Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
fishywomble

Swim Bladder Problems After Stress/ph Crash?

Recommended Posts

We've had Flo the red cap oranda for 2 years now.... everything's been fine since, she's grown into a large fish with beautiful flowing fins. We have another oranda (a panda) in the tank with her - two of them sharing a 30g tank with a few plants. All was well, until two weeks ago when we suffered a pH crash. Because we had been really busy, we hadn't cleaned the tank in a while, and woke one morning to find Flo lying on her right hand side, gasping heavily... her fins were streaked red as well, it was all pretty shocking.

We tested the pH (all other water parameters were fine though!) and it was 6.0 or thereabouts. We did a water change immediately.... changing much of the water in the tank and cleaning all the filters, and managed to stabilise the pH at 7.5 after about 2 hours. Ming was a little subdued but Flo seemed the most affected, and she was still lying on her side in the evening when we got home.

I put in an airstone for increased aeration and added Aqualibrium salt to 0.3%, and noticed that Flo slowly got better. In a day she was swimming around again, although she would still rest on her side for long periods. I also noticed it was always the right-hand side. But she would eat normally and poop normally.. and after two days, everything was back to normal. Flo was back to her usual, aggressive self, and Ming was also more active. The red streaks in her fins were also starting to fade quite a bit.

Well, 2 weeks later... we checked water parameters every night to make sure everything was OK. Nitrites were always 0, nitrates not high, ammonia 0, and I bought a Seachem pH alert card to put in the tank to ensure that the pH was not dropping. All was well.

We then did a water change - only a small one as we did not want to stress out the fish. Changed about 10% of the water, and noticed that Flo seemed stressed out by this, she went into hiding. After that, her behaviour was not quite the same, and the next day, I noticed that she had dislodged the airstone and was lying on her side again. This seems to be a big coincidence - lying on her side after a stressful incident.... not sure if this is swim bladder or what?? When she wants to, she seems able to swim absolutely normally.... upright, etc. and root around for food, but when she drops to a resting position, she always tips over to the right. :( Ming has started to bully her aggressively now and I am worried that I will have to separate them. Flo is still eating, and I noticed her poop was also normal.

I don't know what to do. Is this SBD, or something else, a sign of stress perhaps?? Should we think about salting the tank again? Since we are in the UK, we can't get hold of any medicated food.... this is getting desperate.

:(

fishywomble

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

She's awake. She seems to have trouble getting back upright again, but when she finally does get back upright, she can swim around upright for a while. And then she seems to sink back down and revert to lying on her side. :( It's sad to watch!! I don't know what to do. The water parameters are OK so I don't know what else can be done.

fw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

sounds to me like Swim bladder problems this can be a hard thing to treat have you tried the pea diet where you feed nothing but peas to her for 3 days and feed her nothing for 2 days.

hope she gets better

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had something simillar happen a few months back.

You mention that you'd lapsed on the tank cleaning; sometimes this can mean that a bacterial infection can get going or that the nitrates climb very high which can affect the fish's swimbladder. I guess you're going to have to go through a process of elimination - start with a fast and some peas, then report back the fish's progress. Also, keep the nitrates as low as you can.

I don't know about how a PH crash might be an aspect of this problem. Can anyone else offer an opinion?

Edited by Pixiefish

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I mentioned the ph crash because before that, both fish seemed perfectly fine and healthy. But when the pH crashed, Flo was lying on her side. She seemed to recover pretty quickly though, after we did almost a 40% water change and used Aqualibrium salt and also increased aeration (as it is now pretty warm). After that, Flo recovered fully and behaved perfectly normally for 2 whole weeks.

But it seems odd that she should go back to displaying SBD problems just when we started to change the water... it seems that the slightest bit of stress triggers SBD or is this mere coincidence?? But she's been on her side for 2+ days now. Should I starve her for 2 days and then feed her peas for 3 days afterwards? She tries to compete with the other fish for food so its hard to feed the other fish without inadvertently feeding her too... I really do not have space for a QT tank either. :(

I am thinking of doing a bigger water change just to make sure her conditions are absolutely pristine.. hope it won't stress her out too much. :( Apart from this, I don't know what else we can do! :(

Thanks for the suggestions. It seems like SBD too. Just weird that it happens off and on like this.

fw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, you could try using a tank divider at feeding time or separate her in one of those floating, net, breeding boxes.

Test your tap water for nitrate and also let us know what the tank reading is today.

Like I said before, it's also a possibility she may have developed a bacterial infection from dirty tank conditions. If she's pooping normally it doesn't suggest constipation. But after a fast and peas, you could try only live/frozen food for a while, for roughage.

Just to clarify things, did you wait 2 weeks after the crash before doing the 10% water change?

Given the circumstances I would be inclined to be doing regular changes and vacuuming the floor as much as possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hmm...SBD would usually make fish upside-down not downside-left(or right) and PH doesn't affect it. i don't even know if stress is a factor too, it's usually bacterial.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"hmm...SBD would usually make fish upside-down not downside-left(or right)"

Not true. It can affect the fish's balance in a variety of ways.

Edited by Pixiefish

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

She seems worse today than yesterday - when she was able to right herself a bit and swim around. :( Today she struggles to get upright. Sometimes I am able to 'help' her and she can swim around, but the effort tires her out and she goes back to lying on her side. She is spending more time on her side than before. :(

The nitrates in our area are quite high straight from the tap. :( They are in excess of 25ppm I think? There's nothing we can do about it though.

She keeps eating algae around the tank stones and ornaments. Not sure what we can do about it. I fed her a few peas yesterday but today I am trying to fast her, except for her eating algae.

fw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I have the same problem. I'm in Twickenham, where are you? Mine was 40 out of the tap the other day!

I have been using the nitrate absorbing sponges made by Juwel and also the Nitrazorb pillow by Aquarium Pharmacueticals. Together they can lower it quite a bit and with a swimbladder prob you need it as low as you can get.

PS As she's not constipated and pooping normaly, I'm wondering what the mods think about running an anti-internal bac treatment? Unfortunately we can't get mediGold here

Edited by Pixiefish

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've not seen her poop today since I did not feed her, but yeah the past few days I saw her poop twice and it was normal. Does this mean there is no obstruction causing the SBD?

Not sure where I can get hold of Nitrazorb. Pixiefish, we're in Kensington. Our water has high nitrates. :( The only fish shops we know of are the one on Great Portland Street, as well as Funky Fish in the Heathrow area. We've also been to the one in Syon Park but it is a pain to get to with all the traffic. :(

What do you think of Interpret No 13 Swim Bladder Treatment, does it really work??

fw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just checked on her this morning and Flo still looks bad, she doesn't seem to be able to right herself again. :( The other fish, Ming, sometimes swims protectively over her, but when I try and feed Ming, she gets aggressive, and tries to push Flo out of the way if Flo struggles towards the feeding area. :( Most of the time though, Ming leaves Flo alone or goes and sits beside her.

I don't know what else to do, I might be tempted to feed her a pea if this continues, she looks hungry and sad. :(

If Flo dies, I don't think I am going to replace her. When Ming dies, we will probably give up having goldfish altogether. It's just too traumatic and they are so vulnerable to disease - we lost 3 fish 2 years ago when we were setting up our first tank. And after 2 years with Flo and Ming, we thought we were doing so well too!

fw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, my nearest is the one at Syon Park. But there is also a 'Pets at Home' very close to that which has a very big section of meds/filters and gear in general. I guess it will be listed as Brentford or Isleworth. If you don't want to travel you could always order from an online source. The pillow is made by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals and it is made in several sizes so get the biggest you can. I know that 'P at H' also have the Juwel nitrates sponges which you might be able to use depending on what type of filter you have.

My feeling is, that if your fish is pooping normally then constipation isn't the problem. If she seems hungry I'd be inclined to feed. Maybe feed a combo of peas (or some kind of greens) and some frozen livefood as this will not risk constipating her. Try separating them with a divider or one of those floating cubicles so she doesn't get pushed around by the other one.

One more thing - try to keep the temp in the upper 70's as this seems to ease things.

SBD is such a tricky thing to judge - I just hope one of the experts could offer advice on whether to run an anti-bac medication. If you don't get a response, you could try PMimg one of the mods.

PS I haven't ever tried the Interpet treatment but you could ask Sandy who is very up on all the UK meds.

Edited by Pixiefish

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK thanks so much Pixiefish. We'll try to make a trip to Syon Park or the P at H this weekend. It is miserable seeing how she is still lying on her side. :( She perked up a bit this evening when I fed her a pea and even managed to get upright on her own, but otherwise she always needs a bit of help from me. :( I worry that this is permanent, that is if she doesn't end up dying from the stress. :(

fw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok. I'll try her for you.

Just while waiting let's review the steps:

1) you've already tried the fast and now you're on to peas - she seems not to be constipated and has normal poop. But it's a safety measure at least.

2) Next you can make sure the tank is at @78-80 and add epsom salts 1/8 tsp per each 5 gals.

If you still don't see any improvement perhaps a mod might suggest trying:

3) a broad spec Antibiotic (incase of possible internal bacterial infection). We can't get Medigold here but I think that 'Waterlife' Myxacin is sometimes used in it's place (Sandy can advise you on this as she's up on all the UK meds).

If that doesn't help, I think the last step is ruling out internal parasites

4) I'm not sure about the correct parasiticidal med. But this is for further down the line and like I say someone else will have to advise.

If on top of all these options you can get on top of the nitrates you will be giving the fish the best chance.

I'll try PMing for you.........

PS. I was in Syon Park today and they do have the Nitrazorb pillow - I almost got it for you and wondered if there was a way to drop it over to you - but my daughter was with a friend and driving me nuts, so in the end I just left the store!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

Have you tried fasting the tank for 3 days? Both fish wont suffer and its good for them to not eat for at least one day a week. The algae is good for them too so dont worry about them eating it.

After 3 days feed the peas for a few days and see how they go. Do you know if the fish is a female or is it a guess? It could be eggs if it is female and may be infected. Have you ever seen clear zig zag poo from her at all?

Is the poo trailing or short and comes away fast?

Bacterial issues can cause what you are seeing so do water changes often to keep on top of it. Meds in this country arent really strong enough to do anything so just check the ph and everything else before adding to the tank to make sure its at the same levels. And temperature match new water too.

Could be anything from a bacterial infection to too much gas, but fingers crossed she can get better

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Sandy, thanks. Have you heard of Interpet No 13 Swim Bladder treatment? Was wondering whether it would work...

I've never seen zigzaggy poo from her, the poo is usually dark green (probably from all the algae she eats!) and comes away fast. The last time I saw her poop was 3-4 days ago but then she hasn't been eating much and I rarely ever see her poop anyway. It never trails so there's less chance of me seeing it.

I refer to her as a 'she' because I called her Flo, but I think it is definitely a male fish.

If it is bacterial issues, should I be looking out for any other signs? I suppose if it is bacterial, she might die? :( It is distressing to watch her in this state, but she still has a big appetite and when I set her upright with my hand, the first thing she does is hunt for food (and then fall over).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pixiefish, thanks for the kind offer! I actually made it to Syon Park today... the traffic was OK and we got the Nitra-zorb pillow. Now I hope it works well to eliminate nitrates... the last time I measured it (with the Juwel nitrate-removal filter in place) it was about 20 ppm. Hope this will bring it down... fingers crossed.

fw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, thinking back about it, I think Flo's problems with her swimbladder may have started more than 2 months ago but we just never realised. At least 2 months before, we noticed a tendency for her to hunt for food and then lie on her side chewing for a long time... we always thought she was 'playing dead' but then she had a lot of quirks, and we dismissed it as another 'Flo quirk'. She could swim fine at other times and certainly never lay on her side for very long periods, just when she was chewing. But this was also fairly recent behaviour. Maybe the pH crash just worsened things dramatically. :(

Now when I tip her back with my finger, she is able to swim about normally for a while... she seems slightly better today but when she is on her side, she finds it impossible to right herself without help. But I've noticed her sitting occasionally with only slight listing to her right. I'm feeding her sparingly, not starving her, because I don't think she is constipated - and she also seems much perkier after a feeding... when I fasted her for a day, she looked so miserable and lethargic that I thought she was dying. :(

How long does it take the Nitrazorb pillow to work? I think my nitrates are going down slowly... but its still between 10 and 20 ppm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi there. Glad you got the pillow.

I seem to remember it taking around 24 - 48 hrs to fully register and I think it could take the reading down by around 16 - 20 points.

As long as it's below 20 I shouldn't think it will have seriously negative effects on the fish.

There are also these granules by TetraAqua called Nitrate minus which you can add to the tank along with the weekly water change. I have to say that Toothy wasn't wildly keen on them as he thought they could affect the PH (they slowly release carbonates into the water) But thought I'd mention just for info.

Also, take a look at 'Fish's' thread in 911 - about her upside down fantail. It's been running for ages and has a ton of very helpful input. (Her's seems to be eggs but no matter) Toothy recommended a weighted sling to correct the fish's stability and help expel any build up of air in the SB.

Have you tried the temp raise and epsom salts, yet?

Good luck.

Pixie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks a lot, Pixiefish! We tried making the sling; so polystyrene and vaseline in the tank water are OK??

We had the worst trouble trying to get Flo into the sling though, she is a big fish and she wriggled away every time we tried to fit her through the sling. We gave up after thinking that we might end up stressing her even more. When she's upright, she manages to swim around for quite a while before tipping over again, but the main problem is getting upright from a lying-down position. I also noticed that her poop last night was light green tinged with white/grey. :( Worried that this might mean an infection... she was pooping normally up until last night. Before that, I'd fed her a couple of freeze-dried shrimp and some peas yesterday.

No, haven't tried the Epsom salts. I have the tank salted with aqualibrium salts so we have to do a massive water change before putting the Epsom salts in.

The tank temperature is about 24-25C as the water is heated by the lights - is this warm enough or should we increase this with a heater?

fw

Edited by fishywomble

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that is about 76 F - everyone seems to recommend 79/80, but see what the others say.

I think it is also possible to give an epsom salt bath(?) which would mean not having to completely re-do the tank. I'm not sure about the poop - it could just be the natural colour of pea and shrimp?

The other person to ask is Ranchugirl, who's fantastic on all this stuff. If you can't PM her I could try for you.

Yes, I can just picture the 'sling debacle' - try to pin down a slippery fish is not an easy thing!

I'll try to get a couple of other people to take a look at this thread........

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...