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  1. #1
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    Hemorrhagic Septicemia - help!

    Hi everyone,
    My 3 year old female pearl gourami has hemorrhagic septicemia.
    Tank stats: 10 gallon
    pH 7.0
    ammonia, nil
    nitrate, nil
    kH, so low it doesn't register despite shells in the filter

    Other fish are a male pearl gourami, five zebra danios and two cory cats. I do 30% water changes every week, with vacuuming, and am very careful about matching pH and temp. I think what brought on the disease was stress because of adding a new gourami, not water quality -- my female, Ma, became very territorial after her mate died, so I got her a new man hoping that would calm her back down, but it only made things worse -- we were in the process of getting a larger tank to solve the territoriality problem when she got sick.

    She became sick last Wednesday 11pm, and initially I used Melafix on the advice of an LFS person, but she hated it when I'd put it in the water -- gasping, racing, etc. -- so I stopped after two days. On Saturday I dosed with Nala-Gram after reading what I could find on this disease. She's only been getting worse. What started out as redness at the base of her pectoral fins is now bloody streaks throughout her fins and feelers, and she sits resting on the bottom and sometimes leans on the glass as well. She does come up for the occassional breath and eats a little, though. The second and final dose of Nala-Gram is due tonight. The instructions say to then wait two days and do a 25% water change and re-introduce activated carbon.

    If she isn't better in two days, should I skip the water change/putting in carbon and try another med? I read furazolidone and nitrofurazone are good for this disease (Furan-2). Should I try to give her medicated food as well? Should I try anything else right now? I'm afraid to wait because she's getting worse -- I feel like she's sitting there saying "help me" and I don't know what's the right thing to do. At the same time, I'm concerned about responsible use of antibiotics -- I don't want to create resistant bacterial strains by doing it wrong. Does anyone have experience with this disease? I really don't want my fish to die!





  2. #2
    No freelancing! OrionGirl's Avatar
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    Do not skip the water change and carbon--it will remove reminants of the medication. Mixing medications is not advisable, so make every effort to remove the old one before starting a new treatment of any kind.

    Septicemia is often the result of ammonia in the water--was there a spike after the last addition? Make sure your test kits are still valid--most have an expiration date, and any results after that date may be inaccurate. The Nalagram is gram negative, and since the fish is not improving, I would guess that this particular bacteria is gram positive. A broad spectrum treatment will likely be more effctive. Treating the fish in quarantine rather than in the main tank will prevent damage to the biofilter.



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    I will buy another test kit and check, but I can't find an expiration date on my test kit. It's less than a year old, though. I test ammonia and nitrite weekly, and there have been no spikes in either that I'm aware of.

    What I've gathered from reading is that there are two kinds of hemorrhagic septicemia. One is viral, the other is bacterial, and the viral one is more of a trout and salmon problem than one found in freshwater aquaria. Bacterial kinds of h.s. are generally caused by aeromonas or pseudomonas bacteria, which are gram negative. I also read that antibiotic resistance is fairly common with this disease. I suppose it's possible that this is being caused by some other bacteria, though.

    I won't mix medicines if that's a bad idea, but should I wait the full two days more with the Nalagram, or just do a water change and pop in carbon now and start with Furan-2 (which treats gram-negative and gram-positive infections)? How long do I have to leave the carbon in to remove all of the current medication from the water?

    I can't treat her in quarantine because though I have a small hospital tank, it's not up and running so I'd have to cycle it first. Also, the danios are showing the same redness now, too, so I really do need to treat the whole tank. Thanks for the input - help is most appreciated!



  4. #4
    No freelancing! OrionGirl's Avatar
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    You will need to wait at least 24 hours after adding the fresh carbon before starting a new treatment, and remove that new carbon for the new treatment. Carbon will remove the new medications as well as the previous round.



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    Wow, you respond fast. Thank you so much -- I'm pretty anxious about this right now. Do you think I should finish the course with the Nalagram, ie wait two days, then a third with the carbon, before putting in the Furan-2? I'm leaning towards taking it out of the water right now, because if it continues to not work, my fish could be dead by then.

    Also, all the fish in the tank except the cories are starting to act strangely. None of them rise above a third of the way off the floor of the tank except for my male gourami, who does it only rarely now. One of my danios has started having swim bladder problems, floating nose down then wriggling to right himself, and all the danios are showing red and swimming right at the level of the gravel. My male gourami is either staying in one place near the bottom, or swimming quickly around, occasionally scraping against a rock. He's not showing any redness, and I can't find any sign of ich. As soon as I get off work tomorrow I'm buying a new ammonia kit and some Furan-2 -- I hope this will help, because this looks like it's turning into a disaster despite my best efforts to the contrary.



  6. #6
    No freelancing! OrionGirl's Avatar
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    I would discontinue the treatment--if it was going to work, you'd see some improvements by now, I think.



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    Sorry I've been so long replying -- I tried several times yesterday and today but for some reason my notes wouldn't post. Here goes:

    I had my water tested at an LFS -- everything just as my test kits said, fine.

    Otherwise, things are really awful . . . Nalagram didn't work. On the advice of an LFS person, I started kanamycin (Kanacyn) treatment last night, but I don't have much hope. The redness is spread throughout her fins -- you can see all of the individual blood vessels running through them. The area around her internal organs shows up red in the tank light, and I can also see the major blood vessels running the length of her spine and along the perimeter of her body. Secondary infections have set it in, and she has two small ulcers on her head, cottoniness on her fins, and her fins are raggedy and lacy looking. Her two long feelers are dying back -- the last half inch of each just looks like a very fine hair with split ends. Unsurprisingly, she's not eating at all.

    I bought clove oil and would euthanize her right now except for the fact that she is consistently up off the bottom for the first time in three days, so maybe she actually is feeling a little better even though she looks like hell? I just don't know. She's barely swimming, just floating and then wiggling every couple of seconds so that she stays in one place instead of drifting with the current. There are places she could go in the tank where she wouldn't drift, so maybe even that she chooses to do this is good? None of the other fish are attacking her, either, which I believe they usually do when death is imminent.

    I know it's very hard to say without seeing her, and even then difficult, but do you have an idea of how to tell when the end is nigh? I don't want to prolong her suffering if she's going to die, nor do I want to kill her if she may actually be getting better. I know this is a toughie and that I ultimately have to decide myself, but any info/advice is welcome.



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