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Sick Cory With Possible Swim Bladder Problem

Discussion in 'Tropical Fish Emergencies' started by sonicboom81, Jul 20, 2014.

  1. sonicboom81

    sonicboom81 Mostly New Member

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    Request Help
     
    One of my two false bandit corys (corydoras melini) can't keep balance in the water, and frequently ends up losing balance and ending up on his side or upside down. He can right himself, and swim about normally, until he stops, at which point he has the issue.

    Tank size: 30cm x 30cm x 30cm 20litre (5 gallon). It is a small tank - It's not my tank, but I've taken over looking after it (and upgrading it to a bigger tank soon). There is a air stone and a good flow around the tank. The gravel is vacuumed regularly, and there is no overfeeding.
     
    pH: 6.4 (but has been lower)
    ammonia: 0 ppm
    nitrite: 0 ppm
    nitrate: 10 ppm
    kH: not known (tester kit been ordered)
    gH: not known
    tank temp: 25C

    Fish Symptoms (include full description including lesion, color, location, fish behavior):
     
    The balance issue has been going on for about a week.
     
    This cory hasn't grown to the same size as his one remaining brother, or to the size of the others of the same breed at the pet shop. We have lost corys in the past from the same group, which have lost colour, clamped fins and died, and fungus was visible with one when it died.
     
    This current cory doesn't appear to be feeding well, but has good colour and does not have clamped fins. He does seem to be breathing a little more rapidly, but his gills do not appear red.
     
    I realise the tank is too small for the fish, and when there was more fish the water quality was an issue, but hasn't been (excluding the low pH) a notable issue for months. The tank is being upgraded from a 20l to a 100l+ within a month.

    Volume and Frequency of water changes: Water change has varied from between a week at most to every 2 or 3 days, and varied with 20% to 50% when there was water quality issues. We've tried to keep it to about 20% once or twice a week.
     
    The tank is planted and has small size gravel (I plan to upgrade to sand).

    Tank inhabitants: One male betta, and one other cory of the same type, but is bigger and healthy. I realise that corys should be kept in groups and having only two leads to stress. Both spend a lot of time hiding rather than exploring. A few small snails.

    Recent additions to your tank (living or decoration): None.

    Treatments: On this occasion, I have treated with aquarium salt and also Pimafix, but have stopped both and not added more since the last water change yesterday, where I did a 50% water change to help raise the pH from 6.0 (or less) to what it is now at pH 6.4 - my tap water straight out the tap is 7.5 pH.
     
    I've tried to feed with cooked peas to help with swim bladder issues, but I don't think the fish were interested.
     
    I have Interpet Anti-Internal Bacteria No.9, which I'm considering trying - but I'd need to dose the whole tank as I do not have a hospital tank at the moment.

    Digital photo (include if possible): In this photo he's on his side.
     
    Any idea?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. sonicboom81

    sonicboom81 Mostly New Member

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    Any ideas at all? He's still the same. He goes from being on his side or upside down to the right way up, and he's okay to swim about and explore, but when he settles he often end up upside down. I might be wrong, but I'm almost certain that it's swim bladder disease - caused by who knows - and I've tried feeding with peas, but he's not interested.
     
  3. star4

    star4 Member

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    I have no experience in treating corys with swim bladder problems, which I agree this sounds like, but I have treated other fish. If you do not have a hospital tank do you have a fry trap by chance? if not a sandwich box, or clean ice cream tub you could put some holes in for water flow (If poking holes in an ice cream tub poke from the inside to out so the cory cannot damage itself on the plastic). You need to get the cory into something shallow. I have found lowering the water level as low as you can really helps, so placing the fish in a tub of some sort with a 3-5" of water will suffice. Do not feed the fish, but do daily water changes (this is where a small hospital tank would help). Interpet no 9 I have not used before but if its antibacterial it should help, but you would have to treat the whole tank, it shouldnt harm the other fish. If you do decide to use the interpet no 9 you dont need to do daily water changes, just follow the instructions.
     
    I hope this helps, and makes sense :) (sorry got a touch of sun stroke)
     
  4. sonicboom81

    sonicboom81 Mostly New Member

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    lol hope your sun stroke isn't too bad.
     
    I do have a hospital tank. The betta/cory tank is 1ft square. I also have two tanks - one 250l that houses an albino channel catfish, waiting to go to a public aquarium when it is better. And a 110l 3ft tank that housed another albino channel catfish that went to the public aquarium today into a 30,000 litre tank - I'm sooooo happy he's there now...
     
    Anyway, so I now have this 100l tank, or even the big transport tub that I put a portable airstone in too. The issue is that I've moved the filter from the 100l tank to the 250l to help with water quality issues there.
     
    I suppose I could use my 100 litre tank which still has the the gravel in and some water - and I could take out filter media from the other tank and make a quick home made air sponge filter to put some air and flow into the water...
     
    but if I was treating the whole of the betta/cory tank do I really need to put this sick cory in an isolation tank. If I want to put him in 3-5" of water I could put him in a container with holes in floating at the top of his current tank... ?
     
  5. star4

    star4 Member

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    Its ok, I just cant think straight lol.
     
    Sorry yes if you have a spare tank pop him in there with only 3-5" of water, yes if you can do a home made air driven filter brilliant (its what I use) and do daily water changes. If he does not improve quickly in the low water level and daily water changes you may need to use the antibacterial med.
     
    Hope this helps.
     
  6. sonicboom81

    sonicboom81 Mostly New Member

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    Here he is with his problem. I can put him in the bigger tank if needed.
     
    If I'm going to be giving antibacterial treatment should I dose the tank he's in now (bit concerned about the meds affecting the betta or other cory), or just the hospital tank if I put him in? Any thoughts on the vids?
     
    Thanks
     


     
    #6 sonicboom81, Jul 22, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 27, 2016
  7. star4

    star4 Member

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    It does look like he has a swim bladder type problem. The lower water level allows them to gulp air easier, which does help. I would move him to another tank with low water level if you want to use the antibacterial med.
     
  8. sonicboom81

    sonicboom81 Mostly New Member

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    Yeah, thats what I've done today. He actually spent most the lat 24 hrs upside down and not looking so good. Now he's in a big plastic box with 10L water 5" deep, with a home made sponge air filter (which I made today), and heater. I've used some matured sponge too - water quality looks okay. ph is up form 6.5 to about 7 as i could only use about half tank water and half tap, and nitrates are lower at 10ppm.
     
    Treating him with a bit of salt, but not as much as the recommended/max 5g per litre, as corys might not do well with salt. Treating him with Interpet Swim Bladder, which hopefully will do him a bit of good. As he hasnt eaten for about 2/3 days I'm trying him with some peas again, and if he's not interested I'll go for blood worm - hopefully that will help cover if it's constipation or bacteria.
     
    He's been much more the right way up, or more able to right himself this evening - I'm hoping for an improvement in the morning :) *fingers crossed*
     
  9. DoubleDutch

    DoubleDutch Member

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    I can be wrong, but to me the swimbladder is a an organ used to stay in a certain waterlevel and has less to do with balanceproblems like these.
     Fish with swimbladderproblems will starting flowing to the top or the other way around. I think this has tot do with ammonia or/and nitrite poisoning, though you didn't test any now.
    Corys are the first victims being the lowest fish in any tank and these stuff will just be anove the substrate.
    Not being offensive, but a 20 litre is far too small for Corys (neither for any other fish) and certainly not for a group.
    It will almost be impossible to get a stabil waterquality in such a small tank, due to feeding, pooh, aso....
     
    A shame for such nice Corys as they all are !!! I'd euthanize it (sorry) 
     
  10. sonicboom81

    sonicboom81 Mostly New Member

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    Yes, I don't know if it's swim bladder or water quality issues - I know that bottom dwellers are more affected due to living on the bottom. Months ago there used to be problems with water quality, but it's not been reading any ammonia, nitrites at all for many months, and nitrates have never been high - also kept up cleaning the gravel. But yes, I agree that such a small tank is no good, and I'm hoping that he'll hang on until the 110+ litre tank is ready.
     
    He has done a fair bit of floating upside down at the bottom, on his side, and the right way up, so not ruling out swim bladder, and as he's still looking reasonably healthy I'm going to try keep him going. I'd imagine the swim bladder works differently with catfish, as it naturally allows them to stay on the bottom, and I'd think it would need a huge swim bladder issue in a catfish to actually make it float up to the top - like a midwater fish where it's natural for them to float within the water column, and where any swim bladder problem can affect their position up or down.
     
  11. sonicboom81

    sonicboom81 Mostly New Member

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    Water parameters in the hospital tank are:

    (Although I'll monitor them, as it's a newly set up tank with some existing filter media and aquarium water)
    Ammonia - 0ppm
    Nitrites - 0ppm
    Nitrates - 5 to 10 ppm
    pH 7.0 (it's gone up from pH 6.0 last week through water changes, including when setting up the hospital tank - not good, but it was either that or keep him in the main tank and medicate the whole tank)
    GH - 3 or 4 odKH / 60.0GH approx.
    KH - 3 odKH / 53.7KH
    (first time testing for GH and KH so still getting used to them).

    Are the GH and KH levels okay? The GH and KH levels (and the rest) is similar in the main tank too.
     
  12. star4

    star4 Member

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    Dont use salt and medication that will do more harm than good.
     
  13. sonicboom81

    sonicboom81 Mostly New Member

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    Do you mean don't use both together?
     
  14. Lillefishy

    Lillefishy Member

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    To me that doesn't look like a swim bladder problem, it looks more like a neurological problem affecting balance & could be the after effects of ammonia/nitrite poisoning.
    Have to agree with DoubeDutch that euthanasia would be the kindest thing to do.
     
  15. sonicboom81

    sonicboom81 Mostly New Member

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    I'll see how he does, but sure, if he doesn't improve, goes worse, I'll put him out his misery.
     

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