06-03-2009, 07:11 AM
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I am with Lupin,, Gasping fish ,or fish that are breathing rapidly, could be suffering from ammonia and or nitrite spike. Many times we measure ammonia and nitrites and they may be at optimum levels, but we do not always consider that these readings could be significantly different right after a large water change for example where the ph of new water added in large quanity can result in ammonium which is harmless ,,becoming more toxic ammonia which is dangerous at any level. That is why many suggest SMALL frequent water changes as opposed to larger infrequent ones, Ammonia can also spike after feedings until the biological filter (good bacteria),, Has had a chance to adjust. Some fish also suffer from elevated NitrAte levels in the tank which is why vaccuming the substrate on a regular basis is beneficial to the health of the fishes. It could be you are aware of all of these things and I am not suggesting that you aren't caring for your fish properly, but rather offering some observations I have made in hopes of helping others who may be reading this.
Filtration is another area we sometimes underestimate the importance of. Keep the filter sized for the tank you have ,clean and in good operating condition.Once the material becomes clogged it needs cleaned in old tank water or it simply can't do it's job.
And sometimes,we clean the tanks TOO well, By that I mean we change the water,clean the filters,vaccum the substrate really good,clean the glass and the decorations all at one time. This can also contribute to ammonia spikes by destroying the good bacteria that feeds on it. Best in my view to do a little each week rather than all at once. Stability is what we want to achieve and it is easier on the fish.