Mystery kuhli loach illnesses. Please help

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northernpangio
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2018 1:10 pm

Mystery kuhli loach illnesses. Please help

Post by northernpangio » Wed Jul 25, 2018 3:25 pm

Hello, I currently have 2 mystery illnesses with my kuhli loaches and i'm having a tough time getting information on what I should be doing. I only have snails, shrimp and kuhli loaches (now down to 5 p. semicincta and 10 p. cuneovirgata) that were transferred into a 20 gallon long at the beginning of May. Maybe the 2nd week of May I got a few more. I made a timeline to make it easier than paragraphs.

June 23: One of the female kuhlis I got in May out of nowhere had no barbels left and was breathing very rapidly
June 26: Found the female kuhli dead, no symptoms other than barbel loss and rapid breathing
May 31: My order of black kuhlis came into the store
June 1: I went in to get them but didn't as one was on death's door when a red ulcer on it's belly, one other didn't look good (apparently only 3 in total died from that shipment)
July 10: I went in to get 5 black kuhlis since they were there for almost 6 weeks with no deaths
July 17: Black kuhli was laying out in the open in qt with labored breathing, red ulcer on belly, bit of pectoral fin missing, bloody tissue protruding from above where pectoral fin meets the body, scratch next to eye, opaque mucous on caudal fin (that you can only see in water), 2-4 opaque areas on sides. He had seizure-like movements and died 15 mins later.
July 18: Started treatment with Kanaplex (+ Seachem StressGuard), 50% water change every 48hrs with new dose
July 22: 3rd dose of Kanaplex, remaining 4 black kuhlis doing wonderful
July 24: In the middle of a water change on my main kuhli tank, while adding water back in, one of the kuhlis I had gotten back in May was corckscrewing around the tank uncontrollably (like if you turned your index finger around in a circle). 2 other kuhlis were out during the water change and were fine. I had a red light on so couldn't see anything until I picked him up in a net. I noticed he had 2 scrape wounds on his back (you could see where something rubbed very hard on him), pale black bar on his side, red anus, underneath his eyes/above his mouth was bloody underneath the skin.

Quarantine info: 6 gallon sterilite bin, used ceramic media from my main tank and put it into a box filter, pool filter sand, catappa leaves, clay pot cave, was doing 35% water changes every other day until Kanaplex treatment, will be doing 2 rounds back to back of Kanaplex
Main tank info: 20 gallon long, 20% water changes every week and nitrates never go above 10ppm due to plants

I've been using seperate equipment for the quarantine and my main tank. I've been bleaching the siphon and bucket I use for the quarantine after every water change.

I have no idea if i'm missing any information or not. I'm being told it's columnaris but others tell me it's definitely aeromonas (for the black kuhli death). I would love anyone with loach experience to help a fellow loach keeper out. I have no idea what to do moving forward, especially with the most recent death in my main tank. I've been so stressed out and anxious over disinfecting anything I use for the quarantine, anything I touch, the water changes, and being paranoid over cross-contamination. I'm about ready to give up.

Here are some pictures of the black kuhli that died:
ImageImageImage

Diana
Posts: 4675
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 1:35 am
Location: Near San Franciso

Re: Mystery kuhli loach illnesses. Please help

Post by Diana » Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:03 pm

Both aeromonas and columnaris can cause similar symptoms, the ulcers you are seeing, and can kill the fish.
Here are a few comments and some links:
Columnaris often starts on the outside of the fish, showing a white or grey clouded area. Often (by no means always) over the dorsal area. This gives the disease one of its common names, Saddle Back Disease. It can progress to open sores like your fish shows. The other common symptom is fin rot, of any fins, including the tail fin. This may start with the same sort of cloudy film effect over the fins, or just show rotting fins. Gill involvement is very common, but hard to see in such small fish.

http://www.fishvet.com/columnaris.htm

Aeromonas shows different external symptoms based on internal damage. The fins and other areas can show red spots (called hemorrhagic spots), ragged fins and other symptoms. (see the link) The ulcers may be the first and only symptom that shows up.

https://www.petmd.com/fish/conditions/s ... _aeromonas

If there is any way of getting the fish to eat medicated food it may work better than treating the water. I would treat all the fish that have been in contact with the affected fish.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!

northernpangio
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2018 1:10 pm

Re: Mystery kuhli loach illnesses. Please help

Post by northernpangio » Thu Jul 26, 2018 7:47 am

Diana wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:03 pm
Both aeromonas and columnaris can cause similar symptoms, the ulcers you are seeing, and can kill the fish.
Here are a few comments and some links:
Columnaris often starts on the outside of the fish, showing a white or grey clouded area. Often (by no means always) over the dorsal area. This gives the disease one of its common names, Saddle Back Disease. It can progress to open sores like your fish shows. The other common symptom is fin rot, of any fins, including the tail fin. This may start with the same sort of cloudy film effect over the fins, or just show rotting fins. Gill involvement is very common, but hard to see in such small fish.

http://www.fishvet.com/columnaris.htm

Aeromonas shows different external symptoms based on internal damage. The fins and other areas can show red spots (called hemorrhagic spots), ragged fins and other symptoms. (see the link) The ulcers may be the first and only symptom that shows up.

https://www.petmd.com/fish/conditions/s ... _aeromonas

If there is any way of getting the fish to eat medicated food it may work better than treating the water. I would treat all the fish that have been in contact with the affected fish.
Are you suggesting I should treat my main tank with Kanaplex as well (if so, just 1 round of treatment?)? I'm not too confident with mixing the meds with food. I know they're eating but sometimes they don't come out right away so I don't know if the meds would just leach into the water at that point or not.

I'm just so confused as to how I had the black kuhli die in qt and a week later one of my striped ones die in my main tank. It doesn't add up. I didn't see either of them with symptoms until they were out in the open about to die. Black kuhli had the ulcer and the striped one didn't have an ulcer. I never saw any white lesions beforehand.

I just started a 2nd round of Kanaplex on the black kuhlis last night. I've been examining them with a flashlight everyday and they still look great.

It's also slightly odd to me that both of the striped kuhlis I got back in May have died but none of the original ones i've had since December.

Diana
Posts: 4675
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 1:35 am
Location: Near San Franciso

Re: Mystery kuhli loach illnesses. Please help

Post by Diana » Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:19 pm

Not all deaths that happen at the same time (or within a short time) are caused by the same thing. Could be coincidence.

As for why all or several fish from one purchase die and fish from a different purchase live, all I can offer are some guesses.
a) Better bred (less inbreeding)
b) Better fry care (better feeding, better water conditions, less stress for example: hiding places available)
c) Less stress in shipping and handling at any step along the way (shorter time, ammonia reducing materials added to packaging, all sorts of other possibilities)
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!

northernpangio
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2018 1:10 pm

Re: Mystery kuhli loach illnesses. Please help

Post by northernpangio » Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:39 pm

Diana wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:19 pm
Not all deaths that happen at the same time (or within a short time) are caused by the same thing. Could be coincidence.

As for why all or several fish from one purchase die and fish from a different purchase live, all I can offer are some guesses.
a) Better bred (less inbreeding)
b) Better fry care (better feeding, better water conditions, less stress for example: hiding places available)
c) Less stress in shipping and handling at any step along the way (shorter time, ammonia reducing materials added to packaging, all sorts of other possibilities)
The kuhlis that I had gotten in May had the 2 p. semicincta that have now died (were also the smallest out of the 5 I have left), 1 p. cuneovirgata and a suspected p. oblonga but he has stayed the same size as a p. cuneovirgata so i'm not sure which species he is. Maybe it would be best for the time being to just observe my main tank? I really don't want to throw in antibiotics if it's not needed.

When I did get those kuhlis in May, I think they were in the bag longer than I would have liked. Maybe 1-2 hrs from the store to my house. It was also a huge challenge to catch them (the tank was almost destroyed and it had gravel). The kuhlis i've had since December were bagged and back home in less than half an hour.

Some of the kuhlis in my main tank have taken up residence under a piece of mopani. They moved the sand to create a cave under. They used to come out all the time but since they found that, they haven't been out as much as they used to be. I was about to take that piece out and replace it with a couple pieces of spiderwood to create shaded spots instead. Would it be a bad idea to do this now, if it stresses them out?

Diana
Posts: 4675
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 1:35 am
Location: Near San Franciso

Re: Mystery kuhli loach illnesses. Please help

Post by Diana » Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:28 pm

If there is room in the tank I think I would add the spider wood without removing their cave.
Then lift the material that makes the cave by putting a few pebbles under it. Lift it a little more each week, but do not make it unstable. Eventually remove it.

Alternate idea: Remove the current cave just long enough to vacuum under it, then put it back. Do this a few times, then swap it out for the spider wood.

Either way the change is a smaller amount over a couple of weeks rather than sudden.

The difference between half an hour and a couple of hours can be quite significant. When I know I am going to transport fish for longer than half an hour I ask for oxygen in the bags, and put the bags into a Styrofoam box. Dark is less stressful to the fish, so to reduce the light through the Styrofoam, I help to darken it with a jacket or something.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!

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