Tetra swimming on its side

Deek3000

New Member
Glowlight tetra swimming on its side and in tight circles. Moved it to a breeder box within the main tank as it was getting blown around like a leaf by the pump.
Other details as below. I took a video but this website won’t let me attach it here for some reason. Basically, it’s swimming tilted to one side at a 45 degree angle and swimming in tight circles. No change whatsoever though in appearance and all other fish are perfectly fine. Is this treatable and if yes, what’s the best way to treat?


Tank
What is the water volume of the tank? 120 litres / 30 gallons
How long has the tank been running? 2 years+
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What is the water temperature? 27C
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)
7 x Glowlight tetra
7x harlequin rasbora
2x German Blue Ram
2x myers hillstream loaches
1x Siamese algae eater
1x mystery snail

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? Weekly
How much of the water do you change? 50%
What do you use to treat your water? Stress coat
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Yes, vacuum

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? Yes
What do you use to test the water? Master kit
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 5
pH: 6.6

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? Every other day
How much do you feed your fish? Small amounts ??
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Various: bug bites, repashy, blood worms, jbl flakes and pellets, hikari wafers etc
Do you feed frozen? Blood worms, yes
Do you feed freeze-dried foods? No

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? Not sure. 2 years probably
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? Today
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Swimming on its side, in tight circles
Have you started any treatment for the illness? No
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? No change at all to appearance, only swimming behaviour

Thank you
 

PlanetRock

Active Member
Hello Deek3000,

I will help you troubleshoot this as I have a few ideas in mind.

first off, is your glowlight tetra bloated compared to the others? If so boiled/cooked peas is your little dudes best friend! I cannot even begin to tell you how many fish I have saved from constipation and peas quickly clear up any blocked foods. If this seems to be the case, take two frozen peas and boil them. When finished gently remove the skin and take a sharp knife, cutting into pieces just a tiny bit smaller than the size of the tetra’s eyes. Make sure that you give him/her enough space to peacefully consume them but still close enough that you can make sure they are being eaten. Because you have several fish you may have to try to hand feed or use tweezers. Just make sure it gets down the hatchet! If obstruction and constipation was the case then you’re little guy/gal should be back to normal in no time. Problem solved. Lastly, If this happens to be the problem you may need to add some greens to their diet. That’s something you can Google if this is what the problem is.

My first assumption, but wanted to rule out constipation first was swim bladder disease. Since you mentioned that there are no changes to appearance I just wanted to make sure that you didn’t miss out on a little bit of bloating.
My main assumption is definitely swim bladder so let’s go from here. This is a site that I highly recommend you read. There is just way too much information to discuss here on this topic. When you’re finished here please go directly to this site about tetra swim bladder. I have reviewed it myself and it gives more than enough information and this is where you’re most likely going to find your answer…
Identifying And Treating Swim Bladder Disease | BeChewy


Third and for most, but highly unlikely this could be an injury. Any fish of mine that has been injured swims erratically and darts all over the place in the tank, doing somersaults, etc. and definitely does not slowly swim sideways in circles. That being said it doesn’t rule out specific types of injury. My suggestion is to read the link I sent you and take it from there.

I am awfully sorry to hear about your little guy/gal and I hope for a full recovery! Please let me know how it goes and what you find out.

Take care & hope to hear from you soon,

Tiffany-Marie aka PlanetRock
 

fishkeepernewbie

Active Member
Sorry can't help but I hope your little fishy gets better!
 

Deek3000

New Member
Hello Deek3000,

I will help you troubleshoot this as I have a few ideas in mind.

first off, is your glowlight tetra bloated compared to the others? If so boiled/cooked peas is your little dudes best friend! I cannot even begin to tell you how many fish I have saved from constipation and peas quickly clear up any blocked foods. If this seems to be the case, take two frozen peas and boil them. When finished gently remove the skin and take a sharp knife, cutting into pieces just a tiny bit smaller than the size of the tetra’s eyes. Make sure that you give him/her enough space to peacefully consume them but still close enough that you can make sure they are being eaten. Because you have several fish you may have to try to hand feed or use tweezers. Just make sure it gets down the hatchet! If obstruction and constipation was the case then you’re little guy/gal should be back to normal in no time. Problem solved. Lastly, If this happens to be the problem you may need to add some greens to their diet. That’s something you can Google if this is what the problem is.

My first assumption, but wanted to rule out constipation first was swim bladder disease. Since you mentioned that there are no changes to appearance I just wanted to make sure that you didn’t miss out on a little bit of bloating.
My main assumption is definitely swim bladder so let’s go from here. This is a site that I highly recommend you read. There is just way too much information to discuss here on this topic. When you’re finished here please go directly to this site about tetra swim bladder. I have reviewed it myself and it gives more than enough information and this is where you’re most likely going to find your answer…
Identifying And Treating Swim Bladder Disease | BeChewy


Third and for most, but highly unlikely this could be an injury. Any fish of mine that has been injured swims erratically and darts all over the place in the tank, doing somersaults, etc. and definitely does not slowly swim sideways in circles. That being said it doesn’t rule out specific types of injury. My suggestion is to read the link I sent you and take it from there.

I am awfully sorry to hear about your little guy/gal and I hope for a full recovery! Please let me know how it goes and what you find out.

Take care & hope to hear from you soon,

Tiffany-Marie aka PlanetRock
Thank you, appreciate the prompt and detailed response. Ruling out constipation as a first step makes a lot of sense, though I've tried repeatedly to feed boiled peas and he/she is having none of it. There's no way this fish will eat any pea, either floating or delivered straight to it's maw by tweezers. I've tried several times and had to abandon this effort. There hasn't been any worsening of his/her state for now though. Have read up on the various potential causes as per the article you'd shared though am not sure on what to try assuming it could be bacterial and/or an injury. I've noticed since that on closer inspection that its dorsal fin looks a bit ragged/torn so either it's the result of an injury from another fish or perhaps an injury from getting blown around the aquarium after losing it's ability to remain neutrally buoyant.

Next steps are to explore potential treatment options for the potential causes as per the article you shared. Will see how we go!

Thanks for the help, hopefully a resolution to come!
Sorry can't help but I hope your little fishy gets better!
Thank you, much appreciated
 

MacZ

Fishlore Legend
How long have you had this fish? Not sure. 2 years probably
Got the answer. Glowlights are among the tetra species you get farmbred. 2 years is a good age for these. Bulk of them makes it only 2-4 years. The described problem is typical for tetras at old age. Nothing you can change, you will see that with most of them. 1/3 will make it longer, up to 5-6 years.
 

DoubleDutch

Fishlore Legend
Got the answer. Glowlights are among the tetra species you get farmbred. 2 years is a good age for these. Bulk of them makes it only 2-4 years. The described problem is typical for tetras at old age. Nothing you can change, you will see that with most of them. 1/3 will make it longer, up to 5-6 years.
Agree Humanely euthanise the fish.
 

MacZ

Fishlore Legend
Agree Humanely euthanise the fish.
Not necessarily. Usually it's over before the fish starts to really suffer. But... yeah. It's an option.
 

Deek3000

New Member
Agree Humanely euthanise the fish.
Well, I'm glad I didn't follow this advice.

The assumption that it was old age and therefore a lost cause is fair, but in this case it seemed to be righting itself slowly so gave it another day, fasting and monitoring. It appears to have made a full recovery, swimming and eating normally again and has been released from the breeder box.

Just thought I'd follow up with this and YMMV but in this case at least a forced diet seemed to resolve the issues.

Thank you all here for the advice
 

DoubleDutch

Fishlore Legend
Well, I'm glad I didn't follow this advice.

The assumption that it was old age and therefore a lost cause is fair, but in this case it seemed to be righting itself slowly so gave it another day, fasting and monitoring. It appears to have made a full recovery, swimming and eating normally again and has been released from the breeder box.

Just thought I'd follow up with this and YMMV but in this case at least a forced diet seemed to resolve the issues.

Thank you all here for the advice
I am glad you didn't as well.

I didn't think it to be old age btw, but never read spiraling fish recovered in any way. Fish lost there coödination and spiraling this way in most cases have a nerve issue (with several possible causes). I think this proves we all don't know it all and sometimes it is better to follow your feeling than an follow an advice given.

Well done !
 

PlanetRock

Active Member
Not necessarily. Usually it's over before the fish starts to really suffer. But... yeah. It's an option.
Sorry to the other repliers but if it was a family member or friend would you just say that it’s probably worst case scenario and pull the plug?

you’re probably thi
Thank you, appreciate the prompt and detailed response. Ruling out constipation as a first step makes a lot of sense, though I've tried repeatedly to feed boiled peas and he/she is having none of it. There's no way this fish will eat any pea, either floating or delivered straight to it's maw by tweezers. I've tried several times and had to abandon this effort. There hasn't been any worsening of his/her state for now though. Have read up on the various potential causes as per the article you'd shared though am not sure on what to try assuming it could be bacterial and/or an injury. I've noticed since that on closer inspection that its dorsal fin looks a bit ragged/torn so either it's the result of an injury from another fish or perhaps an injury from getting blown around the aquarium after losing it's ability to remain neutrally buoyant.

Next steps are to explore potential treatment options for the potential causes as per the article you shared. Will see how we go!

Thanks for the help, hopefully a resolution to come!

Thank you, much appreciated
You are more than welcome maxZ! I’m sorry I can’t think of anything else that it could be so I really hope pulls through for you. Hugs!
 

PlanetRock

Active Member
I’ll be getting a response to the responders and I am not sure how to go back and edit it so I’ll start it again LOL.

Sorry to the other repliers but if it was a family member or friend would you just say that it’s probably worst case scenario and pull the plug?
Not necessarily. Usually it's over before the fish starts to really suffer. But... yeah. It's an option.
i’m not sure what’s happening here but every time I try to reply my screen goes blank and I have to begin again. So I’m just going to make this all one blurb and not try to mess anything up. You did the right thing by not listening MacZ. We as humans have different chemistry and bc of this don’t exactly know what a fish may be feeling inside (pain wise) but if it was horrible enough you would know when it would be time to humanely “pull the plug”.

i’m sorry if I offend the opinions of the other responders but my personal opinion to euthanize a fish or any animal for that matter just because they have a problem that hasn’t been figured out yet is a lack of judgement on our part perhaps, cruelty and/or the obvious to me is a form of laziness to not at least give the animal a fighting chance rather than to assume worst case scenario and just immediately euthanize.

I’ve had fish that have had all three of my suggestions to MacZ Hence my reasoning for those being suitable options.

As humans we have no idea what it feels like to be a fish or what there pain tolerance is, especially when dealing with individual personalities. I’ve seen a healthy fish kick the bucket over a gentle transfer to an actual bucket so I could clean the tank. I’ve also seen fish come back from approximate 1 to 3% survival rates from dropsy. Much of the time ( definitely not all), a fish can be saved with some serious TL&C and I’d love to present you with a beautiful video of an extremely sick betta and its owner that did NOT give up on him. Each and every time I am faced with a sick or injured fish my mind immediately goes back to this video and I ask myself, what would this man do? Growing up, I have always tried to save injured animals and the more time I gave them, the better their survival rate. I apply the same principles with my fish and all animals to this day.

After hearing my words and watching the video I truly hope you have a different outlook. If not, all I can do is say at least I tried.
Thanks for reminding me of going through EXACTLY that scenario the past 14 months with my father, who lost the battle against cancer just a few weeks ago, refusing further treatments.
And also thanks for making me answer to this publicly. I hope you're happy.
Woooah MacZ all I did was spend my time trying to help you and then stick up for you when people were telling you to euthanize your fish. I am so sorry about your father, I honestly am and you have my DEEPEST condolences! But please answer me this… How was I to know something like that just happened to you? And no, you didn’t have to announce it publicly you could’ve messaged me privately explaining how you felt. Again I am very sorry. All I was suggesting what to not give up on your fish and it paid off. If I was still young and rude I would’ve let anger get the best of me here so I’m letting you know that people do change over time. Please keep in mind it was your self that stated it was an option to euthanize but not yet. I was just backing you up in your decision, trying to make you feel like you had someone on your side. Again, I am very very sorry for your loss and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Message me anytime if you need someone to talk to who has been there. There is no shame in cancer and I can openly say that I lost my amazing Aunt who raised me and the devil of the disease took her a couple years ago and I’ve never been the the same since. You are NOT ALONE IN THIS!
May your father rest peacefully.
Oh my goodness! I am now apologizing to two people as I thought Deek3000 Who I was originally talking to got upset with me for making him bring up his father recently passing away.

Deek3000, Every single message was meant for you except for the response to MacZ. I have been barely sleeping this past week due to my own personal issues and I got the two names names confused! I do not know how to delete or edit anything I’ve said on this site so I have to keep writing something new.

And MacZ everything I said about being very sorry for your father and for you came from my heart and is true. But what I thought happened was that the person I was trying to help out Zeke 3000 was getting angry at me For making him think about his father when it was actually Mac’Z’s.

Please forgive me for getting the names mistaken as I said I have been up for nearly a week and things start to get easily mixed up after that long with no rest.

I hope both of you understand and if not please private message me so we can clear it up.

Thank you both, I truly hope you can understand and try to have a good night.

Tiffany.
 

MacZ

Fishlore Legend
Until you just said so I did not realise you mistook me and another user. Indeed, I'm not the OP and if there hadn't been a mix-up, it may eventually have helped to prevent this conversation. But now we are here, so let's deal with it.

I'll put it this way... from my perspective when I answered it was clearly "wrong time, wrong place". And "wrong comment towards the wrong person". But rather a feeling expressed openly for a moment than a grudge held in secret for who knows how long. It would be too long.
No hard feelings now, though, as you couldn't know.
I just found the comparison generally misplaced, as I learned first hand how death can be a blessing and a mercy.
Ironically enough it was my dad who taught me how to correctly euthanize fish and who first explained to me why it is sometimes necessary.
Thanks for the condolences. Now let's leave it be, ok?

I hope both of you understand and if not please private message me so we can clear it up.
Can't, as you either still have too few postings or turned off your messaging. Otherwise I would only have send you a PM.
 

DoubleDutch

Fishlore Legend
I think I am the one that this post was meand for and to be honest : I think it really is a unneeded and unwanted reaction.

To compare an advise given on a sick fish with "pulling out the plug" in case of friends or family is really offending and outragious to me.

We are on this forum to help and advise members in the best possible way based on the info given. Not every advise will be the best or worded in a right way (I should have said "I'd euthanise it").
People that don't give advises or share their thoughts NEVER will make a mistake. Where would this forum be when everyone would take this simple and secure way? Nowhere!

A spiraling tetra that has lived in a tank for two years also is something completely different than a new one in a new set up with several more possible(external) causes. One can rule out a lot in such a case.
Also they are living creatures and this thread proves that sometimes things are not as they seem to be and work out in another way than expected. Sometimes I might be too fast with the E-advise on the other hand that is only is meand to not let the fish suffer too long.

I think I and many others here have proven over the years a fish health and wellbeing is very important to us all but also want to prevent a fish has to suffer till the utmost end cause we humans seem to have the "egoistic" thought that "not allowing" it to die always is best. It isn't. There is more to it.

I also have family and friends that got ill or even died (sometimes after long suffering). I have always been there for them and their loved ones. I even had / have personal contact with MacZ in this terrible time for him and his family. So please stop judging me or anyone else like this (or as you said send a PM to share your thoughts in the first place).

As said I am glad it worked out for the OP, he/she followed her feeling and I was wrong in this case. Lesson learned.

Greetings, Aad
 

MacZ

Fishlore Legend
Thanks, mate. Appreciate it.
 

PlanetRock

Active Member
All I was doing was trying to help. Animals don’t have a voice so I speak for them. I LIVE for animals, they are my purpose in this life. I’ve had to euthanize fish myself with clove oil but a fish swimming in circles is too early of a cause to simple put it to sleep. That is my opinion and no one can take that from me or change my mind.
Yes, I may have used a terribly comparison, but by no means did I intend to hurt anyone.
Something you have now made me feel the need to make public is that I have BPD and that I pray almost daily to not be misunderstood.
I have said my apologies several times and meant them. I work everyday at doing my best to day the correct wording and I won’t allow people I don’t know to bully me for a simple misjudgment of words.
If any of you who had replied actually truly read what I said and meant, was to “never give up on animals and now (people) easily.
I’ve been as kind as I posssibly can be at this point and I’m not going to make reason after reason for a mistake with words that were meant to be well intended.
Do what you want with your fish and I’m speaking to all who replied towards me negatively. I fight for my fish just as I would for a human being because to me, we are all Gods creatures.
Take care and don’t bother me again as you have no idea what is going on in my life either. I just don’t make it public and force blame on people who go out of their way to try and help me or stick up for me.
 

MacZ

Fishlore Legend
Just. Leave. It. Be.

It's understood.
 

DoubleDutch

Fishlore Legend
Yeah let's do that.
Understood and accepted.
 

PlanetRock

Active Member
Deek3000, My sincere apologies for all of the riffraff. I Just wanted to tell you one last thing that I forgot. If you ever think you have a problem with constipation or you have an issue feeding your fish at all, add a little bit of garlic oil onto the food and they will most likely eat it. The garlic oil will not harm your fish or invertebrates whatsoever. They really enjoy garlic for some reason. Perhaps because they are more related to us than we really think. Take care!
 

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