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hbeth82 02-12-2010 07:32 PM

still-sick blue acara sifting food through gils?!?
Had a lot of issues with this poor little fish lately - began with not eating while in a tank with less than great water parameters (nitrate > 40ppm), moved him to my tank where he still wouldn't eat and then developed popeye. Began treating the tank with MelaFix and PimaFix (no salt because I have cory cats). My water parameters are 0 ammonia & nitrite, nitrate < 10ppm, water temp around 78, and pH is around 7.

The popeye seems to have cleared up and occasionally I can get him to eat a carnivore pellet but otherwise no better. He spends most of his time either resting on the bottom or up at the surface, swims around the tank some but not much. I'm beginning to wonder if he might have lost some of his senses through all of this as even when he does seem to be interested in eating, it takes him a while to locate the food and he usually seems to hover over it a while, before deciding to grab it and has picked up several rocks by mistake - used to swim from the opposite side of the tank and catch it before it hit the bottom.

Another problem I noticed tonight is that when he does eat something, his gills flare out quite a bit. After a bit of work, I managed to get a chunk of frozen bloodworms to fall near him. Took him a while to find it but he sucked them down, then after a few seconds his gills began flaring and chunks of bloodworm started coming out from behind his gills, almost like he was spitting them out, just not from his mouth. If it helps, it reminded me of a meeki sifting sand out through it's gills. This seems like a bad thing but I'm hoping to be wrong. What should I do?

dkpate 02-12-2010 07:41 PM

After my whole silicone incident, Elvis seemed like his senses were messed up too, (the little sight that he does have, feeling and smell), but a day or so ago, he started coming up to the surface again for food. I actually bought a cat/dog plastic meds doser (kind of looks like a syringe), and I put the bw's in there, suck up some tank water in it, shake it until it melts, and then I was putting it right down next to his face to MAKE him eat.

hbeth82 02-12-2010 07:47 PM

Glad Elvis is getting better. I'm not sure if Plinko's senses are getting better or worse. As often as he runs into the glass, driftwood, and plants, I've wondered if he might not be blind, but having trouble finding the food when he's more or less sitting on it seems like scent or taste is also messed up. For the carnivore pellets, my only hope of getting him to eat them is using a section of PVC to drop them as close to his mouth as possible but then it may take him a few minutes to actually find the pellet. Kinda sad, started using the PVC to prevent Plinko from eating them as they fell.

Any thoughts on him sifting the bloodworms out through his gills or flaring his gills when he does eat? Watching him, it seems like a really bad sign but I'll be glad to be wrong! Should I be treating him another way or with something else?

mfdrookie516 02-12-2010 07:50 PM

all my mbuna have some "dust" from the pellets when i feed them come out through their gills... mine have always done it, but they also shove like 10 pellets each in their mouths when i feed

dkpate 02-12-2010 08:00 PM

Now that I think about it, when my bettas eat the soaked pellets and they attack them and chew, they have little particles that come out of their gills too. I would think that would be a little normal. Have you been fishing and grabbed a fish by the gills? You will notice that they are just kind of open into their mouth. I hope that makes sense lol.

hbeth82 02-12-2010 10:32 PM

I understand what you guys are saying but I'm not sure that what I'm seeing is the same thing as this is new behavior. He'd been in my boyfriend's tank for about 9-10 mo before coming to live with me, so I've seen him pig out and never noticed him flaring his gills like this while eating, or expelling this much food. On the bloodworms, imagine cartoons with a skeleton drinking something - most of it passes right on out, that's how the bloodworms looked. He likely 'kept' some, but most were flushed out through his gills.

I don't know if any of this means something or if it can help me figure out if there's something else wrong, or if it's just that he's eaten so little lately, his body's having trouble getting used to food again. Or are the voices right, that I am nuts?


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