Clowns wasting while still eating, plus other symptoms

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Clowns wasting while still eating, plus other symptoms

Post by lamxuyen » Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:10 am

A few months ago, one of my 4 large clowns gradually started getting skinny and having buoyancy problems. Giving him peas seemed to help temporarily, but he’d get worse again. I opted not to treat because he was acting normal otherwise and I didn’t want to stress the rest of the tank with meds based on a guess (in hindsight, I should have removed him to a small tank and tried something, but my quarantine tank was occupied). Over time, the buoyancy trouble varied, but he got very skinny, and eventually died. He was never lethargic at all, and had a healthy appetite until the day he died.

The rest of the clowns seemed fine, and recently I added 2 new tiny clowns and SAEs (after a month of quarantine). Now, I’m starting to see signs of wasting on one of the remaining large clowns (bone behind the eye is beginning to show). No buoyancy trouble this time, but I do notice him flashing now and then. I can’t find anything unusual on his skin. His behavior and appetite are normal. No signs of trouble on any of the tankmates.

So now I’m looking into so-called “skinny disease,” since the wasting-while-eating is the common factor. It sounds like many cases of wasting come with lethargy and loss of appetite – based on the fact that I don’t see that, can I rule out some of the potential causes of wasting? Could the flashing be a clue to the root cause, or is it more likely to be some secondary problem? My plan at the moment is to try some anti-parasite and anti-bacterial meds (one at a time), but I’m wondering if I can shorten the list by ruling something out.

Tank details:
3 large clowns I’ve had for years, 2 very small new clowns, 2 small SAEs
Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5-15ppm
Lots of aeration
no carbon
several dry foods on rotation, occasional fresh veggies
Bare bottom, fake plants & driftwood

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Re: Clowns wasting while still eating, plus other symptoms

Post by Diana » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:49 pm

Wasting while eating is highly likely internal parasites.
This may or may not be accompanied by other issues. Poor buoyancy control can happen with any of several issues, but is not directly linked to internal parasites.
Since you saw little change when you fed peas I think there was little constipation. Constipation is also a digestive issue and can be part of the problem with internal parasites, but does not have to be.

Here is the link between feeding peas and fixing buoyancy problems:
In fancy goldfish (the overly fat ones that are contracted in the length) their spine is distorted like a person with scoliosis. This compacts the internal organs. This brings the digestive tract too close to the swim bladder and distorts the digestive tract, and may somewhat displace the swim bladder. When the fish has digestive problems such as constipation, or food impacted higher up in the digestive system this can press against the (already compromised) swim bladder. Feeding peas or other food with roughage keeps the digestive tract active so food keeps moving along, hopefully relieving pressure against the swim bladder.
This sort of link may also happen with normal shaped fish, but probably less often, since their internal organs are not distorted.
Peas and other roughage are still good to feed to fish.

The other problem to be considered when you are dealing with long, drawn out problems is Mycobacteriosis.
A fish infected with this disease has a weakened immune system and is therefore an easy target for any other infection or parasite. It is very common to lose one fish at a time as Mycobacteriosis seems to be a slow moving disease, and fish immune system varies.

I would follow the instructions about treating skinny disease, alternating anti-parasite meds and antibiotics.
Levamisole helps fight internal parasites and also boosts the immune system.
Kanamycin is the only antibiotic that I have seen making any claims about Mycobacteriosis. I do not know if it works.
These are the medicines I would use.
I have used Levamisole with very young Clown Loaches and they tolerated it very well.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!

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