Caring for a sick rummy nose tetra with swim bladder disease

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Blackwater guru

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Yesterday while cleaning my 145 l tank that uses an undergravel filter I found a rummy nose tetra lying on the bottom of the tank which I first assumed was dead but upon closer inspection I could see it was still alive it's mouth was still breathing and when I moved around the gravel with my hand it started trying to swim but it could not float properly and thus I came to the conclusion that this is a case of swim bladder disease which is also my first time interacting with it.

This is my first tank and I have had this tank for around a year and a half at this point and I have had to deal with various issues which have all been resolved at some point like a time I had a massive algae outbreak caused by a piece of driftwood that had been overrun by a plant/moss that we bought and drilled into the piece of wood to make it look nice.

As for the cause of it I quickly realised that the plant's located over the undergravel filter must have been obstructing the filter plates in some way therefore causing the fish to get ill because of increased nitrates and when I pulled up the plants the roots were rather long and my suspicions were confirmed so I moved the plants themselves further away from the filter.

Today I moved around with my hand in the tank and the little fish sprung back to life and quickly started trying to swim and then it fell back to the bottom again.

Hopefully if it's nothing else besides the swim bladder issue it can be corrected by just doing regular water changes once a week and perhaps feeding it manually with some crushed bottom pellets and then it should be able to recover although I am not sure how long it would take.

Anybody else here that has had to deal with this kind of issue at some point?
 

Byron

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I hate to be pessimistic, but it is highly unlikely the fish will recover. I've never had one that did, though I have not seen this problem for many years now. Euthanizing the fish is probably the best option, but if that bothers you, leave it alone. Clean water is the only "treatment" that may help, or prevent further issues, depending what brought this on.

"Swim bladder" issues is a catch-all for several issues that will often affect a fish's equilibrium. Prevention is the the only way to deal with this. That involves good tank maintenance, proper stocking, etc, etc. Sometimes it is genetic, sometimes due to an injury in netting, sometimes due to internal protozoan.

You mention nitrates being high, what is the number? This can clue us in to other issues that may be involved.
 
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I hate to be pessimistic, but it is highly unlikely the fish will recover. I've never had one that did, though I have not seen this problem for many years now. Euthanizing the fish is probably the best option, but if that bothers you, leave it alone. Clean water is the only "treatment" that may help, or prevent further issues, depending what brought this on.

"Swim bladder" issues is a catch-all for several issues that will often affect a fish's equilibrium. Prevention is the the only way to deal with this. That involves good tank maintenance, proper stocking, etc, etc. Sometimes it is genetic, sometimes due to an injury in netting, sometimes due to internal protozoan.

You mention nitrates being high, what is the number? This can clue us in to other issues that may be involved.
Oh I don't have a testing kit besides a ph testing kit so I don't know the exact numbers but I am hopeful that doing a routine water change like I do every week on saturdays or Sundays and just leaving it alone is going to improve things and as for why I mentioned nitrates it's because if the filter was not doing it's job as it's supposed to do of course there is going to be an increase in nitrates .

Also during water changes I make sure to clean the gravel especially around the undergravel filter plates where it's the filthiest and the most critical part to keep clean and avoid issues with water quality.

As for stocking I have 15 rummy nose tetras 10 cardinal tetras ,3 octocinclus ,a couple of corydoras catfish and that's about it so it's no where near overstocked.
 

Slaphppy7

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Oh I don't have a testing kit besides a ph testing kit so I don't know the exact numbers but I am hopeful that doing a routine water change like I do every week on saturdays or Sundays and just leaving it alone is going to improve things and as for why I mentioned nitrates it's because if the filter was not doing it's job as it's supposed to do of course there is going to be an increase in nitrates .

Also during water changes I make sure to clean the gravel especially around the undergravel filter plates where it's the filthiest and the most critical part to keep clean and avoid issues with water quality.

As for stocking I have 15 rummy nose tetras 10 cardinal tetras ,3 octocinclus ,a couple of corydoras catfish and that's about it so it's no where near overstocked.
Get another filter, UGFs are outdated and hard to maintain.

Get one of these ASAP: https://apifishcare.com/product/freshwater-master-test-kit

Use a good quality water conditioner, such as Seachem prime or API Tap Water Conditioner
 

Byron

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Oh I don't have a testing kit besides a ph testing kit so I don't know the exact numbers but I am hopeful that doing a routine water change like I do every week on saturdays or Sundays and just leaving it alone is going to improve things and as for why I mentioned nitrates it's because if the filter was not doing it's job as it's supposed to do of course there is going to be an increase in nitrates .

Also during water changes I make sure to clean the gravel especially around the undergravel filter plates where it's the filthiest and the most critical part to keep clean and avoid issues with water quality.

As for stocking I have 15 rummy nose tetras 10 cardinal tetras ,3 octocinclus ,a couple of corydoras catfish and that's about it so it's no where near overstocked.

I would recommend you acquire a nitrate test kit. Nitrates should always be consistent from day to day , week to week, month to month, etc. If they are rising at all over the course of a week (such as between water changes) then there is a biological problem that should be resolved. But without a test kit with regular testing you/we can't know.

The filter really has nothing to do with nitrate levels. I have had tanks with no filters, and nitrates remained in the 0 to 5 ppm range which is where they have always been in all the tanks.

Undergravel filters...this can be a source for accumulating nitrate. I agree there is no overstocking, but you really do need to ascertain the nitrate levels, and if it changes between water changes.
 

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