Keyhole With Clamped Fins, Not Eating Either

Fishywife

Member
Hi, I just joined fish lore finally after reading your posts for months.

I'm an English ex pat living in the USA, I've kept fish for over 20 years, I'm certainly not a beginner. I have 6 tanks running, I breed Angel's as a hobby.

The problem is this: I purchased 2 keyhole cichlids approx 2 weeks ago. The guy that caught them for me stressed one of them to the max, chasing him around the tank and eventually pinning him. It's this fish I'm having problems with. The other keyhole is fine. They are both in a 10 gallon quarantine with a cycled filter, ammonia 0 nitrites 0 nitrates 10 Ph 6.8 I have 2 caves, plastic plants (yuk, my other tanks are heavily live planted) I put some floating Sprite and java moss in to help with nitrate control.

The keyhole in question is showing these symptoms: lack of appetite, clamped fins, and as of this morning, swimming strangely. It is going back and forward constantly, in one spot. It will follow the other keyhole around the tank, but will resume the back and forth motion. Stress markings have gone as of 2 days ago. I have fed flake, and frozen bloodworm. He shows signs that he's interested, but won't eat.

As of yesterday, I have medicated the tank with maracyn 2 as a precaution in case it's an internal infection of some sort. Both keyholes are about 1 inch long. In England I pretty much knew what meds to use but here I'm not that clued up and in the 4 years I've been here I haven't had many problems apart from a camallanus worm outbreak last year which thankfully I sorted with levamisole.

What could be wrong with this juvie keyhole, and what can I do to get him better? I really don't want to lose it as it's taken me 3 years to locate any.

Thanks and sorry for the long post!
 

CraniumRex

Member
Bumping this for you. I know how hard it is to find keyholes - next to impossible in Canada.

How’s he doing ? I’m sorry I can’t recommend if maracyn is the right course of action. I have heard API general cure is a good go to if you don’t know what you are treating.

It’s banned in Canada so I have Seachem Polyguard and Paraguard on hand.

Good luck!
 
  • Thread Starter

Fishywife

Member
HI and thank you x

I fed them.both some brine shrimp in an effort to get him to eat, again he looked interested, but didnt touch it. The other keyhole is completely fine. I've found through experience it is sometimes better to have more than one fish in a medication tank, they try to hang on to life a little more. I only used maracyn 2 because it was the only thing I had at hand, and felt treating for an internal infection was a start. I was also considering using salt, which, I don't generally use at all. Local store doesn't have any internal parasite meds, the only choice that I have right now is Amazon. I wanted some opinions on what it could be before I make some orders (and pray it gets here on time). I have everything crossed not just my fingers that he makes it.

Update. The keyhole is no longer swimming about, and is hiding at the back of one of the caves I put in the quarantine tank. It hasn't eaten in a week and considering it's just about 1 inch long I'm not holding any hopes for it now unless I can get some recommendation of what to treat it with. I am really worried for this fish. Please can someone help.
 

CraniumRex

Member
I'm sorry no one has responded Fishywife.

DoubleDutch is very experienced and knowledgeable but I believe he is in the Netherlands so not sure about the time difference. TexasDomer and chromedome52 are also very experienced and may be able to recommend US meds.

I hope your little guy pulls through. Do you have the lights off for him? Sorry, I know you are also experienced but just checking.
 

TexasDomer

Member
Can you take a pic of your tank?
 
  • Thread Starter

Fishywife

Member
Yes I can do tomorrow. It's just a quarantine though. Nothing special. I checked before I came to bed and hes still hanging in there at the back of the cave but hes getting weaker by the day. I just have natural gravel, 2 caves a bunch of plastic plants which I hate but use for this purpose because I can bleach them. I also put a bit of java moss and wisteria which I can trash when the tank isn't in use. As soon as I'm up I will take a pic, but he may not come out of the cave.

Yes I have the lights off. The tank where its situated does get some light from the window during the day though.



I had to turn the lights on in order to take the pic as way too much reflection. TexasDomerand CraniumRex the pic underneath is the tank they will be going into once I've hopefully got this keyhole better.
 

CraniumRex

Member
Wow gorgeous tank!! I love it!!

C’mon little guy, eat for mama.

Seems like a really nice QT tank and lots of places to hide and de-stress. I’m interested to read and learn what Texasdomer is looking for.
 
  • Thread Starter

Fishywife

Member
I try to put some decor in the quarantine so fish are less stressed if they can hide somewhat. I have gbr in my 55g, so you know with gbr the water quality has to be pristine. I have managed to upload some pics of my other tanks too.

The horrible thing is I watched the tank of keyholes for 30 mins or more before I bought 2. They all seemed fine. The guy that caught them chased the one that is now sick for 15 minutes before he decided to pull the tank decor and pin it with the frame of the net. It was not pretty. The second one he caught without smooshing it.

Last day of maracyn2 med today, it doesn't seem to have done much good, but at least I hope to have prevented an internal infection.

Update CraniumRex and TexasDomer he ate 3 bloodworms! First I've seen him eat in over a week! He's still very dark and clamped, but I guess those bloodworm were too scrummy to miss. The other keyhole interacts with him and I've definitely not seen any bullying behaviour. He went back to his cave after. I'll stick with bloodworm if hes eating them. He showed no interest in flake or brineshrimp, but the other one has accepted everything I've offered so far.
 

TexasDomer

Member
That's what I was looking for when I asked for a pic - how much decor and hiding places there were. Looks like a great tank to me.

Glad he's eating!!
 
  • Thread Starter

Fishywife

Member
He still looks awful though, but he did come out for a bit today. Hes darkened. And his tail is clamped tight. Could it be parasites? I've treated for internal bacteria, it doesn't seem to be helping much though, if I'm honest. We are going to do a long trip tomorrow to get parasite meds. I'm in maine usa. What do you recommend me to get? TexasDomer I'm going to do a big staggered waterchange tomorrow. I can add carbon to the filter too to completely remove the maracyn. I think a day or two of rest from meds. Then start with whatever is recommended.
 

TexasDomer

Member
What makes you think it's parasitic? I wouldn't treat without having a good reason to think it's parasites, but if you're going to, I would do PraziPro because it's pretty gentle on fish.
 
  • Thread Starter

Fishywife

Member
I've been googling it for hours. I finally think I may have the answer. Hes displaying a lot of the symptoms of hexamita. Resting head down. Darkened, moving backwards and forwards. After he ate earlier, his poop was white and stringy looking. The poop thing could have been from not eating for days too I guess. Either way I did a staged tank flush with prime as there was some uneaten food laying and last thing he needs is an ammonia or nitrate burst.

What I'm assuming is he got super stressed at the fish store 20 mins being chased then pinned. Then the journey home and a new tank. I've read with cichlids hex can live in the gut harmlessly for years but can quickly take over when a fish is stressed out. It kinda makes sense to me, what about you? TexasDomer

Either way, I can't get out until after 3 tomorrow, so I've done a decent water change and will watch and see what happens next with him
 

TexasDomer

Member
With the white poop, I would guess parasites too. Not sure if it's hex, but I would treat with an antihelminthic after hearing that. Metronidazole is another option.
 
  • Thread Starter

Fishywife

Member
The only antihelminthic I have to hand here is levamisole. I had a camallanus worm outbreak last year which I successfully treated. To be honest that's the only real problem I've come across since I've been in the usa, apart from some sick rescue fish I've taken in.
 
  • Thread Starter

Fishywife

Member
Look who I spotted out and about when I got up! He looks a bit better today, I even saw him stretching his fins out a little. He ate at least 2 bloodworms too. As of right now hes darkened again and swimming behind the filter, but I guess that's better than hiding head down in the cave.
 
  • Thread Starter

Fishywife

Member
Ok so I got a pack of general cure. It has metronidazol and praziquantel in it. I'm hoping this works. I'll do another staged flush tonight and start treatment with that tomorrow..

On another note... I rescued (adopted) a large female molly with tail rot being kept in an unheated tank... I must be crazy but I couldn't walk away... I have 2 mollies... another one won't hurt... sucker for a waif or stray lol
 

TexasDomer

Member
Glad you're going to help her fin rot, but a molly being in an unheated tank isn't that big of a deal, unless the room is ridiculously cold - they're fine in cooler water
 
  • Thread Starter

Fishywife

Member
Lol I'm in maine. That water was frigid. I have reynaud syndrome and it turned my fingers white!

Update on keyhole:

His fins are still clamped but.. he sharked my hand for bloodworm this morning !! I only put a tiny bit in, he butted my hand and swam off with the clump! So I tried a little flake. Boom he ate that too! I got the meds apI general cure but as yet have not added it to the tank. HI'm eating like normal is a huge milestone I feel, and I'm just wondering whether or not I should medicate. He still has white stringy poop.
 

TexasDomer

Member
Since he still has the stringy white poop, you could medicate, or you could give him a few days and see if his poop goes back to normal. Parasites aren't the only reason for white poop.
 
  • Thread Starter

Fishywife

Member
TexasDomer oh yeah all **** broke loose here today I was going up write up a separate thread but had no clue where to post it.

The keyhole is now on his own in a 5 gallon tank. I did medicate and get him to eat some bloodworm laced with general cure. His buddy who I had noticed has started to pick on him a bit had to go into my 55 gallon community as in a 5 gallon the sick one couldn't get away.

I had to empty out and flush my 10 gallon in a big hurry as my Angel's spawned again this morning then the female this afternoon decided to try and murder her husband. She was battering him all round the tank. Almost blinded him and tore his pectorial fin to shreds. Ribbons. His eye is sunken and cloudy. He just took it without trying to hide or fight back. I have no clue what got into her. He was just trying to help with the eggs as he normally does. They have spawned every fortnight for over a year and this has never ever happened before. I had to intervene and got bit multiple times. So Lucifer is in my 10 gallon with a dose of maracyn to prevent any infection setting in.

So all in all the little keyhole got stressed again with me moving him. I'm thinking to put 2 very small platy fry in with him to act as dither fish. I have around 80 in my grow out. Good idea or no?
 
  • Thread Starter

Fishywife

Member
I guess he's on the mend! The move to the 5 gallon with treated water didnt phase him as much as I thought it might. Lucifer is on the mend too, his eye is looking much better too. His fin is going to take some time to mend.
 

CraniumRex

Member
That is great news! Glad to hear it. Thanks for updating.
 

TexasDomer

Member
It seems you've had a rough time of it lately!

If the platy won't pester him and won't steal his food, might be worth a shot to see if it helps him feel more comfortable.
 
  • Thread Starter

Fishywife

Member
This little guy did end up with 5 platy fry in with him, he did chase them at first but that soon settled. His medications are over and I think hes ready for the 55 gallon now. A completely different fish from the clamped up miserable little guy/girl he was 2 weeks ago
 
  • Thread Starter

Fishywife

Member
Update: She has been back in my 55 gallon community for almost 2 weeks, and is going great. It would seem looking at fin differences I have a pair. They bomb around the tank together, looking for trouble lol. All ended well. Yay!
 

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