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Mysterious Injury


Donya

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  • Regular Member

Hi all, it's been a while since I've been on the forum and I'd hoped it wouldn't be another disaster that I'd post back with. Some time ago I had gotten two young fantail/oranda crosses that grew to 8" each - both extremely healthy fish that turned out to be a male and female and started to breed this summer (I think it was early June). Unfortunately, the female had a catastrophy when trying to lay eggs, had sudden internal complications that seemed like egg binding and the fish died within 4 hours after the onset of sickly behavior. The male and every other animal in the tank has been healthy since then. I had been preparing for a move accross the country from Texas to Connecticut, with all animals healthy and I was planning to take, among other aquatic animals, the surviving male and my large (12") sailfin pleco. These two had never been kept together, although the pleco had been in with one of my previous goldfish with no troubles. I ran into some difficulty shifting animals around and had to briefly move the pleco into the goldfish tank for no more than a few hours with me right there in the same room working on preparing stuff for the move. I'm aware that plecos will sometimes suck on slime coats, but I've never observed this pleco to do that with other fish. 2 hours after the pleco was introduced, the goldfish turned up with a massive red swelling on his back that looked to have 1, maybe 2 small puncture wounds at the center. this isn't something I could have somehow missed and then noticed - it was half-dollar sized and extremely swollen, and based on the frequency that I was checking the tank, must have appeared over the course of only 15-20 minutes. He quickly started having trouble swimming and was gasping. Earlier in the day, these were the tank stats:

- ammonia & nitrite = 0

- nitrate = ~15 (under 20, but tough to tell exactly)

- pH = 7.8

- temperature = 72F

- test kits: AP

- tank size: 30 gallons

- filter: rena xp2 canister, HOTB, and UFG, and plants

- water changes done once weekly, 20%

- tap water stats 0 on ammonia/nitrite/nitrate and pH of 7.8-8.0

- tankmates prior to the incident: opaline gourami, 5 guppies, and 3 cory cats.

- food was pellets and flake food, once per day

- only melafix in the tank, but not used for several months

The goldfish was the only thing in the tank that was anything other than in absolutely perfect condition. I knew the local pet stores wouldn't accept a mangled fish, so I had to hedge my bets and take him with in a 1 gallon plastic tub with a battery-powered air pump. Prior to going into the tub, which was about 6 hours later, fin rot had set in at the area and spread to the rest of the dorsal fin. I put a broad spectrum antibiotic in the tub since it was the only thing I had on hand to deal with the infection that had set in and I couldn't get anything else before leaving. I have been doing my best to keep the same pH and ammonia/nitrite/nitrate at 0 with chemical media and water changes twice daily in the tub and no feeding. The first day (yesterday) he had to be in the tub for 8 hours and looked like he was about to die the whole time. He sat on the bottom of the tank upside down, barely breathing and periodically having strange spastic twitches. His tail was so streaked with enlarged blood vessels that it had turned almost fully red/pink. Today, after a 2nd dose of the antibiotic, he's acting normal again, upright, begging for food. The red swelling has gone down and there are only a couple of red stripes left on the tail, but it looks like he's going to have a big dent in his back there since it seems the tissue is just dead. The fin rot is also starting to clear up. I have 2 days of travel left, but if the improvement continues I think he'll pull through. I will have to continue with the antibiotic since I won't have an opportunity to use anything else. I can't remember the name of the antibiotic offhand and don't have the jar to look at right now, but it was supposed to be good against both external and internal bacterial infections.

I won't be able to do anything except carry through with the antibiotic until Friday, possibley Saturday depending on what transportation I have. There are two main things I'm wondering: first, is it possible that the pleco somehow is responsiblef or the freak injury, and, assuming my fish makes it through the move, what advice do you have treatment-wise once I'm at my new home? The pleco is a G. gibbiceps, and I can't see how it would have caused that major damage even if it had tried to munch on the goldfish's slime coat. There was also nothing sharp in the tank that the goldfish could have jabbed itself on, and the pleco was the only thing that was different in the tank. I probably won't be able to check the forum again until Friday, at which point I'll hopefully have an opportunity to get to a pet store if I need more meds. Thanks in advance for any insight/advice.

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  • Regular Member

I wish I could tell you, but just like you, I think all any of us could do is guess. Half dollar sized mark with two punctures, sounds like a rattlesnake! lol! :tomuch: The important thing, though, is that you are managing to take care of the situation and that it appears to be improving, and no small feat this is while traveling too! That's major kudos!

But, once you get where you're going, just to be sure, I wouldn't chance it and put the pleco with the goldy again. Don't tempt fate as they say.

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  • Regular Member

Yes. We haven't heard from you in a while. How are things going?

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Regular Member

Hi all! Good news: all is well. I've been without home internet since getting to my new place, so I wasn't able to check back in. My goldie improved dramatically in the following days after I posted, and is now in a temporary tub doing fine while I set up a larger space for him. The area around the puncture marks that had turned black I presume was all dead tissue, since it slowly disintigrated and the area has now recovered. Currently, you wouldn't know anything had happened just looking at the fish.

I looked for something on the pleco spine-wise that could have caused it, but I'm still baffled. If there was going to be a spikey thing that could do it, it would be his pectorals, but I would think that those would make much bigger holes if they were going to penetrate something. At any rate, the pleco is in a tank with all of my other fish (mostly guppies) but not the goldie, so there shouldn't be an opportunity for a repeat if that is what caused the damage.

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  • Regular Member

Hi Donya! I haven't seen you for ages and remember all the fascinating research you were doing on snails. Where are you up to with all of that?

Anyway, getting off topic here........

Your pleco is huge, so I would certainly name him as gfish public enemy No.1! They become carnivorous once they reach this size and are definitely best kept apart. Glad your goldie has recovered after his injury.

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