**Rainbow Shark Bumps on Head***Bleeding***

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Aquarium Advice Regular
Jun 19, 2006
Birmingham, AL
Hi - About a week ago I noticed a bump on my Rainbow Sharks head. He is in a 20g tank with a blue gourami, 4 otto catfish, 3 fancy guppies, 3 ghost shrimp, and 3 apple snails. I watched this and it seemed to puss up like a pimple then it decressed. Now it is red and fleshy, and something similar is growing on the other side of his head. It has beun to bleed. I have no clue what this is, nor what has caused it.

All my water parameters are in check, no ammonia, no nitrites, 20 nitrates.

What could this be? How do I need to treat?

I am afraid of treating if it might possibly hurt the other fish and snails in the tank. I do not yet have a sick tank, so any treatment would need to be okay for all the fish. The only thing I have is Furan 2, but Iam scared to use it because i dont want to hurt my other animals in my tank.

Thanks in advanced.


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QT ASAP, keep water pristine in QT, and add Pimafix and Melafix combined. But first, wait on the Pimafix and Melafix to see if someone knows exactly what it is and has a better remedy, or medication. But you can QT ASAP for now and see what other members post.
I don't have a sick tank - no place to quarantine with a filter. Not going to put him in my 55g aggressive tank - thats for sure.


I'm stuck. I cannot treat him unless I treat the entire tank. And I am concerned about the effects of the meds to my other fish/shrimp/snails.

Plus, I have no clue what to treat with or what the heck this is. I have raised the water temp a bit, but I am not salting b/c of the snails. Like I said, it started as a raised bump, kinda fleshy colored - looked like a pimple. Then one day it shrunk, now its kindy redish looking and fleshy, and there is one on the other side too or it is spreading, and when I put him in a huge glass container last night to take pictures, I noticed it was bleeding.

I can do treatments in a 3 1/2 gallon clean bucket with a bubbler, but like I said, no filter. I don't know how long I can leave him in there w/o a filter.

Guidance please!!!
I had a buenos aires tetra that had a similar looking red spot on his size. I also don't have a qt tank, but I put him in a large bucket with a little HOB Filter (you can usually pick one up for about $10)and that worked fine. If you didn't have a filter you probably would be okay if you changed the water every day, but you'd have to consider how to replace the lost medicine. I treated it with maracyn and it's pretty much all healed up now. While I was treating I changed ~50% of the water every day or every other day. I was really suprized because it was nasty looking big red spot with white all around the edges and starting to get red streaks along his sides definately an infection of some type was happening. He's been in his QT bucket for two weeks now ans has gone through the maracyn treatment and is looking much better.
I didn't have a QT tank when I healed my old catfish from finrot. I just put him in a bucket with aquarium water, put some gravel from the tank on the bottom, and plopped him in. I changed the water every day (about 75% water change) and medicated every day. As long as whatever you use to hold the water and fish isn't contaminated with some chemical, it'll work. You shouldn't even need a filter as long as you change the water every day.
People are too quick to jump to the "quarantine" angle. The stress placed on any fish by moving them to a new tank doubles your battle. If there is something going on with your rainbow shark, it has potential to affect everything in the tank already.

That said, the best you can do now is prevent opportunistic infection from setting in. Nothing works for this better than maintaining excellent water conditions.
Okay, I splurged last week and bought a 10gallon hospital tank, hood, and filter.

I put him in and started treatment with Furan-2. I already had this purchased so I decided to try this first. After 4 days of recommended treatment, the wound seems to be much better. There is no more redness visible or blood. All that is left is a very small white cavity on both the top and side of the head. No scales in this area. Will scales grow back? Should I continue with another 4 days of Furan-2 treatment? I also bought Maracyn, Maracyn-Two, Melafix, and Pimafix but have kept the receipts in case I do not need them (So EXPENSIVE!). Do I need to treat additionally with one of these other medications? Should I keep him in the hospital tank to monitor additionally, or put him back in the community tank?

Thanks again for everyones help!

My guess is that it will form scar tissue and I wouldn't be supprised if the scales didn't grow back and that it stayed discolored, like scars do in humans. If it was me I would not medicate any more except maybe with melafix since it's a mild antibacterial or perhaps pimafix which is supposed to work on fungus but I have personally never used it. But I wouldn't medicate with the stronger drugs anymore. I might wait a couple more days to put him in your main tank, just to keep an eye on him and make sure it's all cleared up. But make sure that you do waterchanges in the quaratine and if you can test to make sure the ammonia and nitrites don't get to high. When you do put him back in the main tank make sure you acclimate just like you would if you were adding a new fish. Even though the tap water is from the same source things like plants and driftwood can alter chemical balance, so I would acclimate him slowly just to be sure.

Post a pic of him all healed up. I'd like to see his recovery.
Mine cleared up in about 5-7 days and it's been in QT for about 14-15 days. I'm going to check it out when I get home because I think it's ready to go back into the main tank. If you treat it again it's up to you, let me know if it seems to heal faster. I alwasy just do one dose and keep an eye on it for a day or two and if it's continuing to improve I don't redose but if it looks the same and isn't healing I would redose. But that probably has more to do with me being in school and medication not being really cheap. :)
petunia100 said:
But that probably has more to do with me being in school and medication not being really cheap. :)

Yeah, me too. First payment of tuition is due in three days!!

I am going to dose a few days of mela and pimafix and then watch for a few days and see what happens. I will post pictures and updates.

Thanks everybody!

Okay, well - I have been dosing with some mela and pimafix since my last post and after a few days I noticed it getting worse again, so I continued with a second treatment of Furan-2. Last dose of Furan-2 was today, still have 2 more days of mela and pimafix.

It is not really healing up anymore. No blood at all, it seems very clean. The wound on the side of his head I want to say is puffing back up again, I cannot be certain though. The main wound on top is still the same, just a white uniform cavity, with a tiny indention in the center of it - it is very strange. The fish shows no signs of stress or pain; no unusual behavior.

I spent 30 minutes yesterday and took 20+ pictures - none of them turned out very well at ALL, which really sucks. There is something about taking pictures of fish in an aquarium that never turns out right. A few of them capture the wound, but it looks in the picture very little like it looks in real life.

I might have to move him to a large vase again like last time to get a good picture once I finish this round of medication.

::sighs of frustration::
krap101 said:
is it blood like in the water? or reddish flesh?


Well, I finished the second round of med's yesterday and filtered the meds out with carbon and did a water change today. The wound still has not covered over at all. I am still just clueless as to what this may be. There is no more bleeding, just white flesh. I honestly cannot tell if the bump on the right side of his head was always like that since the beginning of treatment or if it has gotten larger.

Nothing has even begun to scar over or heal at all. I am very interested in what this small even whiter indention is in the center of the cavity on his head. I am now starting to believe that it might be his brain!!!

Okay, so, anyway, I'm going to have to get him in that large vase again to take pictures in a day or so.

Stay tuned!
Getting Worse

Okay everybody - finally got those pictures today (click on them for full size). Seems like things are getting worse again. I don't understand this.

This is day three with no meds and it seems to be getting worse. More scales are gone and it is getting a reddish blood color in some areas, although it does not appear to be actively bleeding.

I believe that the treatment only cleared up the blood and paused the progression of whatever this is. Why would this be? What is the cause?

I have no idea what to do - I am at a loss...but things look grim. :(

Please let me know what you think.


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Is the shark "flashing," as in rubbing itself against anything?

At this point I would suspect one of two culprits: parasites, or an idiopathic flesh disorder. I would recommend using a salt treatment to eliminate the possibility of parasites. If, on the other hand, it is a flesh disorder, there is nothing you can do as a hobbyist.
Ichthyologist said:
Is the shark "flashing," as in rubbing itself against anything?

At this point I would suspect one of two culprits: parasites, or an idiopathic flesh disorder. I would recommend using a salt treatment to eliminate the possibility of parasites. If, on the other hand, it is a flesh disorder, there is nothing you can do as a hobbyist.

No flashing or rubbing. I was using salt mixed with the water in the tank in the recommended dose. Thanks for your reply.

I am sad to report that he passed away just 5 minutes ago. I went in to check on him and he was on the bottom of the tank on his side. He would occasionally struggle to move around. I made the tough decision to euthanize him.

I am still interested in everyones opinion - and thank you to you all for your help.

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