Fish sitting at bottom of tank for three weeks

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ffishh

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my oranda is in a 20 gal (ive been told this is too small and im working on getting him a bigger tank but it will take a bit) and up until about three weeks ago, he was acting fine.

i got him a new filter, one thats slightly more powerful in hopes of keeping his tank better filtered (it's been working). however, when i put it in, he sank to the bottom and generally stays there the whole day. occasionally he'll swim around but he goes back to sitting soon enough.

i thought maybe it was the filter getting used to the tanks bacteria, perhaps it was causing a spike in ammonia or something, but all the water levels are fine. i assumed it could be stress from the filter (maybe it was too powerful?) but i turned the filter off for a day or two to see if he would swim again and there was no change.

my third theory was maybe he was finally depressed? he's been in the 20 gal for awhile, and he's always seemed fine. i had to take the fake decorations out cause it was attracting too much algea and spiking the nitrates. i potted some live plants and put them in there so he'd hopefully become interested in swimming or eating them but again, no change.

i used to feed him a pea a day to prevent swim bladder (which he gets often) but i stopped, thinking that could be a problem? he'll swim up to eat his pellets, but he's been eating fewer and fewer, seemingly winded after eating a couple.

i want to take him to the vet but a house call is too expensive/would take too long to set up and i dont think he could handle the stress of traveling right now..

im desperate for answers and really scared for him, it's been 2 or 3 weeks now, and at this point im considering putting him down. i dont know what it could be, he looks fine outwardly, aside from panting, the water levels are fine. he's only 6 or 7 too, pretty young... he's made it through a lot but im not sure what to do about this..

TL;DR: fish sank to bottom of tank and pants when new filter added. filter turned off and no change, plants added for decor, water levels fine, no change. he'll swim up to get food but is eating less and less. outwardly looks fine. thinking maybe it's time to put him down :C
 

Diane 007

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Can you post a picture please? How did you go about changing the filter?
 

MissNoodle

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Also, is there any aeration to his water? Bubbler or such? Maybe an increase would help (thinking since hes gasping).

How do his gills look? Gasping can be a symptom of gill flukes, which can be sneaky and hard to detect.
 
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not sure if these are good enough? the last two are more recent, forgive the unclean looking rocks, i woke up this morning and they were like that, i haven't had a change to clean them. im going to retest the water.

i rinsed the filter media and the bio wheel in tap water then took some aquarium water out and soaked them in a bucket full of aquarium water for about half a day. after that i just installed the filter and ran it.

MissNoodle said:
Also, is there any aeration to his water? Bubbler or such? Maybe an increase would help (thinking since hes gasping).

How do his gills look? Gasping can be a symptom of gill flukes, which can be sneaky and hard to detect.
i think he has a pretty big bubblestone for his tank size, he's never seemed to have a problem before but i could always try a larger one? at least for now to see if it will help his gasping.

his gills look fine. i looked them over the other day cause i red the color could mean there's too much ammonia but they look ok.
 

Diane 007

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ffishh said:
not sure if these are good enough? the last two are more recent, forgive the unclean looking rocks, i woke up this morning and they were like that, i haven't had a change to clean them. im going to retest the water.

i rinsed the filter media and the bio wheel in tap water then took some aquarium water out and soaked them in a bucket full of aquarium water for about half a day. after that i just installed the filter and ran it.
Did you put the cycled media from other filter into the new one?
 
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Diane 007 said:
Did you put the cycled media from other filter into the new one?
no i didnt. since the filter i got was bigger the media from the other one wouldve been too small i didnt think of it :/
 

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ffishh said:
no i didnt. since the filter i got was bigger the media from the other one wouldve been too small i didnt think of it :/
ffishh said:
no i didnt. since the filter i got was bigger the media from the other one wouldve been too small i didnt think of it :/
What are the water parameters? By putting in the new filter and not using the cycled media from other filter you are starting over. Can you do a water change and dose with prime?
 

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I agree with diane you might need to check on water parameters, and do a water change asap. You've basically put an empty filter in with him. Do note that beneficial bacteria do not stay in aquarium water, rather they tend to grow on surfaces like substrate, decor, or filter media. Soaking the filter in old aquarium water wouldn't 'seed' it with bacteria..
 
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vyrille said:
I agree with diane you might need to check on water parameters, and do a water change asap. You've basically put an empty filter in with him. Do note that beneficial bacteria do not stay in aquarium water, rather they tend to grow on surfaces like substrate, decor, or filter media. Soaking the filter in old aquarium water wouldn't 'seed' it with bacteria..
ah, see i knew the tank would cycle i just thought soaking the media would make it less of a harsh transition... i shouldve done a bit more research, thank you.

im retesting the water and then i'll change it immediately. ive already cleaned his tank once or twice since i got the filter and it did go through a small bacteria bloom.
 

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ffishh said:
ah, see i knew the tank would cycle i just thought soaking the media would make it less of a harsh transition... i shouldve done a bit more research, thank you.

im retesting the water and then i'll change it immediately. ive already cleaned his tank once or twice since i got the filter and it did go through a small bacteria bloom.
Keep a close eye on the parameters, you will have to keep up on water changes until it cycles..feed sparingly those fish are messy buggers (but cute)
 

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1. NEVER CLEAN or rinse the bio weel!, the bio-wheel is housing the good bacteria that cycle your tank. If the bio-wheel is dirty with detritus, you can rub it down with a papper towel, you can shake it in old tank water. But when you rinsed it in tank water, chlorine would have killed the good bacteria.
2. You should have stuffed all the old filter media into the new filter. Although if you rinsed it like you said, it wouldn't have helped. But it is always good to have extra porous material in the filter to collect healthy bacteria.
3. Filters do not cause spikes in the ammonia or anything else. Fish waste, food waste, plant waste bottled ammonia are the only thing that can do that.
Removing/ over cleaning the filter or filter media kills/removes the nitrifing bacteria that transforms ammonia into nitrates. and without them, you tank will have toxic ammonia in it. it takes 4-8 weeks to get the point were enough of that stuff comes in and your tank is cycled.
4. He needs decorations! how would you like to be alone in an empty room all day? Fake Plants do not promote algae. Algea does not pro,ote nitrates. Algae is a live healthy plant. If you have too much algae, you may be overstocked, overfeeding, under cleaning, or maybe just keeping the lights on too long. Algae is good for your tank, goldfish like to eat it. He probably misses munching on it.
5. he gets swimm bladder a lot? can you explain that? The swim bladder is a seporate organ then the stomach, peas can not help it. If he gets bloated/constipation a lot you need to try to figure out why. consider feeding less, fasting 1-2 days a week, getting better food. some spirulina foods, some blanched veggies.
6. I personally would not euthanize a fish if it is still eating. that's just an opinion.
7. I hope he is ok, Please consider getting more than one goldfish next time, they are very social.
 
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Diane 007 said:
Keep a close eye on the parameters, you will have to keep up on water changes until it cycles..feed sparingly those fish are messy buggers (but cute)
it's 11 at night but i'll do a water change and tomorrow i'll get prime and dose the tank.

ph: 7
ammonia: between 0 and .25
nitrite: 0
nitrate: it was around 20 last i checked it but it spiked up. it's not done settling yet but it's turning darker and im assuming it's high... he's had problems with nitrates in the past...

they are soo messy.. i started feeding him by hand cause he's not the brightest and misses about 90-100% of the food :/

thank you so much for your help
 

Diane 007

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ffishh said:
it's 11 at night but i'll do a water change and tomorrow i'll get prime and dose the tank.

ph: 7
ammonia: between 0 and .25
nitrite: 0
nitrate: it was around 20 last i checked it but it spiked up. it's not done settling yet but it's turning darker and im assuming it's high... he's had problems with nitrates in the past...

they are soo messy.. i started feeding him by hand cause he's not the brightest and misses about 90-100% of the food :/

thank you so much for your help
Yes, definitely do a water change for sure! Prime will definitely help you until the tank cycles..good luck..
 

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ffishh said:
ah, see i knew the tank would cycle i just thought soaking the media would make it less of a harsh transition... i shouldve done a bit more research, thank you.

im retesting the water and then i'll change it immediately. ive already cleaned his tank once or twice since i got the filter and it did go through a small bacteria bloom.
I'm butting in here a little late but I don't think your fish needs to be euthanized just because he's suffering from the effects of an uncycled or undercycled tank. Under the best conditions it can take 4-8 weeks for a tank to cycle with fish in it. You'll need to get some Seachem Prime and start dosing the tank every other day af wel add any replacement water to protect him from the ammonia and nitrites his waste is going to create as the tank cycles. You'll need to do water changes to keep the total ammonia+nitrite level at 1 ppm or less for the Prime to be effective. Prime dechlorinates water (so you can shelve your regular dechlorinator while your tank is cycling), plus it also binds low levels of ammonia and nitrites and makes them harmless to fish for 48 hours (that's why you dose every 48 hours). Unfortunately, you threw away any nitrifying bacteria you did have growing when you tossed the old filter media in the trash. We can help you through the process and thre are some things you can do to speed it up, but first we need the current pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels od the tank water.
Edit: See? I said I was butting in late... looks like you already have things in hand. Carry on....
 
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Noroomforshoe said:
1. NEVER CLEAN or rinse the bio weel!, the bio-wheel is housing the good bacteria that cycle your tank. If the bio-wheel is dirty with detritus, you can rub it down with a papper towel, you can shake it in old tank water. But when you rinsed it in tank water, chlorine would have killed the good bacteria.
2. You should have stuffed all the old filter media into the new filter. Although if you rinsed it like you said, it wouldn't have helped. But it is always good to have extra porous material in the filter to collect healthy bacteria.
3. Filters do not cause spikes in the ammonia or anything else. Fish waste, food waste, plant waste bottled ammonia are the only thing that can do that.
Removing/ over cleaning the filter or filter media kills/removes the nitrifing bacteria that transforms ammonia into nitrates. and without them, you tank will have toxic ammonia in it. it takes 4-8 weeks to get the point were enough of that stuff comes in and your tank is cycled.
4. He needs decorations! how would you like to be alone in an empty room all day? Fake Plants do not promote algae. Algea does not pro,ote nitrates. Algae is a live healthy plant. If you have too much algae, you may be overstocked, overfeeding, under cleaning, or maybe just keeping the lights on too long. Algae is good for your tank, goldfish like to eat it. He probably misses munching on it.
5. he gets swimm bladder a lot? can you explain that? The swim bladder is a seporate organ then the stomach, peas can not help it. If he gets bloated/constipation a lot you need to try to figure out why. consider feeding less, fasting 1-2 days a week, getting better food. some spirulina foods, some blanched veggies.
6. I personally would not euthanize a fish if it is still eating. that's just an opinion.
7. I hope he is ok, Please consider getting more than one goldfish next time, they are very social.
it was the new bio wheel i rinsed, there was no bacteria on it in the first place.

yes ive heard, when i upgrade to a larger tank i'll be sure to do it (hopefully) right.

i think i was just assuming if you got a new filter the tank would have to cycle again, causing the water parameters to become out of cycle again.

the fake plant i had had algae growing and hiding in small crevices i couldn't clean and it became an issue, strings of... something would hang off the plant, sometimes even a day after i cleaned it.
his tank has nitrate problems, as even tho he's the only fish in his tank, it's a 20 gal, which ive been told is too small for an adult oranda. im working on getting him a 40 gal so he's not overstocked.

goldfish are susceptible to swim bladder. it can be caused by poor water conditions or constipation. he has always had high nitrate levels in his tank, no matter how much i clean it. multiple sites have said feeding deshelled peas would help, as well as raising the water temp slightly. ive treated him the way they described and it helped.
do you have foods you'd recommend? i did some searching and have changed his food to one i think is better but im always looking for the best.

i hope so too. i saved him from my brother a couple of years ago, who stuck two oranda in a 5 gal tank :/ of course one died and i took the surviving one and gave him a 20 gal tank. instead of a 40 perhaps i'll aim for a 50 and get two. im just waiting for the next tank sale..

Momgoose56 said:
I'm butting in here a little late but I don't think your fish needs to be euthanized just because he's suffering from the effects of an uncycled or undercycled tank. Under the best conditions it can take 4-8 weeks for a tank to cycle with fish in it. You'll need to get some Seachem Prime and start dosing the tank every other day af wel add any replacement water to protect him from the ammonia and nitrites his waste is going to create as the tank cycles. You'll need to do water changes to keep the total ammonia+nitrite level at 1 ppm or less for the Prime to be effective. Prime dechlorinates water (so you can shelve your regular dechlorinator while your tank is cycling), plus it also binds low levels of ammonia and nitrites and makes them harmless to fish for 48 hours (that's why you dose every 48 hours). Unfortunately, you threw away any nitrifying bacteria you did have growing when you tossed the old filter media in the trash. We can help you through the process and thre are some things you can do to speed it up, but first we need the current pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels od the tank water.
Edit: See? I said I was butting in late... looks like you already have things in hand. Carry on....
yeah, i definately didn't want to euthanize him, but i was a bit panicked cause he was suddenly in a bad way and i had no idea what was going on, i just didn't want him to suffer.. im definitely glad i asked and got all this advice.. not that i wouldve put him down without asking first..

yes it was a very stupid move on my part... i'll try to be smarter about these things from now on.

and you're totally fine! i appreciate it anyway!

edit: ah wait, question. i do actually have the old media filter, it's just dry. would putting it in the new filter help any or is it way too late
 

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ffishh said:
it was the new bio wheel i rinsed, there was no bacteria on it in the first place.

yes ive heard, when i upgrade to a larger tank i'll be sure to do it (hopefully) right.

i think i was just assuming if you got a new filter the tank would have to cycle again, causing the water parameters to become out of cycle again.

the fake plant i had had algae growing and hiding in small crevices i couldn't clean and it became an issue, strings of... something would hang off the plant, sometimes even a day after i cleaned it.
his tank has nitrate problems, as even tho he's the only fish in his tank, it's a 20 gal, which ive been told is too small for an adult oranda. im working on getting him a 40 gal so he's not overstocked.

goldfish are susceptible to swim bladder. it can be caused by poor water conditions or constipation. he has always had high nitrate levels in his tank, no matter how much i clean it. multiple sites have said feeding deshelled peas would help, as well as raising the water temp slightly. ive treated him the way they described and it helped.
do you have foods you'd recommend? i did some searching and have changed his food to one i think is better but im always looking for the best.

i hope so too. i saved him from my brother a couple of years ago, who stuck two oranda in a 5 gal tank :/ of course one died and i took the surviving one and gave him a 20 gal tank. instead of a 40 perhaps i'll aim for a 50 and get two. im just waiting for the next tank sale..
Glad you saved him from that! The only way to really control nitrates is to feed sparingly, vacuum the gravel well every time you do water changes, and do big enough and frequent enough (at least every week) water changes to bring the nitrate levels down. One Oranda in a 20 gallon tank is manageable (but even easier in a 40 gallon tank lol!). Youe ammonia level is low so I don't think ypu lost your whole cycle pitching that filter media so it shouldn't take too long to get things back in order. You probably have a decent amount of nitrifying bacteria growing in your gravel if you're producing that level of nitrates.
 

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ffishh said:
yeah, i definately didn't want to euthanize him, but i was a bit panicked cause he was suddenly in a bad way and i had no idea what was going on, i just didn't want him to suffer.. im definitely glad i asked and got all this advice.. not that i wouldve put him down without asking first..

yes it was a very stupid move on my part... i'll try to be smarter about these things from now on.

and you're totally fine! i appreciate it anyway!

edit: ah wait, question. i do actually have the old media filter, it's just dry. would putting it in the new filter help any or is it way too late
some say filter media out of water for 15mins and the bacteria starts dying off, others say an hour. eitherway, if it's dry you can pretty much assume the bacteria that was on it are long gone. I also wouldn't put them back without a good thorough rinse, since dead bacteria decay too. I once tried reusing old ceramic media (they're left neglected in an unused tank submerged in a few inches of water) and they caused me a nitrite spike!
 
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Momgoose56 said:
Glad you saved him from that! The only way to really control nitrates is to feed sparingly, vacuum the gravel well every time you do water changes, and do big enough and frequent enough (at least every week) water changes to bring the nitrate levels down. One Oranda in a 20 gallon tank is manageable (but even easier in a 40 gallon tank lol!). Youe ammonia level is low so I don't think ypu lost your whole cycle pitching that filter media so it shouldn't take too long to get things back in order. You probably have a decent amount of nitrifying bacteria growing in your gravel if you're producing that level of nitrates.
i just ordered a python so it'll hopefully be even easier ;w; i try to clean his tank every friday but wow he's so messy sometimes i need to do it sooner lol

thats great news thank you ;w;
and yeah i dont doubt it theres a lot of bacteria in the gravel.. it seems no matter how well i clean the gravel theres always stuff stuck there lol...

vyrille said:
some say filter media out of water for 15mins and the bacteria starts dying off, others say an hour. eitherway, if it's dry you can pretty much assume the bacteria that was on it are long gone. I also wouldn't put them back without a good thorough rinse, since dead bacteria decay too. I once tried reusing old ceramic media (they're left neglected in an unused tank submerged in a few inches of water) and they caused me a nitrite spike!
ah that sucks D:

lesson learned!

thank you! c:
 

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ffishh said:
yeah, i definately didn't want to euthanize him, but i was a bit panicked cause he was suddenly in a bad way and i had no idea what was going on, i just didn't want him to suffer.. im definitely glad i asked and got all this advice.. not that i wouldve put him down without asking first..

yes it was a very stupid move on my part... i'll try to be smarter about these things from now on.

and you're totally fine! i appreciate it anyway!

edit: ah wait, question. i do actually have the old media filter, it's just dry. would putting it in the new filter help any or is it way too late
Naah. Two things that definately kill nitrifying bacteria are exposure to clorine and drying out. I think your Oranda is probably suffering from some nitrate poisoning. You'll want to bring that down slowly though. No more than 40 ppm a day. Another problem with nitrates is that when a fish has been in high levels of nitrates for awhile, dropping them too fast can put the fish into nitrate shock. What exactly is the nitrate level now?
 
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Momgoose56 said:
Naah. Two things that definately kill nitrifying bacteria are exposure to clorine and drying out. I think your Oranda is probably suffering from some nitrate poisoning. You'll want to bring that down slowly though. No more than 40 ppm a day. Another problem with nitrates is that when a fish has been in high levels of nitrates for awhile, dropping them too fast can put the fish into nitrate shock. What exactly is the nitrate level now?
yup he has in the past, i try so hard to keep it down but sometimes no matter how many cleanings i do it doesnt seem to change?

it was about 40ppm two or three days ago.. today it read at 100+ so yup im changing it immediately... it makes a lot of sense that the rocks were dirty overnight aaa

what percent of water change would you recommend?? ive had people say half and with how high the levels are it makes sense but i dont want to put him into shock...

i think someone told me before about 30-40% every two or so days?
 
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