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cj52

Shubunkin Bottom Sitting, Not Eating

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[*]Ammonia Level? 0

[*]Nitrite Level? 0

[*]Nitrate level? 0 (water changes almost daily lately)

[*]Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)? 8.2

[*]Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)? 7.7

[*]Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API Master drops

[*]Water temperature? 82

[*]Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 25 gallon, 6 weeks.. Started with Safestart and we did watch the cycle progress, so I believe the tank is cycled.

[*]What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? Penguin Biowheel 200

[*]How often do you change the water and how much? 25-30% once per week normally. Lately, every day or every other day.

[*]how many days ago was the last water change and how much? 2 days ago did two back-to-back 70% water changes to remove all salt and meds and "start over" with fish treatment.

[*]How many fish in the tank and their size? One 2 inch Shubunkin.

[*]What kind of water additives or conditioners? Tetra Aquasafe

[*]What do you feed your fish and how often? Tetra Goldfish Flakes, soaked

[*]Any new fish added to the tank? Originally, the tank held a 3.5 inch common. The Shubunkin was the new addition.

[*]Any medications added to the tank? Salt, presently 2 tsp per gallon concentration.

[*]List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment. Please see below

[*]Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? No spots, no grains of salt. I examined the body of the common and there seemed to be a slight tinge of red at the base of his belly fins and tail fins, but I can't be sure that it wasn't there before. I can't really see the fin base coloring on the Shubunkin due to his wild color pattern.

[*]Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.?As his tankmate recently died, I'll give the history there, too, in hopes of giving enough information to help me figure out what's going on here:

* The common became ill about 2 weeks after the Shubunkin was added. Flashing, rubbing, darting around wildly.

* Added one tbs salt per 5 gallons of water.

* administered 3 rounds of Tetra Parasite Guard, one round every 48 hours with a 30% water change each time on the advice of the LFS. This medicine contains: Praziquantel, Diflubenzuron, Metronidazole, Acriflavine.

* The Shubunkin seemed unaffected by anything at this point. The common looked slightly better right after the med was administered, but then reverted to looking very ill the next day.

* Increased the salt content per advice on the 911 board and also the LFS, and at that point the Shubunkin, who had not looked ill before, went to the bottom of the tank and stayed there. The LFS suggested treating for Ich with a product called Ich X. It contains formaldehyde, malachite green, and and methanol.

* The common began shaking his head and body violently, and when he wasn't he'd retreat to the bottom of the tank and hide. The Shubunkin still did not look ill.

* On the advice of the kind folks at the 911 board, we did two big water changes to remove all medication and 'started over' adding salt more slowly, beginning with one teaspoon per gallon of water. I'm using salt made by API for freshwater aquariums.

* The common died that night. The next morning the Shubunkin began shimmying, and ate a lot less. He darted around occasionally, but did not look terribly uncomfortable. His feces were white and rather long.

* I added the second addition of salt, bringing the concentration up to 2 tsp per gallon of water in the tank. The Shubunkin went to the bottom of the tank and hid, and began eating less. When he does try to swim out, it looks like he's having a hard time moving, as though his tail is just to heavy to lift behind him.

This morning, the Shubunkin stopped eating altogether and is sitting on the gravel with fins tightly clamped. He is not doing any head shaking, he does swim about and rub himself on the decor in the tank, and I don't see any spots on him at all. At first, when the common got ill, from the reading I'd done I thought it looked like parasites, thus the Parasite Guard. But that didn't seem to help him in the long run. Can anyone give me some direction on what to do next? The LFS insisted that it was probably ich, even though there were and are no spots on the fish. I gave one dose of this, but it didn't help at all so I didn't redose after we did the big water change.

Any ideas? I'm really not sure what to do next, though obviously I need to do something. The fish has stopped eating and just stays at the bottom of the tank. I fear that we're going to lose him as well.

Thank you very much for your time.

Cj

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I meant to say that he does NOT rub himself on the tank decor. Sorry.

I have to wonder if he's not sensitive to salt, somehow.

Thanks,

cj

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First off, I'd a bit skeptical of the recommendations your LFS has been giving you. They've been recommending you treat your tank with med after med which was most likely unnecessary and very stressful on your fish. Sometimes, treating without knowing the cause is more harmful than it is helpful. Especially if you're using potent medications.

Can you tell us about the set up of your tank? What types of decorations, gravel, etc?

Also, have you treated for flukes since before you had the shubunkin and after you had both the common and shubie?

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First, thank you for responding.

The 25 gallon tank has three tall plastic plants and one small one, a small sign, and a bridge that is about a foot long with three arches in it, where the fish love to hide. The gravel is mid-sized, larger than the small pea gravel. I chose that because the Common liked to pick it up in his mouth and suck on it, which made me worry about him choking. This is too large for a goldfish's mouth. The gravel is maybe a scant inch deep. We vacuum it well when we do the weekly water changes. The tank is slightly taller than it is wide.

I treated the tank for the first time about 2 weeks after the Shubunkin arrived. We assumed that he brought something in with him, but he never looked sick at all until after the Common died. Then he began 'shimmying', sort of wiggling in place. After I added the second addition of salt to bring the concentration to 2 tsp/gallon, he stopped eating and has been plastered to the gravel at the bottom of the tank. I'm hesitant to make the third addition, and have been wondering if I should do another water change to reduce the concentration and see if that make him more comfortable.

I, too, am leery of the LFS advice, especially after they recommended a formaldehyde based medicine and salting the tank. I've since read that formalin and salt should not be mixed! However, I'm also at a loss as to what I should be doing for this fish. The increase in salt seems to have made him worse, even though I know that can treat a lot of different parasites. I'm really afraid that he's going to die, too, and I don't know what's wrong with him. I thought it might be flukes at first, based on the common's behavior, but the first medicine I used should have treated that. I don't really like the idea of a broad spectrum medicine, either--but, if don't know what's really wrong with him and not doing anything seems to be killing him, what choice do I have? I'm quite worried about him, he's barely moving at the bottom of the tank, and is plastered to the inside of one of the arches in the bridge.

Any ideas for saving this fish would be welcome.

Thank you,

Cj

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Ok, so there's a few things that seem to stand out that might need looking into:

1. With a cycled tank, you should be getting nitrate readings - even if you're doing daily water changes. Unless you are changing out 100% of the water daily, there should be at least a small nitrate reading. So I am wondering if your tank is really cycled or if it lost the cycle.

2. Typically after a fish death of unknown cause, it's not a bad idea to sterilize the tank, but seeing as you've still got a fish in there, that might make it difficult. Two back to back 70% water changes was good, but there is likely still residual medications and who knows what still in the water (especially with gravel and decorations to hang on to).

3. Can you describe the bridge decoration? Is it hollow inside? Is there good circulation around the decoration? Do you vacuum around and under decorations when you do water changes?

4. Your Penguin Bio-wheel 200 is a good filter and probably recommended for tank sizes up to 50 or 60 gallons. However with goldfish, you want at least 10x filtration per gallon of water. Meaning with a 25 gal. tank, you want a filter that circulates at least 250gph (if not more). I over filter all my goldfish tanks by at least 15-20x filtration because the goldfish are so messy and produce so much waste. So you might look into adding another HOB to up your filtration. (You can use more than one filter.)

Do you see any redness at all on the fish or the fins? Do you have any PraziPro or PondPrazi (praziquantel) on hand?

Edited by Tinkokeshi

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I'm hesitant to offer any real advise here b/c I've owned goldfish for a long time but I'm willing to admit that I'm still kind of a newbie. However, I just wanted to offer some moral support and also say that I'm glad it looks like you're taking the LFS advise w/ a grain of salt (so to speak). I read in your earlier thread that they told you that flukes in goldfish are uncommon but in reality, flukes are actually super common. I don't know why the store would say they aren't. From what I've read on the forum, it seems that flukes are one of the top reasons goldfish are having issues. That's why so many people treat new fish for them as a precaution b/c if your fish gets them, they are SUPER stubborn about leaving and they can wreak some serious havoc. I've heard it can take months to get rid of them in some cases. PraziPro is a very gentle and effective medication. Like I said, I don't have much advise for you but I did want to provide some info. I'm so sorry your guy is having issues. It's hard to see your fish friend not feeling well :(

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The bridge decoration is plastic and yes, I think it is hollow. I washed everything in hot water and soaked the gravel in hot water before we set up the tank. (no soap) We do vacuum around and under all decorations. The filter intake is right behind the bridge, so I do think that there is pretty good circulation. When the shubie is "parked" underneath you can see his tail being kind of buffeted by the currents, and whenever we put food in you can sort of see the current patterns--they go all over and seem to be pretty strong. The filter is advertised to turn over 200 gallons per hour, so we thought that would be enough. I'm sorry to hear that it may not be. We will consider adding another filter.

I can't see any redness on any of the fins. Nyn is dark in color with some gold, so that makes it hard to see color changes. The common never had any streaking in his fins before he died.

I do have a bottle of Prazi Pro on hand, since I ordered it before the common died on the advice of another member here. The prior medication that I used did have Praziquantel in it, too, but that did not seem to help him for any length of time. Is Prazi Pro better somehow?

Given that the fish looks so much worse after adding the second batch of salt, do you think I should still add the third one? I'm afraid it might do him in, and was actually tempted to do a small water change to dilute it a bit and see if that didn't help.

Thank you for your help. And, thank you Emily for your moral support!

Cj

Edited by Cj52

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I would be wary of any stagnant water inside your bridge.

I use to have a decoration that was like a building ruins type thing with an arch and it was also hollow inside. When I had it on substrate it collected all sorts of icky gunk inside, and I'm sure due to lack of circulation of water going into the piece it was probably harboring all sorts of anaerobic bacteria and nastiness.

20081015-080155.jpg

So to remedy the situation I stuck airline tubing down into a drilled hole and another hole up top so I could get air and water circulating into it. It eventually became spawning ground central for my bristlenose pair. :)

Sorry I got sidetracked, haha point was... can you seal the ornament or perhaps get some circulation going inside of it? I worry only because your fish likes to loiter around it.

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It's hard to compare medications since they all have their purpose and use, however many of us here on Koko's would recommend Prazi to other medications because it's so mild and effective. It's effective in treating against flukes which is common in all store purchased fish. Typical symptoms include gasping, flashing, lethargy and erratic behavior.

http://www.kokosgoldfish.com/Body%20And%20Gill%20Flukes.html

The symptoms are pretty common and can be misdiagnosed as other illnesses which is another reason I'd recommend Prazi. Even if it's not flukes, there is not much harm (except maybe to your wallet over time) to treat with Prazi. The other medication you used which had Praziquantel in it also had some other pretty harsh medications. I know I don't usually use Metronidazole unless I absolutely have to and know that it's what is needed.

I'm thinking maybe your fish didn't look to improve after your previous medications because there was more stress than help.

At this point without knowing exactly what the cause of the symptoms is, I'd still recommend treating with PraziPro until we can figure this out.

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No further advise than above,looks like the basic's have already been covered :) ...just wanted to wish your fish well asap :)

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The air hose is a good idea, or sealing it up. I don't have an air hose right now, but I could seal it with duct tape or something like that, if it wouldn't be dangerous to the fish. They hide under there constantly. We call it the 'fish garage', when there were two of them they'd each take a slot and sit there looking out at the living room. He's looking like his gills are moving rapidly, and when he does try to move it's like he's having trouble getting himself up. Would bacteria do this? I'll clean and seal the bridge, it's going to freak him when I reach in and take it out, as that's where he's sitting.

Do you have an opinion on what I should do about the salt? I will add the Prazi Pro per instructions. As long as it won't hurt him, I can only hope it will help!

tank12.jpg

tank13.jpg

Thanks much for your input, I really appreciate it.

Cj

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Cj, do you happen to have a macro setting on your camera? (the magnified flower icon)? It allows for focusing on pictures taken up close. I can see your little guy in the 2nd picture, but just a blob of 'em. :)

Also, what are your thoughts about trying a bare bottom tank?

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So I wouldn't recommend duct taping your ornament. Doesn't sound safe...

There are some tips in the Tip of the Month section on kokosgoldfish.com, tips of the month (on the right side), on sealing hollow ornaments.

http://www.kokosgoldfish.com/tom07.html

Might try looking through those.

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How does one know if silicone is 'tank safe'? Isn't silicone a non reactive substance? I'll have to read up on that....otherwise, I do like the idea of putting an airstone in it to circulate things. That would be pretty and useful, and it would allow the fish to keep their fave hiding spot.

I could live with a barebottom tank, if it means my fish don't all keep dying....:-( What about the plastic plants though? What does one do with those if you have a barebottom aquarium? Would just a thinner substrate be OK, or do you mean bare as in 'no gravel at all'?

Since the addition of the salt seemed to stress him out, I think I'll hold at 2 tsp per gallon for now and see how he goes on.

The camera does have a macro setting, but it took several tries to get a picture that came out--it didn't like the lighting. I apologize, I'm not much of a photographer. Here is a photo of Nyn, snuggling up to the side of the bridge:

nyn12.jpg

Thanks for taking the time to help me out and make suggestions. I do appreciate it.

Cj

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By bare bottom I mean completely bare like in that picture I had posted. The reason I ask is because with a bottom sitting fish like Nyn, it's really dangerous for his fins and belly to be down in the substrate. If there are any parasites or other lurking bacteria looking for a host, Nyn is a prime target.

It's usually not a big deal with healthy fish who don't spend much time with their fins in the gravel, but with that picture that you posted, it's very worrisome.

If you like the decorative plants, it's always possible to use aquarium silicone and "glue" some gravel to the base to weigh it down.

If you get 100% silicone from your local hardware store, it will work. Aquarium silicone is usually pricier. Just make sure it's 100% so that it won't mold and break down. Key words to look for are 100% silicone and food safe. That's good enough for the fish. ;)

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Thank you for such complete information--I now know just what to look for when going silicone shopping. :D

As to going gravel-less, I guess I wouldn't mind it, but right now it'd be hard to remove it while the fish is still in the tank, wouldn't it? Yikes, that would be a major project. I have a small one gallon tank that Flo used to live in, I suppose I could put Nyn in there while we seal up his bridge and remove the gravel. Would it be OK to have a very thin layer, like maybe 1/4 inch that can be thoroughly vacuumed? I've actually wondered about this. We put the 'recommended amount of gravel' into the tank when we bought it, but anything that falls to the bottom layers clearly doesn't get removed during the average vac session. The LFS said about an inch to one and a half of gravel would be good--but I know now that everything the LFS says is not gospel truth. I worry a little about what's in the bottom layers.

We did a water change tonight and I added the Prazi Pro per instructions on the bottle. I resalted to current levels, about 2 tsp. per gallon. He actually came out and looked around a little bit, which was encouraging, he hasn't been out much since I added the last batch of salt. Maybe he's finally getting used to it. I hope the Prazi helps him and that he's looking a little better in the next few days. The bottle says that the medicine stays active for 5-7 days, but that you can redose after 3-5. In this case, how many times would you dose a fish and at what intervals? Of course, the bottle says "once", but is that really the case given the life cycle of flukes and some worms?

Thanks again,

Cj and Nyn

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There's a couple of options. It's been a while since I've treated with prazi, but you can do 1 day treat - 3 days off, so basically you can dose every 4th day for about 3-4 weeks.

OR

You can do treat right after a water change, and wait 5-6 days and repeat each week.

Here's the thread on treating with Prazi: http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/78658-prazi/

The idea though is that you need to be water changing on a regular basis, and you're right... you want to continue your treating beyond one life cycle. :)

Edited by Tinkokeshi

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Hmmm...Nyn is still plastered to the bottom of the tank today, up against the bridge. Last night he came out and showed interest in eating, even though he spit it all out. This morning, when I turned on the light he looked like he wanted to come out and nose around, but just couldn't get himself up and out. His gills are moving rapidly and hard. Poor little guy.

I am going with the "every three days for about a month" treatment. I'm assuming I should also do my regular weekly water changes with that. My tank runs on the warm side, 82-85, so according to what I've read the lifecycle of this parasite may be fairly quick, but I want to be sure it's gone before I stop, if indeed this is flukes. I only purchased a one ounce bottle of Prazi Pro so I might have to get some more. How long till I'd expect to see signs of improvement? I'd like to know I'm doing the right thing for him--any sign of him feeling better would be encouragement that we're on the right track. I sure hope he makes it.

I'm considering removing at least some of the gravel when next we do a water change--is this a good idea or is it just likely to stir up any gunk that's lurking on the bottom and make things that much worse?

thanks,

Cj and Nyn

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If you're planning on treating long term, you can also purchase PondPrazi. It's made for ponds, so the dosage might be different but of course labelled on the bottle.

If Nyn's got flukes and aside from that is in fairly good health, there should be visible improvement. It kind of depends on how bogged down he is with flukes as they can get in the gills and cause difficulty breathing and such. If your water is clean and you keep treatment up though, a healthy fish should bounce back and heal up. I've got my fingers crossed for the little man too! :heart

If you plan to remove gravel, it's important that you don't do it all at once since some of your beneficial bacteria (bbs) will be colonized in the gravel (along with the biomedia in the filter). I'd recommend doing a very thorough vacuuming of the gravel in the section you are choosing to remove. You can remove it by handfuls or with a small scoop, but the idea is to try not to disturb all the decaying matter and other gunk under the gravel. (Hopefully if a thorough gravel vac has been done, there shouldn't be too much.) The main worry is to disturb and release an anaerobic bacteria pocket. All in all though, if done carefully and patiently it should be ok.

At this point though with Nyn being so susceptible to stress, I'd recommend doing thorough gravel vacs (I mean getting down in there and making sure the water almost runs clear with each twist down of your siphon into the gravel) throughout the tank, and just removing maybe a handful at a time. Slowly but surely a handful or two handfuls at a time will help you get rid of the gravel.

:) Hoping all goes well with Nyn! :heart

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Will do on the gravel--we'll just do it gradually during water changes, so as to be able to vacuum up anything that's stirred up.

How long is it safe to keep the tank salted at this level? It's currently at 2 tsp per gallon, and we are going on two weeks now. I held off adding the last tsp per gallon because he seemed to get worse when I added that second teaspoon per gallon--I'm unsure if it was due to what's ailing him or if he's just more sensitive to it than Flo was.

I'm still pretty worried about Nyn--he's still not looking a bit better. He has only shifted position on the bottom of the tank today, has not been out and about at all. He stirred when we put a few goldfish flakes in, but only when one went right past his nose. He did not look able to get himself out from under the bridge to get any more, and then he seemed to just give up. I put about 1 1/4 tsp of prazi in last night, figuring that I don't have a full 25 gallons, given the gravel, plants and bridge. I hope he perks up tomorrow. I know that goldfish can go a week or two without eating, but to see him not interested at all is disconcerting. Guess all I can do at the moment is wait. :-(

Cj

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