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Thread: Help Needed, Laying on the Bottom

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Florence MS
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    Default Help Needed, Laying on the Bottom

    Most of my Cichlids are laying on the bottom of the tank until I walk up to them.

    This started happening about a month ago.

    They lay on the rock decor and on the bottom of the tank. It's like they are to tired to swim.

    I have a 3 year old Peacock that just lays on its side actually over a rock.

    Some of the other fish lay on the bottom, but upright.

    Five of the fish act normal, suspended and moving just as always.

    The average fish loss since I noticed this is about 1 a week.

    I appears that the fish gets very slinder in the belly region, like starvation, which seems to lead to the others picking the fins.

    I am at a loss at the moment, so I joined this forum for help.

    This is where I will get trashed, but I want to be honest.

    I do not have a water test kit. Back in the day, I had a problem with ph levels, but since the move, that is no longer a problem.

    The only problems I have had in the last 9 years with aquariums was over filtration in a regular tropical tank, 20 high with one undergravel filter and 2 15 gallon hang in filters. With that setup I could not even support life of a Pleco for more than 2 weeks. (My first tank) Although it could have been the ph also.

    1.5 years ago, my 65 gallon cichild tank, the fish got white stuff around thier mouth which led to a major tank die off. Saved 4 and 7 babies with a complete tank teardown.

    I could take a water sample to the nearest pet shop (quite a ways), but I thought I would see what pops here first.

    I have read a few threads here already and it appears the first questions are "how many fish, tank size, species and etc.)


    Tank history: Same tank, 4 years ago I had: Peacock, Black Convict, Yellow Lab and a light golden colored fish.

    Of course, these fish tend to bread like mad, so I ended up with a bunch of crossbreads.

    Here is what I have now.

    45 gallon bow

    13 cichlids (1 Peacock, a few of a light golden color fish, a few Yellow Lab Peacock mix, a couple of Black Convicts which I'm sure are crossbread with something else and a Pleco.

    Hagen Aqua Clear 300 (added 1.5 years ago) (filter upgrade)

    Penguin 660 Power Head (for circulation) (added 8 months ago) (upgrade from a smaller unit which I added 1.1 years ago)

    One air stone. (always had)

    50/50 crushed coral and seashells (always had and used)

    I have always feed them Ocean Nutrition Cichlid Omni Formula with an occational Tetra Color Cichlid Sticks and OSI Shrimp Pellets as a treat.

    I know I don't give these aquariums all the testing they need and I should probably get of the hobby, but please help me and my fish.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Pennsylvania
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    How often do you change water and how much? When was the last water change?
    Did you clean the filter recently, if yes - how?
    When they eat, do you notice them grabbing and spitting, as if it is difficult for them to swallow?
    Please get some water to your lfs to be checked.
    Sunken bellies may suggest parasite infection. While at LFS, get some Parasite Clear from Jungle Labs in case you need immediate treatment.
    I would suggest massive water changes but to do it you need to know first the water parameters.
    Good luck,
    Val
    125g: Cyphotilapia frontosa
    72g BF: Labidochromis caeruleus, Iodotropheus sprengerae, Pseudotropheus sp. "Acei" (Msuli), Pseudotropheus cyaneorhabdos (Maingano), Metriaclima estherae

    "The lyfe so short, the craft so long to lerne..." Geoffrey Chaucer
    "I wouldn't carry the son-of-a-bitch if it wasn't dangerous." Texas Ranger Charlie Miller

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Florence MS
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    There was a time when I did 50% water changes about every 3 weeks or so, but after buying the Python water changing system, I had problems with all the fish coming to the surface of the water for lack of oxygen. I have not idea if that was technique or the way chemicals had to be added.

    Since the Python purchase, I have been doing 10 to 20% about every 2 weeks.

    One quick thing I learned about the Python, one must fix the tube in the tank so the water falls out if it and not down in the water like it was during suction. That seemed to have corrected the fish coming to the top, later to only look as if they were almost dead.

    I had a guy @ my local pet store tell me my water changes were to agressive. I never really had a problem @ 50% with buckets, but the Python changed all that.

    Filter gets cleaned with hot water every 1 to 2 weeks in the sink. I spray the bio media, spray the charcole bag and spray & squeeze the sponge filter. Just like I always have.

    Feeding: they seem to eat well, but some them have a hard time getting the surface for the food. Like lack of energy and if they stop swimming they just sink back to the bottom.

    I will round up some water and carry it to the pet store on Sunday or Monday and look for that Parasite Clear you are speaking of.

    Thanks for your reply DocV

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    Lethbridge Alberta, Canada
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    1- 50% is a pretty heafty water change try to get 10-20% weekly there should be no real difference between bucket vs. python other than getting a good water temp for re-filling.
    2- Never never never clean your filters with tap water non the less hot tap water. It kills all your bacteria seeded in your filters and will cause a mini-cycle to occur every time you do this stressing your fish out. This is by far worse than the water change issue and is most likely causeing your grief. Always rinse your filters randomly in a bucket of tank water to avoid this problem. by "spraying" everything you are putting your tank back to day one of the initial cycle and are causing harm and stress to your fish.
    3- it does sound like your fish may be suffering from a parasite issue but water quality should be your first concern. Possibly post some pics of your fish with the sunken bellies and let everyone have a look to make a for sure call on that, As doc v said mabe some Parasite clear may help them along as you get your water under control.

    Keep everyone here posted with what you find as well as any progress you've made and you'll be suprised to see the help you'll get!!!

  5. #5
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    May 2008
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    I am also have to ask - you didn't mention this - while changing water, do you add any dechlorinating agent? The absence of such can easily explain why your fish look like dead after each water change.
    So far, here is a list of obvious issues you have:
    1) you kill all beneficial bacteria every time you wash filters in tap water, causing mini cycle. I bet your water parameters are not good - it alone can explain the problems
    2) you don't change water sufficiently enough. 25% every week is the target value
    3) if there is no dechlorinator during water changes, you fish suffers every time you do it.
    I would consider all of the above prior to considering the parasite infection.
    Good luck!
    Val
    125g: Cyphotilapia frontosa
    72g BF: Labidochromis caeruleus, Iodotropheus sprengerae, Pseudotropheus sp. "Acei" (Msuli), Pseudotropheus cyaneorhabdos (Maingano), Metriaclima estherae

    "The lyfe so short, the craft so long to lerne..." Geoffrey Chaucer
    "I wouldn't carry the son-of-a-bitch if it wasn't dangerous." Texas Ranger Charlie Miller

  6. #6

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    What are the actual values for your ammonia, nitrites and nitrates.
    The photocontest, like everything else is behind schedule. You get some links back today.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Five Bar View Post
    Filter gets cleaned with hot water every 1 to 2 weeks in the sink. I spray the bio media, spray the charcole bag and spray & squeeze the sponge filter. Just like I always have.
    This will KILL your biological filter every time! Stop doing this!

    When you clean your filter you should drain tank water into a pail filling it about halfway and then rinse out your filter media in THAT water only! The beneficial bacteria living in your filter as sensitive to changes in temperature and water chemistry and are the KEY factor keeping your fish alive in a closed system like your aquarium.

    Changing this procedure should help you quite a lot!

    As for the Python/O2 problems....

    Are you adding a dechlorinator before filling the tank? If not the chloramines added to most municipal water supplies will cause the problems you are describing.

    IF this isn't the problem...

    Then some water supplies have a very low O2 content and need to be circulated a bit to encourage gas exchange. Try adding the water in slower instead of full blast.... if the water streams slowly into the tank it has a lot more time to become oxygenated before effecting the fish. I use a kitchen timer as a reminder for tanks that take a long time to refill like this......
    "Cichlids aren't aggressive, they are territorial. Aggression is a response to inadequate territory for their breeding and feeding needs."

    "A Nation of Sheep Breeds a Government of Wolves!"

    My Tanks

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Florence MS
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    So glad the forum is back up! Here is my update.

    Saturday, my wife took the water for a test at the best place we know of. Come to find out, the store has new owner and she said a bunch of teens were running the place. They did not give details but had this to say:

    Ammonia was way up,

    PH was to low,

    The nitrates were a tad to high.

    She came home (I was at work) and she added Amquel+ which they sold her. Added according to the directions.

    I came home Sunday and did a 20% water change right off the bat.

    Sunday evening, I dug up my old water test kits for ammonia and ph.

    On Sunday night, the ammonia was 1.0 to 1.5. The ph was 6.8.

    I added more AmQuel+ as directed and added some PH Up liquid.

    Monday evening I retested and the ammonia had dropped to .5 to 1.0. The ph was 7.2.

    I held off on the Amquel but added a good squirt of the Ph Up.

    Today the ammonia is almost gone, my guess would .3 and the ph is 7.6.

    Now what I don't understand is the ph. I have crush corral and crushed sea shell. I thought that would maintain the correct ph levels. ???

    We have all seen a difference in the fish behavior. A tad bit more energetic.

    I am about to place an order for the Jungle Labs Parasite Clear cause I feel I will be needing it.

    I was looking at foods by Jungle Labs that actually can prevent parasites. I think I will be giving some of that as a monthly snack.

    Also looking at the Jungle Labs 6 in 1 Complete test strips. Anyone have feedback on those? Sure are expensive.

    I can now see I have been laying down on the job. Not testing as I should. I feel so bad.

    I now feel that I need to make routine water changes, like every week, just like I have been told. The ph in the tap water is awesome, like 8 or higher.

    Yes, I do add the API Stess Coat before I put the tap water into the tank, using the Python to kill chlorine.

    I am going to assume that the cichlid salt is also important to add as well. (Just hate to add too much). It's so hard to judge by the gallon when using a Python.

    I also add the Trace Elements when I do a water change.

    I know my wife has a big hand when it comes to feeding, partly my fault, because I was so concerned about the babies at the bottom poking out, when we had them. I have told her to cut way back on the food amounts.

    I have attached 2 terrible pics for possible diagnosis of parasites. I had to borrow the camera and I didn't feel comfortable changing the settings for better results.

    Thanks to all who replied. I plan on taking better care of this tank. My 65 gal does so well on its own. All my tanks get maintained at the same time, when I pull the Python out. I guess my 65 may be in worse shape than I think, but my hand is the only one feeding it.

    Please feel free to scold, give advise or just give recommendations on how I can do better.
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  9. #9
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    Are those fish eating at all? They look badly emaciated. If they are eating, then you definitely have a parasite problem. Medicated food would help.

    As far as the "pH up" goes, I would try to dissuade you from using it. Adding crushed coral or aragonite to your filter will help buffer your water and keep your pH up. Have you tested your tap water to see what the pH is starting out as?
    I should use this space to promote the photo contest...but I can't think of anything clever...

  10. #10
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    Florence MS
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seedy View Post
    Are those fish eating at all? They look badly emaciated. If they are eating, then you definitely have a parasite problem. Medicated food would help.

    As far as the "pH up" goes, I would try to dissuade you from using it. Adding crushed coral or aragonite to your filter will help buffer your water and keep your pH up. Have you tested your tap water to see what the pH is starting out as?

    The Ph Up is only a temp fix, I had no idea my ph had fallen to those levels.

    I have a 50/50 of crushed coral and crushed sea shell as a bottom.

    As you can see from my previous post, the tap ph is very well.

  11. #11
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    who.. you fish look rough.. soo are they eating during your feeding?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry View Post
    who.. you fish look rough.. soo are they eating during your feeding?
    Yes, eating quite well.

    Like I explained in the first post, they struggle to the surface, so it takes them time to get there.

    Now I only have 2 or 3 that have the sunken bellies. I still have about 3 or 4 other fish that lay on the bottom. About 5 of them are perfectly normal.

  13. #13

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    I am hesitant to suggest medicines when the fish are so clearly stressed by going through multiple cycles. However others have questioned parasites and it is a fair question. It might be that some Jungle parasite tabs are in order.

    I would try to get some aquarium salt for countering nitrite poisoning as you should be fairly close to that stage of the cycle now. I would go ahead and add 1 tablespoon/10 gallons of water as soon as you get it. making sure to maintain that level through water changes. Keep that up until the cycle is established at which point your regular water changes will slowly reduce it.

    Chemistry, the uber quick primer.
    The substrate will help buffer your water, however a cup or two in a media bag in your filter will do more. The cycle itself produces acids which your KH is supposed to counter. KH is limited by carbon dioxide and how saturated your water already is. If you want to boost the pH make sure you have good surface movement to promote gas exchange. Once that is accomplished let it be a week and see where you are. One step at a time.
    The photocontest, like everything else is behind schedule. You get some links back today.

  14. #14
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    I support all the above and want to add that making rapid adjustments is also very stressful so moving the pH 6.8 to 7.6 is to fast for the fish to adjust to and will lead to added stress. Fresh water is your friend right now.... I would STOP feeding the fish while you have ammonia readings present. The fish will live and less food decaying will help you control the waste amounts until you are through the cycle.
    "Cichlids aren't aggressive, they are territorial. Aggression is a response to inadequate territory for their breeding and feeding needs."

    "A Nation of Sheep Breeds a Government of Wolves!"

    My Tanks

  15. #15

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    Filter gets cleaned with hot water every 1 to 2 weeks in the sink. I spray the bio media, spray the charcole bag and spray & squeeze the sponge filter. Just like I always have.
    while what u do here is what should be done if a disease is present, u should never do this for a healthy tank... it seems u r taking lots of unneeded care for ur fish, pls stop doing this and follow the procedure mentioned above for cleaning ur filter and retaining its vital biological properties, and provide live food and/or beef heart cut into small bits for ur cichlids. they will recover soon... also do use a dechlorinator and a do small water changes only, say 10% per week.

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