A sad day…

17 01 2010

On Saturday morning I woke up to find my Metriaclima pyrsonotos male struggling at the surface. He seemed to be unable to swim properly and was biting at the air. More worrying still he was so immobile that I was able to catch him with my bare hands! I quickly looked over him and their appeared to be some darkening round the underside of his belly which was also a little swollen and he had a very inflamed anus. I put him in a bucket with an air stone straight away but within 30 minutes he deteriorated very badly, lost the ability to stay upright and died.

I’m not usually too bothered about loosing a fish, its part and parcel of the hobby, but this was different. It seemed such a shame for this fish from come all the way from Malawi just to keel over in my tank. He was just starting to settle into the tank, and was beginning to show excellent colour too. Unfortunately I never managed to get a decent photo of him. Here he is in a coloured down state:

And this is what he looked like when coloured up (this is pic of a wild one taken by Ad Konigs):

I think now its obvious why I was so sad to loose this fish!

It was important to work out what happened to the fish, so I examined the body….


Here he is about 10 minutes after conking out. Its alarming how quickly decomposition takes place. The blackness round the fins only occured after death. You can see the slightly swollen belly and dark patches. With the swelling my first thought was the dreaded malawi bloat however the fish fed the previous night and external symptoms do not appear for some days after the fish stops eating if it suffering from bloat.

Here you can see the inflamed anus. With the early onset of death and apparent internal bleeding, and injury sustained in a fight or a collision with a rock seems the most likely cause of death. This fish had never been bullied especially hard, but my dominant Ndumi Gold male is in breeding mode and is extremely agressive at the moment so he is a possible culprit. Furthermore the fish have in general been very skittish of late, its possible that he got spooked and piled into a rock at speed. I think this is unlikely however as he tended to hang out in the open water.

I won’t ever know what really happened to this fish, but my first wild loss is not something I have been looking forward to and its arrived all too soon.




One response

21 01 2010
Pyrsonotos Update « Cichlid Diary

[…] 21 01 2010 I have been asking around forums, looking for input on what may have killed my Metriaclima pyrsonotos. Unfortunately it seems likely that it was ‘bloat’ rather than bullying. Bloat is a […]

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