Unknown Neurological Wrasse Disease (UNWD)

Hectaka

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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?
Oh I'm not asking for any kind of replacement just putting my experience out there for those doing the research and didn't know the actual source. The fish looked amazing and honestly still does, he just can't swim correctly. I just got the shipping date for my next order from you next week, once that settles in I'll see if I have room for something else. This seems to be something completely out of our control.
 
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Oh I'm not asking for any kind of replacement just putting my experience out there for those doing the research and didn't know the actual source. The fish looked amazing and honestly still does, he just can't swim correctly. I just got the shipping date for my next order from you next week, once that settles in I'll see if I have room for something else. This seems to be something completely out of our control.
I appriciate your patience and understanding, I added a free one to your order thursday. I hate for you to spend money into a fish and not get a good healthy fish. I have said this many times. I am hobbyist first business later so I feel the pain of losing money/livestock.

This is something very new to the scene and I am not aware of an remidy for this unfortunately.
 
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Jay Hemdal

Jay Hemdal

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for what its worth, I have a dozen of them in a 55 gal tank and only 1 showed that behaviour.

That's about an 8% rate, similar to my off-the-cuff estimate of around 5%

It is definitely not a "100%" contagious disease like velvet. It's more like Uronema, where certain fish species seem most susceptible, and then, only a lesser percentage of those ever show symptoms - always with newly acquired ones. I've yet to see this issue in wrasse that have been 6+ months in captivity.

I just got an email last week that the histopathologist has gotten the samples and is about to start screening for viral issues. The public aquarium side of things pretty much all suspect a viral component to this.


Jay
 
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That's about an 8% rate, similar to my off-the-cuff estimate of around 5%

It is definitely not a "100%" contagious disease like velvet. It's more like Uronema, where certain fish species seem most susceptible, and then, only a lesser percentage of those ever show symptoms - always with newly acquired ones. I've yet to see this issue in wrasse that have been 6+ months in captivity.

I just got an email last week that the histopathologist has gotten the samples and is about to start screening for viral issues. The public aquarium side of things pretty much all suspect a viral component to this.


Jay
Yes Jay I agree, I think its viral. I keep multiple wrasses in same tak to qt and evernow and then in a btach i will see 1 that seems to show this behaviour. I have 1 that swims upside down. lays upside down, eats upside down. Its not dying its healthy as it can be and its been there for 1 month. Tankmates include a dozen damsels and 6 yellow coris wrasses and a dozen mccoskers, couple of pipefish and some clowns. they are in my overflow inventory so they have passed the 30 day qt and are sitting to be sold. its funny seeing this fish doing everything upside down.
But yes I think its viral and it only effects a very selective certain fish.
 

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Yes Jay I agree, I think its viral. I keep multiple wrasses in same tak to qt and evernow and then in a btach i will see 1 that seems to show this behaviour. I have 1 that swims upside down. lays upside down, eats upside down. Its not dying its healthy as it can be and its been there for 1 month. Tankmates include a dozen damsels and 6 yellow coris wrasses and a dozen mccoskers, couple of pipefish and some clowns. they are in my overflow inventory so they have passed the 30 day qt and are sitting to be sold. its funny seeing this fish doing everything upside down.
But yes I think its viral and it only effects a very selective certain fish.
Mike, I had this experience with a Pintail. I purchased it from a shop locally that had it on hand for 6 weeks. It was a weird swimmer as you described. It spent most of its day swimming upside down. Was super healthy visually, just Odd. It had gone through a full 45 day qt with me and was waiting for introduction into the main system when the symptoms went from odd, to worrisome. The fish died 4 days after it started to turn.
 

Hectaka

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Here are a couple videos of my McCosker. He'll swim like this for a minute or two then just lays on the bottom typically upside down. Using a pipette I put a few Brine Shrimp into the box and he ate most of them but did seem to struggle getting to them with his swimming struggles.

 
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Jay Hemdal

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Here are a couple videos of my McCosker. He'll swim like this for a minute or two then just lays on the bottom typically upside down. Using a pipette I put a few Brine Shrimp into the box and he ate most of them but did seem to struggle getting to them with his swimming struggles.


Sad to see - that's a pretty fish.

Jay
 

Hectaka

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Sad to see - that's a pretty fish.

Jay
Thank you, he has been fun to watch. He was a bit of a jerk at first to the Carpenter and would chase him until he hid inside the barnacles. That only lasted a couple days. After that they got along OK, and would flash at each other frequently but not much chasing. I'm definitely hooked on wrasses, they bring a nice splash of orange/red color to my tank which is mostly black and white/silver fish and green coral for now.
 

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If it’s viral I have 2 questions. Are there abnormal amounts of wrasses dying off in nature? And was this happening 10-15-20 years ago? I don’t recall a wrasse degeneration like this in my many years. It seems like a more recent issue.
 
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Jay Hemdal

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If it’s viral I have 2 questions. Are there abnormal amounts of wrasses dying off in nature? And was this happening 10-15-20 years ago? I don’t recall a wrasse degeneration like this in my many years. It seems like a more recent issue.
Yes, this is new. I didn’t see this 20+ years ago. The history of the Banggai cardinal virus is something to consider - back in the 1990s the fish were fine, then the virus infected the exporter’s tanks and the disease became an issue. This has a similar history.

It might not be a virus, but it isn’t mechanical injury as was first believed.

Jay
 

Costareefer

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Yes, this is new. I didn’t see this 20+ years ago. The history of the Banggai cardinal virus is something to consider - back in the 1990s the fish were fine, then the virus infected the exporter’s tanks and the disease became an issue. This has a similar history.

It might not be a virus, but it isn’t mechanical injury as was first believed.

Jay
I’m this illness/environmental issue or whatever it turns out to be. Do the wrasses improve then go back downhill? Or is it once the symptoms show it’s all downhill from there? Basically a degeneration?
 
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Jay Hemdal

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I’ve not heard of any of these wrasses recovering. In some cases the symptoms gradually get worse over days/weeks, in other cases the fish suddenly develop symptoms and then get no worse.

Jay
 
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I’ve not heard of any of these wrasses recovering. In some cases the symptoms gradually get worse over days/weeks, in other cases the fish suddenly develop symptoms and then get no worse.

Jay
I agree with @Jay Hemdal. I have never had one recover. In fact spinning in circles and showing signs of this disease is usually the last few days of the fish living. Normally when these signs start to appear its already too late for the fish.
 

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Just lost another wrasse to this. Pintail fairy in qt, finished GC and prazipro and ate like a champ, coming up to the glass begging for more food. Started staying at the top of the water column tail down one day and just went downhill from there.
 

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I have another theory on what's going on here.



Scenario... Purchased 9 common wrasses online. Box arrived overnight, well packed and at a reasonable temperature. Matched salinity and temp. Copper Power at around 0.75ppm. Measured bag copper at 0.25 (Cupramine) . Straight in thus no real risk of ammonia toxicity.

Day 1 - Start 4 day ramp to 2.0 Copper Power, Metro, etc...

Day 2 - Lost 1 wrasse. No obvious cause of death. Skin scrape and microscope did not provide any answers. (I'm somewhat new with microscopy so there is room for error)

Day 4 - Lost the second wrasse. This one had obvious red marks telling me that it was Uronema. Still did not detect anything under the microscope, but again... It's a new tool for me.

Day 5 - I took a sample of detritus from the tank... this time it was entirely obvious. The detritus was infested with Uronema. :(

Day 10 ish - Pintail wrasse starts displaying signs of UNWD. See linked videos.

This qt tank has 50 gallons of water but it's a 75 gallon tank. There is around 8 inches from the water surface to the top. I also have neoprene padding under the eurobrace. I would put the likelyhood that this is an impact injury from jumping at pretty close to zero. I suppose it might have darted into the side glass. That's possible, but I don't think so.

My theory is that this is Uronema infecting the brain or some aspect of the spinal column.

Why is it more common now than it was historically?

I imagine that in years gone past, Uronema was somewhat rare whereas nowadays pretty much every fish that I buy, from any source, seems to come with Uronema. At least amongst the commonly affected species but I suspect that it lingers in other fish that are less susceptible. It's now almost certainly in all of the supply chain water whereas historically, that might not have been the case.

Why only new fish?

Wrasse's can live and be healthy with Uronema in the tank, but if they are stressed they become susceptible to the parasite. This is most likely to happen in supply chain, quarantine, or the first couple of months in the display. Most wrasses are likely exposed during supply chain and come to the hobbyist as a carrier. In some rare cases they might make it into the display tank before being exposed at which point it might take a month or two for UNWD to present.

I don't think that it can be said that UNWD never presents when a wrasse has been in a display tank for over 6+ months. It's likely somewhat rare and the hobbyist might assume a spinal injury or that the fish went crazy with old age. The point being, that it is probably under reported in well acclimated specimens.

Why is it seemingly not contagious?

Uronema is contagious but some fish specimens are healthier or just generally hardier than others and can keep it at bay. A second fish might one day succumb to UNWD and it might be assumed that this was transmitted from the first wrasse, that the virus lay dormant, but really it's ubiquitous in the tank and the second wrasse was just a bit hardier and managed to keep it at bay a bit longer.

Why doesn't Uronema always kill the same way?

I know for certain that some wrasses succumb to Uronema and have no visible signs of it. Other times, the red spots are noticeable. If red spots do present, they are not always in the same place.

Uronema is having it's way with the fishes. It gets internal and starts multiplying inside the fish. It digs in deep and when it pushes outward the red spots appear. That's game over for the fish.

Uronema will kill most wrasses before it gets to the brain or the spinal cord. However, in some cases, perhaps it finds a more direct path and infects an area of the nervous system that causes the behavior that we are observing.

Could it be a virus?

Yes - of course. Mine is only a theory. However, if it is a virus, it is a virus that is causing a neurological disorder and it is odd that it only seems to affect wrasses? I'm aware of the virus that affects only cardinals, but I have to believe that viruses that are super selective are somewhat rare; whereas I am pretty sure that Uronema is in just about every tank.

I supposed that begs the question... If this is Uronema, why does it only affect wrasses in this way and not anthias (for example). I can't answer that. It must have something to do with the physiology of wrasses.

The biggest problem with the virus theory is the low contagion rate. A healthy immune system could explain this in the same way that it explains why many fish can fight off Uronema, but now we have an unknown virus, that's really not very contagious at all, that causes a neurological disorder, affects only wrasses, and that the majority of wrasses (95%) can fight off. It's new in that it is only now being documented. I completely agree that this is possible but it's not a simple explination.

Or it could be a known pathogen that is probably in 99% of our tanks and attacks from inside the fish. It's known to spread internally and perhaps 5% of time it happens to reach an area of the fishes nervous system that results in the odd behavior and subsequent mortality that we see.

I don't know what's going on. I do know that I've lost 30% of my wrasses to Uronema of which one displayed the symptoms of UNWD.

Uronema is brutal. I don't know how to qt for it. You would have to isolate every fish and euthanize any where the parasite is found. I'm pretty sure that any fish can be a carrier - if only intermittently - thus the wait time to be certain that the fish is not a carrier would be unmanageable. If someone patents a cure for Uronema, they will be rich for sure and I will gladly support them. QTing for Uronema might have been possible in years gone by, but not if every fish that touches any aspect of supply chain must be assumed to have come in contact with it. I wonder how many mysterious fish deaths have really been Uronema. I imagine it's a lot.
 
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Lps_lover12

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Just lost another wrasse to this. Pintail fairy in qt, finished GC and prazipro and ate like a champ, coming up to the glass begging for more food. Started staying at the top of the water column tail down one day and just went downhill from there.
How long did it take for this to happen? I have a pintail in qt right now, just past the two week mark.
 
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Steph72

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This is so sad! I’m grateful to have found this thread and thank you so much for the information. I had no idea about this. My little coris wrasse has neurological issues but it’s related to a serious injury from about a year ago. Wrasses have a special place in my heart and I hope we get an answer about the underlying cause.
 

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