Sick fish (Hog choker - Trinectes maculatus)

kkirkt

Exodon
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Mar 23, 2017
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Hello, I'm new to the forum and am hoping for some advice. (Sorry for the long rambling post and sorry if I couldn't find a relevant earlier post that addresses this . . .)

1 week ago (Thursday, 3/16)) I received 3 hog chokers ("freshwater flounders" or soles). The SG they were shipped in was ~1.002. I drip acclimated them to my quarantine tank (QT).

QT set up: 10 gallon tank, filled to about 8 gallons with a sponge filter (taken from my 125 gallon DT for cycling purposes) and a hang on back Topfin 10, with no heater. I have aragonite sand (some taken from my 125 gallon). In the QT I have 3 hog chokers (large one ~1.5 inches, smaller ones ~1 inch) and 3 ghost shrimp (I was unsure the size Hogchokers I would receive and the ghost shrimp were a back up food option, of course they're too big).

QT tank parameters: as of this morning- 72 degrees F, SG 1.002, NH3 0, NO2 0, NO3<5, pH 7.8. Last night, the chemistry was the same.
(I Used an API saltwater master test kit and a ATC refractometer. Using API test strips I get GH 180, KH just under 80, pH ~7.5, NO2 0, & NO3 0.)

I prophylactically dosed PraziPro on Friday (3/17) with 1 t-spoon (an intentional overdose, based on some threads I had read).

Fish info: It has been difficult to tell if each individual fish has been eating. However, the first night (Thur) I got them I'm confident the current sick one (the large one) ate 2 earthworms (from my organic garden), and they were large considering his size (the second one was sticking out of his mouth for more than 10 minutes). I have not seen him eat since, or show any interest in food. (Incidentally, I have left earthworms in the tank overnight and the PraziPro has not killed them, but I throw them out anyway). The other 2 hogchokers have continued to eat (I've seen them).

The sick fish was breathing heavily yesterday and last night he was stuck in a corner. This morning I scooping him out of the aquarium and he didn't try to swim away. He occasionally seems to move his fins, but that 's about it, he did "gasp" when his face was out of the water (unfortunately, my gut feeling is he's "circling the drain"). My biggest concern is losing the other 2, who are both buried in the sand (normal for them), but I just wanted your thoughts.
Physically the sick hog choker looks fine, except for a little sand sticking to him. He is no longer breathing heavily. I have him in a separate container now with just a bubbler (I don't want to risk the other 2 getting sick . . .). I'm planning a water change for both the QT and the new "hospital tank."

feeding
I've fed them earthworms so far. I placed frozen blood worms in the tank for an hour at a time but none have disappeared. I've given a little flake food to keep the ghost shrimp occupied while feeding the hog chokers.

Misc: The tank has a little duckweed in it. It does not receive direct sunlight, it has LED lights which have been off most of the entire time. The room gets indirect sunlight and 2 shelves below the QT I have significant light for growing green water (raising brine shrimp).

Thanks for any feedback (and sorry if I'm using the tags inappropriately or if I posted in the wrong forum).

kevin
 

kkirkt

Exodon
MFK Member
Mar 23, 2017
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Update- my larger hog choker died. I have 2 remaining. I was able to see one eat an earthworm last night and the other one started eating one and then it got away (I'm not sure if he was able to eat part of the tail). I tried to get I'm to eat a smaller worm but I didn't have any luck. I left some frozen blood worms in the tank all night and I couldn't find any this morning. Last night I did see ghost shrimp eating the bloodworms).

Hopefully these other two hog chokers will continue to eat. I just wish I knew what the problem was with the first one.
 
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Chub_by

Dovii
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When I first read the thread I thought it might have just over-eaten, but it baffles me that it died.. in any case, the way you described the problem and the conditions was top, usually we get a lot of "water conditions are fine" and the likes, so with detailed descriptions the chance of a diagnosis is much better.

By the way, was the tank cycled? 0 Nitrate readings are unusual in an established system.
 

kkirkt

Exodon
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Mar 23, 2017
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Thanks for your reply. For cycling the tank I used a sponge filter that I had been keeping in my DT for that purpose (I did not do a true cycle, just set it up a few days earlier with the sponge filter and some sand from the DT). I assumed that the low nitrates was just due to a low bioload.

Thanks for the comments about including the info. I read the post about what info to include.
 

kkirkt

Exodon
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Mar 23, 2017
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Also, Chub_by, I considered the overeating as well. However, since he died about 5 days later it seemed unlikely. The other 2 still seem to be doing well.
 
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Chub_by

Dovii
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It's definitely not over eating. My last guess would be some kind of internal parasite, which is not too unlikely since they are probably wild caught.
 

kkirkt

Exodon
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Mar 23, 2017
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For the possible internal parasites, is PraziPro enough? I've done one dosing at slightly more than 2x the label recommended dose (based on some threads I had read). I've been debating doing a second dose or whether I should do any other prophylactic treatment. They look fine, I just want them off to a good start.

Thanks for your comments.
 

kkirkt

Exodon
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Mar 23, 2017
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Update on Hog chokers: My 2 remaining hog chokers are now in the 125 gallon display. Initially I had left them in the quarantine tank for a while. I ended up placing a large amount of live California Blackworms in the tank. The advantages were that they could constantly eat (and since they were live, it wouldn't foul the water). The disadvantage was that I rarely got to see them eat.

Now they are in the 125 gallon DT with 8 adult mollies (2 M, 6 F), numerous molly fry, and a few ghost shrimp. The first day I moved the hog chokers I saw 1 eat a molly fry and the other ate an earthworm. Unfortunately I have not seen the successfully eat since then (but I have seen them occasionally snap at a fry). I'm hoping that they're getting enough fry to eat. I assume that having probably more than 50 fry in the tank gives them better hunting odds than they'd have in the wild. Also, since I only look at them a fraction of the day, I hope they're successful when I'm not watching. I'm considering trying to get more black worms for the DT but I'm concerned the mollies would just gobble them up.

Eventually I'd like to add some mudskippers and possibly a figure 8 puffer.
 

kkirkt

Exodon
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Mar 23, 2017
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This is an update to this thread (since I occasionally read old posts, I thought others might do the same).

The 2 hogchokers have grown quite a bit, to about 3.5 inches and 4 inches in length (almost 1 year after getting them). I primarily feed them earthworms with occasional frozen bloodworms and Hikari carnivore bites. I've slowly increased the SG to about 1.006 (and all my water sprite died off, as well as a few other "brackish" plants). I still have only seen the hogchokers eat 1 molly fry but I hope they are eating more. I used to have pond snails (breeding). I did see one hog choker sucking on a snail shell. So I don't know if the hog chokers ate them all (unlikely) of if the slow increase in salinity killed the pond snails (my theory).

I've added 5 Indian Mudskippers to the tank (after quarantine) and they seem to be doing well. I've also added 3 Zebra Nerite snails.

I tried adding guppies (and I had started the mollies with guppies) but they all died (my worst recent luck with fish has been with guppies). I have had a few mollies die over the year and often, if I see one that looks pretty sick I go ahead and euthanize it (if there is a potential for a contagious disease to spread, I want to minimize the odds- and they breed like, well, like mollies!).
 

Deadliestviper7

The Necromancer
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Aug 6, 2016
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This is an update to this thread (since I occasionally read old posts, I thought others might do the same).

The 2 hogchokers have grown quite a bit, to about 3.5 inches and 4 inches in length (almost 1 year after getting them). I primarily feed them earthworms with occasional frozen bloodworms and Hikari carnivore bites. I've slowly increased the SG to about 1.006 (and all my water sprite died off, as well as a few other "brackish" plants). I still have only seen the hogchokers eat 1 molly fry but I hope they are eating more. I used to have pond snails (breeding). I did see one hog choker sucking on a snail shell. So I don't know if the hog chokers ate them all (unlikely) of if the slow increase in salinity killed the pond snails (my theory).

I've added 5 Indian Mudskippers to the tank (after quarantine) and they seem to be doing well. I've also added 3 Zebra Nerite snails.

I tried adding guppies (and I had started the mollies with guppies) but they all died (my worst recent luck with fish has been with guppies). I have had a few mollies die over the year and often, if I see one that looks pretty sick I go ahead and euthanize it (if there is a potential for a contagious disease to spread, I want to minimize the odds- and they breed like, well, like mollies!).
salinity probably killed the pond snails, I recommend replacing them with horned nerites
 
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