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Roano

Bulge On Abdomen

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When I woke up this morning, I think he was bottom hovering (hanging in his bottom sitting spot but hovering about an inch off the gravel.) I don't know how long he sat for, could have been at most an hour and a half, I suppose (that's the gap of time between when I checked on him.) The bottom hovering is sort of continuing thoughout the day, and his dorsal lays flat too except when I come over, then he's up and swimming with fins held high. He's not done yet, he still has a bulge in his side and he stopped pooping at around 12 (I thought 'great, here we go again': when I looked up his vent it looked a pale pink (like insides, didn't seem abnormal) but I don't think I saw any poo coming) but he's pooing more green now... so that's encouraging. Still a little bulky though (not on his belly anymore, primarily he has rounded sides.) But I'm guessing it's going to be a little while until he gets out all that accumulated poo. Vent looks pretty good, though. And it seems like it's coming fast: both these two poo times there's been only about an hour or so between no poo and poo.

The food's main ingredients (just if anyone's interested or anything jumps out at them): Krill, gel binder, spinach, plankton, shrimp, clams, kelp, fish hydrolysate, peas, tuna eggs, fish meal, squid, lecithin, vitamins (then they list a ton that all sound rather complicated; there's some vitamin A, B, C, D and E) then spirulina, trace elements, fish oil and paprika... tasty.

What I did before for frozen foods was just let it thaw slighty, then use a knife to cut off chunks and drop them in... I think I'll give everyone a little of this tonight, unless you think I should hold off since he's still pooing and not quite back to normal yet?

The brown poo that I couldn't figure out where it was coming from was the spinach that I fed him once... it seems to be interspaced with the pea poo, strangely.

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Less than an hour after the last post, I checked on him and noticed more green poo... no bottom hovering either, and no clamping. He is slender again too, no more bulge (although his right side has always been shaped a little more differently than his left, but he is almost symmetrical, and this is normal for him.) So he seems to be doing great, and I hope the pea I fed him today passes through like it should.

I have a couple of questions, but they're not urgent and I think I will post them tomorrow (and maybe pics showing what I mean about slight asymmetry.) I really need to get to bed because I have work tomorrow, but I just wanted to let you guys know that he's looking good.

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I will check back to see your questions tomorrow, but wanted to say one thing while I'm here. Bottom hovering is quite a different thing from bottom sitting. Bottom sitting is slam dunk on the bottom and is an indication of something brewing that may eventually need medication. Bottom hovering is really not as serious at all. It can be "sleeping position" for many fish and it can also mean "Im having a digesting moment" or whatever...I do think its important to distinguish these two. You could compare the sitting right on the bottom in human terms maybe as "a cold with a fever", and the bottom hovering as "tired, need some sleep" or even perhaps "slight cold but no fever" or even "I'm trying this new place for my bed". In your fishes case it seems to mean :blink: "I need to go!" Which is kinda cute in a funny silly fishy way :D

I truly believe that over feeding is a good treatment for constipation in fish that are not floaty with it. Dont skimp on the food variety, he needs all the different vitamins and nutrients. Peas did great and please still give him peas every few days, but you can also I would say safely try other foods now.

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"Bottom hovering is quite a different thing from bottom sitting."

Thank you for clarifying... I figured bottom hovering was better than bottom sitting, but didn't really know the difference. He's been pretty active these past few days, in any case.

Okay, questions... I'm assuming the epsom is fine to be gradually removed through water changes, right?

Should I not use any flakes for this fish? I'm thinking of feeding primarily the gel food (Formula Two), peas, spinach, and some frozen brine shrimp (in moderation.) Are flakes okay to add to the mix or should I just stay away from them for him?

As it's summer, my family has planned some vacations; most are short, with me missing only one complete day away from the fish (meaning, I'll feed them the day I'm leaving for the trip, be gone a full day, and then feed them the day I return from the trip.) This is fine for the others (can be used as a fasting day) and I'm thinking he will be alright to as long as I keep varying the diet and feeding him enough? I can also skip these vacations if I have to. There's one vacation coming up in August, though, that's longer: that will be about 2-3 whole days completely away from the fish... would it be okay to fast the fish (including this one) that long? If not, we could probably get someone to visit our house and feed the fish, but it would probably be flake food and one medium-sized meal a day. Do you think this is okay (it's in about a month, so I think he'll have time to recover) or in your opinion do I need to make alternate plans for this fish?

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For now I wouldnt feed this fish flake foods hun, I would stick with gel food with vegies in it to keep the track flowing :)

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Okay, thanks; he's been getting about equal parts pea and gel food over the past few days. He also got some frozen brine shrimp yesterday. Right now he's rounded in the side, but I'm still seeing poo, so I hope that this passes.

Anyone have any advice/suggestions about what to do for going on vacations? (See above post.) I'm going to wait and see how he's doing (the vacation I'm concerned about is in 6 weeks so hopefully thing's will have completely straightened out by then.)

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Things are going good: he seems to be passing poo normally. Usually I've been giving him protein in the morning feedings, frozen brine shrimp, and then veggies or the gel food in the evening. I think it was Sunshinegurl (or maybe Newbiefishgirl) who said that they feed their fish protein in the mornings so they have time to digest it before sleeping, and vegtables at night/evening so that it cleans them out daily. I'm trying to follow this in his feedings and it seems to be working... I'll see how he's doing before my vacation and base my plans on that, but if he's doing this well I'll let him fast for 2-3 days with the others.

So thanks everyone for your help with my fish, especially Trinket and Sunshinegurl. He's doing great, and by making some dietary changes I'll be able to avoid any future nutritional problems for all of the fish.

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:heart ..my pleasure- and great to hear happier news. Sounds like an excellent food plan and I wish him a long happy life with you.

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Today we're having problems... he's got a tightly curled poo that's really distending his vent again, and his vent looks widder than it's ever been before. There's some red there too... he was having trouble since this morning (actually, he may have been having some trouble yesterday too, but not like this.) He's not bulging on the side, but is bulging around the vent. (I'll post pictures later.) His dorsals clamped, and a few hours ago, I noticed some unusual behavior: he had his nose in a corner of the tank and then did a vigorous wiggle, sort of darty-ish... he did this twice, and it seemed maybe like he was trying to push it out or escape from it or something... I've been checking on him and he seems for the most part to be acting normal, except with clamped fins.

I'm just trying to wait this out... I did a 40% change this afternoon, and have been feeding him only peas today. Since I posted last, I've been feeding some gel food (that I can't use anymore, since I left it out overnight), peas, spinach (more recently), and brine shrimp (1 out of the 4 feedings he gets a day.) He seems to have alot of trouble with protein, like brine shrimp... he even had one thick (but not worrisome) poo with the gel food, which was veggies mixed with krill and other proteins. (I tried bloodworms recently, but have yet to see results on that.) I don't want him to keep having to go through this, and am thinking maybe I'm feeding too much protein? Should I feed straight protein once a week for one feeding? Should I try to find some other protein food that agrees more with his insides? (I don't know how successful I'll be with this.)

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Should I add epsom salt tonight? It seems like he's passing things, it's mainly his vent I'm concerned about (...it looks so big...) so I don't know if I should or not, since it's not necessarily constipation (I don't think). Just in case you think I should add the epsom though, I did an extra water change so that there's no remaining salt in there from the last time I dosed him. (I did a 30% change on the fifth, and today I did a total change of 75%.)

He has one last pea meal for tonight that I'm going to give him soon.

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He's still passing poo, but looking at it in the flash of the camera, the color looks different... what I thought was brine shrimp was probably bloodworms and spinach, which means this poo is from food I fed him from the 10th or yesterday (the 11th), although I can't be sure. So... I don't know what to do about feeding. Peas seem to work best, and I guess I'll just have to expirement with different things, like cooked carrots and stuff like that.

I've been keeping track of everything I fed him (and the time), and looking back at my record it doesn't seem like we had a problem from the time I last posted here (around the 4th) to now... the only other thing I noted in terms of feeding was a big brown poo on the 5th (big was underlined, but it didn't concern me enough to post, and it passed quickly enough.) I'm not sure what is triggering this, I guess is what I'm getting at.

Here are some pictures from about an hour to two hours ago... in the first you can see his huge vent, and in the second you can see what I mean by bulgy around the vent.

simpkin2.jpg

simpkin.jpg

At least right now he's up and about: dorsal up and down (mostly down) but seemingly active and not bottom sitting or anything. He gobbled the 1/4 pea I fed him.

I'm going to sleep now but will check back here in about 3 hours in case of any posts. Like I said, he seems to be passing poo, so I'm not sure if I should add epsom salt or just wait.

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Here's a close up of the first picture:

simpkin4.jpg

Okay, I think that's everything.

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Okay I hun I hear you. Sorry to miss the posts till now. Your fish is having problems passing because of the cramped intestines that I believe he inherited either genetically or from early stunting in bad water/cramped space/bad diet. Store conditions can sometimes do it. The crimped and curly poo is the only explanation I think of for this and fits with the discomfort he feels when "going" expressed by the cramped dorsal at those times.

Can you notice anything else except peas that cause him no discomfort to pass? Can you try a grain of epsom in a pea and feed him that?

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It's tough to tell what causes him these curly poos... it seems like peas do alright but at the momment he's now working on a piece of poo that's pea-spinach-pea, and that seems to be a little tough too... But before all this there was a period without any problems; it just seems like once we have one curly poo, we have a bout of it. When this problem poo began (I think it started yesterday, or at least that's when I noticed something off) I thought maybe it was because of too much protein, as that seemed to 'trigger' it before and because today there was some dark poo... but it looks like what I'm seeing now is spinach poo, so I'm not sure. It seems small enough, but it seems like if any piece of poo has trouble getting through, it keeps pressing on the inside of his vent (furthest from that anal fin) causing it get bigger.

I've been doing about 1/4 of a pea for several feedings a day (that's about how I measure the other food I give him too, about what I think a quarter of a pea's worth.) So should I just take 1/4 pea, chop it up like normal but hide a grain of epsom in one of the larger pieces and feed it to him?

Oh, and thank you for replying... I'm pretty sure all these problems are our fault and a result of stunting. :(

Edited by Roano

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Yes just the tiniest grain may get in there best like that to help when he gets discomfort.

Dont blame yourself at all. I have a floaty fish and a fish with red spots due to my bad filter maintenance when I got busy, thats the way fishkeeping often is..we do our best and just being at kokos reading up on solutions and caring and trying for him is already 100% better than the soooo many alternative shorter, worse lives and owners some of our fish might have ended up with.

Did you ever try spirulina? I sometimes feed my fish pleco circular spirulina sinking tabs. These are algae flavor and have a similar laxative smoothing out soothing effect on the intestines like epsom (which you cannot use longterm really). I dont mean the spirulina flakes I mean tabs that sink for tropical pleco fish. Might be an idea :)

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Okay, I'll try that now.

Yes, I'm certain that we caused the stunting... but I figure I'll try to give him the best life I can and try and make up for past mistakes. Do what I can given the current situation. I'm so grateful for all the people here on Koko's... I don't know what I'd do without it; certainly all my fish would be worse off. You've been helping me sooo much.

I had spirulina flakes a long time ago and heard mixed things about them... that they were supposed to help with digestion but at the same time people said they could get the fish stopped up? Is that because they were flakes? (Maybe I'm getting them mixed up with something else.) I will try some spirulina tabs... can I break them into little bit sized chunks and drop them in? Do they need to soak slightly first? (Sorry, I guess I should be asking this over in the food section, probably.) Next time I'm in the store I also want to try and get some Hikari sinking pellets (if available) and maybe more gel food. I have to return the 25 lbs of crushed coral I bought when I panicked with that pH drop in the new tank... so maybe I'll break even with all the new food I'm going to buy!

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Yes spirulina flakes are not so good. Anything "flake" basically isn't. There are several reasons for this. One is that the thin waferness of the flake allows for very fast deterioration of vitamin and nutritional content. Secondly they float. This means that even when soaked first some will remain floaty and the fish may gulp air with them which can end up making him floaty :blink:

The tabs are heavy and they sink fast. And they very slowly deteriorate in the water. The fish gets exercise playing ball with his nose as he goes crazy with desire to nibble on them but cant until they start to soften. For healthy fish this is good exercise lol! If you want to break them first and soak them you can do that for him since he has some issues. They are very easy to swallow as they are actually made from powder so even a tiny nibble gets some nutritious powder into his mouth and because its powder its so easy to digest and pass through :bingo:

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Well, I tried the pea and epsom about three times... the grain fell out before he could eat the pea the first two times, the third I can't tell if he got everything or not (it was a tiny grain.) I'll try again tommorrow (or acutally, this) morning in a couple of hours, or maybe in the evening if I run out of time (only if he's still having difficulty, though.) Assuming he got it, is trying to give him anouther grain in about 4-5 hours or in about 16 hours too soon?

He seems to be doing a bit better, or maybe I'm just feeling better (although I'm not sure why I am... it's around 3:30 am and I have to wake up in four hours for work!)

I talked with a great fish store employee a few days ago and he stressed the importance of good quality pellets to me... he equated flakes with mashed potatoes, saying how they loose their vitamins very quickly and so while they fill the fish up, they aren't good nutritionally.

It sounds like fun to see them trying to eat the spirulina! I know one tank that that would be perfect for! I have two little commets that would absolutly go nuts for that...

Alright, so I'll try again later this morning with the epsom (unless that's too soon?). For now, I think, I'll go back to sleep.

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Get some sleep. The repeat epsom plan you say sounds fine. I'll check on you guyz tomorrow!

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Wow..Roano...Hats off to your dedication...3.30 in the morning...boy you must be sooo tired...

I hope your fish feels better..and you too...Imo has been helping you all this long with such valuable advice.. :)

I really have my fingers crossed for you and your fish..Hope things work out well.. :)

Take care... :heart

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How many times a day does he get food hun?

Im wondering if you try to feed only once a day and switch the food from peas to the protein foods if that will help him....just thinking here :)

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Thank you, SunshineGurl... (I set my alarm to 2 so I got some sleep before I woke up :) .) I'm a little tired but I think more because I'm just feeling drained by all these fish issues (this one and another...) But it's great to have people here who help and give support.

I feed him 4 times a day (with at least two hours in between each feeding), and at each feeding he gets about 1/4 of a pea's worth, since that's what I started doing when he was having these problems so I just measure each food serving as about the size of 1/4 of a pea. It's not all pea though; I'd been giving some brine shrimp, gel food, pea, and a little spinach (recently.) Before the beginning of this thread, I think I was feeding him about once a day (maybe twice?) and mostly brine shrimp, with some pea. This was a month ago, I think, because he had a bout with bad malnutrition before this... so I had been feeding alot of protein (albeit I wasn't varying the type of protein very much) and he seemed to be having thick poo, with a slight curve/curl, and then he had a really big brown, curly poo that seemed to be at the start of problems with his vent. After that, he got sort of clogged up and I started this thread. (I'm not sure what I was feeding him between the curly poo and when he got stopped up... I may have written it down somewhere in this thread... I'll see if I can find it later...)

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Haven't seen a poo yet today, and his sides have gotten bulgier... not really sharp like before though, but definately round. The inside edge of his vent's still red, and I feel like we have a troublesome poo (slowly) coming up. But I got him to eat a second grain of epsom inside a pea earlier this evening... right now I'm just feeding peas in little doses to keep things moving, unless you guys think otherwise?

He seems to be moving around the tank pretty good, although he seems to be messing with corners and crevices for whatever reason. He likes to go around where the filter intakes are, or go mess around behind the plastic plant. (He couldn't do this before, as the plant was fully back in the corner.) He was also sort of below the bubble bar and bumping it a little. His dorsal goes up and down, but I'm glad it's not clamped constantly.

I guess my main concern is his vent... I don't know if it's just retearing and isn't bigger than in the past when we were having these problems or if it's widdening.

I'll check in on him sometime tonight, and if he looks poorly I'll post back on here.

Here's a picture of his expanded vent, although it looks smaller in this pic; you can see the 'notch" out before his anal fin... I wish I'd gotten a better picture... watching him directly I can see the potential pictures I want tot take but when I get the camera out he seems to pride himself on being difficult. (Although I suppose he just gets excited... he swims up and down in the corner closest to me when I approach.)

2-1.jpg

It really feels like a rollercoaster sometimes with this fish... sometimes I get so worried about him (and my other 'problem' fish) that I feel sick to my stomach with anxiety. Other times I'm just like "Oh, well he's not doing worse so I suppose things are going alright" but these times seem few and far between. I don't know... I guess I just have to wait for this to pass, and then try and figure out another meal plan... I just can't fathom going through this every several weeks for the rest of his life... I have to try and figure something out.

Edited by Roano

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There there...we all can understand how you feel... :hug ..and with all the hard work you are investing I am sure slowly but surely things will get better..

I am sorry I am not of much help here...but just dropped in to say you are doing gr888 and with all the mod's help...I am sure they will help you figure out a meal plan as well...take a deep breath.. :)

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My thought just like Trinket has said, is his digestive track is messed up. I think the best thing for him is food that is mushy and soft, maybe try to only feed him 2 times a day so that he doesnt have to strain so much to get it back out, you could also make a gel food with added vits to it so he gets all the minerals he needs :)

I know how you feel hun, I fought for one of my fish to keep her alive for 3 years with dropsy's and popeye. :o

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