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Sick and dying fish- multiple species

This is a discussion on Sick and dying fish- multiple species within the Tropical Fish Diseases forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I've seen those spots on fish before, but I do not know what they are. Could be a fungus, could be a bacteria, could ...

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Sick and dying fish- multiple species
Old 05-09-2013, 06:51 PM   #21
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I've seen those spots on fish before, but I do not know what they are. Could be a fungus, could be a bacteria, could be a parasite that isn't ich. Could be a pimple j/k Hopefully someone will know what they are, and be able to help you with the danios, since that appears to be a completely different issue.
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:59 PM   #22
Well if it is just a pimple, I can always pop it!

Gonna leave them in the small tank until Sat I think then I will put the neons back in the main if all seems well.

Still keeping an eye on those danios....
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:04 PM   #23
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It's a risk to put them back in the main tank before you've dealt with/figured out what is going on. I wouldn't, if I were you. I'd go out and get at least a 5 gallon for quarantine, if not a 10. Being able to quarantine new fish, and separate sick/infected fish is REALLY important for long term success in the hobby.
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:00 PM   #24
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I'm in agreement with what jaysee has posted.

I have had those white spots on fish, in fact one of my Roberti tetras got one just the other day at the base of the dorsal fin. They do not seem to spread, so I leave the tank alone. Sometimes the spots darken and become almost invisible over a period of weeks. I've no idea what they are. The fish can live on, eating normally; other times they weaken and die.

As this blotch appeared only on 1 fish, it may have nothing to do with what is killing the others. I would leave the fish isolated. They are obviously highly stressed, so can you throw in some floating plants? This may calm them a bit, which can't hurt.

The inability to swim described earlier for another fish can suddenly hit one fish; I remove it as they never recover. This does not appear to be contagious. I suspect it may be genetic, but it can be brought about by other issues such as protozoan.

Keep us posted on the state of the isolated fish.

As for the temp, it is a bit low, but these fish generally prefer it cooler than normal tropical temperatures. I would however raise it to around 75F. And water changes should be more regular and more volume; never less than once every week, and 1/3 to 1/2 the tank volume. It is quite amazing how beneficial these can be. I'm sure it is simply that the more water changed, the more active and healthy the fish remain, and fighting off this or that is easier. Works with humans, why not fish.

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Old 05-10-2013, 12:44 AM   #25
Hi jimmadsen and welcome to the forum. Chesherca asked me to take a look at your thread. Seems like you've had some problems with fish dying and you suspected neon tetra disease.

Neon Tetra Disease or the parasite plistophora hyphessobryconis is where sporozoan parasites eat away at the muscle tissue. This degradation then manifests itself in white patches or loss of color. In neons, one sure way to tell if this is the cause is if the blue strip along the side fades. As the muscle is eaten away, the fish often loses the ability to swim properly. While tetras are the most susceptible, other fish including guppies and rasboras (of which danios are related to) can also be struck. There is no treatment so euthanization is the best option.

However, not all white patches are color loss. In some cases, fish can be struck with severe enough cases of other external parasites that they overproduce slime coat, causing a white matte patch. This could also be a possible cause for the white spots.

Depending on the stress level of each fish, their immune system may or may not be able to combat an infestation. Sounds like the ones who are sick may have had suppressed or stressed immune systems.

For treatment, I'd suggest increasing the heat to 86 F in the 50gal to speed up the life cycle of any present parasites. You may need to add extra aeration as warmer water holds less oxygen. One week of this will work. For the sick fish in the hospital tank, I would also increase the heat 86 F for them if possible and add 1/2 teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon.

This part will suck but do at least a partial water change and a vacuum of the bottom of the hospital tank every day to remove any spores or parasites that may have fallen off. Continue with this treatment for two weeks. If the fish start to improve, you can start doing fewer water changes in the second week.

Now, just a brief aside: high heat does indeed speed up the life cycle of most external parasites and in the case of ich parasites, it actually prevents them from completing their life cycle at all. (Fish Diseases, Noga, pg. 97) According to this book, at 44 F, it will take the ich parasite 6 weeks or more to reach the theronts stage, where it is most susceptible to treatment. At 86 F, it will only take 3-7 days. High temps must be maintained for at least a week though, as the life cycle as noted can be 7 days.

Good luck and keep us updated. :)

Sources: Fish Diseases, Noga; A-Z Tropical Fish Diseases and Health Problems, Burgess, Bailey, and Excell; The Super Simple Guide to Common Fish Diseases, Jepson

EDIT: I went back to doublecheck and see if I missed anything. The white pimple? Possibly the beginnings of lymphocystis. This is a viral disease and thus can't be treated but it is usually nonfatal and will go away on its own within a few months. The severity of the disease depends on the fish's ability to fight it off. A fish with a weak immune system will often get covered in cauliflower-like cysts but a fish who is strong may only get one or two. It is contagious but again, whether or not other fish get it depends on their immune system. Only real dangers with lymphocystis are if the cysts burst and become infected or if the cysts cover the head and impede eating. All you can do is keep an eye on that spot.

Hope this info helps. :)
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Last edited by Sakura8; 05-10-2013 at 12:54 AM..
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Old 05-10-2013, 07:10 PM   #26
Thank you for the reply. I will bump up the heat to 86 in the 50 gallon and I will start doing 33-50% changes every Saturday. Guess I have a great excuse now to build myself a python.

Sounds like the neons should be ok if kept an eye on and kept non stressed. Since it has been just about 5 days with no apparent ongoing distress I am not as concerned as I was.

I do not have a heater for the small tank. It wasn't even really thought of to keep around as a hospital tank until all this happened. It has not had a problem maintaining room temp of around 70 degrees.

My thoughts now are to put them back into the main tank and turn the heat up. There is usually someone always home cause of our newborn so we can lay eyes on the 2 danios every few hours and scoop it out if there is any sign of trouble.

Any thoughts on that plan?

Idealy when space permits (in a small apartment now) I want to set up a 15 gallon for my kids that I am thinking could be a hospital / newbie tank. Although I woulnd't want it to be empty all the time either if I do not need it. Can I put some in there to keep it stocked or does that defeat the entire purpose.
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Old 05-11-2013, 12:09 PM   #27
How are the danios acting right now? While I'm usually against putting sick fish back into a main tank where they can easily infect other fish, I also totally understand that it may be necessary at times.

I know that some people do keep a few fish in their hospital tanks to keep a biological filter going but the problem is what to do with the fish if the tank is needed for emergency service. As I learned the hard way, switching fish around from tank to tank is a great way to pass a disease or parasites around.
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Old 05-11-2013, 12:19 PM   #28
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I leave my quarantine/hospital tanks without fish in them for weeks to months on end. I used to leave a fish in them to "keep the cycle", but have long since found that unnecessary. I do have small MTS colonies in them all, so maybe thats enough. when i get new fish, all I do is add prime for the first couple days as a precautionary measure, and not feed for a few days. Then all is well.

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Old 05-11-2013, 02:39 PM   #29
Everyone is back in the main tank and the temp is at 86 degrees. Everyone is swimming around pretty well. The danios actually seem to be more active now in the heat. So I will have to find a happy temp for them. Only problem is that my heater is 300W! Ouch.

The neons are schooling down at the bottom which was their norm and it is hard to tell but the spots I was worried about are diminished. The danios are also doing fine. The blue one with the discoloration has me still concerned but I noticed that the white spot is pretty much equal on both sides. It just does not make sense that it would be a parasite since that would not be equal (to my line of thinking).

I am doing a water change in about an hour (need to finish changing the oil in my wifes car first) thinking about a 50% change. Built my python type syphon so no more lugging milk jugs of water back and forth.

I have the API Master Test Kit on the way from Amazon. Should have it tuesday. The prices around me were much higher.

After this is settled, I will need to look at my algae problem, growing faster than everyone will eat it. But that is a question for a different part of the forum.

Thanks all, will keep doing updates.
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Old 05-11-2013, 02:44 PM   #30
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It is to be expected that the fish are more active in the warmer water.

The wattage of the heater shouldn't be a problem.

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