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rocmills

Red Blotches

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Hello All!

So our Big Ricki has developed a number of blood red splotches on his body and fins. He's had them before, most of them have, and they usually go away in a day or so. In the past, I've attributed the marks as being small scrapes or wounds created by the fish forcing themselves under the arch decoration even though they are too big to do so without scraping themselves against it.

Fins are not frayed or clamped, he seems normal in every way except for the spots.

I've salted the water 1 teaspoon per gallon and added extra Stress Coat.

Will try to post some pictures in the hopes we can figure out what this is.

--Roc

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hello rocmills... :)

sorry to hear that big ricki has got some red blotches goin on...

i'm sure the first thing the mods will ask you is for more information regarding your water quality.

could you please answer the questions in the white box at the top of the page?

you can copy and paste it into the text box and answer them that way.

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Water parameters are fine, I assure you. Tested weekly with almost no fluxuation. Tank is fully cycled.

Here are some pix:

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--Roc

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The reason that we ask for the basic information about a tank/fish is that, when trying to make an accurate diagnosis, it is imperitive to have as much information about the subject as possible. Just as you would not want your doctor telling you to "take two aspirin and call me in the morning" without asking WHY your leg turned black and fell off, you would not want us giving you a diagnosis without a bit of background.

Nearly every single problem that goes on with fish either is caused, stems from or is exasperated by water conditions. Water may be "fine" but not "fine enough". Water is an even better vector of disease and parastites than the air that we live in, is.

That said, have your fish ever shown a small, whitish fuzz - or haze over the body? When you add salt, does the haze go away, leaving the red marks at the base?

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No, the fish have never had ich or spots or film or any sort of fungus. Nothing new has been added to the tank in many years.

--Roc

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It would really help if you can tell us about the tank, things in the tank. Im not sure but it looks like you might have a bacterial problem in the tank :(

But with out more information it would be hard to tell and we dont want to subject the fish to meds that they may not need :(

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This is a well established tank, discussed at length on another thread here at Koko's.

The 55 gallon tank has 3 large comets and two plecos inhabiting it. We are filtering close to 700 gph, if memory serves; one canister filter with lots of bio media, one HOB with two bio-wheels. For decoration we have one piece of driftwood which has been present in the tank for about two years and 1 archway that has been in the tank forever. There are two large bubble wand airstones. That's it. Nothing new has been added to the tank in a very very long time... just the opposite, as the fishies got bigger we started removing things like plastic plants and other decorations. We have gravel as the substrate and that has also been present since the tank was first set up.

Tank gets 50%+ water changes once a week.

In the past, we have seen an occasion red blotch on the fish but it has always cleared up on its own in a day or two. This is the first time that so many blotches have appeared and stayed for many days. Only one of the three fish is showing these symptoms. The other two fish appear unaffected, and the guy with the red spots is behaving normally in every way; he eats, he plays, he sleeps (actually, all five of the tanks inhabitants sleep together in a wad in one corner of the tank - it's pretty funny to see first thing in the morning or in the middle of the night).

Water parameters are as follows (as of 10 minutes ago) and it does seem that I have developed an ammonia problem, but I can't imagine where it is coming from:

NO2 .1

Amm. 5.0

GH 180

KH 0

pH 6.0

NO3 40

Test results are from a drop kit, not a strip.

Will increase water changes until I get the ammonia under control. KH has never tested at zero before, not sure what that means or if it is just an artifact of the ammonia.

--Roc

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Hello Roc,

just curious as to whether or not you did a water change recently?

when you do water changes, do you sift around the gravel a lot?

and last of all do you know what kind of plecos are in the tank with your goldfish? if i remember correctly from your picture thread, they are common plecos right?

something else to consider with the gravel, is it small enough for the goldfish to sift through?

i remember reading something about how sometimes food particles that drop into the gravel can decompose causing noxious buildup of gas and other "stuff" that can be released during water changes and the like.

maybe something in the water is causing the irritation? and your goldie just happens to be the most sensitive of the three.

i am just guessing here, but i think it might be something to consider?

hopefully one of our disease experts will be by shortly. :)

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Tink,

Last water change was last Sunday. Am going to do one today as well, with another on Sunday to come; and I just "cleaned" the cannister filter - rinsed in tank water, replaced the water polishing pads only and rinsed the foam media from the HOB.

I change the water with a large gravel vac suction thingie. I don't *stir* the gravel, per se, but I do dig into it with the siphon... however, not enough for the gunk to stir up and cloud the water while I am doing the change.

I'm not sure what you mean by is the gravel small enough for the fish to sift through... It is relatively large gravel, but they can get several pieces in their mouths when they are hunting for food at the bottom.

Also forgot to mention a large-ish rock in the tank - it is just a bit larger than the fish themselves.

Yes, two common plecos both with birth defects - one of them so severe that he cannot suck onto things like he should, though he has learned to eat food from the surface.

I'm guessing now that what I am seeing are ammonia burns and that Ricki is just the most sensitive. The water has started to cloud lately, and I understand that excess ammonia can cause that. Can't imagine what has caused the tank to go south like this when it has been so perfect these last couple of months.

--Roc

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Yikes! 5.0 ammonia is VERY dangerous. Keep an eye on those water params and do lots of water changes.

It looks like you may have had a cycle crash.

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just the opposite, as the fishies got bigger we started removing things like plastic plants and other decorations.

kH =0 ; not sure what that means or if it is just an artifact of the ammonia.

--Roc

Last water change was last Sunday. Am going to do one today as well, with another on Sunday to come; and I just "cleaned" the cannister filter - rinsed in tank water, replaced the water polishing pads only and rinsed the foam media from the HOB.

I see a problem here. Thorough cleaning of filter media on the same day + gradual reduction of tank furniture can reduce nitrosomonas bacteria responsible for keeping down levels of UIA (toxic ammonia). As the fish get bigger (eating more and producing more poop and ammonia excretions) and a tank is set up for longer, the fish need more of these bacteria not less. We get comfortable and forget that ammonia absorption by the bbs reaches a capacity that our media platform may no longer be able to handle. This is also related intricately to pH fluctuations and changes.

A sudden kH of zero may well indicate cycle crash and that your tap water pH has been unstable for some time. pH issues plus ammonia is a serious double whammy for fish health.

These red spots/freckles appear as ammonia burns through parts of the skin, making the fish susceptible to bacterial infection. Ammonia poisoning.

In a long established tank kH can suddenly crash. This can be followed or started by an algae crash. A sudden die off of tank algae reduces ammonia assimilation PLUS adds to ammonia build up by decaying of the algae. Algae and bbs were removed on the plastic plants and items you removed from the tank and to compensate, extra filter media to house more bbs should have been added.

Your main priority now is to reduce stress via ammonia reduction and pH stability. Levels between 1-2 PPM of ammonia for 4 days have been known to cause death in susceptible fish. Looks like your huge and robust healthy fish have weathered 5PPm well, all but Ricki.

You can add zeolite to the filter box for immediate help. But it's a temporary fix- a few days only. You must stabilise pH. You need to add more filtration media. I would fast the fish for 3 days and get the water right. An extra side or HOB filter would do wonders longterm to get you back on track and over this bump.

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Okay, went to the lfs and bought all kinds of stuff to tackle this thing. Got a new HOB filtering 325 gph, which gives us a total of 955 gph filtration on a 55 gallon tank. Got a bottle of Cycle, a bottle of pH balancer, couple of bags of zeolite which I stuck in the new HOB. Forgot to get ammonia neutralizer, but if the other stuff doesn't handle that then I can always pick some up later.

Also treated the hospital tank with the pH balancer, but not the Cycle.

And I think I know where this started... every year around this time, the City of Las Vegas switches water sources from reservoir to ground water aquifers (or the other way around). Tested tap for ammonia and it is about 1 instead of zero, yuck. So I will start increasing the amount of condition I use when I do water changes.

Trinket, what is the purpose of fasting the fish?

I will try to do a 50% water change every other day for the next week or so until this gets back under control. The new HOB is an Aqueon and has lots and lots of places for bb to grow.

--Roc

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Everything you are doing sounds good.

The extra filtration and media will soon start to make a huge difference as more bbs kick in. Yes you are now running over the basic GPH rule but then your fish are far from basic sized aquarium fish.

That'll be part of it for sure the tap water source changing.

If you fast the fish for a few days, ammonia excretions (from the gills and in poo) are reduced temporarily while the bbs get to work at reproducing to help balance things out. If you can test and juggle the ammonia in another way (zeolite) then you may be okay to feed but feed lightly as all the added help you have added takes a day or two min. to get to work.

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Okay, got a large bottle of ammonia detoxifier and one of those meters from Seachem that hangs in the tank and gives readings all the time (got one for the ammonia and one for pH). LFS only had one, so I guess I will swap it from one tank to the other if I get tired of doing the drop tests daily. I figure if the main tank is having ammonia issues, there might be a problem in the hospital tank as well and that can't be good for Luc's mouth.

Ricki's blotches look better today, and the last drop test indicated the ammonia was already down from 5 to 1.25 so my attack seems to be working. Another water change today should help, too.

--Roc

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:) i'm glad to hear that the problem is on it's way to being resolved. :D

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I am well and truly perplexed.

The Seachem ammonia meter I purchased and which has been in the tank for three days now, says that there is no ammonia in the water. The strip test says there is no ammonia in the water. But the drop kit still reads at 4 or 5 parts ammonia. This after adding another HOB, adding two bags of zeolite to the HOB, dosing with Ammonia Lock every day, two water changes of 75% each and almost no food being given. This can't be right.

I am beginning to question the validity of the test results, but I have no idea how else to determine the ammonia levels in the tank.

Ricki's red spots are getting better, and the other two fish show no signs of disease, damage, or distress. Even the two plecos are acting perfectly normal (for them, anyway).

Maybe I should purchase a new drop kit in case something has compromised my existing kit. I know that strip tests are not very accurate, and I know nothing about the in-tank meters or how accurate they are.

--Roc

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i'm sure someone will explain this more eloquently, but there are kits that measure total ammonia in the tank, and kits that measure the ammonia a fish is feeling in a tank (don't know the term for this) -- my drop kit (API master freshwater) reads both (NH3 NH4).

maybe this could explain it?

how are the fish looking lately? any improvement on big ricki?

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Since I was questioning the veracity of my results, I decided to test some bottled spring water.

Wow, either the FDA needs to be brought in or there is something wrong with my test kit as it is saying that my Dannon Spring! water is 1 ppm ammonia, and I know that ain't right.

--Roc

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The API test is giving you those results? Whoa. I'd double-check your method and then call the manufacturer!

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The kit is Fresh Lab by Red Sea. Double and triple checked my methods... rinse test tube in tank water, fill to the 3 mark, add one scope (scooper provided) of powder from bottle A, shake gently for two seconds, add 5 drops of Reagent B and shake gently for 20 seconds, wait 15 minutes and read results. See, I got it memorized by now.

Tomorrow I will buy an ammonia-only drop kit from a different manufacturer and see what happens.

Per the burns on Ricki, I think it's safe to assume I do or did have an ammonia problem, but the ammonia levels should not still be so high considering all I have done so far.

--Roc

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I find that the more steps a test has, the more chance there is of messing it up. The API drop kits are easy, fast, and accurate. You should be able to find a single ammonia test by API. Good luck Roxy.

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Bought the API ammonia kit... it still tests the tank out at slightly less than 2 ppm ammonia. This is better than the 5 we started out with, but I expected better results by now. Maybe I just need to give it more time.

Ricki is acting lethargic - bottom sitting, not alot, but enough to notice. I think the blotches might be getting worse, or, rather, that there may be more of them.

Don't know what else to do at this point.

There's an overwhelming amount of human drama and trauma in my life right now, I don't know if I can tend to yet another sick fish - especially since I can't seem to control the problem at any level.

--Roc

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I'm sorry to hear that "real" life isn't going well for you. :hug

IMHO, any ammonia above 1ppm is harmful, and I never let it get above 0.5ppm when I'm cycling a tank with fish. Ricky's behavior is probably due to water conditions.

I would just do more water changes-- as many as you can to bring down that ammonia. Hopefully things will get better-- either with your fish or with the drama/trauma-- so that you don't feel so stressed.

Joy

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roc~ I know this is the last thing you need when real life is heavy but hang in there for Ricki please. One thing that really really helps is adding more filter media- it takes a few days to work but it works. Stuff floss into the filter boxes, every small space you have in there. The more nitrosomonas( good) bacteria you have the more the ammonia will drop down..the blotches will react to/flare with stress. Stress is the ammonia. The blotches went away when the ammonia went down remember? As if you didn't know that. Any more zeolite to hand as a temporary fix? What's the tap ammonia reading now?

Do what you can and then get some rest knowing you have :heart

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definitely hang in there for ricki. i know this might sound goofy, but i was dealing with work/life stress when Fisher was sick and focusing on fixing him would sort of let me forget about the rest of everything for a little bit. when i was doing twice daily water changes and such, that was my only 'zen' time.

good luck on both fronts: humans and fishies.

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