Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Byrdman 02-20-2010 06:47 PM

Scales disintegrating from head of lyretail molly
1. What is the size of your tank? 20 gallon

2. What are your water parameters? State the brand of test kit used. API Liquid Master Test Kit.
Before Treatment: Ammonia 0, Nitrate 0, Nitrite 0, pH 8.0~8.2 (last couple of weeks)
After Treatment: Ammonia 2.0 ppm, Nitrate 0, Nitrite 0, pH 8.0~8.2 (just today, did water change and AmmoLock to lower it, and added bacterial supplement. Stopping medicating tank now)

3. Is your aquarium set up freshwater or brackish water? Brackish 1.008 ~ 1.010 sg

4. How long the aquarium has been set up? Two months, used old tank's filters to set up

5. What fish do you have? How many are in your tank? How big are they? How long have you had them? Creamsicle Lyretail Mollies. 6 adults (4 females, 2 males), and 2 babies. The adults are about 1.5 inches long, the babies maybe a half inch. The adults I've had for 4 months, the babies about 1.5 months.

6. Were the fish placed under quarantine period (minus the first batch from the point wherein the tank is ready to accommodate the inhabitants)? No

7. What temperature is the tank water currently? 75 (for treatment, 80-82 normally)

8. Are there live plants in the aquarium? No, plastic only

9. What filter are you using? State brand, maintenance routine and power capacity. 2 Penguin Bio-Wheel 100's. They're each specified for up to 20 gallon tanks, placed on each side. Maintenance is to change the filters every month, offsetting each by 2 weeks (so the bacteria isn't totally lost)

10. Any other equipment used (aside from heater and filter which are two very important components of the tank)? Fluorescent light strip, and a 12 inch bubble wand hooked to a air pump.

11. Does your aquarium receive natural sunlight at any given part of the day? What is your lighting schedule (assuming you do not rely on sunlight for our viewing pleasure)? No natural sunlight, it is lit up from about 10 am till about 10 pm, sometimes earlier

12. When did you perform your last water change and how much water was changed? How often do you change your water? Do you vacuum the substrate? Last week, changed about 10%. Usually I do weekly 10-20% changes, but have been doing it more often as of late (about 10% every day). Gravel vacuum about every two weeks

13. What foods do you provide your fish? What is the feeding schedule? Tetra-Min Flake food and frozen bloodworms. Feed them twice a day (morning and night), giving bloodworms about every three or so nights.

14. What unusual signs have you observed in your fish? Largest female has popeye (for about 2 months now), and is losing scales on the top of head. Small holes all over front of head. Discoloration (whitening) of scales leading up to dorsal fin. Other fish have white outlines of their scales above their head leading towards the dorsal fin

15. Have you treated your fish ahead of diagnosis? If so, what treatments did you use? State your reasons for planning ahead of proper diagnosis. Used Maracyn I and II for two weeks of treatment (for Popeye), treated water with Coppersafe 2 months ago. Penicillin for one week (instructed by fish store owner), KanaPlex and Metronidazole for a week for possible Columnaris or Hole in the Head, and gave double strength Methylene Blue baths for 30 mins twice a day for a week for Columnaris. All treatments were based off of previous advice and diagnosis from other people, however nothing has changed.

As you can see I've tried everything I can to figure out what this is and to treat it. I lost a fish to something like this about 6 months ago. About two months ago, I found the largest female had popeye, so I began with Maracyn I & II as directed by a Petsmart employee (why did I listen to them?) Afterwards, the scales on the top of the head started to disappear, after which I went to the local tropical fish store on recommendation, they told me to run penicillin which I did. Nothing changed. Was suggested to try Maracyn I and II again, and did. Nothing. Forum suggested I do Methylene Blue baths, did, no real noticeable effect. I've been feeding them Jungles Anti-Bacterial Food, and using the KanaPlex and Metronidazole for the last week of this, with no improvement (and the loss of my beneficial bacteria).

I'm pretty much out of money now, left with no improvement and the probable imminent death of my fish. I just want to save them. Please help :cry:
This is the sickest female. You can see the scales missing on the front of the head, and the popeye in the right eye.
Sickest Female close up, you can see the holes in the side of the head. There's a few of those all around the head. Scales look like they're being eaten away in this pic (something I couldn't see with my naked eye)
Motion Blur, but the outline of the scales in white is what I'm trying to show. Most the other fish have it, and this is how the first fish started out.

Twistersmom 02-21-2010 08:31 AM

Hello and welcome to the forum!

Poor fish. You have already used all the medications I would have suggested for treatment. I see the meds have killed your beneficial bacteria, and the tank is no longer cycled.:-(

What I would do, is discontinue use of any meds. You have ammonia in the tank, and the fish are not going to be able to recover with ammonia/nitrite in the tank, even with use of meds.

I would start doing daily water changes of 25-50%. What ever it takes to keep ammonia and nitrite at zero, or as close to zero as possible. Getting the water quality back in check, is the most important thing right now.

Byrdman 02-21-2010 01:05 PM

Yeah, I'm doing 40% water changes every day (which is expensive cause I gotta drive to get the water, I use premade stuff), and I'm adding stuff to help cycle the tank again. I also put the carbon back into the filters, so that the old meds get removed. I think I'll try continuing the Methylene Blue baths and water changes, and see what happens.

But, as a side note, does it look like Columnaris to you? Or Hole in the Head?

Should I add more things to the mollie's diet?

Anything else I should do?

Twistersmom 02-21-2010 01:23 PM

I am not a disease expert, but it does not really look like Hole in the Head or Columnaris to me. Some type of bacteria infection.

Mollies eat more veggie type foods, than meaty foods. So, it would not hurt to add more veggie type food to its diet, such as algae wafers. For now, I would cut back on feeding. Feeding will only contribute to the ammonia/nitrite problems you have.

Continuing the Methylene Blue baths might help, but I would only preform the dips in ammonia free water. Both the stress from the meds and toxins in the water, could be too hard on the fish.

You might find it cheaper to mix your own salt.

molliefan09 02-21-2010 01:29 PM

i just had the same problem with my orange lyretail molly!!! unfortunaly i had to euthanize her last night as she started developing these bubble type cysts on her head in the same area and they started rupturing and she stopped eating and was just laying on the bottom of the tank. i never did find out what was wrong with her...good luck with yours!!

Byrdman 02-21-2010 03:02 PM

She's still eating luckily, but its hard for her to compete with the other fish. I think its bacterial too, but I've hit the tank with everything anti-bacterial wise. I noticed some of the same fish from the store I bought all these from also had it too (I told the employee, showed him the worst one). Lesson learned I guess.

molliefan09 02-21-2010 03:28 PM

my girl did LOOK as bad as yours....she wasnt loosing color it was actually brighter, and looked like the scales were lifting

Twistersmom 02-21-2010 04:33 PM


Originally Posted by Byrdman (Post 329838)
She's still eating luckily, but its hard for her to compete with the other fish. I think its bacterial too, but I've hit the tank with everything anti-bacterial wise. I noticed some of the same fish from the store I bought all these from also had it too (I told the employee, showed him the worst one). Lesson learned I guess.

Did the store employee give any suggestions as to what disease the fish might have?
Columnaris takes on a fuzzy white stringy appearance, that is often mistaken for a fungus infection. Columnaris is highly contagious, but it does not appear to be that from the picture, unless I am just not seeing it clearly.
Best of luck!

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