Synodontis eupterus breathing and other

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MSull
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Synodontis eupterus breathing and other

Post by MSull » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:52 pm

We have a synodontis eupterus "Mobi" (pronounced like Moby). I believe he/she has developed some problems over the last few weeks. I have been searching around this site and the Internet in general, but have been unable to find the answers I need.

Fish: Synodontis eupterus named Mobi
Aquarium size: 75 gallons/283.9 liters
Temp: 72-74 F/22.2-23.3 C
Filter: Fluval 406
Inhabitants: 1 Synodontis eupterus (Mobi), age 5-6 years
2 Lemon tetras, age 3 years
2 red line? tetras, age 3 years
6-8 Amano shrimp, age 6 months to 3 years
1 brown loach, age 2 years
1 gold loach, age 3 years
3 nerites, age 2-3 years
many trumpet? snails - varying ages...
Water parameters (API test kit)
Nitrates: 40 ppm
Nitrites: 0
Ammonia: 0
pH: 7.2 - 7.4 (was at the top of the low pH and bottom of the high pH test).

Recent inhabitant changes: Five amano shrimp were added to the aquarium a few weeks ago.

What happened: I tested the water one day two weeks ago and the nitrates were over 80 ppm! A water change was completed of between 30-40 percent and Prime was added. The nitrates are hanging around 40 ppm, part of that is due to our RO water system filter needing a change. No dead tankmates were found. I have been adding Prime. I added an air stone.

Issue: None of the aquarium inhabitants seem to be having any issues except for Mobi. He/she developed a gill deformity. Mobi has been acting oddly, swimming up to the side of the aquarium and turning belly out toward the glass, head down, tail up - have not noticed this behavior before and it lasts for a few minutes at a time. I am not sure how many times a day Mobi does this. Mobi looks a little bloated to me, but I have seen others post this concern only to be told that was normal. I noticed Mobi seems to be breathing rapidly/harder. I am not sure if Mobi's ventral area looks normal. I am not sure what sex Mobi is, although I have looked at some pictures of sexing. Mobi does not look quite like the pictures, but it looks like Mobi is a male. Please correct me if I am wrong. Do his nose openings (nares) look normal?

Mobi is eating and moving about the aquarium pretty normally other than as described above.

I am unable to figure out how to add the video, but here are two pictures... They really do not help as much as the videos, so if anyone can tell me how to add the videos, let me know (I used my iPhone). I do not know how to get the fish pic to rotate - it is correctly oriented on my computer.

Thank you!
Mobi pic.JPG
Attachments
aquarium.JPG

Viktor Jarikov
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Re: Synodontis eupterus breathing and other

Post by Viktor Jarikov » Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:03 am

Welcome to the Planet!

Splendid tank and an exceedingly well-asked question. That's the way to do it.

It sounds that it may be one of those non-obvious, hard to pinpoint problems... that is, if there is a problem at all. I mean the fish is eating and mostly behaving normally.

Eupterus are known for quirky ways of swimming. The newness of the new swimming posture may not necessarily mean much or much interpretable.

API nitrate test provides relative numbers, experts tell us. Not absolute. Still, most keepers would tell you they strive to keep them below 20 ppm, ideally below 10 ppm.

If the fish was indeed bloated, it could be consistent with high nitrates because high nitrates have been implicated in digestive problems in some studies. I remember one on goldfish and float syndrome. But if Mobi feeds, the bloat is either not there or is insignificant.

It's unclear how your RO system is related to the nitrates in your fish tank. Is your incoming water high in nitrates?

It's also unclear about the gill problem. Is it a gill curl? Has it developed within these couple of weeks that we are discussing?

Breathing harder may be from reduced dissolved oxygen, disease, gill pathogens, being gravid, or stressed in some way.

I don't see anything wrong with Mobi's nostril flaps.

The videos are most usually uploaded on YouTube and then linked here using the rightmost button above, in the menu. Just leave the unique part of the URL after "v=" when you paste it.
Thebiggerthebetter

MSull
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Re: Synodontis eupterus breathing and other

Post by MSull » Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:16 am

Viktor,

Thank you for your response!

First - the RO system. Our well water is indeed high in nitrates. One thing that happened is the RO filter seemed to become saturated (or whatever the correct term would be) ahead of schedule. I have not had a chance to replace the filters. It is a six stage system. We have the filters - I have to be honest and say it's a kind of sloppy job so I've been procrastinating.

Second - the gill issue. Yes, Mobi has gill curl. I read that it can sometimes spontaneously go away. I read about and watched videos of people trimming off the curled portion. I also read that the gill curl usually returns? If Mobi is okay, I would be inclined to leave the curl as-is rather than trimming it off.

I uploaded two videos to YouTube as suggested.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ju-2yCHPBKo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4U3VqLp9p5M

Thank you,

Mar

Viktor Jarikov
Posts: 3573
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:11 pm
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Interests: Big freshwater catfish and Co.

Re: Synodontis eupterus breathing and other

Post by Viktor Jarikov » Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:44 am

Hey, Mar!

On the basis of what I have seen, I believe that Mobi is just fine. Yes there is a gill curl. I've had a rescue eupterus with exactly the same curl but on both sides for 6 years now and it's doing well. Other than that, it looks good to me, healthy, strong, relaxed. Good-looking too.

The breathing rate is a bit fast but it could be simply because it is breathing shallow, just gently flapping the soft ends of the gill covers. I'd not think that this is something to worry about.

I'd fix your RO and see if 2x-4x lower nitrates make any difference.

Aren't the plants real? I mean they should absorb the nitrates well. Also beware that plants produce more oxygen than they consume only when there is light. In the dark, the plants compete with fish for oxygen. In extreme cases, such as red tide, if you've heard, this is how huge fish kill-offs occur - the plants deplete water of oxygen and fish suffocate.
Thebiggerthebetter

MSull
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Re: Synodontis eupterus breathing and other

Post by MSull » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:28 am

Viktor,

I will be replacing the spent RO filters after I finish this reply. Hopefully, the nitrates will come down faster.

The plants are real and i added water lettuce to try and help suck up the nitrates. It just has not helped much that I can tell. I did not think about the plants competing for oxygen when the aquarium is dark. I added the air stone because I read somewhere that the air stone could help relieve the gill curl if the oxygen level in the water had somehow decreased. It's like an up-side-down waterfall of bubbles and I like how it looks. Maybe that can help with any plant competition for oxygen in the water, too.

I will keep an eye on Mobi and the aquarium water parameters. I will post an update of any changes.

Thank you for your help!

Mar

Viktor Jarikov
Posts: 3573
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:11 pm
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Location 1: Naples, FL
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Interests: Big freshwater catfish and Co.

Re: Synodontis eupterus breathing and other

Post by Viktor Jarikov » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:10 pm

The air stone is most definitely helpful.

I just wanted to add that I am utterly ignorant when it comes to planted tanks compared to so many great members here. I was only offering food for thought, not more.

If you added the water lettuce within these two weeks being discussed, it can also be a factor. Undesirable fauna and cultures can also be introduced with plants, not only with animals. Also, albeit it's probably negligible but the lettuce would shade the immersed plants, take up a bit of the surface space, and impede the flow in water column, all three of which would lessen water oxygenation. But unless you stuffed a lot of the lettuce in the tank, I doubt this to be a significant factor.
Thebiggerthebetter

dw1305
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Re: Synodontis eupterus breathing and other

Post by dw1305 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:37 pm

Hi all,
I agree with Viktor, your fish looks in good condition.
Viktor Jarikov wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:44 am
Aren't the plants real? I mean they should absorb the nitrates well.
Plants are positive factors for both water quality and oxygenation. A point that isn't always under-stood is that plant bio-filtration is always plant/microbe bio-filtration, plants and microbes have co-evolved over hundreds of millions of years and act synergistically.

Plants take up ammonia/ammonium (often preferentially), as well as nitrite and nitrate. The microbial oxidation of ammonia is an oxygen intensive process, and if we can remove ammonia before it enters the nitrogen cycle we improve oxygenation.
Viktor Jarikov wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:44 am
Also beware that plants produce more oxygen than they consume only when there is light. In the dark, the plants compete with fish for oxygen.
This isn't entirely true, plants are massively net producers of oxygen, you can tell this because during photosynthesis one molecule of carbon dioxide (CO2) produces one molecule of oxygen (O2), and the extra carbon dioxide is incorporated into the structural carbohydrates (cellulose) that provide the plant skeleton.

This was how the the ~21% oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere originally arrived, it is the "spare" oxygen from photosynthesis (https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... tmosphere/).

At night plants are part of the bioload (they are respiring, but not photosynthesising) but even then a lot of the oxygen they use is the oxygen that has saturated the internal air-spaces of the plant during photosynthesis.

If oxygen associated fish deaths occur in a tank with actively growing plants, they occur outside of the photo-period (because of the additional bio-load from the plants respiration), but the real point is that fish deaths would have already occurred, long before that point, in a tank without plants, but with the same fish stocking density.
Viktor Jarikov wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:44 am
In extreme cases, such as red tide, if you've heard, this is how huge fish kill-offs occur - the plants deplete water of oxygen and fish suffocate...........
Algal blooms will deplete the water of oxygen as the plants die off in autumn, this is a real problem with eutrophication, but "Red Tide" is a bit different, Dinoflagellates aren't really plants (they are more properly photosynthetic "animals" <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinoflagellate>) and a lot of the fish deaths occur due to the toxins they produce, rather than directly by de-oxygenation. Once you have fish deaths ammonia levels will build, as proteins are denatured, and this will lead to de-oxygenation. The Dinoflagellates are incredibly diverse (some are zooxanthellae), but the suggestion is also that some Dinoflagellates are active fish predators (<http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-05/eb/index.php>.
Viktor Jarikov wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:44 am
If you added the water lettuce within these two weeks being discussed, it can also be a factor. Undesirable fauna and cultures can also be introduced with plants, not only with animals. Also, albeit it's probably negligible but the lettuce would shade the immersed plants, take up a bit of the surface space, and impede the flow in water column, all three of which would lessen water oxygenation. But unless you stuffed a lot of the lettuce in the tank, I doubt this to be a significant factor..........
Floating plants definitely aren't a negative factor, plants like water lettuce have the aerial advantage (<http://biodives.com/blog/?p=175>) of access to atmospheric oxygen (~21%) and CO2 (~400ppm) which makes them more efficient at fixed nitrogen removal.

They are used a lot in sewage treatment etc (phytoremediation) in warmer countries of the World (<http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script= ... 4003000013>).

cheers Darrel

Viktor Jarikov
Posts: 3573
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:11 pm
My images: 11
My cats species list: 25 (i:0, k:0)
Location 1: Naples, FL
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Interests: Big freshwater catfish and Co.

Re: Synodontis eupterus breathing and other

Post by Viktor Jarikov » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:10 am

Thank you so much, Darrel! Your input is as always the most desirable and edifying. Much, much appreciated.

There you go Mar. A dilettante and an expert have spoken. :) FYI: Darrel is a UK professor and researches the methods of processing sewage water, purifying water, etc.
Thebiggerthebetter

dw1305
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Re: Synodontis eupterus breathing and other

Post by dw1305 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:37 pm

Hi all,
Viktor Jarikov wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:10 am
Thank you so much, Darrel! Your input is as always the most desirable and edifying. Much, much appreciated.

There you go Mar. A dilettante and an expert have spoken. :) FYI: Darrel is a UK professor and researches the methods of processing sewage water, purifying water, etc.
Thanks Viktor,
Looking at water quality is still part of my "day job", and I work for a UK university, but I can't claim to be a professor (not even in the American usage of the term) and I'm definitely a dilettante, I have to do whatever work comes into my labs.

Last week it was mainly and this week it is the first year biologists with "an introduction to "R"" (https://www.r-project.org/). Image.
cheers Darrel

MSull
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Re: Synodontis eupterus breathing and other

Post by MSull » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:35 pm

Thank you both for your input. I appreciate being able to receive this education from knowledgeable people with experience in this area!

I generally quarantine everything, including plants, but when I had the high nitrates I admit I went ahead and thew extra water lettuce in there. So far, everyone in the this aquarium is acting the same as when I posted the video. Hopefully, that is a good sign.

Mar

dw1305
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Re: Synodontis eupterus breathing and other

Post by dw1305 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:53 pm

Hi all,
MSull wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:35 pm
I generally quarantine everything, including plants, but when I had the high nitrates I admit I went ahead and thew extra water lettuce in there.
I see the water lettuce as an entirely positive factor, it might have brought things in with it, but it isn't anything like as dangerous as adding UN-quarantined fish. It will definitely reduce NO3 levels.
MSull wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:35 pm
education from knowledgeable people with experience in this area!
Viktor has his own aquarium, in Naples Florida, and keeps all sorts of tank busting fish (viewtopic.php?t=33968).

I would never be successful in the way he is with his set-up, because I'm a pretty shoddy fish keeper compared to him.

Because I'm away from my tanks on a regular basis (and I'm not a very skilled aquarist) I need systems which are stable and robust without too much intervention from me, and planted tanks help with this.

cheers Darrel

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