03-19-2007, 08:14 PM
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pet stores cant check water for fish illnesses as far as i know. its just to check your water parameters. youre really better getting a kit yourself than taking it to the pet store but like you say youre broke until wednesday so taking it to the store is certainly better than not checking it at all.
often fish will swim to the surface gasping for air when theres not enough oxygen in the water or the water quality is poor. the filter flow should agitate the water surface a bit (or a lot depending on what fish you have but a little will ensure theres oxygen) to make sure the water doesnt become still and lacking in oxygen.
as for the water quality, youll need to wait and see how it tests however if amonia is high, water changes will lower this, and certainly if it isnt high it wont do any harm. try changing 25% of the water every couple of days and see if it helps any. if amonia is high this will bring it down, and if not, 25% water changes wont upset the good bacteria