Fahaka Not Eating

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Note - if you do not normally do large water changes, doing a sudden, large water change could shock your fish by suddenly changing their established water chemistry. Clean water is still your first goal, so in this case, do several smaller (10%) water changes over the next day or two before starting any large ones.

Fahaka Not Eating

Postby cfl1974 on Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:26 pm

Hi,
I have a single fahaka ~ 9" TL in a 120 show (18" x 60" footprint). He has been acting pretty lethargic & not eating for at least a week.
Checked the water last night and the params are as follows:
ammonia 0
nitrite 0
nitrate 20
ph 7.8

I don't know if the nitrate is the problem? Until now I have primarily kept cichlids, and for a cichlid 20ppm nitrates is nothing.

his teeth do not appear to be overgrown, but my concern about that is where the problems seem to have started. He has been getting 2 shrimp 4 x per week for a few months. (I got him in December at ~6" TL, and he was getting 1 shrimp 4x a week. When he got big enough that he was finishing the shrimp before it ever touched the substrate, we went up to 2.) I'm talking medium sized shrimp from the freezer section. Uncooked.
thawed before feeding.
Last week I decided to give him a crab leg, so he'd wear down his teeth a bit, working through the shell. He has eaten snow crab legs before. I just have to keep an eye on things because they leave more waste in the tank. I cracked up the shell a bit and dropped it in. He didn't touch it. Didn't even go check it out.
I think it was 2 days before I gave up & took it out. In retrospect, that was probably too long, but he was already sulking, and the leg hadn't grown any fuzz. It did, however, completely fall apart upon being removed, and so my husband did a water change, and the parameters since that change are as listed above.
We tried fasting for a couple of days, and then feeding shrimp again, but still no interest. I catch him swimming around every once in a while, but he mostly hangs out on the bottom.

Any ideas?
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Re: Fahaka Not Eating

Postby cfl1974 on Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:30 pm

To clarify: We've tried feeding him shrimp 2 or 3 times since the post crab leg fasting. No interest any of the times. We feed in the evening, and the untouched shrimp have all been removed the next morning.

My go-to answer for keeping cichlids would be: do another water change & see what happens. there's not a lot clean water can't cure for a central/south american cichlid, but puffers seem a little more touchy, so I've got my water change instinct temporarily on hold while I wait to hear from the experts.

Thanks!
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Re: Fahaka Not Eating

Postby bertie 83 on Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:33 pm

Try not feeding for 4-5 days he will probably come round. 2 good meals a week is enough for a large fahaka. You could try soaking his food in a little garlic to get his taste buds working, also soak in a good vitamin supplement. 20 ppm nitrate is ok, if it gets a lot higher between changes you may have a problem. Do you have a pic of him?
It's amazing how easy maintenance is. If done regularly and thoroughly
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Re: Fahaka Not Eating

Postby cfl1974 on Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:39 pm

OK. We will try a longer fast, and I will do a water change. :)
Is he considered large? I've been trying to feed him like a growing puffer, since he's still got a ways to go.
I will charge my camera & get some pics. I'll try to get one of his mouth to verify my feeling that teeth aren't the problem, and one of his whole body, so you can tell me if his color or texture appear off.
Thanks!
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Re: Fahaka Not Eating

Postby bertie 83 on Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:59 pm

Always worth an extra w/c lol, if you upload pics when you can we will have a look for you. 9" is a large size lol ( for a fahaka of course). Growth may start to slow now, which would explain the drop in appetite especially if he is starting to be a bit lazy.
It's amazing how easy maintenance is. If done regularly and thoroughly
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Re: Fahaka Not Eating

Postby cfl1974 on Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:36 pm

OK. Water change in progress.
here are some pics:
Image
Image

here's the mouth: In the 2nd you can see some sand stuck to his belly because he's been hanging out on the substrate so much
Image
Image

And then, because I think I sounded like a dummy asking if a 9" fahaka would be considered big. It's not because I'm a dummy, it's because I have some experience with actual big fish. I know the difference in mass between a 9" fish & his 18" potential. this is our ~18" parachromis dovii making eyes at my mother in law:
Image
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Re: Fahaka Not Eating

Postby cfl1974 on Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:07 pm

OK - So, I think his lips look weird. Not sure what mouth fungus looks like on a puffer, but if you look at the pics I took of his face to show his teeth, you can kind of see how lumpy & cracked his lips look. Is this the problem? What is it?
He is definitely acting _off_. Not just lazy & overfed.
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Re: Fahaka Not Eating

Postby puffykid on Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:38 pm

So a few immediate thoughts, how are you testing the water with a liquid test kit, or test strips? I don't think a cracked lip is anything to worry about, if he doesn't seem to be closing his mouth as much and seems to have trouble breathing, adding an airstone may help or if there seems to be any fuzzy parts to the inside of his mouth take a picture for us.


What is your water change schedule like? Do you use prime when adding the water back in?


Also please remove the food that he doesn't eat faster, I'm actually a bit surprised at how well your water is turning out because, you mentioned that you leave food sitting in his tank overnight. If not eaten within about 5 minutes remove, otherwise you are just leaving it in there to pollute the water.
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Re: Fahaka Not Eating

Postby Pufferpunk on Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:33 am

He certainly doesn't seem to be starving...
I would have mixed up his diet quite some time ago. Try earthworms for starts:
viewtopic.php?f=66&t=28566

BTW, your cichlid has a lovely smile!
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

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Re: Fahaka Not Eating

Postby bertie 83 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:41 am

Wow, that's a nice specemin well done. I was expecting to see a fatty lol.
It's amazing how easy maintenance is. If done regularly and thoroughly
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Re: Fahaka Not Eating

Postby cfl1974 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:35 pm

Hi,
I will try to answer some questions.
We use test strips.
I have a toddler, so there is no set schedule for his water changes :shock: . Sometimes it's once a week, sometimes it every other week. I try to do at least 30%.
He has his mouth open all the time, but I don't see anything fuzzy. He doesn't seem to be having any trouble breathing. There are 2 XP3s on the tank. A spray bar on one end & a single output that acts like a powerhead on the other. There is quite a bit of surface agitation.

We run a fish room of 30+ tanks, and only 2 of them are smaller than 75 gallons, so we don't use Prime. We use a powdered dechlorinator that we can buy in bulk. I'd have to ask my husband what it's called. it gets rid of Chlorine & Chloramines, it just doesn't have whatever additive Prime uses to help with the slime coat.

I know he needs a more varied diet. I need to get him some more snails too. Unfortunately we are out in the sticks, so what I can feed him has to come either from my grocery store or PetSmart. I don't think there are even any bait shops around here, so that makes crayfish prohibitively expensive, and snails a rare treat. I'll go to Petsmart this weekend & check their fridge for live earthworms. my grocery store often will get bags of live mussels in the shell with no seasonings added. I've been hoping this guy will get big enough to handle those ASAP. Nothing freaks me out more than the idea of having to do puffer dentistry.

Thanks for the compliments on him though. My husband has a tendancy to overfeed, when he's doing the feeding, so it is pretty surprising that the puffer isn't a fatty. :wink:

Anyway, we fasted again last night. His lips still look lumpy. He's done a bit of swimming around today, but still not quite acting his usual self, and is back to hanging out on the substrate.
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Re: Fahaka Not Eating

Postby bertie 83 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:00 pm

Do 50% changes on his tank today and tomorrow. Pick up some prime and use this instead, puffers are scaleless so are far more sensitive than scaled fish. I would guess that your dechlorinator is either messing with him or not dissolved 100%
It's amazing how easy maintenance is. If done regularly and thoroughly
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bertie 83
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Non puffer
Danios, Tetras, Redtail Rasporas,
Harlequins, CAE's, Yoyo
Loaches, Clown loaches ,Eels, various shrimp,
Location (country): Brighton, England

Re: Fahaka Not Eating

Postby puffykid on Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:25 pm

People around here really like prime as a de-chlorinizer and because it helps lock up nitrates, and ammonia and nitrites if they are present in the tank. You may also want to consider getting a liquid test kit, test strips can be inaccurate sometimes and may give you inconsistent readings on parameters.
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Re: Fahaka Not Eating

Postby Pufferpunk on Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:32 pm

You can purchase Prime & API liquid test kits from Amazon. If you have 30 tanks, don't you have some kind of easy water change system hooked up? I have 8 tanks (2 of them reef) & I do weekly 75-90% WC on all the FW ones & 30% WC every 3 weeks on the SW ones. You should at least be able to manage 50% weekly, on yours. All of them. If not, it sounds like maybe you need to reduce the quantity of tanks & concentrate on quality of care?
You are getting sleepy... you only hear the sound of my voice... you must do water changes... water changes... water changes... water changes...

"The solution to pollution is dilution!"
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Punkster, the 4" red T miurus
Mongo, the 4" A modestus
2 T biocellatus
C valentini
C coranata
C papuan
Also kept:
lorteti
DPs
suvattii
burrfish
T niphobles
Location (country): USA, Chicago

Re: Fahaka Not Eating

Postby cfl1974 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:25 pm

The fish room is in the garage. That is my husband's domain.
The puffer tank is in the house. For indoor tanks we use a python.
I will pick up some Prime in the hope that this makes a difference.
Thanks.

Here's a straight on picture of his mouth, BTW. i don't know if I'm buying that, after 7 months in his current home the lack of Prime suddenly caused this, but unless my city did something funky with the water, I don't know what did. Nothing else in his environment has changed.
Really? An every other week water change on a 120 gallon tank with one 9" fish indicates a lack of quality care?
Image
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