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QT Death? Additional Treatment Needed?

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  • Regular Member

Hello again, People of Koko's!

I've missed you guys. I've mostly avoided the internet while experiencing no problems besides stubborn wen-lessness with my two-year-old lionheads. This is a little long-winded, but please bear with me, because I don't know which aspects might be relevant and I don't want to leave something out.

On the 18th of July I bought two little goldfish (each slightly under 2" with tails) at an independent fish store. I want to emphasize that this store has the healthiest stock I've ever seen. Even the goldfish have been as well-cared for as the rest, and this is a store specializing mostly in marine life! (They don't sell ANY BOWLS, or even a tank under 20 gallons!) I've been there several times and I've never noticed a fish of even questionable health status, plus every person working there (as tested with my weird questions) has seemed unusually skilled and well-qualified.

Well, anyway, I only "needed" one goldfish, but I pessimistically bought two equally charming fish, figuring that if one died in QT, I'd still have one (and if both lived, hey, here's an excuse to upgrade!). Unfortunately, that tentative fear came true.

The one still living is a calico crowned pearlscale, with a moderate (not completely spherical) body. The one who died was a calico bubble-eye, with such tiny, symmetrical bubbles that he looked like a celestial. Somewhat arbitrarily, based on body-to-tail shapes, I dubbed them female and male, respectively. Really, really adorable, both of them.

On the 19th of July, I began QT in a clear tub (holding 12 gallons of water), using Salt+PraziPro procedure (specifics below to make this a little easier to read). For the first two days, both occasionally held their pectoral and pelvic fins a tad too close to their bodies for my comfort. But after that, they became energetic and healthy-seeming, and FRIENDLY, blowing bubbles at me when my hand was in the water and eating out of my fingers within a few more days! Nothing suspicious at all from either of them after they stopped their mild clamping, and this is coming from someone who tends to be paranoid when it comes to new goldfish health.

On the 30th of July, the little bubble-eye was perky as ever until the late evening, when he started drifting sideways a little while swimming. It didn't seem like a deadly problem, so I sat and watched him while I tested the water so I could properly consult the People of Koko's. He quickly got worse and worse, and 5 minutes after I deemed it bad enough to stick him in a colander so the pearlscale wouldn't bug him, he was DEAD. Within about 45 minutes, he went from perfectly fine as far as I could tell, to DEAD. I didn't even have time to post here asking for help!

I scooped out his little fish corpse and examined it externally for any signs as to what killed him. His underbelly was squishier than it should have been, but that was it. No visible red blood vessels (streaking) on his white fins, no bloating and not one scale sticking out. His body was perfectly symmetrical. There was nothing at all that I could see or feel besides the abnormally squishy underbelly to suggest what had killed him.

Just to be on the safe side I immediately did a 100% W/C on the QT tank (and later a +90% change on the main tank with different equipment of course).

The parameters of the QT tank were the same at the bubble-eye guy's death and right after the 100% W/C (and very similar to the daily results): 0 ppm ammonia and nitrites, and ~0.5 ppm nitrates (it's in the tap water); 7.6 pH; 70 degrees F/ 21 degrees C.

SPECIFIC QT PROCEDURE: I'm using Morton's Canning and Pickling Salt (properly dissolved in boiling tank water that is then allowed to cool to room/tank temperature) and Prazi-Pro for treatment, doubled Seachem Prime to dechlorinate, and an API Freshwater Master Test Kit to test. The filter is a seeded AquaClear 30, filtering 12 gallons of water in an otherwise empty clear tub that's maybe 3-4 gallons larger than that volume. I'm doing a 100% water change on every 5th day since the daily-measured parameters are pretty much as outlined above, only with nitrates ranging from 0 ppm to 0.5 ppm (because they're in the tap water here). I had the salt at 0.3% for the first 10 days; since then it's been at 0.1%. This means that the bubble-eye died on the 12th day of QT, which was the 2nd day of 0.1% salt. Today (the 9th of August) I'm on the 4th round of Prazi-Pro.

I have fed the goldfish small amounts of thawed frozen food (of a good brand, but I don't remember which) once daily (except on W/C day when I fast them), alternating between primarily vegetable-based green chunks with either bloodworms or brine shrimp.

I called the owner of the fish store the following day and told him how the bubble-eye guy died, upon the assumption that informing the source of fish deaths is proper etiquette. He agreed with my guess that it was most likely an internal bacterial problem, and suggested various anti-bacterial products that I might want to treat the pearlscale with.

But I don't know, I want to consult you all first. I know antibacterial water treatments cause more or less damage to the filter bacteria, and I fear that scooping out the pearlscale daily to do 100% water changes might stress her out too much to be a good thing (and I'd also soon run out of Prazi-Pro, which I had to buy in a city a four-hour round trip away). I know they can also create drug resistant strains of bacteria, and/or can quite possibly do harm or no good at all if the problem is non-bacterial or the wrong kind of bacterial. I've continued treating the pearlscale in QT and observing her closely, not knowing if she'd soon bite the dust like the other guy did. So far, so good. She seems just as energetic and friendly as ever. What do you all think I should do?

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  • Regular Member

Sounds like you had a secondary bacterial infection. I'm sorry. :(

With the living one, I think that you should continue your QT process. If there is any change, don't chalk it off. Let us know right away. :)

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