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mystery illness, help!

Posted By: sophie <sophie@hippocampi.com>
Date: Thursday, 25 November 2004, at 8:22 a.m.

or: "Do Fish Get Viruses?"

I've posted this same post to rec.aquaria.freshwater.misc, so apologies if anyone has read it before...

For quite a while now I have had three loaches (misgurnus mizolepis, very similar to the dojo) in quarantine. I've had one for a week longer than the others and it has never had a problem. I have posted about them before and I'm now even more puzzled than I was.

When I got the second two they were very shy initially - unlike the first one, which enjoys chewing/feeling fingers - but one fairly quickly
became very active, feeding happily, swimming about in a mad loach-y kind of way, etc. The other one hid. And hid. And was generally very
lethargic, eating nothing, lying about with ccasional rapid and erratic breathing. I wondered about parasites, flukes, stress, etc. This went on
for quite a while - at least a couple of weeks - and eventually it started to eat a little if handfed. After another week it perked up and
started behaving normally, eating normally etc. However the other loach I bought with it then started to become very pale and developed pink
thickened pectoral fins one of which frayed and split. I'm doing frequent water changes and I've treated with (waterlife's) myxazin, which in all honesty doesn't seem to have helped a lot, though the loach has its colour back and is now using its fins properly - though they are still pink. I suspect that its friend - the one that was originally unwell - may have a small split in one pectoral fin, though it moves too quickly to get a good look in the water and I don't want to pull its fins about out of water to have a look in case that exacerbates the problem. There is very occasional flashing - or it would be flashing in
any other fish; with these I'm inclined to think it might well just be general loach-y lunacy as it only happens occasionally and usually at feeding time.

I can't think of any disease that fits these symptoms. I know finrot is often a water quality issue; ammonia and nitrites are nil. I don't have
a nitrates kit but I don't have any algae which I think would be an indicator for high nitrates? What I did have for a while is a pH problem as we have very soft, high pH water which drops rapidly, but buffering with a lot of coral gravel has stabilised it.

Do fish get viruses?

If this is likely to be a virus, when might it be safe (if ever!) to introduce these fish to my main tank?

Is there anything else I can do? (I'm thinking salt). The man who owns my favourite LFS (not where I got these loaches) said that the reason he
has stopped stocking weather loaches is because for the last few years they have come in in a mess with a low survival rate for no specific
reason he can pinpoint.

and lastly - how long will it take the raggedy fin to grow back?

any ideas? all will be received with huge gratitude...

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