Sick Fish

mgecaApril 11, 2013

My 12-14" shubunkin survived yet another winter under the ice but now has developed the "bends" where its head and tail bend toward one another on one side. It swims but that isn't a pleasant sight to see.

I know this isn't uncommon, but I have forgotten how to treat it. Please help me with that. Is it always fatal?

Any help appreciated--this is an old friend.

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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Hey, Mike. Sorry about your fishie. There are probably several things that could be wrong if the water quality is good. Most of the time the results are not good but it is worth trying.

Some things that cause a bend are injury, swim bladder infections and vitamin deficiency. There is not much to be done with an injury but there are medicated foods that can supply vitamins and general medication for diseases or infections. There is a separate medicated food for certain parasites.

A friend suggested it might be a severe calcium deficiency and might be helped by addition of a POP slug to the pond. Like chicken soup, it couldn't hurt.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 2:20PM
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Net the fish and inspect him closely for brown veining on its sides and tail. "Brown blood disease" from a bad liver kidneys. They swim like they have a broken back. If that is the case there is not much you can do. I had two koi that developed this one spring.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 3:26AM
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kashka_kat(z4 WI)

Have you checked your water parameters - that is always the place to start - bad water conditions can be the direct cause of the symptoms or a contributing factor to stressing the fish making him more susceptible to disease. "Brown blood" mentioned above can be caused by nitrite poisoning and "the bends" by nitrate.

This post was edited by kashka_kat on Thu, Apr 25, 13 at 9:44

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 9:41AM
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Thank you for the insights and good advice. My water quality tests just fine. I have netted the fish and see no abnormalities, discoloration, swelling or sign of physical injury. The poor thing just floats on its side with head and tail pointing toward the bottom.

I am a little fuzzy on swim bladder and parasites. I have been on the forum for 8 years, but not recently, so I am trying to catch up.

I did solicit an opinion from a well-respected pond friend who used to be around here, and he added two more thought to the possibilities: spine injury/broken back from rocks and electric shock. He believes shock to be the causative factor.

He said that if it is electric shock the fish will straighten out as the water gets warmer and curl up again when it gets colder. Not much life quality. All I can do right now is try to provide nutrition and watch, if it ever does warm up.

The shock idea is not a bad one. Sleepless has posted stories about electric shock and ponds in the past.

We shall see. I will inform when something happens.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 4:31PM
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