WCMM not eating, losing color, balance issues.


Hi, one of my White Cloud Mountain Minnows is sick and I'm really hoping we can help him.

What is the water volume of the tank? 30L
How long has the tank been running? 36 months
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? No
What is the water temperature? 21.3C
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) 1 White Cloud Mountain Minnow (as of today, the others are in a different tank)

How often do you change the water? Weekly
How much of the water do you change? 50%
What do you use to treat your water? Seachem Prime, Bioboost
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? both substrate and water

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? N/A
What do you use to test the water? API master test kit, JBL test strips
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 10 ppm
pH: 7.0

How often do you feed your fish? daily
How much do you feed your fish? small pinch
What brand of food do you feed your fish? JBL spirulina flakes, Fluval bug bites, Monkfield Nutrition frozen daphnia and bloodworm
Do you feed frozen? twice a week (bloodworm, daphnia)
Do you feed freeze-dried foods? no

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 8 weeks
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? 4 days
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? the minnow doesn't eat, has lost colour in his fins and tail, and seems to have some balance issues. He's either floating at the top of the water or sitting on the gravel. He last ate on Wednesday and I've been trying different foods to see if he'll eat to no avail. We were moving the minnows in the tank to a new, larger tank today and they seem fine but he sank to the bottom and wouldn't move, so I've put him back in the old tank and treated with esha 2000, esha optima and some aquarium salt (approx 1g per litre)
Have you started any treatment for the illness? salt, esha 2000, esha optima
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? no, he was fine physically and behaviourally
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? he is much more shy, hides in plants, will sink or float but seems to struggle to maintain balance, won't eat, only occasionally spends time with the other fish and is moving his mouth quite rapidly

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)

As mentioned, he hasn't eaten for a few days and seems to have been losing colour from his fins and tail. We were planning to move all of our minnows from our 30L to our 180L, and after checking all the parameters, moved them over today. After the initial move, he seemed fine, was socialising with the other fish and swam around, but refused to eat even when food was right in front of him and a few hours later we found him laying unresponsive in the substrate. We moved him back to his old tank so we could medicate as there are shrimp in the 180L, and since moving back he is now floating at the surface rather than sinking to the substrate, but only occasionally swimming and seems to be breathing relatively quickly (not gasping so much, just moving his mouth every other second).

Update: after turning off the lights and closing the curtains in the room, he's no longer floating at the surface but is instead a few cm below and seems to be balancing ok. He's still breathing a little fast but no longer as rapid.
New update: he just fell on his side and he has a red patch on his side like he's bleeding inside. He doesn't seem to be able to right himself. Is there any way at all we can save him?


How long was he in the new tank? Have you checked the ammonia levels in the two tanks? Red patch on the side could be a sign of ammonia poisoning along with the gasping and lying at the bottom.
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Ammonia levels are 0 in both tanks. He was in the new tank for maybe two hours? Not a long time anyway.
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The next question would be nitrite levels. At this point the red streak most likely indicates internal bleeding and the best thing would be humane euthanasia. Keep an eye on the other tankmates also.
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Nitrites are 0 too and have been for a very long time.

I tested both tanks prior to moving them and the parameters were a match. It's come on really suddenly - I thought ammonia/nitrite poisoning were more long term than that if it was?

I think he's gone now. He doesn't appear to be breathing or moving any more :(
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Sorry for your loss. Nitrite is long term, but ammonia can be sudden. It is likely the fish suffered a hematoma, that can be genetics, old age, etc. If your parameters are good there is nothing you could have done.
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Unfortunately he wasn't very old at all, I'm guessing less than six months. He was so tiny, he was the smallest minnow we had, which is why we thought maybe he was getting picked on and being with the bigger group might help.

We haven't had any nitrite in the tank he lived in (we did in the new tank while it was cycling but it's been clear for several weeks now), but he's been struggling since maybe Tuesday of this week. He was off his food then, ate on Wednesday, then didn't eat again after that. He didn't display any outside signs of injury or illness other than not eating and hiding so I'm at a bit of a loss.

Is there anything I can do for the others? They all seem ok at this point.
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