Hi, it's my first time posting here and I could use your help:
I've had this Synodontis (named Sydney) for about four years. I moved out of my home over a year ago and it was up to a family member to perform water changes, etc; unfortunately, regular maintenance was not performed. When I returned home recently, I found my fish has white spots running down its body, the dorsal fin and tail fin have receded, and there seems to be a small reddish tumor-like growth on its left side (circled in yellow in picture).
Two weekends ago I moved the aquarium, with ~50% of the original water and the original substrate and filter, to my new apartment. Since the move I've been keeping a written log to record any progress or regression in my fish's health along with a record of the quality of the water. I also raised the temperature from ~78F to 81F.
This weekend I performed a 20% water change and added a new carbon insert for the filter. When pouring new water in, I noticed a lot of small floating white particles (perhaps Ich or simply substrate particles?) inhaled by the power filter. The fish has been behaving fairly normally for the past week, swimming effortlessly when the lights go off, and feeding every night.
Please help me bring Sydney back to health! Pictures and aquarium stats follow:
1. Size of aquarium (# of gallons)--->10 gal.
2. Is your aquarium setup freshwater or brackish water?--->Freshwater
3. How long the aquarium has been set up?--->see above (4+ yrs)
4. What fish and how many are in the aquarium (species are important to know)--->Synodontis species; only fish
5. Are there live plants in the aquarium?--->No
6. What temperature is the tank water currently?--->81F
7. What make/model filter are you using?--->Aquaclear 150 power filter
8. Are you using a CO2 unit?--->No
9. Does your aquarium receive natural sunlight at any given part of the day?--->Set up in closet with doors across from window, so some light
10. When did you perform your last water exchange, and how much water was changed?--->20%
11. How often do you perform water changes?--->Weekly
12. How often and what foods do you feed your fish?--->TetraMin Wafers, nightly, 1-2 tablets
13. What type of lighting are you using and how long is it kept on?--->Fluorescent, on from ~10am to 10pm
14. What specific concerns bring you here at this time?--->Getting Sydney healthy
15. What are your water parameters? Test your pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.--->pH = ~7.2, ammonia = 0, nitrite ~20ppm, nitrate ~20ppm
16. What test kit are you using and is it liquid or test strips?--->Both
17. When was the last time you bought a fish and how did they behave while in the pet store tank?--->4 years ago, healthy
Were it me I would change two gal of water every other day with water that has been treated with dechlorinator until NITRITE level was zero. After the ammonia and nitrite levels begin to read zero for a week or two I would then perform weekly water changes along with vaccuming the bottom of the tank say one third of the tank at each water change, a different area each time. Your nitrite levels need to be zero along with ammonia.You do not want to do large water changes as this will stress the fish and you do not want to aggressively vaccum the whole bottom of the tank as this could wipe out the beneficial bacteria that is trying to break down the ammonia and nitrites. I would leave the new filter alone for the next three weeks. If it becomes clogged you can rinse it out in old aquarium water during water changes NOT tap water and put it back in . It is my belief that many fish can heal if water quality is maintained without the use of medications. Should you decide to use medications ALWAYS follow the directions MORE is not better. Some medications require that carbon be removed from the filter otherwise the medication will not be effective . You can replace the carbon filter after the medication schedule has been completed. Do not use salt on your catfish they are sensitive to it. I truly believe your fish will get better with improving his enviornment . It will take some time though he or she did not get in this shape overnight and there are no medications that will heal the fish overnight. That is not to say there aren't meds that can help the process. I hope your fish gets better soon!
Thanks a lot for your advice! I've been providing 20% water changes every 2-3 days. The white spot has diminished, and the tail fin is growing back nicely at a fairly quick pace.
I'm still concerned about the dorsal fin and pectoral fins growing back. If you take a look at the pictures in the first post, the pectoral fins visibly end in small nubs (though there is a minute bit of fin), and the dorsal fin begins with a small nub and has a few rays behind it. I must mention that the fish does get around adequately: it doesn’t seem as if not having the pectoral fins is causing noticeable swimming difficulties.
So, is there any chance these fins will grow back? Do they tend to grow slower than tail fins? Or are these fins unlikely to grow back since they have mostly receded?
Provided that the fish is in clean water and doesn't still have some sort of degenerative problem like bacterial or fungal fin rot, the fins should grow back over time. Something like Melafix could help speed up the healing process.
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