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FAQs About Dojos, Weatherfishes Health/Disease 1

Related Articles: Dojo Use in Ornamental Ponds, Loaches, A New Look At Loaches By Neale Monks,

Related FAQs: Dojos/Weatherfishes Health 1, Dojo Health 2, Dojo Health 3, Dojo Health 4, Dojo Health 5Dojo/Weatherfishes 1, Dojos/Weatherfishes 2, & FAQs on: Dojos/Weatherfishes Identification, Dojos/Weatherfishes Behavior, Dojos/Weatherfishes Compatibility, Dojos/Weatherfishes Stocking/Selection, Dojos/Weatherfishes Systems, Dojos/Weatherfishes Feeding, Dojos/Weatherfishes Reproduction, & Loaches 1, Clown Loaches, & Loach Identification, Loach Behavior, Loach Compatibility, Loach Selection, Loach Systems, Loach Feeding, Loach Disease, Loach Reproduction,

Bumpy Dojo Loach 4/10/09
I looked at the illnesses inquired about before, but none of them seemed to match quite right. And I may have worded the tail problem wrong. It's not Anchorworm, as that like, hangs from the body, right?
<Not really hanging. The stage folks see is like twin "sticks" protruding from the body, sometimes the beginnings like a red single pimple. See here:
and the Net re "Lernaea">
This is just a spike UNDER her skin that protrudes sideways, without actually breaking the barrier of skin.
<Oh... might be something else>
As for the bumps, there are two of them, one close to her head, and one by her behind, so I don't think it's digestion issues, because then there shouldn't be one by her head, or so I think.
<Well... again, Misgurnis are given to such "bumpiness" with age, growth in captivity. We have photos/examples of such on WWM. Not necessarily fatal or even apparently debilitating. I would not treat for it per se. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bumpy Dojo Loach -- 04/12/09

Well... she hasn't died yet. She's only a little less active now, but she's eating fine. The bumps aren't going away (so says my sister, whom I've called every night about the fish for the past few days, since I'm out of town until tomorrow), but I'm going to check again tomorrow. Hopefully the swelling has gone down some. I got a new filter, and fixed up any PH, etc. problems there COULD have been.
<Maybe... as stated, this issue is quite common in older, larger Misgurnis in captivity... and not often apparently debilitating, definitely not lethal. BobF>

Black Spots on golden dojo loach 12/15/08 Hello, I had two golden dojo loaches and four goldfish in a 55 gallon tank, well first I noticed that one golden dojo loaches got a black spot and then another and then about five. My goldfish which I tried to save desperately all died with black spots on them and the on dojo that was left seems fine no spots then I went and got another dojo loach so the one would not be lonely ,well the new one, I noticed, had one of them black spots under his eye is this some kind of disease that they get that possibly spread to the goldfish because I had the goldfish for five years and then when I got the dojo's this all started taking place. Now my new dojo has the same black spot under his eye which was already there but I did not notice it till I got home. Every thing I find on the net says ammonia burns on fish, or black spot disease and they don't tell you how to treat black spot disease or could this be some kind of parasite. I would appreciate any advice you could give me. Right now all I have in my 55 gallon tank is two dojo loaches. They appear to be ok except the one with the black spot under his eye. What kind of fish could I put with dojo loaches later on. I don't want no more goldfish hard to keep tank clean. Thanks A lot for any information given, Patricia <Hello Patricia. Black spots are actually not caused by any one specific thing. Among pond fish, or fish bred outdoors but then kept indoors, they are usually caused by worm-like parasites such as Posthodiplostomum. These parasites have a two-stage life cycle that involves a fish and a bird, and because aquaria aren't visited by water birds, the parasite quickly dies out under aquarium conditions. So you sometimes see black spots on fish farmed outdoors but sold in pet shops, and provided they're otherwise healthy, the black spots eventually die out without causing too much harm (though the wounds can be focus points for Finrot and the like). These black spots are typically circular, slightly raised, and around the size of a pin head. There's no actual treatment as such; just like whitespot, you can't kill the cysts, only the free-living parasite stages, and those die out anyway in aquaria. The other reason for black spots is a reaction to high concentrations of ammonia. Such spots are irregular in shape, sometimes small, sometimes whole patches. Fish tend to react to high levels of ammonia in other ways too, often breathing heavily, darting about the tank nervously, and not showing their normal interest in food. Ammonia is dealt with by improving water quality, specifically by reducing food levels, doing big water changes, and checking the filter is adequate to the needs of the livestock. Goldfish are messy and big, and I'd recommend a filter rated at a turnover of 6 times the volume of the tank or more; in your case 6 x 55 = 330 gallons per hour. More is fine unless you have very delicate fancy varieties (such as Celestials). An external canister filter is the ideal, but if you're on a budget, undergravel filters work great too. Hang-on-the-back filters tend to be overwhelmed by Goldfish, so I would not recommend using them in this situation. In any event, do an ammonia or nitrite test to check on water quality, and if you detect either at levels other than zero, then this is very likely the problem. Cheers, Neale.>

Misgurnus; Finrot? 12/9/08 Hi, I'm hoping you can help me, I purchased a gold weather loach around a year ago, and just recently it has developed 'blisters' all over its body. It covers the whole body of the fish apart from the fins and the head. It almost looks as though a top layer of skin has 'puffed up'. It is kept with two goldfish that do not seem to have any symptoms; it is a cold water tank and has no heater. I also change the water regularly. <Ah, you may change the water, but do you filter it adequately? Seemingly not; what you are describing sounds like Finrot and/or Fungus, both almost always indicators of poor water quality. Check you have zero ammonia/nitrite levels in the tank, and if not, act to remedy this by beefing up filtration, reducing stocking density, or reducing food input. Regardless, treat with a reliable anti-Finrot medication, such as Maracyn or eSHa 2000. Not salt, and not Melafix!> The fish seem to have outgrown their current tank and I am in the process of buying them a much larger one. Could this skin inflammation be a sign of not getting enough exercise? <No. Cheers, Neale.> Re: Misgurnus; Finrot? Thank you very much for your advice, it is very much appreciated! Kind Regards, Kath <Happy to help. Good luck, Neale.>

Unwell Japanese weather loach... English and reading, as usual 8/26/08 thanks for replying about the puffer fish, I have taken them out of the tank. Our loach has bitten fins, breathing fast and laying on his side we have put him in a bowl with disease safe is there anything else we can do? Is it best to leave him in his bowl or put him back in the tank which we have added fungus and Finrot? <... don't live in bowls...> He is a Japanese weather loach and is about 3 yrs old. thanks <... No data of use here: Read: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dojofaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Sick Dojo Loach and Swordtail with Tumor -- 03/10/08 Dear WWM Crew, <Angela> I currently have a 10 gallon tropical aquarium, with a dojo loach and a swordtail. The tank has been running for several years now and the water quality has always been good, but nitrate levels have gone up in the past two weeks after my dojo loach got sick. <Interesting... is this all that changed?> I've been changing the water weekly to try to keep things clean. <Mmmm, hopefully not too much at a time> The dojo loach is usually very lively and eats a lot, but about two weeks ago I noticed that she wasn't eating as much as usual. The problem has gotten worse, and I haven't seen her eat anything in the last week. Within the last week, her anus has become abnormally large with a swollen protrusion (I've attached a photo for your convenience). <I see this> She also continually goes up to the surface for air and floats there, only coming down again after farting. In addition, I noticed that around the same time she first started showing signs of illness, she developed two shallow holes in her head. There is one under her eye, and one closer to her nostril. They are only on one side of her head. I'm not sure if these are related to the rest of her symptoms. <I do think all is inter-related> I've tried treating her with Maracyn and Maracyn II, but they don't seem to have had any effect. I'm planning on giving her a treatment of Epsom salt - do you think this will help? <Mmmm, maybe...> Also, I've noticed that my swordtail has been growing a white, fleshy protrusion on his side. I'm thinking it is probably a tumor, but I'm not quite sure. He's about 4 years old, and the area the tumor is growing from has been missing a few scales for around a year. It doesn't seem to bother him, but is there anything I can do about it? <This, and the pits on the Loach's head and possibly the other anal complaint of the loach are possibly pathogenic, infectious... bacterial... but what triggered, brought in this complaint? Live food, some newly purchased livestock? That the fine two gram positive and negative Mardel products didn't cure this is not too surprising... No mix or single antibiotic/anti-microbial can do... But perhaps the use of a Furan compound will help here... and not further disturb your biofiltration. I would try this with the Epsom... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwantibiofaqs.htm Bob Fenner> Thank you very much for your time! Angela

Re: Sick Dojo Loach and Swordtail with Tumor 3/17/08 Dear WWM Crew, <Angela> I'm not sure what triggered the illness. The tank has been running as usual, no new kinds of food or new livestock. I feed them a combination of shrimp pellets and flake food. <I see> We have been trying the Furan treatment as prescribed, but it seems like it hasn't helped. The loach has become much worse - in the past week, she's developed ulcers all over her body, mostly on her belly. She's gotten very skinny and spends most of her time floating on her side now. I don't know how long she has left, but is there anything I could try to save her? <Sometimes Epsom Salt addition seems to have a cathartic effect here... Read: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/saltusefaqs.htm> Thanks for your help, Angela <Welcome. BobF>

Sick geriatric dojo loach, reading 2/26/08 Hi there, <Ho there> I am very concerned about my Dojo Loach. She is around eight years old <Neat!> and I'm guessing that she is dealing with old age. She has had a large bump on one side of her lower body for several months now. Perhaps a tumor? <Perhaps> She had only the tumor for awhile and then I noticed red around her fins and tail rot. I treated her with medicine for tail rot <Mmmm, see WWM re> and it never really went away completely. Now this morning, I see that she has a large grayish patch in her lower body as well. It looks like a fungus. So now, if I¹m correct, she has a tumor, a bacterial infection and a fungus. Is this what happens when they begin to die of old age? I am very attached to her, and part of me wants to treat again, but I also don¹t want her to suffer, if she¹s in pain or uncomfortable. Is there anything I can do? Thank you, Rozalynd <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dojofaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick geriatric dojo loach 2/27/08 Hi Bob, <Roz> Thank you for your speedy response. From reading the link you sent, it seems like I may be able to keep her a few more years, if I figure out what to treat her with. <I do hope so> I apologize for having not found the WWM info prior ... I only managed to find the page with all illnesses lumped together (no pun intended!). I see that you recommended treating an internal bacterial infection with Metronidazole and tail rot with Nitrofuranace and then BioSpira. <Okay> I'm not sure where to begin though. Any further advice would be greatly appreciated. I'd love to keep her around a bit longer if possible. Thanks again, Rozalynd <I would try the Furan cpd. first... 250 mg./10 gal.s of water... as proscribed. BobF> Re: Sick geriatric dojo loach 2/27/08 Thanks so much. Hopefully I can round up this medicine and get her back up to snuff. I'm in the US and went out on a futile run today to find the other medicines I thought I would need from reading your website. So fingers crossed finding Furan cpd. I really appreciate your help and fabulous informative website. I really learned a lot. <Ahhh! A pleasure to serve. Life to you my friend. BobF>

Golden Dojo/Mumps 1/15/08 Hello to the Crew, I have three golden Dojos. <Misgurnus anguillicaudatus; nice fish.> Two boys and one girl. I have had them approximately one year. They are in a 125 gal. community tank. <Tropical or coldwater? These fish are technically subtropical fish, and their health in tropical tanks is compromised. Certainly keep no more than 25C, and ideally below 22C, with a definite cold period during winter at around 18C. This is fine for other subtropicals like Danios and of course Goldfish.> The girl started looking puffy Just below the head all the way to the end of her tail. Within a couple of days she looked as though she has the mumps. <Which I can categorically assure you she doesn't.> The are directly on top of her oblong Indentations behind the gills. I have spent many hrs. researching signs and symptoms of weather loaches and can find nothing referring to swollen areas that look like she has the mumps. Her entire Body is swollen now including her Dorsal fin. The mumps are more pronounced that the rest of the body. Her head is normal size. She eats normal and swims fine. <Difficult to say precisely what's going on here without seeing a photo. Localised swelling on fish can be caused by a variety of things, from injuries to tumours, but for a fish to swell up all over is not at all common except in the case of 'Dropsy'. This is oedema, where fluid builds up inside a fish. It isn't one single disease, and there's no sure-fire cure. But what it does indicate is that the fish has suffered organ failure of some sort, though the causes vary wildly from the use of aquarium salt in freshwater tanks at one end to bacterial or viral infections at the other. Dropsy typically causes the scales to become erect, giving fish a distinctive pine-cone appearance, but because loaches have very small scales, this won't be obvious.> Water Quality, Ammonia 0ppm, Nitrite 0ppm, Nitrate 0ppm, High Range ph7.4 Low Range 7.0. tank well established. Please Help!!! Thank You Karen <Do send a photo. Cheers, Neale.>

Misgurnis... lumpy 01/14/2008 Hey guys, I'm hoping you can answer my question ASAP. I looked on your FAQs and the only things about lumps I saw were about lumps on the body, but my weather loach recently developed a lump on the top of his whiskers. He won't eat and if the water is disturbed [I was putting baby plants in the tank] He started swimming sideways and spiraling. I had to quickly close the lid to my 33 gallon tank as he tried to jump out. This swimming continues for about 30 seconds, then he goes to the bottom of the tank and just sits. I've had him [or her] about 2 months and this is not normal behavior. He used to eat all day, or pick through the rocks but now all he does is sit. The lump isn't very big, but it looks like something white in his mouth and even when I caught him, I couldn't see anything in it. I'm worried because he hasn't eaten for 2 days and his swimming seems to be tiring him out even more!! PLEASE help? <Greetings. It's difficult to be 100% sure of what's going on here. If the "lumps" look like warts, that is, off-white, textured structures clearly distinct from the skin or body, then the chances are your Loach has either Fish Pox or Lymphocystis. These are viral complaints apparently brought on by poor water quality or things like heavy metal poisoning. Neither are really curable as such, but if a fish is kept healthy, they do eventually go away over a period of time (often many months). HOWEVER, from the position of these lumps, I'd SERIOUSLY consider Mouth Fungus (= Columnaris), a bacterial infection similar to Fin Rot. Like Fin Rot, it's caused by chronically poor water quality. Various off-the-shelf treatments will fix it such as Maracyn or eSHa 2000. I'd personally steer clear from Melafix or Pimafix, at least as the sole treatment. Obviously you also need to make sure the water (and perhaps also the substrate) are clean for any cure to work. Also do remember to remove carbon from the filter (if used) while treating. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick weather loach, English... not following directions. 11/19/07 hi we have a 4yr old female weather loach 6 days ago she started acting strange she lies on her side or back, doesn't move she's turned a rusty color, and slimy she hasn't eaten, and looks like she's gasping for air we have a3yr old male weather loach, and 3 other types of loaches they are all fine and so are their other tank mates, she's the only one sick, she looks like she's suffering please help to what it maybe thanks anita&pat <... Please... you didn't follow instructions re looking on WWM, nor fixing your language... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dojofaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Weather Loach Bump 6/6/07 Hello, <Hi there> I've had my weather loach for 11 yrs now and he is about 6 inches long. <Neat! And likely as chubby as a Ball Park Frank!> I just noticed the other day that he has a large lump starting to form near his head/gill area. He doesn't seem to be as active as he used to be and I don't think he is eating as much as he used to either. <Yikes...> We haven't added any fish for about a year now and nothing else is new to the 30 gallon tank. The water quality is fine as well. I've attached a picture so you can see what the lump looks like. Is this a tumor? <Maybe...> Is there anything I can do to help? <Mmm, other than good nutrition, water quality... some folks, times suggest the use of "aquarium salt" if your other livestock can handle its addition.> How long does he have? <Perhaps years...> I've become fairly attached to the fish since I have had it now for so long. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!! Thank you, SuAnn <I really like this species... and do hope yours rallies. Bob Fenner>

Re: Weather Loach Bump 9/30/07 My weather loach has been hanging on since June. I started to think that maybe he had a bacterial infection so I have treated with 2 treatments of Maracyn-2 antibiotics. This doesn't seem to have helped any. He now is starting to loose <Lose> weight and has difficulty eating since it is hard for him to move his head due to the bump. I have to try to get the food right in front of his head for him to eat. Is there anything else I can try to help treat the fish??? Do you think Erythromycin would work? <Mmm, not likely> I've reattached the picture for your review (you can see the lump towards his head/gill). It has gotten a little bit bigger since before and his gill is blown out on that side. <Not much hope for remission... You might try Epsom Salt... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/saltusefaqs.htm BobF>

Dojo Loach Lump 2/7/06 I have two dojo loaches, I bought them both at the same time but one of them developed a lump on his side. <Have seen this/these more and more...> He has a hard time swimming and he won't eat unless I put the food right in front of his mouth, he mostly lays on his other side with his head in the air. The other one seems fine. He has been like this for a while and it hasn't killed him but he doesn't seem very happy. Do you have any suggestions of what this may be and how I can get rid of it? <You might try the inexpensive use of Epsom Salt here (covered on WWM), but am not of a positive notion here... I suspect the origin/s of these lumps are developmental... exposure to poor water quality of some sort... tumorous in nature... and the fish either have and perish or not. Bob Fenner>

Growths on Weather Loach 11/22/06 <Hi Angie, Pufferpunk here> I just stumbled onto your site while looking for information on my weather loach, Gollum. We have had him for a year now, he eats well and is active with the weather changes and in the evening. About a month ago we noticed little round growths on the end of his "whiskers" (sorry I'm not sure what they are really called) and tonight I was watching him and noticed a lump under his skin (again round) and then on the other side of his body a larger roundish worm looking thing under his skin. The one on his left side looks different from the other growths in the way that it doesn't really bump out like the others do. He is in a tank with 2 Zebra danios, 2 rummy nose, an aquatic frog, a snail and a tire eel. Our tank size is (sorry not specific) around 50 Gallons. The temp. stays at 25 degrees C. and has for the past year with no complaints/odd behavior from the fish. We are stumped as to what is going on with him. We do partial water changes and have an excellent filtration system... No new fish/plants have entered the tank in the past 6 months. There are no other signs of sickness, he doesn't really have a tail fin anymore as it was gone when we got him, he is about 5 inches long and about the size of a hot dog around. He eats fish flakes, frozen blood worms and some times eats algae pellets. I have to admit my knowledge is very limited with my fish and now that a problem has arrived I'm not sure what to do. I've read most of the FAQ's on your site (wonderful site btw) but not sure anything on there is the same thing he has. Any information would be greatly appreciated. <From his size & those tumors, it sounds to me like he's a lot older than you thought. This is a sign of old age. I had mine for about 8 years, by the time this happened. I always try to buy my fish small/young so they will have the best care throughout their lives & I have them longer. Just make sure no one starts picking on the old fella. ~PP> Thank you, Angie

Lumpy weather loach Hi, Wonder if you can help, no one else seems to be able. I have a weather loach who is about 3 yrs old. he developed a lump near his rear end months ago which split the skin, the lump seemed to go down after treating him for bacteria (as the skin had come inflamed). Since then the lump seems to go bigger then shrink. Over the last weeks he has developed lots of lumps and has started to raise his rear as though it is full of air. I know this might be daft but I had an Oranda that did similar and she had constipation, could it be this. I have tried peas and spinach with the loach just in case, but he doesn't like it much. Is it safe to use Epsom salts on weather loaches as I am a bit worried about medicating as they are quite sensitive because they lack scales. He (I think actually he may be a she) is swimming and eating as though nothing is wrong and shows no illness besides a very swollen stomach/anal area and lots of stretch marks. Any help would be much appreciated. The loach is in a 180litre cold water tank with several goldfish comets Orandas and best friend another larger weather loach. water testing showed tank as it should be and no other sign of disease in fish. < Sounds like an internal bacterial infection caused by stress and the wrong kind of food. Isolate the fish and treat with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package.-Chuck> Thanks in anticipation of any help. Kind Regards Tricia

Golden Dojos/Weatherfish Thank you so much for your advice. <Welcome> I will not get any more Dojos! <I see> The tank was given to me by a friend who moved and could no longer keep it. He gave me no instruction on caring for it other than to feed the fish, as he figured he would come by to do the maintenance (which didn't happen) and when I went away on a 1 month trip, everyone died (the tank was beyond disgustingly filthy when I returned), so, I started over and researched how to maintain a tank on the net. However, at the local fish store, I was never informed as to the size the knifes would get, but since I like them so much, I will move them to their own tank when they get bigger. <...> The cichlids I have are 2 electric blue cichlids, 2 Neolamprologus sexfasciatus gold, 2 tiger Oscars. Since the Knifes will need their own tank eventually and the Oscars will too, would they work in their own tank together? <For a short while perhaps (months)> Both the Oscars and the Knifes are my favorites. <These two could live together... but the Africans, no> Since the Dojos are fine and everyone else is happy and healthy, I guess my main question is now, how do I lower my nitrates if the water changes aren't doing the trick? <A few ways... the simplest is by regular good-sized water changes... like 20% a week... but using live plants, deep, large gravel, chemical filtrants... and careful feeding should help> You have a great site, and are very generous with your time in answering everyone's questions. Thank you again! Tara <Again, you're very welcome. Excelsior! Bob Fenner>

Dying Weather Loaches Hi, I have a 29 gallon tank and I had a dojo that got sick lost almost all of his tail fin and started to loose scales on the back half of his tail. We thought one of my other fish was eating him so we moved him out of that tank and put him in a 10 gallon. Well the next day we came in and he was dying. He had blood in his front fins and in his whiskers. Not know what was wrong my husband reached it to see if he was already gone, and he gave one final frantic swim and then sank to the bottom of the tank on his back and died. Very upset because JOJO was my favorite fish out of all that I have. I jumped up and went back to the pets store and got 4 more. Now I have 3 left from that 4 and 2 of the 3 look like they have fin rot. Well my husband and I got to looking really close to our tank and found these little worms swimming every where. But they would only come out when the rocks in our tank had been stirred up. We have no clue where they came from, what they are or how to get rid of them. I have read several different articles on your website and I am just not sure which one is right. Please Help. We have had this tank for about 2 months but all of my fish are at least a 1 year old. (except for the 3 new ones). I don't want to loose any more of my fish. We have moved all of the fish to a 10 gallon and they are quite cramped. I am not sure if the parasite moved with them or not. We have treated the water with parasite clear and fungus clear. We did that for 2 days and it looks really clear now. So we stirred up the rocks and hear came the worms. What can we do? Thank you for your help. Shannon < To get rid of the worms (which are probably plant leaches) use Fluke-Tabs. To get rid of the tail rot ,which is actually a bacterial infection, you need to do a few things. First change 30% of the water, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. If your sand is coarse and abrasive then you may need to change it for a smoother less abrasive material. The rough sand erodes the skin of the fish and then it gets infected. Once the water and the tank are clean you need to treat the tank with Nitrofuranace. This medication may affect the good bacteria that breaks down the fish waste so after treating you may need to add BioSpira from Marineland to get the good bacteria going again.-Chuck>

Swollen gold dojo I have 2 gold dojo loaches and have a concern about one of them. I have noticed that although they both continue to be active and have no problems eating, one seems to have become thicker than the other and somewhat swollen. Its tail also seems to constantly float upward, <Not good> it will usually tuck its tail under a plant when resting. I have seen my dojo eliminate waste so I don't think it's constipated. Have any ideas what's going on? Thank you for your time. -Shell <I do hope this is something simple... like an "egg blockage" that will cure itself. If your other livestock can tolerate such, I'd add a level teaspoon of Epsom Salt per ten gallons of actual system water here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Swollen Golden Dojo a Go
Hi, <Hello> I just wanted to say thank you for your advice. I did add the Epsom salt, also gave them some peas. Both Dojo's are doing very well, no more floating tails. Aloha, Shell <Ahh, thank you for this update of your success. A hui ho. Bob Fenner>

Dojo Loach resuscitation/Heimlich on a fish?? 7/12/05 Hi all at WWM, <Howdy Ter> The strangest thing happened to me yesterday with my Gold Dojo loach, and I just wanted to share it with you guys, and see if you had come across anything like it before! He is my absolute favorite fish, such a character, so yesterday was a total fiasco. <Oh?> I was feeding my small tank (consisting of a female Betta, 2 silvertip tetras, and a Gold Dojo loach, and an Oto) as normal yesterday, when I noticed my Gold Dojo was going after a large broken off chunk of Sinking wafer. He usually nibbles on these things, but today he seems to try to swallow the whole thing. <I get the same way around pizzas> Anyways, as soon as the too big-piece-of-food fit into his mouth, it seemed like trouble. He was chomping wildly at first, and then I noticed his body started convulsing a bit, like I'd never seen him before. I thought he might be choking, but then he swam away fine, like nothing happened. All of a sudden, 2 minutes later, he started darting madly across and up and down the tank, faster and crazier than I had ever seen. He was spiraling out of control, never stopping, unless he hit a rock or the substrate, and then he would land on his back, belly up. He did this a few times, and then went still, belly up on the bottom of the tank, rapidly losing his color. Now I've heard that they go nuts before the weather changes, but this didn't seem like the case, he was doing the same thing as my guppy when he died. So, by now my girlfriend and I are in panic, we reach in to the tank and pull him out by hand, and place him in a cut off Arrowhead jug that I had just filled with tap water and I threw some Bio-Coat in a hurry in hopes of conditioning it. By now he is pretty much unresponsive, limp, but occasionally twitching in my hand. I start doing everything I learned in CPR class, but for a fish!: rubbing his belly back and forth, trying to open up his gills, pinching his throat lightly in hopes I can maybe expel the food. I even tried blowing in to his mouth getting it to open up!!! All this time, he is getting more and more limp, taking maybe one or two breaths. This goes on for maybe about 5 minutes (in my panic I really don't know though) when I had basically given up hope and thought he was dead. He was laying belly up in my hand, totally limp. Then, my girlfriend yells at me to try putting him in the water, so not knowing a better alternative, I put my hand in the jug, and suddenly, I noticed he turned on his side, and he starts breathing!!! Totally to our surprise and unconfirmed relief, he gradually gets upright by himself and keeps on breathing in our quarantine jug. <Yay!> So we keep watch over him for the next hour, and he just lays there still, continually breathing, just resting on the bottom. Little bubbles even occasionally pop out of his gills. We are so ecstatic by now that we cut the bottom out of another jug, poke holes in it and stick it in our main tank as a temporary makeshift sanctuary for him. By the time we put him back in the tank, he has started squirming a bit more. Now, its the next morning, and I see him making his way around the sanctuary jug, swimming up to the surface, and hobbling around. Anyways, I know this is probably just the beginning of the battle, because he must have endured an amazing amount of stress from the whole ordeal and possibly some internal damage from me rubbing his stomach and gills. He seems to be getting more and more energetic, but I put a dose of Melafix into the tank after this happened to stave off any strange infections, and I also had a dose of Bio-Coat and Amquel+ that I put in the day before doing a regular 25% water change. Is there anything else I can do for him during this time?? <Mmm, nothing more I would do> Would aquarium salt be a good addition to help the healing process??? <Actually no... the Tetras and Oto don't "like it"> (and would this be ok for a tank with Tetras, a female Betta, live plants, an Oto, and a couple ghost shrimp??) This is definitely one of the weirdest things to happen to my fish, so I just wanted to share this experience with you guys and see if you had come across anything like it before! Also if you had any advice as to what else I can do for him, and when I can put him back along with his fellow tankmates. Ill definitely keep a close eye on him for the next couple days. Take care, Terry <I'd return the fish to the main tank... likely better water quality there. Bob Fenner>

Please help my sick dojo 9/29/05 Hi. I've enjoyed your website for several years. I have an established 55 gallon freshwater tank with a male and a female dojo loach, 8 Otocinclus, 3 honey Gouramis, 6 black phantom tetras, 4 black neon tetras, and a snail who rode in on one of my plants. <Sounds very nice> My water quality is great, and my fish have been happy and healthy for quite some time, and I have not added anything new to the tank in the last six months. Unfortunately, something is wrong with my female dojo loach, who I am very attached to. She has not eaten for three days. She sits still most of the time, but when she does swim, she lists to one side, sometimes even laying on her right side. I know other people have reported this as normal behavior, but it is not normal for my fish, and I live in Seattle, where there have been no significant barometric pressure changes. <Ahh!> After recovering from laying on her side, she writhes around, often pressing her face in the corner of the tank. There are none of the usual signs of fish disease that I know of. None of the other fish are affected. She let me catch her in a net without issue, probably because she is weak from not eating, and maybe she knows I want to help her. I put her in an established 20 gallon hospital tank with a few grains of aquarium salt, and started her on Maracyn2, because I don't know what else to do. <This is what I would have done... with the addition of two level teaspoons of Epsom Salt in addition> Could she have swallowed a pebble or something? <Possible, but not likely> Is something wrong with her swim bladder? <Most unlikely> I am desperate to help her, and her mate is waiting for her to return to the 55 gallon. Any advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time and efforts. Emily <Do try the Epsom... as a general cathartic this may be your best choice. Dojos do "go into funks" at times, particularly when kept in tropical temperatures... they're cool water animals... I do hope yours rallies. Bob Fenner>

Dojo not healing 2/19/07 Hi. Thank you for offering expert advice. I have a well established 55 gallon tank with tetras, otos, and two dojo loaches. <I see the one excellent specimen> about three months ago, I notices that my female dojo had a white patch near her tail, and that she was starting to get another one on her other side, also near her tail. <Yes... likely started from mechanical injury...> She didn't seem particularly bothered by it, but I treated with Maracyn anyway and it went away. Her scales in the affected areas, turned dark, and I assumed that this was just part of the healing process, like kind of a scab (similar to the post at www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfshdisfaq8.htm ). <Yes, also likely> However, the spots are persisting, and maybe even getting worse, as now the area between the scales is also dark. Is there something I can do to help her heal? Water quality is good, I dechlorinate with stress coat, and I added a small amount of salt to the water this morning, after she was not excited to see a piece of zucchini and seaweed (a clear warning sign that she may be going downhill). I've attached a couple of pictures of one of the spots if that helps. <Mmm... yes... I see you have some rather sharp and calcareous objects in this system... these really should be removed....> By the way, you helped to save this very same loach in 'Please help my sick dojo 9/29/05', from what I guess was a stroke or the like. She had to relearn how to turn right, left, stay upright, etc. You encouragement was very helpful. Thanks for your time and expertise. Emily <Ahh! Please take a read here: http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=3016&genusname=Misgurnus&speciesname=anguillicaudatus This species really needs rather softer, more acidic settings... and a dearth of sharp material... If you had another system that had more this sort of setting, I would move them. Bob Fenner>
Re: dojo not healing 2/20/07 Hi. actually, the objects in the picture are polypropylene replicas of coral, made specifically for aquarium use. <Ahh, thank you for this> I removed the sharp rock after this dojo appeared with a gash on her head about four years ago. <Good> I felt like a criminal, and am now very careful. Their eyesight is poor, and they tend to flail around, often crashing into things. <Yes> Good advice though. So do you think there is anything I can do for her persisting damaged spots? <Well... there is a trade-off with "treatment/s" and manipulation period here... almost everywhere ("Life is a series of compromises" or such)... I would try the "internal" approach here, with supplementing (vitamins, HUFAs...) this animals foods... soaking them in a commercial prep.. Such are available for pet-fish... Bob Fenner>




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