Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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dylan94 02-09-2010 08:54 PM

Albino Tiger Barbs With Swim Bladder Disease
I bought 10 tiger barbs about a month ago and ever since they have had swim bladder disease. Every time I feed them they start floating to the water surface. I now only have 5 tiger barbs. I have tried starving them, feeding them peas, raising the temperature and have had no success. I don't know how ro deal with this! I don't think there are medicines for this disease but I may be wrong. I was thinking of bringing them back to the store, but I feel bad bringing them infected fish that can possibly infect all of the other fish. They don't float to the top when they eat peas, only whe I give them flake food. Please help!

bettababy 02-09-2010 11:16 PM

Can you please provide more information about your tank and the fish?

How big is the tank?
How long has it been set up? How long after set up were the fish added?
Were the fish added all at once?
What are the water params for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH?
What is the water temp?
What type of flake food are you offering them?
Are there any other fish in the tank? If so, what species and how many of each?
How often are you doing water changes? How much each time?

Are there any other symptoms other than the floating at the surface after feeding with flake food? When they float, what position do they take? (nose down, on the side, upside down/belly up, etc)

How long has this problem been going on?

dylan94 02-10-2010 05:38 PM

The tank they are in is the 29 gallon mentioned in my signature. They are with kribensis, swordtails and 1 chinese algae eater. I know it says 3 ottos. I thought I had three ottos and they were very big and aggressive, I then figured out that they were CAEs so I got rid of the other two.

-ph 7.0-7.2
-ammonia 0ppm
-nitrite 0ppm
-nitrate 10ppm
-78 degrees farenheit

The tank is very well planted and established, it has been running well for over a year now. The fish were added very slowly and one species at a time, but the tiger barbs came all at the same time. The tiger barbs have been doing this ever since I got them about 2 months ago.

I feed them TetraMin tropical fish flakes. I have only been feeding them peas for the past month around, because otherwise any other food makes them float to the surface. They are almost completely vertical, nnose pointing down, struggling to swim downwards. the ones that have died, just got to exhausted and gave up, therefore floating to the top exposing their gills to the air.

I am recently doing 10-15% water changes per day, 1 per week being 25%. The water is crystal clear and all the other fish are thriving and breeding. I even have a 5" almost 6" male kribensis!!!

When they are not eating they are very active and friendly. Sometimes, when they are tired they kind of rest at a 45 degree angle, usually among the leaves of a plant, but as soon as I come to the tank they get excited and look for food. I don't thnk their resting is a bad thing I think it is natural because I have seen many tiger barbs doing this when they are just "chilling out".

I dont know what to do!

Please help :)


dylan94 02-10-2010 05:39 PM

BTW water hardness is about 11dGH but i don't think that really has anything to do with it. :)

bettababy 02-11-2010 01:23 AM

Do you have a quarantine tank?

bettababy 02-11-2010 01:24 AM

Also, how many kribensis and how many swordtails in the tank?

dylan94 02-11-2010 06:49 PM

I do not have a quarantine tank, there are 3 kribensis and 3 swordtails. If I need to quarantine, I use a bowl with s small heater and air stone.

bettababy 02-11-2010 08:57 PM

This doesn't really sound like swim bladder disease. If this was truly swim bladder disease this would be happening all the time, not coming and going depending on the type of food you're offering.

This sounds like a gas issue, and could be from the flake food... have you tried offering other foods such as brine shrimp, crisps, pellets, etc. or other brand names of flake food? That would be my first suggestion. Please know that too many peas in their diet can cause digestive tract issues and permanent damage, as tiger barbs are not heavy vegetarians and their bodies are not capable of handling large and constant amounts of roughage such as peas.
Peas will work as a laxative, which will clean out their systems and help to expel built up gas in the digestive tract, so once in a while isn't a bad thing... but I would be very careful not to give them too much or too often.

This also does not sound like anything that would be contagious to the other fish, or they would all be suffering with some symptom or other by now. The fact that only the tiger barbs are having issues tells me that the particular food you are using is causing that species of fish some heavy gas issues... nothing more. (Think of it as people eating beans) This could also just be a bad container of food (or old) and something in the composition of it is affecting the barbs.

Hope this helps, let me know if you need further assistance.

dylan94 02-12-2010 07:57 AM

I will try another flake food, and I will also add bloodworms to their diet. The flake food they are eating now is almost empty and it is a bit old. I will use this food for my other tanks and because they are fine with it and I will use MUCH less peas. Thank you soo much, you really know a lot about fish nutrition and diseases. Everyone else told me it was swim bladder, but now I know it most likely isn't.



bettababy 02-12-2010 01:22 PM

This is my career, if I didn't know these things I wouldn't have a job. I have 20+ yrs of education and training to go with my experience. There was a time when I didn't know these things either... but back then, instead of just guessing, I pursued learning. Guessing would have left me unemployed very quickly. Unfortunately, most people don't get the opportunities I have found over the years, so instead of seeking professional advice, they choose to guess.

Please understand that without the proper lab work and without the ability to examine these fish hands on, no diagnosis is a guarantee. All I can offer you is my education, training, and experience... which tells me that this is not swim bladder disease based on the symptoms and description you provided.

Swim bladder disease is not something that comes and goes, which is what gives it away. Swim bladder disease will cause permanent damage that cannot be fixed... so the symptoms would not stop according to the food being offered.

When you mention that the peas don't cause the same symptom, knowing that peas are a heavy laxative, and that there are many things that can cause gas to be trapped in the digestive tract & swim bladder, my best guess is that this food is simply not agreeing with them, for whatever the reason. I can further narrow it down because all fish of the same species are being affected, but not all fish that are eating the food.

Normally Tetramin is a great food with a high nutrition content, but fish food does have a shelf life. Without a broken seal, most (not all) flake foods have a shelf life of 6 months to a year. Once the seal is broken this shelf life decreases to a matter of months. Nutritional values change once the seal is broken, and the food, once exposed to air, changes in chemical breakddown.

In the future, any flake food that is opened beyond 3 months, should be replaced.

If you see the same symptoms reappear with the changes in diet/food that you are about to make, please let me know. While the help I can provide via internet is somewhat limited, there is still informatin we can gather to further narrow down the cause of this problem.

Hang in there, don't do anything drastic, and keep close eye on the fish as these changes progress. I will do what I can to help you save them.

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