Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Reece 08-18-2013 03:14 PM

Harlequin Rasbora seems to be finding it hard to swim?
Hi guys,

So I returned home today after going to see family and I've found that one of my 7 Harleys appears to be finding it awkward to swim... :shock:

I've been watching for a few minutes now and whilst everyone else is happy, and seem as normal as ever, one of them isn't. The issue he has is that he floats upwards massively, whilst no one else has this issue. The only way I can describe it as I watch is like when a ballon rises into the sky, it looks like the fish is filled with helium! :cry:

The temperature is at its regular 78-79F, I've looked at him and all of his fins appear to be in tact. I'm really worried about him, he doesn't seem to be staying with the rest of the group, and has stayed underneath where the filter outtake pours into the tank as it seems to push him down so he doesn't have to constantly dart downwards to avoid floating up.

Please help!

1. Size of tank? 10 gallons

2. Water parameters - don't know
a. Ammonia?
b. Nitrite?
c. Nitrate?
d. pH, KH and GH?
e. Test kit?

3. Temperature? 78-79F

4. FW (fresh water) or BW (brackish)? FW

5. How long the aquarium has been set up? 2 years

6. What fish do you have? How many are in your tank? How big are they? How long have you had them? 7 Harlequin Rasbora, 1 Bristlenose Pleco. All in tank for a year

7. Were the fish placed under quarantine period (minus the first batch from the point wherein the tank is ready to accommodate the inhabitants)? No

8. a. Any live plants? Fake plants? 5 different species of live plants, no fake.
b. Sand, gravel, barebottom? A sort of gravel.
c. Rocks, woods, fancy decors? Any hollow decors? Driftwood, and fake rock (plastic)

9. a. Filtration? Yes
b. Heater? Yes

10. a. Lighting schedule? What lights are used? T5 bulb, 3pm until 11pm.
b. Any sunlight exposure? How long? No

11. a. Water change schedule? Every Monday
b. Volume of water changed? 50%
c. Well water, tap water, RO water? Tap
d. Water conditioner used? Yes, aqua safe
e. Frequency of gravel/sand (if any) vacuumed? Every water change

12. Foods? TetraPro
How often are they fed? Once a day, not on Saturdays

13. a. Any abnormal signs/symptoms? As described above
b. Appearance of poop? Normal
c. Appearance of gills? Normal

14. a. Have you treated your fish ahead of diagnosis? No
b. What meds were used?

15. Insert photos of fish in question and full tank shot if necessary

Reece 08-18-2013 03:30 PM


spreadtoothinly 08-18-2013 03:44 PM

Sounds like swim bladdar to me... but then again I have had ZERO experience of fish diseases of any kind.

Reece 08-18-2013 03:45 PM

Other sites suggest that too, but I don't know what to do :(

spreadtoothinly 08-18-2013 03:59 PM

This is what AC tropical fish says about Swim bladder

Fish use the swim bladder to regulate buoyancy in the [COLOR=black !important][COLOR=black ! important]water[/COLOR][/COLOR], i.e. adjusting their relative weight to float without sinking or rising in the water. If the fish somehow gets an injury or [COLOR=black !important][COLOR=black ! important]disease[/COLOR][/COLOR] to its swim bladder, regulating its buoyancy will be hard or impossible for the fish. A swim-bladder problem can therefore make the [COLOR=black !important][COLOR=black !important]fish [COLOR=black !important]swim[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR] unnaturally and experience trouble keeping its buoyancy regulated. This can result in the fish laying on the bottom of the tank or floating on the surface. In less severe cases it can just seem like if the fish was drunk and having trouble keeping its balance. Swim bladder disease can be caused by a number of different causes but the most common causes are:
External factors: If the fish is subjected to external trauma it can affect their swim bladder. External trauma includes physical trauma such as being beaten by another fish, as well as rapid changes in the water parameters in their tank. A rapid temperature increase or decrease can as an example cause swim bladder disease.
Genetic factors: Some fish can be genetically predisposed to develop a deformed swim bladder when they grow older. This problem is usually a by product of line breeding by breeders trying to [COLOR=black !important][COLOR=black !important]breed[/COLOR][/COLOR] a certain trait in the fish such as long fins or certain colors. The predisposition is unwittingly being line breed along with the desired traits.
Cancer and TBC: Cancer and tuberculosis can cause swim bladder problems if they affect organs close to the swim bladder or the swim bladder itself.
Diet: Dietary problems such as poor nutrition can cause swim bladder disease as the fish don't get the nutrients they need. An improved diet can often help the fish recover, unless the problem has progressed too far. Poor diet can also lead to constipation which in turn can lead to swim bladder problem as the swelling of the [COLOR=black !important][COLOR=black !important]abdomen[/COLOR][/COLOR] prevent the swim bladder from working properly.
Diseases: Swim bladder disease can be a by-product of a number of different bacterial and parasitical [COLOR=black !important][COLOR=black !important]infections[/COLOR][/COLOR] in the fish.
The problem can usually be resolved by treating and resolving the problems listed above. Damages caused by external factors might be permanent and nothing to do about except kill the fish if it doesn't recuperate within a couple of weeks. You should also make sure that you give the fish their preferred environment if you discover swim bladder problems.
:or you could just google "swim bladder fish disease" and look through what it pulls up.
Hope this helps!

Reece 08-18-2013 05:15 PM

After doing some research thanks to Dr. Google I found an article by Douglas H. Thamm which suggests four possible solutions, here are two: (the other two are surgical, and therefore mean an expensive trip to the vets)

1. Feed your fish a couple of peas. That's right, peas. Just get some frozen peas, thaw them, and feed them to your fish. A professor of fish medicine at N.C. State College of Veterinary Medicine has done this in several cases with very good results. He thinks that the peas somehow encourage destruction of the impaction. No hard scientific data yet, but it's worth a try.

2.Fast your fish for a couple of days. Withhold all food for three or four days, and sometimes this alone will break up the impaction and return things to normal. Most fish can go a week to ten days without food and be just fine.

My question to anyone reading is which of these would you recommend, or have you tried either in the past when attempting to treat this disorder? Were you successful?

I'm very confident that this is a Swim Bladder Disorder...

Sakura8 08-18-2013 08:19 PM

Hi Reece, sorry to hear about your harly. If the swim bladder problems just started or came on suddenly, it's possible that your harly has an air bubble, or literally has gas. Changes in temperature can cause this or sometimes absorbing a random air bubble through the gills can also cause this. For the most part, there isn't much you can do except wait for the air bubble to reabsorb. As long as the fish is not being picked on and can eat, he should be fine being left in the tank where he is. It's much easier when they have a floating problem than a sinking problem.

If, after a few days to a week, the fish is still having a problem swimming then there may be a more serious cause such as an injury or infection that is causing pressure on his swim bladder.

If you want to, you can feed him a pea to help keep his system moving. It won't hurt him at all. The best way to do this is to blanc the pea:

1) put the pea in a small amount of water and nuke it for about 15-30 seconds.
2) immediately transfer the pea (careful, it's hot) to a small bowl of ice water to let it cool
3) after about a minute, you can take the pea out and peel off the outer shell
4) cut the pea into tiny portions and feed. You may need to put a tiny bit of pea on a toothpick to feed to the floaty guy since he won't be able to chase the pea down as it sinks.

Reece 08-19-2013 01:34 PM

Thanks Sakura!

After watching him today I believe your assumption of a random air bubble is actually correct, watching him today he seems as good as ever! I'll feed them later tonight and hope that no issues arise after, if that is the case then I'll feed them a pea or two tomorrow :) But he looks perfectly fine for now!

Sakura8 08-19-2013 01:50 PM

Hi Reece. That's great! I'm really glad to hear that he seems fine now. But boy, these fish sure do like to scare us sometimes, don't they?

Reece 08-19-2013 02:11 PM

I think it's just payback for forgetting to feed them every now and then ;)

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