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.Hi guys!

I'm hoping you might be able to help me out. My husband and I have a 650L tank with a variety of fish in it at the moment. My favourites however are the three Geophagus that he bought me for my birthday. I have one male and two females.

They've been pretty easy to look after so far and I haven't had any problems with them. But now one of my females is looking quite ill and I can't find much information.

She's looking very pale and very bloated. She is also kind of floating around the tank rather than swimming. (she's not floating upside down or on her side. But she is hovering near the top of the tank rather than down near the bottom where she normally swims and she's quite slow). She also seems to be taking in a lot of water, her mouth is gulping a lot.

I thought at first she might be pregnant, but the male isn't showing any signs of raising young and I can't see any eggs or fry in the females mouth.

Does anyone have any ideas?


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The best way to get help/input from other forum members is to provide as much information as possible in your post.

What is the size and dimensions of your tank?

What SPECIES of fish do you have? (This helps identify potential aggression or overstocking problems.)

How long has it been set up? Is it CYCLED? (This can rule out cycling issues.)

What are your water parameters:


Ammonia reading

Nitrite reading

Nitrate reading




It's not sufficient to say that your water tests "okay" or "fine." Sometimes a misunderstanding about WATER CHEMISTRY requirements is the root of the problem. If you don't have TEST KITS, you should purchase them. In the meantime, your LFS (Local Fish Store) will probably test your water for you -- just be sure to get the actual results rather than just "they're all good".

How long have you had the fish and what symptoms do they have?

What do you FEED them?

Have you introduced any newfish recently?

What is your MAINTENANCE schedule, and what product/s (if any) do you use to neutralize chlorine or chloramines in your TAP WATER? (This helps to determine if a new disease has been introduced to the tank or if it's some kind of husbandry problem.)

If you have something unusual to describe, please do so.

Post a photo/s if possible.

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Hi again,

Sorry, I'm at work and don't have all of those figures on me but I will do my best.

The tank is a 6' x2' x2' currently running an external canister filter and an internal filter. Water was tested a few days ago at 6.8.

We have the following fish - 2 x Angel fish (Breeding pair), 3 x Gourami, 5 x Silver sharks, a handful of various tetras, 1 x bristlenose sucker fish, a handful of feeder fish that survived being eaten and are now too large to be eaten, 2 x Rosy barbs, 1 x Ghost knife and our 3 x Geophagus Altifrons.

All of the fish have been together in the tank for 6-8 months now, whilst the tank has been set up for nearly 12 months.

They are fed a combination of foods including frozen bloodworm, colour enhancing pellets, discus pellets and a community flake food. Also occasionally we put feeder shrimp into the tank as we used to have a fresh water bullrout, but he died about 2 months ago now.

We haven't introduced any fish in the last 2-3 months.

We allow the water in the tank to evaporate by 25% before topping it up again to full with a combination of tap water and filtered tank water. And every 6 months we do a quarter water change by taking out some and replacing it. Any chlorines and chloramines are treated with a water softener and conditioner from our local fish shop (I can't think of the brand off the top of my head).

I can't think of anything else unusual about our tank or the environment. We have two pieces of natural driftwood and a number of caves. We also have Alodea plants in there.

If it is bloat, can it be treated?

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The problem is that when your water evaporates, it concentrates all the ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, then when you top it up, you're only diluting it slightly. If you don't remove any water, the ammonia etc will continue to build up to the point where it's extremely toxic for your fish.

Think of it like letting your dishes pile up.. you may break a few plates every couple of weeks (evaporation), so you just buy some new plates to replace the broken ones (topping it up).. but the pile of dirty dishes is still there.

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And none of these comments have as yet helped me to work out what may be wrong with my fish. Someone mentioned bloat? Is bloat treatable? And if so, how do I tell if it is bloat so I can treat it. Given she is the only fish in the tank show any signs of stress or illness.

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There are a number of people on here who would willingly help you out, no one wants anyone to lose their fish, but without your help and more information, no one will say it's anything for sure. If they say "yes it's bloat" and it turns out to be something else and you lose the fish, then it comes back on them. No one wants that responsibility.

The readings require numbers, or pictures if you're unsure on whether it's between A or B. pk333 gave you a great list of needed details.. I'm assuming that "6.8" was referring to PH? That's only one element of the water. Your ammonia, nitrate and nitrite readings will be a huge indication to the quality of your water.. which will either rule out a lot, or make it a heap easier to diagnose.

Yes, the comments in regards to water changes might not directly cure/save your fish right now (but if it's bloat, it may actually help), but at the very least, it will help prevent future problems.

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I went home last night and did a test of my water. I must be doing something right, my levels came out as normal, as below:

Ammonia level was 0.5 ppm (a tad high, but not alarming)

Nitrite was 0 ppm and

Nitrate was 7.0 ppm

pH level 7.0

I continued on to do a 30% water change anyway (will retest levels today) and treated the tank with a water aged and a stress coat for the fish. I treated the sick Geophagus with an antibiotic and put her into a separate tank filled from our large tank. I still lost her overnight.

After observing her during the day, my husband noted that she was being harassed by the male Geophagus. So, given that my tank readings were coming out ok, I can only surmise that she became over stressed from being bullied by the others.

Thanks for all the advice anyway.

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[MENTION=14620]Cazbam[/MENTION] sorry for your loss and if you indeed do have Geophagus Altifrons it's a real loss for to the hobby as well.

I'd love to see a pic or two of them if you have any.

Anyhow all the best with the other two.

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