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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Following an odd-colored batch of live feeders, my 55-gallon RBP tank seems to be a little out of whack. Only one RBP, roughly 6 years of age and 10" in length. He appears otherwise healthy, save for a desire to hang around the middle of the tank instead of the far right side, which he normally does, as well as preferring the top third of the tank. It makes me think he's stressed out, and in need of oxygen, but he doesn't seem to be breathing any differently that I can tell. His general agitation level seems to be a bit higher than usual for the skittish RBPs, as he has taken to flashing against one of the two power head intake filters and a corner riser attached to the undergravel filter. I'm not sure if this is an indication of disease causing discomfort, or just a mood swing due to chemistry oddities.

I have eliminated the batch of feeders that were rather suspect in quality. Some had a few odd blotches, and they didn't wise up to the fact that a big creature was trying to eat them. The previous batch of feeders left us with three elusive goldfish, which have shown no markings as yet, but one of the three is flashing against the gravel frequently enough to make me suspect Ick or some other infestation. I know, feeders do pose this risk, butwe buy from a reputable pet shop in the area and have never seen anything similar previously.

What's really strange with regard to chemistry is the pH. Amonia is non-existent, nitrites test right down the middle and, but pH has gone from the usual 7.2-7.4 up over 8.0. I've done 20% water changes every other day for the last 5 days, cleaned the powerhead filters and replaced the carbon filteration media as a start, then watched to see if any improvement resulted.

The RBP seems to be a little calmer today, but the goldfish flashing still bothers me. I did a little bump with pH-down to start gradually bringing that down slowly, but thought I'd inquire as to other recommended treatments for suspected Ick, aside from the fish-store packaged treatments, which some seem to say aren't the best practice for piranha.

Salt is a consideration, but it's not something I've done in the past, and am leary to try anything like that for the first time without some consideration and confirmation that it would be the best course. The temp of the tank was believed to be 78F, as we've had it for years, but after peeling off an old thermometer and replacing with a new one, the temp reads at 75F toward the top of the tank. I slapped another on at the opposite end toward the bottom for confirmation, and sure enough, it also appears to read 75F or 76F.

So, with all of that in mind, recommendations for better diagnosis and where to go from here?

Thanks!

-Furo

P.S. Also, my girlfriend is growing tired of the RBP, and we've considered giving him to a local pet shop, but I don't care for that route because I won't know that he'll go to someone that will properly care for him. He has been totally trouble-free, save for this hopefully minor bump in the road. I'm in Waterloo, Iowa, and if anyone with a good piranha background wants to adopt another, I'd let him go, but no tank included and it would have to be a pick-up. Hate to do it, but he may be maturing to the point where even minor problems like the above are different enough from other tropical fish that he may do better elsewhere. We sort of fell into him when a friend purchased him, intending to take him off our hands once moved into his apartment, but never did. 6+ years later.... :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
7.2... always been right at 7.2 and it's soft water.

The RBP is terrorizing the remaining goldfish, but not seriously chasing them down. At least he's showing the interest in them.
 

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The ASSMAN
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I would try to find out what increased the ph. Feeders wont do it, have you added anything like a new decoration or something else that could cause the rise in ph? Salt wont hurt, it is what I use for pretty much everything. He could be acting strange because of the low temp and your ph tester could be bad. Sounds like you are doing everything correctly.

If you want to sell him or have someone adopt him, list him in the buy and sell.

Good luck dude!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Nothing new added to the tank at all. The pH is hanging around 7.6-7.8 now. I've cleaned the two powerhead thoroughly and moved one to the end of the tank where he likes to hang out. He's taken to swimming against the current from the power head, which is a good sign. He usually does that for a few hours each day, but once this odd problem started, he stopped. Good to see that he's up for a little exercise this morning.

He still rubs a good bit, and has started to wear a few scales off of one side.. Doesn't look too serious at this point, but concerning regardless. I started a half dose of Wardley Ick Away two days ago. Turns the tank a spiffy green color for a while, but otherwise, doesn't seem to bother the P or the three feeders. In fact, the three goldfish have resumed normal behavior, hanging out at the opposite end of the tank from the P, instead of constantly paddling around the tank. The one feeder that was rubbing has stopped as far as I can tell.

The P has taken a couple of swipes at the feeders, but not a serious attempt. He continues to do his jaw pumping thing, so I know he's hungry, but he won't touch the algae discs or shrimp pellets that he normally snarfs up before they hit the floor of the tank.

We've tried frozen cubed food in the past, but he never has taken to any of the varieties, so I'm not sure what to try that he might want to eat. He hasn't had a lick of food in about 4-5 days now, and I'm worried that he may start getting weaker if he doesn't get something in his belly soon. Any suggestions?

Thanks!
 
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