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Ich, parasites, or something else?


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Hello everyone! 

I have been keeping fish for just under a year and aquarium co-op has been a great resource for me, but now I'm facing something that I'm really having a hard time diagnosing, so here's a long-winded story! 

About two weeks ago I got custody of this bronze Cory catfish, who was sick with swim bladder disease. He was laying on his side, and swimming drunkenly around the tank. I put him in a 5-gallon hospital tank with a filter and an air stone and started medicating him with the quarantine trio. By day 4 I had done a bit more research and I started feeding him boiled peas. After another day he started swimming normally and resting upright on the bottom of the tank. He seemed much better. But then I checked his water and found 2ppm Ammonia! So I did a pretty big water change, probably 60 or 70% plus Seachem prime, but when I checked the parameters afterwards there was still Ammonia. So I checked my tap water. Voila, ammonia. Apparently I've been putting it in my other tank but the biological filter has been taking care of it. 

Anyway, I'm not confident that this hospital tank has a well-established bio-filter in it, so I do ANOTHER large water change with distilled water instead. Needless to say this fish did not sit in the quarantine meds for enough time.

I keep feeding boiled peas and Mr. Catfish is acting totally normal again, eating and swimming upright and taking sips of air from the surface. The tank he came from had no other Cory cats in it, so I assumed the SBD was brought on by the stress of being alone and probably high nitrates. We all agreed he should go in my tank with my 5 Panda Cory cats; not ideal, but better than being by himself hopefully. 

But that means I have to do the quarantine med trio again and actually complete it this time, because I don't want my other fish to get sick. So (I think on Thursday?) I dose with the three medications according to the Co-op instructions. I see a small white spot on his side on Friday, but I'm not sure what it is yet so I give it another day. Saturday morning there are more white spots. I think it's Ich so I do a 30% water change and dose with ich-x. Today there are more spots, and I notice that some of them are protruding quite a bit, like 1 or 2mms (visible in the last picture). I can't find any pictures online that look like this. I read that Ich looks like grains of salt, and there are spots that look like that, but there's also these pokey-out ones. 

Also, this morning I checked water parameters again and they look absolutely wacky--see last picture. Is this really what distilled water is like? I did check Ammonia with an API test kit and it's at 0. 

Could this be flukes? Could this catfish have flukes and ich at the same time? If it's both, how do I treat it? Or is it something else altogether? 

And another question: I'm trying my best to help him out, but am I torturing this fish? Would it be better to go the clove oil route at this point? If he gets better he'll have a pretty long life still, so I felt like it was worth it at the beginning, but now I'm not so sure. 😞 I feel like I painted myself into a corner. Any help is greatly appreciated!!



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I am no expert on Corys but may have a little something here.  I am assuming the test strip picture is on the distilled water. Yes, that is for real. Distilled has nothing in it and should not be used alone. This could be a contributing factor in his illness but not all of it. In my notes on Corys, I noted that for their common disease "watch for white patches around the mouth, which would be a fungal infection but the picture doesn't look like that, it does look like Ich. Something that can help you narrow this down is his behavior, like the swim bladder. I believe you nailed that one. So, additional symptoms are really needed. How long was he in 2 ppm of ammonia? Corys are very sensitive to ammonia and that is high. But that is all I can say for now because how he is behaving would shed some more light into this. On the forum search for some disease gurus and Cory gurus.

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Looks like epistylis it feeds off of gram negative bacterial on the slim coat of your fish causes secondary bacterial infections that's what usually kills your fish and it spreads more quickly at higher temperatures the most effective treatment is broad spectrum antibiotic treatment such as maracyn2 in food feeding a small amount twice a day for 7 days and dose the tank with malachite green that the active ingredient in ick x that will remove it's food source @djtrashjuice


Edited by Colu
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Thank you @evonnerand @Colu! After some additional reading I think it probably is Epistylis. He is pretty lethargic and hiding in the corner of the tank, and he has a spot on his eye. I'm going to do another water change with water from my 20 gallon tank and continue treating with Ich-x. Having trouble finding Maracyn 2 that will get here fast enough so I ordered Kanaplex and will mix that into his food. Fingers crossed! 

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