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Getting Veterinarian Tests?


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Is it possible to bring tank water to a vet for an analysis?  Or maybe a dead fish?

I'm a little worried that something may be wrong with my tank.  I culled a larger fry a couple days ago, monday, when I noticed he had a swayback and bubble chest. Yesterday, I noticed a young adult male guppy wasn't eating, and there is a young adult female who is doing a lot of bottom resting and her gills are moving fast, but she did eat.

I have a 3.5 month old planted 90g tank. I do ~30% gravel vac WC once a week with remin rodi.  I recently added new fauna; the neocaridina shrimp made it, but the exotic snails met a tragic end.  The guppies were added 2-3 months ago and Ive had a few occasional deaths, but now it seems like I'm seeing more sick fish all at once.  I'm thinking the guppy I culled on monday, the swayback/bubble chest, had dropsy, but I'm getting conflicting info when I search... Is dropsy contagious or not?

  • pH- 7.5-8.2 (lower when lights are off, higher when they are on)
  • Nitrates- 10ish
  • Hardness- 7dGH
  • Nitrite- 0
  • Ammonia- 0
  • KH/Buffer- 5dKH
  • Water Temperature- 77F
Edited by PerceptivePesce
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Thanks @Guppysnail

I'll look at some of the fancy vet offices in the city, Shreveport, LA., to see if they offer aquatic services.  I was thinking they could smear a couple of glass slides and look at it under a microscope, but I guess it's not that easy.

I found the young male, who wasn't eating yesterday, dead this am.  His tail wasn't the most beautiful, but it was interesting- like flames.

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On 1/25/2023 at 10:23 AM, Guppysnail said:

This may be in your area. She puts out videos I watch. Some of my west coast friends use her and she has mobile units. https://cafishvet.com


NEVERMIND. I saw La and thought it was California 🤣🤣🤣

Yeah, I doubt there are any aquatic vets in my area.  Specialty vets around here probably means they'll come to your property to palpate cows and horses.

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On 1/25/2023 at 12:39 PM, Darax said:

I've heard the tests are expensive, and you have to declare what you are testing for. You can't just be like, "dead fish what's wrong?", you have to say test for this specific parasite or parameter. 

An aquatic vet will test without stated parasite etc. they help diagnose. Other vets I’m not certain. They can get pricey though. 

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There aren’t many aquatics vets but there are vets that will see fish or at least be able to send tests to a university that can do the testing or the necropsy.  Louisiana definitely has vets that can do fish but you may end up at the university vet school for the best price since they are subsidized and private clinics have to make enough money to survive without government help.  You can search for vets on the AAFV website - American Association of Fish Veterinarians.  There are also many vets that will see fish that aren’t members of the association (my membership has lapsed and I need to renew 🤷🏻‍♀️).  There may also be members listed as active that do NOT actually see fish.  Sometimes they will have previously had a vet that sees exotics/fish, but that vet has moved on to a different clinic but the clinic may still maintain a “clinic” membership.  Always call and make sure they are truly comfortable with seeing fish before scheduling an appointment.

There are going to be more vets becoming aquatic vets since there are more and more classes in fish med and surgery offered all the time.  There is talk about developing board certification but the only thing currently offered is through the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association that offers classes that can lead to becoming certified.  It isn’t at this time as strenuous as what is typically required for board certification in most specialties in the USA.  It certainly is more than the average exotics vet knows about fish. This association website doesn’t have an easy “Find a vet” button that lets you put in your zip code and find the closest one.  It does have a tab but the search doesn’t work very well and doesn’t search by postal code.  It will search by country, then pulls up a listing of everyone one in the group in your country that’s a member.  It does also list if they have passed their certification.

Most veterinary schools are going to have someone qualified to see fish.  If not, they will usually be able to recommend who to see.  Not a lot of exotics vets are specifically certified in fish, but will often be willing and qualified to see fish.  Some of the most capable and knowledgeable fish vets I know (there’s only a handful who I would call for help if I felt the need) are not “certified” but would certainly be among the first vets in the USA who would be asked to help develop the testing protocol if the potential board certification does continue to develop along that path to becoming a reality.

So the first step is to do some searching for “fish veterinarians” for your area.  Then start making phone calls to see how comfortable you are with them, their clinic, and their prices.  If you are near a vet college I can almost guarantee their prices will be the lowest since they are subsidized.  They will also likely be very highly qualified.

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