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Old 09-06-2003, 12:05 AM   #1
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My fantail died, and I can't figure out why

Here's a brief rundown on what happened:

I had a new 10 gal tank setup (now 5 weeks old), and cycled it with 2 1" fantails (one a Ryukin, the other a pearl scale). On day 4, just about Ammonia peak, noticed ich spots all ove both fish, treated with Jungle's Ich Clear. Spots gone in 24 hrs, during which time both fish were active, etc.

Tank finished cycling about 3 weeks later, both fish fine.

4 days ago noted Ryukin lethargic, tank parameter fine. Next day, fish back to normal.

Day after that Pearl scale started to be lethargic, tank parameters still fine, changed 25% water just in case. Next day noted 3 small white spots on Pearl scale's tail, and tail also a bit ragged. Thought maybe ich is back, added Ich meds. Also of note, the Ryukin had been a bit aggressive over the few weeks, and was nipping at the pearl scale's tail, thought maybe this was the cause of ragged fin.

12 hrs after ich med in, pearl scale more active, but will not feed ... bad sign. But this is close to midnight, can't do much (where are the 24 Hr LFS when you need them?)

In the morning, pearl scale near death, rapid breathing at bottom of tank, barely moving. Died shortly after.

Exam of fish - ragged fins (all, not just tail), gills congested, head almost looked like there was hemorrhage inside.

During all this time, the Ryukin is acting just fine. Water parameter had been perfect - temp 72F, pH 7.5, NH3 - nil, NO2 - nil, NO4 - barely detectable.

Although these are inexpensive fish, and I half expected to lose one or both during cycling, we kind of gotten attached to them over the month. Also it was a bit upsetting to lose a fish for no reason ... after all, they survived the cycling & the tank parameters had been stable for over a week.

I have 2 questions:

1. Any idea what caused the fish death? I don't think it was ich, didn't act like the first bout. Perhaps the fish was stressed by something & the ich spots were just secondary. Anyway, I am more interested in why, so I don't make the same mistake again.

2. I am now putting the tank on QT .. ie will not add another fish until I am sure there is nothing bad there. How long should I wait, assuming the Ryukin remains healthy?

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Old 09-06-2003, 03:45 AM   #2
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Actually, its a good bet it WAS ich that killed your poor pearlscale.

Ich has a 3 stage lifecycle; the only stage which is susceptible to meds is the freefloating stage, not the stage you actually see on the fish. It also is not always visible; sometimes it breaks out in the gills, where it isn't as visible but even more deadly. Plus, treating for ich requires treatment for a period of time much longer then 24 hours, with an additional 3 days post last sign of spots to be sure one has killed them all (remember, the only stage meds will kill is the 2 stages where you can't actually see them). I strongly suggest checking out this article: http://www.caloriesperhour.com/fish/notes_ich.html . Its a great article and explains the life cycle of ich, as well as what one can do to treat it properly.

You'll note in that article no ich med can possibly kill ich in 24 hours, despite Jungle's claims to the contrary. Again, as the only stage that is susceptible is the free swimming one, there is no way to be sure you've killed the all ones on the fish as well as the encycsted stage hiding in the substrate. If a treatment is successful, there should not be any additional breakouts of ich unless something new which could contain ich is added to the tank.

I think keeping the tank on hold and not adding anyone is a VERY good idea; chances are the tank is still infested with ich, as well as the other fantail. Its also quite possible the stress of the illness has made the fish more susceptible to other disease, which would explain the fin rot. I would suggest using a different med; maybe RidIch as it is usually successful in treating ich as well as being safe for goldies.
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Old 09-06-2003, 01:30 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. But that brings up more questions.

I did read up on ich the first time it showed, and was rather sceptical on Jungle's claim of "treat once & forget".

I actually treated the tank twice, 2 days apart (with a water change in between). I then left the meds in the tank for next week. I was assuming that the meds would stay in the tank all this time, but maybe I was wrong.

I read that malachite green is degraded by light (but not sure of rate), at any rate, in my tank the color is gone within 12 hours or so ( again I read that the color change is not indicative of the amount of drug left). I did not find any info on the elimination of the acriflavine.

I think I will treat the tank as if it still contains ich. Questions now is - how long to keep the med in, and how often to redose the tank?

Thnaks again.
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Old 09-06-2003, 01:49 PM   #4
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if your other goldie is doing well (ie, not stressed), you might be able to raise the tank temp (if you have a heater...i don't use one in my goldfish tank, but i have one around somewhere), and add salt..which can also kill the ich...if the fish is stressed though, he might not be too excited about the warmer temps (i have a fantail and an oranda...they've dealt the warm days here pretty well, but it really slows 'em down).

What kind of filter are you running? Remember to remove any activated charcoal before adding a medication.
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Old 09-06-2003, 03:48 PM   #5
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The other goldie looks perfectly fine, active & hungry - as usual.

I don't have a heater, but we are having a mini heatwave for the next few days (high of 30C, that's about 80F, pretty unusual for this part of the woods in Sept. ). The tank temp, of cause won't get that high - mid 70's at the most.

I have added salt to the tank, currently at 0.1g%. I've read that we need 0.3% to kill ich, but I'll have to remove my plants before I up the salt content, so I wouldn't want to do that unless absolutely necessary.

Oh yes, the charcoal is off.
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Old 09-06-2003, 04:52 PM   #6
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I don't know if I'd recommend the high temp treatment for goldies; temps need to be above 86f and I'm unclear if they can handle those high temps for the couple of weeks the tank needs to remain there. Higher temps below 86f just cause the ich life cycle to become shorter; means they multiply faster and the infestation moves along much more quickly. And yeah, the salt treatment calls for 2-3 ppm higher then the normal tank levels of salt; your calculation is correct jsoong.

I agree; treatment needs to be reinstated so you can be sure the tank and your goldie are ich free. I would use something other then the Jungle Ich Clear; QuickCure or RidIch are probably better ways to go. Since the goldie isn't showing obvious signs, over a week of treatment should be enough IMHO, since tank temps will be in the 70s and the ich life cycle is about a week at 75f.
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