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Fish Poorly Following Parasite Treatment


Guest mhor

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I have three fish that have been living in my 30-gallon tank for about two years now ? I have 2 2-year-old shubumkins and a 3-year-old comet. My filter is one that is attached to the side of the tank with sponge inserts. I feed tetra goldfish flakes.

My fish recently had an infestation of fish lice (I think these must originally came as eggs from the shop where I purchased the shubumkins, because one first appeared in my tank a few months after adding the fish and nothing else had been introduced. I got rid of this louse using interpet anti-crustacean parasite treatment, but during a recent spell of hot weather they reappeared. Since I?ve not added anything to the tank I imagine there must have been dormant eggs in the tank.)

I treated the recent outbreak with interpet anti-crustacean parasite treatment, which causes the lice to fall off within an hour or so. This also kills off the biological filter, and since then I have been having spikes in my parameters, but have been battling this through frequent water changes and adding carbon to the filter. I didn?t remove the sponges to save the biological filter because my petshop told me that lice eggs often get sucked into the filter and can hatch from there. I?m not sure of the ph of the tap water, this is a very soft water area and I do leave it to stand for a few days before adding to the tank and use interpet ?tap safe? to remove any nasty chemicals.

That?s the background, my current problem is this: the larger of the two shubumkins (who suffered from 2 or 3 lice, compared to the smaller one's 10) is acting very oddly. He began changing colour at the start of the summer (going from mainly brown to a gold-silver colour) but since the lice problem has become almost translucent. He is also doing stringy white translucent poos and is very lethargic. I know the poo can be a sign of bacterial infection, but wondered if it could also be the sign of stress from the recent treatment? He was a boisterous fish, but now hangs in the water. He responsds when I add food, but now only ever takes a few flakes. It?s only five days since I treated for the lice and I?m reluctant to move him to QT for fear of increasing his stress further. The other fish appear to be fine and despite being lethargic on the day following the treatment they are both now very lively and have normal coloured poo.

Any advice would be much appreciated!! Thank you :)

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Hi mhor and welcome:

I've had a problem with fish lice in the past and because they carry aeromonas and other bacteria on their feeding stilletto's they have a tendency to infect each victim. They also cause a lot of wear and tear of tissues by the spine and the suckers they have cause intense irritation and wounds.

So it may be likely your fish is suffering a secondary bacterial infection and really, the best chance at full recovery is excellent water parameters and also if you can, a bacterial food such as medigold... You could also add a teaspoon per gallon of sea/rock or aquarium salt to your tank - this will help reduce the amount of bacteria and also act as a tonic to your stressed fish.

They're nasty little things lice - so i'd try and hit the bacterial infection asap (in addition to keeping perfect water parameters) and see how you go.

Again a big welcome and I hope your fish get well soon :)

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Hi Jen and thanks for your help and your quick reply :D

I'll try and track down some medicated food today (I'm in the UK and don't think I've ever seen medigold in shops here). I take it since they've all had lice I'd be better medicating the whole tank rather than removing the sick fish and just feeding him the special food?

I agree that lice are horrible little creatures - it is very theraputic watching the meds get to work and seeing them all fall down dead but that fuzzy warm feeling's gone and it's now onto the next problem!

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I'm not sure what's available in the UK but if it's anything like Aus - there'll be very limited options. You could try a broad spectrum antibiotic in liquid form or, as a suggestion, you could go with salting your tank to 0.3% (1 teaspoon per gallon then 12 hours later, another teaspoon per gallon then 12 hours after that, another 1 teaspoon per gallon) - this should keep the bacteria count down and will offer some relief to the skin.

When my fish had lice, i salted to 0.3% for 21 days and they had a full recovery so maybe this may be all you need for now. See how you go and if you can get your hands on any medicated food - jump on it :D

I hope this helps and my fingers are crossed :)

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Jen is right. I don't think you will have much luck with medicated food. What you can try is the interpet internal treatment #9. No guarantee but that's about the closest match to your current problem.

Also increase or maintain good aeration. Pre-soak all food and try some peas.

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Hello again, and thanks for the advice both of you!

I've salted the tank and within a few hours my fish seems to have perked up a bit already! I tried a few places for medicated food, but had no luck as you both expected. I'm going to put the interpet internal treatment on hold for just now to see if he continues to improve. I've got an extra pump with an airstone in as well as the filter captk because the anti-lice treatment apparently removes oxygen from the water.

Goldfish eh?! Who says they're a non-time consuming or inexpensive hobby?!! I'm off to mash some garden peas . . . thanks again for the help and I'll let you know how it goes!

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Hello, I'm happy to report that the salt and peas seem to have done the trick! My fish has been gradually perking up and yesterday his poo returned to a normal colour. This morning he's back to his old boisterous self - throwing himself at the glass to get attention whenever anyone passes and shoving the other fish out of the way to get fed first!!

Thank you so much for that, I never would have thought of salting a freshwater tank!

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