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dnleung 09-09-2008 01:37 AM

Pacu mouth problem
Hi guys, I've had my red bellied Pacu for 9 years now. I have him in a 200 gallon tank with a 1 year old pacu, a few guppies, 2 large goldfish, and 2 plecos. They have a Rena XP3 filter, along with power heads, and air pumps, and heaters. I think I need mroe aeration though.

So let me explain the situation. My tank is at my parents restaurant, and I currently go to college. I'm back for the summer, but was gone the past week, so a waitress was feeding the fish. Long story short she overfed... a lot.

When I returned, the tank was cloudy (green), all the fish were near the top for oxygen, and there was a ton of uneaten food on the bottom of the tank, and the water smelt horrible. I did a 85% water change (without a siphon), and added melafix.

The problem: My pacu's lower jaw seems to be "swollen," or the jutting out. Makes them look bulldogish. It seemed to get slightly better with the water change, but it has me scared. What do I do?

Thanks for any help... and I know long posts are annoying, but I wanted to explain the situation.

1077 09-09-2008 06:32 AM

water changes to keep ammonia levels down that may be high due to uneaten food on the bottom are a good first step and sometimes all that is needed. You really must get the food off the bottom either with siphon sold at fish stores or one made up of garden hose or vinyl tubing, I am not a fan of meds or chemicals in the tank so i cannot advise in that respect other than to remind you to remove any carbon from filters during treatment as carbon will remove the medication. Were it me I would go with the next size larger filter for your tank. The one you are using is rated for 175gal. I would want something rated for at LEAST 250 gal or more. I would do small frequent water changes rather than large ones from this point on to get ammonia levels that are no doubt elevated under control. You will need a liquid test kit such as API freswater test kit if you don't have one already to help you with monitoring the ammonia levels. But my immediate concern would be getting the uneaten food out of the tank. I would not remove any of the filter media except for the carbon for as mentioned it will rmove the medication you are using. If it becomes necessary to clean the fiter media i would swish it around in old aquarium water and stick it back in the filter. You can change the media out after the tank has become stable once again. Hope some of this helps. :)

iamntbatman 09-09-2008 10:34 AM

If it were me, I'd leave the filter you've got on there, and just add another filter. Another canister, a HOB power filter, anything, really. The more the merrier, especially in a tank as heavily stocked as yours.

Any chance you could post a picture of the fish's jaw?

1077 09-09-2008 12:30 PM

Batman makes a good point. Any additional filtration will help tremendously.

dnleung 09-09-2008 02:02 PM

I'm going over to see him soon. I'll try and get a picture. I'll add another filter soon, i got most of the food off the bottom by pouring a bucket of water in and then netting, and scooping the debris. I'm bringing my siphon today though. I'll let you know how it goes.

okiemavis 09-09-2008 03:26 PM

Sounds to me like you guys are on the right track. This tank is underfiltered, and definitely had some water quality issues. Do you know what the water parameters are exactly? Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate?

I would definitely add another filter, as the xp3 only filters 350 gph, and you should have at least double that with the stocking in that tank. Keep up the water changes, and let us know the water parameters :)

dnleung 09-09-2008 11:26 PM

Thanks for all the help guys, I'll get another filter soon. Do you guys have any smaller filter recommendations? HOB is out of the question, as it has a custom top.

I'll get some testing supplies when I make either to Sacramento or Reno (small town). Today the water is much clearer, minus a tiny bit of debris in the water. All the fish look much better and the larger pacu seems to have recovered, but the smaller one still has a slight lip problem. The picture here is blurry; he wouldn't sit still.

I'll do a 15% water change on Monday.

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