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satu55555 11-14-2011 10:51 AM

Female Danio swimming funnily after suspected worm infestation. Help!

My female Zebra Danio is having health issues. Here are the details:

1. Tank size: 140 L

2. Water parameters and brand of test kit used:
These are the params for the hospital tank.
Ammonium 0.25
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 5
pH 7.4
We use the API Master Testkit.

3. Is your aquarium set up freshwater or brackish water?

4. How long the aquarium has been set up?
The aquarium has been set up for a bit over 1.5 years

5. What fish do you have? How many are in your tank? How big are they? How long have you had them?
4 Danios (one male about 2 months, about 3cm (= 1.2 inches) + tail; and 3 females about 2 months, about 3cm (= 1.2") + tail; 4 corydoras (two females almost 1.5 years and about 3.5 cm (= 1.4") + tail and 2 females about 1 month about 3.5 cm (= 1.4") + tail) and two Oto Cincluses (male and female about 10 months, male is about 2.5 cm (= 1") and female 3.5 cm (= 1.4")) - Those times are how long we've had them.

6. Were the fish placed under quarantine period (minus the first batch from the point wherein the tank is ready to accommodate the inhabitants)?
No. We put new fish straight in the main tank.

7. What temperature is the tank water currently?
24 Celsius (= 73.4 F)

8. Are there live plants in the aquarium?
There are two live plants that have been there over a year and one that was put there about a month ago.

9. What filter are you using? State brand, maintenance routine and power capacity.
We have an Eheim Aquaball 2210 filter. We clean the pads in tank water during water change once a week. 550 L per hour (=145 US Gallons per hour).

10. Any other equipment used (aside from heater and filter which are two very important components of the tank)?
No other equipment

11. Does your aquarium receive natural sunlight at any given part of the day? What is your lighting schedule (assuming you do not rely on sunlight for our viewing pleasure)?
The tank rarely gets natural sunlight, but if we get some sunlight, it's in the morning. Usually we keep the curtain so that the tank doesn't get sunlight. Automated lighting in the tank is on from 11.30am to 9.30pm.

12. When did you perform your last water change and how much water was changed? How often do you change your water? Do you vacuum the substrate?
Last 25% water change was this morning and the one before that two days ago was 25% as well. Another water change the day before that to remove medication was about 40-50%.
Our normal water change is about 30% once a week with a gravel hoover at the same time. The filter is cleaned in the tank water every time.

13. What foods do you provide your fish? What is the feeding schedule?
Our fish get meals at 9am and 9pm. They get flakes, granule foods and dried worm and other bugs mix and we have three different types of pellets for the bottom feeders. Every two days in the morning they get frozen blood worm instead of dry food. We also put a slice of zucchini or cucumber for the otos once a day.

14. What unusual signs have you observed in your fish?

A week ago on Monday I noticed that this female Zebra Danio was looking unwell. She was swimming funnily like shaking her head and looking like she didn't want to use her tail much at all. She had white, thin, stringy poop and she was sitting on the bottom of the tank quite a bit of the time. Her appetite got worse. A few days before I caught her sitting and breathing heavily after her boyfriend had been chasing her a lot so I got a little worried, but didn't know if she was just so out of breath or sick. A moment later she seemed fine again.

I moved her into a hospital tank and put medication in both tanks. About meds lower down.

15. Have you treated your fish ahead of diagnosis? If so, what treatments did you use? State your reasons for planning ahead of proper diagnosis.
Because of having had suspected problems with internal worms before and the presence of stringy poop, I put internal worm medication in both tanks: main and hospital. The medicine was Sera Med Nematol with active ingredient 320 mg emamectin benzoate/100 ml. This medication was for 2 days after which I did a water change. Fish didn't show improvement.
After this treatment I wanted to give her metronidazole with food, but couldn't really get her eating it so I went to bacteria medication in case the worms had caused such a thing. This was JBL Furanol 2 for internal bacteria infections with 20mg Natrium Nifurstyrenat 20mg per tablet per one liter of water. She got a bath in this for 30 minutes (2 tablets for 2 liters of water) as in directions. She seemed a little better later that evening. She was swimming a little more instead of just sitting on the bottom of the tank. The bath was repeated in the same water and medication 2 days later. I kept the water and med in a closed container. After the 2nd bath she seemed very tired and started sitting on the bottom again. 2 days later (today) I gave her one more bath in new water and medication and she's still sitting mostly. She does get up and swim a little when you go to look at her. Her swimming is still shaking from side to side and when she's still, she puts the bottom part of the tail on the bottom of the tank. Swimming seems more effort than it should and turning seems funny. It's like she cannot turn normally, but she has to really twist the body.

All this time her appetite has been worse than normal. She refuses dry food almost completely, but she eats all the frozen blood worm I give her. I've kept the tank without a light to avoid stress. I only put it on while feeding or doing a water change. Her hospital is located right next to the main tank so she can see her friends through the glass. And they have looked at each other.

Could you please advise how I should proceed with treatments as she still doesn't seem recovered enough. I have Jungle's Anti-Parasite Medicated Fish Food with 1% Metronidazole, 0.5% Praziquantel and 0.4% Levamisole in it. Alternatively I can try to continue the same bacteria medication with more baths every two days. Alternatively I have Sera Baktopur Direct with the active ingredient 27.6mg Nifurpirinol per tablet for internal bacteria as well, but I have not used this one. When suggesting medications, please not that I have no access to Kanamycin in Finland. It's illegal here for fish use.

So at the moment she most of the time again sits on the bottom, poops normally, eats only worms, swims funnily and seems a little worse than after the first bath medication.

Any advise would be much appreciated. Thank you!

satu55555 11-14-2011 11:30 AM

Here's a photo of her. I forgot to mention that when she's just staying still, it seems as if she's curved just a little bit more to the right. Having said that this photo shows one of her turns to the left and how she very much needs to twist the body.

satu55555 11-14-2011 12:19 PM

And here are a few videos which hopefully can show a little bit how she moves. They're not actually perfect videos and they even make her look slightly better than it looks like live. Please, ignore me and my husband talking on the videos. It sounds a bit funny. I didn't have time to take the sound away. Thank you again so much!

satu55555 11-14-2011 01:06 PM

I just remembered another thing the fish does. She breathes a bit funnily. Her gills moved first twice in a row quite fast and then she has a second's break. Then she repeats it again. I have also seen her do some sort of chewing type of a thing as if there might be something not quite right with the jaws or gills.

bettababy 11-14-2011 06:52 PM

Sorry it took me so long to get here but I wanted to ask my husband to consult on this before I gave you a positive answer. He agrees with me that the problem your fish is having is neurological, which may be caused by a protozoan or may be due to physiological damage. Its impossible for us to say for sure. Because physiological neurological damage is untreatable, the only option left is to attempt treatment for the possibility of a protozoan induced problem.
The treatment for this is going to be metronidazole laced food, as we want the medication to get into the fish, not just in the water. As long as the fish is still eating the frozen blood worms this should be quite easy for you.
In a small, disposable cup (nothing wax coated) thaw 1 meal portion and then add a small amount of metronidazole, enough to coat the food. Swirl this around in the cup until the medication completely dissolves and then let sit for 10 - 15 minutes so the medication is absorbed into the food, then feed her as normal with this food. It is ok if the small amount of liquid with medication gets into the water, but I would be sure to have carbon in the filter to help remove it. The small amount of ammonia reading you reported tells me you don't want to have medication in the water itself because this can cause an adverse reaction with the medication.

Continue this treatment once/day for 10 days. At the end of the 10 days I would like you to come back to this thread and give me an update on her condition, which will tell me if she needs to stay on the treatment longer or if the treatment has been completely ineffective, in which case that would indicate a physiological problem... and continuing medication would be pointless.

Because a protozoan infection can be contagious to the other fish I'm also going to suggest you watch all of the others in the tank for similar symptoms. That will not only alert you to other fish needing treatment, but also help to indicate if this is indeed protozoan or if its physiological in nature.

I wish you the best of luck. If you need further help or explanation of treatment please feel free to pm me and ask me to check in on the thread. The pm's alert me in email which brings me here faster, since I'm not able to get to the forum on a regular basis these days due to time restrictions.
During the next 10 days take note of any and all changes you may see in her condition and list them here in the thread for me. I will do my best to keep up with you and reply as soon as possible.


satu55555 11-14-2011 11:58 PM

Thank you so much Dawn for getting back to me.

I think I must have been already sleeping when you replied me. The time difference. It's afternoon here when you have the morning.

I was wondering that the funny swimming moves could be physical injury, but also because she is sitting still quite a bit of the time, I thought maybe there's still more of some type of protozoa problem. I hope that the meds will make her better. She's been a very good and strong girl.

I will immediately give her the first portion of medication in food. I have added carbon in the tank to make sure that the small amount of medication getting in the water shouldn't pollute. I will keep at the water changes too. There was no medication in the water from before.

So I'll give her the medication with her breakfast and dinner without meds. Unless you suggest to feed only once a day. I meant to say that the metronidazole I have is in tablet form, but I'll crush it and then get it on the worms.

I had one of the corydora girls do quite a bit of flashing and trying to scratch last week, but after the internal worm medication I haven't seen it.

As mentioned I have some of that Junge's anti-parasite food, which I could give the others for a little while if you think it'd be good.

I will keep a record of Lorna's changes here.

Thank you so much!

bettababy 11-15-2011 12:07 AM

Feeding twice/day is fine if that's what she is used to, as long as the medication is only given once/day.

I also want to clarify that worms and protozoan are 2 different things, as are the medications that treat them.

I wouldn't medicate the other fish unless you are sure there is a problem. Not knowing for sure what has caused this, if its a physical injury that occurred, would mean giving meds to the others that are healthy, which always brings with it some level of risk.

Using the metronidazole in tablet form is slightly different than in powder form. This should be crushed up and then added to the food while the food is still wet with a drop or 2 of water in the cup so the tablet is able to dissolve completely. We want the medication to get into the fish but we also don't want too much at once, either... as that could cause an overdose. I would suggest 1/4 of a tablet or slightly less to treat each meal's worth of food, not an entire tablet each time.

Thank you for clarifying the time zone difference. I will do my best to get here as often as I can to check in on you.


satu55555 11-16-2011 11:23 AM

Hi Dawn,

Thank you for your message and thank you for clearing the difference between worms and protozoan. I looked it up again. I had of course before, but still I thought they were somewhat similar cases.

I have been giving the blood worms with metronidazole tablet as instructed by you since yesterday and she seems a little better. She swims around more and sits a lot less. I put a little bit more water in the tank for her now that she seems to take even little swimming spurts. She seems to also turn a little easier. Turning to left was the more difficult one and even that has got a little bit more controllable and turning to right is closer to normal. I have kept the light off in her tank until today, but since she was swimming more I turned the light on for her so she can better communicate with other fish through the glass.

I'll keep updating here at least every couple of days.

Thank you!

satu55555 11-16-2011 12:33 PM

Also meant to say that her wobble swim has got almost non-existent. So no head shaking anymore.


Romad 11-16-2011 12:40 PM


Originally Posted by satu55555 (Post 895009)
Also meant to say that her wobble swim has got almost non-existent. So no head shaking anymore.


I hope your fish continues to recover. Good luck!

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