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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday afternoon I received a cross-country shipment of some recently wild-caught fish from Lake Tanganyika: 5 adult Neolamprologus mustax and 2 juvenile N. sexfasciatus. They all looked pretty stressed out when I unbagged them and placed them in a newly established, fully cycled 55-gallon tank, especially 1 of the N. mustax and both of the N. sexfasciatus. I just left them alone in relatively dim light until lights-out. This morning they look much better, as I'd hoped - EXCEPT for that 1 mustax. It's the biggest, most impressive specimen, of course. :?

What that fish is still doing this morning is lying around on the substrate, trying to stay out of the way of the other fish; when they approach and sometimes even when they're nowhere near, it curves its body into a bit of an S-shape and shimmies to another location. Fins are all clamped down. Sometimes it looks as if it's having a bit of trouble remaining upright.

What if anything can I do to aid its recovery?

Also, it and the 2 N. sexfasciatus look rather hollow-bellied. What would you recommend I start feeding them to get them going and fill them out? I don't know whether that 1 N. mustax would even eat in its current condition, of course.

For background, the fish arrived in the country only 2 weeks ago, and what the importer did was feed them metronidazole-medicated flake food until 3 days before shipping to me, at which time he fasted them. My water parameters are great for Tanganyikans.

Any thoughtful advice would be greatly appreciated!

Gerry
 

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Gerry, glad you finally got the fish though sorry you are having some issues with a couple of them.

Usually it takes new fish a bit to get used to new surroundings after shipment even with taking food. I would keep the tank lights off for a couple days and just rely on room light so tank isn't in complete darkness.

Have you seen the other fish eat at all? I'm not a big fan of flake food as it seems to get dispersed too quickly in the tank though eventually fish will get used to coming up to the top to eat it. You could try target feeding lower in the tank using a turkey baster to inject it lower in the tank if that seems to help. As to improving feeding opportunities, IF your local fish store has live black worms available, you can try and see if that would encourage any of the fish to eat. The movement of the BW's are often a trigger to help fish eat.

Were the fish bagged separately when you got them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yup, just relying on room light while the fish settle in.

Haven't actually tried feeding them yet; plan to do so this evening. My thought was to use a tiny portion of some live food along with a tiny portion of a quality sinking pellet (I share your feelings about flake food for untrained fish) to help get the fish started on prepared foods. The LFS has brine shrimp and black worms, but in the past I always used to be careful about black worms (not even really sure why) so I just picked up some brine shrimp. (They had ghost shrimp, too, which I reckon the N. sexfasciatus would likely go after in a big way, but I was afraid it would make their first meals too big.) I agree there's scarcely anything as tempting as wiggling worms, though, and if the brine shrimp don't provoke an adequate feeding response then I'll go back for some black worms.

Given the hollow bellies I also picked up some MetroPlex and I thought I'd treat the sinking pellets with it - or maybe just go ahead and treat the tank water, I haven't quite decided.

The 2 juvenile N. sexfasciatus were in one bag, the largest adult N. mustax (the fish not doing well) and 2 of its conspecifics were in a second bag (I would have preferred to see that larger mustax bagged by itself) and the last 2 N. mustax were in a third bag.

The importer has already promised refund or replacement for that N. mustax doing poorly if it dies, but I'd much rather see it recover.

GREATLY appreciate your thoughts, both those you've already offered and those you might have on what I've said here (or that yet occur to you).

Gerry
 

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I've never had a bad experience with live black worms from my LFS. I do however rinse them in cold well water when I get them home, refrigerate unused portions in a covered oblong Tupperware container in about one inch of water and do daily water changes on the BW's. Occasionally they have leeches but I just remove and dispose of them. The nice thing about BW's is that if they aren't eaten the same day in the tank, they won't foul the water, just hide in the substrate.

I've not tried feeder ghost shrimp, a bit leery about illness and quality. I suppose you could culture them at home if you wanted to make it a regular thing.

It's a shame the fish were bagged that way, I would have hoped they were individually bagged especially for wild caught. Nice to hear the importer would be willing to replace but hopefully it will pull through OK.

You are very welcome! Hopefully things stabilize, everyone survives and they start eating well for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
There's definitely an issue with that largest N. mustax. It's no longer just lying hidden somewhere on the bottom - at least not all of the time - and it is eating at least a bit of live brine shrimp, but it's still quite inactive and timid compared to the others. (All of the other fish are very eager for the brine shrimp when offered, and are also exploring the tank.) It also has unusual redness on its head, extending from its snout to the base of its pectoral fin; the head appears the same from both sides. (See picture below.) I don't know whether the redness is due to injury or illness, but its behavior is gradually improving so I'm still hopeful of bringing it back. I thought I'd treat the whole tank with KanaPlex in case it will help that fish or prevent the other fish from catching anything from it.

Thoughts on that fish's appearance/behavior or my handling of the matter?

Gerry

P.S. Ignore the tiny white dots in the photograph - it's dust on the aquarium glass! :lol:

 

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Thanks for the update! I think you are doing all you can at this point though I can't comment on any meds as I have never had to use them before.

The redness almost looks like an injury, at least to me and similar to a fish that got rammed or ran into something though it does stretch far back on the head. Hope it continues to improve in health, looks like a very nice looking fish!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks!

I think starting a course of KanaPlex (a broad spectrum antibiotic and antifungal) yesterday was a good idea. Shortly after doing so I saw that a tiny white, fuzzy patch had appeared over that fish's right eye. Could be a secondary infection of a small wound there, which would go along with the idea that the redness of the fish's head is the result of physical trauma, or it could be that I'm dealing with an outbreak of columnaris (note the frayed tail, too) resulting from the stress of capture, shipping and early captive life. The Kanaplex should handle it, regardless.

... Hopefully.

Gerry
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
And now that tiny fuzzy patch over the fish's right eye is instead an ugly open wound!

This is not fun... :-? :( :-?

Gerry
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
And a few minutes after I posted my last message, I visited the tank for the first time this morning and found that fish dead on the bottom.

I tried, anyway...

:(

Gerry
 

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I'm so sorry Gerry! I think you did what you could and I hope the seller will send you another fine specimen at no cost to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
No worries on that account, anyway. The importer promised a replacement specimen as soon as I told him I was struggling to keep this one going, whether it lived or died. (I just informed him this morning that it did indeed die.) I'm planning to get more fish from him soon, anyway, so he'll hold it until he can send it along with them.

I know that capture, shipping, etc. are hard on fish and that some don't survive it. I just really wanted to pull that fish through. :(

Gerry
 
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