Bleeding Gills on Cardinals

D0iusnac

Tank
What is the water volume of the tank? Approx 60L though filled to 50 to allow air space, about 13 gallons
How long has the tank been running? Approx a month
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What is the water temperature? 26 degrees celsius
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) 6 Cardinals

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? so far I've been changing at least twice a week PWC, though I've done a few 50% changes recently and sometimes more often
How much of the water do you change? at least 20% ranging to 50-60%
What do you use to treat your water? Seachem prime, API quick start after a few minutes sitting, stress zyme and some immune booster from voogle
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Recently acquired a vac so all water changes this past week have been 50% changes with gravel vacced

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? no, this was an emergency re-homing to me since i had an available tank (although only beginning to be cycled)
What do you use to test the water? API master testing kit
What are your parameters?
Ammonia: .25 ppm
Nitrite: .25ppm
Nitrate: 40ppm
pH: 6.8
all after a 50% WC

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? twice daily though i've ceased on the advice of friends from today
How much do you feed your fish? 4 flakes
What brand of food do you feed your fish? tetra fish flakes

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 2 weeks approx
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? this morning
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Red appearance around gills
Have you started any treatment for the illness? Did a 50% water change, added seachem prime to remaining 50% and added approx 20ml total of immune booster, a little less than advised. Added some PH down to relieve symptoms which I am waiting to retest
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase?

Explain your emergency situation in detail.
Basically, this morning i had noticed my filter had been incorrectly reinstalled after I had done a filter wash (in old tank water), meaning the tank was not being filtered after a water change. Tested ammonia and levels where approx 4-5ppm. I noticed the gills where red, this is the first time i've ever noticed such a symptom even with similar levels having occurred with the previous owner. I've done a 50% water change, added aration, PH down, etc.
I've been using API Ammo Lock and small doses of seachem for the past week after receiving the fish with ammonia levels reaching almost 8ppm, so i am wondering if the seachem released the ammonia and gave them shock
None are lethargic, they seem to be behaving normally despite gills, though they did not try and eat this morning after i added flakes (one or two would go after it slightly before re-shoaling). I've since removed all the uneaten flakes and thereafter i fixed the filter and did the water change. I also removed some mossy plants that seemed to be still ''melting'' (in-vitro) since i didn't want them to affect ammonia at this stage.

Basically what I'm asking is, is there anything more i can do? will my fish survive? I've ordered another filter that should be larger / isn't a sponge filter which I'm considering replacing, though am open to advice. I've also ordered seachem stabiliser, I'm considering ordering some more API quick start though am not sure.

Tank currently holds a cluster of guppy grass, hornwart and a grass-like plant i can't identity, though it was an in-vitro variant. Gravel is black decorative gravel
I'm keeping a close eye on them and I've devastated I let it get to the point of gill bleeding but I'm hoping i can alleviate any more stress
Tried my darnedest to get some good photos, but they kept zipping around
I know you can't REALLY see the redness of the gills here but maybe it'll help someone
For some clarification, I have no idea whether or not they're bleeding or inflamed, though when I see the gills open I can see a noticeable red like a pinkish variant of their own red stomachs, when previously it was a translucent white-ish colour
 

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richiep

The gills are a very sensitive part of fish or crustation and on what your explained it's a chemical inbalance like the high ammonia that will start to show the gill go red,
I don't want to push here so ill ask for other opinions but I would get them back in their original tank ASAP
mattgirl may give some better advise so she's tagged
 
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D0iusnac

The gills are a very sensitive part of fish or crustation and on what your explained it's a chemical inbalance like the high ammonia that will start to show the gill go red,
I don't want to push here so ill ask for other opinions but I would get them back in their original tank ASAP
mattgirl may give some better advise so she's tagged
Their original tank is actually shattered, hence them being in this one, which is why I've tried my hardest to rebalance the ammonia / nitrite levels
I'm not sure if this helps, but I've been watching them periodically since I made this post and the inflammation / red has seemed to reduced a lot especially on the smaller of the fish, though still visible
 
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mattgirl

first. STOP adding ammo-lock. It is why you are getting ammonia spikes. Also stop adding pH down. I highly recommend never using products like this to raise or lower the pH unless you totally understand why you are using them and how to use then correctly. Actually stop adding anything other than you water conditioner. It is good that your water conditioner is Prime.

The ONLY thing you should be using at this point is Prime. When you do your water changes be sure you temp match and add enough Prime to treat the full 13 gallons with each water change until the cycle is stabilized. Once that is done you will just need to add enough for the amount of water you are changing out.

If you are still seeing 40ppm nitrates after a 50% water change either you have nitrates in your source water or they were way to high to begin with in the tank. Please run all the tests on your tap/source water. We need to get base line numbers on the water being used in this tank.
 
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D0iusnac

first. STOP adding ammo-lock. It is why you are getting ammonia spikes. Also stop adding pH down. I highly recommend never using products like this to raise or lower the pH unless you totally understand why you are using then and how to use then correctly. Actually stop adding anything other than you water conditioner. It is good that your water conditioner is Prime.

The ONLY thing you should be using at this point is Prime. When you do your water changes be sure you temp match and add enough Prime to treat the full 13 gallons with each water change until the cycle is stabilized. Once that is done you will just need to add enough for the amount of water you are changing out.

If you are still seeing 40ppm nitrates after a 50% water change either you have nitrates in your source water or they were way to high to begin with in the tank. Please run all the tests on your tap/source water. We need to get base line numbers on the water being used in this tank.
Hi, thanks so much for the advice!

I just ran a nitrate test on the source, it seems to be showing a shade between 0 and 5ppm, i'd guess closer to 0 since it's a yellow-ish tint

Do you think i should do another 50% change tomorrow, or sooner?

EDIT: checked test again and seems to have settled a little closer to 5ppm
 
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mattgirl

Hi, thanks so much for the advice!

I just ran a nitrate test on the source, it seems to be showing a shade between 0 and 5ppm, i'd guess closer to 0 since it's a yellow-ish tint

Do you think i should do another 50% change tomorrow, or sooner?

EDIT: checked test again and seems to have settled a little closer to 5ppm
You are very welcome. The color you see at 5 minutes is the right number so the nitrates we are seeing in this tank aren't coming from the tap. You are basically doing a fish in cycle.

Ammonia: .25 ppm
Nitrite: .25ppm
Nitrate: 40ppm
pH: 6.8
all after a 50% WC
These numbers normally wouldn't prompt me to do a water change but the nitrates concern me. I will recommend you do another 50% water change today mainly to get the nitrates lower. Are you adding any kind of ferts to this tank? If so that may be why the nitrates are this high and I would hold off on adding anymore until the cycle is complete.

Keep in mind. The bacteria we are growing isn't free floating in the water so water changes aren't going to be removing any. As long as you temp match and add prime to the fresh water you could change out 50% of the water daily and it wouldn't affect the cycling process. I am not saying you need to do them that often at this point but just letting you know it can be done if necessary.
If you've not done so already I will recommend you read this thread. Fish In Nitrogen Cycle Simplified | Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Forum | 414083
 
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D0iusnac

You are very welcome. The color you see at 5 minutes is the right number so the nitrates we are seeing in this tank aren't coming from the tap. You are basically doing a fish in cycle.

Ammonia: .25 ppm
Nitrite: .25ppm
Nitrate: 40ppm
pH: 6.8
all after a 50% WC
These numbers normally wouldn't prompt me to do a water change but the nitrates concern me. I will recommend you do another 50% water change today mainly to get the nitrates lower. Are you adding any kind of ferts to this tank? If so that may be why the nitrates are this high and I would hold off on adding anymore until the cycle is complete.

Keep in mind. The bacteria we are growing isn't free floating in the water so water changes aren't going to be removing any. As long as you temp match and add prime to the fresh water you could change out 50% of the water daily and it wouldn't affect the cycling process. I am not saying you need to do them that often at this point but just letting you know it can be done if necessary.
If you've not done so already I will recommend you read this thread. Fish In Nitrogen Cycle Simplified | Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Forum | 414083

I appreciate the advice and your patience so much! Thank you a lot!!

no ferts! Just completed another 50% change, fingers crossed things clear up fast
Should I continue to monitor the fish gills along with keeping an eye on chemical levels?
 
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mattgirl

I appreciate the advice and your patience so much! Thank you a lot!!

no ferts! Just completed another 50% change, fingers crossed things clear up fast
Should I continue to monitor the fish gills along with keeping an eye on chemical levels?
It is surprising to see nitrates this high. The fact that you are seeing them and apparently they are being produced by the cycle means you have both ammonia and nitrite eating bacteria. Without them there would be no nitrates other than the very low amount you are seeing in your tap water.

Keep a close eye on the numbers by testing daily. Now that you've done another 50% water change both ammonia and nitrites along with the nitrates should be down to safe levels. As long as ammonia and nitrites each stay at or below .25 you can skip the water change that day. Should they start going up get them back down with another 50% water change.

If both are down and stay down to zero it is time to start changing out 50% of the water each week for the life of this tank.

Hopefully by doing this the gills will heal but yes, keep an eye on them and if it continues or gets worse we may have to call in some experts.
 
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D0iusnac

Small update! I did two water changes today, one in the morning and one a few hours later
Initially ammonia was about 2ppm so did the first change, then was brought to 1ppm, though after another 50% WC it still seems pretty close to 1ppm? image attached
basically im wondering if there could be something else in my tank causing this high ammonia, or if it's normal?
nitrites are between 0 and .25ppm and nitrates are 5ppm
 

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mattgirl

Have you run the ammonia test on your tap water? As I mentioned before, it is always a good idea to run all the tests on our tap water so we know the parameters of the water we are using for our water changes.
 
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D0iusnac

Have you run the ammonia test on your tap water? As I mentioned before, it is always a good idea to run all the tests on our tap water so we know the parameters of the water we are using for our water changes.
Ran the test on tap water, reading is 1ppm. How can i correct this? should i do a water change with bottled / treated water?
 
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mattgirl

Ran the test on tap water, reading is 1ppm. How can i correct this? should i do a water change with bottled / treated water?
You may have to use bottled spring/drinking water until this cycle is done. Once the cycle is done the bacteria will clear the ammonia in your tap water out but until then 1ppm ammonia in your tap water is going to be a problem. As you can see doing water changes with it isn't going to lower the ammonia in the tank.
 
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D0iusnac

just thought i'd post a small update since it came with a happy end :) all fish survived and are doing well, their gills have healed completely
my tapwater no longer shows any ammonia or nitrite etc when reading (no idea why it did before but our waterline is terrible at best)

I've now expanded the tank and added 4 more fish to a total of 9 cardinals! I have a dual filter setup since the original seemed to barely cope with the tank size (honestly love the dual filter, it's nice to have a cycled "backup" too)

I am now more invested in fish keeping than ever and I definitely hope to keep more in the future :)
 
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mattgirl

just thought i'd post a small update since it came with a happy end :) all fish survived and are doing well, their gills have healed completely
my tapwater no longer shows any ammonia or nitrite etc when reading (no idea why it did before but our waterline is terrible at best)

I've now expanded the tank and added 4 more fish to a total of 9 cardinals! I have a dual filter setup since the original seemed to barely cope with the tank size (honestly love the dual filter, it's nice to have a cycled "backup" too)

I am now more invested in fish keeping than ever and I definitely hope to keep more in the future :)
Thank you for the update. I love reading happy endings. Adding the extra filter was a very good thing to do. We can never have too much filtration. Too much water movement is possible but never too much filtration.

It is great the ammonia is gone from your tap water. Now that this tank is cycled even if the ammonia shows back up in your tap water the bacteria should be able to remove it before it can harm your fish. I know it will be a hassle but you may want to run the ammonia test before each water change. If you normally do 50% water changes with ammonia free water you may want to only change 25/30% if the ammonia is back up to 1ppm.
 
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