Oscar fish mouth open swimming in circles

Discussion in 'Oscars' started by KRrack, Jul 10, 2015.

  1. KRrackNew MemberMember

    Everything has been fine with my Oscar and he has been great until 2 days ago when i noticed he swims in circles with his mouth open, so i did a test and the nitrate was a little high, did a 50% wc, and then i saw him on the bottom with his mouth WIDE open... Fast forward to now (30min later) and he is definitely aggitated, something in his gills or head is irritating him and he is shaking his head and seimming in circles. I am very worried and need to know what to do. All i have found is that this is not uncommon but again, this is my fish and i am extremely worried.
  2. DadioWell Known MemberMember

    What did you test the water with? Was there a ph swing? Did you pre-treat your water? If so, with what? I don't know a lot about oscars but I've seen this in a case with my koi when a water topoff came in as straight tap water due to an error on my part and forgetting to hook up my water treatment filter.
  3. BajocValued MemberMember

    A picture would help

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app
  4. KRrackNew MemberMember

    Here he is, I dont know whats going on, this may be an emergency.. He has been lying behind his cave for quite a while, at least a few hours.. tested PH, liquid test, comes out at 7.6 Nitrates were about 40ppm and i did a water change to fix that, ammonia test that i have in the tank is reading 0.

    I dont understand what is going on, but I THINK i have an idea, Sometimes when I turn the room light off my Oscar flinches and hits teh glass, in this picture his jaw looks kinda messed up, maybe he broke his jaw? One side doesn't comepleeeetely close, and he is not using that sides gill to breath very much. Another worry, his gill on that side is turning black. WHAT DO I DO HERE..

    turned off tank lights and he started swimming around like normal, snapped a picture of his side im worried about, and you can see at the corner of his mouth it isnt closed completely, and in the previous photo his jaw is kind of crooked. I am leaning towards broken jaw but that doesn't explain the blackness of gills, does it?
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  5. ricmccWell Known MemberMember

    If you can, exact water parameters would help, as would a description on any ( if any ) irritation or pitting near his head or along his lateral lines.
    I am very likely wrong, as the syndrome that I am asking after comes on slowly, as a rule.
    Any chance on a pollutant, even cleaning products or such recently; any sign of gill flukes, which you will need a magnifying glass to see, plus some luck.
    Best of luck to the both of you, rick
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2015
  6. DadioWell Known MemberMember

    Ok, you've mentioned something that may just be the cause. One of the parts of my study into using as much of a natural setting, including light was the affect of undue stress that we impose when simply turning on/off lights.

    The on/off of light may startle him causing to well, freak out. In my community tank this is one of the parts that I came across. Imposed stress.

    Same goes for us humans, bright lights on/off cause our eyes to stress. Once I started regulated on/off times with ramp up times the affect of stress on the community tank stopped. In fact, even the plants responded better.

    From the photos I can see he almost looks bruised to the left lower jaw. I'd keep the affect of bright lights to a minimum which showed when the lights were off he was feeling more secure. One of my thoughts about lights was also about how does a fish see light from the inside out.

    Distance lights can't impose shadows to their eyes imposing a natural threat action. For example, my koi react stressed if the sun is behind me as it impedes for one, their vision, two, they have a natural reaction to shadowing above them - fear of a predator where they scatter and dive.

    Diablo, my male butterfly is most skittish about this and somethings he turns so fast he scrapes another koi lifting one of his scales. Same sorta thing here, instead, he bounces off the glass. This is my opinion and maybe I'm way out in left field, but from what you explain it I tend to lean towards stress. One of my koi when stressed his gills flush and has lost color but regains it back. So, I really tend to think somewhere he has been badly stressed.
  7. ricmccWell Known MemberMember

    Just adding a like to the above post is insufficient, as it is an excellent post about an often overlooked problem, the problem being that too few of us use staged timers to simulate both dawn and dusk.
    Again, excellent post, rick
  8. DadioWell Known MemberMember

    Thank you Rick. The use of ramp up timers that bring the light up and down over a 15-30 period also stimulates breeding. I found during my study of using LEDs that this was very apparent 1 week into my study. The morning frolic of some of my community fish left me in awe. This showed me that light plays one of the most important parts of a healthy environment just as it does for us humans. Even a simulated thunder storm after a water change has it's beneficial sides as well.

    Once a member becomes startled and if it has being going on for some time this induces and imposed reaction almost like an automated response. This showed me that we can't take lighting for granted and using the best lights for the money you can afford is in the best interest of the long term health of any tank setting. What I mean by the best lights is not the fancy thrills and frills or just because it's the most popular buy, it's about understanding the needs of the tank and not that of ourselves. We have to always remember that as keepers, it is about giving them the best life they can get in an artificial setting and not just a picture frame of stress and sickness.

    All my tanks run on ramp timers. The light in my fishroom is low level full spectrum LED pots where the room lights are only turned on if the tanks are lit so even if I walk into the room the only thing that happens is all my friends coming to the forefront because yes, it's treat time.

    @KRack I would keep all bright lights to a minimum for a few days to see how he responds. Don't resort to meds unless there is true signs of something that the meds are certain to address. With stress, even the meds could be his demise. So be patient, avoid anything that can startle him and we all wish you the best outcome. I'm sure some of the other gurus are tuning in and if there's reason to suspect other it will be brought to your attention. I well know how you feel, we become attached to these little creatures and yes, it hurts to see them in pain or sorrow, but that's what makes us human, compassion and empathy and you know something, they too have the same traits as us, just they live in water, we live in air.
  9. hampalongWell Known MemberMember

    It does look like physical damage, but might not be broken. As said, keep lighting dim, and water good...
  10. ricmccWell Known MemberMember

    Dadio Circadian rhythm, is it called?: I can't recall the spelling just now, but the reason some people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder in places lacking 8 or so hours of sunlight during winter? (better known as Leaf Fan Syndrome:) )
    At any rate, as you live in an area that features Polar bears:), and , as I mentioned elsewhere, live in a Hamlet where the local high school was closed down for a half day, while they cleared the school of a Moose who had happened in, seeking help in Trig, or something, so we both know long winters:) Best to you,rick
    BTW, as I have yet to address the topic of the thread, I will now.
    The sudden onset of the distress still bothers me, and makes me think of a commonly occurring airborne household pollutant; there are any number of possibilities, or maybe the inadvertent introduction of something like soap having been introduced after a cleaning of equipment. KRrack, did anything unusual happen near the tank prior to your oscars' taking ill? rick
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2015
  11. DadioWell Known MemberMember

    That's exactly right ricmcc this cycle affects the biorhythms of all life. SAD can affect any living organism, not just humans. I believe the aspect of water contamination is slight to none but a possible. But when we look close at the photo there is signs of trauma. Fish will cower because of fear and from what I can understand in @KRack explanation it for me all leads to a traumatic stress. His scooting towards the glass front and banging himself tells me he was either fleeing towards the light or away from it. The aspect of him playing dead so to speak in the first photo is a defense from the fear. Like
    I said, I may be out in left field, but everything sorta points this direction.
  12. KRrackNew MemberMember

    Just a quick reply as i am working, nothing unusual has happened hr just got really messed up in one day and continued yesterday, still need to get back home to check. I will keep half the tank lights off, i think because e smacks his face off the glass hard when the light comes on sometimes that he injured his jaw. I will update when i check up on him later!
  13. KRrackNew MemberMember

    Also what would gill flukes look like exactly?
  14. KRrackNew MemberMember

    Hit submit early, his jaw seems to have some swelling on his right side.
  15. DadioWell Known MemberMember

    If better photos are possible without stressing him more then please do. I really am still leaning towards the stress factor and with him bounding of the glass as you describe that could explain the swelling. Same thing if we bang our head on the wall a few times.

    Here's what I found after reading a few things about flukes. There are 2 types, gill and skin. If it is gill flukes you'll see rubbing and flashing. Heavy infestations will cause other bacteria and fungus infections as well. So, if it was flukes or is flukes he will isolate itself, spend long periods laying on the bottom with fins clamped to its body or simply keeping to a corner of the tank.
  16. KRrackNew MemberMember

    Heres a better picture. You can clearly see the swelling going on, and the side of his mouth sticking out as before. Is there a possibility he could have pierced it? It looks as if that has happened because at one point I think i could see through the corner of his mouth. That doesn't explain the swelling going on just below that to the side. I would so like to be ignorant in bliss and hope this is growing pains as he is still not fully grown, but he is clearly in some sort of pain from this. His gills have returned to normal color, but I will keep an eye on that. I hope this is not related to the Planaria I think is in my tank, but have been told that is not harmful and i make sure to vaccuum extra well at water changes.

    So here are the photos, has ANYONE seen this in their own oscars? i am going crazy over this.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  17. KRrackNew MemberMember

    Dadio he got up to eat frozen bloodworms, he would not take pellets. So I assume that could be because pellets are hard and worms are soft, so that makes me believe the jaw explanation even more. He has been laying on the bottom not with fins clamped to his sides but more so just not moving, like playing dead when I do W/C's. So, he ate his bloodworms and is now laying on the bottom again, snapped those photos above when he was swimming.,
  18. DadioWell Known MemberMember

    That's a good sign if he's trying to eat. Giving him bloodworms is a good thing as they will give him nutrition. If you can get him to take brine shrimp w/spirulina that would be helpful as well. Now I'm really sure of this. The photo shows to me trauma, so give him soft foods and be patient. Poor guy, for me it shows he's both in pain and scared. Just give him lot's of love, a watchful eye and keep doing what your doing. Make sure there's nothing in the tank that startles him, has sharp edges or anything for the fact that can harm him.
  19. KRrackNew MemberMember

    exact places to look on same image
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  20. KRrackNew MemberMember

    thanks a lot Dadio, really hoping he pulls through without further damage.