Please help, my weather loach is sick!!

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RuthieB
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Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:08 pm

Please help, my weather loach is sick!!

Post by RuthieB » Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:20 pm

I have had my weather loach for about 2 years or so. He is in a 4ft tank with 6 goldfish, a plec, 6 cherry barbs and 12 zebra danios. They have all been living together happily for about a year and the tank is usually between 18 and 20 degrees. I have never had any problems with them so far but my weather loach has recently started showing some concerning signs.
He doesn't dart around the tank anymore and on closer inspection, i noticed its belly swelling up. It has got a huge swelling and what looks to be a splitting of the skin. Yesterday, this split was pale and looked as if he had torn it on something but today it is red and he has another bump appearing which is white in colour.
I noticed earlier this evening that he also now has a large blister in front of the swelling and a black mark the other side.
My boyfriend has suggested euthanasia as it is not fair on the loach or the other fish in the tank but i wondered if all of these symtoms are linked and what could be causing them. I was quite happy to see if the split healed as he was still eating but i am now very concerned particularly of this blister. I will try and take some pictures but he has become very camera shy and faces the other way!!
Please help, if anyonecan give me any info on this condition please please what should i do?

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redshark1
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Re: Please help, my weather loach is sick!!

Post by redshark1 » Wed Apr 13, 2011 4:00 am

I think that to help you people will need a photo and full details of your aquarium including parameters.
6 x Clown Loaches all twenty-six years of age on 01.01.20, largest 11.5", 2f4m, aquarium 6' x 18" x 18" 400 ltr = 110 US gal.

RuthieB
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Re: Please help, my weather loach is sick!!

Post by RuthieB » Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:37 am

Image
The above shows two photos of the loach 2 days ago, before the blister appeared. They show the 'split' in his skin and also the area to the right of this where the white 'lump' has appeared.
The blister has come up to the left of the 'split' but my boyfriend tells me that he saw it this morning and the blister has burst. I have tried to take some more pictures but have not been able to as the loach is hiding under the filter.
The tank is 120cm/47in (width) x 61cm/24in (height) x 50cm/20in (depth). Approx volume is 366 litres.
This shows the tank. Image
I will try to post more pictues as soon as i can.

RuthieB
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Re: Please help, my weather loach is sick!!

Post by RuthieB » Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:38 am


kayjay
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Re: Please help, my weather loach is sick!!

Post by kayjay » Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:12 pm

RuthieB, I'm no loach expert - that's why I joined this forum. But just had to comment on your situation. In the photo of your tank, it looks like your goldfish are fancy varieties. Once you sort out the current issue with your loach, they really need to be housed seperately from your tropical species because they produce much more waste than any tropical of a similar size. Also, they don't swim as well as the streamlined trops so food competition becomes an issue as they grow. 10 gallons per goldfish is the recommendation I've gotten from GF experts. For more on goldies, check out http://www.aquapuppies.com/

Re. your sick dojo, is it possible to seperate him/her into a hospital tank? Then you might be able to use low doses of Melafix or Pimafix, or whatever the more experienced loachkeepers here might recommend. To me it sounded at first like your loach was getting ready to spawn (white spots, swelling) but the blister splitting open would suggest an injury or internal problem. As to the black spot, could it be a scar? Perhaps she's found a place to wriggle into which snags or pinches her skin each time she goes there? That might lead to an infection, which would produce swelling and redness. Also I wasn't clear whether the loach still has a good appetite. If so things might sort themselves out, but if the loach acts listless and is obviously in pain help is needed. I hope someone else on this forum can give you more info than I can. Good luck!

RuthieB
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Re: Please help, my weather loach is sick!!

Post by RuthieB » Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:40 pm

Kayjay, thanks for your reply. All the goldfish are common goldfish, i have had them for around 3 years now and they have all grown in different stages and some fins have got bigger than others.
Last night when i fed them, i watched and it looked as though the food that the loach was eating was just coming out through the gills.
The place on the loach where the blister was is all clear and as my boyfriend said this morning, it appears it may have burst but I have been watching the tank closely and saw what appeared to be a clear stone. I fished it out with the net and it looks very much like the 'blister' we saw on the loach only it is a round ball about a centimetre round that is clear and see though apart from the very middle of it. Here is the best picture i can get of it. Sorry its not very clear. http://www.mypicx.com/04132011/Blister_Ball/
Also, here are some pics i took just now. http://www.mypicx.com/04132011/Loach_Now/
Here, i have circled where the 'blister' was. http://www.mypicx.com/04132011/Loach/

Dojosmama
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Re: Please help, my weather loach is sick!!

Post by Dojosmama » Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:00 pm

Your initial post states your tank's temperature is between 18 and 20 degrees. I assume that's celcius. What would the equivalent be fahrenheit? Weather loaches are coldwater fish, as are the goldfish, so I assume that would be in the lower range, say maybe below 70F?

Weather loaches, also known as "dojos", may have more problems in warmer waters. Keeping them continuously in tropical temperatures can shorten their lifespans.

I don't know anything about dojo diseases, but there's a good chance he can heal himself if he is still eating well. I am concerned, though, that the food he is eating is coming out through his gills, as you have stated. That means it's not getting into his stomach where it can be processed.

I would try to isolate him into a hospital tank and treat him with low doses of Melafix and Pimafix. Don't overdo it, even though these meds are touted as being "safe". Always begin with a lower dose. If need be, you can increase it, or treat for a longer period of time. You should have an airstone in the hospital tank, and use existing aquarium water and media from your existing filter so you don't need to cycle it.

I do hope he gets better. Dojos are such cute little fishes, and so playful when they feel well.

-- Dojosmama

Dojosmama
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Re: Please help, my weather loach is sick!!

Post by Dojosmama » Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:11 pm

By the way, what are your tank's parameters: Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate? What is the pH, and the kH and gH of your water? If the water quality is less than ideal, that could be making your little dojo sick.

Another thing about dojos, they like company of their own kind and fare better in a group of no fewer than three. Could your little guy be lonely, and his body reacting to the unnatural condition of being the solo dojo in the tank?

As I mentioned previously, they really do stay healthier in cooler water. It's also harder for some harmful bacterias to grow in cooler water.

Just a thought. As I said, I'm no expert. I just know that when I learned they like to be in groups of at least three, I got three of them for my tank, and they are happy and active.

Your dojo does sound like it has some sort of injury and infection, and the fact that it's food isn't going into its stomach could indicate an internal problem.

Hope the sweet little thing gets well.

-- Dojosmama

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redshark1
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Re: Please help, my weather loach is sick!!

Post by redshark1 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:47 pm

Hi, thanks for putting up the pictures. I hope I can help.

I am not an expert on these physical problems but in my experience fish are well capable of maintaining their health unless their environment is stressing them somewhat. When we become more adept at managing their environment these problems become rare, but we all need time to develop the skills and knowledge required to do so.

I guess I would get upset if someone suggested that I wasn't providing my fish with a good home so I hesitate to do so.

Also, you have not said much about your water parameters but if my expectation that you do not measure and maintain ideal parameters is wrong I apologise in advance.

However, in my experience goldfish produce a lot of waste that affects water quality adversely and even fabulous filtration combined with 25% weekly water changes can struggle to keep ammonia and nitrite at zero and nitrate below 30 parts per million, which is what we must achieve to maintain healthy fish. Testing with a test kit for these (API seems to be the recommended type) is essential.

Goldfish seem able to cope with poor water conditions more than other fish so it would be expected that other fish like your dojo would show up problems first.

If you are meeting the water parameters given above then either some other stress, such as the need for companions of the same species could be operating. Alternatively, it is possible the fish may have an inherited or developed condition unrelated to stress.

I would not add more dojos until the ideal water parameters given above have been matched or bettered, testing the water with a test kit. Also test your tap water, if that is what you use during water changes, to ensure that nitrate is not high (mine is 5ppm).

If you don't mind me suggesting it, I personally would reduce the number of goldfish to achieve good water quality.
6 x Clown Loaches all twenty-six years of age on 01.01.20, largest 11.5", 2f4m, aquarium 6' x 18" x 18" 400 ltr = 110 US gal.

Dojosmama
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Re: Please help, my weather loach is sick!!

Post by Dojosmama » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:01 pm

API puts out a Master Freshwater Test Kit that contains all the reagents you need in a single kit. The instructions are simple and straightforward, but must be followed to the letter for each test. If you get one, check the last four digits of the lot numbers, found on the reagent bottles. These last four digits indicate the date, and therefore the age, of the reagents. Anything over two years is suspect.

Also, in time you will need to shake up your reagents briskly before using them to loosen and remix any chemicals that have semi-solidified and clumped to the bottom of the bottle. They just naturally tend to do that after some time, and failure to remix them into solution can result in skewed readings. This was a hint passed on by a very experienced aquarist who had several conversations with the API people, who told him this. They also passed on the hint about the dating in the lot numbers, and the shelf-life of the reagents.

Another good test kit is the Hagen kit, sold under the name of Nutrafin.

You really do need to test your water quality, even from the tap itself. And always, always use dechlorinator in any new tap water to go into the tank.

Hope your little dojo recovers. Improving the water would help him out a lot.

I, too, think the goldfish should be rehomed.

-- Dojosmama

RuthieB
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Re: Please help, my weather loach is sick!!

Post by RuthieB » Fri Apr 15, 2011 2:56 am

Dojosmama and redshark1, many thanks for replying.
I admit, i am a very novice fish keeper and I do not regularly test the water, which i now feel awful about. I think i must have been lucky that i have not had any problems with my fish over the last 2/3 years. I change 20% of the water weekly and use a 'tap safe' product with any new water going in. I also rinse the filter parts in the water that i remove once a month.
I will buy a test kit this weekend and find out the parameters (I must say, i thought you meant dimensions!!)
I am unable to take him out as i do not have another tank to put him in and i worry that i will stress him out by trying to catch him. He appears to be a bit more lively and is actively searching out and eating chopped muscles that i put in for him. His 'lumps' seem to have gone down and he is definately less bloated. I will keep monitering him and will be more conscious now of the water quality to ensure nothing like this happens to any of the other fish.
Thank you so much for your tips and advice and i will keep you posted of any progress and also the parameters as soon as i have tested for them.

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redshark1
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Re: Please help, my weather loach is sick!!

Post by redshark1 » Sat Apr 16, 2011 3:48 pm

That's great, you are already doing a lot correctly and you will soon be expert at maintaining good water quality.

It will be interesting to see where you are at now in terms of ammonia/nitrate and what measures you will need to take to achieve ideal parameters.

Stocking (amount of fish), feeding, filtration and water changes are all important.

One area I pay special attention to is feeding. We have to overfeed slightly in order for the weakest fish to get enough food, but fish actually need much less than we realise. A scientific experiment was reported at Practical Fishkeeping in which the goldfish maintained their body weight when fed only 2 flakes per day!. I haven't gone that low however!

I look forward to hearing the results of your water testing.
6 x Clown Loaches all twenty-six years of age on 01.01.20, largest 11.5", 2f4m, aquarium 6' x 18" x 18" 400 ltr = 110 US gal.

RuthieB
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Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:08 pm

Re: Please help, my weather loach is sick!!

Post by RuthieB » Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:55 am

After having tested the water, the parameters of my tank are: Ammonia = 0, Nitrite = 0, Nitrate = 20, Ph = 6.6, Kh = 2, Gh = 12, Temperature = 19 celcius/ 70 farenheit.

The loach is definately swimming around a lot more and has become a lot more active although he still has holes in his skin. Where the white lump was next to his 'split', the white skin came off leaving another open hole. Will the skin regenerate itself?

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redshark1
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Re: Please help, my weather loach is sick!!

Post by redshark1 » Thu Apr 21, 2011 4:12 pm

Well, I'm not certain what will happen but you are giving your loach the best possible chance of recovery because your water parameters are very good!

I manage to keep my nitrate at 5ppm but I think that 20ppm is still very good.

I am quite surprised that you are managing to keep your nitrate at that level having viewed the photos of your tank well stocked with goldfish, but it shows you are on top of things and giving great care to your fish.

I maintain that fish rarely exhibit problems in such good water quality conditions as their immune systems are in peak condition. Fish can reach a good age in these conditions. Most of my fish are very old (I'm a fish keeper not a fish buyer).

Who knows what your loach is suffering from. Check your plec isn't chasing him around all night after lights off (I've had that problem). It's always possible that he came with a problem that manifested itself later. I sincerely hope he recovers. Good luck.
6 x Clown Loaches all twenty-six years of age on 01.01.20, largest 11.5", 2f4m, aquarium 6' x 18" x 18" 400 ltr = 110 US gal.

RuthieB
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Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:08 pm

Re: Please help, my weather loach is sick!!

Post by RuthieB » Fri Apr 22, 2011 3:52 am

Well, over the last few days the weather loach has definately improved. He is back to his active self, swimming around and searching out food. I am putting some skinned peas in also as i have read that they are a delicacy for loaches and he certainly seems to like them, when he gets to them before the goldfish eat them all!! I've also found it's a good way to check that he's eating cos with the flake and the muscles he seemed to shoot most of it out of his gills but when you can see that the pea has gone and there are no small green bits coming out his gills, it is obvious he's eaten it.

He is also doing what he used to do and going up to the top for air and then 'farting' it out his bum! (He stopped doing this last week as the air seemed to come out of the hole left by the 'blister' thing that came out.)

The holes in his body are definately still there but something appears to be happening underneath them to be healing them as they do not appear so deep now. I am putting a fungal treatment in the tank regularly to help stop his 'wounds' becoming infected. He also still has a lump in his side the other side to where the holes are but this seems to be staying the same size and nothing is happening to it.

Perhaps, as you say, the plec may have attacked him after the lights had gone off as they do seem to have the same hiding places and i have seen pleccy 'go fo him' a couple of times but not latch on or anything, just nudge him out the way.

Anyway, I am going to split the fish up and get another tank to rehouse the smaller fish and either the plec or the loach. Do you have any suggestions which is better to keep with cherry barbs and zebra danios? And what type of gravel should i use? Stones or finer substrate? I was thinking of making this new tank a bit more of a tropical one? Any suggestions gratefully received. You have been most helpful already.

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