Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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satu55555 07-05-2011 06:58 AM

Zebra Danio Constipated? Doesn't Eat.

Since last Saturday, 3 days ago, my zebra danio female hasn't been well. She doesn't eat and had problems staying upright so clearly some swim bladder related problems. She tilts 45 degrees and sometimes even 90 degrees sideways when swimming. Most of the time she sits in a plant and lets the plant support her upright. She also some of the time breathes a bit heavily and then has a break from it for a few seconds. No clamped fins. I fed them normally on Saturday morning and a few hours later she wasn't looking fine. I've put her in a 25 liter hospital tank and have not seen any poop and she looks a little bloated around the belly right in front of the anal fin. I don't see anything else wrong on her physically. We bought her and another female danio 4 weeks ago and they've been otherwise fine.

I started to give her Epsom salt baths on Saturday evening with 1 Tbsp per gallon of Epsom Salt. She was in the bath for 15 mins twice a day. On Sunday I put metronidazole in the tank 100mg for every 10 gallons. On Monday I added 2 teaspoons of Epsom salt in the tank and still gave her epsom salt baths. On Monday I added another teaspoon after a 25% water change and added a bit more metronidazole.

As the tank has Epsom salt in it, I didn't give her a bath today (Tuesday) to avoid extra stress. She seems more tired. Twice a day around their feeding time I've tried to offer some crush pea to her. I boiled it in water in the micro for 45 seconds, peeled it and squished the inner part and put some of it in the tank. I have not succeeded in getting her to eat it.

So she's been fasting 3 days with all the treatment above and no sign of poop or improvement. I'm getting very worried.

Main tank size: 140 L
Hospital tank: (60 L), but I only have about 25 L of water in there.
pH: 7.4
ammonia: 0.10
nitrite: 0
nitrate: 15

Tank temperature: 27 degrees Celsius

Volume and Frequency of water changes: Normally once a week about 30%.

Chemical Additives or Media in your tank: Medications explained above, no others.

Main tank inhabitants: There are 7 fish in the tank: 3 Zebra Danios (1 boy and 2 girls), 2 Corydoras (both girls) and two Dwarf Otos (a boy and a girl). Of course this female danio is now in the hospital tank.

Recent additions to your tank (living or decoration): 2 female danios 4 weeks ago.

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 zucchini or cucumber for the otos, who seem to really love them.

Could you please advise on if there's anything more I can do or if I've misdiagnosed and it could be something else.

Thank you.

satu55555 07-05-2011 02:10 PM

Little addition:

I've just watched the fish swim a little and every time she uses effort to swim, she swim sideways and upside down and just doesn't stay up. Then when she stops trying and just floats, she's tilted sideways about 45 degrees from the upright position. Does this sound familiar to anyone? She doesn't have a problem staying either on the top or on the bottom of the water. She also swims into the glass while panicking about the swim.

Thank you.

satu55555 07-06-2011 02:12 AM


I decided to do a 35% water change and not add Epsom salt. I also added a little more metronidazole. The temperature will go up within a few hours naturally as it seems the day's going to be nice and warm, but I'll keep it there. We got advice from elsewhere to give a gentle massage to her so my husband took her in his wet palm and very gently stroked her side for a short time, put her back in water and gave her a break and repeated once. I still have not seen any poop from her.

She was swimming a little today, not normally, but in her sideways way. What got me a bit worried was that at some point she was upside down in a plant.


satu55555 07-06-2011 02:01 PM

Here are a few photos: I noticed her back has some discolouration as well, like splotches of lighter and darker patches 2-3mm in diameter as you can see in the last photo.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

satu55555 07-07-2011 08:00 AM

There water parameters in my first tank were for the main tank. Here are the current water parameters for both tanks as of today:

The hospital tank:
Ammonium 0.20
pH 7.6
Nitrate 10
Nitrite 0

The main tank:
Ammonium 0
pH 7.4
Nitrate 20
Nitrite 0

The nitrate in the main tank has gone up as i've just put a treatment for blue green algae, which was starting to show sign of coming back. The sick fish has not been in the tank while the treatment has been going. It's EasyLife Excital treatment.

I have just yesterday put an internal parasite treatment in the tank as I could not come up with any other ways of trying to help her. As you said I see that quite an unlikely option too.

For the possibility of being egg bound, the tank temperature has been raised to 28 degrees centigrades (=82.4 degrees Fahreinheit). Also my husband gave her a very gentle massage as described in a previous post. No help from anything so far.

Yes, I think that her chances aren't very big as well. I wonder if me feeding them is the problem. I wonder if I give them too much food as I feed them twice a day. The danio girls have gained weight clearly so I wonder if that could be the cause.

I won't try to give her more peas now, but will try a bit of food. I actually tried to give peas last night with two pieces of frozen blood worm with no luck with either one.

Thank you!!!

bettababy 07-07-2011 02:53 PM

Since I don't know what you have available to you for medication I will offer you 2 options, each should be equally effective IF this is a bacterial infection. Kanamycin would be my first choice, however, TMP Sulfa/Triple Sulfa would also be an acceptable option. If you work with any of the triple sulfa/TMP medications be careful not to inhale the powder/dust from it and wear rubber gloves when handling it. There are people who are highly allergic to this medication and exposure to it or inhalation of it can be enough to send a person to the hospital (and it can be quite painful). Please use care when handling medications. Also, please be sure that all of the metronidazole has been removed from the tank via use of carbon and water changes before adding the antibiotics.

In regards to being egg bound... the chances of massage helping to relieve such a thing are very slim to none. In small fish such as this, massage can actually cause more damage than good. Because of location of internal organs and size of the fish, pressure applied to the abdomen of such a small fish can very easily rupture and/or damage internal organs. Egg bound tends to happen when the eggs get lodged together internally, thus when the muscles of the fish begin to work to push the eggs out via ovipositor, they compact further. Because of where the eggs are held inside the body and location and function of the ovipositor, I would not expect massage to have any effect at all... as it cannot remove blockage of the ovipositor tube where blockage tends to occur. Even a surgical attempt to remove blockage from something as small as a danio would be more likely to cause death than to help the fish. Sometimes there is just nothing more we can do, egg bound tends to be one of those situations.

I wish you the best of luck. If you need further help or any help in locating the medications online, please let me know. If you are in the USA then I can point you in the right direction for medication sources.

satu55555 07-08-2011 07:21 AM


Thank you very much for your reply.

I wasn't able to get Kanamycin or TMP Sulfa/Triple Sulfa here in Finland. Even my mum couldn't get it from her work this time. The only option left was JBP Furanol 2 (active ingredient Sodium nifurstyrenat 20 mg/tablet) and I would have it earliest on Monday or even Tuesday. I couldn't let the fish suffer more so we decided on euthanasia. I don't think she would have made it until Monday, let alone recovered. I hope I made the right decision as I knew the chances were not good.

I was wondering if the massage was a good idea. Someone suggested it on another board and said it had worked for them, but I thought that with such a tiny animal it might cause harm. That's why we were extremely careful. It wasn't really pressure, but petting a little. Thank you for explaining the whole thing about being egg bound. Made it much more understandable.

Do you know if JBP Furanol 2 is a good one for internal bacteria of this kind? I was thinking to buy some for the cupboard just in case I need it later.

I also read somewhere that it would be good to feed some boiled lettuce and chopped into mini size to the fish with their regular meal so they would get more fibre? Or should I just buy foods with higher fibre content?

I wish I could learn somewhere more information about fish health care. Are there any books you know of that would be very good to read about how their bodies work and their illnesses and treatments? They become handy from time to time for every fish owner.

I hope you don't mind I contacted you. I wanted the best available advice. I hope you don't mind if I needed advice some time later?

Thank you!

satu55555 07-19-2011 11:52 AM


I have another thread about another female danio following only a bit over a week after this one. Here's a link for it

If anyone knows what could be going on with my other female danio who shows different symptoms, but swims normally, I would be grateful.

Thank you.

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