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Hi all, Some of my catfish are turning white, 2 of the 13, they are eating well, all my testing of the water are and have been in range, ammonia mostly 0 but does go up to .25, no higher, nitrite stays at 0, PH running 7.6 and nitrate has gone up to 160, was staying at 80 until I had to pull up my lettus, it bolted. I did spray my tomatoes with a light solution of liquid chelated iron a few weeks ago, that seems to be when they started changing color, they otherwise look great, active, eating. I thought I was careful not to get any spray in the tank, I covered the tank, and the drain, sprayed on a calm day. I used only the smallest amount. I am using expanded clay grow bed with composting worms, worms seem ok.. Water temp is holding at 80-84.

Also I can't seem to get any of my seeds to do anything more than come up and then die. I know the weather is getting hotter, have been trying spinach, celantro, parsley. I know I need more plants. The grow is in a covered area, gets morning sun and filtered after noon sun, should be good on light.

My peppers, tomatoes and basil are doing great.

The fish do not have any moldy, ichy look just turning white, almost a saddle like apearance. I have my tank covered with a solid top and netting on the side, very filtered light. Do they need more light?

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I am only feeding once a day, don't think it's the light reflextion, it is only on 2 of them and I see it even when they are in the most shaded side of the tank also. If I was over feeding wouldn't my ammonia be higher? Will try cukes, ty


The white saddle back legions are usually a sign of columnaris disease I believe.  Keep the feed kinda minimal and make sure you have plenty of aeration and circulation to keep water quality as good as possible.

If those two fish are at all lethargic and easy to net out without stressing out your other fish, then do it and cull those fish to get them away from the others but if they are still energetic and hard to catch, then chasing around in the tank with a net will stress the fish and probably cause more harm than good.

I would salt the system to 3 ppt.

I have had fish recover from this but only the ones least affected.

At signs of disease, back off feed and make sure water quality can stay top notch.  Make sure pumps are clean and flow is good.

Minimize stress (net out dead or lethargic fish that are easy to net without overly disturbing the rest but otherwise avoid freaking the scardy cats out.)

Make sure there is plenty of aeration.

Salt to 3 ppt.

We have eaten plenty of fish that had the white patches on them so if they are big enough to clean that is what we have done with ones that we caught before they died.


 They seem find, just as active as all the rest, All my water testing is good, Have lots of air going in the tank. Odd thing too is I noticed last night that the white patch on one is no longer on just the back but the whole tail, and half the whole back side of the fish is while, front is normal. ??? Could it have to do with the iron I treated with or the liquid seaweed. I remembered your post from trouble I had with fish before TC and salted right away this time. I will try to get pictures, hard to do when they seem to freakout when I uncover the tank.

Sorry Charlotte but the expanding patch is not a good sign.  I wouldn't try too hard to get a picture, just hang in there and hopefully it will get better instead of worse.  Check a few times a day and if the sick ones become slow enough to easily catch without disturbing the rest of them too much extra, then pull them out.  If they remain swimming well with the rest of them, don't even put the net into the tank.

Added some pictures, I still don't understand what this could be, as I said before all my water test is good. Now it looks like some of the others are getting it too, see how it starts on the back in the first picture. They are all active, I have salted and stopped feeding. Again this all started after I added the iron liquid sray to the plants. The water level is low in the pictures, it was the only way I could get the picture, I pumped the water into the grow beds and held it there untill I got the shot, normaly the tank is full.

It wasn't necessarily from the iron.  The disease bacteria tends to be ubiquitous (everywhere) and all it takes for a fish to catch it is to have something weaken them a bit.  Like a scrape to their skin or something stressing them out at bit at some point in time.

Those two with the badly white tails, are probably not going to make it but if you can get them out and keep from stressing the others, they may recover.

Will be really hard to get them out wiithout stressing the others, like I said they are all very active. Do I still stop the feeding? I can't figure out why they would be stressed, I have not changed any of my habits, the tank stays covered, had been only feeding in the evening, and only a few handfulls of which is eaten in just a few minutes. Nothing is messing with them, lots of air, ammonia and nitites are good, PH Ok. And of course I only have troubles when I am pulling double shifts at the hospital, you thnk they feel my stress??  LOL


Charlotte, sometimes things just happen.  Perhaps those two were just a bit sickly to begin with and more suseptable.  Sometimes a water quality spike will be very brief and you might have missed it.  Perhaps power went out for several hours or something.  Who knows.  Try not to stress too much about it.  As I said, as long as you have salted and are keeping a close eye on things, that is probably about all you should do until a fish becomes slow enough to catch it without traumatizing all the others.

I know it's terrible to have sick fish and it is probably stressing you out to no end.  Take a deep breath and realize that there is only so much you can do.  You say you work at a hospital, sometimes ya just gotta wait and see if the treatment is going to be successful.

At least at the hospital I can provide some comfort to my patients while I I still feed? Won't not feeding stress the rest? I have not fed them in days..I put a game camera up last night to see if there is someone (coon or something) messing with them so far nothing. Ty agin TC I look forward to your post.


You can feed but definitely make sure they are eating it all, be careful not to over feed.

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