Red Tail Shark Acting Strange

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish and Invertebrates' started by Rawbee, May 18, 2018.

  1. RawbeeNew MemberMember

    Hello everyone. I’m new to the forum. I apologize if I post in the wrong area or anything. I am currently in a dire situation with my red tail shark.

    My tank is 29 gallons
    Ammonia - 0
    Nitrites - 0
    Nitrates - 0
    PH - working on
    Temperature 76°F

    4 Black Skirt Tetra
    1 Red Tetra
    1 Red Tail Shark
    1 Rainbow Cory

    So I received some fish from a friend of mine because his tank had broken. So I purchased a 29 gallon tank and gladly took his fish, and everything else he had. Tank is cycled nicely thanks to using the canister filter he had, and gravel, plus 10 gallons of his water. So as far as I know it’s cycled properly and my water parameters have been doing well. I’ve had to keep an eye on ammonia levels but water changes have helped.

    Now on to the problem. This evening I noticed my BTS swimming absolutely insanely. He was swimming max speed doing backflips, and swimming on his side when he wasn’t doing that. So of course I tested my water. Well while testing, all levels were great, except my Ph crashed down to 6.0!!!! So my first instinct was to gradually increase the Ph. So far I’ve gotten the PH up to 6.6 but I am trying to be very careful and take my time raising it, so I don’t shock or accidentally kill any of the fish.

    So now here is the current issue. If I continue slowly raising the Ph I fear the shark will surly die. He’s no longer doing flips and swimming max speed. Now he’s just sitting at the bottom of the tank, barely moving, floating slightly on his side, and opening and closing his mouth a lot. I am also not sure but he also seems a little more pale than before I got him. I haven’t even had him for a week so I’m not certain.

    Anyhow I just really need advice. I will do anything to keep this shark alive. If you need any additional information please ask me and I’ll respond right away. I won’t be sleeping until he’s better.

    Attached Files:

  2. BReefer97Well Known MemberMember

    Okay, so you’re saying your parameters are all reading 0 yet you’re struggling with ammonia levels? How high are they if they’re not at 0? Also, your tank is not cycled. You should have some level of nitrates for the tank to be cycled. Ammonia is converted into nitrites, and then nitrites convert into nitrates which is what you want to see. As for the shark sitting on the bottom and gasping, I would assume it’s because of lack of oxygen in the water (or the ammonia levels). Can you increase surface agitation or add an air stone?

    And finally I want to add that I don’t think the RTS can live in this tank permanently as they get up to 6 inches long and should have at least 50-55 gallons IMO.
  3. RawbeeNew MemberMember

    I had issues with ammonia the first two days but that’s because of the water I used. (In other words the bucket they were kept in added a lot of ammonia but with water changes I was able to get rid of it all and haven’t had an issue with ammonia since then.)

    As for the Nitrates, you could be right, this is only day 4-5 of tank set up. However I used his canister filter, media, gravel, and water. So it’s most likely still adjusting. I’m using the liquid testing kit with the drops. According to the color chart the Nitrates are between 0ppm & 5.0ppm, so they’re very low.

    There is currently 3 air stones in the tank, all running on individual air pumps that are meant for a 100 gallon tank. So my best assumption is that aeration is not a problem. However I also don’t see any mucus or inflammation around his gills. I am a somewhat experienced fish keeper, but this particular fish is new to me and I haven’t seen this type of behavior before.

    I also absolutely agree with you about the tank size. However I received this fish last minute because my friends tank broke and he didn’t want them anymore. A 29gallon was all I could afford at the time. I will be upgrading when I am able. However the RTS is still young. So I really hope the 29 gallon isn’t a problem for him yet.
  4. RawbeeNew MemberMember

    This is the nitrate test and my tank set up.

    Attached Files:

  5. 2211NighthawkFishlore VIPMember

    I’d gat a wack load more cover in there. That is a very open tank and can make any fish feel exposed. It might help him settle down.
  6. RawbeeNew MemberMember

    I really can’t afford much more right now. This tank was basically an emergency set up. My only concern right now is keeping him alive, and trying to get advice on the Ph situation.
  7. Freshie_ Enthusiast 02New MemberMember

    In my experience with red tailed sharks PH is not the biggest concern you should have with the tank and the sharks health, however, this does not mean you shouldn't take care of it. I've found that red tailed sharks do better in a tank that has completed the aquarium nitrogen cycle, I've attached a diagram that rough drafts the outline of what the levels will do. I've had tanks cycle within 2 1/2 weeks and some take a few days under 2 months, it all varies. The next thing is that red tails do like lots and lots of cover, this will help reduce the stress on the fish especially if he's young which the reduced stress will improve health conditions. As for the PH try to get it to neutral (7.0) but span the transition over the period of 2-5 days in order to allow all the inhabitants systems to fully adjust. Good luck with the tank

    Attached Files:

  8. RawbeeNew MemberMember

    I just wanted to thank everyone for their advice and also update you. The shark is doing much better. What I ended up doing was preparing a 5 gallon bucket and get the measurements as perfect as good, and adding a heater and circulation pump. After that I removed 5 gallons from the tank and slowly dripped in the 5 gallon bucket with the proper ph and everything. I’ve done this twice now and he’s doing much better already. The ph is still low but it’s slowly getting better.
  9. CardeaterValued MemberMember

    If you want to get cheap cover, you can go to Home Depot or Lowe's and buy PVC pipe. Those are only a few bucks so cheaper than the fake driftwood logs or the like. There are ways to make them look better but plain will work as a cave.

    This t shape piece was $4 and bigger than what you'll need.

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