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NFC: feeder fish as a vector for disease

Early last week, I replenished my supply of feeder guppies with 15 or 20 new
ones from the local fish store, and I put them in the 10-gallon aquarium
that I keep just as a holding tank for feeders.  Several of the guppies died
during the week without any signs of distress or other warnings.  I thought
that the new fish might have caused an ammonia spike, so I did a 50% water
change and added a dose of a nitrifying bacteria supplement.

On Saturday morning, I discovered that one of my two sculpins was very sick.
It wasn't moving, and its mouth seemed to be paralyzed in a partially open
position.  Other than that, there were no visible symptoms of disease.  It
died within two hours.

The sculpin that died had stuffed itself with a large guppy last week, while
the one that lived did not.  I didn't make the connection, however, until I
found one of the big female guppies ill this evening.  She was just sitting
on the bottom of the tank, and her mouth was frozen in the open position.
It now seems very likely that sculpin succumbed to whatever was killing the

Whatever this disease is, its progression is very fast.  The time between
onset of symptoms and death seems to be less than 12 hours.  About two
months ago, I had another sculpin die from a similar disease, except that
time the fish's nose seemed to have swollen also.

I euthanized the sick guppy this evening with a 10% solution of whiskey, and
I now have her preserved in a small jar of alcohol.  I definitely want to
figure out what happened before a give the sculpins any more feeder fish.
Has anyone else had similar problems with feeders?

[\   Andrew Dalton
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