Unknown problem with weather loach - any input appreciated!

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Re: Unknown problem with weather loach - any input appreciat

Postby Loachloach » Thu May 28, 2015 4:38 pm

0.05 ammonia reads 0 ammonia on a home liquid test. It's within safety level for fish normally. As Mike says, it will be pretty fast consumed by bacteria anyway.

The possibly significant number on your test is copper. <2mg/L


I think it says it's below 2 ug/l (not mg/l or at least that's what I see) which is way within safety levels. So there's barely any copper. Actually, if there was, they wouldn't be sick :D

I do not think 50% water changes will do much.


They'll do a lot of done daily for at least a week. Whatever it is, is still affecting new fish and is still in the tank. One week water change won't do a thing to a sick tank.

When solo was sick, we were doing daily 50% WCs in his 10g hospital tank.


The reason I am suggesting big water changes on the big tank is to prevent spread of the disease to more fish. A sick fish as in losing balance is already severely sick and overwhelmed when this happens. And it's normally due to internal bacterial infection most likely and possibly parasites but they don't normally lose balance due to parasitic infections although the fish may still have parasites and bacterial infection at the same time due to the parasites. If kanamycin sulphate doesn't work in 6 days then I'd try a broad spectrum antiparasitic. As Mike suggested, flubendazole maybe worth a try.

Also, as it's the only tank affected, possibly the chemistry of the tank has shifted in a bad way so doing large water changes in a row will shift it back to healthy levels.
Your Ph you say is 7, comes out of the tap 8.2. Can you get a glass of water, test the ph then leave the glass to stay overnight, test again and tell us the results?

I've never used Triple Sulfa. They don't sell it here but here it is what it's for:

Sulfas are considered all anti-bacterials (antimicrobials).
These drugs are bacteriostatic, meaning they inhibit the growth of the bacteria but do not kill them.
Sulfas are generally most effective against aerobic gram-negative organisms, and occasionally effective against anaerobic gram negative bacteria, but are not reliable against aerobic gram-positive bacterium.
A relatively broad spectrum antibacterial medication; for fin and tail rot, mouth fungus and clamped or collapsed fins, Columnaris (mild to moderate infections ONLY), and hemorrhagic septicemia (although not effective to Aeromonas infections of the gut).


Considering your loach was losing balance, if you get another one like that I'd go straight for the kanamycin sulphate as it will treat internal bacterial infections unlike the triple sulfa which is what your loach most likely had. As Mike suggested, the sulfa may have had some effect but not quite enough or not for all the bacteria the fish was infected with. If the kanamycin works, the fish will start staying upright within 24-48hrs and should resume colour in 4-5 days but you need to finish the full treatment at full dose. Kanamycin doesn't normally affect the biofilter and is pretty safe with just about any fish or invert.

We always clean filters individually and spaced out by several months, and we never do a thorough clean or replace the media


That's a good practice but if you have multiple filters cleaning one thoroughly won't make a bent. I wash my media under the tap when cleaning an individual filter. But that's off topic.
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Re: Unknown problem with weather loach - any input appreciat

Postby mikev » Fri May 29, 2015 10:15 am

Scrap what I said about copper -- I don't think it is there. But also I do not believe that antibiotics or water changes will do much good, so we have very little to go on now.

Still, some.

Ask on a few more forums, perhaps people have some idea. SF is one suggestion, LF on FB is another, perhaps elsewhere.

Secondly: over the years I had several incidents of bottom fish not doing well in a particular tank (getting sick and dying, relatively slowly). This has happened to both loaches (albeit hillies, not dojos) and cories. Similar incidents were reported by others, the probability of this happening is quite low, 1% per tank per year, but for someone who has many tanks (me) this does happen often enough. In nearly every case like this encountered medications (all kinds) were useless, but moving the fish to another tank solved the problem totally...even if I took the filter along.... so I'm conjecturing that the substrate is the cause in some way. Not sure if it is feasible to move all fish to another tank and extensively clean up your big tank (including tossing/replacing OR boiling the substrate) but this looks like the best chance now. If not, attempt to clean up the substrate as much as possible in place.... albeit my results with this approach were not good.
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Re: Unknown problem with weather loach - any input appreciat

Postby Loachloach » Fri May 29, 2015 2:24 pm

Yes, I agree with Mikev. Some substrates can cause problems to bottom feeders for various reasons, either because of the texture or because they've gone anaerobic. In my case it was caused by new substrate I bought which was quite sharpish although it was sand, but some sand of volcanic origin. Most had lost their barbels and a few died of some sort of bacterial looking infections, their nose eaten up, when I noticed the problem, which was two months only after placing that volcanic sand.
I removed that substrate and put plain new sand which isn't sharp, did 50% daily water changes and treated with antibiotics. No fish died since I started the 50% daily water changes and treated with antibiotics. I think I did that for 2 weeks to be on the safe side. Eventually almost all regrew their barbels which had disappeared because of the substrate and subsequent infection.

I did eventually move out all the corys to another tank as that was the plan all along and they've been all alive since. However the old tank was used for khuli loaches which have been fine for years now since with new substrate, so whatever it was, it didn't re-infect new fish after I had done those things I mentioned despite me not sterilizing the tank and keeping the exact same filters.

I don't know why Mikev thinks water changes won't do any good in this case. I have the opposite experience and water changes have solved many suspicious things for me, plus fish always perk up in a clean tank, but he must have a decent reason I suppose.

Good luck. I hope you find a solution.
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Re: Unknown problem with weather loach - any input appreciat

Postby mikev » Fri May 29, 2015 5:47 pm

I don't know why Mikev thinks water changes won't do any good in this case.


A long list of rather obvious reasons here.

Firstly, no denial that extra water changes are generally helpful, the question is if they are going to change the situation any. And here is why likely not:

1. Extra water changes help when the tank is neglected and nitrates accumulate -- not the case.
2. Extra water changes help with fish that requires extra clean water -- like rainbows -- and not dojos. Notice that the fishkeeper is not having any problems with top fish in the tank.
3. Extra water changes do not do much about cleaning wrong biofilm from the substrate even if the tank is extensively vacuumed every time.

I can go on with 4. or 5., but hopefully this satisfies your curiosity enough. :P

However the old tank was used for khuli loaches which have been fine for years now since with new substrate, so whatever it was, it didn't re-infect new fish after I had done those things I mentioned despite me not sterilizing the tank and keeping the exact same filters.

No mystery here. Some bottom fish is more prone to substrate problems. Corys generally are. Loaches -- some are, some seem not to be (kuhlis). Plecos of any kind -- does not seem to be ever happening. For example, I keep stirusomas in a tank that previously proved to be unhealthy for hillstreams, not even substrate change.
Sterilizing the tank (or at least the substrate) is however a must if the intend is to return the fish back to this tank after a cleanup.
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Re: Unknown problem with weather loach - any input appreciat

Postby Loachloach » Fri May 29, 2015 8:03 pm

1. Extra water changes help when the tank is neglected and nitrates accumulate -- not the case.
2. Extra water changes help with fish that requires extra clean water -- like rainbows -- and not dojos. Notice that the fishkeeper is not having any problems with top fish in the tank.
3. Extra water changes do not do much about cleaning wrong biofilm from the substrate even if the tank is extensively vacuumed every time.


I must disagree Mikev. Here are my points why.

1. I think that's where people go wrong. One thinks that the one water change weekly in each tank is the magic formula.... How does one know what level of nitrates they have as there's not one test available even in lab conditions to give you any close value to the reality...It is very hard to measure. So I'd throw out that test in the bin and never touch it again as it's useless. You might as well give it a wild guess and you'll be as right as the nitrate test is. We can't measure many important things that are detrimental to fish like dissolved organics and nitrates too.

Which means, nitrates are the worst way to measure water quality. That's why I asked about a Ph and especially Kh change over time as all water in tanks gets acidic when the water changes have not been generous or just not enough for the particular tank and stock. It's not the acidity that affects the fish directly. It's that because for a tank to go into a different than the original state, a lot of chemical reactions have happened, taking up valuable minerals and producing harmful waste, which is what affects fish and accumulates in tanks and we can't reasonably measure this chemical world.
So we just tend to keep ourselves ignorant by saying the water quality is great because I don't have any ammonia/nitrites/ and my nitrates are low, when actually the issue is the chemical composition of the water in general has gone bananas, also creating a breeding ground for the wrong type of pathogens in some cases.

2. You won't go wrong giving extra clean water for any species of fish to keep them healthy long term. I don't see how you can even have that as an argument.

3. Extra water changes do eliminate the amount of pathogens in a tank and may as well lower them enough for fish to handle them via a healthy immune system providing there isn't any other stressors. Many pathogens have a harmless form and parasitic form depending on the conditions provided. So to me water changes are a key to most issues, be it a problem in the substrate or water column or both.

If the issue is indeed only in the substrate, there are reasons for it. One is that it's the wrong shape/size, too sharp maybe causing open wounds for generally harmless bacteria to attack. Fish with open wounds even small ones can actually get dehydrated, lol.
Second is that there isn't enough flow/oxygen in the tank reaching the substrate, thus causing it to go anaerobic and producing harmful gasses and a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.
Healthy substrate breaks down organics via oxygen into co2 generally. Unhealthy ones break down organics anaerobically and produce hydrogen sulphide instead. In those scenarios one would have different species of bacteria thriving.

And third that the substrate could be generally too tick which will definitely have anaerobic areas no matter what, especially under decorations where bottom feeders love hiding the most.

No mystery here. Some bottom fish is more prone to substrate problems. Corys generally are.


Sterilizing the tank (or at least the substrate) is however a must if the intend is to return the fish back to this tank after a cleanup.



Actually you are reading what I said wrong. I solved the problem while the corys were still living in that same tank so whatever caused it, went away with the steps I took part of which was just siphoning the old substrate and replacing with new. The khuli loaches came months afterwards when I moved the corys over.
Sterilizing an entire tank in most cases is useless. The same type of bacteria that is harmless in a healthy tank and part of a healthy diverse environment, can be deadly in an unhealthy tank and is always there, days after you've sterilized a tank.
And the worst of pathogens like those that cause fish TB for example can't be killed with bleach or anything known at all. The tank is a bin material then, so are the fish if they contract that.

I haven't had a problem with the khuli loaches, so yes, they may be hardy fish. But having kept corys for longer, I find corys very hardy fish too and certainly not prone to sickness or substrate issues unless something is really wrong with the texture of the substrate as I had possibly causing open wounds which opens the ground for opportunistic bacteria. That sand could make small pinched holes in my fingers it was so sharp.
Otherwise, to keep a healthy substrate, you need it to be oxygenated to prevent it from being generally anaerobic, which is done via proper circular flow that "sweeps" over the substrate, good mechanical filtration to take up the majority of waste in the filters, plants which take up the products the bacteria in the substrate produces and oxygenate the substrate via their roots, also pretty good at taking up dissolved organic minerals from the water column. A bunch of waste shredders like trumpet snails and/or shrimp helps too as the waste is broken down faster to a form the decomposing bacteria in the substrate can use and then this is used up by plants. And again, it's important that that bacteria is kept aerobic types, so oxygen is the key which ever way one gets that down there....Anaerobic substrate kills plants so imagine what it can do to fish.
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Re: Unknown problem with weather loach - any input appreciat

Postby mikev » Fri May 29, 2015 8:21 pm

Your disagreement noted. Not replying, I do not see anything in your post that is applicable to the OP.
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Re: Unknown problem with weather loach - any input appreciat

Postby deafjam » Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:20 pm

Following this thread, wow it has to be hectic for the OP...2 dead and a third with the same symptoms. Hopefully what loach and mikey says can help you. I would think you have not done the dewormer yet? I noticed you got the medication but it was too late to do the deworming.
55 gallon tank:

2 Golden Dojo Loach
2 Albino Dojo Loach
5 Corydoras Catfish
12 Neon Tetras
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Re: Unknown problem with weather loach - any input appreciat

Postby Butterfly » Thu Jun 11, 2015 1:37 pm

Thank you so much for all of the replies. I have had some family issues (still ongoing) and so I have not been diligent with checking the forum. I will admit that I am exhausted, between worrying about my family and worrying about my fish - I am concerned I may have missed something when reading through comments. I will have hubby read through everything when he gets home from work (he is a little more stable than me at the moment!).

Another loach, Bruce, is showing the same signs: blackened eyes and lethargic, laying in his side every so often.

As for the substrate, this sand is smooth to the touch, I feel nothing sharp or clumpy. We do have trumpet snails in there. I kept them as I had read they are good for aerating sand substrate - my gosh, could they be dying underneath the sand and causing this? The loaches' symptoms seem odd, and more indicative of a parasite or disease - but I am no expert! Plants were mentioned, and so I want to confirm that all plants in this tank are healthy and thriving.

Because we have no clue what to do, and because our well water is so hard, we have started to slowly incorporate softened water into their tank (I.e. Water from our tap, through the water softener). We are grasping at anything at this point.

We have also been doing about 40% WCs every second day. I say we, but it has been hubby....he has been amazing during my time of need regarding family issues.

We have spoken to our vet about ordering the dewormer. She was game. What they have in is called "Panacur" 222mg per gram (22%). It is all confusing for me....would this be the stuff?

Not sure what we are suppose to be doing. As I said, I will have hubby read all comments when he gets home - he is more alert than me at this point!

Ps - we have considered moving the loaches into another tank - but I can't see it happening without a lot of stress to all of the fish, plus, I am not sure we could even catch them all without causing major distress. The 220g is fully planted, even if we took out the three huge pieces of driftwood, it would be a huge ordeal. When we initially caught Solo, who was very sick at the time, it was a fight. It took at least 10 minutes to catch him - keep in mind, he was lethargic and sick...of our remaining four loaches, three are healthy and active. Plus, when we caught Solo, the denison barbs seemed to have what I can only describe as panic attacks! The gold barbs, oddly enough, seemed fine.
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Re: Unknown problem with weather loach - any input appreciat

Postby Butterfly » Thu Jun 11, 2015 3:04 pm

Please read my original post above, I am only posting this separate for more immediate feedback. Our vet has "Panacure" on hand. Is this similar to the dewormers mentioned, or totally different?
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Re: Unknown problem with weather loach - any input appreciat

Postby mikev » Thu Jun 11, 2015 5:20 pm

Panacur C is Fenbendazole. You do not need any vet to get it, it is everywhere and cheap. Fenbendazole is very similar to Flubendazole but much more difficult to administer, it is the med of choice in the countries where flubendazole cannot be found. If you use Fenbendazole, use the tablet form.

Link.

Regarding the substrate: note that I've not said anything about the substrate being sharp, simply that it seems on occasions to develop *something* (most likely biofilm) that is harmful to bottom fish and moving the fish to a new tank often solves the problem.
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Re: Unknown problem with weather loach - any input appreciat

Postby Butterfly » Thu Jun 11, 2015 5:43 pm

We have searched everywhere locally for this med, no one has it. The only med we have found is the Panacur from the vet. Should I order something online, or use this stuff? If so, how much do I use in a 220 tank?

I apologize, I am at the end of my rope. I would do anything to help my finned-children....
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Re: Unknown problem with weather loach - any input appreciat

Postby mikev » Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:27 pm

I'd order flubendazole instead....

the meds are very closely related but fenbendazole solubility is horrible so simply putting it into the tank tends not to work. The dosage for either med is 2mg/l. There is also a form of fenbendazole for fish, this is new, here.
Notice that fenbendazole is either used in food or is dissolved in a solvent like acetone, vodka, DMCO etc... complicated and dangerous.

If you want instruction, google for things like fenbendazole+vodka ... and you will see what people do.


Further, while this is pretty much the only type of med that may work I suspect that moving the fish has better chances of working.... best to do both of course.
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Re: Unknown problem with weather loach - any input appreciat

Postby Butterfly » Fri Jun 12, 2015 5:37 am

Thanks mikev, I just ordered it from amazon.


We will try to catch them this weekend. I only have a spare 10g here, I feel like that is too small for them - so I will look for a bigger tank for them today.
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Re: Unknown problem with weather loach - any input appreciat

Postby mikev » Fri Jun 12, 2015 11:17 am

I'd think 10g is too small. 20L should be ok. Another option to consider: an outdoor pond or tub, they probably would love it.
(Notice that dojos established themselves in the NW corner of the US (Oregon and around) and there are rumors of them being present in the NE too ... so they can take the climate, at least the cold just fine.)
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Re: Unknown problem with weather loach - any input appreciat

Postby Butterfly » Fri Jun 19, 2015 3:54 pm

Catching the loaches proved to be a failure. This tank is too tall, wide, and deep to do so without removing all driftwood and uprooting all plants. We are still waiting on the med to arrive via mail. I hate to treat the whole tank, but I am not sure we can catch these guys without causing major distress to both them and the barbs. We will try again this weekend.

On a good note, Bruce is still with us, he looks skinny and his eyes are still blackened, but he is eating and swimming (though not gracefully).

I took a couple of pics with the iPad, they are far from clear, and I don't think they truly show how his eyes look in person. But I am posting them anyway - just to give an idea on how he looks. I have also posted a pic of one of our healthy (for now) loaches, Willie.

Image

Image

Here is a pic of one of our healthy loaches, Willie - big difference in the eyes:

Image
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