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Is this BLOAT???

4620 Views 12 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  BANANAHANDS
I've read many posts about bloat and I'm pretty sure theres an outbreak in my tank. Here's a picture of the fish most affected. Its a red zebra, its not eating at all and hides all day long. It took forever just to get the picture. I've started treating the whole tank with Metro. as well as soaking some of the food in it so the fish that are eating get it directly. Just about all of the fish have reduced appetites. Should I be concerned about the black spot towards the rear of the zebra? Is that part of the bloat? I haven't read anything about the black spot in any posts related to bloat.
thanks for any info.

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It's hard to say whether the fish is just overweight or sick. You don't list any symptoms or problems in the tank.

Fish can appear as that one does simply by overeating.

Any white stringy feces? Reclusive behaviour? Heavy breathing? Is the fish still eating?

Have you lost any fish recently?

Added any new fish?

What are you feeding? How often? How much?

How long has the tank been set up?

What are the water parameters on the tank?

The black spot is likely just something that occasionally occurs with cichlids, believed to be caused by a diet heavy in spirulina or stress.

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Its a 29g tank(i know, its small, I'm upgrading very soon, likely to a 75g)
Water parameters are great(0 ammonia, 0 nitrites), except nitrates are around 80ppm which I think is a little high.
tank has been set up for about 4 months. Its fully cycled and has been for a while.
I did notice some stringy feces about a week ago from several of the fish but as this is my first aquarium ever, I didn't think anything of it. Only after some research on this awesome website did I learn its a very bad thing.
I haven't lost any fish except the feeder fish that I used initially to cycle the tank. They were lost to aggression, not disease.
This particular fish hides the entire day. it doesn't eat at all.
All of the other fish are eating, not as much as usual, but they are eating a little.
they kind of eat a few bites and then just stop. luckily I've only been putting in a pinch at a time so I just scoop out the excess. They all hide when the light comes on, which I found to be odd.
Oh, and i noticed one of them, an albino zebra, takes the food into its mouth then spits it right back out, which i think I read was another symptom of bloat.
I've been feeding them regular tropical fish flakes. They've never had spirulina, at least not here in my tank. Actually when I went to my lfs to get the metro, one of the "cichlid experts" suggested I switch to spirulina flakes. Good idea???
I've started using metro. I've read many people use a regimen thats more aggressive than what is on the package so I've followed suit. It seems that this fish is in the advanced stages and I need to be aggressive if I have any chance of saving it.
I'm mixing up the metro in a cup with some tank water then I soak a little bit of food in it. I figure this will really help the fish that are still eating. Then i pour the cup of the mixed metro into the tank.
I'm treating twice a day with %30 water change between the morning and afternoon treatments.
Thanks for any info
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The fish in the pic looks extremely stressed.

I'm afraid you don't have alot of time to get that larger tank set up.

You mentioned "several fish" in a 29G tank.

It's hard to say whether the fish is refusing food because of the stress level (aggression) in the tank or because it is ill. Regardless, stress leads to illness, but you're going to have a very difficult time determining what is going on in that small of a tank. The fish aren't going to behave normally at any time.

I don't know what species you have in the tank, but you've mentioned two zebras, and that's enough to make me say that you need a larger tank, and fast. These fish are very territorial, and when they don't have enough space, you wind up with stressed and sick fish.

I can't tell you what to feed them without knowing what all you have. Some are herbivores, some are omnivores, and many cichlids are carnivores. I would never feed all spirulina, even to the herbivores.

I would worry about getting the new tank set up right now.

That should be your first priority.

If you have "several" fish in that tank at this point, it's going to be impossible to improve their health until you get them in the proper environment.

You can go ahead and treat the tank, but I'm not sure it's going to make a lot of difference if the fish are that stressed.

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unfortuanatly I just got of the military about a month ago and am "between jobs" :D so funds are way too limited to upgrade the tank now.
The reason I have several fish is because the consensus of the guys at my LFS was that I should overstock the tank to spread out aggression. so as of now the stock list is as follows:
2 red zebras
2 albino zebras
2 yellow labs
2 johanni (males)
1 other one that I think is some kind of Cynotilapia afra
1 red topped zebra(i think its female, its not showing any signs of turning blue)

The boss of the tank is one of the Yellow Labs. Other than that one defending its territory, there really isn't any aggression. I've watched them and they all seem to get along. I've even turned the light on late at night to check one thing or another and found odd pairing of fish "sleeping" together. is that odd?

Oh, I forgot to mention earlier that as for treatment, I've raised the temp. to 82 degrees and added a table spoon of epsom salt for every 5 gallons.
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Kim is the health and illness lady but I do know a thing or two about bad advice from my LFS when first getting into the hobby, and I'm afraid you have been extremely mislead.

Your stock mix and the amount shouldn't even be housed in a 29 gallon short term.
switching feed now will be irrelevant. also, moving these fish into a larger tank, will simply transfer the issues into that set up. your fish has bloat. you can see herniation of the intestine, distending from the vent area, and at that stage, is beyond treatment. IME. it should be assumed to be a very uncomfortable, slow death. the sooner you start to cull the weak, the more relief you offer the tank's bioload, and the better any other fish has of surviving this ordeal.
have you tested your ph? 80ppm nitrate is the bottom of most test limits, so you may also be experiencing 'old tank syndrome'. (i know your tank is likely not 'old', but you have all the necessities to have accomplished warp speed)
the black 'tag' in the photo could be an anchor worm. you can thank those feeders for bringing them to the party.
i hope your metro treatment offers better results than i would ever expect or imply. good luck. :)
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Ok, so given that I somehow clear up the current Bloat problem, what would be a good plan to improve everything? Bigger tank I'm guessing. So would a 55g be big enough for my current stock list? I only ask because 55g are relatively cheap. Ideally I want to go for a 75g but there are 2 problems. one, the cost, they are much more expensive for the whole setup. The second is that i live on second floor of an apartment. I'm moving in a couple of months and thats when I was planning on getting a bigger tank. I'm moving in with my girlfriend so I'll have two apartments for about a month and planned on cycling the new tank during that time so it would be ready for my fish. I'm keeping my eye out for a used setup but no luck thus far, at least not in my low price range. Like I said, just got out of the military and am in the middle of a 5 month hiring process. **** government jobs! :lol: Any suggestions? I really don't want to give up the fish, plus I wouldn't take them to my lfs with the bloat problem going on. HELP!!!
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give your commitment to medicate a chance (fast your entire tank during the (10) day treatment if they are all spitting and/or ignoring it), keep up the increased water change routine, monitor the black tag on your lab (to see if it grows, falls away, leaves a red mark/damaged scale), test your ph and compare to your tap source, remove fish deemed terminal without procrastination, and post pictures, of all/more occupants, so their health might also be assessed more effectively. and i apologize for my post being defeatist. :oops:
Well other than the really sick red zebra, the rest of them seem to be doing well. I was concerned about an albino zebra that was spitting its food but since I started the treatment yesterday its started eating again. There are several with reduced appetites but they are still eating. I'm soaking the food in the metro so when they do eat, its going directly into their system.
On the bright side, the red zebra came out of hiding temporarily to show some interest in the food I gave with the afternoon metro treatment. it didn't eat any but it looked around then slowly went back into hiding. I take this as a sign that it may be doing better.
Don't worry about sounding defeatist, you're just being realistic. I don't want to lose any of the fish, I'm kind of attached to them, well as attached as you can be to a fish that you don't even bother to name. Plus, losing any of them would kind of feel like a failure. I was hoping the 29g would good enough to house the fish for a few months and give me an opportunity to learn about fish keeping. I got the tank for free so thats how this came about.
I appreciate everyones input.
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The Red Zebra is starting to come out of hiding more often!!! I walked up to the tank and he was out and about. Not moving very fast but still an improvement. I've been giving some thought to the 55g kit from wal-mart or petsmart. I know the components aren't the best but I could supplement the filter by adding my current penguin 200. How long should I wait after the bloat is cleared up before I start moving fish. Of course after I cycle the new tank. Has anyone had any experience with the walmart of petsmart 55g kit? Thanks for any info.
Finish you treatment in your current tank.

When you "cycle a tank" you are actually cycling the filter. So if you move your current filter to the new tank you shouldn't need to worry about cycling it. You may even be able to get away with just this filter for a couple of weeks if you do by weekly water changes.
Ok, so the Zebra seems to be doing MUCH better. When I walk towards the tank, it comes out and seems to be eagarly looking for food. I put a little bit of food soaked in metro into the tank and it seemed to take a couple of little pieces into its mouth. I didn't see it spit them out so it seems so be eating (very little). it then just swam around slowly and went back into hiding. It still pretty much comes out whenever I walk towards the tank but its still very SEVERELY bloated. I thought as it got better, the bloating would go down. Any thoughts?
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