Help with Sunfish and Bluegill

Silvermist80

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Hi all. I absolutely love Bluegills and their close relatives. I have some wild caught in a 100 gallon aquarium. It's legal to have them, believe me, I checked. Moving on... two of them have pink colored lips with a little flesh wound. Is this a disease that someone knows of, or is this fish getting rowdy with one another? They're definitely territorial and aggressive, so I'm not sure if these guys just got hurt. Help please?
 

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Colin_T

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The fish in the picture on the left, fish has the pink running across the entire top lip, could be physical damage or the start of mouth fungus.

The fish in the pic on the right, with half the top lip covered in pink looks like physical damage.

It's probably physical damage on both but it depends on how long you have had them for. If you only got them in the last week then they might have injured themselves on the ornament. Clean water and salt should stop it becoming infected.

You need some substrate and smooth ornaments for them.

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Wipe the inside of the glass down with a clean fish sponge. This removes the biofilm on the glass and the biofilm will contain lots of harmful bacteria, fungus, protozoans and various other microscopic life forms.

Do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate every day for a week. The water changes and gravel cleaning will reduce the number of disease organisms in the water and provide a cleaner environment for the fish to recover in.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it is added to the tank.

Clean the filter if it hasn't been done in the last 2 weeks. However, if the filter is less than 6 weeks old, do not clean it. Wash the filter materials/ media in a bucket of tank water and re-use the media. Tip the bucket of dirty water on the garden/ lawn. Cleaning the filter means less gunk and cleaner water with fewer pathogens.

Increase surface turbulence/ aeration to maximise the dissolved oxygen in the water.

Add some salt.

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SALT
You can add rock salt (often sold as aquarium salt), sea salt, or swimming pool salt to the aquarium at the dose rate of 1 heaped tablespoon per 20 litres of water. If there is no improvement after 48 hours you can double that dose rate so there is 2 heaped tablespoons of salt per 20 litres.

Keep the salt level like this for at least 2 weeks but no longer than 4 weeks otherwise kidney damage can occur. Kidney damage is more likely to occur in fish from soft water (tetras, Corydoras, angelfish, Bettas & gouramis, loaches) that are exposed to high levels of salt for an extended period of time, and is not an issue with livebearers, rainbowfish or other salt tolerant species.

The salt will not affect the beneficial filter bacteria, fish, plants, shrimp or snails.

After you use salt and the fish have recovered, you do a 10% water change each day for a week using only fresh water that has been dechlorinated. Then do a 20% water change each day for a week. Then you can do bigger water changes after that. This dilutes the salt out of the tank slowly so it doesn't harm the fish.

If you do water changes while using salt, you need to treat the new water with salt before adding it to the tank. This will keep the salt level stable in the tank and minimise stress on the fish.

When you first add salt, add the salt to a small bucket of tank water and dissolve the salt. Then slowly pour the salt water into the tank near the filter outlet. Add the salt over a couple of minutes.
 
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Silvermist80

Silvermist80

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The fish in the picture on the left, fish has the pink running across the entire top lip, could be physical damage or the start of mouth fungus.

The fish in the pic on the right, with half the top lip covered in pink looks like physical damage.

It's probably physical damage on both but it depends on how long you have had them for. If you only got them in the last week then they might have injured themselves on the ornament. Clean water and salt should stop it becoming infected.

You need some substrate and smooth ornaments for them.

---------------------
Wipe the inside of the glass down with a clean fish sponge. This removes the biofilm on the glass and the biofilm will contain lots of harmful bacteria, fungus, protozoans and various other microscopic life forms.

Do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate every day for a week. The water changes and gravel cleaning will reduce the number of disease organisms in the water and provide a cleaner environment for the fish to recover in.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it is added to the tank.

Clean the filter if it hasn't been done in the last 2 weeks. However, if the filter is less than 6 weeks old, do not clean it. Wash the filter materials/ media in a bucket of tank water and re-use the media. Tip the bucket of dirty water on the garden/ lawn. Cleaning the filter means less gunk and cleaner water with fewer pathogens.

Increase surface turbulence/ aeration to maximise the dissolved oxygen in the water.

Add some salt.

---------------------
SALT
You can add rock salt (often sold as aquarium salt), sea salt, or swimming pool salt to the aquarium at the dose rate of 1 heaped tablespoon per 20 litres of water. If there is no improvement after 48 hours you can double that dose rate so there is 2 heaped tablespoons of salt per 20 litres.

Keep the salt level like this for at least 2 weeks but no longer than 4 weeks otherwise kidney damage can occur. Kidney damage is more likely to occur in fish from soft water (tetras, Corydoras, angelfish, Bettas & gouramis, loaches) that are exposed to high levels of salt for an extended period of time, and is not an issue with livebearers, rainbowfish or other salt tolerant species.

The salt will not affect the beneficial filter bacteria, fish, plants, shrimp or snails.

After you use salt and the fish have recovered, you do a 10% water change each day for a week using only fresh water that has been dechlorinated. Then do a 20% water change each day for a week. Then you can do bigger water changes after that. This dilutes the salt out of the tank slowly so it doesn't harm the fish.

If you do water changes while using salt, you need to treat the new water with salt before adding it to the tank. This will keep the salt level stable in the tank and minimise stress on the fish.

When you first add salt, add the salt to a small bucket of tank water and dissolve the salt. Then slowly pour the salt water into the tank near the filter outlet. Add the salt over a couple of minutes.
That's what I was thinking also. I already did a water change and added some Stress Coat. Believe it or not, I'm working on getting substrate. I went to buy some and the shelves were empty. I finally managed to grab 3 5lb bags, but I know they won't be enough for that tank. So I'm definitely working on it. I'm over the pandemic and supply chain stuff. Ornaments are astronomical in price right now, so I'm getting those as I can. I tried to buy some driftwood and that failed miserably. I just wanted to make sure they weren't starting with some disease. I've had them for about 3 weeks now and they're doing great otherwise. Thanks for the tips and all of the info.
 

Colin_T

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Just monitor their mouths and if they get worse or go red or white, then post more pictures asap. Red is bacterial, white fluffy is fungus. Clean water and salt should treat either if caught early.

You can use plastic or ceramic flower pots and or pvc pipe for ornaments/ hiding places. They don't the best but are cheap options. You can let algae grow on them or spread a thin layer of silicon on them and roll them in gravel or sand or wood chips to help camouflage them.

You only need enough gravel on the bottom so they can't see the glass. So even if you can only get 1/4 inch of gravel over the base, it would help a lot.
 

GaryE

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They'll behave like Cichlids - locking lips and wrestling is a common test of strength. They can be very hard to keep, especially if you have 2 males. They will kill each other, if they are not pleased with each other.

Lip damage is common.

Digging is a huge part of their world, and I see you have bare tanks. I drift over their nests in my kayak all the time, and they like to excavate and sculpt. They also have pretty big territories, even though breeding pairs clump together.
 

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Those are cool fish . I've wanted to have some since forever but I can't have a big tank like yours and I think that's kind of a must have for them.
 

GaryE

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Aren't sunfish a subspecies of the bluegill family?
There are probably 34 living species in the group, and 4 extinct. They are Centrarchids. The idea of sub species is becoming uncommon - they are species standing on their own. Bluegills and sunfish are 'street names' for different species.
 

Rocky998

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There are probably 34 living species in the group, and 4 extinct. They are Centrarchids. The idea of sub species is becoming uncommon - they are species standing on their own. Bluegills and sunfish are 'street names' for different species.
Ah ok! Thanks! Really nice to know actually
 
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Silvermist80

Silvermist80

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I am working on getting gravel for these guys. The biggest bags I can get are 5 lbs, which is ridiculously small for a 100 gallon tank. My local pet stores don't have much in stock. So I have to get a little each time I go and wait for them to restock. Supply chains still suck and inflation sucks even more! 😒
 

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