I know I still haven’t posted pictures of the new fish and I really do apologize for that. It’s been a crazy week/weekend and I’ve been on the verge of pulling my hair out with a few things. I have the blog post on my new fish ready to go, I just need to get the photos uploaded and I can send it off. I will be taking some pictures tonight now that I have time. I should have that blog up for you tomorrow or Thursday 🙂
A few things happened this weekend, one being that the girl I met through Craigslist that had the calico butterflies was supposed to meet me on Saturday so I could pick up the fish. I texted her around 1pm Saturday and asked her what time she would like to meet me. She told me that she had changed her mind and that she was going to hold on to the fish. I’m not going to lie, I was angry. I had prepared for these fish to come to me and I was excited to get them out of the conditions they were living in and to a better and healthier environment- because as I said in my previous blog, she was housing around 7 fish in a 40 gallon tub, which is way to many and the fact that she chose to keep the fish in the environment they were in because “she couldn’t part with them” made me angry. After a few deep breaths, and the return of rational thinking I messaged her back and told her that I understood how she felt and that it was okay. I also added that if she was going to keep that many fish to really look into getting a larger tank for them and educated her on how fancy varieties and commons should not be housed together. I also offered my help if she had any questions. She took the information well and told me that If she changed her mind about keeping the fish, she would contact me first. So all in all it wasn’t meant to be. She told me she gave some fish away, which were placed in a pond and only had three remaining. Still not the best situation, but better than all of those fish in one 40 gallon. I’m hoping she does change her mind and decide to part with the fish, but I had a new dilemma to worry about with my own fish..
When I was getting ready to snap pictures of my fish and then perform their weekly water change I noticed bubba had these dark purple sores on the base of his pectoral fins. It looked very raw, and upon closer examination I saw that he also had them on the under side of his chin along with frayed gills.
I was so angry and the reason why Is because I’ve been trying to combat multiple things in my tank for a while now. One of them was strange unhealthy looking poop, then I had listless fish who just remained still and didn’t move around a lot in the tank, and twitching which is obviously parasitic.
I took my water parameters which all read normal (besides the expected .25 ammonia from the week’s buildup), so I know that this issue isn’t directly related to water quality. Which is another solid reason why I believe the issue came from an external source. I did add new fish, even after quarantine I could have missed something. Yet, the new fish did not show any signs or symptoms of illness and I had an issue with my tank long before introducing them. Which makes me think It came from my live plants, or possibly the filter.
Back at the end of December I added substrate and plants to the tank, going against my instincts I tried to help the fish have a more enriching life. But honestly it’s been a nightmare ever since and totally reminded me of why goldfish need to have a bare bottom tank-Which is what I’ve always done up until that point.
Tank with substrate/plants:
After months of trying to find the root cause of this problem and using multiple treatments, I decided to break the entire tank down and get rid of everything and start fresh. At this point I feel like the bacteria or parasites or whatever it was, was embedded in either the substrate, filter, or the plants and every time I treated the fish and tank, the cycle would just reoccur over and over again. So I took the fish out and put them all in a 10 gallon bucket and emptied the entire tank. I took out all of the substrate and threw it out, then boiled about four pots of water and poured them into the tank. I have a long extended scrubber for algae build up that I dipped in the boiling water, and used that to wipe down all the glass sides. So, I’m certain that even if there is something living on/in the tank that it would have died from the scalding hot water.
While the tank was sitting (slowly killing all remaining life), I turned my attention to the fish. I placed a 30 gallon tub in my bath tub and filled it halfway with warm water. I dumped about a cup of aquarium salt into the tub and waited for it to dissolve. Once dissolved I took each fish, checked them over for sores or other physical injuries and then placed them in the salt bath.
I noticed that Luna also had small patches of purple sores on her body, but not as severe as what Bubba had. None of the other fish had any sores and From the research I conducted I was convinced it was ulcers. Ulcers happen when a parasitic infestation takes hold of your fish, then a secondary bacterial infection sets in. This eats away at the flesh rapidly and if left untreated will cause death. Another question popped into my head, Ulcers tend to be the result of anchor worms embedded into the fish’s flesh. I did an extensive inspection but did not see anything that would suggest an anchor worm.
Another thing that struck me odd was that the two smallest members of the tank were the only ones who had these sores. Another possibility I conjured up was that they were small enough to swim under the rock formation. This would have had them come into contact with the sand or rock and their skin could have became inflamed or irritated, thus the red/purple markings.
pictures of fish that have Ulcers:
I took both Luna and Bubba and wiped their sores down with a hydrogen peroxide soaked Q-tip, taking special care to avoid their eyes/gills. I must have accidentally gotten some drip off of the Q-tip into Bubba’s gills because when I placed him into the salt bath he became limp. I really thought he wasn’t going to pull through but he ended up turning around slowly (thankfully!).
The fish stayed in the bath until I finished soaking and disinfecting the tank, which in total was probably an hour. After The tank was done, I filled it back up with warm water popped the filter in and cranked the heat up to 89 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure that anything that survived the process would die off.
Usually bacteria and parasites can thrive in a temperature between 55-80 degrees, but cannot tolerate a temperature of or over 86-89 degrees. So, I’m hoping that this will help speed up the healing process. I also went online and ordered a bottle of melafix, which is specifically targeted to cure Ulcers, bacteria and fin rot. It should be here by Wednesday.
In the meantime I have a treatment of Prazipro going to kill off any parasites that may be in the tank. Once the first round is done I will change 100% of the water and add the melafix. Once that is done I will change another 100% of the water and add one more round of prazi.
I checked on Bubba this morning before leaving for work and from the hydrogen peroxide alone, he looks so much better. His red/purple sores are almost completely gone! I’m going to keep applying the hydrogen peroxide until the melafix arrives and once I add that to the tank, I think there won’t even be a trace that this ever happened.
I have also ordered another aqua clear 110gallon filter for the tank, since I threw out my old ones after this scare. With this being said I am basically cycling my tank all over again. I had a sponge filter from another healthy tank that I put in to help speed the process up, but honestly it was time to get another filter anyways because when I bought the tank, I also got the filter/media used from the person I was buying it from. Since then it had been cleaned out thoroughly, but you really never know the sources of these things. So I’m hoping with new filters/media, new clean warm water and a bare bottom tank that this will be the last time I’ll have to deal with this annoying issue. I’m going to need a second one, as my tank is 125 gallons. For now, I can get away with one and the three sponge filters until I can buy another one. Plus the Aquaclear 110 gallon filter cycles about 500 gallons of water per hour so I think it will be fine for now.
As you can see it’s been a busy, stressful weekend. I really do apologize for no updated photos in that time frame, but 100% of my time went to my existing fish and their health. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on any changes, both positive and negative of the status of my tank and should have updated photos of my new fish from King Koi tomorrow or Thursday.
Thanks for reading, and talk to you soon!