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Sick Commet


Guest Schmitter1

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Guest Schmitter1

55 gallon tank, 1 big commet (7 inches or so), 1 rubbernose pleco

I change about 25% of the water each week

2 powerfilters with biowheel

ph=7.2, ammonia about 0, nitrite about 0

Hi i have been having some problems with my commet. He usually acts completely fine, but sometimes in the morning he will scatch his head on the gravel and his fins with twitch a little. But what really worries me are the physical symptoms i see. First, he has this weird white film growing out of his gills (mainly just on one side) and small bumps on his gill flap. Second, his fins look ragged and all but his dorsal fin have small red streaks in them. His fins also have a few small white bumps on them.

I treated with coppersafe about 3 months ago when he first showed the small bumps on his fins, because i thought it might be ick (i got some loaches from the pet store with ick and put the plastic bag in the tank only to see that they had ick, so i took them back and never released them into my tank). He only got worse though, and developed these other symptoms. I then treated him with the Maricine product for fin rot when his fins got worse. I then waited about 1 and 1/2 months to see if it would clear up on its own, but he got the red streaks and gill growth.

I am now at the end of a 4 day treatment of "triple sulfa Antibacterial Fish medication" which is supposed to treat hemorrhagic septcemia, fin rot, and bacterial gill disease, but my fish doesn't seem to be responding at all. Does anyone have any other treatment suggestions?

Thanks

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The white specks are probably ich. The fish might have other parasites as well (scratching against gravel is a giveaway). Treating with medication is not enough; you must maintain excellent water quality, as well. Red streaks = bad water quality. You said that ammonia and nitrite levels were "about 0." They should be definitively zero. What are your nitrate levels?

As a quick fix, you should increase tank filtration, circulation, and aeration (buy another filter, powerheads, air diffusers, etc). Also, do a large water change ASAP... and continue to do small water changes (everyday if you have to).

I'd also suggest a (much) larger tank, but in truth, comets should be provided at least a few hundred gallons (i.e. a pond). A 7in comet is actually fairly small. They can, and should, reach double that size.

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Hi schmitter - I've moved your post into the diagnosis & discussion section so it can get more attention.

As much as a pond would be an ideal solution, 55 gallons with only 1 comet and 1 pleco is still a good situation.

Can you confirm what your nitrates are? And are your ammonia and nitritres a definite 0?

The white bumps on the gill flap could be breeding stars but i'm wondering do the bumps on his fins look like grains of salt? Or do they look more like little waxy drops growing out of the skin?

It sounds as though he may have a bacterial infection but this could be secondary to something else, namely parasites so the meds will keep it at bay but won't help unless the underlying cause is resolved first.

Can you check the colour of his gills? Are they a nice meaty red in colour? Does he yawn at all? If so, how much?

Do the white strands appear just around the gills? Or does he appear to have a thickened slimecoat all over?

Will wait until you reply but you may need to run a course of parasite clear - which also contains two antibacterial meds ie. acriflavin and metronidazole making it an excellent blanket treatment. Are you able to get this where you are?

For now though, I'd try increasing your waterchanges to keep the bacterial count in the water down and then try a different treatment method :)

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Guest Schmitter1

Thank you so much for your help. For now i will step up the water changes and if i don't hear anything else i will run a parasite medication in a few days. Is parasite clear those tabs from Jungle Jims? I think my petstore has those. By the way, i was thinking the source of the problem might be gill flukes--any thoughts?

To answer your questions:

I double checked the nitrites and ammonia, and they are at zero. I said "about" before because the test kit doesn't seem to be 100% exact (instead of 0 it says less than .3mg/l for nitrite).

The white bumps are just at the very edge of two of his fins. They look more like grains of salt than waxy. They seem bigger than i thought ick was supposed to be, and haven't changed over the course of the 3 months.

His gills are a dark red color.

I see him yawn a bit--i watched him for about 10 mintues straight and he yawned once.

The growth around his gills is unique--he doesnt seem to have any extra slim coat or growth on the rest of him.

I thought i read that commets only needed about 20 gallons? The 7 inches was excluding his really long tail fin. Oh well, i think this is about as big of a tank as my apartment can handle.

Thanks again

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I thought i read that commets only needed about 20 gallons?

I have read that, also. It is wrong. Period.

When the fish are very small it isn't a big deal. But at some point, the health and natural growth of the fish comes into play. For your fish, that point was about 5 inches ago.

That's not to say that a fish couldn't survive in such a small tank, especially with excellent filtration and frequent water changes. On the contrary, a comet could live in 20gal for 20+ years. But its life would not be a natural one. It would not grow to its genetically predetermined size. And it will never live as long, or be as healthy, as a comet with appropriate accommodations (a pond).

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Sorry to disagree with you Yer, but here at Koko's we recommend at least 20 gals for commons or comets. (it is a recommendation and the least the fish should be put in). More is always better but in this situation I believe it should be fine and agree with Jen.

You may have seen a bump in your cycle with using the meds. Maracyn can kill off the good bacteria as well as bad bacteria without knowing the difference.

Jungle Labs Parasite clear is a good starting place for parasites. But if it is plan ich, salt is better, less expensive and easier on the fish.

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You're right Yer, the fish can survive in a 55 gallon tank - especially with a low stock level, excellent water and filtration which is exactly what Schmitter is providing - but thankyou for your observation.

Schmitter - I'd definitely monitor for the next day or so but if you see no improvement, then i'd dose with parasite clear. What makes you suspect gill flukes? As the gills are nice and meaty in colour, it may be something other than GF... I've seen fish with both gill and body flukes - a nasty infestation and we clocked about 2 yawns per minute. But if he's yawning every 10 minutes, this is still cause for concern.

And yes, Parasite Clear is a Jungle Laboratories product and is a good blanket treatment - you may have to run 2 or 3 doses but careful observation will let you know for sure.

Just on the white spots, if they've been there for some time, it may be a viral problem which is usually resolved with warmer water and no stress... it should hopefully clear over time :)

Please keep us posted on his progress :)

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  • 1 month later...
Guest Schmitter1

Hi everyone. Since i last posted i have treated three times with Jungle Parasite Clear tabs and he doesnt look any different to me. Water conditions are the same. I have been doing 30% water replacement twice a week since i last posted. His fins still have red streaks and the growth coming out of the bottom of his gills is bigger now--it looks like a big flap of skin or something. I have also noticed him scratching his head on the gravel a few times a day and yawning too frequently (it varies, but as much as twice in 5 mintues). He otherwise seems pretty normal, though he does sit at the bottom of the tank more than he used to. He is still eating fine. I thought he might have gill flukes and so i tried a 10% hydrogen peroixde dip for 10 seconds as suggested on the website here during the Parasite Clear treatement, but to no effect. Any suggestions for a different medication?

Thanks

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Guest Schmitter1

Also, i forgot to mention that he spends a good deal of time at or near the top of the water. He looks like he is trying to eat, but there isn't any food in the tank. Even when not at the top, he is almost constantly moving his mouth and looking like he is chewing food when there is in fact no food in the tank. Thanks

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