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Cherry barb - swimming sideways

Beerswitch

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Male cherry barb, has been swimming sideways for a long time now. Have tried not feeding for a few days then feeding shelled peas - no result. Have treated with swim bladder treatment over the course of a few weeks, with temperature increased to 26 degrees, still no change. Have checked all the levels and everything looks great, water is partially changed every week and has been kept clean. Tonight noticed that his poo is long and pale, and not coming out of him. Is this a parasite? Hope someone can help...
 

Freshwater Sucker Fish

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"Have checked all the levels and everything looks great" I know from experience people will want to know what the levels are. As they have a lot to do with fish. Many people say their levels are good when that is what their problem is. Posting them may get you faster responses. ^_-
 

JuiceBox52

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@Freshwater Sucker Fish is correct, we do need the numbers. Sometimes people get their water tested at a pet store with employees who do not know what the numbers mean, and sometimes the members do not know or have been misinformed. :)

I am thinking its maybe hole in the head disease... hopefully some other members will be able to give more insight
 

Colin_T

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Pictures and video of affected fish. if video is too big or has problems uploading to this site, stick it on YouTube and copy & paste the link here.

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Do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate every day for a couple of week sor until we work out what is going on.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

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Fish do a stringy white poop for several reasons.

1) Internal Bacterial Infections causes the fish to stop eating, swell up like a balloon, breath heavily at surface or near a filter outlet, do stringy white poop, and die within 24-48 hours of showing these symptoms. This cannot normally be cured because massive internal organ failure has already occurred.

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2) Internal Protozoan Infections cause the fish to lose weight rapidly (over a week or two), fish continues to eat and swim around but not as much as normal, does stringy white poop. If not treated the fish dies a week or so after these symptoms appear. Metronidazole normally works well for this.

There is a medication (API General Cure) that contains Praziquantel and Metronidazole and might be worth trying.

It's interesting that API and the Californian government have listed Metronidazole as a carcinogen. That's a concern considering it was widely used to treat intestinal infections in people.
Anyway, handle with care, don't inhale the medication, and wash hands with soapy water after treating the fish or working in the tank.

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3) Intestinal Worms like tapeworm and threadworms cause the fish to lose weight, continue eating and swimming normally, do a stringy white poop. Fish can do this for months and not be too badly affected. In some cases, fish with bad worm infestation will actually gain weight and get fat and look like a pregnant guppy. This is due to the huge number of worms inside the fish.

Livebearers like guppies, mollies, swordtails & platies are regularly infected with gill flukes and intestinal worms. If the fish are still eating well, then worms is the most likely cause.

You can use Praziquantel to treat tapeworm and gill flukes. And Levamisole to treat thread/ round worms. If you can't find these medications, look for Flubendazole, which treats both lots of worms.

Remove carbon from filters before treatment and increase aeration/ surface turbulence to maximise oxygen levels in the water.

You treat the fish once a week for 4 weeks. The first treatment will kill any worms in the fish. The second, third and forth treatments kill any baby worms that hatch from eggs inside the fish's digestive tract.

Treat every fish tank in the house at the same time.

You do a 75% water change and complete gravel clean 24-48 hours after treatment. Clean the filter 24 hours after treatment too.

Do not use the 2 medications together. If you want to treat both medications in a short space of time, use Praziquantel on day one. Do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate on day 2 & 3. Treat the tank with Levamisole on day 4 and do a 75% water change and gravel clean on day 5, 6 & 7 and then start with Praziquantel again on day 8.

The water changes will remove most of the medication so you don't overdose the fish the next time you treat them. The gravel cleaning will suck out any worms and eggs that have been expelled by the fish. Repeating the treatment for 3-4 doses at weekly intervals will kill any worms that hatch from eggs. At the end of the treatment you will have healthier fish. :)
 
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Beerswitch

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Hi everyone, thanks so much for the responses. A bit more information that may help to narrow this down;

1. The levels in the tank;

NO3 - 25
NO2 - 0
GH - 7
KH - 3-6
PH - 7
CI2 - 0

2. He's been displaying these symptoms for approx. 5-6 weeks, as far as I'm aware. Unfortunately, we bought the fish tank and fish second hand and the symptoms started almost immediately after we got them, so we're not sure whether this was going on before we had them.

3. Tank size is 50 litres, and we've got 1 other female cherry barb and two glass shrimp.

4. The first thing we tried was not feeding the fish for 3 days - we then fed him bits of shelled peas for a couple of days. We then did a 4 week course of Interpet Swim Bladder Treament, with all the biofilters removed from the filter.

5. Other than struggling to stay upright, he seems fairly happy. He is quite shy and likes to hide in the tunnel we've got, but this may be because we've only got the 2 barbs and I've read that they prefer to be in schools of 4-5 at least. Unfortunately, as I said this was an inherited tank so we're not sure if this behaviour is out of the ordinary. Aside from being a bit shy, he does swim around and continues to eat. Other than this, he isn't displaying any other symptoms (nothing obvious, anyway).

6. I've also attached some photos, and here's a video of him;

Thanks again for the help :)
 

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Colin_T

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I would say he has been injured some time in the past and will be like that for the rest of his life.

As long as he keeps eating well and doesn't seem to struggle through the water, I would let him be. But if he stops eating or sinks when he stops swimming, then it's time to euthanise.
 
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Beerswitch

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Thanks so much for the responses - will keep an eye on him and let you know if anything changes.

I also have a follow-up question, hoping you may be able to offer some advice. The tank is 10 gallons but we've read that cherry barbs require at least 5 gallons each. However, we've also read that they prefer to be in a school of at least 5. This leaves us in a bit of a catch-22. We'd like to make them happier/more confident by adding a couple more, but we also don't want to overcrowd the tank. We can't afford to buy a larger tank just yet, so we're wondering what the best solution is in the meantime. Will adding smaller fish of any kind help them be more confident, whilst keeping the crowding in the tank down?

We're also going to add some more plants too, so they have more places to shelter - but this obviously brings the volume down further!
 

Colin_T

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Does he spend much time with the female?

If you add more fish they could stress him out and he might not do as well. However, he might enjoy a bit more company. I would add a pair of cherry barbs and monitor them. My concern will be if the new male picks on the current male. If the new male doesn't then keep an eye on them and see how they go. If the new male bullies the current male, then return the new male so it doesn't stress this one out.
 
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Beerswitch

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Thanks - I would say they do spend a bit of time together, but the majority of his time is spent on his own - either keeping a low profile/hiding or swimming around on his own.
 

Colin_T

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That's what I thought might be happening.

Another male might bully him but the female would probably enjoy the company of more fish. I would try another pair of Cherry Barbs but watch them closely and remove the new male if it stresses the old male.
 
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Beerswitch

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Thanks - you say that a male/female pair would be better than a female/female pair?
 

Colin_T

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get a male and a female and monitor them. if the new male causes problems, take it back.
 

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