For the last 6 months one of them has developed lighter pigmentation or spots all over his body. It as though he is turning albino. The others are fine.
We moved to a new area about 12 months ago. Since then, the bigger one has been eating more and his tummy sometimes rubs on the stones at the bottom of the tank. He acts fine and doesn't seem to be in any pain or disomfort so we don't think he's sick. But we can't figure out what is causing the spotting.
We don't think it's a fungus because the other ones are fine and his colouring is healthy and bright. Please view the photo and thanks in advance for any help and/or advice. =)
The water temp is 25C pH is 7. I dont have any way of measuring amonia, nitrates or hardness.
This is how he looked 4 months ago
This is how he looks today
I'm not sure this can be fixed.
One major cause for the glandular imbalance is osmotic shock. This happens when the water chemistry is altered too quickly for the fish to acclimate. Water chemistry changes can upset the melanin producing gland.
If I had to guess, probably when you moved, the water chemistry changed, and triggered this condition. Some clown loaches are more sensitive than others to water chemistry changes.
Just a few questions-
How large is the aquarium?
When you moved, did you move from hard water to soft water?
What was your water change schedule before you moved and after you moved?
What are the water parameters of the aquarium and the source water? It important to know both because they should be nearly the same. The water parameters in question are gH, kH, TDS, and nitrates.
Why is it that you have no way of measuring them? You really need to figure out a way to get some test kits or a TDS meter. BTW, the pH doesn't tell you much.
Are there rocks or gravel n the aquarium that could be leaching? Some can breakdown over time and alter the water chemistry.
I have never seen anything like that before, but would guess at reasons similar to what chefkeith has mentioned. Fish have pigment containing cells called chromatophores, which are grouped into different classes depending on what colour they produce. In this case it looks like the fish has lost the ability to produce melanophores (which are responsible for making black or brown colours).
East of the Sun, West of the Moon.
If that's the case than I would say the fish has a problem with it's melanocortin system, possibly a problem with a pro-hormone called POMC (Pro-opiomelanocortin).
He doesn't seem to be turning albino because he seems perfectly capable of making dopaquinone and its subsequent product pheomelanin which makes the red pigmentation. But dopaquinone has another product which is eumelanin and that's the dark pigment the fish is loosing. In any case, albinos lack the capacity to produce dopaquinone all together.
The symptoms indicate a problem in production of eumelanin, but I think that combined with a more rapidly increasing weight they are very similar to the symptoms displayed by people with POMC mutations (red hair, obese). But it's not a mutation or the fish would never have had the color in the first place. Possibly the fish could have a failing pituitary gland, maybe as the result of a tumor.
It's pure speculation, but maybe it will help to solve the puzzle.
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