I've had this little guy, Syracuse, for a few weeks now. He started out in 3 tsps of epsom, which had no effect. Gradually, I've tapered it down to 1 tsp. He's an odd little fellow. He spends a lot of time in an upside down U shape or on his side at the top. He'll be fine for a while but when he gets too excited, he just seems to . . . well, pass out. Like when I feed him. He grabs a bloodworm, snarfs it partway down and then suddenly keels over onto his side and looks dead. He'll be like that for a few minutes, then right himself and swim around. Sometimes, he'll start spinning like a top on his nose. Other times, he'll spin in his circles on his side, like a wagon wheel on its side. He can't swim down at all, so he's in a 1.3g plastic shoebox container that's shallow but long.
He seems perfectly healthy except for these problems and yet, I wonder if I'm doing the right thing keeping him alive. Is this a case of merciful euthanasia because he can't swim right? I just don't know what to do with him and I need advice, suggestions . . . anything. It's sad to watch him but at the same time, I feel awkward putting him down when he's not sick.
Your Syracuse reminded me of my Lazuli. You know I had tried all kinds of "treatment" with him. From epsom salt, to antibiotics to rule out bacterial infection, at one point, he was just so sad looking that I had considered euthanasia.
When I had acquired 2 more boys in the beginning of the year, I had decided to put him in my chinese porcelain container which is really shallow (I think 2.5 inches in height) that contains ~1 gal of water. He was really scared in there for about a week, and then slowly, he was swimming!!
Now he has been in there for 6 weeks and he finally swims like a fish and able to rest on the bottom! lol He still has stunted growth, much smaller even compared to the younger ones, but he can swim normal and he still loves to eat. He is getting so good at it he is able to escape my dipping cup! lol I haven't tested him by putting him back in the 2.5 gal to see if he can be a "normal" fish.
So my suspicion is that by putting him in a normal tank, and him naturally wanting to swim downward which may have continued to aggravate his SB (bending like a U). Now his SB are not bulging like before. He is looking quite svelte from the top down
yikes! senile moment again! I forgot to add the time line. He was "suffering" for 6 months before I put him in the "flat" tank. I had not done anything differently and he was never on long term ES treatment. So his "recovery" was really out of the blue and a pleasant surprise for me.
Earthworm, thank you so much for sharing about Lazuli. :) I think I'll try putting Syracuse into a shallow container. I'm hoping to go out tonight so I may swing by a craft shop where I saw a shallow vase. Or, I might pick up an even shallower plastic box. Whichever ends up being cheaper.
I had originally thought the plastic box he's in was shallow enough but I do think you're right, it seems like not being able to go down just makes him panic even more.
I know you posted this a while ago, but I wanted to check in and see how your fish is doing now? My little guy Rock-N-Roll has had pretty much identical symptoms for months now. Actually, I think you were one of the people who helped me figure out how to treat & manage him.
I wish I would have seen this thread sooner....I would have tried the shallow container route for him, maybe it would have made a difference. Unfortunately, after being stable with these symptoms since December (and a few days randomly stuck in there when he would seem absolutely fine & normal, then get symptomatic again), he recently took a pretty sudden and dramatic turn for the worse (no idea if related to his chronic symptoms vs. something new).
It's some comfort to know that there are other fish out there dealing with this issue. Like your guy, Rock-N-Roll is/was (when I left for work this morning he was barely clinging to life and I think I've reached a decision to euthanize him tonight if he hasn't passed on his own by then) a runty little guy with some very bizarre behavior but he really grew on me and my family and we're saddened to see him go. I hope things have worked out better for Syracuse.
Hi chicagojo. I'm so sorry to hear about Rock-N-Roll. I've followed his story for a while and I know how hard you've tried to help him and how much effort you've put into making his life a happy and good one.
Syracuse, unfortunately, did not like the shallow vase I put him in. I got it at a craft store and it was very shallow but he almost seemed to prefer the opaque plastic of his Sterilite shoebox so I ended up returning him to it. I left his favorite fake hairgrass plant in for him, the one that formed a floating cave that he could hide in. For about a month, he did very well but one day I woke up and found he had passed away. I'm not sure, but I think he may have become stuck under the heater and become unable to rise to the surface. Poor Syracuse. I miss the little guy. About a month ago, I found another orange fellow with the SBD problems. Scoop Jardine (named for Syracuse's star basketball player) is a healthy, curious fellow who I think will live for a long time.