Baby longhorned cowfish is sick, please help.

TarantulaLover

New member
My boyfriend bought a baby longhorned cowfish (maybe an inch long, if even that) about 4 days ago. He did the slow drip, then placed it into the tank with the others... he has a red-banded shrimp, green brittle starfish, and a debelius reef lobster in there, it's a 14 gallon Biocube tank. I had researched prior that cowfish need HUGE tanks to live in, but the LFS said being as how we have a 75 gallon that we're already going to set up, the cowfish being currently tiny should be okay temporarily in the 14g.

I was a bit spooked with that information, because I know from tarantula and reptile keeping that you can't readily trust pet shop people... so at first, the tiny cowfish appeared to be doing fine, but yesterday night we noticed not only was he (I call it a "he" however I actually have no idea what sex it is.) no longer a bright yellow coloring, but rather was very dark, his eyes appeared extremely dilated (almost completely round circles), and he wouldn't eat. So I told my boyfriend that the little guy should be quarantined immediately. He won't eat and he doesn't even swim... he's just at the bottom of the tank. He's still alive, just not doing much of anything and I'm EXTREMELY worried about him. Though he's not my fish, I really don't want him to die OR be suffering. I keep tarantulas and reptiles and attach pretty quickly with animals.

He's now in a small tank with an air filter. We had read that cowfish are very susceptible to "ich"... he appears to have a tiny white dot on his top fin and on his back... but I'm not sure if that's "ich" or we're just being overly paranoid given the state he's in. Nonetheless, we put Kordon Ich Attack in there today around 10:30am (central time). The salinity level in the water is 1.025... not sure if that detail helps... I just would really, DEEPLY appreciate some advice. I was scared he wouldn't make it through the night and he did, so now I feel we're on borrowed time. :(
 

TarantulaLover

New member
Also, just did the API 5-in-1 aquarium color test strip:
NO3: between 80-160
NO2: 0
pH: 8.0
KH:240
GH: 120-180

The water is 77.7 degrees fahrenheit, salinity is 1.025
 
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h2so4hurts

New member
Ich attack is homeopathic herbal nonsense. Read the stickies about cryptocarryon (marine ich). Be careful with cowfish, they're poison and when they die they can take out an entire tank. I think this is a hard way to learn a few lessons 1) everything should be quarantined from the start 2) LFS's are full of untrustworthy people only looking to make a sale 3) #2 is definitely true if all of the research you did tells you the opposite of what they recommended 4) Trust your research :p

Without pictures, it's hard to know what's bugging your little guy. You also need to get liquid test kits for water quality tests. Those test strips are never reliable. Your nitrates are VERY high. I wouldn't keep fish in anything more than 40ppm (if that number is even ppm). I'd still like to see your ammonia and nitrite levels with a liquid test. Your fish store should be able to do those for you. That's one of the few things they probably can't screw up.
 

TarantulaLover

New member
Ich attack is homeopathic herbal nonsense. Read the stickies about cryptocarryon (marine ich). Be careful with cowfish, they're poison and when they die they can take out an entire tank. I think this is a hard way to learn a few lessons 1) everything should be quarantined from the start 2) LFS's are full of untrustworthy people only looking to make a sale 3) #2 is definitely true if all of the research you did tells you the opposite of what they recommended 4) Trust your research :p

Without pictures, it's hard to know what's bugging your little guy. You also need to get liquid test kits for water quality tests. Those test strips are never reliable. Your nitrates are VERY high. I wouldn't keep fish in anything more than 40ppm (if that number is even ppm). I'd still like to see your ammonia and nitrite levels with a liquid test. Your fish store should be able to do those for you. That's one of the few things they probably can't screw up.

I can't currently get that done because I can't drive due to having epilepsy, so I'll have to wait till the boyfriend gets home at 5:00pm so we can go get the water tested. He has Instant Ocean Natural Nitrate Reducer- should I add that right now? I'm sorry for all the questions, it's just this ISN'T my fish tank, I don't maintain fish, I only maintain reptiles and arachnids... which is a completely different ballgame all together, so I may ask some truly stupid questions. Thank you for already sounding very understanding though, I was afraid I was going to get a lot of hate. :\
 

h2so4hurts

New member
I don't know what you should do because we don't have enough information yet. But I do know that panicking is the worst thing you can do. It just stresses the fish out more. Get the water tested and get us some pictures :)
 

cngreg

New member
Hopefully you havent given it too much stress in the move. Did it eat at all since you've had it? Pick at rock? Do you have a small heater in there? Something to consider with boxfish (and so i think cows apply) is that when theyre stressed they secrete ostracitoxin, which effects neural impulses by messing with ca++ channels i think, and may stop anyvertebrates heart. Were you running carbon in your cube? Are you running it in the quarantine? When these littel guys get cryptocaryon (marine ich) they are usually plastered in it before you see them going down and breathing hard. I suspect you have either a bacterial infection or another type of protozoan on the fish. If you have a decent pet shop near you, something which may be a good shotgun would be adding metronidazole and a broad spectrum antibiotic to the water. Commonly seen in shops is trimethoprim sulfa, which is pretty good on bacteria in general and not harsh on your biological filter. Maracyn two is another decent option. Ideally theyd have kanacyn or kanaplex, kanamycin an aminoglycoside. If you have access to antibiotics, amikacin or enrofloxacin (baytril) might be the best choices. If you really think that those spots are krypto, which they may be, and that they are the reason why this little guy is debilitated, consider the tank transfer method which you can read about in the stickies at the top of this forum. Just remember that with small fish, it's the handling that usually puts them over. Do everything slow and gentle, scoop it up with tupperware if you have to move it and acclimate super slow. Keep it warm, well oxygenated but not in heavy flow, and not in bright light. Finally, A trick to keep ammonia and nitrite down is to use a tap water conditioner which "detoxifies" ammonia and nitrite. While this binding is temporary, it's long enough for your purpose. Good luck and keep us posted please.
 

MrTuskfish

Team RC
Ich attack is homeopathic herbal nonsense. Read the stickies about cryptocarryon (marine ich). Be careful with cowfish, they're poison and when they die they can take out an entire tank. I think this is a hard way to learn a few lessons 1) everything should be quarantined from the start 2) LFS's are full of untrustworthy people only looking to make a sale 3) #2 is definitely true if all of the research you did tells you the opposite of what they recommended 4) Trust your research :p

Without pictures, it's hard to know what's bugging your little guy. You also need to get liquid test kits for water quality tests. Those test strips are never reliable. Your nitrates are VERY high. I wouldn't keep fish in anything more than 40ppm (if that number is even ppm). I'd still like to see your ammonia and nitrite levels with a liquid test. Your fish store should be able to do those for you. That's one of the few things they probably can't screw up.

Good info! If you don't start researching fish BEFORE you buy them; this wonderful hobby is going to be a short-lived disaster for you.
 

TarantulaLover

New member
...he just died. Maybe he was too stressed from the move? The temperature and salinity were matched to the tank he had been in at the LFS. I feel horrible and it's technically not even my fish. That was a living being... just because it isn't human doesn't make it not important. I couldn't help it in time.
 

h2so4hurts

New member
Don't beat yourself up about it. It happens. I can't tell you how many fish I've worked my hardest to save without success :(
 

enjetek

New member
Sorry for your loss but sometimes fish come in very bad condition that even we cannot do anything to save them. Now that you have asked some questions this would be a good time to start learning how to treat your fish using the tank transfer method or cupramine for crypt (aka ich as most people say) and then also treating for flukes with prazi pro. It might seem like a pain in the butt but it will save your whole tank with any future additions. There are stickies that you can read to help you learn about each process. Also, make sure the fish is responsive and eating before you buy it at the store since selecting a strong specimen will increase the odds of both of you having success.

Keep a sponge a sponge in your display tank so you can always quickly cycle your quarantine/hospital tank and then you won;t have to worry about ammonia. If you don't do this trick then be careful since using ammonia detoxifiers and cupramine will kill your new fish. Any more questions just feel free to ask ahead since we have many competent resources on this forum/section.
 

jamesbaur13

Apsiring Alhcohlolic
I'm sorry for your loss.

You were trying, everyone here can see that and it's not your fault. Like another poster said, some fish aren't cut out for captivity.

The only thing I can advise (that hasn't been addressed) is this... I go to my LFS on the day they receive their stock order. I'm usually there a couple hrs after they put in the new fish. I look for the ones that seem to be out and about and not stressed by the acclimation process (I'm there often enough to recognize which ones have been there for a while and which ones are new). Those ones that are out and about soon after acclimating seem to do the best. Stress has numerous detrimental effects on fish (and humans too). The ones that can cope with stress seem to fare the best. I always ask them to feed them while I am there. On that first day I look for them feeding or having some sort of interest in the food. Many times they don't eat right away... this is more the norm than the exception, but if you see them completely transfixed on you and not the food... that's a concern. There are exceptions to this though... I have one of them in my own tank. However, If you are looking for as close to bulletproof as you can then I'd advise going with ones that seem to acclimate quickly.
 
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