Clownfish swim bladder or spinal?

mikereefing

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Hello all,
My longfin clownfish of 1.5 years has been acting odd for the past week. I first noticed that it was swimming alongside the tank side glass constantly with it's belly facing the glass. Later that day, it was floating at the top corner of the tank sideways. Trying to rule out a possible infection, I empirically treated the clownfish in a hospital tank with two rounds of general cure per the manufacturer instructions. Strangely, in the new tank it was not floating at the top at all. It was either swimming around or lying on the bottom glass. It was swimming somewhat normally in the tank but at times I did notice it bumping into the glass. I tried feeding it boiled, peeled peas to rule out constipation as an issue but it didn't seem to want to eat. After a few days of what I thought was improvement, I returned the fish back to the DT. It would return to swimming against the side glass in the middle of the tank but it would slowly return to the "floating on its side at the top of the tank" position later that day. Does anyone have any other ideas? There's no visible lesion/pest and no new fish/corals introduced in the past couple of months. Tank parameters are stable, no change. Other fish are all normal. It breaks my heart to see the other clownfish try to interact with the sick clownfish but it just gets ignored.
 

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ndds73

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Hello.

Sorry to see you fish is suffering like that. I ran into this issue several times with my fairy wrasses and when the fish is swimming this way it is very hard to save them. In my three cases none had made it. I'm not expert or anything but I consulted Several well known fish keeping experts in my area and they said the fish has bladder issue. At some point when you are feeding, the fish can smell the food but cannot control the swimming movement to get to the food and the fish can stay alive this way without eating for over 2 weeks.
 

Jay Hemdal

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Hello all,
My longfin clownfish of 1.5 years has been acting odd for the past week. I first noticed that it was swimming alongside the tank side glass constantly with it's belly facing the glass. Later that day, it was floating at the top corner of the tank sideways. Trying to rule out a possible infection, I empirically treated the clownfish in a hospital tank with two rounds of general cure per the manufacturer instructions. Strangely, in the new tank it was not floating at the top at all. It was either swimming around or lying on the bottom glass. It was swimming somewhat normally in the tank but at times I did notice it bumping into the glass. I tried feeding it boiled, peeled peas to rule out constipation as an issue but it didn't seem to want to eat. After a few days of what I thought was improvement, I returned the fish back to the DT. It would return to swimming against the side glass in the middle of the tank but it would slowly return to the "floating on its side at the top of the tank" position later that day. Does anyone have any other ideas? There's no visible lesion/pest and no new fish/corals introduced in the past couple of months. Tank parameters are stable, no change. Other fish are all normal. It breaks my heart to see the other clownfish try to interact with the sick clownfish but it just gets ignored.
It looks like it has slight positive buoyancy, but also breathing hard and is showing general weakness. He fins look a bit cloudy, but that could be a function of the blue light.
General Cure is primarily an anti-protozoan medication, and this is more likely to be an internal bacterial issue. Trouble is, one of the common bacterial infections, Mycobacteria isn’t treatable. Still, a broad spectrum, gram negative antibiotic might help if other bacteria are involved….Neoplex or Maracyn 1 and 2 used in conjunction.
As a side note - peas are used for a specific issue seen in fancy goldfish, but it somehow got misapplied to marine fish. For them, the best cure for constipation is adult frozen brine shrimp.
Jay
 
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mikereefing

mikereefing

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It looks like it has slight positive buoyancy, but also breathing hard and is showing general weakness. He fins look a bit cloudy, but that could be a function of the blue light.
General Cure is primarily an anti-protozoan medication, and this is more likely to be an internal bacterial issue. Trouble is, one of the common bacterial infections, Mycobacteria isn’t treatable. Still, a broad spectrum, gram negative antibiotic might help if other bacteria are involved….Neoplex or Maracyn 1 and 2 used in conjunction.
As a side note - peas are used for a specific issue seen in fancy goldfish, but it somehow got misapplied to marine fish. For them, the best cure for constipation is adult frozen brine shrimp.
Jay
Thanks for the detailed info. I would definitely try picking up some neoplex to empirically treat. However, my biggest concern is that the clownfish doesn't seem to be eating whatsoever. Do you think this could also be a potential sign of constipation? I picked up a bag of Epsom salt and read that a short bath would help if constipation was an issue.
 
Zoanthids

Jay Hemdal

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Thanks for the detailed info. I would definitely try picking up some neoplex to empirically treat. However, my biggest concern is that the clownfish doesn't seem to be eating whatsoever. Do you think this could also be a potential sign of constipation? I picked up a bag of Epsom salt and read that a short bath would help if constipation was an issue.

Ah - Epsom salts is another freshwater treatment that has been misapplied to marine fishes. It is magnesium sulfate, and our sea salts already contain that as the fourth most common salt. Adding a bit more to the water has no benefit other than slightly changing the density.

Here is an article I wrote on chronic anorexia in fishes:



Jay
 
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mikereefing

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Hmm interesting. The use of Epsom salt was something recommended by over at the humblefish forum for swelling and a possible remedy for swim bladder. In that case, other than just empirically treating with antibiotics, is there anything else I can do for the poor fish other than just support it? The prognosis seems poor given what I've been reading and seeing every day with it's progress.
 

Jay Hemdal

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Hmm interesting. The use of Epsom salt was something recommended by over at the humblefish forum for swelling and a possible remedy for swim bladder. In that case, other than just empirically treating with antibiotics, is there anything else I can do for the poor fish other than just support it? The prognosis seems poor given what I've been reading and seeing every day with it's progress.
Magnesium sulfate does have limited use in FW as a tonic, but is useless in SW unless added as an adjunct to the fish’s diet at 3% by weight.
Constipation is exceedingly rare in marine fishes. The only severe cases I’ve seen myself were caused by ingestion of items that weren’t food (tank silicone for example). I’ve seen mild cases where fish were fed high protein/fat low fiber foods (certain pellets for example).
That all said, there isn’t much to be done here that I can see other than attempting a bath with antibiotics….
Jay
 

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