Apistos Gasping, Loss Of Color


29 gallon
3 Apisto caca.
3 zebra loaches
4 zebra danios
1 pleco

I have an EheI'm Professional II canister filter and an airstone running.

Background: On April 19th, I noticed a camallanus worm poking out of one of the apistos. On April 21, I added Levamisole to the tank. On April 24th, I changed all the water in the tank to removed the medication. All of the fish had been acting fine since then. The next treatment date should be this Saturday.

temp: 74
On May 3rd, the apistos, one in particular, looked gaspy. He was not at the water surface.
Water quality was:
ammonia: between 0 and .25
nitrite: 5

Since the third, I have done regular water changes and have been treating with Melafix. The apistos still looked gaspy to varying degrees. I see no physical signs of illness. When it was feeding time, they would zip around the tank and eat readily.

Today I fed them food soaked in garlic which everyone enjoyed. I noticed one apisto was scratching himself, so I guessed it was parasites. I treated the three apistos in a bath of Paraguard for 45 minutes. I did not treat the whole tank since scaleless fish can be sensitive and I saw no ill signs in anyone else. When I took the apistos out of the bath, they seemed much worse. I hoped it was stress from the bath. It's been maybe three hours since then and they do look better. Not better than before the bath, but better than after the bath.

I just noticed two of the zebra loaches are gasping and very pale. They are still active but look like they are struggling to breath. I treated the tank with a half dose of Paraguard since it is recommended to start with a lower does to accumulate scaleless fish to the medication.

I still don't know for sure what is wrong. They are eating, though they seem slow. Ammonia is zero or very small, less than .25. Nitrite is zero, nitrate is 5. These have remained consistent. I have to do the next treatment of Levamisole in a few days. Should I even be using Paraguard? I know I shouldn't use both meds at the same time, but should I use it until then? Could it be camallanus worms that are causing gasping, or an infection from having dead/paralyzed worms inside them? I'm trying so hard to keep my fishies healthy but I don't know what the best course of action is.
  • Thread Starter


Some other things I noticed when looking back at my journal:

The pH seems to flucuate, from 6.4 to 6.8 then back down again. It stays within that range but changes day to day. I don't know why it would do that but I imagine it could cause more stress to fish.

On May 4th, the temperature was up to 80. I don't know why. I did a water change to help bring it back down, checked the heater, and kept the light off. My tank is near a window so it could have been sunlight. Again, doesn't seem like something that would cause all these problems but seems like it could contribute to stress.
  • Thread Starter


One of the apistos has since died. I looked at the body and gills as best I could and didn't see anything wrong.
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