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My minnow is deformed and miserable

27 replies

baddyfreckleface · 18/03/2015 21:15

I have a 90L tank with 6 minnow, 6 danio and a snail. We have had it since last summer and so far no deaths!
I have been keeping an eye on one of the minnows as he looks very thin and always hangs out alone at the back even when they are fed. He looks so sad! (For a fish)
I'm pretty sure he is deformed as his shiny flash down his spine arches up slightly and then down. So that his tail kind of points down.
I never see him eat. Even if I feed all the eager ones away from him and slip him a bit of food right over his head while the others are distracted. He just doesn't eat it. He has no tummy at all. It's basically concave where the others have tummies. (Or whatever the fish equivalent is)

I'm not sure what to do about him. He looks sad and incredibly small and thin but then he must be eating something as he's still alive. Is he suffering?

I will try and attach a picture

My minnow is deformed and miserable
My minnow is deformed and miserable
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baddyfreckleface · 18/03/2015 21:26

After some googling - could it be to do with diet? I always feed them the same stuff (can't remember what it is as I put the food in another container - it's very small dark red roundish bits).
I might have a look for something else to give them too. Any suggestions would be great

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WhenMarnieWasThere · 18/03/2015 21:33

My minnows love live food if you can find any in your local fish shop.

EauRouge · 18/03/2015 21:39

Urk, how long's he looked like that? There are a few things it could be.

One is fish TB. Fish TB is not exactly the same as human TB but it is transferable so be VERY careful- no sticking your hands in if you have an open wound and if you get a weird-looking rash then go to your GP and tell him/her that you may have been in contact with fish TB.

It could also be what is referred to as neon tetra disease, which doesn't just affect tetras. There's no known cure, sadly.

There's a chance it could be something else, I suppose, but I would say it was curtains for this poor fish. I would be euthanising, I'm afraid. Have you got any clove oil? If you haven't got any handy then I would isolate him because he may infect the other fish.

baddyfreckleface · 18/03/2015 22:22

Oh bugger. I was hoping he was just a funny shape?!

I have scared myself googling fish TB but he doesn't seem to have any of the other symptoms. I have been watching him and he's swimming about and fins aren't down etc.

I will get some clove oil tomorrow morning - where from?!

Should I take him out now though? The other tank and filter aren't easy to get hold of tonight. Is he ok in a Tupperware box or something with no filter for tonight?
Quite sad for the little thing!

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baddyfreckleface · 18/03/2015 22:48

Right he is out of the tank. All on his own for his last night.
Poor old Sid.
Can you just spell out exactly what I need to do with the clove oil tomorrow please? If I google it I get lots of different advice and I really don't want him to suffer

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EauRouge · 19/03/2015 07:05

You need to get a bit of tank water in a jar and add about 10 drops of clove oil. Shake it up like crazy and then pour it into the container he's in. He will go to sleep very peacefully. Then you can mix up more water and clove oil and add it until he stops breathing. It's a natural anaesthetic so he'll go very peacefully, although it probably won't be easy for you :( If the clove oil doesn't send him off then you can add vodka, but only do this if he is unconscious. He'll be lying on his side once he's out. When his gills stop moving for more than a minute then he's gone.

You can get clove oil from Boots or probably from big supermarkets, it should be with all the dental stuff because it's mostly sold for soothing toothache.

baddyfreckleface · 19/03/2015 07:19

Thank you I will nip out after school drop off.
How long do you think it will take until he stops breathing?

Also I am now worried about the other fish catching it. Should I do anything other than the usual 20-30% water change?

After more googling I am stressing about fish TB and the chances are if it is that they all have it or will get it in the future. I am a bit crazy about germs etc so it's taking the pleasure out of our lovely little fish now. But as far as I can see there's not much I can do about it other than keep dd away from them/the water and keep watching. Who knew fish keeping would be so stressful!

Thanks for your help

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EauRouge · 19/03/2015 07:34

Oh sorry, I didn't mean to make you stress about fish TB. :( It is pretty rare for people to catch it and the biggest problem is diagnosis because not many GPs will recognise it. If you take sensible precautions then you should be just fine, you could wear gloves (not your cleaning ones) if that will help. I've been keeping fish most of my life, I've spoken to hundreds of other fishkeepers and I've only ever known one person get it.

There's not loads you can do about the other fish not catching it, other than keep the water in top condition (have you got a test kit?)and make sure they have a great diet- if they are fighting fit then they are less likely to catch anything.

EauRouge · 19/03/2015 07:35

It may not even be fish TB, there are parasites that can make a fish have some of the same symptoms. But with a fish like this I would be being a bit cautious just in case.

baddyfreckleface · 19/03/2015 07:47

Oh don't worry it was Google that stressed me out! Smile

I have a test kit and while the PH was a bit night for a month a while ago it's otherwise all good.

Any advice on food as I do only feed them one type of dry food (not flakes, like tiny balls - the fish are all so small the flakes were a bit hard for them to eat!)

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EauRouge · 19/03/2015 08:14

You could supplement with some veg; I've always used romaine lettuce (make sure you buy organic) but there are some other ideas here and this has some info about other types of food.

If you buy live food then don't just tip the contents of the packet straight into the tank- tip it into a net and then rinse it under the tap to get rid of any lurking nasties. I'd probably avoid buying live food at this time tbh.

If you can't get live food, then don't worry- a lot of places stock frozen food. Make sure you defrost it before you stick it in the tank. You can also grow your own live food at home, it's really easy to grow a microworm culture. But everyone will think you are weird (bitter experience).

baddyfreckleface · 19/03/2015 10:48

Well that was a quick and painless (I hope!) death. Thank you for your advice.
I am now worried about another of the minnows as it's pretty thin but it's swimming with the others and behaving normally. And does eat when I feed them. So do I just wait and see or take him out too just in case? Could he just be a thinner minnow?
I like the cucumber idea! Will definately do that. Also i picked up some Tetra FreshDelica Brine shrimp. All in small packs. Says it's gel food. Apparantly they will love that?

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EauRouge · 19/03/2015 11:06

Ah yes, I think I've used that gel food before. It went down pretty well IIRC.

Sorry for the loss of your minnow. It's hard to know what to do when they are ill but when they are that far gone, humane euthanasia is for the best. I'd just keep an eye on your other minnow for now. Make sure you check regularly because they can turn pretty quickly.

baddyfreckleface · 20/03/2015 14:45

Me again!
The other minnow is still just looking small and thin. Still zipping about with the others and feeding though.

I bought some Interpret General Tonic and some Anti Internal Bacteria stuff. Is it worth doing one or the other of these just in case?
They say to remove the carbon filters but the filter/pump I have (marina slim) has 4 filter bits in that are all carbon. So how long do I take them out for? Should I keep them in some tank water so the good bacteria doesn't die? Do I leave the pump running with no filters in or just turn it off? If so for how long?
So many questions!!!!

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baddyfreckleface · 20/03/2015 15:17

Another one! Just done all my tests and the Ph is 7.6 (at least as it only goes up to that!). Tested the tap water and that was the same. Is this a problem? Otherwise Ammonia 0-0.25, nitrite 0 and nitrate 5 (usually 0).

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EauRouge · 20/03/2015 15:17

They are all carbon? Is there no other filter media- ceramic rings, anything like that?

baddyfreckleface · 20/03/2015 15:19

Sorry posted before the nitrate time was up - maybe more towards 0 than 5

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baddyfreckleface · 20/03/2015 15:35

It's these

My minnow is deformed and miserable
My minnow is deformed and miserable
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EauRouge · 20/03/2015 16:08

And that's all there is? Hmm, can't see a way around this really. You can't replace them all at once because the bacteria will all be gone. I think the best thing to do would be to replace them gradually over 4 weeks with plain sponge and hope nothing happens with the fish in the meantime.

baddyfreckleface · 20/03/2015 16:23

Ok I will do that thanks. I have seen you telling other people that they just need sponge but I kept these up as everything was pretty settled. I haven't been replacing them as often as it says on the packet but just replaced them as they started to look like they needed it. Only two at a time though (there are four in there).
I really need to find a good aquatic place but so far I have struggled. I called at Pets at Home for the treatments and was talking to the 'fish expert'. She was very nice but had less of a clue than me! She was pretty surprised when I mentioned having to euthenase a fish. And had never heard of doing if with clove oil. Said 'they don't tell us things like that!' Hmm

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baddyfreckleface · 20/03/2015 16:30

I have one of these left which are also fine in my tank. Can't see carbon written anywhere on it. I got them when the shop didn't have the others in. I can stick one in now and then replace one a week maybe? Would that work?

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baddyfreckleface · 20/03/2015 16:31

Forgot the picture!

My minnow is deformed and miserable
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EauRouge · 20/03/2015 16:47

Oh, you've got zeolite too? Zeolite and carbon are like those added extras in cars- nothing wrong with them, other than being expensive and in most cases pointless. A healthy tank doesn't need them. You just need plain old sponges- any size filter sponge is fine, you can cut it to the right size and shape if you need to, as long as it's not crammed in. Some fish keepers buy pond ones because it works out a lot cheaper.

Not surprised about your experience with Pets at Home. A lot of places are the same, they don't train their staff at all. There are some really good shops that are run by geeks that are doing it for the love, not the money. A good way to tell is to ask them about their own fish- a geek will bore on for ages but some staff that have been appointed 'fish experts' might not even have fish, they've just been given the job because they can tell the difference between a guppy and a neon tetra.

baddyfreckleface · 23/03/2015 15:09

Hello again!
I MAY just have found a nice little aquatics shop! Can I just see what you think of the lady's advice please?
She said the minnow that died could easily have been 'bullied' into starving by the more boistrous danio. And that may explain the other thin minnow. The crooked spine could have been from an injury. She said if it was/is fish TB then the whole tank will have it and they would probably all be looking pretty ill within a few weeks.
I haven't noticed specific aggressive behaviour in the tank but the danio are pretty pushy at feeding time.

She also recommended I put the temperature up to around 24/25 (it's 22 ish now). And said that in a few months if the fish were all still ok we could get a few more colourful fish?

She said not to bother treating the tank as the water was pretty healthy and she couldn't really see the point as if the fish that died had a disease the others would have it by now.

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EauRouge · 24/03/2015 08:35

Hmm, not sure I agree with everything she's saying. Bullied fish tend to be the weak ones anyway, they get picked off by the other fish. So I wouldn't suspect bullying as the main cause of death, especially if you haven't seen anything to back that up (feeding time boisterousness is normal).

I agree that it may not be fish TB but there is always one fish that comes down with an illness first, it doesn't just affect the whole tank at once. I would keep an eye on the others. No point in treating if none of the other fish have any symptoms but I would be monitoring very closely.

Not sure why she's recommended putting the temperature up. WCMMs are temperate fish, not tropical. They are happiest at about 18-20C ish, 24-25 is too warm for them to be kept at long term.

I wouldn't get any more fish in that tank, you really haven't got the room for another shoal.

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