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Old 04-01-2013, 09:13 PM   #1 
chicagojo
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Help! Post-vacation fish illness - ammonia poisoning???

We returned from 8 days' vacation tonight to find our poor boy Feathers not doing well at all. We had instructed our fish sitter to feed 1/2 the usual amount and to top off the water with pre-conditioned, pre-heated fresh water and to siphon out any obvious waste from the tank (no substrate, so waste is not hard to miss). Well, the siphoning part apparently didn't quite go according to plan because the tank was filthy when we returned - at least 12-15 pieces of solid waste lying on the bottom and poor Feathers also lying on the bottom, not looking good at all.

We immediately did a 100% water change, throwing in a little extra conditioner for good measure. This was a few hrs ago, and since then he has mostly been lying on the bottom, occasionally moving around a little and I have seen him come to the surface once.

What else can/should I do for him??? He is a very hardy fish and has bounced back from illness and stress in the past, so I am hopeful he will recover from this, but want to be sure to do whatever I can to help him along...

Oh, and a little background info: he has been with us for a little under 2 yrs and lives alone in a 2.5G heated, unfiltered tank. Tank temp has been 78 - I bumped it up a little to see if that might help. Fish sitter was not aware of any recent stress or change other than the dirty water issue (which she did not seem to be aware of - I guess she couldn't see the waste on the bottom or didn't know what to look for)
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:10 AM   #2 
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Update: this morning he has gone inside his mug, which is black on the inside, so I really can't see what's going on at all and I'm hesitant to disturb him. I don't know what to do. I am planning another 50% water change for later today, and continuing daily 50% until he seems better - does that sound good?

Also contemplating lowering the water level, but with the way my heater works that will drive up the temp and I won't be home for over 10 hrs today to monitor/adjust the temp as needed. I could lower the water, set the heater down a few degrees, and hope for the best, though. Thoughts???
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:02 AM   #3 
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Well I would perhaps cup him in a betta cup and have that water low and then float the cup in his tank so it stays warm and maybe bump the temp up to 80, keep up with the water changes and use stresscoat as a water conditioner, and maybe keep the tank in a darker room and try not to disturb/stress him as little as possible
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:24 AM   #4 
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Oh, that is a good idea, Stone. I wish I had thought of it before I left the house. I will try cupping him tonight after I get home - hopefully he will be ok until then. I am using Stress Coat already and have turned the heater up so when I am home can check on how the temp is. His tank is in my bedroom, which should be quiet and empty all day. After my last post he emerged from the cup and moved around a bit, but always staying at the bottom of the tank. He also pooped, which I siphoned out immediately. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 04-02-2013, 01:03 PM   #5 
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quick update: I tried running home over lunch to cup him, but he really didn't want to go into the cup and started swimming around all over the place to avoid it and I worried I was causing him more undue stress and causing him to use up energy that he needs for healing, so I gave up. Thinking that maybe tonight when half the water is out anyway it will be easier, plus my daughter has always been much better than I am at getting this particular fish to go into the cup, so maybe she will have better luck. The good news is, he is still alive, but still not looking good.

Tank temp was still at 78 so I bumped up the heater another notch (it's a Hydor Theo with adjustable temp but not super-accurate - you kind of have to play around with it to get the temp you want). Also siphoned out even more waste (he's pooped like 3-4 times since last night!)

Poor little guy. I really hope he pulls through. My daughter was devastated when our last fish died and I have been telling her that I think Feathers is going to be ok...but I'm a little worried...we are not expert fish keepers and typically when fish under our care have become this sick, they haven't made it :(
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Old 04-02-2013, 03:30 PM   #6 
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So, I have been reading through some other older posts here on the topic of ammonia poisoning and it sounds like maybe I should be putting him in a QT tank with 1 tsp/G Epsom Salts? Can someone please confirm if this sounds right? That way if my daughter is able to successfully cup him tonight, we can get him acclimated into the Epsom (I think we have some on hand from a former betta who had SBD)
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:15 PM   #7 
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Unfortunately, I just came home to discover that Feathers had passed away sometime this afternoon. RIP little guy. :( :( :(
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:48 PM   #8 
Corsica
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:( I'm sorry you lost him.
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:58 PM   #9 
marquettefan
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I'm sorry to hear about your fish. Sometimes having other people care for your pets for a week or two doesn't go according to plan; it's happened to my family before :(
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