Blood Parrot fin rot?


A few months back, I was having issues with my Blood Parrot and what seemed to be "fin rot" along with the Convicts, plus the Convicts had scraping marks on their scales. I tried multiple treatments over a period of 3 months with varied results. I finally cured it by emptying out the tank completely, bleaching all the substrate, rocks, plastic plants etc..., cleaning the tank and using twice the recommended salt. (no salt comments please... it DOES work).
I just did a water change about 4 days ago and cleaned out my filter pump and rinsed the charcoal filter and it's back again. The woman at my LFS suggests that possibly my water is "too clean"?
Also, my LFS says rinsing my charcoal filter is not recommended but replacing it instead. The worst part about getting advice on fish care is you get advice across the board. Between my LFS, (who gets advice from "her" fish guru, Fishlore, and even the directions on the packages, it's hard to know what to do. I figure the most consistent answers from experienced fish keepers is the way to go.
Currently, I have the charcoal out, and I'm treating the tank with "lifeguard", and melafix. I've also added "Stability" by "Seachem" to re-establish the bio filter. (It's a "whisper" filter with (2) carbon, one like a large open sponge).
While the directions on the medications say to remove the carbon, my LFS is saying to alternate days the carbon is out of the tank so I don't deprive the fish of it's benefits while I'm treating them?

So, my questions are:
1- Could "too clean" of water cause these symptoms?
2- While treating the fish, carbon in, out, or combination of both?
3- Rinsing or replacing carbon? A combination of both? How often?
4- If the cause is the water being too clean, do you think this is bacterial or a fungus?

Since I just did a water change, my water parameters are "perfect" according to the test kit so I don't have much to go on so I'm inclined to lean toward the "water is too clean" theory although, it actually cured it last time except for the fact that I did not clean the pump or rinse the filter last time.


Good morning,

Fin rot can be brought on by poor water conditions or due to an injury to the fish such as fin nipping, then a secondary infection sets in.

Usually pristine water conditions is all that is needed for fin rot and or nipped fins. If the situation is getting bad then my first choice for treatment for the fish that I have would be Pima Fix and Melafix or both in combination. These remedies are made from natural products.

Some medicines may destroy your biological filtration or beneficial bacteria needed to sustain the tanks cycle so you have to be careful what you choose to medicate with.

Sometimes over cleaning can be as harmful as not cleaning at all. When you over clean the tank and filter then you are removing the beneficial bacteria needed to sustain the tanks cycle. This will give you increased ammonia levels which can be fatal to your fish. Your tank and filter maintenance needs to be spread out and not all done at the same time or the same day.

If you have readings other than 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and under 20 nitrates, then daily water changes are necessary with Prime or Amquel +, some chemical to detox these levels, until you have regained the cycle 0,0 under 20. Once you have added a chemical to detox these levels wait 24 hours to test for accurate results.

Activated Carbon:
Follow the directions on the medicines or treatments you use as to removing the carbon or not. Most of them will have it listed on the label if it should be removed.

My two cents on activated carbon : I'm a firm believer that every freshwater aquarium should use it. Granted it is a personal choice and many members only use it at certain times, if they use it all. I respect that and it's their decision.

I use it around the clock in all of my tanks, changing it out every 3 weeks. I don't feel that carbon masks any problems but removes them as long as you change it out periodically. I change mine every 3 weeks for fresh. It absorbs minerals and organic substances, helps to keep your water clear, eliminates foul odors. It will also remove medications and discoloration in the water (caused by driftwood for an example). If you're running more than 1 filter on a tank, the carbon does not have to go into every filter only 1. I have 5 filters on my 265g and I only use it in 1 of them. The other filters you can stuff full of good bio media. (sponges, ceramic cubes and tubes, bio balls).

I've stopped saying that the Activated Carbon (AC) leaches what it has collected back into the tank. There are people on both sides of the fence here. Instead I think it's more accurate to say the the AC looses it effectiveness after 3 to 4 weeks and it should be removed and replaced.

If your tank smells foul then I highly recommend adding it to your filter immediately. A water change would probably be a good idea too.

Remember, nothing beats fresh water for your fish!


My tanks are crystal clear!

I have moved your thread from Cichlids to Freshwater Fish Disease section of the forum.
  • Thread Starter


Thanks for your response. The biggest problem is that I "do" test my water frequently but, it doesn't let me know the level of "good bacteria" so it's hard to do anything but guess. For example, it seems strange that I seemed to have had the same problem a few months back and after spending around $100 and 3 months trying different treatments (melafix, pimafix, life guard, Jungle Brand Fungus Clear, and Binox) what finally "cured" it was the complete dis-assembly, cleaning and basically starting over of the tank with twice the recommended salt. They were literally cured in just a couple of days. Now I seem to have created the same issue with what seemed to be the cure before.
As I stated before, I'm using Life Guard and Melafix right now (4 days so far) along with the "Stability" to re-establish or enforce the "Bio Filter" and I have the carbon removed. The Parrot is getting worse. The fin rot or shredding has moved to "both" pectoral fins now and has affected from the tips of the fins inward about half way inward and I'm starting to see some very small splitting in his tail fin. It is spreading now to one of the convicts' pectoral fins as well as some very small white specks appearing on all three of the convicts scales and on one of them the white specks are on the tips of the dorsal fins.
The carbon I removed was easily 6 months old (I've read everywhere you can rinse it out in the removed tank water during a water change, apparently wrong). Maybe I should stop the treatments that don't seem to be helping and just use the "Stability" and a new charcoal filter?
I "do" have some Pimafix I haven't tried this go around yet but I'm concerned that it's getting worse and I may not have the luxury of time to keep trying things and just throwing the book at it. The Parrot is about 6 years old and the Convicts are just over 2 year old. While I hate to lose "any" fish, I really don't want to lose these ones. They are very interactive normally and their maturity has developed beautiful fins and are just overall beautiful and enjoyable fish.
I've tried to take a picture but the fins always come out blurry. The thin membrane between the spines of the pectoral fins is disappearing and there is a milky white substance on the membrane and spines right next to where the membrane is gone/rotting.


Good afternoon,

If your fish appear to have been sprinkled with salt, then it's more thank likely ICH.

I'm afraid that your fish may be over medicated.

Carbon loses its effectiveness after 3 to 4 weeks and should be replaced for fresh.

If you feel your fish have ICH along with everything else, then I would use the method below:

Increase the tanks temperature to 86 degrees and leave it there for a full two week period. Even if the fish appear to be free of the parasite, leave the temperature increased for the full two weeks. Raise the temperature slowly throughout the day. 2 degrees per hour should be fine.

Warmer water requires more oxygen so adding an air stone/supply line may help.

Do two gravel vacuums each week to remove the spores that fall off the fish and into the substrate. Make sure the new water is the same (86) temperature as what is in the tank.

Adding Garlic Guard or garlic juice onto the fish food 2 or 3 times each week will help to boost the fishes immune system. (link below for garlic juice):
minced garlic in a jar..just an example for those needing it
Garlic Guard:

Vita Chem (for additional vitamins) added to the fish food and directly into the tank will help the fishes overall health. Follow the directions on the bottle.

It's been my experience that salt isn't necessary with the heat treatment.

I highly recommend Quarantine for all new fish:
Quick and dirty quarantine setup

In place of Stability, I would suggest Tetra Safe Start (TSS)if you have lost your cycle. TSS only has to be added once. If you currently have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and under 20 nitrates then your tank is still cycled and there is no need for either.

Under the circumstance and with your fish being ill, I think the water changes are going to be your best bet at this point. Nothing beats fresh water for your fish. If you have lost your cycle then personally, I would regain the cycle via daily water changes and add Prime or Amquel + to detox your levels.

I've never medicated or treated my fish in the 265g tank in the 12 years that I've had them, so I really can't suggest any certain medications to use.

I have had ICH in my 33g and used the method above with 100% success.

Best wishes for your fish!

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