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Old 08-23-2020, 11:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Rainbowfish Mouth Fungus

I have 6 Praecox Rainbows in my 40G planted tank that may or may not have mouth rot. I have been running a UV sterilizer for 3-4 days now and it seems to be helping. There is some brown diatom algae and a slight amount of generic green algae, but I have been working on with cleaning and water changes. The UV sterilizer seems to be helping too. The algae seems to be retreating, and the plants growing well.
The mouth rot (sorry, I don't know the actual name of the malady) seems to be retreating too, But I can still see a very small amount on some of my rainbows.
Should I treat the tank with erythromycin? I understand from reading another current thread that it can also help treat certain algae as well as fish fungus. Or should I stay the course that I'm on now and try and beat this without meds? The brand I have is Fritz Mardel Maracyn.

So, what's could be causing this? My water quality seems good. PH around 7.8 Very low nitrates, no ammonia. But my well water is very hard. Is this a problem? Is it possible that my well water could have a heavy bacteria load?

Do I possibly have too many fish? I have 6 rainbows, 4 African Butterfly Cichlids, about a dozen Cherry Barbs, two Corys, two Kuhli Loaches and some Amano Shrimp and Nerite Snails. I was also going to say everybody seems to be getting along, but I just looked over and one of the Butterfly Cichlids is chasing around the rainbows, so that's probably not good. May have to re-home either the rainbows or the Butterfly Cichlids.

Anybody have some advise for me? Thanks.
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Old 08-23-2020, 12:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Rainbowfish Mouth Fungus

I haven't seen any useful formula for deciding what "too much fish" is. So much depends on the size of the fish, the personalities of the fish, etc. My gut feeling (and my gut has never been certified as an expert) is that you do have too much fish. When I have had too many fish I have had fish wounded by other fish, and some of the fish so cowed they try to stay in hiding all of the time. Wounded or cowed fish are not healthy fish.
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Old 08-23-2020, 01:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Rainbowfish Mouth Fungus

As long as you have a good filter, that amount of fish should be ok. The mouth fungus could be a chronic infection if it doesn't kill the fish in a few days.

If you have a separate tank, you can remove them treat with antibiotics, combo of erythro AND maracyn. I think some brand sells a product that is those combos.
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Old 08-23-2020, 02:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Rainbowfish Mouth Fungus

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlatfishTanker1 View Post
So, what's could be causing this? My water quality seems good. PH around 7.8 Very low nitrates, no ammonia. But my well water is very hard. Is this a problem? Is it possible that my well water could have a heavy bacteria load?

Do I possibly have too many fish? I have 6 rainbows, 4 African Butterfly Cichlids, about a dozen Cherry Barbs, two Corys, two Kuhli Loaches and some Amano Shrimp and Nerite Snails. I was also going to say everybody seems to be getting along, but I just looked over and one of the Butterfly Cichlids is chasing around the rainbows, so that's probably not good. May have to re-home either the rainbows or the Butterfly Cichlids.
Rainbowfish love hardwater. Not the problem. But being picked on by the cichlids could be.

I'm not sure that the tank is overcrowded, but please don't add more!

Antibiotics kill bacteria not fungus. If problem is fungus, mouth growth should be filamentous and fuzzy. Couldn't tell from your picture, even with a magnifying glass. Attached is picture of an Angel fish with mycobacteriosis showing tissue erosion around the mouth. If this is what the symptoms of your fish look like, it could be be mycobacteriosis, a disease for which Rainbowfish are highly vulnerable.

That said, the tank looks great and whatever the problem is, a UV sterilizer will help.
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Old 08-23-2020, 05:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Rainbowfish Mouth Fungus

The picture was actually to show hopefully a fully planted healthy looking tank. I don't think I could capture an image of the fishes mouths. They are too active! The white stuff on the mouths look more filamentous and fuzzy like you say, but very small so far. They don't all have it. The Butterfly cichlids were sold to me as peaceful. I don't think they are being aggressive, it's more like they are playing. But I'm sure the rainbowfish don't see it that way! So I will try to re-home them. Anybody on this forum is welcome to have them if they live in San Diego.

Anyway, Here is a picture of the Maracyn box I have. It says the active ingredient is erythromycin. As you can see, the cover says it provides relief from bacterial infection and treats and controls body fungus. I guess it can't do both.

And... the UV sterilizer is running and causing a pretty strong current. A current the the rainbowfish spend most of their time right in the middle of. There is plenty of room for them to get out of the current, but they insist on swimming against it for hours. Is this good for them, or is this adding even MORE stress?

Lastly, thank you SOOO much Ms. Walstad for taking so much time to monitor these forums and help so many people. You are a treasure.
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Old 08-24-2020, 10:09 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Rainbowfish Mouth Fungus

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Originally Posted by FlatfishTanker1 View Post
Anyway, Here is a picture of the Maracyn box I have. It says the active ingredient is erythromycin. As you can see, the cover says it provides relief from bacterial infection and treats and controls body fungus. I guess it can't do both.
In this case, the product is referring to columnaris as "body fungus", but columnaris is a bacterial disease (Flavobacterium columnare). Properly diagnosing the issue would ideally be the first step to decide what to treat it with - unfortunately I know that is likely easier said than done, short of visiting a veterinarian that specializes in aquatics. The quarantine tank recommendation is a good one - if you do decide to treat the fish with broad-spectrum antibiotics or antifungal, you would do better treating only the affected ones, rather than the whole entire tank.
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Old 08-24-2020, 01:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Rainbowfish Mouth Fungus

I wish I had a quarantine tank, but I don't. So, I guess the question is, is Erythromycin an anti-fungal or an anti-biotic?
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Old 08-24-2020, 04:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Rainbowfish Mouth Fungus

Here’s info on columnaris https://fishlab.com/columnaris/
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Old 08-24-2020, 04:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Rainbowfish Mouth Fungus

Erythromycin is an antibiotic, so it fights bacteria not fungus.

So many times with fish problems, you are just guessing unless you consult a vet, and that's really a lot of trouble for the average hobbyist. If problem gets worse, you could try the Maracyn. My experience has been that is doesn't hurt and it might kill a secondary bacterial infection.

I would slow down the current from the UV filter. That's because the more time the water is inside filter and in contact with the UV lamp, the more it will kill the bacteria/fungus/viruses in the water. You don't need a strong current and if its too fast, the filter is less effective than it could be.

I think you are going in the right direction.
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Old 09-04-2020, 07:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Rainbowfish Mouth Fungus

Update: I treated the tank with erythromycin for the suggested 5 days. Out of the 6 Rainbows I have, I lost one on the second day. The rest of the fish are fine. The white on the mouths reduced some but is still there. Is it possible that this is actually IS a fungus and not columnaris? Or is it still likely a bacterial infection that simply is stronger than the meds I treated them with?
On a more depressing note: I read some of the D Walstad thread on fish disease and MB. Fish keeping seems kind of hopeless sometime. Always battling one thing or another. My snakes are sooooo much easier!
But... at least this is more of an intellectual pursuit, and keeps my mind active! Always enjoy learning new things.
Does Ich-X treat fungal diseases, or just parasitic stuff?
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