Starving Elephantnose fish - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-04-2013, 03:51 AM Thread Starter
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Starving Elephantnose fish

A few weeks ago I bought an elephant nose fish. He seemed to be doing well and was eating bloodworms. I also picked up some live blackworms as a treat. There is very little information on these fish anywhere, but from what I read it sounded like the best bet would be to put him directly in tank he was going to stay in to help him adjust to captivity (it is heavily planted). However, with feeding him the live food and extra frozen bloodworms it got harder and harder to fool my loaches so he could eat, and he never really seemed to catch on to hand feeding the way I had expected.

I thought he was beginning to look a little skinny, but it was hard to tell because he is long skinny fish to begin with and black and he would stay mostly hidden, but i pulled him out to try and fatten him out and its worse than I thought. I feel so bad! He is such an amazing fish and I have been feeding him specially everyday, witha turkey baster but it must not have been enough before the greedy loaches ate the rest.

Now that i have him out i can see him better and he is very thin; I can even see his ribs. I am really scared I realized this too late, but it was just so hard to tell in the main tank and they are so uncommon its hard to know what a normal onelooks like. He is now in a 10g that is well planted with only tiny and slow fish. I have been feeding him multiple times a day but I dont really think he is eating. I feel sick about this.

Ive tried frozen brineshrimp, mysis, bloodworms and live black worms. Im hatching some brine shrimp to see if i can get him to eat the napuli, but i dont know if that will work. He may have eaten a couple tiny peices of food, but I have also seen him spit out most of the few things he has "eaten" . Is there anything else Ican do? I love this fish and I feel so bad Ididnt notice sooner that he wasnt getting enough.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-04-2013, 04:52 AM
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Read the testimonial. "Hard to feed in a community tank"

Hope this one helps

I have no experience on these guys btw. Just two sites I always go for knowledge

Patience once drove a man insane

Thanks for your time
Danny Tejeda
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-04-2013, 05:10 AM
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I heard that these fish are very diffucult to take care of. You need to feed them ever so often like every couple of hours. That's why these fish are wild caught.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-04-2013, 05:38 AM
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I have 3 Green Cory Cats in a community tank and I feed the other fish first and use a stick to keep the other fish on the other side of the tank, while the bloodworms and mysis shrimp fall to the bottom.

So a guy walks into a Pet Store

Guy: "I have Algae on my drift wood!"

Pet Clerk: "Take two Plecos and call me next week."

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-04-2013, 06:03 AM
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They're really not difficult once they're established, and they're well worth the effort. Back in the '80s, they were pretty common, I usually had quite a few in my store at any given time, along with their relatives, the so-called "baby whales" and "dolphins".

Here's how I used to feed them: get a "betta bowl". Fill it with tank water, and put a generous amount of black worms in it. Sink it into your tank, and lay it on its side, with the lip at gravel level. That way, you can have a constant supply of live food available to him. You can easily put a few days worth of worms in there at a time - as long as your other fish are smalll and mellow, the worms that aren't immediately eaten will be fine in there for days.

I'd also turn the lights off completely until you get him fattened up. One more thing is to provide him with a "ghost tube" -a clear acrylic tube that you set into the tank for him to use as a cave. They really like to feel,secure, and this will let him feel surrounded, while allowing you to keep an eye on him without disturbing him.

Hopefully, it's not to late. Once you get him going again, they love small earthworms, brine shrimp, and eventually frozen foods. Flake/pellets are unlikely to be taken, but you never know once he's healthy.

Good luck!
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-04-2013, 11:16 AM
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Be wary of your water parameters, this family is notoriously finicky and will usually not eat due to deterierating parameters. +1 on blackworms, they can survive for days and give it an oppertunity to feed at will. Always surprises me that this family is so tricky and yet they evolved into the top predators in Lake Malawi. The Cornish Jacks are a bit tougher with water parameters though.

"In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king" Desiderius Erasmus
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-04-2013, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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I think it is too late. This morning he is on his side. I changed some watwr just in case it is the parems but i dont think so. He is so skinny Im pretty sure it is that. I did a lot of research on them before I got him and I guess did almost everything right except I either seriously overestimated how much he was actually eating or underestimated much the loaches would steal from him. Also it seemed to me feeding him the live blackworms actually made it worse because it made the loaches much more aggressive at feeding time. The tank I transferred him to has mostly cherry shrimp in it and has pods and blackworms as well living in it. I should have just put him in there til I had him trained to hand feed, it just seemed small to me, but he is only like 4in I guess. Does anyone know the best size to but them at? Is smaller better or bigger. Id like to try again, but Ill have to wait awhile because they are exspensive.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-04-2013, 04:29 PM
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I'm so sorry to hear he's not doing well. :c I unfortunately don't have any advice, I just wanted to express my sympathies. I remember seeing your posts when you were about ready to buy one, and then again when you were excited to hand-feed one, and your excitement was contagious.
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