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diggitydani

Persistent swim bladder and fungal infection

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I'm so incredibly frustrated with this. So we went on vacation a couple weeks ago, and when I came back, my pearlscale had developed swim bladder problems, which have only gotten worse in the two weeks since we've been back. I've done everything. I didn't feed them for three days. I fed them only peas for a week. I raised the temp of the tank and added Epsom salts. I added aquarium salt. I even tried some freeze-dried daphnia, but that just floated on the top, so it didn't help. I've also done two rounds of API General Cure, and there's been no difference. In fact, he appears to have gotten worse, now floating fully upside down instead of just being lopsided. The fish food that my pet sitters were (likely over) feeding was also medicated (Blackwater Koi and Goldfish food) (because one of my fish suddenly died right before we went on vacation), so it didn't even seem likely that it was a parasite given the antibiotics etc. But I dosed General Cure just in case. Nothing. Helps.
 
ALSO, my black moor has persistent fungal problems. He started showing signs of fin rot last week, so I've been doing a 40% water change every weekend. I've been dosing Melafix and Pimafix for weeks, and added a little aquarium salt. I even ran a UV filter for a while there. I just did a big water change a couple days ago, and the white on his fins is back. It's like it never goes away not matter how often I clean the tank--and I cleaned it a LOT recently. Even scrubbed all the plants, sides of the tank, cleaned the ornaments, and rinsed off my filters etc. But it keeps coming back, just in this one fish. Even when it goes into "remission" he always has a little white spot on his dorsal fin. That spot has been there for months and months. 
 
Does anyone have any idea what could be wrong or what I could do for either of these situations? Water parameters are all normal, with the exception of high phosphate, which is present in my tap water. My nitrites are always zero, my ammonia is always zero, my Ph is usually between 7.2 and 7.4, and my nitrates are always very low (even though it's an aquaponics system--I guess my plants eat it all). 

 

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I'm sure one of the helpful people will be around soon, but: I would stop any more medicating. I think you've tried the lot. I also would cease with the freeze dried food.

Until help arrives, hang tight and good luck!

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Thanks! I've finished the round of the most recent medication--the API General Cure. So besides Pimafix and Melafix, that's all, I think. My post makes it seem like I tried everything at one time, but it was actually spaced out by a few days, heh.

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Please copy this form, paste it it into your reply, and answer the questions.  You can find some help on how to answer here.

 

Please copy & paste fill the following form and fill it out to the best of your ability when requesting help for Goldfish Problems:

  • Test Results for the Following:
    • * Ammonia Level(Tank)
    • * Nitrite Level(Tank)
    • * Nitrate level(Tank)
    • * Ammonia Level(Tap)
    • * Nitrite Level(Tap)
    • * Nitrate level(Tap)
    • * Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)
    • * Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)
    • Other Required Info:
      • * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops?
      • * Water temperature?
      • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running?
      • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)?
      • * How often do you change the water and how much?
  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change?
  • * How many fish in the tank and their size?
  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners?
  • * What do you feed your fish and how often?
  • * Any new fish added to the tank?
  • * Any medications added to the tank?
  • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment.
  • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus?
  • * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.?

 

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Hope he feels better.

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Please fill out the form that Shakaho posted above. This will really help us get our heads around what's happening.  Pictures or a video of the fish and tank would also be extremely helpful in making an accurate diagnosis.  I agree with dnalex that you should cease the medications for now while we figure this out.  

 

When you say "swimm bladder problems", do you mean floating, sitting or both?  These are both symptoms of SBD(swim bladder disorder).  I like that you tried Epsom Salt, but we may have a better way for you to administer this.  I, again, agree with dnalex that it would be good to stop the freeze dried foods as these can contribute to SBD.  

 

If the Moor has fin rot as stated above, that is bacterial, not fungal and often too aggressive for Melafix and/or Pimafix to clear.  I have limited confidence in these two products, particularly Pimafix.  Once we determine this, we can recommend an appropriate level of salt, a dip or an antibiotic.  How much salt did you add?

Edited by Jared

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Test Results for the Following:

* Ammonia Level(Tank) 0

* Nitrite Level(Tank) 0 

* Nitrate level(Tank) 0

* Ammonia Level(Tap) 0

* Nitrite Level(Tap) 0

* Nitrate level(Tap) 0

* Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.3-7.4

* Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.3-7.4

Other Required Info:

* Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? Ph with electric Ph meter, API drop kit for the rest

* Water temperature?was 68, now I raised to 74/75

* Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 90 gal tank with 2 10-15 gal sumps, been running about 2 years

* What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? It's an aquaponics system. I have a 20 gal flood and drain filled with hydroton, and a hybrid NFT gutter system also filled with hydroton. I also have a trickle filter I made with a shelving system that has a couple layers of matala on top, then a bunch of bio balls on the bottom

* How often do you change the water and how much? I've been doing 30-40% water changes every weekend for the past 2-3 weeks where I vacuum the gravel etc

* How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? 4 days ago on Monday I did a 40% water change

* How many fish in the tank and their size? I have 4 goldfish. They're between 3 and 5 inches

* What kind of water additives or conditioners? I use seachem prime when I do a water change

* What do you feed your fish and how often? I usually feed hikari sinking pellets with some occasional spirulina flakes and veggies, but one of my goldfish died before I went on vacation so I fed them medicated fish food for 10 days or so. Then the swim bladder problems developed in my pearlscale, so I fed them peas, tried freeze dried daphnia for a day, then gave them broccoli yesterday. I usually feed them twice a day, but I've cut back to once during all this.

* Any new fish added to the tank? no

* Any medications added to the tank? I've been using Pimafix and Melafix, which usually heal the fin rot. Also salt, epsom salt, and API general cure

* List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment. Pimafix/Melafix for 2 weeks or so. Added a couple tablespoons of salt early last week. Put epsom salt in this week. Did two rounds of API General Cure, one on Monday and one on Wednesday.

* Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? Black Moor consistently has white film on his fins and one white spot on his dorsal fin--which is why I figured the fin rot was fungal and not bacterial. Usually if this is left untreated, his tail fins start fraying pretty fast. His gills are also bright red, but I wasn't sure if that was a bad sign. He will often bottom sit when this happens.

* Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? Pearlscale started off tipping to the side, but he's progressed to floating almost upside down when he's trying to right himself. He sits near the bottom lopsided in the corner of the tank. Haven't noticed him floating at the surface, but whenever I come out, I have to tap the tank to "wake him up" and wait for him to swim out to the feeding area. He doesn't seem interested/able to get food lately, and I haven't noticed him poop at all, even though I know he ate peas when I started giving them. He just seems to be getting more bloated.

 

 

 

 

In regards to a salt dip, I'm pretty averse to doing that. A year or so ago, I thought my goldfish had ich (they didn't), so I did a salt bath with all of them, using the recommended ratios listed on the Kokos goldfish article about it (http://www.kokosgoldfish.com/Saltbath.html)

. It immediately killed one of my fish, and the rest of them had "salt burns" where they turned black and took weeks to go back to normal.

Edited by diggitydani

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Here's a link to some pics, too. http://imgur.com/a/S943Z

 

The pearlscale (Garamond) hasn't changed, still tipping upside down all the time. He does a bit better when he swims, but as soon as he stops moving, he starts to tip upside down. 

 

The black moor (Inky) looks worse today with the whiteish patches all over him. I can't tell if it's a further infection or if his slime coat is just kicking into gear more. You can see the fronts of his fins are white tipped, though. That's how it always starts. He doesn't seem to bad otherwise.

 

My wakin (Scribble) has also been behaving a bit oddly the past week. He's usually very very rambunctious--on the verge of obnoxious, given he was the biggest fish for a long time. Now despite pretty frequent water changes (once a week as opposed to once a month or so) he's just a little blah. He floats in the middle of the tank not doing anything most of the time, as you can see from the image. He does occasionally come to the side of the tank and beg for food--he did yesterday, at least. But it just seems like something is off with him. 

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Have you had those rocks in the bottom of the tank all along?  (I don't remember them.)  If so, they probably have created the problem.  All your problems usually result from poor water quality.  Your stocking level, filtration, and (current) maintenance should produce excellent water quality, so those stones raise the only red flag.  Stones that big produce spaces for debris to fall and get trapped.  A siphon won't pick up stuff that lies under rocks, so it rots.  Decay uses oxygen and as time passes, the spaces between the rock become anaerobic.  Some anaerobic decay bacteria produce toxins.  If you were going a full month without water changes before the fish got sick that would allow the water to get pretty toxic. 

 

As a rule of thumb, if multiple fish in a tank get sick at the same time with different symptoms, one suspects a toxin.  It could be produced in the tank, come from the environment or from the tap water.

 

Do you usually have the same tap and tank pH?  Or is that just because you are currently doing a lot of water changes?

 

Just to satisfy my curiosity, would you post a current picture of  your whole system?  :)

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Yes, I've had the rocks in the tank since I upgraded to a 90 gal acrylic between 6 and 8 months ago. Whenever I do water changes, I vacuum the gravel really well. It's been once a week for the past 2-3 weeks that I've gone through the entire tank vacuuming, and I did get a lot of gunk out from there, including a couple worms I'd put in the aquaponics grow beds a while back who somehow found their way to the tank. 

 

Usually my tank ph slowly goes down to 7.1 or so, but when I add tap water, it goes back up to 7.4, so it's there now because of all the water changes. 

 

I've added a pic of my full system to the folder I linked to above. It's a little hard to understand given I'm currently shading the tank with a towel, so you'll have to excuse that along with the mess on my balcony, haha. On the left side is a tomato plant in a 15-20 gal grow bed, and you can see the gutters on the right. The tank has a pvc overflow into the drawer trickle filter in the far right sump, then there's a water bridge to a sump under the tank, and then it's pumped up into the two grow beds. 

 

I feel like the issues with Inky and Scribble--the fin rot and general malaise--is from some issue with the water, or maybe I just need to take down my grow beds and clean them out really good, but I'd been assuming the swim bladder problems with Gary (Garamond) were from overfeeding. Given I've starved and fed them peas and broccoli pretty much for a week and a half, I'm just shocked nothing has improved with him. That's why I thought maybe it was parasitic, and treated with API General Cure, but that doesn't seem to have helped after two doses 48 hours apart--unless it takes longer than that? The box said two full doses was required, but didn't say whether to keep treating if symptoms persist. I'm hesitant because I'm starting to doubt it's parasitic, but that was the only suggestion left after I starved, fed peas, increased temp to 76, and added salt and epsom salt at various times. :/

 

Oh, I also forgot to mention that Scribble appears to have some puffy whiteness on his tail, too. I assume it's the same issue Inky has? Oh, and Inky had started showing some white tips last week, so I did another water change and dosed with Melafix and Pimafix, and he seemed to be getting better--the white tips were almost gone--until yesterday when they came back with a vengeance, as you can see from the pic, but I can't tell if that's more infection or just slime coat. It wasn't previously affecting any body scales, but now, as you can see, he has some white clumps on his scales too.

Edited by diggitydani

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Your system looks good.  Do you have a bell siphon in your grow bed?  In "hybrid NFT gutter system,"  What does NFT stand for?  I'm an idiot when it comes to acronyms. 

 

I belong to several pond forums.  Their "rule of thumb" about ponds with stones on the bottom say that unless the stones get removed, and both stones and the pond bottom get cleaned at least a couple times a year, koi begin to die after a year and goldfish after two years.  It doesn't always happen.  Some fish can survive almost anything.  Whenever a newbie comes on a pond forum and wonders why his fish, that had been perfectly healthy for 2 years, have started dying in spite of good maintenance and perfect parameters, the first question they get is, "Do you have stones/rocks in the pond."  They almost always say yes.

 

Would you consider losing the stones?  A half inch of sand makes an attractive substrate, and is what goldfish have for a substrate in nature. It stays clean.  They get exercise spending all day foraging through the sand, and the sand they actually swallow serves both as "fiber" and perhaps "ballast" to help keep them upright.

 

Did I show you my little aquaponics system when you were here before?  It functions, but I sure learned a lot about what I should have done when I built it.  I should have a larger, improved system running in the fall.

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Yep, there's a bell siphon in the flood and drain tomato plant one. NFT stands for Nutrient Film Technique. Usually it means there's a trickle of water constantly flowing by, but I have mine on a timer. 

 

I could consider getting rid of the stones to see how it does.

 

I just went out and saw that Inky is sitting on the bottom and his white spots have now grown even bigger, and even flake off as he swims. I got a better pic of it, and am adding to the photo group. Poor Gary is upside down in the corner, and Scribble is bottom sitting.

Edited by diggitydani

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I'm in the middle of doing a water change and I just noticed that a few food pellets that didn't get eaten from yesterday or the day before were growing white fuzzy tendrils on them. Does this suggest a fungal infection? Wondering if I should dose the tank with API Fungus Cure. Inky and scribble seem to have those white spots flaking off them--I saw them as I was vacuuming the gravel. The weird thing is the spots on the fish aren't fuzzy. They look more flaky, as you can see in the pics.

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I noticed some tendril-looking white fuzz in Inky's mouth, which confirmed to me it's fungal. I added a dose of API Fungus Cure. Hopefully this will at least take care of Inky and Scribble. Still don't know what to do about Gary. He's not eating very much. 

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Update, in case anyone is interested: all the fish are looking much better. Inky's white fuzz has cleared up with the exception of the spot on his dorsal fin. Gary has even started swimming around the tank more, which to me meant that he was bottom sitting because of a fungal infection, and happened to float upside down because of remaining swim bladder/bloating issues.

 

I'm considering taking out the pebbles and changing to pool filter sand, but I'm nervous because the last time I had tiny gravel, it was SUCH a pain to get out of the tank when I upgraded tanks. Is it really worth it? I also worry that my Python gravel siphon, which has made water changes SO much easier that I do them more regularly now, will be useless if I switch to sand, given I don't want to send tons of sand particles down my drain...

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Good news about the fish!  Bare bottom is easiest and cleanest.  You just have to learn how far to hold the siphon above the sand.  Solid waste is so much lighter than sand, that once you get the hang of it you can get up all of the waste and leave all of the sand.  You don't  stir up sand the way you do gravel, since waste can't sink into the spaces between sand particles.

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Yeah, I have heard bare bottom is simplest, but I really just don't like the look of it most of the time. Plus, I'd like to give the fishies something to do, and I know they loved sifting through the smaller gravel when I had it. :) I think just the commitment of sand scares me, because getting it all out would be basically impossible. I think I'll just have to suck it up and do it, haha. Hopefully this will solve the fish being consistently sick.  :)

Edited by diggitydani

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I don't find getting sand out difficult.  You just scoop out most of it, then take the tank outside, stand it on one end, and hose the rest of it out.  You may have to rotate the tank to the other sides to get every last grain out.  Even if you have a gram or two left in the tank, what difference does it make?

 

Remember, you only want 1/4 to 1/2 inch of sand.

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Yeah, the difficulty I'm concerned about is that I live in an apartment, so I don't have an outdoor hose or a place where I can rinse out the tank or anything, so it would just be a huge pain, heh. Hopefully the sand will work out and I won't have to worry about it!

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