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Help... fish looks like he has lint on him (parasites)

4668 Views 22 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  cichlidaholic
I just got home from picking up some Prazi-Pro to treat my 55g planted tank since a loach has the chronic wasting/skinny disease. (Couldn't find any levamisole.) I treated the tank and soon after noticed that another fish has some things hanging off him. Not ich, looks like he's got lint flecks. Pretty obvious external parasite. Looking very closely I can see that he is irritated/inflamed where they attach.

(I could swear that before I treated it he was fine, but I didn't look at him closely, so I could be wrong. Unless it makes sense that putting the prazi in might've disturbed something dormant that got up and decided to latch on to him...)

Anyway, are these flukes? I've seen Potassium Permanganate recommended as the treatment for that. Would that be what I want to do? Do that in addition to the prazi? Is prazi at all useful for this stuff?

The Prazi made the water cloudy so the camera won't focus so I can't get a good picture. This is the best I could do.

(OK, I don't know how to make an image without a .jpg extension show up, apparently. But that's that's my image, if you paste it.)

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You're right, it's not a great pic...

It almost looks as if this guy got hung up in some rocks and scraped himself.

My only other concern would be that it could be Columnaris, which is a bacterial infection.

Any flashing? Twitchy behaviour? Are any of the other fish affected?

Just in case it is something like Columnaris, I would lower the tank temp to about 76 slowly in an effort to slow the spread.

Clown loaches are very sensitive to many meds, since they are scaleless. I'm not sure if PraziPro has a warning about this or not, but you might check with the manufacturer. Did it start after you added the PraziPro? Any other clown loaches in the tank? Are they affected?

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It's not columnaris. It's a very definite series of individual strands. Some have fallen off and those that haven't are shorter, like just remnants.

I have 5 loaches, one of which has the wasting, and they're all OK. I didn't notice anything wrong with this guy before the treatment but I could've missed it.

No different behavior at all.

The water is clearer now, maybe I can get it to focus on him.
Could it be his slime coat sloughing off? (I'm wondering if the PraziPro could have caused it...)

I just can't tell that much from the pic.

Do you have another tank to move him to? If you do, I'd move him and add some stress coat and see if there is any improvement.

I'll watch for another pic!

New pics. Still not great, but better. ... ost1831122

I hadn't thought of that. He could possibly be reacting to the temperature coming down from 86 back to 82 or something. (It was at 86 as a precaution since he had ich when I got him and was in a QT. I cranked this tank up too just in case when I added him.) If I can catch him I could put him back in the QT again. I could definitely see that as causing the lint-like appearance of it, similar to when my skin peels after sunburn. The only thing that makes me think that might not be it though is that I can see the red irritation on the scales where they attach.

Anyway, there's much less now than before. Hopefully it'll continue to improve.
He seems to be breathing really hard now that I look again. Some of the barbs are too, though.

Not sure what his baseline is though, if he is a fast breather anyway or not.
OK now I'm getting concerned. He seems a bit more distressed and some of the whiteness is right at the base of his fin. I'm wondering if there's something else maybe I could add to the tank in case it's not a parasite issue.

At my disposal I have melafix, pimafix, maracyn II (old though, possible expired?), furan-2, prazi, all the jungle tabs, Polyguard (some combo of antibiotics) and of course salt. No idea how any of these would mix with the prazi.

I'm hesitant to put him in the hospital tank and treat him there because to this point I have had a 0% success rate with treating fish in there since I bought the 10g. I feel like I'd just be damning him.
guess I'm not allowed to edit the above post, so...

He still eats happily and chases the barbs around. He's just breathing super fast. Ever since you put columnaris into my head I'm really worried about leaving him overnight but I don't know what to do. But if it was columnaris I'd expect the barbs to have it. I have lost tankfuls of barbs to columnaris in the past, they were the first to get it. In a warm tank (83 right now) I'd expect it to have spread all over if that was the case, but it hasn't.

But the last time I had a distichodus breathing this quickly it died within 2 hours (though that was a totally separate O2-related accident that was completely my own fault). Guess that has made me paranoid. This little guy was a very expensive replacement for the original and it'd really suck if anything happened to him. My girlfriend would probably want to give up on the tanks :(
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After seeing the better pics, I really don't think it's Columnaris. (That's one disease that makes me paranoid!)

It honestly just looks like it may be skin irritation from the PraziPro. There are so very few meds we can use on scaleless fish, and I think what you're seeing is somewhat of a "burn", for lack of a better way to put it.

The heavy breathing could also be a reaction to the meds.

Of course, there is no way to know for sure, but that is my guess.

I think I would do a large water change and remove the skinny one and treat him alone in a hospital tank, if the others don't appear to be wasting.

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Well it really looks like it's clearing up but he is still hyperventilating. The prazi has been in there long enough to hopefully take hold and help the loach, so I am going to do a big 70% or so water change this evening and add some of the stress coat stuff. Hopefully that will be all he needs.

None of the other fish have any issues at all so that's a good sign.
I did the big 70% water change and now it seems like it's getting worse. I see more white on him now. He's still breathing super hard.

And there's a rainbow with an obvious bacterial issue, big sore puffing out at the base of his tail. I put melafix in for that for now until I can be absolutely sure of a better plan.

When it rains, it pours. And naturally, I'm going away for the weekend. Which is just perfect.

Water temp is down to 82, moving it down gradually back to normal range from the 86+ it had been at.
Kim, you seem to be the expert here so I'm not going to bother with a new thread, but here's the new issue today: ... p?t=146374

I'm so stressed out and wish I could just cancel this wedding trip. Would've saved so much money and stress to just decline and mail them some cash. I won't be able to relax on sunday either because I'll be worried about these fish.

In the rainbow's case I'm hoping it's just a bit of an infection on an existing wound (they always play with each other and get a nip here and there, plus the redhead geophagus male nips at them when they get into the breeding territory) and that a broad antibiotic like melafix will be sufficient. But I'm really paranoid at this point. And so afraid that tomorrow I'm going to wake up and the distichodus will be dead... I've never seen a fish hyperventilating this way for this long. And he's just a baby so it's not like he's super resilient.

At noon tomorrow when the LFS opens I'm tempted to just bag up these fish and take them in for a diagnosis. But I'm not convinced that they know any more than I do, and they tend to just prescribe nitrofurazone for everything. :(
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Melafix isn't an antibiotic. It's just a preventative for bacterial infection, in fact, it's basically just tea tree oil.

I'm not sure that they don't need an antibiotic, but at the same time, if what you were initially seeing on the loach was chemical burn from the PraziPro, the antibiotic might not help. And, chemical burn doesn't make alot of sense if the other scaleless fish aren't affected.

It's always hit or miss diagnosing a tank. You just have to gather as many facts as possible and go with it, whether it's your tank or someone else's. Since you're going to be away this weekend, it's really hard to tell you what to do, because you won't be able to "re-route" if things go wrong.

I think at this point, since the rainbowfish seems to be showing signs of a bacterial infection, I would replace the carbon in my filtration for a few hours, and treat with some sort of antibiotic, either erythromycin or sulfa.

How's the water movement in the tank? Do you have an aerator running? If not, this might help with the heavy breathing.

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There is no specific aeration but given my previous lost distichoduses I am making sure that this one gets a lot - the AC110, which has a pretty substantial output, is splashing down a full inch. It creates a current some of the fish can't compete with, so I know it's getting plenty.

That's not a loach, btw, it's a young distichodus - but I can see how all the talk of loaches made you say that. He does have scales though, and the fact that it seemed to get a bit worse last night after a big WC has me unsure now if it was chemical. (However, the fact that the Prazi is a milky liquid that was denser than the water indicates that it could very well have just been that he swam right through it when I put it in the tank... though this is also true of the rainbows.)

I don't have any carbon in there right now so that's no problem. Is erythromycin better as an antibiotic than nitrofurazone? I've been told (again, by the LFS though) that it's the best against gram-negative stuff. I am pretty sure they don't sell eryth, nor do the petsmarts/cos unless I'm just not aware of what products use that as their ingredient.

This morning the distichodus is alive but still breathing fast, and the rainbow is swimming around as if nothing had happened, and the sore almost looks like a wound that is scabbing. The light is off so I'll need to look again to get a better idea though.
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Maracyn is erythromycin...It treats gram positive bacteria. It's made by Mardel and most LFS carry it, even Petsmart.

IME, it's best to treat with dual antibiotics, although it can really cloud your water. Using one for gram positive and one for gram negative kind of covers more bases, and helps prevent secondary infections. Maracyn and Maracyn II make a good combo, but they are daily doses, so I'm not sure how effective it would be to start it today. Would you be able to dose in the a.m.? Will you be home Sunday night?

I meant that you should replace the carbon or add some carbon to remove the PraziPro before adding other meds. (It might be okay not to do this, but it's not a chance I would take!)

Sorry about the loach confusion...That's what happens when you're dealing with too many things at once. :-?

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I know... Your plate seems rather full in this board!

I'd think that the 70% WC would've removed the prazi pretty well. Now there's the mela/pima extract. Do you think I need to remove that?

I had a hunch one of the maracyns was eryth, so that's good to know. I have a box of II but it's really old, might not be good anymore (got it with the tank). I can have someone else come by and put the meds in... they might be dogsitting for us anyway so it's no big deal.
update: after adding the stress coat product (API stress coat) he started gasping at the surface and looking listless. I did a 50% WC but also removed him to the hospital tank - the tank of death, to this point - since I can't have 3 days of ammonia/nitrate issues from a death in the tank. There are no meds at all in the 10g, just salt. He is listless and seems to be giving up, tilting over.

I am really upset about this... I feel so powerless. At this point it seems like any new medicine would be too late.
bernreuther said:
At this point it seems like any new medicine would be too late.
I have to agree with you. Once they start to lose their equilibrium, I usually give up. I've added meds before and pushed them over the edge with them.

Hopefully, everything else in the tank will be okay in your absence.

He is back upright and looks OK. I think he's happy with fresh water. There's obvious irritation on his sides and he's still breathing fast, but I'm really just hoping it's a reaction and not a disease, and that he'll be OK. Going to try feeding him in a few hours before I leave.
Good luck! I'm really surprised to see him right himself!

Let me know how things are when you get back, and have a good weekend!

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