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Apisto c. breathing hard?

apisto_fan

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16
Hi, my female Apisto was happy for a good few months but now I feel like she's sick and I can't figure out with what.

Tank has been going for three months, two of them with fish, fully cycled.
Ammonia, Nitrite at 0, Nitrate at 5-10ppm. pH is at 7.4 which I know is a bit high but she's been doing fine with it.
Low-tech planted tank, just filter and plants and heater (set at 75, weather is warm, I'm usually at 76-77) that I dose with Thrive C twice a week. Filter has Purigen in it, other than that just mechanical and biomedia.

Fish has 8 endlers, 5 Corys, 100 of pest snails, some shrimp and one Apisto C.

The last few days / weeks, she's been mostly at the bottom, hiding in the plants, and what I perceive as breathing heavily.
She still comes out for food, but she used to be much more active and all over the tank.

I don't notice anything on her body, except that maybe she's slightly rounder, so I thought I overfed her so I'm dieting right now, but I don't see an improvement.

Originally thought it could be parasite so treated with PraziPro (the entire tank), but that didn't help either.

The rest of the tank seems very active and happy and not showing any issues. Endlers sometimes glass surf, but as a group, and I read that that's usually their playtime and not a symptom of anything.

Any suggestions / ideas what I can do?
I tried setting up a hospital tank for her but she wouldn't let me capture her and I didn't want to stress her even more. Dosing with StressGuard at the moment and not feeding, but anything else I can be doing?
 

apisto_fan

New Member
Messages
16
I managed to capture a video:

Also forgot to mention, for aeration I have a sponge filter with airpump and a HOB filter. I don't think it's oxygen issue as none of the fish seem to go to the surface to breathe
 
Last edited:

apisto_fan

New Member
Messages
16
I managed to capture her now and put her in a quarantine tank. I am dosing with KanaPlex as I can't figure out what's wrong with her.

Any ideas?
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,905
Location
Germany
Rash actions kill fastest... usually Apistogramma don't come back from the state your fish is in. Very typical symptoms of the fishes system shutting down. While I'm pretty sure your course of action is the sure way to get the fish to the other side, even if it works... this is the result of environmentsl stress. So unless you improve the conditions this will come back and the fish will find its fate later. It's not your fault explicitly btw. I put this on the common bs circulating about holding conditions and disease control (especially what people tell you st pet stores), the bad genetics and health of domestic fish and the like.
 

apisto_fan

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16
Yeah that's what I'm worried about. I would like to remove the environmental stress, but don't know what's stressing her out, as she seemed happy in the tank for a while, got along with the other fish, had plenty of hiding spaces, etc. :(
 

MacZ

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2,905
Location
Germany
tankmates, water parameters, water quality, lights, food, tank decoration lacking cover...
Just to name the usual suspects.
 

MacZ

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Location
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as she seemed happy in the tank for a while, got along with the other fish, had plenty of hiding spaces, etc.
And to be honest... I read that all the time and then people have been massively underestimating the definitions of these things. Tankmates can stress out fish just by being themselves without aggression, lights can be aggressively bright, and what seems plenty of plants and/or hiding places to a novice fiskeeper might turn out far from that.
Show us the whole tank maybe we can do something.
 

apisto_fan

New Member
Messages
16
That's my tank, just for reference:
1000028224.jpg
Is there anything that I can do right now to try and save her and give her a better environment?

I mentioned parameters and tank mates in the top post. Lights I usually have a gradual increase from 7:30-9am and then shutting down from 4:30-6pm. Also a short window of moonlight from 8-11pm.
 

apisto_fan

New Member
Messages
16
After the entire day in the quarantine tank, she is now pineconing a little bit so I think it's dropsy.
However, she is also way more lively, swimming around again instead of hiding.

I don't want to make her suffer so I think clove oil if it doesn't improve by tomorrow? But how do I know if it has actually improved?
 

MacZ

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2,905
Location
Germany
After the entire day in the quarantine tank, she is now pineconing a little bit so I think it's dropsy.
Dropsy is just a symptome of a bacterial infection and in fact the outer sign of acute kidney failure. :( Antibiotics are hard on the kidneys. That's one of the possibilities that made me say the treatment will likely take the fish down.
However, she is also way more lively, swimming around again instead of hiding.
Very likely due to the stress of being moved.
I don't want to make her suffer so I think clove oil if it doesn't improve by tomorrow?
In my opinion the only favour you can do to this fish right now.
But how do I know if it has actually improved?
No obvious symptomes anymore, normal behaviour, eats.

What you are looking at right now is a very typical demise for a captive Apistogramma (I'm inclined to say dwarf cichlid in general). They first become lethargic. Then appetite loss, heavy breathing, very low swimming, sometimes with sliding along on the substrate on the stomach, then come opportunistic bacteria causing an infection... Similar to old people often falling ill with pneumonia and die from it.

While most Apistogramma in the wild will meet their heron or their catfish before they reach a full year, a captive fish from a good source (no pathogens/parasites), with good genetics (not the result of generations of line- and inbreding), in an ideal environment (tank, food, tankmates tailored to their needs) will make it 3-4 years, if any of these factors are subpar, it can become significally less. Mine usually make it to two years in my care, summing up their full age usually to 2.5 years, which is a good dwarf cichlid lifespan.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,905
Location
Germany
That's my tank, just for reference:
View attachment 13582
I mentioned parameters and tank mates in the top post. Lights I usually have a gradual increase from 7:30-9am and then shutting down from 4:30-6pm. Also a short window of moonlight from 8-11pm.
Something I wanted to add:
Lovely tank but not a dwarf cichlid tank. Much too open, no real hiding spots, the tank mates a bit too hectical...
It's a great tank for Corydoras and Tetras, but not for Apistogramma. The fish is basically a sitting duck all the time.

I recommend leaving the stock as it is without a dwarf cichlid and set up a new one tailored to the needs of a dwarf cichlid instead, if you want to stick to keeping these wonderful fish.
 

apisto_fan

New Member
Messages
16
Thank you, I'll follow your advice. I might see if she gets better, as she does seem slightly on the up and up, but I won't prolong her suffering.
 

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