Dragon goby parasites? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 04-29-2010, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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Dragon goby parasites?

I need some quick help with my dragon goby. I've done a little looking around and I've determined that he has developed some parasites, or he's not eating enough. I'm pretty sure it's parasites. I feed him shrimp pellets, bloodworms, and brine shrimp. I've seen him eating his food a number of times recently.
He looks like an anorexic version of his old self, stomach is noticeably smaller, his diameter as drastically decreased, and i can see what looks like a bone, or maybe a muscle, or something tube-like running down his entire side. This transformation has taken place over about 2 weeks, and he just looks terrible now.
Increase salt? I use aquarium salt in all of my tanks to prevent this kinda stuff, should I increase the amount of salt in his tank? What else can I do? Is there something I can buy to fight off worms?

My photos are out of date. The dragon goby is in a 10 gallon tank, with a beta and snail, plenty of rocks/tubes for him to lay about in. However, the substrate is mostly aquarium rocks, I read that he's supposed to have sand to promote his eating habits. Is it necessary for him to have sand, is that what's making him thin by anychance?

Please help! I really like my goby!

**He's retaining his color, very dark purple on top. I've seen that when they're unhealthy, they lose that dark purple coloration on the top side. I assume this means he's not too bad off at this point....

The Fishman
29 gallon freshwater tropical community tank
10 gallon freshwater tropical beta tank

Last edited by blacklabel3; 04-29-2010 at 06:16 PM.
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post #2 of 4 Old 04-30-2010, 03:39 AM
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Ok, lets slow things down here, there is a lot to deal with in one post. I'm going to start out one thing at a time and try to make this as easy to understand as possible and still get to all of your questions in one post. Please forgive the length I know this one will be.

First and foremost, 10 gallons is not a suitable tank size for a dragon goby. These fish, when healthy, grow very fast, they get very large, and have big appetites. They are also predatory, so not something I would mix a betta with. At some point the betta would become food.
A bare minimum of 40 gallon breeder is needed for 1 adult dragon goby, a juvenile should have at least 30 gallons to start with.

Sand... yes, this is very important, although fine grade of gravel can be made to work. Not only is this important for their feeding habits, but because they are scaleless bottom dwelling fish. Rough rocks can damage their delicate skin and prevents any burrowing they wish to do.

The thin stomach is common in these fish, but is seldom a parasite problem. Nutrition and inappropriate water conditions are the more common causes. First and foremost, these are brackish fish. How much salt is in the water? I already know you don't have brackish conditions if the betta is doing ok. You'll need to get a hydrometer or refractometer and get the spg/salinity up to a range of 1.009 - 1.019 and as the fish grows & matures, increasing/adjusting salinity will be needed to some degree.

You haven't mentioned what the water temp is in this tank? How long this tank has been set up? What type of filtration? How often are you doing water changes? Can you post water test results for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH? All of these things can have this effect on your fish.

Please be advised, raising salinity means the betta would need to find a new home, and depending on what species it is, the snail probably will too. The betta and snail would do well in 10 gallons if you move the dragon goby to a proper size tank and allow it to grow into the tank.

Another thing you can do is to add some foods to this fish's diet. Try live black worms, which is a great diet high in protein and moving so the fish can find it easily. Dragon gobys have very poor eyesight, so freeze dried, frozen, and other "dead" foods can be difficult for them to find. I don't know how big your goby is, so its hard for me to offer you other suggestions.

I wouldn't suggest medications at this stage. Dragon gobys are very sensitive to most meds, and you're more likely to kill it than to save it that way. IF I see any indication that this is indeed internal parasites, then I can suggest one medication to you that would be safe to use, but I would not treat the tank with the betta in there.

Color... yes, color can indicate a lot of things, including stress, health problems, improper water conditions, temp extreme, etc. The fact that the color hasn't yet faded is a good sign, but don't read too much into that. The dragon goby does have some pigment in the skin, so the changes they make in color are not always so drastic they show easily.

I have a busy weekend planned, but I will stop in as often as I can to follow this thread and help as much as I can.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #3 of 4 Old 04-30-2010, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response!
Luckily, I one of my other tanks is a 29 gallon, sand substrate! This was actually his original home, but I decide to move him out. He was destroying the tank's decorations with his constant burrowing, but I'll just adjust the tanks decor to be more dragon goby friendly, and move him back in.

The two tanks I'm currently using are both about 6 months old, maybe a little older. I change the water at least once a month, most of the time I end up doing it twice or so each month. Both tanks have the appropriate size behind tank, bag, power filter. The temps in both tanks run around 78, both tanks are setup for tropical fish.

The goby's stomach seems to have re-expanded over night, and it looks much better. However, the rest of his body is still shockingly thin compared to how it used to look. I'm going to change him back to the sand tank, I'll definitely look into where I can get some live foods, I'll keep an eye on him, and I'll stay away from meds. The sand tank has a pleco, 3 cory, 6 tiger bard, and 4 black tetra, and is 29 gallons.

As for the brackish conditions, this might be a hard one for me. When i got the dragon goby, the person at the pet store failed to mention this, of course. I have some API aquarium salt, but as far as I know that salt isn't the right kind of salt to create brackish conditions, and it mostly just used to fight disease and parasites......is this true? I use 1 tablespoon of salt per 5 gallons on both tanks, following the instructions on the bottle, and that's the only real measurement I have of the salinity for now. Besides that, I'm doubting that the other fish in any of my tanks would want true brackish conditions.....so that problem may be a little hard to solve outside of just taking the dragon goby back to the pet store. I don't really have room for more tanks at the moment. I had to get rid of one recently because of space issues. Everyone loves the goby so much, It would be a real shame to take him back. Crap.

The Fishman
29 gallon freshwater tropical community tank
10 gallon freshwater tropical beta tank

Last edited by blacklabel3; 04-30-2010 at 08:20 PM.
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post #4 of 4 Old 05-10-2010, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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The dragon goby is much better now, it must have been something to do with the small tank/gravel. Thanks for the tips.

The Fishman
29 gallon freshwater tropical community tank
10 gallon freshwater tropical beta tank
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