Cichlid not able to swim properly.. bad fin?

Tttay89

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My favourite fish in a matter of 4 hours seems to have lost the ability to swim properly. Seems to be unable to swim very high and has just started sitting on ornaments and the substrate..
Its a Julidochromis cichlid. Never gets bullied. If anything is the chaser of the tank.. Nothing is bigger than it and l the water parimetres are perfect as they usually are... One fin looks like its not sticking out like the other one whilst resting and it's not in use as much as the other when swimming. Still interested in food at low levels of the tank. Tried to go higher but couldn't... Can fish recover from a broken fin? Or does this look like soemthing else I can treat..ill try upload a picture..
 

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Tttay89

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Also the 'bad' fin doesn't look torn rotted or damaged just not in much use and is close to the body, whilst the other sticks out as normal
 
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Tttay89

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Another update whilst observing, he just attacked one of my other fish and tried pulling it down to the bottom. Arnt injured, stressed and dieing fish suppose to be the vunlreble and defenseless?
 

Byron

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I will not try to guess as to the issue, other members are better qualified. But as a general comment, it helps if you could post test results. "Water results are perfect as they usually are" doesn't tell us what we need to know. GH, pH and temperature among parameters are crucial to know, and then the conditions (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate).
 
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Tttay89

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Hmm true. I was told it was a hard water specie which is why I made the purchase as our water is rock hard.

Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 25
Ph 7.8
Gh 13dh
Kh 9 - 10dh
Ph 7.8 - 8
Temp 26 c
 

Byron

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Hmm true. I was told it was a hard water specie which is why I made the purchase as our water is rock hard.

Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 25
Ph 7.8
Gh 13dh
Kh 9 - 10dh
Ph 7.8 - 8
Temp 26 c
GH at 13 dGH is "fairly hard" to give it a subjective term but not all that hard. It is at the lowest end of GH for rift lake cichlids. The pH is ideal.

Nitrate is a concern though. It is now known that cichlids are especially sensitive to nitrate (all fish are, some less and some more) and the cichlid authorities recommend nitrate be kept below 20 ppm and as low as possible. Nitrate does not act rapidly as do ammonia and nitrite, but it is still poisonous to fish long term. When I was discussing this with Neale Monks, he said it is probably best to view the effect of nitrate as a gradual weakening of the fish, and the higher the nitrate and/or the longer the fish is exposed to it, the more detrimental. There is not much evidence so far as to the specific issues nitrate may cause directly, but some cichlid authorities are now suggesting nitrate is more likely responsible for cichlid problems like Malawi bloat. So the point is, keep nitrates as close to zero as absolutely possible long-term, and the fish will be better able to carry out their regular and essential physiological processes, and be less likely to develop disease and related problems.

This brings up the question, where is the high nitrate coming from? Have you tested your source (tap) water on its own for nitrate? If nitrate is present, that is one issue to deal with (depending upon the level). If nitrate is occurring within the aquarium, that is quite a different issue and easy to deal with (or should be). Nitrate within the aquarium is due to organics, and these come from the fish load and fish feeding. So not overstocking, not overfeeding, regular substantial water changes, regular filter cleanings, vacuuming of the substrate--all these lower organics. Live plants can also help as they use ammonia and unlike bacteria they do not produce nitrite which means less nitrate in the end.
 
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Tttay89

Tttay89

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Yes my tap water is 20ppm unfortunately.
I was thinking about using 50/50 RO and tap for this tank but it'll defeat the hard water neccessaity. I assume I'm stuck between a rock and hard place?

Update I just checked all the levels again nitrite showed a reading of 0.5! First ever reading I was shocked. I added the slightest drop of seachem prime literally not even 1ml to my 120 litre.. Left it 5 minutes and tested nitrite again in hope that I miscounted test drops or there was a drop of old chemical inside. And nitrite was 0...tested again 0..and 0 again.. I'm hoping I messed the first test up is it possible for prime to give a 0 reading?
 

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Yes my tap water is 20ppm unfortunately.
I was thinking about using 50/50 RO and tap for this tank but it'll defeat the hard water neccessaity. I assume I'm stuck between a rock and hard place?
Not exactly. Using RO, then adding mineral salts to increase the GH and pH and KH is one option, but not the only. There are other members here who have dealt with high nitrates in the source water, @AbbeysDad is one, and he has successfully got around this thrugh filtration prior to the water being added to the aquarium, at least I believe that is the principle, he can explain.

My view is always that the less additives/substances added to water, the more stable the chemistry will remain and the better the fish will be not just for the stability but every substance added to the water gets inside the fish and keeping these to the absolute minimum is always going to improve fish health. So removing the nitrate and using the nitrate-free water that is already OK with respect to GH and pH would be preferable.

Update I just checked all the levels again nitrite showed a reading of 0.5! First ever reading I was shocked. I added the slightest drop of seachem prime literally not even 1ml to my 120 litre.. Left it 5 minutes and tested nitrite again in hope that I miscounted test drops or there was a drop of old chemical inside. And nitrite was 0...tested again 0..and 0 again.. I'm hoping I messed the first test up is it possible for prime to give a 0 reading?
Prime detoxifies ammonia, nitrite and nitrate if these are present, but it does so by somehow binding them. They will still show with most of our standard tests (like the API). So nitrite if present would be rendered harmless by Prime but still show in tests. And the detoxification binding by Prime is temporary, not permanent, and according to Seachem should be effective for 24-36 hours; after this, if still present, the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate is again toxic.

However, there is another issue, and that is that Prime does have an impact on some tests. I don't use this so I haven't bothered to pursue it, but other members have raised the issue in various threads.
 
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Tttay89

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Oh right OK I have got a keg or RO from my other tank that I use and I also have a box of API aquarium salt. Does this sound a more suitable option for my julidochromis.

Ah good OK I must have accidentally tested wrong then thankfully.

Nitrite 0..

Would unsuitable water quality cause the fish to not use its right side fin however
 

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Oh right OK I have got a keg or RO from my other tank that I use and I also have a box of API aquarium salt. Does this sound a more suitable option for my julidochromis.

Ah good OK I must have accidentally tested wrong then thankfully.

Nitrite 0..

Would unsuitable water quality cause the fish to not use its right side fin however
Aquarium salt is basic "salt" such as table salt or sea salt, Sodium Chloride. It should never be added to a freshwater aquarium [except to deal with a specific issue] as it is detrimental to all freshwater fish species to varying degrees. Using aquarium salt as a treatment for a specific disease is very different and can be done with most fish if salt is the most effective treatment for that disease. But adding it as some sort of general "tonic" is not beneficial, quite the opposite, and it does not make water harder as GH is primarily calcium and magnesium.

By "mineral salts" I meant the salts of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. These can be purchased to add to tanks with soft water in order to keep fish requiring harder water, such as livebearers and rift lake cichlids. And in marine tanks or brackish water tanks.

As I said previously, I won't guess when it comes to fish ailments. But stress is the cause of about 95% of fish disease/problems so avoiding stress is clearly a preventative benefit. And high nitrates cause stress as I explained, so while this is not likely the direct cause it won't help. Similarly if you had soft water, that is stressful on fish requiring harder water. Stress weakens the fish slowly, allowing other issues to become problems.
 
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Tttay89

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Ah, OK definitly won't be using that then lol.
So does the mineral salt actually make the softer water harder? Or does it keep it at the same level but makes it more bearable for hard specie?

Update anyway he seems much better this morning strangely has been swimming perfectly the past 10 minutes without any resting... Fin seems fine and is eating. Never seen behaviour like that before especially from him he had the charecteristics of a bristlenose plec :/
 

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Julidochromis sp come from Lake Tanganyika where the GH is above 350ppm (usually around 400-450ppm) and the pH is around 8.4-9.0. However, that is not the problem.

If the fish swims up and sinks back down, then it has a swim bladder problem. A short video of the fish moving around will help confirm this.

Julidochromis naturally occur around rocks and don't swim in mid water so swim bladder issues are less of an issue to these fish compared to open water fish like rainbowfish and barbs.

If the fish is still eating well, then monitor and see how it goes.

You can grow floating plants in the tank and they will help reduce the nitrates a bit.
 

essjay

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Hardness is the amount of calcium and magnesium in the water. Some species of fish need a lot of calcium and magnesium in the water (hard water fish) while other's need only small amounts of calcium and magnesium (soft water fish).
Your water is not hard enough for your fish - it does not have enough calcium and magnesium so you need to add more of them. Things like Rift Lake salts contain calcium and magnesium so they will make your tank water harder than your tap water. But you will need to use the Rift Lake salts at every water change. You would make up the water and salt mix outside the tank then add the treated water to to the tank.
 

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Not exactly. Using RO, then adding mineral salts to increase the GH and pH and KH is one option, but not the only. There are other members here who have dealt with high nitrates in the source water, @AbbeysDad is one, and he has successfully got around this thrugh filtration prior to the water being added to the aquarium, at least I believe that is the principle, he can explain.
It's true...at one time the nitrates in my well water were off the charts high....most likely due to the 95 acre farmers field across the road. I ruled out an RO system because good ones can be expensive and with my well system, I'd need an additional pump to maintain a high enough psi to force water through the membrane. Then there's the fact that you get about 4 gallons of waste water for every gallon of RO water and the cost of re-mineralizing. I tried the now discontinued API Tap Water Filter but for my water the cost of the cartridges for the yield was just too high (I could buy bottled water at about the same price). For a time, I setup an unused 10g aquarium and used API Nitra-Zorb pouches in the filter to remove nitrates. Nitra-Zorb is a resin that can be recharged many times with ordinary salt water. I'd have different pouches and alternate to filter several batches for water changes. Necessity being the mother of invention, I had an idea.... What if I repurposed the API Tap Water Filter by removing it's resin and filling with API Nitra-Zorb. I put the Question to the Mars (API) Tech Support people, but they said they couldn't be sure as the product had never been tested that way - well it worked and worked great. I'm still using it making about 200 gallons before recharging and knock wood, I've run in excess of 8000 gallons now through the same resin!
You might search for an inline nitrate filter. Otherwise, API Nitra-Zorb pouches in your filter may help.
Keep testing your source water. I discovered that in time, the nitrates in my well water reduced from 60-80ppm to about 5ppm. Also, nitrates in source water is not as bad as tank nitrates as there are other pollutants in tank water (tank nitrates keep bad company!).
 
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