Help identifying/treating infection on fish

Tanklife33

Hopefully this is the right board for this:

I need some input on my own hobby fish tank- I have kept fish for years when I was younger and got back into it a couple years ago.

I have 2 tanks currently- the one I am having a problem with is my 46-gallon bow front fresh water planted tank (substrate bottom), has been running since October 2019.

I have attached pictures pictures of my blue gouramis that have several lesions over their fins. I am stuck between fungal vs parasitic at this point and currently treating both.

background- these changes started to show extremely mildly about 2 weeks ago. just prior to that I had added in 2 yo-yo loaches to the tank to help with the blooming snail development that was driving me crazy. The loaches did great with the snails but seemed to upset the dynamic of the tank (I only had them a couple weeks but in that time it had looked like something beat the heck out of one of my angel fish, which later died- so I took the loaches out).
I fear the loaches brought something or at least the stress of them may have lead to this.

I have been treating with both API fin and body cure (doxycycline) and API general cure (metronidazole and praziquantel) since the 24th. I did 25% water change once a week (did one today and will again on Wednesday).

I have an aqua clear 110 filter (yes bigger than needed for this tank size) and use chemipure green and aqua clear bio max filter in it.
my tank also runs about 80-82 F and I add about 1/2 cup of aquarium salt with each water change.

In addition- my rainbow shark has had a pinkish smooth bump on his nose that I actually thought was a tumor for months. It had gotten scraped up, looked like it got infected (treated with rally pro for a few days) and now actually looks remarkably better. Not sure if related but thought I’d include it just in case.

the fish are still eating but the gouramis don’t seem to be getting better yet, am I not giving it enough time? Any way to try to diagnose this better without sacrificing any of my fish? Should I try treating for fungal now too

thanks in advance for any advice!
 

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goldenbean3

I think that's is a fungal infection, correct me if I'm wrong, but any parasite large enough to create lesions and bumps like that would be very, very visible. I would treat it as a fungal infection and go from there, I would recommend the API general cure kit and the API fungal cure.
 
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Fishstery

The first question anyone is going to ask you regarding a sick fish is, what are your water parameters and what are you using to test the water? There is a sick fish template at the top of the disease forum as a sticky. Please copy and paste it into a reply here, fill out all the info, and post it on this thread so the members can help you better.
 
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Tanklife33

The first question anyone is going to ask you regarding a sick fish is, what are your water parameters and what are you using to test the water? There is a sick fish template at the top of the disease forum as a sticky. Please copy and paste it into a reply here, fill out all the info, and post it on this thread so the members can help you better.

Posted below as new post:
Additional info:

What is the water volume of the tank?

46 gallons

How long has the tank been running?

Since October 2019

Does it have a filter?

Yes- Aqua clear 110

Does it have a heater?

Yes

What is the water temperature?

82-84 F

What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)

1 koi angel fish
4 Congo tetras
5 gold rosey barbs
3 cherry barbs
8 cardinal tetras
3 pristella tetras
2 super red bristle nose plecos
1 rainbow shark
2 blue gouramis
1 farowella catfish
1 gold ring butterfly hill stream loach
3 black phantom tetras
3 candy cane tetras
2 nerite snails
Too many tiny (suspect trumpet? ) snails
3 assassin snails (just added)

Maintenance

How often do you change the water?

Once a week

How much of the water do you change?

10%_ about 5 gallons

What do you use to treat your water?

API water conditioner

Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water?

Just the water - I wave the siphon over the gravel and in the plants, but it is a planted tank with a mix of plant substrate and small amount of gravel

*Parameters - Very Important

Did you cycle your tank before adding fish?

Yes

What do you use to test the water?

API master test kit

What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia: 0ppm

Nitrite: 0ppm

Nitrate: about 30 ppm

pH: about 7.4 (I live in upstate NY- pH of water in my area is always a little more basic)

*just checked today prior to water change

Feeding

How often do you feed your fish? Once daily- several times in one period over about 1-2 hours (i try to skip one day a week with no food)

How much do you feed your fish? As much as they can consume within a couple minutes per each feeding- and stop when food is not consumed as fast

What brand of food do you feed your fish?

Mix of: omega one super color flakes and freezes dried blood worms, FluvalSmart big bites, occasional algae wafer and occasional fresh raw zucchini slice (left in for about 2 days on a weight)

Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods?

Yes- dried mentioned above,

Frozen bloodworms and daphnia about once or twice a week
 
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Fishstery

Maybe another member can chime in with me, but it sounds like your tank is a bit overstocked. Especially with the amount you are changing every week. Your angelfish and gouramis are not personality compatible and were probably beating up on each other which would possibly explain the wounds on your gouramis. Your nitrate isn't terrible, but ideally you want to keep nitrates between 10-20ppm. The crowding in the tank could be causing bullying and aggression which injured some of your fish, and with the nitrates present it could have caused a secondary bacterial infection which is what i think is going on with your gouramis. Also, vacuuming your gravel will not harm your substrate or plants, and should be done regularly with water changes to cut down on detritus and decomposing plant matter and help keep the nitrates low. I think your tank would function better in the long run if you rehome some fish but I know people don't want to hear that. As for treating your fish, it would probably be better to set up a hospital tank and put the affected fish in there to treat with meds directly.

Edit: I would use api erythromycin instead of treating for fungus and parasites. But it would be more effective in a separate hospital tank.
 
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Tanklife33

Maybe another member can chime in with me, but it sounds like your tank is a bit overstocked. Especially with the amount you are changing every week. Your angelfish and gouramis are not personality compatible and were probably beating up on each other which would possibly explain the wounds on your gouramis. Your nitrate isn't terrible, but ideally you want to keep nitrates between 10-20ppm. The crowding in the tank could be causing bullying and aggression which injured some of your fish, and with the nitrates present it could have caused a secondary bacterial infection which is what i think is going on with your gouramis. Also, vacuuming your gravel will not harm your substrate or plants, and should be done regularly with water changes to cut down on detritus and decomposing plant matter and help keep the nitrates low. I think your tank would function better in the long run if you rehome some fish but I know people don't want to hear that. As for treating your fish, it would probably be better to set up a hospital tank and put the affected fish in there to treat with meds directly.

Edit: I would use api erythromycin instead of treating for fungus and parasites. But it would be more effective in a separate hospital tank.

thank you for your input so far.

I was wondering if there was too many fish- the place I primarily get fish from thought they would all be ok in a tank this size.
I have never seen the angel go after the gouramis at all - though maybe something is happening when the lights are off while I’m asleep or gone?

For the vacuuming, I have a python that I hook up to the kitchen sink but it is too powerful I feel to use that to suction the substrate as it pulls up a lot of it when I have tried to do that in the past. I have a smaller siphon I use to hand vacuum my 10 gallon and I have tried that a couple times with the bigger tank but I don’t like mixing the vacuum between the two. Any suggestions on how to better vacuum the bigger tank? Should I just get a separate hand siphon for it?
 
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Fishstery

thank you for your input so far.

I was wondering if there was too many fish- the place I primarily get fish from thought they would all be ok in a tank this size.
I have never seen the angel go after the gouramis at all - though maybe something is happening when the lights are off while I’m asleep or gone?

For the vacuuming, I have a python that I hook up to the kitchen sink but it is too powerful I feel to use that to suction the substrate as it pulls up a lot of it when I have tried to do that in the past. I have a smaller siphon I use to hand vacuum my 10 gallon and I have tried that a couple times with the bigger tank but I don’t like mixing the vacuum between the two. Any suggestions on how to better vacuum the bigger tank? Should I just get a separate hand siphon for it?
I would let another member give their opinion on which fish to rehome if you are interested, but I think you only have room for one pleco, or the shark, or the cat, but not all 4 bottom feeders. I would also get rid of either the smaller tetras or the barbs. One group of schooling fish with the congos is enough. Another aggression issue may be because all of your groups are too small. For every schooling fish you have, there aren't enough of them to form a solid group and feel secure. Most of those fish do best in groups of at least 6. That may cause them to be very nippy and pick on your gouramis. Contrary to what some others on here believe, i use the same siphon for all of my tanks. In between each use, I run scalding hot water through the tube and also run the suction end under the water for at least a minute, and haven't had any cross contamination between my tanks in the 3 years I've been doing this.
Don't trust the advice of most people at the pet stores unless you have a good established relationship with someone there (I really like the guys at my store and im lucky they are very well read on fish care but even then sometimes I do not like their advice). Most of them just want to sell more fish. If you want to do everything right by the book, I would seek the advice of members here before anyone else. They have no reason to mislead you or give bad advice!
 
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Tanklife33

so I got my nitrates down to about 5-8 ppm (as opposed to the previous 30ppm). Tank seems to be doing well overall a all other parameters are stable.

After the treatment for parasites and bacteria, the spots on the gouramis have seemed to improve (less red /inflamed and almost seem to be scarring), but I have actually observed the gouramis on occasion interacting in a way that seems like fighting to me now (this was never observed before). They will sometimes seem to mouth or pull on each others scales and fins, but it’a weird because they just circle each other when this happens. I have yet to see any persistent chasing at all.

but then on Friday I noted that the smaller on had half of its face become black (photo attached). Today, it now is apparent over its entire head, seeming to stop at the gills. That fish is still eating and moving well. Actually the other larger gourami (which has more of the spots noted previously) tends to isolate itself at the top back of the tank near the heater/filter. Still eats through.

additional side note, one of my Congo tetras died last week after the water change. Not sure if I hit a pocket of ammonia or something when vacuuming the gravel? But there were not external changes at all- only noted bizarre motions the day before it died (looked neurological).

so any comments about this black discoloration on the gourami? The research I’ve done so far shows may be color change if young vs possible disease?

I am also a veterinarian actually and have a colleague that works with fish- they sent me an article about diseases with gouramis and unfortunately they have been known to become infected with mycobacterium... not to say this is what they have at all, but if so it is not treatable and I’ll have to cross my fingers that the other fish don’t get it if it is.
 

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