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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hi...thanks for looking

I purchased 13 demasoni a week ago and put them in an empty thank that had been cycling with fish for about 6 weeks

a few days ago I noticed one of my dems had torn skin around its mouth and face...and I thought "they are dems, this is normal" (this was the biggest fish in the tank, and the dominant male)

as the days went by it seemed to get worse and worse, until almost his whole face was torn up.....
at that point I thought "this is a little excessive to just be aggression" so I looked around to find the one he had been fighting with........but every other fish in the tank was fine...no torn fins, no torn skin...nothing.....so I continued to monitor this fish...it became very sluggish....not moving much...

today the torn skin on his face was so bad that I decided to take a picture of it to post here to find an answer

here is the fish in question about 1 hour ago (at this point he was close to death, lost all his colour etc.):


20 minutes after taking the pic...he died...so I took a better pic of him:


does anyone know what could have caused this????...should I be worried about it being a contagious disease????...right now all the others are fine.....active, eating, fighting...

...............

ok..... now I have another problem (lucky me :( )

one of the dems has had a deformed fin since I bought it (at the time I didn't notice)
as far as I can tell it has no movement of this fin....

I also noticed that it has a brownish patch starting right behind its head around the pectoral fin going under its body almost up to the other pectoral fin.

you can kinda see what I mean in these pics:



this fish is currently still alive....but it doesn't look too good....it is basically swimming in jolts and flying with the current.....my guess is that it will be dead by the end of the night....I'm not sure what made this suddenly worse...but hopefully someone can tell me

here are the answers to some questions I know I will get asked:

Tank is a standard 36" 35g

parameters are:
Temp: 80 F
pH: 8.2
gh: 180 ppm
kh: 250 ppm
nitrates: 20 ppm
nitrites: 0 ppm
ammonia: 0 ppm

tankmates:
12 (soon to be 11) demasoni.
2 small albino bristle nose plecos

Feeding is: NLS exclusively

maintinance: 30% water change and vacuum once a week (prime and a little bit of aquarium salt added)

thanks for reading my post.....and thanks in advance for any help you can offer
 

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Hi Matt,

I can't tell much from the picture but I'm guessing that the first fish either became injured from lip lock fighting and then the injury got infected with Columnaris,
OR
he got Columnaris without getting injured first.

Columnaris is a fast moving bacterial infection which can eat a hole in a fish and kill them in less then 24 hours. Fish who are already stressed are more likely to get it so it wouldn't be surprising that your new dems got since new fish are usually stressed out.

Columnaris usually starts with a white or gray patchy area. This may be what you're seeing on the second Dem you describe. (For some reason I can't view the second picture. )

I'm not 100% sure that this is what's going on here but I think you should treat for Columnaris just the same. If we wait to be sure you could lose more fish.

Treatment for Columnaris:
Do a 50% water change with a good quality declorinator.
Turn the heat down to 76
Increase areation
Add salt, (sodium chloride--regular table salt without additives) at the rate of 1-2 tablespoons per five gallons. Dissolve it first and add is gradually.
Treat the entire tank with:
Maracyn and Maracyn-Two, used concurently
OR
Kanamycin

Please post back with any additional questions or concerns.

Robin
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
hi Robin, thanks for the reply....
unfortunately the 2nd fish was dead this morning....

Robin said:
I can't tell much from the picture but I'm guessing that the first fish either became injured from lip lock fighting and then the injury got infected with Columnaris,
these fish are small (1-1.5') and I have not witnessed, or seen any signs (torn up mouths) of any lip locking at all.....the only fighting so far has been a bit of chasing, stuff like that (all the other fish are perfectly fine)...so I dont think it was an injury that caused it

Robin said:
OR
he got Columnaris without getting injured first.

Columnaris is a fast moving bacterial infection which can eat a hole in a fish and kill them in less then 24 hours.
columnaris is usually more like a fungus infection, right?.......so I would probably have seen some sort of fungus, or holes in the fish.....but this first one had no holes or fungus...it was kinda like (not sure how to describe it) a flesh eating disease type of thing around his head...i have had fish with columnaris before...and it didn't look anything like this......
and do you think it would have lived 5 days with columnaris?

Robin said:
Columnaris usually starts with a white or gray patchy area. This may be what you're seeing on the second Dem you describe. (For some reason I can't view the second picture. )
this fish has had this brownish patch since I bought it....do you think it would have lived 7 days (or more) in the early stages of columnaris?..........and when it died the patch looked the same as the day I bought it

all the other fish look fine (probably the best condition i have ever seen any dems :lol: )....I am a little hesitant on treating for something i'm not even sure they have......but I have added some salt as a precaution (not the full recommended amount....about 1/2).....if I see any other signs of columnaris I will add the rest of the salt and the meds right away ......but for now, I'm not (and I dont think you are either :lol: ) 100% (or even 50% :lol: ) sure what this is...

if anyone else has any other opinions...or ideas of what it might be, please post them

thanks
Matt
 

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I am a little hesitant on treating for something i'm not even sure they have......but I have added some salt as a precaution (not the full recommended amount....about 1/2).....if I see any other signs of columnaris I will add the rest of the salt and the meds right away ......but for now, I'm not (and I dont think you are either ) 100% (or even 50% ) sure what this is...
Sounds good.

I'm no expert on Columnaris but there are different strains of the bacteria. Some move fast, some not so fast--and alot depends on the fish--some are more susceptible then others.
From what I've read you won't always see the fuzz--it can be an internal infection and it can and will eat a large hole in the fish in a matter of hours. (Your description of a flesh eating disease is a good description of Columnaris).
You're right tho, usually you see a white or gray patchy fuzzy area.

Increasing water movement and adding salt are suppose to help prevent the bacteria from attaching the fish's skin. Lowering the temp will also help prevent it's spread. Do what ever you can to minimize stress in the tank, (maintain excellent water conditions, feed the proper diet, etc) as Columnaris is much more likley to attack a stressed fish.

Good luck with the rest of your fish.

Robin
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Robin said:
Increasing water movement and adding salt are suppose to help prevent the bacteria from attaching the fish's skin. Lowering the temp will also help prevent it's spread. Do what ever you can to minimize stress in the tank, (maintain excellent water conditions, feed the proper diet, etc) as Columnaris is much more likley to attack a stressed fish.
I have a rena XP3 on the tank, which I think is a 350gph flow rate...and it keeps the water moving very well...

I added some salt (as I said before)

I lowered the temp a few degrees

should I keep the lights off to minimize stress?

as far as I know the water conditions are excellent (parameters are in my first post)

and I feed NLS, which is a pretty good diet....

so I'm pretty sure the stress is as minimal as I can make it

is columnaris an infection that will stay in the tank until some sort of med or something kills it (similar a parasite)? or is it just a naturally occurring bacteria (or something like that) that is in every tank, and can't be removed, or killed?

and is there a certain time to wait before I can stop worrying? (for example: if you wait 5 days and there are no further infections then it is gone...something like that?)

thanks again,
Matt
 

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is columnaris an infection that will stay in the tank until some sort of med or something kills it
No. From what I've read this bacteria is present in most tanks and only becomes a problem, (disease), for the fish when the fish falls under some sort of stress. So the best way to avoid it is to keep your tank as stress free as possible and you're already doing that. New fish are already stressed from the netting, bagging and transport they've been through prior to entering your tank so they are at higher risk.

As far as how long you need to worry--well I'd just continue to keep a close eye on your remaining fish for the next several weeks. They should be over the stress of moving by then and if you continue to keep them in the stress-free envirement that you describe then I wouldn't think you'd have anymore problems.

Robin
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks for all you help Robin :)

Robin said:
is columnaris an infection that will stay in the tank until some sort of med or something kills it
No. From what I've read this bacteria is present in most tanks and only becomes a problem, (disease), for the fish when the fish falls under some sort of stress. So the best way to avoid it is to keep your tank as stress free as possible and you're already doing that. New fish are already stressed from the netting, bagging and transport they've been through prior to entering your tank so they are at higher risk.
ok...so basically, it was probably the stress of the move that killed them.....I wonder how they managed to live for a week before dieing :-? :?

any by the way, the remaining 11 dems (and 2 plecos) are still alive and well

I have a couple questions now that my illness problem is solved:
I know you are supposed to keep dems in groups of 12+, and now I only have 11....should I buy more?....if so, how many more? (I originally intended to buy a group of 15 to start with, but they only had 13, so I just took them all......the only problem with getting more now, is that I will have to pay more then 2x the price I paid for these(because they never carry dems this small...this was a very rare occasion), and I will have to make sure they are roughly the same size (to eliminate size difference issues), and I will have to wait until they have them in stock again)
and if/when I do buy more, how should I go about introducing them onto the tank...to avoid another incident like this.....I will start by quarantining them for 2-3 weeks...but them what?
 

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You may get away with the 11 demasoni...Just see how things play out. I wouldn't let my numbers go below 10, though.

Quarantining is great, and make sure you always add more than one fish at a time. I try adding new fish at "lights out" for the evening, and if you've got alot of aggression in the tank, you can also try moving around rock work so that everyone is forced to find new territories.

Kim
 

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ok...so basically, it was probably the stress of the move that killed them.....I wonder how they managed to live for a week before dieing
Not sure what you're asking about how they managed to live a week before dieing but the stress itself wouldn't have killed them outright. The stress weakens them and lowers their ability to fight things off that normally wouldn't bother them.

I'm glad the rest of them are doing well.

Robin
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Robin said:
ok...so basically, it was probably the stress of the move that killed them.....I wonder how they managed to live for a week before dieing
Not sure what you're asking about how they managed to live a week before dieing but the stress itself wouldn't have killed them outright. The stress weakens them and lowers their ability to fight things off that normally wouldn't bother them.
sorry, I should have been more clear.....What I meant to say was that the stress is what lead to their death (by weakening them to the point where they became infected by this fungus)....I didn't mean to say the stress itself killed them.

cichlidaholic said:
You may get away with the 11 demasoni...Just see how things play out. I wouldn't let my numbers go below 10, though.

Quarantining is great, and make sure you always add more than one fish at a time. I try adding new fish at "lights out" for the evening, and if you've got alot of aggression in the tank, you can also try moving around rock work so that everyone is forced to find new territories.
thanks for the advice Kim.
personally I would like to add more because, first of all, it would disperse the aggression more, and in addition that, I dont think I have many females in the tank, so possibly trying to pick out a couple more females at the store would probably be beneficial to my chances of having them breed successfully.

...and if I buy a group of 3 to add to the tank (my lfs usually sells them as trios for about $40 and individuals for about $17) do you think they would kill each other over a 3 week period in a 10g quarantine tank???

thanks,
Matt
 

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If they are adults, I wouldn't want to confine them to a 10G tank.

Depending on how large the ones you have are, you may have difficulty adding larger ones to the existing group. I would try to find smaller ones, if at all possible.

Also, there is no way to sex these guys without venting them. :thumb:

Kim
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
cichlidaholic said:
Also, there is no way to sex these guys without venting them. Thumb
ya, I know that, I meant maybe trying to see if there is one or two holding, or possibly just trying to pick out the ones without egg spots (I know that isn't a good way to sex them either, but from my experience, many times if an mbuna has no egg spots, it's a female)

cichlidaholic said:
If they are adults, I wouldn't want to confine them to a 10G tank.
they wouldn't be adults, they would most likely be about 2-2.5".
....do you think 3 2" dems in a 10g for 2-3 weeks would be ok, with lots of hiding spots, etc.?
I dont have any other tanks lying around that I can use for a QT tank....so a 10 is pretty much my only option

cichlidaholic said:
Depending on how large the ones you have are, you may have difficulty adding larger ones to the existing group. I would try to find smaller ones, if at all possible
the ones I have now are about 1-1.5".....I will probably wait until they get to about the 2" mark before buying more, so there is no size difference......is that a good plan?....or should the new ones I add be a little bigger?...or a little smaller?
 

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I would want the new ones to be smaller! I think they'll be accepted better to the existing tank if they are. Then, you'd also have more success confining them to the 10G tank, as well!

Good luck!

Kim
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
cichlidaholic said:
I would want the new ones to be smaller! I think they'll be accepted better to the existing tank if they are. Then, you'd also have more success confining them to the 10G tank, as well!
ok...I will try to get smaller ones....I will probably have to wait a while, until mine grow a bit, because, like I said before, this was the first time I have seen them for sale under 2"

but thanks for the tip :) , I didnt know that if they are smaller, they are accepted more easily....
I would have thought to get them slightly bigger, because the ones in the tank now are already established, and I didnt think they would readily accept new fish....and I thought the new ones would need the extra size to help defend themselves...but I guess if they are smaller, the established ones would seen them as less of a treat, and would leave them alone.

anyway....thanks again,
Matt
 
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