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Little Toby is Bloated and Upside Down, But There Are No Raised Scales


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    Test Results for the Following:
  • * Ammonia Level 0ppm
  • * Nitrite Level 0 ppm
  • * Nitrate level 10 ppm
  • * Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) pH 7.4, KH 5, GH 5
  • * Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) pH 7.4, KH 5, GH 5
    Other Required Info:
  • * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API drops
  • * Water temperature? 67F
  • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 50 gals. 2 weeks, prior to that, 1.7 years
  • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? 2 Penguin 1140 powerheads with AquaClear Quick Filter Powerhead Attachments with sponge media
  • * How often do you change the water and how much? 75% weekly
  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? 6 days, 75%
  • * How many fish in the tank and their size? 5 fish, 2.5" to 4", not including tail
  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners? Prime
  • * What do you feed your fish and how often? homemade gel food, once daily
  • * Any new fish added to the tank? No
  • * Any medications added to the tank? No
  • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment. I have removed Toby from the main tank. He is only in a little 1 gallon bucket, but I use double dose of Prime and change the water twice daily, have a bubbler in it and add a pinch of epsom salt. I actually chose the small container as I feel it reduces movement which should reduce stress, right?
  • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? Bloating, ocassionally upside down on bottom
  • * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.?

I have had Toby for 3 years now and he has ALWAYS been a bottom sitter, so I can't call that a factor. He also has always been a tiny guy at only around 2.5" after all this time. He was eating fine all along, but maybe a week ago I noticed he was getting a bit fat, but dumb me, I just thought, "well it looks like Toby might be finally doing a little growing!" .....duh....

Also, I just moved about two weeks ago. It was a rather long move at almost 700 miles. All the fish were in a 30 gallon tupperware tub with all the gravel, the driftwood and the filter media and a bubbler for two full days. I didn't lose the cycle or even have a bump, but I'm sure the sloshing and bumps during the ride weren't a joyful experience for them, but the fish all seemed to come out of it just fine. Actually, it was Domino who seemed the most phased by it as he was very quiet and slow for two or three days.

Then, four days ago, I found Toby belly up on the bottom, so that's when I put him in the bucket. He's bloated, but there are no raised scales. The first day I put him in the bucket, he did a nice poop. Good green color, fat, relatively short, two pieces. I fasted him for two days and the second day he did a tiny poop. The third day and fourth day I fed peas and he quickly and easily ate them, although he had a bit of a difficult time navigating because of the bloating. He hasn't pooped since the second day, but I, at least, partially attribute that to the fasting and minimal peas, but what's this bloating? Constipation or infection? That's the thing.

He has managed to keep himself upright - laying on the bottom, but upright, for the most part while in the bucket, but it seems, this morning, after I changed his water, he seems to be having a bit more difficult time staying upright. Oh, I looked at him again, and there is a tiny, wimpy, clear, with a bit of green sort of bit of poop in the bucket, so it looks like he's still able to poop to some degree..... but, he just doesn't seem to be able to stay upright this morning.

I am staying with my brother. He has softened water, but it doesn't seem to have affected the pH, although the KH and GH are low, so that may be where the softened water is having an affect, but who knows? I have Seachem Alkaline Buffer to raise the KH, which I used in Palm Desert where I lived before. It raised the KH fine, but it never seemed to affect the GH. I bought some Seachem Equilibrium to help with the GH, but it never seemed to do much for the GH and only made a complete mess of my tank, so I quit using that. I have not yet added the alkaline buffer to the tank and I should, I know.

The water I had in Palm Desert had high pH, but low KH and GH too. Coincidence or whatever, I discovered this when I treated my black ranchu for a little white stuff, don't know whether I should call it fungus, but anyway, I added salt and when I tested the pH, it had crashed to 0 and all I could attribute that to was some sort of negative interaction between the salt and low KH/GH, so I've been absolutely really leary of using salt again with these parameters. I swore I was going to do some tests to see if I could figure out what that was all about, but I never did. Suffice it to say, because of that and my current low KH and GH, I'm rather afraid of using salt again. I need to do a test to see if it affects it, but I don't have any proper salt, i.e., non-iodized.

I'm unemployed and broke and I can't be spending a lot of money on things that may not even work anyway. Although I know salt is less harsh and I've always chosen salt, I'm almost more willing to spend money on a chemical because I feel like, at least, it won't crash the pH. But, again, without doing some tests, I don't know any of this for sure.

Anyway, just wanted to throw all this out there to get fresh blood and brains in on the thought process of what I'm dealing with and what to do........

Edited by Lynda Von G
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Duh...... I didn't notice this until I couldn't edit anymore, but.....

The title of this post should be "Little Toby is BLOATED and Upside Down,.... " not Blpated!

Also, I checked his belly more closely. It's hard on the sides, but the center underneath is soft. But, in all fairness, I don't know if that's how he/they always feel as I've never had the need to check them that closely......

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Hi Lynda!

Glad to hear from you, although I'm sorry that the circumstance isn't great. I hope we will see more of you! :)

What you are describing with Toby sounds like it's an internal infection affecting kidneys (abnormal internal fluid control) and swimming bladder (flipping). I actually do think that a proper course of Metro-Meds is in order. Fortunately, several members are offering free Metro-Meds, and you just have to pay for priority mail shipping. I am sure one of them will see this thread and say something. :)

In the mean time, why don't you try Epsom? I think it may be helpful to relieve the bloat a bit.

It sounds like you did a fantastic job with the moving the fish the long distance :)

Btw, I edited the title for you :)

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Thanks so much Alex, for the edit and the more specific diagnosis! You know, I can get close enough to a general problem to know how to basically treat, but it's just always so much more helpful, for ongoing knowledge purposes if nothing else, to know what the specific issue is! You know, I sort of felt like it must be an internal infection seeing as he seems to be able to poop more or less okay..... I just hope it doesn't affect the swim bladder permanently because I just can't stand to see a fish upside down all the time or unable to swim well enough to be in a "normal" tank, but, I guess I'll just have to wait and see......

I thought the poor little kid might be a goner what with the total upside down this morning and no apparent ability to right himself, and I was completely expecting to come home to a little lifeless corpse, but I came home this evening (after a long day of working on my niece's wedding dress!) to find him perfectly righted and, of course, sitting on the bottom, but seemingly fine otherwise. I felt like two days of peas just may not be giving him enough nutrition, so I gave him four tiny bits of gel food tonight after changing his water.

Oh, and Alex, I am using epsom salt. I guess that part got a bit covered up in all the other facts I posted, but one can never be too safe by mentioning it anyway! Seeing as the amount of water he's in is so little, I just put in a pinch of grains, but he's been in epsom for the entire time now... four days... five? I'm losing count! arrgh!

Anyway, Tithra, I would be ever so grateful for a few morsels of MMs! That would be absolutely lovely of you! I am off to email you!

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Tith, you're lovely!

I have a pondering........... it seems that Toby turns belly up most frequently with a new water change. It seems like the "older" the water gets, the more upright he's able to maintain himself.

So, what's that all about? It's fresh tap water, softened (nothing I can do about that), double dose of Prime added and a a small pinch of epsom salts. What is going on chemically, whatever, that might cause this?

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nope, not using well water. City water. Maybe it's just a coincidence... I don't know, but it's just appearing like new water, upside down, older the water, better able to stay upright.

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good idea... I'll do that!

The other fish are all doing fine. But, there is one other thing that I've been starting to wonder about.

My big fathead Domino, who has a giant wen and I attribute at least part of this to his big fat head, ocassionally will roll over, belly up at the top of the water, but if you tap on the glass, he rolls over and goes about his business fine, so I haven't really worried about him. I mostly attributed it to laziness and fat head, but maybe it is a mild version of what Toby is going through, so my other pondering has been maybe it could be my gel food.

I don't let it get old and rotten, so don't get me wrong there. I keep all of it frozen, (but it has been frozen for quite some time) and only take out about 5 pieces at a time (one piece feeds all for one day, so, essentially, I'm taking out 5 days worth of food) and that stays in the fridge. But, I'm wondering if freezing it might cause air to build up in it or create gases from the food products....? Could something like this happen?

I thought I was doin' good by 'em to make 'em nummy homemade gel food, but maybe not. Maybe I ought to try out a good pellet food.......

Edited by Lynda Von G
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I'm more inclined to think that one of the ingredients might cause him to be a tad floaty. I feed one tank mostly gel food, and I make enough to last for about a month. I freeze most of the food, and take out enough for two days at a time. It is only when I get lazy and feed pellets that one of my orandas has this exact issue that you describe, so I don't think switching to pellet will be helpful in this regard.

What is your gel food recipe? I have a couple links in my sig with some of mine, if you want to take a look and add to them :)

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I wonder if the floatiness you are noticing after a water change has anything to do with the fact that the swim bladder is having to adjust to the decreasing water pressure (as you lower the water level) and then quickly increasing water pressure (as you fill it back up)? Just a thought ;)

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Hello Lynda. I hope that Toby gets well soon !

Oh, and thank you, Alistair, for your well wishes! It's nice of you to send them all the way from Scotland (a place I'd die to visit! lol!).

I'm more inclined to think that one of the ingredients might cause him to be a tad floaty. I feed one tank mostly gel food, and I make enough to last for about a month. I freeze most of the food, and take out enough for two days at a time. It is only when I get lazy and feed pellets that one of my orandas has this exact issue that you describe, so I don't think switching to pellet will be helpful in this regard.

What is your gel food recipe? I have a couple links in my sig with some of mine, if you want to take a look and add to them :)

Alex, my gel food recipe is fairly complex. I've posted it before, ...... oh! I just realized!......... I had a meltdown with my computer around Christmas and I've lost my recipe..... lemme see if I can find it on here somewhere/somehow........ ah hah! I found it....

Makes about 2 cups of gel food.

Ingredients:

5 Packages Gelatin

1 1/4 Cups Water (bottled, filtered/dechlorinated)

1 Tablet multivitamin (I used OneSource, Multivitamin-Multimineral Adult High Potency Formula)

1 Tablet Lactobacillus Acidophilus

1/4 medium red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 Cup fresh kale, firmly packed, chopped

1/2 Cup fresh parsley, firmly packed, chopped

1/2 Cup fresh collard greens, firmly packed, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 egg white

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 Cup fresh fish/shellfish, cubed

1/2 tsp Flaxseed Oil (for Omega 3 fatty acids)

1/8 Cup canned pumpkin with no sugar or salt added or well cooked carrots, reserve juice (for vitamins) to use when blending

Place the Acidophilus and the multivitamin tablets in 1 T water to soak.

Soft blanch red bell pepper, kale, parsley, collard greens and garlic in 1 cup of the water. Drain well, but reserve water for egg white.

Cook egg white in the veggies water. Remove cooked egg white and chop. Reserve water for dissolving the Gelatin.

Add 1/4 cup water to blender. Add softened acidophilus tab and mutivitamin and blend well. Add paprika, fish, flaxseed oil and blend well. Add blanched vegetables and cooked egg white and blend again.

Pour blended mixture into a bowl and stir in pumpkin.

Bring water used to blanch veggies and cook egg (1 Cup) to a boil, remove from stove and add Gelatin. Stir until Gelatin is completely dissolved.

Add Gelatin mixture to bowl of blended ingredients and stir until well mixed.

Pour into flat shallow pan/container(s) to make a depth of 1/4".

Tap container gently to remove any trapped air bubbles.

Refrigerate until cooled and set.

Cut into serving size cubes and lay out separately on cookie sheet so that none of the cubes touch.

Put cookie sheet in freezer.

Once cubes are frozen, put in bag or other container.

Freezing cubes will preserve them longer. Take out and thaw daily or no more than what you will feed in one week.

This recipe makes a big batch (how can you make a small one when so many ingredients are used?!) which lasts me AT LEAST 6 months, which is where I'm wondering whether the extended freezing is hurting it somehow.....

I wonder if the floatiness you are noticing after a water change has anything to do with the fact that the swim bladder is having to adjust to the decreasing water pressure (as you lower the water level) and then quickly increasing water pressure (as you fill it back up)? Just a thought ;)

This is a very good point, and it may have had something to do with it while he was in the main tank, but his floating upside down after a water change is in his bucket and how I do that is: I have two buckets. One that he's in and the other I get all ready with new water, Prime and epsom and then just scoop him up from the old to the new, so other than the split seconds he's out of water, there really isn't a change in water pressure from a depth change......

Oh, and..... it may have just been coincidence about him being upside down after a water change because, after I got home today, he's still upside down and I changed his water at 11:00 a.m. this morning. All previous days by this time, he was upright...... so...........

Edited by Lynda Von G
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I'm not a fan of gelatin, and prefer agar agar myself. In addition, even with freezing, 6 months is a bit long. I would keep it for no longer than 3 months.

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yeah, Alex, all that could very well be true. I just need to figure out what to do with all the extra ingredients so I don't make so much! Cuz, problem is, while a person may not have a problem eating the extra fish or some of the veggies, kale, which is probably one of the best green veggies to use, is not on my top 100 favorite foods to eat.... of course, it's cheap. I just need to allow myself to toss it out! And, I have no idea where to find agar agar, especially in backwards Utah, but I'll start looking around.....

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Vietnamese! ahhhhh....... well, we do have some Vietnamese people here, amazingly enough; the white to other races ratio here has dropped from like 95% to..... ohhh...... 80%, lol! so we actually might have some Vietnamese stores here, so I will check on that!

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Definitely, and if that fails, let me know, I can send you some to try. I think that agar is the much better choice for our fish, since it is seaweed based, is a natural laxative, and is rich in other fishy yum yums (I love it when I get technical :rofl).

The only other comment I have is that you may want to make sure that when you add the acidophilus that the temp of the mix is less than 110 degrees. Anything higher and you will kill off the probiotic bacteria. Even when dead, they will still be useful, but not as useful as when alive :)

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Definitely, and if that fails, let me know, I can send you some to try. I think that agar is the much better choice for our fish, since it is seaweed based, is a natural laxative, and is rich in other fishy yum yums (I love it when I get technical :rofl).

The only other comment I have is that you may want to make sure that when you add the acidophilus that the temp of the mix is less than 110 degrees. Anything higher and you will kill off the probiotic bacteria. Even when dead, they will still be useful, but not as useful as when alive :)

now I knew agar was seaweed, but a laxative.... now, that's a new good thing to know. And the bit about the acidophilus dying if the mix is too hot. I probably could've figured that, since I knew it could be killed with heat, but that logic process just never actually got activated in my brain...... so two new good things to know! thanks again Alex!

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You know, I just checked this out as I think my fish has swimbladder and thought I would see if I have any of the same issues and I CANNOT believe just how helpful and knowledgeable you folks are! This is the most incredible site, thanks God for Koko!!!

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The other thing that could cause the floats with your food hun... The Bell Pepper some fish it gives them gas :yikes

and :hi missed you :P

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The other thing that could cause the floats with your food hun... The Bell Pepper some fish it gives them gas :yikes

Good catch, Koko! I went over the ingredients several times, and somehow I missed that. :o

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The other thing that could cause the floats with your food hun... The Bell Pepper some fish it gives them gas :yikes

Good catch, Koko! I went over the ingredients several times, and somehow I missed that. :o

Why thank you :thumbup2:

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