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Old 10-11-2014, 01:30 PM   #1
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Sick Cory Cat! :(

Hi everyone, I'm new to fish keeping so if I'm doing something incorrect, please let me know. I have a 10 gallon tank with two platys and two cory catfish. I have all artificial plants. I found Pepper (my peppered cory cat) today lying on the bottom gasping. His color is fine and he doesn't have any noticeable markings on him. I'm super worried! My mom and I got my water tested yesterday and the ammonia was 0, the nitrites 0, nitrates between 5-7 (not positive, so sorry about the range) and my pH is around 7.5 (not positive again, so sorry) I have two air stones in my aquarium along with the filter so I was wondering if it could still be lack of oxygen? I feed my cory cats every other day with sinking algae tablets. My albino cory (Alby) is looking perfectly fine. I'm very worried because I am unable to get a QT tank (not my decision unfortunately) Does anyone have an idea as to what could be wrong with my poor Pepper? Thank you very much

-Khloe


*Edit: My temperature is 78 degrees also.
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Old 10-11-2014, 01:41 PM   #2
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I find my Cory's spend quite a significant amount of time laying on the gravel...they also can breathe air at the top of the tank, so you should always have space at the top of your tank for them to breathe ( and it should be quite the gap as these guys move fast and often hit their heads on the hood, seriously! Lol). When you say gasping for air, is his gills flaring quite a bit? I wouldn't say it was oxygen, because they breathe at the top of the tank. Have you added any aquarium salt to the water? If so, don't because cowries are extremely sensitive to salt. It's possible that he is fine, but if you could take a picture?

Here is mine sitting around:
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ID:	252507

They do this about 50% of the time.

Did you move anything in your tank recently? It might be shock, any changes ( temperature, etc.) can cause a brief moment of stress. I find cowries are very resilient though.


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Old 10-11-2014, 01:42 PM   #3
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If you are still worried, try doing a 30% water change and see if that perks him up.


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Old 10-11-2014, 01:49 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by SNorlin View Post
I find my Cory's spend quite a significant amount of time laying on the gravel...they also can breathe air at the top of the tank, so you should always have space at the top of your tank for them to breathe ( and it should be quite the gap as these guys move fast and often hit their heads on the hood, seriously! Lol). When you say gasping for air, is his gills flaring quite a bit? I wouldn't say it was oxygen, because they breathe at the top of the tank. Have you added any aquarium salt to the water? If so, don't because cowries are extremely sensitive to salt. It's possible that he is fine, but if you could take a picture?

Here is mine sitting around:
Attachment 252507

They do this about 50% of the time.

Did you move anything in your tank recently? It might be shock, any changes ( temperature, etc.) can cause a brief moment of stress. I find cowries are very resilient though.


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Thanks so much for your reply. Yes, his gills are flaring quite a bit. Like you said, both of my cory cats do spend a lot of time resting on the bottom when they are not searching for food. Today however, Pepper does not look at all like he is resting... He is leaning against a rock decoration that I have and has not moved for over twenty minutes. Sorry about this, but since he is behind the rock, I am unable to get a clear picture without disturbing/scaring him. If he moves, I will snap a quick picture of what he looks like to see if I am missing anything. And no, I have not added any aquarium salt to my water. The only thing I have added recently (which was on Monday) was an artificial plant that is towards the front of my tank. I did thoroughly rinse off the plant of course before placing it in the water, but could the plant be the problem? I also COMPLETELY forgot to mention that when he was lying on his side, I mistakenly thought that my poor Pepper was dead, so I gently picked him up in my net. While he was in the net, he did stir but he floated on his back for a short period, which was when I realized he was alive but obviously not well. This was my mistake for disturbing him though. I do hope that he will be okay.
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Old 10-11-2014, 01:52 PM   #5
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Click image for larger version

Name:	ImageUploadedByAquarium Advice1413049877.221868.jpg
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ID:	252510 This is a picture of Pepper from a while ago when he seemed fine. (Don't mind the pleco in the background, he is unfortunately not with us anymore) Click image for larger version

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The second is of my albino catfish from a while ago as well.
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Old 10-11-2014, 02:00 PM   #6
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What are you feeding them?


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Old 10-11-2014, 02:01 PM   #7
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What are you feeding them?


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Aside from the algae tablets do you mean?
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Old 10-11-2014, 02:01 PM   #8
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Also, are their barbs short? How smooth is your substrate?


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Old 10-11-2014, 02:03 PM   #9
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How long ago did you pick him up on the net?


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Old 10-11-2014, 02:05 PM   #10
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How long ago did you pick him up on the net?


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I picked him up in the net about an hour ago. Also, I haven't noticed anything unusual with their barbs, but I may be wrong because I am very new to these fish and may not know what to look for. The substrate is pretty smooth, if you mean that as in not rough. (Sorry if you mean something else). Aside from the algae tablets, I feed my fish tropical flakes and I've fed brine shrimp once before, which was sometime last month.
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Old 10-11-2014, 02:06 PM   #11
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You might try removing the new plant for a week, do a 30% water change and thrn turn off the lights and cover the aquarium so it is dark for a few hours and then check on them again. It might be that he is just stressed, but even if it is something else, this should calm him and make him feel better, just don't check all the time, give it a few hours before you check on him. If he is looking much better, you can probably remove the cover, but if not it won't hurt for them to have it covered for the day.


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Old 10-11-2014, 02:07 PM   #12
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You might try removing the new plant for a week, do a 30% water change and thrn turn off the lights and cover the aquarium so it is dark for a few hours and then check on them again. It might be that he is just stressed, but even if it is something else, this should calm him and make him feel better, just don't check all the time, give it a few hours before you check on him. If he is looking much better, you can probably remove the cover, but if not it won't hurt for them to have it covered for the day.


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Okay, just to clarify, do I turn off my aquarium lights and keep my room dark..? And do i just leave the aquarium cover on without the lights?
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Old 10-11-2014, 02:09 PM   #13
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Often when fish are sick it is because they have gotten stressed ( sometimes we make this worse by worrying about them and staring at them, or poking them, or picking them up with a net - been there). Best thing to do sometimes ( once you have checked all the water parameters and completed a water change is to just cover the tank, turn the lights off and give them some peace. Maybe then, their natural ability to heal will have a chance. If it still doesn't work, let us know.


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Old 10-11-2014, 02:10 PM   #14
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Often when fish are sick it is because they have gotten stressed ( sometimes we make this worse by worrying about them and staring at them, or poking them, or picking them up with a net - been there). Best thing to do sometimes ( once you have checked all the water parameters and completed a water change is to just cover the tank, turn the lights off and give them some peace. Maybe then, their natural ability to heal will have a chance. If it still doesn't work, let us know.


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Okay, thank you SO much for all of your help! I really appreciate it! I will do all of the things that you have mentioned and keep updated about Pepper's health. Thanks again!
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Old 10-11-2014, 02:11 PM   #15
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Cover on, turn off lights and take a towel and drape it over the tank ( leave a gap for air to get in). Then just go about your day for a few hours and check in later. I did this a number of times and I think it really helped. I have had very little fish loss (3 fish in 3 years - some from old age and another 2 days after got him at the fish store).


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Old 10-11-2014, 02:12 PM   #16
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Good luck to you and pepper.


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Old 10-11-2014, 02:12 PM   #17
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Alright, will do. Thanks again.
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Old 10-11-2014, 08:34 PM   #18
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Update: Pepper is currently not doing very well. He is lying on his side at the bottom of my tank. He can't swim, and any time he tries to move he flips around and the light current from the filter or air stones pushes him further. My other cory was staying beside him and not bothering him, and almost seemed to keep my platys away from Pepper. I feel awful for my poor baby. :'( Through all of my research, I cannot seem to find any disease that has these symptoms that would relate to my catfish. If anyone has any idea what this could be, please let me know. I hope Alby will be okay. Sad night
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Old 10-11-2014, 09:33 PM   #19
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Update: Pepper is currently not doing very well. He is lying on his side at the bottom of my tank. He can't swim, and any time he tries to move he flips around and the light current from the filter or air stones pushes him further. My other cory was staying beside him and not bothering him, and almost seemed to keep my platys away from Pepper. I feel awful for my poor baby. :'( Through all of my research, I cannot seem to find any disease that has these symptoms that would relate to my catfish. If anyone has any idea what this could be, please let me know. I hope Alby will be okay. Sad night
You can do a makeshift QT with a bucket that you buy for 99cents, rinsed, but never soaped .. You didn't by any chance use soap to clean the new plant? If you can get a bucket. Fill it with pretreated water (de chlorinated), making sure it is around the same temperature and let it hang out in there in case you are concerned he has something that may be contagious. Also, they are schooling fish and need at the least 5 in the school.

I put a towel over my QT bucket when my QT tank is occupied by babies. Make sure there is a gap for air and it is taut so it doesn't accidently droop in and absorb all the water.

You can monitor it from here, waiting time in between as advised by others. Another poster was right that sometimes we do more harm than good trying to monitor and medicate them.

You should also invest in a liquid water test kit. It is better than what they use at a fish store and you can test your water more often.

Good luck.

Edit - how long ago did you add them since you are new to fish keeping? Sometimes, sadly, they are ill when we get them. I had the same experience with a julii cory that I bought a few days earlier.
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Old 10-11-2014, 09:44 PM   #20
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You can do a makeshift QT with a bucket that you buy for 99cents, rinsed, but never soaped .. You didn't by any chance use soap to clean the new plant? If you can get a bucket. Fill it with pretreated water (de chlorinated), making sure it is around the same temperature and let it hang out in there in case you are concerned he has something that may be contagious. Also, they are schooling fish and need at the least 5 in the school.



I put a towel over my QT bucket when my QT tank is occupied by babies. Make sure there is a gap for air and it is taut so it doesn't accidently droop in and absorb all the water.



You can monitor it from here, waiting time in between as advised by others. Another poster was right that sometimes we do more harm than good trying to monitor and medicate them.



You should also invest in a liquid water test kit. It is better than what they use at a fish store and you can test your water more often.



Good luck.

Oh wow! I had no idea I could make a QT tank with a bucket! :O Thanks so much! And no, I did not use soap on the plant. And as for the schools of cory catfish, wow... the worker at my lfs said two is the max for my tank if I had two platys and that any more would overstock it... I guess you can't trust anything at least some of the people say there.. If everything goes well, I will wait until my tank is completely clear of anything that could harm new fish and wait a while and get some more cats for my corys to school with (If I won't actually be overstocking my tank) Anyways, since I'm only 13 I will have to have my parents drive me to get a bucket tomorrow first thing in the morning. I hope Pepper makes it through the night. And yes, I was planning on getting my own test kit as soon as I could. Thank you SO much for all of your help!

-Khloe
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