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Spots On Blue Ram Head

Author Topic: Spots on blue ram head  (Read 2425 times)

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Offline ledbelly

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Spots on blue ram head
« on: March 15, 2018, 10:13:44 PM »
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Hello,

I have noticed recently some white spots developing on my blue rams head.

Even after a load of searching on the net I cant find anything about them.

I have had him for 4 months and they have developed over the past few weeks. The odd thing is the spots are uniform in pattern. He has one in the centre and then 3 above each eye and are symmetrical in spacing and pattern.

Is this just natural colourisation or a possible disease?

Water parameters are fine after testing and his behaviour just like normal.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Spots on blue ram head
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2018, 10:43:59 PM »
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Any chance you could try to get a picture of your ram for us to have a look at?

Are they raised bumps, or do they look like changes in pigmentation? Some fish do change their markings as they mature, but I don't personally have any experience with rams.

Offline ledbelly

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Re: Spots on blue ram head
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2018, 11:20:28 PM »
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Any chance you could try to get a picture of your ram for us to have a look at?

Are they raised bumps, or do they look like changes in pigmentation? Some fish do change their markings as they mature, but I don't personally have any experience with rams.

My cameras rubbish and he moves around a lot. They do look more changes in pigmentation but maybe slightly raised, its hard to tell, he is very active to have a good look at!

He does seem to have grown recently.

Offline Matt

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Re: Spots on blue ram head
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2018, 07:17:53 AM »
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I've just been studying pictures of my rams and can't see anything like this on my fish.  If they are not raised that makes me less concerned they are an infection or parasite of some kind.

However... I've just done a quick google and the fact they are symmetrical could point to the early stages of one possible disease known as 'hole in the head' which I believe is more common in cichlids than other fish.  I don't know a lot about the disease so I would suggest doing a little research on this and comparing photos online to your fish to see if you think this could be what you are seeing then let us know. 

I must warn you it is very very difficult to treat hole in the head and so I really hope that you are able to come back to us and say that it doesn't look like this is the culprit.  Fingers crossed for you and your ram.

Offline fcmf

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Re: Spots on blue ram head
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2018, 08:01:50 AM »
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I had actually wondered if they might be breeding tubercles - goldfish develop these and, after a bit of googling, I see that other fish have them eg http://www.seriouslyfish.com/forums/topic/the-zebrafish-as-a-model-for-the-evolution-and-development-of-breeding-tubercles-in-fishes/.

The fact that the spots are symmetrical, that your ram is behaving well (having had these for a few weeks), and that your water quality is fine, suggests to me that there is not too much for concern - perhaps just a change in his patterning as he matures. If his behaviour alters or appetite deteriorates over the next while, though, then that might suggest that there is something untoward. In the meantime, though, I wouldn't be too concerned.

Offline Sue

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Re: Spots on blue ram head
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2018, 08:42:15 AM »
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Hole in the head is now thought to be linked to nitrate in the water, and rams have always been known as nitrate sensitive fish. They also need soft acidic water and slightly higher temps than other fish especially those rams that have recent wild ancestors.

Could you let us know your pH and nitrate readings (and tap water nitrate as well), the temperature of the tank and how hard/soft your water is - you should be able to find this on your water supplier's website. If we can eliminate any of those we can start looking elsewhere for the cause.

Online Hampalong

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Re: Spots on blue ram head
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2018, 02:59:43 PM »
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Last I heard, HITH was caused by Spironucleus. Sue do you have a link to a nitrate cause?

Offline Sue

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Re: Spots on blue ram head
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2018, 04:55:40 PM »
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I'm afraid I don't have a link to a scientific paper, just a lot of people saying that nitrate may well be implicated. But it has been known for a while that that cichlids in general don't do as well in tanks with high nitrate as in in tanks with low nitrate.
I'll see if I can collect some of these comments.

Offline Sue

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Re: Spots on blue ram head
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2018, 05:01:44 PM »
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A few comments from a chap who writes for Seriously Fish

"Nitrate has now been linked to cichlid issues like Malawi Bloat and Hole in the Head. At the very least, nitrate weakens fish. "

"Cichlids are known to have issues with nitrates above 20 ppm over time. Malawi Bloat and Hole in the Head have both now been suggested as linked to nitrate."

"Now, when I say "linked," I mean that the nitrates weaken the fish sufficiently to make them more susceptible to health problems that otherwise the fish might easily fight off."

"He [Neale Monks] mentioned that hexamita and hole in the head in cichlids are now associated with high nitrate levels, and he agreed that Malawi Bloat may well be due to nitrates, and keeping nitrates below 20 ppm for all cichlids is advisable."

Offline fcmf

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Re: Spots on blue ram head
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2018, 05:30:47 PM »
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Just to add to this, although not the original sources of evidence or review-level evidence (eg primary studies, systematic reviews, etc - unsure if any are openly accessible to the general public), a google search for "hole in the head nitrates" does bring up quite a few articles which explain it - it is certainly at least an association:
https://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/features/articles/what-you-need-to-know-about-hole-in-the-head-disease
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/FWHLLECauses.htm [looks as though it may be the same chap Neale commenting at the start of this thread]

Amazing what a google search can throw up - there's even a song with the name of this condition!

Maybe comparing what you're seeing with some google images of this condition might help, @ledbelly, although I still feel somewhat reassured from your description that there isn't too much cause for concern (yet).

Offline ledbelly

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Re: Spots on blue ram head
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2018, 10:13:52 PM »
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Thanks for the replies.

On an API test kit, tap water is between 5 to 20, nitrates in the tank consistently 20 to 40 between water changes. PH 7.4. Hardness 138. Theres a female ram in with him and she is fine.

In terms of comparisons to the photos, these spots are much more deeper in pigmentation than the photos. Its like he has had some white tribal tattoos.

We got them both from an LFS. We do a few tours of fish shops over weekends as well as a few friends with blue rams...in comparison our 2 look really quite striking in colours.

Offline Sue

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Re: Spots on blue ram head
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2018, 08:29:16 AM »
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You do need to get your nitrate down - 20 ppm is the maximum for cichlids. And all other fish as well, but cichlids really do need low nitrate. Do you have any live plants? Water changes should be able to get nitrate down to the same level as tap water and live plants - more than the odd one or two - will take up the ammonia made by the fish so there should be little ammonia left to be turned into more nitrate.

Offline ledbelly

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Re: Spots on blue ram head
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2018, 09:18:25 PM »
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Cheers Sue, tank has 7 plants in it and all growing well.

I did another test and my nitrates looked to be about 10 ppm. Thats lowest I have got it but not sure what changed. I will monitor.

I found a good article here

http://www.cichlidfish.com/Adam/hith.html

Interesting that diet may be a factor.

Are there any other tips about getting the nitrates down, I have read about media and treatments but these look like they could take nutrients away from the plants? Are any particular plants recommended?

Offline Matt

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Re: Spots on blue ram head
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2018, 06:41:37 AM »
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Floating plants are supposed to be particularly effective as reducing nitrates. They are no for everyone though. Do you have a mixture of fast and slow growing plants?

Offline ledbelly

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Re: Spots on blue ram head
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2018, 11:55:53 PM »
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Floating plants are supposed to be particularly effective as reducing nitrates. They are no for everyone though. Do you have a mixture of fast and slow growing plants?

I have one plant that grows like wildfire (cant remember the name) and some Java moss that I cut right back as it started taking over the tank. Others are slow growing, most are common from Pets at Home.

They are the ones I have had most success with as the ones from the LFS just died.

I should remember to make a note of of the names!

The little guy still seems to be doing okay, its not got any worse and he is eating well.

On a plus side, we have a couple of rabbit snails and noticed our first baby one!

Offline Matt

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Re: Spots on blue ram head
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2018, 08:59:11 AM »
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Glad to hear your ram is still ok. I keep the labels from the plants in buy so I don't forget their names...

Baby snails are very cute  :)

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Spots on blue ram head
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2018, 09:34:20 AM »
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Thanks for the update, and good to hear that the little fella is doing ok and eating well.

I always forget which plants I have in the tanks, I really should write things down.

Congratulations on your baby snail.  :)

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