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Old 08-30-2015, 06:08 AM   #1
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Female White Cloud Mountain Minnow Swimming Problems

Friday through to this morning, I have noticed my female White Cloud Mountain Minnow having swimming problems; specifically, yesterday morning she was hanging just above the gravel in the far corner under the filter, quite still - sometimes lying on the gravel - and in the afternoon she was lying right up the corner, on the gravel, with the younger of the two male Minnows over her. Sometimes when hovering just above the gravel, she has been shaking her fins and body - it looks as if her fins and body are vibrating (not sure if this could be an attempt at egg laying or related to it in any manner). She's also been paler than usual, and her fins more brown than red. At one point yesterday morning, she rushed to the top of the tank and gasped for air/hung at the surface for a short while, with clear see-saw/balance difficulties as she swam upwards. She did some hanging at the surface Friday evening also. It looks as if her caudal fin is slightly flattened/being held down (not clamped, rather the upper half of the fin is flattened, the lower half normal but held lower to compensate), and she might be holding her tail curved downwards slightly. She appeared to have some balance difficulties even last night as she swam about. This morning...she's lying on the gravel in the far corner under the filter, quite still (she is alive, she's moved about a bit, but not much at all).

At all times, when I say she's lying on the gravel, she is upright, not on her side. At least as far as I have observed up to this point.

I have observed some dark mass/masses inside her body, but I believe these to be her internal organs (not parasites of any kind).

Tested yesterday, and water parameters come back absolutely fine...

~0ppm ammonia (as best as I can tell with Nutrafin and API test kits, it's the same as it's always looked for ages now)
0ppm nitrite
20-30ppm nitrate
~7.5pH
490ppm Total Dissolved Solids (elevated readings are remnants of aquarium salt dosed several weeks ago now)
Temperature 23-25C fluctuation throughout the day, heater unplugged

Back in June, I did notice the female Minnow having problems whenever I fed her - I feed flake food every other day, along with defrosted (and now also microwaved) pea once a week (most weeks, though not all). Back then, I just peppered flake food in carefully, and only defrosted pea before cutting/mushing it up. She appeared to develop swim bladder/balance issues, see-sawing back and forth when swimming, going up to gasp for air, and lying still/sometimes erect on the gravel; all of these symptoms completely disappearing the day between feeding, as if nothing had ever been wrong in the first place. It eventually got bad enough that I dosed with 1.5g/litre aquarium salts, which did help a little (I have not topped up these salts, so they've been halving for a number of weeks now during my weekly 50% water change/tank maintenance). Microwaving the pea seemed to have a limited effect, but that might be down to the size of the pieces I feed. What did have a clear benefit was soaking the flake food in tank water prior to feeding. It was obvious from the timing of the symptoms, and the way in which they completely disappeared, that she was suffering from digestive difficulties of some sort; colic or constipation, or a combination thereof. This was borne out by how changing the way I prepared the food helped to an extent (she still appeared to have some swimming difficulties, but not as severe as they had been).

That was all until Friday. She has a ravenous appetite, and while using a plastic cup to soak flake food in allows me to carefully drip the food into the tank little by little, she goes after as much as she can of whatever does go in, devouring it in seconds. On Thursday, her stomach was quite a bit bumpy, possibly even distended; in this instance I may have put a little too much in without the males around to take enough, and she ate too much too fast and it's taking longer to work through her system. I am as careful as I can be, and if I think the male Minnows won't be eating much more - they tend to go off with a whole mouthful, minding their own business - I just stop in order to prevent the female from getting too much. I even do that if I think she's eaten enough, and either or both of the males haven't had much; she just shoots for the food she can see, gulping it down.

There are no signs of external bacterial infection, fungus, or parasites. Although I have snails in the tank, I have no reason to suspect internal parasites. That leaves either digestive difficulties as my observations have suggested, possible egg impaction (there have been Minnow fry in previous months, though I haven't observed any for almost a month or so now), an injury of some sort, or internal bacterial infection. Or age - she is at least three years old. I'm welcome to any other suggestions.

In the case of internal bacterial infection, I'm up for suggestions on what an appropriate medicine would be (save for antibiotics - no hospital tank); I have both esha 2000 and Interpet's Anti-Internal Bacteria, although the literature for esha 2000 does not mention anything about swim bladder disorders.

I fed the microwaved pea last night to see if would help at all, but unless that is what is doing a number on her, it's had no impact. I don't want to jump to conclusions or panic myself, which I have been prone to doing, but at the moment I really have no concrete ideas about what it is. Internal bacteria does sound possible, but would there have to be some visible physical signs (bloating, red/pink discolouration, etc) pointing to that for it to be likely?
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Old 08-30-2015, 12:59 PM   #2
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Okay, I don't have Interpet #9...I have NT Labs Anti-Internal Bacteria (Aquarium) #10 (thought it was Interpet...I think I did have some, must have replaced it!), and also now NT Labs Swimbladder Treatment (Aquarium) #12.

I have emailed NT Labs, but would anyone happen to know if their medicines can be used alongside Seachem Prime? I use Seachem Prime during my weekly 50% water change. I dose Seachem Prime at about 0.25ml per 10 litres of water (sometimes it can go above this, anywhere between 0.25ml and 0.5ml), and I change in the region of 23-26 litres (so the final dosage could be between 0.75ml and 1.5ml). Can I dose Swimbladder Treatment (Aquarium) #12 alongside Prime, or must I wait for a period of time after the water change? Would 24-48 hours be acceptable?

She's taking to lying upright on the gravel for most of the time now, so it looks like I'm going to have to take a shot in the dark and hope for the best.

Any recommendations for other swimbladder treatments/anti-internal bacteria treatments that might be of great use? I can search the internet for the different brands, but in the end I have to pick one and go with it, so perhaps I should stick with the NT Labs treatments for now unless someone has had a good experience with another brand.

The only other course of action is re-dosing aquarium salts. I dosed at 1.5g/litre on 2nd August, and they've been halving ever since as I have not topped them up (so after today's 50% weekly water change, they are at about 0.01g/litre). Obviously I can't keep using aquarium salts, and I'd rather not mix medicine and aquarium salts in case there are side-effects from doing so or I get confused about which one is having any (hopefully beneficial) effect.
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Old 08-30-2015, 03:38 PM   #3
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She's swimming about a bit more now, but still with balance issues - it looks like a bit of work for her. She has been to the top to gasp now and then, but she's more or less swimming low to mid level. I don't know if there's any internal redness around her anus or above it (behind her abdomen), there might be a red streak or two, or it might be normal internal colouring. Her main internal organs area does look rather dark compared to that of either of the male Minnows.

I'm holding off on the salt even if it might alleviate any swelling, I'm wondering if she is actually improving and it's the same old digestive issue, just far more severe owing to any number of factors. I can decide tomorrow on salt or the NT Labs treatment (the worst thing to do is to dose the salt tonight, then change my mind tomorrow!). If she is improving, I can still use the salt (if it's wise to re-dose, that is), but I'm also wondering if what was originally a digestive issue may be leading to an infection?

EDIT: She seems to be swimming about more now, upper levels of the tank (that is, in the upper half, towards the surface). She did do some hanging at the surface earlier, but last time I looked in a few minutes ago she wasn't. She seems a little bit more active. Still, at least I have the swim bladder treatment in case I need it this week.
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Old 08-31-2015, 04:53 AM   #4
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Well, she's definitely more active this morning. I've looked in a couple of times, and she hasn't been lying on the gravel, upright or otherwise; she's been swimming about, and hovering in the corner. She did hang at the surface a little bit, and still appears to have some difficulty moving about, but apart from that, she has made a significant improvement over yesterday. I really want to dose with the aquarium salts, but aside from the fact that I already did that at the beginning of the month (and don't know if it's wise to re-dose at 1.5g-2g/litre so soon after the levels have gone down), I also have the swimbladder medicine I could try at some stage this week.
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Old 08-31-2015, 06:28 AM   #5
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Female White Cloud Mountain Minnow Swimming Problems

Looked you were ok dosing as long as you waited 30 minutes after dosing seachem prime.

http://www.americanaquariumproducts....tml#acriflavin

http://www.ntlabs.co.uk/products/Swi...um)-%2312.html

Have you considered trying Epsom salts at all?

http://www.oscarfish.com/article-hom...ish-bloat.html
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Old 08-31-2015, 02:51 PM   #6
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Thank you for the links. I haven't considered epsom salts, thank you also for that suggestion.

I've been out today, and she had taken to lying upright on the gravel again when I got home; she was even curving her tail sideways/curling her body (possibly at an awkward angle due to the incline of some of the gravel), although she mostly just sits upright and straight. One of her positions was where she was rather erect, angled slightly upwards with her head down (but still on the gravel). She doesn't appear to be bloated from what I can see. Given the absense of bloat (which I will keep an eye out for), I'm wondering if egg binding really is a feasible explanation; of course, there were Minnow fry in previous months, so it's entirely possible.
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Old 08-31-2015, 08:23 PM   #7
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Female White Cloud Mountain Minnow Swimming Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaidonni View Post
Thank you for the links. I haven't considered epsom salts, thank you also for that suggestion.

I've been out today, and she had taken to lying upright on the gravel again when I got home; she was even curving her tail sideways/curling her body (possibly at an awkward angle due to the incline of some of the gravel), although she mostly just sits upright and straight. One of her positions was where she was rather erect, angled slightly upwards with her head down (but still on the gravel). She doesn't appear to be bloated from what I can see. Given the absense of bloat (which I will keep an eye out for), I'm wondering if egg binding really is a feasible explanation; of course, there were Minnow fry in previous months, so it's entirely possible.

I have wondered on egg binding as a problem as well. I have seen female rosy barbs that were possibly carrying eggs to seem to have a bad reaction to meds and look off for a few days. So I have wondered if there was a problem going on around there as the males looked healthy. Unfortunately they did look bulky at the time so I guess different to your problem as I could see something else to what your fish is doing going on.

I don't know, sometimes get a problem fish despite everything.
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Old 09-02-2015, 06:26 PM   #8
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Regardless of whether I'd observed any bloating or not, just to eliminate potential causes for the symptoms, I conducted the epsom salt dip as best I could tonight, 2 litres in a bucket with ~140g of the epsom salts dissolved as much as possible. I actually dissolved it in 1.5 litres because I used the jug I add water to the tank with to capture the Minnow carefully along with another 0.5 litres. I left her in the dip for about 5 minutes (a little extra due to using the jug to recapture her), and placed her back in the tank (not sure I did it as well as I could have, it looked like she slipped over the edge of the jug itself as I raised it back out of the tank - I don't think she's injured, though). She did appear a little excitable back in the tank, and did some flashing, but apart from that, she seems well enough. Last time I looked, she was swimming upper levels, relatively normally (she may have had some balance issues, was hard to tell - she was maintaining her balance well enough)
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Old 10-11-2015, 02:19 PM   #9
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Well, here I am again...the Epsom salt dip appeared to reduce the severity of the symptoms for about a month, and as I noticed the female Minnow was starting to have problems again, last weekend I fed some de-shelled, microwaved pea. That did no good at all. I didn't microwave it for the whole 4 minutes the back of the packaging says, but I would have thought - given the small amount of peas in the glass bowl - that 2-3 minutes would have done them enough to soften them, while not over-doing them. It only caused her problems (lying upright on the gravel, see-saw motion as she moved forward or floated in the water, trying to maintain proper buoyancy). She also still sometimes hangs at the surface as one of the symptoms, particularly at night after the lights have gone off in the room (so no tank lighting or room lighting - that is, pitch black or thereabouts; naturally I've seen this with the door open into the hall, so some light is streaming into the room).

I performed an Epsom salt dip at the same dosage for the same length of time (70g/litre for 5 minutes) on the Thursday just gone (the 8th of October), but it doesn't appear to have had any effect (I'm not entirely sure the first one had any - it may have been a coincidence). It was a little bit nerve-wracking - right at the start, after I introduced the female Minnow to the dip, she went on to her side and floated at the surface of the water. I did knock the bucket lightly, and she went upright and started swimming about, against the side of the bucket (probably trying to get out). I endeavoured to run the dip for the full 5 minutes at the 70g/litre as advised by the tropical fish specialist with whom I have been in contact (this time it was 105g in 1 & 1/2 litres overall, with the 105g dissolved in just the 1 litre and the final 1/2 litre introduced along with the female Minnow).

Once again, the symptoms are only there after feeding, and clear up as if nothing were ever wrong. Last night she did appear to be a little bloated, possibly with a distended stomach (probably happens each time she has a flare up, but I've paid most attention to the swimming difficulties and the lying upright on the gravel). She was most severe after last night's feeding, planting herself head-down behind the heater this morning, all erect. She seems to be back to normal this evening, though...

I now soak the flake food in tank water and churn it up using a pipette prior to feeding. Not sure what else I can do - the last time I fed live food back in September, it wasn't very live and my alarm bells started ringing as I worried about polluting the tank with dead, rotting daphnia (plus it couldn't have been very enjoyable for the Minnows). I can't keep doing Epsom salt dips, that's for sure. If the second one was going to have the same effect as the first time, I would have expected to have noticed it by now. I'm also not sure about that swimbladder medicine I purchased (NT Labs Swimbladder Treatment (Aquarium) #12, http://www.ntlabs.co.uk/products/Swi...%29-%2312.html) - a pathogen as the cause of the symptoms doesn't appear borne out by my observations. I could try plugging the heater back in as there might be a larger fluctuation between when the light is heating the water and when the water has cooled down over night - there is possibly a fluctuation of 21C-24/25C (just looking for things I could try).

When I look just above the female Minnow's anus, below her dorsal fin, behind her main body cavity and before her tail, I notice a faint red/dark mass, but it might be part of her normal internal organs.
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Old 10-12-2015, 06:45 AM   #10
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Hmm, nothing really pops up to mind. All I can think of is to try thawed frozen brine shrimp to see if the roughage helps. Then onto the med if nothing else is working or no other suggestions.
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Old 10-13-2015, 06:17 PM   #11
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I fed some defrosted brine shrimp this evening, and the female Minnow doesn't appear to be having too much trouble swimming about. I just left the block to melt for about 15-20 minutes (if that), squirting a bit of tank water on to it to get it moving along. I was able to extract individual brine shrimp using a pipette (hope the ones I fed were okay - not sure if any of them are different colours in the darker lighting of the front room, I didn't bother checking in proper lighting conditions in the kitchen; when I've tried defrosted bloodworm, some of those have been red and some an unsightly brown...).

All there is to it now is observing, and trying to get back to normal (frozen brine shrimp on occasion, and then flake food, maybe also live food at some point...providing it isn't as dead as the last time). Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 10-13-2015, 08:27 PM   #12
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Good luck. Hope it works out.

I do tend to prefer brine shrimp as being better for them and everything else in the frozen foods like bloodworms as a treat but this may just be personal preference. I suspect my fish appreciate a regular diet of newly bought plants to munch on and get most of their fibre that way (judging by the destruction some days).
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Old 10-17-2015, 03:43 PM   #13
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I'm erring on the side of caution, but the brine shrimp may well have had a beneficial effect. I started feeding the brine shrimp on Tuesday, and fed it on Wednesday and yesterday, with flake food on Thursday and this evening. While it's still too soon to tell this evening, at least Wednesday onwards, the female Minnow appeared to have less trouble (I stress less - a couple of hours after feeding, she still appeared to go stiff and curve her bum/tail up, with some awkward motion forwards/difficulty maintaining normal buoyancy). She was positively bloated on Wednesday after eating the brine shrimp, but that itself didn't appear to cause her any real trouble - she swam surprisingly normally after all her previous issues, so the brine shrimp must be helping her digestion. I'm holding fire on the medicine for the time being.

How often can I feed these brine shrimp? I.e., how often is too often?
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Old 10-24-2015, 07:06 PM   #14
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Sounds good news

That's a good question on feeding. I've probably fed up to every second night with no issues but that is just my tank.

I do have a link on foods (from coralbandit) which I'll see if I can find.
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Old 10-24-2015, 08:52 PM   #15
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Found a few links which may be of interest.


http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...io-338147.html


http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...is-335656.html


http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...it-336741.html


And this one from CB:
Fish Food Ingredients
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Old 10-25-2015, 01:58 PM   #16
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Thanks for both the private message and the replies to this thread, it is much appreciated.

I bought some JBL Spirulina today, but the Ocean Nutrition Spirulina Flakes are still on order from Amazon - it'll hardly break the bank.
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