Need help identifying a serious condition

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Need help identifying a serious condition

Postby Alyosha » Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:00 pm

I've been maintaining a 40 gallon aquarium with an average of 8-9 primarily south american cichlids for close to 2 years but I've never seen this kind of problem. My Red Oscar cichlid is clearly not long for this world but I'm concerned for the rest of my tank.
oscar3.jpg
older lesion
oscar3.jpg (3.18 KiB) Viewed 2019 times

oscar2.jpg
other side: this began spreading quickly within the last 2 days
oscar2.jpg (2.93 KiB) Viewed 2019 times


I separated him in a hospital tank when I first noticed a growing white, vaguely cottony looking patch 2 weeks ago. I used an API antibacterial regimen to see if it would help. Didn't seem to change anything. After describing the initial symptoms to a fish-minded friend, they suggested treating it as a fungal growth and that I might as well treat the entire tank at once. So I put the oscar back in the tank and started the API Fungus Cure treatment. No improvement, and as you can see it has gotten much worse. I've placed him back in the hospital tank but I'm unsure what to do about the rest of my fish. I do have to add that my Brown Knife recently died as well. He didn't show the same symptoms as the oscar, just became lethargic and unbalanced - went from seemingly normal to dead in 2-3 days. I now have 5 cichlids remaining plus 2 featherfins and a pleco who are so far behaving normally.

So my question is: what is this condition and should I take further steps to make sure my tank isn't contaminated?

Any help would be greatly appreciated, Thanks.
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Re: Need help identifying a serious condition

Postby Bojan Dolenc » Mon Jun 21, 2010 1:44 am

Alyosha wrote:I've been maintaining a 40 gallon aquarium with an average of 8-9 primarily south american cichlids for close to 2 years but I've never seen this kind of problem. My Red Oscar cichlid is clearly not long for this world but I'm concerned for the rest of my tank.
I separated him in a hospital tank when I first noticed a growing white, vaguely cottony looking patch 2 weeks ago. I used an API antibacterial regimen to see if it would help. Didn't seem to change anything. After describing the initial symptoms to a fish-minded friend, they suggested treating it as a fungal growth and that I might as well treat the entire tank at once. So I put the oscar back in the tank and started the API Fungus Cure treatment. No improvement, and as you can see it has gotten much worse. I've placed him back in the hospital tank but I'm unsure what to do about the rest of my fish. I do have to add that my Brown Knife recently died as well. He didn't show the same symptoms as the oscar, just became lethargic and unbalanced - went from seemingly normal to dead in 2-3 days. I now have 5 cichlids remaining plus 2 featherfins and a pleco who are so far behaving normally.
So my question is: what is this condition and should I take further steps to make sure my tank isn't contaminated?
Any help would be greatly appreciated, Thanks.


It may be only injury from other fish, maybe it is the last stage of HLLE (“Hole-in-the-Head Disease”) or even of fish tuberculosis (Mycobacterium spp.)? Hard to tell only from picture. Fungus never attacks live fish, only bacterias (Mouth Fungus Flexibacter is in point of fact a bacteria!), this is common mistake or misunderstaning of (too)many aquarists.
I think 40 gallon is not enough for oscar, he needs at least 100 gallon, much better for a few of them (it is social fish) a 250 gallon (~1000 l) aquarium (2 meters long).
If I were in your place, I would change the water (you must to set up optimal water parameteres without too high NO3 or even NH3 levels, soft - under 5 °dGH and rather acid water - pH around 6,0) and give in the water some herbal antibacterial medicines; i.e. Melaleuca oil (Melafix) or leaves of "Bioleaf" ( Sea Almond Tree - Terminalia cattapa). Such more natural treatment will not harm beneficial probiotic bacteria in gut and skin of fishes. There are also on the market some remedies for Koi carps, which contains this probiotic bacterias and are for treatening such skin lesions.
“Hole-in-the-Head Disease” or HLLE means "Head and Lateral Line Erosion" - it is the disease of permanent stress, of insufficiency and shortage of some makro- microelements (Mg, Ca, K, Fe, Mn, B, Cu etc....) and bioelements (fulvic acid, also vitamins - A, B complex, C, D3, E ...) in food and water and fishes became invaded by flagellates (Cryptobia, Spironucleus, Bodomonas, Protoopalina, Hexamita etc.) and other oportunistic microorganisms, including patogen bacteria. In food you can include live plants of Bacopa sp. which is natural remedy also for humans; also some food, that contains "Beta (ß) glucan" for better immune system of fishes; also mashed fresh garlic (in food and water) and similar. You could rise the temperature to 28 - 30°C in time of curing the fish. Secondary gut and skin infections from flagellates you can also cure with medicine, that contains metronidazole. If the main reason
of disease is internal Mycobacterium, than the best way is to completley isolate this fishes from surroundings (even form you - be careful, this is zoonosis!) or later to give them a humane euthanasia (mercy killing).
Change in habit, producing change of function, is the main cause of the production of change in living structure. F. Wood Jones (1953) Trends of life
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Re: Need help identifying a serious condition

Postby blackghost » Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:55 pm

You have a lot of fish in a small tank.What is the nitrate level?
pH?
Ammonia?
Nitrite?

Fungi do attack live fish - very much so - but only if the fish is under some kind of stress - same with most diseases. Your Oscar's disease definitely looks bacterial though, and your problems could be water-related. You need to make sure your water is ok to rule that out. The reason the treatments dont work is because the initial cause of the stress is still there (water?)

If you sort the water (I'm guessing this is the cause) then a normal bactericide would work. Apply it topically, and also to the water, as per instructions. But you need to get a bigger tank fast, if all your fish are the size of that oscar - this overcrowding could also be the stressor.
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