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Old 04-17-2014, 04:57 AM   #1
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Black Ghost Knife with an Infection?

Hello fellow fish lovers! I think I have a pretty serious problem with by Black Ghost Knife.

I have moved him to a smaller tank in the hopes of treating him, but these are the parameters of the tank that he was in:

Tank Parameters
125 gallons
Temp: 83 degrees
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 40

So now that the basics are out of the way:

This guy is about 2.5 years old, and he has been healthy this entire time. He sustained an injury to his tail not too long ago, and it seems to have healed for the most part, with no signs of infection. I'm thinking that the stress from that led him to get this secondary problem, but I am unsure how to treat the poor thing.

He's been in this smaller 20 gallon tank for about 5 days, and I've done partial water changes daily since he is such a big guy, and I want to keep the water clean. I was hoping to see some improvement from him with just super clean water, but I am not seeing any change.

I'm worried about treating him with medications, since he is a scaleless fish. Could someone please help me help him? He's my favorite fish and I don't want to lose him to some bacteria. I'll answer any other questions that may help solve his problem. Thanks in advance guys!

(edit) The way he is laying is pretty much normal for him. He hates this small tank, and has always been the typical BGK when it comes to swimming sideways, upside-down, backwards, and chilling on the gravel in his hidey-hole.
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Old 04-17-2014, 09:32 PM   #2
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Each medication is different you will have to carefully read on the package and see if any fit the description of what you are seeing. I can't tell if those patches are lesions or old wounds healing...any ideas?

Anyone else have experience treating scaleless fish with meds? Please chime in.

I have had luck with Maracyn 2 as a general antibiotic it might help him perk back up. But I have not had to treat a BGK before (they are one of the coolest FW fish though IMO)

I hope someone else has some ideas for you.

Any other symptoms?
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Old 04-17-2014, 10:28 PM   #3
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I've heard bad stories about using melafix and Maracyn on BGK, so I'm worried about using them.

And those actually aren't old wounds. It's weird, and I don't know how to describe them, but they just seem to be white patches on his skin that are slowly spreading. They aren't fuzzy nor look like a fungus either.

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Old 04-17-2014, 10:30 PM   #4
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He doesn't have any other symptoms, other than he was rather lethargic. However I've heard that the larger BGKs get, the less active they tend to be.

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Old 04-18-2014, 02:14 AM   #5
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What are his main symptoms? The sores? Does he have them equally on both sides of his body or just one side? Does he typically lay on the gravel on his sides? The sore along his dorsal line appears to be pitted (indicating ulceration)- I am not sure if it is the picture angle or if this is in fact the case or if there are more sores that have this appearance. Do any of the sores appear red or inflamed or mucus covered? More specific info will help!
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Old 04-18-2014, 04:38 AM   #6
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Hey jlk! Long time no chat.

To answer your questions, he mainly has them on the one side, though he has one on his other side just above his lateral line. I would say about half the time he is 'laying' on one side or the other. Though like in the picture, he tends to hover above the gravel, just chilling sideways he's done that for about a year and a half now. The one sore is somewhat pitted, so I was concerned the most with that one. It is the oldest. The others are not pitted at this time. None of the sores are red or mucus covered, so I don't believe they are infected. (Small favors I suppose).

Looking closer, The one that looks ulcerated (and is also on his lateral line) is somewhat pink, which I would think is just irritation or blood running under his skin. But I would rather not make any assumptions at this point.

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Old 04-19-2014, 12:35 AM   #7
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Hey! Ok, you know I do not keep these guys so the guesstimated advice I am offering is based off just general fish experience. Hopefully, someone that keeps these guys will chime in with some other possibilities in respect to his condition! Perhaps there is something that may species-specific to this breed of fish.

My best guesses are he may be developing an infection related to the amount of time spent on the substrate. Common example in goldfish is to see similar ulcerations in the stomachs and sides of fish that spend a lot of time bottom sitting or laying on their sides. The other consideration would be lateral line erosion but as he seems to have spots randomly scattered I am not very positive on this.

Does he hide in anything? Perhaps giving him the option of a clean piece of PVC pipe to hide and lay in will help with the substrate contact. It can be removed often (even daily) to keep it as sterile as possible. The next thing to consider would be a decent antibiotic, preferably something broad spectrum such as furan antibiotic, tetracycline or Maracyn Plus. A more effective combo would be a furan combined with kanamycin. I am not positive though if there any contraindications with this type of fish and specific antibiotics. If I think of anything else, I will let you know!
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