New Synodontis decorus not eating

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New Synodontis decorus not eating

Post by emartin »

My new Synodontis decorus is not eating. He's a 5-6" wildcaught that arrived on Tuesday from Dave's Fish.

He ate a microscopic amount of flakes I placed right in front of him and today he didn't eat pellets or flakes.

I'm going to consider force feeding (placing soaked flakes, pellets, or maybe a frozen food directly into mouth) in a few days if he doesn't eat.

Any ideas on what to do? I don't want to lose him...

~Ed


Edit:
I talked with Dave on the phone today. He's never had to force feed fish before so he couldn't help with that, but suggested putting the catfish in a tank by itself to start eating. The problem is, my quarantine tank is being used at the moment by my group of 8 Tyrannochromis nigriventer juveniles (biggest is about 3.5"). And it's a 29gallon. Should I put him in there anyway, or should I take the Tyrannochromis out and put them in a bucket with a heater and sponge filter or something... Should I just try and put them in there together and see if he will eat then?

Also, does it sound like the catfish could be sick? Should I treat with a medication just in case, maybe metronidisole?

Currently he's in a tank with another wildcaught synodontis decorus (same size, and eating well but he's from a shipment a couple months ago, not from the one that I got Tuesday) and Malawi Haplochromines and peacocks. None of the c1chlids bother eather of them or the plecos, and there appears to be enough hiding places. I feed Dainichi XL PRO 3mm pellets, sometimes OmegaOne C1chlid Flakes (the flakes I normally reserve for fry and sick fish), and used to feed frozen food but stopped a couple weeks ago when the freezer stopped working and thawed all the food...




I really don't want to lose this guy. Any help or advice at all would be GREATLY appreciated. (I originally posted this at c1chlid-forum.com, but since I've heard great things about your forum (besides the countless times I used your profiles as references) I figured you guys would know a lot more about what to do than c1chlid guys like myself :-P.



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Why is the word c1chlid censored here? Just curious...
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Re: New Synodontis decorus not eating

Post by Birger »

My new Synodontis decorus is not eating. He's a 5-6" wildcaught that arrived on Tuesday from Dave's Fish.
A lot of cats take a while to settle in and syno's can be that way as well...especially being a wild caught...also if there is only one other syno in there at night it could be pushing the new one around.Just like your cichlids if you only had two of one kind one may have a hard time because the other would be chasing and nipping at it. You will not see this during the day but at lights out it could be happening. Syno's are best kept singly or in groups of at least five...not saying your two will not come to an understanding but it needs a chance to get used to tank life first.
He ate a microscopic amount of flakes I placed right in front of him and today he didn't eat pellets or flakes.
You should be starting with at least frozen foods to get it going and start to switch it over to the other foods slowly after that, they just are not used to flake and pellets in the wild...being a syno it usually will catch on fairly fast, but usually with individual bigger syno's I would try to keep it in a peaceful environment until I knew for sure it was eating and healthy, then integrate into it's permanent home.
I'm going to consider force feeding (placing soaked flakes, pellets, or maybe a frozen food directly into mouth) in a few days if he doesn't eat.
Thes fish will not starve overly fast so that is not a worry...what would worry me more is the stress and damage that will occur if force feeding is attempted, that will hurt it more than going a few days without food.
I
talked with Dave on the phone today. He's never had to force feed fish before so he couldn't help with that, but suggested putting the catfish in a tank by itself to start eating. The problem is, my quarantine tank is being used at the moment by my group of 8 Tyrannochromis nigriventer juveniles (biggest is about 3.5"). And it's a 29gallon. Should I put him in there anyway, or should I take the Tyrannochromis out and put them in a bucket with a heater and sponge filter or something... Should I just try and put them in there together and see if he will eat then?
Dave is giving good advice...and I would suggest the same, what I suggest given the choices is to put it into the smaller tank, use frozen foods and keep a close eye on it, the others most likely will not bother with it, but also make sure there is at least one very comfortable caves if not more, syno's are generally very durable and can recuperate well given good food, clean water and some peace and quiet.
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Why is the word c1chlid censored here? Just curious...
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Re: New Synodontis decorus not eating

Post by emartin »

rofl about the cichlid word being censored explanation....


Anyway thanks for the advice. What's strange though is that Dave said the one's he has in stock (and mine as well) were all eating his flakes... Is it likely that mine is just very stressed from the shipping and being thrown into the new environment?

About the groups of syno, I thought of that, but given my tank size of 265gallons and the full grown size of the decorus sp. I decided a max of three of them would be best (I intend on getting another, likely a smaller juvenile and growing it out, eventually)... My LFS has two huge ones (likely wildcaughts as well) at over 1ft long in length in a 300gallon tank. While they take care of that tank like it's a goldfish bowl, the two in their seem to be getting a lone perfectly fine and that's what I'm hoping with mine.

The only times I've ever seen my two (the old and the new one) fight each other is when the new one (when I fed a couple times the past few days I poked him once or twice when he was hiding to get him to come out and see and hopefully eat the food) enters the other syno's hangout (a rock cave). Currently there's only one cave but several hangouts amongst plants, and I am going to be adding two more rock caves soon.

I'm a little behind in my water changes. I've been putting off doing a water change and adding the two new caves for over a week now mostly because of the new catfish and the fear that I could stress it out further. Should I go ahead and do the water changes and add the caves tomorrow for the catfish and see if he responds better to its new environment and the food I feed or should I remove him first into the quarantine and try feeding him daphnia or mysis shrimp? In the quarantine tank (a 29gallon) there are the 8 Tyrannochromis juveniles (~3.5" is the size of the largest) but there is one lace rock cave and two large pvc pipes. Should I maybe add an extra pvc pipe or would the two plus the rock cave be adequate?

Thanks for the help and the quick reply... The reason why I considered force feeding was I don't know when the last time he ate a full meal and I don't want him to go more than a week without food. What symptoms should I look out for say if he still doesn't eat? Would he get lethargic or just incredibly skinny?

The past few days though he's been picking a spot and sitting there motionless for hours sometimes moving to different spots, moves its gills rapidly and just watches everybody else...

~Ed
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Re: New Synodontis decorus not eating

Post by worton[pl] »

Hey,

Birger gave a great advice :)

Try frozen or even live food. It is WC fish it never even saw a flake or a pellet before. Imho you should also stop doing things like poking fish :) especially new one ;). Stress my kill your syno. Remove Tyrannochromis add a really huge hiding spots that fish may easily enter and some floating plants at surface . Try feeding 2-3 hours after light go off. Give him some time and try not doing unnecessary actions in Q-tank and close to it. You may watch this fish from a distance of 2-3 meters without problem and it will not be stressed by your presence this way. Keeping lights off in whole room after you turn off light in your tanks may help also :). Also don't try to feed it this night you put it into Q-tank. It is verry possible he won't touch food and you will have to remove it after sunrise - another unnecessary action. Also give him a really small portions of food at the begining. You may try chopped and blanched earthworm but not from fishing store and not from area that any chemical fertilizer has been used.

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Re: New Synodontis decorus not eating

Post by emartin »

Well the problem is I have no other place to put the Tyrannochromis...if I move them to the main tank they'll get eaten...

Is it really necessary to remove the tyrannochromis? Are they really that big enough to cause problems?
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Re: New Synodontis decorus not eating

Post by loachy_406 »

Probably not but your Syno might settle in better without them. Do you think they would give him any hassle? I mean, it's up to you in the end.
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Re: New Synodontis decorus not eating

Post by worton[pl] »

Hey,

your syno may not compete very good with them for food. And cichlids will eat even after lights go off. I would remove them ;) but as loachy said - it's up to you :).

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Re: New Synodontis decorus not eating

Post by emartin »

Well I guess I could move them into a bucket with a sponge filter and heater if absolutely necessary. I'm just going to try first and see how well he competes with them.

One thing I want to know though is I have been planning on adding two more rock caves to my tank for a while now and am due for a water change as well. Should I go ahead and do it and see how the new catfish reacts to the two extra caves, etc? Or should I remove him first to the 29gallon?
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Re: New Synodontis decorus not eating

Post by worton[pl] »

Check how it will react :). Maybe it will be not necesarry to remove it :). Try night feeding as well.
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Re: New Synodontis decorus not eating

Post by loachy_406 »

Being from a river he will appreciate the water change and the reduced nitrates. More hiding places would mean that if he is scared he has lots of options. He would probably come out more if he always had somewhere to hide nearby. I really can't say how he will handle the c*****ds in terms of feeding. Good luck with whatever you choose to do.
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Re: New Synodontis decorus not eating

Post by andywoolloo »

how is your catfish doing? Has he settled in yet?
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Re: New Synodontis decorus not eating

Post by Carp37 »

My eupterus, which isn't supposed to be anything like as retiring as decorus, took about a fortnight to start eating properly. I'd go with the suggestions above- try to feed something attractive and smelly (frozen or live bloodworm, for example) after lights out. Having said that, it was algae wafers that finally got my eupterus eating- she didn't touch bloodworm before that, although now she eats anything she can find.
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Re: New Synodontis decorus not eating

Post by Richard B »

Whichever set-up the fish is in, the absolute priority is good water - signs of rapid gill movement is not a good thing. An additional airstone coupled with some small but very regular water changes of the next few weeks should help.

All the advice here is sound but whatever you try, close observation for as long as possible, to detect problems or undesirable circumstances will be key
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Re: New Synodontis decorus not eating

Post by emartin »

andywoolloo wrote:how is your catfish doing? Has he settled in yet?
After I redecorated the tank and added two more caves (had a very close call of destroying the tank while redecorating...I was removing a 50lb rock and began to lose my grip because of algae and dropped it in the tank. Luckily the eggcrate I placed on the bottom a few months ago and the sand cushioned the fall and I didn't end up with a cracked tank...) but the old catfish was still terrorizing it (I was able to clearly see him chase him around the tank forcing him out of all three caves) so I netted him out and put in the quarantine tank with the tyrannochromis. Today I fed some pellets and he didn't go after anything, so I defrosted some mysis shrimp and squirted some near his head (using a turkey baster if you're curious) and he ate some.

Now I just need him to go and get food on his own, not wait for the owner to squirt it into his face, and strong enough. Hopefully once he starts eating regularly I can reintroduce him into the tank one day...
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Re: New Synodontis decorus not eating

Post by emartin »

Carp37 wrote:My eupterus, which isn't supposed to be anything like as retiring as decorus, took about a fortnight to start eating properly. I'd go with the suggestions above- try to feed something attractive and smelly (frozen or live bloodworm, for example) after lights out. Having said that, it was algae wafers that finally got my eupterus eating- she didn't touch bloodworm before that, although now she eats anything she can find.
When I first got my eupterus (in another tank, now about 7" long...fast growing suckers...got him last fall at less than an inch long) and my first S. decorus they started eating the normal pellet foods and such the very next day or two. My guess is my guy was still not used to prepared foods, stressed from being shipped, and was being terrorized by the old decorus which I found out the other day.
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Re: New Synodontis decorus not eating

Post by emartin »

Richard B wrote:Whichever set-up the fish is in, the absolute priority is good water - signs of rapid gill movement is not a good thing. An additional airstone coupled with some small but very regular water changes of the next few weeks should help.

All the advice here is sound but whatever you try, close observation for as long as possible, to detect problems or undesirable circumstances will be key
The filtration in the 265g tank where I initially placed him was pretty suitable in my opinion. While I do not have under gravel jets installed (thinking about doing it though) my overflows suck water from both the top and center water column, go into a sump with purigen and carbon, through a 700gph rated pump into a Aqua UltraViolet Sterilizer, and then through a 1800gph rated pump back into my tank.

Right now he's in a 29gallon with a AquaClear 50 (rated 200gph) and a sponge filter.
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Re: New Synodontis decorus not eating

Post by emartin »

Sorry for the quadruple posting, but something I was wondering was that I was thinking that after I get him to start being active and eating regularly, should I move him to my 120gallon? Currently there are mostly juvenile Malawi haplochromines and juvenile tanganyika cichlids (all peaceful imo), 4 clown loaches ~2-3", and a large Synodontis eupterus.

Will the eupterus fight with the decorus at all?

And if I decide to reintroduce my decorus in with the other decorus in my 265g, what should I do to try and get them to coexist? Will they just have to fight it out and accept eachother hopefully, will I end up back where I am now with one of them not eating, or would it be best and likely work if I added another Synodontis decorus making it a group of three?

~Ed
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Re: New Synodontis decorus not eating

Post by Birger »

but the old catfish was still terrorizing it (I was able to clearly see him chase him around the tank forcing him out of all three caves
Ahhh, just as I feared, it should calm down and start eating now, that was typical behavior for that kind of situation.
Will the eupterus fight with the decorus at all?
Hard to say...they may get along or they may not you cannot always say...it works for some and not for others.The eupterus may consider it his territory, you may at least have to change things around a bit to give the decorus a chance.
, or would it be best and likely work if I added another Synodontis decorus making it a group of three?
S. decorus are a bit of a social syno to start with so if you could add more it would be better.
I noticed you said clown loaches as well...one of the nastiest battles I have seen was between a larger clown loach and a S.angelicus, I am not saying it will happen to you but just a word of warning for when the loaches do get bigger, that is not something you want to get your hand in between.

Oh and yes, very close call with that rock, I imagine the same thing happening every time I pull my large stones in my tanks.

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Re: New Synodontis decorus not eating

Post by emartin »

Birger wrote:
but the old catfish was still terrorizing it (I was able to clearly see him chase him around the tank forcing him out of all three caves
Ahhh, just as I feared, it should calm down and start eating now, that was typical behavior for that kind of situation.
Will the eupterus fight with the decorus at all?
Hard to say...they may get along or they may not you cannot always say...it works for some and not for others.The eupterus may consider it his territory, you may at least have to change things around a bit to give the decorus a chance.
, or would it be best and likely work if I added another Synodontis decorus making it a group of three?
S. decorus are a bit of a social syno to start with so if you could add more it would be better.
I noticed you said clown loaches as well...one of the nastiest battles I have seen was between a larger clown loach and a S.angelicus, I am not saying it will happen to you but just a word of warning for when the loaches do get bigger, that is not something you want to get your hand in between.

Oh and yes, very close call with that rock, I imagine the same thing happening every time I pull my large stones in my tanks.

Birger
Well the rock did gouge a few very small but nasty scratches in the front glass, so I did receive some damage...I'm just happy that I didn't get any cracks...!

Well, if I do add the decorus back to the main tank, will he still be terrorized by the other one? Is there anything I can do to stop it other than removing one of them and or adding a third one?

I have a question about feeding it though. It doesn't seem to want to eat prepared foods yet. I'm going to try flakes tomorrow. What if he doesn't start going after the food himself? I don't want to keep on placing food directly in front of him forever you know...

~Ed
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Re: New Synodontis decorus not eating

Post by andywoolloo »

does he even not go after the defrosted bloodworms?

Can you try fresh seafood? I have cooked my eupterus's mussells and then chooped them up fine and also fresh shrimp chopped up. They went orgasmic over it. Feeding frenzy, shrimp and mussells over the tank. Maybe that will get him excited?
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