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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently have a hospital tank and a quarantine tank set up. I feel the minimal cost associated with having them is well worth it, especially after reading the thread about Driftwoodhunters nightmare. (fungus or columnaris ) My question is this...When treating a sick fish, and you are unsure of the problem, what do you do? I can recognize some maladies like ich fairly easily but what if it's something that looks like columnaris? I agree with Bubbleboy in that there is a knee-jerk reaction nowadays to throw antibiotics at every illness. Having said that, I do feel that they have their place. So, I guess what i am wondering is, what is a good first option when treating the unknown? What do you do to your new ( hopefully healthy ) fish when you fist put them in QT? Finally, what should be in the fishroom medicine cabinet?
 

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i don't think there is a knee jerk reaction to treat with antibiotics. When people post pictures of fish with a serious bacterial infection like columnaris or with no fins people say QT and treat with antibiotics, either that or kill the fish because even with antibiotics they will probably die anyways. Fungal ifections are actually quite rare and I don't think I've ever even seen someone post a pic of a fish with an actual fungal infection. Either way prevention, early detection and QTing is more important than medicines.

As far as what to do while QTing a fish, just water changes. Some will deworm wild fish with prazi for 3 weeks because there is no real downside to using the med. As to what to keep around in your medicine cabinet that is up to you. KMnO4, prazi, quick cure and furan-2 will treat most anything.
 

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Ha! I click on this to learn about QT tanks, and there I am ; )
I am going to keep kanaplex, furan-2, triple sulfa, coppersafe, maraoxy, and Baileys Irish Cream in mine... : )
And any other med that will fit in the box...
 

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I'll second the Baileys Irish Cream, as long as it's been stored properly and the owner is of legal age. (Does that cover my butt?)

Clean water will allow a lot of normal background infections to be fought by the fish itself. Catching the fish and wiping away the fungal looking growth can be all that is needed, besides clean water. A bit of hydrogen peroxide on a cotton swab is good.
Jack Wattley recently wrote in TFH magazine that he helped treat what looked to be a fatal Discus disease by slowly taking the pH in the tank down to 4.0, holding it there for a while and then slowly bringing the pH back up.

If clean water and wiping away the gunk doesn't seem to work, or you have a whole tank to treat, consider that most fungal infestations are actually bacterial infections. An antibiotic would be the first choice. Now, gram negative or gram positive?
Most bacterial infections are gram negative so... your antibiotic options become more focused. Or limited if you're shopping locally.
 

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Oops! I forgot about the underage crowd - hope my Baileys comment doesn't get me in trouble!
 

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FWIW, a pet shop guy at one of the bigbox stores with tanks at home told me he QTs for 2 weeks with salt, melafix and pimafix.

Julia
Then stop listening to that guy, those are all totally worthless and there is zero science to back the latter two up.


As for the OP, if I have a sick fish in QT and I don't know what the problem is, or at least have a really good idea, then I do nothing but provide clean water and proper husbandry. Throwing random meds at a fish when the problem is not understood is the more common knee-jerk reaction in the hobby and it's usually worse for the fish unless they just happen to get lucky. I think anyone has better odds by simply doing water changes than they do blindly dumping meds in or useless non-meds like the holistic plant oils and condiments mentioned above. The only reason why anyone says that junk works is because of luck of the draw, they give the fish's immune system no credit, they don't die in every case and in many of those cases people just happen to have snake oils in the tank. In almost every case, if they're caring enough to QT they are already providing clean water.

As for meds on hand, I have kanamycin, maracyn 1 and 2, ridich+ (malachite green), formalin, methylene blue, JFC fizz tabs, hydrogen peroxide, and that's about it. Some get used, some don't.
 

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Melafix and Pimafix are less than worthless. For me, they've never altered the progression of any disease they claim to be effective against, and I've given them plenty of fair trials. The only thing they do is make my fish itchy, which is counterproductive since their constant rubbing against things only makes them more susceptible to disease. I rarely throw anything away, in case it might come in handy for some odd situation in the future. I even kept Algaefix after it killed several fish and nearly the entire tank (and I did eventually find it useful for plant dips years later). But Melafix and Pimafix went into the trash.

By the time a fish has anything visibly growing on its body (columnaris, saprolegnia, etc.), it's immune system is already grossly overwhelmed and failing; and chances are it will not recover without some real assistance, not just clean water.

Salt and plain old ich medication (formalin and malachite green) are at least mildly effective against many external diseases; and so can be useful when you don't know which specific remedy to try.

For internal diseases, you often just have to take an educated guess and hope for the best.

Currently in my medicine cabinet:

* Common household items (rock salt, H2O2, triple antibiotic ointment, etc.)
* Ick medication
* Erythromycin
* AngelsPlus medicated foods (anti-bacterial and anti-protozoan)
* Levamisole

The last one bears special mention, being the best whole-tank treatment against Callamanus worms. Which can exist in a new fish without causing problems for longer than any QT period. I had a pandemic of these in my tanks, losing dozens of fish over months before finally seeing an actual worm. So all fish get this medication in QT now, which mandates a minimum QT period of just over three weeks. During which time I usually run them through the two AngelsPlus foods as well. I'm a little more paranoid than I used to be after this incident. :)
 

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By the time a fish has anything visibly growing on its body (columnaris, saprolegnia, etc.), it's immune system is already grossly overwhelmed and failing; and chances are it will not recover without some real assistance, not just clean water.
I agree, by the time those visible indicators are present I don't think I would have a problem identifying what type of treatment I'd use and it would certainly be more than just water changes. Vague symptoms like lethargy or not eating, however, I would not be inclined to add any meds because I wouldn't be able to see a clear enough indicator of a problem that requires them, in which case I would resort to good water quality in QT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Wkndracer, GREAT thread, very comprehensive. I'm getting the impression that the only truly "right" way to QT etc is to first, provide exceptional husbandry and two , be consistent in ones treatment regime. I am impressed with all of you who do at least have a plan and I will, with your advise, have one soon! thanks
 

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consider that most fungal infestations are actually bacterial infections.
What does this mean? It makes no sense........do you mean that most issues that appear fungal are actually bacterial in nature? If so I can agree with that since columnaris looks like fungus. Maybe you just worded it weird, cause true fungal infections are indeed fungal.
 

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More times than not fungal infections are secondary symptoms / problems brought about in an animal weakened by bacteria or parasite infestation.
 

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Correct, fungus will establish in/on open wounds produced by bacterial infections. But when that happens they are still fungal.
In the interest of advancing the topic what would be a course of action you would recommend with that being the case in point?
Treatment for the symptom fungus?
Doing so the bacteria or parasite may still remain.

Like Dark Cobra posted I've been there before and lost the war.

While I can effectively burn off or kill both the external fungus and bacteria/parasites with a peroxide or salt bath cleaning scaled fish the initial or internal trigger may remain. No way you can tell where things started.
All guess work unless you eliminate basic unknowns.

Prior to proactive entry quarantine I lost entire stock loads and all those exposed with most not showing outward symptom until beyond what a hobbyist can cure. Some of that lasted almost a year.



This fish died 2 years after exposure and almost a year after the last external symptom was expressed. The fish died because it's organs were destroyed by parasitic worms. Killing the worms killed the fish.
Lucky or answered I haven't seen a 'fungus' infection since I started screening fish during entry.
 

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Jungle Fungus "claims" to be an antibiotic (and it does work well for bacterial infections" as well as having fungicide properties to fight off any secondary fungal infections. I say "claims" because I have never had a fungal infection so I can't say if it works or not. Then again if it prevents secondary fungus infections and I've never had one when using it, then maybe it does work!
 

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I've used those JFC tabs as a sort of safeguard the way one would eat vitamins. I originally purchased them per advice from angelfish keepers to help against fungal and/or bacterial tufts that form on damaged fin rays. I can't say for certain whether it did the job, all I can say is angelfish don't seem to have a problem fighting it off without assistance.
 
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