Illness, Health & Nutrition • Could this be hex?

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Could this be hex?

Postby Tim5501 » Sat Jun 12, 2021 9:23 pm

I have a large, 5 yr old Blood Parrot (please don't scold; I didn't know and I won't do it again, but he's here...). He lives in a 60 gallon well-established tank by himself. (Nitrite=0, Nitrate=5, Ammonia=0, PH=7.4) About 10 days ago, he stopped eating completely. For 6 or 7 days before that he ate less than usual and just before he stopped eating, he'd take food then spit it out. At that time I noticed some white, mucousy looking feces (I'm assuming; didn't see him poop it) when vacuuming. That made me think it may be hexamita (sp?). The only other symptoms were moderate paleness and slightly lethargic.

I began treating with 250 mg of Seachem Metroplex per 10 gal daily, preceded by a 30% water change each day. His color came back quickly. I also added 2 Tbsp Epsom Salt per 10 gal and maintained that level by adding the correct amount to compensate for the water change after each water change. Yesterday was the 5th day of treatment and there is no improvement, except he's beginning to show signs of swim bladder disorder. He spends a little time near the surface which he never used to do and he often has a slight tail-up attitude, not his usual horizontally level position. I offer him a shelled pea and a single pellet each day before the water change, but he shows no interest. He's not pooping since he's not eating, so there's no feces to evaluate.

Given that my only clues are that he may have had white, mucousy feces several days ago, should I keep treating with Metroplex daily, with water changes? Is there any other treatment I can try besides Epsom Salt for swim bladder disorder? Is there anything else I should be looking at? Thank you very much for any thoughts you can share about this.
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Re: Could this be hex?

Postby Auballagh » Sun Jun 13, 2021 12:02 am

The white, stringy feces indicate that your Blood Parrot (BP) may have a case of Bloat. Treating with the Seachem Metroplex should handle that condition, though.
The salt addition to your water will be appreciated by your BP as a supportive measure.
Did you try to get any of the medication in his food? Metronidazole will work best in treatment, if ingested by your sick fish. Otherwise, you are doing pretty much everything I would be at this point. I would definitely keep up the treatment regimen for at least 10 days though. Medication with Metronidazole is sometimes maintained for 14 - 17 days. And, apparent visible improvement of a sick fish does not necessarily indicate termination of the treatment regimen. It's best to run antibiotics through for a full treatment cycle to get the best results.
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Re: Could this be hex?

Postby Tim5501 » Sun Jun 13, 2021 1:25 pm

Thank you for the reply. I am basically treating for Bloat following the instructions in the "Malawi Bloat" article by by Marc Elieson (VatoElvis), Robin Lovell (Robin) and T. Montgomery (GTZ), here: https://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/ ... t2_pt3.php. I would treat his food but he eats nothing at all. I offer food before each water change & treatment, but no interest. It's been 11 or 12 days since he's eaten.

Regarding salt, I'm treating for constipation with Epsom salt, in case it's a blockage. It's my understanding that aquarium salt isn't used for that purpose but has other benefits that don't apply here. Am I wrong about that? And I'm nervous about using Epsom salt and aqua salt at the same time because I can't find any consensus on if that is OK or not. Any thoughts on that? Thanks again.
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Re: Could this be hex?

Postby Auballagh » Sun Jun 13, 2021 10:52 pm

Regarding the salt treatment... yes, Epsom salt and non-iodized salt are typically used for different treatment applications.
And no, I wouldn't recommend using both at the same time (never personally done that before....), as it seems that excessive water hardness problems could start to happen in the aquarium.
-
If you can't tempt your BP to eat any food, you are going to have to treat the water. That method isn't near as effective. But may be what you're left with, if you can't get him to ingest that medication. :(
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Re: Could this be hex?

Postby Tim5501 » Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:38 pm

Thanks again. I've been treating the water for 7 days now. I was at the pet store today to buy a 3rd bottle of Metroplex but decided to buy API General Cure instead because the doses are measured (I find it nearly impossible to accurately measure Metroplex with that tiny scoop) and because it also has Praziquantel, so maybe that'll help. I really don't know what I'm dealing with since the only symptoms are not eating and what may have been white, stringy feces around the time he stopped eating. That and a hint of slightly positive buoyancy.
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Re: Could this be hex?

Postby Tim5501 » Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:50 pm

P.S. I have also raised the temp to 81 F and adjusted the water level to increase agitation at the surface by the filter outflow and am leaving one of the hinged covers (doors? What you open to feed them) open to compensate for any reduction in oxygen.
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Re: Could this be hex?

Postby SenorStrum » Mon Jun 14, 2021 10:14 pm

Auballagh wrote:If you can't tempt your BP to eat any food, you are going to have to treat the water. That method isn't near as effective. But may be what you're left with, if you can't get him to ingest that medication. :(


Though I have no experience with BPs, it definitely sounds like bloat to me. I agree that getting the fish to ingest medication is just about the only course of action at this point. To that end, I've read of two other methods to get medication into a fish.
1. Pipette - use a pipette to actually squirt medication down the fish's gullet. This is a forceful administration of medication and sounds unpleasant for all involved. Given the alternatives at hand, though, I could see why one would try.
2. The High-Concentration Flop - In this method, one takes a lot of medication and puts it in about a half inch of water in a shallow dish. The fish is placed in this dish and allowed to flop around and gasp for a few minutes. The hope is that the fish will ingest the medicine in the water throughout this unpleasant ordeal. Again, in the face of the alternative, I could see why one would try this. I never have.

Auballagh, have you tried either of these methods? Do you know of another?
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Re: Could this be hex?

Postby Auballagh » Tue Jun 15, 2021 6:49 am

Hmmmmm…..

SenorStrum wrote:Auballagh, have you tried either of these methods? Do you know of another?


No. Those both seem like some pretty heroic treatment methods to cure a sick fish! And unfortunately, in the past I have definitely lost some fish to Bloat that just wouldn't eat. But in smaller quarantine tanks when forced to treat the water, I have had some success (My best guess for that is I've had around a 50 -60 percent success rate....).
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I do like the fact that you raised the water temp of your aquarium to 81F. BPs tend to do best for some reason, when things are kept a bit on the warm side. If nothing else it will speed up his metabolism a bit, and may induce a stronger appetite with a feeding response. You could try pre-soaking some of his favorite (treat) foods in fresh/minced up garlic. Not all Cichlids will go for the garlic thing, but BPs are one type that seem to enjoy that stuff...
And lastly, this thread may help in providing some general BP keeping recommendations:

https://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/vie ... 3&t=454769
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Re: Could this be hex?

Postby DJRansome » Tue Jun 15, 2021 8:45 am

I have never treated a BP but I have had luck successfully treating fish with "bloat" that were not eating by just putting the meds in the water. I always thought that some meds would get "into" the fish even if not the digestive system through the mouth/gills.
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Re: Could this be hex?

Postby Tim5501 » Tue Jun 15, 2021 9:26 pm

Thank you all for your input. There has been an encouraging development. Today I found some white stuff in the corner of the tank where he sleeps. It's not stringy but resembles shredded shrimp meat, in pieces about the size of a grain of rice or a bit larger, but not well-formed. All but one was white and the one was orange-ish like parts of shrimp meat, and similar to the orange of a BP. I can't know for sure that it's poop, but I know it wasn't there yesterday.

I medicated a couple of pellets and offered them. He didn't eat them but I'm leaving them in just in case. With no food and no pooping and daily WC for nearly 2 weeks, this tank is cleaner than it's been since it cycled, several years ago.

Thanks again.
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Re: Could this be hex?

Postby Tim5501 » Wed Jun 16, 2021 7:55 pm

Greetings, all. No progress today. No new white stuff, still not eating.

Because this BP lives alone, I'm considering treating more aggressively. The 'Malawi Bloat' article says that higher concentrations of metro (greater than 250 mg/10 gal/day) have been reported to be safe, but doesn't say the concentration. Opinions? Concentration suggestions?

I've been thinking about the more drastic measures that were suggested. They seem like 'last resort' measures but I wonder if there might be an in-between method. Suppose you put a high concentration of [whatever medicine] in a Waterpik, that little pressure washer that you use to clean your teeth. Then you might trap and hold the fish inside the tank and position the Waterpik nozzle about half an inch in front of the mouth. 10-15 seconds could deliver a lot of medicine. Granted, the fish may not ingest much or any, as if it were in food, but it seems like it could be more effective than the normal water treatment while less stressful than a pipette in the gullet. If you've never used a Waterpik, this may sound nuts but I have used them for years and am confident that this would work to get the medicine into the mouth with only minor stress over and beyond the stess of being trapped and held in place for 15 seconds. Thoughts?
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Re: Could this be hex?

Postby DJRansome » Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:31 pm

I would worry about the force of the water in the pik.
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Re: Could this be hex?

Postby Tim5501 » Wed Jun 16, 2021 9:18 pm

Understood, but it can be regulated and tested. The pressure is adjustable on the device itself, and the distance from the nozzle to the target will affect the pressure. You could feel the pressure by submerging your hand in water then using the Waterpik on a sensitive area like the wrist to feel what the pressure will be at different distances.

Thanks for replying.
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Re: Could this be hex?

Postby Tim5501 » Sat Jun 19, 2021 1:12 pm

New development: He has been trying to pass a very large stool for nearly 16 hours. It is the normal dark brown color and appears very firm. He does not seem to be straining or uncomfortable.

I have been maintaining the Epsom salt level at 2 Tbsp per 10 gallons since beginning treatment 12 days ago. Would it be safe and effective to increase the concentration until he finishes the bowel movement? If so, what concentration? Any other ideas on how to help him finish? Thanks.
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