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cathface

looking lethargic, hiding, not eating

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Test Results for the Following:

* Ammonia Level <0.25 (tap water comes out at 0.25 because of being treated with chloramine)

* Nitrite Level 0

* Nitrate level 5

* Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.6

* Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.6

Other Required Info:

* Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API Freshwater Master Kit

* Water temperature? 23/24ºC (very sunny in Edinburgh these few days, my room is like a sauna! only 1-2 degrees warmer than it used to be, and I can't imagine it having warmed up particularly suddenly)

* Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 160 litres/40 gallons, running since 4th Feb 2012

* What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? 1 Eheim Aquaball (550lph), 1 Rena XP2 (apparently 1150lph but from Alistair's canister thread, it appears to be a lot less in reality after being filled with media)

* How often do you change the water and how much? twice a week, between 70-90%, depending on nitrate levels and how much I can carry before I ache lol

* How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? yesterday, approx 80% (did a proper algae scrape, rinsed the Aquaball media, wiped down river rocks)

* How many fish in the tank and their size? 4 fish; two about 2.5 inches, one about 2 inches, and one stunted at about 2.75 inches

* What kind of water additives or conditioners? Prime, Gold Buffer, Mediclay (koi clay)

* What do you feed your fish and how often? gel food is staple, sometimes I feed them just Saki Hikari pellets (a small snack meal), boiled veggies every few days

* Any new fish added to the tank? nope

* Any medications added to the tank? nope

* List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment. none

* Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? no

* Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? hiding, bottom sitting, not coming over and doing the food wiggle when I approach, not really eating

Stephen Hawking's behaviour is worrying me - he's the little stunted guy. he used to be the big man, since the others are all juveniles, but now they've more or less caught up. since yesterday evening, he's been lookg lethargic, sort of just floating around rather than swimming. at times I find him hiding behind the silk plants, bottom sitting. I went to feed them about half an hour ago, and as usual, the other three swam straight over and started wiggling excitedly. Hawking didn't. he stayed behind the silk plants. I thought perhaps he just didn't see me because he was behind the plants, so I dropped a bit of food in. everyone else went mental, but still nothing from Hawking. I don't think he got any of the food that landed on the bottom. just now, I looked over and he did maybe a lap or two of the tank's length, not really swimming still, just gliding along with the current really. he's just gone back to his hiding spot and is now sitting on the bottom again.

I can't imagine what it could be though - I've not added anything new recently - I added the Rena canister maybe 5-6 days ago now? and he was fine up until last night. I also added another silk plant (to cover the airline) but I rinsed that in dechlorinated water and it's just a standard silk plant, doubt it's caused by that. so I just have no idea. he seemed okay immediately after the wc, but a couple hours later, he started this behaviour. everyone else is completely fine and acting the same. no darting, no flashing, no yawning, nothing. Hawking's got no symptoms of any kind either - no red streaks, no fraying, no white poos... I just don't know what's wrong with him. :( anyone have any ideas??

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What were your water parameters before your water change? And are your parameter readings 1 day after your water change?

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before the water change -

ammonia: 0

nitrite: 0

nitrate: 40

and yes my parameter readings are one day after the wc. I did them just now.

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Hi Cath,

I'm sorry Sir Hawking isn't feeling well. When a fish is mopey like that, we will need to try to distinguish between three different possibilites: water quality, external parasites, or internal parasites. I think that given the water parameter history can rule out the water quality issue. So let's now concentrate on the last two. Did you ever treat for flukes? Salt the tank? Do you see any fin clamping?

I would like to try to do a salt dip (or a series of three TBD). Would you be up to doing that? Salt is a great help in situations like this.

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there is no fin clamping at all, he just looks miserable. :( I've never treated for flukes or salted the tank. can flukes suddenly appear?? I can try the salt dip - how much salt would I need per gallon? should I take Hawking out and put him in QT? can I use sea salt that has no additives, or does it need to be aquarium/epsom salt? I honestly have no idea what the differences are haha.

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OK. Let's try the dip. We'll do a 3% salt dip, which is 30 teaspoons per gallon. Any sodium chloride without additives is fine. Saxo has a sea salt that has no additives and can be used, if you like. Don't use Epsom, with is magnesium sulfate, an entirely different compound.

Just a few notes on the dip:

- make sure you use dechlorinated water. Once the salt has dissolved, make sure the salt solution and the tank match in temp

- place SH in the salt solution. The max that he can stay in there is 5 minutes, so you'll need some sort of timer.

- if, however, before the 5 minutes are up and SH starts to lose balance and begins to tip over without being able to regain his upright posture afterward, then remove him from the salt, even if the five minutes are not over. Take note of how much time has passed.

- after the dip, place him in a holding tank with dechlorinated water and bubbles for a couple of hours to observed. Double up on the Prime if you like. After a couple of hours, you can move him back to the main tank for now.

We'll reassess our strategy tomorrow, after seeing how he does. :)

Edited by dnalex

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thank you for the notes - definitely needed those. I have this: http://www.tesco.com...cp_GSF_51468624

will that be okay? and would I be able to do this tomorrow morning? or would it be better if I do it now? just because it's 3:15am and I'm quite tired, but I will do what I need to if this can't wait!

edit: nevermind, I will do this now, it'll only take 10 minutes max to set it up, dissolve salt etc. don't want to risk finding that he passed during the night. :(

Edited by cathface

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Good luck with Steven Hawking, Cath!

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The Maldon sea salt should be fine :)

Good luck and let us know how goes :)

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Good luck! I hope he's okay :)

Wish I could help! :)

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thank you Shawn and Manda. :)

re: the salt dip. as soon as I put him in, he wasn't upright and floated straight to the top. didn't even try to struggle to right himself and go down. I thought perhaps he's just a bit sleepy (the tank's light is off), so I gave him one minute, but he just sort of wiggled hopelessly at the top, so I removed him and put him in the holding tank. he seems better in the holding tank, not floating at the top etc, there is some movement so he's not just bottom-sitting like he was in the main tank. should I be worried? :(

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Oh, it's ok that he wiggles at the top. You'd only want to take him out when he completely topples to the side and can't put himself back in the upright position. In any case, 1 minute is respectable and not bad for the first try. I think you'll want to do this again twice more, with one day rest between each dip. Get some sleep and let us know how he does in the morning. If we are on the right track, he should be tons livelier than he was today :)

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oh but he was floating at the top on his side? is that okay? I'll leave him for the night and report back in the morning. to be honest, he seems slightly livelier already. in the holding tank, he's swimming around a bit and has only sat down a few times that I've seen so far. so thanks so much, Alex. you are a godsend. can't imagine what I would do if he'd passed in the night - he's been with me for over 3 years, through thick and thin! :( so if these salt dips perk him right up and he's back to his usual self after all of it, what could the problem have been?

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Oh, OK. I misunderstood earlier, and did not realize that he on his side floating at the top. You did EXACTLY the right thing to remove him as you had :)

Salt dips are fantastic and gentle things among goldfish treatments. According to the University of Florid IFAS Extension, A 3 percent salt dip effectively removes protozoa from the skin, gills, and fins of freshwater fish; it also enhances mucus production. It also helps to work a very mild laxative. :)

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I just want to add that I am a bit concerned about your nitrates getting to 40ppm before a water change. Quite a few fish are sensitive to nitrates. I would start doing an extra weekly water change and see if that helps. Ideally, you want to keep them below 20ppm. You might consider some live plants as well.

Edited by amynmitchell

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ah that would be my fault... the 40ppm for nitrates may have been because I was feeling a little under the weather and left it for an extra couple of days... I find that it's usually 20ppm when I do the regular every 3-4 days changing (usually 3 because I am a bit of a hygiene freak lol), just that before the Monday wc, I'd not done it since the Wednesday before.

okay so I checked on Hawking this morning, and he was being livelier than before, so I transferred him back to the main tank. he's no longer bottom sitting but he's still hiding behind the plants. good news is he did come out for the morning feeding, so he is eating. according to your advice, Alex, should I be resting him today, and then salt dipping again tomorrow?

edit: oh and Amy I forgot to mention, I am planning on getting some driftwood and attaching some java ferns or something on it to put in the goldie tank. :)

Edited by cathface

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Happy to hear SH is feeling a bit better :) as your being advised by Alex I'v nothing to ad, but wishing you healing vibes your way :) also the drift wood with live plants can only benefit your tank in my opinion ;)

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I hope Stephen Hawkings will recover quickly :) Just be careful with the driftwood. Try and get a piece that is flat or one that has a large arch in it (big enough that all of your fish can easily swim through it). I made the mistake of adding a piece of mopani wood to my goldfish tank a couple of years back. It had a small arch in it and only my 2 chocolate orandas were able to swim through the arch. After only 3 months they had grown enough that they could no longer get under although they kept trying and after i had to remove both of them from being trapped under it i got rid of it.

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thank you both! :) yeah I was at P@H the other day, took a look at their bigger pieces of wood... didn't like how most of the standard bogwood seemed scratchy (I ran my hand on it and bits came off like splinters), but none of the mopanis were particularly big. I would quite like something with a big arch in it, so I'm keeping an eye out for the 'perfect' piece of wood haha.

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Woot! I'm so glad he is doing better! Yes, another dip tomorrow, please :)

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I've been watching Hawking all day today, and he's gone back to bottom sitting and hiding behind the plants. he ventures out every so often but when he does, he doesn't seem to be able to stay upright - he tilts slightly to his left, even when he swims. he hasn't come to the front when I feed, but when he saw the others going for the food after I dropped it in, he did have a nibble. and by nibble, I mean just that - he doesn't seem to eat much. :(

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Can you get some Kusuri wormer plus or fluke-solve? Alistair has both, I think. May be he would be willing to share some with you...

That's the next thing on the list.

I think we will also need to start adding salt to the tank...0.2%,,

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is 0.2% 20 tsps per gallon?? that would be 800 tsps... :o

I'll try and get a hold of some wormer plus, it's probably good to have some on hand anyway. but that probably won't arrive until at least Monday, since the weekend is coming up. is that okay? :(

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Noooo. :)

You will need to increase salt in the tank incrementally, with 0.1% each 12 hours.

0.1% = 1 level teaspoon / gallon

How is he this morning?

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ahhh I see! haha I am so dumb. he is currently still hiding and bottom sitting, though he did come out for some food. I shall do his second salt dip now and update you when he is in the holding tank. :) shall I also salt the tank whilst I'm at it?

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