Help! Mouth Fungus On Rainbows?

SteveBr

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Ok, so here's a lesson in why one should establish a quarantine tank for new fish :/ I added several new threadfins and Boesemanis to my tank from a reputable online dealer and soon noticed a small cotton-like tuft on the mouth of one of the threadfins. I almost immediately started a course of Kanaplex + Metroplex at the recommendation of my LFS. After that the cotton tufts started spreading to the other threadfins and dwarf neons, but none of the other fish. Then I started a course of Furan-2 + Kanaplex/Focus in their frozen brine shrimp + bloodworms. We're currently on day three of this course. The original threadfins don't have it any more and the dwarf neons seem better now. However, the Boesemani's, which didn't get it early on, have mostly all gotten it. So far we have only lost a dwarf gourami (not sure if this was related, as he showed no symptoms). None of the other fish (GBRs, Angels, plecos) have shown symptoms.

We're heading out for a week of vacation in five days, so I'd LOOOVE to get this under control before then. At this point, other than the DG, everyone is acting and eating normally. So my questions are:

a) Am I treating the right thing (bacterial), and should I finish the course tonight and start API Fungus Cure (which I also have) tomorrow?
b) Should I start FC right away?
c) Am I a terrible parent if we leave for vacation with fish still sick???

Here's some info on our tank & parameters:
- 55G planted + Penn Plax Cascade 1000 canister filter (tank established 4 mos ago)
- Various Rainbows and other fish plus inverts (2 dwarf crayfish and 1 snail)
- pH 7.275F
- Ammonia 0, Nitrates 2, Nitrites .25 (starting to creep up in the last couple days due to all the antibiotics - I added Seachem Stability and Prime this a.m. to neutralize and restore)
- We do weekly water changes of 25-30% with light gravel vacuuming

I've attached a couple pics of sick fish. I just noticed last night one that has a tuft on the top of his mouth as well as bottom, and it look a little stringy, sort of like a flying upside down goatee (sorry, no pic of this one). Appreciate any help you all can offer.
 

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A201

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Kanaplex & Furan 2 are the most recommended antibiotic meds. Probably no need for anti-fungal med.
Looks like you might have caught the outbreak in time to actually cure it, which is rare.
A lot of good things can happen in five days. It would be a good idea to do a 50% WC the day before your vacation departure. Another suggestion, up your weekly WC to 50%.
Follow the med dosing instructions,
 
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SteveBr

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Thanks. Should I continue one treatment or another for the next few days?
 

A201

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Continuing the Kanaplex / Furan 2 treatment would appear to be the best course of action.
 
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SteveBr

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Great - thanks for your help.
 
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Next question - being that I’m now 10 days into treatment and the fish are sick, how long should I expect the have to treat this?

Just noticed a white spot on the side of one of the Boesemanis, so it may not be limited to the mouths anymore :/
 

A201

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That's not good. Apparently you are dealing with a virulent strain of Columnaris. As noted, curing Columnaris is a rarity, even with the Kanaplex / Furan 2 treatment.
IMO, your best move would be to remove all obviously infected fish asap. Do a large WC and attempt to save the remaining tankmates.
 

SeanyBaggs123

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Odd to me that no other fish are showing symptoms and it has been going on for 10 days. Without being able to sit in front of your tank and observe the symptoms and activity of the fish it's really hard to make any real observation. What is the mix of female to male rainbows? Is it possible that they are fighting and these are injury, or are you sure that they are growths?

I thought for weeks that I had a columnaris outbreak in my bows. It looked like they had growths on their lips as well. Similar to the boesemani in your picture. Multiple opinions I respect here also thought it was columnaris.

I dosed furan and Kanaplex. Then.... did it again. No visual improvement. No other symptoms. No other fish dead.

I ultimately decided to add some wonder shells, improve their diet, and water change 50% every day for a couple of weeks (bought a python at this time lol).
Took 3 or 4 months but they all healed, and I just caught the injured ones fighting over a female less than a month ago.

I'm not saying this is your situation, and I"m sorry if this complicates your decision, but the fact that it has been going on for ten days and no other fish have been affected (other than the dwarf G).... It's hard to say. What's your gut tell you?
 
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SteveBr

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Interesting - so the columnaris (or whatever it is) started with the oldest threadfin rainbow and has spread to most of the other 'bows, but that's it. Not the GBRs, remaining DG, nor the angels. We keep them on pretty healthy diet of bug bites from local LFS, frozen blood worms/brine shrimp, and hakari (sp?) pellets. Since we added the new Boesemani and threadfins, all of them have been pretty chill with each other. Each group is very active, but there's very little aggression.

In terms of gender mix, we have:
Boesemani: 3M, 4F
Threadfins: 5M, 1F
Dwarf Neons: 2M, 1F

Most of these rainbows have the bug now (I checked the threadfins and DNs last night and some of them have it as well as most of the new the Boesemanis). The only behavior I've noticed related to the illness is the one male Boesemani with the new white spot on his side - he was scraping his side on some of the decorations last night and "jumping" around a little. It wasn't terrible, but made me feel for him.

One thing I forgot to mention is that I do maintain the tank with API aquarium salt at the recommended level (1 tbsp/5 gallons I think). Are there other salt treatments that could work, and what is the purpose of the wonder shells?

Greatly appreciate the help - like I said earlier, this upcoming 8-day trip on saturday is starting to stress me out a little. If there's no improvement by the end of this week, then I guess we'll have to make a decision to save the rest of the tank while we're out of town
 

SeanyBaggs123

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Interesting - so the columnaris (or whatever it is) started with the oldest threadfin rainbow and has spread to most of the other 'bows, but that's it. Not the GBRs, remaining DG, nor the angels. We keep them on pretty healthy diet of bug bites from local LFS, frozen blood worms/brine shrimp, and hakari (sp?) pellets. Since we added the new Boesemani and threadfins, all of them have been pretty chill with each other. Each group is very active, but there's very little aggression.

In terms of gender mix, we have:
Boesemani: 3M, 4F
Threadfins: 5M, 1F
Dwarf Neons: 2M, 1F

Most of these rainbows have the bug now (I checked the threadfins and DNs last night and some of them have it as well as most of the new the Boesemanis). The only behavior I've noticed related to the illness is the one male Boesemani with the new white spot on his side - he was scraping his side on some of the decorations last night and "jumping" around a little. It wasn't terrible, but made me feel for him.

One thing I forgot to mention is that I do maintain the tank with API aquarium salt at the recommended level (1 tbsp/5 gallons I think). Are there other salt treatments that could work, and what is the purpose of the wonder shells?

Greatly appreciate the help - like I said earlier, this upcoming 8-day trip on saturday is starting to stress me out a little. If there's no improvement by the end of this week, then I guess we'll have to make a decision to save the rest of the tank while we're out of town
Well the 10 males to 6 females could explain some aggression (Mine didn't show signs of aggression during viewing hours either until muchhhh later)

However the white spot and rubbing is odd... Especially since you dose salt. Salinity kills ich... so that's out (at least for me).

@coralbandit @LeahsTank any ideas?
 

coralbandit

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I don't like salt period ..If there is an illness in your tank the GBR should be first to die IMO..
Fighting really could be the issue ..
Why the salt ??Because some one said so ?? I say NEVER !
Hope that changes your mind on that ...
I wonder what your water parameters are 'pre salt' ? Could hardness be an issue ?? I am not up on bows needs , but the rams are not liking the salt and it is raising the hardness of your water which really may not be needed at all??
 
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DarkOne

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Late to the party but I agree with CB, No salt ever in a fresh water tank. Ever!

That injury/infection is fairly common to rainbows. Throwing a ton of meds and salt in the tank just stresses out the fish. I would do 50% water changes every day for the next 3-5 days (more is better). You should also have more F than M for rainbows. I have Praecox, Bosemani and Goyder River rainbows.
 
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SteveBr

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Ha. Ok, ok, I will stop the salting I had read that it helps the fishes' immune systems or something.

Also, I'll continue 50% water changes until we go on vacation - I did one last night and everyone was very happy afterward. That being said, I could set up our 20g (currently unused in the basement) for the rainbows who are sick, so as to keep the bug from spreading. But then I'm worried about putting weakened fish in a newish tank without proper cycling while I'm out of town next week... So maybe just daily water changes until we leave town saturday, with no more meds, and hope for the best while we're gone?

Re. the rainbows, the Boesemani are the only ones that have showed aggressive behavior (that I've witnessed) without the proper numbers & ratio. The threadfiins are a very different fish and seem to do fine in a male dominated group. I plan to remove the three DN's at some point, but am in a bit of a holding pattern with them for now. I haven't noticed any interspecies aggression either; it's primarily within each species, and really only with the Boesemani. Otherwise, the groups do some general shoaling together, but interactions are pretty peaceful.
 

SeanyBaggs123

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I think that's a good plan and I wouldn't separate the bows if you're leaving.

I forgot to answer the wondershell question.
They add cations to the tank. They worked well for me.
 

DarkOne

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Rainbows are the most active/aggressive in the early morning hours.

The 50% w/c is mainly to get out the salt and meds from the tank. Columnaris will usually kill fish within 24hrs of showing on the body. I've had good luck treating columinaris with kanaplex and furan 2. It also kills off some BB and I had a mini cycle but it was in a QT so not a big deal for me.
 

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It’s hard to see from the photos. My bows frequently get the white bump on the lower lip. It seems to come and go with no other symptoms of illness. I’ve had a few for more than a year and a half and it has been this way with them since I got them. But I’ve never seen it when it looked fuzzy.
 
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It’s hard to see from the photos. My bows frequently get the white bump on the lower lip. It seems to come and go with no other symptoms of illness. I’ve had a few for more than a year and a half and it has been this way with them since I got them. But I’ve never seen it when it looked fuzzy.
Good to know this about the bows. The old adage, “do no harm” comes to mind when considering medication courses. But then, it’s hard to know what you’re dealing with sometimes :/

Did another 50% WC last night, but seems the Furan 2 bumped the tank into a full-on mini-cycle (if there is such a thing). Ammonia has been and remains at 0, but nitrites were at 2ppm the night before last, 1 last night, and 1 again this morning. So, I’m now doing 50% WCs each night and adding max doses of Prime and Stability (nitrifying BB). We lost the two dwarf crayfish yesterday and have seen the fish gasping for air at the surface yesterday morning and this morning (added more prime after seeing that). Fingers crossed...
 
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