I just got two Cichlids this past Saturday and put them directly in my display tank. They were great for about a day then I could see they weren't feeling very good. 24 hours later I set up a 10 gallon tank for quarantine and put them in it. I bought Tetracycline and have been following the directions for the past two days. As bad as they look I can't believe they are still alive! They are just barely alive though and won't eat. I guess my question is: is there any chance they will live through this?
I will always quarantine fish from now on! I also won't wait 2 days before treating their illness either.
To be honest looking at the photo I'll be surprised if they are still alive by the time you are reading this.
I doubt the condition is caused by a pathogen, the fish looks bloated and disoriented which to me indicates shock caused by your water being very different to the water where the fish came from. The fish appears to be some sort of Mbuna, what type of set up have you put them in to, what is the pH, hardness and water quality like regarding ammonia, nitrite and nitrates?
The antibiotic is unlikely to help and I'd recommend that you don't add any more.
You have obviously done nothing wrong. But I still think it is shock. The trouble with shock is that it symptoms never show immediately and it can take two to four days before any symptoms show.
The first sign is that the fish appear to be a little disoriented, this gets worse and they begin bumping in to things and then they stop reacting to stimulation i.e. they won't swim away from your hand and will let themselves be picked up. Finally they drift around with the water movement helpless and unaware of anything but still breathing. Does any of this sound familiar?
It is caused by the fish being placed in water which is chemically very different to their previous water. This doesn't mean worse water. If fish have been left in water with no partial water changes and the nitrates have built up to very high levels and those fish are moved to much better conditions they too could suffer from shock because a fish's internal body chemistry is affected by their environment and all changes have to be made slowly, especially large changes.
The onset of this shock may have occurred even before you took possession of the fish i.e. they might be fish which had been taken to the shop from another hobbyist and who knows what their history could be.
Sadly once the symptoms of shock begin to show it is normally to late to successfully treat and I suspect it is way to late to treat your fish judging by the photo. I emphasise that this is just unlucky and nothing that you have done.
I'm glad you said it that way because I've lost quite a few young Mbuna from that fish store. Certainly our water will be a little different but I think our water is much different which would certainly cause shock.
I'm still very new to Cichlids and I've lost quite a few....some to my ignorance and I believe some to shock. I am getting better every day though!
I can't believe it but these two fish are still alive this morning! They still look like they will die any second but they've looked this way for over 3 days now. I'm going to continue the Tetracycline treatment and see what happens. I guess I don't have anything to lose. If they make it through this but don't start eating they will die anyway.
The med won't help, it may even hinder any slight chance of recovery. I have known just one instance where a fish recovered from this and that was an ornate bichir. It's tank had cracked and almost emptied so it was moved to the only available other tank where the water was very different. It did suffer from shock although no to the same degree as your fish, it was doing a lot of shimmying and it was disoriented. I increased the aeration and left the tank in darkness and after three days of getting slowly worse it began to recover. One week later you would never know that there was ever anything wrong.
I'm happy to report that these two Acei are still alive and have started eating! I've never seen two fish so near death and recover. They are still very confused but look 100 times better. I have to get the food close to them or they can't find it but when I do they eat.
I'm very happy! I've only had African Cichlids for 4 months now and I still have SO much to learn. I've lost a lot of fish over these 4 months but it's getting better. I hope these two Acei make it as I've cared for them a lot over the past 5 days.
That is great, and quite a surprise. If you buy from that store again just wait a few days before buying the fish so that you know that the fish are ok and the same thing won't happen again. Let the shop deal with things like this rather than you.