View Full Version : Green tiger barb dying?

05-02-2009, 03:49 PM
I bought some green tiger barbs a few months ago and they have been doing great, until now. Green tigers are fairly large in size, approx 2 inches, full bodied. I purchased them this size so I don't know how old they are.

First some quick water parameters. This is how the tank has been since the fish were originally introduced.

pH: 7.0
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 30-40 ppm

Tank is a 55 gallon, planted with 5 green tigers, 5 tigers, 5 gold bard, 5 praecox rainbows, 3 kuhli loaches, 2 otocinclus cats

During the morning feeding I noticed one of the females who is listing from side to side, darting around with her head down, swimming on her side - odd behavior. ALL other fish are doing fine.

Diagnosis: Outward appearance looks fine - no bulgiing eyes or abdomen, scales are normal, no holes in head, no fin rot, no white spots/growth on body. From external appearances, fish looks fin.

Given the behavior I am guessing fish is dying of old age. Any other opinions? Anything else I should be checking. What am I missing?

I will set up a hospital tank this afternoon.

05-02-2009, 04:09 PM
I'm not sure but it may be an internal parasite.
Feed minced garlic in small amounts for about two months.
The garlic starves the parasite to death.
NLS brand foods also has garlic in it.
Just a thought!

05-02-2009, 04:19 PM
You don't want those nitrAtes that chronically high. What is your schedule for tank maintenance?

05-02-2009, 04:36 PM
20% water change (10 gallons) every week. The thing that gets me is that these are the conditions that the tank has been at since day 1 (at least 4 months now). Every fish has been fine.

What is a good level to keep the nitrates at? I just did a 10 gallon water change yesterday.

When I do a water change I use the gravel siphon method.

05-02-2009, 04:56 PM
I just tested the tap water I use and it is at 10 ppm.

FYI, I let the water sit for 24-48 hours before adding to tank to let chlorine evaporate. This method has been working well so I don't see a need to change it.

Given that tank has been stable for 4 months or so, it leads me to believe it is not a water quality issue. I will try and lower the nitrates though. Not sure this is the answer but I will try.

What medicine is good for internal parasites?

05-02-2009, 05:02 PM
Perhaps the fish has a swim bladder disease?

05-02-2009, 05:56 PM
Garlic is the best med for internal parasites.
Swimm bladder is possible but is caused by a number of different factors.

05-02-2009, 11:17 PM
Easy way to reduce nitrates is get some fast growing plants like anacharis or hornwort.

05-03-2009, 09:11 PM
I took the fish to my LFS. The guy said it was a bacterial infection and recommended API Melafix. I bought some and will give it a go. Lets see if it works. It looks like the active ingredient is tea tree oil. Hmmmmm.

05-22-2009, 06:37 PM
Melafix didn't do anything. I had to put the green tiger barb down. Soon after another tiger barb started exhibiting the same symptoms. I put that one down as well. A few days later one of my female praecox rainbowfish started acting the same, with stringy white feces. The next day she was dead.

I went to the LFS and the guy recommended treating with Tetracycline. I am now on the last dose as per recommended schedule. The one other praecox rainbowfish that had the stringy white feces and was acting lazy has at least not regressed - I can't tell if he is getting better. We'll see.

The kicker is that another green tiger barb has started listing side to side, exhibiting the same symptoms as the original sick fish. I am at a loss as to what is going on.

Tank conditions before adding the medicine were (I am on day 5 of the Tetracycline treatment):

pH: 7.2
ammonia: 0
nitrite: 0
nitrate: 20 ppms - Since the original infection I did a 50% water change, gravel vacuumed, rinsed filter media and that got the ppms down to about what they are now.

According to the packet, Tetracyclene is supposed to treat: Hemorrhagic Septisimia, Bloat (Dropsy), Pop-Eye, Fin Rot; Columnaris, Gill Disease, Skin Ulcers, INTERNAL INFECTIONS (SEPSIS, ENTERITIS)

Anyone have any thoughts??!?!? The temperature in the tank the last 5 days has been in the mid 70s. These last 2 days it has gone up to 80 because of the weather here in Washington, DC (I have the windows open). Coincidence or related to onset of sickly behavior?

I took the fish to my LFS. The guy said it was a bacterial infection and recommended API Melafix. I bought some and will give it a go. Lets see if it works. It looks like the active ingredient is tea tree oil. Hmmmmm.

05-22-2009, 08:41 PM
Just curious, you mentioned that you let the water sit for a day or two before adding it to the tank for changes. Do you use any type of conditioner? Probably should as the chloramine won't evaporate off.

05-23-2009, 03:19 AM
It really sounds like your fish have an internal parasite that is spreading among the fish. Tetracycline I dont believe will treat that. You can either try garlic or go with the anti-parasite meds out there. Either way continue using the tetracycline for the full course to prevent resistance. Are you removing carbon from the filters when you treat?

05-23-2009, 02:54 PM
No treatment to the water so I guess Chloramine levels are consistent. The thing that has me confused is that the tank has been at the same parameters for the last 4 months and the other fish are fine.

As for some type of parasite or other problem, I agree. I was in another LFS yesterday and the guy told me that nowadays there is a lot of resistance to Tetracycline among highly bred species such as tiger barbs. It makes sense. He recommended one of the variants of Maracine. I'll let the Tetracycline run its course before I do anything else. At least my water is a nice orange color, and foamy too :)

I took out the carbon before I treated the tank.

BTW, the owner said that fish probably have a bacterial infection given their buoyancy problems.

05-23-2009, 03:30 PM
update: lost a male praecox last night (dwarf rainbowfish). Argh

05-28-2009, 02:39 PM
I did a 1 week treatment with Tetracycline. Barbs are doing well, rainbows not so well. Rainbows are listless, clamped fins, floating in place.

Diagnosis: Internal parasites - I saw red worms hanging from the anus of one of the rainbows.

I am treating with salt and Organi-Cure (Copper + Formalin).

Lets hope finally cures everything.

I am not sure if this is what the Barbs had (I don't think so since they were not exhibiting the same behavior as the rainbows). Maybe I got hit with a double wammy of bacteria + parasites.

Tank conditions were always good, so not sure what I could have done to prevent this. Maybe it is just one of those things that happens.

Looking forward to putting this behind me.