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#1 marvin

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 02:27 PM

I really would like some input and maybe a little good news coming my way.
I have had Marvin for about 6 years, and he is my baby. He gives me kisses and we are very close buddies.
I cleaned tank, as usual, but the next day, he started gasping. I checked all water tests, temp, and things were fine. It has now been 3 days, and he is still in distress. Gills flared, and breathing very hard.
When he swims up to the top to visit, it is better, but returns to this state when at rest on the bottom.
Being an investigative person, I try to rule out things, and narrow down the possibilities. Here is what I have come up with, but need expert advice to see if I am anywhere in the ballpark.
First of all, he likes to play with rocks (which I have removed as of last night). I have seen him shovel one in just for fun, but have been able to get him to spit it out. He may have done this at a time when I was not around. These are decorative round and smooth quarter-sized ones that he loves to move.
Here is my next crazy hunch....................maybe he is not a Marvin, but a Marvella! Can't really put an exact time frame on this, but I have (at least 3 times) sucked out masses of instant oatmeal looking debris from a corner of the tank. He eats small cubes of prepared beefheart, and I am always making sure that what has been extracted from his gills, isn't allowed to stay around and get rancid. This, however, doesn't really resemble what I generally clean out.
Have also recalled that he has this sort of behavior for a few days after I remove these masses.
SO.......HERE IS MY CRAZY QUESTION..............could he be a she, and could these be eggs? If so, what is the behavior of such a female fish after depositing egg masses? Without a man around her house (if she is indeed a Marvella) could she be stressed that they are gone, or could "she" be physically be undergoing a recoup from the ordeal?
I am just about as stressed as Marvin. He is my baby and I will do anything not to lose him.
H-E-L-P!!!

#2 scotcat

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 09:55 PM

Hi Marvin,

I would think that your RTC has very well swallowed a rock and the best advice I would give is too not feed him any further and if he/she does not improve is to call in a vet, preferably one who can deal with fish. He/she may be able to regurgitate the rock by itself but I would recommend a Vet for such a large fish. It is certainly not eggs that it is regurgitating in the corner of the tank and this could be, hopefully, the remains of the rocks. I would have a bare bottom tank for your RTC so this behavior can be curbed. Keep up the water changes as the load on the system can spike, especially nitrites and ammonia.

Let us know how you get on and hopefully it will settle down once it has cleaned itself out.
Allan.

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#3 marvin

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 12:10 PM

Hi Marvin,

I would think that your RTC has very well swallowed a rock and the best advice I would give is too not feed him any further and if he/she does not improve is to call in a vet, preferably one who can deal with fish. He/she may be able to regurgitate the rock by itself but I would recommend a Vet for such a large fish. It is certainly not eggs that it is regurgitating in the corner of the tank and this could be, hopefully, the remains of the rocks. I would have a bare bottom tank for your RTC so this behavior can be curbed. Keep up the water changes as the load on the system can spike, especially nitrites and ammonia.

Let us know how you get on and hopefully it will settle down once it has cleaned itself out.



#4 marvin

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 12:34 PM

How wonderful to have a place to go for advice on the "unknown". I did inteed not feed him, and the debris was back in the corner once again. His breathing has calmed down to be sure, and things seemed back to somewhat of a normal state. So, a sense of optimism returned until yesterday.
Maybe I am being paranoid, but now he seems almost "to laid back". After 4 days of not feeding, I returned to one cube a day instead of 4. He popped the top of the water just like always, but I noticed that after the grinding and expelling I used to see, I did not observe it. I am at that point in the road where I feel he is getting weaker instead of better, and want to feed him, but afraid to do so for fear of hurting him more.
Oh how fortunate for those of you who have fish vets. There is no such "critter" in my part of the world, so I am out here grasping for straws by myself.
As you can see, I love my boy and will do anything I can do for him.
I will continue to do the tank cleaning.
Do you personally think I have jumped the gun feeding him a cube/day, or am I on my way to getting him back to his normal feeding schedule?
Thanks so much for a hand in the dark.

#5 Wiccat

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 01:33 PM

I really would like some input and maybe a little good news coming my way.
I have had Marvin for about 6 years, and he is my baby. He gives me kisses and we are very close buddies.
I cleaned tank, as usual, but the next day, he started gasping. I checked all water tests, temp, and things were fine. It has now been 3 days, and he is still in distress. Gills flared, and breathing very hard.
When he swims up to the top to visit, it is better, but returns to this state when at rest on the bottom.
Being an investigative person, I try to rule out things, and narrow down the possibilities. Here is what I have come up with, but need expert advice to see if I am anywhere in the ballpark.
First of all, he likes to play with rocks (which I have removed as of last night). I have seen him shovel one in just for fun, but have been able to get him to spit it out. He may have done this at a time when I was not around. These are decorative round and smooth quarter-sized ones that he loves to move.
Here is my next crazy hunch....................maybe he is not a Marvin, but a Marvella! Can't really put an exact time frame on this, but I have (at least 3 times) sucked out masses of instant oatmeal looking debris from a corner of the tank. He eats small cubes of prepared beefheart, and I am always making sure that what has been extracted from his gills, isn't allowed to stay around and get rancid. This, however, doesn't really resemble what I generally clean out.
Have also recalled that he has this sort of behavior for a few days after I remove these masses.
SO.......HERE IS MY CRAZY QUESTION..............could he be a she, and could these be eggs? If so, what is the behavior of such a female fish after depositing egg masses? Without a man around her house (if she is indeed a Marvella) could she be stressed that they are gone, or could "she" be physically be undergoing a recoup from the ordeal?
I am just about as stressed as Marvin. He is my baby and I will do anything not to lose him.
H-E-L-P!!!


We never actually "OWN" them, they are just in our safekeeping for a while !


#6 Wiccat

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 02:06 PM

Hi Marvin,

In your first post, you state that "you cleaned the tank, as usual, and the next day he started gasping".

Was he behaving normally before you cleaned the tank? If the answer is "yes", then that should ring alarm bells, and may indicate poisoning.

Perhaps you need to look at the equipment you used to clean the tank - could it have become contaminated in any way since you last used it? Is it stored away from household and domestic polishes, anti-bacterial sprays, air fresheners, detergents etc.?

Assuming that your last cleaning regime included a partial water change , could the water be the problem? Do you use water straight from the tap? If so, could any chemicals have got into the water supply before it reached your tap? Does your water supplier add anything to the mains supply?

I know you said you did water tests, but these normally are only nitrite, nitrate, pH, hardness and ammonia - such general tests would not necessarily show other contaminants, such as insecticides etc. etc.

I would suggest that you do not feed him for at least a week, or until he has recovered and is actively looking for food - it will not hurt him - in the Amazon these large catfish do not eat every day.

If he HAS been poisoned, the last thing his body needs at this moment is to have to try to digest more food.

Beefheart is not a good food to feed exclusively - even prepared beefheart contains hard fats which are not easily digested and can eventually clog-up the digestive system.

We never actually "OWN" them, they are just in our safekeeping for a while !


#7 marvin

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 02:47 PM

Hi Marvin,

In your first post, you state that "you cleaned the tank, as usual, and the next day he started gasping".

Was he behaving normally before you cleaned the tank? If the answer is "yes", then that should ring alarm bells, and may indicate poisoning.

Perhaps you need to look at the equipment you used to clean the tank - could it have become contaminated in any way since you last used it? Is it stored away from household and domestic polishes, anti-bacterial sprays, air fresheners, detergents etc.?

Assuming that your last cleaning regime included a partial water change , could the water be the problem? Do you use water straight from the tap? If so, could any chemicals have got into the water supply before it reached your tap? Does your water supplier add anything to the mains supply?

I know you said you did water tests, but these normally are only nitrite, nitrate, pH, hardness and ammonia - such general tests would not necessarily show other contaminants, such as insecticides etc. etc.

I would suggest that you do not feed him for at least a week, or until he has recovered and is actively looking for food - it will not hurt him - in the Amazon these large catfish do not eat every day.

If he HAS been poisoned, the last thing his body needs at this moment is to have to try to digest more food.

Beefheart is not a good food to feed exclusively - even prepared beefheart contains hard fats which are not easily digested and can eventually clog-up the digestive system.



#8 marvin

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 02:57 PM

Just learned something I didn't know.
I have indeed limited him to no food, but just started him back on one cube/day. Last night, I did a 1/3 tank change, and he was very calm. In fact he was cruising.
This morning, Marvin did come up, give the usual kisses and took one cube from me. When I left for class, he was breathing hard again. CONTAMINATED BEEF HEART????????
I thoroughly clean the equipment I use before storage under his tank. Nothing has been added to the water, as we use cistern water that goes through a filter.
He has (for the 6-7 years I have had him) eaten beefheart exclusivly. What do you suggest as an alternative? Have krill on hand, but it gunks up his tank so bad. Only use that in an emergency.
Am going to stop feeding again today, and let him "chill out".
Thought about the poisining issue, and wondered if maybe I had something on my hands that could have gotten into the water. Yet, this morning, my hands were only on the food that I dropped in.
New idea to watch.
The only thing good about this whole situation is that I have shed 5 lbs. myself worrying about him. We are just the "best buds" ever.

#9 Wiccat

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 05:20 PM

Hi Marvin,

On the basis of your reply, I would stop the beefheart.

As to what to feed him instead, I do not know how big he is, so whatever I suggest will have to be adjusted in size pro rata.

I would feed him large earthworms, prawns, mussels, lancefish, small whole trout or pieces of larger trout or salmon (my fishmonger supplies me with trout and salmon heads as well), cod and coley - in fact anything on those lines that is not smoked or too oily.

Wash thoroughly any fish which hasn't come from a freshwater source.

If you have a local petshop that sells frozen food for reptiles, you could try frozen mice and baby rats (ask for pinkies or fuzzies, they are easier to digest than the fully-furred ones).

As you have been feeding beefheart exclusively for 6 years, there is a distinct possibility that he has a vitamin and/or mineral deficiency - these foods will help to redress the balance.

It is not a good idea to feed any food to the exclusion of all else - in the wild the Redtail's diet is varied. You wouldn't much appreciate the same food every day for 6 years!

However, the feeding of any of these foods will put a strain on your filter system and will affect the nitrite and ammonia levels, so good husbandry and regular water tests are vital.

But, do not feed him until his breathing is back to normal and he is actively looking for food. If he has been poisoned in whatever way, the last thing his digestive system needs at the moment is to be bombarded with more food. If he has been well fed up to now, he will come to no harm to go without food for several days - in the Amazon these large predators are opportunist feeders and do not eat every day.

I hope this has helped, please keep me informed of progress,
Regards,
Wiccat

We never actually "OWN" them, they are just in our safekeeping for a while !


#10 marvin

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 04:37 AM

Hi Marvin,

On the basis of your reply, I would stop the beefheart.

As to what to feed him instead, I do not know how big he is, so whatever I suggest will have to be adjusted in size pro rata.

I would feed him large earthworms, prawns, mussels, lancefish, small whole trout or pieces of larger trout or salmon (my fishmonger supplies me with trout and salmon heads as well), cod and coley - in fact anything on those lines that is not smoked or too oily.

Wash thoroughly any fish which hasn't come from a freshwater source.

If you have a local petshop that sells frozen food for reptiles, you could try frozen mice and baby rats (ask for pinkies or fuzzies, they are easier to digest than the fully-furred ones).

As you have been feeding beefheart exclusively for 6 years, there is a distinct possibility that he has a vitamin and/or mineral deficiency - these foods will help to redress the balance.

It is not a good idea to feed any food to the exclusion of all else - in the wild the Redtail's diet is varied. You wouldn't much appreciate the same food every day for 6 years!

However, the feeding of any of these foods will put a strain on your filter system and will affect the nitrite and ammonia levels, so good husbandry and regular water tests are vital.

But, do not feed him until his breathing is back to normal and he is actively looking for food. If he has been poisoned in whatever way, the last thing his digestive system needs at the moment is to be bombarded with more food. If he has been well fed up to now, he will come to no harm to go without food for several days - in the Amazon these large predators are opportunist feeders and do not eat every day.

I hope this has helped, please keep me informed of progress,
Regards,
Wiccat



#11 marvin

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 04:56 AM

Hope I do this correctly.................Marvin is about 13 or 14 inches long. I am not sure about his weight.
I have not fed him now for about 14 hours. I have noticed that once again, the debris has appeared in the tank. This has been since this morning. He is cruising a little more than this morning.
I plan on continuing to do the frequent tank changes.
I also talked to the pet store where I purchased the beefheart. He agreed that it might be possible for that particular batch to be maybe one that had more than usual levels of fat. It is the same distributor, but no way of knowing where the actual beef product came from. I have never had trouble with the food before, but there is always a first time for everything.
I guess I hope that this, rather than a monster stone, is his problem, as this can be handled better by me without the aid of a nonexisting vet in my area.
Anyway, I hope my picure of him gives you an idea of his size.

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#12 Wiccat

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 05:26 AM

Hi Marvin,

Thank you for the pictures.

I expected him to be larger as he is six years old, but even at that size, he is quite capable of eating most of the foods I recommended, but perhaps not whole trout or salmon heads!

One of the very best and most nutritious foods, in my opinion, for a recuperating fish, is the good old earthworm. It is full of protein and because it comes from a terrestrial source, it doesn't carry any water-borne parasites or diseases.

For small fish, I normally cut them up, but your catfish will certainly be able to manage the largest earthworm and he will really love them.

But, as you say he is still producing this strange waste, please do not feed him for at least another 5 - 6 days, until everything is out of his system. After that, try a worm and wait to see if there's a mess in the tank the next day, and take it from there.

I'm still not completely ruling out the water supply - you say it comes from a cistern - what sort of pipes feed it, lead? copper? Where is it stored? It's not your household hot-water supply is it?

Forgive all the questions, but to get to the bottom if this, we have to use a process of elimination!

Wiccat

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#13 scotcat

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 09:36 PM

Do the eyes look abnormal wiccat, or is it just me ?
Allan.

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#14 marvin

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 01:33 AM

Do the eyes look abnormal wiccat, or is it just me ?

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#15 marvin

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 01:36 AM

I just added more pics. Am not sure what you think you see. My quality of the close-ups might be bad. Looks like a lot of blue tint. Just went in and looked at his eyes (have been like this for a long time) and they have a cast to them. If they are supposed to be button-black we have a problem.
By the way, he is 18 inches long.

#16 Wiccat

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 04:28 AM

Hi Marvin,

I get what you mean about his eyes.

The eyes of a Phractocephalus are not completely flat in line with the profile of the head - they always protrude a LITTLE.

However, although it's not quite clear on your photos, if they seem more bulbous that normal, then we may indeed have a problem in the form of Exophthalmia (Popeye).

If it was only one eye that was affected, it would probably be the result of an injury, but if both eyes are affected, then we must think about some sort of poisoning - high

nitrite, ammonia or other factors that I have already mentioned.

If the eyes also appear cloudy, that is indicative of a water problem and there is a possibility of some bacterial infection - as I have already said, stop all food for at least a week - if you

continue to feed him at the moment, you will simply compound the problem.

I don't know where you live, but does your local pet store have the usual antibacterial treatments, just in case?

Please can you tell us the measurements and volume of the aquarium,

Regards, Wiccat

We never actually "OWN" them, they are just in our safekeeping for a while !


#17 Dan

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 09:34 PM

I see that there has been no reply for a week or so. Hope he/s is still allive. You say he/s is 6-7 years old dont you mean mounths as hes tinny for a fish of that age mine is 4 years and is nearly 4foot. As for his eye's due to the flatness of his head idd say there was no reall isue there but the way his gills are flaired is a sighn of high ammonin at some point. How much do you feed him a day and how many days a week do you feed as to be honest 3 feeds a week will be fine i only feed once a week these fish can go a mounth with out food no trouble as they will have a large fat reserve and especialy one that lives on beef heart. As already been asked how big is the aquarium he is in what kind of filtration do you use how offten do you do water changes?
As for this stuff you are finding in the tank can you get a pic of it if produced again but to me it sounds like fat that has not beed digested as if it was eggs you would know about 400,000 at a time you wouldant be able to see the fish for eggs and he is to small to produce any and you would notice her stomach grow for the corse of a week or so.
So as for advice for now is stop feedding and keep up with the watter changes as a stressed fish will produce more ammonina as they produce about 70% ammonia from there gills test the water reguarly and when he seems better just star by feedding once a week and work up slowly to a normal feeding pattern but as others have said might be an idea to change the diet beef heart is fine but not all the time.
As for food ideads earth worms, prawns, DATES yes Dates needs rougheg in there diet diced fish but not to oily.

Sorry for the long windedness of this but red tails are my life

Dan.
Hi im Dan and im addicted to catfish

#18 scotcat

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 09:47 PM

Yes! good point about the gills they are really flared up. Hope Marvin will get back to us for an update.
Allan.

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#19 Wiccat

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 06:42 AM

I see that there has been no reply for a week or so. Hope he/s is still allive. You say he/s is 6-7 years old dont you mean mounths as hes tinny for a fish of that age mine is 4 years and is nearly 4foot. As for his eye's due to the flatness of his head idd say there was no reall isue there but the way his gills are flaired is a sighn of high ammonin at some point. How much do you feed him a day and how many days a week do you feed as to be honest 3 feeds a week will be fine i only feed once a week these fish can go a mounth with out food no trouble as they will have a large fat reserve and especialy one that lives on beef heart. As already been asked how big is the aquarium he is in what kind of filtration do you use how offten do you do water changes?
As for this stuff you are finding in the tank can you get a pic of it if produced again but to me it sounds like fat that has not beed digested as if it was eggs you would know about 400,000 at a time you wouldant be able to see the fish for eggs and he is to small to produce any and you would notice her stomach grow for the corse of a week or so.
So as for advice for now is stop feedding and keep up with the watter changes as a stressed fish will produce more ammonina as they produce about 70% ammonia from there gills test the water reguarly and when he seems better just star by feedding once a week and work up slowly to a normal feeding pattern but as others have said might be an idea to change the diet beef heart is fine but not all the time.
As for food ideads earth worms, prawns, DATES yes Dates needs rougheg in there diet diced fish but not to oily.

Sorry for the long windedness of this but red tails are my life

Dan.


Hi Dan,
Thanks, good advice for Marvin there, mate. Everything I've said and more besides. It's now been exactly two weeks since we had any contact - I also hope that the fish is still alive. The last question I asked was "how big is the tank?", since when we've heard nothing. Looking at the pictures, as I said earlier, that tank needs to be very much larger or the ammonia build-up will be massive pro rata to the tank capacity. Good point about the gills - there has definately been an ammonia problem at sometime. Lets hope we hear some good news soon!

Wiccat

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#20 marvin

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 12:09 PM

Hi Dan,
Thanks, good advice for Marvin there, mate. Everything I've said and more besides. It's now been exactly two weeks since we had any contact - I also hope that the fish is still alive. The last question I asked was "how big is the tank?", since when we've heard nothing. Looking at the pictures, as I said earlier, that tank needs to be very much larger or the ammonia build-up will be massive pro rata to the tank capacity. Good point about the gills - there has definately been an ammonia problem at sometime. Lets hope we hear some good news soon!

Wiccat






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