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satu55555 05-01-2011 10:34 AM

Zebra Danio Male Lost Weight

My male zebra danio has lost quite a bit of weight. He has developed a "neck" so the neck area is thinner and also behind the stomach. He eats normally and swims around with fins open, but he's lost weight and it's worrying. The only thing I see wrong is the weight loss. Today when I cleaned the tank, he swam around and watched what I was doing like he always does. He comes to the front of the tank as usual when I go see them. He doesn't hide or anything.

Almost a month ago we had a female zebra danio who died after our desperate fight to save her. She most likely died of tuberculosis and now I'm scared this could be another case. At that point we also treated the tank with Jungle's Parasite Clear and got rid of some blue green algae with Easy Life's Excital. There was a little bit of sea salt put in the tank during this illness, but most of it should be gone now after a few water changes. At the shop where I asked for advice from a lady who knew a lot about fish said that there's no point in cleaning and emptying the tank after TB, because most fish have the bacteria that causes TB anyway, but it only becomes bad in suitable conditions. So we did a normal tank clean and water change of 30%. Could it be that because of the algae treatment he hasn't eaten as much as normal. However, no one else had lost weight so I guess not.

Tank size: 140 L
pH: 7.4
ammonia: 0.10
nitrite: 0
nitrate: 15 (Easy Life's Excital or the parasite treatment got this from 0 to 15 - should improve with water changes)

Tank temperature: 26 degrees Celsius

Volume and Frequency of water changes: Normally once every 2 weeks, but during the last month, once a week. Usually about 30%.

Chemical Additives or Media in your tank: There's probably still a little bit of EasyLife's Excital in the tank, but as said I did a water change today. The last time I put it was a week ago.

Tank inhabitants: There are 6 fish in the tank: 2 Zebra Danios (2 boys), 2 Corydoras (both girls) and two Dwarf Otos (a boy and a girl). We were going to take a couple of female danios within a few days, but we'll now wait until we can be sure it's safe to take more.

Recent additions to your tank (living or decoration): Nothing added since Christmas (They got a new drain pipe ornament from Santa Claus.)

During the last month we've fed the fish with flakes and pellets. Every second morning instead of dry food they get frozen food: either bloodworm or white mosquito larvae. Their dinner is mini sized pellets and flakes in the evening. In addition we have always seaweed, zucchini or cucumber for the otos, who seem to really love them.

Could you please advise on what this could be.
Thank you.

bettababy 05-03-2011 02:30 AM

My first question is how you diagnosed the TB you mentioned? What your lfs lady told you is correct, most fish in the hobby have been exposed to TB but not all get TB. Some become carriers, and most who are openly infected by it is because they have weak immune systems and cannot fight it the way a healthy fish can, along with the environment being right for it (which also usually affects the overall health and immune system of the fish).

I'm sure you probably don't wish to hear this... but the best thing you can do for all of your fish is going to be to euthanize this sick fish in the photo. While I cannot positively ID TB without the necessary lab work, nor any other specific bacteria, fungus, etc. I can tell you that by looking at the fish in your photo, it is suffering and not going to get better. The kindest thing to do would be to end its suffering.

I would keep a close eye on the other fish at this point, and surely not add anything more until you know for sure everything else is going to remain healthy. Did you happen to track the length of time since you lost the first fish to when you noticed this fish getting sickly? That would be the time line plus 2 wks that I would allow for anything new to develop with the remaining fish. If after that time everything in the tank is still healthy then it should be safe to look at adding more, however, I would be sure to quarantine any new fish before adding them to the main tank to avoid new illness being introduced to these surviving fish. Quarantine of 2 - 3 wks is usually plenty to determine if the fish is sick or not, and if they are sick, being in quarantine makes it safer and easier to treat them without risking the other fish in the process.

satu55555 05-05-2011 02:56 AM

Thank you very much for your reply.

The diagnosis for the last female fish was done after talking with the lady in the fish shop and also talking on forums. We'd given a parasite treatment and nothing happened. Assuming that this male fish caught it from the first one and he doesn't have any stringy poo or rubbing or other symptoms of parasites apart from the weight loss, we can't think of anything else it could be.

I have taken into consideration that euthanizing the sick fish in the photo could be the end result, but I don't want to rush into it. The fish is swimming around peacefully and normally and doesn't show signs of being in pain (like sitting on the bottom or other symptoms). We'll wait and see how he turns out. At the moment he's still eating normally and doing other fishy stuff. The only symptom is looking thin. During the last 6 days he hasn't changed towards better or worse.

Thank you for suggesting to count the length of time before taking any more fish. It means about min 6-7 weeks from now. Also the quarantine is a good idea.

I have given the sick fish salt baths twice a day and added a low concentration of salt in his hospital tank as well. No other medications.

Thank you again.

bettababy 05-05-2011 04:16 AM

I'm wondering what medications you attempted? Not all fish respond the same way to the same medications. There are a few possibilities to be considered...viral, protozoan, internal would be my first guess, but it could also be bacterial, or a combination of these is not unheard of either.
With zebra danios go easy on the salt, they have a lower tolerance to it long term, it begins to affect organ function if there is too much or for too long.
It is possible that the first fish also suffered with a viral, protozoan, or bacterial infection that the particular meds you used just weren't effective. That happens more often than you might think. Many people, especially lfs employees and even owners, treat medications as generic... if the package says it treats for certain symptoms its safe to use on all fish. They end up with dead or suffering fish in a lot of situations simply because of the choice of med. The contents of the medication mean everything, without knowing and understanding those, what each does/how it works, and how it affects the different species of fish, it can be like playing russian roulette trying to pick the right one without further harming your fish.

I would like to try to help you if you want it... but there is only so much I can do via internet. I don't have the ability to personally examine the fish, do the lab work, etc. so the diagnosis is based on educated guesses, experience, and the info you provide. (that means the more info the better, even if it seems trivial) Nobody has the ability to positively confirm a diagnosis beyond generalization (bacterial, fungal, viral, etc) without doing the needed lab work, just to prepare you for any generalizations I may use here. Knowing in general what it is, is usually enough to treat effectively.

The first place to start is the medication you used for the first fish that you lost... and the ingredients in it. I'm also wondering how long you have had this zebra danio? Has it grown since you got it or was it full grown when you brought it home? (trying to get an idea of age)

satu55555 05-05-2011 07:28 AM

Thank you so much for your reply. You sound so helpful and lovely. Thank you.

We gave the first fish salt baths twice a day (didn't make many as she didn't live many days before we had to euthanize her because of her bad condition). No salt in the tank water. We put Jungle's Parasite Clear for internal and external parasites which contain praziquantel, diflubenzuron, metronidazole and acriflavine. The other treatment the tank had at the same time was Easy Life's Excital treatment. I have already thrown the bottle away and it had a lot of text on it. I don't seem to find the ingredients on the internet. It just says "it is made from vitamins and synthetic concentrates to induce bacterial growth on those places where red slime algae are present. It stimulates the growth of specific micro-organisms in light-sensitive places in the aquarium." It says it's safe to use, but who knows. I emailed the manufacturer asking about the ingredients so I'll let you know as soon as I receive a reply. It could take though. The bottle actually says Excital Red Algae Control, but the lady at the shop said it's for blue green algae and it did take care of our algae problem. It also says in Finnish that it's for blue green algae.

Thank you for mentioning that danios have a lower tolerance to it. I'll do some water change and get less salt in the tank. I've kept him in the salt bath for 20 mins. Maybe I'll do just 15 mins this evening. (The tank has 1 ts per gallon and salt bath 4 ts per gallon as advised on the internet.)

It makes sense that not all medications work for all fish. That's how it works with humans too.

I would appreciate your help very much. You sound like a person who cares about animals. I understand that there's a limited amount one can do without actually examining the fish.

I've had this fish (his name is James) for about a year. We got him last year around March. The question you asked about if he's grown since we got him is actually a very interesting question. The two others we bought at the same time grew a lot more, but this one has grown quite little. The other two had long fins and this one has short fins. He must have been a little smaller when we bought him, but he's a lot smaller than the other male. James is about 3cm (=1.2 inches) plus tail. The other male could be even one cm (about 0.4 inches) longer plus a long tail. They were all very similar size when we bought them. We bought them from a shop and they looked very young.

Thank you so much!

satu55555 05-06-2011 06:41 AM

Here's a couple of more photos taken today. He doesn't look any worse. Still thin, but he's not any worse.

Thank you.

bettababy 05-06-2011 02:58 PM

I am looking into some possibilities and some potential attempts at treatment for you. Is this fish now in quarantine?

satu55555 05-06-2011 10:20 PM

Thank you so much. Yes, the fish (James) is in quarantine in his own hospital tank. We put the tank next to the main tank so he can see the others and the others can see him. Maybe he won't feel quite as lonely. He and the other danio we have keep looking at each other through the glass.

The fish is so thin in the mornings. I have added a small snack in the middle of the day as he seems always hungry and after the night with no snack he seems sooo thin.

Yesterday, I did a water change in his tank (and also the main tank) to reduce the salt to almost half. Also I have shortened the salt bath time to 15 minutes.

Thank you.

satu55555 05-07-2011 11:37 AM

Hi again, I took two little videos yesterday and uploaded them for you to see. Here are the links to them to youtube. As you can see he's quite happily swimming around, but he's too thin and can't keep any weight.

They're not of the greatest quality, but you can see something on them.
Thank you.

bettababy 05-07-2011 12:55 PM

Sorry it took so long to get back to you about all of this, things here have been so busy this past week. I was waiting for my husband to consult on this one, to either toss out some new suggestions for me or confirm my idea of diagnosis, and he did confirm what I had been suspecting. If not TB, this could be a blood protozoan. Either way, its pretty clear that muscle tissue is being destroyed pretty quickly.
Because there is nothing I can suggest for TB (the treatment is quite harsh and this fish is too far gone to withstand that kind of treatment) I am going to suggest treating for blood protozoan just to offer you some kind of hope...
The treatment I'm going to suggest is Metronidazole laced food for 10 days. If you need help finding the medication please let me know and I can suggest a few places online to order it. This is a powdered medication (be sure not to inhale the dust from it) and can be put into a zip lock baggie with some of the fish's flake food and shaken well until all of the medication appears to be gone. Flake foods are oily enough for the powder to adhere and absorb into it. Feed only medicated food for 10 days. (If there are other types of food you offer let me know and I can explain how to medicate it, too, but avoid freeze dried blood worms during this treatment).

The need here is to get the medication into the fish by direct means, so feeding it to him is the only real option here.

Unfortunately, even if this is protozoan, this fish is not going to heal or look better than it does now. If, after the treatment, the muscle tissue continues to erode and his condition worsens, I'm going to strongly urge you to euthanize this fish because of the potential for this to be TB. TB is highly contagious, and while not all fish that are exposed will contract it, many fish become carriers of it... meaning if later, a new fish with a weakened immune system is introduced to the tank, the new fish does have a chance of contracting it. I would urge you to keep close watch on your other fish, especially during that incubation period we discussed previously (time frame from when the last fish died and this one appeared sick). If you notice this showing up in any of your other fish in the upcoming wks, please let me know and we can then discuss further treatment options.

The other thing I'm going to urge is to completely stop the salt baths. Regardless of which of the 2 this turns out to be, the salt baths are not going to help. If anything, they will only make the fish's condition worse because prolonged exposure to the salt will begin to affect the kidneys, causing organ damage or eventually, organ shut down.

Best of luck to you. If you have more questions, need further help, please don't hesitate to post.

I will be gone for the rest of today (its my anniversary) but I will check back in tomorrow at some point just in case you need me.

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