Female Danio tilting when swimming - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 24 Old 02-16-2012, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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Female Danio tilting when swimming


I just noticed that one of my female danios is not swimming quite normally, but tilts to the right.

Here are the details:

1. Tank size: 140 L

2. Water parameters and brand of test kit used:
These are the params for the main and the hospital tank (same water).
Ammonium 0.25
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 5
pH 7.4
We use the API Master Testkit.

3. Is your aquarium set up freshwater or brackish water?

4. How long the aquarium has been set up?
The aquarium has been set up for around 2 years.

5. What fish do you have? How many are in your tank? How big are they? How long have you had them? 5 Danios (one male about 6 months, about 3cm (= 1.2 inches) + tail; 3 females about 2 months, about 3cm (= 1.2") + tail; and 1 female about 4 months; 4 corydoras (two females almost 2 years and about 3.5 cm (= 1.4") + tail and 2 females about 5 months one about 3.5 cm (= 1.4") + tail) and the other one about 6 cm (= 2.4") and two Oto Cincluses (male and female about 14 months, male is about 2.5 cm (= 1") and female 3.5 cm (= 1.4")) - Those times are how long we've had them.

6. Were the fish placed under quarantine period (minus the first batch from the point wherein the tank is ready to accommodate the inhabitants)?
No. We put new fish straight in the main tank.

7. What temperature is the tank water currently?
24 degrees Celsius (= 73.4 F)

8. Are there live plants in the aquarium?
There are four live plants. Three have have been there 1.5 years and one was put there about 3 months ago.

9. What filter are you using? State brand, maintenance routine and power capacity.
We have an Eheim Aquaball 2210 filter. We clean the pads in tank water during water change once a week. 550 L per hour (=145 US Gallons per hour).

10. Any other equipment used (aside from heater and filter which are two very important components of the tank)?
No other equipment

11. Does your aquarium receive natural sunlight at any given part of the day? What is your lighting schedule (assuming you do not rely on sunlight for our viewing pleasure)?
The tank rarely gets natural sunlight, but if we get some sunlight, it's in the morning. Usually we keep the curtain so that the tank doesn't get sunlight. Automated lighting in the tank is on from 11.30am to 9.30pm.

12. When did you perform your last water change and how much water was changed? How often do you change your water? Do you vacuum the substrate?
Last 30% water change was 6 days ago. I just changed about 20% water change in both tanks as I moved the sick fish in a separate tank.
Our normal water change is about 30% once a week with a gravel hoover at the same time. The filter is cleaned in the tank water every time.

13. What foods do you provide your fish? What is the feeding schedule?
Our fish get meals at 9am and 9pm. They get flakes, granule foods and dried worm and other bugs mix and we have three different types of pellets for the bottom feeders. Twice a week breakfast is replaced with frozen blood worm. We also put a slice of zucchini or cucumber for the otos once a day.

14. What unusual signs have you observed in your fish?
I just noticed that one of the fish is not swimming quite normally. In the morning about 12 hours ago I didn't notice anything yet and I'm quite sure she came for breakfast normally, but I started to notice something an hour or two ago. She is not as active as usual and as other danios in the tank. She takes some a little lazy swimming moves and then takes a break and that's when her body tilts slightly sideways to the right. She seems to be also more isolating herself from the others and did not eat when I fed them 45 minutes ago. So after feeding I put her in her own hospital tank so she won't get disturbed by the other fish. When she takes a break I noticed that the tail also drops a little bit, but I'm not sure if this is normal as she stops moving the tail.
I also noticed that there's some kind of a dark spot on the left side of the fish, but cannot make out what it is. I looked at it with a magnifying glass, but cannot see what it is.

15. Have you treated your fish ahead of diagnosis? If so, what treatments did you use? State your reasons for planning ahead of proper diagnosis.
I have not yet treated with anything.

Any advise would be much appreciated. Thank you!

Last edited by satu55555; 02-16-2012 at 01:50 PM.
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post #2 of 24 Old 02-16-2012, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Here's a video of Lorraine (the ill fish)
Lorraine 16. Feb 2012 002.avi - YouTube

Thank you!

Last edited by satu55555; 02-16-2012 at 02:11 PM.
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post #3 of 24 Old 02-16-2012, 04:49 PM
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Hi Satu,
I'm not going to suggest you medicate just yet... there are a few things that need to be addressed first.

1. Most important thing I can offer you for advice is not to add new fish directly to your main tank. That is an invitation for these kinds of problems. You have a hospital tank, please use it as quarantine anytime you purchase a new fish. Every new fish should spend at least 2 - 4 wks in quarantine, longer if there are any signs/symptoms of illness. To not quarantine new fish means you are allowing the new ones to bring illness/disease to your other fish which not only causes them problems and suffering, but can make things much more expensive for you and also can make it harder to treat the fish successfully.

2. Tank temp needs to be maintained in a higher range for all of the fish you are keeping. 73 degrees is much too cold for most tropical fish. Slowly raise your water temp (in both tanks) to 76 - 78 degrees, but no more than 1 - 2 degrees over a 24 hr period, so this will take a couple of days. That is where temp should be maintained all the time. 76 is minimum for most cory cats and 78 should be considered maximum for healthy danios.

3. What is the "other bug mix" that you mention feeding the fish? There is no reason to be feeding "bug mixes" to these species of fish. Bug mixes can introduce disease/illness for fish that cannot tolerate a heavy protein diet, and depending on what is in the bug mixes, some of it may not be appropriate for your fish. I see no reason why your fish can't thrive on the combination of flakes, granules, and pellets only. I'm going to suggest you stop using the blood worms and bug mixes for food options.

4. Do you have a filter that can hold carbon? I notice there is a trace of ammonia showing up in your tank water. Carbon in the filter would be a quick and safe way to remove that and keep it under control.

Make the changes I suggested for the temp change and feedings and carbon and let me know if the fish appears any better after 48 hrs please. If the condition worsens before then please let me know that right away. I would like to wait until ammonia and nitrite are both reading 0 before offering you a medication treatment plan. It's not safe to medicate with even trace amounts of ammonia or nitrite showing up.

I will track this thread and follow your updates closely and when I see it is safe to medicate I will suggest a treatment for you. Also you are going to need to watch the other fish in the main tank for any of the same symptoms. If this is protozoan related, which I suspect, that means all of your fish have been exposed and any of the others have a chance of being infected. The next 48 hrs should lend some insight there and let us know if we need to treat just the one fish or the entire main tank.

Can you also tell me if you have any meds left over from the last time this happened when you treated Lorna?

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #4 of 24 Old 02-16-2012, 11:31 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Dawn,

Thank you so much for your reply.

1. I will remember to quarantine my new fish from now on. Lorraine (the sick fish) is the new fish that came to our house/tank about 3 months ago. Although I don't think I could have seen anything wrong within 4 weeks' quarantine as the problem is coming out now 3 months later. In any case, I will quarantine them from now on.

2. I will immediately start warming up the tanks very slowly. I will double check the temperature with a second thermometer first as the tank thermometer usually shows about half a degree wrong too little.

3. The bug mix is a dried food in a tub called Sera FD mixpur and it contains freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex, Artemia brine shrimp and daphnia. Can the dried bug mix introduce disease/illness for fish as well? On the package it says it's meant for all aquarium fish. So I will stop using frozen foods completely, but what about this above bug mix?

4. My filter cannot hold carbon, but this is no problem. We have carbon in separate bags that used to go in an old filter of mine. I have kept the carbon bags exactly for this reason. I will hang a carbon bag in both tanks immediately.

I will monitor what happens with these changes and will let you know right away if things go worse.

Last time I medicated Lorna with metronidazole tablets crushed and dissolved in frozen blood worm and a bit of water. I still have lots of these left to medicate again.

Thank you again. Your advice is made of gold and of course love for fish.
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post #5 of 24 Old 02-17-2012, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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I'll add the details about the temperature. I measured both tank temperatures with another thermometer and they both say 24.5 C i.e. 76 F so the temperature is fine. I don't totally trust the thermometer I have there. Time for a new one I think.

Regarding the ammonia, it's something between 0 and 0.25 so not as high as 0.25, but not as low as 0. I should have put that in the original posting. I have put the carbon in both tanks now to clear it out.

I'll keep you updated.

Thank you again.
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post #6 of 24 Old 02-17-2012, 04:23 AM Thread Starter
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I have had the carbon in the tanks for a few hours now and I did a 30% water change in the hospital tank and the ammonia is very close to 0. I'll take another test in a few hours. I'm hoping I could medicate her tonight. But I won't without you saying to do so, Dawn.

Thank you.
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post #7 of 24 Old 02-17-2012, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Hi again,

I was looking at the fish and her tail is starting to droop more. She's getting worse little by little. If it is at all possible, I would like to start medicating her.

I checked the ammonium level again and it is so close to yellow colour that it's pretty much 0.

I guess I'm just panicking a little for my little fish. I'll be patient now.

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post #8 of 24 Old 02-17-2012, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Before going to sleep I wanted to add here that the fish's condition is worsening. She now sits more on the bottoms of the tank, does less swimming and does not eat anything.

Thank you again.
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post #9 of 24 Old 02-17-2012, 04:22 PM
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Will she eat anything at all? Even blood worms? If she isn't eating anything at all then you will need to medicate the water in the hospital tank. If you can find a food she will accept it is preferable to medicate the food and feed it to her just as you did the last time because it will get into her system much faster this way. Don't do both... if you feed it to her successfully then please do not put it into the water (and vice versa) as this could cause risk of overdose.

The "bug mix" you mention isn't something I would worry too much about causing illness such as this, but it's a good idea to keep those foods to a minimum, don't over do such a high protein diet.

It sounds as if she may have been sick when you got her, but that also means she has exposed all of the other fish to the problem, so good idea to continue to watch them. Even in situations where you think quarantine wouldn't have helped, keeping the fish apart from the others can make it more noticeable when there are symptoms present, most specifically due to less stress from other fish chasing around with the new one or after the new one. Stress can mask many symptoms.

If you are getting your new danios from the same place in the future I am going to suggest you start them out in the quarantine tank and feed them the medicated food right away as a preventive. It sounds as if your source for them is leaving them predisposed to protozoan, either in the store tank or from the store's supplier (wholesaler or breeder). I don't normally suggest such a thing but since this is not the first time the exact same thing has happened... I consider it warranted and it is safe.

For the current treatment, 7 - 10 days, just like you did the last time with Lorna. Watch the fish's symptoms. If she doesn't improve in 7 days continue treatment for a full 10. If, at the end of 10 days she is not better please let me know. As always and with any fish, also watch for any bad reaction to the medication. Any kind of medication always poses some level of risk, however low. In case of a bad reaction return the carbon to the tank and begin small water changes to remove the meds from the water. In case of bad reaction when feeding the medicated food, stop using it immediately. I don't expect there to be a problem but felt the need to put the warning out there anyways, just in case.

For the future with preventive treatment, 7 days of medicated food should be enough to do the trick, but keep the fish in quarantine for at least 2 - 3 wks to help be sure.

Best of luck to you. If you need further help please ask.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #10 of 24 Old 02-17-2012, 11:46 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Dawn,

Thank you so much for your reply.

I will try to give Lorraine first blood worm with metronidazole. If she does not eat it (as I have not been able to get her to eat anything, not even blood worm last night), how much of the medication would you suggest in the water? I have 500mg tablets and she's in 25 L (6.6 US gallons) water. I saw on the internet to put 250-500mg per 20 gallons.

You have given very good advice when it comes to quarantining new fish. I will indeed do this with the future new fish.

Thank you again!

Last edited by satu55555; 02-17-2012 at 11:54 PM.
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