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Non-Angel fish health problem

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Non-Angel fish health problem

Post  petes80 on Fri 06 Jan 2017, 16:04

Hi All

I know this is an Angelfish forum but I have a possible sick balloon platy. I have posted the issue on another forum (tropicalfishkeeping.com) but I don't seem to be able to get a response there. I had a similar lack of response from Practical Fish Keeping when I had the issue with the Angel Fish. You guys here are the only forum that I can actually get any response from.

So basically since I lost the Angel fish back in October, I lost a balloon platy in November to very similar symptoms (this time I did give him a peaceful clove oil bath as he was clearly not going to recover). Then earlier this month I lost another balloon platy. This one went from swimming around and eating in the morning, to dead in the afternoon before I could really do much.

Now I have another balloon platy that is not behaving normally. He spends most of his time at the top of the tank and is breathing very fast, much faster than the other platys. He does occasionally swim around the tank for a bit and doesn't seem to have a problem doing that, but after a few minutes will go back to the top again. He is still eating at the moment. I did also see him rub against one of the rock ornaments so I thought perhaps it could be Ich, but there are no visible signs of anything wrong.

Having had a few fish die over the past few months, I'm concerned this one might be next. Here is a video of him:



If anyone can help, it would be much appreciated :-)
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Re: Non-Angel fish health problem

Post  Pterophyllum on Fri 06 Jan 2017, 19:19

Very hard to see much from the video, what I can see :-
It's clearly a female & fairly heavily pregnant, it looks plump and the fins don't appear ragged which makes intestinal infection unlikely. other than that, the respiration rate is far faster than it should be, possible causes would be :-

1. Velvet infection
2. White Spot.
3. Low oxygen level
4. High Ammonia &/or nitrite level or other pollution.
5. Excessive high temperature.

The best treatment for 1. would be Interpet Anti Slime & velvet + or other similar copper based treatment (not suitable if there are shrimps or snails in the aquarium), however, don't treat with it until you have definitely ruled out 2 - 5.

Best treatment for 2 is WS3 (again will probably kill shrimps & snails), and again don't treat until you've ruled out 3, 4 & 5

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Re: Non-Angel fish health problem

Post  petes80 on Fri 06 Jan 2017, 20:42

Thanks for your quick reply. So here's my thoughts on your list, of which some could well be the reason!

1) Velvet - I can't see any external signs of illness. Is there something else that can help identify it properly?

2) white spot - same as number 1.

3) low oxygen level - I have live plants and an aerator. None of the other fish show similar signs. I guess it's not this but is there anything I can do to check specifically?

4) High pollutants - ammonia and nitrites are 0, nitrates are low. Ph is 8. Should I be testing for anything else?

5) excessive high temperature - possibly, I have the temp set at 26C/78F. Is this too high?

Also, how can you tell she's pregnant? She is a balloon platy so they always look pregnant to me :-)
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Re: Non-Angel fish health problem

Post  Pterophyllum on Sat 07 Jan 2017, 00:10

In a somewhat random order....
3. The fact that others aren't showing similar behaviour, and that you have an airstone in there would probably rule out low oxygen, but you can get oxygen test kits if you want to be sure.
Live plants are largely irrelevant to oxygen levels, they actually use oxygen at night.
5. Temperature is a little on the high side for platies (23-24 would be preferable) but if they're in a tank with angels then 26 is probably a good compromise.
4. pH, Nitrite & Ammonia are the 3 main ones to check, provided you do regular water changes, don't over stock or over feed, nitrates are unlikely to be a major issue, but are still worth checking. It's also worth keeping an eye on KH (carbonate hardness), especially in a tank with a sand substrate, or if you use R.O. water for water changes.

6. It doesn't look like a balloon platy, in "balloon" fish the spine is curved upwards and downwards in an S on it's side sort of shape, this results in a disproportionately short body and a head and tail which aren't in line

neither of the following are my photos, but googled, this gives a clear idea :-



By comparison this is a normal female platy


The black patch by the anal fin is the gravid spot (supposedly the eyes of the developing youngsters) and along with the squareness of the belly, a reasonable indication that she's not too far from giving birth.

1 & 2 white spot & velvet are similar diseases, the organism that causes velvet is much smaller. It's rare to have white spot which doesn't show up to the naked eye, but I have known it very occasionally. Velvet on the other hand is very hard to spot with the naked eye, but a magnifying glass can improve visibility.
In my experience platies are quite prone to it, and it can sometimes show as a purple/grey "haze" on the upper flanks of the fish, most noticeable when viewed head on. However the rapid breathing rate is often the only obvious sign.

My only hesitation is that only one fish seems to be affected at present, and you have recently had water quality issues http://www.uk-angelfishforum.org.uk/t963-tank-water-is-cloudy#6798. A common problem is for people to treat a perceived disease problem, which is actually water quality related, only to make the water quality worse, and then to compound things by moving on to yet another treatment when the first doesn't solve the problem. However on balance I'd probably be inclined to try a course of the anti velvet treatment.

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Re: Non-Angel fish health problem

Post  petes80 on Sat 07 Jan 2017, 10:12

Ah ok, so the fish store lied when they sold them as balloon platies! To be honest I'm kind of glad because I didn't understand the meaning of the term "balloon" in fish and I'm generally against animals that are bred to be different like that just for our pleasure! from what I've read, the shorter bodies and curved spines can cause problems.

I think you are getting me confused with another member of this forum. I haven't had water quality issues that I am aware of. A brief but relatively small spike in Ammonia and Nitrites back in October but that was due to a change of filter and that was quickly remedied. The only thing is if there is an issue other than Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates and PH. I do have very hard water but this area is like that and all the fish came from shops that breed them to be used to the hard water. I will do a KH test anyway as I have the kit already.

With Velvet, this actually could be the answer. I still can't see much on this platy, but it's quite difficult as I don't have a magnifying glass. However 2 of the other platies that aren't showing any other signs, do perhaps have a dark coating on the upper part of their bodies.

Here's another image of the possible sick platy:



And here's an image of the 2 other platies that seems to have a coating on them. I tried to get better images but this is the best I could do right now.



For completeness, here's what I currently have in my tank:

4 x adult platies
1 x 2 month old baby platy
1 x Angel Fish
2 x Pink kissing gourami
2 x Pictus catfish
1 x Pleco (don't know exact type but was listed as "brown spot pleco" in the fish store)
1 x Golden Bristlenose Ancistrus
Various live plants
1 x airstone
Various ornaments
There are a number of snails but they just appeared after we put in the live plants

Do you think I should treat for Velvet? Or can I get any more info/images or do any further checks?
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Re: Non-Angel fish health problem

Post  Pterophyllum on Sat 07 Jan 2017, 19:40

I think you are getting me confused with another member of this forum.
Ooops, sorry!
Of those platies the one on the right in the second photo is a balloon one.

Do you think I should treat for Velvet?
They don't look too bad from the photo, but from the video it did seem to be struggling, so on balance I'd be inclined to treat.
If you haven't got a magnifying glass, how about an old pair of glasses? Or you could try filling a jam jar with tank water and putting the fish in that, not perfect, but it may help you get a closer look. Look closely at the tails of all 3 of them, from the photos they look slightly hazy, which is similar to the sheen you're looking for on the body.


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Re: Non-Angel fish health problem

Post  petes80 on Sun 08 Jan 2017, 11:45

So I noticed yesterday that the sick platy seems to have slightly swollen gills and they look a bit blotchy red. A quick check online suggests water quality issues so I did yet another test of everything. These are the results:

Ammonia - 0
Nitrites - 0
Nitrates - 11 (2.5 on ntlabs test)
pH - 7.5
Alkalinity KH - 195.8ppm
General hardness GH - 213.6pm

Does this info change anything? The KH and GH readings are quite a bit over the "ideal" readings. The rest look fine to me.
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Re: Non-Angel fish health problem

Post  petes80 on Sun 08 Jan 2017, 17:05

I managed to get a close up pic that is half decent quality! You can see the gills look swollen and are a bit red. Also, in this pic there does seem to be a sort of gold shine in places, although I don't know if that is light reflection from the camera flash.

This is the best I can do. My hesitation with treating for Velvet is that the swollen red gills don't seem to be a symptom of that disease based on what I have read on the internet. Mostly they say it's a water quality issue when the gills are like this but my tests always seem to show good water quality.

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Re: Non-Angel fish health problem

Post  Pterophyllum on Sun 08 Jan 2017, 18:30

Platies like hard alkaline water, your readings are fine.
If the fish was larger, you could consider doing a skin scrape (where you remove some of the mucus & check for parasites under a microscope), but that's really not practical for a fish of this size.
Velvet kills because it gets into the gills and damages them, making it hard for the fish to breathe. There are other things that can cause this too, skin flukes and gill flukes being two.
Fortunately, Interpet Anti Slime & velvet treatment is also pretty effective against skin & gill flukes.

Like you, I don't like carrying out treatments unnecessarily, and am wary of the shot gun approach of try this & if that doesn't do it move on to the next chemical, so if you want to hold off on treating, I'd recommend regular, daily 20% water changes, just in case there's some sort of pollution found it's way into the tank. This PFK article is excellent in covering some of the common culprits which don't show up on test kits http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/features/articles/2016/12/13/toxic-shock-the-everyday-chemicals-that-can-kill-your-fish.
That said, if we have problems with platies at the shop, 9 times out of 10 we'll end up treating them with ASV.

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Re: Non-Angel fish health problem

Post  petes80 on Sun 08 Jan 2017, 22:09

Right, that's settled, tomorrow I'm going to start the AVS treatment. Hopefully it will do the trick, I'll let you know what happens :-)

Thank you so much for your help.
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Re: Non-Angel fish health problem

Post  Pterophyllum on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 17:17

How's it looking?

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Re: Non-Angel fish health problem

Post  petes80 on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 20:12

I only got to put the treatment in after work yesterday so we're just over 24 hours. I put in 36ml which is what the dosage calculator said for a 180L tank.

So far no noticeable difference. Not sure how long recovery takes. I'm hoping she isn't too far gone and beyond recovery.
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Re: Non-Angel fish health problem

Post  Pterophyllum on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 23:34

If the gills have been damaged, it may take a long while for full recovery.
In theory ASV is a one dose treatment, but I tend to work on doing a 20% water change on day 3 followed by a 1/2 dose and then a further 20% water change on day 7 with a further full dose.
Usually by end of day 3 or day 4 I'd expect to see a significant improvement.
Note to others reading this:-
ASV is more toxic in soft water/low pH's and some fish are more sensitive to it than others, if your kH is low, or you are treating killies, small gouramies (such as chocolate, sparkling or similar) or sensitive rasbora such as kalachroma or any of the dwarf species. It's best to do a couple of 20% water changes before a 1/2 dose on day 5 and a couple more before a 1/2 dose on day 9. The first dose should be full, but introduced slowly over several hours.

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Re: Non-Angel fish health problem

Post  petes80 on Sat 14 Jan 2017, 13:35

Ok so a quick update. No major improvement as yet however the gills do look slightly less red. She still spends most of her time at the surface. Haven't seen her eat much over the last week or so. Today I did another 20% water change and added in another half dose. I'll do a final water change and full dose in 3-4 days. While there's been no major improvement, there hasn't been much deteriation either. If she doesn't eat though, I guess she will get worse at some point.
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Re: Non-Angel fish health problem

Post  petes80 on Tue 17 Jan 2017, 20:12

So it's been a week now with not much improvement. The gills still look red and swollen and she's spending most of her time at the surface. She doesn't eat much but I did see her doing a poo today so she must be getting something inside her. My local fish store said that it might be an infection and to try a dose of NTlabs anti internal bacteria. Tomorrow I will do another 20% water change. The question is, should I do another full dose of AVS or based on the lack of improvement should I try the anti internal bacteria?
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Re: Non-Angel fish health problem

Post  Pterophyllum on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 18:43

Given that the asv doesn't seem to have helped, there's probably little point in continuing with it. I'm not sure what I'd use next, you could try AIB, but I would be more inclined to treat for gill flukes. Whilst ASV is reasonably effective against them, a treatment like NTlabs anti fluke and wormer, or a malachite based treatment might do the trick. That said, if it was my fish I would probably just put it in a quarantine tank with a few plants, set the temperature a bit lower, 23c ish, and see how she does. It's possible that it's simply stressed because she wants to give birth and is intimidated by the others. Lowering the temperature will lower her oxygen needs, whilst increasing the amount available in the water.

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Re: Non-Angel fish health problem

Post  petes80 on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 19:59

Ok that makes sense. Looking again today and the gills do look perhaps a bit better. I'm just not experienced enough at this to really know if it's definitely better or if I'm just seeing what I want to see. I've had the temp up at 27C/80F the last week as a lot of articles online said that you should increase the temp when clearing Velvet or White Spot as it speeds up the life cycle and therefore clears it up quicker (or something like that). However what you are saying does make a lot of sense so I am going to drop the temp to 25C to see if that helps her cope.

I still don't know yet what I will do treatment wise though. The guy at the fish store asked if she had any mouth rot. Again I'm not an expert on this so I don't really know. Looking at pics online, I don't think so. However her mouth does look weird as it's open like a bucket all the time, as in it is never closed. I put this down to her gills not working well so she is constantly trying to get more oxygen. However now I'm not so sure. Here's a pic, does this shed any more light on what could be wrong?

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Re: Non-Angel fish health problem

Post  Pterophyllum on Wed 18 Jan 2017, 21:29

I'm away at the moment & can only view this on my phone, I suspect that it's only showing me part of the photo. But if she had mouth fungus (which is actually a bacterial infection) she'd be dead by now. The mouth is wide open because she's gasping for breath. The question is, is she gasping because her gills are full of parasites, or because they have been damaged by them. If the latter, then it is also possible that a secondary bacterial or fungal infection has taken hold. The challenge is not falling into the trap of throwing on treatment after another, at the problem. If none of the other occupants of the tank is showing similar symptoms, I'm more inclined to suspect physical damage rather than an on going infection. But, with a fish this size, it often comes down to guesswork. That's where isolating it in a separate tank comes in.

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Re: Non-Angel fish health problem

Post  petes80 on Wed 01 Feb 2017, 17:12

Right, so still no improvement of any note. Last week I did try the AIB but that didn't do anything. I only put in one dose but as there was no change, I didn't do any more.

Over the weekend I did another 20% water change and put a carbon filter in my filter to remove the medication. Yesterday I put in the Gill Flukes and Wormer in the hope that this might have better results. However can I just clarify I have done it right. I removed the carbon filter, switched off the lights (it says to keep them off for 24 hours) and put 3.6ml (approx) in a jug with some of the aquarium water and poored it in evenly around the tank. What I can't figure out is if that is it, do I need to redose or should that be enough to see some improvements...assuming it is actually gill flukes that's the problem?

How long do you suggest I wait until I either redose or put the carbon filter back in to remove this medication?

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Re: Non-Angel fish health problem

Post  Pterophyllum on Wed 01 Feb 2017, 19:44

Anti fluke & wormer is, in theory, a one dose treatment, although it's Ok to redose after 7 days, and it's probably a good idea to do a couple of follow up doses 7-10 days after the first, and a similar time period after the second.
good luck, hope it works.

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