 PM

sorry its been a few days, ive been super busy with work and the bit but... I picked up some refills for my test kit and heeeeres the problem.....

keep in mind these test results are LESS than 12 hours after a 20% w/c

ammonia 1.0-1.5ish ppm
nitrite <.25ppm
nitrate 40

I started dosing heavily with seachem prime to detoxify some of the bad stuff, and hopefully ill be able to save the remaining barbs and cory cats. down to 8 of 11 barbs and 4 (that I can see) of 12 spotted cories :(

all signs of any white gunk on the fish is long gone, and disappeared right after I started doing 20% every other day. now im going to do 10-15% every night and dose with prime right afterwords.

is there any harm in dosing melafix and prime at the same time?

Lupin 07-01-2008 08:38 AM

Beetle, what test kit were you using? Methylene blue can destroy your biological filtration which explains your ammonia and nitrites. Fungus is rare and this has often been confused with columnaris. My guess is your case is columnaris, a bacterial infection caused by gram-negative bacteria. Columnaris is very common more than most people have anticipated. What you need here is erythromycin or furan2. Get rid of methylene blue by doing water changes and carbon placed on filter combined.

The behavior exhibited by your barbs is due to ammonia and nitrite poisoning.

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