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sould

Black Spot Disease - How To Treat?

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I have two lion head goldfish in a 29 gallon with several apple snails. Two days ago, one goldfish began forming tiny black spots (of varying sizes) on its back. I started salting the tank and did a 50% water change, but today, the spots have multiplied and are near his mouth and tail. He has no abnormal behavior. The ammonia and pH levels are normal, so I fear this must be a parasite. However, I have not introduced anything new to my tank in about 1.5 months (a plant) and the other fish does not have any spots. Where would these mysterious parasites have come from? Does any other disease cause black spotting?

I have heard that parasite killers like Jungle will harm my snails and plants. Is there anything else I can do to fix this?!! :krazy:

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Hello sould, and welcome to the forum.

There is a white box above here with questions that you will need to answer before anyone can help you diagnose what is wrong with your fish. Your water params and other info will give everyone an overview of your fish and their home, etc. Kind of like giving your symptoms when you go to the doctor. Please answer as many of these questions as you can and post back.

One thing though...I don't think you're supposed to use salt with snails.

If you don't have a water testing kit, you can take a water sample to an lfs. Just be sure they give you the precise numbers of each component.

Hope to hear from you soon!

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Hi!

I just read about the salt... :( I have used salt before with these snails, up to 1%, and they were fine. I'm just under 1% now. I'm reading that the best way is to remove the plants and snails and treat, but I literally have two or three dozen snails, most of them very small... so that seems impossible. :( Here is the tank information:

Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate = 0

pH 7.2

Chlorine 0

KH 120

GH 150

29 gals, approx 1/2 year running. Whisper 40 filter.

25% water change 1 time per week, changed 50% two days ago

2 goldfish, approx 2.5 inches each

No additives yet

No new fish, plants, or snails within past 1.5 months

Fed Tetrafin flakes

The symptoms are the multiplying black spots on one fish

Edited by sould

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It won't let me edit my last post again... NitrAte is 10, the filter is Whisper 60, not 40. Mine also has a self-made bio sponge. It does 300 GPH, I think.

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Normally black spots are an indication of ammonia burn which is healing. However, if you are certain you have had no incidence of ammonia spikes in the recent past, I would consider the possibility of Black Spot Disease.

It is very rare in aquariums BUT, considering the amount of snails you have in the tank I think it is possible. This disease is caused by parasitic digenetic larval trematodes (Cercaria and Metacercaria) which burrow into the skin of the fish. This causes the formation of a cyst in the muscle and skin around where the parasite lives. The spots are approximately one millimeter in diameter (they accumulate black pigmented cells due to local necrosis of tissue). Does this sound right?

This parasite has a complex life cycle that requires fish-eating birds or mammals, snails, and fish at different stages in order to survive. The first intermediate host is a mollusc. The fish is the second intermediate host and the final host is a kingfisher or heron. The grub migrates to internal organs where they live until a bird or mammal completes the life-cycle

There isn't really any treament for this infestation which I can find. I will ask Trinket to be sure, but as these spots are only a couple of days old, I'm wondering if a salt dip may strip them from the skin, or not. I would most certainly remove the fish from the snails which will be the source of infection.

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Most of the spots are small, about 1mm.. however, there is a long black line around half of his mouth. Some of the spots are more faint than others. I can't decide if it's black spot or not, because he certainly isn't itching and it seems like the other fish would have it too. I test my tank levels about once a week, and I havent seen an ammonia spike since way back when it was cycling and these fish weren't around for that. Do all fish in a tank usually get ammonia burn at once? Do you think if I did a salt dip and it is ammonia burn... it would harm him?

I bought him a seperate tank today and I asked the people over at Petstupid what they thought (they also tested the water) and they said he might be changing color??

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Sounds a little bit alot like what my fantail has but oddly enough, I do not have snails in my tank. Mine has the behavior to gasp for air and become lethargic. As for the employees that works in a big chain pet store, I would'nt bother asking them for any advice as most of them, if not all, have little to no knowledge of goldfish keeping and diseases.

Are the black specks about the size of a grain of sand?

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I know they give them a little 'guidebook'... but I guess no one reads it. The spots on his left side are like sand (5 total), and some of the ones on his right side are bigger (like sand times 2 or 3, and there are 6). There are 4 spots on his tail and a line around his mouth. His behavior is perfectly fine, but perhaps this is because it's only been a few days? :( How long have your spots been around?

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Well......

"however, there is a long black line around half of his mouth."

this could be burn of some sort, after all. If it's not ammonia, what about meds or salt? Any meds recently? How much salt, exactly, have you added? Tell us in tsp p/gal.

"I bought him a seperate tank today and I asked the people over at Petstupid what they thought (they also tested the water) and they said he might be changing color"??

Petstupid! Too true! If a fish is to change colour it is more likely to flip from black to orange rather than the other way around.

BTW - which testers are you using? Strips can be very unreliable so it would be good to be sure of the numbers.

Lastly, if he's in a new tank, how will ammonia be managed? Let's hold off on the salt dip for now and be sure of the water numbers.

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No meds at all. I use a water conditioner, AquaSafe, when I do water changes. I have added 20 tsp. salt so far.

The drops I use are from nnnnnn.... maybe not the best on earth? nnnn also confirmed my levels though.

I don't know what to do, but it seems like vacating the fishies from the tank is best. If it's black spot, I think it infects the whole tank? I am THINKING about attaching the filter, with the same biosponge, onto the new tank (10gal), to help manage the levels... but I'm so terrified. I'm also afraid the other fish will catch it. I feel so hopeless right now... I don't want them to die. :cry1

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PetStupid! :rofl You hit the nail on the head there!

I don't think it matters where you bought the drop kit, most of them will be API or Hagen.

I can understand your concern about using the old biosponge in the other tank. Maybe wait and let Pixie or Trinket advise you on that.

Good luck. Its so easy to get attached to the little guys and its hard when they are ill and you don't know how to help them. We've all been there.

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I know they give them a little 'guidebook'... but I guess no one reads it. The spots on his left side are like sand (5 total), and some of the ones on his right side are bigger (like sand times 2 or 3, and there are 6). There are 4 spots on his tail and a line around his mouth. His behavior is perfectly fine, but perhaps this is because it's only been a few days? :( How long have your spots been around?

I don't know how long they have been around because of their size, they are hard to spot, especially when your fish has a calico coloration... maybe quite some time, 6-8 months or maybe more. The strange behavior at first was slight gasping to the surface, for about 1 second, but I always thought it was normal for her to do that. But as time passed by up until now, her gasping was even more frequent, even with all the oxygen and water movement present. Lately, she has been lethargic and eating less although thanks to Parasite Clear tabs (although, the stuff destroy your established beneficial bacterias), she regained more appetite, which is a good sign.

I just hope you will be able to spot the problem in time and treat your fish accordingly before his/her health deteriorates any further. :)

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Don't panic - I'm sure they won't die.

Your snails won't like the salt at all. If you are up to 20tsp in your 29, then you are under the 0.1% mark. You could transfer all the snails and gravel to the 10g. Clean out the 29 and keep the fish and filter there, bare-bottom - You could try taking it to 0.3% - just watch out for nitrite/amm spikes which sometimes come with salting. Which salt are you using?

The free-swimmers come from the snail stage and need to find a host pretty quickly - so you'd just have to hope that the filter with a salted system should be OK. Once we establish that it's not any sort of burn, you could consider running Parasite Clear later on. But for now, perfect water and observation is the best course to take.

I'll ask Trinket if she has any advice on this matter.

Edited by Pixiefish

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I'm wondering which it is. There are two main"black spot" diseases excluding burn type spots. Both are caused by parasites but respond to different treatments. One is, as Pixie describes the digenean fluke metacercarial infection (can be treated with prazi in the water AND prazi oral- Jungle anti-parasite food for example) -this one MUST be introduced via snails/birds/etc....and the other is black ich.

Black ich (also called tang turbellarian) are up to 1mm but several can join up and look larger. These ones induce a kind of hypermelanization reaction, most noticeable on lighter colored fish but I am thinking the area around your fishes mouth that is blackened might be this kind of erroneous melanization occuring. They have the same cycle as ich. 6 days on the fish, fall off and hatch out again...each parasite can produce 160 offspring so within 20 days fish can harbor up to 4,500 parasites :o !!

So deciding which it is first and then treating immediately. Black ich responds to formalin or organophosphate (trichlorfon) only. You will need "Parasite Gaurd" (trichlorfon,dimilin and sodium chloride) by Jungle (NOT p/c tabs )or APs "Fluke tabs"(trichlorfon and mebendazole).

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Thanks for picking up, Trinket - how to decide which of the 2 it is?

I was thinking the first because of the snails, but from your desription the 2nd would explain the black moustache!

Which treatment would you go with first?

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Yes the snails are throwing me too. It would be quite possible to use Parasite Guard + straight prazi to cover both possibilities. Parasite Gaurd contains salt which is very convenient beacause you dont have to salt the tank and the salt does help weaken free swimming parasites of both kinds (but not attached ones).

Sould- if you have already gone ahead with p/c tabs which contain prazi- this will tackle the snail/metacercarial for sure. If the spots don't clear up immediately or within the first few days of treatment with that you'll have to assume its black ich and get the Guard product.

Trichlorfon in Parasite Guard is strong and will damage bbs but it works very fast and this product is not as harsh as many others..Clout and other products for this parasite contain green and acriflavine as well as Trichlorfon which I think is much harsher & maybe overkill.

If you use Parasite Guard - if possible treat the fish separately, save the biofilter in the spare tank and run salt (for free wheelers) in there. You will need to "feed" the bio sponge to keep your bbs happy. You can use pure ammonia or fish food to achieve this.

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I removed all the plants/snails/gravel and used started using Jungle anti-parasite food on the 6th in the 29 gallon. The tank now has a 3% salinity. There has been no visible change in the spots, but they have not multiplied either. I also picked up the p/c tabs, but have not used them yet. I'm going to wait one more day and then change the treatment if he has not improved. I'm afraid it is black ich, just because the snails have been in the tank for so long that it seems impossible the parasites would have just begun to emerge. :(

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. Black ich responds to formalin or organophosphate (trichlorfon) only. You will need "Parasite Gaurd" (trichlorfon,dimilin and sodium chloride) by Jungle (NOT p/c tabs )or APs "Fluke tabs"(trichlorfon and mebendazole).

sould -the p/c tabs will not work on black ich. Nor the salt. If its black ich you need to get hold of the meds I suggested above. Parasite Guard is not Parasite clear, its a different product with different ingredients. PARASITE GUARD by Jungle or FLUKE TABS by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals : these are the ONLY meds that will tackle black ich fast and safely. Black ich cannot be killed by prazi or dimilin (in p/c buddy tabs). The salt will hold the numbers at bay but will not kill the larvae or the parasites cycle. You need to medicate with a trichlorfon containing medication fast.

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I was treating for the digenean fluke. Since I have not seen an improvement, I'm going to start using the Parasite Guard tonight after I do a partial water change. Do you think I should treat both fish or just the one with the spots?

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With parasites you have to treat the whole tank and all the fish need the treatment. Make sure that you do a larger water change before switiching meds or starting new meds to give the meds a little longer in good water to do their best.

OK, I see you had the meds for the other possibility. Good you found the Parasite Guard. I think it'll do the job.

I tracked down a pic of turbellarian black ich. It's from a diagnosis book. This is a magnification & it's an orange fish. Do your fishes black specks look similar in shape at all to these?P1030162.jpg

Edited by Trinket

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the spots are circular, all of them, and certainly, he doesn't have as many as the picture. They don't appear to be raised, and look more like a stain. I haven't yet seen any improvement, even after starting the Guard product. I feel like another one appeared on his tail, but I may be imagining it. I had been monitoring the tank levels meticulously and STILL was not seeing any irregularities that would cause some sort of burn. I did feed them tubifex worms a week ago. Maybe some sort of reaction to the AquaSafe?? I don't know. This is very frustrating. :( He doesn't seem to be in any discomfort though, which is easing my tension slightly.

Perhaps I should also mention that Dante has a sort of bum eye, it's been totally black since I got him. Maybe these spots are some kind of genetic defect??

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the spots are circular, all of them, ... look more like a stain. I haven't yet seen any improvement, even after starting the Guard product. I did feed them tubifex worms a week ago.

Perhaps I should also mention that Dante has a sort of bum eye, it's been totally black since I got him. Maybe these spots are some kind of genetic defect??

Oh :unsure: to all these...any chance of a picture of the black spots sould? A picture says a thousand words :)

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I have been trying to take a picture of him for days now!!!! He's just so darn quick... everytime I get the camera poised, he dashes away. Any fish photo tips I might be unaware of? :blink:

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How many times have you medicated this fish? This looks like melanophore spots and needs no medication. In fact medication is going to make your fish very sick and some kind of medication may have caused thsi...you need to get him into fresh water via a 90% water change immediately.

Your fish looks good. Swimming well, fins are fine, he is a very young fish, a baby still and some color change is to be expected.

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