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Pearlscale - pineconing or normal?


Arctic Mama

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Hello folks! I just picked up three juvenile goldfish - one calico fantail (1 inch body) and two pearlscales (1.5 body for both of them). They were selected for being curious, active, and cute, of course. Still unnamed, for the moment.

They're in quarantine in a ten gallon tank I had on hand and already running. It's planted and has filter media, which isn't ideal, but I don't mind decimating it if need be and it was just sitting there, so I figured working with a stable, trouble free tank with no other occupants (save a lone nerite) was simple enough.

We're doing 90% water changes every two days, given the bioload in the tank. They're also being treated with prazipro and salt as per the recommended procedure I picked up from this site. The fantail and one pearly look great - foraging, curious, swimming well. But the other pearlscale has been a bit floaty and, upon closer inspection, I think may be retaining some fluid or constipated. The thing is, I'm having a hard time telling what is typical pearlscale shape and scale characteristics and what might be mild dropsy. The other pearlscale looks smoother and less round, but I have only had them a day and cannot compare them, before and after, to tell what looks healthy for each fish.

So tell me, does this pearlscale look ill or normal? She's a little less active than the other fish but some of that seems to be due to the floaty issues. Still, I think I need more eyes and brains on this than just my own! I don't know what they may have had exposure to at the LFS, hence the preventative prazipro and salt, but let me know if I'm missing something (and do move this if it is better suited to another section.

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I'm going to leave this to the pearlie experts to determine, but if you could also take some pics straight down, that will be great. That angle is more useful for other types of goldfish, but it might be here as well. :)

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I need a top view photo, particularly of the peduncle. but, my suspicions is that yes, the pearlie is pineconing. please get those pictures as soon as possible :)

although pearlies are known to have bumpy scales, they should not be standing on end and the peduncle should be quite smooth (flatter pearl scales) from the side view, they look raised. also, from my observations, when a pearlie pinecones and before they start to produce fluid sacs, the peduncle area is noticeably swollen. hence why I request top view photos.

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The peduncle definitely has raised scales.This is a very non scientific way of putting it but pearscales who has dropsy tend to have disheveled looking scales on their sides, I can even tell in the side view because the area where the abdomen curves up into the body is abnormal looking. I would get his or her weight so you can start a course of Metro Meds (if you have them).

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Thank you for your insights. I can't get a good picture at the angle the pearly is at right now in the tank, but I'd say there is noticeably more swelling today that even I'd spot as dropsy, even with the scale type. It seems to be moving fast, since I saw no abnormalities in the store on Monday when they were purchased. The other two fish are doing well.

I do not have any metro meds on hand and priority shipping to Alaska can take 3-5 days, but I will order some anyway, even if they do not come in time to help this fish. In the meantime, is there anything else I can of should be doing? The salinity is currently at .1 (a teaspoon per gallon in the ten gallon aquarium) and I was planning on raising it again as per salting recommendations for quarantine, but I don't want that exacerbating the dropsy. Should I still go ahead and raise it?

I have other meds on hand, but not metronidazole. What, if anything, is the next step while I'm waiting on GoldfishConnection to ship?

Edited by Arctic Mama
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I will add, I'm also precautionarily fasting this fish. Today it isn't hard, as they're showing no big interest in eating (hiding behind driftwood, sinking, floating, etc), but the others are foraging and eating well. So they're getting soaked Omega One pellet.

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Can you get metro powder or tablets? You can make it into gel food :). It is most likely available at a pharmacy, LFS, or a vet.

I would get this, and just add directly to water. Please check to see if you can find this locally! :)

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I'll check today. I can make it over to our local Petsmart this afternoon (they have a decent med selection) and our specialty fish store on Friday.

Question about treating the water as opposed to trying to feed this one fish by hand - will the metro in the water cause issues with the other two in quarantine or is it advantageous to treat all three of them together?

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Grabbed that top view as requested, though he was hiding quite well. It pretty much confirms pineconing and swelling:

10965869155_8f7eea2b28.jpg

Edited by Arctic Mama
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I'll check today. I can make it over to our local Petsmart this afternoon (they have a decent med selection) and our specialty fish store on Friday.

Question about treating the water as opposed to trying to feed this one fish by hand - will the metro in the water cause issues with the other two in quarantine or is it advantageous to treat all three of them together?

I know my Petsmart doesn't have it. I'm not sure if they can get it or not. And I would put her into a ten gallon tank By herself ASAP. If you have a heater you can get it set to 78-80 degrees. Since the other fish don't need treatment, it would be bad to treat them. Let's say they actually needed treatment and they were treated already and they didn't need it, they could become immune to the medication and it would no longer have effect or at least full effect when or of they do need it. Edited by Mikey
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A sick fish should always be in a tank by itself as Mikey said. In addition, while dropsy is not contagious, it is often the result of an infection or parasite infestation that has the potential of spreading to other fish. A ten gallon tank or tub is fine for a hospital tank.

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For clarity - all three are new and in quarantine, being regarded as sick. This one just displayed more and worse symptoms immediately, whereas the other two are thriving. They're all being treated for flukes presently, with the salt/prazi quarantine procedure I found on these forums. Salinity is in the first stage of acclimation, I didn't want to keep raising it when this fish looked to be potentially pineconing, lest I make the osmotic issues worse. Tank temp is 72 with heater, established filter and substrate, heavily planted, perfectly fine to be decimated if it is required ;)

I have an easily-emptied (one clean, old Betta I've been dawdling about moving into my 30 gal community) 5 gallon with an established filter running, and it is heated to 80. I can definitely drop the temperature in it and remove the substrate. I was worried keeping the temp much above 74-76 would be stressful to the Goldie - am I correct we're raising it to speed up the life cycle of any parasites that might be causing the dropsy?

Should I do anything besides Prime with the water and metro? Dose the five gallon with 1/4 tsp of Prazi? And if I cannot find metro locally, what is a secondary treatment method I can undertake, if any . Epsom salts?

Edited by Arctic Mama
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If you cannot find Metro, and I will assume that you cannot, please get Tetra Parasite Guard. This product does contain metronidazole, although I am concerned that it might not be enough dosage to deal with dropsy. Nevertheless, it's a good fallback.

I would like for you to treat all three. What is the size of the tank they are currently in?

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If you cannot find Metro, and I will assume that you cannot, please get Tetra Parasite Guard. This product does contain metronidazole, although I am concerned that it might not be enough dosage to deal with dropsy. Nevertheless, it's a good fallback.

I would like for you to treat all three. What is the size of the tank they are currently in?

Apologies for missing that detail - it's a 10 gallon established tank, empty of occupants and just hanging out. I was planning on taking it down anyway, so it seemed a suitable quarantine tank. Substrate, plants, filter have been running trouble free for two years. It is heated and runs an Aqueon rated for 220 gph, if I recall correctly (could be wrong, but it's definitely in that neighborhood).

I was thinking treating all three as well, because who knows what they picked up from the pet store. But I didn't want to unnecessarily expose anyone to meds, either. However I just don't know what might be causing such a fast dropsy. I'll use Parasite Guard as a secondary measure if I see no metronidazole.

I just wanted to add, if you still have regular salt in the tank, please remove is ASAP. This will only aggravate the swelling at this point... I am sure Alex will agree with me, and that you will need to add Epsom now for the swelling

So I should do another water change, as much as I can (generally 90-95%, as I can't fully drain the substrate) and treat with Epsom instead? Is the magnesium going to be an issue for exposure? What dosage and time duration am I looking at? I've been browsing this forum for several years, but I don't want to just go off memory on these things, in case my brain has muddled details!

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Moot point, unfortunately I stopped in the middle of homeschooling to nurse our infant and check the fish - the little pearlscale had just passed. That was FAST :(

How should I manage the remaining two healthy-but-quarantined fish?

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I would actually go with the Tetra Parasite Guard treatment for 14 days.

The protocol that I use doesn't disrupt antibiotic usage (dangerous to do), as opposed to what Tetra instructs. Let me know once you have it, and we will help.

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