Harlequin rasbora loss

SRP3006

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Hi all,

Recently added 15 new rasboras to the 15 that are around 18months old. (28/09)
I have had 2 die on my in the last 4 days, one was very small and TBH I put it down to possible bad stock from LFS or generally a weak specimen. However the second one I've lost is one of the established ones that have been breeding recently.
At the minute water changes are at least once a week of 80% but most weeks I manage one mid week as well, the ones that look ill (2 I can spot) have clamped fins, generally look unhappy and have some from of either white growth or rotting fins. Plus their fins are held against their bodies, and the top half of the 'copper' colouring has a cloudy sheen. I have attached a photo to try and help but it's not the easiest to capture when they won't turn and show their bad side.
Can anyone help please.

Forgot to mention, tds sits around 170ppm, ph around 7.3, temp 22.5 and the fish are fed a diet of bug bites, mealworm micro granules, frozen brine shrimp and daphnia, jbl colour plus granules and live grindal worm.

The first photo you can see a healthy rasbora in the shot as well. First photo established one, second new stock.
 

Majsa

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I haven't been particularly succesfull in treating sick fish in the past but let me share my thoughts...
The fish in the second photo looks really bad. From the discoloration I'd suspect it is bacterial and not easy to treat. Do the sick ones still shoal and eat? If there are no spots and the fish are not flashing, you could start with daily water changes and run a course of Esha 2000 as soon as you can get it. It is possible that you lose some more fish during the treatment, but hopefully the rest will not succumb to whatever it is.

Your maintenance and feeding regime sound fine to me. How big is the tank?
I used to run an "extra" planted tank with just a few low-grade shrimp and snails so that I could QT new fish and store spare plants in there, but have given it up now for another tank...:rolleyes:
 

Majsa

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I was browsing though your posts and I think this tank is the new AS900, is it? It looks great! About medication, I'd check first if it stains clear silicone :oops:
 

SRP3006

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I was browsing though your posts and I think this tank is the new AS900, is it? It looks great! About medication, I'd check first if it stains clear silicone :oops:
Thank you, I've not had much experience with medications. Yea it's that tank, all my tanks have snails in, but I do have a spare tank I could put the fish in and try and treat. It's hard to figure out what it's could be, some reports say it could be fin rot from breeding and rivalry. Is esha 2000 my only option? If its bacterial I'm guessing it will continue to spread throughout the entire shoal?

The fish still shoal, no flashing until near the end, but don't eat unless it's put in front of their noses.
 

Majsa

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Thank you, I've not had much experience with medications. Yea it's that tank, all my tanks have snails in, but I do have a spare tank I could put the fish in and try and treat. It's hard to figure out what it's could be, some reports say it could be fin rot from breeding and rivalry. Is esha 2000 my only option?

A spare tank sounds good. There are probably good alternatives for Esha, maybe others have ideas. I agree it is hard to know what it really is. I am currently treating a single sick oto with Seachem Paraguard but he has another issue and I am not sure if it's helping either. Esha 2000 is generally well tolerated and can be combined with Exit for even broader spectrum treatment. I don't like the idea of medications where you need to unplug the filter etc.

If its bacterial I'm guessing it will continue to spread throughout the entire shoal?

That's a difficult one, probably there are strong ones who wouldn't get it in any case. But you just can't tell in advance.
 

alto

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It's hard to figure out what it's could be, some reports say it could be fin rot from breeding and rivalry. Is esha 2000 my only option? If its bacterial I'm guessing it will continue to spread throughout the entire shoal?

The fish still shoal, no flashing until near the end, but don't eat unless it's put in front of their noses.
Start with a White Spot treatment - actual medications NOT the temperature/salt version
eSHa Exit has decent reviews

The fin clamping is classic for external parasites (& these will spread quickly through the shoal)
The reduced food response indicates that fish are feeling quite poorly - so don’t muck about looking for perfect Tx or Tx tank - even just moving the fish to a clean bare bin with fresh water (none from tank), aeration and suitable heat will improve fish situation
Then continue moving fish every 12-24h to a new clean bin
If you want to add a filter, the media should be “clean” as well - yes tank will be “unfiltered” but ammonia can be managed with water changes and the transfers (also addition of Seachem Stability or Amquel ... or both, also high doses of Prime)

I suspect the slight clouding of skin, fin fraying etc are secondary bacterial type infections - though excess skin mucous production (fish response to external parasites) can also give a clouded appearance
(this is also seen more often with “velvet” but less common than ich)

Unfortunately even if you remove fish at this stage, parasite stages will likely still remain in the tank - eg, if Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, this can remain in substrate for significant time (certainly longer than the popular 2 week limit reported)

If you look about ukaps, I think you’ll find several reports of eSHa med use without apparent staining of EA Aquascaper tanks

Note that Seachem Prime will “destain” some of the dye medications ... I suspect it may also sequester active ingredients, so I always allow at least an hour between Prime addition (re water change) and medications

In a bare, fish only system copper medications can also be used (definitely not with inverts or sand substrates) - copper based meds are more effective against “velvet”, also some ich strains

When keeping fish in an unfiltered “tank”, consider fish density, also remove uneaten food after feeding - easiest to just feed fish an hour or so before a planned “transfer”
If you only have a single Tx bin, just do 90% water changes PLUS wiping down all surfaces (again every 12-24h)
Even though Harlequin rasboras are small try to use a 10-20 gal bin - re improved water quality through dilution
 
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alto

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FWIW I’ve never observed fin rot or other infections from breeding/rivalry within a harlequin (and similar sp.) rasbora shoal :rolleyes:

While this MAY occur, I suspect there will be contributing factors - poor water quality being a major factor, and unsuitable tankmates/general conditions so that fish are already considerably stressed before they ever thought about a spawning run

Unfortunately these symptoms are not unusual in harlequin etc rasboras ... and easy to miss under shop conditions
 

SRP3006

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Thank you @Majsa and @alto for the incredibly helpful posts
Today was slightly manic, trying to sort a spare tank after work.
All the Harlequins are in the 50l cube as I could not treat the main tank due to nerites and ramshorns, also shrimp which limited my choice of medications. They were relatively easy to catch so I think they are all slightly unwell, with the few that are very ill. 2 more died today.

The tank is running a hob and heater, bare bottomed, nothing apart from the fish.

I was limited with medication I could get my hands on today but luckily my LFS stocks eSHa meds. So I started the fish on a coarse of eSHa 2000 and eSHa exit, as per the instructions as a very broad spectrum antibiotic.

Am I on the right path to try and help these fish?
 

alto

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very broad spectrum antibiotic
a little bit of everything and specific of nothing :lol:
(aquarium marketing literature is always teeming with possibility)

This older topic gives some detail
http://www.fishkeepingbanter.com/showthread.php?t=58431

Just take care with water quality - I believe eSHa does not follow recommendations of daily water changes and dosing, so you may want to add active biomedia (sponge etc from your EA900 filter) to the HOB
Look for some daily progress of individual fish

For the main tank, carry out maintenance re large water changes, vacuuming substrate, wipe down glass etc - this will help limit reinfection when fish return ... I’m assuming all fish have been removed?

If some fish remain in the 900, I’d treat with eSHa Exit - most snails and shrimp will manage limited treatments (shrimp that have just moulted are sensitive to changing parameters for 18-36h), just increase aeration (filter return splashing/strong surface agitation) and add medication dose in 2 parts, waiting an hour or so between
 

SRP3006

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Just take care with water quality - I believe eSHa does not follow recommendations of daily water changes and dosing, so you may want to add active biomedia (sponge etc from your EA900 filter) to the HOB
Look for some daily progress of individual fish

I took some media from my established filter, not the AS900. Added some matrix and a sponge to the hob filter.
And yes eSHa don't recommend water changes until the 3 day course is completed, I'm guessing I should follow those instructions? Unless treating for a longer period.
 
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SRP3006

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For the main tank, carry out maintenance re large water changes, vacuuming substrate, wipe down glass etc - this will help limit reinfection when fish return ... I’m assuming all fish have been removed?

I left the otos, cherry barbs, cherry shrimp, Amanos and snails. Have I foolishly believed that it would only infect the Harlequins
 

SRP3006

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If some fish remain in the 900, I’d treat with eSHa Exit - most snails and shrimp will manage limited treatments (shrimp that have just moulted are sensitive to changing parameters for 18-36h), just increase aeration (filter return splashing/strong surface agitation) and add medication dose in 2 parts, waiting an hour or so between

The Amanos seem to be moulting frequently, 2 large water changes per week (most weeks) and they seem to moult after every water change (some not all of them) also will the nerites be OK with the exit? Don't want to kill the rest of my stock trying to fix something that has not effected them as yet (not saying it won't)
 

alto

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otos, cherry barbs, cherry shrimp, Amanos and snails.
The cherry barbs are often relentlessly sturdy (except when they aren’t, but I suspect these shipments were affected by Columnaris and already ill at the distributor) so they may be OK, Otocinclus often seem less affected (though they are not immune) ... but given the clear signs of external parasites in the Harlequins, I’d be inclined to treat (lately every time I’ve done the wait and see route, I’ve regretted that choice)

- also how long since you added the new group of Harlequins (I’m implicating them as the Source)?

I typically have Hikari IchX (Formalin only version) on hand, and find that shrimp and snails (and most fish) are very tolerant of this treatment - a 2-3 day treatment at the start of “something” is always much more effective than waiting to see if the cherry barbs will develop obvious symptoms
Going by reports on here (and other forums), eSHa Exit seems very well tolerated
(as mentioned, begin with a halfdose, watch for any shrimp distress, then add remainder - you can even wait until evening/morning before continuing with the dosing - note that most ich meds have photosensitive components so I try to dose after photoperiod, so medication has a good 12h to act before Lights On; you can also leave lights off during Tx but some plants may be less pleased (though again this has a time/duration element))

As they are apparently unaffected at present, I’d also hesitate to place them in the 50l tank with the Harlequins (who won’t appreciate that relentless “good cheer”)

Shrimp and snails are unlikely to be affected by most fish ailments, though snails have been shown to harbour various parasites - but in aquariums this is uncommon
 

SRP3006

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The cherry barbs are often relentlessly sturdy (except when they aren’t, but I suspect these shipments were affected by Columnaris and already ill at the distributor) so they may be OK, Otocinclus often seem less affected (though they are not immune) ... but given the clear signs of external parasites in the Harlequins, I’d be inclined to treat (lately every time I’ve done the wait and see route, I’ve regretted that choice)

- also how long since you added the new group of Harlequins (I’m implicating them as the Source)?

I typically have Hikari IchX (Formalin only version) on hand, and find that shrimp and snails (and most fish) are very tolerant of this treatment - a 2-3 day treatment at the start of “something” is always much more effective than waiting to see if the cherry barbs will develop obvious symptoms
Going by reports on here (and other forums), eSHa Exit seems very well tolerated
(as mentioned, begin with a halfdose, watch for any shrimp distress, then add remainder - you can even wait until evening/morning before continuing with the dosing - note that most ich meds have photosensitive components so I try to dose after photoperiod, so medication has a good 12h to act before Lights On; you can also leave lights off during Tx but some plants may be less pleased (though again this has a time/duration element))

As they are apparently unaffected at present, I’d also hesitate to place them in the 50l tank with the Harlequins (who won’t appreciate that relentless “good cheer”)

Shrimp and snails are unlikely to be affected by most fish ailments, though snails have been shown to harbour various parasites - but in aquariums this is uncommon
So do you think I'm best doing a 3 day course of exit on the main tank? However that means no water changes for 3 days. Should I remove the purigen from the filter whilst I treat?

The Harlequins were added on the 29th September, the cherry barbs approx 14 days ago. All the barbs seem fine and are actually a lot more adventurous since the rasboras were removed.
 

alto

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However that means no water changes for 3 days.
eSHa exit dx
Standard dosage
(for 100 litres / 22 gallons)
Day 1: 20 drops
Day 2: 10 drops
Day 3: 10 drops

I’d just do Day 1 dosing for 3 days with daily water change of ~ 50%

(Also from package dx “Replacing some of the water during or just after treatment effectively removes some of the treatment. Compensate by adding a proportional amount of medication after a water change.”)

I’d remove Purigen and carbon products during any medications
 

SRP3006

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eSHa exit dx
Standard dosage
(for 100 litres / 22 gallons)
Day 1: 20 drops
Day 2: 10 drops
Day 3: 10 drops

I’d just do Day 1 dosing for 3 days with daily water change of ~ 50%

(Also from package dx “Replacing some of the water during or just after treatment effectively removes some of the treatment. Compensate by adding a proportional amount of medication after a water change.”)

I’d remove Purigen and carbon products during any medications
Thank you, forgive me for being slow on the uptake but the day 1 dosing for 3 days compensates for the water changes or would I still need to add more?
 

alto

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I suspect you could do it either way - eSHa wants to avoid publishing ingredients these days, so I’d send them an inquiry ;)

(are they really increasing water column levels on Day 2 & 3, or is the active ingredient being removed from the water column through various processes ... other studies have shown that eg, Formalin and Praziquantel water column levels in bioactive aquaria differ dramatically from those compound levels in “water” - actual “lifetime” in aquarium was 6-12h depending on dosing day)
 

alto

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From that eSHa FAQ

It is possible that your fish have been infected by a persistent strain of spot, such as importspot. This strain of spot develops more slowly than the regular whitespot and, therefore, it takes longer to treat it.
Secondly, chemically-active products such as water conditioners, adsorbing filter materials etc, may have influenced the effectiveness. (check also the Advice section, subjects "Water conditioners" and "Chemically active products").


In both cases the following approach proved to give positive results:

Day 1: 50% water change without water conditioner.
eSHa 2000®: 25 drops /100l
eSHa EXIT: 20 drops /100l

Day 2: 50% water change without water conditioner and start the regular treatment eSHa 2000® and eSHa EXIT.
eSHa 2000®: 25 drops /100l
eSHa EXIT: 20 drops /100l

Day 3, 4,....:
eSHa 2000®:12 drops /100l
eSHa EXIT: 10 drops /100l
Continue adding this dosage until the problem is solved, however results have to be achieved.

Some thoughts
- 50% water change without water conditioner would definitely severely stress (& likely kill some) already ill fish, depending upon chlorine level/use of chloramines
- exactly what is the scientific evidence for “importspot” ... medication resistant strains of Ichthyophthirius multifiliis have been identified in various populations
- there have also been documented instances of Ichthyophthirius multifiliis where the lifecycle completes on the fish (treatment is euthanasia) forming amorphous faintly yellowish “blobs” rather than the distinct sprinkling of white spots
- presumably one carries on Day 3,4 ... 14 ... 21 etc without water changes (deviating far from standard fish veterinary disease treatment protocols)

Again risk assessment would be simple if eSHa would report active ingredient concentrations when their medications were dosed as recommended
(this was once typical information on aquarium hobby grade medications and eSHa labels included all medication ingredients)
 
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