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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got something in my tank that's literally eating the flesh off my fish.

I had a peacock that had half of the blue on its face turn white, and a portion of it's body as well. I removed the fish and put it out of its misery. Now a few days later I have 2 fish with their eyes being eaten, one with a stringy trail coming off and the other with a bulging white eye - the flesh around it is white as well. I thought my tropheus had a growth on its mouth, but looked closer and saw it was the fish's jaw and teeth - the rest of the flesh around its mouth is gone.

I can't find my camera and my blackberry photos are too grainy to see anything.

what can I treat my tank with? I don't want staining, but I'm pretty sure a couple other fish have the beginnings of this, and don't want to lose all the fish.
 

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sounds fungal to me. id definitely fix it sooner rather then later tho. maybe try a broad spectrum fungus treatment. that paired with lots of fresh water.. maybe daily 30% should help. i wish you the best of luck but the longer you wait the worse off its going to get.
 

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Pictures will help a great deal, however from your description, it sounds like it could possibly be columnaris. Without pics, naturally I'm hesitant to point a finger at one particular ailment or to suggest a medication.
 

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Sounds like Columnaris to me... NASTY disease! I had it about six months ago and lost a bunch of fish. You should remove the sick fish to a hosipital tank, and I'd probably treat both tanks, just to be safe... I used Melafix and Pimafix, both, but it can be expensive in a big tank. Gotta jump on it quick, b/c it literally eats your fish. It's also called "Saddleback" disease, because it often starts at the dorsal fin and eats down the back like a saddle. I don't recall everything I did for treating it, but I'm sure someone else will chime in...

Good luck!
 

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If it is columnaris you want something much stronger than melafix and pimafix. I had the best success using both Maracyn and Maracyn2 at the same time. Columnaris is a bacterial disease although it does look like fungus.

Maybe try Google images and see if it looks like your fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This morning the tropheus was struggling to move in a corner, and the electra was laying upside down in another corner. Both put up a small effort to catch, but not much. They have been removed but other fish are showing the disesase, but not as far advanced. The Afra is probably next with an eye and half his face affected, with a red empress showing some on his mouth.

The first affected fish looked like you suggested with a white spot on the base of it's dorsal fin and on it's mouth. The one on the dorsal fin eventually got much bigger and ran up it's back along the dorsal fin, the one on its mouth took ove half the face.

But none of the other fin have similar spots on their backs, though the electra's dorsal fin appeared chewed up but it started from the ends.








please let me know what you think and would suggest.

I can continue the pimafix and add something else, or completely change the medication. given the cost of the fish, i don't mind throwing out a 10 dollar of pimafix if it not the right stuff.

if possible please let me know which retailer would carry the product you reccomend as i will need to pick it up today
 

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Yep, that looks like Columnaris to me. That's the sort of flesh-eating damagethat my fish had. I previously said I used Melafix and Pimafix, but after thinking about it, that was what someone recommended I start with - after that, I went to Maracyn and Maracyn II. I wish I had gone straight to Maracyn and Maracyn II from the beginning and done it in a hospital tank. Instead, I treated my whole 180 gallon tank, which was very expensive.

So, you should probably take out the fish that are sick and put them in a hospital tank with Maracyn and Maracyn II, that way you won't need near as much of the medicine (it's expensive). I would think you could treat the rest of your tank with Pimafix and Melafix as a preventative for a week or so as long as you don't have any more fish showing signs of the disease still in there.

It's heartbreaking to see the fish go through this, but I was able to get a few of mine to recover.

I also understand that the bacteria that causes Columnaris is always present in the fish's digestive tract, but doesn't cause any problem until the fish is under stress. So, you may want to see if you have anything stressing your fish, such as aggression, overcrowding, or poor water quality.

Keep us posted!
 

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Also, Maracyn and Maracyn II, as well as Pimafix and Melafix, should be available at PetSmart and PetCo, but if not, you may want to try a local fish store...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the response. I will try those medicines.

I've been keeping african cichlids for close to 10 years, and have never had problems like I have had for the past 4 months. Ich, bloat, and now this. It's become pretty clear that it's due to buying fish from a particular store that a friend turned me on to about 4 months ago.

I think I will need to treat the whole tank as I see several additional fish that have suspicious small spots, and ultimately just want some confidence that it won't come back.

Do the medicines you referenced have a harmful affect on the bacterial colonies in your filters? Do they stain the tank? Is there any harmful affact to fish that do not yet have the disease? I have synodontis catfish, does the medicine negatively affect them?

Is there any chance this can transfer to humans? I have young children who love the fish tank, and will have to keep them away if there is any chance of transfer.
 

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I don't think Columnaris or Bloat, either one, necessarily come with your fish when you buy them... Bloat, from what I know, starts with stress and maybe too much vegetable foods. Columnaris is affected by stress, too, but once they have it, it spreads to other fish.

When I got the outbreak, I had a sick fish from a store that died and within a week or two, I had the outbreak.

I don't know which of the meds did it, but I lost most of my bacterial colony when treating the tank. I had to test the ammonia and nitrate pretty often and do water changes. After it was over, I used Bios-Sphera to instantly cycle my tank it it worked within a day. My tank went back to being cycled that quickly (for me anyway).

You'd have to read each bottle to see about the affect on scaleless fish, but I know some meds are bad for them.

Don't know about transfer to humans, but I'd guess probably not...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm on day two of the Mayacyn and Maracyn II treatment, and just added the second day's treatment. I dropped the water level by 1/3 so that I only have to treat 80 gallons instead of 125.

I have a dragonblood that had a little fuzzy white on it's face yesterday morning when I posted the pics, it's face is fuzzier, and it's eye is opaque. The red empress from the photo now has two opaque eyes, and its face is fuzzy white. The tropheus and elactra were put down for obvious reasons if you have seen the pics.

The other fish seem a out of sorts, huddled in the back under cover, but I don't see any others infected.

If anyone else has advice or diagnosis please let me know. I have some aquarium salt, would that help? (would it hurt if I added it just in case it helped?) the temp is 78, should I raise or lower it or is it where it should be?

I plan to add melafix after the maracyn treatments are done, along with water changes to remove the lingering medication to help with recovery and tissue regeneration.

Seriously any comments from anyone who has seen anything like this would be appreciated. I'm worried I may end up losing more fish given the rapid destruction this seems to be causing, but given that between the maracyn and maracyn II everything from fungus to fin rot to pop eye seem to be covered I'm not sure what else to do. water changes are out because I need to maintain the medication levels until the 5 day cycle is complete, and it's a daily addition cycle.
 

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I would continue to do what you're doing, but I think I would probably use Pimafix and Melafix alongside it, unless someone else has a strong reason not to. Also, I think you definitely should add salt (non-iodine), at about one tablespoon per five gallons.

Good idea on lowering the water level. Since you are not doing water changes for now, I would feed sparingly to avoid deteriorating water quality, which would hinder healing. I don't recall where I heard it, but I recall being told to raise my water temp to about 80 or 81 during treatment - maybe someone else will have input on that, but DEFINITELY don't lower the temp, especially now, because it could bring on Ich in a weak fish. Raising the temp will speed up their metabolism a bit and aid in healing.

Plan on loosing some more fish before this clears up... Mine continued to worsten for a day or two before it seemed to slow and eventually stop spreading, but I lost a few more fish, nonetheless.

Keep us informed!
 

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I would not mix anything unless you have a specific recommendation that it has been tried and worked...personally I'd leave out the pimafix and melafix.

The Maracyn and Maracyn2 do work together though.

Figure you may have to treat more than once. So don't add melafix as soon as the Maracyns are finished. Wait a couple days and see if the spots are gone and stay gone. If not treat again.

The salt won't hurt but I would have left it out. It will go away gradually with water changes.
 
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