Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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4CherryBarbs 01-22-2007 01:23 PM

Sick Cherry Barb
I have a 15 Gallon tank with two Cherry Barbs and one Gold Barb. I've had one Cherry Barb for two years, and the other, male, Cherry Barb and Gold Barb for three and a half (years). They are all very small but have always been healthy. I changed their water in full two weeks ago; recently added more fresh (distilled water; also used NovAqua+ Water Conditioner two weeks ago). Their filter in their Whisper Filter is also new/clean. Their tank is in front of the window - open to sunlight in the morning, closed the rest of the time. I have two 15W incandescent bulbs that are on often - pretty much except for at night. I feed mainly TetraMin tropical flakes .... I've done everything pretty consistent, right down to partial and full water changes, feeding, lights on/off, etc. Their water temp is always around 80°. I have not tested the water recently.

The problem - Last night my male barb began swimming erratically and sideways, and appears to be breathing heavy. I thought he was dying, but he continues to swim sidewards, floats to the top, then regains some control and swims straight briefly before twirling and swimming straight up and down and/or sidewards. However, if can keep himself still he will eat. I feel awful because he eats and/or tries to eat, but cannot stop from spinning, and can't swim right on his own. I hate watching him like this and I'm not sure what it is, if it can be fixed or if he's dying. I'm taking water to be tested a pet store, but in meantime, any advice would be appreciated. I've never lost one before.

Thanks in advance

4CherryBarbs 01-22-2007 02:46 PM

Update - I tested the water, my results:

PH - Low at 6.9
Alkalinity - under 80
Hardness - 120, moderate
Nitrite - between safe levels at 0 - 0.5
Nitrate - just over 20, between safe levels

Amphitrite 01-22-2007 02:56 PM

Hi there and welcome to the forum.

I'm sorry to hear about your fish - it's sounding to me like it could possibly be a swim bladder problem.

Just a couple of things. You say that did a 100 percent water change, can I ask why you did this?

Also, you have a nitrite reading which you shouldn't have if the tank is cycled. This may be due to the fact that you replaced the filter - did you replace the full thing at once?

And it would be helpful to know if you have an ammonia reading?

The more infomation you give, then the more we will be able to help

Katherine :)

bettababy 01-23-2007 01:23 AM

Can I ask what the pH reading is in your tap water? If there was a drastic change in pH, this could easily have caused the problems you are describing. Also, as Katherine has pointed out, ammonia could be an issue, and ANY nitrite level is toxic to the fish. If the tank recently cycled (which it would have had to do with everything changed all at once 2 wks ago) the fish is likely suffering from water quality problems. More information is needed and a picture of the sick fish would also help.

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