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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Any help or advice is appreciated. Thank you.


Housing:

- 10 gallon
- 80 degrees
- Filter, yes. Heater, yes. No air stone or air tube.
- Tank mates: two oto catfish.
- I put live plants in his tank two days ago. He had silk ones before but they started to grow a bit of algae and no matter how much I scrubbed them, they still looked dirty. So I went to the store to buy replacement silk plants and ended up buying live plants on a whim.

Food:
- New Life Spectrum
- Usually feed him 3-4 pellets, twice a day, but for the past few weeks, I've been feeding him less often because I thought he was acting strange and I didn't know what to do.

Maintenance:
- 50% water changes every week (although, honestly, sometimes it's 2 weeks)
- I add Nutrafin Aqua Plus to the water
- Two days ago, I replaced the plants in his tank with live plants, so I added Flourish Excel too. Just one time so far. I added 5mL as per the bottle directions.

Water Parameters:

- pH: 7.5
- Ammonia: 0
- Nitrite: < 0.1 mg/L
- Nitrate: 5 mg/L

Symptoms and Treatment:

- Isn't really moving around. Just nestled in the plants.
- I feel like he's been kind of lethargic for a few weeks.
- Yesterday I noticed that it took him quite a bit of effort to get out of the leaves and go get his food. He took his first pellet and then started to sink a bit while he ate it – which I thought was weird –*and then he swam back up for the second pellet… Usually he sort of treads water. I thought it was odd that he let himself float down. Actually, as I'm writing this, he's trying to swim across the top of the tank and sinking down to middle a little bit.
- His fins are a little droopy, but they aren't hard or stiff.
- Colouring seems the same.
- Haven't started treatment yet. Should I do epsom salts? Will the otos be okay in there?
- No history of illness.
- I got him about a year and a half ago.
 

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Poor fishy... I suggest lowering the water level. This will make it easier for him to get to the surface to eat and breath.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
- How much should I lower the water level?
- Here's a crappy photo. Sorry; it's tough to get a picture when he's in the leaves. I'll try to get a better one this evening when he comes out to eat.

And thanks for the advice RussellTheShihTzu: Woman at pet store sold me the Excel. Damn. Wrong stuff?

 

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Take the Excel back and tell them she sold you the wrong stuff; you wanted fertilizer and not a CO2 substitute! Raise heck. ;-)

You can lower the water level but if he has plants to rest in near the surface that's what I would do. Drop pellets right on his nose or get him some frozen bloodworms or Daphnia. I use a pipette directly over their faces to feed frozen. And with a pipette you can feed him at his level so he doesn't have to search for it. Frozen are more nutritious than freeze dried.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Do you think that lowering the water level and feeding him closely will be enough "treatment" for him to start feeling better? And should I keep feeding him his usual amount (3-4 pellets, twice daily)? I don't think I can find frozen bloodworms in my city (maybe?) but I have freeze dried ones.

Thanks for your help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Should I do an Epsom salt treatment? And how? And are the pros okay with that or should I put him in a quarantine tank? I don't have another tank that's heated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I don't think he's bloated. I'm not sure if he's constipated, but he's not really doing better. Right now, he's sleeping in his log at the bottom of the tank. He is lying on his belly (not on his side). He goes back and forth between sleeping in the log and resting in the plants at the surface. But he's still not very active. When he comes out, I'll confirm if he's still having trouble staying afloat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I moved him to a quarantine tank with a plant for resting but no gravel so that I can see if he is constipated or not. I don't *think* he's bloated, but…
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks, I'll keep an eye out. I haven't seen it yet! I just moved him to a hospital tank last night so we'll see what happens. If it turns out he's constipated and I do epsom salts – now I'm thinking his belly might look a *little* bloated – how often do I need to change the water?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Oh, I think he's DEFINITELY bloated. I hope it's not too late to save him. Poor guy has been acting strange since Monday and he didn't start to swell up until yesterday/today. I'm starting to add the dissolved epsom salts to his water slowly. Hopefully he'll recover quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Do you guys think I should I try to find frozen daphnia (I don't know if any of the pet stores here carry it) or just give it a few days and see what happens?
 

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So he hasn't poop yet... In the photo he doesn't look bloated to me. Can you provide more photos? If indeed he is bloated, you can also slowly increase the water temperature from 80 to 84 (not more than 1 degree per hour). Daphnia is also good when dealing with constipation and acts as a laxative.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
I don't know what to do :( He definitely has symptoms of SBD – he isn't moving and when he does, he sinks). He hasn't pooped in the 12 or so hours I've been monitoring for that. The only thing I'm not sure about is if he is bloated. His belly looks quite round on the other side but I can't get a good angle; the plants are in the way. Last time I took a photo (no flash) he freaked out and darted all over the place so I don't want to disturb him and stress him out again. Will post a photo later if he turns.

Were epsom salts a bad idea if I don't know what's up? I noticed they were a treatment for at least three diseases on the sticky. So I thought, if by chance it's not SBD, maybe the salts would help anyway. Because I don't know what to do and I don't want this little guy to die.

 
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