Today, I noticed Mr. P has long white, stringy looking things hanging off some of his fins, and a similar looking thing attached to one gill. They do not look like parasites. He is also extremely discolored, missing scales, and looks like he has small, open wounds and lesions that I can only describe as "furry" or looking like plaques. His gills are also rapidly moving and look discolored. He frequently surfaces for air, sometimes almost in a panicked manner. However, there has been no loss in appetite and only slightly decreased activity. I am fairly sure I am dealing with Columnaris here, possibly an extremely severe case due to the missing scales and open wounds.
Mr. P is in a half gallon hospital tank with no substrate. He is being treated with combined Maracyn 1 and 2, and aquarium salt.
Do you happen to know your water hardness? Maracyn is Erythromycin, which is for gram positive bacteria, Maracyn 2 is minocycline which is for gram negative bacteria. Its supposedly a seninthetic version of tetracycline which is very effective at low pH or acidic water condition with pH no more than 7.4-7.5 otherwise ineffective when used with salt and high hardness levels.
I have found that the maracyn/maracyn 2 combo to be innefective. I had to OD the fish on maracyn 2 to get it to work. My water has a PH over 7.5 plus I think this med. combo may be overused and the bacteria are more resistant to it. Furan 2 is a much better choice IMO. Kannaplex is supposed to be even better but that one needs to be ordered online as I have never seen it in any petshop. Furan2 and kannaplex can be combined for a more powerful anti bacterial combination.
* Effective against a wide variety of gram-positive and gram negative bacterial diseases of aquarium fish, including; Furunculosis (Aeromonas), Dropsy, Gill Disease, Fin and Tail Rot, Hemorrhagic Septicemia, Eye Cloud, Black Molly Disease.
CONTAINS 10 Powder Packets (Treats 100 Gallons)
*Can be combined with Kanaplex to make an even more wide spectrum treatment, especially for difficult cases of Columnaris or Aeromonas. This duplicates the popular Aquatronics product “Spectrogram” that is no longer available.
*Can be combined with Kanaplex & Metronidazole for parasitic, fungal, & bacterial infections; this duplicates the popular Aquatronics product “Paragon 2” that is no longer available.
Is he pineconning? then you may want to switch to plain epsom salt at 1 teaspoon per gallon as already mentioned.
If the maracyn combo is working then I would stick with it but if its not working or he gets worse, I would look into another medication.
Triple Sulfa should also work.
He is not pineconing, but I will stop using the aquarium salt when I do his water change this afternoon. I actually did not notice any bloating until after the addition of the salt, so hopefully that is the problem and I'm not looking at dropsy symptoms here. Maybe some epsom salts will help. It is only Day 3 of the Maracyn treatment, so I am not sure that I notice any pronounced improvement, though Mr. P is not surfacing for air in a panicked manner anymore. Perhaps it is working well for his gill infection. I have not noticed any new lesions on his little body. So certainly, he has not gotten worse, but I guess the improvement is not as pronounced as I would like. He did not eat this morning but quite honestly, I think it's because the medicine makes his Omega One pellets sink almost immediately and he just didn't notice them. He is hanging out by the surface, but he still gets excited when I walk into the room and does not look particularly listless or lethargic to me. Should I expect his scales and lesions to be repaired under the antibiotic in just five days, or is it a good indication that he is healed when his gills begin to function normally again and his swimming behavior becomes entirely normal?
Tikibirds, Mr. P is in extremely soft water with a PH of 5.5. In fact, is is likely much too soft for him, but that is just what comes out of my tap and my vet said that it is worse to raise the PH synthetically than to just allow him to acclimate to whatever comes out of my tap. However, that should mean that the Maracyn should be more effective.
Has anyone had better luck for these symptoms with the Tetracycline? My pet store also carries that, but it's expensive. :( I can't help but feel that if Mr. P were dying, he would not be as energetic/hungry. I hope I can pull him through whatever the trouble is.
From your description of white stringy things and patches, this sounds like a fungal infection from everything I have ever read. Maybe you need to consider using an anti fungal med, rather than treating for fin rot. I wish you the best!