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adverbemonade

Pearlscale sleeping upside down?

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My crowned pearlscale, Woland, is a bit under 2 inches/5 cm long. She swims slightly sideways because she is missing the bottom half of her right caudal fin, but seems to compensate just fine. When she pauses while swimming, sometimes her head end drifts down, but she otherwise has nothing that seems like it could be a buoyancy problem. However, she sleeps vertically upside down at night. Her lionhead companions both sleep horizontally.

I wasn't very concerned about Woland's odd sleeping position until one night, when she woke up and wiggled over to the front of the tank to see me. The white part of her face was all pink, like it normally is over her left gill (it went back to normal quickly). It appears that while she sleeps, gravity causes the blood to rush to her head!

Is this harmful? Is it a type of buoyancy problem? Does anyone know of other fish, especially pearlscales, who have this sleeping-upside-down quirk?

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Hi there. I'm going to move this to the diagnosis section. It's really important that you answer all the questions at the top of the page so we can help :)

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Here are the questions Chrissy is referring to :)


    Test Results for the Following:
  • * Ammonia Level
  • * Nitrite Level
  • * Nitrate level
  • * Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)
  • * Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines)
    Other Required Info:
  • * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops?
  • * Water temperature?
  • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running?
  • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)?
  • * How often do you change the water and how much?

  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change?
  • * How many fish in the tank and their size?
  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners?
  • * What do you feed your fish and how often?
  • * Any new fish added to the tank?
  • * Any medications added to the tank?
  • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment.
  • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus?
  • * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.?

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Thanks, sorry, here you go:

  • * Ammonia Level: ~.02 (I'm currently cycling the tank, but this fish was sleeping upside down the first night, when the ammonia level was at zero.)
  • * Nitrite Level: 0
  • * Nitrate level: 0
  • * Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) Ph: 7.8, no chloramine.
  • * Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) Ph: ~7.4 (?, the result is slightly paler than the tank result), no chloramine.

Other Required Info:

  • * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? Tetra, strips; Mardel Live NH3 monitor that sticks to the inside of the tank (and is supposed to last 3-4 weeks).
  • * Water temperature? 70 F/ 21 C
  • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 30 gallons/113 liters, it's been running for 2 1/2 weeks.
  • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? Penguin Biowheel 150 with 2 size B polyester floss cartridges in it.
  • * How often do you change the water and how much? I change 10 gallons each time the ammonia begins to creep up past .02, which brings it back down to slightly detectable.
  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? Sunday the 22nd, 10 gallons.
  • * How many fish in the tank and their size? 3, less than 2 inches/5 centimeters long (including tails).
  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners? Top Fin tap water dechlorinator (covers chlorine, chloramine, and heavy metals), Tetra SafeStart bacteria starter (entire bottle, as per instructions, added several hours before fish were).
  • * What do you feed your fish and how often? 3-4 small sinking pellets per fish, each morning.
  • * Any new fish added to the tank? No, and all three were added at same time.
  • * Any medications added to the tank? No.
  • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment. No medications or salt whatsoever.
  • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? The fish in question has the lower half of the right caudal fin missing. Since it doesn't look like it was torn off or injured, and one anal fin is about 2/3 the size of the other, I assume it's a congenital defect.
  • * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? No, it's an active fish that loves swimming around and trying to eat stuff off the gravel, only the sleeping upside down is abnormal.

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It sounds like something is affecting her swim bladder. Round bodied fish are especialy prone to this. I had an oranda who did this (in his case, I think my overfeeding started it.) I would advise as an immediate first step fasting her for three days and then feeding her a pea, see if that helps. If she can right herself to swim most of the time, that is good sign. My fish got to the point that he flipped every time he stopped moving and then was upside down most of the time. Certain fish also get floaty on certain foods. What brand of pellet are you feeding?

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Also, you may want to get some prazipro and do a treatment of that on all the fish--most of us here do this routinely on new fish as so many come in with flukes. It is quite gentle.

Edited by spillie

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Also, you may want to get some prazipro and do a treatment of that on all the fish--most of us here do this routinely on new fish as so many come in with flukes. It is quite gentle.

I think this is a good idea for sure.

As for the issues with your fish....I'm guessing she's a bit floaty in general, but is able to compensate by swiming down while awake, but when she sleeps and stops swimming that's when she floats more. Fasting may be a good idea as Spllie recommended. I'd also recommend that you change more than 10 gallons at a time....and about how often are you changing it, in terms of days? Test strips aren't always super accurate, we recommend drop type kits, so changing more water, more frequently, is never a bad idea - especially while cycling.

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Thanks so much for your help. Tomorrow's payday, when I'll be able to get better test kits and Prazipro. I'll change 20 gallons when I get home today. The sinking pellet brand is New Life Spectrum. I don't pre-soak it, because by the time it sinks it is fully soaked and none of the fish have figured out that the food first appears at the surface. And is it relevant that this fish, while asleep upside down, doesn't float away? And that while swimming, if she pauses, her head goes down in relation to her body, but she doesn't float up or sink past the point where she paused?

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It sounds like maybe she has an issue with the caudal (back) lobe of her swim bladder, which can cause that 'bum up' effect, but it is mild by the sounds of it :)

You have a good plan so far. Have you ever fed her peas?

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I've never fed her peas. She's really tiny, what would be the best way to feed her a pea? I know they have to be boiled, and have the shell membrane removed.

Also, before I changed the water, I watched her for a while. When she pauses swimming (which has never been often), she now stays horizontal, her head doesn't go down at all.

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Just give her one pea after it is boiled and the shell removed, maybe half at a time since she is tiny. They love peas, in my experience. You could also try the shallow water cure--see th end of this thread for some info on that: http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/97346-a-question-i-really-dont-want-to-ask/page__fromsearch__1

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Thanks so much for your help and support. I'll feed her part of a pea in three days and tell you how it goes!

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I fed all three fish a pea last night, making sure Woland got about half of it. It made them poop a lot, but there's no change in how Woland swims or sleeps. :(

Since I brought her home, Woland has occasionally rubbed against the big rocks and the gravel, so PraziPro seems like an especially good idea. But, I checked my LFSs and none of them carry PraziPro. There are no visible parasites, no fin-clamping, no lethargy, nothing odd. (Updates to the diagnosis form above: I changed 15 gallons yesterday, and the ammonia is currently <0.02.) How quickly do I need to treat them for parasites? I don't have a credit card, but I can get a disposable debit card to order PraziPro online. Or, I can buy this : http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=23589 at a LFS today.

What is the best option? Wait and get PraziPro, or get the dubious-mildness Tetra stuff today? Is there another commonly available anti-parasite medication that's better than the Tetra stuff? Do salt baths work for things like this?

Also, how often should I feed them peas? I heard that weekly is a good SBD preventative for pearlscales anyway, but should I do this twice weekly since Woland has established problems?

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I would suggest that you order the prazi pro online if you are able to, I wouldn't use the parasite guard, as it has ingredients other than prazi that are harsher and not really necessary in this situation.

I know that Alex (dnalex) found another medication that is similar to prazi but might be available locally, I can PM him and see if he will come by to suggest something. The active ingredient is fenbendazole instead of prazi.

A salt back would not be appropriate in this situation.

Peas once or twice a week is probably a good idea. You might also try to incorporate more veggies into their diet overall as well by giving them some type of veggies (spinach, kale, romaine, zucchini, cucumber etc.) on a veggie clip a few times a week.

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Hello! I was summoned by tithra! :rofl

The alternative to Prazi is fenbendazole. This has been used by our UK friends for quite some time, and it is a very safe med, comparable to praziquantel. Fenbendazole is the active ingredient in the dog/cat de-wormer Safeguard, which you can find at the Petco/mart or a good pet store. For your sized tank you can buy the smallest box, which will have 4 1 gram bags. Each gram is sufficient to treat 30 gallons, so it works out perfectly. Let me know when you've bought it, and I can help with the rest :)

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Oh, I am sorry the fasting/pea attempt did not sort her out. Gel food can also help, in some cases. It did not help mine, as I think there was damage to the swim bladder, but some people have had success depending on the underlying issue. Tell me, was she less floaty at all while fasting?

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dnalex:

In the mammal anti-parasite section of Petsmart (which hopefully is the same at the store near me) is this stuff, with fenbendazole:

http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2752059

And this stuff, with praziquantel:

http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2754523

Which should I get?

spillie:

I observed no change in Woland's swimming or sleeping while fasting her. I wonder if the same defect that messed up her tail and anal fin on one side also indicates a deformed rear lobe of her swim bladder? She doesn't seem distressed. I forgot to mention that she seems to deliberately let herself go upside down so she can better forage in the gravel, which she does with more skill than her tankmates. She has never bottom sat or floated near the top. (Trying to look on the bright side.)

Is there a particularly good variety of gel food I should look for? I've never noticed it on shelves (or maybe I wasn't looking very hard); is it kept in the freezer section?

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I would get the Safeguard, simply because I've actually tested it out personally, as I have with Prazipro.

Theoretically, the other product should work as well, but I have not used it personally.

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Is there a particularly good variety of gel food I should look for? I've never noticed it on shelves (or maybe I wasn't looking very hard); is it kept in the freezer section?

Although there is at least one brand of commercial gel food (I have never seen it available in a pet store though), gel food is typically homemade (which is good because you can control what goes in it). There is a whole thread on it pinned in the 'food' section of the forum and there have been several recent discussions on it, you may want to try an agar agar based gel food, as this appears to work best for goldies with swim bladder issues. Here are mine and Alex's recipe, but you can search around and find other recipes as well :)

Here's Alex's recipe:

6 oz fresh fish (tilapia, flounder ect).

- 4 oz fresh peeled tail-less shrimp

- 1/4 cup pellet food (NLS, Dainichi, Pro-Gold, Hikari, whatever you like)

- 3 jars Gerbers peas

- 1/4 teaspoon koi clay

- 1/4 teaspoon garlic

- 1 multivitamin

- 1 acidophilus tablet

- 6 oz water

- 10 oz water

- 5 tablespoons agar agar powder.

- For this recipe, you want to steam the fish and shrimp and crush the pellets, vitamins, and acidophilus. It doesn't have to be completely fine, but you do want it to crush well. I use a mortar and pestle to do this. Crush the vitamins and acidophilus separately. Once crushed, you can add the garlic and koi clay to this the pellet powder, and set it aside.

- Add steamed fish & shrimp and the 6 oz of water in the first part of the recipe to a food processor and blend well.

- Then, add the 10z of water to a pot and add the 5 tablespoons of agar. Turn heat on high and start stirring until the water is hot but not yet boiling. Then add the peas and the pureed fish/shrimp. Stir until well mixed, and then finally add the crushed pellet/koi clay/garlic/ mix to the pot and continue to stir. Once the pot starts to bubble, turn heat down to medium (so it doesn't splash everywhere), and continue stirring for a minute or two after. Now add the vitamin/acidophilus mix and stir well. Then pour out into a baking pan, let it at room temp for about an hour. Then refrigerate for about 3-4 hours. After that, it should be good to cut to cubes and then freeze. You will find that the consistency of this mix to be not too hard, but it also won't crumble when you add it to the tank. When you thaw frozen cubes to feed, it's best to let it thaw overnight in the fridge.

Note: this recipe is intentionally very high in protein. It's meant for young & growing fish. If you have adult fish, cut back on the fish/shrimp and substitute more fresh veggies in equal weight.

And my recipe:

Recipe:

1 fillet of salmon or tilapia (cooked)

1 jars of baby food - peas (make sure peas/water are only ingredients)

3 tbsp canned pumpkin (no other additives)

1/2 red pepper (chopped)

2-3 leaves of kale (large middle stem removed)

1 tablet acidophilus

1 multivitamin tablet (crushed, I was out of vitamins!)

1/2-1 tsp garlic

1 cup spring water

1 tbsp agar agar powder (OR 2 packets of unflavored gelatin)

1 tsp koi clay (optional, I did not have any today, so I did not add it)

- Cook fish and soften kale and red pepper in some boiling spring water.

- Put all ingredients in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup spring water. Puree using a hand blender or regular blender.

- Boil a 1/2 cup of springwater in a pot and add the agar agar slowly. Pour the puree into the pot and mix well.

- Pour mixture into a baking pan and put in refrigerator to set.

- Cut it into into small cubes and transfer to a baking sheet. Put baking sheet in freezer until gel food is frozen.

- Put gel food into ziploc bags and freeze.

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Thank you all so much for helping me. I can get the Safeguard on my way back from school tomorrow (Petsmart is now closed). I don't know when I'll have enough extra money to gather all the ingredients for the gel food, as none of it besides the multivitamins is stuff we normally have on hand. Is this a worthwhile alternative for the time being:

http://www.petco.com/product/111795/Instant-Ocean-Seaweed-Blend-Herbivore-Diet-Soft-Gel-Food-Supplement.aspx ?

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I got the Safeguard: 3 one gram pouches of 222 mg each. How do I go about dosing the aquarium? I'm changing half the water tonight anyway. Since our tap water is very cold, I dechlorinate and keep water in a Rubbermaid tub and in covered buckets to warm up in my room between water changes. They total about 20 gallons.

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Ok, great! Here is what I would like for you to do:

1 - make sure to remove carbon from your filter. Are you using cartridges?

If you are, then I recommend that you read the DIY filter media link in my sig. You will want to make your own, and save the filter padding parts of the cartridge. Your good bacteria are there.

2 - after your WC, dissolve the contents of 1 1 gram bag in some tank water and add to the tank. Despite your best efforts, some of there will still be granules. No worries, they will dissolve after a while. In the mean time, it will make your tank cloudy and will likely remain that way until tomorrow.

3 - The tank will also need to be salted to 0.1%. There are two links in my sig, including one with directions, should you need :)

4 - Three days after adding Safeguard, do a huge water change (80-90%) to get rid of the Safeguard. Add back the amount of salt taken out.

5 - Two days after that, do another WC, add back salt, and dissolve and add another 1 gram of Safeguard.

6 - Repeat step 4

Done :)

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Can do!

But- I removed all of the carbon I could get out during the last water change. There may still be several little lumps I missed. Is that enough to mess it up?

And, should I expect my fish will act a little strange as a reaction to the treatment?

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Oh, I don't trust the sea salt I have to not have yellow prussiate of soda in it. I thought I was going to be able to use it. McCormick spice company says it hasn't had YPS in it since 2006, but on Amazon Fresh it lists it as an ingredient in the new stock. If I'm not able to add salt until tomorrow, will that adversely affect the treatment?

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I would not start treatment until you have the salt and have added it :)

The cheapest salt is Morton's Canning & Pickling salt. You can get that at Walmart or any grocery store. It's less than $1.50 for 4 pounds. :)

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