Might be dealing with fish TB
I'm in quite a bit of panic at the moment due to our 22 gallon guppy and platy aquarium downstairs. It's heated to 76 F and fed once a day using one of three things: tropical flakes, freeze dried bloodworms or freeze dried daphnia. The tank is completely cycled and most definitely filtered (I don't know the brand name but I made sure the filter was more powerful than the tank required). The water change schedule is beyond me, my mother maintains this tank and I know the fish need more regular care. I've been unable to help due to illness (I can only maintain my own aquariums) but of late have been pushing myself more to get a few jobs done and at least try to help out more -- this could have a huge negative impact on my health. We will be looking to rehome some of the fish if I can prove to mum and myself that they are healthy.
I won't allow mum to go near the tank until I know what's going on. If it is something serious like fish TB I don't want her getting in contact with the water but I would like to do a water change using rubber gloves and a disposable cup. Even so, I have a compromised immune system and need to be careful (otherwise I'd be downstairs doing a water change right now despite being on my own).
To get to the point and if you hadn't already guessed I'm getting increasingly concerned that the aquarium in question may be in the midst of a fish TB outbreak. Before I continue I'd like to say that we have not had mass deaths of fish -- research has shown me that this won't always be the case. I'd really love to get some advice on what you all think before I proceed with any course of action. I've been stressed out lately and may be overreacting due to that so I'd appreciate some level-headed responses. Also, this post is going to be rather long as I want to give you as much information as possible.
What triggered my fear is seeing one of our guppies sat at the bottom of the tank waddling around with a large belly -- I assumed she was giving birth as she was breathing rapidly and staying hidden, her belly didn't look any larger than our other guppy when she gave birth previously. I checked the next morning just to make sure I wasn't mistaken and saw she was even more bloated, with no babies in sight I quarantined her and started her on an epsom salt treatment as her scales were also beginning to look raised. I know all about dropsy and have dealt with it in the past but this caused me to take a really, really good look at the other fish as I know dropsy is a symptom of something not being right in the water rather than a disease itself.
We have lost fish to dropsy in the past however this was a very long time (years) ago.
We have a big grey female guppy with a beautiful blue tail. When we bought her she had a bent spine - I didn't know about fish TB at the time and assumed she had suffered with some manner of poisoning or malnutrition at some stage in her life. We've had her for several months. She's never shown any difficulties swimming but has always had rather a large body. She's much bigger than our other guppies both in length and "width".
Last night I noticed that she had started to waddle a little while swimming, I thought it might be SBD but I took another look at her tail and saw it was even more bent than usual. She doesn't appear to be any larger than usual but I will check on her again later.
I've had a look at some of the platys and they are beginning to show signs of bent spines...
One of our younger male fish (fry from about eight months ago) looked particularly thin. I thought it was either internal parasites or lack of food (though the tank was overfed at the time, that was rectified quickly) so I moved him to a tank on his own and fed him by hand to ensure he was eating and confirmed that he did not have internal parasites. After he regained some weight I added him back to the main tank and over time he has become underweight and thin again despite me seeing him eat regularly.
Our green tailed, grey bodied female guppy has also lost a lot of weight. She used to have a healthy tummy but recently has shown more and more signs of something going wrong. I'm trying to catch her defecating so I can see if she has internal parasites.
A few young fish are also looking quite thin. The tank is no longer overfed but is not underfed either.
Weight gain & big bellies
Some of our other fish have particularly large abdomens despite our careful feeding routine. They look unnaturally large but don't show the same "type" of largeness as other fish mentioned above. They have no problems swimming, they aren't constipated and don't have raised scales... they simply look... fat when compared to healthy-bodied specimens.
Now I can't tell if these are part of the fishes' natural colours or something else but a few of the fish (the emaciated male I mentioned in particular...) have random black scales dotted over their body. It looks odd but not what I would call unnatural - though I may be mistaken.
Nothing to report here. I've not been able to see any form of lesions or open sores.
I noticed symptoms appearing over a matter of a couple of days.
Looking at the above, does anyone have any idea what might be going on? Does the tank just need more regular maintenance? Is there anything I should do or can do to test for fish TB? If it does turn out to be TB does anyone have any recommendations as to how I should proceed? I know how to protect myself and my family from fish TB (though I did dunk my hands in the tank a few days ago to hook out a couple of moss balls before all of this started and have a bad immune system) but what can I do for the fish downstairs?
I can't thank you enough for your time and hope to Heaven that this is simply something that can be fixed with more regular water changes... but my hope is fading fast, the more I look at the fish the more I wonder and worry.
I've told my family about fish TB and that the fish may need to be euthanized if they do indeed have this horrible disease so we're all prepared... I just wish I was able to take care of this aquarium full-time as well.
"There will come a time when three words uttered with charity and meekness shall receive a far more blessed reward than three thousand volumes written with disdainful sharpness of wit."