Disease Id - Sick Blue Ram - White Patches

Stinna

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My darling male german blue ram hasn't been looking too good. He's eating normally and is just as energetic as usual, but last night I was observing all my fish and I noticed that in certain lighting, he appeared to have large white patches all over him, mainly in his front half.

I've had him for a couple of months now and have had no problems with him except that he was very pale and shy at first (he was sold to me as a female for this reason), which I figured was because he hadn't exactly been the alpha male in the store tank. A two weeks ago I purchased a female, which was a huge success, even though she too was the runt of the tank in the store (different store than the one I got him in) - she was the last GBR and was quite thin and also still very much a juvenile (my male is full grown) though definitely a female, so the guy said I could have her for free and just see how it went. The little color she had, being juvenile, brightened up immediately, and my male was super happy about her being added to the tank - I'm pretty sure they would have held hands, if they could, they were swimming around together all the time. Sadly, she died last Sunday night for no apparent reason. By this I mean there were no external signs of illness other than that she seemingly from one day to the next became lathargic, didn't eat, and died. I'd done a 25 % water change on Saturday.

Cut to 4 days later and I notice the patches on my male. All my other fish seem fine and my GBR is out about and eating like normal. The only difference in my his behavior is that he doesn't flare his fins as often at the other fish etc., which I initially attributed to the fact that he doesn't have his little wifey to impress or protect.

My tank is a Juwel Lido 120 L with the following fish aside my GBR: 2 thick-lipped gouramis (both still just about 5-6 cm), 1 bristlenose catfish, 2 male guppies, 2 female ballon mollies and 1 male spenops. There are a loads of hiding places and whatnot. I've never had any problems with aggression between these fish, so I don't think it's his tank mates that are stressing him out.

I just tested the parameters 10 min ago and they are as follows:
Ammonia: 0-0.25 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 5 ppm
pH is somewhere just above 7 (perhaps this is the problem? It's just strange that this hasn't been a problem earlier with him though. But perhaps the pH is why the female didn't make it.)

I've included some pictures of him, though he's really fast and the patches are only visible when the light catches them in a certain way. They're barely visible from the side, but when he's facing me or always from me you can see them quite clearly on his back. For comparison, I've also included a picture of him in good health with his late little lady (0617). Please excuse the fact that my backdrop is an actual blanket at the moment, haha.

I suspect a sort of external parasite but I'd love to hear anyone's opinions. I do have an airstone and an extra filter and heaterfor a hospital tank, but I'm a little scared to use it, because the last time I used it, which was a while back, I think my fish died from the move rather than his finrot, which I was treating him for. Coincidentally, that was a GBR as well. So any tips on how best to move him, would be lovely as well.
I have salt, eSHa 2000 and eSHa EXIT on hand to treat him/them with and am waiting on a bottle of eSHa gdex to arrive in the mail.

Sorry this post got so long but I just wanted to get all the information out to begin with. Thank you in advance!
 

finnipper59

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My darling male german blue ram hasn't been looking too good. He's eating normally and is just as energetic as usual, but last night I was observing all my fish and I noticed that in certain lighting, he appeared to have large white patches all over him, mainly in his front half.

I've had him for a couple of months now and have had no problems with him except that he was very pale and shy at first (he was sold to me as a female for this reason), which I figured was because he hadn't exactly been the alpha male in the store tank. A two weeks ago I purchased a female, which was a huge success, even though she too was the runt of the tank in the store (different store than the one I got him in) - she was the last GBR and was quite thin and also still very much a juvenile (my male is full grown) though definitely a female, so the guy said I could have her for free and just see how it went. The little color she had, being juvenile, brightened up immediately, and my male was super happy about her being added to the tank - I'm pretty sure they would have held hands, if they could, they were swimming around together all the time. Sadly, she died last Sunday night for no apparent reason. By this I mean there were no external signs of illness other than that she seemingly from one day to the next became lathargic, didn't eat, and died. I'd done a 25 % water change on Saturday.

Cut to 4 days later and I notice the patches on my male. All my other fish seem fine and my GBR is out about and eating like normal. The only difference in my his behavior is that he doesn't flare his fins as often at the other fish etc., which I initially attributed to the fact that he doesn't have his little wifey to impress or protect.

My tank is a Juwel Lido 120 L with the following fish aside my GBR: 2 thick-lipped gouramis (both still just about 5-6 cm), 1 bristlenose catfish, 2 male guppies, 2 female ballon mollies and 1 male spenops. There are a loads of hiding places and whatnot. I've never had any problems with aggression between these fish, so I don't think it's his tank mates that are stressing him out.

I just tested the parameters 10 min ago and they are as follows:
Ammonia: 0-0.25 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 5 ppm
pH is somewhere just above 7 (perhaps this is the problem? It's just strange that this hasn't been a problem earlier with him though. But perhaps the pH is why the female didn't make it.)

I've included some pictures of him, though he's really fast and the patches are only visible when the light catches them in a certain way. They're barely visible from the side, but when he's facing me or always from me you can see them quite clearly on his back. For comparison, I've also included a picture of him in good health with his late little lady (0617). Please excuse the fact that my backdrop is an actual blanket at the moment, haha.

I suspect a sort of external parasite but I'd love to hear anyone's opinions. I do have an airstone and an extra filter and heaterfor a hospital tank, but I'm a little scared to use it, because the last time I used it, which was a while back, I think my fish died from the move rather than his finrot, which I was treating him for. Coincidentally, that was a GBR as well. So any tips on how best to move him, would be lovely as well.
I have salt, eSHa 2000 and eSHa EXIT on hand to treat him/them with and am waiting on a bottle of eSHa gdex to arrive in the mail.

Sorry this post got so long but I just wanted to get all the information out to begin with. Thank you in advance!
I was able to see the blotching pretty well. Instead of putting him in a hospital tank, I would recommend treating the entire tank for Columnaris. Unlike ich, Columnaris is a bacterial infection that the other fish can catch that would cause internal damage without showing any outward signs first.
 
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Stinna

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I was able to see the blotching pretty well. Instead of putting him in a hospital tank, I would recommend treating the entire tank for Columnaris. Unlike ich, Columnaris is a bacterial infection that the other fish can catch that would cause internal damage without showing any outward signs first.
Thank you very much for your reply. I live in Denmark and therefore don’t have access to a lot of the meditations etc. available in the U.S.
As far as I can research, the action I can take immediately is to lower the water temperature and add salt to the aquarium. I have found Seachem Equilibrium on the German amazon, which i believe can help me get the mineral balance in my tank back on track and thus help to prevent the disease in the future. As far as actual in-tank treatment goes, I’m a little hesitant. I know eSHa 2000 treats fish against bacterial diseases (as well as fungus) and I do see my GBR’s symptoms on the list of symptoms in then pamphlet, though it doesn’t specifically say “columnaris”. This is also a medication I have on hand and have used before.
How would you go about it?
 

finnipper59

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Thank you very much for your reply. I live in Denmark and therefore don’t have access to a lot of the meditations etc. available in the U.S.
As far as I can research, the action I can take immediately is to lower the water temperature and add salt to the aquarium. I have found Seachem Equilibrium on the German amazon, which i believe can help me get the mineral balance in my tank back on track and thus help to prevent the disease in the future. As far as actual in-tank treatment goes, I’m a little hesitant. I know eSHa 2000 treats fish against bacterial diseases (as well as fungus) and I do see my GBR’s symptoms on the list of symptoms in then pamphlet, though it doesn’t specifically say “columnaris”. This is also a medication I have on hand and have used before.
How would you go about it?
I'm not familiar with the antibiotics that you have. Different bacteria respond to antibiotics based on whether they're gram positive or negative. If I were you, I would try the antibiotics that you have. Columnaris is a fatal disease. The fish is going to need treatment. And since it's a contagious infection, the whole tank should be treated.
 

coralbandit

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Look into using potassium permanganate instead of antibiotics.
It is commonly sold [in the US] in hardware stores as a water treatment option for equipment .
Many use it for treating plants but it can oxidize fungus and bacteria when used properly.
Often known by 'Condys crystals' in other areas.
 
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Stinna

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If I were you, I would try the antibiotics that you have. Columnaris is a fatal disease. The fish is going to need treatment. And since it's a contagious infection, the whole tank should be treated.
Look into using potassium permanganate instead of antibiotics. [...]
Often known by 'Condys crystals' in other areas.
Thank you both for your replies. I was unable to find any potassium permanganate in my area or online here. The day after, my GBR was almost completely covered with the white patches, had darkened, had become lethargic, had all his fins clamped and some fin rot he appeared on his tail and dorsal fin, so I could no longer wait to see if I could locate the treatments you mentioned.

So on Monday, I decided to go for a doubled and prolonged dosis of eSHa 2000 in combination with a prolonged dosis of eSHa EXIT (they can safely be used together). 2000 is a good “general cure” and EXIT contains methylene blue, which after doing some research can also be used to treat columnaris. It also contains malachite green, which is why my water has such a lovely green tint in the pictures I attached.

The GBR was still the only one with visible symptoms, so I’ve been treating him as well with a daily 20-25 min salt dip (1.5-2 teaspoons of salt to a litre) followed by 2 hours of quarantine (all in water from the original tank to reduce stress) before going back into the original tank. He was obviously stressed out, but after just one day his fins were unclamped, he had lightened visibly and was as energetic as he used to be. So I kept doing this once a day and now the white patching is almost all gone apart from on his dorsal fin. He still has some fin rot going, but he’s coloured back up enormously, so I’m feeling confident that he’ll recover. I’m giving him a break from the daily salt dip today - do you think I should continue?
I attached some pictures of him from right now - as stated, there’s a nice malachite green colour to everything, but you can still see the remaining white patch, the fin rot, and that he’s coloured up again nice and good (though he does look exceptionally more vibrant (and less green) in person - forgive my phone camera, hehe).

I plan to let the medication sit in the water for another day, then do a 50 % water change and run some carbon in the filter, to get it all out. The Seachem Equilibrium should arrive on Monday, so I can begin adding that to the water, which should keep a healthy level of electrolyte minerals that can help prevent any future outbreaks. To ease away the fin rot, I’ll be continuing the big water changes frequently, which to my knowledge is the best way to get rid of it? (Correct me if I’m wrong - I’ve only had it one time, where the quarantine and medication was unsuccessful). I also plan on replacing the substrate , or at least removing the top half of it and thoroughly cleaning the rest, within the next few weeks, because I have a suspicion that there might be some villainous bacteria hiding in there.

Does this sound like a good plan? Thank you for taking the time to read this. I apologize for writing such novels, but I figured the more information, the better, especially for anyone else reading this that could be dealing with some of the same issues as me.
 
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