Lethargic Blue Tang

Mielo

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Hi all

Had my blue tang for over 10 yrs now. Had a velvet out break previously and treated him in a qt and the DT remained fallow for 80 days.

I returned him to the DT a month ago and all went well. Overnight he started swimming erratically and straight into the rocks and just sinks down and lays on his side.

I dont think it can be be any type of parasite as it is only him and his fellow fish who all went through the qt treatment together.

Its been like that for two days now and he is not eating. Please see attached video clip for more clarification. Is it possibly a swim bladder infection?

Please help diagnose him as I have no idea what to do, how to treat him and I hate seeing him in this state and I am unable to help him.
 

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Mielo

Mielo

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See pic attached. He is predominantly just laying on this spot in the pic. I know that blue tangs are infamous for just laying like that, but he is doing it more often and over longer time periods. Every 15-20min or so, he gets a burst of energy and swims around the tank frantically and sometimes swims straight into the rocks and just drops down onto the sand on his side.

I have also seen him swim upside down in vertical circles. It looks like he is struggling to keep his body upright when swimming.

He still appears to have full coloration and no signs of parasites (that I can see). He is breathing a bit more rapidly than normal.

He does have two foxfaces as tank mates and he constantly jostles with them. Could it be the venom of the foxfaces that is causing this typw of paralysis?

92675F59-273C-418F-915C-AEC56723D231.jpeg
 
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Jay Hemdal

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See pic attached. He is predominantly just laying on this spot in the pic. I know that blue tangs are infamous for just laying like that, but he is doing it more often and over longer time periods. Every 15-20min or so, he gets a burst of energy and swims around the tank frantically and sometimes swims straight into the rocks and just drops down onto the sand on his side.

I have also seen him swim upside down in vertical circles. It looks like he is struggling to keep his body upright when swimming.

He still appears to have full coloration and no signs of parasites (that I can see). He is breathing a bit more rapidly than normal.

He does have two foxfaces as tank mates and he constantly jostles with them. Could it be the venom of the foxfaces that is causing this typw of paralysis?

92675F59-273C-418F-915C-AEC56723D231.jpeg
I was able to download the video. I presume the fish isn’t feeding? I can see it’s ribs a bit. The respiration rate is a bit high, but not as high as with typical gill diseases.
I think the age of the fish is playing a role in this - chronic problems like mycobacterium show up in older fish….these issues are generally not treatable.
Jay
 
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vetteguy53081

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Agreeing with Jay H , hippo tangs in particular go through many phases (hole in the head, stress, HLLE ) and so forth. Even though it is said they can live 15-20 years, that in my opinion is within the wild and also a lot depends on the quantity and quality of the food available. In the wild, they mostly live as omnivores and favour coral reefs. Simulating that environment in an aquarium to give large space for swimming and an interesting landscape enhances their life experience and can determine length of life in captivity.
The sunken belly is concerning as if you have had this fish a number of years, its not a dietary issue but rather a fish that is developing less interest in eating similar to elderly people behaviots.
Is there anything you can do to encourage eating? Live foods are often the answer such as mysis or brine shrimp. Vitamin supplements may or may not help.
My oldest fish is a blue streak cleaner wrasse reaching 8 years of age and I occassionally wonder- How long before I lose it.
Captivity is a challenge and often aging ailments are hard to diagnose of course unless we can give him MRI or Xrays as we do in the human world.
Assure no stray voltage, sudden aggression by a given tankmate or water quality change such as PH, salinity, and the like.
 

Jay Hemdal

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Thank you so much for the feedback @Jay Hemdal & @vetteguy53081.

If it is old age, what are my options now? Euthanasia?
Or just wait a bit longer? Sometimes fish surprise us and turn things around. In addition, they don't feel "pain" as how we perceive it, so that is less of an issue.

Here is some info I wrote up on euthanasia:

Preferred methods for euthanasia



MS-222


Every aquarist should have a plan for specimen euthanasia before they need to employ it. An overdose of buffered Tricaine methane sulfonate (MS-222) is the preferred method for euthanizing fish. Dosing at a rate of greater than 300 mg/l MS-222 along with 300 mg/l sodium bicarbonate is effective for euthanizing fish within 30 minutes. However, MS-222 is expensive, and not readily available in smaller quantities to home aquarists. Removing the fish too soon from the solution may allow it to recover. It is therefore suggested to leave the fish in a small amount of the euthanizing solution, and freeze it for later disposal.



Clove oil (eugenol)

One product that aquarists can buy that is approved by at least some veterinarians and research biologists is clove oil, also called eugenol. A dose of 50 mg/l is usually sufficient in euthanizing fish. This equates to about 0.20 ml of eugenol in one gallon of aquarium water.



Because eugenol does not mix well with water, and because larger volumes are easier for hobbyists to measure out, it can be dosed using the following method:



1) Add 2 ml of eugenol to 100 ml of tank water in a sealed container and shake it vigorously.



2) Add 10 ml of this suspended solution to each gallon of water needed to euthanize the fish.



3) Place the fish in this solution and keep it covered to prevent it from jumping out and to help keep it calm.



4) Wait at least twenty minutes after it stops breathing, and then remove the fish from the solution and freeze it for later disposal.



Other methods

A variety of other methods have been proposed for the euthanasia of fishes, but none are fully accepted by veterinary experts. Still, home aquarists need more common tools to use, so those methods are listed here in roughly descending order of suitability:



Ethanol

Regular alcohol at a dose of 25 ml per liter will cause respiratory collapse and death in fishes within 30 minutes. The trouble is that alcohol is not available in pure form unless it has been “denatured” by the addition of distasteful chemicals such as turpentine. Vodka is about 40% alcohol by volume, so using it 62 ml per liter will give an effective dose.



Decapitation/pithing

Cutting a fish’s spinal cord, right behind the head, is a quick method of euthanasia that is approved for use in food fishes (where the use of chemicals would otherwise make the flesh unfit to eat). The issue is really that the method is distasteful for most people to do, so it is rarely used by aquarists. However, it is quick and effective.



Freezing

Placing the affected fish in a small amount of aquarium water in a sealed container and then placing the container in a freezer is a euthanasia technique used by some people. However, it is slow to work, so it is not considered humane. Its appeal as a method is that the fish is “out of sight” so people feel more detached from the process.



An option of last resort

The animals in your aquariums are completely reliant on you for proper care. It is your responsibility to see to it that their lives in captivity are humane as possible and that all of their needs are met. If you cannot meet their needs, please find someone who is more able. Euthanasia should be considered only for health reasons, not because it is no longer convenient to care for an animal.



So how can aquarists best utilize the information presented here? First, it is obvious that unless you constantly monitor the mortality rates of the animals under your care, you have no way of knowing if your husbandry skills are improving. Second, this information should serve to reinforce the idea that taking animals from the wild and holding them in captivity carries with it an important responsibility.
 
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Mielo

Mielo

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Thank you @Jay Hemdal. It appears he is a fighter. My tank is 900mm deep and I noticed that he just swims near the bottom of the tank. It appears that he struggles to swim up in the middle or top.

I am now feeding him by placing nori on the bottom and syringing frozen food close to his resting place and it seems to be working.

What I also notices is when he goes for the pellets he gets some and then appears disorientated and swims straight into rocks or makes vertical circles and then stops to rest as if it was a mammoth task he just accomplished.
 

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