Barb "staggering" instead of swimming??

  1. Nickibaby Initiate Member

    My long tailed male rosy barb is swimming differently all of a sudden. I just keep thinking he looks like he is drunk. Equilibrium? It's like he is slightly tilted and wobbly. It looks like his breathing is slightly labored with just a bit of gill flaring. Other than that he seems totally fine. I did some research and thought maybe swim bladder disease. I have been feeding him a pea a day but this is the fourth day and he seems less tilted but just as wobbly.
  2. Jaysee Fishlore Legend Member

    I saw you have a thread going about water quality - that would be a factor. It does not sound like swim bladder to me.

    Have you been doing any water changes? That's always the first thing to do when you are concerned there's a problem.

  3. Nickibaby Initiate Member

    I had been having a water quality issue but the water has finally cycled I believe. That's why I am confused about him acting funny now. He was fine thru all the high ammonia and now that all the levels are great he's acting sick.

    I was doing 25% water changes with Prime daily until the ammonia finally zeroed. The levels have been holding at optimum levels for 5 days now. I figured I should hold on water change for a few days as long as ammonia did not raise.
  4. Nickibaby Initiate Member

    Long story short, It has been over 3 mos. Since I started my tank but had an ICH outbreak leading to popeye problems leading to fungus so medications used kept interrupting my cycle. This barb showed no signs of sickness thru the whole ordeal and finally I think I have things resolved and now he gets sick. Oy Vey!

  5. Jaysee Fishlore Legend Member

    I'm glad to hear that the tank is now cycled, but that all takes a toll on the fish. Some more than others.

    I'm not that good with pathology, so perhaps someone else will have more to say about it.
  6. Nickibaby Initiate Member

    Today he is really just the same. He is still eating at least. Anyone?
  7. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    I had an Odessa Barb that started swimming funny. It got to where he would just be doing loops and swimming erratically all over the tank. It took a while, but he finally died. I'm not sure what it was, but it looked like what you would expect a central nervous system problem to look like (if fish actually get central nervous system problems).

    Hopefully that is not the case with your Barb. All you can really do is keep the water parameters in check. I don't know of any meds that would seem appropriate.

    Best of luck!

  8. catsma_97504 Fishlore Legend Member

    I'm sorry your barb is not doing well. I agree with the above. A couple of months in an uncycled tank is very hard on fish. Those that manage to survive seem to have more health issues and die early IME.

    Other than the heavy breathing, are there any other changes? Red or purple gills, dark patches somewhere on the body? Anything?

    I suspect this is the result of ammonia or nitrite poisoning. With this in mind I recommend adding freshly minced garlic to his food. Take a clove of garlic and finely mince it. Mix a small amount with food and a drop of water. Store remaining in airtight container. Or, you could purchase Garlic Guard. Fish Vitamins might help heal as well.

    Continue to monitor water parameters closely. Keeping pristine conditions are critical with sick fish.

    Hopefully he will recover quickly and you can begin to enjoy your fish.
  9. Nickibaby Initiate Member

    I hope its not the case also Jd. hope he recovers quickly too Cat. Enjoying the tank would be nice:)

    I forgot to mention he was VERY pale. Almost total absence of color really but 2day he has silvered and brightened up a bit. Appetite still good, no patches, no purple /red (except that as he is breathing somewhat heavy they look a little redder I assumed it was because they were opening faster and wider?) gills. The water parameters in the quarantine tank are perfect, luckily. I still believe my main tank has finally cycled. Five full days with zero ammonia and all other levels perfect. I am so so so happy and relieved. I will be really bummed if the ammonia spikes again.

    Not sure if I should start a new thread. I apologize if I should have. Let me know and i will move it. What do u do about a very piggish fish that eats so much I am afraid it will eat itself to death. I'm not OVERfeeding but this zebra fish chases all the others off and eats most of the floating food
    (they are my only mostly top feeding fish). When u look at it from the side it looks totally full of food and it looks very fat. Not dropsy bulgy, just fat. Then the next morning she's not so fat but pigs out again. Should I worry?

    Thanks for all your help
  10. Nickibaby Initiate Member

    well, i dont think my barb is going to get any better. he eats, his color is back, his breathing seems fine now but he is still swimming funny. He swims slowly (and barbs are usually so frantic) and sometimes tilted. When he tries to turn quickly he almost does a back flip. like he is doing it upside down. I guess like jd said, maybe he will just always be this way now. I just wish I could figure out why.

  11. Nickibaby Initiate Member

    Well, he's still alive but still really seems to be struggling. The large tear on his tailfin healed nicely. The frayed fins are getting slowly better and the white fringe on the edges has almost gone away but he still struggles terribly when swimming. If he gets caught in the current of the filter he starts to spin in circles and can't stop. Once he does finally stop he floats to the bottom and just looks almost dead for a couple seconds. I have been researching his symptoms. It seems like maybe tuberculosis, whirling disease or a broken back. The parameters look good except the ammonia is fluctuating but never gets higher than .25 or a tad higher so, it shouldn't be ammonia burn. If it is any of the three things I mentioned they are all incurable. From what I read all are pretty slow ways to die. Jdhef mentioned his Odessa and said that it was acting the same way and it died really slowly. I just don't want him to suffer. I made this post April 4th so he has been sick nearly a month. I just don't know if I should euthanize him or give it a bit longer. Any thoughts?
  12. Jaysee Fishlore Legend Member

    A month is a long time to not see improvement. It's nice the fins are doing better, but that's just cosmetic. I think it's time to euthanize the fish.
  13. toosie Well Known Member Member

    What are your nitrite levels?

    Have you changed filter media? Just trying to figure out why you'd still be having spikes. Even traces of ammonia or nitrites can be very hard on fish especially if the exposure is drawn out. It has an accumulative effect. If you are still having even low level spikes it's time to try to figure out why.
  14. chipster55 Member Member

    Try putting stress coat in water without water change. I have a rts that lost his color in fact he was grey and after adding extra stress coat he stared feeling better and has all his black is back and shiney. I know that you seem to have more problems but just a suggestion
  15. Nickibaby Initiate Member

    Sorry Toosie. There is always so much info to include & I try to not write a novel :) So if my lengthiness is annoying BLAME TOOSIE!! Kidding of course. I only took up fishkeeping in February so I am very much still learning.

    Firstly, he (Jerry the long fin Barb) is in my 10g. quarantine tank. The 29g main tank is cycled. The quarantine was nearly cycled then when I had a sick cory in there one morning the whole tank was covered in a fuzzy white fungus. I tried washing ornaments, cleaning sides and did several large water changes but every morning the fungus was back. So, I completely started over a total of three times with this tank but illnesses and medicines have stalled the cycle every time. Therefore the 10g is still in new tank stage. I've tried using media from the cycled tank.

    Here's some stats if it helps:

    29g- 4 glofish, 2 rosy barbs, 3 emerald corycats and 3 Bolivian Rams
    planted, salted, rounded gravel substrate, 12in Bubble Bar
    Ammo= 0 Ite= 0 Ate= 50 Ph= 7.4
    Temp= 75-76 deg
    Penguin Bio-wheel HOS Filter, weekly 25% water change (w/ vacuum) or one 10% water change (w/ no vacuum) & one 25% water change (w/ vacuum) in 10 days). I use a baster in between to get any visible waste in substrate out. I always skim any waste that has been stirred up out of the water.

    10g-only the one fish in tank
    Filter, added aeration, have been doing daily 40-50% water change daily before medicating but have went thru treatment with Maracyn 2, Coppersafe, Maroxy and Melafix & fins healing r the only lasting changes I've observed
    Ammo= 0 Ite= 25-50 Ate=0 Ph= 7.4
    Temp= 75-76 deg
    Jerry got sick when he was in the 29g (it is cycled)and the parameters are pristine. However, Catsma mentioned that since it only recently cycled (only about a week b4 I noticed symptoms) & it was a slow process getting there, the fishes could now be showing the affects of all the stress of being in an uncycled tank for so long. I moved the barb as soon as I saw signs of illness but fin rot was pretty bad by then (my barbs are always so erratic & fast swimming it's hard to see their fins). I just noticed yesterday that the other barbs (Dunn- long finned & Ninja- regular rosy) have fin rot pretty bad now. I just examined them 2 days ago & they looked fine. The 1st one got sick almost a month ago. Could this be the same thing affecting these 2 after that long? I tried to catch the 2 barbs to put them in 10g with the other barb but was stressing all the fishes so bad (barbs are NOT the easiest fish to catch, plus it really sucks to reset everything in the tank b/c u knocked it all down trying to catch them). I decided maybe I should be on the safe side and treat the entire tank. I don't know what's going on with these illnesses so I am scared to death I could lose all my fish. Is there a better medication to treat with since I am not sure exactly what I am treating? Should I just see if the the 2nd two heal up on their own? I'm worried Fin rot could b secondary to whatever Jerry has and all the fish could end up as sick as he is. The 2 barbs seem fine other than shabby fins but they seem very intolerant of each other and they are always close and swimming together. The 1st barb started with just Fin Rot too so I am very worried. I hate to medicate healthy fish but I'm thinking/hoping that if I am proactive maybe I won't lose more fish.

    Please let me know if I'm forgetting any important info.
  16. Nickibaby Initiate Member

    I tried Melafix which is supposed to add stress coat and heal fin rot but it just made the tank smell like a mixture of Vick's Vapo Rub & Ben Gay. Maybe I should try just plain Stress Coat. I just hate dumping bunches of junk (chemicals) in. Especially when I don't even know what I am treating. Ahhhh! I am sooo frustrated!!

    Thanks everyone for trying to help.
  17. toosie Well Known Member Member

    One of the easiest and safest ways to treat fin rot is to just beef up the tank maintenance by doing large water changes every day or two until the fins have healed and start soaking their food in some garlic juice prior to feeding them. I make my own garlic juice by crushing a clove of garlic and placing it into a container with some water and placing it in the fridge until I want to use some of it. You can buy a product called Garlic Guard or you can just buy some minced garlic in water at the grocery store as long as that is all that there is in it. The garlic will help boost their immune system and make them more able to fight this off. It also has mild antibiotic properties so it can help prevent secondary infections from setting in.

    Even when the water parameters we can test for look good, it doesn't always mean our water is in tip top condition. There are a lot of different components in water that affect fish health that we simply cannot test for so, anytime your fish are acting stressed or showing signs of sickness, one of the best things you can do for them is extra water changes. Most times that is the cure in itself.

    Usually medications are unnecessary to treat fin rot.
  18. Nickibaby Initiate Member

    Thanks Toosie. I'll do the water changes. I thought once it was cycled I didn't have to do them as much. I have tried the garlic soaked food several times. They take one bite and won't have anything more to do with it. I'll try the garlic guard.

    But, what about the possibility that the fin rot is a secondary symptom of whatever the 1st barb has? I guess I just have to wait and see if more symptoms show up?
  19. toosie Well Known Member Member

    When the tank is cycled you're right in that daily water changes aren't usually necessary. Usually large weekly water changes keep our water healthy for our fish, but sometimes things still go wrong in the water and our fish get sick. The benefits of extra clean water during these times seems to give the fish the added boost they need in order to fight off some types of infections. Sometimes medications are necessary for certain things but it's actually quite amazing how many things a fish can fight off themselves with just the help of those extra water changes.

    Most of what is going on with your fish including the 1st barb is likely the residual effects of the cycling process as Catsma has suggested. Different vital organs can be damaged due to levels of ammonia and nitrites and really high levels of nitrates. The longer fish are exposed to even very low levels of ammonia or nitrites the more likely it is that damage to organs will result. This isn't to say the fish can't recouperate. Given time and ultra good water the fish's body will try to flush the toxins from their body and the healing process will begin. Some people do try to medicate but unfortunately medications can put more strain on already weakened body functions, especially the kidneys because the kidneys job is to purify the blood and remove toxins including medications.

    If you wanted to try to treat the 1st barb with an antibiotic, (which I'm not recommending at this point) you'd need to set up a quarantine tank to treat it in order to avoid putting additional stress on all of the other fish and possibly cause more problems for them. It would be better to take chances with one to see if it helped him than to take chances with all of them. You've used a few different treatments in the past few months already, so I think your fish could use a good break and just need time, TLC, and more water changes.
  20. Nickibaby Initiate Member

    That all makes a lot of sense to me. I was leaning towards giving up on meds anyway for now. I haven't done any good using them thus far. Luckily the only medicine I put in the main tank was Melafix (i've done two 30-40% water changes since then also. I moved) the 1st barb to a quarantine tank as soon as I noticed symptoms.

    Thanks a lot Toosie