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Old 01-20-2010, 05:47 PM   #1
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Emergency: Red tail black shark critically injured

I came home from work today to find my red tail black shark sucked up against the filter in my tank. It is an aqueon filter, the type that has a cylindrical protrusion down into the water to suck in the water/debris/etc.

He was sucked up against it and wrapped around it upside down. Turning it off for a few seconds caused him to fall away from it. He is trying to swim, but is swimming upside down, and ends up falling to the bottom gasping and flapping his fins. He seems to have full use of fins, etc, but can't seem to right the ship, so to speak. He looks HORRIBLE. His body seems stuck in a curved shape, and is all red around fins and gills.

Will he get his bearing eventually and be fine? Is he going to die? Is there anything I can do for him??? He was my favorite, and I will be devastated if he dies like this...

I have no idea how long exactly he was like this for, could have been up to 10 hours for all I know.

Please help!!!!!!
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Old 01-20-2010, 06:00 PM   #2
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Sounds like he was sick and weak and drifted into the intake and got stuck. That wont happen to a healthy fish. Check the readings of your water. Red gills are usually an indication of ammonia. Let us know.
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Old 01-20-2010, 06:03 PM   #3
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My tank has been high in ammonia lately, i did a big water change yesterday to get it down below .5ppm. This morning when I left for work the shark was acting entirely normal. Hiding in his greek ruins ornament, patrolling the tank, then resuming his post. One thing is that he sometimes likes to hide behind the filter at the top instead of his greek ruins ornament. He'd sit there horizontal... maybe he got lazy for a moment then drived down and sucked onto the intake??? He looked 100% healthy just 11 hours ago...

Nobody else in the tank is showing signs of ammonia issues I dont' think, and the shark's gills and fins were only red right now. It is bad, and I definitley would have noticed if it were like that this morning (which is was not)...

Anything I can do to help him???
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Old 01-20-2010, 07:10 PM   #4
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I'm not so sure he got sick at all; he was 100% normal when i left for work not even 12 hours ago this morning... I think the freak accident of getting stuck to the filter has to be the culprit. I know he should have been strong enough to avoid that, but he looked 100% FINE this morning. Swimming all around briskly, and standing guard in his greek ruins ornament.

As I type this his activity is almost zero. No more fin movement, just slow gasping. I think he's a goner...

Just one hour ago, when i broke him away from the filter, he seemed to just be disoriented; swam all over the place but was just upside down/sideways. But I guess the damage was done...
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Old 01-20-2010, 07:11 PM   #5
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Okay, now he's dead. To make sure I vanquish ammonia, doing a 50% water change right now.
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Old 01-20-2010, 07:46 PM   #6
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You need to get your ammonia down to zero, at least down to .25. Anything higher than that will start affecting your fish. You said your tank has been high in ammonia lately, that can mean he has already been affected by the ammonia and weakened as dkpate said. You did a change and he perked up, that is normal after changing out some water. You diluted the ammonia but he was still affected regardless and weakened. Sharks are very sensitive to their water, a little ammonia that wouldn't affect some other fish will affect them more.
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:12 PM   #7
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Alright well, he didn't "perk up" after the water change. He was never perked down before that. This was entirely sudden.

Either way, yes, trying to get ammonia down to zero. Did another 50% change today and it's now around .25. Will do another tomorrow, but not sure how much it will help since my friggin TAP water registers .25.

This may be due to bad/inaccurate test strips. I have an API liquid test kit (NH4, NO2, NO3, pH) on the way so hopefully that will shed more light. I will hold off on replacing the shark until I can get the ammonia issue under control.
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:26 PM   #8
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Sorry for your loss. It seems as though you are on the right track now with water changes and so forth.

It is not uncommon for there to be ammonia in tap water, so it could be either the test strips, or ammonia in your tap.

Yeah, I wouldn't add anything else to the tank until it is fully cycled, then add back slowly so you don't run into a mini cycle.
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:50 PM   #9
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+1, I agree. Keep up with the daily water changes.

Sorry to hear about your fish! It sucks to lose a pet no matter how little time you have had them.

My BGK hangs out by the filter intake all day long waiting for food to suck to it and he has never gotten stuck to it. So he was weakened by something else, probably ammonia.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:03 AM   #10
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Alright, how will I know my tank is fully cycled? Will I see nitrates go up a bit? Right now they MAYBE register slightly higher than zero, but hard to tell with the test strip. Nitrite is zero. Will I ever be able to get ammonia all the way to zero having ammonia (at .25ppm) in my tap water?

The pregnant guppy that has been hanging around at the bottom is even less active than before, and I'm afraid I'm about to lose another one... I'm hoping she's just getting ready to have her fry, but she doesn't look ready (based on plumpness and gravid spot).
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