Strange bulge in weather loach

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Seamusson

AC Members
Original poster
Sep 9, 2017
5
0
1
52
I am looking for insight & advise on the condition of one of my 8 yr old dojo/weather loaches.bloated_dojo_loach.jpg

He has a buldge near his anus for the past serveral weeks which appears to my wife and I to be ever so slowly growing. When there is strong lighting behind it, it appears to be translucent as if it is fluid perhaps... like a sack of liquid or something. It stikes us both that his behavior is also changing slowly -- toward less appetite and less activity.

I hope the photo provided exhibits the symtomology well enough. If not, here's more....

At first, given the location and translucency of it, I thought maybe it's a bladder infection or something? I couldn't find anything online that seemed similar, but I fed everyone peas for about a week to see if things might clear up. No dice.

I've had 2 of these guys for about 8 years now, so we're familiar with the odd behavior of "weather loaches", and the crazy things they do.... They've fooled us a million times looking like they're laying in some odd position seemingly dead. I'm also familiar with their feeding behavior. Over several weeks, this guy seems to be behaving increasingly as if his appetite has diminished significantly and as if he's become more lethargic. The past few days he's been hanging out in a corner behind and air hose & light wire, like they're holding him in place there (see photo).

He seems to keep trying to find his proper buoyancy, but the back end of him keeps sinking, and he seems distressed by that. He likes to get behind that air hose which seems to hold him in place. Else he likes to rest on top of a buried air stone and sort of Jacuzzi in the bubbles -- like they help him feel more buoyant. I'm ruling out a swim bladder issue, though, as from everything I've read on that with dojo loaches, that would be causing him to float too much, not sink too much.

My 8 years with these two have led me to find them very harty and resilliant, even if their behavior is often difficult to read. Because of that, I'm not sure how urgently we should be concerned, but I'd say on balance that he's not feeling well, and it's because of this mysterious bulge.

RECENT HISTORY:

Soon before we first noticed this a couple months ago, I had an algea eater nearly as old as them which had become increasingly agressive. I had to evict him, but to get him out, I had to uproot my whole fully planted aquarium. That was tramatic to everyone to at least some extent, but it really churned up the substrait and restarted the nitrogen cycle all over again.

After a few weeks of nurturing the nitrogen cycle back to health, but still having persistent issues with water clarity (bacteria blooms), and thanks to a sweet sale at a pet store, I bumped the aqaurium from 20 gal to 30 gal, with a 50 gal capacity filter.

Currently water clarity is crytal clear and chemestry appears to be as well, though nitrates are high still. Water temp is "room temp", which is generally in the mid 70's F.

I would have to confess to having run the 20 gal tank beyond the bio-load I should have (2-3 goldfish as old as the dojos, 2 algae eaters (one got very large), a half dozen minnows and whatever snails could escape the dojos). Current residency is 2 dojos + 2 mature goldfish ... and some snails.

While correlation isn't the same as causation, the timing of events here appear suspect. I just whish I had a clue about what this bulge is and how concerned I should be. We're very fond of these kooky characters.

bloated_dojo_loach.jpg
 

Seamusson

AC Members
Original poster
Sep 9, 2017
5
0
1
52
I am looking for insight & advise on the condition of one of my 8 yr old dojo/weather loaches.

bloated_dojo_loach.jpg
He has a bulge near his anus for the past several weeks which appears to my wife and I to be ever so slowly growing. When there is strong lighting behind it, it appears to be translucent as if it is fluid perhaps... like a sack of liquid or something. It strikes us both that his behavior is also changing slowly -- toward less appetite and less activity.

I hope the photo provided exhibits the symtomology well enough. If not, here's more....

At first, given the location and translucency of it, I thought maybe it's a bladder infection or something? I couldn't find anything online that seemed similar, but I fed everyone peas for about a week to see if things might clear up. No dice.

I've had 2 of these guys for about 8 years now, so we're familiar with the odd behavior of "weather loaches", and the crazy things they do.... They've fooled us a million times looking like they're laying in some odd position seemingly dead. I'm also familiar with their feeding behavior. Over several weeks, this guy seems to be behaving increasingly as if his appetite has diminished significantly and as if he's become more lethargic. The past few days he's been hanging out in a corner behind and air hose & light wire, like they're holding him in place there (see photo).

He seems to keep trying to find his proper buoyancy, but the back end of him keeps sinking, and he seems distressed by that. He likes to get behind that air hose which seems to hold him in place. Else he likes to rest on top of a buried air stone and sort of Jacuzzi in the bubbles -- like they help him feel more buoyant. I'm ruling out a swim bladder issue, though, as from everything I've read on that with dojo loaches, that would be causing him to float too much, not sink too much.

My 8 years with these two have led me to find them very harty and resilliant, even if their behavior is often difficult to read. Because of that, I'm not sure how urgently we should be concerned, but I'd say on balance that he's not feeling well, and it's because of this mysterious bulge.

RECENT HISTORY:

Soon before we first noticed this a couple months ago, I had an algea eater nearly as old as them which had become increasingly agressive. I had to evict him, but to get him out, I had to uproot my whole fully planted aquarium. That was tramatic to everyone to at least some extent, but it really churned up the substrait and restarted the nitrogen cycle all over again.

After a few weeks of nurturing the nitrogen cycle back to health, but still having persistent issues with water clarity (bacteria blooms), and thanks to a sweet sale at a pet store, I bumped the aqaurium from 20 gal to 30 gal, with a 50 gal capacity filter.

Currently water clarity is crytal clear and chemestry appears to be as well, though nitrates are high still. Water temp is "room temp", which is generally in the mid 70's F.

I would have to confess to having run the 20 gal tank beyond the bio-load I should have (2-3 goldfish as old as the dojos, 2 algae eaters (one got very large), a half dozen minnows and whatever snails could escape the dojos). Current residency is 2 dojos + 2 mature goldfish ... and some snails.

While correlation isn't the same as causation, the timing of events here appear suspect. I just whish I had a clue about what this bulge is and how concerned I should be. We're very fond of these kooky characters.
 

fishorama

AC Members
Jun 28, 2006
9,516
635
144
SF Bay area, CA
Well, I've only read of weather loaches, I haven't kept them (yet, they're so cute!). But I'll try to suggest some things you might try. Peas were going to be my first idea. Did he eat them? Have you seen him poo? The swollen area doesn't look red, is it?

Did you add any new fish, snails, plants? It sounds like not, so it probably isn't internal parasites after 8 years of health. You want to do lots of water changes, daily or so, to get the nitrate down to at least 40ppm, 20ppm or less is better but might be hard to maintain in a small tank with your fish. Clean water can work wonders. Vacuum the substrate as well as you can, some each WC.

You might try Epsom salt (the foot soak magnesium kind) next, I believe the dosage is 1 TBSP per 5 gallons of water. I'd add it over a few days, say a teaspoon/5 gallons for 3 days, dissolved in dechlorinated or tank water. It shouldn't hurt your other fish or plants. You'll need to redose after water changes to keep it at that level. & after a week or 2, slowly remove it via WCs.

The next step is antibiotics or antiparasite meds. They can be used with some Epsom salt still in the water but don't try everything at 1 time, that can be stressful. Metronidizol (metro) or metro/praziquintil (prazi) might be a good next treatment, it's an antiparasitic with mild antibacterial properties. But look it up to be sure it's safe for the loaches & goldfish (I think so). Follow the directions for dosage & tx time.

Then if nothing has helped you might try Maracide 1 & 2 together, they get both gram positive & gram negative bacteria. This after you've removed the metro via water changes & I'd probably use carbon in the filter too, but just while removing the metro....& then to remove the Maracide at the end of that tx.

Antibiotics will probably kill your beneficial bacteria, metro may too (not sure), so test daily if you can. Plan to do water changes every day or dose Prime to help "lock up" ammonia, nitirite & nitrate, it lasts for 24-48 hours.

I'm sorry your long time fish is having problems, good luck! keep us updated on how things are going.
 

Seamusson

AC Members
Original poster
Sep 9, 2017
5
0
1
52
Thanks for the advise. Much appreciated.

I was also just moving on the peas & Epsom salt treatment when my wife discovered we've a much bigger problem: fish lice/argulus. See my post here if you are interested: https://www.aquariacentral.com/forums/threads/help-fish-lice-argulus.287340/

Well, I've only read of weather loaches, I haven't kept them (yet, they're so cute!). But I'll try to suggest some things you might try. Peas were going to be my first idea. Did he eat them? Have you seen him poo? The swollen area doesn't look red, is it?

Did you add any new fish, snails, plants? It sounds like not, so it probably isn't internal parasites after 8 years of health. You want to do lots of water changes, daily or so, to get the nitrate down to at least 40ppm, 20ppm or less is better but might be hard to maintain in a small tank with your fish. Clean water can work wonders. Vacuum the substrate as well as you can, some each WC.

You might try Epsom salt (the foot soak magnesium kind) next, I believe the dosage is 1 TBSP per 5 gallons of water. I'd add it over a few days, say a teaspoon/5 gallons for 3 days, dissolved in dechlorinated or tank water. It shouldn't hurt your other fish or plants. You'll need to redose after water changes to keep it at that level. & after a week or 2, slowly remove it via WCs.

The next step is antibiotics or antiparasite meds. They can be used with some Epsom salt still in the water but don't try everything at 1 time, that can be stressful. Metronidizol (metro) or metro/praziquintil (prazi) might be a good next treatment, it's an antiparasitic with mild antibacterial properties. But look it up to be sure it's safe for the loaches & goldfish (I think so). Follow the directions for dosage & tx time.

Then if nothing has helped you might try Maracide 1 & 2 together, they get both gram positive & gram negative bacteria. This after you've removed the metro via water changes & I'd probably use carbon in the filter too, but just while removing the metro....& then to remove the Maracide at the end of that tx.

Antibiotics will probably kill your beneficial bacteria, metro may too (not sure), so test daily if you can. Plan to do water changes every day or dose Prime to help "lock up" ammonia, nitirite & nitrate, it lasts for 24-48 hours.

I'm sorry your long time fish is having problems, good luck! keep us updated on how things are going.
 
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