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Urgent: Sick Skunk Cory..please Help!

Discussion in 'Tropical Fish Emergencies' started by kschaf012, Jul 25, 2016.

  1. kschaf012

    kschaf012 Mostly New Member

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    My skunk corydora is in bad shape.. i'm not sure what's wrong with him and need advice ASAP! About 2 weeks ago, I noticed that the barbels on one of my skunk corys were almost gone (they are very short and stubby compared to the other cory). He was still eating and seemed okay otherwise, so I kept a close eye on him and did pwc's every other day for a few days. A week later, I noticed that his anal fin looked damaged quite a bit..he still seemed to be eating and acting normal. The ammonia in my tank was 0.25 ppm, and nitrates were between 5-10 ppm, so I started doing pwc's with prime and vacuuming the substrate daily and continued to watch him closely.  
    I was out of town this past weekend, and Sunday when I returned my cory looked considerably worse. He seems to be getting thinner and is not showing interest in food anymore. I am definitely seeing redness in the gill area and also on the fish's underside/belly where his fin is damaged.   He is losing coloration on his face, it almost seems like the black areas under his eyes are turning a cloudy white? Could this be some sort of fungus? bacterial?  Could the redness be a sign of red blotch disease?  The redness definitely seems to be internal.  The other cory appears to be slightly red, but definitely not as bad as the other guy.
    I tested the water today-- ammonia is still at 0.25 ppm, nitrates down to 5 ppm. I have been doing partial water changes almost daily for a week,I am not sure what else to do.. is it the ammonia causing these problems? Or could this be something else? Aside from the daily water changes, how else could I get the ammonia to go down to 0 ppm?

    My fish looks very sickly and I am really worried about him and the other fish in my tank.. does anyone have any suggestions on what I should do??   I am at a loss.. i'm afraid if I don't act quickly he is not going to make it much longer.. ): I do have Furan-2 and Prazi Pro.. but I don't want to try and treat the wrong thing and harm my fish even more.
    My tank is a 17G planted tank with sand substrate, I also have 2 otos in there as well. I dose the tank with prime during every pwc. My tank has been set up for about a year now. Here are all of my current tank parameters:

    Ammonia 0.25 ppm
    nitrate 5 ppm
    nitrite 0 ppm
    pH: 7.2
    temperature: 74° F
     
    I'd appreciate any help/advice/suggestions, I really don't want to lose my fish ): 
    I was able to get pics of the redness, and while shining a light you can kind of see the whitish patches on his face I am talking about.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Munroco

    Munroco Member

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    The gravel you have looks way to sharp for corys, their barbels get worn down. I'd suggest sand ro very rounded gravel.
     
  3. Akasha72

    Akasha72 Warning - Mad Cory Woman

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    Hi, welcome firstly to the forum. Lets see if we can get you some help :)
     
    Okay, I can't really tell from your photographs but generally when corydoras start to lost their barbels it's because the substrate is too rough. There's a good way to tell if this is the case. If you scoop a little of your substrate into you hand and rub is between your fingers does it feel sharp or rough? If so this will be why you cory is losing his barbels. If this is the case the best course of action is to change the substrate for a fine sand - kiddies play sand is often the best option. It normally very cheap and is non-toxic.
     
    In terms of any sores, once you've dealt with the substrate problem you could add some API melafix. This is a completely natural product that won't mess up your water.
     
    Ammonia should always be zero, as should Nitrite if you are getting readings for either of these carry on with the water changes and checking the levels daily to make sure they remain zero. Cories tend to be sensitive to ammonia and nitrite and so this will explain the red gills and looking unwell
     
    Hope that helps :)
     
  4. kschaf012

    kschaf012 Mostly New Member

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    Thank you for the replies!! I actually do have a sand substrate.. pool filter sand to be exact.  I changed it from gravel about 8 months ago after learning gravel could harm their barbels.. I think it just looks larger in the photo because it is a zoomed in picture.  They seemed to tolerate the sand well and never showed signs of damage until this incident.  Could there be other problems that may be causing the barbel and fin damage?  
     
    You mentioned API melafix for the sores.. it doesn't seem like the redness on my cory is external, there are no distinct red patches or sores that I can see.. just a general red area on his belly and his gills.. also his "armpit" area.  Could I still use API melafix for this? What does this medication treat?  I haven't seen either of my corys eat in the 2 days that I have been home, it seems like the sick cory is getting thinner by the day.  I am really worried if this continues, he wont have much time left ):
     
    I will attach more pictures, with a better view of his barbels and damaged anal fin.  These pictures are from a week ago, he is much thinner and has redness now.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Akasha72

    Akasha72 Warning - Mad Cory Woman

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    I'm not aware of any other reason why this could be happening. I'm not familiar with the sand you mention, perhaps someone with experience of it may be able to help further in that respect.
     
    Internal redness could point to some kind of internal bleeding - I've just had to euthanize a harlequin that had a tumor that was causing her internal bleeding today but if this cory had a tumor he'd have a visible swollen lump.
     
    Red gills are usually as a result of ammonia. Have you tested your tap water for ammonia? Sometimes there is ammonia present in the tap water. You mention that you are using prime so this should be binding the ammonia if it is there in the tap water. 
    I am just looking at the second batch of photo's and that sand looks really sharp. Not sure if it is the angle of the photo's but I can clearly make out pointed edges
     
  6. cowgirluntamed

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    What kind of filter and media do you have? Do you have well water or get it from a municipal supply? Are you using a liquid test kit to test your ammonia? I have 0.25 ammonia straight out of the tap. I use the api liquid test kit. I had used an HOB filter before and had a sponge and some ammonia neutralizer. Basically zeolite I think. What this was supposed to do is turn ammonia into ammonium, which is not harmful(or as harmful??) to the fish. But, the test kit does not differentiate between the two either, so I was still reading 0.25. I don't know if prime could do this? I added some ceramic media and took out the ammonia stuff, and my ammonia levels dropped. Now, I still don't always hit zero, but there can be a bit of discrepancy in that range as well.

    Other than the cories, how do the other fish look? What kind and how many do you have other than these two cories? I would do what akasha suggested and rub some of that sand through your fingers. I know I've heard of people using pool filter sand but not sure with what fish or if there have been any problems.
     
  7. Akasha72

    Akasha72 Warning - Mad Cory Woman

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    Ammonium is what ammonia converts to when the water is soft and acidic and usually when the tank pH falls below 7 - at least that is what I've always understood. Ammonium isn't toxic to fish and won't kill like Ammonia. I would agree that the test kits do not differentiate between the two aswell - I have had small readings for ammonia in the past but the fish never got sick and that was when I learned about Ammonium vs Ammonia.
     
    The problem with Ammonium and the media is that bacteria can begin to struggle to replicate when the pH is low and the water acidic and so that could be the reason you experienced what you did cowgirl :)
     
    I just thought I'd explain that in case it helps the OP :)
     
  8. kschaf012

    kschaf012 Mostly New Member

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     I tested out the sand like you suggested and it doesn't really feel sharp.. just the normal gritty texture that sand has.  Like I said I have had that substrate in my tank for quite a while now with no problems.. and it was actually recommended to me by a few people for cories.  I am no expert, but I don't think it is the type of substrate that is causing the problem.  I talked to the guy at my LFS and he said that the it sounds like some type of bacterial infection.. he didn't have the right meds for cories on hand so I ordered maracyn II online.  It should be here tomorrow, I just hope it is not too late as the fish hasn't eaten in days and the redness has gotten much worse.  I wasn't entirely sure which maracyn med to order because Im not sure exactly what type of bacterial infection it is (gram negative or gram positive), but after doing some research I found that i'll have a better chance with  maracyn II because most of the common bacterial infections are gram negative, and it doesn't treat a few infections caused by gram positive bacteria. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
     
    To answer your question, I use well water and add prime to it when doing water changes.  I also have a tetra quietflow 10 power filter and I use the API liquid test kit.  The LFS guy also told me that the kit can give false positives, so the whole ammonium testing positive makes sense.  I just wish I knew that beforehand.. I had been doing almost 50% pwc every other day for about a week... if the ammonia wasn't actually high I hope it doesn't cause my tank to re-cycle.  
     
    I also have 2 otos in the tank.. they seem to be acting normal and they look alright.  They like to hide a lot, but this is nothing new and I do seem them come out more frequently at nighttime.  I will hopefully begin the maracyn treatment tomorrow and Ill keep you guys posted!  Thanks again for your input!
     
  9. DoubleDutch

    DoubleDutch Member

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    I'd say it is bacterial indeed. Most barbelloss is caused by such an infection!

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  10. cowgirluntamed

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    Ok, not saying it's not bacterial, it more than likely is at this stage. But we should try to find the reason this is happening just the same, especially if it isn't the substrate. Most fish won't get stressed if their needs are met. If they aren't met, then the fish can be stressed which can cause their immune system to lower and cause things to happen. How many cories do you have? Are they the same type? (It is suggested that cories be kept in a minimum group of 6, more is always better.) Do you have any possible decorations that are really rough that food may have fell on that caused his barbels to be scraped in the first place if it wasn't done on the substrate?

    Also, as for your Otto's. I watched a great video about them so this might be why they are hiding. They also should be in good sized groups.

    https://youtu.be/x2vKPsiBbTk


    As for your water changes, I don't think that will harm your cycle. Unless you are completely cleaning everything that is inside the tank and the filter that is. The bacteria doesn't live in the water but in the substrate and walls and stuff in the tank and also in your filter. Water changes can be one of the best "medicines" most of the time, but not always. It might not hurt to keep up with some water changes until the medicine comes. Clean water is always good.
     
  11. Akasha72

    Akasha72 Warning - Mad Cory Woman

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    oto's 'hiding' isn't unusual. I have three and I rarely see all three at once. I used to have 5 and even then I never saw them all together. Oto's do live in large groups in the wild though so upping their number would be a good thing. I'm currently allowing mine to die off as they are in danger with a pair of angelfish in my tank.
     
  12. kschaf012

    kschaf012 Mostly New Member

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    I really appreciate the helpful replies and advice everyone!!
     
    I am currently on day 3 of a second round of treatment with maracyn 2. I was away for a week and had a friend look after them during the first treatment, and when I got back (3 days after the last dose of meds) I decided to do another round of meds. My cory seems to be breathing a bit rapidly.  He is also still pretty red on his belly area (near his anal fin), his gills and also his "armpit" area seems to have gotten worse in terms of redness... when I look at him closely, it looks like he has a faint red streak at the base of his tail fin as well? His coloration also looks really "patchy"....it almost looks like certain areas of his body are whitish/cloudy. I tried looking with a magnifying glass to see if it was some type of fungus on his body but it is hard to tell.  I attached some pics of him now...maybe someone here can give some insight.
     While he is definitely more active than he was a week ago, his behavior doesn't seem normal to me.  Aside from the labored breathing, he seems kind of restless/skiddish (not his normal behavior).  He is swimming around aimlessly, and a few times I observed him just slowly swimming around in a small circle for extended periods of time.
     
    Although I waited a few days before doing the second round of meds.. I feel like if the problem was bacterial he should have at least improved a little bit from the medication?  Does anyone have any recommendations for other types of "general" meds I should try?  Or any ideas as to what else might be wrong?  Maybe he has something both bacterial and fungal going on at the same time? Or maybe I should try Maracyn rather than Maracyn 2...?
     
     
    Fishaholic--- To answer your questions... Besides the 2 otos, I have only 2 cories in my tank currently, both the same species. (I had 3, but lost one of them not too long after I had gotten him)  I am planning on getting a few more, but I wanted to sort out whatever is going on in my tank before I introduce more fish.  I made sure there were no sharp objects in my tank when I got them.. all I have are a few plants, some driftwood, and 2 decorations (a small skull and a cave--both are relatively smooth and have rounded edges).  
    I checked the water params before starting the 2nd treatment..everything was the same as before (ammonia between 0 and 0.25, nitrates 5)
     
     
    [​IMG]
     
    [​IMG]
     
     
     
     
     
  13. DoubleDutch

    DoubleDutch Member

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    What your describing could be a Trichodina-infection (or a parasite alike). Irritating the skin it causes an excess of slime that looks a bit white / greyish.
    I can't see in the pics though.
    It requires another treatment.

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  14. cowgirluntamed

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    It almost sounds like it could be from the ammonia. Have you tested your regular tap water to see if it has ammonia in it at all before adding to the tank? I'm not sure how sensitive the skunk cories are to it but I know some fish can't tolerate any at all. And it almost sounds like this could be turning into hemmoragic septecimia if there are red streaks beginning in the fins. Which is not good because it's very contagious and can be quickly fatal. Ive treated tetras with api triple sulfa which worked though i did lose three before treatment. As for the ammonia, fast growing plants can help a lot. I know they take up more nitrates but they can also use the ammonia. I have some water lettuce that works really well. You may try that. Also, it could be this guy is stressed due to the meds too. So other than keeping the water and tank very clean, not sure what else to tell you. If the current med you are using doesn't seem to be working after this round, I wouldn't use it again. No sense in stressing the fish more with added chemicals. Oh, and this could have also happened because it's stressed from not being in the proper group size too, though I understand you don't want to give this illness to any new fish. The other cory is doing fine though at the moment? I know getting stress levels down can help sick fish tremendously. Which would mean adding more. But if this is going to become contagious...then I don't know really. That's a hard decision to make.
     
  15. kschaf012

    kschaf012 Mostly New Member

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    As far as I can see, my other cory looks pretty healthy, still eating, etc.  I know that they like to be in larger schools, I have been trying to get more cories for a while but my LFS hasn't been able to get more of this particular species (I don't think they are as common as other corydora species)...and then this happened.  I would hate to put more fish at risk by adding them to my tank before I figure this thing out.  
     
    I was able to get a good look at the fish's underside earlier while he was swimming to the surface... the redness is pretty bad, it almost looks as if it is bloody? Like an open wound or something....just really bright red.
     
    I know that medications can cause stress for fish, but I have been changing the water religiously since this whole thing started and he still seems to be getting worse.  I am not sure what else I can do at this point...how can I properly treat my fish if I can't identify the problem?? Does anybody know of any medications that are more general, that will treat a wide range of things?  Like for example, what if I did a round of meds that treats most parasites, or one for fungi? After these meds are finished, maybe I should give the triple sulfa a try..?  It has to be in one of those categories, isn't it worth a shot?
     
    When I decided to get into the aquarium hobby, I did not think for once that it would be this complicated and involved! Boy did I figure that out fast. [​IMG]
     

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