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FAQs on Freshwater Aquarium Gas Disease

Related Articles: A practical approach to freshwater aquarium water chemistry by Neale Monks, In praise of hard water; How hard, alkaline water can be a blessing in disguise by Neale Monks pH, alkalinity, acidityTreating Tap Water, Freshwater MaintenanceFrequent Partial Water ChangesEstablishing Cycling, Freshwater Filtration, Setting up a Freshwater Aquarium, Tips for BeginnersIn praise of hard water; How hard, alkaline water can be a blessing in disguise by Neale Monks, The Soft Water Aquarium: Risks and Benefits by Neale Monks

Related FAQs: FW H2O Quality 1, FW H2O Quality 2, Cloudy Water , Aquarium MaintenanceTreating Tap Water for Aquarium Use, pH, Alkalinity, Acidity, Water Hardness, Nitrogen Cycling, Establishing Cycling 1, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Phosphates, Freshwater Algae Control, Algae Control, Foods, Feeding, Aquatic Nutrition, Disease


Re: Swim bladder issues?  11/10/10
Happy to report the Danio was right side up permanently two days into the seven day wet-frozen purely carnivorous diet, and has been happy ever since. Thanks, Neale! (And I'm with you, I could never do 24 hour fasts once a week, ha.)
- Celeste
<Real good news! As good as flake foods are in general, their lack of fibre can cause problems. That's why I like to offer some wet-frozen or green foods to my fish at least a couple times per week, even if they do well on flake foods. I generally avoid those freeze-dried bloodworms and the like because they seem to cause constipation in fish more often than anything else. Cheers, Neale.>

Air bubbles in fish, Emphysematosis & Cycling troubleshooting/fixing    2/8/10
Good day:
<And you>
I have an ongoing problem with supersaturated water- one of my goldfish had recently presented with air bubbles in his eye which I discovered was from my tap water.
<Not uncommon this time of year... the cold/er weather increases gas solubility, the difference in temperature releases it. Hence a good idea to... oh, I see you state this below>
I began leaving the water to sit in 5 gallon pails for 48 hours before using it for tank changes. This seemed to be effective and the bubble effused from the fishes eye over several days. This morning, however, I noticed a large bubble just beside the nare of my smaller fish- I am so frustrated!!! The water here where I am currently living (Vancouver) is really very poor. It is heavily chlorinated and also, apparently, supersaturated.
<I would store the new/change water a good week ahead of use here>
I have had so much trouble getting my tank to cycle and I am afraid my poor fish are taking the brunt of this inferior water. My tank is still not cycled after almost 6 weeks (not a trace of nitrates showing yet) so I am still doing daily 25% water changes to reduce ammonia build-up. Hence the issue with the supersaturated water... Do you have any suggestions for helping to reduce the oxygen levels to normal amounts?
<Yes, enhanced aeration... a mechanical "bubbler" will help de-gas the water>
It is rather an odd problem as most people have the opposite problem.
Would a small pond pump immersed in the waiting pails of water help to release the dissolved O2?
I am using Prime to condition the water and lock up the ammonia-
<I would not do this. This practice may well be responsible for your forestalled establishment of nitrogen cycling>
I was told to treat the entire tank every day as the Prime only locks up the ammonia for 24 hours. When I do a water change I do treat for the entire 36 gallons. I was wondering if this could be affecting the nitrogen cycle (it isn't supposed to, according to the manufacturer but I do wonder).
<It is>
Thank you for your assistance!
Gina de Almeida
<Gina, is there someway to get/buy "The Real One" (aka BioSpira) where you are? Or otherwise add some established media? Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
e: Air bubbles in fish, & cycling f', FW  -- 02/08/10
Thank you Bob:
<Welcome Gina>
I have not found the Bio-Spira but did use a product called Tetra Safe Start that is also supposed to one of the real ones. For some incredible reason they don't sell live bacteria in Canada and I had to have it smuggled across the border from the US.
<Mmmm. I don't like to encourage law-breaking, but I don't agree with such brainless carte-blanche censorship either>
Everyone here uses the chemicals that you have to continually add to the water, like Stability.
To complicate matters I have been treating for an intestinal parasite and I think it may also be partially responsible for the delayed cycling of my tank. I have more Safe Start on order, but the intestinal problem is just not going away so I may wait until my fish is clear to add it. In the mean time, I have purchased a really nice Eheim filter and added a UV filter to the mix to try to kill off any free-floating bugs that may be around. I know it isn't uncommon to lose a fish but I only have two Dragon-eye fancies and they are quite endearing little fellows so I will do all I can
to prevent a loss!
<Ahh! I feel similarly re my Ryukins>
I am on week three of Jungle anti-parasite medication and if that doesn't work I have some 100% Metronidazole that I'll try.
<Only treat once with this material. Very potent, hard on fish's kidneys>
It's really confusing as to what parasite might be affecting the poor fish as there seems to be so many! He still has stringy, clear feces even after the third cycle of meds. I'm concerned about bringing in the "big guns" as
I don't want to harm the fish with unnecessary meds, either. It really is a complicated matter- I can't believe that people perceive fish to be an easy
<Some much more/less than others for sure>
On a happy note, I have started fish training and my small fish (who has much better eyesight than my big bug-eyed fish) is responding quite well.
The larger fish just can't see the food reward up close and it ends up floating away (much to the delight of the smaller fish).
Kind regards:
Gina de Almeida
<And you, BobF>

White bubbles in tank and sticking to fish... FW dis.   12/17/08 Hello again. My 55 gallon f. water tank has a fungus or bacteria I believe. I have 2 filters and they seem to be making a lot lot off bubbles that swim freely in my tank. Just last week I lost 2 fish. The bubbles are sticking to my fish's tails & fins. I never ever remember having any bubbles swimming around in my tank. I use carbon and ammonia reducer in my filters. Do you think I'm over reacting. I went to my local fish store and they think it may be a fungus or bacteria. My water tested fine. I removed 20 gallons and replaced and still the same bubble. Should u treat with an all in 1 product? I saw an item by jungle lab lifeguard, or should I try another type if filler for my filters? Thank again. Happy holidays Sent from my iPhone <Bubbles in themselves aren't a problem, but super-saturation of the water with atmospheric gases can cause problems. Oxygen can bubble out of the blood and collect around (and damage) sensitive organs such as the eye. So it's important to regulate aeration of the water such that bubbles move the water from bottom to top of the tank (the important part of the equation) and don't collect in the water column generally (providing no tangible benefits). Next, you need to understand how filtration works. Ammonia-remover isn't magic, and in fact in most aquaria does nothing useful. Unless you're replacing it every week or two, all its doing is wasting space in the filter. Most aquarists will do better without ammonia-remover, and instead focus on biological filtration. Likewise carbon does nothing very special. All it can do is remove dissolved organic chemicals. If you're doing weekly water changes of 25-50%, then there won't be much organic matter in the water anyway. Moreover, carbon needs to be replaced every couple of weeks, just like zeolite, and if you're not doing that, all you're doing is wasting space in your filter. If you're having persistent problems with Fungus and Finrot, it's almost certain your water quality isn't as good as you think it is. Other than decent filtration, sensible stocking, and avoidance of overfeeding, there's no secret to good water quality, and certainly no "all in one" product that will fix the situation. For a 55 gallon tank for example, you should have a robust filter offering a water turnover of not less than 220 gallons per hour, and at least 330 gallons per hour if you have big, messy fish (such as Clown Loaches or Plecs). Hang-on-the-back filters for example are a bad choice for 55 gallon tanks because they have the inlet and outlet close together; if you have a tank as big as 55 gallons, you need to be using something like an external canister filter or an undergravel filter with powerheads (or air stones) at each end of the tank. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: problem with aquarium system, disease... emphysematosis, induced... no reading   7/8/08 Hi, The system is run by a 1 hp pool pump. <... For this many gallons? Why? You want to read/look into a better, non-high-pressurized pump... this one will "drive you into the poor-house"... See WWM re Pump Selection: Here: http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i2/External Pumps/External_Pumps.htm and the linked files at the bottom> There is a lot of air/water mixing in the strainer chamber so i guess there is pressurized water there. <... yes... this is along with the improper pump, the cause of the trouble here> Is there a possibility of having too much oxygen in the water which is causing "the benz"? <As in Mercedes? Yes> i notice that when the fish were removed they recovered quickly in a medical tank using MelaFix. <... you're joking right? Ridiculous> the water renters the tanks through 1" tubes emptying by the top and there are fine bubbles in the return water into the tank. The bubbles on the fish though are coming through their skin, not attaching to them. The pH is 8.0 (African cichlids) ammonia is 0, nitrite is 0. Thanks! Don <... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/PdBblDisease.htm and the linked file related at top. BobF>

Re: problem with aquarium system, disease... emphysematosis, induced... Thanks for all the help! I'm off to shop for a new pump! Don <Ah, good! BobF>

Suds in the Aquarium -- 4/15/08 My question is...what would cause your tank to be full of bubbles on the top of the tank? All of the sudden when we changed our filters the next day we got up and the whole top of our tank was filled with suds ( they looked like someone had poured dish soap in the water). Do you have any suggestions on what we could do? We don't want to loose all of our fish. Thank you <Plain bubbles in the water stuck to the glass, rocks and other ornaments can be caused by a variety of things. If the bubbles go away after a day or so, then don't worry about them. Changes in water temperature can cause bubbles to appear because of the differences in solubility of gases (warm water holds less gas than cold water). When a filter is cleaned, it often goes from having low turnover to much higher turnover because the pump is having to work against less "gunk" in the media. Result: more bubbles if there's splashing or a venturi fitted to the outflow. Now, froth at the top of the water is rather different. Froth is slimy or soapy to the touch, and unlike bubbles, can indicate a problem. Typically, froth comes from mixing air with organic materials. The mechanism is the same as the protein skimmers used in marine aquaria. In any case, it usually means there's too much organic matter in the water, often food, but potentially stuff like dead algae as well. The solution is to scale back food and to aggressively clean and/or water change the aquarium. This should eliminate the foaming, and from then onwards keeping the tank cleaner should keep the foam away. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Suds in the Aquarium  4/16/08 We did a water change and its seems like the suds at the top are getting worse...what should I do next???? <Difficult to say without knowing what these suds are. A photo would help. In any case, here's what I'd do: 1. Put water from tank into a bucket. 2. Put fish in there; cover with a towel or magazine to stop them jumping out. 3. Switch off and unplug heater; when cool, put someplace safe. 4. Switch off filter. Disassemble. 5. Put the biological media into a shallow basin of some type, just covered with water from the aquarium so that the bacteria stay happy. 6. Remove all the remaining water from the aquarium and deep-clean the aquarium as far as possible. 7. Pay close to attention to the substrate! Remove and rinse under a tap (assuming this system doesn't have an undergravel filter). 8. Wipe the glass, rinse off ornaments under the tap. Basically clean EVERYTHING. 9. Put everything back together again, remembering to add clean dechlorinated water. There's no need to put "old" water back into the tank, assuming that the water chemistry and temperature of the old water is much the same as the new water that's gone in. Half-emptying the bucket with the fish, and then topping up with "new" water from the fish tank is a nice idea though, as it lets the fish acclimate to any slight differences. With luck, doing this should wash out whatever was making the mess in the first place. Cheers, Neale.>


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