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Bottom sitting, bloated, other fish starting to bottom sit


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  • * Ammonia Level - 0
  • * Nitrite Level - 0
  • * Nitrate level - 5 ppm
  • * Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) ~8
  • * Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) ~8
  • * Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API - drops
  • * Water temperature? 75
  • * Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 37, 2 months
  • * What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? Marineland Eclipse 3, Eheim Classic 2213
  • * How often do you change the water and how much? About every 5 days, 50-70%

  • * How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? 4 days ago, 70%
  • * How many fish in the tank and their size? 4, one is ~2", two are ~2.5", one is ~5.5-6", also an apple snail
  • * What kind of water additives or conditioners? Prime, Stress Coat to bind up copper for snail
  • * What do you feed your fish and how often? 2x per day, mainly Omega 1 sinking goldfish pellets, but these mixed in some days: bloodworms, orange, zucchini, now medi-gold
  • * Any new fish added to the tank? Apple snail ~3 weeks ago
  • * Any medications added to the tank? Feeding MediGold
  • * List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment. See descriptioin below
  • * Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? See description below
  • * Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? See description below

My poor fish! It started with only one of them - Falafel - I'll start with him.

For the past few weeks he has been sitting on the bottom of the tank exclusively, and is bloated. He will get up and swim around for very short periods of time (if I approach the tank, or randomly). He seemed to be feeling well besides the bottom sitting. Healthy appetite, swims around when I come up to visit at the tank. His poor little pelvic fins were getting a bit pink from sitting on the gravel for so long, but that has gone away and now one of his pectoral fins is red at the base. He wasn't gasping at all, until the last few days. Even now he doesnt gasp unless he's had one of his little swimming bouts. He will get up and swim for a second, bit it seems like a huge struggle - he doesn't swim, float, swim like fish do, he has to wiggle the WHOLE time and when he stops he plunks right down to the bottom of the tank like he can't keep himself afloat.

Here is what I have done (this was all last week, before the gasping):

I thought it was probably constipation, so I fasted him for a few days and then did 2 days of cooked shelled peas... didn't see him poop (but I couldn't watch 100% of the time). Fasted him for a day more, dipped him in a 1% salt solution, and the next day in a 1.5% salt solution. Nothing was working but I saw him poop a tiny thin white thread-like poop. I researched the crap out of this (no pun intended) and most things pointed to bacterial infection.

Shortly before that white thread poop, my other fish started hanging out at the bottom as well. Nothing near as bad as Falafel - they seem to be able to keep themselves afloat fine, and swim around probably like 40% of the time. The other fish do not seem bloated, the only symptoms they were showing is the bottom sitting.

I have MediGold so I started that 6 days ago. They are all eating it (but not as voractiously as they seem to eat other things) and most are pooping fine, but Falafel still has ONLY the white stringy poop, and Spaetzel now does too.

None of the other fish are gasping, but then again neither was Falafel for a long while when I thought he was just severely constipated.

Here is a video that I took of Falafel as requested:

Any advice? I feel so terrible for my poor fish, I want to cure them so badly :[

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Oh I should add - since I started the MediGold the other 3 fish have seemed to show some improvement on and off. But maybe it is just hopeful thinking? They still bottom sit a bit but they're otherwise pretty active when they're up. I just can't be sure. Falafel has held a steady "not so good" the entire time. :[

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Oh, poor babies.I hope they feel better soon.

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I noticed you have gravel. How deep is the bed and do you thoroughly vaccum it weekly?

I'd say it's about an inch, and yes I vaccume it throughly every other time I do a water change, which is about every 5 days.

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Oh, poor babies.I hope they feel better soon.

Thank you <3 I do too, it makes me want to cry. I know it sounds crazy but when I see him gasping like that it makes me feel like I am getting a bit short of breath too. I just can't stand to watch it.

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Yes, two weeks is the standard for feeding medicated food, although sometimes it may need to be a tad longer.

Have you ever treated for flukes? Does the bottom sitter rouse when you come near the tank?

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I have not ever treated for flukes. And yes he does rouse! When I come to check him out, he will do a full lap of the tank, up and down, and the plop down immediately after as if he can't keep himself afloat.

The other fish wiggle - float - wiggle - float, but Falafel can't swim without wiggling the entire time. It looks exhausting :[

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I just looked at the video, and I am wondering if it could be external parasites, such as flukes. He is "breathing" rather heavily, and I suspect that there may be some gill infections. I would take advantage of the fact that you are feeding them all Medi-Gold to treat for flukes. We use Prazipro, a liquid praziquantel formulation for these purposes. At the very least, we need to eliminate this possibility.

The other thing I am concerned about is that it does seem like he is visibly struggling to move about, and seems to have a tough time getting much lift. This could be there there is swim bladder damage, possibly from an infection.

Both possibilities are not mutually exclusive. Bottom sitters are more prone to getting infections.

Would you be able to order some Metro-Meds from goldfishconnection.com? Once the flukes possibility has been eliminated, I would like to suggest MMs, to see if we can fix the swim bladder issue. One word up front though, swim bladder "sinkers" are not easy to treat :(

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Yes absolutely, I will order them straight away! So I need to purchase both Prazi and Metro-Meds, correct? And I should treat with Prazi while I still have them on Medi-Gold?

Also, about the heavy breathing, he only does that after he has a little swimming bout. If he has been just sitting on the bottom, he does not gasp like that. I'm not sure if that makes a difference but I thought it was worth mentioning.

I read somewhere this morning that I can get a little floating basket to keep him off the ground, do you think this would be beneficial? It would keep him up very close to the lights though, should I keep them off while I have him in there?

Sorry for all the questions, I just want to give them the absolute best care I can, I really REALLY appreciate you helping me with this!

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Yes, the breeder basket is a great idea, because as he sits on the gravel, he is more prone to getting infections, such as on his belly and on fins, which could eventually become internal. When you do put him in a breeder basket, just block that part of the tank from direct light overhead, should you worry :)

Yes, I would treat with Prazipro while they are on the antibiotics. The reason I suggest that is because if there are flukes, the wounds left by dying flukes could be infected secondarily with bacteria. So, since you are already having them on antibiotics, it's a great time to treat :)

Thank you for the clarification about the gasping. It sounds more and more like a swim bladder issue. Is he ever able to get to the top of the tank?

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Ok, great, now I have a plan of action. I have purchased both products, but it looks like the prazi will not be here until the 16th. I'll continue the Medi-Gold until it arrives and while I treat with the Prazi.

Thank you thank you thank you SO much, you don't knwo how much it means to me to get some advice about this. I am quite attached to my little fish! I'll keep the thread updated as anything changes/I treat it

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I hope your fishies get better soon :heart I know it's hard to see them when they're in distress :(

Thank you! I see that yours are having some problems as well :[ Hopefully all our fishy friends will make smooth and speedy recoveries! You're right about being distressed, I just wish there was more we could do! <3

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Well, not much of an update, but I thought I'd mention that I did an 80% water change today - nitrates were at 20 but the gravel seemed dirtier than normal. The MediGold seems to gunk up my tank quickly.

I bought a net breeder box and have put Falafel in it, he is still always on the bottom, but I feel better having him up off of the gravel. The other 3 seem to be doing a tad better in the last few days, maybe only sitting on the bottom 40% of the time now.

I also began the process of removing the gravel from my tank. I think I will probably keep a little bit in there for my plants, but from what I read I have too thick of a layer. 1", maybe 1.5". I removed about 1/5 of it, and will do another 1/5 on ~Thursday, when I do another water change.

Still feeding MediGold and anxiously awaiting the Prazi and MM to get here!

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Yes I have indeed! It looks like the MetroMeds should get here a few days before the Prazi will - should I keep them on the MediGold until I have the chance to treat with Prazi or should I switch to the MM when they arrive and feed that throughout?

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How is he doing today? May we have a short video, along with an update of parameters? We do this to make sure that all is well, or if not, to remedy the situation :)

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Today he is just resting in his net box, he ate a few pieces of the MediGold that I put in there for him this morning, and has been pooping (it is actually nice having him in this box so I can be SURE he is pooping - something I was not 100% sure of before).

I work 8:30-5 but as soon as I get home I will video him for you and test my water! It should be near perfect because yesterday it was 0/0/20 and I did a water change, but I will test anyhow :]

Thank you for keeping up with Falafel's situation!

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RIP little Falafel :[ Thank you so much for trying to help me with him. I hope the meds come fast enough to help the other three, they still seem to be doing decently :[ I'm so sad I feel like a terrible fish mommy :[

When I got home the breeder box netting had a fine layer of gunk accumulated on the outside of it - presumably debris from the MediGold. Like I was saying above it seemed to gunk up my tank when I put it in, like it would almost crumble. I wonder if it started decomposing and he was trapped in this box of terrible filth :[ :[ :[ It's such an awful thought.

Here are my current parameters: 0/0/5

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