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Steve

Goldfish infection or injury

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Please help me diagnose this fish.  I have three goldfish in an indoor planted tank.  Two have come down with a similar affliction and one has unfortunately already died.

Test Results for the Following:

 Ammonia Level(Tank)   near 0

 Nitrite Level(Tank) near 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) ph 8.2, KH GH 200+

 Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) ph 7.8, KH GH high

 Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? Tetra strips, API drops

 Water temperature? indoor room temperature

 Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 70 gallons, running 21 years

 What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? Emperor 400, Eheim 3e

 How often do you change the water and how much? weekly 25%

 How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? 3 days, 25%

 How many fish in the tank and their size? 3 goldfish, 6 inches

 What kind of water additives or conditioners? Seachem Prime, various bacteria supplements

 What do you feed your fish and how often? Omega pellets 1-2 times per day, algae, chopped peas occasionally

 Any new fish added to the tank? not since August 2019

 Any medications added to the tank? no

 List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank.Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment.   None. For the fish that died I tried KanaPlex and Pimafix and salt, but I think it was too late

 Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus?

This has affected two fish. Both have a loss of skin, raised scales, and what looks like bruises, infection, and maybe a loss of muscle tissue. The placement is similar on both fish, two sides of the body back near the tail.  The first fish, smaller and younger, also got fungal overgrowth of the damaged area and passed away.

 Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.?

The remaining affected fish is active and eating well.

History:  Indoor pond tank, running for 21 years.  I had three 20 year old goldfish in it until last summer when all three died over a three month period. No known water issues, no signs of infection, I called it "old age" and replaced each with a small new fish.  They've been together happy for 9 months.  Minimal substrate, jungle val heavily planted in containers.  Extremely hard water and high PH but I've always had that and the plants, fish and nerite snails have been fine.    Noticed a loss of skin on two fish a week ago, red areas and "damage". The first fish died within two days of contracting a fungus. The second is photoed here.  The third goldfish is a big slow sweetie and isn't hurting anyone, I see no similar damage there.

Thank you in advance.  I was lucky for so many years to have no real issues and now this.

 

 

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Oh ouch!  Have you fed any live food or had any new plants come in?  That sort of ulceration is likely viral and with was dormant in one of the animals until stressed or came in as a hitchhiker on a snail, plant, etc.

We can try treating, but I cannot promise much improvement as this does look viral.  It’s your call.

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:hi and :welcome

I wanted to ask how often do you change the filter water out?

What kind of stuff is inside the pond? like ornaments logs?

Have you every treated the pond with Prazi?

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Hi Arctic Mama.  Nope, I've never fed any live foods.  No new plants or snails since last summer, before I got these fish.  I'd like to do something.  Whatever it is, it's happening very fast.  Maybe something came in on the plants.  I got the jungle val maybe six months before my three old fish (18-20 years) died.  They showed no signs of trauma or infection, just gradually slowed, sank,, stopped eating etc.

koko, I cleaned out the Eheim filter a couple weeks ago, usually every month or two when flow goes down.  Nothing in the pond other than big jungle val plants in pots.  I felt around on the pots and don't think they are sharp enough to do this kind of damage.  Haven't treated the tank with anything.   

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5 minutes ago, Steve said:

Hi Arctic Mama.  Nope, I've never fed any live foods.  No new plants or snails since last summer, before I got these fish.  I'd like to do something.  Whatever it is, it's happening very fast.  Maybe something came in on the plants.  I got the jungle val maybe six months before my three old fish (18-20 years) died.  They showed no signs of trauma or infection, just gradually slowed, sank,, stopped eating etc.

koko, I cleaned out the Eheim filter a couple weeks ago, usually every month or two when flow goes down.  Nothing in the pond other than big jungle val plants in pots.  I felt around on the pots and don't think they are sharp enough to do this kind of damage.  Haven't treated the tank with anything.   

I really want to wait for @Arctic Mama 's opinion. I have thoughts but that cause I think it might be a pest not viral, but I trust her judgement better :)

She will be back :) 

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Thanks @koko.   For the fish that got the cottony fungal growth over this, I had set up a quarantine tank and treated with KanaPlex, Pimafix and salt. The fungus (if that's what it was) seemed to improve but the underlying condition didn't.   Also in the photo, this is after two days treatment with KanaPlex and very light salt and I don't think it has improved at all - but at least no fungus so far.

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I haven't seen this kind of injury where its the same on both sides. So @Arctic Mama really might be on to something. Normally if a fish hurts them selfs its on just one side. Unless they have something in there tank where they can squeeze themselves into. 

 

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This is how it started on the smaller fish.  Photo is from four days ago.  I barely noticed it at the time, kind of blended in with the normal color.  Then within two days the ulceration got worse and the area was covered in cottony fungal growth. 

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Well that shot looks like columnaris, in which case we can treat it.  Have have their mouths degraded at all or is it primarily along their spines and sides? Any fin loss?

I cannot think of how something like that or your normal parasites would be dormant for six mo the though....

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@Arctic Mama Their mouths seem fine. The fish is eating like normal.  

Here are a couple more shots of the progression of the small fish.  Total time from the photo a couple posts earlier til the last is five days.  Middle photo was taken two days after the first. The last is in quarantine tank treated with KanaPlex, Pimafix and salt.  He wasn't eating in that tank and spent less than two days there.  The tail and fins don't look as good there either.  From the front though I think they both looked fine.

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Hello @koko and @Arctic Mama

The fish is maybe a little worse but eating really well and hanging in there. Unfortunately I think the third fish is showing similar symptoms, same position on the body as well.

Columnaris?  Another bacteria?  Why are they getting it on the same area of their bodies?  

They're on the second dose of KanaPlex now.  I don't know if it's helping but the progression seems slower than the fish pictured above. I also have weak salt in the tank.

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If you can run a hospital tank with kanaplex and triple sulfa I think we can knock this back if it isn’t viral.  It would need to be warm, 78 degrees is where I tend to aim for if they’re not showing stress, with an air stone and plenty of circulation, but no filter or substrate.  You’d also probably be doing daily 100% water changes and replacing the full medicine amount each day with that change, to keep the ammonia low and the conditions pristine.

If it responds to that treatment we will want to sterilize the tank and equipment, which is a total pain.  

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Thanks @Arctic Mama.  My hospital tank is only ten gallons.  Could I put both fish in there?  One is 6 inches and the other 7-8 inches.  Unfortunately I think they both have the problem now.

Their home tank is home-made.  A big cedar frame with a rubber pond liner pressed down inside it.  Seems really hard to sterilize that.  Would I dispose of the plants and snails etc?

Or will I need to sterilize or dispose of it all no matter what - even if the fish can't be saved, the environment can't be trusted anymore.

Would there be any hope of doing Kanaplex and triple sulfa in the home tank?  I'm running a big dose of Kanaplex in there now after I saw they both were afflicted.

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If you want to run it in the main tank you can, but it will knock back your filter, take major meds, and there is no guarantee it will fully resolve and be out the the system.  I’ve made the same choice before in the past though, so I do understand :)

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Hi Steve, am watching you problem with interest. Two things ,  1.take a look at a fungus such as Saprolengnia . 2. Pond can be treated by emptying  drying and spraying surfaces with H2O2 , hydrogen peroxide 3-4 % , from supermarket. Leaves no harmful residue and is very effective. ( also cheap and readily available. 

Michael.

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42 minutes ago, mikroll said:

Hi Steve, am watching you problem with interest. Two things ,  1.take a look at a fungus such as Saprolengnia . 2. Pond can be treated by emptying  drying and spraying surfaces with H2O2 , hydrogen peroxide 3-4 % , from supermarket. Leaves no harmful residue and is very effective. ( also cheap and readily available. 

Michael.

It does look like some opportunistic fungus is taking over, but the issue is that fungus doesn’t grow on healthy fish, something seems to be causing underlying injury, be it environment or internal to the animal.  The triple sulfa can hell with that and is broader spectrum, and the kanamycin would eliminate several common bacterial culprits.  If there is no improvement that helps us eliminate several possibilities as a cause.  If we just treat the fungus we are potentially missing underlying issues which it sounds like he has.

 

That caveat given, I agree that it is an excellent light cleaner/oxidizing agent for the environment, though not enough to fully nuke some viruses and parasites than have strong dormant tomites.

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Here's an update and a couple more questions for you please @Arctic Mama below. :)

I decided to continue with medicating of the whole tank. It's currently on a second dose of KanaPlex and first dose of Triple Sulfa. The measurable water parameters are holding okay.

Yesterday I removed each fish for a 30-minute methylene blue bath, hoped it would help clean up the physical injuries and knock back any fungus on them. I also just wanted a closer look at each fish. Part of the problem of having them in a tank that's so heavily planted with jungle val is that I'm only looking down from above and can't always see them well enough.

The first three photos are of Bruce. He's lost so much pretty blue skin. Is this situation humane or are his injuries too severe to continue? I will say he seems mostly oblivious. Zipping all around and eating similar to normal. But I know animals can survive trauma they shouldn't need to endure. If we beat this, can his wounds ever heal?

The second two photos are of Dory. She doesn't have visible injuries. The color on her back half has faded, was originally the same dark orange as her head. The area under her tail which I thought was damaged, I think is just her normal orange coloration but faded. The scales in that area might be more rough though. Her behavior has changed. She stays near the top of the tank, just under the jungle val, swimming into the flow. Kind of zombie-like. She will eat but then resume the pattern. Or she will find a dense area of jungle val in the flow and tuck herself in and just swim there, but again within an inch of the surface. Maybe it's affecting her gills? I don't see anything but I've missed a lot.

Do you think oxygenation could be a problem? They've never gasped for air and have behaved normally until now. But I did inexplicably lose three 20-yr old fish a year ago with the same plants and equipment. I have an Eheim 3e canister filter and Emperor 400 hang-on filter. They produce a lot of flow, which I direct across the surface. The jungle val plants have grown tall enough to cover most of the surface and kind of drape across the top of the whole tank, maybe 80%. Could this be the source of stress?  The measurable water parameters have been pristine. I have a "pond", the nitrification cycle works well. Tap water here comes in with some nitrates and the tank will remove it to zero.

I'm trying to determine what the stress might be.  I added an air stone and removed about 1/3 of the jungle val.  

Thanks for the continued suggestions and support. I really do appreciate your knowledge, interest and time. 

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They look okay actually!  The raw areas can indeed heal and grow new scales, if they’re still eating and moving those are great signs.

How much current does the tank have at this moment? How many air bubbles or surface breaking? A splashing filter or air stone are really critical if you have hoped the temperature, to allow for better gas exchange. The one air stone may not be enough for them.  Did the gasping begin when the temp was increased? What is it currently sitting at?

the meth blue was a good idea and won’t hurt anything, you can run it in there with the other meds too if you decide you’d rather do that than a dip.  Do NOT do the kanamycin for more than 21 days total, including the previous doses, however.  It is too hard on their organs. If and when you hit that mark please poke me and we will discuss how long to continue the triple sulfa after it has concluded, or whether to begin another gram negative med in place of the kanamycin to continue the treatment period.  

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Hi @Arctic Mama

Here is an update after a week.. mixed news.  Dory unfortunately didn't make it. She stopped eating and swimming about a day after your last post. I had set up two air pumps and air stones along with the two tank filters. I think the problem was affecting her mouth and gills and I waited too long to take the necessary steps. She would take food in but it would fall out again. The "faded" color was actually a light gray film over most of her body, but she had no other external wounds.

Bruce is doing okay. Still eating and swimming normally. I will attach a couple more photos. On his right side, the deep ulcer is starting to heal over.  His left side, which wasn't as deep but covered a larger area, seems to be healing but still looks a bit ragged.

He's been on two weeks of KanaPlex and I was thinking about stopping after the next dose. I have two more doses of Triple Sulfa. Also have been adding Pimafix to maybe help with fungus, it doesn't seem to hurt anything. How much longer do you think he should remain on antibiotics?

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I’d probably pull out the Pimafix, it’s just more for their lIvers to try and manage and for the meds to interact with.

Is that other side still ulcerated, down by the tail? I’d suggest finishing up the triple sulfa but just using a q tip to swan meth blue straight on to that spot daily if you can.  Otherwise the fins look so much better and less red, and the color is otherwise improved too!  I’m sorry Dory didn’t make it though :(

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Thank you again, I do really appreciate your help. I will stop the Pimafix and finish the Triple Sulfa. Here's a photo of his right side, the site of the deepest ulcer. Hard to get a good photo without pulling him out.

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Yeah I think topical swabbing is your best bet for healing it.  But it’s not looking bigger or more raggedy and that is good news.

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