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In my American tank, there's an issue that has been puzzling me.

It's a 6-ft tank, 640 L, with 2 large melanurus, a large banded leporinus, a decent size flag tail (all of these around 24 or 25 cms).  Then there are about 20 smaller fishies - mostly juvenile Americans as well, plus some bristlenose and some tiger barbs.

Then - there's 3 Rotkeil Severums.  These are around 16-18 cms in length.

Every time I do a water change (about 30%), the Severums seem extremely stressed out.  To the point of (sometimes) lying horizontal on the gravel, with stress bars showing.  Doesn't happen with ANY other fish, either in this tank or in any of my other tanks.  The water comes out of the tap, with dechlorinator added to the tank.

It's definitely not the chlorine - I've got lots of rainbowfish in another tank, that are very sensitive to chlorine (I found this out the hard way...).  So I double dose (at least) all the tanks now, after the RainbowFish Incident.

Other parameters - temperature or pH.  I'm pretty sure it's not pH, because the tank has been filled with tap water for yonks, and when I measure it, it's never more than 0.1 difference.

So temperature.  Today I tried slightly warmer water, but this seems to have made things worse, if anything.  None of the other fish are bothered in the slightest, but the Severums are all 3 of them lying horizontal at the moment.  Last time I tried slightly cooler water, but still had 1 of them lying horizontal.

Within 24 hours they always seem to recover to normal, but it is very puzzling what is the reason for this.

Anybody with a similar experience?

 

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As usual, all three severums seem perfectly normal this morning.  I still have no explanation for why this is affecting the severums only, and nothing else.  The melanurus are MUCH bigger fish - by weight, they must be 3 or 4 times the weight of the severums, and they are not affected in the slightest.

The only possible strategy I can think of, is more frequent, small water changes.  Rather than 30% at a time, do 15% twice as often.  It's a hassle, but I might try that.

Would still welcome any comments, or to hear of similar experiences other members might have had with severums.

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hi reading through your post word for ford there is just one thing that is just one thing that can be trouble some given that tiger barbs tend to be fin nippers and can be reall bullys when i groups and can be down right mean to fish that are timmed that is just one thing to keep an eye on i dont think its a water quality thing at all knowing that you keep your tanks very clean and do water changes doing smaller more frequent water changes may help in diluting the testostrone in the water from there pee make the tiger barbs less agro so yeah your on the right mind set for that if there is frayed fins on your fish that is most likely the tiger barbs but cant say for sure i DONT FOR 1 MINUTE THINK THEY ARE SICK thats most un likely given how clean things are in your tank hope that helps

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can i ask do the sevs have any small or large holes around there heads not trying to be cheacky some fish like discus and oscars and sevs are more prone to hole in the head but reading your posts there is nothing in what u have written points to that just trying to rule things out the more info the better it is to getting to the bottom of it thats why i had to ask

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Thanks John,

Their fins are all good, and no hole in the head either.  It's not all the time - most of the time, the severums are just swimming normally.  It's just every time I do a water change, they get stressed out.  Sometimes more so, sometimes less so.  This time (with the slightly warmer water) it was particularly bad.  Then always, within 24 hours, they're back to normal.

I've had these guys for 3.5 years now, grew them up from 3 cms up to 18 cms (biggest one).  These are the ONLY fish that exhibit this strange behaviour, so I'm puzzled about it.  Would like to understand why.

 

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On 07/11/2022 at 8:47 AM, MFF said:

Thanks John,

Their fins are all good, and no hole in the head either.  It's not all the time - most of the time, the severums are just swimming normally.  It's just every time I do a water change, they get stressed out.  Sometimes more so, sometimes less so.  This time (with the slightly warmer water) it was particularly bad.  Then always, within 24 hours, they're back to normal.

I've had these guys for 3.5 years now, grew them up from 3 cms up to 18 cms (biggest one).  These are the ONLY fish that exhibit this strange behaviour, so I'm puzzled about it.  Would like to understand why.

 

your welcome can it have some thing to do with there food as u didnt say what your feeding and do u use an indian ammond leaf in there tank

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@johnbettaThey get a variety of food on different days.  Some fresh veggies, cichlid pellets, spirulina flake, brine shrimp.  Not all at once!!

No indian almond leaf - but there is a LOT of driftwood in there, pH is a little lower than Brisbane tap water.  Some visible tannins in the water, but not much.

Any explanation really needs to answer why ONLY the Severums, and ONLY after a water change.

@QldMickI also looked at the Oscar "sulking" descriptions, and while it's similar in some ways, I don't think it's the same.  The Severums don't care if I just re-arrange the tank, and the behaviour is more stressed than sulking.  There's visible changes to coloration, and lying on their sides always worries me.  Interesting read though.

 

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@MFF i respect that i know that u feed diffrent foods  i was just trying to get to the bottom of your fish drama i rule things out and that was one i had to find out about i wasnt trying to be nasty or any thing its just hard to find out why its happening it could be your tap water as the local gov has mucked around with it it would be wise to may be use rain water till it gets fixed just a thought

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OK, so just finished a half-sized water change, and the severums are much less bothered.  Still not 100% happy about things, but not lying horizontal on the gravel.

This is not an explanation - but it is a useful workaround.  So I guess I'll be doing more frequent, small water changes from now on.

I'm jealous of those lucky buggers who have a continuous drip water change system.  No way I can set that up in the house.

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Indeed, much better.  They were still somewhat stressed, but after half an hour or so they were back to themselves.  Much better than before, so I'll be doing more frequent, smaller water changes from now on - at least on that tank.

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3 hours ago, MFF said:

Indeed, much better.  They were still somewhat stressed, but after half an hour or so they were back to themselves.  Much better than before, so I'll be doing more frequent, smaller water changes from now on - at least on that tank.

thats really good to hear and i respect that 

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On a more positive note, in that same tank, the Melanurus turn out to be a pair (I had thought them two males).   Now they've laid eggs.  Several hundred of them.

They're being extremely tolerant of their tank mates, so far.

 

Melanurus WITH eggs.jpg

Melanurus eggs ONLY.jpg

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8 hours ago, MFF said:

On a more positive note, in that same tank, the Melanurus turn out to be a pair (I had thought them two males).   Now they've laid eggs.  Several hundred of them.

They're being extremely tolerant of their tank mates, so far.

 

Melanurus WITH eggs.jpg

Melanurus eggs ONLY.jpg

VERY NICE WILL U BE SELLING THE YOUNG ONCE BIG ENOUGH 

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Hey John.  Yes, I will be selling any that survive!   This is a community tank though, and it's their first spawn.  Not sure how many will hatch, and beyond that not sure how many will survive with all the other fish in the tank.  In the past, any time I've wanted to grow out hatchlings, I've removed them (or the parents before spawning) into a separate tank.  At the moment, I don't have anywhere to put them.

I've yet to see ANY aggression from this pair, but that might change once the hatchlings are free-swimming.

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