Swim Bladder Questions...

Joe L.

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I have a convict cichlid that is swimming everywhere face down. Like his tail is wanting to float but hes fighting it almost... kinda funny but sad. I've talked to a few people about what it may be and they said swim bladder issues. I conditioned the water with ammonia killer because I know that was high, im holding off on feeding him for about 2 days (because that was some words of advice from someone) and I did a large water change... how do you make this go away and bring him back to normal? Should I keep doing water changes and doing what I'm doing?
 

GuppyDazzle

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To be honest, I've never been able to save a fish that was no longer swimming upright. I'm not saying don't try, but it's probably going to be a long shot. Often, swim bladder issues are the result of some other problem. You said you have ammonia problems, which could be the answer.
 

GuppyDazzle

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Would a 10% water change every day for the next week help with the ammonia problem?
I agree with Sheldon13. The only way to do a competent job of dealing with the buildup of toxins is to know what the toxin levels are. You need a test kit. Of course you can shoot blindly in the dark and take a wild guess that ammonia is high for example, but if you don't test, you can't know. You are the doctor for your aquarium. You're the only one who can really say what's wrong and how it should be treated. How much good could you do for a patient if the only thing you knew is "The patient is sick?"

10% water changes are not going to do much to deal with toxic levels of ammonia or nitrite. It's just a matter of math. If your ammonia readings are 2 ppm, which are toxic levels for most fish, a 10% water change is going to reduce the level to 1.8 ppm (2 - 10%), and aren't going to show any improvement. If you're doing water changes to lower toxins, a change more like 50% is in order. Then your 2 ppm will reduce to 1 ppm. I try to avoid doing more than one 50% change per day, unless it's an emergency situation, but you won't have a clue unless you have a way of testing the water.

I can't give you any advice past ammonia and nitrites are bad and water changes are necessary to fix things unless the numbers are there. The only answer is "it depends on what the levels are."
 
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Joe L.

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I agree with Sheldon13. The only way to do a competent job of dealing with the buildup of toxins is to know what the toxin levels are. You need a test kit. Of course you can shoot blindly in the dark and take a wild guess that ammonia is high for example, but if you don't test, you can't know. You are the doctor for your aquarium. You're the only one who can really say what's wrong and how it should be treated. How much good could you do for a patient if the only thing you knew is "The patient is sick?"

10% water changes are not going to do much to deal with toxic levels of ammonia or nitrite. It's just a matter of math. If your ammonia readings are 2 ppm, which are toxic levels for most fish, a 10% water change is going to reduce the level to 1.8 ppm (2 - 10%), and aren't going to show any improvement. If you're doing water changes to lower toxins, a change more like 50% is in order. Then your 2 ppm will reduce to 1 ppm. I try to avoid doing more than one 50% change per day, unless it's an emergency situation, but you won't have a clue unless you have a way of testing the water.

I can't give you any advice past ammonia and nitrites are bad and water changes are necessary to fix things unless the numbers are there. The only answer is "it depends on what the levels are."
I feel like a 50% water change will stress them out enough to maybe kill some of them... I've lost fish in the past due to water changes that weren't even that high... maybe 30% and I lost 2 of them one time. And I used the correct chemicals too so I know it wasnt that. So I dont really know. I did test it yesterday and the ammonia was high tho.
 

GuppyDazzle

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I feel like a 50% water change will stress them out enough to maybe kill some of them... I've lost fish in the past due to water changes that weren't even that high... maybe 30% and I lost 2 of them one time. And I used the correct chemicals too so I know it wasnt that. So I dont really know. I did test it yesterday and the ammonia was high tho.
I would recommend an API Master Test Kit. Test strips are notorious for being unreliable. Also, it sounds like you're getting readings of "high," but no further detail, which would suggest test strips rather than a more accurate test. When you talking about ammonia and nitrites, a high reading could be anything from .5 to 8 or even higher.

Again, from a standpoint of trying to give advice, you need to know the actual concentration of toxins to know how to respond. For example, if your ammonia is 2 ppm, you could get away with changing out 10% of your water every day and reducing feeding. If your readings are 5 ppm, it's an emergency and you should do an 80% change at least or your fish will die.
 
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