Catfish Conundrum

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oneofthesedays

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Hello to all! New user here. I have had a 55 gallon fish tank that started out with 5 african cichlids and 1 small catfish. We inherited the tank and fish when we bought the house. I believe the fish were ~10 years old when we got them. I've never had a fish tank before and had no experience prior to this tank. The P/O left instructions and food. Over the course of the past five years we lose one every now and again. I do my best to maintain the tank and perform regular water changes, add cichlid salt as recommended per water change, same with slime coat, and we feed them Hikari sinking pellets. We have well water which is very high quality, and I purchased what I believe is a decent test kit. I also have the water tested by a local fish store every now and then to be sure my results are accurate. Just had them test the water again and the only issue noted was high nitrates (~80ppm) which I expected as were travelling for 2 weeks and the house-sitter fed the fish but did not change the water. Have initiated 30% water changes since our return to try and get the nitrates back down. I have a pretty large bubbler that the local store recommended to keep the water clear of a white film that started to develop ontop of the water. This happened over the last year and was never present even in small amounts before. The store said this was nothing to worry about and recommended the bubbler, which has functioned as stated and the film is no longer present. I have a Fluval 306 (or 308, numbers are kind of hard to see) with a discharge hose about 3 inches from the top of the tank, and suction about in the middle. I keep the tank around 77 degrees and have a light on for around 4 hours a day. Thats everything I can think of. So now to the problem...

I never thought this would happen but I have grown to really care for these fish. At this point we only have 2 left, one of the larger original cichlids and the catfish. The cichlid seems like he may have lost his sight, as he used to snatch pellets as they fell. Now sometimes they will bounce off his head and he ends up rooting around in the bottom of the tank. My other concern is the catfish. Several years ago he developed lateral line disease, and despite feeding him the recommended food from my local store, (which he used to eat voraciously, barely picks at it now if he eats at all) it seems to be progressing. Over the last 6 months white patches have been expanding onto his head and in front of his dorsal fin. It looks like a sore is developing on the patch in front of his dorsal fin. I really would hate to lose this little guy. He actually has a great personality. I attached a picture hoping it might help. Any help the group can provide would be greatly appreciated. Please excuse any incorrect terminology or omissions. Again, still kind of a beginner. Thank you.
 

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Coryking

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Hi and welcome to the forum. As you said before the cichlids were old and there probably dying from age . As for the catfish my only guess is ammonia burn which seems unlikely. I would add Aquarium salt along with 10% water changes every 3 days for 2 weeks hopefully this will fix it. What sort of catfish is it?
 

emeraldking

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Hi and welcome to TFF... :hi:
Hopefully, some other members will chime in to help you out with this issue.
 
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oneofthesedays

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Hi and welcome to the forum. As you said before the cichlids were old and there probably dying from age . As for the catfish my only guess is ammonia burn which seems unlikely. I would add Aquarium salt along with 10% water changes every 3 days for 2 weeks hopefully this will fix it. What sort of catfish is it?
Not sure. About 4 inches long, dark colored and spotted. Has the typical catfish whiskers. Were you able to view the photo I uploaded?
 

Coryking

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. Were you able to view the photo I uploaded?
Yes I was able to view the photo. Is there anything sharp in the tank? I would guess that might have started then something else would have caused it to get worse. As I said before Aquarium salt and small regular water changes should fix him right up.
 

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