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Old 09-10-2014, 02:00 PM   #1
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Cardinal Tetra breathing heavily

One of my Cardinal Tetras has always been a little fuller in the belly than the others its blue stripe bends upwards. I've attached a (bad) pic below. I had assumed that this individual is a female and that it may be gravid. This morning, I noticed that it was breathing rather rapidly (about 4 mouth-openings per second). However, there do not appear to be any other problems with this fish or any of my others. This individual Cardinal occasionally hangs out in my bogwood "cave" but mostly schools with the others. I tested my ammonia and nitrites earlier this morning and both were zero. I can't tell if this fish is ill or if it may be getting ready to spawn.

I've had these Cardinals for about three weeks now. I recently treated the tank with Furan-2 to address what appeared to be columnaris in one of my Rummys and did numerous 20-25% water changes during this time. (My sick fish didn't respond after five days, so I euthanized it.)

My tank is a 29 gallon and was cycled about 6 weeks ago. Other inhabitants include Rummynose Tetras (7), Black Neons (7), more Cardinals (7), Sterbai Corys (4), and Assassin Snails (2). The tank is moderately planted.

Parameters:
77 deg F
pH 7.3-7.4
GH: 3 deg
KH: 2.5 deg (pH is still steady)
Nirates: ~7-13 ppm (currently 5 ppm)
Ammonia/nitrites: 0
Lighting: 17 watt T8

Any idea what's going on here?
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Old 09-10-2014, 08:57 PM   #2
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The aforementioned Cardinal didn't eat this afternoon and was spending a little more time in the bogwood cave. It's mouth is still working like a tobacco-chewing baseball player on amphetamines.
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Old 09-12-2014, 07:32 PM   #3
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This fish is still not eating. (I'm feeling New Life Spectrum Small Fish Formula 0.5 mm sinking pellets.) Its condition appears to be the same.

Any ideas?
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Old 09-12-2014, 10:04 PM   #4
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They are not live-bearers so if anything, maybe she is about to drop a lot of eggs. Sorry, I don't have any other useful help.
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Old 09-14-2014, 03:56 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Noviceafter2yea View Post
They are not live-bearers so if anything, maybe she is about to drop a lot of eggs. Sorry, I don't have any other useful help.
Thanks for the comment.

This individual seems a little thinner, most likely because it's not eating. Otherwise, there has been no apparent change in its condition.

I'm wondering if it could be constipation. Then again, I wouldn't associate constipation with rapid breathing.
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Old 09-14-2014, 04:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNWaquarist View Post
Thanks for the comment.

This individual seems a little thinner, most likely because it's not eating. Otherwise, there has been no apparent change in its condition.

I'm wondering if it could be constipation. Then again, I wouldn't associate constipation with rapid breathing.
I don't have enough knowledge and am really offering speculation. Maybe it isn't getting enough oxygen and you need to add an airstone? I can't remember if you said whether or not she is getting picked on, is that possible? Any other possible stressors or changes to the environment? Are the other fish just beating her to the food?

I wish I could be more helpful.
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Old 09-14-2014, 04:16 PM   #7
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Is she no longer fuller in the belly as your original post? Is she just swayback maybe?

I think some meds reduce the oxygen.

I have a couple of platy fry that look sort of swayback, like they have a reverse curve. I also have some that have what looks like scoliosis. I posted about it a while back. The feedback I got was there was a good chance they'd be okay. But, mine are eating.
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Old 09-14-2014, 04:20 PM   #8
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Better pic of the swayback guy. Actually, this one is the biggest of the fry, poops the most, and seems to beat the others to food - but I do not think it is just fat.
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Old 09-14-2014, 04:33 PM   #9
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Thanks again for your remarks. It's definitely a challenging diagnosis.

I'm pretty sure that the oxygen levels are good. None of the other fish are acting abnormally and I have a good return water flow from my HOB filter. I've never seen aggressive behavior in my tank - it's extremely laid back.

Scoliosis might be something to consider. This individual does seem to be a bit more "bendy" than most Cardinals.
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Old 09-14-2014, 08:21 PM   #10
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I've been following and unfortunately not coming up with much. Fast breathing I've noticed in mine when I have lifted temp (like for ich treatment) or the first night of using meds. Which doesn't seem helpful here.
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:32 PM   #11
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I've been following and unfortunately not coming up with much. Fast breathing I've noticed in mine when I have lifted temp (like for ich treatment) or the first night of using meds. Which doesn't seem helpful here.
Thanks anyway. The symptoms don't seem to be anything near textbook for common maladies, and it looks like many others are stumped as well.

There hasn't been much of an apparent change in this fish's condition since I began this thread. I'm going on a four-day trip later this week and hope to not find a (possibly infected) dead fish when I get home. We'll see.
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:41 PM   #12
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Thanks anyway. The symptoms don't seem to be anything near textbook for common maladies, and it looks like many others are stumped as well.

There hasn't been much of an apparent change in this fish's condition since I began this thread. I'm going on a four-day trip later this week and hope to not find a (possibly infected) dead fish when I get home. We'll see.
If no one is looking after the fish and it dies, my concern would be an increase in ammonia. I hope it works out.
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Old 09-16-2014, 12:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNWaquarist View Post
Thanks anyway. The symptoms don't seem to be anything near textbook for common maladies, and it looks like many others are stumped as well.

There hasn't been much of an apparent change in this fish's condition since I began this thread. I'm going on a four-day trip later this week and hope to not find a (possibly infected) dead fish when I get home. We'll see.
Could it be gill damage causing it to 'pant' more? Did it start after anything?
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Old 09-16-2014, 07:30 PM   #14
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If no one is looking after the fish and it dies, my concern would be an increase in ammonia. I hope it works out.
Thanks. I'm more concerned about the other fish (especially the corys) picking at the carcass. That's a good way to infect the rest of the tank.

Quote:
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Could it be gill damage causing it to 'pant' more? Did it start after anything?
Possibly, though I don't see any sign of physical damage. I just happened to notice the constant breathing last week. This was after a dose and a half of Furan-2 for an apparent case of columnaris in another fish. It's difficult for me to see how those two events could be connected. I did water changes during (as instructed) and after the application of the medicaiton, and put a fresh packet of activated charcoal into my filter afterwards. The water appeared to clear up overnight.

No apparent change in the affected fish as of this afternoon.
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Old 04-26-2018, 03:01 AM   #15
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Sick Cardinal Tetra

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Originally Posted by PNWaquarist View Post
The aforementioned Cardinal didn't eat this afternoon and was spending a little more time in the bogwood cave. It's mouth is still working like a tobacco-chewing baseball player on amphetamines.
Hi All, and hope I'm not breaking rules by posting to an old thread. But after searching for a couple of days about a sick Cardinal Tetra, this post was the closest thing I could find anywhere to the symptoms I noticed.

My tetra's mouth is "working like a tobacco-chewing baseball player on amphetamines" but he's not at the surface, he's at the normal depths for cardinals. It never looked like fast breathing to me, and none of the other fish are doing this. He's been like this for a week or less. The fish is also paler than his tank mates, see picture below. He hangs by himself, but he also swims with the group. Other fish come to swim by him when he's hiding. He's still eating.

Was the fish in the original post ever diagnosed? Since I think my fish has the same problem (and perhaps my tank too), I'd like to know if it turned out to be something serious that affected more than the one fish. I hope not to have to tear up the tank, the other fish seem okay at the moment. Was there a remedy? I haven't tried any medications yet, since I don't know what the problem is. And I have been baffled trying to figure out what he has.

The main tank and the quarantine tank both have good water (test results you'd expect with good water - no ammonia or nitrites, low nitrates). They are both planted.

I'm pretty sure this fish is going to die and I'd like to do a test to see what he had, but I have no idea where to find an aquatic pathologist. Any pointers?

Meanwhile, I have a dozen Cardinal Tetras from a new and possibly better LFS in my quarantine tank. And I don't want to kill them by putting them in the main tank. Help!

Thanks so much!

-Susan
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Old 04-27-2018, 05:37 AM   #16
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The other post noted columnaris treatment - so it could be some sort of bacterial infection.

Next option after that is parasites. Neon Tetra Disease.

But fast breathing may be gill damage from bacterial / gill parasites.
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