Tropheus sick

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fmueller
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Tropheus sick

Post by fmueller » Thu Mar 19, 2009 2:12 pm

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Sick Tropheus

Today my tropheus are a lot less active than usual and I have at least one individual with bulging eyes - see photo. The tank has an automatic water change system, and the filter is running great. Water parameters are ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate, close to 0, pH 7.6, GH 9. They have been that for months. I added some multies recently, which are looking fine, but maybe they introduced something that's a problem for the tropheus. Darn, shouldn't have done that :?

Have added Clout as soon as I noticed there was a problem. Any other advice?

Many thanks

Frank

PS: I just found a dead one in the plants - see photos below. Another one is on the way out - floating upside down. I took both out. What a nightmare!

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Sick Tropheus

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fmueller
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Re: Tropheus sick

Post by fmueller » Thu Mar 19, 2009 2:32 pm

I guess the question is how much Clout should I dose - what it says on the bottle or go higher? Also, should I raise the temperature in addition and/or give salt, or leave it be with the Clout?

Frank

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Re: Tropheus sick

Post by tanganyikadiver » Thu Mar 19, 2009 5:19 pm

i do not know the active substance in clout but in holland, belgioum and europe we use:

combination of metronidazole and an antibiotic of batryll or neomycinesulphat. that is used for 3-4 days after which we do a waterchange of 50% and add coal. i am sure jungle products can help you with the metronidazole. binox is not active enough for the bacteria treatment so i would choose another for that....

good luck! and hopefully no more victims....

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Re: Tropheus sick

Post by Dan Woodland » Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:18 pm

Frank,

Tanganyikadiver has a good plan, although you've already started a clout treatment. If you decide to continue that treatment simply follow the directions.

Another option, I'm not a big medication guy but this situation needs it, is to use a combination of Maracyn (erythromycin) and Maracyn II. ( I can't remember the active ingredient)

It always sucks when this happens, good luck.

By the way what are your water parameters and what are you feeding them?

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Re: Tropheus sick

Post by Klaus Steinhaus » Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:28 pm

Frank, my advise would be to stop clout completely and do a water change of at least 50-60%. Looking at the photos of the dead fish I am pretty sure that it is not bloat that kills them. Clout is a very stong and abrasive medication. I usually have some in my fish room just in case I detect bloat in my tanks. However, after 12 month I through the unused box out and replace it with a new one. It is the only medication you will find in my room. Sea salt and raise in temperature is my prefered method of healing and it has served me well over the years. I desolve approx 2 tee spoons per 10 gallon and then mix the solution in slowly during the water change. I also increase the water temperature by about 3 degrees to 82-83 F.

Good luck and keep us posted.

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Re: Tropheus sick

Post by fmueller » Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:33 pm

Active ingredients in Clout are:

4-[p-(dimethylamino)-)O-Phenylbenzylidene]-2,5-cyclohexadien-1-xylidene dimethylammonium chloride; = Malachite Green (anti fungal/protozoal)
dimethyl (2,2,2-trichloro-1-hydroxy-ehtel) phosphonate; = Trichlorphon (insecticide)
1,2-dimmethyl-5 nitromidazole; = Dimetridazole (treats anaerobic bacteria and protozoa)

In my experience Clout is a real hammer. If fish are already very weak, treatment with Clout will often be enough to finish them off. Unless you catch the problem very early, you can expect some more casualties after treatment with Clout. However, it is also very effective, so the fish that are still in good shape have an excellent chance of pulling through.

I am doing a 60% water change as we speak. Still undecided if I should dose Clout for the water I replaced once I am done. I am not usually a great fan of using meds myself, but I have little experience with Tropheus, and know it's recommended against bloat, which seems like the #1 tropheus disease. Since Klaus is the tropheus guru and recommends salt and a raise in temperature, I guess I should go with that.

Frank

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Re: Tropheus sick

Post by Dan Woodland » Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:46 pm

Sorry Frank, I must have missed that you thought/said boat. If you had bloat you'd know it.

I'd say doest as tho Klaus sayeth.

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Re: Tropheus sick

Post by fmueller » Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:55 pm

Dan - I don't think I said 'bloat', but does anybody not think 'bloat' as soon as they see a sick tropheus?

About 60 % water changed, salt added, and heater cranked up as Klaus recommended. I guess they had a bath in Clout for several hours now, and there is still some in the water, but I haven't given any more.

I'll let you all know how things are looking tomorrow!

Frank

PS: Interestingly, micro bubbles seem to be sticking to the fish after the water change - more so to the fish with the bulging eyes. This looks very odd. I have never seen this before!

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Sick Tropheus

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Re: Tropheus sick

Post by tanganyikadiver » Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:12 am

hello,
you did not say you got bloat but you do already have a dead fish that you did not notice before and now one with bulging eyes so something is making them ill. personally i would not take the chance of waiting and i would use the medicines for bloat and bacteria.
i would never go for salt and rasing the temp unless it were discus but it is all my own experience. just lijke klaus i have been keeping and breeding tropheus for over almost 20 years and fortunately i only had trouble a few time (mostly due to introducing other fish to my groups like goby cichlids) and then it would start with some big eyes.

greetings

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Re: Tropheus sick

Post by fmueller » Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:09 am

My thread was a bit rambling yesterday, so just to sum up what happened:

- Two dead tropheus. One found dead, one looked to be in bad shape - extreme stress coloration, difficulties to swim upright, expired shortly after I caught him.
- At least three fish had bulging eyes, one extremely so.
- All fish less active, appear stressed.
- At night two fish near surface, gasping for air - one extremely so, this one was transferred to hospital tank and treated with Clout.

This is what I observed this morning:

- The fish in the hospital tank expired. I was in bad shape last night, and probably wouldn't have made it with or without Clout. The main reason for removing it was not to further contaminate the others.
- No more casualties in the main tank.
- The fish with the bulging eyes have not improved, but they also didn't get worse.
- The colony is definetely more active, and fish look less stressed.
- One mail is spawning with a group of females in one corner.
- The gobies and multies in the tank seem unaffected.

Questions:

- Should I do another big water change today? - I am thinking yes.
- Should I put salt in the water I replace during the water change? - I am thinking yes.
- How long should I keep the temperature up?
- I last fed the tropheus around noon yesterday, and only very little then. When should I resume feeding? - I am thinking not for at least another day.

Many thanks for all your help!

Frank

PS: Tanganyikadiver - two tropheus experts and one newcomer with sick fish - hier is goede raad duur! My initial reaction was to treat for bloat and that's what I did. However, after Klaus looked at the photos of the dead fish and said it was probably not bloat, I opted for the salt and raised temperature. Nevertheless, hartelijk bedankt voor het advies!

PPS: Ik ben Duitser, maar ik heb een jaar voor de Universiteit van Amsterdam gewerkt. Nederlands es een mooie taal :D

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Re: Tropheus sick

Post by Klaus Steinhaus » Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:16 am

fmueller wrote: Questions:

- Should I do another big water change today? - I am thinking yes.
- Should I put salt in the water I replace during the water change? - I am thinking yes.
- How long should I keep the temperature up?
- I last fed the tropheus around noon yesterday, and only very little then. When should I resume feeding? - I am thinking not for at least another day.

Frank, I am far away from calling myself an expert or as you mentioned a "Tropheus guru" :shock: My advice was based on the mistakes I have made over the years (and there were many) and what I leaned from them. This method has always helped me getting rid of all the smaller health problems in ALL my tanks. However, I also know that there is more then one way to "skin a cat".

Personally I would do another water change today but not as much (maybe only 40%) and replace the salt. I would also leave the temperature up and no food for the next two days. BTW Dan asked a good question, what type of food do you use?

The little bubbles you show in your photos is probably chlorine. I run my tap water through two in-line charcole filters which take most of the chlorine out but sometimes I too see these bubbles on the glass.

Again good luck

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Re: Tropheus sick

Post by Lisachromis » Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:37 am

Don't think the bubbles are chlorine. I think they are air bubbles caused by the dissolved air in water under pressure from the tap. Once they're in the tank they're allowed to escape and sometimes attach themselves to everything in the tank. I would think it was from the large water change. I don't think it's bad though. :?:

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Re: Tropheus sick

Post by Klaus Steinhaus » Fri Mar 20, 2009 10:11 am

Lisachromis wrote:Don't think the bubbles are chlorine. I think they are air bubbles caused by the dissolved air in water under pressure from the tap. Once they're in the tank they're allowed to escape and sometimes attach themselves to everything in the tank. I would think it was from the large water change. I don't think it's bad though. :?:
Thank you Lisa, that is a good possibility too. :D

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Re: Tropheus sick

Post by fmueller » Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:24 am

Klaus - you are too humble. At any rate, I know you have a lot more experience with tropheus than I do. Also, the raised temperature/salt treatment is a tried and proven method for dealing with sick fish. Like you, I rarely use medication and if I do, I want it to be something strong, like Clout. In this case I gave it because I suspected bloat. Once you said the tropheus probably didn't have bloat, the salt option seemed like a better choice, and so far so good.

Regarding the bubbles, they are air bubbles for sure. As a chemist I can assure you that chlorine dissolves very readily in water. If you had enough chlorine in the water for it to form bubbles, there would be nothing alive in the tank for sure. Anyhow, I always have air bubbles in the water after water changes, but they usually don't attach themselves to the fish like you see in the pictures. That they did last night would seem to indicate that something is different from usual with the slime coating of the fish - this could be more or less slime, and be due to the disease/parasites/bacteria, or due to the Clout, or due to the salt/raised temp. Anybody's guess is as good as mine. I guess salt leads to increased slime production, which might make the fish stickier for the bubbles, but I have used the salt method in conjunction with water changes on other fish before, and I have never seen this.

I am doing another water change as I type this, and we will see how that goes.

I have had these tropheus since December 2007, and they still get the same food as they and their parents got from the guy I bought them from - Xtreme cichlid crumble. They have never once got anything else to eat. I think Dan was fishing for info if I fell into the trap of giving them any of the black worms we sold at the last OCA meeting, and no, I didn't. I bought half a pound of worms, they were super quality, and my other fish devoured them, but the tropheus never got close to them :lol:

Again, many thanks for your help!

Frank

PS: I just finished with the water change - about 50%. The temperature is still up, and I topped up salt for the water I replaced. A couple of other things I did was take out one more tropheus and replace the multies' shells. The tropheus was the second one that showed rapid breathing and was hanging near the surface last night. It wasn't much improved today, but hung out in the valisneria, which is why it wasn't so obvious this morning. I transferred it to a hospital tank and am treating it with Clout. I doubt it will pull through and the main reason I took it out is that I don't want it to further contaminate the others. The multies I added with snail shells - in hindsight not a clever move - and you never know what kind of gunk is hidden in those shells. They now have pretty new - and clean - murex shells that the seem pretty excited about :)

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Re: Tropheus sick

Post by Dan Woodland » Fri Mar 20, 2009 12:25 pm

fmueller wrote:.......
I have had these tropheus since December 2007, and they still get the same food as they and their parents got from the guy I bought them from - Xtreme cichlid crumble. They have never once got anything else to eat. I think Dan was fishing for info if I fell into the trap of giving them any of the black worms we sold at the last OCA meeting, and no, I didn't. I bought half a pound of worms, they were super quality, and my other fish devoured them, but the tropheus never got close to them :lol:

Again, many thanks for your help!

Frank

PS: I just finished with the water change - about 50%. The temperature is still up, and I topped up salt for the water I replaced. A couple of other things I did was take out one more tropheus and replace the multies' shells. The tropheus was the second one that showed rapid breathing and was hanging near the surface last night. It wasn't much improved today, but hung out in the valisneria, which is why it wasn't so obvious this morning. I transferred it to a hospital tank and am treating it with Clout. I doubt it will pull through and the main reason I took it out is that I don't want it to further contaminate the others. The multies I added with snail shells - in hindsight not a clever move - and you never know what kind of gunk is hidden in those shells. They now have pretty new - and clean - murex shells that the seem pretty excited about :)
No Frank, I wasn't fishing for a mistake on your part however I was fishing for another case of a growing issue I've heard regarding the food you are feeding and Tropheus sp. . More and more people are "complaining" of trouble experienced with "nutritionally sensitive" fish on an exclusive Extreme food diet. I'm not bashing the food only the practice of an exclusive diet. I have tried it myself. Apparently over feeding is likely and the protein could be to high for them on an extended feeding regimen.

Personally if you are successful treating them, hopefully they recover fully, I would add Spirulina to their diet or even switch to a mainly green diet. I raised and bred Tropheus for years feeding green foods as the main dietary choice with zero trouble. Tropheus are a funny animal. I’ve seen people feed white worms with no trouble, even to adult breeding size, then one day BANG! An entire colony is dead and while the time bomb was ticking I told them to switch but they obviously didn’t. I know another guy that did the same thing with frozen brine shrimp; nearly all of his were wiped out as well.

That being said, a high protein diet seems to be fine for fry and very young fish but not the adults or once they start breeding.

Good luck, keep us posted.

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Re: Tropheus sick

Post by fmueller » Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:20 pm

Dan - not fishing for a mistake, but admit it, you were thinking of those worms. It is almost too much of a coincidence of me going home with half a pound of worms and shortly after the tropheus get sick. If it had been anybody else from the club, I would have thought of the worms :lol:

I don't think Xtreme cichlid crumble is a protein rich food, but I'll have to double check on the label. I am not a big fan of experimenting much with the diet of my fish. All my other tanks get NLS. Very rarely do I feed anything else - like those worms, which I though might come in handy to bring some of my fish in spawning condition. The reason I have not swapped the tropheus from Xtreme to NLS is that I bought them with 5 pounds of Xtrme, and so far had no need or desire to try anything else. Whether or not fish need a varied diet or are better off with eating one thing that works all the time is of course almost a philosophical question, but I think few are the tropheus keepers who advocate the varied diet approach. Be that as it may, these fish have been eating Xtrme all their life. If it was causing problems - like they got not enough or too much of something, I believe the symptoms would start slowly, not with several fish dying suddenly overnight. So the monotonous Xtreme diet might be good or bad, but is extremely (bad pun intended) unlikely to have cause my current trouble.

Greetings

Frank

PS: Dan - talking about fish food, I forgot to remind you before the board meeting about those decapsulated brine shrimp for my fry I wanted to buy from you. I must remember that for the April meeting. (mental note to self!)

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Re: Tropheus sick

Post by Klaus Steinhaus » Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:52 pm

Frank, I totally agree with Dan. I am not familiar with the "Exteme" food but the only food I use is a spirulina based flake. There are two sources I use, "Ken Fish" or "Jehmco". I feed this food for many years whithout having any problems at all. I have tried NLS but with not much success.

There is one more thing I would like to mention and I apologize for the criticism. Your tank looks very beautiful but it is not the right decoration for Tropheus. As I am sure you know, Tropheus live along the top 3-15 feed of the rocky shore line of Lake Tanganjika. They need the rocks with the algea growth on it to feel comfortable. That awesome piece of driftwood you have in your tank releases tannins that will color the water and more importantly will soften it.

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Re: Tropheus sick

Post by fmueller » Sat Mar 21, 2009 12:14 pm

Hi Klaus,

The piece of wood is a compromise - like so many things in life. There is no arguing that it releases tannins in the water, which tropheus are not used to in their natural environment. That could cause problems and needs close monitoring, but I doubt it is the reason for my current misery (which I believe is a bacteria infection brought on by introducing the multies - consistent with the suddenness disaster struck). Problems stemming from the wood should have started earlier, if the tannins were causing an immediate problem for the tropheus, or they should come on slowly if the problem was cumulative, meaning if tannins or their metabolic products would built up in the tropheus over time. I have not seen any evidence of this, and I am doing my best to keep the concentration of tannins at a minimum through daily 10% water changes via an automatic water change system. There is some browning of the water, but not excessively so. Measurable water parameters - pH and gH - are identical to my tap water, so it's not correct to say the wood softens my water. It might try to, but I am not giving it the chance :)

The risk associated with the wood in my opinion is outweighed by many advantages:

- It is shaped like an upside-down rock pile, meaning it has a comparatively small base and a huge upper part close to the lamps. This promotes fantastic algae growth on which the tropheus graze.
- It reaches all the way to the water surface, which would be difficult to achieve with a stable rock setup, and especially the gobies like to perch up there.
- It provides superb cover for fry, which I would have difficulty matching with any rock setup.
- It looks good and is unusual - of no consequence to the tropheus, but matters to me for purely selfish reasons. :)

As an aside, the tank is also close to an east facing window, and gets lots of morning sun, which means plenty of algae growth, but no temperature problems even in summer.

Regarding the food, for my first 20 years in the hobby I fed almost exclusively flake food, and like you, I had good success with it, so it's hard to argue against that. However, when I got into frontosa I went off flake food in a big way. Many frontosa keepers have troubles caused by frontosa eating from the surface. It is not a natural behavior for them, and if they do it, they can gobble up air which leads to digestive problems. Feeding them sinking pellets completely eliminates this risk. Sinking pellets are also a lot more practical to feed in tanks that are filtered via a sump system that's fed through overflows creating a huge surface current like my 240G frontosa setup. That's what caused me to abandon flake food, and I saw no reason to go back when I got the tropheus. I don't think I ever heard about tropheus developing problems from surface feeding, but I believe it is no more natural for them than for frontosa. So I think it is best to be avoided.

I am not familiar with Jehmco food, although Jehmco seems to have an excellent reputation. Ken's food is super cheap, and I stock up on his flakes at the OCA Extravaganza to feed my guppies and other life bearers. I have recently heard from a number of people who use his food extensively and complain about the quality. Allegedly it colors the water more and fouls it quicker than other more expensive foods. Not personal experience, but I heard that from several people now.

I totally agree with you that any food containing spirulina is preferable to the best food without spirulina. I am not sure which of Ken's spirulina flakes you feed, but I'd be reluctant to feed his 'Pure Spirulina Flakes' exclusively. It is 100% spirulina, and in their natural environment tropheus eat Aufwuchs, which of course is mostly algae, but not only algae. Ken's 'Premium Spirulina Flake' contains some spiruline, but you don't know how much. The same is true for Xtreme Cichlid Crumble. Comparing what they tell you about the ingredients, Xtreme appears better suited for tropheus than Ken's, since it is lower in protein and fat while higher in fiber:

Image

Just out of curiosity, what did you not like about NLS? I think you would be the first person I talk to who has found anything to criticize about NLS other than its price!

Back to my current problem, I lost both the fish in the hospital tank and the one with the bulging eyes over night. Other than the eyes, there seemed to be nothing wrong with the latter fish yesterday, but this morning it lay dead on the bottom of the tank. This brings the total death toll up to five. The rest of the colony looks fine now. In fact, they are very active, and show as good coloration - lots of orange - as I have ever seen in them. I did another 50% water change and topped up salt again. I might do that for another few days and also keep the temperature up. I think I'll have to start feeding again tomorrow. By now they have scraped every tiny bit of algae off even the hardest to reach places on the backwall and the rocks and wood :D

Again, many thanks for your help and the exchange of information. It's always fascinating to compare notes about different people's approach to keeping fish!

Greetings

Frank

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Re: Tropheus sick

Post by fmueller » Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:44 am

Just a quick update, no more dead fish today, and everybody is looking much better - including the fish that had slightly bulging eyes. I can't really distinguish them from other members in the colony, which I guess means the salt treatment worked well for them! In total I lost 5 adults and one fry (found dead yesterday). The most vexing thing might be that I had a very large number of holding females, all of which I don't think are holding at this point, but I am hoping they will again be soon. :D

I am doing another 50% water change now, and might keep that up for a few more days. I'll probably discontinue the salt treatment after a week, and start feeding again small amounts tonight or tomorrow.

Many thanks for all your help. Klaus' diagnosis that the problem was not bloat has been invaluable, since it made me stop using Clout and use a more appropriate treatment regimen instead!

Greetings

Frank

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Re: Tropheus sick

Post by Klaus Steinhaus » Sun Mar 22, 2009 11:53 am

Great news Frank Image

I'm glad to hear that your fish are on the way to get back to normal.

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