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Cacatouides double red mouth infection


New Member
Hi all

I have a Cacatouides double red with part of it's mouth missing.
A little backstory: the cacatouides are living in a community tank which was quite firmly stocked (450l/120 gallon).
Stocking at the time was
10 cardinal tetra
10 celestial pearl danios
10 pygmee cory's
2 laucustris rainbows
3 dwarf gourami
2 discus
4 cacatouides (3 females)
some shrimp and about 6 oto's

So quite heavy on the stocking and a bit of a wild bunch, but the plan was (still is) to split these up into another 450/120. The aquarium was well established and stocked like this for several months. Anyway, went on a holiday, fish were fed by the housesitter, though a bit less generous than I am used to feeding. Was only gone for a week. Came back, got back to the regular feeding routine. Everything was fine for a whole week. One week later: massive ammonia spike. I guess the contrast between the more moderate feedings and my regular feeding routine was too great for the BB to catch up, even though everything went fine for a week (I even tested water parameters during that week and had only a slight level of nitrates, 30ppm if I remember right).Anyway, cardinals all dead, massive shrimp die-off, the rest all gasping for air desperately. Did a massive water change, followed by many more the following days. I also lost one female apisto unfortunately, but the other fish recovered. A few days after this disaster though I noticed one of the discus getting a swollen lip. The water parameters were stable again and both ammonia and nitrites were stable at 0 again. Quarantined the discus and started treating for columnaris because that seemed like the most sensible diagnosis at the time. Also, he seemed to improve so I continued the treatment. Meanwhile, I noticed one of the female apisto's had a white spot on her head.
The spot was to big to be ich and there was just this single spot so I decided to quarantine her as well and treat for columnaris. The spot however is not improving and it looks like the very center is starting to protrude a little.
I also went ahead and treated the whole tank preventively for columnaris.
The male is still in the community tank but I noticed he was becoming more and more shy and hiding a lot. Today I noticed he is now missing part of his lip. Smack dab in the middle of the 'wound' there is some sort of tiny white spot that is protruding, and it looks very similar to the tiny protrusion the female has on her head. The discus is now also getting worse again and part of its lip seems to be going as well. I'm beginning to think that the columnaris diagnosis was faulty and that all three fish are suffering from hexamita/hole in the head. Is this possible? I didn't think these parasites were visible with the naked eye but at this point it seems like the only thing I can think of. I will include a photo of the male, it wasn't easy to get up close with my phone so I hope it is clear enough. The tiny white protrusion is not visible but it certainly is there. It's difficult to get pictures of the other fish in quarantine right now but I will try to get some asap.

Could anyone shed some light on this? Any other opinions?

thanks in advance!