Juvenile Ornate Polypterus stopped eating - Help!!!

Discussion in 'Oddball Fish' started by PolypterusParent, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. PolypterusParent

    PolypterusParentNew MemberMember

    I have a juvenile Ornate Polypterus, approx. 3 inches, which was housed for the past three months in a 29 gallon by itself. It ate very aggressively and was otherwise very active. I noticed about 10 days ago that it was lethargic and refusing food. I even tempted it with meal worms and live Ghost Shrimp, aside from its regular Krill, (it will not eat meat pellets thus far). I had the water tested and the Ammonia and Nitrite levels were perfect, as well as the PH. The Nitrates, however, tested at 80ppml. Put De-Nitrate in the filter, Prime, emergency water changes every 2-3 days of 1/4 of the tank's volume. The Nitrates are holding at 80ppml. I then tested my tap water and it tested close to 20ppml. The head guy at my fish store, who is also an eel keeper, both fresh and salt, recommended getting the Polypterus into a hospital tank ASAP.

    I drained my 10 gallon hospital tank, and refilled it with filtered water from the aquarium store, let it run and heat up to temp for awhile and then tested the Nitrates. It tested at 20ppml, so I immediately started acclimating the eel in a bucket with an airline tubing drip for quite awhile before putting him in. He is responsive and seems fine, not breathing heavily or anything, but still won't eat after 16 hours of being in the tank. I am very worried that it is simply going to starve itself to death.

    Any advice on how to get this little guy to eat, what I can tempt him with, how long these fish can go without eating, would be GREATLY appreciated.

    I have longtime experience in keeping these fish, and have never had an issue like this. In fact, I have a large one in a 72 gallon that is quite healthy.

    Please help!!!
  2. AquariaUK

    AquariaUKValued MemberMember

    I'm no expert, but I think he's still getting used to everything, as 80ppm is the highest I've ever seen! Give it 2 days and if nothing happens he might have a disease of some kind. I'll wait for the experts if I were you.
  3. matsungit

    matsungitWell Known MemberMember

    Since your tank tend to have high nitrates, try sand substrate of at least 6 inches and do not ever disturb it below half an inch from the surface. This will help with nitrates by increasing anaerobic bacteria. Denitrate works best in a slow flow media reactor using a small pump 50gph or lower. Filters usually have high flow. I don't know about eels but many will last up to 2 weeks without eating. He's probably just stressed from overeating and pollution. Just curious, did you say that the store bought water has 20ppm nitrates?
  4. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Good call on the d*nitrate needing less than 50 gph to be effective. If you want to try using that, I would get the smallest eheim canister (because it also needs to be in a canister) because its only 66 gph, and dialing the flow back by half.

    Also, I don't see the point of moving the fish from the 29 to the 10, unless you think the problem is the environment itself. It's only going to be more difficult to maintain water quality. But, if you don't know what's going on I suppose moving the fish to another tank is a good idea - if it quickly improves then its clear there is a problem with the other tank. If the fish doesn't improve then I would move it back to the 29.

    Oh, and bichirs are not eels :) Even the eels in the trade aren't really eels.
  5. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning and WelcomeSnowManHouse.gif to Fish Lore!

    I hope you enjoy the site.