I'm hoping someone can help me help my tetra. She has swollen gills with the red visible underneath. She is breathing very rapidly & constantly swimming as can't stay balanced. She swims at this angle / with head up & occasionally swims to the top for a bit of extra oxygen. Other than that she swims with the other tetras. She has been like this for over a week now. She has eaten a couple of blood worms. I've done 3 water changes in the last week to keep the water extra clear. Amnonia & nitrites always 0 but nitrates sometimes get up to 25 - although not now with all the water changes. I've been adding Esha 2000 every day for the last week but doesn't seem to be making any difference. She's not getting worse but not getting better & I worry she'll die of exhaustion. Does anyone have any ideas what might be up with her? don't think flukes as not rubbing herself.
Size of tank (litres/gallons or dimensions) A list of all tank occupants (species' and number of each) pH and hardness of water Temperature Filtration used Anything new added recently (livestock, plants decor) How often you normally change water and how much each time Which dechlorinator you use Which test kit you use
The tank is 64 litres & I perform a 10litre water change every week. It's maintained at 25 degrees. Declorinator is Interpet Tapsafe. I use the API test kit.
Nothing new has been added for a long time - new plants in July. Actually just remembered, added a new filter end October, Fluval U2. Had both running until a few days ago to get new one cycled. Tetra was poorly before I switched old one off.
Current fish 6 glo light tetras, 4 golden barbs, 4 corydoras sterbai & a few snails that must have come in on plants. The glo lights are approx 18 months old.
Hope you can help. She was the first to get some fish flakes earlier so all this extra swimming is definitely making her hungry. My Dad thinks I should put her out of her misery but I don't like to give up.
A couple of things spring to mind. First is that running a new filter alongside an existing one doesn't guarantee thet the new filter will be colonised by bacteria. Basically, there will only ever be just enough to deal with the waste in the tank. They are living in the existing filter, fairly firmly "glued" to the filter media and have no reason to move to the new filter so it's possible that now the old filter has been removed your tank is cycling from scratch again. This would fit as the fish is showing typical symptoms of ammonia poisoning.
Did you test the water at all between the point where you removed the old filter and the point where you started these water changes? If so, what were the results?
Your nitrate level is very low considering the amount of stock you have and the low amount of water changes you do as standard, which points either to a problem with the cycle or to a problem with the nitrate test. Can you retest everything making sure to follow the directions very precisely and giving the nitrate test bottle #2 a full 30 seconds very vigorous banging and shaking before adding the drops and then giving the test tube a full and very vigorous one minute shake.
Golden Barbs (Puntius semifasciolatus) are really a bit big for your tank. They need about a 3ft tank to swim properly and are temperate fish rather than tropical. At 25C your water is rather warm for them. They do best at around 20-22C and the maximum for them (though short term only) is 24C.
With four Golden Barbs totalling 32cm, four Corydoras sterbai totalling 26cm and six Glowlights adding up to another 24cm you have 82cms of fish in your tank. After displacement for gravel, decor etc you have approximately 55 litres of water and for a fully mature tank the absolute maximum amount of fish is 1cm per litre so you are quite overstocked. That makes the low nitrate reading very strange especially as you are only changing 10L of water per week.
In a normally stocked tank, 25% is the recommended minimum amount of water to change to keep nitrates in check (15 litres), but when overstocked that usually needs to be more.
As the Golden Barbs aren't really compatible with the other fish in terms of water temperature, need a larger shoal to thrive and really are too big for the tank, it would be a good idea to try and rehome them. It would also be better for your Cories to add another two to bring their number up to six, as they do better in groups of at least six.
Retest carefully and let us know what you find, as there seems to be some issue with the test results so far.
I haven't actually removed the filter yet as I thought it might still be beneficial to keep in it until the new filter was upto speed - I just switched it off. The fish was already poorly at this stage anyway.
I've just tested the water again. Ammonia & nitrites 0. Nitrates either 10 or 20 as both colours on chart look quite similar to me. Never been entirely sure how to use these charts, if I hold the test tube next to chart it's always alot lighter than if I hold it against chart(ie with the white from the chart behind it rather than air). If I hold it with the white behind it's somewhere between 20 & 40. I have 4 live plants also in the tank.
OK, well unfortunately the bacteria in the old filter won't survive long if it's turned off. They need constantly flowing water to survive and work effectively. How long has it been turned off?
The right way to read the test results is to hold the test tube so that the white of the card is behind it and the test tube is about 1cm up from the card surface, so that you're looking through the test tube to the white part of the card.
The plants you have will be having no impact on nitrate levels - it takes a huge amount of plants to make a dent in the nitrate in a tank. Do you know what the level of nitrates is in your tap water?