Help! Skinny Bicolor blenny and heavy breathing

mh0ward

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I have a bicolor blenny that I just noticed a few days ago had gotten very skinny and lazy/lethargic. His behavior clearly wasn’t himself and he started to poo white and stringy. This was on Thursday, and I started feeding 4 or so times and trying to target feed him pellets and frozen. I also dosed the tank with Prazi that afternoon, fearing some sort of parasite or internal problem. He IS eating and he does swim up to me again when I approach the tank sometimes, but he also seems to hide/rest more. However, this morning he seems to be breathing very heavy almost like panting. Probably 4-5 breaths per second. I have checked the water params that I can with what I currently have, and everything is what it normally is (Sal:~1.026, Ammonia: 0, Nitrate: 0, temp:~78*), the only exception is that the PH is a little lower I believe… kinda hard to get a decent reading with API kit, but the color seems slightly shifted from what it normally is, and I think that’s probably to be expected after dosing Prazi. Anything I could or should be doing? I’m worried he may die ☹️
 
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mh0ward

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I’ll try to get a video, but he’s perched a lot so I might not be able to get a good shot of his body
 

vetteguy53081

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I have a bicolor blenny that I just noticed a few days ago had gotten very skinny and lazy/lethargic. His behavior clearly wasn’t himself and he started to poo white and stringy. This was on Thursday, and I started feeding 4 or so times and trying to target feed him pellets and frozen. I also dosed the tank with Prazi that afternoon, fearing some sort of parasite or internal problem. He IS eating and he does swim up to me again when I approach the tank sometimes, but he also seems to hide/rest more. However, this morning he seems to be breathing very heavy almost like panting. Probably 4-5 breaths per second. I have checked the water params that I can with what I currently have, and everything is what it normally is (Sal:~1.026, Ammonia: 0, Nitrate: 0, temp:~78*), the only exception is that the PH is a little lower I believe… kinda hard to get a decent reading with API kit, but the color seems slightly shifted from what it normally is, and I think that’s probably to be expected after dosing Prazi. Anything I could or should be doing? I’m worried he may die ☹️
I could have guessed API. I encourage you to take a water sample to a store that does NOT use Api kits and have them test your ammonia and nitrates and compare readings- then you'll know where your levels truly are at
I will never trust a $7 badge or $25 master kit to sustain hundreds of dollars in livestock.
This is for an assurance. Regarding the issue at hand. Skinny is never good with blennies. They require meats and vegetation in their diet and when thin, they are starving and may have achieved Edema in which they are feeding off their liver and wasting away. Shallow breathing often follows.
Can you provide a 20 second video under white light brightness so we can see?
 
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mh0ward

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Sorry for the shaky video but its the best I could get, I had to entice him to come out of his hiding spot with some frozen food, and he did eat some. It may take a few minutes for HD video to finish uploading but I think SD is ready.


There is a full, current shot of the tank if it helps:
Full_Tank.jpg
 
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mh0ward

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I could have guessed API. I encourage you to take a water sample to a store that does NOT use Api kits and have them test your ammonia and nitrates and compare readings- then you'll know where your levels truly are at
I will never trust a $7 badge or $25 master kit to sustain hundreds of dollars in livestock.
This is for an assurance. Regarding the issue at hand. Skinny is never good with blennies. They require meats and vegetation in their diet and when thin, they are starving and may have achieved Edema in which they are feeding off their liver and wasting away. Shallow breathing often follows.
Can you provide a 20 second video under white light brightness so we can see?
Unfortunately, we only have one "real" local fish store, and I have seen them using API. I'm new to the hobby so I didn't really know much better at the time, and it was useful for knowing when the cycle was finished, but fairly useless after that. I have been gathering a list of good testers and started ordering some of them last week.
 

vetteguy53081

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Sorry for the shaky video but its the best I could get, I had to entice him to come out of his hiding spot with some frozen food, and he did eat some. It may take a few minutes for HD video to finish uploading but I think SD is ready.


There is a full, current shot of the tank if it helps:
Full_Tank.jpg

Yes, extremely thin and I can guess may indeed be feeding off its liver. Although it gets up, its getting weak. These guys need meats in their diet as well as calcium , the reason they often pond on rocks, causing some to think theyre picking algae
 
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mh0ward

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I’ve been feeding San Francisco marine cuisine in the afternoons and pellets in the morning. I think there was algae to graze on too. The only thing I can think is that maybe the female clownfish was getting to it all before he had a chance. He stays perched on the rocks a lot to where you mostly only see his head poking out, so I didn’t notice his body being so skinny until recently :frowning-face:
 
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mh0ward

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Yes, extremely thin and I can guess may indeed be feeding off its liver. Although it gets up, its getting weak. These guys need meats in their diet as well as calcium , the reason they often pond on rocks, causing some to think theyre picking algae
I don’t suppose there’s any chance that their livers can repair/regenerate like a human’s can?
 

vetteguy53081

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I don’t suppose there’s any chance that their livers can repair/regenerate like a human’s can?
Often it does not once they weaken to this point. If eating, would give you the best chance
 
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mh0ward

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Thank you for your insights, very much appreciated. Hopefully this won’t turn into one of those “hard” lessons learned, but I guess at least I know more about what to look out for now and to pay closer attention to the bodies of these “perching” fish when they do show themselves.
 

Jay Hemdal

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Sorry - I agree, the blenny is really thin, likely has used its liver up as food.
 
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mh0ward

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Just a week ago, he seemed to be eating pretty well, was lively and seemed happy. Nothing really "stood out" as off. And then it seemed like in a relatively short period, maybe just a few days?, he got to the condition he's in now. So, I've been trying to figure out if there's an issue outside of him just not getting enough to eat. I pulled a water sample and put it under microscope. I've done this a couple of times in the past and have seen some living/moving organism, but this is the first time I've seen these particular worms.



The best I can guess from pictures online is maybe they are Nematodes? Any idea if these may be parasitic and contributing to my Blenny's problems? Obviously, the Prazi didn't kill them. None of the other fish seem to be having any issues, although my Yellow Watchman Goby can be hard to get a look at his body since he spends most of the day either in his cave, or just barely poking out.
 

Jay Hemdal

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Just a week ago, he seemed to be eating pretty well, was lively and seemed happy. Nothing really "stood out" as off. And then it seemed like in a relatively short period, maybe just a few days?, he got to the condition he's in now. So, I've been trying to figure out if there's an issue outside of him just not getting enough to eat. I pulled a water sample and put it under microscope. I've done this a couple of times in the past and have seen some living/moving organism, but this is the first time I've seen these particular worms.



The best I can guess from pictures online is maybe they are Nematodes? Any idea if these may be parasitic and contributing to my Blenny's problems? Obviously, the Prazi didn't kill them. None of the other fish seem to be having any issues, although my Yellow Watchman Goby can be hard to get a look at his body since he spends most of the day either in his cave, or just barely poking out.

Those do look like nematodes. Prazi doesn’t kill those. However, free living nematodes are a lot more common than parasitic ones. Additionally, if you found these free living in the tank, they are not parasites.

Your blenny could have internal parasites, but generally, internal worm parasites can be overcome by feeding more. Think about it - many fish in the wild have internal parasites, but they live in balance with them.
 
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mh0ward

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@Jay Hemdal @vetteguy53081 Unfortunately, the Blenny did end up dying a couple days ago. But today I noticed that my male clownfish also had white stringy poop. I syphoned it up as soon as it 'let go' and put it under microscope.

Those worms appear to me to be within the fish waste mucus. Any advice on what I should do? At this point I'm assuming that the 3 remaining fish probably have this parasite. :frowning-face:
 

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@Jay Hemdal @vetteguy53081 Unfortunately, the Blenny did end up dying a couple days ago. But today I noticed that my male clownfish also had white stringy poop. I syphoned it up as soon as it 'let go' and put it under microscope.

Those worms appear to me to be within the fish waste mucus. Any advice on what I should do? At this point I'm assuming that the 3 remaining fish probably have this parasite. :frowning-face:

Likely, may have been an internal issue and left the blenny to feed off its liver known as edema until loss
 
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mh0ward

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Any advise on the best course of action? I dont want my clowns and goby suffering the same fate. I'm assuming the inverts aren't affected, because they all seem fine... the cleaner shrimp especially has grown quite a bit in the past month.
 

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@Jay Hemdal @vetteguy53081 Unfortunately, the Blenny did end up dying a couple days ago. But today I noticed that my male clownfish also had white stringy poop. I syphoned it up as soon as it 'let go' and put it under microscope.

Those worms appear to me to be within the fish waste mucus. Any advice on what I should do? At this point I'm assuming that the 3 remaining fish probably have this parasite. :frowning-face:

Those seem to be nematode worms. Many times, you find them in feces that have been on the bottom of the tank as most nematode species are scavengers. However, since you caught these feces right away, these are more likely parasitic.
The published treatment for this is fenbendazole at 2 mg/l weekly for three weeks. The trouble is sourcing the fenbendazole…..can you get it from a veterinarian perhaps?
 
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mh0ward

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Those seem to be nematode worms. Many times, you find them in feces that have been on the bottom of the tank as most nematode species are scavengers. However, since you caught these feces right away, these are more likely parasitic.
The published treatment for this is fenbendazole at 2 mg/l weekly for three weeks. The trouble is sourcing the fenbendazole…..can you get it from a veterinarian perhaps?
Yes, this had not even had a chance to land on the sandbed. I'm not sure if any vets around here will have that, I may need to call around. I had read a little about fenbendazole earlier and it looks like it may negatively impact snails and shrimp? Are there any other treatments that would prevent me from having to remove the snails and shrimp? I think the pistol shrimp particularly may be touch to snag and I'd hate to separate him from his goby. Another question is if I did remove all the inverts to treat the tank, would these nematodes just reappear once I put the inverts back in the tank (i.e. hitchhiking on the snails/shrimp back and forth) ?
 
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