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dahling8

Suspected beginnings of Swim Bladder disorder?

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I have a nicely proportioned juvenile Oranda that I'm growing out, he's always been the strongest swimmer of my 3 fish, his other tank mates are 2 juvenile ranchu.  Lately over the past several weeks, I've noticed that while at rest, he prefers to chill/float at the surface and when he sees me, he springs into action with a big splash and starts swimming all over the tank.  When he stops swimming, his tail end would like to float up, not quite tail over head but he's still a strong swimmer and with a couple of tail swishes he's propelling him forward and upright again.

When he's foraging on the bottom for food, he puts it extra work to stay near the bottom.

Would this likely be the start of a swim bladder disorder?  IIRC, he's always been raised in depth of 16" from fry and he's in a 40 gallon breeder now.  My plan is to continue to grow these 3 fish out in a 40 gallon breeder for maybe another 6 months and move the oranda into a 50 gallon Rubbermaid stock tank with a lower water level and leave the 2 ranchu behind, but if he continues to be "floaty" I can move him sooner.

I'm happy to complete the "template" if it helps, but it's more of a general comment right now.

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You should move them all  into the 50 gallon Rubbermaid.  The huge surface area to volume ratio makes this tank able to support many more fish than the volume suggests. 

The greater the area of the tank, the more the fish swim, and the better the gas exchange at the surface.  Fancy goldfish need exercise to avoid buoyancy problems. 

Guidelines based on the surface area recommend 2 square feet of surface area per goldfish.  The 40B has about 4.5 square feet of surface area, which makes it fine for two goldfish whether you stock by volume or surface area.  The Rubbermaid 50 has about 10 square feet of  surface area, as much as a 100 gallon stock tank.

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Thank you, I could easily move them to the Rubbermaid 50, it's not used right now.  Maximum depth is 12", would you recommend a lower water level to help with buoyancy issues with the oranda?  I guestimate that there would be 40 gallons of water volume at a depth of 9-10".

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Nine inches should work well.  Don't worry about the volume.  With average filtration and water changes,  the surface area allows this tank to support 5 mature goldfish.  With superior filtration and water changes, it can support 10.

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The were in quarantine for a couple of months in that same stock tub when I first got them.  Should have just left them there!  

I still find it amazing how a little bit more surface area can be so much more beneficial for gold fish.  Sure the stock tub is longer and wider than a 40B, but it's not unmanageable like what you would need to support 10 adults in a glass aquarium.  It's just too bad that it looks so darned ugly sitting in the dining room floor.  I'll just have to dress it up a bit.

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We are not talking about a little more surface area, but more than twice as much.  The shallow water also makes it easier for the oxygen from the air above to diffuse all the way to the bottom of the tank.   Even fisheries biologists find that, for lakes of similar area, the deeper the water, the lower the fish production.  

You will find it quite easy to make a topless, bottomless box to go around the tank and decorate it any way you like.

You might like to read this description of making a filter and continuous water change system for a Rubbermaid 50.

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Very nice read, I'm inspired!  I'll continue to go bare bottom on the Rubbermaid 50, I may struggle with lighting.  The led's over a 40B is no where near as intense over a black tub especially if I'm staying bare bottom with nothing to reflect the light.  I'll experiment with adding other light strips.

I just might have to add in some fake floating lilys and flowers.  This guy is wintering his fish in a Rubbermaid 50.

 

 

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Shakaho is right - whatever may or may not be going on with the swim bladder, a shallower,  broader water volume is only going to help.  Do show us whatever you come up with, we always love ogling setups :)

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I figured the oranda should be making the move to a shallower tub, but it never crossed my mind to move the ranchus too since they appear to be doing fine in the 40B.  They were due for their water change in another day, so I went ahead and moved them all into the Rubbermaid stock tank tonight. I think they do enjoy the extra room to spread out their fins, that and a 100% water change.  I'll try to get some pics posted.  Thanks for the suggestions!

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A few pics I snapped after throwing the tub together.  The Rubbermaid 50 is on the floor over a tarp.  If it turns out to be a permanent fixture, I'll likely have it raised a little higher on a stand.  The group of fish are on the left, I'm using an overhead trickle filter mounted on some aluminum right angles which were a perfect fit on the 40B but extrudes out on the Rubbermaid.  The spray/drip bars are running parallel to each other.

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Front view of the trickle filter.  I like my hardware.  :whistle

It holds as much media as 3 of my old 2217 Eheim Classics canister filters, but I prefer to use bonded media pads for mechanical for the top layer and 2 rows of biomedia.  The biomedia is supposed to cultivate anaerobic bacteria which consumes nitrates.  I was able to keep nitrates down to less than 5ppm after a week with one goldfish, but it will take more time with 3.  It seems like it takes about half a year for anaerobic bacteria to catch up to the nitrate levels.  I do 2 x 75% water changes on the 40B, with the odd 100% monthly thrown in.  Nitrates measures about 20-25 ppm after 4 days.

The filter is powered by a Cobalt MJ1200 powerhead with a pre-filter attached. 

filter.png

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Mr floaty Oranda.  He's swimming around much more now, so we'll see if he continues to struggle to maintain his depth.  I'll be away for a couple of weeks in November, so hopefully I should have enough duckweed so I can instruct one of my fish sitter to just drop in a cupful of duckweed a day.  Water level is at about 9" depth, about 40 gallons water volume on the Rubbermaid 50.  He's a handful (size), about 105 grams.  Some more wen growth would be nice but I wouldn't mind if he stays at the current size.   My guess he is a year old.  Thai based calico oranda.

oranda.png

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Group shot, I don't think the tub bottom will be this clean anymore...lol

A couple of ranchus, a red rescue and a lemonhead, all fish from ECR.

group.png

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WOW thats a great set up now. I would love to do that in my house but my cats would try and eat them plus my 5 year old would try and grab them :yikes 

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I doubt that system will have enough denitrifiers to remove significant amounts of nitrate.  A trickle filter produces very well aerated water.   We have had a few people who had a zero nitrate tank with a fairly thick layer of gravel in the bottom, but the overwhelming majority of those with gravel in the bottom of the tank had to use water changes to control nitrates.

The easiest and most efficient nitrate removal uses terrestrial plants.  Get an elongated planter box similar to this, drill holes in the bottom for drainage, place it over the tank (your hardware works here too).  Then plant in hydroponic medium, something like this.  You can use a small fountain pump to pump the water from the tank into the planter.  

You can grow low-light house plants like pothos with ambient light.  With a grow lamp you can do herbs and even veggies.  

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9 hours ago, koko said:

WOW thats a great set up now. I would love to do that in my house but my cats would try and eat them plus my 5 year old would try and grab them :yikes 

It is cool to watch, but yeah, having it at ground level has it's hazards.  I left a cube of frozen blood worms to thaw in a plastic container by the tub and my dog took off with it.  :madrant

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8 hours ago, shakaho said:

I doubt that system will have enough denitrifiers to remove significant amounts of nitrate.  A trickle filter produces very well aerated water.   We have had a few people who had a zero nitrate tank with a fairly thick layer of gravel in the bottom, but the overwhelming majority of those with gravel in the bottom of the tank had to use water changes to control nitrates.

The easiest and most efficient nitrate removal uses terrestrial plants.  Get an elongated planter box similar to this, drill holes in the bottom for drainage, place it over the tank (your hardware works here too).  Then plant in hydroponic medium, something like this.  You can use a small fountain pump to pump the water from the tank into the planter.  

You can grow low-light house plants like pothos with ambient light.  With a grow lamp you can do herbs and even veggies.  

I have a couple of sprigs of pothos in one tank that's coming in nicely and nitrates are noticeably lower than it was before, but that's too easy and logical, lol.  Some of our local forum members swear by the clay pellets - our hydroponic store calls them hydroton, (trade name?) as biomedia, and cheap too.  They use it in their filters from canisters, hob's and sumps and they report less nitrates than before.

But I enjoy watching the live action of dripping water in the clear compartments, and at the end it may not make a dent in nitrates but I still have my fingers crossed.  A few people steered me to the biomedia I'm using and getting great results.  I'm using a smaller quantity of the same biomedia in a trickle filter tray of a fluval hob (crummy filter) and it's doing a good job of nitrate removal/reduction.  Less than 10 ppm nitrates after a week in an overstocked nano fish tank.  But the same media in a much larger sized canister but high flow - 900 gph did nothing.  Seachem recommends less than 50gph flow through their nitrate consuming media so I'm experimenting with less flow as I continue tweaking it.

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My source of information for the trickle filter, but Pondguru has a vested interest in his super biomedia:

 

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It's been 2 weeks now since I placed all the fish in the Rubbermaid 50 and pleased to report that since yesterday Mr Oranda is now back to swimming at all levels without too much difficulty in maintaining his depth.  I have been feeding them more greens/higher fibre foods this past week, so I don't know how much that has helped, but just having more swimming/fin room makes more sense.  Thanks to all!

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23 hours ago, dahling8 said:

It's been 2 weeks now since I placed all the fish in the Rubbermaid 50 and pleased to report that since yesterday Mr Oranda is now back to swimming at all levels without too much difficulty in maintaining his depth.  I have been feeding them more greens/higher fibre foods this past week, so I don't know how much that has helped, but just having more swimming/fin room makes more sense.  Thanks to all!

That is great news :thumbs: 

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He's a pretty guy. Hopefully he does okay now.

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Of course I spoke to soon, after several days, he's starting to exhibit floaty signs again.  The environment is the same, the only difference are the foods that I'm feeding the fish.  Duckweed, green peas aren't a problem so I'll back track and start introducing the other foods one at a time on it's own for several days and if he is symptom free, I'll add another menu item and so on.    

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So many of those big Thai type Orandas float around all swim bladdery. There's nothing that can often be done about it. Where are your nitrates sitting? 

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He is my first Thai based Oranda, I didn't know they have a history of swim bladder issues, but he is more compact than Orandas I've had before - he's much bigger too.  My guess is he's just over a year old.

High end of nitrates would be about 25 ppm before I do a water change.  I do 75% water changes every 4-5 days with a 100% monthly.

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I've had two compact bodied Thai Orandas. One lemon head that I had for about 8 months and he never had any issues. He got about as big as yours (95 grams or so) before an owl sadly ate him. One baby boy I just got September 30 who seems fine. He's 50 grams. For the weight of yours, I suspect you're right about his age. Mine was about that big at around that age. 

But I have seen so many of the big Thai dudes float around all swim bladdery. I mean SO MANY. But it's usually the longer bodied ones or the ones with giant wens that seem to float more. Mine were actually extremely compact bodied. Yuan Bao type. I LOVE compact bodied fish. 

Those nitrates are high enough to cause a nitrate sensitive fish to float. Keep them around 10-15 ppm and see if this makes a difference. He's a lovely guy. With his yellow head and calico body... He sort of looks like a mixture of my guys lol.. Oh one more thing... Some Thai imports are temperature sensitive. If it gets too cool, they float around. What's the temperature running? 

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Edited by mjfromga
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