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Old 01-04-2012, 06:09 PM   #1
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Neon fat or pregnant? Pictures

Hi. It's been awhile since I last posted. I've learned a lot from these forums though. This 'problem' may not be a problem but its got me stumped.

One of my neon tetras really plumped up within the last week. It is not acting sick, but is noticeably bigger this week. It is so heavy in front it swims tail up. It has always been bigger then the other eight though. I put it in the 10 g sick tank but now I'm wondering if it is a female full of eggs, especially since the large water change last week. If it is pregnant, I have no idea what to do. I've answered the standard questions below. I hope the pic attached.

1~What type of fish is afflicted? Neon tetra (one of nine) has always been bigger but grew much bigger within last week.
2~What are your tank parameters? Ammonia: 0; nitrite: 0; nitrates: between 40-80; temp: 75 degrees; pH: 6.5
3~ How large is the tank? 75 gallons How long has the tank been set up? Six years
4~What type of filtration are you using? Two Rena xp3's.
5~How many fish are in the tank? What kinds of fish are they and what are their current sizes? These are the current dwellers: nine neon tetras, five black-skirt tetras, 5 Swartz' corydoras, 2 Bolivian Rams, several snails and several cherry shrimp, plus various live plants. .
6~When is the last time you did a water change and vacuum the gravel? How often do you do this? How much water do you remove at a time? I did a 50% water change eight days ago. I vacuum only in spots I feed fish. I usually do 25% water change once a month.
7~How long have you had the fish? If the fish is new, how did you acclimate it/them? I have had this fish and the others for at least 2 years.
8~Have you added anything new to the tank--decor, new dechlorinator, new substrate, etc.? Nothing new has been added
9~What kind of food have you been feeding your fish, have you changed their diet recently? I feed once a day. They get 1/8 teaspoon of New Life Spectrum Community Fish Formula mixed with NLS Thera +A. I add six shrimp pellets every other day. One cube of frozen bloodworms maybe once a month. I have not changed their diet recently.
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:48 PM   #2
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Looks pregnant to me, but i haven't raised them. I've successfully bred platy once though when I was younger
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:54 PM   #3
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Wow that is the most bizaaar neon I have ever seen.

Although I have no clue what's wrong with your neon, I can tell you your nitrates are very high. Ideally they should ne between 10-20... Definitely less than 40. You should be doing water changes on a weekly basis. I would do a 50% water change ASAP and recheck your levels. Those high nitrates can make the fish more prone to illnesses and stress.
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:54 PM   #4
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Tetras do not get pregnant. They are not livebearers. I'd suspect dropsy, but I'm curious as to what others may think.
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:55 PM   #5
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That's a very bloated little fish. I wouldn't say that's egg laden but extremely bloated. Are there any scales sticking out (pineconing)? It could be one of a number of things. It over ate and is now constipated, it has a swim bladder issue, internal parasites or a tumor. 40-80ppm of nitrates is very high. Ideally you want to keep it under 20ppm. Any higher can affect your fishes health.
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:23 PM   #6
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That's a very bloated little fish. I wouldn't say that's egg laden but extremely bloated. Are there any scales sticking out (pineconing)? It could be one of a number of things. It over ate and is now constipated, it has a swim bladder issue, internal parasites or a tumor. 40-80ppm of nitrates is very high. Ideally you want to keep it under 20ppm. Any higher can affect your fishes health.
Thanks for the response. This particular neon has always been a very efficient feeder so I am hoping it is just 'piggyness' and some time alone with no food will help. I do not see any pineconing. As for the nitrates, I live in an agricultural area that has heavy nitrates in water system. I have never been able to get nitrates down very far. That is one reason I have stocked the 75g with few fish, and feed them only once a day, hoping that fewer fish would somehow balance out the higher nitrate. I will do another water change soon and pay attention to suctioning the substrate. I have A LOT of mystery snails in there. I wonder if they are part of the nitrate problem? Every few weeks I dispose of hundreds of snails but they keep replicating merrily.
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:28 PM   #7
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Don't know about dropsy

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Tetras do not get pregnant. They are not livebearers. I'd suspect dropsy, but I'm curious as to what others may think.
Thanks for the response. I've looked up dropsy but it just doesn't seem to fit. This fish has always been fat, it just got fatter this week. I have a black-skirt tetra that is also overweight. I've noticed both of these fish are very successful in feeding themselves- when other fish miss pellets more often then not these two manage to grab and hold every pellet they go after. The neon continues to act healthy so I will keep it separate for two days with no food to see if the swelling goes down.
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:37 PM   #8
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Is it acting sluggish or hiding? Acting abnormally?
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:47 PM   #9
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Do you have a QT tank? It doesn't look like dropsy but it could be the beginning of it. It may be bloating, which epsom salt can help alleviate the symptoms of. However treating a 75 gal tank with epsom salt is a bit extreme. Not to mention that treating with epsom salt and shrimp is not recommended. If you have a QT tank it would be better to treat there.
Stepping up the water changes would not hurt. If you are currently doing monthly, start with every 2 weeks. I do 50% on all my tanks weekly to keep nitrates down.
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Old 01-05-2012, 12:25 AM   #10
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Definitely step up the water changes. 25% a month isn't even enough in a tank without high nitrates to begin with.
QT him/her and keep us posted!
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:58 AM   #11
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Is it acting sluggish or hiding? Acting abnormally?
No it is not acting sluggish or hiding. It gets around very well for being so huge.
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Old 01-05-2012, 12:11 PM   #12
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Just a question I have about neons and dropsy, wouldn't they not pine cone since they're a scaleless fish? Or at least I'm pretty sure they are...
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Old 01-05-2012, 12:14 PM   #13
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Definitely step up the water changes. 25% a month isn't even enough in a tank without high nitrates to begin with.
QT him/her and keep us posted!
Yes I see now I need to do more water changes. I just tested my tap water for nitrates and it reads somewhere between 10 and 20 ppms.
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:18 PM   #14
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Was this tetra deformed to begin with? He looks deformed. Not just fat.
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:22 PM   #15
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Was this tetra deformed to begin with? He looks deformed. Not just fat.
No, it was not deformed when I bought him. The tetra's deformity came along with the increase in size.
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:39 PM   #16
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Fat neon and nitrate levels

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Wow that is the most bizaaar neon I have ever seen.

Although I have no clue what's wrong with your neon, I can tell you your nitrates are very high. Ideally they should ne between 10-20... Definitely less than 40. You should be doing water changes on a weekly basis. I would do a 50% water change ASAP and recheck your levels. Those high nitrates can make the fish more prone to illnesses and stress.
There is no change with the 'fat' neon. However, since everyone is concerned with my nitrate levels, I tested my tap water. Nitrates from tap is in the 20ppm range. I did a 25% water change on 75g, (50% last week) and waited two hours then did another nitrate test. I read the results and had a friend read the results. There is no change -nitrates remain over 40 ppm. I use Prime by the way, which says it neutralizes nitrates too.
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Old 01-05-2012, 10:33 PM   #17
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There is no change with the 'fat' neon. However, since everyone is concerned with my nitrate levels, I tested my tap water. Nitrates from tap is in the 20ppm range. I did a 25% water change on 75g, (50% last week) and waited two hours then did another nitrate test. I read the results and had a friend read the results. There is no change -nitrates remain over 40 ppm. I use Prime by the way, which says it neutralizes nitrates too.
You're gonna have to do like a 70-80% water change to make a difference. 25% almost isn't worth the effort IMO. You will never get your nitrate levels down with that small of an amount. If you don't want to do one big water change, do back to back water changes of about 50% for a few days to a week. If your using prime to neutralized the nitrates in your tapwater you should be able to get the level down around 20.

You could also consider adding some easy care nitrate sucking plants like hornwort or wisteria to help reduce the levels.
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Old 01-06-2012, 04:08 AM   #18
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I guess since you live in an agricultural area the nitrates are already high to begin with so water changes would increase the nitrates, no?
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Old 01-06-2012, 09:51 AM   #19
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Fat neon and high nitrates update

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You're gonna have to do like a 70-80% water change to make a difference.
The neon remains fat with no change in condition. It's been two days since I fed it. I will try feeding a 'cooked pea' today to see if maybe the condition is constipation-related.

Thanks for nitrate suggestions ashleynicole. I thought I read somewhere on these forums that doing too many water changes in a short period or too much at one time messes with the pH which causes further distress to fish so I was trying to avoid that. I will try up to 50% today to see what happens.

I do not have wisteria or the other plant (hornwort?) you mentioned and will look for those. I have limna floating on top, vals, java fern, anubias and crypts though. I have a Coralite 6700 light system which is on about 5 hours a day. Besides the limna, the plants I have are thinly distributed across the tank. I do not use CO2.
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Old 01-06-2012, 09:57 AM   #20
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I guess since you live in an agricultural area the nitrates are already high to begin with so water changes would increase the nitrates, no?
I don't believe it will increase the nitrates but I think I will never see a really low nitrate level.....
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