Maxillary barbels whiten and soften at the ends?

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Viktor Jarikov
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Maxillary barbels whiten and soften at the ends?

Post by Viktor Jarikov »

Hi all,

(1) For a long while, some of my cats in the community tanks have exhibited this symptom where their maxillary barbels (the longest barbels originating on the sides on the upper jaw) become very soft and white/colorless at the very ends. It is as if they are rotting off.

It is a small portion of the barbels, maybe 1/4 inch out of the roughly several inches of total length. It is not inflamed and has no redness and the fish eat well and behave normal. Water parameters are good and stable: NH3 0, NO2 0, NO3 ~5 ppm, pH ~7.2; ~78 F in the summer time, ~74 F in winter time.

Is it symptomatic of anything particular, I mean with a reliable degree of certainty? Not just a wild guess. Could it be some other water parameter that I never measure, like water softness or chemical composition?

The two cats in particular that exhibit this are Chrysichthys ornatus and Calophysus macropterus(in 2 different tanks, one has three ~5-6" TL ornatus and the other has two 6-7" TL macropterus). The ornatus started exhibiting this symptom almost within a couple of weeks of their arrival 2-3 months ago. The macropterus did not start until they had been in my tank for ~1/2 year and started showing this only 2 weeks ago. There are many types of other cats in the tanks who do not show anything like that and appear problem-free overall. There is no bickering in the tanks. Water is monitored and changed regularly.


(2) On a different but perhaps related note, my two 2.5' channel cats in the basement pond have been flawless first half a year but then, their behavior changed - they started chasing each other and some other fish, especially IDSs and black pacus, as if protecting some parts of the pond. Then they gave up. Then started again and so on. I did not see them try to build a nest. As a result, their fins and barbels got some rips and inflamed portions. Eventually, they stopped this, perhaps pre-spawning behavior (I do not know their sexes), and their fins largely healed up but the barbels did not. They lost about half of their maxillary barbel length and they are almost constantly or very often damaged and inflamed at the very ends.

I am at a loss why they are not healing up and growing back, even with periodic prophylactic (and very rare clinical) treatment with anti-parasitic remedies, like metronidazole and praziquantel, and antibacterial remedies, like nitrofurazone+furazolidone combo and acridine yellow.

The water parameters are stable and are the same as above, except NO3 5-10 ppm and pH of ~7.5 (I guess because of the 1700 pounds of gravel substrate - golden/white Massachusetts river nuggets). Temps are the same. Maybe the water is too warm for them?

Thanks in advance!

Viktor
Thebiggerthebetter
Bas Pels
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Re: Maxillary barbels whiten and soften at the ends?

Post by Bas Pels »

As far as I know, 'rotting' barbels are a sign of infection - that is, they were damaged by something and then got infected, or a sign of bad water

Your nitrate does seem nice, so I think something must have hurt these barbels - coarse substrate, soarse rocks, something like that
cats have whiskers
Viktor Jarikov
Posts: 4217
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:11 pm
My images: 11
My cats species list: 25 (i:0, k:0)
Spotted: 4
Location 1: Naples, FL
Location 2: USA
Interests: Big freshwater catfish and Co.

Re: Maxillary barbels whiten and soften at the ends?

Post by Viktor Jarikov »

Ten years later, I still don't know about the Chrysichthys and Calophysus, except Bas was probably right, it was some kind of infection.

As for the channels - don't keep pacu with them! Pacu would bite their fins and barbels at will to supplement their diet.
Thebiggerthebetter
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