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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not sure where this belongs but since my fish is acting wierd i figure he is sick?

Anyways a week ago while doing a water change and rearranging my rockwork, my alfa male demasoni who always ran the tank started to hide. He stays in his cave guards it with his life and seems to be "gasping" opening and closing his mouth. He still chases off any fish that gets near him, but he hasn't been eating. He still displays his fins etc and otherwise looks fine. fyi i rearranged 90% of the rockwork except for his cave... i left that rock in the exact same spot.

I've heard that fish can get "depressed" if loosing their alfa status. Is this the case or is he sick? a younger fish seems to have taken over the other half of the tank. No spots, no swollen gills, no ripped/nipped fins, eyes look clear

tank info:
temp 81-82 (in FL my house' amb temp is 78 so with the lights its kind of hard to get below 80 w/o a chiller.
PH 8.3
Ammonia 0.0
Nitrite 0.0
Nitrate 5ppm (although after w/c its almost undetectable)

filtration xp4 and ac110 (xp = full bio with 2 filter sponges, ac = mech)

demasoni species tank w/ 2 bn plecos, 3 l. fulleborni (i think thats how its spelled)

7,008 Posts

the gasping is a sign of stress. Could be he's having a hard time breathing due to parasites or some other ailment or it could be that he's being harrassed by other fish.

Not eating is definitely a reason to be concerned. Especially if it's been a week. What does he do at feeding time? Stay in his cave? Come out and show interest in food but not eat? Sometimes when a fish is being harrassed it won't eat.

I don't know if I'd call it being depressed but a fish will lay low if it doesn't feel safe swimming around--so it could be that. The problem is that the symptoms you describe could also indicate illness, bloat comes to mind, and even if he's not sick now the stress of not eating, being harrassed and hiding all the time may lead to illness.

You should remove this fish to a hospital tank and if he doesn't show interest in food within 48 hours then I'd try treating with something like Jungle Parasite Clear. His behavior may be due to losing his position in the tank heirarchy but it's very hard to determine that for sure and if you wait too long to treat it may be too late for the meds to work.


Just one more option, not a great one but I know it's not always possible to remove a fish. If you could create some sort of visual barrier between his cave area and the rest of the tank that might give him the cover to feel safe coming out. They sell these large, vine like fake plants called "Fancy Plants" and if you hang one from the top of the tank and let it hang down it may work to sheild him from view of any harrassers. Still--if he's not eating within 48 hours you really should treat him.
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