| || |
Stubborn "fungus", Neon Tetras--
I cannot tell you what this is-- But I feel like I know EXACTLY what you are talking about.
My son had a group of 13 neons that had lived for some time in his 29 gallon tank. He is only six, so I am the main care-taker for the tank and did regular water changes and water tests. The only presence was 10 ppm or less of Nitrates at any time-- No ammonia or Nitrites. All the fish seemed to be doing well--
One day I noticed that one neon's mouth looked different-- not like fungus or infection-- but just like it had a small white spot on it. It stayed this way for months and no one else seemed to really think anything was there, but me. It was in July (a couple months after I first noticed it) that it turned into something like looked like a small bubble.-- it was round, not like fungus.
I looked online and read several descriptions of this being a "nick" and something being caught under the skin (like a body fluid, i think it was-- it is now almost April, so this was months ago, so bear with me) and that it would rupture like a blister and be fine, but to watch for fungus. So, I did nothing. It got bigger and bigger until I don't think the fish could eat-- and then the next day, it was gone-- So I thought it was over. The fish never acted sick during this time-- stayed within the group, swam, and ate (and even when the bubble was huge, it still chased for food)
It wasn't until a week or so later, I saw that the nick had returned-- So, not being able to find anything on-line about this, I used something for fungus (and honestly, I cannot remember exactly what, but I think it was Jungle Fungus Eliminator or Fungus Guard)-- It did nothing-- again-- the bubble grew, and popped.
Clearly I should've taken the fish from the tank at this point (or before!). Honestly, it had been at least ten years since we kept fish, and I was returning to it for my son and had forgotten a lot about good care-taking. This had been our first problem encountered in the year+ time his tank was set up, so I did rather poorly this time... but let me continue.
And then, a second neon developed the same thing-- Mouth bubble, pop. I looked on-line again-- and then thought perhaps it was bacterial-- so I used one of the maracyns (and again, i can't remember specifically what at this point-- but in all honesty-- at some point or other, I used them ALL.)-- By this time, fish 3 had gotten a white spot on it's lip, fish 2 was still getting bubbles, and fish one had bubbles and now a ragged tail.
I finally decided to remove ALL the neons. None of the other fish showed any signs of illness (there weren't many-- a pleco, some corys, and a 3 swordtails. This may have been something that came in on a female swordtail. She promptly had babies in the tank (2 survived) and then she died.)
I think it was Christmas when the first neon died-- The path of whatever this was seemed to be-- White lips, bubble (recurring), ragged fins, white-stuff on body. (I believe increased slime coat and not fungus)-- I have been calling it "neon tetra disease", but honestly, it sounds nothing like neon tetra disease from what I've read. The description in later phases is like columnaris, but it responds to nothing that is supposed to help with columnaris.
I very carefully and slowly tried different medications, kept the water quality up, did water changes and carbon changes between medications, allowing "breaks" between-- I have used Jungle Fungus (eliminator or guard), Maracyn and Maracyn II, Maracyn Oxy, Coppersafe, Melafix, Primafix. Nothing has had the slightest effect. I think it must've taken about 6 months to run through all of those (some I used concurrently when it was labeled ok to do so) and then just resigned to letting it run it's course. I keep the water very clean, test it's parameters, and still, each one follows the same path. Now, over 9 months after noticing the first white lips, there are 5 neons left of the original 13. 3 of these currently have the 'bubbles' and nothing else, one has bubbles and ragged tail, and one is covered in the white slimey looking fungus-looking stuff. Even so-- they all act TOTALLY NORMAL-- trying to eat, etc, until they die.
Because I happened to get some maracyn plus recently for a new glass cat I have that was having some bacterial issues (different tank of course!), I decided to try maracyn plus (which until this point I couldn't find anywhere) in the neon tank. I put the last dose in today and have honestly seen absolutely no change, not even in the 3 fish that are just beginning with their problems. (I wish I would've had enough fish tanks to try to seperate the ill ones from the healthy, but really, once I realized that I was dealing with something big and contagious, they would've all been exposed.)
No other fish in my son's tank has had any issues. It only affected the Neons.
I have no idea what this is, have found no information on line, and it has responded to no treatments. I am normally not a medication-happy person (I don't even take tylenol for myself!)-- but after watching these poor fish go through this process, I wanted to try everything, thinking it couldn't be worse then what their fate seemed to be. The "hospital tank" has become a "hospice tank".
(This really left me dumbfounded-- When I was a child, I always had a ten gallon tank in my bedroom and I can't say I really knew anything about keeping fish back then-- I would clean the tank when it looked dirty, basically, and throw out the floss and carbon from my old-fashioned filter and replace it now and then. (I cringe now about the poor fish I kept back then!)-- and the type of fish I always had in the tank were Neons-- and honestly, somehow they survived my poor, negligient, ignorant care! So to have this problem on such a big scale in a tank that-- by all tests and evidence-- was being well-kept, somewhat pulled the rug from beneath me and has left me shy of neons.)
I would love to hear any experience or advice on these few remaining little fellows. (I would've euthanized them all if they didn't seem so NORMAL otherwise... now I am just letting them live-out their lives, I guess.)