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Gasping At Surface

Guest dmck

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Ammonia Level: .0 to .25

Nitrate Level: N/A (master test kit hasn't shown up yet)

Nitrite Level: N/A (master test kit hasn't shown up yet)

Ph level: 7.4

Tank size: 120G Been running for 2 1/2 weeks

Filter: Currently a Filstar xp3 (350 GPH) - (adding a emp 400 -- waiting for it to show up)

Test Kit: drops (yellow to green for ammo)

Water changes: as needed - soon as it gets above 1.0

fish: 5 goldfish. 1 fancy, 4 black moors -- all around 1 inch (tiny)

Conditioner: Aquasafe

Medications: None

Food: mostly sinking.. one fish is so small he has problems with the sinking, so he gets tiny flakes

Hi hopefully this is going into the right forum.. feels like an emergency to me anyway!

I've had this tank going for about 2 1/2 weeks now. I also have 4 java ferns in the tank, along with some silk plants.

Looking at posts on issues with fish gasping at the surface, I went ahead and added 3 stone bubble things and 1 bubble wall. I think that should be loads.

Lots of surface area on the tank. its a bit over 5 feet long and about 2 and a bit wide.

The goldfish are pretty active, and don't show any signs of stress.. They like to clump together at the end of the tank and stare at me while im on the computer.. They seem ok

however, they all seem to take turns going to the surface and sucking air in their mouths, they'll swim around for awhile underwater, pop back up and then suck air at the suface for awhile, and go back down.. again and again.

I'm wondering if they could have gil flukes, I read about that online, it's been mentioned that if a fish has gil flukes, they should have red around the gills. Thing is, all but one fish is totally black. The normal fancy tail goldfish doesn't seem to have any red around the gill covers. Does anyone have any other ideas? Is there any other way to check for flukes and failing that, will treating for flukes when they might not have them cause problems?

Edited by dmck
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Did you have these fish from the beginning of the cycle?

If so I think your fish are showing signs of cycling problems. Black marks are from ammonia burns and gulping at the top could be nitrite problems. As soon as you get your kits or maybe take your water to your LFS and have it tested. Dont let them tell you its okay, get the numbers of the water :D

As for right now I would do a water change of 30% and add some water conditioner to the tank and also add aquarium salt (1 teaspoon per 10 gals) this will help buffer the nitrites in the tank. I also saw that your using Aquasafe, I would suggest Prime or Amquel Plus instead :D

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Just another consideration I would like to add is that I noticed my fish going up to the top an awful lot back a while ago. I just didn't think this was right, so I went over and checked things out, one thing I noticed was that my water was 82 degrees, just way too warm, so I got out my little table fan, positioned it over the top of the water and got the temperature down over several hours to 72 degrees and the piping stopped completely. If water gets too hot, it depletes the amount of available oxygen and so the fish have to go to the surface more often to get oxygen. Now, I see that you've added additional bubblers, I'm assuming to add oxygen to the tank and that's good, but, if you did that because you noticed your water was too warm, have you tried dropping the temperature? I'm not saying to not follow Koko's advice in lieu of this, but only in addition to it.

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Hi thanks for the replies,

I think i might have worded the part about the fish being black badly.. I meant it like they are black moors.. so no color really shows around the gills at all other then black

i've been checking ammo levels twice a day and its never gotten past 1.0.. as soon as it hits one ive been changing the water till its back to .25 or lower.. for example, doing 20%.. checking.. still to high.. doing another 20%.. etc

since the start its only topped around 1 twice.

sounds like what I need is that testing kit :/ i'm kinda in a remote location here, so web orders take a while to show up.. Once they do i'll test for nitrites right away. I thought i'd be in the clear for another week or so since its only been a few weeks into the cycle.. hopefully that's all it is.. maybe I jumped on the ZOMG its flukes bandwagon too early ! I'll update the thread once the kit shows up, hopefully before wednesday.. In the meantime to be safe, i'll change 30% a day till then, hopefully if it is nitrites, that keeps it down low enough.

temp is at 70? -- i have the air conditioner in the room blow some air across the surface.

I've had the fish from the begining of the cycle, I setup the tank about a week before I got the fish, mostly to make sure I had no leaks etc.

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Just chiming in to say that it is best not to let your ammonia reach 1.0 - I would aim to keep it below 0.50.

Your nitrites meanwhile could be quite a lot higher, so I would assume that, as you are cycling, they are beyond safe levels and do a large water change. Nitrites block the uptake of oxygen so it is comon whilst cycling, to see the fish piping on the top.

"In the meantime to be safe, i'll change 30% a day till then, hopefully if it is nitrites, that keeps it down low enough."

This may not be enough. In deciding how much needs changing, use the reading as a guide; the level is only reduced by the proportion of dilution you provide. ie. If your reading for amm is 1.0 and you do 50%, you are still left with 0.50 in the tank, so a 75% in that case would be better - if it's only 0.25 then you could wait until morning. By using Prime by Seachem you can detoxify these lower amounts safely for 24 hours.

Keep us posted.

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