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Tropical Fish Problems Help


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  • Regular Member

This is my boyfriend's mum's fish... his little brother just noticed him and has no idea what type of fish except he is tropical

He'd like to get treatments tomorrow. Thanks!



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This is the problem! I don't really know any of that info! Like I said it isn't my fish it is my boyfriend's mums fish!

All I know is the following;

1) The water is changed roughly once every 2 or 3 weeks.

2) There are mostly small fish in the tank (tetra neons and the like) and 1 big pleck fish and 1 small shark looking fish.

3) Their diet is usually flakes for the fish and algae tablets for the pleck.

4) The tank has been set up for a fairly long time and has a good filter/pump installed.

5) It's roughly 20 gallons in size.

6) The fish swims on its side and sort of just does a loop

7) There is about 1 inch of gravel on the bottom of the tank.

Sorry for the lack of info but this is all I know at the moment

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Unfortantly without more info there is not much we can do. And not even being able to tell what it is does not help much either.

Cause I was thinking some sort of tetra.

But I can tell you thing it is over stocked and needs more water changes.

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Sorry can't even begin to guess. Only advice I know for sure is to do more water changes and add some salt according to the box. Only two things that I know may help and wont hurt without having more info.

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1. Test their water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. Test the tapwater for similar parameters mentioned and post both set of results here.

2. What is the filtration capacity?

3. When did this issue start?

4. Recommend them to do daily water changes and vacuum thoroughly. 2-3 weeks water change is very inadequate unfortunately. Even if the water parameters are within par, there are other substances not tested that should be taken into consideration.

5. Is this tank heavily planted? What plants are used?

6. Can you please post a complete list of fish exactly in there? How many each?

7. What kind of pleco do they have?

8. Any pics of the shark? Bala shark? Rainbow shark? Red-tailed black shark?

9. I'd like verification here. Is the corydoras' eye actually out of the socket? Are the barbels also chopped off?

10. If you have a record, how old is this corydoras?

11. Temperature of the tank?

Without complete details, I can only make a few theories for you to consider.

1. If the corydoras has already weakened, it is also possible the pump could have sucked the fish. This can result in popeye situation and spine curvature. What caused this issue? Your answers to my questions above will help determine the root cause.

2. In connection to the above, the "shark" may also be involved. A lot of fish from the Epalzeorhynchus genus are belligerent in nature and will not hesitate to attack other tankmates especially if space is very limited. They are very territorial. If the shark was responsible, there's no denying that it should be removed immediately.

3. Your pleco may also be responsible. See no. 2. A lot of plecos are territorial.

4. Very poor water quality. This is the likely the root cause. Note their water change schedule. For a tank size like that including fish that potentially contribute a large amount of bioload, I'm not surprised the corydoras may actually be sickened in the process due to inadequate maintenance.

What you can do here...

1. Advise them to start with small water changes first. Do it daily and increase water volume replaced everyday. Get test kits by API.

2. Vacuum gravel thoroughly. Better yet, remove all gravel or stuff a few in the nylon bag temporarily and boil the rest as a precaution.

3. If you have plants, I'd consider potting them. None of your fish really require the substrate. Some people will argue otherwise but I personally find substrate for aesthetic purposes to replicate the natural environment even though a tank is an enclosed ecosystem. So unless there is one fish that really requires it, then I'd personally lift off the substrate. The choice is yours.

If the corydoras' barbels appeared to have been snipped, then the causes would only go down to sharp edges of decors and substrate and elevation of nitrate. Both are common causes of this issue among corydoras.

4. Keep temperature steady at 78 degrees Fahrenheit for now.

5. Keep tank well aerated.

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  • Regular Member

Definitely daily water testing and regular water changes with to ensure proper parameters. I change 25% at least once weekly with my tropicals. You may need to change water daily to get things on track.


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We definitely need more info. Any chance of you visiting and getting water readings?

Have your boyfriend's mom feed him better. This might have something to do with diet. Flakes are NOT nutritious at all. They loose all their nutrients (what little they have) faster than pelleted food because of the large surface area. They are extremely sensitive to moisture. If they have been open for more than about a month, they are no good.

Malnutrition can sometimes lead to bent, C shaped fish.

But we really can't rule anything out, or give you a definitive diagnosis without all the information from the white box above.

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Thank you for all your information! I have emailed Luke everything you have said so far so he can read it and report to his mum.

Unfortunately... the shark died this morning. The curved fish apparently has not died. This leads me to suspect there's something wrong with the water rather than just the one fish... and makes me think there are bad levels of nitrites/nitrats/ammonia in that water!

And yes the plecko is territorial... Percy's too big for the tank and I've been trying to persuade them to rehome him. The shark was also quite feisty.

Sorry I can't visit... ah the problems of a long distance relationship... it's quite far away for me to get there.

I will wait for more info from Luke but as I said he isn't the actual keeper, his mum is, and apparently she just got landed with them from her ex so she isn't exactly the most in the know either.


Edited by Goldfish Carer
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