Silver Dollars Body Rot?

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I have consulted folks at aquarium stores, searched a number of books, various links on internet, and discussions here and have yet to find a disease description that fits what I have been struggling with.

I have four silver dollars (4 inchs, ~18 years old) an 8-10 inch pliecostamus, and three corydoras in a 70-gallon tank.

A little background:

We have moved twice in the past 4 years; the first time all 4 dollars developed fin rot - classic symptoms - they lost all fins and tails in a hurry - were truly pathetic to look at. I tried several antibiotics to no avail, and then someone suggested "fungus cure" - I was skeptical because the name seemed off the mark, but they said it was antibacterial as well, so I tried it. It was astonishing. Regrowth started in a day or so, and they all eventually returned to complete normalcy, with the exception of one who has a slight irregularity in shape of tail.

After second move they got a new home - tank is more vertical in layout - and they seem to love it. Are less skittish, and started growing! They'd been stable at about 3 inches for years; now the biggest is 4.5 or 5 inches.


So far so good -

about 4 months ago one of them appeared to have developed fin rot; the others seemed fine. I treated the entire tank with fungus clear, thinking I had this issue well under control.

No improvement; and he started developing "eaten away" areas on his body.They were not angry-looking sores like the "body ulcers" pictures; just simply a scooped-out area with scales missing. The worst was about 3/8 in across, quite symmetrical, funnnel shaped. It looked just like the hole one makes with a countersink drill. It got so deep I wondered if it was going to appear on the other side. I switched antibiotics a couple of times, and finally one seemed to do the trick. The worst spot had just about fully regenerated and covered over with scales when I noticed a new spot along the ventral side - this was elongated, but the same look to it. No redness, no fuzz, no growths of any kind, no evidence of parasites, just simply flesh missing, and a dark color. None of the other fish have shown ANY indication of problems. And he continued to behave normally, eat heartily, school with the others.

I moved him to a quarantine tank and started cycling antibiotics to see if I could find one that would work. Also added salt to tackle any parasites. No apparent affect in the first several weeks, and the problem got much worse. Most of the body above the lateral line on both sides was eaten away. I don't know how he was still alive. Ribs were showing on both sides, with dark lines in between. He looked like one of the "mummy" characters in the movie. But STILL behaved quite normally.

I ended up using an overdose of tertacycline (doubled the dosage and the duration) which seemed to stop the progress. Then maracyn and maracyn 2, together, and adding an aloe-based "body slime replacer" product as well. I went through 2 or three of the recommended treatment cycles. The progress of the problem was arrested when i started treatment, but it would start again as soon as treatment ended, so I just threw caution to the wind and keep him on drugs continuously for several weeks (frequent changes of half the water).

Finally he seemed stable and started actually growing back fins; when that course of treatment ended I did not resume. He is still quarantined, and the "cavities" are regenerating once again. Largely covered with scales, so the "silver" color is returning. The problem areas were a dark color - almost black, which changed to a very pale salmon color when treatment started. I believe the dark was necrotic flesh, and it sloughed off leaving raw healthy pink flesh exposed. There was actually a lot of debris in the tank when the treatment finally started working that I believe was dead flesh sloughing off.

He is putting on body mass and has adapted to his temporary quarters. So I have my fingers crossed that he can be returned to his home soon, but I am not going to rush it.

But what the heck was/is this? I am just calling it "body rot." It sounds like those descriptions of "flesh eating bacteria." The description of "fish lice" damage sounds possible, but I've seen no evidence of any parasites, and it is only the one fish. Even when he seemed cured and it came back, it still just came back on him.
 

COBettaCouple

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Does this description fit what you saw in that fish: The fish looks like tiny chunks have been torn out of it's body. The wound edges are bloody.
 
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FLBettaCouple said:
Does this description fit what you saw in that fish: The fish looks like tiny chunks have been torn out of it's body. The wound edges are bloody.
no - it was large, gradually spreading areas and the edges just tapered into the body - no ragged or bloody places anywhere
 

COBettaCouple

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Given the earlier tail/fin rot and the closeness to body rot symptoms, it does sound like an unusual case of body rot. Maybe combined with an unidentified bacteria that caused the similiar but unique symptoms. ??? It's got me stumped, I think I'd have to ask a fish vet and even then it might be a 'mystery disease'.
 
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FLBettaCouple said:
Given the earlier tail/fin rot and the closeness to body rot symptoms, it does sound like an unusual case of body rot. Maybe combined with an unidentified bacteria that caused the similiar but unique symptoms. ??? It's got me stumped, I think I'd have to ask a fish vet and even then it might be a 'mystery disease'.
I have never found a direct description of something called "body rot." Fin and tail rot, yes, and in one writeup it said "Tailrot/Finrot
Look for torn, ragged or stuck- together fins. Try to treat at early stage -if the rot reaches the body, cure is unlikely." suggesting that can happen. Where did the description you posted come from?

I suppose the situation could be that this individual was susceptible enough for unknown reasons to let the bacteria spread, whereas the others own immune systems fought it. Maybe he'd just too old to fight it. I read that Silver Dollars live 5-20 years, and I've had these for 18-20.

He is much improved, considering how bad he was - growing fins and regenerating skin and tissue - but still way underweight - ribs still show. I decided yesterday after posting this that his improvement had stalled and maybe one area had regressed - and started a different antibiotic - triple sulfa - maybe overreacting, but experience is that it comes on like gangbusters so I didn't want to take a chance. Kind of like fighting my periodic sinus infections!
 

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