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Molly has grey patches (and snail infestation)

Discussion in 'Tropical Fish Emergencies' started by Hedgely, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. Hedgely

    Hedgely New Member

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    Hi guys! :)

    I have registered in this forum with the hope that one of you can help me out! Thanks for welcoming me to your community.

    Tank size: 20Gallon
    pH: 6.5
    temperature: 76F
    water parameters: I don't have any tests at hand. I have a planted tank (substrate is aquarium soil covered with sand) that is about a year old with underwater plants plus some houseplants growing out of it and their roots hanging in the water. It still inhabits the original fish without major incidents in one year. The molly in question gave birth to some fry couple months ago of which 4 grew to about 1-1.5 inch. I gave all away but one which is remaining in the tank. I tested the water parameters only once or twice since I didn't have problems, and they were okay.

    Fish Symptoms (include full description including lesion, color, location, fish behavior): Mama Molly developed grey patches. I have read about several diseases, but I am unable to distinguish between fungus, slime coat, ick or what so ever. She is showing normal behavior and it hasnt spread...

    Volume and Frequency of water changes: About once a month 50%. Cleaning the filter (tetra whisper 20) every two weeks. Hanging roots provide some biological filtration.

    Chemical Additives or Media in your tank: I added aquarium salt 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons today since I read it can help Mollies with fungus. I am also trying to raise the ph back up, which is normally higher, but has dropped a bit probably due to an exploding population of Malaysian trumpet snails taking all the carbonate for making their shells? I added some backing soda in fish safe doses until a seachem pH adjuster will arrive in a couple days. Currently trying to trap the snails and removing them manually...

    Tank inhabitants: 4 Mollies (1M 3F), 7 white cloud mountain minnow, 2 otocinclus, 2 nerite snails, a million Malaysian trumpet snails :/

    Recent additions to your tank (living or decoration): -

    Exposure to chemicals: -

    I will up the water changes to 1-2 times a week to help the Molly. I did a 50% yesterday, that is one day after I saw the greyness. But I am not sure which medication to use. There are a million out there. General cure, fungus cure, bacterial cure, combinations of these and each one of those has different ingredients...

    I would be happy about any suggestions!

    Hedgely
     

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    #1 Hedgely, Apr 21, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2019
  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Hi and welcome to the forum :)

    The fish has excess mucous, which is normally caused by poor water quality, low pH or protozoan infections. I would say low pH and poor water quality because you only do a water change once a month.

    The best way to treat excess mucous is by doing a 75% water change and gravel cleaning the substrate every day for a week. If it hasn't improved after 2 water changes then let us know and I will tell you about salt. But right now just water change, water change, water change.
    Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

    ----------------------------
    Whitespot (aka Ich/ Ick) looks like small white grains of salt have been lightly sprinkled over the fish's body and fins. Fish that are infected with whitespot will rub on objects, have trouble breathing and get covered in little white spots.

    Your fish does not have whitespot.

    If your fish do get whitespot, the best way to treat it is to raise the water temperature to 30C (86F) and keep it there for 2 weeks. Then reduce the temperature. If you want to know a bit more about whitespot, see the following link.
    http://www.fishforums.net/threads/what-is-ich.7092/

    ----------------------------
    Fungus on fish normally appears as white fluffy stuff that sticks up out of the body and fins. Fungus grows in damaged areas/ open wounds. The best treatment for fungus is salt.

    Your fish does not have fungus.

    ----------------------------
    Livebearers (mollies, guppies, swordtails, platies) come from water with a pH above 7.0 and a GH above 200ppm for guppies, platies & swordtails, and 250ppm for mollies. If the pH is less than 7.0 it will stress the molly. If the GH is below 250ppm it will cause problems.

    What is the GH (general hardness) 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).

    If your GH is very low, you can increase it by adding mineral salts like a Rift Lake water conditioner for African Rift Lake cichlids.

    ----------------------------
    I recommend a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate once a week. Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it is added to the tank.

    Cleaning the filter every 2 weeks is fine. Wash filter materials in a bucket of tank water. If the instructions say to replace filter media every couple of weeks, let us know what type of filter it is and we can make suggestions to save you money.
     
  3. Hedgely

    Hedgely New Member

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    Hi, thank you for your detailed reply! I read that fungus could also be greyish in color... There is a lot of confusing information out there. Because my fish were fine for one year, I thought the monthly water changes were OK. But I'll be doing more then from now on. Since I did 50% yesterday, I will do another tomorrow and see how things go. Glad to hear that there is an easy remedy and I won't have to bomb the tank with harsh medication, hopefully.
     
  4. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    If you did a water change yesterday, I would do another one today if possible. And then one each day for the next week.

    Fungus in fish is white and fluffy.

    If fish have cream, white or grey patches on their body it is usually a protozoan infection.
    If fish have a cream or white film over their body and fins, it's excess mucous.

    90% of fish health issues are caused by poor water quality and can be fixed with water changes. Out of the remaining 10%, some of them need chemical medications but most don't.

    The following link has information about what to do if your fish get sick. It's long and boring but worth knowing. I recommend printing it out and reading it in bed to help fall asleep.
    http://www.fishforums.net/threads/what-to-do-if-your-fish-gets-sick.450268/
     
  5. Hedgely

    Hedgely New Member

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    I read it, thank you :) did a second big water change today, hopefully things will improve soon!
     
  6. Hedgely

    Hedgely New Member

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    Three big water changes and she still has big grey mucus patches... 120GH, 180 KH, pH7.0, 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrite, 40ppm nitrate
     
  7. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    You need to increase the GH. 120ppm is too low for mollies. 200ppm would be better for them and wouldn't be too high for the Otocinclus. You can raise the GH with a Rift Lake water conditioner that contains calcium and magnesium chloride.

    a Ph of 7.0 is better and should help. :)

    Your nitrates are still too high. You want to try and keep nitrates below 20ppm.
    Check your tap water for nitrates. If you have nitrates in the tap water, you will need to pre-filter it before using it. The following links have some info on Pozzani filters that are used to remove nitrates from tap water.
    http://www.fishforums.net/threads/t...s-using-a-pozzani-filter.448001/#post-3787278

    http://www.fishforums.net/threads/pozzani-filter-update-and-more-qs.448815/#post-3794258

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    If your tap water has 0 nitrates then do a couple more water changes and get the tank nitrates below 20ppm. Then see how the fish looks after the nitrates have been dropped to less than 20ppm.

    If you have 40ppm of nitrate in your tap water, then do another water change and gravel clean before adding 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.

    If you only have livebearers (guppies, platies, swordtails, mollies), goldfish or rainbowfish in the tank you can double that dose rate, so you would add 2 heaped tablespoons per 20 litres and if there is no improvement after 48 hours, then increase it so there is a total of 4 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, 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 but the higher dose rate will affect some plants. The lower dose rate will not affect plants.

    After you use salt and the fish have recovered, you do a 10% water change each day for a week. Then do a 20% water change each day for a week. Then you can do bigger water changes after that.
     
  8. Hedgely

    Hedgely New Member

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    I'm back, followed all your tips and continued water changes.

    However, it's getting worse. She is still grey and now I saw that her tail fin is torn. What is that? Is it now time to medicate with something?

    Here again I have the problem that I don't know what to use... API fungus cure claims it treats fin rot, API fin body bacterial cure also treats fin rot...

    Very concerned :(((
     

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    #8 Hedgely, Apr 26, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
  9. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Colin already detailed the GH and pH aspect, and I am certain that is the issue causing this. The water is way too soft for livebearers, and the pH when it was/gets below 7 is only making things much worse for livebearers. And greyish patches is a very common symptom of water parameter problems, followed by shimmying usually, and death. This can drag out for weeks and even months but the fish are being severely weakened by the soft acidic water and there is no recovery once this goes too far.

    You mentioned soil under sand for the substrate in post #1, and this usually means softening of the water and acidification (lowering pH). Depending upon the buffering capability of the GH/KH this is not likely to be reversible.

    In other words, this tank is not suited to livebearers. If these are your only fish, you can harden the water and simultaneously raise the pH above 7 but if there are soft water fish this can cause issues for them. You mentioned raising the pH but didn't say how, this usually fails because pH is tied to the GH and KH and without addressing these it will just be fluctuating which is even worse for the fish.
     
  10. Hedgely

    Hedgely New Member

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    Hey, thanks for your reply. The first couple months that the tank was running, it was stable at pH 8-8.5. Honestly the pH change totally escaped me. Now that Colin suggested that I measure the tap water, I realized that the pH of that dropped significantly to about 6.5 and I wasn't aware of that change. :/ first I thought it had something to do with the snails...

    There is aquarium soil under the aquarium sand for the live plants, and they have been growing in the same soil about a year before this tank was set up (used to be a filtration free tank with shrimp ). I had no idea this would acidify the water.

    I am changing the pH by using Seachem neutral regulator for water changes to get it from 6.5 out of the tap to 7 and dechlorinate the water. Further increase the pH using Seachem alkaline buffer (also increases KH). Increase GH with a mix of solid magnesium and calcium chloride.

    But this is a slow process.

    And I fear that if the reason is that my tap water changed, I will be fighting against that in every water change. :/ should I just change the tankmates to accommodate the new parameters? (no, I don't want to lose my fish, but also not to suffer)
     
  11. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Have you added salt to the tank?
    If not, then that would be the first thing to use.

    You could try raising the temperature to 30C (86F) and keep it there for 2 weeks. If it's a protozoan infection (grey patching on the body is typical of protozoan infections), the high temperature might kill the parasites without medication. Salt and high temperature will take out lots of things that make fish sick.

    If that all fails then get something that treats protozoan infections.

    Increase aeration/ surface turbulence when using salt, medications or raising the temperature.

    ------------------------
    If you add some shells, coral rubble, limestone or sand stone to the tank, it will buffer the pH a bit and help to stop it dropping below 7.0.
     
  12. Hedgely

    Hedgely New Member

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    I have added salt at the lower dosis you described. I'm not sure I can raise the temp that much with white clouds in there. Just in case, what would a the medication of choice? Thanks so much!
     
  13. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Malachite Green or Copper Sulphate will kill protozoan infections. Copper will also kill snails and shrimp. Move shrimp and nerite snails into a separate tank if using copper and leave the Malaysian livebearer snails to die.

    Malachite Green is carcinogenic (causes cancer) so wash hands with soapy water after using it or working in the tank.

    After you have finished treatment, do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate every day for a week, then put the nerites back in the tank.

    -------------------
    To work out the volume of water in the tank:
    measure length x width x height in cm.
    divide by 1000.
    = volume in litres.

    When you measure the height, measure from the top of the substrate to the top of the water level.

    There is a calculator/ converter in the "How To Tips" at the top of this page that will let you convert litres to gallons if you need it.

    Remove carbon from the filter before treating or it will adsorb the medication and stop it working.

    Wipe the inside of the glass down with a clean fish sponge. Do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate. 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.

    Increase surface turbulence/ aeration when using medications because they reduce the dissolved oxygen in the water.
     
  14. Byron

    Byron Member

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    When testing tap water for pH you must ensure any CO2 is out-gassed or the resulting reading could be inaccurate. Do this out-gas by letting a glass of tap water (no additives) sit 24 hours then test. Another method is to place some fresh tap water in a tightly covered jar and agitate it very briskly for a couple minutes, then test. I would still do the first method to confirm. This will give you the actual pH.

    CO2 dissolved in water creates carbonic acid and thus a lower pH. This can be temporary depending upon the GH and KH but it obviously gives a lower reading than is actually the case. It is not necessary to do this for aquarium water from an aquarium that has been running because the chemistry will be basically stable from a normal and regular CO2 level. But the time of day you test can make a difference because there is a natural pH fluctuation during every 24 hours. Without getting into all that, always test the pH at the same time in the day if you want to see if the long-term pH is stable or not.

    Soil contains organics and these decompose and produce CO2 (and ammonia obviously) which tend to acidify the water. This is most obvious during the first six months to a year, after which this benefit (to plants) is no more than it would be with regular sand. So at this point here, there is likely not much happening.

    First comment, all these additives are not good for fish. Every substance added to the aquarium water gets inside the fish and into the bloodstream and internal organs, and regardless of what the substances are, this is affecting the fishes' normal life processes, may be adding stress, or worse. I'll come back to this below.

    Yes, this is safer for the fish and less work for you. If you determine the GH/KH/pH of your source water, this tells you what is likely to occur in the aquarium due to the normal biological processes. Generally, soft water will remain soft, harder water will remain harder, and the pH will either remain or lower depending upon the buffering capability (determined by GH/KH) and organic load. Selecting fish species suited to this water will make things much simpler, and be more reliable long-term (again depending upon the initial numbers). Water changes will pose no dangers even if massive changes may be needed to deal with an emergency (it does happen). I would want to know the GH, KH and pH (out-gassed) of the tap water to confirm.
     
  15. Hedgely

    Hedgely New Member

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    Thanks so much for the advice. I wasn't able to find any copper sulfate containing medication today, but I got my hands on API Ick cure with malachite green. I guess that's the right thing to use? Would Melafix also be an option, or is everything too advanced for that by now? Alternatively, I can get some copper sulfate on Monday, kind of tempting for the snails, but I didn't want to wait too long to start treatment...
     

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