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German Blue Ram Flashing on Substrate

Discussion in 'Tropical Fish Emergencies' started by pragmatic, Jul 3, 2019.

  1. pragmatic

    pragmatic New Member

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    Ram flashing behavior:


    Can someone help diagnose my ram? He’s been flashing/rubbing on gravel this week. My tank is empty right now because I’m redecorating. I’ve also noticed his tail is a little dark. He has a healthy appetite and I haven’t seen any worms near his anus.

    The molly sometimes has white/clear poop but also has regular brown poop. Is this a cause of concern?

    I have Ich medicine and PraziPro that I could try using. Or should I buy something else?

    Same ram with the lights off (less reflection on his blue scales):


    50 gallon long
    Ammonia: 0 ppm
    Nitrites: 0 ppm
    Nitrates: 20 ppm

    Tankmates:
    3 Nerite snails
    1 Dalmatian molly
     
  2. PheonixKingZ

    PheonixKingZ Fish Addict

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    Will you please try to get a HD picture of the rams tail?

    Thank you! :)
     
  3. Byron

    Byron Member

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    That behaviour is most likely ich, which first attacks fish in the gills so we don't see spots. If the fish is healthy, it will fight this off, the flashing will cease, without the spots ever appearing. But if not, and the fish is stressed, it will worsen.

    Other issues such as water parameters and ammonia/nitrite/nitrate can also cause flashing, but it is most likely ich.

    What is the temperature? Rams must have no cooler than 80F (27 C). Given that heat can deal effectively with ich, and that the two fish here can tolerate high heat, I would raise the temp to 86F (30 C) for two weeks.

    The stress to both fish from a barren tank is a serious issue, though I understand you are "redecorating" but the sooner you get some cover in there the better. Floating plants would help a lot.

    Do not start adding medications; unless the exact issue is a certainty, this will only make things worse. These fish (rams and mollies) are highly susceptible to chemicals/additives which causes more stress. Clean water is the best preventative/cure, here with heat for two weeks.
     
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  4. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    You need a picture on the back of the tank and some plants and caves for the fish to feel more secure.

    ------------------------
    What is the GH (general hardness) and pH of your water supply. This information can usually be obtained from your water supply company's website or by telephoning them. If they can't help you, take a glass full of tap water to the local pet shop and get them to test it for you. Write the results down (in numbers) when they do the tests. And ask them what the results are in (eg: ppm, dGH, or something else).

    Livebearers (platies, guppies, swordtails, mollies) need water with a pH above 7.0 and a GH above 200ppm for platies, guppies and swordtails. And a pH above 7.0 and a GH above 250ppm for Mollies.

    Rams come from soft acid water with a pH below 7.0 and a GH below 150ppm.

    If you keep mollies in soft water with a GH below 200ppm, they end up having lots of issues.

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    The molly probably has intestinal worms, which can be treated with Praziquantel and Levamisole. If these are not available, then look for Flubendazole.

    However, you should treat for whitespot first because this is more dangerous and spreads faster.
    To treat the fish for whitespot, simply raise the water temperature to 30C (86F) and keep it there for 2 weeks.

    Increase aeration/ surface turbulence when raising the temperature or using medications, to maximise the oxygen levels in the water.

    After the whitespot has been treated, then treat for worms.

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    Fish do a stringy white poop for several reasons.
    1) internal bacterial infection causes the fish to stop eating, swell up like a balloon, breath heavily at surface or near a filter outlet, do stringy white poop, and die within 24-48 hours of showing these symptoms. This cannot normally be cured because massive internal organ failure has already occurred.
    An internal bacterial infection is unlikely to be the problem.


    2) internal protozoan infection cause the fish to lose weight rapidly (over a week or two), fish continues to eat and swim around but not as much as normal, does stringy white poop. If not treated the fish dies a week or so after these symptoms appear. Metronidazole normally works well for this.

    It's interesting that API and the Californian government have listed Metronidazole as a carcinogen. That's a concern considering it was widely used to treat intestinal infections in people.
    Anyway, handle with care, don't inhale the medication, and wash hands with soapy water after treating the fish or working in the tank.

    An internal protozoan infection is unlikely to be the problem.


    3) intestinal worms like tapeworm and threadworms cause the fish to lose weight, continue eating and swimming normally, do a stringy white poop. Fish can do this for months and not be too badly affected. In some cases, fish with bad worm infestation will actually gain weight and get fat and look like a pregnant guppy. This is due to the huge number of worms inside the fish.

    Livebearers like guppies, mollies, swordtails & platies are regularly infected with gill flukes and intestinal worms. If the fish are still eating well, then worms is the most likely cause.

    You can use Praziquantel to treat tapeworm and gill flukes. And Levamisole to treat thread/ round worms. If these medications are not available, look for Flubendazole and use that instead.

    Remove carbon from filters before treatment and increase aeration/ surface turbulence to maximise oxygen levels in the water.

    You treat the fish once a week for 3-4 weeks. The first treatment will kill any worms in the fish. The second and third treatments kill any baby worms that hatch from eggs inside the fish's digestive tract.

    You do a 75% water change and complete gravel clean 24-48 hours after treatment. Clean the filter 24 hours after treatment too.

    Treat every fish tank in the house at the same time.

    Do not use the 2 medications together. If you want to treat both medications in a short space of time, use Praziquantel on day one. Do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate on day 2 & 3. Treat the tank with Levamisole on day 4 and do a 75% water change and gravel clean on day 5, 6 & 7 and then start with Praziquantel again on day 8.

    The water changes will remove most of the medication so you don't overdose the fish. The gravel cleaning will suck out any worms and eggs that have been expelled by the fish. Repeating the treatment for 3-4 doses at weekly intervals will kill any worms that hatch from eggs. At the end of the treatment you will have healthier fish. :)
     
  5. pragmatic

    pragmatic New Member

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    Yes, I’ll try and add some higher quality pictures this evening.
     
  6. pragmatic

    pragmatic New Member

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    Thank you both so much for the useful information!

    I normally keep my tank at 79F. I’m now slowly raising the tempature of the tank to 86 degrees F to treat for ich. Could this be too hot for my Nerite snails? I can move them to my other peaceful community tank if need be.

    So I should wait to treat the worms until after the two weeks for ich treatment have been completed? Or can I do both at once?

    I will try to get more coverings in the tank ASAP.
     
  7. pragmatic

    pragmatic New Member

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    Forgot to add:
    The pH in my area is 8.0. I’ve had the ram (his name is Bumi) for a little over 6 months now and I believe he was locally raised so hopefully the fish store water wasn’t too different from mine. I’ll try and pick up another kit soon to test for the GH.
     
  8. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Only increase the heat at this stage. I am fairly certain this is ich, I see it a lot on new fish and they "shake it off" if not stressed. I do not think Colin was suggesting worms, he was only describing treatment should that be the issue, but he can correct this if I'm wrong in my assumption. As I said previously, never treat with medications/chemicals unless it is all but certain what the issue is and then that the proposed substance is the safest and most effective for that issue. Ironically, with fish because of their physiology in the aquatic environment, every "treatment" using additives is going to stress them more, so one has to be very careful.

    With some cover (the background, excellent idea) esp floating plants, the fish should get over this within the two weeks.

    While wild caught rams are very soft water fish, this species when raised in different water parameters fares best in those parameters, or more accurately, will not be adversely affected like some other species would. There is not much you can do about this, not knowing the water parameters of the breeder; most rams, certainly all the varieties like German Blue, Gold, etc, are selectively-bred varieties, not wild species, so they are certainly commercially-raised and not wild caught. So it is not the fish store water that matters, but the breeder's, which obviously we rarely know. It does need warmth though, 80F when this ich is cleared up will keep it healthy. And the molly will be fine with this too, fortunately.

    Temperature is extremely important with fish because they are ectotherms, meaning they rely on the external temperature to maintain their internal body temperature. As temperature drives the fish's metabolism, it is crucial to have the external temperature close to what the species requires to function normally and without undue energy which stresses it out.
     
  9. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    The snails should be fine at 86F. Do not move them into another tank because you will only transfer whitespot to the other tank.

    The deworming information was for the molly doing the stringy white poop. The ram probably has whitespot.

    Do not use medications (including dewormers) when raising the temperature to treat whitespot because the high temperature combined with the medication can kill fish. Treat the whitespot first by raising the temperature to 86F. Keep it there for 2 weeks, then reduce the temperature and start treating for intestinal worms after the temperature has been reduced.
     
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  10. pragmatic

    pragmatic New Member

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    Here are the pictures of the ram as requested. He has these dark scales on his tail - I’m guessing from stress?

    Thank you everyone for the advice so far. The tank is at 86F now and everyone seems to be handling the heat fine. Still flashing from the ram, but hopefully he’ll get better soon.
    41298E01-562C-43AB-899E-C4A8477D6E08.jpeg F82D63BF-2179-4B4F-90E7-39664BE44557.jpeg 11FDD190-0D48-431C-A98D-4D695DCD26B5.jpeg
     
  11. AKfish

    AKfish Fish Fanatic

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    I fail to see one spot of ich. You may be being over protective lol. I can be also especially if attached to a certain fish for whatever reason. I use a glacial sand in my tanks I collect here in Alaska. It's terrific for most fish. Some dont fair well in sand in general. Anyway it's very fine and can make my fish a light itchy. They flash regularly just because of that. Flashing can be a a sign of Ich but also can be a sign of slime coat issues or an itch. Truly anything and without seeing any white ich spots I wouldn't treat with anything. Best of luck to ya.
     
  12. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    There doesn't appear to be whitespot on the ram in the pictures, however, just run the heat treatment for 2 weeks and see how it goes after that. :)
     
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  13. AKfish

    AKfish Fish Fanatic

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    Have no idea why you would treat a fish in any way that has zero sign of issues. Fish flash bro. There is absolutely no way that cranking up the heat helps cure something you can't even know it has.
     
  14. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Whilst fish do develop the odd itch, it is not normal for them to regularly rub on objects. Fish that regularly rub on objects in the aquarium usually have an external protozoan infection, which might be whitespot, velvet, Costia, Chilodonella or Trichodina. In minor cases, whitespot is the only one that shows any signs, the others don't normally show any signs until they have advanced a bit.

    By raising the water temperature for 2 weeks, we try to rule out whitespot and velvet by killing it with heat. Heat is much safer than chemicals. If the fish continue to rub after that, we would look at other diseases, chemicals or food that cause skin irritation.
     
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  15. pragmatic

    pragmatic New Member

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    Update: it has been 10 days since I raised the temperature to 86F and I haven’t seen the ram flash at all in the past three days. I will keep the heat at this temp until the two weeks are complete just to finish the treatment, but so far it seems to be working!
     

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