Black Skirt Tetra Needs Help Question

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by mattgirl, Jun 21, 2018.

  1. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    I am not a beginner to keeping fish but am a beginner to trying to help a fish that isn't feeling well. I know some of the first questions are going to be about my perimeters but rest assured my tank water isn't the problem. Tank is a 55 gallon and has been cycled for well over 2 years. It gets a 30% water change every week. Nitrates may be a bit high at 40. I will do an extra water change this week to get them lower.

    One of my long finned black skirt tetras hasn't been feeling himself for the past few days. He is about 2 1/2 years old. He lives with 5 other LFBST's in a community tank with neon tetras, danios, cory's and a BN Pleco. He is the only one that doesn't feel well.

    A couple of days ago I noticed he wasn't eating. He still gets excited at feeding time but doesn't eat. He goes to the top and for an instant sticks his nose out of the water but I only see him doing it during feeding time. He appears to go toward the food but jut swims past it.

    I see nothing about him that would lead me to believe he has parasites or any sign of any outward problem. His fins are still long and flowing and in perfect shape and the darkest black of all of them. He does swim in jerky motions instead of his normal smooth movements though.

    I have been seeing Peroxide being used in some cases and was wondering if it would help in this case since there are no outward signs of disease. Since I have never had to try to help a sick fish I am lost. I won't just throw anything at him and hope it helps. I am just hoping someone has experienced this and was successful in treating it. Since there are no outward signs I can't provide any other symptoms.

    I don't have a LFS so will either have to use something I have on hand or it will have to be ordered online. I have peroxide and aquarium salt. I have tried to feed peas in case he has a tummy ache but since he isn't eating it hasn't helped him.

    I have considered dissolving an aspirin or maybe an antacid in some tank water and putting him in it for a little while. Do any of y'all think it would help or could it make him worse?

    Thank you all for reading this novel.
  2. endlercollectorFishlore VIPMember

    Do you have a hospital or quarantine tank to put him into? It's always best to isolate and observe.

    Have you added any of the animals, plants, and/or decorations recently?

    It's always tough to diagnose until there are some very specific signs. The jerky movements are odd--I haven't seen that before to tell the truth. Hopefully, another member will recognize that issue. Aspirin is for shock and stress--but I don't know why he'd be experiencing either.
  3. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    I'm sorry to hear your fish is sick. I really don't have any thoughts on what you can do to help him, other than maybe getting those nitrates down, but to be honest, I don't think that will help. I've seen this behavior in the past with my Rainbow Fish. One will stop eating, although he will swim around like he is going to eat, but just doesn't. Outwardly the fish looks fine, but then several days later I'll find him dead. All of the other fish are fine though. I always just assumed the fish just reached the end of it's life.

    Sorry I couldn't be more helpful, but hopefully someone else will see this and have some insight which will be more helpful.
  4. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    Thank you both. I just did a 40% water change so the nitrates are back to 20.

    I ran out of prime a couple of weeks ago and have been using tetra aquasafe because I had some on hand. I now have prime and added a double dose of it with the water change. Don't know if it will help but am sure it won't hurt.

    I am kinda thinking he is reaching the end of his life span but wanted to check and see if there is something that I might be missing. I have gotten really attached to my little guys and feel so helpless when I see one struggling. I googled it and 2 1/2 to 3 years is normal but can live much longer if they are really well taken care of. I am leaning toward age related but it never hurts to ask.

    Thank you for the questions @endlercollector I don't have an empty tank right now. I know it might be good to move him but personally I think it is more stressful to them to net and move them. Fortunately I am able to keep a very close eye on him in the main tank. I feel almost positive that it isn't a disease of any kind so am not concerned for all my other little guys.

    Nothing new has been added.
  5. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    My little guy is still hanging in there. I have seen him eat but he is still struggling. I thought he was a goner last night. I found him laying on the bottom of the tank way back in a corner. As soon as I saw him I tried to net him out. He took off and went back to his struggle to swim.

    The third time it happened I did manage to net him and moved him over to my molly tank. I really expected him to be gone this morning but thought if he is going to survive this tank would be easier for him because it isn't as deep and has less water movement. He is actually still alive this morning and seems to be able to control his body a bit easier since he isn't having to fight the current in my main tank.

    Still no outward signs that could pin point what is happening. I am hoping the small amount of salt I keep in the molly tank will help him. Maybe I should give up on him but I just can't bring myself to end his life. He seems to be a fighter and I want to give him every chance at a better life.

    Thankfully still no sign of what is affecting him affecting anyone else so I felt comfortable moving him to a stocked tank without fear of transferring a disease of some kind to another tank.
  6. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    I was thinking he still had a chance this morning but sadly he swam under the Rainbow bridge a few minutes ago. RIP beautiful little guy. :(
  7. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    I'm so sorry for your loss.
  8. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    Thank you. The beautiful little guy fought the good fight but in the end he lost it. I really wish I knew for sure what happened but it could very well have been his age. I looked him over good after he died and could see no sign of a problem. If age is the case it is possible that I will start losing his buddies since they were all the same age. :(

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