Delhezi Bichir

Discussion in 'Advanced Topics' started by Vicha, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. Vicha


    Jan 30, 2012
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    Hi there,

    Im new here and wanted to know if you have ever seen a fish exhibiting the behaviour shown in the attached photographs. We were given this fish 2 days ago from someone as they had given up on it. It looked depressed and sick - we couldn't turn our backs on it. The owners gave conflicting information on its feeding routine. One saying it had eaten the other saying it had not eaten for a long time, they said that flakes had been put in the tank and that they disappeared... also that it ate one of its tank mates. It looked very skinny so we sacrificed live prey to it and it did eat the first night. Second night we put blood worm in the tank and they had been scattered everywhere... not sure if it did eat much. When we first saw it it was lying with its head on the bottom of the tank and its body curled up into the water. Almost like it had a broken neck... I read references to this being typical of swim bladder infections but she is not bloated. Also she has distended gills, we tried to take a look and my boyfriend says he saw a bit of discolouration - this could have been be due to the tank that it was in not having sufficient oxygen. It was lying gasping fast on the bottom. We have 2 pipes of oxygen aerating the tank to help it as it has only once swam to the surface for air, that we have seen. Yesterday we gave it a bath in non-iodized salt and by the afternoon its body was less contorted and had straightening out quite a bit, swam straight, lay straight instead of on its back like the most of Saturday. We have also given anti bacteria medicine 1/2 dose. Other than that, my boyfriend bought black water extract and will put that in tonight. Its swimming was/is erratic and it loops a lot - some of the blogs posted about gill parasites and how the fish would have such attributes. I bought a ph testing kit and dont know if it works well but the colouration showed it was 5ph. I read they like 6 - 8 ph and will sort that out next. As it is our spare / hospital tank and we werent using it, we will do 10% water changes every 5 days to keep the nitrates and nitrites down till the bacteria settle in. The only other thing that I can mention is something one of the employees said at a pet store yesterday: There is a disease that fish get where their heads grow large and their body wastes away. Could this be relevant? She had a very large head for her body size compared to all the photos I have seen on the internet. For now, we will keep salt bathing her to get rid of bacteria and parasites. Keep feeding her but if she remains in this state will it be irresponsible to keep her alive? I dont want her to suffer. Anyway, if I do get any reply I will be very grateful. If not, I appreciate your time for reading this. Have a wonderful day

    2012-01-28 16.48.57.jpg2012-01-28 16.42.55.jpg

    2012-01-28 16.48.57.jpg

    2012-01-28 16.42.55.jpg
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  3. Zuraki


    Aug 17, 2010
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    I have no experience with this species, but a pH of 5 does seem a bit low. Might it be possible that the buffering capacity of the water is shot? If you do water changes do you use dechlorinated tap water? Most SA municipal water sources have a ph around 8 so if you add that to tank water having a ph of 5 it might shock the fish somewhat. I am just speculating here ...
    Hope you manage to save him. Good luck
  4. Dirk

    Dirk Dwarf Catfish

    Feb 10, 2009
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    Somerset West
    Hi Vicha,

    I know these fishes only poorly, but I do know that they are related to polypterus, or rope fishes. The bichir specifically have poor vision, but all of these fishes are nocturnal and are nocturnal feeders. They are also carnivorous. I think these fishes prefer live food in the form of fishes. I would therefore suggest that you keep him in a poorly lit aquarium and feed him live fishes such as guppies (don't shoot me for this folks please, this is the reality of keeping carnivorous fishes). I would also not try to feed frozen food at the moment. He may then recover, but I think he is just completely emaciated because he has not been fed with suitable food. I would not be too worried about the pH because these fishes do come from acid rivers, and I would suggest you do a water change to get the pH up a little, but do not rush with this as this fish first needs to eat something, that is currently its biggest problem.

    Hope my advice works, it just common sense that I am using to give you advice, and not specific experience with these fishes. If there are folks that have specifically kept these fishes they can perhaps tell us what their experiences have been.

    Kind regards,


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