Unknown Neurological Wrasse Disease (UNWD)

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Jay Hemdal

Jay Hemdal

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Yeah, the last 2 fairies I obtained both developed it in QT. I'm on a break from fairies at the moment.

Maybe the syndrome is getting worse / more prevalent? I only saw my first case sometime between 2015 and 2017. Then, I began getting reports from others, but I had stopped acquiring wrasses of this genus for my exhibits, and then I retired. Case numbers could be growing, and I would not have an easy way to see that.

To me - that still points to an infectious agent of some sort, probably something picked up in the supply chain. If it was from tank strikes, I would have seen cases decades ago, and the case numbers would not increase.

Jay
 

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Maybe the syndrome is getting worse / more prevalent?
Maybe? I hope not. Wrasses are such a great group of aquarium fishes. My only 'data' is my own experience and anecdotes here on R2R.

I'm not telling people to not by fairy wrasses. I'm just personally on a break. My location makes getting healthy fish difficult, and I spend too much time and effort to lose them to stuff I can't control.
 

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I wonder if this disease (assuming it's an infection) is actually pretty contagious but most wrasses that contract it clear it without showing symptoms, but a minority get a neuroinvasive infection or an autoimmune response to neurons. Like fish polio.
 
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Jay Hemdal

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I wonder if this disease (assuming it's an infection) is actually pretty contagious but most wrasses that contract it clear it without showing symptoms, but a minority get a neuroinvasive infection or an autoimmune response to neurons. Like fish polio.

That certainly could be the case. Lymphocystis virus is like that - of many fish exposed, only some develop clear symptoms. I even saw that in my HLLE study - some fish developed obvious symptoms, but when we looked at asymptomatic fish, they had histopathological changes due to HLLE, but those were not visible grossly.

You're correct though, we still have not been able to determine if there even is an infectious agent associated with this.

Jay
 

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Hi Jay, I have a fairy wrasse on week three of suspected UNWD. Hand-feeding with tweezers. When’s it time to call it quits and do you need another specimen?
 
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Hi Jay, I have a fairy wrasse on week three of suspected UNWD. Hand-feeding with tweezers. When’s it time to call it quits and do you need another specimen?

That is a tough call. If the fish looks good and is responding to hand-feeding, I'd be inclined to keep trying. However, with the last case I had a few years ago, my staff just about mutinied on me because they felt it was cruel to keep the wrasse alive like that. In the end, I decided I was having them hand feed it because I was so curious about the disease issue, not because it was the best thing for the fish, so I then had it euthanized.

Now that I'm retired, I don't have any resources to send additional samples out for histopathology......

Jay
 

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Do you by chance know the wholesale supplier? My lfs uses quality marine and I’ve given up on fairy wrasses due to losing 5-6 due to this exact behavior
 
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Jay Hemdal

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Do you by chance know the wholesale supplier? My lfs uses quality marine and I’ve given up on fairy wrasses due to losing 5-6 due to this exact behavior

I've been trying to see if there is a correlation between suppliers and this issue, but there only seems to be correlation in the type of fish involved, not who sells them. I have found more issues with wrasse coming from Indonesia, but that is probably just an artifact of the high percentage of fish coming from that region versus other collecting areas.
 

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Dang it, just had a pintail (isosceles) develop this overnight and then stumbled onto this thread- hadn't heard of this issue before. This am he was corkscrewing through the tank and bent in a curve; no obvious trauma to the head or snout. I've got him in an acclimation box and he still seems to want to feed, though somewhat lethargic. He's been with me for two weeks, had qt'ed at the LFS for a month before that. Been a genial tankmate, getting along well with my orangeback and a more recently acquired yellowfin flasher.

Have to get to the office today so I haven't made it all the way through the thread, but prognosis would seem to be very poor. @Jay Hemdal, would appreciate any input but it looks like there's not much to do. Shot a short video

but honestly it looks pretty much like others in the thread. Thanks.
 

homer1475

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While I have not read the entire thread......

Are all the fish that represent with this syndrome come from sort of medicated Qt'ed?

I wonder if it has something to do with some med being used?

I have never seen this in any fairy I have kept over the years, but I just plop and drop.
 

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Interesting thought. I have had several wrasse purchases come down with this and do not QT, but the LFS I received them from does keep them at low salinity (1.020) and copper. Most recent was a Pintail Fairy. Not sure why it would only start to be an issue in the most recent couple of years if this was the cause. It does not happen to all of them, but it is very frustrating.
 

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While I have not read the entire thread......

Are all the fish that represent with this syndrome come from sort of medicated Qt'ed?

I wonder if it has something to do with some med being used?

I have never seen this in any fairy I have kept over the years, but I just plop and drop.
I didn’t medicate; my pintail was in an unmedicated invert tank at the LFS when I got him but I’d need to dig into what regimen they had him on previously.
 

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i cant think

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Jay Hemdal

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It could be but I’ve not actually seen this happen with species outside of Cirrhilabrus or Paracheilinus.
I’ve had some reports of suspiciously similar issues with Coris and Halichoeres, but it is pretty rare.
 

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