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Sitting and not eating after 2 day shipping

Discussion in 'Dwarf Cichlid Health' started by TCMontium, Aug 13, 2018.

  1. TCMontium

    TCMontium Member

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    I ordered 1 male and 2 female adult Apistos. The fish were supposed to come in 24 hours or less, but they came in 48 hours in summer heat (outside, daytime was at least 33C/91F and nighttime was at most 16C/64F). All 3 were in the same bag, with 2-3 liters of water and some sponge cubes. The styrobox was big and had lots of styrofoam peanuts and newspaper, so it seemed temperature and impact resistant but I of course don't know how much the water temperature did in fact raise and sink. Or how hard the sponge cubes (cut from hard filter sponge) hit the fish.

    Anyway. The fish looked energetic when they came but they all hid in tubes and caves. Females ate well from the second day on (I didn't feed them first day) and became more active day by day. The male however always sat in his tube and just ate some artemia nauplii on the first day or two. Now he doesn't eat dry, frozen or live food. Sits on the bottom. He doesn't escape from anything and swims less than an inch or doesn't swim away upon contact. He might even be having problems with staying upright.

    I guess he was somehow effected by something while shipping more than the females were effected. Maybe ammonia, maybe got hit by a sponge cube or got squished between 2 cubes or sudden change of temperature, maybe excessive heat/cold.
    I think he is going to die, but maybe there is something I can do with "a low chance to work". Any ideas?
  2. TCMontium

    TCMontium Member

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    Nevermind, the fish just died.
    What would you recommend though? If something like this happens again?
  3. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    #1 use a quarantine tank for at least 4 weeks (do a search here on a good quarantine tank set-up).
    #2 try to match water values pH, GH with that in which the fish were kept by the seller (ask buyer before fish are shipped)
    #3 Slowly (over a 2 week period) adjust water values to those best for the fish
    #4 Feed live foods at first and only a little at a time
    #5 Make small water changes (10%) every 1 - 2 days for the first week
    #6 Keep a close eye for abnormal behavior in the fish
    TCMontium likes this.
  4. TCMontium

    TCMontium Member

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    Thank you Mike. But I was asking for advice on fish that are becoming this way in shipment. He was hiding and not eating from the beginning and died after 5 days of arrival. There wasn’t weeks of time. The advices you gave up there are helpful in general when new fish arrive, but not in this case (of course even in this case these are helpful advices, I mean that the male fish was beyond saving without medical care, maybe even WITH medical care).
  5. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    I will say that I never ship more than 1 adult apisto in a bag. Ammonia build-up (from multiple fish) can destroy gil probleml already had a diseasefilaments very quickly. This is how apistos got the reputation as being delicate fish back in the 70s & 80s. That being said, my guess is that the male was already sick and then stressed from shipping. Shipping and a new environment just made it worse. Was the "sponge" something like PolyFilter which absorbs pollutant from the water? I don't see how simple pieces of foam (even if inoculated with nitrifying bacteria) is much help, but I don't know how it could damage your fish. Did you see damaged scales or fins on the fish? I personally don't medicate fish unless I am fairly certain what is causing the problem. Usually good clean water and a quiet dimly lit tank is more successful than turning a tank into a chemistry set.
    ButtNekkid and TCMontium like this.
  6. TCMontium

    TCMontium Member

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    The foams (my mistake, they aren't called "sponge" in English) were just black and blue filter foams you can find for the cheapest price as 2-4 inch thick big pieces and you cut them to the shape you wish. Nothing special. I don't know why they were added either. I have seen oddly colored scales as the male was in the bag and at the day I put him in the aquarium, I was worried that those might have been fungal infections on damaged skin. But I didn't see them after a day, the fish didn't seem to have irregularities on it's scales or fins. I don't know what the reason was for some particular scales to be discolored in the bag and at the first day, maybe just stress. Damaging the fish is just a weak guess because the foams are so hard and course, I was thinking that the swim bladder or another internal organ might have been damaged by impact with foam if the box was dropped or shaking during shipping. As I said, very weak possibility, the problem was most likely something(s) else during shipping, but I suppose it isn't impossible that the male had an internal injury, while the females did not. I don't know.

    I don't usually use medicines either. I healed fish with basic health problems from stores and my fish when I came back from holiday, by providing high water quality and providing natural parameters. I lost fish to more serious problems like fungal infection on wounds and parasites even by use of medicines. Of course for some cases, a person with more experience with medicine use on fish might have saved the fish that I couldn't save. I might have under/overdozed the fish or used a wrong medicine. I also did heal many fish with use of medicine, but those were years ago and it was just ick and camallanus. For last few years I very rarely buy sick fish or have a problem that I can't heal with feeding, water changes and humic/tannic acids. Wild caught adult fish have been pretty much the only really problematic ones in last years.
    Anyway, I was ready to use medicines because the fish was either going to be treated with a medicine, an advanced physiotherapy/surgery or he was beyond saving (which was the case at the time I opened this thread, but maybe he was already beyond saving as he arrived me, or maybe he wasn't beyond saving at all).
    Some people say they had success with chemical baths or oral medicines on fish that were "beyond saving", but I forgot their names and what the diseases of those fish were. So I wanted to hear the names of some "last hope" medicines/chemicals if anyone here had any such experience.

    Sorry to take your time. I tend to overthink and often ask unanswerable/stupid questions or questions that I know the answers of out of panic. It is a bad habit I try to suppress.

    Thanks,
  7. Drayden Farci

    Drayden Farci Active Member

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    Sorry to interject, but were you questioning the addition of a "sponge" that isn't Poly Filter, or were you questioning the addition of any type of sponge including Poly Filter? I think I'm reading your phrasing incorrectly... :)
  8. TCMontium

    TCMontium Member

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    A foam that doesn‘t have a significant chemical or biological effect in shipment. Simple, cheap, big pored, hard filter foam.
    I don‘t exactly know what a PolyFilter is, but if it decreases ammonia, ammonium, nitrites etc. concentration in the water, it probably would be useful in shipping.

    Or maybe you were asking it to Mike?
  9. Drayden Farci

    Drayden Farci Active Member

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    Both you and Mike. I think I just misread Mike's phrasing the first time around. Poly Filter is supposed to absorb Ammonia so it should be beneficial when shipping.
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  10. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    I meant to say that anything in the shipping bag that does not remove fish waste (gas, liquid or solids) is a waste of space. PolyFilter was used in aquariums to remove NH3, NO2, NO3, heavy metals and many other dissolved pollutants. I and many like me used to add a small cube in shipping bags to remove dissolved waste materials. This was before breathable bags and overnight shipping were common.
  11. boofeng

    boofeng Member

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    I'm currently nursing a pair of Abacaxis that arrived several days ago from Taiwan. The shipment got stuck for three days due to a local holiday before a weekend.

    Anyway the usual way fish are shipped internationally here in Asia is in tiny bags, with barely enough water for the fish to swim in, packed together with lots of what look like activated carbon pellets.

    The fish were breathing heavily when they got to me so I dosed praziquental after 12 hours. Right off, I saw lots of white poo at 24 hours. The male is breathing okay now but the female is still breathing heavily. Both fish are eating live food now. My usual next step will be to dose metronidazole to treat for flagellates.

    These two medicines are used a lot by local apisto keepers. They don't seem to harm the fish. And apistos seem to be affected by these internal parasites easily when stressed. So they're mainstays of local apistophiles medicine chests.
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