04-25-2008, 10:23 PM
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For starters, you don't want to feed the epsom salts in the main tank. The pleco will be sensitive to salt, but even more so those bala sharks. The salts can burn their skin... cause all sorts of problems.
Again, I have to say, that even at their sizes, that is too many fish in that size of a tank, and they can't stay there. Balas get 14 inches full grown... forgot to mention those earlier.
There are a few places that are spawning parrots successfully, but I couldn't tell you where exactly they are or how to get them. It's not common, and the way I understand it, they're also quite a bit more expensive.
All I can tell you now is that the longer those fish stay in that tank together, the worse things are going to get... and nobody is going to be able to help you. Removing the gravel or even part of it will only deplete your bacteria culture, which will make waste problems more severe much faster. Then to go with the nitrate levels, you will also likely have ammonia and nitrite to go with it, and those are both much more toxic than nitrate.
I'm not sure what other products to tell you to try using to soak up that nitrate level quicker... I'm not sure what is available in China. Even carbon would be better than using nothing... and the more of it there is the faster it will help... but it needs to be changed every 3 - 4 wks, especially with levels that are so high and will be so constant. If you can't find the polyfilter, try looking for purapad or nitrate sponge. Any of those would also help reduce nitrates faster than water changes alone.
Please remember that this will buy you only a short period of time before the problem again worsens, and that will continue until the end result is death... and considering the animals in there, it could very easily be a case of losing everything or near everything in a matter of days.
There is no treatment for permanent swim bladder damage, and it will reduce the life of the fish by quite a lot. Everytime that fish has to try to swim against what is happening inside of him, the stress and struggle will worsen... which will weaken him further. With poor water conditions and cramped quarters... and other fish who are likely to pick on him any chance they get... (even the pleco will eventually turn on him) moving him to a quarantine tank is about the only hope I can offer to you. Feeding epsom salts is quite easy... feed it like pellet food, and do so before offering any other food for that day so he's hungry enough to take what you put in there. The epsom salts will sink, so drop them over where the fish is laying, as near to his mouth as you can get them. If you can get him to eat 2 - 3 pieces, that should help a little. If the damage is permanent, then the salts won't hurt him, but they won't make any changes for the better, either.
Let me know if there's anything more I can do to help...