White, thick fuzzy poop and bacterial infections in my 90 gallon freshwater community tank

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christian_b23

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Hi everyone. Recently, I introduced some new fish after a 2-week quarantine process, which included a quarantine medication trio consisting of Fritz Maracyn, Aquarium Solutions Ich-X, and Fritz ParaCleanse. Upon observing them and making sure they were healthy, I added them to my main tank. (90 gallon).

However, in the past few days, I've noticed that many of the fish in the tank are now showing bacterial symptoms of Epistylis, especially considering the presence of differently-sized dots, some of which are located on the affected fish's eyes. Additionally, one of my platies is suffering from mouth rot, and there are cases of fin rot among some of the cherry barbs and neon tetras.

Also, one of my Boesmani rainbowfish had been experiencing white, thick, fuzzy poop with frayed ends. Unfortunately, it died from it, with other symptoms including, not eating heavy breathing, enlarged gills, and significant thinness before death. One of my other Boesmani rainbowfishes that are alive has the same white fuzzy poop but is not thin. It is not eating either. Despite administering prazipro as a treatment for suspected intestinal worms, there has been no improvement.

After the fuzzy poop symptom is resolved with its own treatment period, I intend to initiate treatment afterward for the bacterial symptoms involving Seachem Kanaplex administered in their food, along with salt baths, and Jungle Fungus Clear for 10 days. However, I am uncertain about how to continue to treat the white fuzzy poop as prazipro hasn't had any effect on it. I'm still unsure whether it is due to an Internal Bacterial Infection like the epistylis they have, an internal Protozoan Infection, or Internal Protozoan Infection.

Attached is picture of the affected Boesmani rainbowfish which is still alive for your reference. (The bubbles in the water are from my air pump - for the prazipro)
 

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Stop putting chemicals in the water unless you know what the problem is.

Post pictures of any sick fish.

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If it has red hair like things sticking out its butt, then it has Camallanus (thread/ round worms) and needs Levamisole or Flubendazole to treat it.

Praziquantel only treats tapeworm and gill flukes.

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What is the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH of the water?
 
The boesemani have Camallanus sp nematodes. These wormlike parasites feed by biting into the intestinal walls, and once you can see them, are hanging out the vent to spray thousands of eggs into the water.

The meds you are using are not the right ones. As @Colin_T said, you must find a med with flubendazole or levamisole. There are several in the US market, as Camallanus are an epidemic in many suppliers' set ups. They kill fish and are probably at the root of your major issues. Epistylis usually pops out when there is a primary problem that's not treated.

What is your water change routine? That really matters going forward.

Assume every fish in your tank is infested by the nematodes, and treat following the directions religiously.

As well, jump back from the antibiotics. If you don't know exactly what you're treating, you do more harm than good shotgunning meds at the wall. I can see you care a lot and are trying hard. Target the big problem, and things may settle. Looking at the vents on the rainbows, you are going to lose fish in the proccess. Camallanus really harm their hosts, and they have had a real head start.
 
Currently, my water parameters are: ammonia at 0ppm, nitrite at 0, nitrate ranging between 5-10ppm, and pH between 7.0-7.2. Following your advice, I will remove the prazipro with a 40 percent water change and add activated carbon into the filter.

For the Camallanus, after researching available options, I've identified two potential treatments available to me: Plymouth Discus Product WORMER Plus, containing flubendazole, and Fritz Expel-P, which utilizes levamisole. Both are on Amazon and can be delivered tommorow. Which would be more effective to treat the Camallanus nematodes?

Additionally, I'll be providing more pictures soon.
Thank you for your help and quick responses.
 
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pictures
 

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The boesemani have Camallanus sp nematodes. These wormlike parasites feed by biting into the intestinal walls, and once you can see them, are hanging out the vent to spray thousands of eggs into the water.

The meds you are using are not the right ones. As @Colin_T said, you must find a med with flubendazole or levamisole. There are several in the US market, as Camallanus are an epidemic in many suppliers' set ups. They kill fish and are probably at the root of your major issues. Epistylis usually pops out when there is a primary problem that's not treated.

What is your water change routine? That really matters going forward.

Assume every fish in your tank is infested by the nematodes, and treat following the directions religiously.

As well, jump back from the antibiotics. If you don't know exactly what you're treating, you do more harm than good shotgunning meds at the wall. I can see you care a lot and are trying hard. Target the big problem, and things may settle. Looking at the vents on the rainbows, you are going to lose fish in the proccess. Camallanus really harm their hosts, and they have had a real head start.
My routine water change is 30% weekly. Also based on the reviews, I decided to get the expel p. I will start the expel p treatment tomorrow following the directions religiously. Could you please tell me your recommended order for the treatment plan? Specifically, should expel p be given separately from Seachem Kanaplex in their food, along with separate aquarium salt baths every 2 days (2% concentration), and Jungle Fungus Clear?
 
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Don't give them medicated food.

Get the dewormer with flubendazole because it kills all worms (thread and tape) as well as gill flukes. However, if you have shrimp in the tank, I think it kills shrimp too but you will need to check on that.

Section 3 of the following link tells you how to treat intestinal worms in fish.

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The white stuff on the platy and neon tetra is excess mucous caused by something irritating the fish (poor water quality, chemicals or some other poison).

Do a big (75%) water change and gravel clean the substrate every day for a week and see if it helps. If it goes after a few water changes, then there was something in the water affecting them.

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The white dots on the Otocinclus and rainbowfish is either excess mucous or white spot.
How long have they had the white dots?
Have the white dots disappeared after a few days and reappeared in different areas?

If the white dots have not changed over a week, it is excess mucous.
If the dots have changed place after 3-4 days, then it's white spot.

You can get rid of white spot with heat (30C/ 86F) for 2 weeks or at least 1 week after all the dots have gone. No medications needed, just warm the water up, increase aeration/ surface turbulence, and let the heat kill the parasites.

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Don't give fish salt baths. Every time you chase the fish you stress them. Every time you catch and lift a fish out of water you can damage them and this allows more disease organisms into the damaged tissue.

If you need to treat with salt, add salt to the main tank because that is where the diseases are. Treating a fish in a different area and then putting it back in a contaminated tank does nothing to fix the underlying problem.

SALT
Using Salt to Treat Fish Health Issues.

For some fish diseases you can use salt (sodium chloride) to treat the ailment rather than using a chemical based medication. Salt is relatively safe and is regularly used in the aquaculture industry to treat food fish for diseases. Salt has been successfully used to treat minor fungal and bacterial infections, as well as a number of external protozoan infections. Salt alone will not treat whitespot (Ichthyophthirius) or Velvet (Oodinium) but will treat most other types of external protozoan infections in freshwater fishes. Salt can treat early stages of hole in the head disease caused by Hexamita but it needs to be done in conjunction with cleaning up the tank. Salt can also be used to treat anchor worm (Lernaea), fish lice (Argulus), gill flukes (Dactylogyrus), skin flukes (Gyrodactylus), Epistylis, Microsporidian and Spironucleus infections.

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.

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, 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 but the higher dose rate (4 heaped tablespoons per 20 litres) will affect some plants and some snails. The lower dose rate (1-2 heaped tablespoons per 20 litres) will not affect 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.
 
Thank you for your advice. Currently, I'm on day 4 of the treatment regimen using Fritz Expel-P containing levamisole for the Camallanus infestation.

On day 1, about half of the fish had signs of Camallanus worms, and I dosed expel p. Additionally, I noticed symptoms of Epistylis among the fish. The dots were different in size and were in different areas sticking out. I also noticed one on the eye of the rainbowfish, which led me to provide medicated food with Kanaplex and Focus, and I saw great improvements by day 2. The worms disappeared completely, and Epistylis reduced significantly. I took care to siphon any remaining parasites from the surface of the sand substrate. Furthermore, there was a noticeable improvement in the mouth condition of the platy. The white stuff disappeared from it.

By day 3, there were no signs of worms, and the Epistylis was completely eradicated. However, today, on day 4, I observed one Boesmani rainbowfish exhibiting symptoms of Camallanus with thick, white, fuzzy poop, similar to its previous condition. I cant seem to find any worms on it though, but its anus looks a little enlarged due to the thick white poop. Furthermore, Epistylis resurfaced in about 25% of the fish, possibly due to me missing the morning feeding of medicated food. By the way, fortunately, none of the fish have died since the first day of treatment.

I've refrained from using aquarium salt or Jungle Fungus Clear to avoid overwhelming the fish with multiple medications simultaneously, focusing instead on Kanaplex and Expel-P. According to the treatment instructions, I'm scheduled to redose on Sunday, but with the condition of the rainbowfish, should I dose sooner?

Moreover, I gradually lowered the tank temperature from 80°F to 76°F over a period of two days to mitigate bacterial and Epistylis growth. Thank you once again for your advice an help. Ill provide updates tomorrow. Here are some pictures of the current state of the rainbowfish:
 

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After doing more research on Camallanus, it seems that treating it effectively involves mixing levamisole into the fish's food. This ensures the medication gets inside the fish to paralyze the worms, rather than just affecting the ones hanging outside. Treating the water alone might not solve the internal problem based on this Article
So, I made some medicated food by mixing levamisole (about 1/16 of a teaspoon) with 2 tablespoons of fish flakes. I also added a scoop of Seachem Focus and a bit of Seachem's Garlic Guard, enough to get it soaked. Fed them this along with the Kanaplex medication last night and today.
The rainbowfish that had the Camallanus symptoms looks better. Its anus doesn't look as swollen as before, and I haven't seen any of that thick, white, fuzzy poop. Also, there's been a noticeable improvement in the Epistylis problem. Only about 15% of fish still seem affected, and some of the dots have disappeared, especially the smaller-sized ones.
I've attached some photos to give you a clearer picture of what's been happening. You'll see one rainbowfish that's still affected, with patchy spots and a swollen anus, and another that appears to be fully recovered, with no spots, a normal-looking rear end, and regular poop. I'll keep an eye on things and update you later. Thanks again for all your help!
 

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Here's the update for today: I've observed significant improvements in the Epistylis. The spots have nearly vanished again, with only about 5% of the fish still showing signs, and those that do have only 1-3 small spots remaining. However, my 7 Otocinclus catfish still seem to have many spots left, so I'm planning to address this by adding some crushed algae wafer to a new medicated blend of levamisole and Kanaplex.

There are still no visible Camallanus worms on any of the fish, but the affected rainbowfish continues to have a slightly swollen anus, which appears fuzzy. Its anal condition is the same from yesterday, as shown in the pictures I shared then.

Moreover, there are no more signs of fin rot or mouth rot on any of the fish.

I'll provide more pictures of the fish to give you a better idea of their current state. Additionally, I plan to redose the levamisole in the water column on Sunday. However, I'm uncertain about the duration for which I should continue feeding the levamisole in their food. If anyone has information on this, I'd greatly appreciate it. For now, I'm considering feeding it three days per week.

I'll keep you updated and attach some pictures soon.
Thanks again

***Edit: I've identified that it has had a slightly sunken belly, still with the very small fuzzy translucent matter between its pelvic fin and underbody. This can be seen from yesterday's photos, I will upload more tomorrow.
 
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Update:
Hi everyone, I wanted to provide an update on the current state of my aquarium.

This evening, I noticed the Boesmani rainbowfish with a sunken belly had big red poop hanging from it. Additionally, the sunken belly appears slightly better compared to before. I managed to capture a picture of the poop after it fell on the sandbed. I think it may be from the dyes in their food but want to double-check here. I've been closely monitoring their poop, and it's reassuring to see that most of them are now producing pink/red or brown regular poop.

In terms of diet, I've been feeding them API tropical greens and TetraPro color crisps regularly, along with weekly servings of brine shrimp.

Regarding the white spots on some of the fish, while there has been improvement since 8 days ago, they haven't completely disappeared. To be honest, I've been struggling to determine whether these spots are indicative of ich or Epistylis since I first noticed them. After doing thorough research and going through many forums, I've decided to treat for both conditions using salt at a level of 1 tablespoon per 3 gallons and Ick Clear tablets, following the instructions provided. Additionally, I've increased the temperature to 79°F.

I've uploaded pictures of many of my fish, including those that are affected, for reference. However, I'm still uncertain about the best course of action for the sunken belly issue.

Any ideas on how to proceed with treating the sunken belly?
Thank you all for your ongoing support and advice.
 

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pictures
 

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