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My fish is floating at the surface! :(


NatalieD

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    Test Results for the Following:
  • * Ammonia Level 0.25 (ammonia levels from the tap is also 0.25!)
  • * Nitrite Level - 0
  • * Nitrate level - 10ppm
  • * Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.4
  • * Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.4
    Other Required Info:
  • * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API Drops
  • * Water temperature? 70 oF
  • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 60 litres (15.8 US Gal)
  • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? Fluval 3 Plus
  • * How often do you change the water and how much? Weekly - 20 litres (33%)

  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? Today and 20 Litres
  • * How many fish in the tank and their size? 2 fish (2 inches and 1.5 inches)
  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners? Just dechlorinator
  • * What do you feed your fish and how often? TetraFin Gold Japan - sinking pellets, 3/4 pellets twice a day.
  • * Any new fish added to the tank? No
  • * 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. N/A
  • * 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, etc.? Explained below

Over the last week or two, one of my fish (Hugo) has been floating at the surface pretty consistently after we feed him. I'm pretty concerned because I initially though he had just had too much to eat but he seems to be getting floaty after every meal, regardless of how much he has eaten.

I've noticed that after he eats he gulps air at the surface of the tank. Hugo has nearly always done this but now I'm certain he's swallowing it rather than just passing it through his gills. Our other fish does this as well to some extent, but he is perfectly fine and isn't floating at all. Hugo can swim down (and does so whenever we walk in front of the tank) but he is pulled back to the surface by his tail, so he just floats at the surface and looks sad. Sometimes he flips over whilst swimming but I have never found him upside down resting at the surface.

I find air bubbles in his poop so I'm sure he is swallowing air, after he passes the air bubbles he is back to normal and perfect. However this usually takes him between 6-8 hours and so for most of the time he's floating.

I have started soaking his pellets to try and get rid of any air from them but that doesn't seem to make much difference (I have been doing this consistently for a week). I have been feeding him peas fairly regularly to try and flush him out. However I read on a different thread that feeding peas lots can in fact make bloatedness worse, is this true?. I will stop feeding him peas regardless in case this is the case!

Please can anyone suggest a course of action? I don't know what to do to help him. I'm not sure why he is swallowing air but that is definitely the reason for him floating. Could there by an underlying problem here? He seems fine after he has passed the bubbles and is acting perfectly normal otherwise.

Any help you can give I would greatly appreciate!

Thanks!

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How long has your tank been running? You might want to do another WC to bring your ammonia down to 0ppm, and maybe up your WC to 50%. I have a fish whe gets air bubbles in her poo lately and has been a bit floaty. She was on medicated food for a while, which most likely messed up her digestion. Your fish might just need a little TLC. I would say at least do a WC and get your ammonia down to 0. Someone will be along who can help you sort it out. Good Luck!

Sorry missed the "ammonia in the tap" bit. My bad.:( God I'm a dummy sometimes. Carry on.

Edited by Mr.B
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Also, how long has tank been running? you left it blank. With that ammonia in the tap you will have to do frequesnt water changes until you establish a cycle. Once cycled the ammonia in the tap might not be an issue anymore.

Also, 15 gallons is small for 2 goldies. You might want to consider getting a bigger tank.

Just trying to cover all angles here...Do you have a video?

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Hi everyone, thanks for the responses so far!

Sorry I must have missed that question! My tanks has been running for about 9 months so it should be cycled by now. Over the last month or so I have been trying to remove some of the gravel from my tank. The fish sometimes get gravel stuck in their mouths so I've been removing it slowly in an attempt to reduce an ammonia spike. So that could explain the ammonia, but as my nitrite is at 0ppm the cycle doesn't appear to be adjusting...

do you let the pellets soak in tank water for a minute or 2 before feeding?

Yes I let them soak in tank water in a small dish before I put them in, usually I let them soak for about 5-10 minutes.

I will do another water change soon, but as I've just done one will it make much difference, as the tap water has the same amount of ammonia as the tank?

Edited by NatalieD
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the thing i am uncertain about is the ammonia reading. If your tank was cycled, your ammonia from the tap would not show up in the tank. The Nitrifying bacteria would take care of that.

try this, monitor the ammonia readings today, and do not let them go to .5 or above. See if your nitrifying bacteria take care of the ammonia. I would measure every few hours. If your tank is cycled, you will see no ammonia. If it is not cycled, your ammoina will eventually rise. This happens because the tank is too small. I hate to say it but this could be a cause.

Most problems stem from overcrowded tanks...

If you have a video it would also help. if it is indeed swim bladder problems, someone else can help you, as i have not dealt with that.

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If you have a video it would also help.

I'm just uploading one, it has been about 7 hours since we fed him this morning so he's not too floaty at this point. But you can see a bit of what I mean.

one more thing, how do you clean your filter media? What media is inside your filter? Do you rinse your filter media with tap water?

We clean his filter weekly. Inside are two permanent filter media and sandwiched between these is a disposable media which we replace, we rinse the two permanent media in the removed tank water so that it never comes into contact with chlorine.

Was he floaty at all before the past two weeks?

If you don't want to feed peas, you could try cooked spinach leaves.

He has been floaty on rare occasions, but feeding him a pea clears this up straight away. He has never been floaty for this long before... And thanks for recommending spinach, i'll get some next time we are at the shops and see if he will take it. :thumb:

Thanks for the responses, I'll post the video as soon as it's finished uploading!

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Here is the video I got a little while ago. Hugo is the white and orange one :)

<embed width="600" height="361" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowFullscreen="true" allowNetworking="all" wmode="transparent" src="http://static.photobucket.com/player.swf" flashvars="file=http%3A%2F%2Fvid167.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fu139%2Famerock_photo%2FHugo%2FMVI_5686.mp4">

Towards the end of the video is some good footage of him rising to the surface tail first. It also shows the gulping at the surface he does after he eats.

Hope this helps :)

Edited by NatalieD
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ok great. If it is swim bladder issues, There is a nice video from Tithra, a member here, who has mad a "how to" video for floaty fish gel food recipe.

What is the media you are removing? Typically we do not remove media even if it is disposable. Most of your beneficial bacteria is on your filter media, this is why you are losing your cycle. I do not have the fluval filter, but are you removing carbon filter bags?

I use plain filter padding and biomax rings and i only rinse in tank water and reuse.

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Thanks Midnight,

I'm trying to find that video by Tithra you mentioned, but I don't know where to start looking, would you have any idea where i can find it?

As for the filter, this is what the internal workings look like:

<a href="http://photobucket.com/images/fluval%203%20plus" target="_blank"><img src="http://i694.photobucket.com/albums/vv305/Bessiebean/DSCF6502.jpg" border="0" alt="Filter sponges Fluval 3 Plus internal filter Pictures, Images and Photos"/></a>

The media I remove is sandwiched between these two pads and then put back into the filter. The pads you can see in this image are the ones I wash in tank water and put back. I think I will add a carbon pad (if I can find it) and see if that has any effect on his floating...

Edited by NatalieD
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i cant see the photos or videos now because i am at work (shh) and they have security setting for those things but i will check later. As for Carbon, i only use it to remove medicine or to remove some type of chemical that got in there. You can try it but do not leave it in there to stay. I dont now if it will help or not right now

here is the thread scroll down to about the third post from Tithra

http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/97760-share-your-gel-food-recipes-for-floaters/page__hl__%22gel+food%22__fromsearch__1

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from the looks of the video it is my guess that this is swim bladder issue but not a terrible one. Ive seen far worse in other videos. Other than different food, im not sure how to handle it, as i have never dealt with it personally.

the advice i gave you on getting a bigger tank might not be related, i dont know if water quality effects the swim bladder.

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He seems to be getting a little worse, getting stuck on his back and not able to right himself easily. He's taken a small amount of spinach but is now back to gulping bubbles at the surface again. When he doesn't try to swim down it seems like a lot more effort and on his way back up he seems to be rolling sideways and onto his back. I'll keep a close eye on him for the next few hours but he'll probably be a bit worse as we've just fed him a little.

Would fasting him be a sensible option at this point? He does seems to get better if he's not eating in a few hours, like first thing in the morning.

I've just tested it and the ammonia is now back to 0ppm which is good, indicating that the tank has cycled after all.

I'm not sure what to do at this point now as I've said, he seems to be getting worse. Any help would be greatly appreciated. It's not very nice seeing him like this :(

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Hi! I'm sorry you are dealing with a floaty fish, that is always frustrating :(

Midnight touched on this already, but with 2 in a 60 liter, you are overstocked. Ideally you want at least 113 liters (30 gallons) for two fish. Are you able to upgrade your tank?

With 2 in a 60 liter you want to do larger water changes than you are currently doing. I would personally do 50-80% changes at least every 2-3 days.

The reason is that nitrate will build up fast in your tank because you are overstocked. Some fish are highly sensitive to nitrates in the water and it can be one potential cause of swim bladder issues. The general recommendation is to keep nitrates below 20 ppm, but having a floaty fish myself I aim for no more than 5-10 ppm. You might want to try doing the same and see if this makes a difference in behavior.

I would suggest fasting him for a couple days and see if that helps. The other thing I would suggest at this point is to take all commercial foods out of his diet and see if that makes a difference. I think you should try an agar agar based gel food, as Midnight suggested. Some fish are highly sensitive to the ingredients in commercial foods, making them bloaty and floaty.

This is where I would start. If these changes make no difference or if he continues to get worse please let us know :)

EDIT: How has his poop been? (has he been pooping, is it normal looking, is it white/stringy?)

Edited by tithra
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Hi Tithra, thanks for stopping in, I appreciate it!

With 2 in a 60 liter you want to do larger water changes than you are currently doing. I would personally do 50-80% changes at least every 2-3 days. The general recommendation is to keep nitrates below 20 ppm, but having a floaty fish myself I aim for no more than 5-10 ppm. You might want to try doing the same and see if this makes a difference in behavior.

At the moment we don't have the funds to upgrade to a larger tank, so i'll make sure we do much more frequent and larger water changes. I'll do another one tomorrow and see if it starts to make a difference.

I would suggest fasting him for a couple days and see if that helps. The other thing I would suggest at this point is to take all commercial foods out of his diet and see if that makes a difference. I think you should try an agar agar based gel food, as Midnight suggested. Some fish are highly sensitive to the ingredients in commercial foods, making them bloaty and floaty.

I will start fasting him tomorrow, one concern I have is my other fish. Will he be ok without food as well? Hugo has always been more food aggressive than my other fish and he usually eats most of the food before the other gets a chance, so trying to feed the other one on his own might be challenging. Would it be ok for both of them to go without food for a bit? Either way I will stop feeding them the sinking pellets and go for fresh foods. I had a look in the shops today and could only find "Agar flakes", do you know if this is the same as agar agar? I'll give your recipe a go and see if he takes well to that after a few days of fasting.

EDIT: How has his poop been? (has he been pooping, is it normal looking, is it white/stringy?)

It's been ok on and off, sometimes it is fine (normal shape and colour) with the addition of bubbles in almost every poop. Other times it is thin and white, again with bubbles depends on how long ago we fed him, but as of late almost all of his poop has had bubbles in it. However, this has normally corrected the problem and he becomes much less floaty and practically back to normal! I was concerned when I saw white stringy poop a day or so ago as I know this is usually a sign of a stressed fish!

I have done a quick google search of medicinal treatments for swimbladder disease and my local pets at home apparently stocks a antibacterial water treatment for swimbladder disease. Is this worth picking up at all? I have a bottle of Melafix which I bought as a precaution when Hugo got a scrape a few months back. Would this help at all if fasting him doesn't improve the situation?

Thank you so much for all your time and effort everyone. I appreciate having someone in the know right now! :)

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White poo's could just be from the stress on the fish, but it does also mean internal infection. Swim bladder can be caused by some nasty bacteria or parasites so I think it would be a lot better to buy some medicated food instead of a water treatment. I have to make my own so I am not sure what is commercially available for you. Hopefully someone else can fill you in on that :)

Fasting is perfectly fine, and is beneficial for the fish, so both will have no problem with this. It is a good idea to fast your fish anyway for one day a week, that way you can avoid constipation and swim bladder issues

I think the fasting will be a lot better than melafix, but just see how it goes

If needed, you can temporarily house your fish in a large tub with a filter. It may be a better option if your tank suddenly crashes on you, or if you can't keep on top of the water changes.

Hope this helps a little and good luck :)

Edited by Narny105
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If you are unable to afford a tank anytime soon you may want to consider using a large food safe (e.g. sterilite) storage tub with a filter an airstone. You can usually get these at walmart (edit: or UK equivalent ;) ) for cheap. It is not pretty, but it would provide your fish with extra water volume.

Your other fish will be just fine without food for a few days as well :)

I have never used agar flakes, only powder, so I can't say whether or not it would make any difference, hopefully someone else can weigh in on that.

I would not get the water treatment or use the melafix. If he does end up requiring meds, I believe they will need to be internal. Typically, the medication used for floaty fish that don't respond to the described environmental/dietary changes is metro meds, which I don't believe you have access to in the UK. Metronidazole (flagyl) is the primary ingredient in this (although there are a couple other ingredients in metro meds that also seem to be important).

Unfortunately, I do not know what you have access to in terms of metro in the UK. I would give the suggestions you have already gotten some time, if they do not work and/or he begins getting worse other members will be able to advise you on obtaining medication etc. It is always best to try all other avenues first, as meds can be harsh on the system and should only be used when absolutely necessary. :)

Edited by tithra
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Thanks very much for your advice everyone!

This morning he is looking perfect again, no floatiness at all. I can see that he is in the process of pooping the spinach from last night, this poop looks healthy but i will keep an eye on him throughout the day and see how he gets on and if there are any changes.

I'll keep up the fasting and not feed him for 2 days. (please let me know if you think I should give it more or less time than 2 days) Then i'll try him on things like peas and spinach again. I'll update again here soon but at the moment he's fine again. :) It's such a relief to see him not struggling, for a while at least! I get concerned for the condition of his scales if they're poking out of the water for too long!

As for the tank i'll see if i can look into getting a cheap second hand one as there's no way I can afford £300 for a larger one yet!

Thanks again for all your help and advice! :)

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With the gulping at the surface, I have noticed this being something that my fish like to do too, but mostly after "protein rich" food.

Some time feed them blanched veggies. Like a slice of cucumber or zucchini. If you thoroughly blanch it, it will just sink to the bottom of the tank and you don't even need a veggie clip. Observe if your fish go to the surface and gulp after eating.

Mine don't do it when I feed veggies like that. With goldfish being herbivores for the most part, it won't hurt to cut down on the pellets and increase the amount of fresh veggies fed. Cucumber, zucchini, romaine lettuce, kale, red peppers, tomatoes, spinach, squash, pumpkin, green peans, peas, soy beans, parsley,... there's a big variety to feed them from. And if it keeps them from gulping/floating, it is a good thing!

Edited by Oerba Yun Fang
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Wow, thanks for that advice! I didn't know there was so much variety to what you can feed them! I'll definitely look at feeding them more fresh foods from now on. I'm looking forward to his fasting being over then we can experiment with foods for them both :)

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Hi everyone,

I just thought I'd give you a little update. We are still fasting him and will be until this evening / tomorrow morning. He is still perfectly buoyant and seems to be able to go up and down as he chooses, big relief! However this morning when we came in and turned their light on, I noticed a very long (3 inches or so) white stringy poop with lots of bubbles in it. I'm hoping this is him passing a lot of the excess air in his system, but the length and thinness of this poop has concerned me a little. Is this something I am likely to see? Does this mean he's working it through or that there is still and ongoing issue (enough to warrant this type of poop).

He still seems perfectly happy, dorsal is up and he's interacting with us lots (probably asking where his food is!). Do you have any advice on what I should feed him first when we reintroduce foods to him? We have some spinach so we can give that a go if you think that's a wise choice?

Anyway, not a major concern I just thought i'd let you know about the white poop and see if you thought it was any cause for concern.

Thanks again guys!

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