Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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gmdf411 02-05-2010 06:39 PM

Is this columnaris? It has a white weblike think on his forhead/dorsal fin area. Also some of his fin on the top and bottom look like they are getting black. This is the best pic I have so far.. can get more. Having a nitrate problem right now.

gmdf411 02-05-2010 07:44 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Attachment 8443

Sorry the pic is so big.

Twistersmom 02-06-2010 08:03 AM

Columnaris usually takes on a fuzzy appearance, often confused with a fungus. I can not tell, by looking at the picture.
Black spotting, is known to sometimes be the result of ammonia burn. How does the tank test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and Ph?
I read, you are having trouble lowering your nitrate. How often are you doing water changes? How much is changed out?
I have nitrates in my tap water, so that is another thing to check for.

gmdf411 02-07-2010 01:36 PM

ph - 8, ammonia - 0, nitrates - 40-80, nirtrites - 0. Nitrates have been a problem for a while... a little over a month. One of my parrot fish is flashing and lightend up in color, and some of the fish haven't been as active but still eat well. No other fish have spots like the gourami. I will try to get some better pics. I was doing water changes once a week and my husband (who knows quite a bit more about fish than me) swears up and down that we should just leave it alone and it will balance out on its own. He says the tank wasn't entirely established. It has been up since last August and it has had the occassional bacterial bloom but this one is insane. I got some advice on here in another post to do multiple weekly water changes to keep the nitrates down and well I started too until my husband wanted to take over so..... our fish are in his hands. He seems to think that the spot on the gourami might be chlorine burn.

Sort of on a different note... with water changes. Do most of you add the conditioner to the new water before adding to the tank or add it too the tank while adding new water. We use a python and normally just add the conditioner to the tank water be fore filling up with new water. Also .. if I do water changes multiple times in a week to keep the nitrates down.. what percentage water change should a be doing?

Sorry.. I know I am all over the place with this problem... thank you for any help/information you can provide.

------>going to take more pics

bettababy 02-07-2010 03:05 PM

That is very obviously a bacterial infection, but not columnaris. It would be impossible to find out exactly what strain of bacteria without getting a slide under a microscope.

I hate to say this, but your husband is way off based on what you put here in this thread. A high nitrate level will not "balance itself out" unless you are set up for anaerobic (denitrifying) bacteria to do the job for you, such is found in a refugium situation. Aerobic bacteria (nitrifying bacteria) will break down ammonia to nitrite, and nitrite to nitrate. In the average freshwater aquarium, the only way to effectively remove nitrate is through water changes and gravel vacs, and the use of filter medias.

How often are you feeding the fish? How much each time and what foods? Its always a good idea to try to find the source of the problem rather than just treating the symptoms. Heavy feeding is one of the most frequent causes of high nitrates, along with not enough water changes and overstocked tanks.

I'm also wondering , how big are the parrot fish? Parrotfish are known to be dirty fish due to their size, growth spurts, and messy feeding habits and high waste outputs. Angelfish also tend to have quite high waste output.

A simple solution for you would be to use something such as PuraPad in the filter alongside of whatever other media you are using.
PURA Filtration Pad

Your best bet for treating this infection effectively would be to move the loaches to quarantine and treat the main tank with triple sulfa. Any of the medications safe for the other fish are not going to be safe for the loaches, and it sounds as if some of your other fish may already be infected, if not, they have all been exposed to the bacteria and should be included in the treatment with the gourami.

When using triple sulfa please take precautions to protect yourself. Many people are allergic to this stuff. It is a powder, so you want to be careful not to inhale any of the dust, and you want to wear latex gloves and avoid direct skin contact... then wash well with soap and water when you're done handling it. Once in the water you may or may not have a reaction to it when handling the water during water changes, so if you can wear protective gloves this would also be helpful. Standard surgical gloves can be used when handling the powder, but I would not use those while working in the tank. The heavy duty gloves you can purchase for washing dishes would be safer when dealing with aquarium water and its animals.

Follow the medication directions exactly and be careful not to overdose, remove carbon from the filter during treatment.

Hope this helps and your fish have a speedy recovery.

bettababy 02-07-2010 03:11 PM

I forgot to address your water conditioner question... sorry.

I also use a python hose, have been using them for over 20 yrs now... dosing directly into the tank is usually fine as long as you have good circulation. Be sure to only dose enough conditioner for the amount of water you change (not the whole tank each time) and if you can pour it near the filter where the flow going back into the tank can help to mix it up, thats also a plus.

If you are doing multiple water changes in a week, small changes are safer for the fish than large ones, so up to 20%, 2 - 3 times/wk is safer than 50% once/wk. During treatment follow water change instructions according to what the meds label reads. If you work with the PuraPad I suggested above, also remove that during treatment. PuraPad or carbon should be added to the filter after treatment to remove the medication.. at which time your multiple water changes each week can resume as you wish.

gmdf411 02-08-2010 12:58 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Feeding Tue-Sat: 2 pinches flake food, 2 algea wafers, and 6 cichlid pellets. (All in the morning)

Sun-Mon: 2 frozen cubes of a freshwater tropical fish food mix, 3 freezedried tubiflex cubes, and 1
freeze dried brine shrimp ball (I divide this feeding... frozen in the morning and the rest
in the afternoon.

Parrot fish: They are only about 3-4" right now. Do you think my tank is overstocked? I tried to be so careful when selecting the fish I wanted in there.

Quarantine tank: How do I set up this so quickly?... with water from my current tank? I am clueless on how to go about setting that up. I will try to do a forum search on this as I am sure this isn't the first time someone has asked. Wouldn't this greatlly stress the loaches out? (I am sure you know exactly what you are talking about .. just curious) What if they are infected as well (I haven't seen anything on them, but I haven't seen anything on anyone except the gourami who now seems to be missing some of his dorsal fin). Is there any medication that would be able to treat everyone? Is there any way a LFS can identify exactly what kind of bacterial infection is there?

Thank you for your help and patience with me. I am posting some more pics of the gourami and of the parrot fish that has lightend up... he was always lighter on the bottom half but now he is even lighter.. almost white (stress?). He has always been a bit different in color than my other one. I am posting one more of an angel's lips. Just don't remember them looking like that but I could be freaking out a little... Don't want my fish to start dying off! I can't believe how attached I am to fish. LOL Each one is interesting in their own way.


gmdf411 02-12-2010 07:14 AM

All communication has stopped. Just wondering if anyone is out there? Please talk to me. One of my beautiful angelfish died last night!

bettababy 02-12-2010 02:04 PM

Sorry for missing your last post, not sure how that happened. Also sorry to hear about the loss of your angelfish. Without the medication there isn't much more I can offer to get rid of the infection.

Quarantine tank can be set up using the main tank to get it started. You can use water from the main tank (don't gravel vac for this) and then top both tanks with clean, fresh water... this will act as a semi large water change. You can use a sponge filter in QT or hang on filter with media from the main tank to help avoid large spikes in ammonia and nitrite. Add a heater set for the same temp as the main tank, but no substrate (gravel). QT tanks can be left bare bottom, this makes it much easier to keep them clean during treatments. Also add some artifical decor, such as silk or plastic plants so that the fish have plenty of shelter while in QT. By using artificial decor in the QT tank this keeps them resuable and safe for the future. Not all medications are safe to dose in a tank with live plants... and it also makes the QT tank easier to maintain for future use.

As for your stocking questions... based on your water params I would say this tank is quickly approaching overcrowded, and this is going to get worse as the parrots get larger... Parrot fish are known for being dirty fish, such as oscars and other large cichlids. I also don't suggest mixing angelfish with dwarf gouramis, that is a conflict waiting to happen. Angelfish are known for their aggression as they mature and they occupy the same territories in the tank as the gouramis.

As for further stressing the loaches, I really don't see a whole lot of choice in that matter. There is not a medication that will safely and effectively treat a bacterial infection in all of your fish together. The loaches are very sensitive to medication and what would be needed for them is very different than for the other fish in your tank. The stress of what I'm suggesting would be much less than the alternative options.

I think I covered everything you asked about... if I missed something I apologize. Please post again if you have more questions. I will try to keep closer eye on this thread.

gmdf411 02-12-2010 08:45 PM

Thank you so much for the advice and information! Sorry if my comment was impatient... I'm just a little stressed.

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