Lethargic paradise fish
I've got a great little paradise fish called Garfield (because of the orange stripes). He lives in a 5L (1.5G) bow with two plants, one in a pot and one on driftwood. I've since found out this bowl is on the small side, but he was happy enough there. I change 50% of the water once a week, and I've put a pad heater in the bottom of the bowl, which keeps the temperature between 21 and 24 degrees C now that the weather is getting colder here.
I used to feed him betta pellets, but a few weeks ago, he stopped eating them. I bought some frozen bloodworms, which he loved. I also used some Aquamaster Multicure, in case he was sick. So he's been eating bloodworms for the last two weeks. I've since read that they should only be given as treats, as they're not a complete food..
Anyway, on Sunday he stopped eating the bloodworms. I saw that he was trailing some feces, so I tried to give him a chopped-up cooked pea, but he ignored it. He's now been ignoring both bloodworms and pellets for five days. There are no strange growths on him that I can see. I was worried that debris at the bottom of the bowl might be fouling the water, so I washed the whole thing and changed about 80% of the water on Sunday night, adding some Cycle at the same time.
I noticed that when I moved his bowl from his normal quiet spot into the kitchen, with more activity, he perked up a bit. Because of that, I put him next to the TV so he gets something to investigate - he used to be very curious about the world outside his bowl. It hasn't made much difference though. I only got him at Christmas so he can't be very old.
Any ideas for what I could try? I'm going to get an ammonia/nitrate/nitrite test kit on the weekend, but considering I did a big water change on Sunday, I don't think that's the problem. I'm all out of ideas.
Any help would be appreciated!
Welcome to TFK!
Have you noticed any white, stringy feces? That's usually an indicator of internal parasites, which can often cause fish to lose their appetites.
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They make medicated foods designed to clear up internal parasites but often these are difficult to use because the fish may not eat them. Jungle's Parasite Clear might be a good option, though you'd have to break the tablet into pieces since your tank is small.
My LFS doesn't have Parasite Clear, but they did have a similar product with Praziquantel in a tablet, so I've dropped a quarter of that in. It's been 24 hours now. He's still not eating but seems a lot more lively. I also gave him a dip in a 3% salt solution for 30 minutes - I read that's good for parasites. Fingers crossed.
Thanks for the help!
Salt dips can be stressful and are usually only used for external parasites rather than internal ones. That medication should be helpful though. Keep us updated!
He's still not eating. He's been a bit more active, swimming laps of his bowl, which I haven't seen him do before. Normally he swims up and down and through things..
I just did a 25% water change and dropped in another quarter of a tablet, since it's been 48 hours.
I've just dropped in another quarter tablet with a 25% water change. I still haven't seen him take any food, although I've been dropping in a few betta pellets twice a day. It's been 10 days since I've seen him eat now... unless he's eating the plants or eating the pellets when I'm not watching, I don't know where he's getting food from.
He was trailing white stringy feces two days ago. He's now trailing some dark feces and has lost some colour. He's still fairly active, although not as much as when he was healthy. What should I do??
The switch from white feces to normal dark feces is a good sign. If he's still not eating, be sure to remove uneaten food as this will push your water quality south, something that's important to avoid when dealing with sick fish.
Remember that fish are cold-blooded animals and therefore can go a surprisingly long time without food.
Do you have that test kit you were talking about getting? Even if the fish isn't eating he'll still be giving off ammonia, which could build up quickly in a small bowl like that. Poor water quality and sickness together sort of go hand-in-hand; poor water quality in the first place can wreak havoc on your fish's immune system, making him more susceptible to illness. Once the fish is already weakened by illness, he'll feel the effects of poor water quality that much more, contributing yet further to his weakened state. Being able to monitor water quality while treating him could be really helpful.
I'm sorry to say he died last night :-(. I found him under the driftwood, on the bottom of the tank. I bought an ammonia and nitrite test kit and tested on the weekend - both were 0. I tested again yesterday morning and ammonia was between 0 and 0.25, while nitrites were still 0. There was a sort of slickness to the water though - I don't know what causes that, or if it's a problem?
There was some uneaten food at the bottom of the tank - I probably should have removed that.
I'm also wondering if the heater might have pushed the temperature up too high. There's a stick-on thermometer which was reading 23C, but the water was warm to touch.
I'd definitely like to get another paradise fish - what size tank would you recommend? If I have a larger tank, I'd also invest in a heater with a thermostat, just in case.
Thanks for your help.
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