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Mixing Meds Without Killing My Fish?


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Hello all!

I had a quick question about fish meds and figured this was a pretty informed place to get answers.

I'm stopping by the store after work today to pick up some PimaFix and MelaFix for my goldies, one of which who is looking fairly tattered and torn around the tail.

I feed them Jungle medicated fish food (not every day -- we alternate) and I was wondering if anyone knew whether I'd be killing my fish to use Pima, Mela, and the medicated food all together.

Is that... too many meds?

Thanks!

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Hi Chester's Mommy! :welcome

We generally don't recommend that members mix medications. But we really need to know more about your specific situation before we can help. Besides being torn and tattered, why are you using Pimafix and Melafix? Why are you feeding a medicated food? What sort of medicated food is it-- anti-parasitical or anti-bacterial?

Really, we need to know EVERYTHING about your tank, equipment, fish, and history before we can really help. Like taking a patient's history at the doctor's office. If you can answer all the questions that are posted in the white box at the top of this page, we can help you help your fish.

Thanks! Get back to us soon!

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First off, :welcome

There is a saying: Take care of the water and the water will take care of the fish.

You can take the steps necessary to repair the tattered fins, but if you don't remedy the situation that caused the tattered fins, it is pretty much assured that it, or something worse, will keep happening.

Frayed fins are one of the first signs of an infection; usually from poor water conditions. Medicating fish without addressing the health of the environment would be like giving cold medicine to a person locked in a room full of people with a cold. That person will probably get better because of the cold medicine, but as long as that person continues to be exposed to other sick people, they will just get sick again.

Also, you shouldn't feed medicated food as a regular course of practice. That is the same as humans taking antibiotics on a regular basis. We and the bad germs will build up an immunity to them and they will cease to be effective. So, you need to stop feeding medicated food except for when it is necessary to combat an infection.

So, here is what we would suggest:

1. Medications are always a last resort. So, hold off on getting or introducing any sort of medication until we can get some more information on your situation.

2. Answer all of the questions above as well as you can. We need you to do this because we can't see your tank or what's going on. Answering those questions paints us a picture of your tank.

3. You can go to the store and buy some aquarium salt and a product that contains the highest dose of praziquantel you can find. If you can find Hikari Prazi Pro, that would be great, but usually, you can only order that online, and that is probably something that you should do, but for now, any product with the highest dose of prazi would be great. And, if you don't have drop test kits for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and ph, buy those kits too.

4. The next normal course would be to introduce salt and prazi, however, we need to know what your water readings are first. That will tell us how large of a water change you will need to do. If you add the salt and prazi before a water change, well, clearly, you will be wasting the products.

So, do these things for us and we will do our best to help you get those frayed fins healthy again!

Edited by Lynda Von G
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[*]Test Results for the Following:

[*]Ammonia Level? NA

[*]Nitrite Level? NA

[*]Nitrate level? NA

[*]Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)? NA

[*]Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)? NA

[*]Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? NA

Sorry, I'm at work right now and don't have any of this info on hand...

[*]Water temperature? I don't use a heater; it's usually somewhere in the 60-and-change area.

[*]Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 20 gallons; I don't actually understand what you mean by "running." I've had this particular tank, um, in operation? for about two years.

[*]What is the name and size of the filter(s)? Penguin BioWheel 200

[*]How often do you change the water and how much? Weekly 25%

[*]How many fish in the tank and their size? Three ugly and fat goldies; a fantail that I think might really be a veiltail, if only he wasn't missing the majority of his fins, a blind black moor that, since it turned gold, I'm assuming is actually just a telescope, and a blue oranda that is currently white. (I know. I know. But I have to pay my own rent before my babies can move into a bigger place, unfortunately.)

[*]What kind of water additives or conditioners? I use Prime

[*]What do you feed your fish and how often? They get fed once a day; I switch between two different types of flakes (I presoak 'em so they sink), sinking pellets, peas and the like, and anti-bacterial medicated food.

[*]Any new fish added to the tank? Nope, I've had them all 5+ years.

[*]Any medications added to the tank? Not yet.

[*]Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? Obviously, because I'm cramming fish, they occasionally get ammonia burns -- the only unusual thing is my poor fan/veil?tail's tail, as of yesterday, has been looking pretty shredded at the ends and reddish and sore at the base. The oranda tries to mate with him every few months, which occasionally rips a tail tip, but this is different. I heard that MelaFix is supposed to be good for healing fins and sores, that PimaFix might be even better, and that you can mix the two with no ill effects, so I thought I'd better use both.

[*]Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? Nope.

They're on Jungle med food in the first place because way *way* back in my foolish youth, when I originally was buying them, I had a soft spot for grocery-store fish that were chewed on, floating upside down, and bleeding out the gills.

Yes.

So all three of them were getting dosed with everything I could get my hands on, along with the medicated food, and they really, noticeably liked it. So they still get it along with their other foods just so they've got some variety.

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Thank you for this information. It does help. Do you have drop test kits for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and ph? If you do, can you get us those numbers when you get home? If you don't, would it be possible for you to stop at your fish store on the way home and get the test kits, aquarium salt and prazi?

Of course they like the med food. It's spiked with tasty stuff to encourage sick fish to eat it, but as explained, the fish and the bad bugs will build an immunity to it and it shouldn't be fed except in cases of infections. Once a fish gets better, the med food should be stopped. Goldfish will lose some of their more unusual colorings if it is an unstable color, however, that all of your fish are losing color suggests that they are not getting a diet high in protein. They should also get foods high in vitamin C, such as oranges, kiwi, strawberries, broccoli, etc. That will not only boost their color, but also their immune system. Loss of color also suggests low, or insufficient lighting. But, let's address one thing at a time.

Because you are so overloaded, as you acknowledge, by the way, how large are each of your fish?, you are going to need to pay extra close attention to the health of the water. Normally, weekly water changes are good, but in your case, you may need to be doing twice a week water changes. Your water changes will be based on your test readings. You also should increase those changes to at least 60-70%. Your filtration is good in a standard sense. And your temperature is great.

I doubt your fantail is a veiltail. Veiltails are quite rare and a person has to go far out of their way to obtain one.

Edited by Lynda Von G
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Oh dang, I never even thought the food would be tasty-fied to make them like it... I'll stop feeding them that. Regardless of how much they sulk. :)

I've got test kits at home, but they're just the strip kind; I'll try to stop and get a more accurate drop one, along with the salt and prazi.

Is the salt, by the way, going to do anything to my filter that I need to know about ahead of time? In the sense of crunching up my biowheel or anything? (I mean, obviously it's not going to be salt-like in the water, but as it dissolves it'll leave a residue, yeah?)

They're big fish when you take into account where they're living -- the fantail is about four or five inches body length (and another four or five tail), the oranda's body is a husky three or four inches, and the telescope is three. I really hope they're not losing their color because of feeding or lighting -- they've got a light and I did feed them fruits and veggies, and... I shouldn't be worrying about this. On to treatment!

You don't happen to know the names of anything with praziquantel in them, do you? I'm more than willing to comb the shelves, but if I can't find anything I've learned not to necessarily trust the recommendations of clerks.

Also also... should I take the tank decorations out? I really only have two wispy plants (having a fish that can't see and a fish that can't steer and a fish that tries to impregnate anything in its path doesn't lend itself well to a nice-looking tank) and big unswallowable rocks, but if that's going to mess with anything I can scoop them all out.

Thank you --

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Oh, yes, and they will sulk! Goldies have a terrible way of begging to make you feel guilty! lol!

No, the salt will not harm the filter media or kill any beneficial bacteria. But, no, you don't put the salt directly into the water. You should take out some water from the tank, thoroughly dissolve the salt in that water and then slowly pour the salt water back in the tank near the filter(s) so it mixes well in the water. There is a formula for adding salt. It's typically referenced in volume; i.e., 0.1%, 0.2% and 0.3%. Depending on the size of the salt crystals, of course, that basically translates to 0.1% = 1 tsp of salt per 1 gallon of water, 0.2% = 2 tsp of salt per gallon of water and 0.3% = 3 tsp (or 1 TBL) of salt per gallon of water. You start with 0.1%, then after 12 hours, up it to 0.2%, then after another 12 hours, up it to 0.3%. When you do water changes, you then need to do your math for how much more salt to add. For instance, if you remove 50% of the water, then you've also removed 50% of the salt, so you would then need to add back in only 50% more salt. If you're at 0.3%, for a 20 gallon tank, you would have a total of 60 tsp (20 TBL) of salt in the tank. You removed 50% of that, so you would need to add back in 30 more tablespoons. Yes, you can get a crusty salt residue around the edges of the tank top as the water evaporates, but it's no big deal. You can use other types of salt, i.e., rock salt, sea salt, kosher salt, just anything that isn't iodized. Even though aquarium salt is more expensive, I like it better because it dissolves much more quickly than rock salt.

You definitely have some bigger fish there. Just three goldies alone in 20 gallons is enough, but adding their size, you do need to pay close attention to water conditions.

Yes, pretty much NEVER trust what fish store employees tell you! Especially about goldfish. They may have some knowledge of tropicals or saltwater fish, but very, very few know about goldies. Goldies are a very unique breed when it comes to taking care of them properly.

I can't really tell you names of products for prazi. But, I'll tell you the basics behind prazi. Prazi treats for flukes and some other parasites, but it is different than for ich or those types of parasites. It can pretty well be certain that all fish have flukes when they come from the store. So, it, along with salt, is a default treatment that we begin with when taking our fish home. Now, I realize that you have had your fish for some time and have not introduced any new ones, but we always like to start from the beginning. The salt will help the frayed fins by improving the slime coat, relieving stress and killing bacteria.

I would leave the decorations in. They may have some beneficial bacteria growing on them. Your plants, are they live? If so, yes, you'll need to take them out, but, if they're fake, leave them in. The big rocks are also fine. So, may I assume, then, that you have no small gravel, just the larger rocks?

Edited by Lynda Von G
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I *knew* I should have paid more attention in my math classes... if only they'd told me I'd need it with my pets!! (Thanks for the detailed instructions; in a worst-case scenario I'll have my roommate sit and take Salt Notes so I don't mess up.)

Fake plants, so I'll leave them in, and yes -- the rocks are eyeball-sized ones that I think are primarily supposed to be used to decorate smaller rock bottoms, but I bought a million of because a) they were the only thing I could be sure the fantail wasn't going to accidentally snack on, and b) they're light enough that the telescope can nudge them out of the way to get the food after it sinks without knocking off his eyes. :D

If I can't find anything with prazi in it I'll just get the test kit and the salt, and then we'll figure it out from there.

Thanks for all your help -- I'll post again after I get home, test the water, and add the first .1% salt -- I'm assuming somewhere on the board there's a list of what the test results should be?

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Your description of why you chose the rocks you did is cute! lol!

I'm sure you'll find something with prazi in it, but if you don't, it's not the most important thing to have right now. The salt is definitely what we want to have for sure.

Don't add your salt until you test the water because, depending on the results, you may need to do a water change first. No sense in adding salt if you end up needing to remove it. Get the biggest carton of salt they have because, at 20 TBL of salt with potential future water changes, you'll go through it fast. And, it's not like it goes bad. You may need it in the future and creating a "first aid kit" is a good idea.

Your water readings should be as follows:

Ammonia: 0

Nitrites: 0

Nitrates: Anywhere from 0-20. The lower, the better. If you do get 0 though, it usually is an alert that maybe the test wasn't done right because you should have something.

If you have ammonia or nitrites at any level or nitrates above 20, you'll need to do a large water change.

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Hey! How's Chester's Mommy doing?

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Ahahahahahahahaha...

::: eye twitch :::

Well, fun story.

So I pick up my brand new ammonia/nitrate/nitrite testers (I've only ever used those sticks before, you know, the ones that don't actually work?) and take them home to give them a try.

I do not lie when I say that on the color scale of 0 being yellow and 8 being a dark, dark green, my ammonia level was probably 15. Oh yes. It was black.

So! A bottle of Prime and fifteen 50% water changes later (is that 750% or doesn't it work like that?) I got it down to .5, and that's where I've had to call it a rest for the night, because it has been five hours and I'm worried that I'm going to tip the tank over with sleepy clumsiness. I added in the first batch of salt and also hooked up my extra filter as well as crammed another carbon thingy into my Penguin filter to try and get my obviously nonexistent bacteria to grow, goshdarnit!

(Who feels like the worst mommy ever? I feel like the worst mommy ever.)

Edited by Chester's_Mommy
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Don't beat yourself up! You're doing the right thing! Good job on those water changes. Keep an eye on the water parameters. Looks like you will probably need to do the same thing tomorrow as you did tonight to keep the water safe for your fish. Also, can you post the complete results of your tests: Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, PH. Thanks! :)

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We were ALL there! That's why we're here! You don't even want to know how many fish I've killed with my ignorance! But, see? It's all in the water. The water never lies. You get that water good, the rest follows! I'm soooo proud of you for doing a 750% water change! lol! Keep that diligence up with the testing and water changes and those fins will heal in no time! Keep us informed!

Oh, btw... if you can't afford a "real" tank, many, many of us here use the rubbermaid type plastic bins as temporary tanks and/or hospital/qt tanks. They're inexpensive and do a great job when all you need is more volume. No, they're not pretty to look at and you only get a top view of your fishies, but if it provides them with more water, they're worth the time.

Anyway, good job!

Edited by Lynda Von G
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We were ALL there! That's why we're here! You don't even want to know how many fish I've killed with my ignorance! But, see? It's all in the water. The water never lies. You get that water good, the rest follows! I'm soooo proud of you for doing a 750% water change! lol! Keep that diligence up with the testing and water changes and those fins will heal in no time! Keep us informed!

Wow...I am so proud of you too...Lynda is so right...keep that diligence up...Good job there...

Oh, btw... if you can't afford a "real" tank, many, many of us here use the rubbermaid type plastic bins as temporary tanks and/or hospital/qt tanks. They're inexpensive and do a great job when all you need is more volume. No, they're not pretty to look at and you only get a top view of your fishies, but if it provides them with more water, they're worth the time.

Anyway, good job!

Oh yeah I have one too..just set it up yesterday...for a sick fish though...neways Got it from Wal*mart for like 6 bucks...and its gr8...20 gallons for 1 fish..its awesome...and just needs a place to sit on the floor..no stand needed... :) ..totally agree with Lynda.. :)

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Oooh, the tub idea is fantastic -- thank you!

I'll run out and get one of those today when I'm restocking on Prime; I'm pretty sure I'm financing the company at the moment. ;)

(I'm using it to help neutralize the ammonia along with fixing the water; I'm assuming that's the most chemical blocking I should do, rather than getting something like Ammo-lock?)

Desiree, my first-test levels were, as far as I can guess

Ammonia 15

Nitrate 90

Nitrite 5

The levels I left the tank at as I dragged myself to bed were more along the lines of

Ammonia 0.5

Nitrate 5.0

Nitrite 0.25

I don't actually have a pH tester -- let's all just imagine that it was bad, eh?

I'm having my roommate add the second dose of salt water while I'm at work today (she took one look at my six-page list of instructions and threatened to never help me with a tank ever again) and then when I get home I'll test all the levels again.

My fantail looked much more cheerful this morning. Very much along the lines of "Hi mommy! Isn't today a wonderful day? My scales aren't on FIRE anymore!" Of course, the other two act like they don't understand why he's whining; they've obviously adapted to swimming in bleach.

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Now you see why I said get the big carton of salt? You'll be going through a lot of it because, with readings like that, you are going to need to do daily water changes of about 70%. Your cycle has completely crashed. Surprised?! lol! Do you understand what a cycle is? Here's our link, just in case. Cycle of the Tank And, with those water changes, you will need to replace the salt proportionately utilizing your highly developed math skills as we previously discussed. :hmm If you run out of the aquarium salt and it's too expensive to keep buying, regular rock salt is completely fine to use. It just takes much longer to dissolve. Grinding or breaking it up will help it dissolve faster. The crystals are also bigger, so it makes measuring a bit more difficult, so breaking it up can help with that too. And, as I previously said, kosher salt and sea salt are good too.

As the water starts to cycle, you will first see the ammonia fall to 0. You already have nitrites, but you may see them raise higher, which is expected, but, still, they must also be kept as close to 0 with water changes. It's fairly possible that your nitrites could cycle out at about the same time as the ammonia too. Eventually, you will see the nitrites drop to 0 and, again, maybe a spike in nitrates. Do water changes if your nitrates are above 20. Your tank is completely cycled when you have ammonia-0, nitrites-0 and nitrates at 20 or less and at this point, you can reduce your water changes to once a week. When you get to this point, I still would suggest testing every day to at least every other day for a while until you are certain that you do have a stabilized tank. Then, with good observation of the tank, you can reduce your testing to once a week. Unless you just like testing, which some of us do! (OCD!) :exactly

You just need to keep doing your daily testing and water changes until that happens. Your testing will determine how large a water change you do, but it should never be less than 50% and can often be 90%. And once a month, you need to do a 100% water change because high ammonia levels are not the only reason you change water. You also need to do water changes to keep it clear of bad bacterias. To maintain your beneficial bacterias, you rinse your decorations and filter in the old water, then go ahead and do the 100% water change. :fishtank:

Normally, you would be advised to take out the one sick fish and put it in a quarantine tank, but as all of your fish have been exposed to the uncycled water and the bacteria that has caused the fin rot of your one fish, all of you fish should be treated.

Btw.... I think we need some names for these "three ugly and fat goldies!" :goldfish::goldfish::goldfish:

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After a water change and the last dosing of salt, my tank levels currently stand at

Ammonia 0.25

Nitrite 0.5

Nitrate 15

So... we're getting there. :D

I'm getting a little nervous about Mr. Fantail; he's been giving me wide-eyed looks and sticking kind of close to the top of the water. He's not pineconing, but do we know of anything *other* than dropsy that would make him overnight start bobbing towards the surface?

(ie, at what point do I need to move *this* portion of the discussion to the 911 area of the board?)

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Well, first, you can't move a thread, a Moderator would need to to that, and it isn't a good idea to post a new thread as you will lose all the history of what has happened so far here. If you had posted in the regular discussion area, we would ask a Mod to move it, but as you are in the Disease section, you're fine, even if it becomes a "911" situation. If you feel your thread is falling down the list and you aren't getting a response fast enough, you can just post a new question or a "Hey! is anyone out there?! kind of thing in this thread to get it back up on the list of questions. :bump:

Yes, just keep your numbers down like that. I'm sure your fish are feeling much better just because of that.

Mr. Fantail.

Is your temperature still down in the 60s?

What does his poop look like? Color? Length?

What are his fins doing? Clamped, etc.?

Does he still have the red splotches/streaks?

Any white spots or white patches?

Does his body seem swollen?

Are his eyes bugging out at all?

Are you still feeding the med food?

You have plenty of aeration, right?

Can you post a picture?

Constipation and/or swim bladder disorder can cause a fish to bob at the surface or turn upside down. Constipation is obvious. The aren't passing what they ate, but sometimes it can be that they can't process a particular type of food very well. He could also have trapped air inside. Has he been a top breather at all in the past?

But, often times, when a fish isn't feeling well, they will either top or bottom sit. The most important thing, at this time, is to get a feeling, for sure, of whether it's early stage dropsy because, all of a sudden, salt becomes a bad thing and you'd need to switch to epsom salt. But, let's look at this more before deciding on whether to change treatments.

Edited by Lynda Von G
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Temp is still down in the 60s.

I... have no idea what his poop looks like. ;) He has been constipated in the past, but usually then he doesn't... bob. That's why it caught my eye as soon as he started doing it -- he acts like he *wants* to be lower but can't get any lower.

His fins aren't clamped but his tail is looking bloody and streaky, waaaay more so than this morning or yesterday.

No white spots or patches that I can see, but he's missing two scales on his midsection, and I don't know if it's just now that I'm staring with my eyes a milimeter from the glass or what, but he's looking a little poofier than I'd like.

Eyes aren't bugging as far as I can tell.

Not feeding the med food; he hasn't had that in three weeks (thank goodness I was using it as his Look Guys A Treat! food, because it meant he didn't get it every day...)

Plenty of aeration.

And nope, no digital camera.

I went screaming to my friend's house and escaped with her extra 10-gallon, which I've set up with a filter, bubbler, and heater. Just say the word and I'll QT.

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Is the low temp natural or are you doing something to keep it that low? Normally, getting water that cold for goldies is great, but when we medicate, etc., we like to keep the temps a little warmer. Do you have a heater or a way to raise the temp to like the mid/upper 70s?

Is he still eating? It's good you haven't fed the med food in a while. What kind is it? I think I'd like to get him back on this exclusively.

The fin rot and streaking are signs of a bacterial infection and we need to treat that, and the med food will do that, but if he's swollen, that usually needs to come first.

I also think you should go ahead and quarantine him. Although the others have been exposed, he needs specific attention. Keep the salt in the main tank, it can't hurt and it certainly will help the others from getting what he's got. Mr. Fantail didn't "float" before salt at all? Let's stick with salt in the qt tank for now, but keep us informed of what he's doing and looking like.

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All righty! I have him in the 10-gallon with .1% salt (I think that's the right decimal...) and a heater. I'll check on him in six hours and we'll see where we stand.

The food was Jungle anti-bacterial; I've put a couple of pieces in the quarantine tank but he has thus far ignored them, so... we'll see if they're there in the morning.

He definitely wasn't floating before the salt, but of course part of me is already convinced that the tail rot opened the door to all manner of other bacterial infections... LIKE OMG DROPSY. My poor baby.

I *do* have some Maracyn II; if he's still looking icky tomorrow should I pop that in? (I suppose it would help treat the tail issue too, really.)

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I want to hold off on any medication for now. We try not to resort to chemical meds until we've tried everything else. And, I'm not expert enough to get into meds, so before we do that, I want to get a Moderator involved. Have a good night!

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Welladay, he's on Maracyn-Two now.

::: hangs head in shame :::

I know, I think it's a symptom of being a doctor's child that I jump to the meds too fast.

BUT!

In my defense, when I tiptoed out of bed to check on him at 4:30am, he was floating sideways, not moving, and bleeding gently out his gills. He also had these gross red streaks kind of radiating outward from his head down his body.

So anyway, I shrieked and panicked in a way that would probably be more appropriate if it was a *child* bleeding out the *eyes*, instead of just a goldfish, and dosed him, because then at least when he keeled over dead I could honestly say I'd done all that I could.

Yes.

Around six he actually started perking up, and by the time I left for work this morning (bleeeeaaaaary-eyed) he had quit floating and the redness had mostly receded.

Which probably means he didn't need meds in the first place and would have recovered on his own, but what can you do?

...

So!

Now I have two fish in a tank that's out of control, and one fish in a medicated tank.

I've never really dealt with a medicated tank before.

When I got him originally and had him soaking in a bowl in a mixture of Every Antibiotic Under The Sun, I didn't actually think about things like water changes. How does one do water changes when the meds have to stay in the tank?

Glah.....

(The friend whom I stole the 10-gallon from yesterday stopped by this morning with a bottle of clove oil and a hammer. ;) She thinks she's funnier than she actually is.)

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I have no advice really, but thought your thread may need some attention from the moderators. I probably would have screamed and jumped into a medication as well. I just wanted to let you know that maracyn II is deactivated by light so you have to keep your tank covered and you have to finish the treatment once started. Is your filter on the quarantine tank cycled? If not, you will really need to keep up with water changes and that means replacing the meds that you have taken out of the water with the water change. Good luck and I hope he's feeling better soon.

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