Death and Life in the Aquarium

I am sorry to say that the beautiful Rene, my male bristlenose catfish, died sometime last night. He was at the bottom of the tank, lying on his back when we got up this morning. I had a good look at him out of the water to see if I could learn anything about his demise. He was lumpy of belly, but this was all soft with no hard or prominent lumps anywhere. I could see just a few tiny blisters along his back but no others. I did see some yesterday near his tail, bobbing in the water (!) but perhaps these were deflated out of water… Did he have some sort of bacterial infection or dropsy? No one knows but thanks to those who gave advice.

The good news: the community tank is doing well and Big Boi is making his largest nest EVER! The live plant stems bend in towards it beautifully and he is effectively guarding it from his fish buddies. Betty looks the same as usual; I was hoping to see a belly plump with eggs… We will see.

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Help! Rene the Bristlenose Has Blisters!

Poor Rene the Bristlenose catfish has what look like skin blisters of varying sizes (1-3mm) one or two on each side lower down under his fins. His abdomen also looks bloated. I have done a water change today as the main advice I read online is to do this. I think he may be sensitive to the anti-bacterial drops I’ve been putting in the tank for the last 4 days (5 day treatment period). If this is the case, I am hoping the lumps will heal when I stop the treatment. I’ve been adding Waterlife brand Myxazin which contains Formaldehyde 0.12% w/w, Malachite Green 0.085% and Acriflavine Hydrochloride 0.055% w/w. I have used the full recommended dose for the small tank with 4 x Sparkling Gouramis, and HALF the dose for the main 200L tank as I know the Bristlenoses, Corys and Suckermouth may be sensitive to the stuff.

Any words of advice would be appreciated. Should I dose the tank tomorrow with the last day of treatment or skip this to see if Rene recovers? I’ve found it difficult to find information online on this specific problem. These fish get a bloated abdomen when they are experiencing kidney failure but I’m hoping it’s not that bad and why the bubble blisters?!?

I have posted a photo of Rene, one blister shows as a light grey blur. I’ll add better photos.

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Rene the Bristlenose Has Landed

I had a call today from a lovely lady at Maidenhead Aquatics with the fine news that they had a Bristlenose Catfish in stock. Nancy has been waiting for her boyfriend for a while and he is a similar size to her. The shop seems to get them in so young sometimes that it is not immediately possible to tell the sex. Rene is a beauty. His bristles are fantastic. The photo is of him in the transporting bag but he is now in the tank…in Nancy’s favourite spot hanging on the underside of the planted bogwood. I hope she gets the courage to join him. The woman who sold him to me said he had once belonged to her but she did not have any breeding success, so brought him to the shop to sell. A customer did buy him, but them returned him as he wasn’t wanted for some reason. I want you Rene!!!

I took a couple of (tank!) water samples the the LFS* today for them to test the phosphate level as I believe this is a major cause of hairy algae and I have rather a lot of it at the moment. The level was ‘high’ and all else was fine. While Rene acclimatised to the temperature of the tank, I gave it a spruce. I rinsed the filter media in a bucket of tank water, removed the carbon bag and added JBL PhosEX Ultra. It should remove phosphates from the water and last 6 months to a year (absorbs 18000mg of phosphate). I removed the carbon to facilitate the Interpet Anti Hair Algae I added to the water. The instructions recommend dosing once a week for four weeks. I’m not sure when I can safely put the carbon back in the filter basket though so I’ll have to try and find online forum advice. Does anyone out there have advice about this?

*LFS = Local fish shop. I think I picked this up from wise fish-friend Slimnexus.
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