Fluffy Gills?

bcfishtanks
  • #1
I'm not filling out the emergency form, because I know that my water parameters are wonky right now. Thought I was thoroghly cycled. Apparently, I was not.

Anyway, I have amonia/nitrite spike in my tank right now that I'm treating, but it's hurting my smallest tank members. My bigger ones are fine, but my smallest ghost shrimp died yesterday, and this morning, my smallest tetra seems to have developed fluffy, swollen gills. They do not look how gills are described to look when ammonia poisoning is taking place, though I have a feeling that's what it is. The tetra is swimming fine and has not been fed since last night, where he ate normally. He is breathing faster since there's something wrong with his gills, but he isn't sinking, floating or gasping, and his fins and coloring all look great. He's in quarantine now with some clean water and the smallest bit of aquarium salt. I'm not expecting him to recover or anything, but I do want to make sure this is related to the ammonia/nitrite spike and not a parasite or something. I've had the fish for a little more than a week and bought all four tetras at the same time from the same store/tank. I included some pictures below, but he's still pretty small, so they're not great quality. Thanks for your help!
 

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Fishproblem
  • #2
Looks possibly fungal, but the emergency template would be useful, tbh. For example, if you used it we would know your pH and ammonia level, and be able to determine the toxicity of the ammonia in your system. Please at least post your tank parameters. What is your water temp? What is your stocking, and how frequently are you changing water? This is all necessary info.
 
bcfishtanks
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Tank

What is the water volume of the tank? 10 g
How long has the tank been running? 5.5 weeks
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What is the water temperature? 78
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)
3 ghost shrimp
4 glowlight tetras
3 marimo moss balls
2 aquatic plants that I can't remember the name of

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? Just finished the cycling process (or so I thought) and began weekly water changes on Saturday
How much of the water do you change? 25%
What do you use to treat your water? Tap water conditioner, stress coat
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Both

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? I thought I did
What do you use to test the water? API test kit for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and pH. API test strips for GH and KH
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

AS OF YESTERDAY
Ammonia: .25-.5 ppm
Nitrite: .25-.5 ppm
Nitrate: 5ppm
pH: 7.2

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? once, though I won't be feeding the sick fish today
How much do you feed your fish? small pinch
What brand of food do you feed your fish? TopFin Tropical Fish Flakes
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? No

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 1.5 weeks
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? This morning
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Fluffy gills, no behavioral or other physical changes yet
Have you started any treatment for the illness? Quarantined in small cup (.2 gallon-ish) with a small bit off aquarium salt (less than 1/4 teaspoon)
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? Just the fluffy gills

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)
See above
 
Fishproblem
  • #4
Tank

What is the water volume of the tank? 10 g
How long has the tank been running? 5.5 weeks
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What is the water temperature? 78
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)
3 ghost shrimp
4 glowlight tetras
3 marimo moss balls
2 aquatic plants that I can't remember the name of

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? Just finished the cycling process (or so I thought) and began weekly water changes on Saturday
How much of the water do you change? 25%
What do you use to treat your water? Tap water conditioner, stress coat
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Both

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? I thought I did
What do you use to test the water? API test kit for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and pH. API test strips for GH and KH
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

AS OF YESTERDAY
Ammonia: .25-.5 ppm
Nitrite: .25-.5 ppm
Nitrate: 5ppm
pH: 7.2

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? once, though I won't be feeding the sick fish today
How much do you feed your fish? small pinch
What brand of food do you feed your fish? TopFin Tropical Fish Flakes
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? No

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 1.5 weeks
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? This morning
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Fluffy gills, no behavioral or other physical changes yet
Have you started any treatment for the illness? Quarantined in small cup (.2 gallon-ish) with a small bit off aquarium salt (less than 1/4 teaspoon)
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? Just the fluffy gills

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)
See above

Okay, well glowlight tetras are rather delicate to begin with, so they're not a great choice for an immature tank. Any nitrate will affect them pretty considerably. At your a pH of 7.2 and 78 degrees F, .5ppm of ammonia is not toxic. Whatever you're dealing with is very likely not the direct result of ammonia burn, but it could be influenced by stressful fluctuations in your water parameters. Particularly because they are so delicate, they do require a larger school and having only four is not helping alleviate the duress the fish has been under. Though I imagine you're trying to do the right thing by not overloading the tank's biological filtration, a school of 8 to start would be lightyears better. Again, better to add glowlights once the tank is mature.

The quarantine cup is not the best idea. I respect that you don't want to treat your entire tank, but that volume of water is going to become filthy almost immediately, won't maintain a stable temp, and the frequency of water changes you would need are also going to put a tiny sick fish under so much stress. It's now exposed and entirely alone without a school. All contributes to poor health. Further, it will be so very easy to overdose that amount of water during treatment.

Have you increased the volume and frequency of your water changes now that you know your cycle is incomplete? I would put the sick fish back in, and use clean water as the primary treatment to start. Dose daily with prime while you go through your fish in cycle.

In my limited experience, it does look like a fungal infection, which can frequently be alleviated with pristine water. I hope this is helpful! Good luck!
 
bcfishtanks
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Thank you! I'm most experienced with bettas, so this is the first time I've had tetras. Definitely trying not to overload. I was planning on getting the other 4 tetras this weekend to complete the school but wasn't sure if I should hold off until the parameters calm down.

I have the cup floating in the tank for temperature regulation (his friends come to visit him often), but I do agree that it's small. I'll do a water change and add him back into the community tank. Thanks!
 
Fishproblem
  • #6
Thank you! I'm most experienced with bettas, so this is the first time I've had tetras. Definitely trying not to overload. I was planning on getting the other 4 tetras this weekend to complete the school but wasn't sure if I should hold off until the parameters calm down.

I have the cup floating in the tank for temperature regulation (his friends come to visit him often), but I do agree that it's small. I'll do a water change and add him back into the community tank. Thanks!
Of course! Glowlights are very tough to keep alive in a new tank, imo. A friend wiped out a whole school of them trying. I think that you probably want to avoid exposing any more fish to a fish-in cycle than you have to, especially finicky ones like these. It's not ideal to have such a small school, but c'est la vie! During the cycle, make sure you're testing daily, and dosing Prime or similar daily to bind ammonia. It only works for 24 hours, so after 24 hours in an uncycled tank, that toxic ammonia starts creeping up again. Every single day, if you're getting an ammonia or nitrate reading, change enough water to bring it back down to undetectable. Hopefully you can stay on top of it. It can definitely be done! Bettas can tough out some wonky stuff in new tanks that a lot of other fish just can't weather. It's a brave new world!

Without changing things up and further stressing the glowlights more than you have to, try to made sure there's a LOT of plant coverage in there to hide in. Keep the lights off, too. Anything to make them feel secure and hidden away from harm.

Keep us updated, and I hope you stick around! It'll be nice to see your successes and tank build(s) too.
 
bcfishtanks
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Just added the sick one back in, and the tetras have never been happier to be together. Usually one breaks off from the group, but they're all exploring the tank together like they've never been there before. I'll be doing daily water changes now and will provide an update in a few days. Thanks again!
 
PerfectSatyr683
  • #8
Yep difinetly fungis
 
bcfishtanks
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
UPDATE:
Fluffy Gills finally died today. His entire gill flaps rotted away, and he developed fungus above his eyes and on his body. He only finally started gasping for air at the top a few hours before he died. I can't believe he hung on so long. Two other tetras are infected, one badly while the other seems to be recovering. One never got infected or is beginning to get infected. It's hard to tell.

I moved the remaining three to a 2 g hospital tank so I can keep cycling the 10 g (again, it became an accidental fish-in cycle). I'm also nervous about the shrimp gnawing on any carcasses that may come about overnight or while I'm at work, so I wanted to separate them, too, so prevent the shrimp from getting infected with anything.

Thanks for everyone's help!
 

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