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Old 04-16-2022, 12:20 AM   #1
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Unhappy Black skirted Tetra/Swim bladder disease/peas on a string

Trying to get some advice for one of our bs tetras. I had noticed that one of the tetras had been in a constant swim 24/7 at a 45 angle nose up. If he stops swimming, unlike most fish that can swim idle in one spot (swimming still), he sinks. I didn't think anything of it or even realize it was constant behavior until about a week into it. I originally assumed he was just being very active. Not the case. I did some research and found that he's got swim bladder disease except the opposite as most would think. Most cases the swim bladder is expanded causing the fish to float, usually upside down, to the top of the tank. In Door's (Named after the band. 4 members 4 fish... The wife lol) case his swim bladder is deflated causing him to sink and stay in a constant swim to stay afloat. I've read that peas (organic) can cure the disease as long as it's not in his DNA. He's about 6yrs old now and has never swam like this before. The other 3 are swimming normal. I took him out of our 75 tank and put him in a 30 tank (our spare) hospital by himself. I had tried peas but they just sink straight to the bottom and he would never touch them. Guessing that would be because of the nose up deal kind of making it hard to swim nose down to get food off of the substrate especially when he's a middle feeder anyways. I did more research and found that I should raise the temp to 80, fast him for 3 days, on the 4th day feed him one pea a day until he's healthy again. Well, we're back to the pea dilemma. Ok, so this time I tried feeding him by hand first... Literally sat there for an hour with my hand in the water holding the pea in my palm at an angle so he could get to it. Surprisingly after a while he got used to my hand being in there and was swimming in/out and all around my hand but wouldn't touch the pea. New plan... I got a needle and thread. Strung the pea on the thread and have the pea floating at the top of the tank. He seems to always be at the top gasping for air so thought if I put it up there he'd try to eat it. I mean he hasn't eaten in 4 days, I'd be STARVING! But still he just swims around it and won't eat it. I have a video of his behavior but this thread does not allow video upload. So I'll post a photo. Anyone have any suggestions?????? If I start feeding him flakes again the whole fasting thing would have been for nothing.
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Old 04-16-2022, 03:49 AM   #2
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A 6 year old black skirt tetra? That's a very old tetra.

Ive had the exact same thing happen to a few similar fish , couldnt treat it, otherwise the fish was active, eating and didnt seem to be suffering so i just let them live out their lives. Some lived a year or so, some a few months.

A 6 year old tetra is a very elderly fish. Same as humans as fish get older they become prone to ill health and become less likely to recover. I would say great job on keeping your fish alive so long and if it isnt suffering let it live out its life without stressing it further trying to fix something that probably cant be fixed.
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Old 04-16-2022, 04:21 PM   #3
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This is true and yea he's... well they're pretty old. 4 black skirt Tetra and one serpae Tetra all around the same age. The rest we've only had for under a year. 5 clown loach about 1.5in. I know that once they get larger I'll have to move them to a larger tank. Bought them to battle a snail infestation. Also have 4 newer serpae tetras, 1 golden gourami and 2 otocinclus.

Your suggestion does sound humane being his age. I just feel bad that he has to constantly use soooo much energy. Like he's going to wear himself down swimming so much. The pea idea if I could get him to eat it could possibly cure him within hours. Just a matter of getting him to eat it. At what point should I just give up on this idea. Temp is right, he's been fasted now he just needs to eat the pea. I don't want to starve him to death. If it comes down to it I'll just start giving him flakes again and probably as you suggest, put him back in the tank with the others. How long can he go without eating? Since he didn't eat the pea last night we're going on 5 days now. I know an adult fish can go a week or two without feeding but that sounds horrible.
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Old 04-16-2022, 04:22 PM   #4
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A 6 year old black skirt tetra? That's a very old tetra.

Ive had the exact same thing happen to a few similar fish , couldnt treat it, otherwise the fish was active, eating and didnt seem to be suffering so i just let them live out their lives. Some lived a year or so, some a few months.

A 6 year old tetra is a very elderly fish. Same as humans as fish get older they become prone to ill health and become less likely to recover. I would say great job on keeping your fish alive so long and if it isnt suffering let it live out its life without stressing it further trying to fix something that probably cant be fixed.
This is true and yea he's... well they're pretty old. 4 black skirt Tetra and one serpae Tetra all around the same age. The rest we've only had for under a year. 5 clown loach about 1.5in. I know that once they get larger I'll have to move them to a larger tank. Bought them to battle a snail infestation. Also have 4 newer serpae tetras, 1 golden gourami and 2 otocinclus.

Your suggestion does sound humane being his age. I just feel bad that he has to constantly use soooo much energy. Like he's going to wear himself down swimming so much. The pea idea if I could get him to eat it could possibly cure him within hours. Just a matter of getting him to eat it. At what point should I just give up on this idea. Temp is right, he's been fasted now he just needs to eat the pea. I don't want to starve him to death. If it comes down to it I'll just start giving him flakes again and probably as you suggest, put him back in the tank with the others. How long can he go without eating? Since he didn't eat the pea last night we're going on 5 days now. I know an adult fish can go a week or two without feeding but that sounds horrible.
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Old 04-16-2022, 05:24 PM   #5
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A tetra can probably go 5 days to a week without food. I will say those bits of pea look a bit big for a tetra. You could see if you can cut it down a little more. You could try a little food that you know your fish will eat alongside the pea and hopefully getting your fish eating will prompt it to eat the pea also.
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Old 04-17-2022, 12:20 AM   #6
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if you remove the round outside shell of the individual pea, there are two pieces and the sprout. You can feed all those pieces to the fish.

Have you checked what all the water parameters are?

Ammonia
Nitrite
Nitrate
pH
TDS
GH / general hardness
Alkalinity / calcium/ KH
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Old 04-18-2022, 07:20 PM   #7
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A tetra can probably go 5 days to a week without food. I will say those bits of pea look a bit big for a tetra. You could see if you can cut it down a little more. You could try a little food that you know your fish will eat alongside the pea and hopefully getting your fish eating will prompt it to eat the pea also.
So trying the flakes along side with the pea did the trick! He hadn't eaten in at least 5 days so when I put the flakes in he tore them up and next thing I notice the pea is gone! Wasn't sure if he was actually eating it or if it fell off the thread and down into the decor but I couldn't find it. I gave him another one today and he immediately went right for it. Just little pecks at a time little by little. So glad he's finally eating it! Hopefully he starts looking better soon. The "in hours" obviously not the case but fingers crossed soon.
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Old 04-18-2022, 07:39 PM   #8
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if you remove the round outside shell of the individual pea, there are two pieces and the sprout. You can feed all those pieces to the fish.

Have you checked what all the water parameters are?

Ammonia
Nitrite
Nitrate
pH
TDS
GH / general hardness
Alkalinity / calcium/ KH
The shell is removed and the two pieces are split on the thread. As you can see in the pic. I only test for the first four on your list. Guess I should look into testing the others but our fish live out very long healthy lives so I'd say we're doing a decent job lol. This is the first fish that we've had get sick. Not necessarily sick as it is a digestive problem. Good thing is he's eating it now so only time will tell if he gets better.

For the ones I did test:
Ammonia=0
Nitrite=0
Nitrate=10 Our 75 tank is 20. Tap is 0. My wife overfeeds and can't convince her otherwise. No matter how much cleaning I do I can't get it any lower. I siphon twice a week, 30% water change once a week, and use a fluval fx6 that I clean every two weeks to try to keep the nitrates down. I spend a lot of time siphoning as well. Tossing the sand to loosen anything in the sand and to stir it up to prevent trapped gases.
PH=7.8 (7.8 right out of the tap)
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