Pale patch on tetra-- what could be going on?
For about a month, the end of my neon tetra's tail has developed a pale white patch. After a while it developed a small, ich-like spot on the pale area, but after I treated the tank for ich it disappeared and hasn't come back (it's been around a month with no ich symptoms.) Yesterday I noticed him struggling to swim, as if he had a swim bladder issue and had become too buoyant (he couldn't stop floating upwards, and had to fight to stay deep enough.) I did a google search and found out that discolored patches and trouble swimming can be an indication of neon tetra disease. Today he's swimming normally again, but I noticed a smaller off-colored patch on one of my other tetras as well. I separated them out and started them on antibiotics, but I'm wondering if someone more familiar with NTD or false NTD (similar symptoms but responds to treatment, unlike NTD) can take a look at a picture of my afflicted tetra and tell me if it looks like he's suffering from either of these diseases (or something else entirely...)
Here's a link to a pic of him and the other tetra I noticed discoloration on:
In real life the discoloration (right at the tip of his tail just in front of the tail fins) is a little less gray-looking and more whitish. You can't see the patch on the second tetra in this picture, but it's much less defined and I separated him out mostly as a precaution.
Does anybody know what is wrong?
Hi Sweston, sorry to see your fish is sick. I used to have tetras too and loved them. I never had to deal with neon tetra disease, but I did a Google image search to compare your picture to those on the web (fantastic shot, by the way, of both tetras). It does look very similar to several photos I found on the web, and I also read that NTD usually affects the red stripe portion of the fish, just like yours. But just to rule out other possibilities, have you checked your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels? Also, what size tank do you have, and what are the other occupants? Keeping up on tank maintenance and keeping your tank reasonably stocked will be your greatest allies in preventing further illness, as I am sure you already know.
It sounds like you are doing the right thing in quarantining the affected fish. I've found that above all else, pristine water conditions and time are my best allies when treating just about any fish illness or disease. Keep up those extra water changes on your QT tank, and do as much research on NTD as you can. Do you have other tetras, or are these two your only ones? Keep us updated on their condition!
Thanks for the reply! I recently checked the water chemistry and all seems well... I have five other tetras and they all seem fine. The one with the white spot seems to go in and out of being able to swim properly, but I think it might have something to do with overfeeding? Right now both of the quarantined fish seem healthy except for the discoloration.
Glad to hear that the others are well and that the sick one is not deteriorating. I would definitely keep him quarantined until the spot completely disappears and all is well for at least a week. No sense in accidentally contaminating the other guys!
Regarding overfeeding, if your tetras are full grown, it's fine just to feed them once a day. The best way to to it is just to put a flake or two (or whatever you feed them) in at a time. Once the fish eat the flake, add another one or two. It takes a little longer to do this, but less will be wasted, less will fall to the gravel, and as soon as the fish is not quite as eager to get the flake, you know he's had enough. My fish make a terrible mess when eating because they absolutely go to war over the crisps!
Both of Neons seems very thin in belly. Another thing, some fish when eats dry flakes, tend to do 45 headstand for while. Perhap you may want to soak flakes just prior to feeding. Hope Neons recovers soon.
How is neon doing? I found my very old note that this may be sign of Columnaris caused by Flexibacter columnaris bacteria which can be treated in Q/t with Oxytetracycline. If not avail, try Maracyn II which is Minocycline. that is if fish did not recover yet!
I know your testing were good but have you checked good old pH? If havnt checked, checking occassionally wont hurt, especially when something goes wrong. And as preventive measure for others.
Thanks again for the feedback-- The fish both are both acting healthy, but as far as the discoloration goes, the second one's tail is definitely getting worse. Whatever it is, it's spreading.
If it is NTD, how long do you think it will take to present in any other fish that may have gotten it? I've heard that it can stick around in tank for a very long time, and is notoriously hard to disinfect, so does that mean I've got to assume that my healthy fish are always on the brink of NTD from now on? And if the affected fish keep acting healthy, how long should I wait to rule out NTD?
One more question: My tank's also home to a betta, two cory catfish, and a cherry red shrimp. If it is NTD, could it affect these guys as well, or just the tetras?
I checked up on the columnaris, and the symptoms don't seem to fit as of yet, but I'll keep an eye out for any incriminating signs.
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