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Sick Raphael Catfish

Badmans Tropical Fish Message Center: archive: Sick Raphael Catfish
  

PetFinatic

Thursday, July 26, 2001 - 10:47 am
Hello everyone. I'm the one that was recently posting about the Ick problem. Luckily, it cleared up last week.
Now sadly, my Raphael Catfish seems sick. I'm not sure if it's my Ammonia (which I know is high since I do have an overstocked tank that isn't fully cycled) or the PH, which is naturally high here in Denver Colorado, or after effects from the medication Maracide that we used for the ich. Now the Maracide said it was safe for ALL fish and I used low doses just to be safe anyway. I've done 4 partial water changes in the past 8 days. I've added Stresscoat and Cycle each time to the water as recommended. I started off using the "Tank Buddies" that are supposed to clear up ammonia and switched to Amquel because someone here suggested it (I think it was Jeff). Now I'm wondering if it's throwing my Ammonia test results off...Jeff, do you know more about that?
Anyway...
The Cat has been acting odd. He normally would hide out in a corner or cave hole all day. About an hour after we'd turned off the lights at night, he'd start swimming and roaming, almost like a shark. Now he is breathing pretty hard and staying in the corner. I've dropped food on him but I'm not sure if he's eating. Even when he was healthy, I'd never actually seen him in the process of eating.
He's moved a couple times from the corner to the cave and then back to the corner. I never saw him move (he did it while I was gone) so I can't tell you what he's swimming like.
What should I do now?
Kick has really been helping me with all aspects of my tank, but she says she's not really sure what to do about the cat either, which is why I'm posting.
Thanks!!
-Tina

  

jeff

Thursday, July 26, 2001 - 12:18 pm
hi tina..about the amquel...yes it will give you false high ammonia readings if you are using the plain nessler test regents..you need to test with the salicyte type regents to get you true results..your tank is still cycling probably adding stress to your fish...forget the cycle crap it does nothing anyway...continue doing your tests and water changes if needed and wait things out a bit...keep a eye on your fish and see if anything changes....smile now!

  

lboy

Thursday, July 26, 2001 - 12:41 pm
If you've been treating the tank for ich, chances are that there is malachite green in the medicine. Raphael cats are scaleless fish and get stressed out by this medicine. It seems like he is in shock or something. Fortunately, you have been dosing it properly and he is not dead yet. I would just suggest you give him some time to recover from being exposed to the medicine.

Also, stop doing water changes. Rapidly changing water conditions will stress him out.

 

  

PetFinatic

Thursday, July 26, 2001 - 12:53 pm
Hello again.
lboy, I amde sure to use a medication that didn't contain malachite green because I do have 2 catfish and a frog and I knew that the medication had to be safe to not harm them, so I don't think that's it. There may have been something else in there though that did hurt him...I don't know.
Jeff,
I'm using "Wardley's Master Test Kit" and I'm not sure if that brand is using Nessler type regents. Is there an ammonia test you would recommend that will work with the Amquel? The other tests seemed to be working fine, so I just need a replacement Ammonia test.
Is there anything special I can do for my catfish right now? Is there a way to make sure he gets some food? Maybe add vitamins to the tank? Sorry...I love this catfish and I really want to help him get better. Thanks for all your help!
-Tina

  

Shan

Thursday, July 26, 2001 - 07:12 pm
Tina,

(After writing this up now I looked up and see that your catfish is a Rafael Catfish. I don't know anything about them or if any of this can apply to him-- but in case it could here goes...)

I can empathize; I have a catfish (Corydora) that is showing signs of stress. I treated him for fin rot, and when I first put him back to his regular tank he was swimming all over and looking fine, but soon it was back to his old habits of hiding. A couple days later I noticed that my dwarf gourami (the one that I thought was behaving himself) was chasing the corys out of their sandbox at night. I suspect that had something to do with his hiding and maybe his fin rot too. Do you have any fish that could be harrasing him on the sly? I removed the offending gourami to what I now call Cell Block G, and I'm just going to watch and see if the catfish improves. One thing I did for my cory's is to put a container of sand in the tank, and I feed them there. It's easier on their fins, and I feel good that they have a place to go if they need a soft place, which they seem to like.

  

jeff

Friday, July 27, 2001 - 12:29 am
tina sorry at work..little time here..I use aquarium pharmacuticals ammonia test(salicyate)works well for me...I am not sure what you have it should indicate method on test kit box...and hey shan..I like your ideas...now tina girl..what exactly are you seeing here with your fish you are worried about?..plain cycling can be stressful enough by itself..

  

PetFinatic

Friday, July 27, 2001 - 12:09 pm
Jeff
the reason I'm worried is because my fish seems sick. He is not as active as he used to be and I haven't seen him eat. Plus he's breathing real hard.
Kick has been helping me and it's really hard to tell for sure what's causing his problems. She says it may be the Amquel, but she's not sure. Has anyone ever had adverse reactions to this product with their fish?
We both are stumped. Kick also thought it may be circulation issues but I think my circulation is pretty good. We also both thought it may just be the new water conditions. None of the other fish are displaying anything bad (luckily!) which makes it even weirder.
Kick also brought up that maybe another fish is harassing the Raphael Catfish, but the only fish that acknowledges him is my other catfish, the Pictus. Now the only reason he's been around the Raphael is becuase I keep dropping shrimp pellets in front of the Raphael in hope that he'll eat them. In turn, the Pictus comes swimming over and eats most of the pellets. No one wants to mess with the Raphael, because he is covered in tiny, sharp spikes and armor.
Any other ideas?
Thanks!!
-Tina

  

Barb

Friday, July 27, 2001 - 10:23 pm
Hey guys!

I'm gonna' jump in here. What are your water parameters now? I'm not sure where you are in the cycling process, but it sounds like you should be in the nitrite phase and possibly having a nitrite spike making your cat sick. Not all fish react the same to a particular level of nitrite. Are all the rest of your fish behaving perfectly normal or are they lethergic, gasping or darting about? Anyway, knowing what your ammonia and nitrite levels are right now may give you the answer.

The rapid breathing means either that he's being toxed from something (like nitrite) or has an infection. With septicemia (infection throughout the body), one may not see anything externally but may only see the distress that the sick fish is in by its' fast breathing. Infections can happen when fish get stressed during the cycling process.

I would check your water parameters pronto. Also, consider moving the cat to a hospital tank to treat him there with an antibiotic and to remove him from your otherwise healthy fish in the main tank. Kanacyn is probably the best antibiotic to use but has to be used with some caution with "sensitive" fish. Maracyn-Two would be another option.

AmQuel will not make your fish sick unless overdosed to such an extreme, that well, you'd never get close to putting that much in.

Barb

  

joycedonley

Saturday, July 28, 2001 - 08:21 am
Tina the infection Barb mentions makes sense. Ich can leave the fishes system weakened and they are then more prone to secondary bacterial infections as a result. If your water parameters are okay and he still acts sick I would treat.Test first you don't want to treat him if you don't have to! I had to treat my fish for bacterial infections after a double ich outbreak a few years ago. I won't advise you on the meds I always use Kanamycin, but I don't have very many catfish(Kick has had lots of catfish). Hopefully he will recover I did loose a couple of small neons or cardinals when this happened.

  

Kick

Saturday, July 28, 2001 - 09:20 am
Barb, that is basically what I told Tina in an email. I am not sure you understand what happened with Tina. She set the tank up, got it running and then the LPS "loaded" her up with fish from the very beginning. She didn't have a lot of knowledge concerning the hobby and has run into a few snags. However, we have been lucky enough to save the fish thus far. I am relatively sure it is the water perimeters that are causing the problem with the cat, but told her to post here to maybe get some other ideas. I usually use Maracyn II for most of my illnesses, but everyone on here (and I know you do, too) use the Kanamycin when possible. Thanks for sharing that it can have negative effects on sensitive fish.

  

PetFinatic

Saturday, July 28, 2001 - 12:54 pm
I tested the water. Nitrites, and Nitrates are minimal. But the pH and Ammonia are very high. The PH in Denver is normally really high, and I did a partial water change again to bring the ammonia down. The cat seems a little better today. Unfortunetly, we lost one of our marble mollies this morning very unexpectedly. I know they prefer salty water and we have no salt in the water due to the 2 catfish, tetra and frog.
All I can really do right now is wait, Like I said the cat looks a little better so we just need to watch....
Thanks everyone!
-Tina

  

Barb

Saturday, July 28, 2001 - 03:13 pm
Are you now using an ammonia tester that is compatible with AmQuel, such as that, which Jeff suggested? If not, your high ammonia reading is meaningless, that is, it is a false positive result and that's not necessarily what is causing the probs in your tank at the moment.

Barb

  

PetFinatic

Saturday, July 28, 2001 - 05:59 pm
I haven't gotten the new Ammonia Kit yet, but we've done 4 water changes and it's been a week since we used the Amquel. I hope to get another kit soon, but I don't drive so sometimes it's a little hard to get places. I figure there has to be some toxisiticy (srry for the spelling) in the water because the catfish is still gasping a bit and so was the molly that died (according to my fiance). So, I'm just trying to keep the water as clean as I can.

  

Barb

Sunday, July 29, 2001 - 08:51 pm
You're a bit stuck then... don't know if the problems are from ammonia or from an infection (like septicemia). As Kick points out, all your fish have been on stress overload and this can make them more susceptible to infection and that may have effected both the molly and cat. I am always concerned when a second fish also gets sick because if a water quality prob doesn't explain the illness or death, then something contagious may.


You could always re-dose with AmQuel (you would not be overdosing your fish if you did this) at the rate of 10 drops per gallon to convert the toxic ammonia to a non-toxic form and see if the cat settles down. Using AmQuel to control your ammonia rather than frequent water changes will allow cycling to continue at a more normal pace anyway, as the non-toxic compound formed is still used in the cycling process.

What size tank do you have, who lives there now and what is their size?

Hang in there! It sounds like Kick has guided you through the worst of it and with her help, she'll get you through the rest of it!

Barb

  

PetFinatic

Monday, July 30, 2001 - 10:45 am
Jeff,
I got the Aquarium Pharmeceuticals Ammonia test and my reading is still high, it's at 3 right now. I'm going to do a water change when I get home. I also added Ammo-Carb to the filter last night (about an hour before I did the test). Hopefully that will help.
Bad news...a red plattie (one from my first batch of fish) died last night. He seemed fine when I got home, he ate a lot and was swimming fine. About an hour later, my Blue Gourami was chasing him around. He went and hid in one of the cave tunnels they have, and hid there for about 10 minutes. Then he came out and was swimming all off-kilter. I ran over to the tank, knowing he was dying, and he took a final braeth and died. It was so sudden. I'm not sure what happened. I know he did have a bit of damage to his tail, and he's had that for 3 weeks, but it was starting to look a little worse, so maybe it was tail rot, but still, it was so sudden and sad.
Barb, to answer your question we now have 1 Dalmation Mollie, 1 red Platy, 1 Raphael Catfish, 1 Pictus Catfish, 1 African Dwarf Frog, 1 Blue Gourami, 2 Fancy Tailed Guppies and 1 Black Skirted Tetra. So that's 9 fish in our 37 gallon tank that is just over 3 weeks old. So it isn't fully cycled yet. If fact, we haven't even gotten into the nitrite spike yet.
The Raphael Catfish is looking a little better. He is still breathing hard, but I did see him swim again a bit yesterday.

  

Barb

Tuesday, July 31, 2001 - 12:44 am
Tina...

Your fish don't need to suffer from high ammonia. It is now the time to redose your tank with AmQuel, which changes the toxic ammonia to a non-toxic form, allowing cyling to continue on. Ammo-carb blocks up the ammonia and halts the cycling process. Please dose your tank with AmQuel now at the rate of 10 drops per gallon or one capful per 10 gallons. Lowering the toxic ammonia now will give your fish a breather.

Barb

  

PetFinatic

Tuesday, July 31, 2001 - 10:25 am
Barb,
When I used the Amquel before it didn't do anything, so I'm trying another method. Plus, my catfishes symptoms started when I put the Amquel in, so I'm worried it may have been the cause. I don't mind if it takes my tank a while longer to cycle as long as I can get rid of the toxic ammonia that is making it so hard for my fish to breathe. And I've been told many positive things about Ammo-CArb so I'm willing to give it a try. Don't worry, there is still plenty of ammonia in there for my tank to cycle. When I was using the Amquel my ammonia levels were at 6. When I did a couple of water changes after I stopped using the Amquel, the ammonia dropped to 3 - 3.5. Now after another water change and the Ammo-Carb, the ammonia level is at 1.5 - 2. So things are getting better. Unfortuently, my Raphael cat is still breathing real hard. I've read about 4 books now and the only thing that sounds close to his exact symptoms is "Gill Flukes". But I can't really see an inflamation or mucus/growth aroung the gills. It's really hard to tell though, since his body type and coloring is so weird. He kind of pokes out all over due to his armor and spikes. Plus he has white spots as his pattern/coloring so I can't tell if it's just just his normal coloring or white inflamation near his gills. It seems pretty symetrical, so I'm thinking it's just his coloring. But what if it's not? I don't want to treat him for something he may not have and stress him out and maybe make him sicker, but I also hate sitting around and not being able to do anything. Plus I still haven't seen him eat.
Argh!!! Any other ideas?
Thanks!!
-Tina

  

PetFinatic

Friday, August 03, 2001 - 10:18 am
Hey everyone!
My Raphael catfish "Tank" was out swimming last night!!! For about a half hour he swam around only resting a couple times!! I'm hoping he is on the road to recovery. This morning he was in the corner by the heater again, but I hope he's ok. He is still breathing hard. I am going to do another partial water change today and hope to get the ammonia down some more and also get the Nitrite down a little (my tank is finaly cycling!!!) How long does the high Nitrite phase usually last?
Thanks again everyone!!
-Tina

  

jeff

Saturday, August 04, 2001 - 01:11 am
tina girl..gads sorry I have been in the middle of a killer home move and fish and plants etc.. everywhere..so I am sorry..but help has been fine..now the amquel won't hurt your fish..you have your new kit so great you need to redose to keep those levels in check but remember with fish and cycling it's harder to keep things under control too..so everything is taking it's toll..if you are really worried about the little guy..take him out and put him in a temp hospital tank and treat him there with kanacyn or Maracyn 2...as suggested earlier..cheer up..ok.

  

PetFinatic

Saturday, August 04, 2001 - 02:17 pm
Again, if anyone read my message in the General Message area, my poor little guy died. Thanks for all your advice. I will miss this catfish, "Tank", so much. When my fishtank fully cycles, I do want another one. They really are the neatest fish, and I wish I had known what I know now. I never would have subjected any fish to such water conditions. I wish I had found this site before I started my tank. I wouldn't have lost 3 fish if I had known about the cycling process.
-Tina

 

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