unfortunately, im pretty confident i saw a case at my LFS yesterday. Believe it was an exqusite.
I’ve experienced this with a solorensis fairy wrasse maybe a year ago. You tried to help. The most frustrating part was that I thought it was something I did.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.
I’ve experienced this with a solorensis fairy wrasse maybe a year ago. You tried to help. The most frustrating part was that I thought it was something I did.
Thankfully, the next one wasn’t affected.
I'm not sure if you saw my video a few pages before, But they are akin to likeness.
Is this it? I took this earlier today and its been deteriorating through the day. Should I do anything with the body if it dies or I euthanize it?
I find this topic very interesting and hope you don't mind that I pose a few questions.
In another thread you mention that you sent samples for analysis, just out of curiosity were the samples just from Cirrhilabrus and Paracheilinus specimens or were other wrasse genera included?
The majority of the affected wrasses are fairies and flashers which have a propensity for jumping. Perhaps newly collected specimens that are not used to the confines of an aquarium bolt upwards instinctively and strike against the lid, rim, center brace, etc. Just because we don't "see" damage does that rule out that damage has not occurred?
Over the years I've witnessed a few of my C. isosceles, rhomboidalis, and earlei strike rims and center braces and then exhibit the tail dragging that most of us wrasse keepers associate with a "spinal injury". In my cases I accidentally spooked them. No damage to their snout nor their dorsal.
What I find interesting is that this condition only affects wrasses. If it were from a virus or another pathogen then why doesn't it spread to other wrasses in the same tank?
I'm not dismissing the possibility of a pathogen, but I don't think we can rule out a strike injury based on the lack of snout damage alone until the results tell us otherwise. But sadly I do believe you're right that even after we get the results it won't lead to a "cure".
Thank you for the update, Jay. I’m curious if possibly two different conditions are getting lumped together. In the cases of my wrasses, they never exhibited a bent spine just the inability to use their caudal peduncle which they never recovered the use of and ultimately perished. I wonder if the specimens being tested had bent spines? Intriguing.There are two groups of fish pathologists looking into this syndrome, they are working from preserved samples and they have higher priority cases, so the histopathology is slow in coming. There are two specimens being sectioned, one of each genus, I don’t recall the species. Interestingly, one group also thought it was from strike injuries, but now they suspect a pathogen, after they noted the slow progression and some evidence of contagion. The group I’m working with has started with the working hypothesis that it is a virus…time well tell!
Great discussion. Not to derail, but to take an positive pause: It doesn't appear to be happening to all recent wrasses.
I have 4 fairy and flashers go through QT and now 30 days in DT and all doing well so far. Sharing only to let others that may be on the side line on these fish waiting for the mystery to be solved first before attempting them. I got mine from 2 sources: petco online and a LFS. The petco bags all read Asia as the source, which doesn't give you much as to locality. I consider myself lucky to not have my batches affected so take your chances if you're still on the fence about trying wrasses. I was going to wait myself for a general all-clear on this mystery initially. Since I was already setting up QT for some anthias, I gambled.
Good to know the low chances at 5%. I actually thought the % was much higher hence I hesitated trying wrasses myself. 5% is very little and even a better reason to not let this mystery deter anyone. There's prob an 50-70% failure rate for us with say chromis or anthias. =) Low risk for rather hardy wrasses is a good place to be. Thanks.Correct - while this syndrome is pretty common, it is by no means ubiquitous. Just off the cuff guessing, I think it is running in the 5% range. It shows up mostly in retail stores and people's homes...evidently it is still incubating at the time it is moving through the importers. However, it is 100% fatal in the cases I've had brought to my attention.
Good to know the low chances at 5%. I actually thought the % was much higher hence I hesitated trying wrasses myself. 5% is very little and even a better reason to not let this mystery deter anyone. There's prob an 50-70% failure rate for us with say chromis or anthias. =) Low risk for rather hardy wrasses is a good place to be. Thanks.
I have been noticing more and more of this type of behaviour from wrasses. Mccosker is from Maldeves. It was qted for the mjor disease like ich/velvet/brook/uromena and internal worm/parasites. All i can offer for something like this that is unknown is that i can replace the fish as its not likely to survive. sometimes they get spinal injuries as well from darting and hitting their backs but normally you will see them curled up. anyhow let me know.I have a McCosker Wrasse exhibiting the symptoms described here and matching the shared videos. I will try to get a video of my own this evening if he's still alive. It started Wednesday with sporadic spinning and had gotten worse. I caught him last night and put him in an acclimation box as the Carpenter and Midas Blenny were starting to chase him. I noticed last night he had a small mucous nest but was only partially in it and was upside down. Breathing seems to vary from normal to slightly elevated after being chased and he is still eating pellets (tdo and nyos) and frozen (Spirulina Mysis and Brine).
I got this fish from @Dr. Reef. It began QT with him on 18Jun22 and has been in my DT since 30Jul22. I'm not sure where the wrasse was obtained from but I received the Carpenter at the same time and it does not have any of the symptoms at this time.