Yep me again, calling on your collective advice once more.
I've just gotten over a detritus worm infestation with lots of water changes and intense cleaning and now I'm up against another problem.
As some of you know George went into an uncycled tank which is still showing NA&NI at 0 but today after testing the water the PH has dropped off and the ammonia has piqued.
Yesterday early morning he wasn't going mad at the corner of the tank for his first feed like he usually would, he was looking rather sorry for himself at the back corner of the tank, almost hiding in his plants. He seemed to be yawning a lot compared to having a yawn in the late evening around about when I turn his light off for the day.
So I pre soaked some food and fed him. Nothing, no interest. Then I splashed the water a little to get his attention and he was swimming up to the food looking at it and half heartedly opening his mouth but not taking any. I tried him with some daphi, thinking if he looks through the gravel for food he'll hoover those up. Nope, he's not pooped. What he has passed since then is like poop casing with nothing inside.
Today again I fed him, but now he's sucking it into his mouth and instantly spitting it out, no chewing - nothing, then he swims away from the food back to the plants.
:( Is this a ph related issue? I've no idea why it's dropped so low unless the 50% changes were something to do with it because of the need to get rid of the worms. using seachem prime for the water too.
Any ideas? Kinda worried he's got a stone in his mouth or he's going to starve to death :(
Firstly what are your actual test results for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH?
When you say pH has fallen, by how much and since when?
Which test kit are you using?
Increased water changes won't be the cause of the pH drop in the tank unless the pH of your water supply has dropped from its usual level so check that too please.
The empty poop casings could mean that he's full of gas as a result of overfeeding/fermentation of food in his gut which is quite a possibility given your recent problem with detritus worms. Another possibility is that he has an internal bacterial infection. That would also cause the poop issues, lack of appetite and lethargy. Finally, he could have some kind of internal parasites.
Post up the water results and look carefully for any other symptoms and we'll go from there. We need to work out what's going on with the water, but in the meantime in case this is just an overfeeding/blockage issue, starve him for 2 days and then feed him squashed peas only as his first meal after the fast.
I'll do another water test using the API freshwater master test kit and post the results once I've done a water change. Results have changed since monday where previously his PH was at 6.6 but now it seems somewhere around 6.0/6.1 as it's a super pale green verging on yellow.
Can't say I know off hand the tap ph, I have testing strips for that but find them pretty hard to read.
Test before the water change as that's what's relevant to his current state. Use the API test for the tap water too as test strips are too inaccurate. Test once straight from the tap and test a sample left to stand in a cup for 24 hours and post both results.
OK, well aside from any other issues you need to do several huge water changes to get that ammonia down. It looks like there is no cycling happening in the tank at all with 0 nitrates since Monday. If your pH is down at 6 the cycle may have stalled completely and any bacteria you had may either have become dormant or died off completely. pH that low is a reasonable indicator that the carbonates in the water have been exhausted - without carbonates the bacteria are unable to "digest" ammonia or nitrite and starve to death. The ammonia in the water would account for his symptoms, at least in part, but may have additionally provoked a bacterial infection.
Let us know what the pH of the 24 hour sample is tomorrow, but for now get busy with the buckets and it may be a good idea to get an API kH/gH test kit as I'm pretty sure you're going to have to increase these to maintain a stable pH and biological cycle in the tank, and to provide sufficient water conductivity to balance the fish's fluid regulation system.