Thank you all dearly for your continued interest in my tank! You're all so wonderful! *HUGS*
Sorry to have been so long, September has been INSANE
and the whole fam is being treated for bronchitis and sinusitis. . . hoping October is a better month!
I have tons to post, but I gotta start getting my beauty rest, and get rid of this cough!
I'm going to devote this post to my lovely little 'Livies.
Lets do the bad part first, so we can end on a happy note. . . this is going to be long - I'm looking for info/advice, so bear with me - Any
advice here is welcome, I've never dealt with this before. Some of these images are graphic, so I'll post those as links rather than embedding them. Don't click them if you don't want to see.
I've had my 2 'new' rams in my 10g QT tank since 9/5 - one male and one female. Tank was/is fully cycled, they were purchased from a chain shop (all my rams have been) The chain shop gets BR's in very infrequently, and sells out by end of delivery day, so against my better judgement, I bought them literally moments after they had been put in the shop tank. I didn't think they'd make it - that's a LOT of stress all at once. They were ghostly, not eating. . . I treated them with Pimafix and Melafix during that initial week in the hopes of staving off any stress-related issues that might be brought to a head, and a week's calm and good care brought them around. Though they lost their ghostly paleness and colored up somewhat, they have never fully lost their stress spots.
The female seemed better off than the male. She was plumper to begin with, quicker to lose her shyness and explore the tank. After the 1st week, both animals started behaving like the healthy rams in my main tank, eating well, swimming openly and smoothly, and I had high hopes that when they got through QT and into the larger tank with dithers and other Rams their coloration would improve and they'd feel more at home. Their QT period was set to be over at 30 days - Wednesday, I think. Everything seemed to be going well. . .
On Friday, I noticed that the female was a bit plumper than is her norm, but otherwise she was acting as usual, so I thought she may have had more than her fair share of food, she has always had a very healthy appetite compared to the other rams I keep, which seemed to go along with her slightly rounder proportions. I usually fast my tanks one day a week, so decided not to feed on Saturday.
She seemed well in the morning on Saturday, but as the day progressed I noticed that she began to hide in the corner - a sure sign of stress. My Rams are all funny about routine, and get weird sometimes on fast days, so I didn't think much of it, and turned the lights off in the tank in the hopes of calming her. It was hard to get a good look at her in the corner, but I thought that one of her fins might have been torn - it looked. . . narrower than it should. As an extra precaution (because she is not usually the fussy one - he is), I did a partial water change, and used API's Stress Coat, and kept a close eye on their behavior throughout the day, watching CLOSELY for any aggression between them, as these are not a mated pair. By the end of day on Saturday, she was still looking plumper than normal, despite the lack of food, and still hiding in the corner.
Sunday morning her abdomen was very obviously swollen (much worse than the previous two days). Additionally, she had lost color, was breathing laboriously and resting on the substrate in the open - barely moving, her gills seemed as if they might be swollen, but with her breathing as she was, I'm not sure about this - I've never seen swollen gills. I had seen no aggression from the male, though he now seemed stressed by her behavior - pacey - and would bump her from time to time (which I've never seen him do before, though they do occasionally "fight" for dominance between them - always gentle, no nips, some chasing). I decided to set up a 5 gallon for her, so she could get some peace alone, and on the off-chance that he was bullying her behind my back - the fin looked odd, but I couldn’t really be sure. I shot a quick video before removing her from the 10g in the hopes of asking for advice.
Link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=l_YfI0jYMjY
By 11:00am Sunday she was in a 5 gallon tank all alone. I used 50% of the water from the 10g, and used a mix of sand, plants, and filter media from ALL of my other tanks to ensure her stable parameters, and added a bubbler. Again I treated the new water with Stress Coat. I snapped two quick pictures, so I could get a better look at her without disturbing her further - of course she was turned the wrong way for me to get a shot of her fin. . . then left her alone in the darkness to rest.
When I came back in to check on her a few hours later, she was in the same condition, but scooting around from time to time. Hoping that movement was a good sign, I offered her a very small bit of a smashed pea - which she refused (usually devours her veggies). A while later, I removed the uneaten food, and tried to give her a bit of brine, which she also refused. By 6:00pm she had died. . . Aside from the bloating, and the funny fin on one side, the only thing I could find amiss was a very fine thread at her vent - is this a parasite?
Links to the images of the poor fish after death: Dead Ram image 1 Dead Ram image 2
Parameters are very stable, no flux for months:
79 - 80f
My tanks have Tahitian Moon Sand substrate, and all are well planted with floating plants for shade. I have not seen a trace of ammonia or nitrite since adding the rams to the 10g QT tank. Their only tank-mates in QT are a few Malaysian Trumpet Snails. Diet consists of New Life Spectrum Cichlid pellets and flake, supplemented with wet-frozen brine, mysis, etc. and fresh veggies. I do not
feed bloodworm, or any live foods.
The male still seemed slightly stressed, pacy for the rest of the day. Now he is behaving more or less normally, but a lonely Ram is a different animal entirely in my experience. Now paranoid that I'm missing symptoms by chalking it up to 'normal' ram quirkiness, as I did with the female. I am so upset with myself for not catching onto to the severity of the problem until it was too late, but I need to know what this is, and how to proceed to keep the male from suffering the same fate. What WAS
this? Should I assume he is also sick and treat him preemptively? I will do anything I can to avoid another death - but I have very little experience with sick fish, and don't know what this could be. As a side note, C.Cat - one of the originals from the same shop, was THIN and treated for a protozoa soon after I purchased him. *details here*
. Additionally, Termato is in the same state as I am, and purchased a ram with camallanus cotti from a different store in the same chain. Likelihood is high that these are coming from the same source. She looked much like poor Burt did before his death - but I was unable to see her vent, as she was on the substrate. (his video)
I intend to start the QT period over from scratch for the male, and from this point onward will be increasing my QT time to a period of 6-8 weeks, rather than 4 weeks. This was entirely too close for comfort, and I CAN NOT risk this spreading to my main tank if it is infectious. . . loaches, wild caught dwarf tetra - with plants and snails - a nightmare if I had to medicate this bunch! 3 days away from the end of a 1-month QT . . . What a close call!
I'm always so careful to keep my tanks separate - different buckets, nets, siphons, etc. . . but I thought they were fine at this point, so now I'm feeling really paranoid and praying that I didn't cross anything, and that this is contained. . . or stress/injury related. I cried for her. I'm still very upset, but at the same time I'm so thankful that this happened BEFORE
her move to the 55. This is tough for me, I've never lost a ram, and they are my favorites. . .so
glad that it wasn't one of my originals. poor, poor little girl. She was such a sweet little thing.