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Red mushy stuff around the mouth


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I had quite some trouble with starting the tank, even though it was perfectly cycles. Now I was away 2 days and the fish has a mushy structure around the mouth and a red eye. What could that be? (sorry, best pic I got)

Test Results for the Following:

* Ammonia Level (tank): 0

* Nitrite Level (tank): 0

* Nitrate level (Tank): 5l

* Ammonia Level (Tap): 0

* Nitrite Level (Tap): 0

* Nitrate level (Tap):0

Other Required Info:

* Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? drops, api

* What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? 50 aquaclear

* What kind of water additives or conditioners? Prime

* Water temperature? 24

* 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? These days like every 3-4 days

* Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 20g, just 2 weeks

* How many fish in the tank and their size? 1 small, 1 inch

* What do you feed your fish and how often? 1-2 times a day, nutrafin flakes

* Any new fish added to the tank? yes, all new

* Any medications added to the tank? no

* List previous issues experienced (dropsy, SBD, etc.) no

* Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? mushy red stuff around the mouth, red eye

* Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? eating, but often hiding

* List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment.

* You can really help us to identify with the concern more accurately if you post some pictures and a short video.


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It looks like a bacterial infection, likely to be secondary to parasitic infection such as flukes.

Have you ever treated for flukes? Is the fish able to eat?

For right now, I would like for you to start salting the tank to 0.3% (3 teaspoons/gallon), but do this in 0.1% increments every 12 hours. I don't think that this will be enough though. You will need some sort of waterborne antibiotics, because I do not think the fish will be able to eat for much longer, if it's still able to eat. Here are some choices:




What are the pH values for your tank and tap water?

There are two links in my signature on salt. It would be really helpful if you take a look at that as well.

You will also need to treat for flukes, by using praziquantel.

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Thank you. Yes, it is still eating with great pleasure. Ph values are around 7 for both.

I followed a guide on another site and put the fish 1min in 3% salt solution. So far it greatly reduced the symptoms.

The problem is, that the fish was like 4 dollars. I know it sounds cruel, but it makes not really much sense to buy medication for a fish who just came freshly from the petstore. Hopefully the salt works though.

Another question: I have amoxicillin here. Could I dose that for the fish? Ist there any guide for that?

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Looks like it could be columnaris. Do you think so Alex?

Either that, or aero/pesudomonas. Given how slowly it's progressing, it might be the latter. That would be my two picks, though.

Either way, I'm not sure salt will be enough. I hope so.

You could try amoxicillin. I have to check dosages.

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I've checked on amoxicillin dosage, and it is 250 mg dissolved/10 gallons of water, to be repeated daily for 5-10 days.

The very bad news are these:

1. The amoxicillin will kill your beneficial bacterial cycle if used in the water. This can be side-stepped by making food laced with antibiotics.

2. Amoxicillin is very effective against columnaris, but not at all against aeromonas and pseudomonas. :(

So, if you have it on hand and would like to try using it, I would like for you to move the fish out to a temporary 10 gallon tub to treat with amox in the water, without filter, but with bubble stone. This way, you won't kill your cycle. You can keep the cycle in your 20g going by "feeding" it with either ammonia or fish food.

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Thank you so much, dnalex. Yes, I kinda exspected that this would not work with the bacteria in the tank. Now i have to check, what kind of tank I could use...

So far I dipped the fish for about 1min in 3% salt, every day. See the picture, it looks better. But now the lips are kinda black...is that a good sign?


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You are doing a good job! The black is a protective response mounted by the fish to chemical irritations. It can be viewed as a sign of healing.

The mouth does look much better! :)

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