Post by indigoxo on Apr 18, 2020 20:59:01 GMT -5
Hello! Long story short my Tiger Oscar has been bloated for about a month and a half and I have tried several things, detailed below. It's gotten worse and it's gotten better. Today I am surprised with a 'much worse in a maybe different way'. I am now looking for thoughts, advice, pretty much anything that might help him heal up.
This is a link to some pictures of Oscar himself and his condition, his tanks, and my notes. Let me know if it does not work.
The pictures are in order by time:
Oscar's Tank before Bloat
Oscar before Bloat 1-2
Oscar with Bloat 1
Oscar's Tank, Oscar with Bloat
Oscar's Utah Tank (Current)
Oscar Bloat April 3rd 1-2
Oscar's Bloat/Anus April 3rd 1-2
Oscar Bloat April 3rd 3
Oscar April 18th 1-4
Notes First Day
Notes Week 1-4
These descriptions are also in the comments of each picture.
1-Oscar the Tiger Oscar Introduction
2-Most Recent Tank Conditions and Tank Maintenance
3-The SAGA so far
4-My Course and Thoughts
1-Oscar the Tiger Oscar Introduction
Oscar is my Tiger Oscar. He (best guess on sex) is approximately 6 years old. I bought him at a Petco when he was about 2 inches long. Now I believe he is over a foot long. He lives in a 75 gallon tank, by himself. I interact with him often and we have fun together. His favorite past times include spitting sand and gravel, posing for the camera, impressive swimming maneuvers, playing with bubbles, getting fed, listening to me talk and praise him, bullying other fish (when there were other fish), and otherwise showing off. Oscar has also successfully moved tanks and locations many times. He is a very strong fish and has lived a lot of life for a fish so far.
Most often I feed him live crickets. I also feed him a variety of large cichlid pellets, including Hikari Cichlid Gold, Hikari Cichlid Staple, API brand pellets, and Fluval Bug Bites. On rare days, like one last week, he gets fat worms from the garden or other treats of opportunity. This has pretty much been his diet for a few years; I've used other types or brands of pellets before the ones I have now.
2-Most Recent Tank Conditions and Tank Maintenance
I upkeep 4 aquariums currently; in addition to Oscar, I have a turtle and a plecostomus (each in their own tank), as well as a tropical community tank. I use the same equipment for all tanks. To change water, I use a tube to siphon and 5 gallon buckets. I use water from tap, watching the temperature. I usually change water once every week, but depending on circumstances or the condition of the tank, I've done between every few days and once in two weeks. I'd rinse filter media every once a month or two or three XD. In years past, I was not so on top of it and my regular was about every two weeks, and I changed a lot of water, about 60%. Now my regular is 40% - 20%. I usually change water in the late evening/night.
Since everything that has gone on recently with Oscar, I've made some new habits. I am now testing water parameters often, at least twice a week, using API liquid color tests. I wasn't really testing before...I'd test if I noticed something 'off' with my fish or the tank in general. I now use Prime with water changes, AmGuard for ammonia during cycling with fish, and Stability with both. Before I didn't condition water...and my tanks were cycled. For lowering pH I'm now (in Utah) using pH down with water changes, and catappa and magnolia leaves. For raising pH I was (in Oregon) using reef cichlid buffering salts, purchased from The Wet Spot.
Oscar's setup is with a canister filter using lava rocks, ceramic and plastic bioball things, and several filter foams. UV is turned off, used to have activated carbon but not since medicating and not now with trying for a blackwater-like aquarium. I do have activated carbon though, and have used it after medicating. The filter output is on the water surface for oxygenation. His tank has two current makers and three large bubbler airstones.
The last tests I took measured:
pH 7.8 (4/16)
Ammonia ~ 0.35 ppm (4/16) (tank has been cycling, plz reference next section)
Nitrite ~ 0 ppm (4/16)
Nitrate ~ 0 ppm (4/16)
kH ~ 89.5 ppm (4/11)
gH ~ 143.2 ppm (4/11)
Temperature (tank-side adhesive color strip) ~ 82 degrees Fahrenheit (4/18)
For context, please also reference the pictures of my notes. I've been logging regular measurements for about a month now.
3-The SAGA so far
If something stands out in my recounting or you want more info, please let me know and I am happy to oblige and respond.
I begin at the beginning. The last paragraph in this section describes Oscar's current condition.
SO one day in earlyish March my sister says Oscar isn't looking too good. I had noticed he had seemed mopey, but I thought he was just being mopey. I took a second look and became very concerned at what appeared to be bloating and hovering at the top and bottom of the tank. I did an about 50% WC and cleaned the filter. About two days before it had seemed there was an algae bloom in the tank (green water). He seemed to get a little more perky, but within 2 days was still not eating. I did another 50% WC, cleaned the filter again, and added Epsom salt at 1/8 tsp per 5 gallons for 75 gallons. I had also raised the water temp from 78 to 80, to 82. I was trying to address constipation as the possible cause of bloating.
After another day, I began to address other possible causes. I started API General Cure, and followed through with the 4 day full treatment. Another WC with the end of the treatment, and Oscar was looking spunky, and eating again (fed pellets, I had just been feeding crickets for about a week previous to the bloat). I gave it a few days, but the bloat remained, albeit a little smaller, even though he was acting a lot better. During these few days, the algae was coming back and the water got green. After a 20 gallon WC (this is when I started keeping approximate track of gallons in and out), I started Kanaplex using the Seachem directions. I think I dosed a bit high, for 70 gal. The activated carbon was out of the filter for medicating the tank. Within the two days before the second dose, I got my water tested, from samples before and after the 20gal WC. The pH before was really low at 5.5. After it was about 6.6. The test also showed an Ammonia reading. I had the water tested at a local aquarium store, and the employee who tested my water thought the tank needed to cycle again after most the nitrogen cycle bacteria being killed off by the low pH, and also that the bloat was probably given opportunity by the stress of a low pH on Oscar. I've taken that to heart and increased my testing A LOT, but I also think it would be good to mention that the tank pH was probably in that range for a good several months previous. Probably since I moved to Oregon 6 months previous. When I administered the second dose, the algae looked very thick. I was watching Oscar closely for having trouble breathing...and then it happened hours later! He looked like he was having trouble breathing. So I did a SUPER WC immediately. I moved water out about 4 gallons at a time and was putting water in as I was taking it out at about 2 gallons each time. I did this until the tank was about 40% empty, and then filled the rest of the way. I started using Stability with this WC. The water was light green when I was done and Oscar was breathing better, then just fine, again. Through the time recounted in this paragraph, I had been using API Stresscoat, per directions on the container, for 75gal, after the water changes. Also, I had not added any more epsom salt since first mentioned.
Overnight the water became more greenish. I went to an aquarium supply to get AmGuard and Prime to help facilitate re-cycling and improve water quality (I had tested the tap water by this point and it had 0.25ppm of Ammonia!). By midmorning the water was more greenish, and the Ammonia at 0.5ppm. I did another water-in-while-water-out WC to 30% empty, then filled. After this, the Ammonia was at 0.25ppm. The next morning it was back to 0.5ppm. I went to another specialty fish store to ask advice and buy medication. What was suggested to me was a treatment of PraziPro at full dose and Metroplex at half dose, as well as 1/2 the Epsom Salt I had previously used to reduce stress, and about half dose of reef cichlid salts to raise and buffer the pH.
The pattern I followed from March 15th to March 31st was basically:
-maintain water quality and monitor tank cycling (Prime, Stability, AmGuard, Reef Cichlid Salts for upping pH/API pH Down for lowering pH)
-maintain Epsom Salt levels at 1/8 tsp for each 10 gallons (of course just adding based on water taken out)
-Dose Prazi Pro (2.5 tsp) every 4 days
-Dose Metroplex (10 scoops (1-2 scoops/10 gal dosage on packaging, so not max dosage but not min dosage either))
-25% WC every 48 hours
I kept to this very well, and measured pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate, and later Temperature, gH, and kH, before and after, almost every WC. The measurements, as well as my daily observations, are recorded in my notes. Overall, Oscar's bloat seemed to improve a little, but it didn't heal up all the way. He seemed to have bad days and good days, like anyone I suppose, and overall has looked pretty damn happy.
The tank had just been cycled again for about a week and I had just been getting a feel for the Reef Cichlid Salts, when, the first of several changes happened. With the possibility of state borders closing, my parents wanted me back in Utah. I decided that in the worst possible case scenario, it was the wiser decision, so I packed up me and my fish and drove back on March 21st. I'd driven with them all to Oregon, so I already had the setup. Basically I bucket as much water and gravel as I can move, pack up tank equipment, put Oscar in a 27 gallon black Tough Tote with his tank water and a bubbler (the other fish have their own Tote), strap it in (and lid it, the lid has some holes for oxygen), and hightail it wherever I'm going. This happened on a day I had just dosed Metroplex, 48 hours after a dose of Metro and Prazi. When I got to Utah, my parents had already started setting up another 75 gallon tank. I added the most important stuff from Oscar's other tank (sand, water), and put in the essential equipment (aerator, tank heater), and in Oscar went! He adjusted quickly and was looking just fine. I wasn't though, I had been sick before I left and was fevering by the time I got him in his new home and brought the others in. I spent the next few days mostly in bed. When I wasn't, I was working on Oscar's tank... doing the water changes and doses, situating his rocks, plants, and currents, and setting up a new filter.
Of course, new tank, new filter, and though I brought as much as I could and some of the old filter media, I was in for another cycling. I've used a lot of Stability and AmGuard, haha XDD. AND the tap pH is much higher in UT...it's about 8.0. With the tank pH measuring about 7.8, I started looking for ways to lower the pH. I started gradually using pH down with the water changes. I also was looking into using tannins. I had read that Catappa leaves may have antibacterial/antifungal properties, and eventually got some of them in the mail. Before that though, I was pretty desperate and started with Magnolia leaves. My thought has been to try slowly transitioning to a blackwater aquarium and see if a natural remedy type-approach might help Oscar. I believe I put in the first leaves on March 23rd.
The algae that was a problem in Oregon did not return with the new tank in Utah. Since I've been back, my family has commented that Oscar looks (acts I suppose) the best that they have ever seen him. I was feeding him crickets since I started treatment. Along with this WHOLE THING, I've started trying to breed and gutload my crickets. So the crickets I've been feeding him have been fed fruits and vegetables. On March 24th, I started trying to feed pellets medicated with Metroplex (1:1 Metroplex and Focus with Garlic Guard). He ate some then! He ate them a few times and rejected them others, though I was still feeding crickets when he rejected medicated pellets. I tried medicating crickets once XD. Another note, I started feeding pellets not medicated sometimes again too, and I was on a medicated-food-every-other-day roll.
Anyhow, I'm not sure if tank completely cycled... Ammonia readings were down to about 0.25 to 0.12ppm. Nitrite and Nitrate never tested more than 0ppm (). I had planned to keep up the Metro/Prazi routine for 3 weeks, since the Metroplex package says that is the longest treatment time, unless symptoms abate sooner. With no change showing, I decided to try adding Kanaplex with the Metroplex dose for the last 6 days of the three week time period (dose every 48 hours to a max of 3 doses). I started Kanaplex on March 29th, dosing 13 scoops (per packaging, 1 scoop for every 5 gallons, and I had determined that the tank volume with everything in it is about 65 gallons).
The day I started with Kanaplex, I didn't do a WC. I was still sick and dead tired, and was questioning whether that much WC was actually good. Researching the question, I found American Aquarium Products (AAP), read a little bit, and decided it was probably fine to not do a WC, and that I needed to reassess how much water I was taking out. From thereon my WCs were approximately 16 gallons instead of 20.
I dosed Kanaplex the second time on March 31st. At first Oscar was looking really good, and then I thought he started looking NOT really good. I watched for a while. I had been reading up on AAP, and thought of the warning against using too much Kanaplex. I remembered that I had medicated Oscar's food the previous day with a half/half Metroplex and Kanaplex mix, and thought Oh poop, the Metro I wasn't worried about overdosing since I was technically not at the max dose anyway, but the Kana I am overdosing!! I read up some more, and though it seemed that the danger is in using Kanaplex too long rather than too much at one time, I was still concerned and Oscar was not looking chipper. I made the decision to take a break. I felt like I desperately needed a break, and that a break from meds may very well help Oscar as well. Around 4 in the morning on April 1st, I added activated carbon to the filter, and the next day I did another WC (16 gal).
I noticed at this time that Oscar seemed to have developed some secondary infections... a few white fuzzies on his pectoral fins, and some white spots where he had scraped himself being the feisty creature he is. As in most cases, I decided to wait and see what direction it went and focus on the tank parameters. Nonetheless, on April 3rd I added 60 mL of API StressCoat to the tank.
I added Catappa leaves on April 5th, and on this day, also realized that the activated carbon was leaching the tannins and other biocompounds the leaves would have been releasing! So I removed the activated carbon, and sure enough, within the next few days the water turned a light yellow brown. It hasn't seemed to make a huge difference in pH, but I have noticed that I no longer have to add pH down to the tank itself with water changes to accomplish a pH of about 7.6. I also noticed on April 5th that the snails are coming back! I hadn't seen the snails since the tank in Oregon. Also, some small algae clusters have started growing on the tank walls. Life returns! Worms also appear to be coming back. They don't appear to be out of control, but they are there. There was an out-of-control time several months ago, and I used copper (Cupramine) for the first time to bring their numbers down. What mostly prompted me to take such drastic measures was that I was seeing them come in and out of Oscar. By my best observation and knowledge, they seemed to be using his sensory pits, especially along his face. I have seen them on him a little bit now again... but I am waiting and watching.
To continue...I took about a week break and then did a 30 gal WC on April 11th. That brings to just about right now. Several main points for the NOW.
One is tank cycling. I think when I had the activated carbon in, it absorbed a lot of the bio matter. So when I removed it, and the leaves had been in for about a week or so, suddenly it was bio overload. So I am dealing with cycling AGAIN. It seems to be just about done again though...Ammonia tested 1.0ppm on April 15th and 0.35ppm on April 16th. Still no Nitrite and Nitrate readings beyond a big fat 0, and that concerns me a bit. Where is my Nitrogen Cycle??
Secondly, Oscar's bloat had gone down a little bit...yay! His scales had started to cast a small shadow (raised just a bit) around the bloated area, and now that is pretty much gone. I have been concerned about a bit that has been sticking out of anus though. It is whiteish, looks like it might have soft little spiky things on it, and at first I thought it was the anus, and then I saw that Oscar's poop came out in front of this white thing, not through it. So...I don't know. It extended more than it had been out a little after I stopped medicating. Then, on April 14th, I write that it looks like its retracting! And it was almost back in...and then this morning I woke up and Oscar looked to be having trouble swimming straight. He was resting almost on his side near the surface. Looking at him, I thought he must have some air in his belly. The white thing was more extended than I have previously seen, except for maybe at the very beginning of this whole ordeal, where I start my story. His belly looks more swollen, though the scales do not appear to be sticking out at all. Today's development feels very sudden. I've been sitting with him today, and he is swimming more normally again, staying near the top. He has swam freely across the tank and greeted me several times today, so I am led to believe that he can swim fine if he wants/needs to. My current opinion is it's probably constipation, for the way he is bloated to change so quickly. On a related note, his secondary infections have been healing, as well as his scrapes. Sometime last night though he took a chunk out of his pectoral fin D:.
Finally, epsom salt in the tank... with other meds out, I thought I would raise the epsom salt level to what I first added at the beginning. Accounting for what was already in the tank, I added salt with the WC on April 11th to a concentration of 1/8 tsp/5 gal. Under the impression that he is constipated today, I added 35 mL of API Stresscoat and 13/8 tsp of epsom salt, for 1/4 tsp/5 gal. Of course, then I get on AAP and read that epsom salt is not recommended long term in the tank.
Today I plan to take a full panel of measurements, do a 50% WC to take the epsom salt level back down to 1/8 tsp for each 5 gallons (may do less of a WC depending on how he reacts), and add some more leaves that I have prepared.
4-My Course and Thoughts
My priority right now is to address Oscar's new condition as of this morning. The course is to continue working on better tank parameters and helping him recover overall.
I am first going to continue research on a dip/bath. I think it would be feasible if I transferred him using a 5 gallon bucket. I feel like I could confidently do that, but I am concerned about the potential stress. Another possibility I've considered is a water in/out of his tank at the same time kind of situation and making something of a temporary bath in the tank.
A concern of mine with the water chemistry is the nitrite and nitrate level. Why would I not have seen anything beyond 0ppm yet? And would you say my tank parameters are good? How could they be better?
As far as the next thing to do, I've considered dosing PraziPro again and maybe medicating food with it, since I have seen a resurgence in worms...
I'm also thinking of working with salt/epsom salt, probably in a bath like I mentioned above...and I have on my list to look at several products I read about on AAP, including Wondershells, ResQ, and Neofix.
Please let me know your thoughts and suggestions.
I will do my best to answer any questions. And I will post my next panel of tests.