Slime coat falling off, reddening of skin

cmeier7

Gambusia
MFK Member
Mar 23, 2013
16
0
16
Moline, IL
Have you tested your water?
Yes
If yes, what is your ammonia?
0
If yes, what is your nitrite?
0
If yes, what is your nitrate?
50
If I did not test my water...
...I recognize that I will likely be asked to do a test, and that water tests are critical for solving freshwater health problems.
Do you do water changes?
Yes
What percentage of water do you change?
31-40%
How frequently do you change your water?
Every month
If I do not change my water...
...I recognize that I will likely be recommended to do a water change, and water changes are critical for preventing future freshwater health problems.
I have 2 pacu and a TSN in a 220-gal that have recently been moved to a new house that are experiencing slimecoat and skin issues. Cottony stuff is mostly gone at this point, but skin/scales and fins still look rough and are not healing. I believe the issues are a result of both the move (mostly fin damage) and the slimecoat problem. I don't think it's fungal, or that's not the main issue, or a parasite. If I can correct the slimecoat, I think everything will correct itself and they can be saved, but I'm not entirely sure what is causing this issue. I have checked and double checked all parameters. pH - 8.0, Ammonia and nitrite zero, Nitrate 50ppm, gH 400+ppm, kH - 160ppm. My current concern is the pH, is 8.0 too high for these species? Perhaps this is the problem. My source water is from a well, hard but no chlorine, tests at pH 7.2. So why is the tank climbing to 8.0? Too much oxygenating from the spray bar in my sump?

Things I have tried thus far:
1. Water change (temporary visual improvement to the health and behavior of the fish, but next day right back to what it was)
2. Stress coat
3. Melafix (2 doses so far)
4. Salt
5. Stress zyme

I brought my sump along with the established bacteria and hooked it back up after the move. Part of the media dried out and removing the substrate also probably removed most of the cultures. So I expect the tank may not be properly cycled, but it's been almost a week now and I expect that It would be doing better by now.

Do you guys think the pH could really be the issue here? Is there a good method to reduce? I'm fairly alkaline so I can't imagine reduction will be easy.

PXL_20210923_001745719.jpg

PXL_20210923_001742503.jpg

test234.PNG
 

1 2many

Candiru
MFK Member
Jun 21, 2021
123
146
46
New Jersey
Your tank is not properly cycled. The nitrates are way too high. The PH is too high for your species of fish. Nitrates should be around 0-5 ppm not 50 ppm. And I believe the PH levels are shifting like that because your tank does not have any buffer right now.
 

FJB

Aimara
MFK Member
Dec 15, 2017
889
1,455
134
Philadelphia, PA
31-40% water changes per month is way insufficient for those fish, and I suspect there are a few others in the tank. Even of no other fish, way insufficient and it shows. Nitrate is high, I am surprised not higher.
In addition to the reddening and sloughing you are observing, the fish are not in good health. Torn fins with infections on them, split fins with small infections, nose injury on the pacu. These are indicative of poor husbandry.
More needed than actual medicines, more frequent, and much larger water changes are needed. The infections and torn fins, as well as the sloughing and reddening could improve on their own just with higher water quality. Medicine may be needed for secondary infections, but not the main thing to address. It can be turned around easily. Good luck!
 
  • Like
Reactions: aroijuana

cmeier7

Gambusia
MFK Member
Mar 23, 2013
16
0
16
Moline, IL
Your tank is not properly cycled. The nitrates are way too high. The PH is too high for your species of fish. Nitrates should be around 0-5 ppm not 50 ppm. And I believe the PH levels are shifting like that because your tank does not have any buffer right now.
Nitrates don't need to be 0-5 ppm for this species of fish. That's almost unheard of to get nitrates that low, only way to get water like that is with an RO/DI system and do daily water changes. These fish have been living in nitrates way higher than 50ppm for a long time before this and have been fine. The KH is 160ppm, so should be plenty of alkalinity.

I do agree though the tank was not properly cycled after I moved everything to a new home. I let my sump's bacteria filtration dry out by accident which I think really messed things up. I'm not sure though how this would be creating my problems directly. I test ammonia and nitrite and they are down to zero. Perhaps there was a spike earlier and I didn't see it. I hadn't been feeding them though so I wouldn't expect the ammonia spike to be too much.
 

cmeier7

Gambusia
MFK Member
Mar 23, 2013
16
0
16
Moline, IL
31-40% water changes per month is way insufficient for those fish, and I suspect there are a few others in the tank. Even of no other fish, way insufficient and it shows. Nitrate is high, I am surprised not higher.
In addition to the reddening and sloughing you are observing, the fish are not in good health. Torn fins with infections on them, split fins with small infections, nose injury on the pacu. These are indicative of poor husbandry.
More needed than actual medicines, more frequent, and much larger water changes are needed. The infections and torn fins, as well as the sloughing and reddening could improve on their own just with higher water quality. Medicine may be needed for secondary infections, but not the main thing to address. It can be turned around easily. Good luck!
Yes just these three fish in a 220 gal. It is borderline too small for them especially with monthly water changes, I agree. However, they are fairly robust compared to most fish, and none of these issues have ever existed before I moved to the new house with the new water source. The injuries to the tail and fins came from the move, they just didn't heal and rather got infected. On the pacu's nose, I think it's just the slime coat falling off, probably again a result of the move bumping their nose into the side of the transfer barrels. I'm wondering how my new parameters might be affecting the fish, or what else might be in the water and doing this to the fish. They have been living in higher nitrates than this before the move, and have had next to no issues, nothing like this. The source water I have at the new house is 50ppm nitrates. The actual tank is closer to probably 80ppm. I am planning to implement RO and rain water to bring the nitrates down so I don't have to do as frequent of water changes.

Long story short, I ended up adding salt (which was lacking creating stress in the fish) and medicating. I also added Neutral Regulator to lower pH. They are doing better now. I wasn't exactly sure what all of the reddening and cottony stuff was, figured out it was probably bacterial infection as well as fungal infection, opportunists of a stressed fish. I think my pH was also too high for them and I may have had an ammonia spike that I didn't catch as a result of the move stirring things up. I read some studies and it appears that ammonia is much more toxic to fish at higher pH. Which makes sense for instance as to why african cichlids are extremely sensitive to water quality. I still have limited understanding as to why the pH of the water was rising. I assume it was a result of oxygenating without being properly cycled, so there was very little CO2 being introduced into the water which will lower pH, plus the water is very hard.
 
zoomed.com
hikariusa.com
aqaimports.com
Store