I have used nitra-zorb pads before, in my tanks, to help reduce nitrate levels. They do seem to work, and can be re-charged by soaking in aquarium-salt water (instructions are usually given on the packet). They eventually have to be replaced with new ones, though. I used to get mine off Ebay, although I'm not using them at the moment.
Anyone here got weather-loaches? Life here in the tank has settled down since my old goldie died a couple of months ago. However, I now have the most bizarre behaviour by one of my weatherloaches. I have four of them; three are about seven inches long, lots of spots; the fourth one is a smaller type. They have all been fine, but one of the larger ones....a female...is now acting very strangely. I found her this morning standing vertically in the water, on her tail, tilted over slightly backwards; and with her mouth open. A gentle prod from me proved she was still alive; she swam off, but several minutes later was doing the same thing again. Variations on the theme include falling over on her back until she is lying on the tank floor. I suspect something isn't right with the swimbladder, normally they emit air from the back end as a control, but whether she is doing this or not, I really can't tell. The loach has also distanced herself a little from the others; not all day, but just at times. I can see her now, floating vertically and tail-down, like a ghost rising from the crypt. She is eating and appears to swim well enough, but this other posturing is bizarre. Although I have occasionally treated weather loaches for a touch of fungus, I've never used much else in the way of meds on them.
Should have added; the larger loaches are around three years old. They are in a 1.5 metre (5 feet) tank, 18 inches wide (45cm) and approx 70 UK gallons (320 litres).
Final update. Our old girl was transported to the vet this afternoon, for an ultrasound scan. I am giving the results here in case it may help others in the future who experience something similar with their fish. Firstly; the big swelling under her tail was gas. The swimbladder had been pushed right down towards her tail-end and had a twist in it, thus trapping gas at one end....and causing the flotation. The items responsible for pushing the swimbladder out of shape were the kidneys...developing cysts, and gradually beginning to fail in their functions. Her body was apparently starting to slowly collect fluid as a result of the kidneys failing....no pine-coning seen, but the vet suggested it was just starting to show a little. It is likely that within a few weeks, the fish would have been developing all the signs of kidney failure in the form of dropsy. It was clear that her bodyclock was winding down; we agreed that she should be put to sleep and this was done....she passed away gently and peacefully under sedation and anaesthetic injection. After twenty years of having Madam alongside me in her tank, at the home-office desk, it's going to be very lonely....but I am glad that she will not suffer any more (especially from potential dropsy) and am grateful to have had her for so many years. RIP my little soldier....bold and brave to the end.
Quick update; finally....I have a visit to the vet booked. Next Tuesday. Telephone discussion suggested possible ovarian cysts or tumour. I shall feel terrible over the coming few days, but she must be taken along to diagnose it once and for all. Will update.
Thanks fc. I have had to move her with a net at present; it's not ideal, but she's big (nine inches without the tailfin); and I have to stand on a chair to reach into the tank to get her out. It would be good to get a 10-litre bucket into the tank, but it has sliding doors at the top and this restricts access somewhat. She'd jump out of anything smaller, for sure. It's funny you mentioned JustAnswer, I discovered the UK site only a few days ago. A vet there was great, she looked at photos and suggested the fish might have cysts, it was really so helpful that I'd recommend it. (That's not being negative about the forums, by the way! ).The website itself isn't that brilliant in terms of function (I think it lets the experts down) but on the other hand it was worth a punt, under the circumstances. Thanks for the list, there's no one listed there in my area within easy reach, but I think I may have someone. I don't think I could do a euthanasia job myself...it kinda grinds on my thoughts ...where there's life there's hope...but yes, I have to grit my teeth and make the next move.
I have an update to share; after a fair amount of research and asking questions, it appears my fish may well be a girl, and not the boisterous male I've taken him/her for all these years. The possibility of ovarian cysts. Her swelling is not reduced in size. It is not rock-hard but "turgid", I think might be a good word. I have started some epsom salts baths but she doesnt like being hauled out of the tank for them. I will somehow have to get her to a vet, I fear also it may be a one-way trip for her if things have gone too far. (gulp). Now summoning up courage to make the next move.
Have you considered trying a contact with the Blue Cross animal shelter organisation, or even the PDSA? Blue Cross does try to help with potential re-homing if they can. It's so annoying with so many organisations being closed down. Or are there any other fishkeeping societies around you? I don't live near enough to offer any re-homing, unfortunately.
Hi fcmf That's great, it is a comfort to me right now to feel I'm on the right lines. You know, you mentioned Myxazin, darn me I had a bottle of Waterlife Ulcer and Finrot treatment in my cupboard....never even thought about it, because it's for finrot....and there's the word Myxazin on the bottle! I haven't opened it, it was purchased just a few weeks ago to replace my old out-of-date stock. I won't use it on the fish as yet...he's only just had day 4 of Interpet Swimbladder. Today he has spent quite a while upside down, a bit of food this morning including a piece of pea, but I've just looked and he's trying to pass a large poo. It must be terrible trying to do it upside down. I can't do anything except leave him to it and hope he can get it out. Looks vegetable-like (yesterday's broccoli) but also some darker stuff coming behind.
His tank temperature is being kept around 24 degrees C because I understand it helps with digestion. Yes he's a real character and it's a misery to see him this way; but also yes he is old and I am prepared for the fact that we may lose him.