Neon's stomach is swollen/moving/undulating?? WEIRD

  • #1
I guess I'll go ahead and post my neon tetra problem here as I haven't gotten any help on the other forum site I posted on. I have one Neon Tetra in a school of five with a strange symptom. The tetra's stomach area is swollen (it seems really swollen sometimes, and maybe almost normal at other times). The very strange thing is that the stomach area is constantly moving. It seems to undulate. It will be evenly swollen across the stomach area, then it will poke out sharply in one part, like a small bead (or piece of gravel?) is in there, then the bump will move, sort of even out, then two bumps will appear (like two lumps on the back a camel), then maybe there will just be a bump towards the back, then all even out again, etc. The tetra acts perfectly healthy (eating/swimming/breathing normally) and its color is good, as are all the others. It will occasionally swim away from the rest, but each of them seem to do this occasionally. It does have more red visible in the gills than the other tetras, but I'm not sure if this is a new development or it was always like that. I did read one or two other accounts of this elsewhere on the internet but no legitimate info on the problem. I bought some general cure that is supposed to treat parasites, which was just a random guess of mine (only because it reminded me of some icky scifI parasite thing, not because I know anything about fish disease or parasites), but I haven't used it yet. I also think he looks skinnier than the other tetras, which also makes me think stomach parasite that is taking all his nutrients... First I thought eggs, but after researching it seems that's not the case. Maybe just constipation of some sort, maybe a strange symptom for Neon Tetra disease? I have no idea, just my thoughts from internet searching, but this seems like a very specific, though perhaps unusual, symptom so i'm hoping someone can help me out here. I don't have a reasonable sized hospital tank with filter and heater (sadly it's just not worth the cost to have a whole other tank set aside for these fish) but I can setup a little reptile carrier thing as a quarantine/treatment tank. Not sure if this is better than nothing or not. I'd rather not treat the whole tank because of the different animals with different sensitivities to medicines, but certainly an option if I can find something safe for everyone. It might not even be worth it and I should just put him down now so nothing spreads to the other animals. Oh also, it's been this way for at least a week, maybe closer to two weeks, without any change in symptoms.

1. Size of tank? 10 gal

2. Water parameters
a. Ammonia? 0
b. Nitrite? 0
c. Nitrate? 20 or less (having trouble getting this to zero)
d. pH, KH and GH? 6.9, ~80, ~75
e. Test kit? Tetra easy strips (I know I need to get something better, going to soon)

3. Temperature? 80

4. Freshwater (fresh water) or BW (brackish)? FW

5. How long the aquarium has been set up? 2.5 months

6. What fish do you have? How many are in your tank? How big are they? How long have you had them? I've had all animals since the beginning (after tank cycling of course). 3 neon tetras, 2 cardinal tetras (is this ok? fish store guy said it was fine and they would school together and be happy, which they seem to do by the looks of it, but obviously I trust you guys more. a few neon tetras died when I put them in my tank, went back for more and he convinced me to get a few cardinals instead b/c look they're pretty and on sale! stupid, I know), two purple bridgesiI snails, two african dwarf frogs, and around 15-20 red cherry shrimp.

7. Were the fish placed under quarantine period (minus the first batch from the point wherein the tank is ready to accommodate the inhabitants)? no, all pretty much in the same batch.

8. a. Any live plants? Fake plants? Anubias, banana plant, bunch of Anacharis, bunch christmas moss
b. Sand, gravel, barebottom? gravel
c. Rocks, woods, fancy decors? Any hollow decors? little (plastic) stone building decoration, rocks to which moss is attached, driftwood which I found and sanitized

9. a. Filtration? marineland penguin 100 with biowheel, no special media, all came with the 10 gallon setup
b. Heater? not sure the exact brand, it came with the setup

10. a. Lighting schedule? What lights are used? 9 or 10 hours
b. Any sunlight exposure? How long? not really

11. a. Water change schedule? once a week
b. Volume of water changed? about 25%, more if needs extra cleaning
c. Well water, tap water, RO water? well water
d. Water conditioner used? prime
e. Frequency of gravel/sand (if any) vacuumed? once a week, usually vacuum REALLY well (take out decorations/plants in the way, try to get all the nooks and crannies) once every two weeks, only hit the easier spots the other times

12. Foods? tropical flakes for the fish, frozen blood worms for the frogs, occasionally algae tablet for the shrimp and snails.
How often are they fed? fish and frogs once a day, usualy a fast once a week

13. a. Any abnormal signs/symptoms? swollen and moving stomach
b. Appearance of poop? normal
c. Appearance of gills? slightly red

14. a. Have you treated your fish ahead of diagnosis? no
b. What meds were used? none yet

I included a few pics so you can get an idea of how it changes, though these really seem more alike than not. As I said, it really goes from smooth, to one extreme bump, it undulates down, smooths out some, turns in to two obvious bumps, gets lumpy, smooths out, etc. I also think it gets a bit more swollen than these pictures seem. I wish I could get a clear video, it's a pretty crazy sight.



  • #2
That does certainly sound like parasites, especially since you mention the lump tends to move up toward the front again - and that it's a little skinny. No medication I know of for that is safe for invertebrates like snails and shrimp. Some of my snails did survive a round of Tetra Parasite Guard, though. Ummm....I believe garlic in the food is supposed to be helpful...

Oh, and you will never get your nitrate to 0. Anything under 20 is generally considered fine and dandy. If you really want to get them down gt a bunch of plants.

EDIT: That last statement was not quite true. If you're planted heavily enough you may get it down that far.
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Ok thanks. So should I try to treat him by himself in my little minI tank, or just go ahead and take him out and say goodbye so the parasite doesn't get out and around to the others?
Anyone have any tricks for netting neons? It took forever and I gave up when I tried before to quarantine him.... granted, I wasn't as determined as I will be now.
  • #4
I believe for a schooling fish, your supposed to keep the school together. It may be easier to catch some of the RCS and the snails and frogs and put them in QT if you don't feel comfortable treating the tank with them in there.
  • #5
You should be able to treat him if you can QT him...otherwise you may kill your invertebrates.
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Ah super helpful! Thanks.

There's just too many shrimp to transfer (and a good many almost invisible babies) to treat the main tank.

So I'll try to treat him with API General Cure then. I feel like I should just quarantine and treat all of them to keep the stress of being separated down, and to kill any parasites that might be in the others even though I haven't seen symptoms yet. Unfortunately the quarantine tank I have is only 1.5 gallons without heater or filter. Will this work for 5 neons being treated for 4 days or is it disastrous? I'll test water every day and make sure it stays clean, just need to know if 4 days in a tiny tank will kill them all, or just make them kinda unhappy/unhealthy for a little while. Obviously I'm willing to go get a 3-5 gal container for $12-$16 but it'd be nice to avoid extra cost if possible/reasonable.
  • #7
1.5 is definitely awfully small and you don't want to leave them without a heater..unless your house stays at around would be worth it to get a bigger one for the long run, because those little tiny neons will grow a little and if you need to QT them later you'll be happy to have it. If you can fit a heater in it so much the better. A larger one will also cool more slowly if it does cool, meaning less stress on your fish.

I haven't used General Cure personally. I went with Tetra Parasite Guard because it's cheaper and I do believe you get more for your money. The treatment with that was successful so you might try that. The tablets are designed for 10 gallons though, so...
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Ok so I got a bigger hospital tank and treated them with general cure, but the stomach thing is still going on. I tried to get them to eat flakes soaked in the medicine (to make sure the meds got inside the fish) but they wouldn't touch it. It seemed like they really would barely touch normal food when they were being treated anyway. So now I'm not sure what to do. Should I try to treat with something else? Should I just wait it out and see what happens/let him die? Should I go ahead and just quarantine (or euthanize) the fish with the probable parasites so they don't spread? Thanks!
  • #9
QT, probably. I don't know who told you to use the general cure, but it only works for external ailments. Try the Tetra Parasite Guard. Do make sure the General Cure is out of the water first, though.
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
No one told me to use General Cure, I looked at all the medications available at the pet store and on the General Cure packaging it says it cures both external and internal parasites. Do you mean from user experience it doesn't seem to work well for internal parasites? This chart , and other info I've read says it treats both. It contains metronidazole and praziquantel which are both said to treat different internal parasites. I might as well try the tetra guard as it has two other ingredients besides metro and prazi. Maybe the only issue is getting the medicine inside the fish? I should probably look into medicated foods?
  • #11
That video was awesome and I am wishing I saw that an hour ago (before catching 6 cherry barbs)
  • #12
Oh. I must have missed something. :/
In this case, I suspect medicating the food would be helpful...with exactly what, I don't know.
Parasite Guard does have one med in it that General Cure doesn't, I think...

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