Aquarium Update: RIP Digitalis

May 15, 2011
When I promised an aquarium update this weekend, I had no inkling that the news would be so sad.  Yesterday I realized that Lefty and Digitalis did not look well, and I took all their remaining fry and all the fry from the growout aquarium, 26 in all, to Tropical Imports to cash in for store credit.  The decision to remove the remaining 8 fry that were still in the aquarium with Lefty and Digitalis was instigated by my desire to major tank maintenance.  The decision to remove all the fry from the growout aquarium was instigated by my horror at watching Boris grab one in his mouth and spit it out.  Since Boris and Medea Luna were moved from their aquarium in a Drastic Measure for a Desperate Situation, I realized they seemed agitated by the offspring of Lefty and Digitalis.  I had already moved 17 or 18 of the most beautiful and largest fry to the 40 tall aquarium after thoroughly cleaning it and letting it season for a week.  Once I was sure that two fry survived the move and were fine, I decided to use that aquarium to grow some fry to a larger size. With Lefty and Digitalis in apparent distress, I changed some water and turned on the filter.  I was in the habit of shutting off the filter whenever they had small fry to keep the fry from being sucked into the filter.  I added an air stone and Lefty started acting more normal.  Digitalis was keeping to the back of the aquarium, but both ate live worms this morning.  I thought to move the couple to the 40 tall aquarium with their fledglings, but the couple seemed to be doing better.  A half hour after eating, Digitalis was up-side-down at the top of the aquarium.  I reverted again to Drastic Measures for a Desperate Situation and quickly moved both Lefty and Digitalis, but alas, Digitalis was dead within minutes.  Lefty seems to be doing well 12 hours later.  I have doubts about my caretaker abilities and can’t help but to wonder if Digitalis might have survived if I made the move the night before. Digitalis’ symptoms included a ragged tail, but I never know if that is just rough play.  Both Lefty and Digitalis seemed to open their mouths wide and shake slightly.  Things didn’t seem quite right, but they did not seem dire.  Now I have thoroughly cleaned that aquarium and I’m not sure what to do.  Watch for additional updates.  I would like to illustrate this posting with a photo from last spring of Digitalis with a brood of fry.  Interestingly, though I took photos yesterday, they do not appear to be on the camera.  Seems the very old digital camera I have been using has died as well.

Digitalis with Fry March 16, 2010

Update: May 22, 2011
I found the photos on the camera.  It is bittersweet, but I do have a last photo of Digitalis with Lefty taken the evening before she expired.

Digitalis (left) and Lefty on their last afternoon together

3 thoughts on “Aquarium Update: RIP Digitalis”

  1. Poor little fellow. Did you do any water tests? From what I’ve seen, gaping/gasping and shaking indicates respiratory problems associated with some toxic substance in the water. Could chlorine or ammonia have possibly gotten into the water?

    • Dear Jacob,
      Thanks for your input. I was not aware there was a test for chlorine. I changed 5 gallons of water the day before the incident. The aquarium is 25 gallons, so that represented a 20% water change. I use 10 milliliters of stress coat+ which is supposed to eliminate chlorine and chloramine. It is a mystery.


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