Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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richsonn 10-06-2006 12:51 AM

diagnosis and treatment for whitish patches
I have a stable, heavily planted 20 gallon tank with co2 injection and about 2.5 wpg. The tank is about 1.5 years old. Last week I added six new jumbo neons. The tank was home to three adolescent angels, two siamese algae eaters, and a couple of jumbo tetra.

About four days after the new tetras were added (sans quarantine, alas) the algae eaters and angels changed their behavior. They became sluggish, with the sae staying under the java ferns all day and the angels huddling together under the HOB water return.

Five days after the new tetras were added I noticed that four of the new tetras had disappeared, but I assumed they had been eaten by the angels. Then I found one of my mature tetras at the bottom of the tank and became really concerned.

Six days after the new tetras were added two of the angels were gone, with 2mm x 2mm whitish flakes of skin hanging off their mouths and patches on their fins. Now the third and final angel has the same on its side (see picture).

I'm running through a four day course of API E.M. Erythromycin, in the hopes that it will clear things up.

I've been testing my water almost daily, without any surprises. Ph is 7.4, Ammonia is 0, Nitrates and Nitrites are basically zero unless I fertilize (the plants take up everything I put in). Iron is barely measurable, so I don't think I overdid the trace elements.

Any comments or suggestions, even if it is just to tell me that I should have acted quicker (I was just too smug, because the tank has been so stable for so long...argh), would be appreciated.


Rich in Santa Cruz

crazie.eddie 10-06-2006 01:36 AM

Neons are a bit tricky to add, even in a well established tank. Sadly, it appears to be normal to have a few die. Neons appear to be a bit more sensitive to water conditions and stress.

Have you checked the water parameters of the place you bought the neons from? If they are rather drastic in comparison to yours, I would suggest finding a new place or slowly acclimating them to your tank parameters.


Originally Posted by crazie.eddie
How did you acclimate the fish?

Unless you know the water parameters are the same as yours, you should acclimate them properly..

1. Turn the lights off in the tank
2. Float the bag in the tank, this will allow the temp in the bag to adjust to the tank temp
3. After about 15 minutes, open the bag and pour some water from the tank in the bag. I normally like to use a disposable shot glass or dixie cup.
4. After another 15 minutes, add more tank water to the bag.
5. Keep adding water until the bag gets full. Then empty some of the water in the bag into the sink and continue with 4.
6. Net the fish in the bag and release into the tank. The tank lights should still be off. Best to leave the lights off over night.

For sensitive fish:
1. Obtain as much water as you can from the tank the fish were in.
2. Put the collected water and the fish into a small container
3. Using an airline tube, start a syphon from the tank into the container. Tie a small knot on the airline tube so that the water drips into the container.
4. When the container gets full, empty some of the water.
5. Continue the drip method.
6. The water in the container should reach the same temp as the tank. Check the temp with the thermometer. If there is a big difference in temps, put the fish in the bag with the water from the container and float the bag in the tank for about 15 minutes.
7. Net the fish in the bag and release into the tank.

Regarding the injury on the angel. The line on the angel looks too straight. It does not appear to be a heater burn. I was curious on how big your SAE's are? I know adult SAE's can get aggressive and have been known to latch on to fish. Try to see if the mouth of SAE appears to be about the same width of the mark on the angel.

After looking at it more closely, it just appears to have lost some scales. The good thing is, it will grow back. Just make sure you keep the water clean. Using erythromycin will help in case of infections, but as long as you keep the water clean, it should be fine. My smallest clown loach some how acquired a taste for angelfish scales. I had noticed the scales on the angels gone and one day, I noticed the loach just eating the scales off the side of it. The angel just stood there, letting it do it. I captured the loach and placed it in another tank for about a month to let the angel heal itself. When I did return the loach, it never even touched the angel anymore. I guess it knew I was punishing it for it's actions. :D

richsonn 10-06-2006 05:52 PM

Thanks Eddie!

What a mischievious clown loach (and they look so playful; who would've thought?).

I wouldn't be so worried about the white patch if the other two mature angels hadn't expired two days ago with white flakes of skin falling off around their mouths and fins. I don't want my last :( angel to meet the same fate.

Nevertheless, it seems either the water changes or the antibiotics are helping this last fella, because the white patch hasn't grown over the last two days.

The SAEs are 3.5 inches long. The white patch on the angel is about 8x the size of their mouths, so I feel an aggressive SAE is unlikely here, but I won't rule it out.

I'll continue to monitor fish health and water quality. Hopefully both the angel and the sluggish SAEs have turned some sort of corner already.


crazie.eddie 10-06-2006 07:32 PM

Sorry to hear about the other angels. I hope this one does make it fine.

I thought it was rather strange that my loach was eating the scales from the angel. It made me think that the angel had something irritating it where the scales were and the loach was just helping it out by picking it off. Oh well. I'm glad the little issue resolved itself. I would have hated to seperate the loach with the rest of the group.

bettababy 10-20-2006 12:53 AM

Just a quick warning, angelfish don't last too long in a 20 gallon tank. As they get older they tend to get more aggressive and can be very territorial, alongside of the fact that they reach 6 - 8 inches in diameter at full grown. If you want to keep angelfish, I'd highly suggest a much larger tank.

richsonn 10-20-2006 12:57 AM

Angelfish RIP
Thanks for the advice!

Unfortunately about a day after my last post the final angel bit the dust. I think the new tetras brought in some velvet and that took care of the angels and most of the tetras.

The tank has stabilized and the SAEs have survived, along with three of the neon tetras.

I'll probably restock with some smaller fish, since my 20 long is indeed no place for a mature angel!


Lupin 10-20-2006 01:01 AM

Hiya Rich!!!:wave:

You're back eh.:mrgreen: Hope you could visit this site more often.:thumbsup:

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