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Advice needed, finrot: to medicate or not to medicate

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  • Test Results for the Following:
    • * Ammonia Level(Tank) 0
    • * Nitrite Level(Tank) 10
    • * Nitrate level(Tank) 0
    • * Ammonia Level(Tap).5 (0 after treating with Prime)
    • * Nitrite Level(Tap)0
    • * Nitrate level(Tap)0
    • * Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.5, 100, 180
    • * Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)7, 40, 120
    • Other Required Info:
      • * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API drops for NH3, API strips for all other readings
      • * Water temperature? 78 (ranges between 74-78 depending on day
      • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 36 gallon 24"L x 15"W x 21"H, 9 months
      • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? Aqueon Quietflow 30 and Fluval Aquaclear 50
      • * How often do you change the water and how much? 30% once a week
  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? 4 days ago (Sun), 30%
  • * How many fish in the tank and their size? 1 comet goldfish 5"
  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners? Seachem Prime
  • * What do you feed your fish and how often? 5-6 Hikari Gold sinking pellets in the morning, blanched veggies/ freeze-dried bloodworms/ algae wafers at night
  • * Any new fish added to the tank? no, never
  • * Any medications added to the tank? See below
  • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment.

-1 month ago when mild symptoms of finrot began to appear, dosed tank with aquarium salt (1 T/ 5 gal) and did a full round (7 days) of melafix

-changed 30% of water, added back carbon filters and did nothing except for 1 additional 30% water change for 7 days (water readings constant and normal)

-after next water change, treated with Maracyn 2 for 5 days as directed

-did 30% water change (4 days ago) and added back carbon filters

  • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus?
  • mildly frayed fins and tail
  • just today single white spot on body
  • * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.?
  • nope, very active, good appetite

Hello everyone!

I'm an inexperienced goldfish keeper and wanted to seek advice about treatment. I hate to treat unnecessarily but am worried about my comet, Kaji who has had mild finrot for the past month and just today developed a single white spot on one side of his body (see attached photo).

Kaji is a comet, a little over 1 yrs old and is about 5" long (including tail). He lives by himself in a well-filtrated 36 gallon tank and has never had any tankmates or live plants.

Troubles began about 1 month ago, most likely because I was training Kaji to swim through hoops and negligently overfeeding him in my enthusiasm. I gradually increased his feeding from 5 mini pellets once a day + small amount of veggies at night to about 8-10 mini pellets (many of which fell to the bottom) + occasional veggies over a period of about a month. Retrospectively, this was really stupid, I was just so excited about him learning tricks.

As soon as I noticed that his fins and tail were beginning to fray about 1 month ago (although he was acting normal, eating, playing etc), I immediately stopped hoop training and went back to feeding him smaller amount as before, tested the water, and did a 40% water change. Interestingly, water parameters were normal, although, when I was vacuuming the gravel and noticed much more gunk than usual. I decided, since symptoms were mild and parameters were stable, to dose with aquarium salt and melafix to see if the finrot would get better. He started getting flighty a few days into the treatment.

After day 7, I did a 30% water change, added the carbon back into the filters. Water tested normally and he was acting normal (eating, swimming around, no bottom sitting or scratching) but his fins didn't seem to get better or worse. One odd thing did happen--two of his scales on one side in different spots fell off. I'm not sure if this was related or just normal growth. No other scales have fallen off since.

A few days later I went away for 5 days, so before I left I did a 30% water change and fed him normally in the morning. While I was gone he wasn't fed at all.

When I came back, I noticed that his finrot had gotten a bit worse. No red streaks, just further deterioration of fins, so I did a 30% water change and dosed with aquarium salt and Maracyn 2 for 5 days. During this time, the fins remained stable, neither better nor worse. I then did a 30% water change and added carbon back into the filter. I waited for one week without any treatment then did his 30% water change as normal.

It's been 4 days since then and just today I noticed that on one side of his body (opposite side from where the two scales fell off in a place where he lost scales over a year ago and they grew back lighter) he developed a white spot. It's not fuzzy like fungus and spread out like ich and it's not pinkish like a wound. Looking closely, I can't tell whether one of his scales has simply turned white or if it's something else. (I've attached a picture, although it's a little blurry because Kaji never sits still)

As far as his fins, they haven't gotten worse, but I haven't seen new fin growth either. He's lively and hungry as ever. Water is testing normal (see above). I'm wondering whether I should treat him with another round of antibiotics (like Furan 2, since maracyn 2 is now off the market) or just wait and see what happens.I know finrot should be treated early for best results, but I don't want to overmedicate either. I'd really appreciate advice from more experienced fish keepers.

Sorry for the length and thank you!

Anne

816534f386769896d2ea62479f58335f.jpg

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I'm sorry to hear that your fish is a bit under the weather.

A moderator will be by soon to give you guidance. In the meantime, I noticed that you indicated 10 for nitrites. Did you mean "0" ? Nitrites will irritate your fish so that's why I'm asking for clarification because you indicated that water parameters are normal.

Could you get a closer picture of the white spot? Even if you have to gently take him out of the tank and take a picture while in your hand. You will need help for this.

Other than Maracyn 2 and Melafix, what other meds do you have on hand?

Thanks!

Edited by LisaCGold

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Thanks for replying!

Oops, sorry, I think I reversed nitrites and nitrates. Nitrites are at 0 and nitrates are at 10 (meaning on my API strip test, there is an ever so slight pinkish pigment to the test strip). According to the instruction 0-40 is normal for nitrates, since some should be present for the cycle (correct me if I'm wrong).

I recently ordered some Furan 2 to have on hand just in case--but I'm open to recommendations for other medications if necessary.

I just took another picture of the white spot, where it's more visible (attached). It's starting to look a little pink around the edges like a wound, which worries me.

d656eae0607613bc51922c122f2c4bdf.jpg

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I have always used melafix!!.. Always worked for me!!..:-)

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Oh good, I'm glad we got the nitrites and nitrates straightened out. Yes, the presence of nitrates is one of the indicators of being cycled. At Koko's we recommend keeping is to 20 ppm and lower. With one fish in a 36 gallon tank that shouldn't be too hard. We also recommend water changes of at least 50% a week, but, again, you have one fish in a 36 gallon so as long as you monitor the parameters the 30% maybe okay (but others may disagree). Just a heads up though, there are other dissolved solids in the water that are not tested for and it is a good thing to get rid of those with a larger weekly water change.

Regarding the carbon cartridge in the filter, how often do you replace that? Just so you know, most of us don't use a carbon, only when we want to get rid of meds or odors in the water. Instead we do larger water changes and pack in the bio-media for the beneficial bacteria.

So you have Maracyn 2, Melafix, and Furan 2 on hand. What about plain salt (no additives)?

I think right now you have no meds in the tank, correct?

Edited by LisaCGold

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Hello and welcome!

How deep is that gravel, and how often do you thoroughly vacuum it?

Ok, so my initial thought when I saw the pics of your fish was "That is one skinny looking comet."

I believe you are underfeeding the guy a bit. Especially the second photo of him, the proportions of his eyes vs body makes him look rather skinny. I do not think that you fed too much.

What I rather suspect is that possibly the gravel is not clean enough, and maybe the filters need a good cleaning. His fins don't look too bad, so refrain from using medications.

Instead, try to give the tank a really good cleaning. Maybe remove the fish into a small tub, and thoroughly vacuum the gravel, draining as much water out of the tank as possible.
Refill 50%, stir the gravel to see how murky it makes the water, and drain it all again. Repeat one more time if you feel the water does not look clear enough.

Clean the media gently in dechlorinated tap water, one filter at a time (the other one a couple weeks later), and scrub down the walls.

Maybe for a while up the water changes to about 50% twice weekly, and then slowly go back to about 40% once a week.

Edited by Oerba Yun Fang

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Hope he feels better.

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The first treatment should be cleaner water, which is the most important medicine. As Lisa mentioned, we recommend a minimum of one 50% water change per week. Many people do much larger weekly water changes, and some do two 50% changes per week.

Your next concern should be getting accurate readings for your parameters. Generally strips are not very accurate even though they are convenient. Of all the strips I have tried the API strips were the worst. Add to that the fact they they are much more expensive on a per test scale than the API drops -- API Freshwater master Kit 800 tests for $25, API 5 in 1 package 25 strips for $10.

I note that you haven't treated for flukes. We use a treatment of praziquantel, a gentle fluke medication, as a part of our quarantine procedure for new fish. Many of us do prazi treatments yearly, since flukes are very persistent. You won't find prazi in the big box pet stores, but most fish stores carry it. If you don't have a local fish store, you can order it on line. Prazipro is a popular brand which is relatively easy to use. A fluke infestation can result in a skinny fish.

Along with the prazi, we use salt which is another gentle medication. Aquarium salt is fine, but if you need to get more, you can use Morton Canning and Pickling Salt, which is also pure salt without additives, but is far cheaper.

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The first treatment should be cleaner water, which is the most important medicine. As Lisa mentioned, we recommend a minimum of one 50% water change per week. Many people do much larger weekly water changes, and some do two 50% changes per week.

Your next concern should be getting accurate readings for your parameters. Generally strips are not very accurate even though they are convenient. Of all the strips I have tried the API strips were the worst. Add to that the fact they they are much more expensive on a per test scale than the API drops -- API Freshwater master Kit 800 tests for $25, API 5 in 1 package 25 strips for $10.

I note that you haven't treated for flukes. We use a treatment of praziquantel, a gentle fluke medication, as a part of our quarantine procedure for new fish. Many of us do prazi treatments yearly, since flukes are very persistent. You won't find prazi in the big box pet stores, but most fish stores carry it. If you don't have a local fish store, you can order it on line. Prazipro is a popular brand which is relatively easy to use. A fluke infestation can result in a skinny fish.

Along with the prazi, we use salt which is another gentle medication. Aquarium salt is fine, but if you need to get more, you can use Morton Canning and Pickling Salt, which is also pure salt without additives, but is far cheaper.

I agree with all of this. The strips aren't reliable and may be giving you false readings. Water quality problems could be one cause of the fin rot.

Antibiotics such as Furan-2 and Maracyn won't kill Flukes which could also be the underlying cause for the bacterial fin rot. I would clean the tank per Fang's instructions above and then do Prazi and salt treatments as suggested by Shakaho.

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Thank you everyone all for the good and thorough advice! It never occurred to me that I wasn't changing enough water every week, but it makes sense since there always seems to be a lot of gunk in the gravel when I vacuum every week. I do try to vacuum pretty thoroughly each time, scrub the sides with a brush and wash the filter media out in the dirty water, but last week I actually took apart the filters and cleaned them and there was a lot of dirt. From now on I'm going to do 50% and clean everything more thoroughly.

It also never occurred to me that I was UNDERfeeding him, since I always read warnings about the dangers of overfeeding. It's good to know that I can be a little more liberal with his food! Poor guy, I really had no idea!

I've been using carbon as per the filter directions and changing about once a month (I stagger it so that I don't change both filters at the same time). Would it be better to just cram more bags of bio-media (the netted bags of white chalky stuff, right?) in place of these? What about the sponges?

I'm also almost out of the API strips, so I'll buy the drops master kit and retest.

The meds I have in stock now are: aquarium salt, melafix, furan 2 and prazipro.

I actually did treat for flukes about a year ago with prazi and I haven't introduced anything new into the tank since then, so it really shouldn't be flukes.

Any idea what the white spot might be? Could it possibly be an ulcer? I'm going to do the major tank cleaning as suggested tomorrow and not add any medicine, but I read that if it's an ulcer I'll need to disinfect with benzyl peroxide and treat with antibiotics? What are the identifying characteristics of an ulcer on a fish? Sorry, I'm so inexperienced but really want to do the best for my fish!

Thanks so much!!!

Anne

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Thank you everyone all for the good and thorough advice! It never occurred to me that I wasn't changing enough water every week, but it makes sense since there always seems to be a lot of gunk in the gravel when I vacuum every week. I do try to vacuum pretty thoroughly each time, scrub the sides with a brush and wash the filter media out in the dirty water, but last week I actually took apart the filters and cleaned them and there was a lot of dirt. From now on I'm going to do 50% and clean everything more thoroughly.

It also never occurred to me that I was UNDERfeeding him, since I always read warnings about the dangers of overfeeding. It's good to know that I can be a little more liberal with his food! Poor guy, I really had no idea!

I've been using carbon as per the filter directions and changing about once a month (I stagger it so that I don't change both filters at the same time). Would it be better to just cram more bags of bio-media (the netted bags of white chalky stuff, right?) in place of these? What about the sponges?

I'm also almost out of the API strips, so I'll buy the drops master kit and retest.

The meds I have in stock now are: aquarium salt, melafix, furan 2 and prazipro.

I actually did treat for flukes about a year ago with prazi and I haven't introduced anything new into the tank since then, so it really shouldn't be flukes.

Any idea what the white spot might be? Could it possibly be an ulcer? I'm going to do the major tank cleaning as suggested tomorrow and not add any medicine, but I read that if it's an ulcer I'll need to disinfect with benzyl peroxide and treat with antibiotics? What are the identifying characteristics of an ulcer on a fish? Sorry, I'm so inexperienced but really want to do the best for my fish!

Thanks so much!!!

Anne

The easiest and best thing might be to just remove the gravel altogether and go with no substrate or a thin layer of sand. We generally discourage the use of gravel as it harbors detritus and harmful bacteria. Goldfish have also been known to choke on gravel.

I would also:

1) Switch the freeze dried bloodworms out for frozen bloodworms as freeze dried products can cause constipation.

2) Discontinue the carbon and Aqueon filter cartridges and just cut Rite-Size blue filter padding to fit into the Aqueon's blue holster

http://www.petmountain.com/product/aquarium-filter-pads/11442-502933/marineland-marineland-rite-size-bonded-pre-cut-filter-pads.html

and place one Aquaclear sponge and two bags of Biomax in the AC 50.

3) Pick up or order some Seachem Metronidazole to have on hand:

http://www.petmountain.com/product/bacterial-fungal-aquarium-medications/11442-503346/seachem-seachem-metronidazole.html

4) Just try clean water and then the salt and Prazi, first. If the spot gets worse and ulcerates, the Furan-2 plus the Metronidazole would probably be the best treatment in a separate QT tank.

We need a better picture of the spot to give you a diagnosis.

I think you meant "hydrogen peroxide" rather than benzyl peroxide, correct?

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Can you tell us how you did the Prazi treatment? We have a more complete treatment protocol than what is on the bottle. Also, after a full Prazi treatment (4-6 rounds of prazi), we recommend maintenance treatments (1-2 rounds) about every 4-6 months. After a full treatment, there is usually a very low level of flukes remaining on/in the fish. Overtime the fluke level gets high enough that the fish becomes symptomatic. The maintenance treatments help to keep the fluke levels low.

Regarding the bump, let's see what happens with cleaning the tank, larger water changes and Prazi treatments. I'll post the thread with the Prazi protocol.

Regarding the filter, I suggest posting in the Tank & Equipment forum for more thorough advice on that. This way we can focus on the fin and bump issues on this thread. It can get a bit unwieldy when two major discussions are happening on one thread. You'll gets lots of guidance on that forum for filter setup and maintenance.

As for feeding, you'll want to target feeding about 1% of body weight for dry food and a bit more for moist food.

Edit: I see Jared and I posted around the same time. :)

Edited by LisaCGold

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Here is our recommended Prazi protocol: http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/105076-schedules-for-the-treatment-of-flukes-etc-using-praziquantel/

When you do this treatment, you can post updates on this thread every day or so. That way you can get guidance as you go along.

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Thank you! This is so helpful!

Yes, I meant hydrogen peroxide!

Okay, I will proceed with the intense tank cleaning tomorrow and do a 50% water change twice a week for while. I'll post an update if there are any changes in the fins or the spot.

I'm pretty sure I just followed the directions on the bottle for the Prazi treatment, so I almost certainly didn't do it in the ideal way.

Thanks for the link and the clear instructions!

Anne

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One treatment with prazi is not going to wipe out flukes. It kills the adults, but not the immature forms. That's why we typically do four or more rounds during quarantine.



Even if you want to keep gravel in your tank, I would recommend removing it while you are treating your fish. After it is healthy again, you can return the gravel to the tank. You really don't want the parasites or bacteria you are treating for hiding in the gravel.



I don't think anyone told you how to do the salt treatment, and the prazi protocol is not very clear about using salt. After you finish cleaning the tank and replacing the water, add one teaspoon of salt for each gallon of water. That will give you 0.1% salt. Twelve hours later, add the same amount of salt, raising the concentration to 0.2%. Twelve hours later, again add 1 teaspoon of salt per gallon, raising the concentration of salt to 0.3% which is where you will keep it.



You don't want to put undissolved salt in the tank with the fish. Goldfish are likely to try to eat it, with bad results. You can put the salt in a nylon stocking, tie it closed, and put it in the tank where the salt will dissolve slowly.



Now you are ready to begin the prazi protocol. Please use twice the recommended amount of Prazipro, since that amount is appropriate only if you are using no more than 0.1% salt. The 0.3% salt will help avoid infections in the wounds left by flukes, and may also help with that white spot.



Whenever you do a water change during the treatment, add 1 Tablespoon of salt for each gallon of new water you use. This will keep the salt concentration at 0.3%.


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I just did the major water change today, drained most of the tank, cleaned the filters and ornaments in aquarium water and took out most of the gravel as I vacuumed. I also replaced the carbon in the Fluval filter with an extra bag of biomax and ordered the filter padding to replace the carbon filter in the Aqueon. The water seems much cleaner.

If I'm understanding correctly, I should do a series of 50% water changes every 3-4 days and observe to see if Kaji gets better. Then in two weeks or so I should remove all gravel and do a prazi/salt treatment according to the directions on the link regardless of whether Kaji's fins have gotten better or not? (as in, this is both a treatment for what may be causing the problem and a preventive measure, correct)?

I've been reading some threads on gravel vs sand vs bare bottom and am a bit confused about what is best. Since I'm moving in 2 months and will have to take apart the tank and re-set it up, I'll have the opportunity to really commit to one then. Can anyone point me to a really good resource about the pros and cons of each for goldfish (rather than just random threads with different opinions)?

Thanks!

Anne

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I've been reading some threads on gravel vs sand vs bare bottom and am a bit confused about what is best. Since I'm moving in 2 months and will have to take apart the tank and re-set it up, I'll have the opportunity to really commit to one then. Can anyone point me to a really good resource about the pros and cons of each for goldfish (rather than just random threads with different opinions)?

Thanks!

I don't know of a 'really good resource' about the pros and cons of substrate. The general (but not unanimous) conclusions on the forum for the past few years have been as follows.

Gravel - gravel of a certain size can be a problem because it traps dirt and can get caught in a goldfish mouth - not so many fans

Sand - lots of fans, easier to clean than gravel, not a choking hazard, nice for live plants, lots of decorating choice, more work than bare bottom as it does need more careful hoovering, can get caught in filter impellers

Bare Bottom - lots of fans, easy to maintain, live plants must still be attached to something or planted in small pots, the glass bottom shows dirt and poo easily

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Thanks, motherredcap! It seems pretty clear from what I read too that there's no reason to have gravel, even though that is what pet stores tell first-time fish keepers like me goldfish need.

The only hesitation I have about bare-bottom is that my goldfish seems to spend most of his day searching through the substrate for goodies and I'm not sure if he'd feel quite at home in a tank with nothing (especially since he has no tank mates). I think I'll give bare bottom a trial run during the prazi treatments then decide when I move whether I'll get sand or leave it bare bottom.

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I just did the major water change today, drained most of the tank, cleaned the filters and ornaments in aquarium water and took out most of the gravel as I vacuumed. I also replaced the carbon in the Fluval filter with an extra bag of biomax and ordered the filter padding to replace the carbon filter in the Aqueon. The water seems much cleaner.

If I'm understanding correctly, I should do a series of 50% water changes every 3-4 days and observe to see if Kaji gets better. Then in two weeks or so I should remove all gravel and do a prazi/salt treatment according to the directions on the link regardless of whether Kaji's fins have gotten better or not? (as in, this is both a treatment for what may be causing the problem and a preventive measure, correct)?

I've been reading some threads on gravel vs sand vs bare bottom and am a bit confused about what is best. Since I'm moving in 2 months and will have to take apart the tank and re-set it up, I'll have the opportunity to really commit to one then. Can anyone point me to a really good resource about the pros and cons of each for goldfish (rather than just random threads with different opinions)?

Thanks!

Anne

Actually the "change the water and watch" procedure was primarily to give you time to get prazi (since we didn't know you had it), and time for the mod team to discuss medications. We all agreed the salt and prazi was the right treatment for your fish's problems, so you can begin the salting (see post #15) now.

I can add a few things to what motherredcap said about the substrates.

Gravel is capable of supporting a large community of microorganisms -- good and bad. While debris can get caught in the gravel stones, rot, and produce undesirable substances, the gravel also supports a population of nitrifiers in addition to those in the filter. A few graveled aquariums grow denitrifying bacteria, which convert nitrate to nitrogen, so the aquarium never has a nitrate reading.

Sand is the substrate of natural ponds and lakes which are the homes to wild goldfish. Goldfish are primarily bottom feeders, and grab mouthfuls of the tasty tidbits from the bottom of the lake, slurping up some of the sand with it. While they spit out most of the sand, some always goes through the gut. This serves the same function as fiber in keeping things moving through the gut.

Bare bottom is great for the lazy (like me) since it is very easy to keep clean. Many people use a scattering large pebbles or decorative glass pebbles to give their goldies something to poke through.

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I have both sand and bare bottom tanks and like both for different reasons :)

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I thought I'd post an update:

 

After thoroughly cleaning the tank out, taking out the gravel and doing 50% biweekly water changes, Kaji's fins started to grow back immediately and are now almost completely back to normal!

 

I tested the water with the new API drop kit I bought and the parameters are looking good: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 5 nitrate

 

I also started prazi treatment using a double dose and .3% salt with 70% water changes. Today is day 6, the beginning of round 2 and the only thing I've noticed is that Kaji is a bit jumpier than normal--he's still active, eating etc. but when I come near the tank he gets startled and darts a bit. Is this normal? Also, is it necessary to do all 6 rounds of prazi treatment?

 

The white spot is still there, but it hasn't changed at all--still not sure if it's just a change in coloration or some kind of wound/abnormality.

 

I wanted to thank everyone who gave me advice because it really noticeably helped and I now understand the dangers of gravel and the need for larger water changes!

 

Anne

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That's great news  :clapping:

 

How are you scheduling your water changes while you are doing the Prazi rounds?  The darting may just be a reaction to the treatment protocol and should subside once it's done.  4 rounds is probably sufficient.

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I thought I'd post an update:

After thoroughly cleaning the tank out, taking out the gravel and doing 50% biweekly water changes, Kaji's fins started to grow back immediately and are now almost completely back to normal!

I tested the water with the new API drop kit I bought and the parameters are looking good: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 5 nitrate

I also started prazi treatment using a double dose and .3% salt with 70% water changes. Today is day 6, the beginning of round 2 and the only thing I've noticed is that Kaji is a bit jumpier than normal--he's still active, eating etc. but when I come near the tank he gets startled and darts a bit. Is this normal? Also, is it necessary to do all 6 rounds of prazi treatment?

The white spot is still there, but it hasn't changed at all--still not sure if it's just a change in coloration or some kind of wound/abnormality.

I wanted to thank everyone who gave me advice because it really noticeably helped and I now understand the dangers of gravel and the need for larger water changes!

Anne

Good to hear from you and good to hear Kaji's fins are healing!

In the early rounds of a Prazi treatment, it is normal that a flash acts irritated or mopes. Darting a bit sounds in line with this. As the flukes die off, there will be micro tears on/in the fish from where the flukes were attached. As you can imagine, this probably doesn't feel good. The salt helps to heal those wounds along with clean water.

I suggest going at least four rounds then post an update here to get an opinion on whether to proceed with more rounds.

As for the white spot, can you get a close up shot of the spot or a video of it? If necessary: You can try taking a small clear container, gently capturing the fish with it, and taking a picture of the spot while the fish is in a contained space or gently hold the fish so someone else can take a picture of the spot.

Edit: Sniped by Jared!

Edited by LisaCGold

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