reed fish turning into axolotl?? HELP PLEEEEASE

aquarists555

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Gouda morning everyone! so i bought 2 rope/reed fish (Erpetoichthys calabaricus) a couple of months ago. one is about 4 inch and the other is about 3. I have a 60 gallon with some tetras, gudgeon gobys, dwarf neons, sword tail, rainbow shark, and catfish. I keep up on water changes every week and tank cleaning every month. all my fish are active and get along very well. I feed them frozen blood worms and sinking wafers for the bottom feeders. I first noticed this 'issue' about a month ago, but they were so small and oddly places that i thought nothing of it and passed it as maybe part of the gills were protruding, as i always watch them eat during feeding and this is when i noticed it. BOTH of my rope fish have began growing literal axolotl tentacles behind their heads, above the fins and gills. I can only describe them as little pink looking feathers on either side of the head. they both have them but the 4'' you can see more clearly. They act no different and appears to have absolutely no effect on them yet, still very healthy and active, eating at every feeding. i called the store where i bought them and they have never heard of anything like that and said i maybe got a different species of rope fish. There is nothing about it on the internet that i can find. any advice would be very very appreciated. :)
 

NickAu

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Photos please.

Constantly feeding blood worm only is not healthy for the fish you need to add other frozen or live food.
 
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aquarists555

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Iv been doing lots of research and have came to them being external gills. However they only have them when their young and lose them as they grow. Mine grew them after not having them for months. Also they are quite small (3-4") any ideas on what kind of live food i can feed them? Or what other types if i have to wait for them to be big enough to eat live food.
 

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NickAu

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I keep bumblebee gobys so I know about fussy eaters.

Unless you are set up to breed live food like brine shrimp black worm maggots etc, I would suggest getting them used to eating fresh food like chopped up shrimp, chopped up bits of fish, chopped up muscles and earth worms.
 
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aquarists555

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What kind of fish is healthiest. Also do i just buy from the local market? And are there any special ways to prepair it?
 

NickAu

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What kind of fish is healthiest.
I stick to freshwater fish like Trout. The shrimp are salt water type

Also do i just buy from the local market?
Thats what I do.

And are there any special ways to prepair it?
I freeze the fish shrimp and freshwater muscle and shave off little bits ( Big enough for a BBG ) then thaw and feed.

I also feed just born Guppy fry live.
 

Colin_T

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A picture tells a thousand words, and so does Wikipedia :)
According to Wiki, it is normal for young fish to have external gills resembling that of an axolotl.

The gill filaments might have been damaged when the fish were at the shop or importers and have just grown back now. Alternatively the fish have developed them because the oxygen levels in the water are high enough so the fish don't need to use their lung to breath air from the atmosphere. (see under the heading "Description" at the following link.)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reedfish

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I keep up on water changes every week and tank cleaning every month.
Weekly water changes are fine but what does your monthly tank cleaning entail?
You should use a gravel cleaner to clean the gunk out of the gravel every time you do a water change, (each week).

Power filters should be cleaned at least once a month and preferably every 2 weeks, once they are established (which yours is).

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You mention "dwarf neons". I assume dwarf neon blue rainbowfish (Melanotaenia praecox)?
If yes, these guys need clean tanks and plant matter in their diets otherwise they are prone to diseases like bacterial and protozoan infections.
Make sure you gravel clean the substrate each week and do a 75% water change each week to keep the aquarium clean.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it is added to the tank.

Rainbowfish are sensitive to chemicals so be careful when adding tap water or treating the fish for diseases.

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Food for the reed/ rope fish can be any aquatic based food ranging from fish, prawn/ shrimp, squid, mussel, etc. Buy some raw or cooked prawns from a shop and keep them in the freezer. Take one out and defrost it, then remove the head, shell and gut (thin black tube in the body). Throw these bits in the bin. Use a pair of scissors to cut the remaining prawn into small bite size pieces and offer a few bits at a time. Your other fishes will eat this too so make sure it is small enough for them otherwise you could end up with bits of rotting prawn in the tank that will cause water quality problems. Wash the scissors and your hands with warm soapy water afterwards.

Same deal with fish, mussel meat, squid, octopus, etc. But a small packet of frozen fish and keep in the freezer. Take one out, defrost and cut the flesh (not the head or guts) into small bite size pieces. Offer a few bits at a time.

With the rainbowfish, they usually take Duckweed (a floating plant) and this can be grown in the main tank and the fish eat it when they are hungry. They also eat algae and soft leaf plants like Ambulia if they are hungry. Or you can blend up (cut up into small bits) spinach and add some of that to their food. You can also buy "Marine Mix" and "Marine Green Mix" from pet shops. They are prepared frozen foods made up from fish, prawn, and plant matter. You keep them in the freeze and take a cube out, defrost it and cut it into little bits.

I use to feed my rainbows a goldfish flake and pellet because it had more plant matter and less protein.
 

NickAu

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Food for the reed/ rope fish can be any aquatic based food ranging from fish, prawn/ shrimp, squid, mussel, etc. Buy some raw or cooked prawns from a shop and keep them in the freezer. Take one out and defrost it, then remove the head, shell and gut (thin black tube in the body). Throw these bits in the bin. Use a pair of scissors to cut the remaining prawn into small bite size pieces and offer a few bits at a time. Your other fishes will eat this too so make sure it is small enough for them otherwise you could end up with bits of rotting prawn in the tank that will cause water quality problems. Wash the scissors and your hands with warm soapy water afterwards.

Same deal with fish, mussel meat, squid, octopus, etc. But a small packet of frozen fish and keep in the freezer. Take one out, defrost and cut the flesh (not the head or guts) into small bite size pieces. Offer a few bits at a time.
Agree, but if the rope fish are like my Gobys they wont touch cooked prawn/shrimp
 

Colin_T

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Raw prawn is also suitable but more likely to have dormant bacteria on it, but I haven't found a fish that refuses raw prawns so if they don't touch cooked, then try raw. :)

If you have shrimp living in the tank then don't feed raw prawn because disease organisms don't always die when frozen.
 

NickAu

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Agree its always best to freeze fresh stuff first.
 
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