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surviving apisto lost mate...advice please

daisylane

New Member
Messages
10
Hi,

I'm new to the forum. We have what I think is a male apistogramma viejita or macmasteri (see post in ID forum http://www.apistogramma.com/forum/threads/apisto-id-help-please-viejita-vs-macmasteri.18992/ )

Got a pair about 18mths ago. Unfortunately 2 months ago we lost one which we think was the female. They previously did really well, very interactive with each other, mostly bottom dwelling when resting but swimming up to mid tank and around objects etc. Actively feeding etc.

Since losing its mate the male (?) Has become very withdrawn. Still appears to be a good size but spent most of the time hiding under the little caves made of bogwood and rocks etc. It was difficult to find him and he always seems to be sitting on the sand. He would also share cave with our large striped Raphael catfish (platydoras costatus) at times. We thought he was probably lonely but we were in the process of moving house so didn't want to subject newcomers to two moves and change of water etc so we have waited until now. We also lost our albino bristlenose ancistrus before the apisto and our catfish isnt particularly active so we thought the lack of activity at the bottom may be causing it to hide. We considered options and we decided to get some Cory's - got 2 x Cory sterbai and 2 x Cory paleatus/peppered who we got yesterday.

Since then the apisto has come out of hiding and is moving around the tank more and has had dorsal fin up a lot and is sitting/resting out in the open. Also saw him actively feeding tonight.

So...I'm not sure whether he a)was feeling scared/depressed since losing mate and lack of activity and is now feeling happier b) was scared/depressed and now feels threatened by Cory's hence dorsal fin up or c) not very well.

When moving across the tank he doesn't seem to leave the bottom and when he stops he leans to the right a bit and never really get to see the ventral fin.

When the mate died it deteriorated over many weeks - became thin/shallow in the body and was always sitting on the bottom and swam along the bottom - hence my concern with this one. They both used to rest on the bottom but usually would swim properly. At the time the water quality tests were fine and we treated tank with esha 2000 and people have suggested it could have been worms.

So now I'm not sure if this apisto is picking up and whether the Cory's activity is enough? I have been enquiring about trying to get another apisto of similar/same species or even a pair but was told they are best only as pairs? My concern with that is with lifespan we could be left with one dying again and having to replace mate and so on.

Can they happily live on their own after losing a mate?

Any advice would be much appreciated!
 

daisylane

New Member
Messages
10
:(

He seems to have perked up a lot since the cories have been added and last night I saw him sifting through the sand which he's not really been doing.

Any ideas as to cause of sickness from history and photo in ID forum?

Tank history:
125 L set up for 2 1/2 yrs. Moved house 8 months ago and had increased algae and think we went from soft to hard water and that's where his mate died. then we've just moved again (within similar area) 2 weeks ago.

I'm going to test the water later this eve so will post results then. Water test 1 week ago tank showed pH 7.2, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 20ppm nitrate. Phosphates were up higher than the tap water so probably overfeeding and extra sun from old house (were at my in laws) which explains algae problem.

We did 25% water change on Saturday using RO.
I've just bought extra tests for KH/GH so will post up to date results later

Tankmates: community tank
1 x large docile striped talking Raphael catfish
2 x peppered Cory's (since sat)
2 x sterbai Cory's (since sat)
3 x rainbow fish - trifasciata
5 x harlequin rasboras (since sat)
4 x blue tetras
1 x zebra danio

Prob worth mentioning that the zebra danio is not in the best shape. About 3-4 weeks ago he started being less active and being near top and near filter etc. He started to develop a bent spine so we treated the tank with esha 2000 and didn't think he would make it but he picked up before the move and since the move he is more active but still nearer the top and is obviously still bent. So when I spoke to LFS they said treatment has prob worked but he'll stay bent. Since putting the harlequins in he has been shoaling a bit with them and the blue tetras and I have seen him near the bottom but generally he's near the top.

Could there be something in the tank/fish that caused the female apisto death, bristlenose death (asymptomatic), bent danio and now odd apisto male? I thought it was probably stress of moves and different water etc.

Aso - What's the typical lifespan of these apistos? Just did quick search and looks like its 3-5 yrs for a.macmasteri now we've established its that not viejita. It could be more like 2 yrs that we've had him and he wasn't really tiny and you could tell he was male due to dorsal fin so perhaps he is older.
 

gerald

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
1,491
Location
Wake Forest NC, USA
Sounds like it may be a slow-growing bacterial infection, possibly Mycobacterium, which Danios and Apistos are especially sensitive to (along with rams, gouramis, rainbowfish and others). Here's some good info on Myco, if that's what it is: http://www.bookmasters.com/marktplc/00388mycoarticle1.pdf

Cichlids do not get depressed and listless from losing a mate. This myth comes from the fact that the survivor is often suffering from the same problems that killed its mate (disease, poor diet, water quality, etc).
 

daisylane

New Member
Messages
10
Thanks Gerald for your reply - I will have a read into that.

I appreciate the comment re them not getting depressed as I thought it that it may just be a delayed form of whatever killed the other one. However, why would there be such an improvement in activity/behaviour since addition of the Cory's? Or is the case that sick fish can still be 'cheered up' but obviously still be ill ie. he's not 'normal' as he doesn't seem to be swimming.

Done the water tests and I'm really surprised by the pH results. We did water change with RO but since then the tanks pH has actually increased, I thought if anything it should decrease. But then we have added new fish etc too and I'm only just trying to get my head round the KH and GH as that's new to me

Tank water today:

Nitrite 0
Ammonia 0 - 0.25 ( I did this twice with API kit, its seems in between 0 and 0.25 but it is quite difficult to tell)
Nitrate 5
pH 7.6 ( could be higher as didn't get high range pH test as had assumed ours would have come down not up!)
KH 90
GH 220 (very hard )

Tap water:
Nitrite 0
Ammonia 0
Nitrate 0-5
pH 7.6 (could be higher)
KH 70
GH (mod hard)

I've researched the water requirements of all our current fish and have some idea about what to aim for as some need to compromise but not sure how to go about it so I'll be trying to research that too.

Need to get accurate pH level and then try and get it down somehow.

Is the tiny amount of ammonia a concern? As LFS last week said it was 0.1 and fine but I'd always thought it should be 0.

Would a video of fish be helpful?

Thank you so much for the advice.....really keen to learn and try and help the fish....
 

daisylane

New Member
Messages
10
Oh dear.....that sounds really terrible :( From what I understand there is pretty much no treatment due to resistance? And it would likely be carried or affecting all the other fish. There has been some moves of house etc which could have caused stress and lowered immunity and allowed it to take hold.

I noticed the last 2 days that the two male rainbow fish front dorsal fins looks a little greyish :( I thought perhaps they had always been like that and I was paranoid but perhaps its fin rot or this myco


What should I do? Help!

I've got a few treatments for protozoa, white spot etc but the best thing we've used in the past is esha2000 which seems to cover lots of things so I have just started that. However I didnt realise until recently that you should remove the carbon filter whilst medicating which I have now done.

Edit - can't believe it just checked and the 2 new Cory sterbai appear to have redness around their gills :( literally just appeared in the last few hours. They are still active though.

I know the esha2000 prob won't help if its myco but hopefully would stop secondary infections etc. Not really sure what else to do :(
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Messages
11,303
Location
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
I hate to say it but it appears that you have something very nasty affecting all of your fish. If it was my tank I would not add any more fish, keep the water changes regular and hope for the best. If worse comes to worst, and many more fish die, you may have to consider euthanizing (or at least quarantining) the existing fish. Then break down the tank and sterilize everything in it with chlorine bleach. Then reset it. I have said this many times, the most valuable piece of aquarium equipment is a small quarantine tank. Never add new fish to an established community tank until it has been quarantined for at least 4 - 6 weeks. If the fish look good and behave normally, only then add them to the community tank. Good luck and please don't give up.
 

gerald

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
1,491
Location
Wake Forest NC, USA
With KH of 70 to 90 (i assume that's in mg/L?) your pH will probably stay in the mid-7's, which is fine for most fish including macmasteri. Just avoid the "obligate" blackwater species (there's really not that many) and leave your water as is.
 

daisylane

New Member
Messages
10
Thank you both for your advice. We're going to invest in a quarantine tank as suggested.

We got our tap water tested and it was pH 8 and phosphate 5! So we added a phorax phosphate remover to our filter and have started using RO(to help reduce phosphate and ph) and have done 2 x 10% water changes over a week. We completed 3 days of treatment with esha2000 but unfortunately the day after on Friday we lost one of the Cory sterbais :( he was swimming about one minute and dead the next. Externally he looked completely normal and the petechaie in front of the gills had faded. The remaining Cory sterbais petechaie have faded but he is quieter than previous and only occasionally swimming with the peppered Cory's.

The apisto seems to be doing better, still swimming along the bottom but much more active. From what I've found its likely either a bacterial infection or swimbladder problem. Was advised to try feeding him bloodworm as it can help if they are not wanting to eat and can help with digestion and swimbladder? So I've been putting in them every other day. The apisto seemed to love them but also noticed the rainbow fish grabbing a few on the way down and even picking them up from the bottom and some are quite greedy.

I was hopeful that everything was looking OK the last few days but unfortunately come down this morning to find rainbowgish male upside down at the bottom of the tank :( doesn't seem too distressed so have decided to give him till later today to euthanize if no improvement. Not really sure whether its bacterial problem (he did have some white on dorsal fin last week but cleared up with esha) or if it could be over eating and possibly bloodworms?

The female rainbow had quite a large long thick brown poo hanging but didn't look white or stringy.

Different sources seem to say bloodworms are OK for them others say it causes problems? I had read that apistos can get problems with bloodworms but as I was pretty desperate I thought it was worth a try.

Tank last night:
PH 7.2
Ammonia 0
Nitrate 50
Nitrite 0

Did10% RO water change, thought nitrates may be up as perhaps overfeeding a bit with addition of bloodworms

This am
PH 7.2
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 20-50

Started treating with esha again in case and not really sure if it is overfeating/bloodworm problem is recovery possible?
 

gerald

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
1,491
Location
Wake Forest NC, USA
The "problem" with bloodworms is not the "worms" themselves (they are insects, not worms) but what else may be frozen in the package with them. Some are harvested (especially in Asia) as a byproduct from wastewater treatment or livestock & food-fish farms, and may contain metals, pesticides, hydrocarbons, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, etc. Bloodworms are unusually "pollution-tolerant" critters (like Tubifex) and can live with high levels of pollutants that would kill fish. Also they may have been handled poorly and partially decayed before being frozen. Bloodworms taken from your own rain barrels or tubs, and some "better" frozen brands are probably OK.

Whether recovery is possible or not depends on what the underlying causes are ... not the symptoms.
 

daisylane

New Member
Messages
10
Thanks

They were BCUK aquatics bloodworms that state they are gamma irradiated to eliminate pathogens.

If it is due to overeating and knockon swimbladder problem then its possible may correct itself in a few days? From what I've searched.

If it is parasite, bacteria or myco then it will deteriorate I assume.

Whilst it doesn't look distressed I'm going to leave it and see what its like tomorrow. If it gets worse/distressed will euthanaze :(
 

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