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Emergency please help!

Discussion in 'Disease and Illness' started by S.Edwards, May 21, 2017.

  1. S.Edwards

    S.Edwards New Member

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    Hi all,

    My main filter stopped working overnight, and my airstone pump tube had come unattached from the pump, and have woken up to an emergency! All fish were gasping at the surface, had lost one (who was quite sickly anyway and had been for months, continually treated and was on the mend but no more), I started water changing immediately, but my HMA filter is not hooked up to a boiler so water is freezing cold, I have gradually changed about 8olitres so far, my tank with two external filters is 300l.
    I have set up HMA water in my normal prep containers and am waiting for the temp to rise before adding more, I don't want to shock them by lowering the temp with lots of cold water. I have also added an extra air pump with air stone, and have placed the working filter outake pipe so it is agitating the surface, I have also added some epsom salt to help with the nitrate overload shock.
    All discus are looking ok now except for one, my blue snakeskin, he is lying on the bottom and despite trying to right himself just doesn't have the energy, when he does right himself and swim around a bit he spits out lots of (what I assume, or looks like) uneaten food. Does anyone have any ideas what I can do to help him? With the added oxygen and fresh water his colour is brighter, and he is breathing less heavily, I'm desperate to do the big WC but the temp of the HMA water is worrying me.

    Have tested PH and etc and it's all normal for my tank, the nitrates were very high when I started but are now coming down. I think the level of nitrate just built and built over night and with little oxygen and etc it all went very wrong. There was a strong sulphur type smell when I started trying to sort it out. The fish all look ok now, much brighter and not gasping, behaving normally, all except for the snakeskin, any advice, or if this has happened to anyone else, any help would be much much appreciated. What should I do now?
  2. S.Edwards

    S.Edwards New Member

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    For anyone perhaps reading in the future who may find this helpful (for amatuer/beginner discus hobbyists like myself, not lots of you experienced people out there of course) the snakeskin has nitrite shock. He is still going, but does not look good. It may go either way, perhaps he is too damaged to survive, I don't know. The filter's impeller had broken overnight, luckily I had another, I replaced that, and all carbon etc, cleaned that filter, then cleaned the other added new carbon etc, wiped sides and bottom of tank and gradually have been re-filling with the prepped hma water which had risen to about 20degrees. Nitrites are zero now. The rest of my fish have had a lucky escape. Fingers crossed for the snakeskin, though he is still unable to swim properly and his gill filaments look damaged, he is breathing much heavier than the rest. If anyone has had any success with any other method with a fish exposed to toxic nitrite levels such as this any advice would be much appreciated, salt bath maybe? i'm at a loss what to do now.
  3. sumo

    sumo Member

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    Hi, whilst I'm sure more experienced and knowledgable heads than mine will contribute if they feel the need, I have had this kind of thing in two separate incidents and thought I'd share my thoughts.

    Incident 1 - high nitrites - growing fish and maxed out filter capacity (rookie error)
    Fish were gasping at the surface, added an air stone and fish looked much happier. Tested the water and I was not much happier!! As I understand it nitrite poisoning reduces the ability of the fish to extract oxygen from the water, so if O2 levels are already low then gasping can be a reaction to nitrites. Remember that oxygen does not dissolve as well in warmer water. The fish seemed unharmed given an air stones to increase oxygen concentration and regular large water changes (and a new bigger filter) eliminated the nitrites.

    Incident 2 - low oxygen
    I had lost surface disturbance not due to filter failure but just a repositioning of the outlet to reduce noise. Filled the tank up one night to a higher level than normal, unfortunately there was absolutely no surface disturbance so little or no oxygen exchange, woke the next morning to a lot of grey / white fish lying on their sides on the bottom of the tank and just a couple still battling to stay by the surface. A hastily repositioned filter outlet, dropping the water level to give the water some fall before it went into the tank and addition of as many air stones as I could find was a miracle cure, all the fish were totally back to their normal selves within a couple of hours - I was absolutely astonished. The most sickly fish could not get himself off the bottom of the tank at all, I netted him and held him in the net supported close to the surface, even he was ok in a few hours. I count myself seriously lucky not to have any deaths that day.

    Sounds like you've had a perfect storm - no oxygen and high nitrites. Hopefully with lots of oxygen your snakeskin will make it.

    Good luck!

    PC
    JOHN .A likes this.
  4. S.Edwards

    S.Edwards New Member

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    Thank you for your post John,

    It does make me feel better that these mistakes have happened to others too so thank you!

    The snakeskin hung in there for a long time, but sadly 12 hours later he died :( I had hoped he would pull through as he appeared to be regaining balance and was able to prop himself upright, but I think he was too severely damaged. very gutted, had had him since he was small, and he was about 15cm when he died. I knew the filter was not working to it's best capacity but I was waiting for the new to part to arrive and had been too busy to fix it that day. Completely blame myself, but then I suppose it's a lesson learned about the filter, and a reminder not to be too complacent. I haven't lost a discus since autumn 2015 so the other day was a pretty horrendous one. I now how a juvenile with an enflamed gill and not eating. Sigh. I guess it is from the overload of ammonian/nitrite so will attempt a salt bath, and if that doesn't improve things I guess meds for flukes.
  5. S.Edwards

    S.Edwards New Member

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    Oops apologies, thanks for your post sumo*

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