HELP! Back from Vacation, Bolivian Ram looks bad
My ram does not look good... he's hanging out at the bottom and looks wilted. I gave him bloodworms and he ate some, but he still looks terrible. His breathing does not seem labored, but he has lost color.
I've put salt in and changed the water (nitrites were fairly high) about 70%.
Any other suggestions?
Impossible to pin-point without a lot more data. Most likely a water quality issue. Did you actually mean nitrites, and not nitrates? What was the reading (whichever)?
How long was the tank left on its own? Were the fish fed (whatever method)? What is the pH? And nitrates (if not given above)?
Yes, I meant Nitrates. It was around 40ppm. I didnt take a ph reading. Ammonia & nitrites were 0. I was gone for 7 days, but they were fed daily, via premeasured packets. The tank was fairly dirty... lots of crud at the bottom, so I have to assume it was the water.
Can you think of anything else I can do to improve his chances?
Many still think that nitrates are not as toxic as they actually are at relatively low levels. Cichlids are now known to have issues at 20ppm, so a rise to 40ppm is likely going to impact the fish. Getting the water back to "normal" is essential.
Use a good water conditioner. If nitrates are still above normal [normal being whatever they normally would be in your situation] another 50% water change will do no harm, quite the opposite in fact. Do a good cleaning of the substrate with each water change. Getting nitrates down is one time you don't have to "go slow" with the change.:-)
Just a quick update. This morning, his color looks better, but he is still sitting at the bottom, with his fins all down. When my Festivum chases him away from his driftwood like he usually does, the Ram will dart away as normal, but then will go back to sitting at the bottom, pretty motionless.
The nitrate reading this morning was closer to 10ppm. The ph is a normal 8.0. I will perform another water change in attempt to get the substrate spotless. Any other suggestions would be much appreciated.
I probably missed this initially as nitrites, not nitrate, was mentioned and salt can help with high nitrite. But as we are actually dealing with nitrates, forget the salt.
The Ram may not recover; this is impossible to say. A fish that has been exposed to unfavorable conditions may begin to pull out of it, but if the physiology has been impacted, recovery may not occur. And here, just so you know, we have some dangerous factors. The high nitrate, then salt, and if there is any sort of bullying from another fish as has now been mentioned, this can add stress. A normally healthy fish can often (but not always) deal with light bullying, and cichlids are cichlids after all; but when the fish is under severe stress from other factors, this additional stress can be considerable to the fish.
The other point is that this species, Mikrogeophagus altispinosus, is highly sensitive to water conditions, both parameters and the nitrogen cycle. It shares this with its close relation, Mikrogeophagus ramirezi.
Again, more frequent water changes are the best remedy, and they will certainly help.
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