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    Bichir: Bloated, Overfed, or Something else? Help!

    Discussion in 'Freshwater Diseases and Health Issues' started by JMShelley, Jun 10, 2017.

    1. JMShelley

      JMShelley Registered Member

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      Hi, I'm Jess, and I've just barely joined here. I really need some help with my Senegal Bichir that I've had for about two years now. I live in the middle of the US and in a desert so there isn't really anyone or any good pet stores that have large fish/exotic fish that I can ask help from.

      My tank is 55 gal, all levels of Ammonia, Nitrite, etc are at 0. It's a freshwater tank and I've had it running for about two years.

      In my tank I have my Senegal bichir that's about 6.5in long.
      Two marble angelfish about 7in (top fin to bottom fin)
      One Peacock Eel that's about 9in long
      One small Rainbow Shark that's about 5in
      One young Pleco that's about 7in

      The water temp is at 82 degrees, no live plants currently (my eel was always unrooting them so I gave up).
      I use a Marineland filter with two bio wheels. I change the filter packs monthly, and do a 20% water change weekly and syphon up all the detritus that I find also. It does get slight indirect light, but I've never had algae problems.

      I feed my tank frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp for my angels, shark, and eel. Sinking Pleco tablets for my Pleco and Silversides for my bichir. I feed them once a day in the evening.

      Lately, I've had to hand feed my Bichir because he no longer come over when I feed the other fish. I use a metal skewer and put a small chunk of silverside on the end. I wave it in front of him and he loves to grab it and thrash his head like he's a shark.

      Anyways, the main concern that I have is that he has trouble turning around and that when he swims his profile isn't straight, he's tail end curves down, almost bent like. I also have noticed looking at him and all the pictures of bichirs posted on this site they are long and straight in body type, while mine is shorter and thicker possibly bent. He has no problem swimming around and getting air.

      I have treated him with Melafix with the proper dosage and length of time listed on the bottle, thinking that it might be bloat or something. But no change.

      Am I overfeeding him? Like I mentioned above, I now hand feed him because he doesn't come over anymore when I feed the other fish.

      Or is it a spinal problem or bad genes? If it is, is there anything I can do to help him?

      Or am I just overreacting? I would really like some input if anyone can help me.

      As show in the pictures below his back is slightly curved and when he swims his tail hangs. It's not quite as bad as the picture shows (he was just lifting off) but it gives you the idea of what is happening.

      Help

      -Jess 0610171229.jpg 0113170719a.jpg
       
    2. kno4te

      kno4te MFK Members

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      Couple of things.

      If your water parameters are all 0 including ur iterates ur tank isn't cycled. Need more media than ur not treating ur water with a deconditioner etc.

      Would reduce ur temp to 78 degrees.

      Was the spine or back always bent? If so then maybe acquired or born with it. Good thing is it's eating and acting Normal. Sometimes he bent back will issues in the gut with motility.

      Would hold off feedings for several days and then re-introduce a pellet instead. Itll be a bit better as far as nutrition is concerned. If still not eating after 2-3 days then consider adding a little epsom salt at 1tbsp per 5 gallons. Shouldn't effect ur other fish. Helps to move its gut a bit in case of constipation.

      Welcome to the forum.
       
      #2 kno4te, Jun 10, 2017
      Last edited: Jun 10, 2017
    3. JMShelley

      JMShelley Registered Member

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      I guess I should clarify that, I meant my nitrite, phosphate, and ammonia are all at 0 ppm. I don't know what iterates are. The kit that I have only tests for those things. I always treat the water before I put it in my tank with some stuff that dechlorinates and conditions the water. I've had the tank running for two years, does it really take that long to cycle? Again, sorry for the silly questions. . . .

      I'll lower the temp, I had it higher than normal because I know with my koi (which I keep outside) higher temps help their immune system. Is that not true with tropical fish?

      I'll cut back on his feeding, but I have never got him to eat pellets. I tried over and over again when he was younger but he would starve himself until I got frozen bloodworms. I honestly thought I was going to lose him when I first got him because I couldn't get him to eat anything.
      Is there any brand/type that you would recommend?

      When I got him he was the skinniest thing ever, I don't think he had it when he was younger, but I know it's slowly gotten more pronounced as he's gotten older. This is how he looked when I first got him.

      Thanks for the welcome and the advice! ^^ 12829368_1101788213177966_556241563851279373_o.jpg 12829368_1101788213177966_556241563851279373_o.jpg
       
    4. kno4te

      kno4te MFK Members

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      Sorry. My phone and my typing has become suspect as of late. Or maybe it's me lol.

      Temps for tropical at 80s increase their metabolism. Sometimes infections will prosper in those high temps.

      I was asking about your nitrate levels. It's the end product of a cycled tank. If that's 0 then it isn't cycled. May need to get kit to include this or a tester for that.

      Sounds like ur bichir acquired this. A hard hit on glass or top can do this as well. But since almost all senegalus are captive bred there will be some genetic abnormalities.

      The bloodworms aren't a great staple. Not much nutritional value. So may want to try massivore or nls or hakari gold pellets. May need to starve for a few days. Cut up tilapia works well. Staple for wild bichirs.
       
    5. kno4te

      kno4te MFK Members

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    6. JMShelley

      JMShelley Registered Member

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      I'll give those pellets a try along with the tilapia.
      I only fed him bloodworms when he was young, I've been feeding him silversides for quite awhile now.
      Hopefully these changes help.
      Thanks!
       
    7. JuniorMonsterKeeper

      JuniorMonsterKeeper MFK Members

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      I ve been keeping polyptereus for a few months now and I too had issues with feeding pellets so here's what I did. I bought a wide variety of them (new life spectrum) I house mine with cichlids so I don't worry too much about over feeding and waste as they all get eaten. When I feed my cichlids I noticed the smell or the action would draw them over So I d drop a pinch of each pellet and watch to see which ones they favoured most as they d b different sizes and colors so I could tell just based on that.


      I noticed that some of them would eat particular ones but in trying to suck the one they liked in they d suck in other pellets as well so they eventually grew to like them or not care which pellet it was. Now I had a really picky Endlicheri as this was most likely because he was really young so I d take some pellets and soak them in the liquid that forms when you defrost blood worms and I d add a little garlic xtreme by Kent in just about 1 drop and mix it in and let them sit for about 1-2 mins then use a turkey baster to drop some right infront of him. That was enuff to get him to gulp them down and after a few feedings doing that he was eating the pellets no problem.

      I ve also done the same thing with talapia. I ve added a few pellets into a shot glass that I sit a few peices of talapia in while I feed them and I drop them in the tank as well.

      I never had issues feeding talapia not even on the first try.
       
      tlindsey likes this.

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