Rainbow Shark with swollen red lips / mouth - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 3 Old 07-11-2008, 11:22 AM Thread Starter
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Rainbow Shark with swollen red lips / mouth

Hello! I have 2 rainbow sharks in my tank - the larger, more dominant one has recently fallen ill. Instead of being super active like he used to be, he's pretty lethargic. The only visible problem he has is around his mouth - his entire mouth is swollen and red...it's definitely enlarged. It looks like he's wearing lipstick! It would be funny if I weren't worried he's going to die. I searched on google for a while and couldn't find anything similar. It's possible he just dug around in the rocks too hard, but I dont think he's able to eat now. Has anyone seen anything like this? Thanks.


1. Size of aquarium (# of gallons) - 65 Gallons
2. Is your aquarium setup freshwater or brackish water? - Freshwater
3. How long the aquarium has been set up? - about 6 months
4. What fish and how many are in the aquarium (species are important to know)
5. Are there live plants in the aquarium? - yes, about 10
6. What temperature is the tank water currently? - fluctuating between 78-82 degrees (summer in NYC...also sometimes we run the A/C)
7. What make/model filter are you using? - Penguin 350 (biowheel, hang on back)
8. Are you using a CO2 unit? - no
9. Does your aquarium receive natural sunlight at any given part of the day? - Yes, half the tank does sometimes.
10. When did you perform your last water exchange, and how much water was changed? - Last change was 1 week ago and approximately 15 Gallons
11. How often do you perform water changes? - Roughly once every two weeks (depends on nitrate levels)
12. How often and what foods do you feed your fish? - I feed them daily (miss a day now and then) and a variety of flakes, tubifex worms, krill, sinking wafers and algae wafers.
13. What type of lighting are you using and how long is it kept on? - large fluorescent bulb (not sure of the rating) on about 14 hrs a day.
14. What specific concerns bring you here at this time? - My sick rainbow shark!
15. What are your water parameters? Test your pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. - pH is LOW unfortunately, working on getting it up - at around 6 now.
16. What test kit are you using and is it liquid or test strips? - I'm using the API liquid test kit
17. When was the last time you bought a fish and how did they behave while in the pet store tank? I bought some red platys about 3 weeks ago - all is fine.
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post #2 of 3 Old 07-16-2008, 12:40 PM
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Is a picture possible? Does it appear that his lips are eroding or they just look sore? Injuring himself on the gravel sounds like a possibility.

And just before you laid dead weight upon its shores, I stung you in the face for that's the nature of my core.
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post #3 of 3 Old 07-16-2008, 12:50 PM
He may have injured himself. I had a two irredescent sharks once in a 55 gallon tank. If we so much as walked to heavily near the tank they would go crazy and smash themselves against the walls. (We eventually gave them to a pet store because they got too big for the tank.) Sometimes they would get red sores around their faces because of this. If there are no other symptoms, I would suspect this. However, if it seems to be getting worse, I might treat them with a fungal/bacterial medication such as fungus clear by jungle labs which seems to be working with my betta fish. He may be acting lethargic because he has not been eating because it is uncomfortablel to do so. Other than that just keep the water really clean to prevent infection. Good luck.
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