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Clueless & Confused -- Nemo Is In Trouble!


Guest nemo's mom

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Guest nemo's mom

Hi there,

I am having a problem with my comet/common goldie, Nemo, who my son won at a county fair almost 2 years ago. He is bottom sitting and not feeding. I am afraid he is waiting to die. Even when I vaccuum gravel around him, he does not move. Clamped fins and was spitting food the last time he ate (yesterday). We have gone almost 2 years without a problem, so I am at a loss, and would appreciate any advice. Symptoms started the day following a water change & algae scrape -- but had also just had a new tankmate for a few days then.

I have narrowed my diagnosis down to one or more of the following:

1) Ph crash / acidosus (sp?)

2) Stressed and annoyed by new tank mate (much smaller fantail, but a bit of a bully -- recent gift from my son's preschool teacher)

3) Gill flukes

4) Constipation

5) Bacterial infection

6) Internal parasites

This is what I have done so far:

1) Started daily 20% H20 changes / gravel vac (3rd day)

2) Began using bottled spring H2O for changes when I realized the low Ph, KH of my tap water (today)

3) Added 2 TSB aquarium salt last night, 2 more this morning (and replenished following H20 change)

4) Suspended feeding (started today)

So, you can see, I have not really narrowed it down at all and need some guidance. The fantail is experiencing a few symptoms, but seems much less affected than Nemo.

Much Thanks,

Char

[*]Test Results for the Following:

[*]Ammonia Level? N/A -- no ammonia test kit

[*]Nitrite Level? 0

[*]Nitrate level? 20ppm

[*]Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)? Was 6.2-6.4 (Kh between 0 & 20, GH 150), after today's change getting closer to 6.8 -- my drop test kit is coming in the mail, using strips now

[*]Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)? 6.2 Ph, 0-20 KH, 150 GH

[*]Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? Jungle 5 in 1 dip strip; API Freshwater Master coming in mail

[*]Water temperature? room temp -- I'd guess 70-75

[*]Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 10 Gallons -- has been running a little over 18 months

[*]What is the name and size of the filter(s)? Penguin Bio-Wheel 100

[*]How often do you change the water and how much? Daily, right now @ 20%; Before illness/new fish hit the tank, every 2 weeks @ 20%

[*]How many fish in the tank and their size? 2 -- my comet Nemo is probably 3 -4 inches. The new fantail is tiny -- I'd say 1.5"

[*]What kind of water additives or conditioners? Amquel with tap water changes. Aquarium salt just added last night.

[*]What do you feed your fish and how often? Tetra Goldfish flakes 1X / day

[*]Any new fish added to the tank? Yes -- Fantail added about a week ago. No Quarantine, and dumped the carrying water into my tank. Doh!

[*]Any medications added to the tank? Just salt -- I have some PraziPro, but haven't added -- not sure if it's okay to do this med in addition to salt bath

[*]Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? The only thing I have noticed is that he seems to have a couple of scales missing

[*]Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? Yes, stays at the bottom for long periods of time; Difficulty swimming; Seems to sink; Darting/Spasming early on - a few days ago; not eating; hiding; a few days ago, I saw him generate a whitish, floaty poop -- haven't seen anything since then.

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HI Nemo'smom!!! Welcome to the board! : )

Thanks for providing all of the information so quickly! That really helps save time!

Is it possible you could get an ammonia test kit??? That reading is very important. If at all possible, drop test kits are the most accurate.. I personally use the API Master Test Kit.

The first thing that poses a problem is that your tank is overcrowded, and the water changes haven't beeen large enough or often enough. The general rule is that commons/comets need 20 gallons of space per fish since they get larger than other fish. Fancies (like the fantail) need 10 gallons each.. Generally commons should also not be kept with fancies...

Most people around here like to do at LEAST a 50% water change weekly, and then a 100% water change monthly.. It improves the water quaility, removes harmful bacteria, helps the fish grow, and fight off sickness.. Unfortunately your water changes are probably not enough to keep the water in the right condition to keep the fish healthy.. Fish can live like that for years without showing a problem, but when something happens to cause stress (like adding a new fish), they are unable to fight the sickness.. Without an ammonia test, we also have no idea how much was in your tank. The amount of ammonia can also be a good indication of a ph crash, which you suspected.. Back to point one, can you possibly get a test for ammonia?? : )

It sounds like this new fish brought something into your tank, (like you said, there was no quarentine).. First steps:

1) LARGE water change (as much as you feel comfortable doing). Temp Matched, and treated with dechlorinator. Normally PH matched is recommened, but being that your Ph is having issues that may not be possible. However, it is better to move a fish into a HIGHER PH than a lower PH..

2) Order something called Buff It Up from GoldfishConnection.com. I've never used the product, but everyone SWEARS by it when it comes to raising the PH, KH of their tap water.. Someone who has used this can hopefully give you more info.

3). Yes Prazi & Salt can be used together... I think what you want to do right now is continue salting and raise your salt to 0.3% gradually. Here is a link that explains exactly how you want to do that.. Also begin the prazi.. This could very well be flukes, and the prazi will take care of that

http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/...showtopic=60876

4) Work on getting a larger space for the fish.. And if at all possible a way to seperate them in the long run.. For now, you could even use a rubbermaid (we've all done that!). They are cheap, but can provide you with the extra space for water that is needed.

Good luck with everything : ) There are lots of us on here that will answer any questions you may have and will try our best to help with your fish! It's great that you found this board! Again, welcome! : )

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Guest nemo's mom

Sue,

Thanks for the quick feedback. Yes, I know I have too much fish for my space. . . it's just the little one came as a surprise last week, and I haven't had a chance to upgrade my tank yet. I was thinking about getting a 30 gallon for them, but based on your post, maybe I should get a 20 gallon for Nemo and let the fantail stay in the 10 gallon? If Nemo pulls through, that is? I am very worried about his condition now, though I did spot him swimming a around a bit earlier -- he seemed a little shaky or off balance in the water. The API Master kit was ordered earlier in the week and is winging it's way here -- I'll post that ammonia reading as soon as I get it. I did take some water down to the pet shop, and they said it was "fine", with the exception of the Ph being a little low.

When I start the Prazi, I should remove the BioWheel from the filter, correct? What do I do with it? If I put it in a container of tank water to store, will that preserve the beneficial bacteria?

If I continue using bottled spring water for my changes, do I still need to dechlorinate? The tap water seems to be a pretty close Ph match, but I am concerned that the KH is so low, that it might allow swings in Ph. Do you think I would do better to use the bottled water, which has a higher Ph and KH? I will look into some of the buffer up product you recommend. Since I wasn't testing prior to this, I'm not sure if my tap water chemistry has changed recently.

I will also step up the water changes.

Thanks again!

Char

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Thanks for the quick feedback. Yes, I know I have too much fish for my space. . . it's just the little one came as a surprise last week, and I haven't had a chance to upgrade my tank yet. I was thinking about getting a 30 gallon for them, but based on your post, maybe I should get a 20 gallon for Nemo and let the fantail stay in the 10 gallon? If Nemo pulls through, that is? I am very worried about his condition now, though I did spot him swimming a around a bit earlier -- he seemed a little shaky or off balance in the water. The API Master kit was ordered earlier in the week and is winging it's way here -- I'll post that ammonia reading as soon as I get it. I did take some water down to the pet shop, and they said it was "fine", with the exception of the Ph being a little low.

I think the 20 gallon and the 10 gallon souunds like a great plan! That's what I would do, especially if you were already planning on getting a new tank. It's also great that you have ordered the API Master Test Kit! You were already talking some of the right steps! That's excellent! Having the pet store test water can be great if you can't get your hands on a test kit, but if you have to do it again, just tell them to give you exact numbers. They always want to say "it's fine" and that's just not good enough : )

When I start the Prazi, I should remove the BioWheel from the filter, correct? What do I do with it? If I put it in a container of tank water to store, will that preserve the beneficial bacteria?

Most people say that Prazi will not harm the cycle, or the beneficial bacteria.. I've been using prazi on three different tanks, along with salt, on and off for a few months now. This is what I've found.. Sometimes when the Prazi/Salt is added there is a small bump in the cycle. (Ammonia and nitrite start to show up) and I worried that the BB's had been killed off.. So far, every time the salt was removed from the water, and I was finished dosing the prazi, and the water was back to being free of any meds, the cycle picked back up right away without any problems.. Personally I think it would be best to leave the bio-wheel in place, that way there is less of a chance of a bump in your cycle. And since your fish are sick, they need the best water they can get. If you are concerned about damaging the BB's, I think the better choice would be to just take out the cartridges in the filter. (Do the Bio-Wheel 100's have room for two cartridges or just one by the way? I have a 200 and some 350's.) You need to remove the carbon from the filter anyway, because it will asborb the meds.. The bio-wheel should contain enough BB's to keep the cycle going. Then you could place the cartrige in a bucket or tub of water. In order to preserve the BB's on there, they need a food source. So you can either add some clear ammonia with no additives, fragrances, etc. (I found some at w mart). It should NOT bubble when you shake it. If you can't find any, you can add a flake of fish food to the bucket.

If I continue using bottled spring water for my changes, do I still need to dechlorinate? The tap water seems to be a pretty close Ph match, but I am concerned that the KH is so low, that it might allow swings in Ph. Do you think I would do better to use the bottled water, which has a higher Ph and KH? I will look into some of the buffer up product you recommend. Since I wasn't testing prior to this, I'm not sure if my tap water chemistry has changed recently.

Can someone else chime in here? I have very little experience with PH/KH problems (my PH is 8.2 so I've never had to deal with what you are dealing with now). I know there are some downsides to bottled water as well... There are other memebers that are better when it comes to this, and hopefully they can advise you.. I also don't know about the dechlorinator with bottled water. I do know that the dechlorinator can't hurt, so I would say better be safe than sorry until someone can help.

You can try baking soda to temporarily up PH.. I know it will cause a temporary rise in PH, but I am pretty sure it doesn't last the way the Buff It Up does. But it might help you out in a pinch. (You could try playing around with your tap water and baking soda in a spare bucket and see if you can get that PH up around 7).

Your're welcome Char!!! Hopefully someone will be along soon to help with the PH stuff! If not, I'll get someone over here for ya!!

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I think your pH is a BIG worry! 6.2 is just death waiting to happen. the fish will bottom sit first and the slimecoat will start to peel Its probably a result of the algae scrape you did on the same day as the water change. Reducing algae affects pH if you have a low kH especially.

Sues suggestion of prazi is crucial if you have a new fish -as is salt - but you must get the pH stabilised ASAP and before any meds.

Please don't use bottled water, there is almost zero kH (buffering capacity) in bottled water. Tap water contains essential minerals and electrolytes for fish.

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Guest nemo's mom

Nemo now has blood streaking his fins and tail! He was trying to swim around a little, but he is so weak that he got stuck on the filter intake. Also seems to be itchy. Now he is resting again on the bottom. I will start the Prazi tonight.

Oh, trinket -- I just circled back and saw your message. I'll concentrate on Ph stabilization, first then. I don't have any more spring water in the house -- used up my hurricane supplies. But I'll get some more 1st thing tomorrow and do another partial water change with that.

Thanks so much to both of you for your help!

Edited by nemo's mom
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If hes "itchy" thats called flashing and it indicates parasites or pH swings usually. Probably a combination of both going on here. Get going with the prazi ASAP after pH is safe (use the b.soda for now as Sue suggested- later Buff-it-up is a product to get hold of)- flukes are SO common, almost inevitable with new fish and prazi kills them fast.

You really need to look at a much larger tank in the near future to help keep the water safe. Don't get rid of the filter you are using, the media in that contains all your precious beneficial bacteria. Use the old filter (still dirty is best) to launch a new "cycle" on a new tank- plus new filter .

:goodluck

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Guest nemo's mom

Thanks guys -- Nemo, unfortunately, didn't make it through the night. I am going to try to save the little fantail, Mr. Gold. I didn't tell the kids before I took them to daycare. I guess I'll do that later tonight. We lost our family dog, Inca the Coonhound, about a month ago, at 16 years old. My son was almost more attached to the fish, though.

I'm going to go ahead and do the water change and start the Prazi now. I'm going to use the bottled water for today's change.

Thanks again,

Char :(

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Guest nemo's mom

OK -- I did a 50% water change this morning, and it seems like the Ph / KH are in a healthier place now. I used bottled spring water exclusively for the water change. I hope this didn't push the Ph up too high too fast. Now, though, about 5 hours after the water change, it looks like my nitrates are tanking. I am so wishing that I had the drop kit now. Is it bad that the nitrates are declining? Have my beneficial bacteria been destroyed somehow? Nitrite is still at 0, no test yet for ammonia.

I treated with Amquel last night, b/c I was worried about the ammonia, and maybe that, along with the water change, is why my nitrates are down. Question: Since I don't have an ammonia reading, should I continue to dose w/ Amquel every 24 hours? Will this interfere with the salt/prazi treatment? Also, I've ordered some antibacterial food. Should I start feeding with that when it arrives? I have suspended feeding for the past 2 days.

Now Mr. Gold is bottom sitting, like Nemo was yesterday. I keep going to check on him. I feel so helpless.

Also, how long should the salt treatment stay in b/4 I start removing with water changes. I replenished the salt after this morning's water change.

Thanks again!

Char

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First of all I am really sorry to hear about Nemo :( . I hope we can save Mr Gold.

Let's re-cap with some questions Char.

1. Did you temperature match the water change? Colder or hotter water at a change will have the fish bottom sit and is also a common precursor for the dreaded ich.

2. How much salt did you add to the tank and what kind of salt was it? Did you dissolve it first? Was it added in stages or all at once?

3. NitrAtes will come down after a water change as you have found and should be zero after a 100% one. Half the previous result with a 50% w/c. That's not bad, it's good. They creep back up in a matter of hours as the fish excrete ammonia via their gills and as any food is put in the tank...

4. Are you keeping a salt log? Its very important to track salt to avoid "salt creep" an overdose that can be dangerous.

Hold off feeding medicated food for now. Check pH again when you post as bottled water usually has zero kH and it may be falling in as short as a day (fish will bottom sit)..I still think your tap water plus Buff-It-Up or some sea shells/oyster shells/crushed coral (all raise pH) is your best bet longterm for fish care. Bottled water is really not recommended for fish.

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I am sooo sorry you lost Nemo.. : ( I saw this post earlier today, but you had some questions that I thought Trinket should answer, so I thought I would wait and write after she posted... I really hope Mr. Gold gets better... Soo sorry for the loss of your little Nemo..

:rip: Nemo

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Guest nemo's mom

Hi again,

Mr. Gold, unfortunately, gave it up, too. I wish I could have saved them. I hate thinking that they may have suffered. I haven't decided yet what we will do -- I am keeping my biowheel in some tank water and feeding it bits of ammonia for the moment, as you suggested. Am I correct in assuming that any "bugs" that might be on the biowheel will die off if there are no fish around for a week or so? I am breaking down and cleaning the tank with vinegar, and sterilizing the ornaments and plastic plants with boiling water. I will probably just get rid of the gravel and start over with new if we set up again. My son wants another fish right away, but I am toying with the idea of getting a 55 gallon and two feeder goldfish to bring up and saving the 10 gallon tank for quarantine of future "surprise" visitors. Nemo was a feeder fish that my son won in a game at the county fair (won't be supporting those games anymore), and he seemed very hardy for the 18 months he was here with us.

Thank you so much for your help. I wish I had found this site a few days earlier. I have learned so much from just reading here.

Thanks again,

Char

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Ohhh Char I am sorry about Mr. Gold : ( That's a shame.... I'm sure your son is taking it hard..

Am I correct in assuming that any "bugs" that might be on the biowheel will die off if there are no fish around for a week or so?

If you are patient enough, and want to be 100% safe, you could disinfect EVERYTHING.. Including the bio-wheel and start over with a fishless cycle.. Your son would have to hang in there a while, but it would be the safest way to go..

I recently did this with a tank that had a bunch of disease going on in there.. I wanted to make sure nothing was still in there, so I used Potassium Permanganate to wipe out everything and anything in the tank.. You can buy it in liquid form sold as Permoxyn in a lot of pet stores, or online.. There are also crystals you can buy, but I've never found those yet.. Then once everything is finished, you can start a fishless cycle using clear ammonia (nothing added, shouldn't bubble when you shake it).

If these sound like things you are interested in, we can give you more links and details.

I think a 55 gallon would be fabulous, and then using the 10 as a QT or hospital tank would be great. Let us know how things turn out.. Again, sorry about your fishies..

:rip: Mr. Gold

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