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Not Eating, not even opening mouth and mostly bottom-sitting


Canadansk

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  • Test Results for the Following:
    • * Ammonia Level: 0 PPM
    • * Nitrite Level:0 PPM
    • * Nitrate level: <5 PPM (Test actually reads zero, but I find that unlikely)
    • * Ph Level, Tank: 7
    • Other Required Info:
      • * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API Drops
      • * Water temperature? 24º Celsius
      • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 10 gallons (I know, I know), 2+ years
      • * What is the name and "size of the filter": Two Marina Slim S15
      • * How often do you change the water and how much?: Weekly, 50%
  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change?: 4 Days ago, 50% WC
  • * How many fish in the tank and their size?: One fish, 2", not including tail
  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners? Prime
  • * What do you feed your fish and how often? Hikari Saki, once daily with occasional fasting
  • * Any new fish added to the tank? NO
  • * Any medications added to the tank? NO
  • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment.: Added Epsom Salt
  • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? NO
  • * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? Read on…

Hi all,

I often lurk here, gathering information, but thankfully I've only had to post for advice once before. I'm back, seeking advice for the same fish. Stella is a 2+ year old ryukin that I bought for my little boy when he was six. (Guess who does all of the care and maintenance?) Anyway, Stella has always been prone to constipation problems, so I'm generally very careful to not overfeed.

Yes, I realize she is in a tank that is too small, which is why I am diligent with my water changes. I am currently in the process of setting up a 55 gal. long for her to share with our oranda and fantail goldies, who now share a 20 gal. Everybody has been doing fine, without incident for quite some time now.

The problem is this: Stella has taken to bottom sitting for the last few weeks (possibly going on four) and I have not seen her eat anything in at least two weeks. I suspect she must sneak a bite occasionally but certainly when I'm watching or when I add the food. Actually, I haven't even see her open her mouth in a very long time. I even tried netting her (or possibly him, I can't really tell) and lifting her from the water, hoping she would instinctively open her mouth so I could have a look inside for foreign objects but she remained tight-lipped. Stella has always had a slightly deformed mouth, with sort of a crooked smile, but now when I look closely, it seems her upper "lip" overlaps her lower one.

What are the odds that she can't open her mouth?

I doubt she has anything in her mouth, as I use largish pebbles rather than the usual gravel for substrate.

She looks perfectly normal on the outside, with no signs of pine-coning, spots or the usual indications.

I haven't seen her poop in a week or so, and the last I saw was a very thin filament of white.

She swims about when approached, even to the top at times, but always seems to settle again quickly to the bottom.

She doesn't seem to exhibit any flashing or signs of irritation, other than relocating herself from time to time.

When I suspected the usual problem of constipation, I fasted her, then tried adding epsom salts, but neither seems to have had any effect.

Quite frankly, I don't know why she's still alive: she must be starving. I fully expect to find her dead each morning when I check the tank, but there she is, resting in the front corner usually.

Anyway, I'm hoping some of you very kind and knowledgable people can offer some advice or suggestions as to what ails her before we lose her.

Thanks in advance!

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Could you please take a video of stella, and also as close up pics of her mouth as possible?

Does it look like there is tissue grown over the mouth opening?



Also, what is your tap pH?

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I can give video a shot, but it could be tricky. As for the tissue growth, it's difficult to tell really, but possible, I suppose. Thanks for your interest.

Just checked the tap pH and it appears to be around 6.5.

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I can give video a shot, but it could be tricky. As for the tissue growth, it's difficult to tell really, but possible, I suppose. Thanks for your interest.

do the best you can. If it helps you could try placing her in a small tupperware of tank water for the video if you feel like you could get a better shot in a confined space.

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Okay, I hope this works.

Here are a couple of video clips of Stella this morning. I notice she's developing a little bit of raggedness where her bottom fin connects, from sitting on the bottom for so long. I hope you can deduce something from these.

Again, my thanks in advance.

th_MAH02587-desktop_zps59db5e56.jpg

th_MAH02588-desktop_zps686f1d68.jpg

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she's breathing very fast.. do you have enough aeration in the tank? other than the filter? also, if you can, I would like to see her entire set up. ie, a photo of the entire tank that she's in.

I do have concern that her swim bladder has expired and that's why she's pinned to the bottom. the second video, I noticed where her hump is and just below, when she's doing the heavy breathing, that entire area expands whilst she breathes too.

locked mouths are usually caused by a parasitic infestation, mainly flukes. do you handle her at all? would you be able to cup her in your hand, raise her to the surface and gently lift her from the water in order to expose her mouth? when a fish is out of the water, even only that much, they gasp. I wonder if this will encourage stella to re-open her mouth? it is a very strong reaction and could possibly work. don't be afraid to leave her head out of the water for 5 seconds, she will be fine :) even bopping her gently above & below the water surface is ok too :)

you'd be right about the redness, it is from bottom sitting. and she's going to need that bottom glass cleaned daily in order for her sores to heal and for her to remain healthy.

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I agree with Helen. But i'm not sure that even a 10gal is good for a goldfish. When i was first introduced to the hobby, the people at the pet store told me 2 or 3 goldfish would be fine in a 10 gal, which i found out to be very wrong.

Aeration & gallons matter. Even though 10 might seem good for one goldfish, i think 20 gallons is better- just to be safe. and i'm not trying to nag you :) just trying to help.

I think helen has a firm grip on the situation though!

I've heard that swim bladder problems can not only make your fish float, but can make them sink as well, but this is just something i heard along the great vine.

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Thanks for your input.

I have tried lifting her out of the water to see if she'll open her mouth and it had no effect.

I can try it again, however.

The tank has an airstone as well as plenty of surface agitation, so I don't feel that inadequate oxygenation is an issue. (I won't rule it out, of course.)

I wonder if perhaps her breathing is so rapid because she isn't opening her mouth to get proper flushing of water across her gills.

I'll post if I discover anything new.

Thanks again!

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Yes, I realize she is in a tank that is too small, which is why I am diligent with my water changes. I am currently in the process of setting up a 55 gal. long for her to share with our oranda and fantail goldies, who now share a 20 gal. Everybody has been doing fine, without incident for quite some time now.

I agree with Helen. But i'm not sure that even a 10gal is good for a goldfish. When i was first introduced to the hobby, the people at the pet store told me 2 or 3 goldfish would be fine in a 10 gal, which i found out to be very wrong.

Aeration & gallons matter. Even though 10 might seem good for one goldfish, i think 20 gallons is better- just to be safe. and i'm not trying to nag you :) just trying to help.

I think helen has a firm grip on the situation though!

I've heard that swim bladder problems can not only make your fish float, but can make them sink as well, but this is just something i heard along the great vine.

thank you for your comments yayoiharuko, always welcome here :)

I bring to your attention why we have not made mention of the overstocking issue that is apparent. if you read the quote above yours that I posted, member canadansk is already aware that his fish is currently housed in a tank that is not suitable and is making steps to correct this :)

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Yes, I realize she is in a tank that is too small, which is why I am diligent with my water changes. I am currently in the process of setting up a 55 gal. long for her to share with our oranda and fantail goldies, who now share a 20 gal. Everybody has been doing fine, without incident for quite some time now.

I agree with Helen. But i'm not sure that even a 10gal is good for a goldfish. When i was first introduced to the hobby, the people at the pet store told me 2 or 3 goldfish would be fine in a 10 gal, which i found out to be very wrong.

Aeration & gallons matter. Even though 10 might seem good for one goldfish, i think 20 gallons is better- just to be safe. and i'm not trying to nag you :) just trying to help.

I think helen has a firm grip on the situation though!

I've heard that swim bladder problems can not only make your fish float, but can make them sink as well, but this is just something i heard along the great vine.

thank you for your comments yayoiharuko, always welcome here :)

I bring to your attention why we have not made mention of the overstocking issue that is apparent. if you read the quote above yours that I posted, member canadansk is already aware that his fish is currently housed in a tank that is not suitable and is making steps to correct this :)

Sorry! I read that comment the other day but i forgot about it ._.''

Also, i'm not the best at suggestions, but maybe peas would help if you can get her to eating again.

She looks like a really healthy fish, so her symptoms come as a surprise to me.

I think I remember reading something about 'helping goldfish eat when they are sick' i believe it was an article, but i can't remember. Anyways, best of luck to you!

I can try to find the article if it might help.

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Thanks all.

I just tried lifting her from the water for a full 10 seconds and still no open mouth.

I have done a water change just now as well, but have lowered the water level to decrease the pressure on her and to also increase the surface agitation/aeration. I think she's stressed out enough for now and I'll leave her be for a while.

The mouth not opening is the real mystery to me.

Thanks.

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Unfortunately I believe that the locked mouth is, as Helen alluded to, due to a parasitic infection. Heavy fluke infection is the primary cause of a fused mouth. We have had cases of this on the forum here before and unfortunately it does not appear to be a reversible condition :(

If you wanted to try a last ditch effort to save Stella you could attempt to manually open the mouth. I am honestly not sure what the best tool to use would be and you would need to be gentle/careful in doing so. There is one other member that I can remember who was able to open their fish's mouth manually when it became fused like this, however it then became stuck open.

The other option unfortunately would be to euthanize her and we can certainly assist you with this if you decide to go this route. There are humane ways to do this.

I'm really sorry :( I wish I had better news, she seems like a very sweet and special fish :(

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Thanks for your reply, and for your compassion.

I had suspected as much, but didn't want to euthanize her if I felt there was any real hope. We lost an oranda to dropsy a year or so ago, and I had to euthanize him as well.

For future reference, can you suggest how the flukes might have entered te system? She's been alone in that tank for two years now, seemingly thriving other than one or two cases of easily treated constipation.

Lastly, what's your preferred method of euthanizing?

Thanks so much again for your help.

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Thanks for your reply, and for your compassion.

I had suspected as much, but didn't want to euthanize her if I felt there was any real hope. We lost an oranda to dropsy a year or so ago, and I had to euthanize him as well.

For future reference, can you suggest how the flukes might have entered te system? She's been alone in that tank for two years now, seemingly thriving other than one or two cases of easily treated constipation.

Lastly, what's your preferred method of euthanizing?

Thanks so much again for your help.

Flukes are common in goldfish and they often have them when we buy them. They can exist at subclinical levels to where you wouldn't see symptoms, however the mouth deformity in fry is usually a signal that there has been a fluke infestation early on.

Let's hold off on talking about euthanizing just yet. Helen and I are chatting about this and I think she may have some suggestions of things you might try ;)

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Thanks, I'll give her a stay of execution for now until I hear more from you. (sorry for the gallows humour).

Yes, I had read long ago that usually fry with mouth deformities are culled but I didn't read what the cause might have been.

I'll stay tuned for your suggestions.

Thanks again

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Okay, I have chatted with Helen and here are some possible treatment options we could try. Please keep in mind that there is no guarantee that these will work, as the success rate for treating this condition (based on previous experiences on this forum) are low at best, so these treatment options are simply exploratory. But it certainly doesn't hurt to try them and see if anything works if you are up for it.

My biggest concern at this point is the fact that Stella probably hasn't eaten in quite some time. So, here are the things we could try right now in order:

1. A salt dip

2. If the salt dip does not change things, attempt to (gently) manually pry the the mouth open

3. Treatment for flukes with prazipro

If you are game for the salt dip you can attempt this now. You will need either aquarium salt or regular salt that has no additives or anti-caking agents. Here are the instructions for the dip:

1. dissolve 30 teaspoons salt/gallon of water (30 grams/Liter, or 113.7g/gallon). This concentration is 3%. Let it match the temp/pH of the tank, and make sure to add de-chlorinator. You can also use tank water, but because you are adding a lot of salt per gallon, you will need to heat up the water. Hence, it's crucial that you cool it back down.
2. prepare a holding tank. This is a tank that is pH/temp matched with the main tank, and has been de-chlorinated. This can be a 5 gallon tub, with bubblestone, or something bigger. If you do not have a separate container you can use her tank, but a separate container would be ideal.
3. make sure you have some sort of timer
4. gently lift the fish out of the tank (you can do this by catching her in a tupperware container), and place into temp/pH matched salt solution.
5. start timer.
6. if the Stella stays continues to stay upright, or tilts over but can get back up, keep her in the salt solution for exactly 5 minutes.
7. remove stella from the salt, and place in holding tank. The reason why we do this is to let the fish purge out ammonia/wastes in a place that is not the main tank, however if her tank is the only available container you can simply do a large water change after.
8. if stella starts to lose balance and cannot get back before the 5 minutes is up, remove her and place in holding tank, as described in #6. Please make note of how long she was able to stay in the salt dip.
9. after 1-2 hours, the fish can be moved back to the main tank. She might still be disoriented, but should be fine. If you are using the main tank instead, do a large water change in 1-2 hours.

Please let us know if you have any questions on this process before you attempt it.

If you would like to attempt these treatments, you will also need to get your hands on Hikari prazipro. You can check with any local pet stores first to see if anyone carries it since that will be the quickest way to get it, but if not you can buy it online. http://www.amazon.ca/Hikari-Medication-Prazipro-4-oz/dp/B0006JLPC2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1378342533&sr=8-2&keywords=prazipro

I have linked the 4oz bottle because I think it would be a good idea to treat your other fish as well. We typically use this as a preventative treatment for all new fish :)

So, let's try the salt dip first before we attempt manually opening the mouth. Let us know if you can get the prazi locally or if you will need to order online.

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Thanks for all the in-depth info. I'm familiar with the salt dip, and have done it before, actually.

Prying her mouth open will be a new experience for me, but I'll give it a shot. I'm just hesitant about manhandling her too much: I'm sure she's in a weakened state already and don't want to push her over the edge.

Lastly, I do keep a bit of a "medicine cabinet" on hand and as luck has it, I do have PraziPro, as well as some other meds. Some are difficult to source here in Canada, and LPS are usually poorly stocked with any of the "good stuff".

Here's to good luck in attempting these procedures.

As always, you have my thanks!

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our forum sponsor Chris from TastyWorms.com will be able to ship you almost anything.. except for goldfishconnection.com products.

prying the mouth open on a wiggly fish can be quite a task.. you may succeed, but as tithra said, once open, there is no guarantee it will close.

if you can't bring yourself to doing that because the fish will react and you may not be aware what is painful and what isn't, often this will cause us to underperform. another option is to sedate and try.. I have successfully sedated fish for surgery several times, should you consider this an option for you, I will be more than happy to guide you through the process and offer support wherever possible. it sounds like a difficult task, but is actually quite simple and very doable :)

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Thanks for all the in-depth info. I'm familiar with the salt dip, and have done it before, actually.

Prying her mouth open will be a new experience for me, but I'll give it a shot. I'm just hesitant about manhandling her too much: I'm sure she's in a weakened state already and don't want to push her over the edge.

Lastly, I do keep a bit of a "medicine cabinet" on hand and as luck has it, I do have PraziPro, as well as some other meds. Some are difficult to source here in Canada, and LPS are usually poorly stocked with any of the "good stuff".

Here's to good luck in attempting these procedures.

As always, you have my thanks!

awesome! then we can begin prazipro after the salt dip.

Let us know after you do the salt dip and how it goes.

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Hello again.

Well, Stella was still alive when we awoke this morning, so I went ahead and prepared the salt dip.

During the five minute bath, I watched her very closely but she didn't seem the least bit disturbed by the procedure.

She is now "recovering" in a 5 gallon container with an air-stone, possibly enjoying a "bubble bath".

Still no sign of her mouth opening, however.

For now, I'll let her deal with her new surroundings before I subject her (and myself) to the ordeal of trying to pry her crooked little mouth open.

Her main tank, in the meantime, awaits her with a water change and a dose of PraziPro, administered as per the directions on the bottle.

I still marvel how this little creature is even still alive but we'll see how things pan out over the next day or so.

She certainly seems to be able to move along hastily when she needs to, such as when I tried to catch her in a plastic container to take her to her bath.

I'll keep you posted as things develop.

Again, thanks for the advice and the support.

The things we do for these little creatures…

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I would like you to double the dose of prazi for the first treatment round and salt the tank to .1% (1tsp per gallon)

Glad to hear she did well in the salt dip :)

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Well, I just had a fun session of fish-wrestling. I got hold of the wee thing and had numerous rounds of prying her tiny mouth open (which, I can assure you, she does not like very much) It was difficult to see if there was anything amiss in there, what with all the thrashing and spitting of water, but I don't feel there's any fused tissue. I even attempted to inject a softened pellet of food, but I'll need to either wait for my wife to assist or grow a third hand because that proved virtually impossible for me.

I certainly don't want to contradict your advice, but the PP bottle makes special note that "over dosing will not speed impact". Is there a particular reason you suggest the double dose?

I'll add a salt solution shortly.

The saga continues…

Thanks so very much, again!

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