Fish gasping for no reason? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-06-2008, 11:46 PM Thread Starter
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Fish gasping for no reason?

Hello all, I have a rather newbie-ish question. I have a 10 gal and my fish are sort of gasping, I guess. They've never done this before so I'm guessing that they're gasping?

Here's the situation. It's a 10 gal with 30w photoperiod 10 hours. Ammonia @ 0, NitrAte between 5 and 10 ppm (color looks right in the middle), pH around 7.4 (my kit shows 7.2 and 7.6 and it's between the 2) and out of the tap it's 7.6. I use liquid test kits and they are fairly new (6 mos old). I have a Rena XP1 canister filter on the tank (it's been running for 2-3 mos) and the tank has been set up for about 8 mos. I have 1 dwarf puffer, 4 otos, and 2 amanos. The temp is a little higher than usual at about 82 degrees. I unplugged the heater just now (I keep my apartment around 76 degrees).

Yesterday afternoon, I switched my substrate from inert sand to ecocomplete and tested the water after about 3 hours and all the levels were as above. i kept everything but the sand (didn't clean the filter, kept all the hardscape and plants). I put the fish back in around 7 pm last night and they were fine. I fed the puffer some live brine and she ate fine.

I just added an airstone in case they were gasping due to lack of oxygen (I have no CO2 running).

Is my assumption correct (lack of oxygen?)? What else can I do?

Thanks for any help,
Rachel
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-07-2008, 12:17 AM
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If they are at the surface then its probably lack of O2. I'm not sure how or if the eco would change the water parameters at all. If the TDS in the water changed rapidly it can mess with the fish's ability to breath.

You can always change the water if you feel there might be something in it.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-07-2008, 12:58 AM
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Check for nitrites, they are even more deadly then ammonia and the nitrifying bacteria are more fragile then ammonia eating bacteria. You could have a spike.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-07-2008, 01:08 AM Thread Starter
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Unfortunately, that's the kit I don't have. I went to get one today but no one has any.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-07-2008, 01:58 AM
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I have had this kind of thing before. I put in a air bubbler (what ever it's called) and my fish returned to normal. I am thinking it is a lack of o2.

Thanks
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-07-2008, 01:59 AM Thread Starter
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I have an airstone running currently and they seem to be doing better. Would my switching substrates have caused this?
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-07-2008, 02:01 AM
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switching the substrate may have caused a mini-cycle cause there is bacteria there.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-07-2008, 02:13 AM Thread Starter
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I was expecting the mini-cycle, but not the gasping. They have never done that before, and the tank mini-cycled near the end of May/early June when I moved from Ohio to Texas. Oh well, they seem to be doing fine, now. Somehow I got a really hardy group of otos, haven't had any problems with them and they are nice and fat. Lets hope I didn't just kinx myself and they stay that way
Thanks for all the help everyone!
Rachel
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-07-2008, 04:27 AM
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High nitrates will affect a fish's ability to absorb oxygen into their blood, so this is still a likely explanation. I'd do a water change no matter what- it can't hurt.





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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-07-2008, 04:45 AM Thread Starter
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The nitrates aren't all that high though, are they?
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-07-2008, 04:57 AM
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Oops, I meant to type nitrItes!





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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-07-2008, 06:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
Oops, I meant to type nitrItes!
Shame on you!


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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-07-2008, 06:52 AM
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I'm in agreement with 3 possibilities mentioned.

1. Mini cycle from the sub change (test the nitrites, as laurlee said, nitrite binds the blood and haults utilization of oxygen. nitrites are first to appear IME during a mini cycle, they are the more finicky Nbacter)

2. Low O2 (hotter temps can dissipate O2. keep the air running, it might help if there are nitrites in there also)

3. Parameter change causing a little osmotic shock which they'll hopefully adjust to on their own, not much you can do about that without adding another round of stress.

In that order, of most dangerous/ easiest to deal with asap. Get that nitrite test, their like $9 at petco. Do a couple 10% water changes in a row for good measure, if there are nitrites that should lower them in the meantime, may also take care of some unknown or reestablish normal parameters.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-07-2008, 06:59 AM Thread Starter
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Will do. Thanks to all of you for your help. I think the airstone is helping and I did 2 10% wc already today, but I will keep hunting a nitrite kit to check those levels as well.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-07-2008, 07:08 AM
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Awesome. I'd do one or two every 24hrs and feed little to none until you can get the test to confirm. I'd say it's safe to assume that may be the issue since it's almost a given when changing the sub out, unless the filter's bacteria can keep up.

Make sure you get the API liquid test rather than the dipsticks, the sticks' colors are super hard to read and I'd say the majority of the time they're false. In any case you don't want hardly any nitrite present, and will want to change water to keep it faded as close to zero on the test's color card as possible (around .25ppm). Mini cycles usually clear up within a week or so IME, hopefully it's not the case though, the test is still very good to have on hand for the future.
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