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Old 05-18-2012, 11:51 AM   #1
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Gilbert the Chinese Algae Eater

Hi All! My name is Meghan, and I live in Indiana. I need some advice for our friend Gilbert, which is what led me to this site. I am not a HUGE fish person, but I am pretty attached to this little (big) guy, and so is my daughter. We got Gilbert 2 years ago, along with 3 other various small fish, and a 15 gallon tank, for my daughter's 4th Birthday. The petstore guy indicated that Gilbert, the Chinese Algae eater (orange), would be fine in a tank with the other fish we purchased. Within 2 weeks, all the fish were dead, except Gilbert. I new he was the culprit, and did my own research to find out they are very agressive and can grow to be very large. Our once 1/2 inch Algae eater is now approx. 4 inches and occupies a 20 gallon tank, all by his lonesome...BUT he's happy. He plays and darts around and gets "excited" when we pay him attention. He likes his little home and has always seemed content with Spongebob, Patrick and the Crabby Patty Shack. He lives on the algae in the tank and the wafers (1 every other day). About a year ago, Gilbert got a new water change, and somehow got out of his tank (I am sure he jumped), we found him very shortly after he did it and got him back in the tank and he was fine, darting around happy to be back in his home. BUT, yesterday, after being gone all day, from 8am-6pm, my daughter goes into her room and I hear "Oh MY GOSH GILBERT!!!"....yes, he was on the floor, and we do not know how long. He was not moving, and when I picked him up he was lifeless; however, I put him in the tank...he sank to the bottom on his back, but he was breathing, very slowly and heavily, but he was breathing. Within 20 minutes, he had turned himself over and was at the top of the tank, taking in oxygen. My husband got home and changed his filter and kind of "disturbed" the tank a little. This got Gilbert moving and he ended up darting back down to the bottom...still breathing very heavily. He is still alive, but I'm not sure he will make it. He was looking pale today and still seemed distressed. Is he slowly dying? What should I do? Is there even anything we can do? Please don't give me the "you should have had a lid" because I know this, and we plan on getting one tonight....but, I thought after the first near-death experience, he wouldn't do it again...I was wrong. I just hope our little buddy makes it. Any advice or experience is appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 05-18-2012, 03:49 PM   #2
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All these people reading my post, but nobody has any advice or experience...in a fish forum? I don't get it.

Perhaps my post was too long. Question is, in simple terms: My fish jumped out of his tank and was out on the floor for who knows how long. He was put back in the tank and was definitely in distress, he is alive, but very pale and breathing slowly. What can I do for him?
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Old 05-18-2012, 05:04 PM   #3
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It happens to me too, Meg.

Actually since you don't know how long he was out of the tank it's hard to say just how stressed out he is / was.

This is just one of those wait, hope and see things. I'd keep the tank dim and as relaxing as possible and hope he gets better.
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Old 05-18-2012, 05:15 PM   #4
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Hi Meghan and welcome to AA!
As said, all you can do is wait and see if he makes a recovery. Keeping his water clean will help out. Now I noticed you said the filter cartridge got changed? Unfortunately doing that could throw your tank into a mini cycle making it toxic for Gilbert. Please read the following article and if you have any questions don't be afraid to ask.
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/articl...ium/Page1.html
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Old 05-18-2012, 05:38 PM   #5
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An air stone and pump would help him breathe more easily
Don't rinse the filter pads- it's not helping that your tank is probably mini cycling from the BB being killed by chlorine
Do you have a test kit? If not or if you have strips, I suggest getting an API master freshwater liquid kit and telling us your exact params
How often do you do WCs and how much water is changed?
Do you use dechlorinater? If not I recommend Seachem Prime
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Old 05-19-2012, 01:14 AM   #6
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I really hope the little(big) guy makes it please keep updated I can't help but I'm rootin for ya hope he makes it
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Old 05-19-2012, 09:10 AM   #7
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:57 AM   #8
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Thanks everyone! Unfortunately, Gilbert did not make it he held on for over a day, but I just think he was out of the tank too long, and was in too much distress. he has passed on to "fishy heaven" as we told our daughter. Now, we are trying to decide whether to get my daughter another algae eater like Gilbert, or if we want to do a multi-fish tank. Like I said, we were newbies when we got the tank for her and relied on the pet store employee who was clearly wrong. We would like to have an algae eater in the tank, but obviously, we need a different kind if we want other fish. Any suggestions on a few friendly/pretty fish that we can keep in a tank together? Its a 20 gallon tank, and we don't want to go any bigger than that. And, I don't want them spawning....don't have time to take care of a bunch of baby fish...I have two kids, two cats, a dog, and a bunny My husband actually mentioned maybe turning the tank into a frog tank, but I'm kind of weird about frogs. Any suggestions/feedback on that would be appreciated too! We need something low maintenance for sure!
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Old 05-21-2012, 11:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emerald76 View Post
An air stone and pump would help him breathe more easily
Don't rinse the filter pads- it's not helping that your tank is probably mini cycling from the BB being killed by chlorine
Do you have a test kit? If not or if you have strips, I suggest getting an API master freshwater liquid kit and telling us your exact params
How often do you do WCs and how much water is changed?
Do you use dechlorinater? If not I recommend Seachem Prime
My husband does most of the tank care, which doesn't take a lot because gilbert kept the tank pretty clean. We do have an air stone and pump, and we don't rinse the filters, we replace them bi-weekly. And, yes, we use Dechlorinator, but not sure what brand. I will have to check. The water should have been changed more often, but my husband kind of slacked on that. For the most part, Gilbert's tank was OK for him, but if we get other fish, I know we will have to take better care of the tank. Thanks again!
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:17 PM   #10
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I'm sorry for your loss
Look at bristlenose plecos (not common plecos). They stay around 4-6 inches and one would do well in a 20g. You could have a school of tetras, rasboras or danios, a centre piece fish and perhaps some bottom dwellers such as cories or kuhli loaches.

Because the filter was changed the tank would be in a cycle. You have two choices, to continue with a fishless cycle or a fish in cycle. There are links to both in the article I posted earlier.
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