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Gasping For Air/hanging At The Top Oranda


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My orange oranda Fiona, for the past 2 weeks, has SBD issues which is making her swim wacky as well as hang at the top of the tank after eating. Keep in mind this fish loves to kamikaze dive for entertainment :rolleyes: , so she always swam pretty haphazardly.

She started to do alot of gasping for air at the top of the tank which I unfortunately might have instigated by always feeding her green peas by hand. She started eating peas this way about 4 months ago but the gasping at the top has seemed to increase in frequency. After she eats food either flakes or ProGold, she starts to be a bit floaty and displays SBD symptoms, usually I fast her for 3 days then feed her peas and she is fine. However as soon as she has flakes or pellets again she gets wacky in her swimming again. Right now she is just hanging at the top of the tank, upside down then she will swim around and hang at the top right side up. My other 2 fish in the tank share none of Fiona's behavior. This is driving me (and probably Fiona) crazy! :krazy:

Here are my information:

[*]Test Results for the Following:

Ammonia Level? 0

Nitrite Level? 0

Nitrate level? 10

Ph Level, (If possible,KH and GH and chloramines)? 7.2 KH & GH unknown

Ph Level (KH/GH) out of the Tap? 7.0

Brand of test-kit used? (strips or drops?) API

[*]Tank size (How many Gals) and How long has it been running? 29 gallons @ 8 months

[*]What is the name and size of the filter/s?Eheim 2236 ECOLine

[*]How often do you change the water and how much?50% weekly

[*]How many fish in the tank and their size?(3) 1 1/2 inch tailess oranda, 3 inch lionhead, & 4 inch orange oranda Fiona

[*]What kind of water additives or conditioners?Aquaell

[*]Any medications added to the tank?no

[*]Add any new fish to the tank?no

[*]What do you feed your fish?cooked/hulled green peas, ProGold, Aqueon Flakes (either of these 2 x per day)

[*]Any unusual findings on the fish such as

"grains of salt",

bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? No

[*]Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating,ect..? See above

Also my tank is barebottomed with a few stones and several clay pots with live 2 java ferns & 3 small amazon sword plants. My lighting is extremely high but only on from 6 pm-10pm.

Thanks again in advance my fish lovin' friends! :)

Edited by Smilingfish
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What's the temperature in your tank? It's been hot around here lately. Last night I noticed my new ryukin, who's still in quarantine, going up to the top very frequently for air. It was just too frequent for my comfort, so I went to check things out. The temperature had raised to 82 degrees! It's been hot here yeah, but I know it was the light on the hood. It's just too close to the water and makes it too hot. If water gets too hot, it decreases the amount of disolvable oxygen, so you either need to increase the amount of disolvable oxygen in the tank or decrease the heat. So, I set up a fan to blow over the top of the water and got the temp to drop, slowly over a few hours time, down to 72 degrees and my ryukin has stopped going to the top. That light isn't getting turned on anymore. That could be one reason.

The other thing could be this. Your water seems good and you don't complain of other physical ailments, so if your fish seems otherwise healthy, it just may have genetic constipation issues or genetic SBD, which makes it not be able to tolerate high protein foods. If you find it behaves more normally when you feed peas, you may just always need to feed peas and other veggies and do a lot of fasting.

Edited by lynda441
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I've had a similar problem with my Gigi (a comet), she used to, pipe after feeding times which sometimes resulted in SBD. After some trials, I found out that she just had problems with the food I gave her. Now all the fish get a different type of food (easy digestive for deepbodies fish with colour enhancers) and she behaves normaly. No SBD since months :D

The only downside is that my Sarassa is turning complety red.

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Thanks all!

The temperature is 77F which could be a bit high compared to the temp several months ago. This morning Fiona is swimming around quite normally but still heading to the top of the tank quite a bit.

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Hmmm. Have you ever treated your tank for flukes with Prazi? If not I would do this asap.

I'm guessing that SBD may be the by-product rather than the cause. Your params are fine and the temp is not so high as to cause a problem. Piping at the top is usually due to gills being compromised - fish use 4 times as much oxygen during digestion which is why they often rise to the top after eating when they have gill problems; they swallow air which makes them floaty and then we think they have SBD.

I would feed a pea with a single epsom crystal inside and then fast her for a day. That should help a little. If after the Prazi she still has problems, we can think about how to deal with things then.

But I feel all fish should be screened with Prazi, as a matter of course; most fish seem to carry flukes which over time become a problem in an enclosed system. If she improves after this you will have your answer. If not, we can continue experimenting with feeding etc.

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Hmmm. Have you ever treated your tank for flukes with Prazi? If not I would do this asap.

I'm guessing that SBD may be the by-product rather than the cause. Your params are fine and the temp is not so high as to cause a problem. Piping at the top is usually due to gills being compromised - fish use 4 times as much oxygen during digestion which is why they often rise to the top after eating when they have gill problems; they swallow air which makes them floaty and then we think they have SBD.

I would feed a pea with a single epsom crystal inside and then fast her for a day. That should help a little. If after the Prazi she still has problems, we can think about how to deal with things then.

But I feel all fish should be screened with Prazi, as a matter of course; most fish seem to carry flukes which over time become a problem in an enclosed system. If she improves after this you will have your answer. If not, we can continue experimenting with feeding etc.

No I have not treated my tank with Prazi. Would Jungle's Parasite Clear work as well?

And I agree Fiona's SBD is a by product. Later last night I noticed my lionhead swimming perpendicular and also heading to the surface quite a bit for air.

I plan to do a water change (Sunday is clean tank day) and then add the med to kill off flukes.

Should I feed all 3 fish a pea with single grain of epsom salt?

Your information is greatly appreciated. :thanks

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Hi again

Try to get Prazi or Prazi Pro. This is the most gentle and effective treatment for flukes. Try Drs Foster, PondRX, FishPharmacy, or Goldfish Connection for best price. Other may have ideas on where to order, too.

I would not use PC Tabs as they also contain acriflavine and metro-meds which your fish do not need.

For now, increase your water changes to keep reproduction down and eggs/larvae regularly flushed out.

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Hi again

Try to get Prazi or Prazi Pro. This is the most gentle and effective treatment for flukes. Try Drs Foster, PondRX, FishPharmacy, or Goldfish Connection for best price. Other may have ideas on where to order, too.

I would not use PC Tabs as they also contain acriflavine and metro-meds which your fish do not need.

For now, increase your water changes to keep reproduction down and eggs/larvae regularly flushed out.

Nuts! I did use PC since I didn't have any of the above mentioned. Hopefully this will not be extremely determental. I did a 25% water change yesterday prior to adding the Parasite Clear and then hand fed Fiona the single cooked mashed pea with a single grain of Epsom salt. As usual she became floaty and actually hung upside down several times last night. This morning she is swimming around normally looking hungry as usual and doing her kamakize dives.

Should I continue to fast my fish? Would an airstone help? How much and how often do I need to continue the water changes?

I will order Prazi from GFC today. I will keep you posted.

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I think that Pixie's idea about treating with Prazi is a good one, but I wanted to let you know that I have a easy-to-float ryukin (who has been treated for flukes) that just cannot tolerate being fed ProGold more than a couple of days a week max without floating around belly-up. I have switched to Dainichi for my staple food and have not had any more problems. Also, Daryl says that floaters at her house get gel food for the rest of their lives. I don't know if that would work for you logistically or not.

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I think that Pixie's idea about treating with Prazi is a good one, but I wanted to let you know that I have a easy-to-float ryukin (who has been treated for flukes) that just cannot tolerate being fed ProGold more than a couple of days a week max without floating around belly-up. I have switched to Dainichi for my staple food and have not had any more problems. Also, Daryl says that floaters at her house get gel food for the rest of their lives. I don't know if that would work for you logistically or not.

Hmmmm gel food. That may well be the answer for Fiona. I will look into it. I apprecicate your help. :)

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OK, got the Prazi-Q Professional from GFC today in the mail. 2 days express delivery!! :yeah:

So now I assume I do a water change before I add the Prazi since I had Jungle Parasite Clear added on Sunday. How much would I need to remove for my 29 gallon tank before adding the Prazi? And how many day should I do this?

And btw---Fiona had her pea with a single grain of Epsom salt on Sunday and only flakes on Monday & Tuesday. She is certainly much less floaty. :)

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OK that is great. I would do a complete water change and a thorough gravel vac if I were you before adding the Prazi.

It is good that she seems less floaty now - it may well be a SB problem but by treating with Prazi you will be conclusively excluding flukes as a factor. You could try feeding cooked veg like zucchini, broccoli, spinach and even some kiwi (lots of VitC) forthe coming week so as to reduce any adverse carb reactions from the typical contents of some flakes and pellets.

The Prazi needs to be added several times to catch all stages of development - I think you can dose for 2 consecutive days then leave a couple of days off before dosing again. You can do around 8 treatments to be sure.

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OK that is great. I would do a complete water change and a thorough gravel vac if I were you before adding the Prazi.

It is good that she seems less floaty now - it may well be a SB problem but by treating with Prazi you will be conclusively excluding flukes as a factor. You could try feeding cooked veg like zucchini, broccoli, spinach and even some kiwi (lots of VitC) forthe coming week so as to reduce any adverse carb reactions from the typical contents of some flakes and pellets.

The Prazi needs to be added several times to catch all stages of development - I think you can dose for 2 consecutive days then leave a couple of days off before dosing again. You can do around 8 treatments to be sure.

For some reason I was unable to pull up Koko's last night on the computer shortly after I posted my question regarding the Prazi. So I ended up doing a 25% water change and vacuumed the bottom of the tank, which is mostly barebottom and about a dozen small stones. Then I fed the fish flakes and Fiona immediately went upside down and swam awkwardly the rest of the night. This morning she seemed fine but I was gone most of the day. Now this evening I fed her flakes and she is only a little bit floaty but both she and my lionhead are hanging out at the top of the tank going for air. Do I need to do a complete water change and add the prazi again or just adding the prazi to exsisting water? Also can a water change aggravate SBD?

I really appreicate your help.

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Bump! Still not sure about water change & Prazi from my last post?!?!? :unsure:

Just don't want to do anything that would be detrimental to my sweet fish...

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Pixies not on yet, I'll just chime in to say you can leave the prazi in at least 3 days with no water change as long as your params are good. Check them.

You also need extra air at these high temps.

The fact that your fish is flipping immediately after eating suggests her GI tract is full and pushing on her swimbladder. When did you last see poop?

Also be careful with flake food for floaty fish...how long has the flake food been opened? In warm weather flake food does not keep well.

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Pixies not on yet, I'll just chime in to say you can leave the prazi in at least 3 days with no water change as long as your params are good. Check them.

You also need extra air at these high temps.

The fact that your fish is flipping immediately after eating suggests her GI tract is full and pushing on her swimbladder. When did you last see poop?

Also be careful with flake food for floaty fish...how long has the flake food been opened? In warm weather flake food does not keep well.

Wow! Thank you for the huge amount of info. Obviously I am uninformed on flake food and high temps.

Fiona was fed a single green pea with a single grain of epsom salt and the poo looked whitish with a touch of green/brown. Since then the only poo in the tank are small short ones the color of the flakes. The flakes most likely have been opened for at least 3-4 months. Should I put an airstone in? I have one somewhere...

Also considering making gel food this weekend. Would that be beneficial?

Finally do I need to add more Prazi (1 teaspoon) to the tank without a water change? My parems are unchanged. Sorry about all these Prazi Q questions but the instructions on the bottle differ from what is being told on the forum, and I certainly do not want to mess anything up.

Again thanks for your help!

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The prazi should still be effective in the water for about 3 days, time varies slightly depending on water type and temp. After that it loses its ability to kill flukes.

This is the time to do a full water change and give the fish a few days break. Then a repeat dosage. All this about 4-5 times.

There are many ways to use prazi and several variations on dosage. As long as you have dosed the recommended amount you can be fairly sure it will work for 2-3 days and any leftover flukes and hatch outs will be caught in consecutive, subsequent treatments :)

Please add that airstone! High water temps deplete oxygen. Its very important to add extra.

Gelfood is best for floaty fish yes. Flake food usually floats so fish gulp air at the surface when they feed -gives them gassy tummies. Also flake food is so sensitive to humidity and really goes bad fast. Vitamin C is lost so fast in opened food . I would consider throwing that food out at 4 months it may well have no nutritional content left in it.

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Thanks once again Trinket.

Today will be a complete water change and a dose of Prazi. New flake food was purchased last night and an airstone was added.

My fish & I are so grateful for kokos :heart

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