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  1. #1
    Red-Claw Crab
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    Exclamation Blood Parrot Cichlid UPSIDE DOWN for over a MONTH! HELP!!

    I have a 4yr old Blood Parrot cichlid, Karen, who has always swam weird (ie sideways, upside down). We are almost positive this is swim bladder disorder, and have made sure that Anti-Bacteria Medicated Fish Foodshe has always received peas and fresh/defrosted bloodworms/krill, fresh live redworms and tiny pieces of canteloupe/mango (my plecos love these and all my fish seem to as well) to help keep her buoyant. this past month, she has been completely upside down and at the top of the tank. I removed her from the main tank and placed her in her own 10 gal tall hospital tank.

    This is what I have treated her with:
    Tetracycline (performing partial water changes every 3 days with properly dosed water) along with Jungle Fungus Eliminator Crystals (treated according to directions on package, which states helps with swim bladder disease).
    Raised tank temp to 82 degrees
    Removed carbon from filter
    prior to beginning treatmentsWithheld food for 3 days.
    Fed Jungle Anti-Bacteria Medicated Fish Food and Jungle Anti-Parasite Medicated Fish Food for 3 days each, with peas and live red wiggler worm (from my personal composting bin..so no pesticides or bad stuff in worms) between different medicated foods.
    Fed defrosted bloodworms/krill and Emerald Mixture (has spinach and spirlina in it with brine shrimp)
    All top off and tank water is conditioned with PRIME and/or NovAqua+
    Just to add this, her hospital tank is a JEBO with a built in filter/light, we have the tank filled to the very top, submerging the filter outlet so that she is submerged at all times. Otherwise her abdomen and bottom fins would be exposed to air (which occurred when she was in the main tank, and she developed an open sore near her anus. The sore has since healed with all the treatments and being completely submerged in the water.)

    The filter is going with just floss, and an airstone is also in her tank. I keep the tank lights off unless I am feeding her. I have a saltlamp nightlight on beside her tank,for subdued lighting during the day.

    She has lost some weight, but still has an enlarged abdomen and floating on top of her tank. She will swim to catch food. her coloring is still very good (bright pink orange) and she gets excited when I come to check on her...looking for her food I am sure!

    Has anybody had this problem with their Blood Parrot(s)?? Have you tried something I have not, which worked to resolve the problem??

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! Karen is a very sweet fish, she is one of our favorite Blood Parrots. She comes to the glass whenever she sees us, she likes to rub up against my hand when I am cleaning the tank and will take food from my fingers.

    She seems lost and sad in her hospital tank, all alone. But I can't control her buoyancy issue in the main tank, and my alpha Blood Parrot was always headbutting her now that she is floating upside down. So for her safety we have kept her in her little hospital tank.
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  2. #2
    Viviendo la vida loca! Lupin's Avatar
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    Marcie, the first thing to do now is check your water parameters. This will rule out the first issue that should always be looked into when you see your fish struggling to hold itself.

    What are the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH?
    Temperature?


    Secondly, check the vital signs.

    How are the gills?
    Is she breathing normally or rapidly?
    How does her poop look?
    How can you be sure she lost a lot of weight despite the enlarged abdomen?
    Are the fins frayed?

    Usually, buoyancy issue is caused by swallowing of air. This happens when a fish attempts to gulp down the foods from the surface. It is more evident with fish whose gastrointestinal tract is all squashed up. Goldfish and blood parrots are certainly prone to this. Internal bacterial infections can also cause this.

    At this point, maybe it's time she receives acidophilus in her diet. Does she eat commercial foods at all? Give pure fresh foods such as shrimps with acidophilus included. Do you have access to metromed? It can be ordered online. Your other option is dose 250mg of metronidazole per 25g of gel foods. You can order Mazuri gel foods to make things easier.
    I stand in awe of my body.
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    And lupin doesn't want to do that... He's too busy dancing with his iPod on full blast in a purple room.
    Quote Originally Posted by Oddball
    I hope you don't later decide to post your other meals, daily events, and bathroom reports.



  3. #3
    Red-Claw Crab
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    Hmmm, she's in her own tank and her water parameters are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrates and 10 nitrites. Ph is 7.6 temp is 80 (main tank is usually around 79, so I raised her temp in hospital tank a little higher while she is being treated). I started her on fish tetracycline yesterday with a 75% water change (because she's in such a small tank). Seeing as she is isolated, I can keep track of her bowel movements and she hasn't had one in two days! I am obsessed with checking on her and haven't fed her dry food (it was medicated pellets..Jungle Anti Bacterial food) in over a week (she had a difficult time getting the food too, and I ended up having to take it out of the tank). Last night she managed to get some of the defrosted bloodworms I gave her, so I am hoping she will poop today. When she did poop last it was big (usually is) and looked normal (like other blood parrot poop)...nothing unusual like white/stringy or anything like that. Just brownish and about diameter of a earthworm, length maybe 1/4-1/2 in.

    No frayed fins. Color is still a pretty bright pink/orange.

    I can tell she has lost weight because her bottom (part which is now on top of tank) isn't as fat as it use to be, but still looks round (like its inflated) and she looks thinner than she did a few weeks ago. And as I said, I am obsessed with checking on her. I wish I could post a picture but having difficulty downloading them from my phone to computer.

    Her gills seem fine..no change in color.

    She does seem to be breathing a bit faster than my other BP's (her tank is right next to theirs, so I am watching my other ones and then her to compare breathing rates). But not very much deference.

    Because of their tendency to gulp air, I try to refrain from feeding my Blood Parrots a lot of dry pellet foods. When I do, I like to give them Spectrum soaked so they sink and Ocean Nutrition flakes. Stopped feeding them Tetra foods over 2 years ago when I found out it was crap. I tend to feed at least once a day defrosted foods or fresh foods (red wigglers/caterpillars from my garden/peas/canteloupe/oranges/zucchini/slugs). Giving her a red wiggler worm today to see if I can get her to poop. At least I know it won't float and she will have to get to the bottom of the tank to eat it.

    I've been trying to keep her (and my other Blood Parrots) on strict diet of fresh foods, but will be more diligent to be sure she isn't getting anything that she has to go to the surface to try to eat.

    Im going to the local aquarium store this afternoon to see if they have any of the items you suggested before I resort to ordering online. Would rather get gel foods and meds as soon as possible, so maybe she can get better quicker. Poor girl has been upside down so long, it gives me a headache just thinking about how it must feel for her to be that way.

    Thank you so much for your suggestions and assistance!! I had been given advice (on a so called expert advise site) to take a needle and stick her swim bladder to remove air but I am not familiar with the internal anatomy of fish and would be petrified that I would cause more damage than relief. Plus I am horrified of needles myself, so it's just not an option for me personally to perform such a surgery on her.
    Last edited by MLM90405; 09-15-2010 at 3:58 PM. Reason: forgot description of feces...oops!
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  4. #4
    Convict jagd24's Avatar
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    Wow I have never heard of someone using an actual needle to do this....good luck



  5. #5
    Red-Claw Crab
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    Yeah, it seems pretty extreme to me and I am not willing to perform "surgery" on her! I've been told that koi often have this problem from gulping air at the water surface, and that this is something that is done to extract the air from the swim bladder. But again, not something I am willing to subject my poor fish to, especially as it is not something I am comfortable with doing anyway, as I am not a vet and do not want to risk puncturing a vital organ and ultimately hurting/killing my girl. Im willing to go to almost any length to help her get better, but sticking her with a needle is just too far for me!
    Mornings aren't Magical! Bring more COFFEE!!



  6. #6
    Viviendo la vida loca! Lupin's Avatar
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    I'd be petrified if this "expert" even advised me needles without pointing out the body anatomy first. Know the body anatomy first before you advise. *shakes head* I personally don't recommend that method. It's very risky and puncturing the swim bladder will simply lead to infections.

    0 nitrate and 10 nitrite? Are you sure you are not confusing the two? Nitrite is more dangerous than the nitrate at this level. A 10 nitrite level will surely kill your fish. I'm more inclined to think you just confused the two substances. Ammonia -->> Nitrite -->> Nitrate -->> Nitrogen gas (not measurable by kit alone)

    With your pH that high, there's no point attempting tetracycline. It is less effective with alkaline pH. But I wouldn't suggest kanamycin either for possible infections just in case since this causes renal damage and the issue may include the kidneys themselves.

    I'm not sure about Mazuri gel food available in stores. I haven't heard they are. Try to order this in Goldfish Utopia online owned by Ed. Give that a shot and then stick to fresh foods and perhaps veggies. We can rule out the possibility of starch contributing to her issues. Then try to treat her with metro for five days. See if this may change anything. Don't use waterborne treatments anymore.
    I stand in awe of my body.
    Quote Originally Posted by aclockworkorange
    And lupin doesn't want to do that... He's too busy dancing with his iPod on full blast in a purple room.
    Quote Originally Posted by Oddball
    I hope you don't later decide to post your other meals, daily events, and bathroom reports.



  7. #7
    Red-Claw Crab
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    Oops, yes it was nitrate! My mistake when typing! The nitrite was .0 and ammonia also .0 and nitrate 10. per the master kit tests (no strips, using the individual vials and drops kit). So I will order the gel goods for her, and will discontinue adding water treatments to her tank. I will make another partial water change tonight, and clear out the antibiotics with additional partial water changes every day. I don't want to stress her with having to endure a cycle with a complete water change, and I will add the charcoal back to her filter tonight as well, to help get rid of the remaining water treatments.

    I don't know why this so called "expert" advised the syringe (eeesh!), but seriously, I would never in a million years do it myself. My feelings on that is it is better left to a fish vet to do such things! I wouldn't perform surgery n my dog or my cats, so definitely not doing it to my fish! My luck would be if I attempted such a thing, she would move and I would seriously injure or kill her. I feel guilty enough for her going through this already, so I don't need something like that on my conscious! That's why I came here to MonsterFish, to find alternative to this so called advice.

    One of my local fish stores said something about starting to carry gel foods, so that is why I thought I could find them. They carried the gel Tetracycline and other medications but I was unable to find regular foods for her. So I will order them through Ed here. Thanks for the referral to him for the gel foods!

    Thanks so much for your help! I will post updates on her condition over the weekend. Hoping that something will change for the better for Karen very soon! I am also going to again attempt to add some photos of her both before this and present. Maybe I am missing something that somebody else may be able to visually spot.
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  8. #8
    Viviendo la vida loca! Lupin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MLM90405;4475680;
    I don't know why this so called "expert" advised the syringe (eeesh!), but seriously, I would never in a million years do it myself. My feelings on that is it is better left to a fish vet to do such things! I wouldn't perform surgery n my dog or my cats, so definitely not doing it to my fish! My luck would be if I attempted such a thing, she would move and I would seriously injure or kill her. I feel guilty enough for her going through this already, so I don't need something like that on my conscious! That's why I came here to MonsterFish, to find alternative to this so called advice.
    Hmmm...You know in some areas, fish vets are in demand but never avail themselves. Some countries are lucky they have aquatic vets nearby for emergencies like this but the rest of us have to rely so badly on online advice and even (if necessary and confidently) do the job ourselves. Though it is inadvisable to perform surgery on cats and dogs (due to much more complex circumstances), with fish, in some cases, surgery is possible especially if you are confident and hopeful you can carry this out.

    I don't advise that everyone do this. Not all hobbyists have the same level of confidence and the courage to carry this out. The less confident you get, the more mistakes you can easily make which could complicate matters. In my case, I took the time to study the abstracts in a goldfish forum I mod regarding tumor removal before I performed this on my oranda suffering from tumor before. I was able to carry it out successfully.

    I had my options before. I requested nearby vets (for cats and dogs, not necessarily aquatic vets) to help me on the process as I was at first uneasy over doing it but when they refused, I had no choice but went ahead seeing as the tumor growth kept accelerating fast.

    I suspected they refused to help me for two reasons.
    1. They were not confident in doing so and they'll charge for consultancy and surgery fees alone (whether it was a success or not). The situation could be a losing one for me.

    2. They don't really think of fish's well being as acute as dogs and cats.


    Again, I don't advise the general public doing this for their own fish unless they have the courage to do what is needed to be done. Consult from the more experienced hobbyists first for options and opinions before anything else is done. It's always a good idea to be very sure of what you can do before actually doing it.

    Certainly though, pricking a fish with a needle just for the sake of puncturing the bladder is NOT one of those acceptable methods. A lot of people can argue that but that is not for everyone else to do. Without the much needed equipments to be sure where the spot is being hit and the possibility of internal infections, it should not be done at all. Antibiotic injection is more acceptable (though a very complex process again due to risk of overdosing) as it is done intramuscular (IM) or intraperitoneal (IP).

    Hoping to hear more positive updates about Karen.
    I stand in awe of my body.
    Quote Originally Posted by aclockworkorange
    And lupin doesn't want to do that... He's too busy dancing with his iPod on full blast in a purple room.
    Quote Originally Posted by Oddball
    I hope you don't later decide to post your other meals, daily events, and bathroom reports.



  9. #9
    Red-Claw Crab
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    I, personally, am squeamish around needles, so even if I were familiar with the anatomy of a fish, I doubt I could do any surgery on one of them. One would think that with some fish being extremely valuable (ie some koi pricier than a purebred cat or dog) that there would be more vets skilled with treating them. A lot of people fail to recognize that a fish can be treasured as much as a dog or cat. I can only imagine the cost from an office visit to a fish vet, let alone a surgery!

    I rescued a white baby feeder mouse from one of my cats paws (who found Moshe in our backyard many years ago. He was not injured by my cat, but the morning following my taking him in, he was sneezing and had diarrhea. I took him to our regular vet (yes, I am a bleeding heart when it comes to animals....any animal) to see what was wrong with him. when I got the bill, I needed a doctor!!! Apparently, Moshe was considered an "exotic" pet (a $1.25 feeder mouse...really???) and his office visit cost $90, and his medication another $25! Needless to say, at that point I was financially committed to Moshe, as well as becoming emotionally invested. Moshe went on to live another 4 yrs with me before he developed terminal testicular cancer (another $90 office visit to diagnose the cancer). I had a well paying career at the time and could afford the cost. Even if it was ridiculous. Now, I am disabled and my pets are what keep me together when things are bad, and that alone makes them more valuable than anything to me. So when one of them is ill, for whatever reason, I will go without to make sure they have the proper vet care.

    I just wish I had the confidence to perform even a minor surgery on a fish. I guess if it was the only way, I would find it in me somehow. I would definitely research everything I could online and in library beforehand, though. Kinda like I have been doing so far...looking everywhere and picking everybody's mind for a treatment that will help Karen.
    Last edited by MLM90405; 09-16-2010 at 9:42 PM. Reason: oops again..hit wrong button
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