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HELP New Rasboras with ammonia poisoning?


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What is the water volume of the tank? 36 G
Does it have a filter? Y
Does it have a heater? Y
What is the water temperature? 82
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) 1 Angelfish, 7 Panda Cory Cats, 1 Dwarf Gourami, 5 Mystery Snails, 8 Harlequin Rasboras


How often do you change the water? Just started Bi-weekly
How much of the water do you change? 30 %
What do you use to treat your water? Prime
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? As needed

Main Tank
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 40
pH: 7.8

Ammonia: from 1 ppm to .5 after a few water changes
(I had this QT tank set up for a month prior to adding Rasboras, reading as cycled w seeded media. Fed BB w Ammonia from Ace Hardware every couple days to keep alive)
Nitirite: 0
Nitrate: 20
pH: 7.8


How often do you feed your fish? Daily
How much do you feed your fish? As much as they can eat in 3 minutes
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Tetra Super Color Flakes, Reg Tetra Flakes, Shrimp Pellets, Algae Wafers

Illness & Symptoms:

How long have you had this fish? 2 days
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? Today
In a few words, (more room for details below) what are the symptoms? White mouth/jaw that seems to be stuck open, red around gills on a few of the fish
Have you started any treatment for the illness? No
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? Not that I noticed
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? The sickest one has white around mouth, red gills, corkscrew swimming once, swimming erraticly, jerky movements

Upon buying these fish, I put in my QT tank. There was a very noticeable ammonia spike in QT and all fish seemed very much in distress, I made a split second decision to move to main tank as I couldn't get ammonia under control w WC's. They have been there all day while I have been at work.

Before I left at 5 pm, I noticed the sickest Rasbora corkscrew swimming. Upon getting off work at midnight he was a lot worse by looking at. The gills were extremely red, mouth much whiter and more swollen, erratic/jerky movements. A couple other Rasboras also have the white mouth and red gills. Ammonia poisoning? What can I do for them? I ran out of Prime on last water change yesterday so will have to get some in the morning and only have Melafix, Erithro, and a small pack of Tetra AquaSafe that came w 10 gallon. Help greatly appreciated!!


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Update: This took a minute to post it appears. In the past 10 mins, the one that looks the worst has completely disappeared in my tank and I have another one in a tupperwear container floating in top of tank. He is upside down and can't right himself but for a second or two and back upside down. Fixing to make a run to Wal-mart for some Clove Oil. :(

the loach

AC Members
Start using the Melafix. Do a water change every day. Once fish can't swim properly anymore it's pretty much over. You might be feeding too much when you state "as much as they can eat in 3 minutes" I know that is on some of the bottles but keep in mind the "stomach" of small fish is about the size of their eye. Everything they eat extra is just passed through and fouls the water. Hard to say how the other rasboras will do now, keep us posted.


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Two passed. Started first dose of Melafix. One more doesnt look really well at all. I have him floating now on Tupperware. Will follow your advice. Thank you!


Global Moderator
Staff member
These rasboras can be stressed and sickly when you get them.

I had picked up 10 harlequins like these a few years back at Petsmart when they had them for $1/ea. They were small. Color wasn't great, which is not uncommon given the circumstances and were probably underfed. One by one over the course of a week to 10days they died in the 10g QT I had them in. The whole time they remained active, ate like crazy and were coloring up nicely.

The only other concern I see is your nitrates are about 2x recommended. You want to gear your weekly water change amount such that your nitrates don't exceed 20ppm on day 7. 30% every other week is not nearly enough IMO. I never do less than a 50% weekly. One of my tanks, the water gets dumped until the fish start doing the one eye up.


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Yes, this is my second time to have sickly Rasboras. Lost number 3 this morning. I was doing PWC weekly, have recently upped it to bi-weekly. That may have been a typo on my part.


Daily water changes. If you're having ammonia issues, daily water changes. Prime is probably the best water treatment you can use. It'll bind ammonia and nitrites, up to 1 PPM, in a non-toxic form. That means the bacteria can still process it, but the water is less deadly to your fish.


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Daily water changes it is. Ammonia is back to Zero in both tanks. I'm really wondering if these bottles can give false readings on the test kit? I have 3 bottles of each solution 1 and 2 that I've just accumulated. So I'm not always using the same bottles when testing if that makes sense. Started Melafix last night as well. Have lost 3 Rasboras total now.

the loach

AC Members
Don't feel bad, you did the right thing to get them out of the quarantine tank when you noticed the problem. But you can't save badly affected fish from ammonia poisoning.
So focus on the ones that are on the mend.


AC Members
So I went by the LFS and picked up some things for my babies today. My heater has been on the fritz in my main tank, so I went ahead and got 2 new ones for the main and QT. A pH test kit, some more Prime. Food wise, some Omega One frozen bloodworms, TF Freeze Dried Bloodworms, Hikari Brine Shrimp, Hikari Sinking Carnivore Pellets, Hikari Micro Pellets, and Hikari Tropical First Bites. My Pandas have been spawning, so thought maybe should start stocking up on food for the fry in the future. lol

Time for some WC's. Ammonia is holding steady in both tanks at 0, pH is back off the charts at 8 - 8.5.

(Fixing to post a thread regarding all the food I have on hand, what to eliminate, best for my tank occupants, etc. Just wanted to increase my variety to narrow it down)