Is this bloat? Dying Kuhli Loaches - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 14 Old 09-09-2013, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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Is this bloat? Dying Kuhli Loaches

]First off, my tank: 20L freshwater, 3 years old, pH 7.6, API test kit shows perfect chemistry, Whisper 30 filter, long bar bubbler, water changes about once a month (with vacuumed substrate), lighting during the day. I have tiger barbs and a couple bolivian rams. But love kuhli loaches and have had 3 for about 2 and a half years. Decided to get 6 more - was told they were wild caught from Indonesia. No quarenteen...

Seemed healthy and active. But after a few weeks, started losing about one or two a week. At first I assumed it was my older ones. The first 3 that died got really fat and white - now I wonder if they were the new ones, pregnant and egg-bound. My original loaches never spawned. And now I'm down to ONE. Some I found dead with no sign of abnormalities. And some I found with a different kind of swelling, near the anus. One looked injured - but I've never seen a single fish go after these guys, and I like sitting and watching them daily.

I fed pellets that my older ones ate just fine - not sure if the new ones took to them or not. But I also feed frozen food 2-3 times a week.

My other kuhlis were just fine before I adopted these guys. Such a cool fish.
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File Type: jpg Kuhli 1.jpg (46.4 KB, 28 views)
File Type: jpg Kuhli 2.jpg (40.6 KB, 27 views)
File Type: jpg Kuhli 3.jpg (50.3 KB, 26 views)
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post #2 of 14 Old 09-09-2013, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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Oops forgot one

This picture is the one above before it died. When it was dying, it was breathing slowly.

I do have one left - no discoloration, no swelling at all. Not very active, but I have to say my original ones never were that active. The new ones started swimming all over the tank in what looked to me like a happy, healthy display (without the franticness of a stressed kuhli). That didn't last too long, however. Within a couple days they started acting like my older ones. Also, forgot to add the tank has lots of hiding places.
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File Type: jpg Kuhli 4.jpg (64.4 KB, 25 views)
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post #3 of 14 Old 09-09-2013, 11:28 PM
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I'm so sorry, I honestly have no real idea as to what could be the problem. The only thing I can think of is that they're being kept on gravel, which could hurt their sensitive stomachs, but since you said you've had the 2 for years...I'm at a loss.

I have no idea what could be happening, I'm so sorry. I'll message a few people and see if I can get some attention to this thread.
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post #4 of 14 Old 09-09-2013, 11:57 PM
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So sorry about your loaches. Like mentioned above, they like to burrow in sand, and I am a little weary about those tiger barbs, they are known for being nippy. You said you never saw any fish going after them, how are the barbs with the bolivian rams? Are the bolivians breeding by any chance? I think it's good you have them in a breeder net for now, it really looks to me like a bite, or injury, nut I am not an expert, just my observation. I know you had some in there before, but sometimes newcomers are not welcomed.

Idk if the new wild caught ones could have carried an internal parasite? Don't want to raise an alarm, maybe someone else would identify it better. I am really sorry.
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post #5 of 14 Old 09-10-2013, 12:09 AM
Hi sunsetsonata. I'm so sorry for your loss. I love kuhlis too, they have a lot of personality.

If your new loaches really were wild-caught, then there is an excellent possibility that they brought internal parasites (worms) into your tank. Wild fish are notorious for having worms and a lot of importers/shops make a practice of deworming wild fish before shipping them out. However, to be really effective, deworming needs to be carried out once to get the initial infestation and then again 6 weeks later to take care of any larval parasites that grew up. So even though a lot of shops take care of the first part, they usually don't hold onto the fish long enough to do the second deworming.

In the wild, the parasites probably are present in such low numbers that they don't pose a problem to the fish but once a fish has been caught and gone through the stress of shipping to various places, its immune system is so compromised that the parasites stage a takeover. By the time you the consumer get them, they could very well have a pretty big load of worms. :(

This is why all the experts suggest quarantining new fish before adding them to your tank. However, quarantining isn't always practical and some of us just don't have the space to set up a quarantine tank for the recommended 6-18 weeks. I know I sure don't. But one thing you can do if you can't quarantine is, when you add new fish to your tank, add a product called Seachem ParaGuard as well. This is an excellent product to help take care of external parasites and some internal worms and will help to prevent an infestation. Alternatively, if you can't find ParaGuard, you can deworm using API General Cure. Just remove any carbon from your filter and then follow the instructions. ParaGuard says it's not hard on beneficial bacteria but you may want to keep an eye on your params just in case. I know General Cure can be hard on your beneficial bacteria.
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post #6 of 14 Old 09-10-2013, 12:28 AM
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Poor, poor, babies. . . I'm so sad for them - and for you, who had to witness it. It hurts my heart to see wounds like these on such a beautiful creature. . .I'm very sorry for your losses.

I'm not sure exactly what this is. . . but it is unfortunately very common for loaches to bring parasites and other nasties 'home' from the wild.

I'm guessing that this may be what happened here. I'm in NO way an illness expert - I've fortunately never had to deal with anything like this personally with my loaches, but many of the symptoms you describe seem to match up with what I've read regarding Nematode infections, which is one often found in newly imported loaches.

QT is very important with any new fish, but perhaps most especially with loaches - many people go so far as to routinely treat all newly imported loaches with de-wormers like Levamisole Hydrochloride, even when no symptoms are present. Some sellers/shops will QT and treat loaches before selling them - have you contacted the shop where you purchased these to see if they had been treated prior to your bringing them home, or if the other loaches brought in at the same time were sick? It is so very important to QT all new additions to your tanks - especially loaches.

Are the other fish in the tank doing well?
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post #7 of 14 Old 09-10-2013, 01:58 AM
sunset, did you happen to see any tiny, red hair-like worms coming from the fish's anus?

If you did, your kuhlis had a camallanus worm infection which is a very hard condition to treat, especially in smaller fish. Chesh is right, the treatment for camallanus worms is levamisole HC, which you can get on aquabid. It's the ONLY thing that will treat adult camallanus worms; fenbendazole will treat the larvae but not the adults.

If you did see these worms at any time, get the levamisole and treat your tank even if none of the fish are displaying symptoms because this worm is really contagious and really persistent. It will show up again when you least expect it.
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post #8 of 14 Old 09-10-2013, 02:17 AM
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Parasites are what I believe it is too - after reading through the thread others have things well covered.

For emphasis I will repeat the importance of quarantining new fish - ESPECIALLY wild caught. I treat all new fish for internal and external parasites while they are in quarantine, whether they exhibit symptoms or not.

Something to mention about levamisole - it does not kill the parasite. It paralyses them, so that the fish can pass them. They will need to be removed from the tank to prevent reinfection (as I understand it - never had to use levamisole). Too, like was said, you will need to do at least 2 treatments for the aforementioned reason. I know a lot of people will do a third, just to make sure.

Prazipro and APIs general cure are a couple of other internal parasite meds.

125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta
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Chesh (09-10-2013)
post #9 of 14 Old 09-10-2013, 03:29 AM
Small fish have a very hard time recovering from camallanus worms. In my experience with bettas and platies afflicted with these worms, the fish often have a very hard time passing the worm load out. My bettas, in particular, lost their appetite and refused to eat and thus poo the load out and the worms decayed in their system, causing a very nasty secondary bacterial infection that eventually killed them.
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post #10 of 14 Old 09-10-2013, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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To answer some questions. The tiger barbs will chase each other right in front of the bolivian rams, and the rams just sit there unafraid and unbothered. The bolivian rams are males. Once in a while the kuhlis (probably my old ones, I bet) would lie there in the open - never saw them bothered by anything. I sink pellets or frozen food deep into a plastic flower bed that only the kuhlis can access.

I know kuhlis prefer sand, but I've no experience with sand and am afraid of stirring it up into the filter when vacuuming. That being said, my gravel is BB sized which doesn't seem to be available anymore, at least in my area (I've looked - everyone seems to be selling only large size gravel, which I definitely wouldn't put loaches on).

I've wondered about parasites as well - have not noticed any hair-like worms. But that picture is a GREAT reference for what to look for, and I WILL be paying attention. Nothing so far. All my other fish are acting and looking fine, including my lone kuhli survivor (knock on wood). When that last fish died I really wanted to see what was causing that swelling, but there was no way I'd stomach cutting into it - I'd watch if someone else did it, though!

When I got the new kuhli's, the aquarium guy mentioned how pleased they were to finally get a healthy batch. When I first started this aquarium, it took me a good 6-8 months to get kuhli's due to both their seasonality and the fact that aquarium stores were having a hard time getting healthy stock. During my search, multiple places mentioned this - they weren't as hardy as the kuhlis of my youth. This second batch came from the same store as the first. I wonder if the first batch was bred instead of imported.

Yep got a good feeling I'll be seeking out the above mentioned worming meds soon... will keep you posted on further developments... thank you all for all your imput so far...
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