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Old 08-04-2006, 10:05 PM   #1
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Sick Senegal Birchers, PLEASE HELP!

The story goes like this, I bought a single Bichir eel from the local Petsmart in a 40 gallon tank with a sucker fish of similar size. He did good for about a week, and then started floating at the top of the tank. He could swim to the bottom and would still eat, but spent most of the time float at the top of the tank. I tested the water, it was good, and the sucker fish was fine. After three weeks the Bichir passed away. I cleaned out the tank completely, and started over with just the sucker. He was fine, and the tank was going well. I bought two more Bichirs earlier this week, and now they are both starting to float again.
The Pet stores in town can offer no good advice. I've added salt to the tank, and tested the water over and over. I have treatments for the ammonia and nitrogen content, as well as treatments for chlorine. The sucker fish is fine through all of this but I am so worried about the Bichirs. They eat fine and can swim up or down just like before. The water in the tank is 79-80 degrees all day long, and they have plenty of places to hide. I don't know what else to do! If you have any ideas or suggestions, please help!!

Thank you...
JaB
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Old 08-04-2006, 10:34 PM   #2
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Hi, and welcome to AA.

First off, what are your water parameters? You say it tests out good, but could you post the results? What kind of kit do you use?

What kind of filtration are you running on your tank? How did you acclimate the fish from the store to your tank?
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Old 08-04-2006, 11:23 PM   #3
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Thank you for the welcome.

I'm not sure about the water parameters. I've taken the water to the store (Petsmart) to test each time. They say the water is really good and should work fine for the Bichirs. They've recommended adding salt to the tank (which I did) but can't offer much more advice.

The filter is a Penguin Bio Wheel filter. (I was told it was one of the better filters for a tank this size.) To acclimate the fish I floated the bags the fish came in on the top of the tank for two and a half hours.

As you can probably tell, I'm a bit new at this whole thing. I was told that Bichirs are incredibly easy to take care of, but I definitely don't want to kill two more! Thank you for taking the time to respond!
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Old 08-05-2006, 12:37 AM   #4
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No problem.

Just some advice. You generally don't want to leave the fish in the bag, closed, for more than an hour. Doubt this is your problem, but after about 30 minutes the temperature transfer is complete and the rest is just a waste of time. Alot of people (including myself) reccomend drip acclimation. If you google this, you'll find a LOT of links explaining it and how different people drip acclimate animals. Whether this is the reason your fish are acting the way they are, I seriously doubt it.


If the store tests your water I assume your ammonia is 0.

Try doing a large water change (around 50%) and see if that helps any at all. How often are you doing water changes?

Bichirs breathe air from the surface of the water instead of with a swim bladder like most fish. That's why I was thinking maybe poor water quality way affecting your fish's behavior or something of the like.

Sorry, not too much help.
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Old 08-05-2006, 01:24 AM   #5
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Here is a profile of the Senegal Bichir:
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/profiles/6_24_en.html
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Old 08-05-2006, 07:31 AM   #6
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hey there....


I know my particular petsmart uses strips to test water, which are notoriously unreliable. You might want to invest in a liquid test kit...many people here suggest the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Master Test Kit for Fresh Water.

You will want to test the Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate and PH primarily.

Have you been doing regular water changes?
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Old 08-05-2006, 01:13 PM   #7
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How long has your tank been set up ? Are the birchirs and the "sucker fish" (I assume its a common pleco ???) the only occupants ?
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Old 08-05-2006, 02:20 PM   #8
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Thank you for the advice "Devilishturtles", I will look up "Drip Acclimation" for future reference. I was doing 10% water changes once a week, but I just did a complete water change a week ago today.

I will go pick up that water testing kit "FishyPeanut" mentioned this afternoon.

As for the sucker fish, it is not a Pleco, the fish is smaller and tan coloured. I've noticed that he is "sucking" the eels sometimes (especially when they try to eat as the bloodworms settle.) Could he be stressing them or hurting them?

And the tank was setup for three days before I put any of the fish back in, and I started with the sucker fish.
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Old 08-05-2006, 07:29 PM   #9
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Look up Chinese Algae Eater and see if this looks like the algae eater you have. It sucking on the Bichir is not good. These algae eaters are known to do this as they age somewhat. They will stop eating algae and instead suck on slower moving/larger fish.

Test your water with the liquid kit and see what it tests then. HTH
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Old 08-05-2006, 08:01 PM   #10
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Yes, it is a Chinese Algae Eater. I removed him from the tank and put him in a smaller tank by himself this morning after I fed them. One of the two Bichirs is resting at the bottom, but the other is floating about mid way up the tank. Is there anything I can do to help calm them down?
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Old 08-05-2006, 09:11 PM   #11
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What r u feeding them?
Is it albino or just plain?
The sucker might of been the cause but im not certain...
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