What To Do About Glowlight Tetras' Red Gills

charliecat

Hello everyone -

I have 5 glowlight tetras in a 20 gallon tank running for about 1.5 months at 76F, pH 7.2, with an aqueon filter. The past week using the API test kit: nh3: 0-.25ppm, no2: 0ppm, no3: 0-.5ppm. I change 1/4-1/3 the water every 5-6 days and vacuum the substrate. I feed the fish tetra flakes once a day and once a week they get bloodworms instead.

These fish have been with the aquarium since the beginning, and are active and eating. However, one of them has developed bright red gills over the past 3 days. A second is showing slight reddening of his gills since this morning. The fish with the reddest gills hasn't been eating the past 2 days and appears slightly bloated and lethargic at times. I've read that it could be ammonia poisoning, bacteria or a parasite.

I'm new to this and would like to start helping my fish feel better, but I'd like some guidance on what to do first, since there seem to be a lot of possibilities. I don't know if it's relevant - but 3 of them had finrot a few weeks ago on their tails, I treated with melafix and they are growing back. I've attached a somewhat blurry photo of the two red gills and some non-reds - so hopefully that helps. Thanks!
 

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nikm128

It's probably from the ammonia and nitrites, did you cycle the tank, or is it still cycling?
 

Fishstery

According to their test results with ammonia being present either the tank never cycled or their tap contains ammonia which using RO water with water changes could help that. OP I would suggest testing your tap water first to see if there's ammonia in it. Next I would get seachem prime as your water conditioner if you aren't already using it. It DETOXIFIES ammonia nitrite and nitrates to make it less toxic to your fish but it doesn't remove the ammonia so you'll still have to fix that issue. If your tap isn't the issue I would provide us with more detailed info on how you went about cycling but from your post it seems you attempted a fish in cycle which would explain the gill damage and fin rot. If they aren't flashing (scratching against things) or their poop isn't stringy I would rule out a parasite. My only other thought is with tetras such as neons and cardinals their gill flaps will fold under exposing their gills, either from bad genetics from mass breeding in farms or from handling them improperly with a net
 

Coptapia

Looks like a deformity that allows the gills to show through. A fish’s gills are supposed to be red.
 

DoubleDutch

Those aren't glowlight tetras They are golden X-ray tetras. Think the redness around their gills is quite normal (running blood through them)
 

Fishstery

Looks like a deformity that allows the gills to show through. A fish’s gills are supposed to be red.
Actually bright redness isn't normal and is a sign of some type of irritation. In this case they may be red because of exposure without a gill flap, but if fish have intact gill flaps and the gills are red enough to show through their scales then something is wrong. When my badis gills got red I quickly checked my water parameters and found I had high nitrates. After a water change their gill color toned down quite a bit.
 

Coptapia

Actually bright redness isn't normal and is a sign of some type of irritation. In this case they may be red because of exposure without a gill flap, but if fish have intact gill flaps and the gills are red enough to show through their scales then something is wrong

Bright red Is normal, it shows blood in the gills with plenty of oxygen in it. It’s when the gills are not bright red that there’s a problem. A lot of fish are now bred in varieties that have translucent gill covers so the gills are visible. Or it could be an incomplete cover, it’s hard to tell exactly from the picture...
 

nikm128

It is hard to tell, but either way there's some ammonia and nitrites in the water which is still an issue
 

charliecat

Thanks for all the quick responses (and giving me the correct name of my fish)!

I tested my tap water and it has 0 ammonia. To cycle, I set the tank up for a few days with plants, then added my fish and kept track of the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels, doing frequent water changes when the ammonia reading was over .5ppm but it never went above 1ppm - is that enough ammonia for the tank to cycle?

I'm assuming my tank is still cycling since there are still .25ppm nh3 readings every so often. Also, I use prime as the water conditioner.

The fish with the reddest gills had a black stringy poop this morning with a small white speck in it. Does that indicate any which way of something?
 

nikm128

Yea the tank is still cycling, it's almost done I think
 

TheBettaSushi

Bright red Is normal, it shows blood in the gills with plenty of oxygen in it. It’s when the gills are not bright red that there’s a problem. A lot of fish are now bred in varieties that have translucent gill covers so the gills are visible. Or it could be an incomplete cover, it’s hard to tell exactly from the picture...
Correct. My zebra danios have bright red gills depending on which way they turn. That is completely normal. It’s when they show dark red (dried blood looking) gills which indicate a problem. If that happens, it’s either flukes or ammonia/toxicity burns.
 

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