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Bacterial Infection?


h.akhtar

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Hi, everybody. I'm lost and I'd appreciate any help you have to offer. I'm sorry to post such a long story but I know that knowing a complete history will help you guys help me.

I had one 6" goldfish and three 2" goldfish in a 40 gallon tank. Yes, I know now that they were overcrowded. The 6" Common goldfish had been with me for years, two of the 2" fish joined me about 4 months ago. They were initially quarantined and treated for ich. They were quite happy together in the 40 gallon tank. One more 2" goldfish was added about 2 months ago, after being quarantined and found healthy.

Concerning the 6" fish: he was injured by an ornament (some scales fell off) and developed an infection, probably caused by stress. I posted in the Disease Diagnosis area and got the excellent advice of doing a lot of large water changes. It really worked and his symptoms (pimple-like bumps on head, white poop) disappeared with water changes + Melafix for the wounds. He took a sudden turn for the worse, though, and died a few weeks ago from what I think was finrot because his tail got extremely ragged and torn overnight (he didn't respond to any medications or water changes after the sudden turn). The whole time he was sick, I quarantined him and the three 2" goldfish seemed completely healthy and normal.

A few days after he died, they all started bottom-sitting/hiding in caves much more than usual + they had white poop. I quarantined them about a week ago. They seemed really sick and I used Maracyn for a full five days. One goldfish seemed completely healthy so I moved him back to the main 40 gallon tank; he acted normal (ate normal, was active as usual, responsive, normal poop, etc.) but I found him dead a few days ago. The other two goldfish are still quarantined in separate 10 gallon tanks. They both hid in caves all the time but came out to eat now and then. They both had white poop. I used aquarium salt to 0.3% salinity in both tanks.

Yesterday, I noticed one of the goldfish has a bloody patch at the base of his left fin. He spends all his time in the corner of the tank now and seems to be shivering every now and then. The other goldfish has normal poop but has drooping fins. He's got a fan tail, so, the edges of his tail are kind of droopy or frayed looking. He hangs limply in a cave sometimes and moves about in jerky motions at other times.

The 40 gallon main tank had high nitrates (20) but, after the water changes advice (given before any of this started), it's gone down to 5. The ammonia and nitrites are both at 0 and the pH maintained at 7.5. In both the quarantine tanks: 0 nitrites and ammonia, nitrates at about 5, pH again at 7.5.

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

[*]Water temperature? All tanks have always been about 70F

[*]Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? Both 10 gallon quarantine tanks have been running about 2 years, I think. The 40 gallon main tank has been running about 6 months.

[*]What is the name and size of the filter(s)? Quarantine tanks have Aquaclear filters for 20 gallons. 40 gallon has Aquaclear for 40 to 70 gallons.

[*]How often do you change the water and how much? I'll admit I used to do not nearly enough. Since posting here about a month ago, I've learned it's better to do larger changes. I'm trying: been doing about 60 or 70% every 3 days for all tanks.

[*]What kind of water additives or conditioners?Aqueon water conditioner

[*]What do you feed your fish and how often?Varies between fresh, gel, frozen, and sinking pellets once a day. In small amounts, though. Not feeding too often since they got sick.

[*]Any medications added to the tank?In the tanks the two fish are housed in right now, I've only put salt to 0.3% salinity. They were treated with Maracyn(had no effect on these two fish, they only got worse)about 10 or 11 days ago. I fed them Jungle Anti-Bacteria food for four days last week.

[*]Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus?As mentioned above, one goldfish has a bloody patch at the base of his left fin, which I believe developed a few days ago. The edges of the other goldfish's tail are frayed or droopy looking.

[*]Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? Both have stayed in caves or made every attempt to be in a dark place all the time for about two weeks now. Since yesterday, one stopped staying in a cave and hangs in a corner. They both ate normally for the two weeks they've displayed sickness. They both occasionally make jerky motions, not sure how else to explain it. One (the one with the bloody patch at the base of his fin) seems to shiver occasionally.

I posted in the Emergency section because I don't feel these fish have too long to live.

Well, I think that's everything. Again, sorry to type such a long thing! I would love to save these goldfish, they've been so great these past few months. I just don't have enough experience to know what to do. Got anything for me?

Edited by Hiba
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Hi there

I'm so sorry to hear about all the troubles you've been having. Hopefully we can help you get to the bottom of things. I have a couple of questions/suggestions to start with :)

First, are these fancy or common goldfish? That makes a difference for how much room they need. Generally we say 10 gallons per fancy and 20 per common. Either way, with the two remaining fish you have left the 40 gallon is a good size, but 10 gallon QT tanks would be a bit small.

Next, do you know the gph of your filters? If not, give us the model numbers and we can figure it out. Even though filters may say good for 40 gallons, for example, for goldfish they are often not powerful enough. I actually run two very large aquaclears on my tank at all times.

A suggestion I have is that rather than quarenteening your remaining fish in separate 10 gallon tanks, you put them both back in the 40 gallon. The reasons being that it will give your fish more space and reduce the stress on you in terms of needing to keep up with water changes; and, the main reason to QT is to keep the sick fish separate from the main tank/others, but since you are down to just the two fish there is really no need. I would think you would be better to keep them both in the 40 gallon and apply any meds to it. That way, if there are bacteria/parasites in the main tank or filter, they will be killed as well by any meds you administer. And you can put the filters from your QT tanks on the main one and increase your filtration that much more...one thing we always tell people...there is no such thing as too much filtration when it comes to goldfish :)

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Chrissy, thank you so much!

The healthier-seeming goldfish is an oranda, and the sicker one is a ryukin. Putting them both back into the 40 gallon makes a lot of sense, I will do that a.s.a.p.. Haha, yes, I can see why there's no such thing as too much filtration for goldfish! :)

About the gph, I posted in the Disease Diagnosis section a month ago and a very helpful user (Tinkokeshi) told me my filter had a gph of 300 and that was a bit short of the minimum I needed. Again, it made a lot of sense to me so I'm saving up for a second filter to add to the 40 gallon tank. I'm still in high school and I support this hobby by myself, so it'll be a while before I can purchase it. Sorry :(

I hope being in a larger tank will reduce the stress on the fish and help them heal...is there anything else I can do? I'm weary of medicating them again but, then again, I'm not very familiar with medications for goldfish. Anything I can do there?

Edited by Hiba
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About the gph, I posted in the Disease Diagnosis section a month ago and a very helpful user (Tinkokeshi) told me my filter had a gph of 300 and that was a bit short of the minimum I needed. Again, it made a lot of sense to me so I'm saving up for a second filter to add to the 40 gallon tank. I'm still in high school and I support this hobby by myself, so it'll be a while before I can purchase it. Sorry :(

Don't be sorry, I've been there! As long as you keep up with frequent water changes, you can compensate for the filtration until you can afford another one.

So just to clarify, you have an oranda and ryukin now. They are both lethargic with clamped fins and you think one has a bloody spot by his fin? I'm not really a medication expert (hopefully one of the mods comes along soon to offer more advice) so I'm a bit cautious about making suggestions. When you say they seem to shiver, are they rubbing themselves against objects/the tank sides? This could be a sign of flukes, which are a very common parasite. They also cause lethargy like you've described.

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Thanks for being understanding! :)

Yes, an oranda and a ryukin now. The oranda has actually been pretty active today. He seems to be alright, no symptoms of sickness today...but I don't trust it. It's the ryukin I'm mainly worried about. He's got:

-clamped fins

-hides in cave

-lethargic

-bloody patch at the base of his...I Googled it and they seem to be called the pelvic fins. The left one has a bloody patch at the base and it's a bit raised outwards, too. Unfortunately, I haven't got the best camera to take a picture of him with. I will try my best to provide you with a picture later on.

-white poop

-eats normally and is responsive when I come near the tank

-bottom-sitting

-about the shivering: when he comes outside to find food, he occasionally stops swimming in the middle of the tank and floats in place. He then shivers violently for a few seconds. After, he simply moves on. When I can see him out and about, he'll do this once every few minutes.

True, I wondered abotu flukes. The oranda had flukes when he first got into my care a few months ago; I treated him and he made a full recovery. I'm pretty sure they don't have flukes, though, because they haven't had any chance for exposure to them. Nope, they don't rub themselves against objects or tank sides. Does that rule out parasites, or is there a chance there could be other parasites?

Edited by Hiba
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Oh no :(

How are the water parameters? Still good?

:(

*nod* The water parameters are still at Nitrites: 0, Ammonia: 0, Nitrates: 5, pH: 7.5

The ryukin won't eat or move anymore, just bottom-sits and gasps for air. The oranda will still come out of his cave, look for food, and respond when I'm near the tank. Is it okay that I'm aiming for 0.3% salinity and raising the temperature of the tank to about 73 to 75 degrees Farenheit?

...hope someone gets here to help me out with these goldfish soon...

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Hows the Oranda doing hun? Redness in fins can be Septia. Bacterial infection in the fish not being able to get rid of it from the kidneys. the maracyn might have made them worse if you didnt have an air pump in the tank. That stuff cause suffocate the fish if there isnt enough air in there hun.

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Yes, I agree that the Maracyn might have made them worse. I did have an air pump in the tank they were being medicated in, though, and they didn't gulp at the surface or anything while being medicated.

I'm not sure what's bothering the oranda, I really wish I knew. He's responsive but otherwise hangs limply in his cave and has slightly frayed tail edges but no redness. Thank you, koko, for responding.

Is there anything else I can do for the oranda, espcially regarding the kidney thing koko mentioned?

Edited by Hiba
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What are you water readings hun?

Frayed fins can either be ammonia burnings or fin rot. Will need readings though hun.

Did you change the water lately and also is there an ornaments on the tank, like hollow ones?

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What are you water readings hun?

Frayed fins can either be ammonia burnings or fin rot. Will need readings though hun.

Did you change the water lately and also is there an ornaments on the tank, like hollow ones?

I've got:

Nitrites - 0

Ammonia - 0

Nitrates - 5

pH - has gone up a lot to 8.5; it's usually 7.5 and my tap water is almost always at 8. does adding salt do this? the tank is at 0.2%

If those are what causes frayed fins, then I'm sure he has fin rot. A fish who spent time with him previously but died, had fin rot (among other bacterial problems I couldn't control). I'm building up to 0.3% salt in the tank because of the fin rot. There are two caves in the tank; assumign they count as hollow ornaments?

Yes, I do large (60 or 70%) water changes every three days in this tank. However, since it's just him in there and he's about an inch or two long, I think I'll do smaller ones now. Is that okay?

Edited by Hiba
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I assume you have gravel in the tank? Im thinking that the ornaments have built up bacterial and need to be moved hun slowly, Also if you do have gravel are you gravel siphoning hun? this need to be done every water change cause gunk gets built up in there. :(

Salt wont make ph go up, but gravel and ornaments can hun, its cause of minerals in the water.

I would do what your doing, make sure there is plenty of water movement to it at the top, Then in a few days I would do a water change and do a treatment of Melafix to the tank but not adding salt.

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Yep, I've got gravel. *nod* I siphon each time I change the water and I think (hope!) I've got the gravel pretty clean. Okay, I'll definitely work on the ornaments. Oh, wow...that means my pH went up very quickly. Alright, I'm glad I've got something to work with now. Thank you.

Okay, I'll do just what you said, koko. Hope it leads to an improvement.

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Hi Hiba.

I wonder how things going with youroranda? I'm sorry your ryukin didn't make it.

Reading through, it sounds like you are doing your best for them. I wondered what was the name of the meds you used to treat for flukes -how many treatments did you do? and also if you treated the new fish at 0.3% salt for other parasites he might have brought in? Also, Jungle food course is 5-10 days I think, I wonder if 4 was enough.

Please post back with updates! We all want to help.

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Thank you, Chrissy Bee! Absolutely, I want to try my hardest to save this oranda. This forum has always been a huge help for me; I understand that sometimes there's just nothing you can do/it's not in your control.

I treated this oranda for flukes about 3 or 4 months ago and I used an API product, I think it was Super Ich Cure. It worked great the first time, (though it was probably really strong), I think it was for two days. Ooh...no, I didn't treat the new fish with salt for other parasites...but they all lived together for at least two months and seemed alright. These problems started a few weeks ago and I'm pretty sure they were all caused by a very, very bad ornament I purchased. :( Huge mistake which I'll always regret.

Wow, I don't know how I missed the 5 to 10 days thing for Jungle food...great point there. Is it alright if I start that up again?

So, there's really nothing more I can do? I mean...it seems I pretty much just have to make sure I'm giving him the best of everything (water quality, food, salt, temperature, etc.) and hope it helps.

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The thing is Hiba, Super Ich only treats for one parasite. Ich. Fluke treatment contains praziquantel or something stronger.

Parasites breed. With a very low load the fish cope but when they are stressed for whatever reason- sudden lack of water changes or something- the flukes or other parasites multiply and begin to cause much more harm.

I would treat your Oranda for flukes and other parasites with 0.3% salt (the right kind) and prazi.

Lots of air bubbles and another filter when you can :)

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Ohhh! Thanks, Trinket! I really feel like I've got something to work with now. Alright, I will keep up with the salt, air bubbles, and treatment. Augh, I wish I'd realized this before my goldfish suffered for it :(

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One more thing:

I'm familiar with the basic symptoms of parasites but, just to make it clear, what are they and does my oranda have them? He doesn't flash or scratch against gravel/ornaments; but does that completely rule out parasites?

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That does not rule out the possibility parasites are there. My goldfish and even other fish never even scratched once (or I must be looking at the opposite direction) when they had ich but they certainly did with fish lice, anchorworms and flukes which a series of treatments were able to intervene in time. If you never used prazi before, I'd certainly follow what Trinket suggested. Flukes are very common among goldfish. They do not have to scratch to show you flukes are there. Even with quarantine procedures, prazi is advised as preventive treatment for flukes.

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Symptoms of parasites with goldfish can be hard to identify. This is because, if the parasite load is gradual, fish acclimate themselves slightly to the load of parasites they are carrying. I have actually witnessed under a microscope a case of flukes where the fish seemed fine but there were at least 8 large fluke worms visible on the slide. The classic symptoms of course are the sudden darting and the lethargy, bottom sitting and top hanging or side hanging. But......... looking closely at these very symptoms we also find many goldfish behave like that when there are nitrites in the water, when the nitrates get high, when the pH is unstable and so on. So...symptoms in goldfish can be confusing.

So diagnosing fish is a matter of elimination. Eliminating potential causes. One by one.

Parasites are incredibly common. They live on fish and encyst in gravel or sediment. Freeliving ones come in on the tiniest droplet of water with a new fish. They multiply given any kind of advantage like lapsed water changes, bad diet, or whatever...

Fish can carry a few flukes quite well. But when they multiply they will display a variety of symptoms including bottom sitting, red spots (where the bugs have injected bacteria into the fish from attaching) lethargy, loss of appetite.

Many times it is the secondary infections that kill.

All new fish must be treated with 0.3% salt and prazi to kill as many flukes and other parasites as possible. All new fish are prone to heavy burdens due to pet store overcrowded and stressful conditions ideal for parasite breeding.

Quarantining our new fish doesnt only mean watching and separating fish, it also means medication of these two necessary treatments. Kill the parasites first and we prevent the bacteria gaining access via the punctured slimecoat..

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