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What Is Wrong With My Tiger Barbs?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by Greengirl87, May 19, 2019.

  1. Greengirl87 Valued Member Member

    So I got 4 green tiger barbs on monday. I know I need more than that. These were a rehome, so I only got 4. Things were fine all week, until friday night I noticed a couple of them swimming with their nose down. They didn't constantly swim like that, so I didn't think much of it. Yesterday morning I fed them and everyone was fine. Then in the late morning I noticed one was swimming upside down. It would right itself for a bit, but go back to upside down.

    My immediate thought was swim bladder. Perhaps I've been feeding them more than they're used to? Or I use a really high quality food(cobalt), you can't buy it in a store around my area, so I doubt that was what these guys were getting. Maybe it was too rich compared to what they were used to? I know the food itself is fine, because I have been feeding it to my other fish for months and they are fine. So anyway, I decided I will fast them and then do the pea treatment. I separated the upside down one off in a breeder net because the others were picking on him.

    I thought that was that, until a few minutes later the one in the net started flipping out! And I mean just spasming all over. Then he was pretty still, with a twitch here and there. Then he died. I have never seen swim bladder problems kill a fish so quickly. I've never seen any disease kill a fish so quickly. The only other things I saw wrong once inspecting after it died, were that it was quite bloated and its anus was red. I do still think both those things could fit with constipation. But any of this could be something else too. So since one of the others is swimming nose down too, I decided to also treat them for a bacterial infection. As I read sometimes swim bladder problems are caused by bacterial infections. And the severe bloating, though it didn't cause pineconing in this fish, could be dropsy. Except I've never seen dropsy go down like this. But anyway, I used seachem kanaplex, because I've found it to be one of the safest and most effective treatments when you aren't really sure what your dealing with. Plus I've never found it to screw up my cycle like some other stronger meds do.

    I checked my parameters and they are fine. Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 10-20. Ph is 7.5. Temp is 78. That is all perfectly normal for one of my tanks. However...

    It is possible that the stress of adjusting to my tanks from however they were kept before, coupled with possibly being overfed has caused this. Because I know the guy I got them from was keeping them at 80-82. Perhaps the cool down to 78 at my tank slowed their systems down enough, and with all the other things with food, they got super constipated. So I've bumped my heater up, gonna try to get them to 80-81. Also idk what his water was like. Though I do know he used tap, I use ro. It is entirely possible that his ph was way different than mine. Perhaps this could have affected them too?

    Lastly, how much does tank condition affect fish? Because these 4 barbs were in a 20 long with a rainbow shark and a pictus catfish at a school. I'm only assuming, but cleaning and water changing probably weren't kept up with as much as it should have been for that many fish in that small of a tank. My tank is new. It had been cycling for a couple months before I put them in. And it indeed was cycled. And as I mentioned above, my water parameters are fine. I immediately worried I got an ammonia spike from adding them in a newly cycled tank. But nope. It is fine. Is it possible though that just being in cleaner water has affected them? Idk.

    Any advice anyone can give is appreciated. I really don't want these fish to die. For one they are beautiful! For two I'd feel so bad if this guy trusted me to adopt these fish and they died. Three, even if I'm not super attached to them yet like all my other fish, it is still really sad when you lose fish. I hate it, and I'd rather not do it again so soon.

  2. Jeevanilla New Member Member

    I’ve had zebra danios spaz out and die after a water change, I never really understood why but I still have a school of 30+. I don’t know what exactly killed your tiger barbs but it sounded stress related. I hope the others will pull through:emoji_relaxed:

  3. Tanks and Plants Well Known Member Member

    Hi, I am sorry to heat about your fish dying like that! I know as a seasoned hobbiest whena fish dies it hurts!

    I have a few questions that maybe could narrow down

    1- What is of a tank do you have?

    2- What brand of filter do you have?

    3- How did you test your water parameters? Did you use a stick type tester or something like the API Freahwater Master Test Kit?

    What is your gH/kH of your water?

    This is what first came into my mind.......


    On a personal level I like to use Seachems Paragurad. It seems also easy on the biological filtration.

    Good Luck!

  4. Lollipop0912 Well Known Member Member

    In terms of advice, the best thing that you can do is to turn the light off (if it isn’t already). Leave the tank be so that the fish can slowly get used to it and hopefully not be as stressed. I’ve found upside down swimming to be stress related usually. (Though if it persists you are doing the right thing with the paraguard)
    If they survive, the best method to deal with bloat (IMO) is fasting and feeding blanched peas.
  5. Greengirl87 Valued Member Member

    Oh sorry, I did forget to include tank size. It is a 29 gallon. I use a tetra 20-30i, but I have it adapted to be like a little canister filter(coarse foam, fine foam, filter floss, bio media). I used the api master test kit. It is well within its expiration date. And shows various, but fine, readings for my other tanks. I haven't checked gh/kh yet, though I have a kit for it. It just wasn't with my master test kit, so I didn't think about checking it yesterday. I will do so today. And phosphates for good measure.

    I do also very much like paraguard, but I believe I'm out. And no where around where I live sells it, so I'd have to order off the internet. Though I'll do some digging. I do have fish stuff all over the place! So there may be some hiding somewhere.
  6. Greengirl87 Valued Member Member

    Well they've been in there since monday already. But I did turn the light off for good measure. And today is their first day of fasting. And I will feed peas after a couple days. I was considering soaking the peas in garlic guard just in case. What do you think?
  7. Tanks and Plants Well Known Member Member

    Hmmm if I am correct the filter is a quite small internal filter and although you have biological media i don’t think it’s quite enough and especially for a 29 gallon tank.. I would upgrade your filter to an Aquaclear 30 and you can adjust your filter to carry more biological media. In all my tanks i run at the very least 2 filters and thankfully I have not had any type of illness. I am a true believer in that you can never have too much filtration. Plus with those white pads you have to keep buying those filter cartridges every time. I also work at a LFS and I tell my customers who want to buy those cheap filters to either buy an Aquaclear of a sponge filter. I tell my customers that just like printers the company make loose money on the printer itself but they make it up by making sure that you have to keep on buying those filter cartridges. And those cartridges have a very small amount of carbon and has a very thin layer of filter floss. I wrote a member article about the Aquaclear filter....


    And as for the garlic guard my fishes hate it, but my fishes are very picky and spoiled.
  8. Lollipop0912 Well Known Member Member

    I think that if it’s been since Monday, you probably were right in going with meds. With the peas, I think garlic sauce is the way to go. I’ve read it really gets them eating. And, the bloating May be due to parasites (which would explain the sudden death)
  9. Greengirl87 Valued Member Member

    Normally I'd agree with you. The filter is a little small, and I'm planning to upgrade it when I take down a different tank. I wasn't planning on getting fish so soon, this filter was just supposed to be in there for cycling the tank. But then this guy needed to rehome these 4 barbs and my tank had just reached cycle, so I was like well it is just 4 of them and it is temporary until I can get that bigger filter switched over. It will probably be fine. Plus, I'm not using the cartridges. I'm using it exactly like a small internal canister. And considering it is a new tank, these are the first fish I've put in, and they've only been in a week, and that my parameters are fine...I don't think filtering is to blame. Though like I said, they just came from a tank that was overstocked and probably not filtering well enough. So I suppose they could have came to me with something. I normally treat all my new fish from the store with paraguard. But since these had been someone's I didn't think about doing it. I probably still should have. Hopefully I have some around. Or hopefully the kanaplex helps. At least until I can get some paraguard in the mail.
  10. Greengirl87 Valued Member Member

    Tanks and plants I do agree with you that cartridges are a rip off. Which is why I don't use them. Also your name reminded me, I forgot to include that I have live plants in the tank. Idk if that makes any sort of difference to what is wrong with the fish. It is a simple set up. Just java fern and crypts. I only use root tabs for fertilizing. But I have the same plants with the same root tabs in my 2 other tanks and those tanks are fine. So I don't think that has anything to do with it.

    The more I think about it, the more it seems likely that these fish, being kept in less than ideal conditions before I adopted them, probably already had something. And the stress of the move, in combination with the change in tank conditions, probably caused them to get sick. Though what it is eludes me.
  11. Tanks and Plants Well Known Member Member

    Plants are always helpful! And it could be the stress of moving but to have a fish die that fast and sudden is what I don’t get. When I get new fish I don’t drip acclimate or anything I just place them in my tank. I got this idea from people like these and i haven’t had any problems with any of my fishes dying like that. I hope that this is just one of those freak things....

    Here is that video

  12. Greengirl87 Valued Member Member

    Well I came home from work today and found another one of them dead. Another one isn't looking good. One still seems ok.

    Part of the problem is probably temperature. I thought maybe I should turn the heat up since the guy I got them from kept them a little warmer than I was. But this heater I have is wonky. When I first set this tank up, I thought I had it set at 81, I wanted it a little warmer to get the bb going. Well a couple days in I realized it was up to 91! I was like is this thing 10 degrees off? So I turned it down to what the dial said was 68. Though I'm pretty sure that fried my bb and I had to start over, because it took 2 months to cycle after that. Anyway, it had been keeping about 78, so I thought it was fixed, the dial was off and that was it. So back to now, I turn the dial to 71, thinking this will really be 81. And today the temp is at 75! So idk what is going on with this heater, but I took it out and put in a spare. Ya know, that was the first name brand heater I ever bought, and it is the only one that hasn't worked right. Whatever, regardless, these fish don't look good.

    I put in the 2nd dose of kanaplex this morning. And after testing my parameters again just now, I put in a dose of paraguard. The new heater I put in has been on constantly and the temp has already raised a degree. But I am really not optimistic about these fish surviving. And I'm down to 2 now, which can't be good for them. I really think the 1 doesn't have long. And it surely won't be good to have 1 by itself. But I don't wanna add more with this mystery disease. And I really can't anyway, as I'm going to chicago for a wedding this weekend. I have a friend coming to feed my fish, but she isn't really equipped to do more than that. Idk what to do guys.