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Old 02-15-2006, 09:16 PM   #1
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sick damsel & clownfish

I have a blue damsel that looks like he has a scale missing on one side. I have had him for about a year and a half. I moved him 6 weeks ago to cycle a 55 gal. new tank. This new tank has a sand bottom and his old tank was crushed coral. Other than hanging out in the corners of the tank, he isn't acting strange. His damsel tankmate died a couple of weeks ago. We had him for the same amount of time. Shortly before he died, he looked like he had a bend in his side. His stomach poked out on one side, but not the other. There is only one other fish in the tank with the damsel, a small chromis that I purchased a week ago.


Salinity - 1.022
pH - 8.0 - 8.2
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0.25
Nitrate - 0

###############################################

The clownfish is an Allard's, I believe. My brother bought it for me 2 years ago. He doesn't eat that I have seen in 2 weeks. He looks sunken in slightly above and behind his eyes. Those sunken in areas have a reddish tinge to them. His coloration got pale especially around his mouth. About 3 weeks ago he started staying either nose up or tail up, belly against the glass. Now his color is darkening, beyond his orangeish to a brownish. When he started acting sick, I put him into a 10 gallon tank and gave him a copper treatment. The nearest vet that treats fish is an hour away. I would REALLY appreciate any help. By the way, if I did something wrong in this post, this is the first time that I have ever done this.
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Old 02-16-2006, 10:32 AM   #2
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The damsel that died may have had an infection. Infection is a common cause of bloating. Or was it a distinct bump, like a tumor? If the damsel that died was bloated, I might give his tank mates a course of antibiotics.

Copper is a very difficult medication to handle. It is only mildly less poisonous to the fish than it is to the parasites. If you truely feel that copper is the right medication for this disease, you should get a copper test kit compatible with the copper form you are using, and test the levels after dosing. The clownfish may be suffering an infection, copper is usually best for external parasites, try an antibiotic from the local fish store.

In the future, you may wish to wait a month between a fish death and buying the replacement. If the old fish died of disease, you don't want to loose your new fish to it.

Your water test numbers are odd. How long has the aquarium been up?
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Old 02-16-2006, 12:00 PM   #3
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The damsel that died looked as though his spine had a bend in it when viewed from above. One side was almost sunken in and the other was protruding. I first tried to get penicillin for the clownfish from the petstore and the pharmacy. The petstore does not have it and the pharmacy could not figure out how I would give meds to a fish and couldn't help me without a prescription anyway. The nearest fish doctor is in Savannah, an hour away, and I don't believe that he could make the trip. The numbers are from my 55 gal that has been set up for a little over 6 weeks now. I always have a hard time reading the pH. It didn't look as brown as 8.0 or as bright as 8.2. I appreciate your help.
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Old 02-16-2006, 12:15 PM   #4
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Not Penicillin. The pet store should have a fish med section with things like saltwater Maracyn. Usually it's next to the test kits and the algae kill products. Check the labels there, they will suggest which product is best for wich symptoms. No prescription needed.

The new tank would explain the low nitrates. I'm not sure you've cycled yet, watch those ammonia/nitrite numbers carefuly.
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Old 02-16-2006, 12:32 PM   #5
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I called an online pet supply place that I sometimes use and a man told me that he thought my clown had fish (can't remember the disease name, but for humans Doc Holiday had it- you cough up blood). He said that I would need penicillin or kanamyacin for him. I called the vet in Savannah and he said that it would take a scraping to diagnose it and to give a copper treatment. When I set up the 55 gal, I used 2 gals of water from my 29 gal tank that has been set up for several years. This is my first sand bottom tank and my first canister filter- Magnum 350 Bio Wheel. My son really wants a puffer and my husband wants chromis. I would also like to add a coral beauty plus some guys to clean, snails, shrimp and such. Our 29 gal is for clownfish and a crab & snails. Thank you again!
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Old 02-16-2006, 12:52 PM   #6
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Old water can help, but will not instantly cycle the tank.

If you have a vet there helping you, that may be the best treatment.

I'm surprised your local store was not more helpful. Many fish
diseases can be treated at home sucessfully with over-the-counter
medications sold at most pet stores.
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Old 02-16-2006, 02:24 PM   #7
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The vet wasn't alot of help. Not his fault since I can't really get the fish to him. I know that they don't like to diagnose over the phone. The copper hasn't fixed him, but he is still alive somehow. How long do clownfish usually live. I have had him for 2 years, but he was big when I got him. We had a male betta that lived for around 3 years. I just checked the clown's water (10 gal quarantine tank) and his numbers are pH 8.0, ammonia 0.25, nitrite 0
nitrate 40!!! He seemed ill- tail up or head up and not eating in my 29 gal tank before I moved him. Those parameters were pH 8.2, ammonia 0.25, nitrite 0 and nitrate 5.0 before I moved him. Could the high nitrates in the 10 gal cause him to sit in a corner and not eat? Do you think that I should try to move him back to the 29 gal? He was getting aggressive to my ocellaris shortly before he started acting strange. They have been tankmates for years.
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Old 02-16-2006, 03:13 PM   #8
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I'm more worried about .25 ammonia than 40 nitrate. Do as many 50% water changes as necessary to keep the ammonia down. Mix up as much saltwater ahead of time as you can when you have a sick fish. Clean water is very helpful in the healing process.

A fish that doesn't swim upright generally has something wrong with his swim bladder. It could be injury, infection, or constipation. Given those color changes, I'd guess infection.

Leave him in the QT. Do you have a PetSmart, Petco, or some other large pet store near you? They really should have some fish medications to try. Read the packages and make sure it's for saltwater fish and for similar symptoms.
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Old 02-16-2006, 03:27 PM   #9
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He isn't head or tail up anymore, just sits on the bottom, generally in a corner. We have a small, locally owned pet store. The nearest PetSmart or such is in Savannah, roughly an hour away. I will check locally today when I take my son to taekwondo. I did a 50% water change about 3 weeks ago and was concerned that it might have been too much. I didn't want it to go through the cycle with him not feeling well. I have never done that big of a change before. Thank you again for all of your help.
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Old 02-17-2006, 09:53 AM   #10
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The pet store didn't have anything to help the clownfish. I told them the water numbers and they said to put it back into my show tank. I did a 40% water change around 8pm. I am so glad that I did not move him. At 8am he was dead. He has some small animals squirming & swimming around him. The damsel now has a discoloration streak on his other side from his dorsal fin down to his belly. Where the scale is missing there is a pink spot. These two fish were in a tank together a few weeks ago. Could they have the same problem, even though their symptoms are different?
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