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Something’s Wrong With My Black Neon Tetra

Discussion in 'Tropical Fish Emergencies' started by Pibbles, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. Pibbles

    Pibbles New Member

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    Tank size: 60 gallons (~45-50 gal true volume)
    pH: 7.4
    ammonia: 0ppm
    nitrite: 0ppm
    nitrate: 0ppm
    kH: 8.1 ppm
    gH: 3.2 ppm
    tank temp: 78 degrees
    Inhabitants: 11 black neon tetras, lots of pest snails
    Substrate is sand. The tank is well planted with assorted fern species, Java moss, Amazon frogbit, assorted swords, bacopa, ludwigia repens, and some other random plants I don’t know the names of.

    The other day I noticed one of my black neon tetras looked a little odd. Today, while doing a water change (tank is still filling, so I’ll add water parameters once the water has settled and the filter is back on), I noticed that his belly seemed squared off—almost like a platy ready to drop fry—and he looks so thin. I know he ate last night so he doesn’t appear to be off his food. I also notice that he and one of the other males both have this red stuff coming from their rectums. It almost looks like the roots off red root floaters. I tried to take a picture but I don’t think that the red stringy stuff is very visible. His colors are normal. He’s swimming around with the rest of the fish and his fins are not clamped.

    I have not added anything new recently except today a few new plants and a new piece of Mopani wood, but he started looking off at least yesterday, perhaps earlier.

    The tank has been set up since early October. I planted it heavily, added twelve black neon tetras, and have closely monitored the water levels. I’ve never had ammonia or nitrite. The entire top is covered in floating plants. I lost one tetra during a water change. She accidentally got sucked up the gravel vac and was killed. I know that I need more tetras for this tank, but I’m waiting on the filter for my quarantine tank to cycle before I add the next batch. I also don’t want to add anyone new while there is something potentially going wrong.

    I change the water every week, around 60-75%. Although, in the last few weeks water changes have not been done as regularly because my water changer broke. I’ve got a new one now, so we are up and running again with regular water changes.

     

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    #1 Pibbles, Feb 11, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    The fish could have a really bad case of Camallanus thread worms but I need a clearer picture to see if the red thing hanging out its butt looks like thin red hairs. If it looks like thin red hairs sticking out the fish's butt then it is worms and you need to treat all the tanks with Levamisole. You treat once a week for 3-4 weeks and do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate 24 hours after treatment.

    The medication does not affect plants, filter bacteria or baby fish but if you overdose the small and young fish will become nervous and skittish.

    -------------------------
    To work out the volume of water in the tank:
    measure length x width x height in cm.
    divide by 1000.
    = volume in litres.

    When you measure the height, measure from the top of the substrate to the top of the water level.

    There is a calculator/ converter in the "How To Tips" at the top of this page that will let you convert litres to gallons if you need it.

    Remove carbon from the filter before treating or it will absorb the medication and stop it working.

    Wipe the inside of the glass down with a clean fish sponge. Do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate. Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it is added to the tank.

    Clean the filter if it hasn't been done in the last 2 weeks. However, if the filter is less than 6 weeks old, do not clean it.

    Increase surface turbulence/ aeration when using medications because they reduce the dissolved oxygen in the water.
     
  3. Pibbles

    Pibbles New Member

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    That’s exactly what is is. Oh dear. I wonder how the fish got these worms? I hope the local big box stores carry this stuff so I can add it in today and change the water again tomorrow. Thank you, Colin!
     
  4. Pibbles

    Pibbles New Member

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    Would API’s General Cure work too? It doesn’t look like Petsmart has this levamisole. I’ll see if petco has it available.
     
  5. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Most fish carry a few intestinal worms that they pick up from live foods like tubifex worms and daphnia. If you culture your own live foods they are usually safe and free of worms, but if the live food is collected from waterways with waterbirds or fish, there is a chance of the food being contaminated.

    If the local pet shop doesn't have Levamisole, then see what they have for round/ thread worms in fish. Flubendazole was used by the guys in the US and worked well. If you can't find either then check online.

    Do not use anything with Trichlorphon in because it is useless now and kills more fish than worms.

    API General Cure contains Metronidazole, which is an anti-biotic designed for people and won't do anything for this. It also contains Praziquantel that treats tapeworm in all animals and fish but it will not treat round/ thread worms. You need Levamisole for round worms.
     
  6. Pibbles

    Pibbles New Member

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    I haven’t done any live foods with these guys yet, but maybe it was their frozen food? I sometimes give frozen bloodworms but my fish seem to be too small for these.

    Either way, I’ll get the levamisole. I was doing some googling on the medicine and one person on a forum suggested also dosing antibiotics for an apisto tank. That’s not really necessary here, is it? I’ve heard that dosing antibiotics when the tank doesn’t need them can contribute to antibiotic resistance.
     
  7. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    The fish would have had worms before you got them. They come in from Asia with worms and are fine as long as they only have a few worms. But when the worms build up in numbers they start to cause problems to the fish because they suck all the blood out of the fish and the fish eventually dies.

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    You only use anti-biotics if the fish have a known bacterial infection that has not responded to normal fish medications. Improper use or misuse of anti-biotics can cause drug resistant bacteria that can kill people, animals, birds, reptiles and fish.

    Anti-biotics are not required when treating fish for worms and won't make any difference to worms.
     
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  8. Pibbles

    Pibbles New Member

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    As per the antibiotics, that’s what I thought, but I wanted to double check! When my quarantine hospital is ready and I add fish to it, should I dose it with a dewormer, too? I’ve had these fish for nearly five months, so if they came in with worms it seems to take longer than a typical quarantine period for symptoms to develop.
     
  9. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    I don't normally recommend treating new fish prophylactically while they are in quarantine, but when it comes to worms, I do recommend treating them for worms while they are being quarantined.

    Treating fish for worms while in quarantine works well because I quarantine new fish for 4 weeks. During that time I treat the fish for tapeworm and threadworms 4 times during that period (once a week for 4 weeks). I treat with Praziquantel and wait 24 hours, then I do a 75% water change and gravel clean for the next 2 days. Then I treat with Levamisole and wait 24 hours, then I do water changes and gravel cleans for the next couple of days. Then it's back to Praziquantel and more water changes.

    Your fish has threadworms and should be treated with Levamisole. If you want to treat them for tapeworm you can do that too but I would treat for round worms first.

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    Fish can have 1 or 2 worms in them and over a period of time the worms build up in number before showing as a heavy infestation like the fish in the picture. Fish can look healthy and fat and are actually full of worms. I have had female mollies that looked pregnant but they hadn't given birth for 4 months so I dewormed them. The following day the fish were extremely skinny because they had expelled all the worms in their body. They had so many worms they actually looked like a pregnant guppy that was ready to give birth. A couple of months after deworming them, the fish produced batches of young.

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    Until the fish have been treated, you should increase the feeding regime for the fish. Feed them 4 or 5 times per day to try and provide the fish with enough nutrients so they can keep manufacturing blood. Continue feeding them 4 or 5 times per day for about one month after they have been dewormed so the fish can recover.

    Monitor the water quality while doing this and increase the number of water changes and gravel cleaning to keep the tank clean.

    If you have a number of tanks you need to treat them all at the same time so you don't cross contaminate the other tanks.
     
  10. Pibbles

    Pibbles New Member

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    This is very good information. Thank you. I found someone selling levamisole, so hopefully I’ll be able to get some in by this weekend.

    Your method of deworming in the QT makes a lot of sense. I’ll be sure to practice the same.
     

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