TSN (Pseudoplatystoma Fasciatum) advice needed and sharing my experience

All posts regarding the care and breeding of these catfishes from South America.
EJA0000
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TSN (Pseudoplatystoma Fasciatum) advice needed and sharing my experience

Post by EJA0000 » Sun May 07, 2017 4:45 pm

I write below out to share my experience and because I urgently need advice! My Pseudoplatystoma Fasciatum that does not eat anymore and keeps scratching his head. See completely below "issue" description and "question".

How I got my TSN
Previous owner bought the TSN at 12 cm together with some Cichla’s of 15 cm and some expensive eel like fish. However within 4 months it grew to 28 cm. So much quicker than the rest that he was about to see them as food. So he placed the fish in a cubic tank of 40cm till I offered to put it in my larger quarantine tank and eventually in my caiman enclosure. I love TSN but it will eventually even need more space than my caimans so in other circumstances I would not have considered taking it. However due to its gentle, curious and possibly even playful personality I absolutely adore this fish and if possible do all I can to keep it as long as possible.

History situation up to issue:
The quarantine tank was running just a couple of weeks but perfectly fine. As soon as the TSN came in I had massive nitrate “issues”. Meaning that I replaced daily 30% of the quarantine water with water from my biological good caiman enclosure. After approx.. 2 weeks things settled and everything was fine with the water quality. Even within these two weeks with high nitrate levels the TSN was doing “fine”. You could see some signs but he was eating and behaving well.

He was a calm, dog tame and continuously looking to hang near me. So I was thinking about giving him/her a buddy. But first wanted to see how my caimans would react on him. I put the TSN during this period on a diet and still it continued growing and grew in these two months up to 36 cm!

So for people who think you can reduce a TSN growth, well at least not in this stage of their life!

Tried many things regarding food but it's a picky eater. But what it likes goes in hard. I prefer manufactured pellet food that has balanced minerals and vitamins. But mine only eats parts of a whole fish and gambas. I tried putting pellets into the fish parts. It swallows it whole. But after some minutes the pellets are brought up and spit out as dust clouds. Worms are eaten but he is clearly not a fan of it. Frozen fish (fresh water fish even with bone and organs) and gamba's are for captivity probably still not sufficient for a fish that grows so rapidly to provide it with enough minerals and vitamins. Making it also more vulnerable during stress.

Finally I placed him in the caiman enclosure where there is also an Acanthicus Adonis of SL 18cm which grows maybe a 1 or 2 mm a month. So lukely very slow. He/she even being very small dominates also my caimans! The TSN immediately wanted to be friends with the Acanthicus but ended every time up in a fight. So after two days the TSN tried to become friends with my caimans. They aren’t bothered much by the TSN. However it did got an open mouth warning head slap ones by one of the caimans with a cut as a result. The TSN didn’t seem to mind. He still wanted to be friends with the caimans.
IMGP2024.JPG
Always hanging with the caimans.
IMGP2029.JPG
Always hanging with the caimans.
IMGP2359.JPG
Always hanging with the caimans.
To me this behavior shows social distress of a TSN being held alone. I can’t find any research / info on the internet that writes out / clarifies their natural social behavior in an extended way. You can’t draw any conclusions on one young individual. But my advice is to keep at least two.

After a week his injuries by mostly the Acanthus where getting to a point I had to do something and he was also not eating in it’s new enclosure. I placed the TSN back in the small quarantine tank and was strait a way eating again and his wounds health quickly. After two weeks I placed the TSN back in the caiman enclosure and the Acanthicus in the quarantine tank. Hoping this would reduce stress.


Issue:
The second time in the caiman enclosure the TSN immediately wanted to become friends with the two caimans again. He was active, did not look distressed but stopped eating straight away in it's new enclosure! After 5 days he seem to be getting little pit’s on his head and later he started to scratch his head. Because I continuously measure the water I could only think of stress. Often this issue is described as a combination of stress and water quality. I wanted to give it a bit more time to see if it would improve and decided to exchange anyway daily a part of the water. This only brings NO3 a bit down. But not by much. The situation is still downwards despite water changes.
I don't think parasites are the issue. Stress is much more likely. Moving it from one tank to the other does not make it better.

Water quality:
CL2: 0 mg/l
PH: 6,7
KH: 6
GH: 7
NO2: 0 mg/l
NO3: < 50 mg/l
Temp: 26.2 C (Is on the high side for the TSN but it did fine on it in the quarantine tank. It’s a water temp. required for my caimans. Can’t lower it. Tried but then the caimans stop eating).

The current (water)tank is 180 cm x 80 cm x 45 cm. Later this year it will be replaced by a much larger pond. It’s quite dark compared to the quarantine tank but I recon it would prefer less light. It got river stones, wood, some plants (java Vern) in it and overhanging rocks for hiding as well.
Enclosure P3 01.JPG
Overview picture for impression.
Enclosure P3 08.JPG
Overview picture for impression.

Question:
It hasn’t eaten now for nearly 2 weeks and scratched his head severe. I have to make a decision quick to prevent that this animal goes to a stage that it will be more difficult to save. But I have no clue what to try anymore. I'm still positive that if I would place it again in the quarantine tank it will recover again. But he outgrow this tank. Placing it afterwards back in the caiman enclosure makes then no sense anymore. If there was something clearly wrong with the circumstances I could accept that it does not work out. Now I find that more difficult.

Any advice, clarification, idea are very welcome!

Thanks,
EJA

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Re: TSN (Pseudoplatystoma Fasciatum) advice needed and sharing my experience

Post by Viktor Jarikov » Mon May 08, 2017 7:21 pm

Very interesting account. Thank you. I notice you don't measure ammonia, do you? Also what test kit do you use?

Not eating for 2 weeks is nothing to worry about, I'd think, if all it was just a period of fast. Sometimes fish take a long time to adjust or readjust to a tank. My TSNs could fast for several months. The wound on its head is of concern. Impossible to say what it could be just like that. An inflamed scratch? A parasite? An abrasion that keeps reoccurring in the same place? Neither am I familiar with what can happen to fish living with caimans.
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Re: TSN (Pseudoplatystoma Fasciatum) advice needed and sharing my experience

Post by EJA0000 » Tue May 09, 2017 12:23 am

Viktor thanks for the reply.

Good to know that they can fast for long periods.

I do not measure NH3 & NH4. I have a six (6) in one (1) JBL Easy Test. Not the most accurate way to test water but considering my circumstances I thought good enough to get a decent understanding of the water quality.

I also have a separate JBL O2 test. I have no air stone in the tank. Only the water that falls from the pump exit that takes oxygen into the water and creates movement on the water surface. Surprisingly the oxygen levels are high and using an additional air stone hardly made a difference. Maybe this can be explained by having only one (1) fish in the tank that uses oxygen instead of a whole bunch of fish?

I somehow never thought about measuring additionally the NH3 and NH4. I exchange a lot of water and filter with carbon. I have been experimenting and changing in the last year a lot the water exchange frequencies and quantities. Same counts for filter cleaning. Lately water change was weekly 50% at once. The last week, since I saw the pits on its head, I now exchange every other day 30%. Note that our local tap water is perfect for use. It has no adds as Cl etc and the values are almost equal to the above mentioned values.

Would you advice measuring in addition also the NH3&4?

Head started with little pits. Then scratching resulting in the head wound. Considering the situation I think stress is the most likely option and possible additional irritation/inflammation from scratching it.

Due to all the movements from one tank to the other including all the encounters with the Acanthicus previously and the caimans my first thinking is leaving him completely alone and hoping that doing less is better in this case. Preventing at all cause more stress. The TSN does not act scared in any kind of way. Looking how it behaved before I’m actually surprised that stress would affect him this much. Currently the fish is physically still strong, responsive and alert. His injuries are at the point that if it gets worse I prefer to do something about it. If it doesn’t get worse I will definitely leave him/her alone.

I think parasites are not likely for several reasons. One of the reasons is that the parasites could only have come through the food (frozen fish) that is also eaten by my caimans. Their faeces have been tested recently and was free of parasites. Also the Acanthicus and some other fish in the quarantine tank are doing fine. There has been enough time and possibilities to have exchanged parasites.

There can be said a lot about keeping crocodilians and fish together but only the future will tell what will really happen. I see already a lot of interesting interaction between these two species that really blows my mind.

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Re: TSN (Pseudoplatystoma Fasciatum) advice needed and sharing my experience

Post by Viktor Jarikov » Wed May 10, 2017 7:09 pm

6 in 1 JBL EasyTest is a strip. I'd not use any strips. They are notoriously inaccurate. The easier the test, the more inaccurate it is, it seems.

The most reliable home test (which still leaves much to be desired) and the most used one is API or other similar test tube kits like this one https://www.chewy.com/api-freshwater-aq ... lsrc=aw.ds

I measure ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, temp, hardness KH and GH. The latter two I measure because I make up my own hardness of water.

A good picture of the TSN wound(s) could help us help you.
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Re: TSN (Pseudoplatystoma Fasciatum) advice needed and sharing my experience

Post by EJA0000 » Wed May 10, 2017 10:23 pm

Thanks I will check if I can purchase a kit like that somewhere in the Netherlands.

Looks like the situation is possibly stabilizing but still too early to say. Haven't seen it scratching in the last two days anymore. But I can see that it still has scratched itself. In combination that it is hanging more of the bottom than on the bottom makes me think its situation is maybe improving. But to me still a concern.

Will do my utmost for a decent and latest state picture. I unfortunately knocked the lens of my camera last week. Dismantled it to see if I could repair it but still puzzling to get it back together:( So I will see if I can find myself another lens this weekend for a reasonable price.

Just tried my phone camera but it's late in the evening now and too dark. I'm not going to disturb my animals with a strong external light. Will see if it works out with my phone tomorrow and post it.

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Re: TSN (Pseudoplatystoma Fasciatum) advice needed and sharing my experience

Post by Bas Pels » Thu May 11, 2017 7:49 am

EJA0000 wrote:
Tue May 09, 2017 12:23 am
I also have a separate JBL O2 test. I have no air stone in the tank. Only the water that falls from the pump exit that takes oxygen into the water and creates movement on the water surface. Surprisingly the oxygen levels are high and using an additional air stone hardly made a difference. Maybe this can be explained by having only one (1) fish in the tank that uses oxygen instead of a whole bunch of fish?
Testing for oxygen is quite hard to do. What you want, is a reading of the oxygen in the tankwater, but the thing is, due to the oxygen in the air, it is nearly impossible not to contaminate the test.

If I test for nitrate, I take some water from the tank, put it into the tube and then add some more in order to get to the exact spot where I can add 5 drops of reagent. No problems here

But if I do the same testing for oxygen, this procedure will have added a lot of oxygen to the testater, resulting in a reading which tells me nothing about the oxygen in the water.

Mind you - I am not saying the reagens is wrong, I am saying it is impossible to use correctly. I graduated in chemistry, and I never measure oxygen. Because the measurement does not have any value
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Re: TSN (Pseudoplatystoma Fasciatum) advice needed and sharing my experience

Post by EJA0000 » Thu May 11, 2017 8:14 pm

Thanks Bas! Well than I have sponsored JBL and additional junk in the cabinet.

My thinking was that if you would follow the test procedure strictly and quick the pollution probably would be so low that this way would still give a good indication.
To me water measurements are more about indications and not about accurate scientific measurements. But I trust you can judge the usability. Too bad.

Is a TSN a sensitive fish? Never found anything back on that. Only that they do not like fluctuations in water temperatures. Considering its extended natural range and appearance they look like pretty rock solid fish to me. On the other side, how many truly mature in captivity?

For a fish sold quite a lot in the trade and used probably even more as consumption fish, I’m astonished with the lack of proper information available about husbandry, natural environment and behavior. It hardly ever exceeds one page in length and most of the different internet sites have copied the limmited info from each other. Scientific research is more focused on fishing or extreme detailed test data of breeding ponds. So not telling me much.The internet, but also local biologist indicate contradicting differences between eg a Fasciatum and Tigrinum or one of the other sub species.

Looks like the API master kit is a product for the American market. Can’t find it in the Netherlands / Europe. The Nutrafin Master test kit is advised as alternative costs 135 Euro’s. I find that a bit too much to be honest.

Can’t get any sharper pictures with my phone. Attached is the best picture made this evening. His head looks really raw.
Positive thing is that it ate a little bit for the first time in approx. 2,5 weeks. Unfortunately I only gave him a small piece. It took it after 10 minutes. Previously it would take him less then 10 seconds. I tried a second piece but it was not interested anymore. First eating and less scratching gives hope.
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Re: TSN (Pseudoplatystoma Fasciatum) advice needed and sharing my experience

Post by Bas Pels » Fri May 12, 2017 7:43 am

Just because the TSN is of commercial value, knowledge about how to keep them is also commercial interesting. And therefore I would assume, precise data is lacking.

Still, it is a big fish, and big fish tend to live in the mainstreams of a river. The Amazon river is in most views better described as a very long lake, being 800 km long and 5 km wide from Manaus to the sea. Mostly it is 30 meters deep or more

Lakes are very stable environments, and in the case of the Amazon river, the temperature in Manaous is yearround ~28 C at night and ~31 during the day. Watertemps will be more stable than airtemps and I think you see where I am going to: wild TSN never see fluctuations of the temperature.

Further, this Amazon river/lake is very low in nitrates. Fish from this mainstream are also rather sensitive in this part. BUT being carnivorous, the adults will be used to not eating for a few days between large meals.

That is, however, a bit of a problem in a tank: the fish are sensitive to nitrates and the large meals will result in a large filter to make nitrate from the excreted ammonium, but the filter will be in rest quite often. Therefore it is better not to feed them with large prey once a week, but you better feed them every other day with a smaller meal.

Obviously, water changes will be inportant

The rest? I'm afraid the rest is not that much anymore.
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Re: TSN (Pseudoplatystoma Fasciatum) advice needed and sharing my experience

Post by Viktor Jarikov » Fri May 12, 2017 1:59 pm

A test kit shouldn't be more than ~$20-$30 anywhere in the world. Ordering it from overseas shouldn't be a biggie either. A kit for 135 euro must be some humongous fancy-shmancy overkill.

TSN in general is a hardy, robust fish that adapts well and can handle a wide range of conditions. While Amazon river temp in the last stretches may be quite stable, it is likely not constant as a function of depth. The deeper, the colder, and I imagine wild TSNs utilize various depths.

Anyhow, IME TSNs can be tricky and anything can happen if one keeps them long term. On the one hand, they are indeed hardy and low maintenance. On the other, it is not uncommon to run into unexplained problems with them.

One thing to realize is that the whole world is inundated with refuse TSN - culls from the farming industry, which are exceedingly cheap and make the most profit for everyone along the supply chain. Nothing can compete with them economically and we see $10-$15 TSNs in many pet shops and on line, in the US anyway. Same goes for any fish farmed for food, among cats one can name iridescent shark catfish, channel catfish, walking catfish, Hemibagrus nemurus, etc.

It would appear that 99.99% of all TSNs we get in the pet fish trade are these runts, dinks, and other underachievers, often deformed, misshaped, etc. and that is only what we can see on the outside. What kind of internal problems they carry, we don't know. All these fish are underachievers for a reason.

This explains (to me) why ~all the TSNs we get are P. fasciatum and no other species (alternatively they can all be some sort of intra-genus hybrids of 4-6 TSN species) and why we ~ never see a TSN raised in captivity exceeding 30" and ~10 years, while we expect 3'-4' and many decades lifespan.

Anyhow... barely eating and scratching says your TSN is sick. Such lousy eating probably may arise from mating moods, which is unlikely the case here. I believe long mysterious fasts are also symptoms of a sickness. I see them with my TSNs too. If your water is pristine as measured by that API kit or its likes and from other tests and measures (not knowing ammonia is what bothers me the most), then it could be that your TSN is struggling for some internal reasons, which we may or may not ever know.

Being the only fish in there also complicates things. When water turns less hospitable, usually all tank mates show some kind of symptoms, which helps in diagnosis.
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Re: TSN (Pseudoplatystoma Fasciatum) advice needed and sharing my experience

Post by EJA0000 » Fri May 12, 2017 10:19 pm

Thanks for the extended reactions!

Current situation:
Yesz…!!! Aldo the situation is nothing to cheer about I have a better feeling now it is starting to eat again. It ate yesterday a very small piece after a long time. Today it ate a small piece straight away and another small piece also after approx. 10 minutes. I will try again tomorrow. If it keeps eating I will feed it for at least one (1) week daily. I’m getting positive that it is recovering.

Natural migration:
At multiple sources I found that the Pseudoplatystoma (Fasciatum / Tigrinum / Orinocoense/ other?) also lives in the small rivers and can even be found in the in flooded forests during the rainy season. See also below pictures.
1200px-Pseudoplatystoma_fasciatum_8.jpg
1200px-Pseudoplatystoma_fasciatum_9.jpg
10861033_781430058596544_4661581695220363235_o.jpg
These fish have to leave these smaller rivers and flooded area’s during the dry season. Like I know that some crocodilians do. Only after I realized that and searched on the combination “migration and Pseudoplatystoma” I found wildlife and fishery research to this phenomenon. It also helps to search with “Surubim”. One of the local names for the fish. Possible search in Spanish or Portuguese will result in much more and better research documents. Unfortunately I do not speak these languages.
Despite putting trackers on multiple individuals little is still known on the migration paterns. They migrate yearly to forage and for spanning to flooded areas. Meaning the young are born in shallow water with likely higher temperatures and must migrate as well after a couple of months. If I remember correctly they can travel up to 31 km a day during migration and speeds where measured, downstream up to 29 km/hr. After knowing this I felt even worse about owning a TSN in relation to the space I’m able to provide it.
But it must be said, that in contradiction to above, they also mentioned individuals and possible even populations that did not seem to migrate. But the majority apparently does.

Migration as above likely would mean temperature differences and seasonal changes in water temperatures.


Stress:
Based on my knowledge on keeping other animals and my short experience with only this single TSN I wondered the following:

Based on what I have seen in my tank, seen on youtube and pictures as read I’m pretty sure that a TSN belongs to the group of fish that can be called intelligent and social. I don’t think they are extremely neurotic. Being scared a panic quickly etc. But that doesn’t mean they are not facing a lot of stress in our small aquariums and ponds. A type of stress that is more on the background and we do not recognize that easily. Stress makes them much more susceptible to get ill and things like temperature changes and other small things can suddenly add up and have quite some impact.

Vitamines and Minerals:
In addition to the above, the food nearly all of us offer is insufficient in minerals and vitamins. Making their health even worse. These fish grow so fast in length and weight that this is a much bigger problem than it would be for another slow growing fish. I still can’t believe how fast it grows! If you feed your TSN parts of fish, you have to know that it is about the organs and likely the bones of the fish that are the most important. Not the filet. Frozen fish is not frozen in the same way as vegetables and loses vitamins.
Stress also can result in absorbing less vitamins by the TSN itself.

Deformations:

I do check the internet for buddies since I have him/her but will only take in another one if this one is doing absolute perfect. During my search I indeed noticed that most of them had a lot of visible deformations. I have seen some groups of young ones in stores but the ones I saw all looked fine. So I assumed that as per above, stress, lack of minerals and vitamins and proper space played a very important role in the poor physical development of these fish.

As Victor mentioned, a young (6-12cm) TSN here cost approx. between 13,95 Euro’s and 30 Euro’s. I also believe they are hybrids and not farmed for quality but pure for quantity. Another thing that adds up.

Feeding:
I tried (try) putting fish pellets in the pieces of fish that I feed. These are much more balanced. But it looks like it turns and moves its food after swallowing and it blows like after 15 minutes the orange colored pellets out in dust clouds. I tried different dry food and it’s the same with all. It looks like he does it on purpose.
To create more variety in it’s diet I tried equal food as I feed my caimans. This still when he was eating perfectly in it’s previous tank. Like pinky rats, one day old chicks, pieces of rabbit, etc. but to my surprise it was not interested at all. He only liked fish, raw unpeeled gamba and mixed seafood (do not feed those anymore) items. But I’m quite sure that if healthy and more hungry they will learn and like to eat small chicks and rats as well. Only danger I thought about was that these type of food could make them big and fat.
I thought feeding young TSN's about 3-4 times a week and adult specimen once (1) a week.

But Bas made a point I did not consider and indeed very important.
That is, however, a bit of a problem in a tank: the fish are sensitive to nitrates and the large meals will result in a large filter to make nitrate from the excreted ammonium, but the filter will be in rest quite often. Therefore it is better not to feed them with large prey once a week, but you better feed them every other day with a smaller meal.
I have 10 kg of frozen Scardinius erythrophthalmus, a local fresh water fish in the fridge. They are all around 20 cm. So I can only feed it in parts. I would have preferred small fish of approx. 6-8 cm. But these are difficult to buy. So I unfortunately have to feed it in small parts. Uncut, so whole prey are better to be used than larger prey cut in small pieces.

Water test / quality:
I agree on water test and prices. Weekend plans changed but at least I will drive by a large animal store with a large aquarium part and buy a full set that looks accurate to me and includes NH3/4.


All other fish I had prior and/or simultaneous in the tank did perfectly fine. Like the Acanthicus Adonis and Corydoras Aeneus. I took the Corydoras out because I was afraid the TSN would eat them. The Acanthicus, aldo much smaller, was too dominant and often attacked the TSN. You could clearly see the “bite” marks. I still hope that in the next larger tank the Acanthicus will leave the TSN in peace.

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Re: TSN (Pseudoplatystoma Fasciatum) advice needed and sharing my experience

Post by Lycosid » Fri May 12, 2017 11:29 pm

EJA0000 wrote:
Fri May 12, 2017 10:19 pm
Feeding:
I tried (try) putting fish pellets in the pieces of fish that I feed. These are much more balanced. But it looks like it turns and moves its food after swallowing and it blows like after 15 minutes the orange colored pellets out in dust clouds. I tried different dry food and it’s the same with all. It looks like he does it on purpose.
To create more variety in it’s diet I tried equal food as I feed my caimans. This still when he was eating perfectly in it’s previous tank. Like pinky rats, one day old chicks, pieces of rabbit, etc. but to my surprise it was not interested at all. He only liked fish, raw unpeeled gamba and mixed seafood (do not feed those anymore) items. But I’m quite sure that if healthy and more hungry they will learn and like to eat small chicks and rats as well. Only danger I thought about was that these type of food could make them big and fat.
A few thoughts:

1) Terrestrial and aquatic prey items will tend to vary in nutrient composition. Caiman (like most crocodilians) naturally eat terrestrial animals at the water's edge. TSN are mostly fish-eaters in the wild. (They may eat some crustaceans as well, and I have a book that I could look at that should have some of that data.) Therefore, for optimal nutrition I would assume they should be eating fish, whole, of several species.

2) In the lizard world balanced nutrition is sometimes achieved by feeding feeder crickets nutrients (gut-loading) or dusting them with calcium powder and then feeding them to the lizard. A similar thing could potentially be done here, dusting the fish pieces before feeding. You could alternatively feed feeder fish pellets and then immediately toss them in the tank with the TSN.

3) If you do go with live feeder fish you should probably raise your own in a smaller tank for health reasons. The ones at stores (at least in the US) are unhealthy and awful. However, I raise guppies and ghost shrimp for some of my carnivores which means I know the health status of the feeder fish. I suspect TSNs would need significantly larger feeder fish which would also make this more costly - guppies hit adult size pretty fast, bigger fish will take longer. However, you could also only occasionally supplement with small live feeders (who have been fed with high-nutrition food just before). It's also possible, if not likely, that the stimulation of searching for and hunting for live prey would help your fish with some of its neurotic behaviors by allowing a natural behavior to override the neurotic behavior.

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Re: TSN (Pseudoplatystoma Fasciatum) advice needed and sharing my experience

Post by EJA0000 » Sat May 13, 2017 7:58 am

Lycosid, thanks! You made me think and I now know what to do next.

In reply to 1) Fully agree with that they mainly should eat fish and not terrestrial food. But large catfish are known to sometimes eat ducklings or rats as well if the opportunity is there.

Intermezzo:
Keeping crocodilians only makes sense (for as far as it ever does) if the owner is very keen on zoology. And with that comes studying evolution. Understanding how somethings are shaped helps in understanding their needs. But also looking at other animals to compare. So when I went looking for other animals to compare crocodilians with. So e.g. that hunt on the waters edge. I eventually came at large catfish.
I would say, see below youtube film and determine yourself if you see similarities between the hunting methods of catfish on the waters edge and crocodilians.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpgucsPKOO
(sorry, somehow using the option to include the movie gives an error so only the link)

For large hunting animals that have limited predators and can't share prey items it's unusual to live together. They don't need the group effect for protection and they are competitors in relation to food. Somehow these type of large catfish are often at least together. If you watch the above movie more often you will not only focus on the hunt and also start to see other catfish. E.g. at 0:55 seconds and 2:30


To come back on
2) Because it blows out the fish pellets hidden in the pieces of fish I never tried using mineral and vitamins powders that I have for reptiles. Of course these do not have the perfect balance for fish and could harm the fish in the long run. But on the short term if given in small quantities its fine to test with it. And I see opportunities in that. So I will do some tests.

3) I do not feed my crocodilians life food in general and certainly not life fish. I do not want them to see life fish as food. Using live feeder fish is something I have thought about in the past for my crocodilians but also way to expensive or time and space consuming to start breeding fish myself.Using life feeder fish for the catfish will also end up in a caiman flying through the enclosure.
I believe feeding life fish to catfish and crocodilians is health wise better and even gives a form of enrichment. But it's also a personal choice for myself not to do it.

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Re: TSN (Pseudoplatystoma Fasciatum) advice needed and sharing my experience

Post by Bas Pels » Sat May 13, 2017 8:20 am

With regard to the above mentioned "gut loading" - I think it is much easier, and cost effective, to use a syringe on a dead fish than feeding a life one, in order to have its gut eaten.

However, I fully agree the gut might be the most important part of any prey. Anybody ever noticed on TV lions also start eating in the gut region?
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EJA0000
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Re: TSN (Pseudoplatystoma Fasciatum) advice needed and sharing my experience

Post by EJA0000 » Sat May 13, 2017 7:19 pm

Feeding today:

I used a big piece of fish today that I sprinkled rich with minerals and vitamins on the outside. It sticks very well to the slime of the fish. After letting it dry for a while it sticks even when tossed in the water. I knew the change was high that most of the minerals and vitamins would get lost but wanted to try it anyway because it is so easy to do. What I did not expect was that he took it with its mouth. But he didn't took it inside his mouth. He kept it in front of his mouth and then spit it forward. He did this a couple of times in a minute time? And then it ended up in a corner where it was difficult to reach for him and he left it alone.
I picked it up and tossed it back into the water. He didn't respond, I walked away for a minute and on return it was in the back of his throat and he was flushing water around it. So I think it is probably fair to say that all mineral and vitamin supplement got lost. Next time I will see if I can put it inside a piece.
Positive thing, it ate a big piece more or less straight away :YMPARTY:
We are getting more and more in the right direction.

Eating organs:

Organs, like the liver are extremely healthy to eat. The liver stores amino acids, minerals and vitamins. Especially vitamin A and D. But also the kidney, stomach, etc. have at least a lot of amino acids. Understanding amino acids is very complicated. But they are extremely important for your or the health of an animal. Some of the crucial amino acids can only be acquired by food.

In the past a lot of people used cod liver oil which is extracted from fish liver! Despite the awful taste people used it a lot to stay healthy. Especially in winter time.

But there is also a downside to this. Liver and kidney filter the body and can also contain pollution like metals, pesticides, etc. Most of these pollution that do not break down and did not find their way out of the body of the prey, end up in the predator. Most of us know this from the past when mercury was still often used. Predators died because all the heavy metals collected by prey ended up in their organs as well.

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Re: TSN (Pseudoplatystoma Fasciatum) advice needed and sharing my experience

Post by Lycosid » Sun May 14, 2017 1:54 am

EJA0000 wrote:
Sat May 13, 2017 7:58 am
Lycosid, thanks! You made me think and I now know what to do next.

In reply to 1) Fully agree with that they mainly should eat fish and not terrestrial food. But large catfish are known to sometimes eat ducklings or rats as well if the opportunity is there.

Intermezzo:
Keeping crocodilians only makes sense (for as far as it ever does) if the owner is very keen on zoology. And with that comes studying evolution. Understanding how somethings are shaped helps in understanding their needs. But also looking at other animals to compare. So when I went looking for other animals to compare crocodilians with. So e.g. that hunt on the waters edge. I eventually came at large catfish.
I would say, see below youtube film and determine yourself if you see similarities between the hunting methods of catfish on the waters edge and crocodilians.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpgucsPKOO
(sorry, somehow using the option to include the movie gives an error so only the link)

For large hunting animals that have limited predators and can't share prey items it's unusual to live together. They don't need the group effect for protection and they are competitors in relation to food. Somehow these type of large catfish are often at least together. If you watch the above movie more often you will not only focus on the hunt and also start to see other catfish. E.g. at 0:55 seconds and 2:30
I'm having issues with the link but I suspect this is the video of Wels catfish grabbing live pigeons on the Ebbro River in Spain. While this suggests (as do a lot of other things) that catfish can eat terrestrial (or at least non-piscine) prey this doesn't tell us at what level this becomes healthy or unhealthy for them.

Incidentally, since the paper on Wels hunting pigeons is in PLOS ONE it's available for free online and you can check the proportion of avian prey in the diet of various fish (looks to be about 40% at max but I eyeballed that real quick out of one graph). Paper is here: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/articl ... ne.0050840

I see also your point about live feeders with crocodilians - I also wouldn't want to encourage caiman to dart about the tank.

Given your experience with the TSN spitting your nutrient-covered fish bits I think you should consider Bas Pels' excellent thoughts in regard to using a syringe to inject the dead fish. Hard to spit that, or even maybe taste it until the whole piece has been swallowed.

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Re: TSN (Pseudoplatystoma Fasciatum) advice needed and sharing my experience

Post by EJA0000 » Sun May 14, 2017 9:09 am

Will try the syringe tonight and will tell how it went.

But no specific fish vitamins and minerals are available on the market. At least a quick search didn't show anything. So this is no long term solution.

I only used tried Tetra Cichlid Shrimp Sticks. These dissolve quick in the water. Will check for a type of dry food that does not dissolve that easily and can be pressed in the pieces of fish. At least then it will get a minimum of balanced food.

Would be great if the TSN would also learn to like the taste of dry food and starts eating that.

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Re: TSN (Pseudoplatystoma Fasciatum) advice needed and sharing my experience

Post by EJA0000 » Sun May 14, 2017 9:13 am

It's indeed one of the pigeons films.
Thanks for the article! I will read later today.

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Re: TSN (Pseudoplatystoma Fasciatum) advice needed and sharing my experience

Post by Bas Pels » Sun May 14, 2017 1:04 pm

EJA0000 wrote:
Sun May 14, 2017 9:09 am
Will try the syringe tonight and will tell how it went.

But no specific fish vitamins and minerals are available on the market. At least a quick search didn't show anything. So this is no long term solution.
Don't know about the current situation, but 4 years back I bought a bottle of "sera vitamins". Still one fish might need a different addition than the other.

Still, for now the question is whether the fish will eat and swallow an injected piece of fish. While I'm certain you have a better idea, it would be interesing to try if you had nothing better than lemonade sirop. Still you wrote you have calcium powders for reptiles. You could try dissolving it, or, alternatively, with a thick needle, you could inject a suspension of this.
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Re: TSN (Pseudoplatystoma Fasciatum) advice needed and sharing my experience

Post by EJA0000 » Sun May 14, 2017 4:20 pm

Bas, I found the Sera vitamines. Somehow that did'n't pop up during my quick search. Small bottle only cost 7 euro's so low cost test.

Was doing some quick research today on youtube on commercial farming of TSN.
You won't find much in English but in Spanish there is some. Two links I like to share for people interested.

The first shows how they farm TSN. It shows the scale of these farms and how they do it. They feed them "pellets" . So something similar as used on trout fish farms.
So I will check if I can hold on some trout fish pellets to see if I can learn my TSN to eat that next to fish.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tAT29O7i9Q[/youtube]

The second video really s*cks but when you start it after 1:00 minute the footage shows TSN migrating upstream in large numbers. Likely for breeding. It gave me a different idea on the natural behavior of these animals.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ose5AvUV9wY[/youtube]

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Re: TSN (Pseudoplatystoma Fasciatum) advice needed and sharing my experience

Post by EJA0000 » Sun May 14, 2017 4:26 pm

Sorry no idea why the youtube video's don't work but clicking the link works for me.

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