Need Help Identifying Disease & Treatment

Zlowred
  • #1
I have an 80L / 20Gal tank, running for a bit over half a year. It is being filtered with (overkill) SunSun HW-704B (2000L/h) full of biohome ultimate media (one tray filled for 3-step mechanical filtration).
I leave in a place where it surely doesn't need a heater (30º all year round), and I have a cooler instead maintaining stable +26+/-0.25ºC.
Currently, there are 6 guppies, 6 neon tetras and 5 (small) glass catfish in it, plus few Amano shrimp and snails.
It is moderately planted, well lit, and I was dosing seachem fertilizers (following their dosing recommendations) + CO2 until recently. I stopped dosing fertilizers after starting treatments (see below) just in case of any chemical reactions between them.

I'm doing ~40% weekly water changes (treated by seachem prime with recommended dosage), vacuuming non-planted gravel areas every time.

The tank was cycled for > 6 weeks with a dead shrimp until I got stable 0 ammonia/nitrites prior to adding any fish; fish was added gradually over another month period. I'm using API freshwater master kit to test water parameters, and recently got some test stripes to confirm my API readings to be valid (confirmed)
Ammonia undetectable, Nitrites undetectable, Nitrates > 0 but < 5 (color is somewhere between these two), pH is 6.8. Also KH is 8 and GH is 10. I used to do smaller weekly water changes during the first month or so, and nitrates were closer to 20 at that time, and I got an algae outbreak. Nitrates went to almost zero, and algae is gone since I increased volume of water changed each time and reduced feeding.

Feeding fish daily using some local fish food recommended by LFS (can't read Chinese).

Few weeks back Neon Tetras started showing something that looks like a fin rot plus some mouth fungus(?), all at once (see the pictures attached). 3 of them have died since then. I don't have a hospital tank, and I didn't have time to cycle it, so Neon Tetras stayed along with other fishes during Melafix treatment and salt baths, and are in the same tank but within the isolation box afterwards. None of other fishes are showing any illness symptoms. All fishes (including Neon Tetras) are happily eating. Because I suspected that other fishes might be infected, I'm treating entire tank (except salt baths), using carbon between the treatments to remove previous medicine. I didn't have any ammonia/nitrite spikes during these treatments; ammonia jumped to barely detectable 0.25 one day on the last day of Furan-2 treatment but went back to 0 by the next morning.

What I tried so far (giving few days between treatments for the fish to rest):
- Melafix for a week
- Salt baths for another week
- Furan-2 for 4 days
- General Cure for 4 days
- Fungus cure for 4 days
All of above at the recommended dosages.

None of those treatments made any difference, e.g. all fishes look exactly as they did a month ago.

I'm not sure what to do with these Neon Tetras. I don't want to euthanise them, and I'm afraid to release them to other fishes, and the definitely don't look happy in that small isolation box either.
Those bubbles on the pictures are just air bubbles trapped between aquarium wall and isolation box wall.

Any help is highly appreciated.


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Momgoose56
  • #2
I have an 80L / 20Gal tank, running for a bit over half a year. It is being filtered with (overkill) SunSun HW-704B (2000L/h) full of biohome ultimate media (one tray filled for 3-step mechanical filtration).
I leave in a place where it surely doesn't need a heater (30º all year round), and I have a cooler instead maintaining stable +26+/-0.25ºC.
Currently, there are 6 guppies, 6 neon tetras and 5 (small) glass catfish in it, plus few Amano shrimp and snails.
It is moderately planted, well lit, and I was dosing seachem fertilizers (following their dosing recommendations) + CO2 until recently. I stopped dosing fertilizers after starting treatments (see below) just in case of any chemical reactions between them.

I'm doing ~40% weekly water changes (treated by seachem prime with recommended dosage), vacuuming non-planted gravel areas every time.

The tank was cycled for > 6 weeks with a dead shrimp until I got stable 0 ammonia/nitrites prior to adding any fish; fish was added gradually over another month period. I'm using API freshwater master kit to test water parameters, and recently got some test stripes to confirm my API readings to be valid (confirmed)
Ammonia undetectable, Nitrites undetectable, Nitrates > 0 but < 5 (color is somewhere between these two), pH is 6.8. Also KH is 8 and GH is 10. I used to do smaller weekly water changes during the first month or so, and nitrates were closer to 20 at that time, and I got an algae outbreak. Nitrates went to almost zero, and algae is gone since I increased volume of water changed each time and reduced feeding.

Feeding fish daily using some local fish food recommended by LFS (can't read Chinese).

Few weeks back Neon Tetras started showing something that looks like a fin rot plus some mouth fungus(?), all at once (see the pictures attached). 3 of them have died since then. I don't have a hospital tank, and I didn't have time to cycle it, so Neon Tetras stayed along with other fishes during Melafix treatment and salt baths, and are in the same tank but within the isolation box afterwards. None of other fishes are showing any illness symptoms. All fishes (including Neon Tetras) are happily eating. Because I suspected that other fishes might be infected, I'm treating entire tank (except salt baths), using carbon between the treatments to remove previous medicine. I didn't have any ammonia/nitrite spikes during these treatments; ammonia jumped to barely detectable 0.25 one day on the last day of Furan-2 treatment but went back to 0 by the next morning.

What I tried so far (giving few days between treatments for the fish to rest):
- Melafix for a week
- Salt baths for another week
- Furan-2 for 4 days
- General Cure for 4 days
- Fungus cure for 4 days
All of above at the recommended dosages.

None of those treatments made any difference, e.g. all fishes look exactly as they did a month ago.

I'm not sure what to do with these Neon Tetras. I don't want to euthanise them, and I'm afraid to release them to other fishes, and the definitely don't look happy in that small isolation box either.
Those bubbles on the pictures are just air bubbles trapped between aquarium wall and isolation box wall.

Any help is highly appreciated.

View attachment 566520 View attachment 566521 View attachment 566522 View attachment 566523
That looks like a fungal infection. Fungus cure is the only med you gave that treats fungal infections. 2 packets should have been given over 96 hours then 25% water change and carbon to remove med residual. General Cure- is an anti-parasitic and won't work on fungal infections.
Furan 2 is an antibacterial and also will not work on fungi.
Only thing I can suggest is to get a different antifungal that contains both malachite green (Victoria green) and Formaldehyde (formalin). Fungus cure does not contain formalin which, when added to malachite green significantly improves outcomes. I'm not familiar with all the brands that carry the combination but this is one product that does: Microbe-Lift Broad Spectrum Disease Treatment. Good luck and keep us posted!
 
Zlowred
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Thanks,

It looks like the only thing that contain both and that I can source locally is Protozin, which contains copper so I can't use it in my main tank because of shrimps and snails.

I'm planning to get that Protozin today-tomorrow, and move ill fishes to some bucket for the treatment, along with good amount of the filter media from my canister, along with some smallish filter I'm looking to get today and aeration.
 
coralbandit
  • #4
Columnaris would be my diagnosis .
Tail and pectoral fins are rotting [fin rot ],mouth has cotton [cotton mouth / not looking fuzzy] .
Treatment is rough and to really cure the issue as it is in your tank not just on fish removal and euthanizing any fish that show symptoms is step 1..
It is a very difficult if not impossible disease to cure . Many try a myriad of antibiotics not realizing that if the fish does not have the capacity to completely recover on its own the small break the antibiotics provide will not work .
Sorry for my less then hopeful diagnosis and welcome to fishlore .
 
Zlowred
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Columnaris would be my diagnosis .
Tail and pectoral fins are rotting [fin rot ],mouth has cotton [cotton mouth / not looking fuzzy] .
Treatment is rough and to really cure the issue as it is in your tank not just on fish removal and euthanizing any fish that show symptoms is step 1..
It is a very difficult if not impossible disease to cure . Many try a myriad of antibiotics not realizing that if the fish does not have the capacity to completely recover on its own the small break the antibiotics provide will not work .
Sorry for my less then hopeful diagnosis and welcome to fishlore .
I thought about Columnaris at first, but read that kills pretty fast, and they already spent several weeks (2 months soon) without getting any worse or better; also other fishes don't seem to be affected. So now I don't think it's the case.
 
Zlowred
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
I thought about Columnaris at first, but read that kills pretty fast, and they already spent several weeks (2 months soon) without getting any worse or better; also other fishes don't seem to be affected. So now I don't think it's the case.
This is not to argue of course, it's just because I understand that it's unrealistic to expect someone to come out saying here is the diagnosis A, and here is the treatment B that will instantly heal your fishes, and I'm looking for any data that supports any version.
In fact, my initial thought was that the cause is just some stress, like tap water happened to be not good during some water change, for example. That's why I started with primafix and salt.
After seeing it's not improving my next version was exactly columnaris, that's why I went with Furan-2.
After no improvements my next version was fungus but I didn't have any treatments at that time, so I thought it might also be some opportunistic infection on the fish weakened by some parasites, so I went with General Cure.
No improvements, and I already got a Fungus Cure by that time, so I went ahead with that treatment (still no luck).

I agree that it looks very much like columnaris, but even for slowest strains there would be obvious signs of disease getting worse over the 2-months period, isn't it?

One thing I didn't mention is that 3 fishes that I lost, died very early while I was using primafix. There were no losses since then. One of lost fishes looked really bad, but lthe other two looked ok-ish and I didn't expect them to die at all.
 
fish 321
  • #7
Looks like columnaris I belive there are two different strains a slow growing o e and one that kills quickly.
 
coralbandit
  • #8
There are atleast 4 strains .
Search 'columnaris what I have learned '
or ' 4 strains of columnaris '
They should both lead to an article on another forum [MAC]...
 
Youngboy15
  • #9
Good luck with fungal medicine that's ur way to go but man you used way too many medicines on the fly... always spend a long time diagnosing before treating you might have also shortened their life span
 
smee82
  • #10
I agree with it looking like columnaris.
 
AvalancheDave
  • #11
I think it's Columnaris as well or at least some other bacterial infection which would almost certainly be Gram negative aerobic so the treatment is more or less the same.
I thought about Columnaris at first, but read that kills pretty fast, and they already spent several weeks (2 months soon) without getting any worse or better; also other fishes don't seem to be affected. So now I don't think it's the case.

It can kill quickly but it doesn't always.
One thing I didn't mention is that 3 fishes that I lost, died very early while I was using primafix. There were no losses since then. One of lost fishes looked really bad, but lthe other two looked ok-ish and I didn't expect them to die at all.

The ones that you didn't expect to die may have been killed by the Pimafix. It and Melafix are often more dangerous than the disease.
Looks like columnaris I belive there are two different strains a slow growing o e and one that kills quickly.

That or the fish are reasonably healthy and their immune systems managed to slow down the infection.
 
Zlowred
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Thanks everyone. I think I won't do any more fungal treatment right now, and will spend some time reading about columnaris & treatment.

What would be the best way to proceed?
a) move affected fish to a separate container, along with some established filter media (and another filter) and threat it there
b) do the same with all fishes, even if I can't see any issues with them
c) treat display tank (which is likely to severely damage biological filtration)
 
Momgoose56
  • #13
Thanks everyone. I think I won't do any more fungal treatment right now, and will spend some time reading about columnaris & treatment.

What would be the best way to proceed?
a) move affected fish to a separate container, along with some established filter media (and another filter) and threat it there
With a heater and filter. And there's no need to put any seeded media in it. Just keep all parameters at 0ppm with water changes. Your not going to cycle it. Just watch your other fish for the same symptoms.
 
Zlowred
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
With a heater and filter. And there's no need to put any seeded media in it. Just keep all parameters at 0ppm with water changes. Your not going to cycle it. Just watch your other fish for the same symptoms.
Thanks!
No need for heater in my case (as it won't go lower than 28ºC without additional cooling in this climate)
But won't constant water changes bring medicine concentration down thus making it ineffective? Sorry if asking stupid questions, but I can't find non-controversial sources.
 
Momgoose56
  • #15
Thanks!
No need for heater in my case (as it won't go lower than 28ºC without additional cooling in this climate)
But won't constant water changes bring medicine concentration down thus making it ineffective? Sorry if asking stupid questions, but I can't find non-controversial sources.
With most meds, you would do water changes per their instructions anyway. Putting seeded media in the tank would be pointless if you're going to treat with an antibacterial that would kill your biological bacteria anyway...
What climate are you in anyway? Your avatar has a frozen face lol!
 
Zlowred
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
With most meds, you would do water changes per their instructions anyway. Putting seeded media in the tank would be pointless if you're going to treat with an antibacterial that would kill your biological bacteria anyway...
Furan-2 instructions say 25% every other day, and my gut feeling is that such water changes won't be enough to keep ammonia & nitrites at zero (unless that's a really huge tank)
 
Zlowred
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
What climate are you in anyway? Your avatar has a frozen face lol!
My avatar is from Switzerland where I was living before the last year, and I currently in Singapore which is just a bit over 100km from the equator
So it's around 30ºC all the year around (maybe 27-28 in the night), and I have to cool my aquarium down to make it consistent 26ºC
 
Momgoose56
  • #18
Furan-2 instructions say 25% every other day, and my gut feeling is that such water changes won't be enough to keep ammonia & nitrites at zero (unless that's a really huge tank)
Do a 50% change if you start detecting ammonia. Nitrites probably aren't going to happen because you won't be leaving ammonia in the tank to grow the bacteria that oxidize ammonia to nitrites.
 
coralbandit
  • #19
You can always change more water then meds say and then just replace the % of med removed ..
I agree on no need for cycled media and often wonder if many of the ammonia readings people get is their filter bacteria being killed !
Without excessive feeding in a clean tank there is no other source of ammonia ? I treat sick fish in clean water with meds .
The suggestion to change water before first meds is because dissolved organic compounds [DOC] are proven to use up /reduce /deplete meds strength .
So really clean water in bare bottom tanks are the best form of treatment .
All that said I would not put effort into those neons ..It is for the better of other fish not to keep them and what ever they harbor .
I think it's Columnaris as well or at least some other bacterial infection which would almost certainly be Gram negative aerobic so the treatment is more or less the same.

^^THIS^^
It may not be columnaris ,but the overwhelmiong odds are that it is a bacterial issue that will be resolved by the same treatment as columnaris or not at all.
 

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