Tropical Fish Keeping banner

hemorrhagic septicemia HELP!!!!

11270 Views 17 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  roliva01
Ok, so I have been working on fixing up a friend's fish tank and I think I have finally figured out what this disease is in the tank...hemorrhagic septicemia so I've done some reading about it and I think I understand the basics, but I really need help! There is already a big tinfoil barb that died, although I'm not sure what he had. The tank is 75 gallons, stocked with 3 tiger barbs, one parrot chiclid, and one Pleco. I have been able to see all the symptoms since I started trying to figure out the problem over a month ago. Everything has gotten worse since then. I saw them before, and they looked stressed, but she says the problem really began when they tried to add a batch of glofish who mysteriously disappeared(probably eaten by the parrot)
But anyway, the tiger barbs are the ones where I'm really seeing the red splotches and lethargic behavior. One even flipped over for a second at the top last week. I'll add a picture.
The water parameters are
Nitrate 20
Ammonia, above0.5, less than 1
Nitrite, 0
I don't know what they were last month when the problem appeared though.
So, my big questions are these:
1 where did it come from????
2. Is it contagious ?
3. Is it treatable at this point, or will I need to eutanize the fish.

Thank you so much!!


See less See more
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
so i've been following the other thread "How to tell someone their setup is bad?"

and i'm curious, is there hope for the fish ? (i guess we'll find out, i hope so)

glofish, ... those fish that were genetically engineered for additional looks through DNA manipulation ?
i guess this is a point for saying leave nature alone, you're going to mess up everything.
-but don't mean to distract

more importantly, i am worried for the fish, i am eager to hear they can be treated and will recover
best of luck, i hope some knowledgeable people can help out :)
The term I learned for what I think you are describing is: 'bacterial hemorrhagic septicemia'. There's a variety of meds out there that are used to deal with it, as well as philosophies of approach. Mine would be to use Tetracycline, as soon as possible. That arrests the infection within a day. The ones most affected will likely die but those that haven't succumbed or aren't too severe, should pull through. The med needs to be in the tank for a couple of days and then you should do water changes to remove the drug, and get things back to normal. It's like an ear infection in that the fish need an antibiotic to stop and kill the colony, and then remove it from your system.
Thanks for following along Flear! I too hope we can resolve this soon...
Thanks Jimscott for the info! Do you know if tetracycline is a medicine that I can buy in like, the big box type pet stores? Or will I have to order it online...
Posted via Mobile Device
I don't know if places like Petsmart, and the like, would have them. I would be reasonably confident the family run businesses, the ones that are run by true hobbyists, would have it. Going by memory, there are two strengths - 250 & 500 mg. I would definitely go with 500 mg, and I would purchase it as soon as you can. I would call around and see who has it. Other meds that deal with bacterial infections are Sulfa, EM, and the dyes. My opinion is that TC is the most effective, even if turns the water amber.... and then dark purple, days later...
Should we take out the carbon filter inserts while dosing?
After we have dosed for the suggested amount of time and the symptoms have gone away, will it be ok then to start adding more fish back in? What could have caused the disease on the tank in the first place?
Posted via Mobile Device
hey :-D
i've always heard to take carbon out while dosing,then put it back in after.
gosh i hope things get sorted.
Oh, also, what is the difference between the bacterial and viral strains of this? How can you tell the difference?
Will hard water make the medicines ineffective? I read something about it bonding I calcium or something...?
Posted via Mobile Device
my guess (and with what the fish are going through, it may not be a smart guess.

a massive water change, may soften the water, but would dilute the infection in the water for sure
then medicate and whatever else goes into that process.

but with how the fish are doing, i dono what would cause more stress or not :(
Tetracycline is a pretty common drug, you should be able to find it in most box stores. Just try to buy just tetracycline, I know that a lot of companies sell mixes of drugs and I'm not entirely convinced that combining drugs is very effective.

The blood poisoning probably happened due to the ammonia in the water.

Do you have a smaller tank to treat the fish? I'm asking because treating a 55 gallon tank could run you a lot of money. Unless they are willing to cover the charges for the medicine.
75. 75 gallons. No, we don't have another tank though:( they actually look a lot better today! Is it possible for this to cure itself? I see way fewer red marks on their bodies, before they were obvious, but I just looked at them and I actually had to search to find the red scratchy marks. So... If it's going away... Maybe we misdiagnosed? Or is it getting. Better, or what? I. Thinking maybe we should dose anyway, because it seems like the tetracycline will help anyway? Maybe?
Posted via Mobile Device
The treatment would help them.
Improving water conditions could help, but considering that there is still ammonia in the water they probably aren't going to get better. Do your best to try to get ammonia levels done.

If you do decide to use tetracycline, make sure to run a full course of the medication for the tank size. Which yes could get expensive. And you do have to remove carbon from the filter.

I just saw that question about viral vs bacterial. Viral infections are quite intimidating, since technically viruses can't be cured. Fish do adapt over time and they might become immune to the symptoms, but this could cause problems for future inhabitants. I don't know if the viral strain of this issue affects tropical fish, most of what I've seen is it in wild populations of temperate fish species.

Even so I don't think it is misdiagnosed, definitely some form of ammonia poison in one way or another.
All right! Hopefully we will be able to pick up a large bottle at a reasonable price:/
The extr water changes are definately helping thorium so I'm glad things are looking up!
Posted via Mobile Device
  • Like
Reactions: 1
This is an observation: The more fish I had in a tank, the more likely the inhabitants were susceptible to bacterial infections. One cause, and there are more out there, is an injury. accidental or intentional by another fish. If possible, I would set up a 'hospital tank', as was suggested above. In general, it's better to have more tanks with fewer fish, than having more fish in one tank. I speak from experience from adding just one more pair of guppies to a tank...

Move quickly with the meds, though.
  • Like
Reactions: 2
ammonia reading are high,obviously tank is not cycled or has crashed. i would not add more fish until the tank is in a stable cycle for awhile.also would not add more fish until a quarantine tank is set up for them.then stock slowly.
  • Like
Reactions: 2
So, here's what's happening.the tank is looking lots better, as are the fish, but they still appear quite stressed. I told her that she should treat the tank with tetracycline anyway to get rid of the rest of the bacteria that was infecting the tank, to be sure it is safe before adding anything new or relaxing the wc schedule. I get the feeling that they really don't want to treat though, because the tank looks so nice right now, they believe it's all fixed and the problem is gone. So, what do you guys think? Can it go away completely on its own and cure itself?? To treat, or not to treat? It will only cost around 14 dollars btw.
Also, I am still concerned that we may not have seen the end of the problems yet in this tank, since the stocking is still questionable, and we have no solid answer as to what the underlying problem and influence in all this was...?
Any ideas from you guys? I posted the same question on the other thread, because I know there is a different group following along.
Posted via Mobile Device
See less See more
Posted via Mobile Device
Posted via Mobile Device
I know its a dead thread but enjoyed the reading? What became of the tank and its inhabitants?
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.