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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

I sent 25 Cyathopharynx furcifer fry that are 1.25 inches to another hobbyist a little over a week ago and now they are suddenly dying.They got to him in good condition , took a day or 2 to settle in and then start eating fine.Friday he noticed 3 dead and many of them gasping on the bottom.He done a 60% water change with water that is aged/buffered in a barrel and then treated them with Clout just to be sure it was not a parasite.I believe he done another large water change and now only has a few left surviving.This a 120 gallon tank and he checked the water temp of 77-78D, no ammonia,no nitrites,and less than 5ppm of nitrates.He said that he fed them heavily twice a day and seemed fine till they started gasping.Any insight will be greatly appreciated.
 

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I've only ever killed fish with Clout... and young fish recently moved would be more susceptible to medication stress. Since there was zero signs of parasites, my humble opinion is that Clout did in at least some of the fish. Gasping like that is usually a sign of toxicity, not disease.

Does the buyer use a high quality dechlorinator? Aging water does not replace the need for a tap water conditioner. My guess is that you've got healthy fish, stressed from transport (were they shipped?), exposed to less than optimal water conditions, then medicated... Even if all the buyer's other fish are fine with his water, that doesn't mean it's good for fish struggling with other stress factors.

Also, find out what the pH, GH and KH are, and make sure the buyer is using the test kits properly (it may be that the tank is actually cycling- the 2 days of good health followed by gasping sounds like ammonia/nitrite poisoning).
 

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I agree 100% with triscuit. You should never medicate that soon after fish arrive. Clout never works anyways.

Also if they did have a parasite I highly doubt that it would kill them that fast. Most parasites take a little time to affect the fish and if they were eating and healthy when you sent them makes me think that they were fine.

What your describing is the buyers neglect on there water quality and poor feeding. I bet they got bloat or something, think about it he said he was feeding them heavily doing water changes when it was probably not necessary and the fish were already stressed out. There furcifer's not convicts, there a bit more touchy than most fish.

People are just to eager when they get new fish and want to make sure that they are doing everything right. But then they get scared at the littlest things and over react by adding meds and doing water changes. I use to do this also till I learned my lesson.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I appreciate the responses.He is not blaming me but I and him are trying to find the issue so it won't happen when I send some more furcifer to him in a couple months.I fed them NLS Grow somewhat heavy,I tend to have a light hand feeding though, 1-2 times a day and sometimes I get busy and forget to feed all of my fish 1 time a week.He fed them NLS Grow as well but said he was feeding heavy 2 times a day.I suspect they were possibly overfed b/c they are like Tropheus and always act hungry and have a long intestine like them as well.He uses Seachem's Prime water conditioner so I don't suspect chlorine or ammonia issues.The tank was cycled with other fish that was removed right before these went in.He said he was babying them which like Furcifer158 said he may of paid Too much attention to them which I have been guilty of many times too.
 

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David, thank you for starting this post.

I am the hobbyist that David shipped the furcifers to. I prepared the tank several days in advance to the fishes arrival. The tank previously was a central american cichlid tank with other dithers in it as well. I do regular weekly water changes of 50% on all of my tanks. This is 15 tanks totalling 1000 gallons. David and I talked several times prior to shipping and he gave me much information as to his water parameters. the water in my tanks is the same as his. The pH is 8.2 and moderately hard.

The fish shipped very well. They were a little stressed but in good health. I did not feed them for the first 24 hours. On the second day, I began feeding NLS grow in the afternoon. The first feedings were light, no more than what could be consumed in a minute or two. As the days progressed I fed a little more. By the end of the week, the fish were being fed twice daily, approximately what could be consumed in five minutes time. Some pellets remained on the bottom but were eaten by the two ansistrus in the tank.

The tank is a five foot, 120 gallon tank. It has an inch of tahitan moon sand on the bottom and nothing else. It is filtered by an Eheim 2217 and four large box filters from Jehmco.

On Christmas Eve I noticed that several of the fish were spiraling around the tank and most of the others were on the bottom gasping for air. Being the holidays I didn't have as much time to dedicate to my fishroom so It was something that I didn't see earlier on. When I saw fish exhibiting this behavior I thought of what possible causes could be. (1) temperature... It was between 76 and 78. (2) Possible ammonia spike. I did a 60% water change and watched them that day. They continued to die off. The water tested as follows: Ammonia - 0, NO2 - 0 and NO3 - 5ppm. I keep a 45 gallon barrel with aged water churning in the center of the room at all times. This is how I have done water changes for years. I use Prime to dechlorinate and then age the water as well.

it is possible that I fed them too much too soon, but this is the 4th furcifer group that I have raised and have done the same routine with all of them.

The next morning I found 5 or 6 more dead fish. It was clear that they were all dieing and dieing fast. The next thing I thought of was that they had bloat. I have used Cloat in the past with good results with tropheus and had a bottle on hand. I followed the recommended dosage to see if that would do anything for them. Fish continued to die throughout Christmas Day. The rest of the day was taken up with family stuff so I couldnt get back in the fishroom until late that night. It was approximately 16 hours since I had medicated the tank and more fish had died. Now only about nine or ten remaining. I did a second smaller water change of about 40 gallons (1/3 volume). The next morning I went to work, when I returned that afternoon, I was down to seven, two of which were doing the death spiral. I pulled the 5 healthier looking ones and put them in a different 120 gallon tank that houses some chalinochromis brichardi, Jul. regani and yellow calvus. All of those moved at still alive.

I agree with the above as well. Sudden death of this nature is usually a toxicity issue. However the perameters were right on. Low oxygen levels would more than likely have the fish gasping at the surface. Parasites would probably not kill fish as quickly as these were going. I have seen bloat kill tropheus (not mine) very quickly though. I even considered a stray current from one of the heaters in the tank, but didnt have a meter to measure. I unplugged the heaters just to see anyway.

I have been in the hobby for 35 years and consider myself quite experienced. I have kept tanganyikans almost excusively for the past ten years. I have killed my share of fish due to mistakes in my day. We are all human after all and make mistakes. This has my very perplexed. I hope I have filled in some of the information that David didn't have.

I look forward to your input.

-Tom

I should add that I have tossed some very young mbuna fry into the tank to see what would happen. All are doing just fine.
 

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Hey Tom, I'm betting that it was Bloat. All the signs for me at least from what has been written makes me think this. Bloat does kill fast, If you have and metrodiznale powder. I would medicate with this on the rest of the furcifer asap. I spelled that wrong I believe. If you do not knows where to get some let me know I could help you find some online. Most pet stores do not sell it pure.

I hope for the best for the rest of the furcifer's.
 

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I'm impressed with both the buyer and seller of these fish- kudos to both of you for trying to do what's best for the fish, doing it well, and then handling it reasonably even when it didn't work out.
So, we've ruled out the nitrogen cycle, chlorine/chloramines... those are the major toxicity issues. Stray voltage could do it, but until you measure it we should assume it's not the problem. It is curious that the fish that were moved are still alive though.

After hearing both sides of the transaction, my $0.02 guess is acclimation stress followed by overfeeding followed by Clout. It's not that anybody did anything wrong, it's just that the fish had too many small negatives to overcome. The term "bloat" seems overused and ill defined. In this case, I'm not hearing any of the classic symptoms of spitting food, or distended abdomens. Was there the expected amount of fish poo in the tank after a couple days?

I tend to feed my fry tanks lightly, but several times a day. I also don't feed new arrivals much for the first week until I see them lunging for food and pooping. Metronidazole is my drug of choice for treating bloat like symptoms, combined with Epsom salts. But in general, stress management for the fish is the best preventative medicine I know.
 

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The term "bloat" seems overused and ill defined. In this case, I'm not hearing any of the classic symptoms of spitting food, or distended abdomens.
Same thought here. If the fish are fine in the new tank, then I'd not medicate further.

No answers, but here are my thoughts for what they're worth.

Still sounds like some toxin to me, and it could be something we don't typically look for. I think I'd be buying some inexpensive fish and adding them to the tank to see what happens. If it's a toxin, it'll probably take them out also.

I've not personally seen acclimating issues kill fish (and I've had many dozens shipped to me), so think this one unlikely, but that's just me. I tend to differ from the mainstream on acclimating fish.

Overfeeding? I've never heard of that killing fish, and think it unlikely.

Clout? Maybe a contributor, but they were having serious problems before treatment. The fact
that the Clout seemed ineffective suggests this wasn't a parasite. Clout doesn't always kill fish, and some swear by it for treating disease.

Only other thing I can think of would be effects of shipping. How long were they in the bag water? Ammonia in the bag water could have damaged gills and resulted in what you experienced. Ammonia can damage gills and cause the gasping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi Tom,

Thanks for giving details of the situation that I missed.I hope the 5 fish you moved are still well.

When Tom said that they were gasping at the bottom that sounded like a sign of bloat but I would not think it would kill them that fast.I am more used to treating adult fish though with the classic signs of not eating and stringy poo.I have used Clout successfully in the past using the half does method that is in this forums library for adult fish only.I would not have recommend using it on the young furcifers b/c it is harsh stuff and I knew it could not be parasites.

Would it be better to send larger juvies around 1.5 inches instead of 1.25 next time? I know it is easier to ship smaller fish but if they are hardier when bigger I will do what is best for the fish.Also at what size would you all recommend going to a lower protein diet?

Thanks Everyone,
Dave
 

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How did you acclimate the fish.

I was on MFK (Monster Fish Keepers) and was reading this huge couple page long article that Miles wrote. It goes over the proper way to acclimating fish. Its really controversial but Its what I have been doing now for a few months. Basically I think any one who owns fish should read it. I'm still looking for the article to post it on here. It basically tells you to just dump the fish into your tank soon as they get to your house.

This guy does the majority are rare fish importation from south american. He does lots of black rays.
 

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Many people I know use this type of quick acclimation methed. The philosphy behind it is that the water conditions in your tank are far better than the ammonia filled bag water that the fish are swimming in. Therefore it is far less stressful on the fish to just place them in the fresher tank water immediately.

I personally don't agree 100% with this philosophy, but I am far from the drip method as well. Somewhere in between. Floating bags, adding a cup of water every 15 minutes or so for an hour or more.

I am currently only seeing two of the four remaining Kigomas. There is much rockwork in this tank though and they could be anywhere. Several friends are putting together a rather large order from Reserve Stock and asked if I wanted to join in. I am a little gun shy right now though and will probably pass even though they have some ROCKIN cyprichromis that I would like to get.

The 1/3 inch mbuna fry that I put in this effected 120g tank several days ago are all doing just fine. Malawi fish are pretty much bullet proof though so this doesnt suprise me. I have a wild caught group of Opthal. Nasuta Kipili that I am considering moving into this tank. I am going to do it in the next week of so. BIG tanks are prime real estate and can't go empty for too long!!!
 

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Just chiming in to say that I had a very similar experience with a group of 12 foai Kabogo this summer. I had a 5+ year old 125 gallon ready for them with perfect parameters. I was feeding them NLS twice a day until they suddenly began dying off in a manner similar to the fish in question. I started a rigorous water change routine and treated with clout but in the end I lost all but one pair.

I believe that, although the foai ate all the food I gave them greedily, it was too much protein for their specialized digestive track and they got bloat.

My remaining pair is doing fine now that I cut back the feeding. An expensive lesson, learned.
 

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I believe that, although the foai ate all the food I gave them greedily, it was too much protein for their specialized digestive track and they got bloat.
NLS does not cause bloat in fish. Any fish's digestive tract will handle it just fine. Mine have been fed with it since they were juvies and I didn't have any of these problems. 13 months later, doing great. Over two dozen other species of tanganyikan including tropheus, same experience. Too many have done fine with it to come to the conclusions that you've come to. I know we desperately want to know what did them in, but sometimes we just won't know. Pinning it on something wrongly does a disservice.
 

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I agree ... NLS is the best staple food on the market in my opinion. I have raised tropheus on it exclusively.
 

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Bloat definitely is over diagnosed. But there are many different bacterias that caused symptoms that bloat its self has.
Maybe thats why?????

Who know but when ever any of my fish start to not eat, I start metro right away. It might not always be necessary but has work for me.

And like triscuit said it is impressive that the two of you are not blaming the other. There is sometimes to many dishonest, angry fish keepers out there. Its just nice to see people working it out and trying to figure out what is causing the deaths.
 

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prov356, I think your reading what he's saying incorrectly. It 's not the brand of food, it the protein rich content. In my experience with these beauties they also need the fiber in their diet to pass the protein through their long intestinal track.

To the OP,

It seems after reading through this that you are both quite qualified hobbyist and the basics were covered above. From what your describing as a symptom, the only other thing I can think of right now that Triscuit mentioned is the hardness of the water and it's epsom salt content. I have seen simular symptoms when my Kh was low when keeping some Nasuta, but never had any issues with Ruziba's. the lack of laxitive content and the protein might have had an impact on these fish. Did you compare and maybe your breeding tanks are higher KH?

Beautiful fish BTW :)

Steve
 

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New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula has very low protein, I compared when I first got into fishkeeping. 34%.

New Life Spectrum Grow has higher protein, 50%.

I do not believe food causes bloat, but rather stress. In my case it is usually aggression, I use NLS Cichlid Formula exclusively for adult fish.

Could the stress of shipping have made the fish susceptible, the Grow formula been a little too heavy for stressed fish and the Clout finished them off?

I would not have thought so. I do reserve Clout only for the sickest fish with every bloat symptom in a hospital tank. Mostly I use metronidazole to treat bloat.
 
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