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 Fish in the dark loses pigment

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Liz
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PostSubject: Fish in the dark loses pigment   Fri Jan 22, 2016 4:55 pm

I'm using an overflow box in my 150 as a way to hide my filter intakes, and to prop rocks and wood against in the aquascape. I used a router to cut narrow slits in it so water flows through it throughout the length, so there's no barrier to the flow of water into the filters. The box is a corner design, flush with the back and side of the aquarium, but occasionally a small fish will get trapped back there somehow. I lift the box up and chase it out with a net when this happens.

I have a pristella tetra that was stuck back there for a number of months, and I have been unable to get it out without dismantling the large and complicated rocky decor. Well, the other day I was finally able to chase the little thing out. Lo and behold, he'd lost almost all of his pigment, with pink eyes and everything. He still has some color on his tail, but is quite pale in comparison to the others. He does not appear to be blind, but there's no question that his eyes are pink.

So, my prediction is that he'll color up now that he's out in the UV light with the rest of the fish, but we'll have to see. I don't have a pic, but I posted a video on my YouTube channel, click the link below for the 2016 150 SA update video where I discuss this interesting phenomenon.

I really and truly did not mean to leave him back there so long, folks, honestly, but I couldn't coax him out. The space is about 8" x 5" and 24" high, with food particles coming through with the water flow, and he's healthy otherwise. Please don't call Animal Control on me, lol!

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gerald
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PostSubject: Re: Fish in the dark loses pigment   Sat Jan 23, 2016 3:00 pm

I'm betting his color will be back to normal within a day or 2. Some fish can pale out within minutes when placed in a white bucket. - we call it "white bucket syndrome" when photographing wild fish in the field. I bring a dark colored bucket when doing field fish photography.
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PostSubject: Re: Fish in the dark loses pigment   Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:27 pm

All of us have had our share of mishaps. I promise, I won't call Animal Control. I agree, I think it is very likely that eventually the fish will color up one day. I'm hoping to hear a good report from you soon... Cool

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PostSubject: Re: Fish in the dark loses pigment   Mon Jan 25, 2016 11:52 am

I can report that he is starting to regain his color, but it is a slow process. His eyes are still pinkish, but not as pale. His body is not the bronzy silver of his mates, but it is not almost white like it was before. 

This is not the camouflage type situation that happens when you place a fish in a markedly different substrate, for instance, like you'll see with some fish. The Tanganyikan leleupi cichlid is a great example. If you keep it over dark substrate it will look like it is dusted with coal, or 5 o'clock shadow. It you put it over light substrate it will be that gorgeous Kodak orange-yellow it is known for. 

This little tetra was totally surrounded by blackness, very little ambient light from above but otherwise surrounded by black walls, and it turned almost white. It retained a few markings, but I found the pink eyes to be the most remarkable thing. 

It was a great science lesson for the kids, too. You gotta love it!  study

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Deb
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PostSubject: Re: Fish in the dark loses pigment   Mon Jan 25, 2016 6:02 pm

It seems to be similar to the phenomenon of the blind cave tetra.

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PostSubject: Re: Fish in the dark loses pigment   Mon Jan 25, 2016 6:06 pm

@Deb wrote:
It seems to be similar to the phenomenon of the blind cave tetra.

It kinda looked like it was heading in that direction, had I left it in situ!

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PostSubject: Re: Fish in the dark loses pigment   Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:15 pm

Just an update - the fish still looks the same, with pinkish eyes and a great deal paler than the others. He is not as colorless as he was when I first released him, but he's not like the others and you can spot him easily. 

I'll try to get pics. I am TERRIBLE at aquarium photography, and up until now every pic I've tried to get of him have been too blurry to be worth posting. Maybe I'll post a video.

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PostSubject: Re: Fish in the dark loses pigment   Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:10 am

Here's a video of the tetra. You can see it is definitely lighter, but not completely white. It is much easier to see in person, but you can tell on the video compared to the others. It has stayed like this for a while now. Kind of interesting! You can also see how banged up the angels have gotten from bickering - two established mated pairs, even in a 150 gallon, does not mean there is peace in the kingdom, lol.

Tetra Video

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