Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
Always quarantine new fish, but once the fish are in your main tank you have the choice to move them to a hospital tank or treat in the main tank.
To treat any disease or parasite:
Do extra water changes that emphasize vacuuming the floor of the tank, and extra cleaning of the filter. Many disease organisms will flourish in high organic matter loads, so reduce that as much as possible. Many medicines begin working by latching onto almost any organic matter in the tank, so less decomposing waste means the medications are more likely to attach to the disease organisms on the fish. Many parasites have part of their life cycle off the fish, often on the floor of the tank, so vacuuming can reduce that stage of the parasite.
Reasons to move the fish to a hospital tank:
If the other fish probably do not have whatever it is. Moving the sick fish reduces the ongoing population of disease organisms so the healthy fish are more likely to stay that way.
If your main tank is large, medicines cost less for a 10 gallon tank.
Sick fish might be better with less activity of the other fish.
You can see the sick fish better.
Hospital tank can be maintained bare bottom, which simplifies cleaning.
Some fish are sensitive to certain meds. In a hospital tank you can customize the treatment.
Some meds are not good for plants or beneficial bacteria.
If the fish die then the disease or parasite often abandons the body really fast and can infect the other fish. Alternately, if the fish dies some diseases are spread by the other fish eating the dead body. Both options are removed when the sick fish are treated in a hospital tank.
How to maintain the hospital tank:
Do a good trim of the plants in the main tank. Let them float in the hospital tank.
Take a little bit of cycled media from the main tank's filter. Put that in the H-tank filter.
Bare bottom, but include a few rocks for the fish to hide behind or under. Make sure you can clean under the rocks. Make the bottom of the tank dark by placing it on dark furniture or putting dark paper or a dark towel under it. You could also paint the bottom (outside) with black paint.
Monitor the water conditions. If the bacteria or plants die the ammonia may rise, and you will have to do more water changes.
Vacuum the floor of the tank often. This may mean small water changes daily. Re-dose appropriately after every water change.
Do not use Amquel dechlorinators if you are using any dye based medicines.
You can use salt and UV sterilizer.
If you are using any other med besides salt, do not run the UV.
You can customize the temperature, water movement and feeding to suit the sick fish.
If you think the main tank needs it, run a UV sterilizer on that tank. You could feed a medicated food as a prevention, if you can ID the disease. Medicated foods do not affect the filter.
Specifically the white stuff on the face of the fish:
I would start like it is a Gram negative bacteria, and put the fish in a hospital tank.