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Discussion Starter #1
Hi

one of my 6 cardinals is having trouble swimming straight he tilts to one side like he's laying flat b4 straightening himself out again, pretty much continually. And I just caught him resting on the bottom but he swam off when I tried to fish him out.

Did a water change, cleaned filter last night and just added water conditioner. (due to a mistake the water change didn't get done last week so it has been a fortnight since the last water change but when I checked the water b4 changing the nitrite, amm. levels were both 0, checked just now and all is ok still - using liquid testing kit)

There are no other visible signs of sickness on the fish and his neon blue stripe is still shining.

What should I do just leave him in, take him out away from the other fish, I've only got the one tank so unfortunately i can't keep him separate for long.

hope you can advise.
 

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cardinal tetras in my expierience are sensitive To nitrates. WEEKLY water changes are a must to keep nitrates in check. They also like somewhat warmer and softer water than say neons. Water conditioner should be one that addresses ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. PRIME is the one i prefer. Water conditioner should be added to new water BEFORE you add the new water to the tank .Filters should be cleaned in old aquarium water that you draw out during water changes not tap water. You do not say whether the gravel is being vaccumed but doing so each week will help keep ammonia and nitrates in check. It is also possible if these are new fish that one was not healthy.You do not say how long you have had them in the tank or how long the tank has been running with fish in it. I hope some of this helps you.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks 4 reply

nitrates about 30 - not sure what is a good level for cardinals.

No new fish added recently and tank been going for a good few months now.

I do hoover the bottom and do a 30%weekly change, wash filter in tank water one pad at a time weekly, but did all the filter this time cos i missed change and it was really dirty.

i think that it's the missed water change that's caused it and I feel really awful. Just need to know what to do for the best now, I feel like I should remove him and quickly end it but I'm not able to do that sadly.

I'm hoping I can go get something to add to the water which might help. I've got some cycle which I kept for when I add new fish would that help? I'm hoping someone can advise b4 it's 2 late. He has rested on the bottom a few times and I thought he was a gonna but when I went to fish him out he has swam quickly off to join the others and I don't really want to cause him any more stress???? what can I do?
 

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I can't speak as to the sensitivity of cardinals to nitrates, but if they are, 30 ppm of nitrates is quite high. I would suggest doing another water change to bring them down to the 10-20 ppm range.
 

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Cardinals are tempermental fish. I think you did too much at once and would have been better off to have done a water change OR cleaned the filter. For a cleaning scedule I suggest: 15% water change once a week and 25-30% once a month. Keeping in mind not to change the filter media on the same week as the large water change. It tends to strip out too much of the healthy bacteria.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
hi thanks for the advice, do you think I should add some cycle.

The other fish in the tank appear to be ok thankfully.
 

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I have never used cycle, from what I hear is that it works okay. I would recheck your ammonia levels fist. Just to make sure the water is clean. You want Ammonia to be 0 - .25. Nitrates are harmful to fish (especially our littlest ones), so we try to keep the levels as low as possible. Nitrates are decompossed ammonia (from fish urine). The only way to get Nitrates out of the tank is by water changes, otherwise live plants will use it for food. I think you should consideradding plants to your tank. Your nitrate level seems really high for just missing one water change. I think plants would help to keep the levels in check, you still have to do water changes though.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
hi yeah I think it's about time to get real plants.

I've not had a fish die in my tank b4 but when I got the cardinals one died in transit, so I don't know how it goes but the little fellow is fighting it cos he's still alive this morning. he rests or rather just gives up the effort and sinks to the bottom lays completely still then swims off again tilting and turning. I really don't know - but surely if he was ill he would be dead now is it possible he's been injured by another fish or even the filter and he can't swim properly?

It's been over 24 hours I've noticed him being like this - can anyone let me know if they've had a sick fish behave this way for so long. I don't know if the kindest thing would be to end it for him or just wait and see if he gets better?
 

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One of my books suggests that it might be a bacteria infection. You could try an antibiotic. But none of the other fish seem sick, so I don't know if that's it. An injury is possible, but unlikely if you have not seen anything fall on him. I would give it another day and see how he is. You might have to euthanize him.
 

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Have you checked your water stats? If its all good then you know theres something wrong with the fish. It could just be that the water from the fish store finally took its toll on the little guy. I wouldn't be so quick to euthanize just yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Apart from the nitrates being about 30 which it's been suggested is quite high the water is fine. To be honest I don't think it's the nitrates cos they've been about the same for a long time now.

It's just the oddest behavior. He lays on the bottom completely still for ages and I keep thinking he's dead then swims off and joins the others but not for long before he goes to the bottom again. His colouration looks fine. I've tried looking closely to see if he's a fin missing but can't see anything. I was thinking maybe the filter sucked him in a bit.

I'm going to fish shop to ask their advice and see if they can recommend anything today. Really appreciate all ur help.

Whatever it is I really don't think he will live. I don't think I can let him go on like this if he's still behaving the same tomorrow.


Luckily all the other fish seem fine.
 

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I am sure the fish store will be more than happy to recomend a plethora of medications for you to try. Your nitrates ARE high for fish such as cardinals who are sensitive to them. Regular vaccuming of the gravel and water changes performed regularly will improve the fishes enviornment. this in turn improves the long term health of your fish.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
hi

I thought I'd already posted a reply?

I've got live plants, did another 20% water change and cleaned the excess food off bottom of tank. Also got pad for filter which reduces nitrates and helps plants.

All the other fish are behaving normally.

the little guy is still alive. he is just laying on the bottom of the tank upside down most of the time now, I haven't seen him swimming at all today I only know he's moved cos I couldn't see him this morning.

I've read the kindest way to end the misery is clove oil and vodka. I really don't know what to do, whether to just leave him a bit longer and let him pass quietly of his own accord. Is it cruel to not intervene.
 

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I don't like to euthanize fish, thankfully I've never had too. But if there was something seriously bad and the fish looked like it would be suffering for a while then I probably would end the misery. But if you think hes going to go then I would just let nature take its course. Theres not much you can do for him and it would be easier for him and you if he just went when he was ready to go I guess.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I really would like to just leave him, he's not moving about so I'm hoping he's not suffering greatly. I'll just have to keep an eye on him, a worry is if his illness/injury isn't going to end it soon I don't think I can let him slowly go hungry.

One thing's for sure I've learnt my lesson and wont be missing any water changes in future, and I'll watch the nitrates closely.

The other fish are really liking the real plants
 

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Discussion Starter #18
sadly there was no helping him, but thankfully he's gone of his own accord over night.

Thanks for ur advice and I'll keep a close check on the nitrates in future.
 
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