Help Multi-species Dorsal Brown Spots - What Is This??

SM1199

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So, I'm quite lost as to what this could possibly be. I have multiple species of fish showing brown spots on just their backs, with absolutely no other symptoms, issues, or bullying. The first time I noticed this was on one or a few of my sparkling gouramI a couple months back. I just assumed that it was part of their genetics, because the brown spots on their backs were nearly identical to the brown spots on their sides. Maybe two or three weeks back, I realized my male pearl gouramI had them too - alright, probably just a gouramI thing, I thought. Well, today, I noticed one platy (who moves way too much for me to ever see any details on her) probably also had it, so I scooped up a few fish that I thought might be showing this and put them temporarily in a 2 gallon tank to keep them from flying around a 55 gallon tank and so I could get pictures. She seems to have the top of her face and her back absolutely covered in whatever this is.

Sparkling gourami:
Screenshot_20190215-235557_Gallery.jpg

Pearl gourami:
Screenshot_20190215-233210_Photos.jpg

Platy (the most showing):
Screenshot_20190215-233016_Photos.jpg

Some information I think is important:
- The photographed sparkling gouramI has been living alone for at least a few weeks now because she has proven herself a bully and everyone is happier with her living separately. If this was some sort of injury, it should have healed by now.
- Everyone is acting as normal, outgoing fish playing in the current and exploring the tank. Nothing has changed about that in months. No unusual deaths.
- The platy has the most spots it seems, and she definitely wasn't always like this (I've had her for over a year now). She is also the most "untouchable" fish in the tank as far as bullying would go. She'd be the last fish any of the other fish would mess with.
- Not all fish are showing this. At least two of my sparklers have them, but the others don't. I have one female pearl who has just one spot on her back, and another who has none. None of my guppies/A. australe/peacock gudgeons have anything like this.

I can take my water parameters tomorrow if needed, but my main question is - what is this?
 

richiep

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I don't know this personally but have read that these patches/spots can occur when there's an ammonia spike or problem that can burn fish or there's s parasite present, someone else may jump in now and hopefully solve, it may well be worth taking perameters and posting
 
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SM1199

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Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 5 ppm

I also wouldn't think it's ammonia burn for multiple reasons... No other signs are showing, everyone is lively, ammonia burn tends to be very irregular and all over the body and here it's strictly on their backs in very regular brown spots. Still lost as to what it could be... Maybe, whatever it is, isn't harmful given at least a couple of my fish have had this for months and they're doing fine. If anyone has any insight on this I would greatly appreciate it.
 

richiep

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With them readings obviously nothing to do with Ammonia rules that out, I'm sure someone will have an idea
 

Nick72

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I've been thinking about this and all I can come up with is:

A) Water Quality: Some impurity / toxin that you are not measuring for such as high copper or lead in the water is causing the spots. This is a complete guess and I've no reason to think fish get brown spots from copper / lead or any other toxin.

B) Fungus: We think of Fungus being white, but I imagine a brown fungus could be possible.

If the spotting was only on the GouramI I'd say it was natural pigment, but with it effecting multiple species something must be effecting your fish.

Not much help I know. Hopefully others will have better knowledge and suggestions.
 
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SM1199

SM1199

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Nick72 said:
I've been thinking about this and all I can come up with is:

A) Water Quality: Some impurity / toxin that you are not measuring for such as high copper or lead in the water is causing the spots. This is a complete guess and I've no reason to think fish get brown spots from copper / lead or any other toxin.

B) Fungus: We think of Fungus being white, but I imagine a brown fungus could be possible.

If the spotting was only on the GouramI I'd say it was natural pigment, but with it effecting multiple species something must be effecting your fish.

Not much help I know. Hopefully others will have better knowledge and suggestions.
I do think the impurity idea is good, although none of my fish from other tanks are showing anything like this, and everyone gets the same tap water/dechlor/etc.

A very slow-growing fungus might be it. I could try doing some test m-blue dips on my platy just to see what happens. Something this slow-growing and superficial (assuming it is a fungus) could explain why even the affected fish are still just as active and happy as usual.
 
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I have yet to get around to doing a test m-blue dip since this week has been absolute chaos for me, but I haven't noticed the brown spots on the platy again (at a glance). I think it may be something I can only see under high light, because I can never see them on her when she's in the main tank with all the floating plants, and when I put her in a separate container directly under the tank light, the brown spots were very clear.

I just treated the whole tank for an unrelated parasite that I missed on a fish that did go through quarantine, but the parasites are extremely hard to spot (skin flukes). I only saw them on the one fish that was newly added, but of course, since she had been in there for a week, I didn't want to risk treating her alone. The skin flukes are now for sure gone, and the next chance I get, I'll put the platy in the 2 gal and hold it up to the light. I think the parasites are a completely unrelated incident since I noticed these brown spots before I added this fish, but I'll be curious to see if they still have the brown spots after the parasite treatment.

Everyone is still doing fantastic, no odd behavior, great appetites. Just gotta wait and see about the platy under the light... Might give a hint as to what this is.
 

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