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Shubunkin with ulcers, dojo loach with bloating, all around worry


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Hello all, I really wish I could have cleared this up on my own but at this point it's getting worse, not better, and I'm getting pretty worried.

Right off the bat, water parameters:

0ppm Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate

pH about 7.4

GH about 200ppm

KH about 120

Temp at about 69-70 Farenheit depending on the time of day

My Shubunkin goldfish, Pebbles, has had some regular issues with developing ulcers that usually have gone away on their own and recently I hadn't had much problems with them. However over the past two weeks they've developed worse than I have ever seen them, and his top fin is started to look really quite bad, plus it has spread to his tail. If on the off chance someone knows just by looking what I can do about this, I'm going to post the initial photo here before getting into details:



Before the ulcers developed I also noticed this behavior that concerned me that seemed like swim bladder problems where Pebbles would be nose to the bottom, tail to the top, which hasn't improved, even after feeding shelled peas:


Pebbles is in a 75 gallon acrylic aquarium with only two other inhabitants: two golden dojo loaches named Omi and Bambam. The tank had something like a fungus outbreak two weeks ago that I had cleared up with a water change and thorough gravel vacuuming. Then it came back a week after that (so one week ago) with a vengeance so I did an even more thorough gravel vacuuming, scrubbed all the hard scape, cleaned the sponge filter and the canister filter which had gotten really gunky with a slime, and started the whole tank on the med trio. The fungus is now 100% gone and even the remnants I hadn't gotten with scrubbing are gone now after the med trio, but that's when Pebbles developed these lesions.

To make matters weirder, Omi, the larger of the dojo loaches whom I think may be a female, has developed this bloating around the anus that I cannot tell if it's constipation or if Omi is egg bound or what is happening here, but shelled peas and meds didn't help with it either.




The smaller loach, Bambam, seems perfectly fine.


As I said I did the full med trio and today is day 7 where I did a 30% water change and I am not seeing any improvement.

I have some minimal amount of plants in here I struggled to get to grow because the fish like to tear them up, but at this point I am considering just taking out the sad looking anubias's, doing a salt treatment, and letting the crypts die cause I'm a bit desperate.


Any tips on my next steps?

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On 9/20/2022 at 8:55 PM, quikv6 said:

How long has the tank been established? I always tend to gravitate towards "why are nitrates at zero in established tank?"

Perhaps your cycle has been disrupted?

Nitrates usually sit around 0-20 depending on when the last water change was done. They're currently sitting around there I think from a) the water changes and filter clean up I did with the fungus issues and b) cause I have pothos growing out of the top. I have also been feeding lightly in general, didn't feed them at all during the med trio, and haven't been fertilizing the tank because of all of the issues with fungus.

The tank has been running for a little over a year now.

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I have a coworker who keeps koi and goldfish and actually said he recognized the disease. He asked what temperature I keep the tank at (between 68 and 70 Farenheit) and I showed him the pictures and he pinned it as Aeromonus - a bacterial infection common in goldfish and koi that causes red ulcers and fluid accumulation. It explains the red ulcers, the dropsy-like behavior, and the swelling in my loach.

His usual go to treatment he recommended was:

A) put in a heater and gradually raise the tanks temperature for a week or two because the bacteria can't thrive in warmer waters

B) three day course of Micro-Lift Broad Spectrum Treatment - a pond medication with the same active ingredients as Ich-X but in stronger concentrations and different percentages;

Ich-X is <5% Formaldehyde, <2% Methanol, and <0.1% Malachite Green Chloride and dosed ~5ml/10gal

Broad Spectrum Treatment is <22% Formaldehyde, and <0.2% Malachite Green Chloride and dosed 1ml/10gal



The treatment I've been doing has been raising the tank's temperature by about two degrees each day until I hit about 80F where I'll keep the tank for about a week. I know these fish don't like temperatures that high, but for a short term I know from experience that they will tolerate it.

The medication, I am dosing 1ml per 10gallons of water, with 30% water changes in between, for three days. So the med schedule looks like:

Day 1: dose med

Day 2: 30% water change, dose med

Day 3: 30% water change, dose med

Day 4: 30% water change

I just finished dose #3 and here's the night and day improvement I have seen on my goldfish already:




The ulcers on his top fin and tail are all but gone, and the ulcers on his side are healing too. As you can see, he's a lot more active right now too, and won't sit still for a photo. His appetite has also shown improvement and he isn't floating tailside up anymore, and generally has returned to much more typical behavior. YAY!

The swelling in Omi the loach hasn't gone down too much yet, but Omi's appetite has at least also improved, and I'm hoping to see more improvement going forward.


I'll keep folks posted on the recovery process but hopefully this was the answer!

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It's good that your fish seem to be doing better, I would be highly suspect of your nitrate readings, however.  How are you getting that number?  Just saying that because that's a pretty good amount of fish and I don't see a single pothos root, so I'm not sure how it would be removing anything?  Maybe they're behind something?

Could be that your water changes are having as much or bigger effect on the sores on the shubunkin.  Bacteria typically grows faster in warmer temps, but I suppose there could be some specific kind that thrives at lower temperatures.  In any event, glad things seem pointing in the right direction, hope that continues!

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