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Old 12-14-2003, 03:22 PM   #1
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Pregnant Percula Clownfish died today

Yes, a sad day indeed. I had a mated pair of percula clownfish and they were doing so well. They began displaying all the signs of courtship, wiggling, head butting, and dancing under the moonlight (sorry, I added the last part). A short time later, the larger clownfish slowed down a bit and her stomach began to inflate.

Today, I found her on the bottom, stomach really bloated and breathing heavily. All my levels are perfect in the tank and all the other fish are under no distress. Either she became pregnant (both are very young) and had problems or ????. It is sort of a mystery. She finally died.

Does anyone know if this sounds like a pregnancy problem or something else? Also, should I go out and find another mate for my one clownfish and if so, how can you tell a female from a male clownfish? I have read that they change sex depending on the situation, but not sure if this is at birth or later in life. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.

RodneyCK
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Old 12-14-2003, 05:02 PM   #2
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Sorry to hear the sad news

Clown fish will change sex later in life. I"m not sure if all clownfish are this way but when in groups in the wild the largest clown will become female and the second largest will become the male with the rest of the clown remaining neither sex. Once the female in the group diies the biggest clown will take over the female roll.
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Old 12-14-2003, 05:09 PM   #3
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Thanks jamal-188. I will go out this week and find him a suitable mate. They can decide which one wants to be the female/male, LOL.

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Old 12-14-2003, 11:46 PM   #4
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I have a friend who has been raising guppy's to feed his oscars. Several of the fish started looking pregnant, their scales would start to poke out, and they would sit on the bottom, and would die soon after. One of them literally exploded too. It was some sort of disease and he never got rid of it. Now he is going to tear down his tank and disinfect, then start over. Hope this isn't what happened to your clown as it did spread to everything in his tank. You may want to try do some research on diseases that cause fish to bloat, and watch your tank pretty close for a bit. I wouldn't recommend any treatment unless you see more signs. It may have been a fluke thing with the pregnancy, but I'm not an expert on that subject, (or any others for that matter.) Sorry to hear about your loss. It's always heart breaking, even if they are "just fish".
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Old 12-15-2003, 12:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RodneyCK
Thanks jamal-188. I will go out this week and find him a suitable mate. They can decide which one wants to be the female/male, LOL.

RodneyCK
LOL I wonder if my two baby clowns have decided yet?
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Old 12-15-2003, 02:09 AM   #6
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Thanks for the information utahcutter. It prompted me to investigate this further and I think it is an external bacterial infection. What you described is called Dropsy (bloating).

I posted earlier on this forum regarding a black powder covering (looked like someone sprinkled her with soot) the same clownfish. The fish was healthy otherwise, displaying no signs of illness and a healthy eater. Then this struck in just a few days. I just assumed she was pregnant.

Here is the description:

External Bacterial Infection
Symptoms: There are a great deal of possible symptoms associated with this disorder. There may be spots on the body which appear red or orange. Watch for red streaks on the surface on the body. Dropsy (bloating) is also a sign of a bacterial disorder. "False Fungal Infections" look like fungus but is actually a bacterial infection known as Columnaris. These symptoms may include a white or gray film on the body.

Treatment: There are a number of effective treatments for many stains of bacterial infections. Three of the most common are tetracycline, penicillin and naladixic acid. Salt baths are another effective treatment.

Information: Bacterial infections are often difficult to diagnose due to the many different types. Orange or red streaks on the body is usually the only fool-proof method for the determination of a bacterial infection.

RodneyCK
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Old 12-15-2003, 02:27 AM   #7
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Follow up: More information on Dropsy for others that may encounter this problem. I believe mine had the Acute Dropsy as it happened very quickly.

Dropsy:


Symptoms: Fish's abdomen becomes unusually large and swollen, scales may stick out resembling that of a pine cone. The fish may have what appears to be Popeye or the eyes may actually cave in. Long pale feces, reddening of the vent area and body ulcers may be present along and below the lateral line of the fish. The fish will lose its appetite and show no interest in eating. In advanced cases, skin discoloration and scale loss may also occur.

Dropsy is not, in itself, a specific disease, but rather refers to a condition. A sudden swelling of the abdomen (scales may stick out) is known as acute dropsy while a slow swelling of the abdomen is known as chronic dropsy. The actual cause of this swelling could be indicitive of any one of several conditions:

Acute Dropsy - Internal bacterial infection can cause internal bleeding and thus cause acute dropsy.
Chronic Dropsy - Internal parasites can cause dropsy either because they are very large, or because of the damage they are causing to a fish's organs. The abdomen tends to swell gradually if the fish has internal parasites. Isolating the fish helps prevent the spread of the condition.
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Old 12-16-2003, 01:37 PM   #8
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I would be concerned if a fish that has been in the tank for quite some time came down with any bacterial infection. This is most often caused by issues with water quality. If possible, it may have been beneficial to dissect the fish in this case to see if it was indeed full of eggs or not.

I would first try and establish how the fish could have contracted the malady, and correct any potential problems.

When that has been determined and the tank is safe, I would add as small a new clownfish as possible. This will ensure two things: 1) it will lessen potential aggression, as the small clown will submit readily to the larger clown 2) It will ensure that you definitely added another male.

Joyce Wilkerson's Clownfishes book goes into a lot more detail, and I would recommend it even for casual clownfish owners.
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Old 12-16-2003, 01:43 PM   #9
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Thanks HoopsGuru. I did not dissect my clownfish. Actually, I don't think I could do that personally.

I think she or he came with the bacterial infection from the LFS. It always had the powder like coating on her from the start and it increased in coverage in time. I am monitoring the other three fish, so far no signs of anything.

I have read that it could have been a bad pregnancy which does happen at times. The reason the stomach bloats is because they take in more water than they can release.

Rodney
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