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Red Fin Borleyi spitting out food and color fading

6460 Views 25 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  cichlidaholic
2 days ago I did not notice any problems. Then last night when I came home I found him to have a fair amount of white instead of read and a little skin peeling. I first thought he'd somehow been severely scratched or bitten, but then I fed them and saw him trying to eat yet spitting everything out.

I moved him into the quarantine tank and began the clout treatment (I have a female hongi still in there b/c the last time I tried the clout treatment with her it did not succeed so for her this is round two). I came home today and the Red Fin's color has faded even more and is replaced with a faint white. He is moving less and does not look well at all.

He's fully grown (5" - 6") and had a perfect red/orange color covering his whole body as of a day ago.

What, if anything (other than continuing the clout treatment), should I do for him?

Everyone in the main tank seems ok, is there anything I should do for them?
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Well, I'm not sure Clout was the right choice in treatment...

Fish refuse or spit food with almost any illness.

Is the colour fading, or are the white areas cottony or fuzzy in appearance? Any fin deterioration?

Can you possibly post a pic of the fish?

Here's a picture my wife emailed me (i'm not near the tank right now). the lighting is not too great, but I'd say it's more that there are areas of white rather than the color generally fading (as opposed to the female hongi whose color is fading).

I'm not near the tank but my wife says that one of the fins on the red fin is rotting chopped up. Also, the hongi is really white (with darker stripes and a bit of yellow up top).

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I can see the white areas, cholile, but I can't tell if they are fuzzy or cottony. If they are, you may be dealing with a bacterial infection, which Clout won't work for.

From what I can tell, it just looks like scrapes where the fish has brushed up against things in the tank, but from the look of the fish, I can tell it's really stressed, so I'm sure we're looking at more than that.

Is there Clout in this tank?

If so, I would try removing it with fresh carbon and a water change, and switch to some broad spectrum antibiotics. I like using Maracyn and Maracyn II together, since you'd be combatting both gram positive and gram negative infections by doing that.

Keep the water pristine and treat for a minimum of 7 days.

Are any other fish showing any signs of this?

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Ok this is all new to me. I would not call it fuzzy or cottony. It looks like the thinnest layer of red has been removed (as opposed to a bite or deep scrape which might take a deeper chunk of skin).

Everyone else is fine as best I can tell. They all swim as they normally do and eat as they normally do. The red fin literally went one day from being totally normal to looking awful the next day. I've never had that problem before, but I guess never is a short time for someone who has kept fish for a whole eight months.

There is one yellow lab which has been injured for some time due to aggression from another yellow lab and the regani, but I've failed every time I've tried to catch it and put it in quarantine. The lab continues to eat and act normally in all respects.

So the red fin and the hongi are in the quarantine tank. I have melafix, epsom salt, clout, met and and ich treatment. Apparently all are inappropriate? (melafix seemed like it might have been useful b/c it deals with fin rot and flesh problems, but I guess it cannot address the internal aspects?).

I don't have carbon and have never used it. Should I get some?

What is Maracyn and is it the type of thing you buy at a LFS? (I tried a while back for the jungle parasite clear you mentioned but the stores here didn't have it).
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Head to and do a search under medications with fish for Maracyn, print out the price of it and take it into your local Petsmart and they'll price match it.

Maracyn, Maracyn II and Maracyn Plus are all medications with close to the same affects, you may want to Google the differences to make a decision on what you need, but it sounds like you've got a minor bacterial infection going on.
I would keep some carbon on hand if only for the purpose of removing medications. (Are you using filter cartridges or sponges? If it's cartridges, you might have some carbon inside them...)

Maracyn is erythromycin and treats gram positive infections. Maracyn II is minocycline and treats gram negative infections. So, if you can find them in the trade name anywhere, that will be fine, as well. Tetracycline is also very similar to minocycline, if that helps any. By treating for both gram positive and gram negative at the same time, you reduce your risk for secondary infection.

And DirtyBlackSocks is right...You might have more success finding Jungle products at the big chain stores, maybe even the larger discount stores that have small pet sections.

Their products are good and easy to use, so if worse comes to worse, pick up some other meds for not and order the Jungle products for your fish medicine cabinet.

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Ok. to make sure i understand, i'm looking for:

1. maracyn
2. maracyn II

or any medicine with erythromycin and another with minocycline

and then i should use it as instructed by the directions (as opposed to, say, clout where the treatment you suggest is different from the instructions).

the quarantine tank uses a sponge filter.

i really never looked into carbon, but i thought it doesn't last all that long. you can store it? maybe i misunderstood and it only lasts a brief period of time after being activated? where's a cheap place to get some?
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I would use the antibiotics for a minimum of 7 days, 10 preferably. (These drugs we have access to are very mild, so you almost always need to exceed the package directions for your treatment periods.) You have a good understanding of what you are looking for!

If you're using a sponge filter, you can't use carbon. Just do a good water change on the tank before adding the meds.

I use carbon only because I have so many fish tanks running that I need to keep down the odours! But, once it's been in your filtration for a couple of weeks, it really isn't doing much, anyway, and it isn't risky to put meds in with older carbon in your filtration, so I bet that's what you're thinking about!

Thanks so much. Hopefully this will work!

One more question. Is this like the clout treatment where I should not feed during the treatment or is it ok to feed during the treatment?

Oh, and I almost forgot the most important question: How do I prevent this? Or, in other words, how did this happen? What causes this to happen?

I change 40-60% of the water weekly, clean the tank fairly thoroughly, and feed twice daily what disappears within a minute. The temperature stays between 77-80. The red fin was not being harassed constantly. I can't think of what else I should be looking at.
Go ahead and offer food as long as they are taking it, just keep it to a minimum, since the meds won't state to do water changes. (If you need to do one, just do it right before adding the meds for the day!)

I don't think this is anything you can prevent. The borleyi could have been injured, or it could just be a bacterial infection that manifested from something else, but if there isn't a ton of aggression in the tank, it's likely out of your hands.

The hongi looks fine (no fin problem or discoloration of any kind) but when I drop in food she doesn't eat it. I've seen her spit out the NLS pellets once or twice, but when I return later (so while I'm not there) she must eat some of it because the pellets are gone. She's definitely not making the Red Fin feel relaxed.

I don't want to return her to the main tank unless she's ok, but she's been there for at least three weeks so is it wrong of me to assume she's eating because food disappears and she looks fine?
It's going to be stressful to return the hongi to the main tank, so when you do it, you may want to rearrange the rocks and territories a bit, and put it in at lights out for the evening. If you've got some aggression issues in the tank, it's always going to be hard to put a fish back in.

I can't say whether the fish is eating or not. The food may just be dissolving and disintegrating into the water.

The only thing you can do is try it.

Ok. I put her back in. Thankfully no aggression issues. I should have mentioned the food is gone within an hour as I periodically check back after waiting a few minutes initially to see if she eats.
I've been using maracyn and maracyn II for five full days now. i've tried dropping in a lone pellet of NLS once or twice but it does not appear he's at all interested. i do not think his color is any better, though it is definitely not any worse, than when i started.

i plan to continue treatment for another 4 to 5 days like you recommended, but wondering what, if anything, i should take away from the last five days of developments, or lack thereof.
It may be that you're dealing with more than one problem here, cholile.

Stress can do strange things to these fish. That's why we have to do everything we can to elimate stressors when we choose to keep them.

This fish may have been picked on for a long time before it came to this point.

I would finish the Maracyns and see how things are going then.

ok. I do watch carefully and he was never getting chased. no clamped fins, ate like a pig, and just seemed to act as typical as a fish can. moreover he really had only been in the tank for a little while. then one day, wham, all that white on his body.
It has been close to two months now since I put the red fin into the quarantine tank. I have yet to see him eat, he hides all day and only comes out late at night, yet he looks ok. Is it safe to put him back in the main tank?

I have had two other fish in the tank with him. They were not sick and have been with him for at least a month and they eat fine and have shown no signs of illness. I'd like to put him back in the main tank if it is safe.
Is he emaciated at all?

It is tough for me to tell which I guess means he's definitely not significantly skinnier, but probably a little skinnier. If two other fish have been in the tank with him for over a month and have developed no signs of illness, is that not a good measure, coupled with his being fine for months, that it is safe to put him back in the main tank. Whether or not he is going to improve, will it hurt anyone else?
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