Question Fin shredding

robhill1965

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This will be a two-part question:

30 Gallon tank
1-Parrot Cichlid (4 inches)
3-Convict Cichlids (2 1/2 inches each)
1-Kenyi Cichlid (3 inches)
1-Red tail shark (3 inches)
3- Cory's (1 1/2 inches each)
I use aquarium salt and "Start Right" with every water change.
After a 50% water change, I noticed some white strands on one of my Convicts' mouth. I started a treatment with "Lifeguard" all in one remedy. I didn't realize that I didn't have enough for the 5 day treatement and the LFS was out so guessing it was some sort of fungus, I switched to "Fungus Clear" after two days. Within a few days, my other two Convicts and the Parrot started showing signs of "fin shredding" and "spit tail" as well as the scales on their sides seem like they have been rubbed off and a little bit of white as well on the mouths of the convicts getting that white strand problem. The Parrot has a white discoloration on his upper lip with a little bit of brown. The 4 affected fish seemed a little lethargic and agitated with each other and the Parrot wasn't eating (normally a big piggy!) None of the other fish seem to be affected. I had removed the carbon from the filter during the last week while treating. I checked my water yesterday and the nitrates and nitrites were high.
Nitrates (less than 40 ppm)
NItrites (0.25 ppm)
Amonia ( 0 )
pH was normal (I am on well water and it always runs a bit high but the fish have always been healthy. I tried to lower it once, gradually of course, and killed 2 convicts so I just leave it alone)
I did a 80 to 90 percent water change and got enough of the Lifeguard to treat for 5 days. The conditions had gotten worse with the Fungus Clear but stabilized with the Lifeguard. They are not lethargic anymore and the Parrot is eating again.
First problem, I'm unsure of what the problem is and what treatment to use. The Lifeguard seems to keep it from getting worse but I'm not seeing an improvement. It could be due to the water quality from having the charcoal out.
Second problem, apparently "Tetra" has bought out the company who makes the Lifeguard and since the ingredients are patented, there is no replacement.
I could use a little help diagnosing. It could be that I'm just being impatient and the water quality was hindering the effect of the medication?

Why is it just the two species of Cichlids affected?
What treatment do you suggest if not the Lifeguard?
Do you know of another good "all in one remedies" I've seen a few online but I'd like a good review or opinion of someone here.
 

RogueAgent94

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Welcome to FishLore!

My all in one remedy is easy. Clean water. I rarely use medicine.

Okay you may not want to hear this but I'm gonna tell you anyway. You are overstocked. Very overstocked. If all the fish are very young then they'll be fine for a little while but they will eventually have to be in a bigger tank. Your kenyi cichlid could be the reason for shredded fins. They are mbuna cichlids and should only be kept in Mbuna cichlid tanks. They are very nippy and aggressive. Your redtail shark will also be become aggressive as it matures. Your convicts will most likely kill the third convict if two pair up. The BP shouldn't be kept with very aggressive fish because they cannot bite back due to their mouths being deformed. Corries should be kept in groups of 6+

Okay now that I said that - I think that you may be experiencing flesh rot. I've heard about white strings coming off the mouths but I cannot remember what disease it is. Your best friend in this is going to be daily 50% water changes.

I really have no idea about American fish meds so I can't really help you there.

Goodluck with your fish and I hope they make it through this!

EDIT: You shouldn't have any Nitrites. Any amount of nitrites are bad for fish. How long as your tank been cycled. Add medicine to tanks can kill of the BB (beneficial bacteria) in your filter. Water changes will take care of the Nitrates. They should be below 20ppm.
 
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robhill1965

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Welcome to FishLore!

My all in one remedy is easy. Clean water. I rarely use medicine.

Okay you may not want to hear this but I'm gonna tell you anyway. You are overstocked. Very overstocked. If all the fish are very young then they'll be fine for a little while but they will eventually have to be in a bigger tank. Your kenyi cichlid could be the reason for shredded fins. They are mbuna cichlids and should only be kept in Mbuna cichlid tanks. They are very nippy and aggressive. Your redtail shark will also be become aggressive as it matures. Your convicts will most likely kill the third convict if two pair up. The BP shouldn't be kept with very aggressive fish because they cannot bite back due to their mouths being deformed. Corries should be kept in groups of 6+

Okay now that I said that - I think that you may be experiencing flesh rot. I've heard about white strings coming off the mouths but I cannot remember what disease it is. Your best friend in this is going to be daily 50% water changes.

I really have no idea about American fish meds so I can't really help you there.

Goodluck with your fish and I hope they make it through this!

EDIT: You shouldn't have any Nitrites. Any amount of nitrites are bad for fish. How long as your tank been cycled. Add medicine to tanks can kill of the BB (beneficial bacteria) in your filter. Water changes will take care of the Nitrates. They should be below 20ppm.
OK. I keep the water clean. the Nitrates and Nitrites went up because I had to remove the charcoal for treatement.
I am planning on getting a 55 gallon tank, so your comment about overstocked isn't really relevant to my question.
the shredded fins are obviously due to some sort of infection, disease etc... It's not from being attacked. The Kenyi is going to a new home and she is smaller and non agressive to the other cichlids aside from defending her own space.
The red tail grew up with Tetras and when it got aggressive, I put it in with the cichlids. He knows his place in this tank and avoids the cichlids.
The convicts are all male so there will be no pairing up.
The Parrot is more than twice the size of the convicts and is the King of the tank. Noone bothers him. He sometimes pushes the convicts away if they are in his space.
The Corys are extremely happy so I don't see why you think I need 6+. I have 3 more in a 20 gal and again, extremely happy and healthy.
While I appreciate you trying to help, I would rather just get an answer to my question than having to defend and explain. You are right though, "clean water" works best and I rarely have any issues. I normally do 80% water changes. The last time, I tried just a 50% water change and had to remove the carbon for treatment. (coincidence?) This seems to be the cause or result. So, I'm pretty sure about the cause. I'm unsure about the cure.
They are actually doing better this morning so maybe I'm jumping the gun on worrying at this stage. The Parrot is almost 5 years old and means alot to me. The convicts are 2 years old and are maturing beautifully....and mean alot to me as well.
 

ppate1977

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Rouge has very sound advice here... Though we all hate to hear it an overstocked tank WILL eventually cause problems. It may take months to show... If not longer. I would also do away with the aquarium salt, but that is just my opinion. The only products I use are prime and or amquel+. Best of luck.

Shredded fins are rarely caused by infection alone, but can easily become infected. Short of find rot it is most likely bullying.
 
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robhill1965

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Rouge has very sound advice here... Though we all hate to hear it an overstocked tank WILL eventually cause problems. It may take months to show... If not longer. I would also do away with the aquarium salt, but that is just my opinion. The only products I use are prime and or amquel+. Best of luck.

Shredded fins are rarely caused by infection alone, but can easily become infected. Short of find rot it is most likely bullying.
As I stated already.... I am getting a 55 gallon tank so I don't need any advice on fish crowding.
Use of salt seems to differ widely. I have seen it help and there is more proof out there that it is beneficial than not.

Again, as I stated before, the fins are "obviously" NOT from bullying. The little strands that hold the delicate part of the fins are "split" apart at the delicate part with little white markings (looks like a fungus).
 

ppate1977

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Get some melafix then. It is imo the safest medication since it is natural and won't harm any fish. Though you say the overcrowding is not an issue because you are "going" to get a larger tank; we were just pointing out it "could" be the issue now since the fish are not in the new tank yet. Sorry if that advice offended you.

Members that have been on FL for a long time tend to try and cover all possible issues. No one is telling you what to do, we all just try to help. Hope your fish heal up. As I said, try melafix.
 
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robhill1965

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Get some melafix then. It is imo the safest medication since it is natural and won't harm any fish. Though you say the overcrowding is not an issue because you are "going" to get a larger tank; we were just pointing out it "could" be the issue now since the fish are not in the new tank yet. Sorry if that advice offended you.

Members that have been on FL for a long time tend to try and cover all possible issues. No one is telling you what to do, we all just try to help. Hope your fish heal up. As I said, try melafix.
I personally don't believe the tank is over crowded. 30 gallons, and less than 20 inches of fish, none of which are considered high bio-load. Even if this were an issue, I am asking for a treatment. Putting them in a bigger tank would be preventative, not a treatment. I'm not "offended", just frustrated when some of the people here giving advice don't seem to take the time to read the "whole" post and subsequent replys so they understand what the person is "asking". Next time I ask a question, maybe I should just leave out the size of my tank so it doesn't cloud the issue. This is not a new tank or new fish. They have been together for at least 2 years so the living conditions are most likely not suspect. I'm reasonably confident I know what caused it. Too small of a water change and taking out the charcoal coupled with the medication raised my nitrites, nitrates, and amonia. I'm asking about treatment.
As for Melafix, it could be worth a try but I'm also trying to find a replacement for the "Lifeguard" since it treats multiple conditions.
 

ppate1977

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I hear ya. Melafix did wonders for one of my angelfish when one of my jewel Cichlids torn him to bits. It is great for final infections; both primary and secondary, and helps fins grow back quickly. I wish I could advise you to a true substitute for lifeguard if you feel that is best. I hope your fish are well and heal soon. I won't even touch on the inch per gallon debate.
 

RogueAgent94

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Even a 55g will not be big enough for all your fish. Blood Parrots are considered large bio-load fish. And the inch per gallon theory does not work any any way with larger fish. It should be only used for fish like Zebra Danios and Microrasboras.

Did I miss anything?

Melafix is one of the treatments I get here and I can say that it is a very good medicine. Best wishes for your fish!
 
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robhill1965

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I know the "inch per gallon rule" is not full proof but it does lend itself to be at least a guideline in the absence of another "rule" and less than 20 inches of fish in a 30 gallon tank gives a bit of a buffer until I get a bigger tank. Just "looking" at the 30 gallon, it seems as though they could definitely use more room to swim so a 55 gallon is on the way. The Kenyi is going away. The LFS has a customer that wants a more aggressive fish so that's my first step. The Parrot seems to have stopped growing but the Convicts are growing fast. I really love the feathery fins on the Convicts when they start to mature but I may just have to get rid of one of them. I'm running two filters (each rated for 50 gallons) so the bioload should be stable along with the water change schedule I keep. This is usually my "healthiest" tank. That's why I'm leaning towards the smaller water change, pulling out the charcoal and adding medicine as the most likely culprit. I should stick to what was working and do my 80% water changes.
Again, if anyone knows of a substitute for the "Lifeguard", I'd appreciate it. I like not having to keep multiple treatments lying around. It's much more convenient and reliable than to try and guess and risk the wrong treatment. As we all know, sometimes you need to treat asap or your little buddies are doomed.
They are doing MUCH better today so, it seems my theory was correct. A bigger water change and the Lifeguard seem to be doing the trick.
 

plecodragon

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Sorry your fish are ill. Doing water changes will help.Clean water helps heal wounds. If 80% works for you keep doing it. As for the Lifeguard situation-I did a little searching on the web and it seems to be available yet. One site I was on had it-150 tablets. Even said it was made by tetra and formally Jungle. I can only assume that it is the same product as I have not used it and don't know what the packaging looks like. You may want to also look on ebay. I do know that sometimes when products change companies, petstores don't always carry every brand-so thus you don't see it any more. Hope your fish get better.
 

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Sorry your fish are sick but glad to hear they are doing better.

Sounds like a case of Columnaris (mouth rot, body rot). Columnaris is a bacterial infection not a fungal infection. Thrives in warmer water. The most common cause is injury or poor water quality; environmental stress. Secondary infections appear from stress from a already infected fish, could be fin rot; fins shredding/splits which you see.

Some other medications are Maracyn and Maracyn-two which can be used together.

Most medications harm some good bacteria which is why it's best to treat in a separate hospital tank and not the main tank if possible. This is most likely the cause of nitrIte present and not from removing the charcoal or changing your % of water changes, if I understand correctly. If I understand your posts correctly again that you treated with medication for a week before testing your parameters? Did you test your parameters as soon as you noticed infections?

I don't use charcoal/carbon in my tanks and they do just fine. It's not necessary, more of a personnel preference.
 

RogueAgent94

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Sounds like a case of Columnaris (mouth rot, body rot). Columnaris is a bacterial infection not a fungal infection. Thrives in warmer water. The most common cause is injury or poor water quality; environmental stress. Secondary infections appear from stress from a already infected fish, could be fin rot; fins shredding/splits which you see.
Just curious, but is that also called flesh rot??
 
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robhill1965

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I tested the water parameters "before" I used the Lifeguard. Lifeguard did help with the mouths of the Convicts and the split tail of the Parrot but both still have the "shredding/splitting" pectoral fin issues (secondary infection?). After the Lifeguard, I did another water change and I'm using "Jungle Parasite Clear" at the recommendation of the helpful lady at my LFS (The convicts have some "scraping" marks on their sides with scales missing). It's supposed to deal with internal and external parasites (I had two Green Spotted Puffers in this tank for less than a day before I got them in their own tank and they had internal parasites I was able to cure). I'm also soaking some fresh raw shrimp in some "Gel Tek erythromycin". I don't really see it getting better or worse yet. Melafix is out of stock and I live in a small town in the mountains so unfortunately I'm waiting for that. They had "Primafix" so that's my next attempt. The fish are "acting" better. More lively and eating better but the pectoral fins still are ragged and have a slight white residue on the torn/split areas.
 
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robhill1965

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Sorry your fish are sick but glad to hear they are doing better.

Sounds like a case of Columnaris (mouth rot, body rot). Columnaris is a bacterial infection not a fungal infection. Thrives in warmer water. The most common cause is injury or poor water quality; environmental stress. Secondary infections appear from stress from a already infected fish, could be fin rot; fins shredding/splits which you see.

Some other medications are Maracyn and Maracyn-two which can be used together.

Most medications harm some good bacteria which is why it's best to treat in a separate hospital tank and not the main tank if possible. This is most likely the cause of nitrIte present and not from removing the charcoal or changing your % of water changes, if I understand correctly. If I understand your posts correctly again that you treated with medication for a week before testing your parameters? Did you test your parameters as soon as you noticed infections?

I don't use charcoal/carbon in my tanks and they do just fine. It's not necessary, more of a personnel preference.
The charcoal/carbon is part of the filter that is housing the "good" bacteria. I've never seen an "in tank" filter without it.
 
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robhill1965

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Sorry your fish are ill. Doing water changes will help.Clean water helps heal wounds. If 80% works for you keep doing it. As for the Lifeguard situation-I did a little searching on the web and it seems to be available yet. One site I was on had it-150 tablets. Even said it was made by tetra and formally Jungle. I can only assume that it is the same product as I have not used it and don't know what the packaging looks like. You may want to also look on ebay. I do know that sometimes when products change companies, petstores don't always carry every brand-so thus you don't see it any more. Hope your fish get better.
There is still a small stockpile of the Lifeguard out there but I'd have to get it online and I don't have a credit card. I live in a small town in the mountains of Wyoming so I need to get things "locally".
 
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