Unknown Neurological Wrasse Disease (UNWD)

nbooks

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unfortunately, im pretty confident i saw a case at my LFS yesterday. Believe it was an exqusite.

 
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Jay Hemdal

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unfortunately, im pretty confident i saw a case at my LFS yesterday. Believe it was an exqusite.


Yes, that could be the same issue. As I've said though - the key symptom of this is that the fish still tries to feed. Many fish will do a "death spiral" for a variety of reasons, but those also lose the will to feed.

Jay
 

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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.
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.
 
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Jay Hemdal

Jay Hemdal

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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.

Sorry to hear - I'm still working on this apparent "mystery disease". It does seem to be hit or miss. Some public aquarium vets looking into this, as they have seen the same issue, but no good info as yet. My guess is that it will end up being some virus or shipping issue, and no true "cure" will be found....

Jay
 

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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".
 
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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'm not sure if you saw my video a few pages before, But they are akin to likeness.

To add a little bit more information here, I had 3 naoko in the span of 6 weeks. 1 from a great shop nearby and 2 from the same store. My LFS.

All of them are vigorously prior to me bringing them home. Were temp acclimated and added into quarantine which has the same salinity as both shops runs.

Within 3 days, each one begun exhibiting the symptoms, and perished not too long afterwards.
 
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Jay Hemdal

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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".

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!

Jay
 

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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!

Jay
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.

Thanks for looking into this, it’s been a difficult issue us wrasse keepers have had to deal with for a long time.
 
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Jay Hemdal

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Here is a synopsis of the virus that they suspect might be behind this issue:

Betanodaviruses more commonly cause disease
and mortality in larval and juvenile stages, but under
the right conditions, sub-adults, market-size, and
adult fish (including broodstock) can be affected.
Clinical signs reflect the fact that the nervous system
is targeted. In addition to mortalities of up to 100%,
infected larvae and juvenile stages often show
abnormal swimming behavior, including vertical
positioning and spinning; flexing of the body; and
muscle tremors. Betanodavirus causes hyperinflation
of the swim bladder, so diseased fish are found
primarily at the surface. Affected fish may also have
traumatic lesions due to uncontrolled
swimming/spinning. The most common clinical sign
in adults is abnormal swimming (Bovo and Florio
2008). Changes in skin pigmentation, either
darkening or lightening depending upon species, may
also be seen.
 

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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.
 
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Jay Hemdal

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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.

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.

Jay
 
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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.

Jay
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.
 

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Feel certain I can add my McCosker's to the list. Introduced 9 days ago. Great coloration and feeding response. Four days ago I noted irregular positioning and jerky movements including the spinning described in this thread. First thought was impact trauma, but no obvious external signs of impact or disease. Still has a strong feeding response but success is falling. Awesome little guy. Thanks for starting this thread.
 
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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 should clarify - the 5% incident rate is just an educated guess, but it is on TOP of the latent mortality seen in these wrasses from all causes; cyanide, those that don't feed, die from disease, etc. In the three studies that I've done since 1985, the mortality rate for grade B SE Asian fishes has run a pretty consistent 40 to 60% in the first 40 days, as opposed to 6 to 15% for fish from Africa, Hawaii, Sri Lanka, Florida, GBR.

Jay
 

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@Jay Hemdal Do you think this virus is contagious? I have a McCosker Flasher that is displaying very similar behavior. It is still eating but swimming in circles and upside down. In QT with it is an Earmuff wrasse. This is the fourth week for them in QT. Any guidance of what I should do would be greatly appreciated. 
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IMG_4434.JPG
IMG_4435.JPG
 
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We just don't know much about it yet. It does seem to be contagious in that the fish seem to be exposed to it during the supply chain (fish from some regions are worse than from others) but it does not seem to be contagious like ich is, where once exposed, all the fish will develop it. we've seen cases where a number of new wrasse were housed in a tank together and only a few of them develop the issue (I'm guessing 5%, but that is just a stab in the dark).

Jay
 

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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.
 
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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.
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.

Other fish acting fine? any odd behaviour?
 

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