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-   -   Blood parrot sinking to the bottom emergency (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/tropical-fish-diseases/blood-parrot-sinking-bottom-emergency-14107/)

twoinchina 04-24-2008 06:36 PM

Blood parrot sinking to the bottom emergency
 
Hello,

i have been trying to fight this for a while on my own, then went to the LFS that has continuously helped me in the past and heard "can't help him, just get a new fish" :(:(:(

First of all, tank set-up currently around 30 gallons, still filling up after the move (max 50), 3 or 4 gallon canister filter, oxygen pump, 3 blood parrots, a fish that looks like a flower horn but without a horn :S, 3 plecos and 4 little bala sharks.

Now, water parameters (as of today): General hardness through the roof, carbonate hardness 0, PH 6.0, nitrites 0, nitrates around 40 to 80, trying to get them lower. Water temp 28-30 celcius.

So here's what's wrong with the fish now: one side - some scales missing (from being picked on), a little piece of skin missing (still don't know what caused that, but we've lost other fish to somthing similar), sitting on the bottom of the tank, sometimes laying on the side, breathing heavily.

My LFS knew what to do till I told them that even despite the pitiful condition, the fish still eats! He struggles to the top and eats, and then drops to the botom.

I tried the yellow powder medication (forgot what it's called but its for external injuries), tried 'fish bacterial killer', but he seems worse every day.

Now, he's been like this for a month, and getting worse, I isolated him to make sure the bigger parrots don't pick on him (same tank, glass barrier), but he so wanted to get out of there, I let him out a few times. The bigger parrots picked on him some more, after which I isolated him again. How the big parrtos are spawning, and I'm definitely not letting him out again just now.

What is it that can cause a fish to drop to the bottom? He's never been upside down, just laying on the bottom straight up or on the side.

No slime, no clamped fins. Gills seem a bit protruded, but he's pretty much always looked like that.

Any advice will be appreciated.

Thank you for reading this far
Have a good day

bettababy 04-24-2008 10:07 PM

Re: Blood parrot sinking to the bottom emergency
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by twoinchina
Hello,

First of all, tank set-up currently around 30 gallons, still filling up after the move (max 50), 3 or 4 gallon canister filter, oxygen pump, 3 blood parrots, a fish that looks like a flower horn but without a horn :S, 3 plecos and 4 little bala sharks.

Now, water parameters (as of today): General hardness through the roof, carbonate hardness 0, PH 6.0, nitrites 0, nitrates around 40 to 80, trying to get them lower. Water temp 28-30 celcius.


Well, the first problem I see is that the tank is way too small for all those fish, and the nitrate levels indicate that. High nitrate levels over a period of time will cause internal damage, and it can be permanent injury. The fact that the other fish are picking on him only makes the situation worse.

The problems with carbonate hardness and general hardness are also likely due to the high nitrate level, and that is also likely lowering the pH. What is the pH in the tap water being used in the tank for water changes? The only solutions here are going to be to get a much larger tank asap, and get those nitrate levels down asap! Daily water changes with plenty of gravel vacs should help to decrease the nitrate level.

What test kits are you using? Nitrates 40 - 80 is an awful wide range... and there is no param posted for ammonia, we'll need to know that, too.

When the fish comes up for food, is he swimming normally? When he drops back to the bottom, does he appear to be struggling to stay up higher in the tank? How big are these fish? How long since you moved them and set the tank back up?

twoinchina 04-25-2008 05:34 AM

First of all, thank you for answering, you have helped us out in the past too, thanks again.

the fish, in short, struggles when swimming.

its like his floating is only in the fins, he has to work them a lot to swim upwards and eat, but he does every time I feed the fish. whenever the fins stop working, he drops like a rock.

Nitrates are bad, I know, we are fighting them, adding another 5 gallons tonight. As far as water goes, we use canister drinking water (not mineral water) instead of tap water to bypass the chlorine and lime and certain metals. Is it a good choice?

Thank you again

1077 04-25-2008 06:19 AM

A good dechlorinator such as prime or amquel-plus will treat your tap water and make it safe for fish. drinking water or ro water is ok to use as part of your tanks water but they lack the trace elemnts needed by fish and plants. Your nitrates can be lowered by thoroughly vaccuming the bottom of your tank withvaccum sold at fish stores and walmart. Changing water without vaccuming the bottom will only bring temporary improvement.You can cut down on feeding as well. Uneaten food on the bottom will over time increase ammonia and nitrates. I would probably keep up with water changes and do away with drinking water and also vaccum the bottom weekly after giving it a good cleaning now. Do not go too deep with vaccum in such a new tank :P

bettababy 04-25-2008 07:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1077
A good dechlorinator such as prime or amquel-plus will treat your tap water and make it safe for fish. drinking water or ro water is ok to use as part of your tanks water but they lack the trace elemnts needed by fish and plants. Your nitrates can be lowered by thoroughly vaccuming the bottom of your tank withvaccum sold at fish stores and walmart. Changing water without vaccuming the bottom will only bring temporary improvement.You can cut down on feeding as well. Uneaten food on the bottom will over time increase ammonia and nitrates. I would probably keep up with water changes and do away with drinking water and also vaccum the bottom weekly after giving it a good cleaning now. Do not go too deep with vaccum in such a new tank :P

There is nothing wrong with using bottled drinking water, other than you may encounter a phosphate issue over time, which will help to grow algae. The way that drinking water is filtered isn't much different than a home filtration unit... and there should be no risk in using it all the time. You'll just want to stay away from distilled water, which is too pure and doesn't contain enough mineral content to sustain fish or plants.

1077 04-25-2008 07:44 AM

I apologize betta baby and to original poster.. I understood that drinking water was being used to avoid chlorine. Drinking water in some areas also contains chlorine as well as chlorimine does it not? I thought perhaps dechlorinator would allow them to kill two birds with one stone .They could use tap water which is cheaper and remove the afore mentioned chlorine as well as other harmful metals. :cry:

1077 04-25-2008 08:16 AM

Please add to previous post... after searching various websites some consider using bottled water only if you know your Tap water is dangerous Bottled water is often not regulated or tested, so water parameters are unknown. Also bottled water often has vitamins, presevatives,colors, flavors ,or other additives that can be harmful to your fish. Freshly purified water also has almost no oxygen content and should be aerated for an hour if not more before using in an aquarium. :( .

bettababy 04-25-2008 02:06 PM

1077, I'm not sure where you're getting your information from... but most of it is very inaccurate. Please don't trust just anything you read online... I have heard and seen some very strange things from people who don't know the first thing about what they claim to....

Bottled water content is dependent on the type of water it is. The best one to use is spring water, but that can also be misleading. Not all bottled water is filtered the same way, but it is not dangerous to the fish except for distilled water being used straight.
Bottled water has been used for fish for many years now, and I have never heard of it causing harm to any fish... except for those who use purely distilled water, which is too pure.
Bottled waters do not tend to contain chlorine or chloramine, and is why most people use them even for themselves as drinking water. They can contain nitrate levels, and phosphate levels, again, dependent on the type of filtration being used on them... but then so can tap water and well water, too.
To know for sure, simply run the water testing on one of the bottles of water, or call the company to ask for a stats sheet on their particular brand. That is something each and every company has, its just a matter of getting it from them.

bettababy 04-25-2008 02:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by twoinchina
First of all, thank you for answering, you have helped us out in the past too, thanks again.

the fish, in short, struggles when swimming.

its like his floating is only in the fins, he has to work them a lot to swim upwards and eat, but he does every time I feed the fish. whenever the fins stop working, he drops like a rock.

Nitrates are bad, I know, we are fighting them, adding another 5 gallons tonight. As far as water goes, we use canister drinking water (not mineral water) instead of tap water to bypass the chlorine and lime and certain metals. Is it a good choice?

Thank you again

Now, back to the original problem... I didn't mean to ignore it, I've been having internet problems with the big storms that have come through, and I got cut off before I was able to get back to this post.

It sounds as if this fish is suffering from swim bladder damage, but to what extent and if its permanent there is no way for anyone to predict. The best thing for it would be to move to a quarantine tank, see if you can get it to eat a few pieces of epsom salts, and watch him closely for a few days. It is very possible that the damage is permanent, and more extensive than just swim bladder. Unfortunately, that is the effects nitrates can have on fish, and why I work so hard to get people to clean up their tanks... and to help prevent this sort of thing in the first place.
Considering the size of the tank and the inhabitants, don't be surprised if getting nitrates under control turns out to be near impossible... that is the price we pay for overstocking a tank... or not working with a tank large enough for the fish in it. Fish grow rapidly in most cases, and while we can't visibly see each growth spurt, it makes a huge difference in the water quality. The fact that only nitrates are high tells us that there is plenty of bacteria in there to handle the waste and break it down... just no way to keep enough of it out safely to keep the tank balanced. The end solution here is still going to be the same as I stated in my first post here... they need a much larger tank.
For 3 - 4 blood parrots alone, 150 - 200 gallons will be mandatory if those fish are going to live and be healthy. If they are large enough to spawn, then they shouldn't even fit into a 50 gallon tank.... full grown these fish average about 10 inches each! Maturity says nothing about size, however... so if nitrates have been high for a long time, then growth may have been stunted... and anything strong enough to stunt growth is strong enough to cause internal damage. The evidence is in the sick fish at present... and if not taken care of, the others will only follow in that fate.

I'm sorry that probably isn't what you wanted to hear, but when I answer threads here, I am brutally honest for the sake of the fish... and for people's sanity.

For a temporary fix, I would strongly suggest another strong filter on that tank, and in it plenty of polyfilter (if you need a link I can get that for you, Dr's Foster & Smith sells it). Polyfilter can be a lifesaver, and will soak up the nitrates and other pollutants almost overnight in most cases. Polyfilter can't be used long term, though... it will suck too much of the needed elements out of the water if used for prolonged periods of time, and will also cause pH to bottom out quickly... which is just as deadly to your fish. This is a temporary fix only, meant to buy you a wk or 2 to figure out what you will do for a long term solution.
Best of luck to you, if you need more help, please ask!

twoinchina 04-25-2008 08:45 PM

First of all, thank you everyone who posted here.

The drinking water we use is chlorine-free (or so they say) and is spring water. The tap water was recommended by the LFS as a cheaper alternative, and we tried it in one of our tanks, but the mineral content is so high the glass frosted and we couldn't see the fish. So, bottled water it is.

2 days ago i added some water stabilizer with a couple of gallons of water, and a weekly portion of nitro-bacteria and yesterday 4+ more gallons of clean water, and the lil parrot seems to be swimming with a bit more energy. Maybe just a coincidence, but it's good.

Bettababy thank you for your advice, whether its something we did or didn't want to hear, its true and shall be said. We will vacuum the bottom more rigorously and try to fight the nitrates by more frequent water changes. The filter you mentioned might not be available here (China), but we'll check. Would you suggest less gravel would help collect less waste? We don't have plants in the tank, just rocks, so maybe gravel isn't that needed. Parrots dig it around anyways.

As far as size of the fish goes, the biggest is the flower horn without a horn ;) 4 inches, the male spawning parrot is 3+ inches, his mate - 3 inches, bala sharks around 4 inches, plecos - around the same size. The sick lil parrot is around 2.5 inches.

Not sure about the nitrates effect on growth, in LFS the parrots spawn at the same size, so maybe it's just an early breeding variety (i might be wrong). These are the sterile type (i don't know if there's a fertile type of blood parrots), they spawn, guard their eggs, then eat them when the eggs go bad.

Question - you said there might be damage to the sick fish swimming bladder. In case it's permanent, can the fish survive? In case it's possible to cure, what cures are there?

Thank you again.


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