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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

I started my aquarium about four months ago, and everything has been going great until a few weeks ago. I have (had) two German blue rams, 15 Cardinal tetra's and 5 Otocinclus.

It all started with one of my tetra's getting white spot. I treated with Esha exit, but to no avail. He died after a week.

Then, one of my otocinclus started getting a white fuzzy patch on his side, and a wound that was getting deeper and deeper. I started medicating with Esha 2000, which is supposedly an anti fungal medicine, but again, to no avail. After a few days, the wound was about as deep as his spine, and I had put him down.

About two weeks ago my male blue ram started showing a white patch near his eye, and then his eyes started bulging out (I believe this is called pop-eye?). I feared the worst so started medicating again, but he was just getting worse until he was really lethargic and lost all his apetite and color. I found him dead this morning. And well, what do you know, another Otocinclus is showing a white patch on his tail.

All this time I kept up with my maintenance, doing a large water change every week and, when having a sick fish, tried to do a 20% water change every day. My heavily planted tank was fully cycled when I introduced my fish, and I've been testing my water regularly. It's been 0 ammonia, 0 nitite, <20 nitrate and Ph 7.2 continuously.

So the tetra seemed like a classic case of ich, the otos and blue ram I'm not so sure of. I'm really afraid the ram might have had some sort of Mycobacterium, which is really my worst fear because it's a zoonotic, meaning humans can catch it as well. I can't say for sure, but a lot of the symptoms were there. I have to say it has taken a lot of joy out of the hobby for me, because it's on my mind all the time when doing water changes etc. And now with another sick oto I just don't know what to do anymore. I included some pics of the affected fish and a full tank shot from when everything was going great.

Can anyone please tell me what the hell is going on? Provide some insights, experience or share some tips maybe?

All help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Looks more like columnaris.

As Flavobacterium columnare is Gram-negative, fish can be treated with a combination of the antibiotics (nitrofurazone) and kanamycin administered together synergistically. A medicated fish bath (using aquarium merbromin (first choice), methylene blue, or potassium permanganate and salt),[3] is generally a first step, as well lowering the aquarium temperature to 75 °F (24 °C) is a must, since columnaris is much more virulent at higher temperatures, especially 85–90 °F.[4]

Medicated food containing oxytetracycline is also an effective treatment for internal infections, but resistance is emerging. Potassium permanganate, copper sulfate, and hydrogen peroxide can also be applied externally to adult fish and fry, but can be toxic at high concentrations. Vaccines can also be given in the face of an outbreak or to prevent disease occurrence.

I've personally managed it w/ "herbals".
Artimiss...
https://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=21424

Of course eSHa may be an herbal. No listing of what's in it..

*Nitrofurazone is more effective at lower pH levels. Nitrofurazone is not Skin absorbed , so use of this Bactericidal for systemic infections is not recommended. However Aquatronics and myself have found that Nitrofurazone combines well with Kanamycin (which is skin absorbing), and is very complimentary to each other as wells since Nitrofurazone is often better topically for Aeromonas while Kanamycin is generally more effective for Columnaris, and since these bacterial infections are often hard to differentiate by the average aquarist, this can be a good combination when unsure.

*Nitrofurazone can be combined with Kanaplex to make an even more wide spectrum treatment, especially for difficult cases of Columnaris or Aeromonas.
Or better, the already blended combination found in AAP Spectrogram provides for an easier to use and more importantly, more synergistic and effective combination since these two medications are already blended and are not used in a somewhat conflicting treatment regimen as in the Kanaplex/Furan 2 combination.
Never used it but some skuttlebut mentions hitting benefical bacterai (need to watch nitrite)
not invertebrate friendly.
 

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This is what I find to be a classic case of the "death spiral"!
Starting with the idea that we are not really too good at finding the true disease to fight is important to me. Thinking of how little has been done to understand fish disease compared to human disease, combined with how often doctors do treat for the wrong disease in humans, gives me the idea that we are often going to be wrong in our diagnosis!
So, if I'm not going to be very successful in treating disease, I work far more on preventing it. So let's look at what might be done better?
I see step one as having a case of ich. Prevent ich from ever reaching the main tank by using a QT tank. Before we get into what it takes to get and keep a QT, think of what it costs to treat the result of NOT having a QT??
Step two of the spiral is not understanding what ich does during and after treatment. All the time it is in the tank, the fish are getting tons of tiny wounds, all over their body. So we treat the ich and feel fine, we got rid of that, but at the same time the small wounds are open to every known fungus or bacteria that floats by in the air or water!! So is it hard to see that you may have several different diseases at one time and that makes it nearly impossible to diagnose and treat correctly? Step three of the spiral is when we really, really want to save the fish and throw every known med we can at the disease in the hope we get it right. Meds are hard on fish, just as they are hard on humans.
I find it works out far better to NOT buy the meds and use the time, effort, and money to avoid the death spiral. That means I do keep a spare tank ready for any fish that needs it and certainly before new fish go in with the rest. The QT can be as simple as an empty tank in the closet to be pulled out when needed.
I had to be whacked in the head several times before I came around to this thinking. Keeping them healthy is far easier than getting them there after they are sick but if they do get sick, I'm quick to cull one to avoid losing the whole tank!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone for the replies. I'll do another large water change and start treating for columnaris. Someone on another forum also told me that my stocking was too advanced for a beginner, especially the rams and otos. Well that's great, I posted my planned stocking multiple times but nobody told me then... I'll keep you updated.
 

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Thanks everyone for the replies. I'll do another large water change and start treating for columnaris. Someone on another forum also told me that my stocking was too advanced for a beginner, especially the rams and otos. Well that's great, I posted my planned stocking multiple times but nobody told me then... I'll keep you updated.
naahh.
Hopefully you only have one disese in there.
Aquatronics Aquarium Treatments from AAP | Merbromin, Spectrogram, more
 
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