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Falcon

Stubborn Red Streaks on Tail

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It's a long one but I'll be as detailed as possible in the hopes that someone will have some insight. I've been struggling with this for months. I'm at my wit's end and fear I'm losing the battle.

First, the story.

Two goldfish, Big and Small, one small snail. Have had them about five years. They started out in a 2.5 gal Fluval then about six months ago, moved up to a 5 gal PetSmart that was really bad. So moved up to a 9 gal Fluval Flex. I know this is a bit small but we're now maxed out on space. One of the things that prompted the attempt to get to a bigger tank was that Big recently started bullying Small after being fine with each other for years. I'd put Big in a small bowl for a couple hours until it had calmed down then back in the main tank and all would be well again for a day or a week or two weeks or some seemingly random period of time. During one of those transfers, Big must have struggled in the net too much and injured a back tail fin - that's when the problem started.

That injured fin on Big developed red streaks that ultimately spread to Small. I initially tried API Melafix for 2 - 3 weeks and that didn't help. Then I tried API Fin and Body Cure (doxycycline). The antibiotic helped but the problem just came back. I tried it a second time and it got better then came back. I don't know about dosing fish with this kind of thing, if I should just keep up the med until the streaks are completely gone no matter how long it takes? After the second course of the antibiotic, I started daily Melafix and Pimafix. That's now been about four weeks ago and the problem is still slowly coming back.

Some observations that I think may be related:

Big bullying Small gets worse right after a water change / tank clean. The bullying happens only in the mornings. I've tried changing different amounts from 25% to 75% of the water. Seems like more water change helps the red streaks but makes Big more of a bully & vice versa but this is a tentative observation. When changing the water, I also clean the glass with a brush and rinse the filters. Filter media gets changed like this: charcoal once a month, Fluval Biomax every six months, API Nitrazorb every six weeks. When changing the water, I treat it with API Quick Start, API Stress Coat, and Tetra AquaSafe. I also add about a half teaspoon of API freshwater aquarium salt.

Maybe because of all the activity, they recently get anxious when someone comes by the tank. They dart around, eventually hiding behind the plant and/or sticking close to each other.

Here's the Help Request Form info as tested last night with the API Master Test Kit:

 

 Ammonia Level(Tank): 0

 Nitrite Level(Tank): 0

 Nitrate level(Tank): 20

 Ammonia Level(Tap): Not tested

 Nitrite Level(Tap): Not tested

 Nitrate level(Tap): Not tested 

 Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines): 7.5

 Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines): Not tested

Other Required Info:

 Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API Master Test Kit - drops

 Water temperature? 78F

 Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 9 Gal, about six weeks. I added an air stone that didn't come with the tank. All tubing is clean. I noticed the OEM tubing that comes with things is of poor quality.

 What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? Built-into the Fluval Flex. 

 How often do you change the water and how much? Weekly, have tried 25% , 50% 75%

 How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? Two days ago, about 30%

 How many fish in the tank and their size? Two goldfish: Small = about 2.5", Big = about 4.5"

 What kind of water additives or conditioners? API Quick Start, API Stress Coat, Tetra AquaSafe, API Fresh Water Aquarium Salt

 What do you feed your fish and how often? TetraFin Goldfish Flakes & Aqueon Goldfish Granules, morning & evening. They eat all in a couple minutes.

 Any new fish added to the tank? No

 Any medications added to the tank? Currently API Melafix & Pimafix daily.

 List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment. In the story above as best as I can recall.

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

 Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? I came to use the Nitrazorb because of Nitrate build up that would make them languish around the bottom. Since using that, they're back to their normal happy selves and Nitrates are under control. The red streaks don't seem to be bothering them. Their appetite is same as it's always been. They're excited for feeding time. They do recently seem scared of people but that goes up & down. Big bullies Small sometimes a morning or two after a water change - no idea why.

Thanks

Jim

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Well its really kinda simple why they are fighting. The tank is too small for them :( Goldfish need at least 20 gallons per fish. 

Please read our Guidelines. It will help you out a lot.

:welcome

 

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I understand you're maxed out on space,  have you considered/do you have space for a pond of the appropriate size? (Around 40g)

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A 40 gal tank just isn't in the cards. We're maxed out. The thing is that these two have been fine with each other for years and the fighting is pretty rare. With no obvious problem with the water quality, there's gotta be something we can do for the red streaks in their tails. At this point, I could give them the antibiotic until the red is completely gone since that's been the only thing that seems to help.

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5 hours ago, Falcon said:

A 40 gal tank just isn't in the cards. We're maxed out. The thing is that these two have been fine with each other for years and the fighting is pretty rare. With no obvious problem with the water quality, there's gotta be something we can do for the red streaks in their tails. At this point, I could give them the antibiotic until the red is completely gone since that's been the only thing that seems to help.

Oh I understand. I was in your spot years and years ago. 

but the problem here is they have out grown they're tank hun. It would be like trying to keep a husky in a 1 bed room apartment. Not much room for the dog to run around in. With 2 fish in there they are starting to show that there isn't much room for them and nip at each other. The redness is cause the filter can't keep up with the waste they are producing. :(

The only thing you can do is more water changes. :( 

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Thanks for hanging in there with me. These are my daughter's "pets" and aside from her bamboo plant, it's all we're allowed to have here.

I've been trying different amounts of water change because I read somewhere that fish can get stressed right after a water refresh due to a big PH change. So I tested the tap water PH today and it looks to be a little under 7. The aquarium water ends up being around 7.5. So I can refresh the water twice a week. I have to find a balance that's practical. I'll try the big clean/refresh weekly on Saturdays and do just a water refresh on Wednesdays. Saturdays will probably end up being close to 50% and Wednesdays, about a third.

The redness started on Big right after it injured itself in the net. Small isn't showing much redness. One thing I've noticed is that the redness is  alot less in the morning - I give them the Melafix and Pimafix in the evening. By evening, the redness is a bit worse. I know for sure, the nitrates have been too high for years in their original 2.5 gal tank and they didn't seem to care until very recently and I didn't know what to do about it. Now in the 9 gal tank, the Nitrazorb has gotten that under control. So hopefully another water change per week will do something.

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Ph that goes up on a fish is okay, but a Ph that will go down in a tank is the bad kind. So your ph should be fine doing water changes every day as long a you don't go over 50%. This way it give the Ph time to go up for ya.

I would also take anything out of the tank you don't need or lets say the fish don't need. More stuff in the tank displaces the water leaving them less water :( 

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Here's the latest. I stopped the Melafix and Pimafix as they didn't seem to be helping anything. After looking around here more, I also stopped using charcoal in the filter. The water seems cleaner and the fish seem happier.

I then gave them a 7 day course of Fritz Maracyn (tetracycline) with water refreshes and doses of Hikari Ich-X on days 1, 5, and 7. They've now been unmedicated for about a week. The fin tissue that was being torn up by the red streaks has already regrown to its normal shape and the redness is fading. I'm thinking it's now scar tissue and no longer an active infection. At this point, I'm sticking with the water refresh twice a week with no charcoal and they seem to be doing well. Fingers crossed.

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On 1/1/2021 at 5:02 PM, Falcon said:

Here's the latest. I stopped the Melafix and Pimafix as they didn't seem to be helping anything. After looking around here more, I also stopped using charcoal in the filter. The water seems cleaner and the fish seem happier.

I then gave them a 7 day course of Fritz Maracyn (tetracycline) with water refreshes and doses of Hikari Ich-X on days 1, 5, and 7. They've now been unmedicated for about a week. The fin tissue that was being torn up by the red streaks has already regrown to its normal shape and the redness is fading. I'm thinking it's now scar tissue and no longer an active infection. At this point, I'm sticking with the water refresh twice a week with no charcoal and they seem to be doing well. Fingers crossed.

How are they doing? 

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So far, so good. With the increased water changes, it seems tough to maintain a balance between that and the natural bio filter. I think this because I was getting cloudy water. I replaced the Bio Max insert, which was due, and also tried API StressZyme. The cloudy water is gone but it no longer smells like clean aquarium water. Yesterday, they were a little lethargic. Today they are active. Last water change was Saturday and planning to do a small one tonight.

 

Thanks

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3 hours ago, Falcon said:

So far, so good. With the increased water changes, it seems tough to maintain a balance between that and the natural bio filter. I think this because I was getting cloudy water. I replaced the Bio Max insert, which was due, and also tried API StressZyme. The cloudy water is gone but it no longer smells like clean aquarium water. Yesterday, they were a little lethargic. Today they are active. Last water change was Saturday and planning to do a small one tonight.

 

Thanks

When you said you replaced the Bio Max insert, did you put a brand new one in? If so you kinda stalled the cycle. All your tanks good Bio bugs are in the filter and when you took out the filter medium it took the good cycle bugs too. Whatcha need to do is just squeeze it in tank water from doing a water change. This way the good bugs don't die.

It might be the reason they weren't happy for a while. The cycle got a little messed up. Have you checked the ammonia and nitrites lately?

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Tested the water tonight. Ammonia and Nitrites were both zero. But Nitrates were really high. It's hard to tell an exact number because of the color but way higher than I expected. Since I've had an API Nitrazorb in the filter chain, Nitrates have been zero so this must be related to the Bio Max replacement. As for replacing the Bio Max (or foam), Fluval recommends every six months. I don't replace more than one element at a time though. Are they just trying to sell more stuff or do I really keep those filter elements in longer/forever? Or are you saying to rinse a new Bio Max with tank water before using? 

I siphoned out the first filter area tonight, where stuff collects, replaced the water, and put in some API Quick Start. Not sure what else to do if it now just needs time to re-establish. I guess the StressZyme doesn't live up to its marketing. I used to use Pristine. Any preference?

The thing is that before I knew what tiny bit I know now, the Nitrates were always sky high in their original small tank and for over four years, they didn't seem to mind. Maybe I'm doing too much now. Anyway, I feel like it's really hard to find the balance between cloudy water and water that looks clean but isn't (Nitrates) and water that really is healthy for them while looking nice.

Thanks

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2 hours ago, Falcon said:

Tested the water tonight. Ammonia and Nitrites were both zero. But Nitrates were really high. It's hard to tell an exact number because of the color but way higher than I expected. Since I've had an API Nitrazorb in the filter chain, Nitrates have been zero so this must be related to the Bio Max replacement. As for replacing the Bio Max (or foam), Fluval recommends every six months. I don't replace more than one element at a time though. Are they just trying to sell more stuff or do I really keep those filter elements in longer/forever? Or are you saying to rinse a new Bio Max with tank water before using? 

Well yes they do want to see you more stuff. lol I havent replaced my filter floss or pads in about a year. The only time I do replace them is when they are just torn and no good anymore. Kinda like a towel thats been used to much lol. Yes you can rinse any kind of filter floss, sponge and what nots. The only thing you can really rinse out is carbon. Once carbon has been used up it, it's gone. 

2 hours ago, Falcon said:

I siphoned out the first filter area tonight, where stuff collects, replaced the water, and put in some API Quick Start. Not sure what else to do if it now just needs time to re-establish. I guess the StressZyme doesn't live up to its marketing. I used to use Pristine. Any preference?

I use Prime. Its the best I know unless you use the Wondershells. :) 

2 hours ago, Falcon said:

The thing is that before I knew what tiny bit I know now, the Nitrates were always sky high in their original small tank and for over four years, they didn't seem to mind. Maybe I'm doing too much now. Anyway, I feel like it's really hard to find the balance between cloudy water and water that looks clean but isn't (Nitrates) and water that really is healthy for them while looking nice.

Thanks

If the nitrates are to high for to long yes it will cause issues for the fish. One if the biggest one is the swim bladder will get effected :( 

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