Unknown Neurological Wrasse Disease (UNWD)

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Jay Hemdal

Jay Hemdal

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Just picked up 4 fairy and 1 flasher. All in QT with only metro and GC schedule. Holding on copper right now but ran across this posting. Timing wise looks like some of these are all happening during the early purchase phases while in QT. So whatever this is seems to reveal itself early on. I have a blue side that’s in a separate isolation box inside the QT as it was getting picked on by the flasher half it’s size. He does show the slight curve, but I’m chalking it off as him hunting for food under him. Not a lot of flow through that box as well to really tell. I’ll get him back to general population in the next few couple to see how he swims. Sad we all have this wrasse mystery

We have some public aquariums and aquatic vets working on the case now. Turns out a public aquarium had some histopath samples in storage. Too early to see if there will be a conclusion or not......

Jay
 
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mcwhng

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I’m worried about my female rhomboid wrasse I recently bought from LiveAquaria 3 wks ago. Did fine in qt until tonight when I noticed she wasn’t swimming all over the tank as usual but had a droopy tail like she was a paraplegic. Read about this mystery neurologic wrasse disease on this thread last month but forgot about it until now. Now I’m worried about a lunate wrasse I’m supposed to receive tomorrow also ftom Live Aquaria… jeeze. Not good news.
 
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I’m worried about my female rhomboid wrasse I recently bought from LiveAquaria 3 wks ago. Did fine in qt until tonight when I noticed she wasn’t swimming all over the tank as usual but had a droopy tail like she was a paraplegic. Read about this mystery neurologic wrasse disease on this thread last month but forgot about it until now. Now I’m worried about a lunate wrasse I’m supposed to receive tomorrow also ftom Live Aquaria… jeeze. Not good news.

I've never seen in in a lunare wrasse, so maybe it won't be an issue?

Jay
 

mcwhng

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I've never seen in in a lunare wrasse, so maybe it won't be an issue?

Jay
No I’ve ordered a lunate wrasse-it’s a fairy wrasse. Now im wondering about any fairy wrasse and my stocking plans for my new frag 105 mixed reef that has a borbonius and white tailed bristle tooth tang. Please let us know asap if any researchers at the public aquariums figure out what’s the cause for this issue so we can plan better for wrasse care. It’s already been stated here by others that maybe there’s some undiscovered toxin or pathogen that’s attacking the peripheral nervous system of these wonderful creatures. I dont like to see my pets suffer. And I do wonder about changing climate/environmental conditions having effects on local fish viruses or pathogens, perhaps making them more deadly and potent, e.g. covid19.
3C5CCCE2-C9F4-49EC-B76A-A4089F1D6E04.jpeg
 
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No I’ve ordered a lunate wrasse-it’s a fairy wrasse. Now im wondering about any fairy wrasse and my stocking plans for my new frag 105 mixed reef that has a borbonius and white tailed bristle tooth tang. Please let us know asap if any researchers at the public aquariums figure out what’s the cause for this issue so we can plan better for wrasse care. It’s already been stated here by others that maybe there’s some undiscovered toxin or pathogen that’s attacking the peripheral nervous system of these wonderful creatures. I dont like to see my pets suffer. And I do wonder about changing climate/environmental conditions having effects on local fish viruses or pathogens, perhaps making them more deadly and potent, e.g. covid19.
3C5CCCE2-C9F4-49EC-B76A-A4089F1D6E04.jpeg
Sorry, I thought you meant lunare. Yes, I’ll keep folks updated as to the results. The histopathology report I was sent is just descriptive of the nervous system changes, but did not identify a cause.
To be honest, there isn’t likely to be a treatment, viral and other internal infections have a poor prognosis.
Jay
 

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Lost a lunate 2 weeks ago to the disease… so far 6 out of 7 new wrasses from 3 different vendors have suffered with this condition.
This is really bad—why are vendors still selling wrasses that are almost guaranteed to die within weeks of being received by customers? I know, profits. I think if the industry wants to be better perceived by those who want to legislate it to extinction it needs to be more consumer and lifeform friendly… just saying maybe there should be a temporary moratorium on selling these wrasses until we figure out what’s going on. Thanks for this valuable info, and glad to see we’re reefing neighbors. I’m in Southern Westchester, in Pelham.
 
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Unknown Neurological Wrasse disease (UNWD)

There is a disease that afflicts newly acquired wrasses, usually Cirrhilabrus fairy wrasses or flasher wrasses, Pseudocheilinus, but occasionally other species as well. The gross visual symptoms are always the same; the fish shows a rapid onset of neurological symptoms where it either cannot swim well, swims tail down or swims with a bent spine. The other key symptom is that despite this, these wrasses will still attempt to feed. Most aquarists attribute the symptoms to some sort of an injury, such as running into the side of the tank. The trouble with that diagnosis is that these fish do not show external damage (bumped snouts, etc.) that would be expected from such an injury. Other hypothesis include barotrauma from deep water collection, or the use of cyanide to collect these fish. The trouble with these possible causes is that symptoms in other types of fish are known, and are different; emaciation in cyanide collection and swim bladder issues in cases of barotrauma. Mycobacterium has also been implicated, but that issue is more often present in long term captive fish, not newly acquired ones as in these instances.

Eventually, the affected fish becomes weaker and either needs to be euthanized, or dies spontaneously. To date, there is no known cure and the mortality rate seems to be 100%. All that can be said is that it is an unknown peripheral neurological disease. It does not seem to be highly contagious from wrasse to wrasse. The causative agent is possibly viral, but could also be nerve damage from nematodes or from microsporidians. Since the fish still tries to feed, it is unlikely the brain is affected, more likely only the spinal column or muscle nerves.
Never seen this disease. As a neurosurgeon I could help to brainstorm this issue. Barotrauma (air embolism) could affect eventually only part of the brain, that received a main arterial supply. For that I would expect unilateral weakness always on the same side. With unilateral anesthesia, so pinching the fish on the same side would elicit no response while on the normal side it could…
I would add acute onset as soon as the fish surfaces.
I’m here to help if needed in my area of knowledge.

And congratulations for the amazing work as always.
 

mcwhng

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Never seen this disease. As a neurosurgeon I could help to brainstorm this issue. Barotrauma (air embolism) could affect eventually only part of the brain, that received a main arterial supply. For that I would expect unilateral weakness always on the same side. With unilateral anesthesia, so pinching the fish on the same side would elicit no response while on the normal side it could…
I would add acute onset as soon as the fish surfaces.
I’m here to help if needed in my area of knowledge.

And congratulations for the amazing work as always.
Barotrauma affecting unilaterally doesn’t fit this profile, and like you said it would be more acute and clearly the fish would not survive long enough to ship to wholesalers, let alone customers. Seems almost like a wrasse version of ALS in human beings—death of peripheral nervous system, especially motor or muscle movement system, causing death eventually.
 

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Barotrauma affecting unilaterally doesn’t fit this profile, and like you said it would be more acute and clearly the fish would not survive long enough to ship to wholesalers, let alone customers. Seems almost like a wrasse version of ALS in human beings—death of peripheral nervous system, especially motor or muscle movement system, causing death eventually.
Agree…
 
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This is really bad—why are vendors still selling wrasses that are almost guaranteed to die within weeks of being received by customers? I know, profits. I think if the industry wants to be better perceived by those who want to legislate it to extinction it needs to be more consumer and lifeform friendly… just saying maybe there should be a temporary moratorium on selling these wrasses until we figure out what’s going on.
I have acquired many wrasses recently from Indonesia and Kenya with no issues.
I mostly heard of it coming in specimens from the Philippines.
 

mcwhng

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I have acquired many wrasses recently from Indonesia and Kenya with no issues.
I mostly heard of it coming in specimens from the Philippines.
Are the Philippines using cyanide again? My Rhomboid supposedly was from the Marshall Islands, and the lunate to be delivered is from Philippines…
 
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I suspect this wrasse is suffering from this new disease / syndrome. It just came out of QT into a holding a system while I finish a new build. It’s still having a feedings response but is becoming increasingly uncoordinated in its swimming. Too bad, I love the Fairy Wrasses, but I won’t be buying any more until this new issues is identified & hopefully with a treatment.
 

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mcwhng

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My Rhomboid just passed- she was spinning out of control with no ability to maintain herself… I’ve notified Liveaquaria of this issue with fairy wrasses and was told this was going straight to the head fish keeper. Just received lunate wrasse—I’m quite concerned with her survival and hoping the same thing won’t happen to another wrasse. Have to hold off on future additions until this gets cleared up.
 
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I have acquired many wrasses recently from Indonesia and Kenya with no issues.
I mostly heard of it coming in specimens from the Philippines.

I've seen this from Indonesia, but not Kenya.

Jay
 
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Are the Philippines using cyanide again? My Rhomboid supposedly was from the Marshall Islands, and the lunate to be delivered is from Philippines…

Cyanide never fully stopped in the Philippines, and it is actually getting worse in Indonesia.

The trouble is, this does not seem to be aligned with classic cyanide toxicity symptoms. The late onset also doesn't match up. Remember, these wrasse can die from a number of issues, the key element here is the fish shows neurologic symptoms, but still tries to feed.

Jay
 
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