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OT, Sort of..but, I need help

Posted By: Mr Leadfoot <leadfoot@sbcglobal.net>
Date: Tuesday, 15 October 2002, at 8:05 p.m.

I recently posted some things on the FW forum, and although SusanA provided helpful info, I don't think I got enough feedback, and am afraid I may be shooting in the dark and unncessarily risking the health of some fish.

So, I'm consolidating my original posts from the FW forum with the hopes of quickly and easily bringing you other loachers up to speed, so that I may solicit some feedback from those that have been very helpful to me in the past. Here goes:

Post 1:
I have a community tank with clown loaches, mollies, platys, plecos, and 3 tiger barbs, 2 female, 1 male.

Two days ago I noticed that my females barbs are sporting what looks like white lint or cotton near the top of the front ray on their dorsal fins. Doesn't that seem odd? The exact same spot on two females?

Well, the only thing I can come up with as a possiblity is fungus. But, why doesn't the male have it, or other fish, for that matter? Is it stress-related since the male chase these females all the time?

The fish still eat and swim around as usual. Also, I haven't added any new fish to the tank; I've only added two new sword plants recently.

I dipped the two barbs tonight in Seachem's Paraguard. Here's Seachem's own words on Paraguard:

--CLIP
ParaGuard™ is a unique dialdehyde based treatment with synergistic malachite green and fish protective polymers. It is the only liquid medication on the market to control parasitic, bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. It will not damage the biological filter. It is exceptionally effective in dips. It is a highly effective and economical solution for problems of ectoparasites and infectious lesions. It will not affect the pH. A 100 mL bottle treats 200 gallons. Marine and freshwater use.

Sizes: 100 mL, 250 mL, 2 L, 4 L, 20 L

DIRECTIONS: In the aquarium, use 1 mL (top mark on enclosed dispenser) to every 2 gallons. Repeat daily as required as long as fish show no stress. For 1 hour dips, use 3 mL per gallon. Dips may be extended if fish show no evidence of stress. Aquarium Use Only! Keep Away from Children! WARNING! Avoid any contact with eyes. In case of eye exposure, promptly wash with copious amounts of water and seek medical attention.
--CLIP

Now, I've used Paraguard for ICH in the past, and it works. Especially beneficial is that your water doesn't change colors! Anyway, I'm asking for help from those with experience with the symptoms my tiger barbs have.

Questions I need answered are:

1) Is it possible to have brought something into the tank that would cause this cotton-like substance to appear on the fins of the barbs?

2) Does it sound like something Paraguard should help?

3) If so, how soon after a dip treatment should I expect to see improvement, if any?

4) Any thoughts on re-dipping?

5) Is this really a fungus, or is something that femal tiger barbs get when chased by a male? (Am I reaching here? You bet!)

Post 2:
I noticed that some of my clowns and a platy are now glancing off stuff, although the clowns aren't really glancing the way they did when they had ICH. It almost seems like they're actually rubbing their gill areas on slate. Although no fish has any white spots I wonder if they have ICH or some kind of parasite again, which might explain how the barbs got fungus to begin with.

Just guessing, I decided to treat the tank with Maracide, which I started last night. Mind you, this is 24 hours after I dipped the barbs in Paraguard. Some web sites say that Malachite Green will help with the fungus, and Maracide's active ingredient is Analine Green, which is supposed to be the same thing. Maracide is also supposed to work with other parasites, so I'm hoping if it's flukes or ICH, that'll work, too. Does anyone know for sure if flukes are covered by Maracide?

Also, should I add Maracyn and Maracyn 2 to the tank, as well, just to be sure I cover all bases for the fungus, in case it's bacteria-related? Aren't Mardel products supposed to be able to be used together, and not harmful to bacteria biofilters?

Post 3:
I'm now treating with Maracide for the fish rubbing their gills, in case it's a parasite, and because I know Maracide is safe; MarOxy because a molly is showing fungus on his head; and Erythromycin (same ingredient as Maracyn One) because Mardel suggests this antibiotic in conjunction with Maracide and MarOxy to combat any potential secondary infection. It turns out that Maracyn is also used to combat baterial fungus (columnaris, AKA "Black Molly Disease"). Mardel states that Maracide, MarOxy and Maracyn products can all be used safely together. Scary, but I'm hoping this combo will get whatever disease is plaguing my fish. Additionally, none of these products should affect my biofilter.

While I don't expect to receive a miracle here, ANY help, feedback or different perspe