Immediate help needed!

  • #1
My Farlowella Cat is about to die... probably too late honestly. I've had this problem before but I want to try to get help again to see if I can save him. Please also read my thread on Cory Cats on Death Row to get a background. First Nitrite is 0, Nitrate is 0, pH is 7.6, and Ammonia is 0. Useing an API test kit... I check to make sure the Ammonia was accurate with a TetraTest kit. there are visible bubbles in the tank from a 30 AquaClear powerhead that's in there and two 70 AquaClear filters on either side of the tank.

I took out one filter to clean it and he fell over upside down... I hurried and got the filter back in there and running and noticed he was breathing heavy and fast. Did all the tests and the results have been stated. Did a water change a week ago. He was eating marine algae (same thing he ate at the store for 2 months) and he just ran out yesterday. There is algae on the glass walls of the tank and of course should be some detritus in the gravel so I don't think he is starving so quickly. His belly is full but not fat and nothing else is noticable. Eyes clear, normal pigment, but he is obviously about to die. The tank is a 65 tall (about 2 feet tall)... I'm absolutely in tears... I don't understand what I am doing wrong...
  • #2
Any spots on the fish?
Any chance that something like copper was introduced into the tank?
Any marks/dents in the head or odd marks on the lateral line?

Velvet often shows up as rapid gill movement.
Other than that, I'm not sure.
I would immediately do a massive water change at the very least.
If you've had other fish suffer in the tank, I might even get to the point of dosing the tank with meds, just out of panic. I can't tell you if this would be a good thing or not as I've never had a tank-wide illness.

Good luck with everything and please keep posting information and asking questions. The more info that's posted here, the more of a chance that someone has an answer.
  • #3
These fish can be hard to keep. They will eat peas, spinach, algae, but NEED wood.....does your tank have driftwood? They need it for proper digestion.

If your tank has been set up for 5 months the nitrate cannot be 0. I think you need to re do your tests, and be sure to shake your nitrate bottles like instructed....
  • #4
is it test strips or liquid test also is their any other fish in the tank acting sick ??
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
no other fish acting sick, I don't see any spots or stangeness on the lateral line. liquid test kits that are accurate (went and double checked them again at the store I work at). Just tested for copper and it was 0. I am very hesitant to do a massive water change as I think this might stress him out more... I've got piece of driftwood about 7inches long in there. I don't want to treat with malachite green unless I actually see something because I have a knife that is fine in there and really don't want to have two dead fish. Anyone ever heard of flukes? Could it be this? There is a treatment for that at the store I was thinking of trying.

The other thought I had was to change all the gravel. Only catfish (bottom dwelling ones) are being affected. Is it true that my nitrate has to be above 0? Just wanted confirmation on that cause I've got a 7 inch knife, pearl gourami, angel, and one albino cory that have been in there 6 months.

I really apprieciate your help! He is still alive so I definitely want to try to keep him that way... maybe I could just do a water change without any gravel vacuuming... that shouldnt disturb him right?
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
sorry I just looked up flukes... it can't be that. There's nothing visible. I just thought I remember something about it causeing rapid breathing.

Hope I don't sound like I'm just being difficult. I am completely mind boggled.
  • #7
It's extremely unlikely that a tank that old would have 0 nitrates. Only if it was understocked, you did 50% water changes every week, and it was heavily planted would this be possible, in my opinion.
A water change is nothing but good. I'm not talking about changing all of it, but like a 25% or more today, and maybe again tomorrow. Fresh water is always good for sick fish.

What kind of gravel do you have. You're right, it might be something there.

That gives me another idea. When you do water changes, do you ever deep vacuum? How deep is the gravel bed? Do you have a UGF?
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
I think I am doing deep vacuuming, I push the tube into the bottom and then back out, kinda churns the gravel. No under gravel filter. The gravel was bought used and appeared to be clean but had a strong sulfur smell. No residue as if he had used soap or anything. The tank is under stocked 4 inch pearl gourami, a quarter sized angel, the knife is 5-7 inches... I can't really tell, and a 1.5 inch cory cat. There are java ferns in there and two long thin grassy plants that I don't know what are (they weren't labeled at the store). The second I cut off the filters to do the water change he started going nuts... Now he's upsided down on the bottom gasping... I only did a 25%.
  • #9
I wonder if pulling the plug caused a momentary power surge in your tank. An electrical shock could have done it. Otherwise, it's possible that he smacked himself into something when he was thrashing around. (the second is likely more probable than the first. Was he closer to the filter than the others? Did any of the others react at all?)

I'm sorry, I misunderstood just how immediately after the filter shutoff this happened. This incident and your cories' problems may be unrelated. Illnesses don't normally hit that suddenly.
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
oh no you didnt missunderstand. He was already sick. This is just now. I just now cut off the filter and did the water change. It did happen before when I changed the filter earlier... in other words it happened twice. I don't know if he was sick before the first time... I didnt notice anything but I wasn't looking. No one else had a reaction that I noticed.

I retested the nitrate and made sure I shook up everthing really well. It's 5. Thanks for the advice. Guess I wasn't shaking it up well enough!

oh and ps, I didnt notice it was you susitna-flower that had posted that or I wouldnt have ask for confirmation I've seen your tank pictures, I know you know what your talking about!!!
  • #11
It could be something as simple as a mild electrical charge. Many fish can feel electricity in their lateral lines, and if the illness is affecting his lateral lines, he might be feeling it more (like if you have an injury, you can feel sensations much more strongly, to the point that they become pain).
I'm really not sure, though.
If you have a quarantine tank, you might want to quarantine him so you can treat him individually.
To avoid this for the time being if you can't quarantine him, I would suggest doing more numerous, smaller water changes. As long as the water doesn't go below the filter's intake, you don't have to turn the filter off.
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Thank you for the advise I will do the water changes like you said. I have a quarantine do you think that malachite green would do him any good? I have maracide. Is there anyway to check for stray electricity? Should I put a grounding probe in there? Thanks!
  • #13
I've been meaning to ground all of my tanks. There's just so much electrical equipment, and though the chances of anything shorting, if it did, it could kill a tank in an instant.

Malachite Green might be a good choice. I did some looking, and it is used as an antiseptic, general antibacterial, anti-parasite, and anti-fungal. There is always a risk with medicating a fish, especially if you don't know what's wrong, but with how dire circumstances seem, if it were me, I think that I would take my chances with medication.

However, I have really little experience in meds. I have only used maracyn, and that was to treat a tank for cyanobacteria after I had removed the fish from it. So I'm telling you what I would probably do in your case, but I don't have the slightest idea how it would work out.
Sorry I can't be more help.
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
it's fine. you have been lots of help. He is on the glass now and I need to go deliver news papers so I will see how he is doing when I get back and move him over to the quarantine if he is till acting crazy. thanks again, you probably donated an hour or so worth of responses to him, so you did plenty! thanks!
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
The Farlowella Cat is still alive and seems a lot better except his tail is nipped. I am fairly sure it is the Pearl Gourami who did it. Pearl really likes the algae rocks and both him and the Farlowella are being possessive of them so I tried splitting it up and puttin one algae rock on one side of the tank and another on the other side. So far it appears to be working. The Pearl went to the one the Farlowella was on and when he whiped his tail at him, the Pearl went over to the other one instead. Hopefully that will continue to work.
  • #16
Good to hear that things are getting settled down. I'm really glad that the fish survived.

Hope things go well with the aggression.

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