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Fish/black ghost knife fish

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Question
Hi Ron...This is my 3rd try as I have asked 2 of the experts already. One did not respond and the other couldn't help.
I have a 7 year old black ghost knife fish that has never had a problem.The last few days he has developed a bloated upper body, with a whitish appearance to it. He is not eating. Today he appears to be a little off balance as well. I have not made any recent changes to the tank (72 gallon) as in adding new fish or decorative items. When I say upper body I mean the belly, right behind his head.   Any ideas would help.

Thanks...Charlie Fowler

Answer
Hi Charlie,
  I have never kept knife fish so I have no personal experience to draw upon.  If he were a cichlid with those symptoms I would suggest two possibilities.  First, he may be simply getting old.  There is nothing you can do about that.  The other possibility is that the water quality is not quite as good as it used to be.  Have you been doing your regular weekly 25% water changes?  

-- Ron C.
   rcoleman@cichlidresearch.com
   Cichlid Research Home Page <http://cichlidresearch.com>

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Ron Coleman

Expertise

I am an expert on cichlid fishes, particularly New World cichlids. My broader expertise includes the behavior, ecology and reproduction of fishes in general. (I am NOT an expert on Goldfish). Please do not use abbreviations, such as "my GT has a swollen eye" because I don't know what a "GT" is. The more clearly you can explain your question, the better chance I have of understanding what it is that you seek. I keep fishes both as a scientist and as a hobbyist and I currently maintain about 140 aquariums.

Experience

I am an Associate Professor at the California State University, Sacramento in the Department of Biological Sciences, and I run a website, called the Cichlid Research Home Page . I also write for many popular aquarist magazines, and I was editor of Cichlid News magazine for several years. I am a scientist and I spend my time teaching fish biology, ecology, behavior and evolution and doing research on the reproductive biology of fishes, particularly cichlids. I do research in the laboratory and in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Mexico. My main interest is understanding the evolution of parental care in fishes. I am interested in encouraging greater public awareness, understanding and participation in science.

Publications
Cichlid News, Tropical Fish Hobbyist, Freshwater and Marine Aquarium, Science, Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, Copeia, Canadian Journal of Zoology, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, AUK, Environmental Biology of Fishes

Education/Credentials
PhD (Toronto, 1993) MSc (Simon Fraser, 1986) BSc (British Columbia, 1983)

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