I have an oxydoras niger catfish what has recently developed several ulcers after a new fish was introduced in the tank and subsequently died (yes, I know, bad me for not quarantining), it was a cichlid and looked to have fin rot. There is a large, distinct ulcer cranial to his pectoral fin that is especially worrisome. Unfortunately my camera is not working and I can't post pictures. I did an 80% water change yesterday, and tried treating with Melafix the previous week. A very small amount of ammonia was present on the prior water check (probably due to the un-eaten food). I'm a veterinary technician and was thinking about getting a culture swab of the ulcer to see what its sensitive to as far as antibiotics. Anyone out there with any better ideas?
I will do what I can to help you, which can sometimes be a little difficult via internet. It sounds as if this started as an injury, yes? Does it look infected? Red coloration, white coloration of the skin around the outside edges? Any signs of fungal growth?
Also, some basic info would help a lot too...
Tank size, tank mates (what species, how many of each), water params for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH... filtration, live plants, water temp, type of substrate, etc? Also would help to know if you have a quarantine tank available for treatment? How long has it had this "ulcer"? and can you keep trying to get a photo please?
Also, is he still eating at all? If so, what foods is he accepting?
The more info you can offer the faster I can suggest a treatment for you.
If he is not already in quarantine I am going to suggest it (unless he has no tank mates). The other thing is to keep the water params in check, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate under 20. I am already thinking I know what medication will work best for you, but I need the basic info before I can suggest anything, for safety's sake.
It sounds like a bacterial infection that is beginning to clear up, possibly fungal was trying to take hold but didn't make it. Because of the schedule of events and changes you listed I am apt to believe this was very likely caused or contributed by a water quality issue which your water changes seem to have resolved. Track ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH closely for a while to be sure it isn't fluctuating after the massive water change you performed. Small daily water changes (about 10 - 15%) are the best solution for handling that without causing the tank to mini cycle, which would make things worse.
Go easy on the salt. Too much of a good thing is no good.
If the higher temp is being tolerated without problems, I would suggest keeping it there until all of the sores are completely healed. I also would not be trying to medicate if you are currently seeing improvements. Quite often fish have the ability to recover/heal on their own if conditions allow for it. What he needs most is healthy, nutritional diet, clean water, and as little stress as possible.
I'm not going to suggest a medication to have on hand for the future, as each situation differs and what may happen in the future may not require the same treatment options. IF things look like they take a turn for the worst, please let me know and we can sort it out further, get a safe treatment established, etc. I also don't like to put treatment plans on open forum when I don't have to because I noticed that many people try to copy an example rather than waiting/seeking help for their own specific situations... and that can have deadly consequences. What works for one may not apply to or work for someone else. Being a vet tech, I'm sure you understand about that.
Glad to hear things are looking better, I hope it continues that way.
I can't describe how thankful I am for your reply and information. He's looking fantastic now, nothing but the water changes and salt added (as directed on the aquarium salt box). The ulcers are almost entirely gone, he's swimming all around at each level in the tank, and gobbling up his food pellets like the "monster" that he is. So glad that it seems to have cleared up without medication so next time, there's less risk of resistance.
Again, thank you so much! Its been a horrible challenge to find good fish knowledge here in WA....thank goodness for great forums such as this!
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