55 Gallon Tank My New Leopard Bush Fish- "Mr.Leaf"

PurityNWhiteRoses

Hello, everyone.

I made a post a while ago about my neighbors giving me their 4-5 year old bush fish, "Mr. Leaf". After bringing him to his new home, I've realized he truly was neglected.

I finally got him on Saturday and saved most of his water from his old set up as well as the media. The filter was too noisy so I bought a new one, and I am aware of the nitrogen cycle. The reason why I risked getting a new one was because of the overall grime, dirt, and waste. I've never seen so much in my whole fishkeeping career, thankfully, the tank is still cycled and the new canister filter took care of the suspended particles. My best guess is they haven't changed the water in months. When I've seen the tank, the water has been 2 inches+ below what the tank can hold and the algae on the sides was always present (something that isn't so bad). When I was watching their fish, I barely saw the poor fish move or eat, which I assume was from the terrible water quality. I plan on doing a water change this weekend and really cleaning his tank up. It really needs it. As well as bad water quality, there were very few plants and no caves for him to hide in which is essential for bush fish.

Then I noticed something else when I got him home. He has one cloudy eye which I assume is from the water. He also refuses to eat, even before the move. I tried soaking his food in garlic, tying bloodworms to a string, tong feeding, everything. He has been eating Hikari Carnivore Pellets and Tetra Tropical Flakes for years, with the VERY rare feeding of blood worms. He has not had feeder fish as far as I know and I do not want to get any for him if I can help it. Any suggestions on getting him to eat? Hopefully, he's just stressed out.

When filling up his tank with his old water, I added some new in and within a day, he was swimming to the middle of the water column, which is something I've never seen him do, and I've watched him previously at their house for weeks. It seems like he can't or doesn't want to go to the surface and I am wondering if I can do anything to encourage him. I know he's a labyrinth fish and he needs to get oxygen into his labyrinth organ. He's not food motivated at all. They also recently lost his companion fish who I assume have been together for years. According to my neighbors, he's been with gouramis and angle fish, along with alligator gars and other big fish. Seeing his temperament these past few days, he'll totally be fine with my two three-spot gouramis. I'm going to keep him alone for two weeks and do a little quarantine on him, as well as plant in his tank when his new light comes (the owners didn't have one/it broke/didn't use it).

He really isn't terrible and I've seen worse. I'm really hoping I get him into good shape. I'll happily take any suggestions on how to do so as I'm not exactly sure what to do with him to get him back into shape. Yet, I do have some loose ideas. Thanks for your input and comments. I appreciate it as always.

I can also post pictures of him when I get home, if that helps anyone.
 

BananaBean

Treat him for bacterial infections just in case and do more research on what's going on, get to a vet if one's near you.

I recommend API fin and body cure because it treats nearly everything
 

PurityNWhiteRoses

Okay! Thank you. Hypothetically, how would I get this big guy to a vet? He HATES buckets and being caught in a net. He's spikey and gets caught in it as well as bites the net and won't let go. So spikey, I can't even pick him up with my hand and I pick up a lot of fish with my hands. How much would you say it would cost to take him to a vet? Probably a lot since he's exotic. I don't have the funds for big vet bills.
 

Barrk2

What an interesting fish! I've never heard of one before. It always amazes me when people acquire these niche specialty fishes and then don't treat them well...
 

PurityNWhiteRoses

Yeah. I didn't know about them until I saw the fish for the first time. My LFS sells them pretty cheap and they are about 1-2 inches. They're really cool ambush predators! How he's still alive is amazing, but he surely will be living in paradise from now on. :)
 

mattgirl

For right now the only thing I would do is get his water as fresh and clean as you can. In my humble opinion medication should be a last resort and even then we need to know what we are treating for.

We want to first make him comfortable and then give him time to settle down. I know we want to do things for them but the best thing we can do is give them time to acclimate. If this fish has been left alone in a dark dirty tank for who knows how long it is going to take time for him to get over it.

Add plants or what ever he needs to make him comfortable and then give him time. Offer food, if it isn't eaten in a reasonable amount of time remove it. Try again the next day. From all you have written this guy isn't used to human interaction so try to give him as much quiet time as you can while he gets used to his new much better living conditions.
 

PurityNWhiteRoses

I agree about the medication and I don't think he's sick, just uncared for and run down. Do you think I should do a big water change today? I've had him less than 2 days. He's been through a lot with the move and I don't want to stress him out any more than I need to. I'll get live plant in the tank once his new light gets here. I think he had human interaction but not the care he needed. They taught him when they tap the glass, he comes out of hiding to greet them. They had his tank by a stair case and when he saw them, he'd swim to the back of the tank to watch them come down the stairs. I'll keep offering him food and cleaning up his tank. He surely is a survivor.
 

mattgirl

How much of his original water did you keep? If only 50% then he just had a 50% water change. If that is the case another one shouldn't have to be done right away.

It is good that he was interactive. I am sure the move stressed him out so give him time to settle in his new home.
 

TClare

You could try adding some almond leaves, might help. As for food, I don't know how big he is but there are few fish that can resist live Daphnia, if he doesn't eat them they won't do any harm in the tank. Interesting fish, I hope he soon improves.
 

PurityNWhiteRoses

I’d say about 70+%. I can definitely see if I can get some almond leaves. I also have Stress Coat+ on hand. As for daphnia, I just bought some freeze dried so I can try that! I don’t have any access to live foods since my LFS doesn’t carry them. :(
 

mattgirl

This little guy is a very interesting fish. :)
I’d say about 70+%
Although it was only a 30% water change I would probably still hold off on doing a water change for a few more days. Give the little guy a bit more time to get settled in. I would probably put the plants in there sooner rather than later. Going a little while without a light shouldn't be a problem for the plants and I suspect it would help him feel more comfortable.
 

PurityNWhiteRoses

I’ll take pictures of him and the tank. I mixed pea gravel with the sand. The tank looks like a mess because of the old fake plants that don’t stay put at the bottom and the amount of algae everywhere. I’ll get it cleaned up soon. :)
 

mattgirl

I would love to see pictures of him. I am sure you know this already but did want to stress, don't clean everything all at once. The majority of the bacteria is going to be on the filter media but there is also a lot of it on everything in the tank.
 

BananaBean

I agree about the medication and I don't think he's sick, just uncared for and run down. Do you think I should do a big water change today? I've had him less than 2 days. He's been through a lot with the move and I don't want to stress him out any more than I need to. I'll get live plant in the tank once his new light gets here. I think he had human interaction but not the care he needed. They taught him when they tap the glass, he comes out of hiding to greet them. They had his tank by a stair case and when he saw them, he'd swim to the back of the tank to watch them come down the stairs. I'll keep offering him food and cleaning up his tank. He surely is a survivor.
I'd say do meds just in case. It can't hurt, and his white eye makes me think he may have an infection.
 

PurityNWhiteRoses

I had to dispose of the original filter so I lost a lot of beneficial bacteria, but a lot remained on everything else in the tank.

I'll see if his eye fixes itself after I do a water change and after I get some food in him. I want meds to be the last resort because I don't want to stress him out with the meds or lose anymore bacteria. I'll give it time, but thank you for your suggestion.

Thank you all for responding. Thank God for you guys. :) You're helping this big guy get better!
 

mattgirl

Although it looked really bad I would have cleaned the original filter media in some of the water you saved and put it in the new filter but I suspect it is too late to do it now. I would hold off on cleaning anything in the tank until you are certain the cycle is stable.

What kind of tests are you running on the tank? Hopefully an API Master test kit. Just keep a close eye on the ammonia and if you see any try to keep it as low as possible with water changes. Hopefully there was enough bacteria left in the tank to keep the ammonia/nitrites at a constant zero.
 

TClare

Do you have any water lettuce or similar? Putting a load in the tank would also help to avoid any ammonia or nitrite spikes.
 

PurityNWhiteRoses

I haven't tested it yet but I do have test strips and a API nitrate and I think API ammonia drop kit came with the fish and tank. Not sure, but I'm pretty positive it's cycled from all the rocks, plants, and dirt in that tank. I'll check when I get home.
I have amubia, java fern, java moss, and two types of bacopa. No water lettuce yet. I'm thinking of getting floaters to help keep the light dim for my fish.
I'll keep an eye on the water levels. Don't worry. I think I'm safe because he's not eating or producing that much waste and since there are no other fish in with him at the moment.
I do have prime now, too.
Here he is. I’ll check the water parameters in a few minutes. :) I took a picture of his eye too.
 

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BananaBean

Try to get an API Master Test kit, it's more accurate than test strips. Super cute pics btw!
 

GlennO

Very cool fish. I feel sure that it would appreciate more cover (plants, caves, driftwood etc) and reduced lighting. Perhaps floating plants would help along with a background on the rear glass.
 

PurityNWhiteRoses

Just what I was planning on! :)
 

BananaBean

Sounds good, hope he gets better :)
 

PurityNWhiteRoses

I’ll keep you all updated! I think he may have eaten last night, too!
 

coralbandit

Add vitamins to his food ,whatever you are feeding .
Boyds vita chem is easy and good .
The fish has eye issues due to his previous diet and lack of nutrients/vitamins IMO .
Good looking fish .
 

PurityNWhiteRoses

I just looked it up on amazon. Looks really good! Thanks for the suggestion! Do you get it off amazon or somewhere else? Is there a lower price anywhere? I'm on a budget. :D Thanks, Tom!
 

BananaBean

Amazon generally has low prices, but I use Honey and hope it has coupons (me sounding like an ad). It works though.
 

PurityNWhiteRoses

I use Honey, too and hopefully, it'll have some coupons. I definatley check it out on other sites, too!
 

BananaBean

I use Honey, too and hopefully, it'll have some coupons. I definatley check it out on other sites, too!
Hey, if it works it works! Keep us updated on Mr. Leaf please!
 

PurityNWhiteRoses

Totally will! Thank you all! :emoji_heart_eyes:
I just found some frozen wild Alaskan flounder in my freezer. Hopefully he tries and eat it. I was reading that bush fish need 3 guppies worth of food minimum and if he’s eating at all, he’s getting 5% if of that. If he doesn’t want the flounder chunks, I might make it into a paste. What do you guys think about syringe feeding? Is it safe? It seems like a last resort. What are your opinions on it? Is there anything else I can try??? We are kind of at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to enticing him with food.
 

PurityNWhiteRoses

Anyone know what a bush fish’s inside of their mouth looks like??? I don’t know but it looks like there’s a big white cylinder in there? Is that its teeth? Or a mass?
I also tried feeding him the fish with tongs, really trying to get him to bite it, so much so getting a piece to touch the inside of his mouth when he’d open up. No biting just spitting out. He really needs to eat. I noticed his scales are dull and he seems to have some scuffed up areas by his eyes and a slash down his side. He’s not in good shape, but still swimming well and to the middle of the water column.
 

coralbandit

Ask your neighbor what they were feeding ?
although maybe not best food he is a fish that has eaten in the last 4-5 years they had him .
Have you tried slow sinking pellets >
I always trained picky fish to eat what was easy .
There is no trick to it , you only offer one thing .
It may take weeks .
 

PurityNWhiteRoses

I’ve tried everything. They gave me his food, too and still nothing. I’m getting worried. I tried some super smelly daphnia, his flakes, his pellets, my picky fish food, blood worms, flounder, my flakes, my veggie pellets, my shrimp pellets, everything. I don’t think he has weeks.
 

coralbandit

Offer food in evening when dark and then check to see if it gone in the morning .
Notice tank gets a lot of light .
Night time predator , night time feeder .
He may be picking around under cover of dark ?
He looks pretty healthy in pictures .
I would not be concerned yet .
Watchful but not worried .
 

PurityNWhiteRoses

Really? He looks healthy? I have t noticed anything disappearing from his tank but who knows? He definitely doesn’t seem skinny? Thank you so much.
 

PurityNWhiteRoses

I’ve had him for four now but they owned him for years and they said he recently stoped eating and started eating periodically before that. Maybe not a big deal?
 

TClare

I’ve had him for four now but they owned him for years and they said he recently stoped eating and started eating periodically before that. Maybe not a big deal?
Maybe not, I am not sure, but just keep watching him, if he is behaving normally and doesn’t seem to be losing weight he is probably fine. Some predators do not need to eat frequently once they are full grown. Keep trying him with food and hopefully he will get hungry soon. If there is anything wrong with him I think you will see some more definite signs of illness. Good luck!
 

PurityNWhiteRoses

While I’m here, I was wondering what type of bottom feeders would be good in Mr. Leaf’s tank? I am not a fan of plecos because they make a mess and I can’t do Corydoras since they’ll become his dinner. I plan on moving in my gouramis after a month into his tank and depending on how that goes, I’ll move in my angelfish. They all need more space. Would that tank be overstocked then? What about with the leaf fish and two three-spot gouramis? Or is it already fully stocked with my leaf fish? I’m planning on really planting it in and adding two caves, one big enough for Mr. Leaf, and one for the gouramis, which will be too small for Mr. Leaf to fit in in case there is a rumble. :D Your opinions will be greatly appreciated. Edit: Mr. Leaf has never been fish-aggressive and he’s been with gouramis and other fish, even gars.
 

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