Single white spot on Bleeding Heart Tetra

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pimudh

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Hi everyone,

I'll go into details to hopefully give a clear picture of what's going on and will write a summary near the end, for those who don't want to read it all.

Around 2 weeks ago I suddenly noticed a white patch on the head of one of my BHT's. It must've appeared suddenly and not slowly grown over time, as I spend quite some time looking at my aquarium on a daily basis and I would have noticed this earlier.

This particular BHT in the picture is around 2.5 years in the tank now and is part of the older generation. It's the runt of the litter and gets bullied by the big boss BHT, who is about twice its size. I originally added 5 BHT in 2021 and 3 of them remain to this day. One was lost quite early on and the other one passed away in the end of October 2023, while I was away. My mother took care of the aquarium for me and was doing a good enough job at it. She told me when I returned that she just noticed the BHT had a white eye and it developed some fluffy, white patch on it. She thought it was fungus and didn't know what to do, so the fish passed away. (She didn't take pictures) I told this later to my LFS and the guy there said it was most likely a fungal infection from a wound. He said it was probably from hitting driftwood or a rock in the tank after some hierarchy dispute. Especially given the fact no other fish ended up getting any signs of fungus or any other health issues for that matter. But after this death the group dynamics of the BHT changed. They got skittish and shy and started having disputes over the darkest place under the driftwood. The biggest one now fully dominated the other 2, with the smallest one taking the most hits and being forced to the corner of the tank to hide under some small Amazon swords.

I decided to add 5 juvenile BHT's to restore the balance. This worked out perfectly and has also made the older BHT's less shy again. Their feeding responses are insane and they are starting to color up nicely. Of course there are still some hierarchy disputes here and there and the big guy still reigns supreme over the prime spot. But that's just the nature of these fish I guess.

Long story short: Could this spot be a wound from hitting a piece of driftwood and if so, is it infected with something? And would it need any treatment? There's no fuzziness to it, so I think a fungus is unlikely but I could be wrong. The fish is also still active, is feeding well and no other fish are suffering from anything that I can notice. I'm planning a visit to my LFS soon as well, so I will ask them too. But in my opinion, more knowledge and advice is always welcome.

Water params and cleaning routine:
0-10 mg NO3/L
0 NO2/L
GH: 7-14
KH: 6
PH: 6.8
Chlorine: 0

The tank is a Juwel Rio 180, I do weekly 25% water changes together with gravel vacuuming. I clean out the filter sponges in the tank water and replace the fine filter floss weekly. Every now and then I replace one filter sponge. When I'm refilling the tank I dose it with Tetra Aquasafe in the bucket, before adding it to the tank. I also add a small dose of beneficial bacteria after the water change to make sure they are always present in healthy numbers. Not sure if it's overkill, but I like doing it anyway.

I hope someone here can tell me more. Thanks in advance!
 

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It looks like a sore with excess mucous over it. The fish also has excess mucous over the body and fins, along with a piece missing from the tail (probably a bite).

Do a big water change and gravel clean the substrate, clean the filter, then add some salt and see how it goes.

--------------------

You don't need to change sponges in the filter unless the sponge starts to fall apart. Just clean the filter each month and re-use the sponges.

--------------------

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. The water change and gravel cleaning will reduce the number of disease organisms in the water and provide a cleaner environment for the fish to recover in. It also removes a lot of the gunk and this means any medication (or salt) can work on treating the fish instead of being wasted killing the pathogens in the gunk.
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 so any medication (if needed) will work more effectively on the fish.

Add some salt.

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SALT
You can add rock salt (often sold as aquarium salt), swimming pool salt, or any non iodised salt (sodium chloride) to the aquarium at the dose rate of 1 heaped tablespoon per 20 litres (5 gallons) 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 1 to 2 weeks. If there's no improvement after a week of salt, post more pictures.

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.
 
It looks like a sore with excess mucous over it. The fish also has excess mucous over the body and fins, along with a piece missing from the tail (probably a bite).

Do a big water change and gravel clean the substrate, clean the filter, then add some salt and see how it goes.

--------------------

You don't need to change sponges in the filter unless the sponge starts to fall apart. Just clean the filter each month and re-use the sponges.

--------------------

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. The water change and gravel cleaning will reduce the number of disease organisms in the water and provide a cleaner environment for the fish to recover in. It also removes a lot of the gunk and this means any medication (or salt) can work on treating the fish instead of being wasted killing the pathogens in the gunk.
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 so any medication (if needed) will work more effectively on the fish.

Add some salt.

--------------------

SALT
You can add rock salt (often sold as aquarium salt), swimming pool salt, or any non iodised salt (sodium chloride) to the aquarium at the dose rate of 1 heaped tablespoon per 20 litres (5 gallons) 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 1 to 2 weeks. If there's no improvement after a week of salt, post more pictures.

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.

Thanks for the info! I'll stop by my LFS this week and get some salt to see if it improves after that. One more question though, is there something I should do to prevent this from coming back or is it just from the hierarchy disputes and it possibly hitting some decor with its head?

As for the filter cleaning, I'll write my cleaning process a bit more clearly. I don't actually replace the sponges weekly, but take them out of the internal filter compartment to wash them. The Juwel Rio aquariums come with this internal filter compartment that you can put a mix of their standard size sponges in. For the anaerobic part I have 2 finer sponges and a bag of Super fish biological filter media. For the aerobic part I have a fine filter floss, a nitrate max sponge from Juwel, a carbon sponge (should this be removed before adding the salt?) and a coarse sponge. I take all of this out when I do a weekly water change and just squeeze gunk and debris out of it into a bucket. Then I rinse the sponges with tank water and place them back. The only part I replace weekly is the fine filter floss, as I have a big pack of it and just cut it to size.

I'll also attach a picture of the aquarium to this post. The Amazon swords are in a rough shape since I only started fertilizing them with root tabs around a month ago, so in 3 years time they had not received nutrients other than fish poo. If they don't fully bounce back, I might get new ones or just rescaoe the whole tank. But that's not the topic of this post lol.

Again, thanks for the info and I'll let you know on this thread if the fish improves after the salt treatment.
 

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Carbon won't affect salt but it will remove medications and plant fertiliser. If you are fertilising the plants, the carbon will remove that. Just take the carbon out and throw it away and don't replace it.

The white filter floss can be hosed off or rinsed under the tap and re-used a few times. We only replace it when it starts to fall apart.

The injury can be from anything. Make sure there is nothing sharp or pointed in the tank (driftwood or pointy ornaments). Make sure the fish don't get startled, especially in the morning when the lights come on.

-------------------

TURNING LIGHTS ON AND OFF
Stress from tank lights coming on when the room is dark can be an issue. Fish don't have eyelids and don't tolerate going from complete dark to bright light (or vice versa) instantly.

In the morning open the curtains or turn the room light on at least 30 minutes (or more) before turning the tank light on. This will reduce the stress on the fish and they won't go from a dark tank to a bright tank instantly.

At night turn the room light on and then turn the tank light off. Wait at least 30 minutes (or more) before turning the room light out. This allows the fish to settle down for the night instead of going from a brightly lit tank to complete darkness instantly.

Try to have the lights on at the same time each day. Use a timer if possible.

If the light unit is programmable, have it on a low setting for the first 30-60 minutes and increase the brightness over time. Do the opposite in the evening and gradually reduce the light for the last 30-60 minutes before lights out.

If you don't have live plants in the tank, you only need the light on for a few hours in the evening. You might turn them on at 4 or 5pm and off at 9pm.

If you do have live plants in the tank, you can have the lights on for 8-16 hours a day but the fish and plants need 8 hours of darkness to rest. Most people with live plants in their aquarium will have the lights on for 8-12 hours a day.
 
Carbon won't affect salt but it will remove medications and plant fertiliser. If you are fertilising the plants, the carbon will remove that. Just take the carbon out and throw it away and don't replace it.

The white filter floss can be hosed off or rinsed under the tap and re-used a few times. We only replace it when it starts to fall apart.

The injury can be from anything. Make sure there is nothing sharp or pointed in the tank (driftwood or pointy ornaments). Make sure the fish don't get startled, especially in the morning when the lights come on.

-------------------

TURNING LIGHTS ON AND OFF
Stress from tank lights coming on when the room is dark can be an issue. Fish don't have eyelids and don't tolerate going from complete dark to bright light (or vice versa) instantly.

In the morning open the curtains or turn the room light on at least 30 minutes (or more) before turning the tank light on. This will reduce the stress on the fish and they won't go from a dark tank to a bright tank instantly.

At night turn the room light on and then turn the tank light off. Wait at least 30 minutes (or more) before turning the room light out. This allows the fish to settle down for the night instead of going from a brightly lit tank to complete darkness instantly.

Try to have the lights on at the same time each day. Use a timer if possible.

If the light unit is programmable, have it on a low setting for the first 30-60 minutes and increase the brightness over time. Do the opposite in the evening and gradually reduce the light for the last 30-60 minutes before lights out.

If you don't have live plants in the tank, you only need the light on for a few hours in the evening. You might turn them on at 4 or 5pm and off at 9pm.

If you do have live plants in the tank, you can have the lights on for 8-16 hours a day but the fish and plants need 8 hours of darkness to rest. Most people with live plants in their aquarium will have the lights on for 8-12 hours a day.

I had no idea the carbon pad actually makes fertilizing irrelevant! Makes sense in hindsight though lol. So thanks for that bit of information. As for the situation of the BHT, it's improved already. The sore has shrunk since doing the big water change, deep cleaning the glass and adding 5 tablespoons of salt. That would technically be for 100L of water, but I decided to take it easy and thought I could always add more. It turns out that might not be necessary.

Thanks a lot for the advice!
 

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