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Thread: HELP :confused: Fish going crazy/swimming erratically

  1. #1

    Default HELP :confused: Fish going crazy/swimming erratically

    Hi - I love some advice on this problem!

    My daughter has 1 goldfish, 2 white clouds & 4 littler white fish that the local pet store sold to us as "mountain minnows" (they're small, white, with a large black dot where the tail meets the body).

    The problem is with these "mountain minnows". A few weeks ago we bought some live plants for the tank, which proceeded to rot & decay very quickly, murking up the tank. (we've had other live plants in there for months with no trouble).

    Before the new plants went in the water levels were all ok (have been testing ph, ammonia, nitrite & nitrate levels). Once the plants began to rot/decay the nitrite (No2) level went up (from 0ppm to 0.5ppm).

    At this point 2 of the 4 "mountain minnows" began swimming sideways & upside down, and occasionally would go crazy - they swim really fast in little circles, very erratically, not going anywhere but around in crazy little circles.

    Next we scooped out the muck of the rotted plants, did a big water change (a little more than 50%), and re-tested the water - the nitrite/No2 was down to 0.25ppm, and the 2 little fish were still going crazy.

    The next day we did another water change (25%) and retested. Water parameters were back to zero for nitrite (all the while the other levels were all fine). The 2 little fish were still going crazy. So, thinking they were going to die at any moment we removed them from that tank (the 2 crazy ones) & put them in anther one to isolate them. (thinking "is it contagious?", or that they'll they foul up the water once they die)

    Now its been 3 weeks, and the rest of the fish, including the other 2 "mountain minnows" have remained fine during the whole ordeal, and the 2 with the problem are still alive, still going crazy in their separate tank... (I thought they'd either settle down & get better, or die).

    Not sure what to do with them - any advice please??

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Sounds like you have had a mini cycle and the fish are flashing from the nitrite spike. Have you checked the water parameters in the holding tank keeping the 2 'crazy' ones? What size tank have you got the goldfish etc in and what type of filtration are you running? Flashing fish can also be a sign of ich or other parasite. Also did you cycle the original tank before putting fish in it?

  3. #3
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    Hey Aurejasper, welcome to the forum.

    Just wondering if you could give a bit more information on the tank such as size, what the actual readings for PH, Ammonia ect are, what substrate you're using, as well as what filtration and heating you've got in there, just helps people narrow it down a bit.

    Are the 'crazy' ones rubbing up against anything in the tank or just swimming in the middle?

    Mountain minnow and White cloud are the same fish (i could be wrong but i have never heard of separate ones), it's actually white cloud mountain minnow. There are a few color and fin varieties so that may be why it's been sold with different names.

    Cheers,
    "I'm a quitter. I come from a long line of quitters. It's amazing I'm here at all." Dylan Moran

  4. #4

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    Thanks for your attention!

    The tank is small, rectangular, and holds about 12 liters.

    Substrate is orange gravel, bought from a fish store (small rough granules, about 3mm in diameter - I believe its natural).

    The filter is a small one, with a sponge in the bottom intake part (it sits inside the tank & hangs on the glass with suction cups).

    No heater (goldfish are cold water aren't they? We live in Sydney - its not exactly freezing here in winter)


    Before the rotten plant saga, average readings over the previous month were;

    ph: 7.4 to 7.6
    Ammonia: 0ppm
    Nitrite No2: 0ppm
    Nitrate No3: 10ppm to 20ppm

    The day we noticed the rotten plant the readings were:
    ph: 7
    Ammonia: 0ppm
    Nitrite No2: 0.5ppm
    Nitrate No3: 40ppm

    After a >50% water change that day the readings were:
    ph: 7
    Ammonia: 0ppm
    Nitrite No2: 0.25ppm
    Nitrate No3: between 20ppm to 40ppm

    The day after we did a 25% water change and the readings were:
    ph: 7
    Ammonia: 0ppm
    Nitrite No2: 0ppm
    Nitrate No3: 20ppm


    The water in the tank with the "flashing" fish (the two crazy ones) has been changed weekly when we do the main tank. Haven't been testing it, but did put in water from the main tank (on the day of the last test noted above). They don't have anything in that tank (its really more of a big glass jar than a tank). There's no filter in it, no gravel, no plants.


    The tank was initially set up about 3 months ago, having been given the gold fish, a bucket of water & a handful of gravel from our neighbors established tank. (the goldfish is a comet I think? she's plain orange, 4cm long & has single tail fin, and is named Fred)

    We do weekly 25% to 30% water changes (fresh water treated with de-chlorinator before being added) and we vacuum the gravel every second week or so with a siphon that has a bell type end on it.

    Only started testing a few weeks ago with the "marine master" test kit. (at first didn't test at all, but the initial water, and a handful of gravel did come from an established tank, and we put a couple of live plants in (from fish store) at set up time too).

    The fish get fed "goldfish" flake food once a day.

    The other little fish (2 of one kind & 4 of another) were added a couple of weeks after the tank was set up. They had all appeared to be happy until that new plant rotted out. (the 2 fish sold to us "white clouds" have red fins, and grey/brown body, the 4 sold to us as "mountain minnows" are white with a large black dot where the tail meets the body - it kind of looks like another eye at the tail end)

    Thanks again - and sorry if I've left anything out

  5. #5

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    And I think the plant that rotted out was "Ambulia" if that helps (I found a list of plants here and it looks like the Ambilia one - it was sold as a bunch of stems, no roots, tied together with an elastic band)
    http://www.piscesenterprises.com/joo..._id=1&Itemid=1

  6. #6
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    azurejasper

    The filter is a small one, with a sponge in the bottom intake part (it sits inside the tank & hangs on the glass with suction cups).
    They don't have anything in that tank (its really more of a big glass jar than a tank). There's no filter in it, no gravel, no plants.
    we vacuum the gravel every second week
    Am I missing something.

    Filter "small one" or "no filter"

    Gravel "vacuum gravel" or "no gravel"


    To me it sounds like you are continually either recycling or mini cycling that tank.

    Nepean

  7. #7

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    Hi Nepean - I think you miss understood me - sorry. I'll try and be clearer.

    The main tank has the small filter, gravel & plants. This is the tank that the above water readings are from. It is also the tank that the plant rotted in.

    The big jar that we moved the flashing/crazy fish to (after the No2 spike in the initial tank, and the 2 fish started going crazy) has no filter, no gravel & no plants.

    The main tank is siphoned weekly (for a 25% water change), with the gravel being vacuumed every other week. (when changing water in the jar with the sick fish I just pour out a bit & add some newly treated water)

    I hope I've made it clearer for you - Thanks

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nepean View Post
    To me it sounds like you are continually either recycling or mini cycling that tank.
    Nepean
    Also, I've read about the cycle process, and while we didn't do it when we set up the tank, the water levels have been in a good range since I got the test kit, that is until the rotted plant thing happened. (100% of our initial water came from an established tank, along with a handful of gravel & the goldfish)

    Not sure how a weekly 25% water change & bi-weekly gravel vacuum would cause it to continually cycle?

    As I said, the levels were ok until the plant rotted...

    So am I NOT suppose to do a weekly 25% water change & vacuum the gravel? I thought that was proper maintenance for a tank, to keep the fish happy & healthy?? Am I doing something wrong in that regard???


  9. #9
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    You could try adding stabiliser but from what I have read it is very hard to maintain correct water parameters in a smaller tank. The stabiler and also prime would help with the fact that you are having to do such consistent water changes. Also Goldfish create a lot more waste and the small pump and filtration may not be able to handle it. You could try adding something like dacron into the filter remembering that if the Nitrate gets too high this then converts back to Ammonia. Hpoe some of this helps.

  10. #10
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    Not sure how a weekly 25% water change & bi-weekly gravel vacuum would cause it to continually cycle

    There seems to be a bit of confusion about this question.

    If I am correct you do not have a filter in that tank/Goldfish home.

    If you do not have a filter and Goldfish are big waste producers it has to settle in the gravel.

    There should be a natural process going in that gravel trying to break down the waste.

    If you disturb it you are taking out some of your good bacteria.

    I hope you realize that tank is way too small for a Goldfish (in my opinion)

    You require a bigger tank and a filter.

    The rotting plants would have started a pollution problem.


    Nepean

  11. #11

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    Ok, so I should stop vacuuming the gravel then?

    and I guess there is something good going on in the gravel there because the test results are quite steady, and in a good range... But the goldfish tank does have the small filter running on it...

    And yeah, I know we need a bigger tank... (planning on a 2 footer within the next few months)

    btw how old is that monster in your photo?

  12. #12
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    The goldfish will produce a lot of waste. Also as it gets bigger it will eat the minnows/white clouds. The crazy ones may still be behaving erratically especially since they have no hiding place and are in a jar.

  13. #13
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    azurejasper

    I have had that photo for a few years now I think it came from the USA originally.

    Even a 2ft can be small for a goldfish.

    I think it depends on the variety you have.

    Nepean

  14. #14
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    You should continue gravel vacs, being goldfish they produce a lot of waste and that will rot in the substrate. There will be enough left over to maintain your cycling that's for sure. Is there anything visually different with these 'crazy' fish? Are they still accepting food normally? Are they rubbing up against the walls/bottom of the tank at all?

    Btw, water from an established tank does next to nothing for cycling, it is more about establishing your filtration and to some degree your substrate.
    "I'm a quitter. I come from a long line of quitters. It's amazing I'm here at all." Dylan Moran

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by volvodriver View Post
    You should continue gravel vacs, being goldfish they produce a lot of waste and that will rot in the substrate. There will be enough left over to maintain your cycling that's for sure.
    Good to know - thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by volvodriver View Post
    Is there anything visually different with these 'crazy' fish? Are they still accepting food normally? Are they rubbing up against the walls/bottom of the tank at all?
    At first my daughter pointed out that these crazies looked red around the gills, but now, weeks later they look quite normal, except for the craziness - they don't seem to be rubbing against the sides/bottom either.

    They didn't eat for about 3 or 4 days after we removed them to the separate tank, but now they seem to be eating. One of them eats better than the other, and the one that eats more also swims straighter than the other too - the one not eating so much still swims on it side allot, but not upside down any more.

    They both still have occasional fits of this flashing/craziness/thrashing around though.

    Quote Originally Posted by volvodriver View Post
    Btw, water from an established tank does next to nothing for cycling, it is more about establishing your filtration and to some degree your substrate.
    That's interesting about the water from an established tank - my neighbor said it would help with setting up the tank... good to know for next time

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