Hole in the Tail?

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C6

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I've had a black molly for the past 8 months. The other day I noticed a perfectly round hole in his tail. This seems to be growing in size, by just a little, as time goes on. I cannot imagine where this perfectly round hole would have come from. My fish are non-aggressive. I am not sure if this is a disease of some sort or a very strange accident? Any advice appreciated.
 

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It could be one of two things: finrot or an injury. Either way it would probably help your fish to get something that deals with infection. Maracyn or Melafix might work but I'd take a careful look at the products.
 
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Thanks for your response. I took some pictures which I am showing below to see if this helps. I apologize in advance for the slow load as when I try to scale it down, it becomes difficult to see.

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Isabella

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It doesn't look like a disease to me, but rather an injury (though I apologize if I am wrong). Maybe, for now, just keep the water clean by frequent water changes to avoid any infections. Try to keep nitrate as low as possible (0 at best when fish are injured). I assume your ammonia and nitrite both are at 0, right? Besides, do you see any discoloration and any growths near or around the hole? If you do, it could be finrot or some other disease.
 
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Isabella said:
It doesn't look like a disease to me, but rather an injury (though I apologize if I am wrong). Maybe, for now, just keep the water clean by frequent water changes to avoid any infections. Try to keep nitrate as low as possible (0 at best when fish are injured). I assume your ammonia and nitrite both are at 0, right? Besides, do you see any discoloration and any growths near or around the hole? If you do, it could be finrot or some other disease.
Thanks for the response.  I have a 20 gallon tank with the following water readings:

Ammonia = 0
Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = 40ppm
pH = 8

I know the pH is a bit high, but I have not been able to do much about this.  The pH is high coming out of the faucet and I have tried pH down, but that doesn't work.  I'd have to dump a gallon of the stuff in to have an effect.  I've had the fish in this pH for about 6 months.

I went to the pet store and spoke with someone there.  He was also a bit baffled by my description, but he recommended Melafix which I have started doing today.  He also recommended adding some aquarium salt to the tank which I also did. 

Besides the hole in the tail, I noticed what looks like an abrasion (it's white) on the underside of the fish body close to the head.  There is also a white "tear" like abrasion under one of his eyes (you can notice both in the second picture above).  I don't notice any discoloration or growth by the hole.

I guess I'll wait and see what the meds/salt do.  This is my 5-year old's favorite fish, so hopefully it recovers.

Thanks.
 

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Your nitrates are too high. They always need to be kept under 20. Due to the fish's injury/illness, I would try to get them down to 10. Do some big water changes to get the nitrates down before you start medicating.
Your pH is fine as long as it stays stable. The fish will adapt to it fine, but chemicals that lower pH are dangerous.
Melafix is a good medication which will help in the healing of the fin. I think it must be some sort of injury, although it is possible it could be finrot. Either way Melafix will help.
 

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C6, if your fish are not having problems with the pH, don't worry about it. As Omorrokh said, it's better to have a stable pH rather than a constantly fluctuating one. And, yes, your nitrate is too high. Well, on my nitrate test label it says that nitrate should never be higher than 40ppm, but I personally believe 40 ppm is way too high, and that nitrate should never be higher than 20 ppm. This is for the best of fish. If you have a fish with an injury, it's best to keep nitrate as low as possible during that time. As Omorrokh said, 10 would be much better than 40, but if this were my tank and my fish (with an injury), I'd try to get the nitrate to 0, or 5 MAX (no more).

One more thing, it can be a shock to fish when you suddenly go from 40 ppm nitrate to 0 ppm (or even to 10 ppm). This is why you should decrease nitrate gradually, so that your fish doesn't experience any shocks. I suggest you start out with smaller water changes (but more frequent ones) and then slowly increase the size of water changes, until nitrate is 0 - 5 ppm. And keep it this low until the wound heals. Once it has healed, you can loosen up with the water changes, but nevertheless - try to keep nitrate at 20 or below at all times.
 
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Thanks all. As I am already into the 2nd of 7 days with the treatment, I will wait until the weekend to change the water. It is surprising though as I have recently done some water changes and vacuuming of the bottom (in fact right before I started the treatment). I am not sure what has caused this spike.

Thanks again.
 
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It'd now day 7 and the fish doesn't look any better. In fact the hole in the tail might be a bit larger and the white tear, if that what it is, looks worse. It looks like a blister burst or the outer black skin pealed away from that section to reveal white flesh. Regardless, it has not improved at all. I'll begin the water changes, but is there anything else that can be done?
 

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To be honest I don't really know what to say. I've never seen anything like this before. Are you medicating with somehting? Sorry it's late and I forget what...

Hmmm, I just noticed in the pics that the fish looks bloated. What are you feeding?
 
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After the water change (40-50%), the Nitrate stayed at 40ppm which is frustrating. I added some Easy Balance and will test again tomorrow to see if it brought the Nitrate down. I do notice that there is a little nitrate present in the water straight from the tap, but not near 40ppm.

I was treating the fish with Melafix. Doesn't appear to have helped at all. I've added some salt to the water and used an extra amount of Stress Coat as well after the water change.

I feed the fishTetraColor eXtreme Granules. I've been feeding twice a day (morning/evening). They usually consume the food within a few minutes. I am going to cut down the amount of food a bit to see if that will help with the Nitrate.

He spends a lot of time at the top of the tank, but this isn't totally abnormal. He usually likes to feed from the top and has generally always spent time there. Perhaps he spends more now, however. Otherwise, his appetite seems fine as does his swimming.

I am totally stymied.
 
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The hole in the tail has now completely torn such that there is a large chunk taken out of the tail. I don't get this at all. Can any kind of fungal disease cause this? I have not tried any anti-fungal medication.
 

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I'll ask the other moderators what they think.
 

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OK C6, Chickadee has said that:

"It sounds like an injury to her that is going bad and becoming infected. She guesses that one would classify that as Finrot which got started with an injury. Melafix is not going to do the job on this fish and he has a long healing time ahead. This owner (you, C6) also needs to go through his tank and see where the fish may have injured itself or what fish are nipping."

I hope this helps you C6.
 
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Isabella said:
OK C6, Chickadee has said that:

"It sounds like an injury to her that is going bad and becoming infected.  She guesses that one would classify that as Finrot which got started with an injury. Melafix is not going to do the job on this fish and he has a long healing time ahead. This owner (you, C6) also needs to go through his tank and see where the fish may have injured itself or what fish are nipping."

I hope this helps you C6.
Thank you for the continued help with this saga! I am not sure what you are saying about getting this fish better. Are you saying to just keep things clean and wait, or is there anything else I should do? If it was/is an infection, I was hoping the Melafix work on that at least.

We have been going crazy trying to find out what caused this. We have many other molly fish and tetra in the tank that are generally smaller or of similar size to this fish (except for one tetra which is larger). None of the other fish have any issues. I cannot imagine how he could have developed that perfect hole in the middle of his tail. If he had an issue with one of the tank toys you wouldn't think it would have started in the center of his tail. This also seems like odd placement and shape for an encounter with the other fish. Very very odd.

I have been able to bring the nitrate levels down a bit and will keep working on that. Otherwise, the tank is very clean and the water readings are all excellent (sans the Nitrate).

Thanks again.
 

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I do not know about your fish but tetras are notorious little fin nippers when it comes to bettas who have long flowing fins. It is indeed a strange place to have a hole get started but not impossible. I would keep an eye on the fish just in case.

My suggestions for the treatment of the fish is: very clean water, the best parameters possible, a tank kept at the temp of at least 82 degrees Fahrenheit or 28 degrees Celsius, the Melafix will not hurt your fish but it will not do the job by itself and I do not believe that waiting 7 days between water changes is a good idea with this type of injury so that is another reason why I said I did not believe that it was the thing that would help.

The very best scenario would be a seperate tank -(can be 2.5 gallons - no smaller) and heater, no gravel, no filter, spring water (purchased in the grocery store) in the tank (no dechlorinator or any other chemicals), 50% water change with spring water every 3rd day, air pump and airstone. No other fish. Make sure that any food not eaten is removed after 3 minutes. Temp at 82 (28C). The fish would not need a filter with the frequent water changes and spring water being used. Test the water every day to make sure that no nitrates are building up and change the water immediately if they start to. It is a bit of an expensive way to treat a fish but it is the BEST alternative to getting the healing done without interference by the other fish or environment (either chemical or decor). It is up to you.

I do hope that you keep us informed on the progress of this fish. I hope I have been of help.

Rose
 
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Thank you for your recommendation. Just this evening I noticed what looks like a bit of white growth now on the side of his head. This has really made me wonder about a possible fungus. These cannot all be injuries and this last one definitely looks least like an injury. Based on this, do you think it makes sense to try an anti-fungal medication like Pimafix? I've had the water temp above 80 for some days now.

Thanks again.
 

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I just had a long research on Pimafix and did talk to a person who gave me some fine information on this particular medication. It contains Clove Oil which is used to euthanize fish. I was recommending it, but I will not recommend it for anything anymore as if you use it for 7 days without a water change which is what they instruct you to do, you may be causing your fish to become heavily dosed with a medication that will at the very least anesthetize it and at the most nearly put it to sleep permanently. I am just afraid that since the bottle does not specify the percentages of this ingredient that I would not want to put it in any tank and be responsible for the fish and the health of the others in the tank.

There are good fungus medications out there that will not do anything to hurt your fish or your biological filter and you may want to try one of those. They usually only dose for 4 days and then you do a water change and recheck and see if another dose is necessary. The easiest and possibly the best one for general use that I have tried and the most gentle is the Jungle Labs Fungus Clear Tank Buddies. You drop a tablet in the tank for each 10 gallons and let it fizz. It will turn your water green but won't hurt anything (it may turn any clear suction cups a little green) Any thing that looks like it has turned green will go back to normal other than the afore mentioned suction cups. It is best to put the fish in a smaller tank to save the amount of meds you need to use. If you have to treat your whole tank it is a waste of meds if you are only treating one fish. You leave it in the tank for 4 days and then do a 25% water change and see if he is better. If he is well then you can put the carbon back in the filter and clear the rest of the medication back out.

Just be sure to remove the carbon from the filter before putting the medication in. Sorry if you already knew this but I always remind people because I never know and you would be surprised how many medicate with the carbon still in the filter and then it just removes the medication as fast as they put it in.

I hope that something here is helpful.

Rose
 
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Thanks, chickadee. I did as you suggested and I got the Jungle Lab's stuff. You are right, it turns the tank a hulking shade of green! Unfortunately an hour after adding two tablets, my sick/injured fish looks like it may be in its final hours of life. He has all of a sudden gotten very lethargic and is floating on the bottom. The other fish are nudging him around in a way that I have seen them do for other fish that eventually died in my tank. I think there is a strong chance he will be dead by morning.

Besides being my son's favorite, this became a personal fight for me to keep him alive. If I weren't such a novice I might have been able to do something earlier to save him. This may be a case of too little too late. We'll see, maybe I will be proven wrong.

Thanks again everyone for all your help and for putting up with my beginner questions.
 
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