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Neons With Mouth Rot, Other?

Author Topic: Neons with mouth rot, other?  (Read 731 times)

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Offline Nan

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Neons with mouth rot, other?
« on: March 02, 2019, 07:53:42 PM »
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Hi. I've been fighting something in the tank for months now. Two of the six neons had a noticable case of what I think is cotton-mouth disease. I live in the UK where you cannot get antibiotics at the pet store, so I've been trying to make do with the non-antibiotics.  We were keeping it pretty much controlled - not cured - with melafix and pimafix. But in the last week things have exploded.

The water is crystal clear and gets .25 to .33 water change every week. I've got an airstone going in there. The chemistry is ok. The nitrates/nitrites/etc. is ok.

The neons are in a 5 gallon tank with two albino coreys. The coreys seem fine. In fact, about 10 days ago they spawned like mad. There are a few plants and a moss ball. That's the complete roster of residents.

So, months and months, not better, but not worse. Now the neons are all looking poorly, and some very poorly. We went to the States two weeks ago on a trip and picked up some Kanaplex, as it was recommended at the aquarium store there. Have been through a week's treatment. All the neons are now noticably worse. One seems to have no small fins - they've rotted off. He's still swimming in there, and managing to eat.  I'm horrified. I've re-dosed with Pimafix and Melafix.

I was thinking of doing a substantial water change and vacuuming, as I do every weekend. I have the following other medications, purchased in the same trip for potential future use:

API General Cure
Thomas Labs Fish Mox
Hikari's Betta Revive (for when we have Bettas again)
Seachem's Neoplex

I am not sure which way to go with this. API General Cure is more for parasites. The Betta revive contains neomycin sulfate (<10%), methylene blue (<0.5%), proprietary polymer mixture, buffers, EDTA, malachite green chloride (<0.01%), cyanocobalamin and electrolytes. The Fish Mox is basically amoxycillin. The Neoplex is straignt neomycin. I've also got (and used prior to the Kanaplex) API triple sulfa. They didn't improve on the Sulfa, but got no worse. Now, after the Kanaplex, they look awful.

Because there's coreys in the tank, I have to be careful with salt.

My reading says that the neomycin won't help. I was advised that the sulfa should have done the trick, but it has not. The folks at the aquarium store were pretty sure the Kanaplex would manage it - but, if anything, the little guys look worse now. I'm at a loss as to how to manage this! Help?

Given that there are coreys in there, I have to be careful how to medicate the neons.

Offline Sue

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Re: Neons with mouth rot, other?
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2019, 09:18:03 AM »
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Hi Nan  :wave:

I'm sorry to hear you have problems, we'll do all we can to help.

The first thing to say is that melafix and pimafix are not terribly effective. They are more like us using dettol on a cut, fine to stop infection getting in but if the cut becomes infected you need something stronger. The better medications in the UK are eSHa 2000 and Myxazin by Waterlife.
I know from reading things Americans say that bacteria infections can be gram negative of gram positive and that you need different types of antibiotic to treat them. However, I don't know what kanaplex is  :-[

Do you know your ammonia reading? Ammonia and nitrite are the two most important things to measure. And despite what a test kit instructions might say, the only OK levels for ammonia and nitrite are zero, and nitrate less than 20.
How hard is your tap water? The reason I ask is that fish need to be kept in water of similar hardness to their native water. If you have hard water, your soft water neons will be struggling and will come down with illnesses easier. You should be able to find your hardness somewhere on your water company's website. We need a number and the unit because a lot of UK water companies use some strange units and we need to convert those to the ones used in fish keeping.


Given the things you've already tried, I am at a loss what to suggest next. Daily 50% water changes and gravel cleans won't do any harm.

But there is something I have to mention. A 5 gallon tank is too small for neon tetras and cories. If you could get another tank that is at least 24 inches (60 cm) long they would do a lot better. Being in a tank that is too small stresses fish, and this lowers their immune systems. And the more decorations in the tank the better - particularly live plants. You don't mention what you have in the tank, but not having enough hiding places also stresses fish.

Offline Nan

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Re: Neons with mouth rot, other?
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2019, 09:18:00 PM »
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Hi, Sue! Thanks for responding!.

There are a betta log, several artificial plants, and some live plants. There is an airstone going at all times. The neons were happy, pretty much, for a year until the hood light went out and I replaced it with a LED one. I have angled it back and over one corner of the tank, as it is much brighter than the other one was - so the effect is as if they are in a stream and come out of the overhanging brush into a beam of sunlight. They don't seem to care one way or other about it, though. They neither avoid nor group there in the light. They are not swimming together as a little school, but each is doing his/her own thing and occasionally a few of them will hang out together. So that might just be a coincidence of timing.

The tank is 45cm x 25cm x 21 cm and holds 5 US gallons (about 19 litres). A 20 gallon tank is on our wish-list, definitely. We want a tank that's taller than the usual footprint, and plan to plant it heavily. But that's in the future.

Kanaplex is kanamycin sulfate, supposed to be very good for dealing with a wide range of bacterial (gram pos and gram neg) infections.  Not doing much for my little guys, though.

Amonia/Nitrite/Nitrate are all ok ok.  Tap water is on the soft end of the scale, per the local water board. Specifically, they say:

Calcium mgCa/l  5.60
Magnesium mgMg/l  0.73
Hardness as mg/l CaCo3  16.95

I'm wondering about the corys spawning.... Seriously, I have never seen one female lay that many eggs, and I've had corys for years and years. There were hundreds of eggs. And then in a matter of a few days there were none left. I had assumed they'd been eaten, as I haven't seen any fry. I wonder if they've done something to the water quality that is not showing up on my test strips? I didn't vaccuum the gravel really well last week, as I was afraid that there might be some fry there that I couldn't see. I'll have to give it a thorough job tomorrow morning, and hope that if they are there they will find some other part of the tank to be in.

The only other treatment I have in the house is Tetra Medica Fungistop Plus. I did try that early on, but it didn't seem to do much which is why I thought we were dealing with a bacterial infection. It can't be used in water that's had water treatments to remove heavy metals, which I think is something that's in most of the water conditioners I have.  I'm wondering if it actually is a fungus, and not columnaris bacteria, after all? And it's weakened the fish enough that a secondary bacterial infection is now running wild?  I keep the water temp at 76F (about 24.4C), which is what they have always seemed to like.

I guess it'll be another water change in the morning and then I'll try Fungistop one more time.  :-[   And will check out the two you recommened.




Offline Littlefish

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Re: Neons with mouth rot, other?
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2019, 09:41:12 PM »
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Hi Nan, and welcome to the forum.  :wave:

Sorry to hear that you are having problems with your neons.

I'll leave all the medical stuff to Sue, as she is pretty much our fish healthcare guru.

I will say don't worry too much about your corys at the moment. They can sometimes be triggered to spawn by a water change with cooler water, and if you are doing a lot of cleaning & water changes that sort of thing is quite likely. When they do spawn there are a lot of eggs, but the corys will eat their own eggs, as will the other fish in the tank. This sort of thing has happened with both my peppered corys and panda corys on several occasions.

Keep up the cleaning & water changes, and I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you and your gang.

Offline Sue

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Re: Neons with mouth rot, other?
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2019, 09:51:45 PM »
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There is a clue in what you write, Nan  - the lights. 'Amazon' fish come from rivers with lots of overhanging vegetation and as a result they don't like bright light. The new LED will be stressing them. I suggest you get some floating plants, anything from duckweed to Salvinia, water lettuce, Amazon frogbit etc. I usually recommend water sprite but that grows a bit big for 5 gallons. Or try hornwort or Brazilian pennywort left to float.

I know they are not the same species but I have a shoal of Espei's rasboras (close relatives of harlequin rasboras). When I got them I did not have any floating plants and they huddled together in the back corner. Then I read about floating plants so I got some water sprite - it's a 180 litre tank - and as the plants covered more and more of the surface the fish came out of the corner, but only as far as the edge of the plant cover.
My fish were new to the tank so they were very nervous as soon as they were put in the tank. Your neons were in the tank for a while before you got the brighter lights so they haven't responded in quite the same way as my rasboras, but the light could well be stressing them.


Your hardness is perfect for neons - the two units used in fish keeping are ppm CaCO3 (which is the same as mg/l CaCO3) and dH, aka German degrees. Your 16.95 ppm CaCO3 is very soft, and it converts to 0.95 dH.


Offline Nan

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Re: Neons with mouth rot, other?
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2019, 09:14:56 AM »
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Thanks Littlefish, Sue.  I just checked on them and they are all still alive. The corys are happy as can be, and the neons are in various stages of unpleasantness. The one sans fins is still swimming around in his way....  :(

Until I can find somewhere to purchase the plants, I'll rig up a shade on the light if nothing else. I do miss the "old days" of fluorescent bulbs....  Anyway, it's worth a try. Only one corner of the tank is in "sunlight", but in case that's still too much I think I can angle the light back to just skim the surface of the water and then reflect back off the white wall behind the tank. I have the light on a timer that comes on at 9:00am and goes off at about 9:00pm. They have a natural dawn these days in the room at about 7:15, but their nightime comes very suddenly when the tank light goes off.

I was thinking of using the Tetra Fungistop today - it says the active ingredient is colloidal silver. Oddly, when I go onto their website Tetra says Fungistop's active ingredient is not colloidal silver, but is 4.00 mg of ethacridine lactate monohydrate, 2.75 mg of methylthioninium chloride, and 2.00 mg of acriflavinium chloride. I assume they have changed the formulation? That makes me wonder about the bottle I've got - and why they changed the ingredients.

But, anyway, it appears they use the chlorine+ammonia compound here to disinfect the water supply. I can't figure out how to condition the water without using an additive, and both of the ones I have say they take out heavy metals. (So they'd bond with the silver, making it useless.) I know you can get rid of a lot of the chlorine by boiling, but chloramines are longer-lasting and apparently boiling doesn't remove them. I will do another 25% change today anyway, and test again.

I have ordered some eSHa2000 from Amazon, as there are no aquarium stores near me, and it should be here the day after tomorrow. I'm about to go do another water change and test everything again. Except for the neons looking in bad shape, the tank ~looks~ picture perfect. It's so distressing, thinking that they are suffering in there.

Offline Sue

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Re: Neons with mouth rot, other?
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2019, 10:03:26 AM »
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With chloramine you have to use a dechlorinator as it doesn't gas out on standing like plain chlorine does. And as you say, they all contain something to bind metals as well.

Don't forget to remove any carbon that might be in the filter. Even if it has been in for months there is a chance that a medication could be more strongly attracted to the carbon, push off what's already on it and stick to the carbon where it won't have any effect.

The leaflet on eSHa's website is dated 2007 and doesn't give the ingredients, but I have a leaflet dated 2010 which does. eSHa 2000 contains ethacridine lactate, copper sulphate and proflavine hemisulphate. It sounds similar to the Tetra med's website.
The instructions also say that if your GH is less than 4 dH - and yours is 0.95 - to double the dose.

Don't forget that if you change medication you need to remove the first one before adding the second, by running carbon in the tank for 24 to 48 hours.



Can I just comment on your lighting regime...

If there are no live plants, 12 hours is too much, you'll get algae growing. if you do have live plants it might still be too long, you have to get light duration, fertiliser and carbon dioxide in a balance which enables the plants to grow while algae growth is kept to a minimum.

Fish do not have eyelids. They are distressed if the tank light comes on in a dark room, and if the tank light goes out in a dark room. There should be a period of an hour at each end of the tank light on period where the room is in either daylight or electric light.
So at the moment, the 9 am on time is well over an hour after sunrise, and unless you sleep in late and have thick curtains which block the daylight, that's fine. But at the end of December, depending on how far north you live, the room could be in darkness at 9 am, which is not good.
The 9 pm off time is well after sunset so the room where the tank is should have the room light on till 10 pm.

Fish also need several hours of total darkness, and it sounds as though you are providing this. And good that you have a timer as the tank lights should be on at the same time every day.




My 180 litre tank has 2 LED strips and a tiny blue LED. The room curtains are opened when we get up. LED 1 comes on at 11.30, LED 2 comes on at 12.00. At the other end, LED 1 turns off at 6.30, blue turns on at 6.55, LED 2 turns off at 7, blue turns off at 7.30. This tank is in the dining room, we have dinner at 5.45-ish. We tend to have the kitchen light on from sunset to bedtime, so when sunset is before 7.30 I leave the dining-room-kitchen door open to about 8 pm so the fish get dim light rather than straight to total darkness.

Offline Nan

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Re: Neons with mouth rot, other?
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2019, 10:20:14 AM »
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Hi Sue -

We have light in the room from outside from just before 7:00am these days - enough that I can stumble around and get a cup of tea without having to turn on the overheads.

We are usually in the same room in the evenings until 10 or 11, and there's usually a room light on. However, we were away for two weeks just before all this hit, and the light would have just turned off on them and the room would have been dark (except for what would come in from the streetlamps outside) from 9:00pm.

During the very first hour of actual daylight at this time of year, if there is any sun, it does cross the room and shine directly on the tank. The fish actually seem to love it and swim over to that part of the tank and stay there. (It's very, very weak.)

We have live plants, including a very happy moss ball. We also have some algae on the back of the tank near the bubbler, but not much of anywhere else. Have the water sitting now, and am going to do a water change. Will put the filter back in so that when the eSHA arrives the water should be ready for it.

The fish all ate well this morning, including the finless guy. (How he manages to do it, I don't know, but I watched him eat.)  Fingers are crossed.

Offline Sue

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Re: Neons with mouth rot, other?
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2019, 10:25:22 AM »
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That all sounds fine. The problem with forums is that we can't see your tank, or what the room is like  ;D


Offline Nan

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Re: Neons with mouth rot, other?
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2019, 06:14:38 PM »
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Thank goodness, as I haven't had time to tidy the living room for days.  ;D

Changed 1/3 of the water, put in a new carbon filter pad, scraped most of the algae off the back of the tank where it was proliferating under the light, angled the light further back off the water, increased the flow rate from a trickle to a bit more in the filter, turned up the bubbler a bit. Waited for all that to settle down, then fed the fish. They are all still eating, even the little guy with no fins and the stabilizer control issues.  ::)

Fingers are crossed that we'll see some fin regrowth and a bit less of the white stuff on the other fish's mouths. Soon.

Offline Matt

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Re: Neons with mouth rot, other?
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2019, 08:32:08 PM »
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Offline Sue

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Re: Neons with mouth rot, other?
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2019, 08:55:38 PM »
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Can the dimmer be used on all fish tank LEDs? House lights LEDs come in dimmable and non-dimmable, is it not the same for tank lights?.

Offline Matt

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Re: Neons with mouth rot, other?
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2019, 09:20:55 PM »
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The led lights I have are dimmable via a infrared remote but not on a timed basis to ramp up and down as I have them do... so it's not something I'd put much thought to personally. But I did see this question asked elsewhere recently and can confirm nearly all (if not all) led lights are dimmable in this way. The reason that some LED house light bulbs are not dimmable is due the design of traditional wall dimmer switches not the bulb itself apparently.

Offline Nan

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Re: Neons with mouth rot, other?
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2019, 09:29:31 PM »
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This is the light bar (in the 8-inch version)  I have in there now to replace the LED strip that fried out.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B013NF4MNE/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Not ideal, but I had to have something quickly. I am thinking that it won't take a dimmer switch/timer, although it would be really great if it did. (I had something like that on a tank several years ago, with my incandescent bulbs. It worked great!) Am trying to find out from the vendor.

Offline Nan

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Re: Neons with mouth rot, other?
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2019, 05:16:04 PM »
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Update:  They are all still alive. I pulled them out two days ago and gave them a dip for 30 minutes in Betta Revive and also was sure to use a tiny paintbrush to touch hydrogen peroxide on the worst of the growths while they were temporarily in the net.  I also had a bit of salt in the bathwater.  They seemed to be (probably wishful thinking) a bit more comfortable when I put them back in the tank. They are all still eating well today. Checked the tank parameters, and ammonia was showing up - not surprising as I tried neomycin and had to take the filter out. (Figured it couldn't hurt, at this point. Nothing else has worked.)  Have added amquel and did a 25% water change. Will be watching that closely.

The cory has spawned AGAIN! I've just scraped most of the eggs out, while doing the partial water change. I did keep a few of the eggs that didn't seem fungused, and they are in the net in the water very near to the bubbler. I'm wondering if they will actually hatch?

The eSHa 2000 arrived today and I have now added that to the tank. Fingers are crossed.


Offline Littlefish

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Re: Neons with mouth rot, other?
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2019, 07:21:34 PM »
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Thanks for the update.
I'm glad that all of your gang are still alive. I hope the treatments work, and that they all fully recover.
Keep up the good work.

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