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 Uh Oh... disease in tank

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DL Lawrence
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PostSubject: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Sun Sep 30, 2012 6:17 am

First topic message reminder :

Looks like one of my Oto's has a white spot on his back- around 2mm in diameter (which looks big on him, because he's only about 2.5cm long or so- he's not hanging out with his other three buddies, and acting a bit peculiar.  I also see some white stuff around the mouth of one of my Serpeas- both these fish were in a group of the newest stock added to the tank- is this a fungus?  Or Ich?  Thoughts and suggestions welcome...thanks!
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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:37 pm

I am very encouraged, and I think you'll find that it is easier to keep fish healthy in a tank with thriving plants - they look great, by the way!

Do keep us posted. I didn't see anything on that water analysis that would alarm me.

Donald, you are a PEACH to track that water analysis down!

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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:43 am

Thanks, all. I'll take a close look at the tank to see if I can find the Oto- I fear that he died, and was eaten by the other fish...is that possible? My plants are growing, although while they look really good in the pics (kind of like a 6-footer in the car world), the micro swords and some others have some of that furry lookin' hair algae (I think) on them. I'll worry about that later, I guess.
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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:20 am

I'm not well versed in diseases and infections so Melafix has always been my go-to med (and salt) and have had great long term results. Mostly for battle wounds. The tank looks great and sounds like your about over the hump.
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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:30 pm

@DL Lawrence wrote:
Thanks, all. I'll take a close look at the tank to see if I can find the Oto- I fear that he died, and was eaten by the other fish...is that possible?
Entirely possible, DL, I'm afraid - but please take a look anyway ...

Is the algae short (3-5 mm), dark-green or dark grayish-green, and growing mostly up and down the edges of leaves (both real and fake) and on objects?

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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:29 pm

Yep- it's like a very fine fur- growing up on the leaves...I haven't noticed it on the driftwood or rock, but I'll check. It's almost hard to tell the color, because it's so fine, but yes, grayish- green would probably be accurate....some of it could be 7-10mm high, though...maybe even a couple of cm
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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:57 pm

@Liz wrote:
Donald, you are a PEACH to track that water analysis down!

Since it was from VT, it was easy for me to find. Smile
Nice looking aquarium DL.

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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:14 am

Thanks, Don.

I have tonight left as the last dosing in my second cycle of meds. This time, I used Pimafix and Melafix together. While the symtoms on the Serpeas seem to be lessening (the mouth funk does not look as solid white, and a bit smaller), I'm going to try something else. I have been reading about UV Sterilizers- just so happens that I got a pop-up ad for Petco, 20% off with free shipping, so I ordered this:

http://www.petco.com/product/114522/Green-Killing-Machine-Internal-UV-Sterilizer-with-Power-Head.aspx?CoreCat=certona-_-ProductListTopRated_Dog_3-_-Green%20Killing%20Machine%20Internal%20UV%20Sterilizer%20with%20Power%20Head-114522

20% off, with free shipping. I have read that these devices kill some bacterias- some people have had success clearing up infections like what my fish have by using these. So, I got the larger one, and will see how it goes when it gets here.

I haven't read or heard anywhere where you couldn't use Mfix/Pfix for another week, and all the fish seem OK, but it just seems like I've put a lot of that stuff in my tank over the last couple of weeks.

No luck on the Oto, Deb, btw....
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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:18 pm

You should be fine with a another around of Melafix and Pimafix. Remember to do a WC before you start dosing again.

Everyone still eating I assume.

I have no experience with UV sterilizers. Should be interesting to see if you have a noticeable impact.

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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:54 pm

Tomorrow night is the weekly WC- I've got my distilled gallons at the ready! Everyone's still eating well- In fact, sometimes I wonder if I'm feeding them enough- it all dissapears in about a minute and a half.

I'll keep you all posted; thanks again for all the help!
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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:04 pm

UV sterilizers can do a great job to clear the tank of harmful parasites and basically any microorganism in the water. It kills only whatever might be in the water and passes through the filter to be exposed to the UV light, so that means anything attached to the fish, substrate or other hardscape won't be treated, but the free organisms will be zapped!

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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Mon Oct 15, 2012 4:52 pm

I think I need some zapping....my tank looks good, when you look at it from the front. I think the blue background is deceiving on the "real" water color. If you look through the tank from end to end (especially with the lights out), the water looks fairly green tinted- more so right before a WC. I can't see how it will do any harm, I do have some furry algae growing on some of the plants. I don't think my problem is serious (with the algae) but I'd like for it to not get that way. I'm going to go one more week with the Pfix/Mfix treatment, I think- while the mouth funk looks better, it's certainly still there. No signs of white at all on the Danio that had it on his back, so that's good.
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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:19 pm

You ordered the UV sterilizer before I could offer to lend you the one I have. It's not mine; Mark gave it to me to use and then wants to donate it to the club. So, anyone is free to use it if they come and get it. I think the bulb is 15 W but it's older and may take twice as long to work, as a result. Originally, I intended to use it on a tank with green water but for some reason have not done it yet. scratch

From your description of the algae, it sounds like black brush algae, or BBA, which can appear to be any color from black, to charcoal gray, to greenish-gray. Mostly it looks like a dark greenish-gray under regular aquarium lighting. I've seen it growing from 2-3 mm to about 10 mm long. When you decide you want to get rid of it, post in the Algae forum but it's not an emergency right now. First things first, right?

I'm the eternal optimist when it comes to Otos ... Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:43 pm

Thanks for the offer; I appreciate it! I wanted to score one of those things anyway- I almost bought one at the local PetSmart a while ago, but it was 80 bucks (plus tax). Call me cheap...I think it was a bargain at 55 bucks, but I guess that remains to be seen. Product review upcoming! Anyway, if and when I get this "cottonmouth" situation straightened out, I'll post up in the algae section.

Last night, the Serpea with the first white spots to show up on him did not eat, which is a change. The other fish all seem OK- the second Serpea with white funk on his mouth has really shown improvement. The one who is not eating anymore does not look very good color-wise. All the others are quite red-orange, and he's looking a bit more dull and grayish.

I'm considering (for the sake of the rest of the tank) removing and euthanizing him. I know that sucks, but I'm not sure that he's going to get any better, after he's stopped eating after 2 weeks of Mfix/Pfix. I have no hospital tank, and I imagine it's pretty hard to give away a sick fish. Is he too far gone? Is this a hasty decision?

I don't want to be impatient, but I don't want to put the rest of the tank at anymore risk either.
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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:57 pm

I think it is probably the wisest thing to do, quite honestly. The chances of this particular fish recovering are pretty slim, IME.

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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:05 pm

Thanks, Liz. I had been thinking that for a few days now. I appreciate your experienced opinion.
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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:00 pm

DL, your tank has the same fungus as mine. it gets on fish with lower immune systems that have been nipped and it starts at the place the fish got nipped and continues to envelop the fish if left unchecked. it is said that the fungus, like algae, can never really be gotten rid of outside of breaking down the tank, but rather it can be kept in its spore state and made to remain dormant.

before i tell you what happened in my tank, ill tell you that my tank is an ecosystem project and ive been experimenting with ways to keep live foods sustainable in the tank. i have my best luck with blackworms in the substrate and in cups at the top of the tank. but along the way of this particular experiment, ive screwed it up a couple times and had to go back to hand feeding my tank for periods of time on flake and pellet food. the story will mainly revolve around the bettas in my tank. they are very aggressive toward one another, even the females. having a bigger tank allows the bettas to live and breed in relative peace, but there is always going to be some fin shredding. some hobbyists put special leaves in their betta tanks that leech out medicinal properties for this reason. the first batch of bettas lived and bred wonderfully with the worms inhabiting the tank for them to feed on. then i screwed the worms up, and after a prolonged period of being fed commercial food, i dropped a molly in there that must have had some fungus. being that the tank has so many plants, shrimps, and snails, it was very hard to medicate and i never did. all the mollies died, all the bettas died, including the juveniles, a few guppies and a platy died of it. it seemed to subside for a bit, so i tried my luck with another round of bettas. they all died of the fungus within the week. i just recently replenished the blackworm population and the effect was phenomenal. the health of every fish visibly went up. a lot of fish changed their behaviour completely. the dwarf cichlids even abandoned their territories and made new ones as they began to pair up. the effect was so profound that i decided to go for another round of bettas even though i had told myself i was going to wait a few months and see if there were any new outbreaks. the bettas immediately loved the tank, and there has been no sign of the fungus since everything is fed on worms again. its still in the tank, but none of the fish are catching it (even the bettas who already have established rank and file and shredded a few fins.) because their immune systems are back to normal.

so here is my observation: commercial foods have many drawbacks, the biggest being the drawback to the fish's immune system. if the fish's immune system is in proper working order, the fish probably cant catch most if not all aquarium diseases even if the disease is introduced to the tank. blackworms and probably plenty of other live foods keep a carnivorous/omnivorous fish's immune system tip top.

here are some other benefits ive found with the blackworms: the fish eat however much they want, and when they are full, they go about their business. uneaten food can stay as long as it wants, its not rotting. the tanks nutrients are easier to balance because you arent adding phosphorous from fish foods, so algae stays MUCH more under control. you can start with a culture and create a never ending supply of food for free (so long as you dont screw it up Razz). the fish's colors become much more vibrant, especially when they are wrestling with a worm. when i hand fed the tank, territorial fish chose their territories based on where i most frequently dropped the food, with the worms in there, they have other criteria to choose their territories by. the fish can eat whenever they want on their own schedule. shrimp eat them too! when i hand fed, i wasnt even sure i still had shrimp, with the worms in there, they come out like a hive of wasps Smile the fish are always full and much more passive (with the exception of the bettas). everybody gets just as much food, even the slower or more bullied fish. it makes everything want to breed all the time. new fish acclimate to a tank almost instantly if there are worms in there when they get there. the omnivorous fish will spend more time eating algae because they arent getting their meat proteins and plant vitamins all from one source of food.

even if you dont want to sustain the worms in your aquarium, and even if you dont want to raise worms, you can still reduce feedings by a long shot and still get most of these beneficial effects. i have a 75gal tank. right now it is medium stocked with about 25 adult fish, 30 baby/juvenile fish, and 30-40 shrimp. the adult female swordtail is the biggest fish in the tank, and i mostly dont keep things over 4" to preserve the integrity of the project. i can purchase 3/4lb of blackworms over the internet for $40 w overnight deliv. even if i just drop the worms right in the tank, that 3/4lb of worms will keep all my fish fat and healthy for over a month. even if it were heavily stocked, it would probably still keep them fed for a month. $40 /mo doesnt seem like a huge amount to ask for all those benefits Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:29 pm

I've read a fair amount about successful commercial breeding operations and they all seem to have two things in common: access to live foods and large amounts of clean fresh water with stable water parameters for continuous WCs. They have little to no disease concerns.

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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:26 pm

ianjones- Thanks for taking the time to respond- an interesting read, for sure. I'll begin my education on blackworms, and see if that is an option for me. It certainly sounds worth a try. I don't know that I want to get into the worm-keeping hobby (I can tell you that the missus will NOT have any worms in the fridge)- so storage will be a problem. So- if I just order the 3/4 lbs, get it overnighted for 40 bucks- I can just dump all of them into the tank? I don't have nearly as many fish as you do- my tank is 55 gal, with a total of 29 small fish (danios, serpeas, neons, corys, otos). Would that work? I'm not gathering that these worms would survive for long in water that deep.

Great info- many thanks!
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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:16 pm

Here is some info on
California Blackworms. I would not put 3/4 of a pound of any live foods in an aquarium. For the fish you are keeping, try brine shrimp. Very easy.

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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:14 pm

those are the ppl i bought my worms from, don Smile but i did not buy their breeder kit. with all the plants i have in the tank, 3/4lb of worms didnt even spike the nitrates. heck, im thinking about ordering a pound and a half next.

i dont know if don has had trouble with blackworms, but in my experience, whatever you want to do is fine. they will thrive and breed if they can stick their heads above water, but they will live fine in the substrate and will be wriggling all over the roots of your plants if you pull them out. i used small plastic planters with holes in the bottom first. i would put a bit of soil down in the bottom, put the worms in, make sure they were deep enough in the water to be covered but not too deep that they cant have easy access to the surface. then i would put a houseplant in the planter. the houseplant thing didnt work out until i studied Static Solution Culture - a type of hydroponics, but the worms lived and bred and when they would overpopulate, they would end up coming out of the little holes in the bottom and the fish would eat them. the tank sustained itself that way for months until i added a new batch of cups and worms and the new batch of worms had lots of dead matter in it. it screwed the whole tank up royally and killed all the worms in cups.

after reading multiple accounts of blackworms living indefinitely in ppls tanks, i decided to throw 3/4lb into the bottom of the tank as well as my new modified submersible worm farms. there were no ill effects, and even three weeks later, i can still watch a fish pluck a worm out of the substrate and eat it whilst it wriggles to get away. i dont know if they are breeding in the substrate, and i have little way of telling other than the test of time, but thats only my concern because of my specific project and probably isnt something youd care about. (i did see some youtube videos of ppl setting up 10gal tanks to breed the worms in and they filled it up to the top.)

so you can just dump the worms in if you want (they will sink to the bottom, bury themselves in the substrate, and stick their heads (tails actually. blackworms breathe with their tails.) up out of the substrate and wave them around. they are photosensitive so sometimes you will see them pop back in the dirt if a fish swims overhead. even better, you dont have to keep them in the fridge! its good to store them that way if you are buying and selling them, but these things live in temperate climates, not the north pole. if you want to see some examples, you can check out the journal of my project in the Planted Tank Adventures section where u can see plenty of pics of the old cup setup i was using.

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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:17 pm

ps - i have also dumped a raging ton of different species of water fleas in the tank as well, but they didnt work for me, because they were too exposed to stay alive, even with all the plant cover. but the fish thought they were yummy and watching them eat the daphnia was far more entertaining than watching them with the worms Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:41 pm

DL, in hindsight, id like to take a moment to say that although these things work for me, they may not work for all systems. when i think of someone adding all those worms to a tank with an undergravel filter, it produces a very comical image in my head of what might happen once the worms burrow into the substrate. ive learned this about the hobby: everybody has a different experience, and everyones advice mainly comes from their experiences. this is a hobby where everyone can be right, but its all wrong for you. the best way i have found for dealing with this is to find people who have tanks similar to your setup and have ideas similar to yours and pay closer attention to their advice. ive found that if you dont do that, getting advice from other aquarists can be like sitting in congress...a lot of expertise and all of it going in different directions Razz

i accidentally made the assumption that you had a planted tank, and i assumed that you had soil in your tank, capped by your substrate. youll have to forgive me, as most of the other forums i am a member of are planted tank stuff so thats usually a quick assumption for me. if you dont have a planted tank, the cup method will work best for you, i think. (but if you do have a planted tank, i forgot to mention that the blackworms are also bioturbators, which means they move the soil around, minimizing dead, or anaerobic pockets that may form in the soil as it settles.)

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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:18 am

No worries, dude. I actually don't have an UGF, I have to AQ70's, and while I don't have soil covered by substrate (I just have a gravel substrate) all my plants seem to be doing pretty well. Wish I had somewhere to keep those worms- what I've been reading seems to say it's great food for the health of your livestock. But- as you said- if you read enough, you can find all kinds of opinions.
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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:58 pm

no, it seems to be a general consensus that they are very healthy, and everything ive experienced so far falls in line with that. refridgeration isnt necessary to breed them, it just slows down their biological processes so they dont foul up the water as fast. so you dont have to keep them in the veggie drawer lol. they will eat pretty much anything organic (ive even heard of some ppl feeding them napkins haha). the colony should double in about a month.

the ones that come from the internet have always been tip top for me, but i have had lots of dead matter in portions sold by LFSs. if i buy them from an lfs, i make them let me in their fridge to look at their batch. dead worms are light tan instead of dark brown, and if theres even a little dead matter, it smells like a bag of poop. the fish will eat the dead worms, but they are not live food so if they are left uneaten, they will rot. and if you dont keep dead worms out of your breeder, you will end up with nothing but dead worms.

as far as just dropping 3/4lb in your tank, i can only tell you what happens in my tank. definitely make sure they are rinsed and there is no dead matter. i look at it as risk and reward. how much money do you have wrapped up in the fish in that tank? if you put the worms in there and it goes over like an A-bomb, can you handle the loss? if it works, the reward will be that every fish you own from here on out will be able to take advantage of all the benefits listed and live happier, healthier lives. but to acheive that, can you tolerate the potential loss? if that thought makes you feel squeamish, then i suggest you not do it unless you find a way to mitigate enough of the loss to feel comfortable. either way, get some live foods in your tank. you will enjoy the difference Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Uh Oh... disease in tank   Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:02 pm

Just to tie up this loose end, @ DL, did you say that you definitely know the Oto did not make it? Or that you have not seen it?

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