Swim Bladder Problem... I think?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by ripfinwinkle, Apr 8, 2012.

  1. ripfinwinkleNew MemberMember

    Hi everybody!
    I was hoping someone might be able to help me with my problem because I’m totally at a loss of what to do! I purchased 5 speckled cory cats on the 6th. After acclimating them to the tank temp and parameters, I noticed immediately that one of them looked ill. He was floating on his side at the top of the tank. He doesn’t appear to have a parasite or fungal infections but I’m not really an expert at this stuff… Any who, he does swim to the bottom of the tank to look for food at times. He noticeably has a difficult time swimming. It appears that he is breathing hard, and he sometimes swims to the top of the tank for gulps of air. His gills are noticeably red. He has little red spots under his side fins that I think resemble broken blood vessels. His condition hasn’t changed at all since I bought him. Whatever he has, it isn’t affecting my other fish (5 Tiger Barbs, 4 Corys). I have tried feeding him the inside of peas because it came up as a remedy for what I think he has – swim bladder disease. He wouldn’t eat the pea. I tried feeding him presoaked flake food. He would eat it and then end up spitting it out after about 30 secs. I read that frozen shrimp is easier to eat. So I tried feeding him defrosted mysis shrimp and the same thing happened.
    Sometimes he seems to have a harder time swimming and he ends up doing barrel rolls in the water. When he is at the bottom of the tank trying to find food his tail end is lifted upward like his body is trying to rise like a hot air balloon. I just noticed today that one of his side fins is ripped in half and that he doesn’t use it to swim at all. I don’t know if this is new or if I’m just that blatantly unobservant.
    My water parameters:
    Ammonia: 0 ppm
    Nitrite: 0
    Nitrate: 5
    pH: 7
    Hardness: haven’t tested in awhile but I think it’s around 11 or 12 (my water is always very hard)
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! :)

    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  2. TayJay76Valued MemberMember

    Welcome to fishlore:)

    I'm sorry to hear that your fish is sick, however pictures would be a great aid in helping us assist you with his condition. From what you have described he seems to be suffering from classic ammonia piosoning symptoms. How long ago did you test your water? How old is your tank? Was he like this when you bought him, or did his gills start turning red when you put him in the aquarium? It is possible that the stores water has ammonia in it and that you bought him sick. Let us know, and remember pictures would be a great help.

  3. ripfinwinkleNew MemberMember

    I tested the water today.
    The tank is around 3.5 - 4 months old.
    His gills were red when I bought him, or at least I'm assuming so because I noticed once he was placed in the tank. I will try to get some pics for you to look at. Thanks so much!

    Edit: I tried to get him from every angle. The water looks a bit cloudy in the pics, but that is just the camera its actually crystal clear.

    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  4. ripfinwinkleNew MemberMember

  5. TayJay76Valued MemberMember

    The red spots by his gills and fins are normal. How did you acclimate him? Are you using air stones in the tank? As far as food, try feeding him algea wafers, he might like those. Have you seen him poop? He could be constipated, which can cause fish to have a hard time swimming. Try to monitor these. In the mean time, I am cunsulting my friend about this, i'll keep you posted.
  6. ripfinwinkleNew MemberMember

    I'll try the algae wafers tomorrow. I have not seen him poop at all. As for the acclimation technique that I used: I first let the bag float in the tank (with the light off) for half an hour. I then slowly began removing small amounts of water and replacing it with an equal amount of tank water. I did this every 10 to 15 minutes 3-4 times. I then netted them out. All of them were netted out without any kind of struggle. I left the light off until the next day. I didn't feed them until the next day. I'll update if anything changes tomorrow. Thanks so much for your concern! :D
  7. TayJay76Valued MemberMember

    I have a few questions for ya.

    How much current is in the tank? How deep is the tank? Does he POP back up to the surface when he does go down to the bottom or can he stay at the bottom? Do own or can he get a breeders box?
  8. ripfinwinkleNew MemberMember

    The tank has pretty decent current. It's a 20 gallon with a topfin 20 filter. I don't have air-stones. I forgot to add that I keep the temp at about 77. Sometimes he pops back up to the surface when he tries to swim to the bottom, at other times he is able to stay at the bottom - albeit you can tell that he's struggling to do so.

    He hasn't been exhibiting any different behavior today thus far, but I'd imagine he's doing worse because I don't think he has been eating at all.
  9. TayJay76Valued MemberMember

    It seems that you fish is indeed suffering from a swim bladder issue. That being said here is something that you can try.

    This treatment will help him release some of the gas buildup in the swim bladder by reducing the elevation of the water. Shallow water puts less pressure on the body than deeper water. Do this totally out of the tank, put the cory in a fish friendly container with about 3" of water in it. Leave him like that for about a half hour and add another 3" of water to the container. A tall container like a bucket helps do this because every half hour you add 3" of water. If at any time the cory POPs to the surface and seems to have problems again, you lower the water and start again. It's a bit weird but it seems to work, depending on the issue of course. It's important to keep track of ammonia and nitrites during the process and remove and replace water if any at all build up because corys do not like ammonia or nitrites at all.

    Try this treat two or three times, if the fish doesn't improve let me know. Btw was the fish acting like this in the store?
  10. ripfinwinkleNew MemberMember

    I have good news and bad news... The good news is my fish actually pooped! (Sorry to be gross ;)) For awhile he was actually swimming around like a normal cory. He was even resting at the bottom of the tank. Unfortunately, it didn't last very long and his former problems came back again. So, I decided to try your method. The bad news is it didn't work. :( He floated at the top of the water with only 3 in. in the container, and he was still at the top after half an hour of being in there.

    Also, I didn't notice this behavior in the store, but he does seem pretty normal when he's looking for food at the bottom of the tank - besides his butt sticking up in the air. I've never had corys before so I probably just didn't notice anything alarming about it. I also wanted to add that I noticed that he seems to spit food out of his gills at times. I googled it and apparently its not that uncommon, but I thought it might be worth mentioning...
  11. TayJay76Valued MemberMember

    Could u take a pic of the poop, decribe it to me. Dont be shy.
  12. ripfinwinkleNew MemberMember

    Well... I can't take a picture. He went number 2 hours ago :/ I can try to describe it, but I don't know how accurate I will be. I believe it was white. It wasn't like a thin string. It was more on the thick end. It wasn't very big... I'm gonna go ahead and say it was about the size and shape of a candy sprinkle.  
    Ooh and I almost forgot, it came out in a bubble... which I thought was odd, but that would make sense if he has gas build-up.
  13. TayJay76Valued MemberMember

    The poop could indicate either worms or a bacterial infection. Since we have concluded earlier that he has swim bladder issues, most likely he has a bacterial infection in his swim bladder because I have never seen worms affect the swim bladder. You will need a quaritine tank for this treatment. If you have a spare ten gallon tank you will need to use that. The reason I recommend this size aquarium is because the medication is easier to dose with a ten gallon and is less expensive so you don't have to buy extra medication to treat the main tank with other fish that aren't sick.

    You will need a top(no light), a heater, and a filter for the QT also. What kind of water conditioner are you using? Once you get the tank ready take ten gallons from the tank that he is in and use that water to fill the QT, that way you won't have to acclimate him. Try to use the filter media that is in your main tank to put on the filter that is on your QT, that way you'll keep a cycle in your QT. After the QT is all ready with him in it, go out and purchase these two medications: Maracyn and Maracyn 2. Use these two medication together, they will knowck out what ever infection or parasite that is causing his issues. This treatment takes about five days(instructions will tell you how to dose the medication each day). If his syptoms start to get better three days into treatment then you can resume feeding him, but DO NOt stop treatment until the five days is up or his issues will come back. Make sure you thoughly read the instructions because they are specific, if you have any questions about the instructions for the medication just message me on my wall or this thread.

    Good luck, this medication may work with one five day treatment, but if he doesn't get better after the five days is up, you will need to do an additional five day treatment. Also, this medication will cause your QT to get very murky, but don't worry as this is normal. Do not whatsoever change the water in the QT because you will remove the medication. Keep a close eye on the perameters of the QT, if the ammonia or nitrites start flaring up, then just add some prime, for it works for 24 hours. Let me know how it goes.
  14. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    She says maracyn/maracyn II does NOT kill parasites ;)
  15. TayJay76Valued MemberMember

    Ya use both.
  16. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Using maracyn and maracyn II together will kill parasites?

    Maracyn is for gram positive bacterial infections, and maracyn II is for gram negative bacterial infections. You use both if you don't know what kind of infection you have, as one will not treat the other.
  17. ripfinwinkleNew MemberMember

    Thank you TayJay76 and Jaysee for your words of advice. Peppy (awesome naming skills ;)) is still alive. I'm going to hold off on any medication-related treatments for the time being because it seems as if he is finally making a recovery *crosses-fingers*. He still appears more buoyant than my other peppered cory cats, but I haven't seen him floating at the top of the tank for nearly a day. He actually slept at the bottom last night! :) He's been much more lively. He is constantly browsing the bottom of the tank for food. Yesterday evening I actually caught him socializing with the other corys - which he had yet to do. I'll keep you guys posted. Again thanks so much for your help!
  18. TayJay76Valued MemberMember

    Your welcome, hope the little guy keeps it up.
  19. goldfishqueenNew MemberMember

    hey! I think that your fish does have swim bladder disease. Try not feeding him for a few days(dont worry about him starving) and then feed him chopped up lettuce and the insides of slightly cooked peas....hope it works!

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